We are so lucky to have such a fabulous human being guest-blogging for us today :). Meet Dana Claudat, and soak up her wise words on clutter…and how it actually affects your weight loss!
When people think of physical fitness, the first and most obvious thing to think of is your body and perhaps food. However, in the grand scheme of fitness, weight loss and wellness, there are so many other factors that influence your success in gaining and maintaining balance. Your mental state, the way you can organize and carve out time, the supportive people in your life and, yes, your environment all have a hand in striking and maintaining those awesome fitness goals. Even if you know what your plan is to get in shape, even if you have the best information and even love the physical activities, if you are weighed down with the burden of clutter in your life you may find that you are struggling to make it through your awesomely planned weeks!
Clutter is an extra burden that makes everything far more of a challenge. Clutter is excess weight, negative emotion, confusion, defeat and obstacles. Clutter is the feeling of being stuck. Clutter is frustration. Clutter is also easy to eliminate.
In my world of modern feng shui, working to create environments that support healthy lives, clutter stands out as a huge obstacle in nearly every space I encounter. There are four main kinds of clutter: actual junk piled up, lots of bad memory stuff, mental clutter and what I call “the clutter of obligations.”
Let’s look at a few ways to clear some of this clutter to lighten the load and set you free to accomplish your goals:
1. Actual junk. This is an easy clutter fix, although a daunting one. If you have some serious dumping to do, there are two great ways to tackle it. First, you can set aside 10-15 minutes every day to actually round up and haul out a bag of stuff from your home. Do this for a week or two and you will gain momentum as the space clears. Alternately, if you have a friend that is up for the task, put on some music, invite them over and tackle a big mess. You can also hire someone to do this with you- the motivated company makes a big difference.
Keep in mind that junky food is also actual junk. Doing a good de-cluttering in the kitchen and washing out your refrigerator will set you up for a fresh start with a healthy diet.
2. Bad memory stuff. The gifts from former lovers that didn’t end on a high note, the pictures that remind you of bad times, the ephemera of less-than-great seasons in your life: there’s no reason to hold on to that stuff. I once had a client tell me that she had cleared out every last vestige of her cheating husband from her house, but she was still miserable. I asked her what she kept in a box in her bedroom corner and she answered, “ My divorce proceedings.” Those papers left the house and her life started to flourish. The bad memory stuff can go. You don’t need to hold on to anything that does not make you feel good.
3. Mental clutter. In this category I lump both the clutter of self-defeating thoughts as well as the clutter of turmoil words and actions of vampire people. I’ll explain! First, self-defeating thoughts. That’s fairly self-explanatory. I have had a lot of personal success dumping the thoughts that clutter my mind by keeping a journal and writing them out on a page so I can purge them objectively. If you want to go deeper, I always recommend The Artist’s Way book by Julia Cameron. The exercises in this book over the course of twelve weeks help you get out of your own way and start creating freely. Living a balanced life is a huge act of creativity, and it is something worth the investment.
Now, I mentioned vampires. Vampires: You know, the people who leave you feeling like you are about to fall asleep or jump out of your skin after a conversation, the people who spin your head, make your life all about their crisis and take you along for a thankless ride on the rollercoaster of their lives? Those people are clutter a lot of the time. While I don’t suggest ever cutting people out of your life, if you recognize that these types of relationships are adding lots of weight and effort to your day you can mindfully keep these relationships lighter and stay focused on the positive.
4. “The clutter of obligations.” Busy-clutter. Saying yes to everything except yourself creates a clutter of obligations that will litter your life with lots of stuff to do and nothing accomplished in your own world! If I find myself looking at the week ahead and sighing with dread, I know I have started to create a cluttered mess of my schedule. Saying NO more often and starting to excuse yourself from everything non-essential is so key to having a lighter life, especially when you are focused on making changes in your habits and routines. Taking more time for you is a key way to get grounded. When you are grounded, it is much easier to make life-affirming decisions and it is much more intuitive to exercise, to eat well, to sleep soundly and to enjoy it all!
In my way of feng shui, your space should help you feel invigorated every day. Basics go much farther than complex rules and absolutes. If you can de-clutter just a bit every day for the next month in all four ways, I guarantee you will feel lighter and likely more energized as well. Motivation won’t be something that comes from someone else, it will be intrinsic to your life and reinforced by all the clear, dynamic space you have created. Many clients have lost significant physical weight in the process as well! One parting note on this: clutter clearing can be emotional, so don’t be surprised if you actually do something like cry out of the blue (it has happened to me) after eliminating lots of junk. That junk has emotions attached to it and you are letting it go.
Have a great time sweeping away the old that you no longer need and creating the radiantly new, lighter life that is waiting for you!