how to cut down on stress
Simplify Your Self

Overcome Overwhelm … Eliminate the Unnecessary

I’ve seen it a lot.  Heck, it’s happened to me a lot.  That feeling that you just can’t have anything else in your brain or you might just lose your mind.  I totally get it. 

It's called overwhelm and here's a pretty simple way to help with it. You just run everything through a filter in your mind and Eliminate the Unnecessary. Click To Tweet

But how do you know what’s really “necessary”?

Think of it this way …. what would HAVE to get done if you were sick?  Those are the “necessary” things.  Everything else can wait.  However, you don’t have to wait until you’re coughing up a lung to filter some things out of your life.  In fact, it’s much easier to make those decisions when you aren’t a stressed out mess.

Filter these areas …


I happen to be writing this during the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year holiday season so decorating for those comes to mind, but it can be any area of your space that you decorate.  The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to keep clean and uncluttered.  What in your home doesn’t really make you joyful anymore?  What is just in the way?  Do you have to put up the big Christmas tree, wrap the entire house in twinkling lights, and have the glowing snowman family on the lawn?


Is every night a struggle to figure out what to have for dinner?  Are you making it more complicated than it has to be?  I guarantee you that your children aren’t going to starve if you feed them corn dogs or sandwiches one night a week.  Set aside a few nights for simple meals and let go of the guilt associated with thinking that you HAVE to spend hours in the kitchen every night.

Over the Top Gifts and Parties

I’ve read several articles talking about how people are happier with experiences than they are with stuff.  So why do we keep giving people stuff?  If your gift list is a mile long and you are stressed out about finding every single person the peeeeeeeeeeeeerfect gift that will make them love you even more then it’s time to change your way of thinking.  Odds are they already have plenty of stuff, but they probably don’t spend enough time enjoying fun experiences with their family and friends.  So give them that.

It’s the same with parties and family gatherings.  Simplify it and see what happens.  Don’t fall into the guilt trap put on you by other people who say things like, “but you’ve always done it before”.  Answer back, “well it’s time for things to change” and then really change them.  Divide up the responsibilities.  Share the work.  Have everyone bring something and when people ask if they can help, LET THEM!

Overplanned Days

I have to admit that this was a really tough thing for me to overcome.  I’m a planner.  I’m a list maker.  I like being in control of situations.  I also get upset when things don’t go as planned and have been working on making fewer plans and learning how to just go with the flow.  And guess what?  The days off work and the trips we’ve taken where I didn’t plan out every single thing have been the better ones.

Step away from the list for a little while and see what happens.

Spending Money

I do a big money filter at least once a year where I audit all of our bills to see where we’re wasting money, but I’m also in filter mode for smaller things on a continuous basis.  Are there services you’re paying for that you don’t really need or use?  We kept our house phone a lot longer than we should have just because I liked the nostalgia of having it.  Letting it go saved us $80 a month.  Are you subscribing to magazines you don’t really read?  Are you buying stuff automatically that you don’t really use?

Take the time to stop those things that are using your money, time, and energy and not giving you anything back in return.

I always say that simplifying your life is an ongoing process with no definite end and it takes practice to learn the habits of it.  So think about these areas and see if you can Eliminate the Unnecessary things and avoid being overwhelmed in the first place. 

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