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Wellness

8 Notes of Encouragement for Introverts

Be More With Less - Mon, 11/11/2019 - 23:30

These notes of encouragement aren’t just for introverts.

Introverts may need more quiet time, more alone time, or room to create a happy heart, but extroverts need some heart soothing too. Instead of working to the point of burn-out, build time each day to be still, quiet and thoughtful.

Whether you are a natural introvert like me, or more extroverted but don’t feel like people-ing today, I hope these notes will make you smile and feel less alone for craving alone time.

8 Notes of Encouragement for Introverts (and people who don’t feel like people-ing) 1.

If you need a holiday to take a day off, here it is. If you need more time for reading books, consider a day off from the internet too. Thanks to @becomingunbusy for this gem.

2.

This works every time. Say no when you feel overwhelmed or exhausted. When you feel better, keep saying no so you can break the cycle of burn-out/recover. You are allowed to protect your time and energy.

3.

These words speak directly to my heart. Do you feel this way too? Thank you @cherylstrayed for the beautiful, soothing words and @susancainauthor for the peaceful image.

4.

I adore spending time with people I love but the only way I can really show up for them, engage, and connect is by spending time alone. You too?

5.

I can so relate to this @letterfolk image.

6.

This is the truest truth.

7.

This image from @purpleclvr reminded me that my favorite weekend plans are no weekend plans. And let it be encouragement for all of us that we don’t have to explain or apologize for doing nothing. We deserve guilt-free introverting.

8.

Thanks for the reminder @introvertdear. Your prescription: Take care of you.

Whether you are an introvert or extrovert or a little of each, you can likely benefit from some time to yourself. Giving yourself the time you need to rest and reset isn’t only good for you but for everyone around you too.

P.S. Join me for 31-Days of Gifts You So Deserve for more encouragement to take time for yourself this December.

 

The post 8 Notes of Encouragement for Introverts appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Tis the Season for More Joy & Less Clutter

Be More With Less - Fri, 11/08/2019 - 10:35

If you’ve been working hard this year to simplify your life, and live with less clutter, the holidays have a way of unraveling your best intentions.

Whether you are feeling pressured to demonstrate how spirited you are by spending and indulging, or if the holidays just naturally carry you away, there are ways to navigate the holidays with less clutter to make time and space for what matters most to you this time of year.

The real purpose of less stuff and clutter in your home and schedule is discovering more meaning, more joy, and more of what truly matters.

12 Ways to Cultivate More Joy & Less Clutter Through the Holiday Season

1. Say no.
Or, say “no thank you.” Set boundaries for yourself in advance and stick to what you know is best for you and your family. If you’ve maxed out your budget on entertainment, say no to an invitation to dinner or a night out. If you are exhausted and are looking forward to a day off, say no to the last-minute party invite. Saying no thank you isn’t mean or hurtful. It’s gracious. By declining, you are respecting other people’s investment of time, money and attention and honoring how you and your family want to experience the holiday season.

2. One in, one out.
Stay clutter-free, or at the very least, avoid adding to your clutter by sticking with a one in, one out rule. For each thing that comes in, another goes out. Apply this rule to gifts, clothing, and decorations.

3. Tell them what you want.
If someone asks you what you want and you don’t tell them, they will give you something you don’t want. Instead, ask for something you can actually use or enjoy. Or, suggest an experience that you can enjoy together in lieu of exchanging gifts. Think about gifts of time that encourage love and connection.

4. Opt out.
White elephant gifts are typically filed under the clutter category. Opt out of white elephant, Yankee swaps and other gifty-games that encourage spending money on crap. Suggest a new game that supports a local shelter or food bank. Participants can purchase items from a wish list, and instead of swapping gag gifts, you can collectively donate items that are needed and appreciated.

5. Try a simplicity experiment.
To help you further simplify, choose a simplicity challenge now instead of waiting for the new year. A challenge or experiment will help you stay focused on simplifying your life even through the holiday season. You will be pleasantly surprised in how that allows you to fully engage in the spirit of the season. Here are 5 simplicity experiments to consider.

6. Take a walk.
When Black Friday sales are calling and your inbox is lighting up with special offers, simply take a walk. Close your computer. Turn off your phone, and go for a walk. Give yourself some distance from temptation and time to think about what really matters. Here are six other ways to skip Black Friday.

7. Decorate 50% less.
If you’ve been collecting holiday decor for years, or decades, and you try to display all of it, no one really enjoys any of it. This year, hide half of your holiday decorations and see if you notice a difference. If you don’t miss the hidden items, donate them at the end of the season.

8. Boycott sales.
Holiday shopping is not always about shopping for the holidays. Some use extreme sales as a reason to buy household items and other stuff. Resist. Limit your spending to holiday related items and boycott the sales. You won’t miss a thing.

9. Give experiences.
The best things aren’t things. Instead, give an experience which can provide memories, joy, and connection without contributing to clutter. 31 Days of Gifts is a great way to enjoy December together (and very affordably).

10. Give consumables.
Like coffee or homemade cookies.

11. Give ideas.
Books, courses, and seminars are a great way to encourage learning, and share inspiration. Consider local cooking, art, or dance courses, or virtual courses like these that help people live and work more simply.

12. Give you.
Your time and attention is the most valuable gift you can offer. Whether it’s volunteering to feed cold, hungry people in your community or taking a friend for a hike, or out to lunch, you can make a difference just by simply showing up.

The holidays can be a challenging time to live with less clutter, but they can be the best reminder that the things that matter most are never things.

The post Tis the Season for More Joy & Less Clutter appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

31 Days of Gifts (Daily Delight for The Holiday Season)

Be More With Less - Mon, 11/04/2019 - 23:55

Guess what I’ve been doing lately? Making you very special gifts … gifts you’ll treasure, gifts you’ll share and gifts you so deserve.

Because … ’tis the season.

Announcing 31 Days of Gifts You So Deserve has been my cue to kick off the holiday season for the last seven years. It’s become something I look forward to every year and based on the emails I start receiving in July, I know many of you do too. This year, I’ll be sharing a few of the all-time favorite gifts from the past few years along with new gifts, and special messages from me.

What is 31 Days of Gifts?

31 Days of Gifts You So Deserve is like an advent calendar in your inbox. You’ll receive meaningful, magical gifts throughout the month of December. These gifts will encourage you to embrace the holidays with joy and intention. They will also help you move into the new year with an open heart.

Every day throughout December, you’ll receive a gift in your inbox. At the end of each email, you’ll find links to the gifts that came before. If you join after we get started, miss a gift, or want to revisit one of your favorite gifts, this list makes it easy to go back.

A beautiful tradition.

For many in the Be More with Less community (myself included), 31 Days of Gifts You So Deserve has become a holiday tradition. I love how you embrace the daily gifts and invite friends, family, and even your co-workers. If you haven’t participated before, you might be interested in hearing what participants have to say about the program.

December can be a stressful month for me (and so many people) and I strive to keep my mind on my faith and family in the midst of so many other obligations. Your daily e-mails helped me to focus my attention on the things that are truly important. – Matt

I just wanted you to know that this was one of my HIGHLIGHTS of December!  – Julie

A friend signed me up for these gifts and I enjoyed opening each one. Thank you for your thought-provoking words. They will stay with me throughout the year. – Randi

I so appreciated the 31 days of gifts in my inbox during the hectic beautiful and magical month of December. I listened to your stories, danced and sang to your playlists, tried a recipe or two and spent time just thinking about what you wrote each day. – Loretta

Thank you so much for these wonderful 31 Days of Gifts!  I’m finding myself looking first for your emails every morning. They are helping me to focus, and feel a little less frantic, and to enjoy the holidays. Thank you for a bright start to each day, and a few quiet moments. – Joyce

Thank you so much for doing this project! I enjoy your emails so much and I look forward to viewing my inbox every morning. I am a little sad December only has 31 days in it!  – Cassie

Why Join 31 Days (plus a free sampling of gifts)

This program is a reminder that the best things don’t come from the mall or in perfectly wrapped packages. If we want to experience the very best gifts, we have to give ourselves time to pay attention to them even in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle.

Each year, more and more people send 31 Days of Gifts to friends, family, and co-workers. We’ve had book clubs, corporate offices, community groups, churches and families spanning the globe participate together. That is just one of the many reasons this program is so dear to my heart.

Gifts of holidays past have included …

  • gingersnaps
  • ease
  • mistle-toes
  • garland
  • puppy breath

As you may have guessed these gifts are not physical objects because we all know the best things aren’t things. Click here to sample a few gifts to see what I mean. This year will include favorites from the last few years (but none from last year), new gifts and a few personal messages from me to you.

You deserve the gift of discovering what’s most meaningful to you over the holidays. You deserve a few quiet moments to yourself. You deserve to give yourself permission to make room for the best things … instead of trying to make room for all the things.

Pay what you want …

For the last seven years, this program has been offered for $3.10 (ten cents a day), but it is worth so much more. As more people participate, I invest more time and money to make these gifts available and meaningful. If you’ve participated before, you understand the value of the program, but I also know that for some, $3.10 is barely in the holiday budget.

Each year I consider raising the price, but instead, I’d like to leave it up to you. Please pay what you want so everyone can continue to enjoy the gifts they so deserve with a small investment.

Please read these important instructions before joining …

If you are purchasing one gift subscription for yourself:

After you click to join, you will be directed to the purchase page where you will see the minimum price of $3.10. Leave it there or enter a new dollar amount to pay what you want. After you complete your purchase, you can download the welcome letter and then check your inbox for an email with more information about receiving your gifts.

If you are purchasing for friends, family, and co-workers, please follow these 3 steps:

  1. click the image below or use this link.
  2. edit the price to what you want to pay (minimum $3.10 per name). You won’t be able to adjust the quantity, only the price.
  3. Complete the purchase and send your receipt to 31dayshelp@gmail.com with the names and email addresses of your gift recipients. We will add them to the 31 Days mailing list.

Questions

Q: When do I receive my first gift?
December 1 or the day after you sign up in December. If you join later in December, you’ll find all prior gifts listed in your first email. You won’t miss a thing!

Q: How will my gift recipients know I sent them this as a gift?
Once you purchase, you’ll receive a welcome letter to share with them. It’s really important to let them know to expect emails from courtney@bemorewithless.com or they may think it’s junk mail.

Q: Is there a deadline to join?
I recommend joining as soon as possible so you can start receiving gifts on December 1st, but you can register anytime thru December and still have access to all 31 gifts.

Q: How do I access gifts I missed?
I’ll list all the gifts in each email with links so you can go back to gifts you missed or ones you want to revisit.

Q: Can I join from anywhere?
Yes! If you have an email address, we’ll send you gifts.

Q: What forms of payment do you accept.
Paypal or card. Once you enter your name and email, you’ll have the option to enter your card number or choose to pay via Paypal.

Q: Do I need special login information or a password?
No. Everything will be delivered via email.

Q. It’s December and I didn’t receive my first gift yet. Where is it?
Please check your promotions folder or spam folder. If you still don’t have it, please email 31dayshelp@gmail.com and we will help.

Q: This isn’t a question, but I need help!
Great, We are happy to help! Please email 31dayshelp@gmail.com.

Enjoy these daily doses of delight throughout December. Gentle reminders and joyful recommendations will guide you through the month with wonder and simplicity.

 

 

The post 31 Days of Gifts (Daily Delight for The Holiday Season) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Holiday Budgets: for your money, time and attention

Be More With Less - Fri, 11/01/2019 - 13:11

Every year, right about now, we start to feel the pull of more. The holidays are coming and we are called to spend more money, time and attention on things that aren’t always meaningful to us. In our efforts to demonstrate holiday cheer and to make everyone around us happy, we get sucked in to saying yes when we want to say no.

Creating boundaries with holiday budgets will create more comfort and joy

We don’t need to go full on bah humbug, but creating boundaries with holiday budgets will allow us to engage in the best parts of the season. Those best parts look different for everyone, but moving through the end of the year with more intention will allow us to be healthier, happier and more loving to ourselves and everyone around us.

Avoid holiday burnout by creating holiday budgets: Money

Even if you’ve already begun (or finished) holiday gift shopping, it’s not too late to budget your dollars for holiday spending. This starts by having a better understanding of how much money comes in and goes out each month. Sometimes we ignore the facts and hope that everything goes ok, but seeing the real numbers will be a relief. Even if it’s not what you expected or had hoped for, you can act with the facts instead of being fearful about your money situation.

If you are in debt or looking for a better way to manage your money, consider Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover. Don’t wait until January to address money issues just because the holidays are coming. Taking action now will prevent buyer’s remorse, financial emergencies and a spending hangover in the new year.

Once you have a good picture of your current financial situation, create your holiday budget. List all the extras you spend money on this time of year. Include gifts, entertainment, travel, donations, decor, extra shopping or beauty appointments, and anything else that comes to mind. Estimate how much each thing will cost. Include what you’ve already spent.

Add it all up, look at the total number and ask these two questions:

  1. Can I afford it?
  2. Is this how I want to spend my money?

If the answer to either of those questions is no, go back to your list of holiday spending and list the items in order of what’s most important to you. Then begin eliminating from the bottom up until you can answer yes to both questions.

Time

If your calendar gets a little crammed between now and the end of the year, decide what really matters to you. Create your time budget like you create your money budget. First, write down an honest assessment of how you spend your time now. If you want a deep dive into how you really spend your time, track it in 15 or 30 minute increments with Author Laura Vanderkam’s time tracking sheets available here. Next, list all the extra ways you spend your time over the holidays. Include shopping (online too), time at the post office, throwing parties, attending parties, family events, work events, volunteer work, travel and anything else you spend extra time on during the holidays.

Look at your list of extra time spent and ask these two questions:

  1. Can I afford it?
  2. Is this how I want to spend my time?

If the answer to either of those questions is no, go back to your list of the extra ways you spend your time and list the items in order of what’s most important to you. Then begin eliminating from the bottom up until you can answer yes to both questions.

Attention

This one is harder to measure but how you spend it will determine how you experience the holiday season. How will you give your attention? You can’t be with everyone, everywhere enjoying everything. So where will you be? Do you want to do as much as possible thinly spreading your attention around or will you consider doing less and showing all the way up for what you love?

For your attention budget, make two lists. The first list will be all the things you’d like to experience over the holidays including people you want to spend time with, places you want to visit, and things you want to see or do. These are the things you want to give your full attention to. The second list is the things you don’t want to do. These are the things you often do, people you see, and things you say yes to even though your heart says no. You don’t typically appreciate or enjoy things on this list. You may spend extra time on your phone or zoning out when doing these things, or resent the fact that you have to pay attention to these things at all. You might also feel indifferent about the stuff on the second list but turn on auto-pilot and go through the motions so not to rock any boats.

Next, narrow down the 2 lists. What are the most important things to fully engage in on the first list? What are the most important things to decline on the second list? Now you know where your heart is. Give it to what matters to you now.

Bonus step: Go back to your lists. Is taking care of yourself on any of your lists? If not, add it in at the top of each list and see what else has to drop off to make room for you. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.

We shouldn’t have to completely deplete our resources to enjoy the holiday season. In fact, they become more meaningful when we don’t.

The post Holiday Budgets: for your money, time and attention appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Holiday Anxiety: How to Stress Less and Enjoy the Holidays

Be More With Less - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 09:51

Extra socializing, spending, decorating, traveling and accommodating can stir up holiday anxiety even when the holidays are something we look forward to. We love the holiday season but dread the low-level anxiety (sometimes not so low-level) that comes along with it for many of us.

In an effort to numb that anxiety, we often over do it. We get busier, drink more, eat more and over-do so we don’t have to over feel. I get it, I’ve done it and I’m not doing it that way anymore.

The cure for holiday anxiety (most of it at least)

We all experience the holidays and holiday anxiety differently so this isn’t an exact prescriptive. Take what works best for you and leave the rest behind. If you aren’t sure, treat these recommendations as experiments.

I recently asked the Be More with Less Instagram community if they experienced holiday anxiety and what caused it and received hundreds of responses. More responses than from any other question I’ve every asked.

Reasons for holiday anxiety included …

  • Gift buying
  • Gift giving
  • Gift receiving (especially while paring down on stuff)
  • Trying to make everyone happy
  • Trying to do it all
  • My expectations
  • Family expectations
  • Family dynamics
  • Family drama
  • Wanting it to be perfect
  • Not enough time
  • Not enough money
  • Not enough energy
3 places you might find holiday anxiety (and what to do about it)

Even with hundreds of responses, the answers fell into a handful of categories. The following three areas seem to be causing most of the holiday anxiety.

1. Gifts
Gift exchange is one of the top sources of holiday anxiety which means … you aren’t the only one. It’s very possible you are exchanging gifts when you don’t want to with someone who also doesn’t want to. There’s only one way to know and that is having conversations with people you usually exchange gifts with and adjusting accordingly. Having the conversation now instead of December may make the talk easier.

Decide what works best. Presence before presents and then gifts, no gifts, some gifts … you decide. Agree to a lunch, dinner or a hike together instead of gifts or exchange consumables if that’s what you agree on.

If you want to gift non-thing things, here are a few things I recommend …

  • Soulful Simplicity Course: If you are considering a gift for someone you love (including yourself), join me in January for this six-week video course. If you join early, you’ll be invited to two private live calls with me this year. During the course, we’ll cover everything from making you (and a life you want) to making space and making time. There’s a private community and you get life-time access to all content. If you’ve pre-ordered my new book, Project 333, we’ll send you a $20 discount code for the course. You can read all about the Soulful Simplicity Course right here.
  • Meditation: Give the gift of guided meditation with the Headspace App. You can gift anywhere from a month at a time to a lifetime subscription.
  • Start a tiny book club: Invite a friend to start a tiny book club with you. Gift them a Book of the Month Club membership and you can pick from a selection of books each month to read and chat about.
  • Getaway: Plan a weekend getaway (stay or experience) with Airbnb. From creative and cooking classes to outdoor adventures, gift an experience and make memories.
  • Workout: A ClassPass subscription offers different classes at studios all throughout the United States. Try yoga, Pilates, cycling and other fitness classes.
  • One less gift: If gift giving isn’t for you this year, and you want to give your friends and family permission to opt-out, send them this certificate for one less gift.
  • Donate/Volunteer: Make a donation in the name of friends and family. I’m making donations this year in the name of the Be More with Less Community to The Hope Effect & Together Rising. You may also choose to volunteer together in lieu of exchanging gifts.

2. Expectations
Holiday anxiety happens when the holidays fall short of our expectations, or when we think we are falling short of the expectations of others. When it comes to the holidays falling short, start by working on staying present. Find joy every day by noticing what you are grateful for. When things go sideways or don’t turn out as you had hoped, instead of getting lost in despair, be rescued by gratitude.

Consider gentle conversations with people you love or people you haven’t seen for a while before holiday get togethers. Not to manage expectations but to encourage love and connection in better ways. Reconnecting prior to a social event, especially a potentially high-tension gathering will help to ease some of the anxiety you may be experiencing.

When it comes to the expectations of others, remind yourself that they are out of your control. You don’t get to decide or manage what other people expect, or how they feel or deal with things. That’s not part of your job description. It can’t be. You are up to you — your feelings, reactions and expectations —all up to you. Their feelings, reactions and expectations — not up to you. This should be incredibly freeing to know. If you can’t control or change it, why spend any more time feeling anxious about it?

3. Overwhelmed with too much to do

Honor the yes AND the no. When you have trouble resisting or saying no to everything that comes your way, remember how you feel when you say yes to too much. Then think about how you feel when you say yes to the right things, to what matters most to you. When you say yes to what you care about and what you love, it feels so good.

Make a list of all of the holiday things you do. Include gifts, decorating, events, baking, holiday cards and everything in between. Consider cutting out some of the things you do because you think you are expected to do them and prioritize the things that bring real meaning and joy to you and your family.

If you think that protecting time for what matters is selfish, remember how much more giving and loving you can be when you are healthy, rested, and engaged in your favorite things. It’s from that fulfilled place that you can give and serve in ways you just can’t when you are overwhelmed and exhausted. Here are some ways you can take care of yourself during the holidays.

The most meaningful holiday seasons aren’t the ones with the most presents, the best meals, the craziest parties and the least amount of sleep. We find meaning in the holidays and all of our days when we create space to listen to our hearts, time to believe in magic, and to create the love, health and presence required to show all the way up for our lives.

Let’s give ourselves and each other permission to spend less, do less, and stress less throughout the holidays so we can enjoy the real gifts of the season.

P.S. Earlier I mentioned two bonus live calls for The Soulful Simplicity Course. When you join, we’ll send you information on the two calls and give you an opportunity to not only attend the live sessions, but to submit questions in advance and receive a recording too. The topics for the calls are Resisting the Call of More and Thoughtfully Closing Out the Year (goodbye 2019, hello 2020).

 

 

The post Holiday Anxiety: How to Stress Less and Enjoy the Holidays appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

The Simple Little Secret That Will Help You Live a Healthy Life

Be More With Less - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 23:55

A healthy life is naturally filled with healthy habits. As you may have noticed in your own life, we move through seasons of commitment to those habits. Sometimes we are very committed and other times, resistant.

Things get in the way.

Our healthy habits drift away.

We don’t notice the impact right away, but eventually we do. Maybe we aren’t sleeping as well as usual, or we don’t have good energy or clarity throughout the day.

As far as I can tell there’s no way around these ebbs and flows and highs and lows of life and commitment to habits, yet with this little secret, there is still hope for a healthy life.

The Simple, Little Secret That Will Help You Live a Healthy Life.

This little secret to living a healthy life may surprise you. It’s not exciting enough for magazine covers but it will change how you think about your own potential to be healthy and feel well.

When you notice that you aren’t feeling your best, come back to your healthy habits.

Don’t spend one moment of your precious time beating yourself up for the things that got in the way, for the ebb and flow or highs and lows. Just come back.

Keep coming back for as long as it takes.

If you are wondering how I know about this simple secret, it’s because I practice it a few times a year. This is one of those times. I’m coming back … coming back without guilt or regret or apology or explanation. I’m simply coming back to what I know is best for me.

At first, you’ll experience some struggle because the guilt wants your attention. You may want to blame yourself for feeling down or getting sick. Maybe you’ll blame your body for letting you down or your heart for not speaking her truth. But no need.

The beauty of practicing this simple secret of coming back is that you’ll start noticing more quickly when your habits or routines have fallen away and eventually bypass hours or days of feeling bad about how you’ve been treating yourself. When you realize that indulging in negative self-talk and self-doubt only delays your journey back to how you really want to feel, you can say no thanks.

What do you need to come back to today? Maybe it’s …

  • an earlier bedtime
  • more time for quiet reflection or meditation
  • less comparing or complaining
  • herbal tea instead of coffee
  • less (or no) alcohol
  • more fruits and veggies (me! me! me!)
  • less sugar (also me)
  • releasing resentment, guilt, or anger
  • more moving your body
  • less time online
  • asking for help

And if you are feeling really good and don’t need to make any changes, send a thank you note to someone who contributes to your health and happiness.

If a healthy life feels impossible due to a scary diagnosis, chronic illness, crushing stress or old habits holding on, still come back. Coming back is your connection to hope, and there is healing in hope.

Whatever it is that helps you feel better in your body, heart or mind, this is an invitation to come back to it. Come back to health. Come back to love. Come back to you.

No RSVP required.

In a little while, I’ll be opening registration for the January 2020 session of the 6-week, guided video course, Soulful Simplicity. Sign up here if you’d like to learn more. 

 

The post The Simple Little Secret That Will Help You Live a Healthy Life appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

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