In Evergreen, Family, Parenting, Wellness, by Gillian BehnkeLeave a Comment

Do you have enough space? In a world where everyone’s talking about Marie Kondo and decluttering, this is a pretty common question. But I’m not necessarily talking about physical space. I’m talking about mental and emotional space.

On the topic of Marie Kondo, I firmly believe that in order to “spark joy” in our lives, we need to create more space.

We can get so caught up in the chaos of daily mom life, going through our packed routine on auto-pilot and not taking the time we need to analyze, process, consider, or just recover. We don’t take the mental and emotional space we need to just…be. It’s always one thing to the next, from one activity to another, from work to home to dinner to bedtime routine, until we pass out binge-watching CSI on Amazon Prime. Just me? Nevermind.

Mom life is busy. But a lot of moms wear busy like a badge of honour, like being busy is our job. It’s like the more we do, the better humans or moms we are. You meet someone in the grocery store that you haven’t seen for a while and they ask how you are. How many times do you automatically answer “Good. SO busy.” How would it feel if you could actually say “Great, I have all the physical and emotional space I need.” Okay, so you wouldn’t probably SAY that, but wouldn’t that be amazing?

So how do you get more space? I call it the PBS System. It stands for Priorities, Boundaries, and Simplifying.

Priorities. I don’t mean looking at your to do list and putting it in a specific order. I’m talking about your personal priorities – your values, if you will. The things in your life that are most important to you, that you hold up above all else. My top three are Family, Health and Fun. If you need help figuring out yours, I have a free download for you to help as a thought starter.

When something new comes across my plate that will fill up my schedule even further, I ask if it aligns with or serves my personal priorities. If it doesn’t, I have to think long and hard about whether or not I will say yes.

And that’s where Boundaries come in. The ability to say no, or not right now, or to set parameters for how you will do the thing you’re being asked about. Your boundaries are what you put in place to protect those personal priorities you decided were the most important things in your life. I find when you frame it that way, it’s way easier to maintain your boundaries.

The final step is to Simplify. This originated after a particularly chaotic period at work when everything was running at full tilt for two years. It was so crazy we made our mantra #expectittochange. I had NO space. When it all wrapped up I announced our new hashtag for the coming year would be #simplify. We re-evaluated all plans and decisions, to see if a) we had to them at all, b) if we were doing them in the simplest way, and c) if we had to do it exactly when we originally planned or if there was a better time. If something felt like the scheduling or planning equivalent of square peg in a round hole, we reset.

This worked so well at work that I brought the #simplify hashtag home. We organize our days and weeks with that goal in mind. Sometimes that means removing things from our schedule, running errands or doing tasks at a different time, or doing them differently. It’s actually hugely freeing and totally empowering.

P.B.S. Figuring out personal priorities, setting boundaries to protect them, and making an effort to #simplify all the areas of your life can make a huge impact on how much space you have in your life. And more space = more joy.

This is how we can “Marie Kondo” our lives and spark joy.  Who’s in?

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