Sometimes life feels hectic and as if everything is up in your face. By decluttering your lifestyle, the stressful chaos your life overwhelms you with will feel more manageable. Just tweaking aspects of your life that can begin to feel cluttered can ease your mind, leaving you a bit more stress-free.
One of the quickest ways to start living a decluttered life, and feel an immediate weight lifted off your shoulders, is to go through your possessions. Go on a rampage. Get rid of items you no longer use or no longer hold significance in your lifestyle. Find things you haven't used in a while - or not at all - and find use for them in your current life or get rid of them. This suggestion might take longer for some people than it does others, but each time you take action toward cleaning out your possessions there will be piles to throw out, repurpose, or donate (to family and friends or to companies and shelters that need those items). It's always a rewarding feeling to get rid of things that are no longer necessary in your life but are very much needed and appreciated in someone else's.
Now, if you're like me, this process may be difficult to let go of things that hold nostalgia for you or you've become comfortable always having in your life, but sometimes these items can be held on for too long and serve no other purpose other than refreshing memories. So, I suggest doing this type of clean out every month or so, especially when you're not in a sentimental mindset because then it will be easier to see which items should stay and which ones have clearly outlasted their time in your possession.
A big part of this decluttering comes from refreshing your clothes: get rid of the old, find hidden gems, and make room for the new. By sorting through your clothes, you are enabling yourself to change what you wear most often, get rid of things (like hand-me-downs) you've held onto for too long as well as get rid of clothes that trap you in your comfort zone, the ones you always go back to. Explore your style. Find out what clothes are right for you that help you express yourself now, not what clothes expressed you five years ago or what clothes used to define your sibling or relative. Personally, I get trapped sometimes in holding onto the hand-me-downs and older clothes I've had for years because they comfort me, but they no longer define who I want to express myself as to the world, and, since I held onto those for so long, now have trouble finding my own style and defining myself.
Another part of most people's lifestyles that can start to feel cluttered and cause stress is related to music. It's easy to get stuck in an unorganized playlist that has become filled with songs that were added throughout time as they became favorites. And it can be clearly pointed out in those playlists the separation between the old music that was most played a month ago with what is always being played currently. Sorting through music can be daunting, but it is actually kind of simple once you know how you want it to be organized in a way that works for you. Go through that jumbled playlist and delete songs you overplayed and don't enjoy listening to anymore, or move old favorites and the nostalgic ones into a separate playlist to listen to on their own for when you're in the mood for them, keeping your original playlist to be the current songs you're wanting to hear without having to skip through all the outdated ones. It might even be a good idea to create a playlist of songs that help you feel relaxed and have soothing melodies or lyrics that can be used at night or during stressful times in your life. Listening to music becomes less stressful and more relaxing in the end.
It is just as important, if not more important, to declutter your mental lifestyle. Daily stresses, overthinking, anxieties...all contribute to the overwhelming, cluttered, in-your-face-lifestyle that people want to avoid or fix. Working out is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress, even just doing something simple like taking a walk. It allows you time to reflect on life, yourself, events happening in your life or in the world, and leaves you thinking more rational, clear, thoughtful mindset. Plus, it releases endorphins giving you a natural good feeling. And, more importantly, it teaches you to notice your mind-body connection, so you can learn more about how your body feels and what it needs throughout all different aspects of life affecting you.
Many might not realize that food can play a huge role in maintaining a healthy mindset, particularly nowadays when positive body image is difficult to obtain with today's media portraying unrealistic forms of "normal" or "perfect" bodies. It's okay to treat yourself with food, but usually, there are those foods that create negative feelings after indulging in them which can lead to body shaming or a negative mindset. I tend to fall into traps when I feel I have to have a certain food at a particular time of day or have a moment of excessive indulgence. So it's important for everyone to recognize their food limits and situations that lead to unhealthy indulgences that can be averted by replacing those foods with better options or by limiting yourself in a healthy way by planning to grab a bowl instead of eating from the bag of chips or only having ice cream a couple times a week.
As a kid, I grew up always having a snack before bedtime while we watched tv no matter how close it was to going to sleep or the actual time of night which isn't the best on our bodies. Over time it grew into an almost pressured, unnecessary need that I have a snack sometime after dinner before I went to bed, even if I wasn't actually needing or wanting one, but would feel I deprived myself of something if I hadn't. And now I have become more conscious of those actions and being more mindful on my late night indulgences whether that's having something small, eating something healthy, or learning to have them only a couple nights a week since it does affect sleep and my body.
Paying attention to your sleep is worth mentioning when talking about straightening out your life, feeling less stressed, and more organized. It's beneficial to have a healthy sleep schedule because over time you get used to the way your body functions during the day and, with proficient amounts of sleep, will have enough energy to have many fulfilling ones. Late nights are necessary and fun sometimes, but constantly getting eight or fewer hours of sleep can make the day rough on your body and mind which doesn't make life much fun if you feel dragged out and behind all the time. Poor sleep can make you feel bad and unproductive overtime, and nobody should want to live like that, right? Especially on weekends or on breaks when there's time in the day for the things you want and need to do, but want to enjoy doing, the only tired you'll want to be feeling then is tired from all the fun you are able to have since you have had such a great, refreshing night of sleep!
One thing I have found extremely helpful in feeling less cluttered and more connected with myself and on top of things is stepping back from technology as well as social media. It removes negativity and the chaos of everything happening at once on that small device in your hand. It also has helped me enjoy my own life more when I'm not constantly grabbing for my phone, and lets me take in the experiences I could be having all around me. And by not spending hours staring at useless information on my phone in the dark before going to bed, my quality of sleep has improved and I fall asleep faster which ultimately results in being less stressed when I'm living my life. It's better learning to search for and embrace the adventures that can happen right in front of you than the ones you admire other people chasing from afar.
Changing your lifestyle isn't always easy, but, when it's worked on (specifically in any of the areas mentioned above), a fresh perspective on your life can be discovered and can help you get growing as you get to know yourself more and more.