Last week I discussed how to deal with having multiple and disparate feelings all at the same time and how this starts with awareness and then moves to you needing to sort through each feeling to be able to examine each one individually.
BUT…this requires SPACE.
Space in our minds and in our hearts to be able to have room not only for all the feelings, but also room for curiosity, questions, and for new thoughts that are inevitably going to come up.
In today's video I talk about how to create space for our feelings and thoughts. And by space I mean physical space, digital space, and energetic space. I’ll speak to each one of those separately and give you some simple and practice advice on where you can start to create more space for your thoughts and feelings.
Don’t underestimate the impact your physical environment has on your emotional and mental wellbeing. If you’re anything like me clutter gets your heart rate up and you may not even be able to start making dinner until the kitchen is tidied up and clean! I know this is true for me.
And this is true for most people even if they don’t realize it. There has been a lot of research on the impact of clutter and disorganization on our stress. Scientists have found that people’s cortisol levels go up when they see clutter or a mess in their house or office. Cortisol is the hormone that is secreted when we experience stress, and too much cortisol is detrimental on our physical health, most notably causing weight gain if it’s in our systems for extended periods of time. So decluttering can actually be part of your weight management strategy!
Think about when your physical environment is cluttered or disorganized. Does it feel good, or stressful? Does it have good energy or a heavy energy?
Now think about a space that makes you feel good. What is it that makes it feel good? It’s probably because it's organized, tidy, and clean. Remember, organized and tidy doesn’t need to mean sparse or minimal if that is not your style. But having a space in which everything in it is intentional and in which things have been placed there for a purpose is important.
I often think about something that Marie Condo asks in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – “Does this bring you joy?”. Condo suggests that we ask that of our knickknacks, artwork, furniture or anything that we own that is part of our physical space.
Take a look at the spaces in which you spend the most time in. Do you love everything in it? Is there something that can be given away or sold? What can be decluttered, filed, thrown away, moved or in general just tidied up? Is there a way to bring more joyful items into the room? I suggest putting up photos that bring back memories or remind you of someone you love.
Personally I love having inspirational sayings around me especially in my office. I collect cards with beautiful messages, artwork or little pieces that have an inspirational message on them. I also like having candles, throw pillows and a Himalayan salt lamp in my space.
Plants add so much to any room. Look for plants that you love the look of and make sure to buy a nice plant pot that goes with your décor or adds that little something extra to the room – like maybe something with a little sparkle. Treat yourself to fresh flowers on a weekly basis. It’s amazing how much flowers can lift your spirits.
I also love stationery and buying desk organizers, file folders, pens, and other office supplies that are pretty and make me happy. This is not a pricey investment and you might be surprised how much these items will help you love your space, help you stay organized, and motivate you to keep things tidy. This is so good for your mental wellbeing and for allowing calm and space in your mind and body.
Another tip for physical spaces is to create a habit of regular tidying up, instead of waiting until its overwhelming. This could look like scheduling 30 minutes on Friday afternoons to tidy up your office, do your filing, organize your books and papers, etc. For closets or bedrooms, I like doing a good tidy-up when the seasons change. For example I go through my closet at the end of winter and decide what clothes I want to keep, sell or donate. This practice always leaves me feeling so satisfied and accomplished.
Digital space can get cluttered very fast and something that most people ignore. But as with physical clutter, clutter in your digital world will also increase stress, feelings of overwhelm, and a general feeling of being disorganized.
A simple tip is to organize all your apps on your phone. These tend to get piled up until you have multiple home screens and you need to constantly scroll around to find what you’re looking for. Take a few minutes tonight or this weekend to organize all your apps. Start with deleting the ones you don’t use. And trust me, there will be lots. Next, put all similar or like apps into categories and label these categories with what makes the most sense for you. Some of the categories I have are Fitness, Social Media, Entertainment, Health, Travel, Productivity, Loyalty Cards, and Parking. Can you see how this would make you feel more organized?
Another thing I highly encourage (and you've heard this from me before) is to clean up who you follow on social media. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who bring good into your life – whether this is inspiration, motivation, education, new ideas, fun, or laughter. Be really mindful and intentional about what you listen to and what you watch. It all is absorbed by your conscious and subconscious brain and impacts your energy, mental health, emotional wellbeing and even your physical health more than you might think.
Something I’ve been doing for the past few weeks is unsubscribing from the vast number of newsletters that I somehow have subscribed to. Each time I get something into my inbox I ask myself whether this is content that I find useful or beneficial in some way. It’s been amazing to have less emails clutter up my inbox and only seeing content that I want and that provides me with beneficial information.
To me, energetic space is the energy we give to others and to our commitments. Think about all the ways in which you give of your energy - to your family, your children, your colleagues or team members, the committees or boards you sit on, the volunteer activities you participate in, all the times you hold space for friends, the energy you utilize to keep yourself healthy by working out or preparing healthy meals - all these activities require energy. Take a look at your calendar with all your commitments. Are all of these serving you? Go back to the question of joy – do all your commitments and activities bring you joy? Which commitments feel like they are cluttering up your energetic space? Is there something you can back away from or maybe stop altogether?
I recently resigned from two boards I sat on. I realized that the energy I was expending on the boards was pulling my energy away from my top priority – namely growing my coaching business.
Where are you focusing energy that maybe can be directed elsewhere where it will serve you better?
I hope that something I’ve suggested resonates with you and sparks some changes in your physical, digital and/or energetic spaces so that you can allow more mental space and more heart space to listen to yourself, feel your feelings, sort through them, and work through them.
Think of this as “spring cleaning” for your mind and your heart. The spring equinox is March 20 so it’s the perfect time!
I really encourage you to think about other ways you can create space for yourself. And please share any other ways that have helped you create space. I’d love to hear what works for you!
If you’re looking for help on creating space for your feelings and working through them in order to be more organized, more expansive, and better able to show up in the world in the way you want, then I can help. I invite you to book a Discovery Call with me and learn more.