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CDC Features - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 12:00
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Forest Bathing: 5 Simple Ways to Stress Less and Smile More

Be More With Less - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 09:00

When I want to slow my mind, let go of a long day or seek more joy in my life, I step into the forest. Getting my feet on the dirt and letting the green of the trees and warmth of the sunlight wash over me, works every time. I always come out of the forest more relaxed than when I stepped in.

What is Forest Bathing?

Forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku, was developed in Japan in the 1980s. It means taking in the forest atmosphere. Nina Smiley, co-author of Mindfulness in Nature describes Forest Bathing as “mindfulness meets nature” in this Boston Globe Article, The un-hike: Forest bathing for beginners.

Even though I live in the city, a walk in the woods is never far away. If you want to smile more and stress less, try forest bathing. If you don’t live close to a forest, try one of these 8 other ways to enjoy a forest bath.

Forest Bathing: 5 simple ways to stress less and smile more

1. Go for a walk in the park.
Surround yourself with the forest you have. Look for nearby parks, community gardens or anywhere with greens or trees. This tiny guide to parké diem will help.

2. Take care of a plant.
In How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom, author Jonathan Fields explains that being amongst trees and nature increases immune response, decreases markers for inflammation, and can be a mood booster, as well. He also says there is research that shows that simply having a plant in view can affect your mood. If you have a plant in view, it can decrease anger dramatically.

3. Enjoy my recent forest bath.
Watch this video. I even found space for forest bathing in the Atlanta airport.

4. Walk mindfully wherever you are.
There are always opportunities to be more mindful when you are walking. Give your attention to your surroundings. One walking meditation I really enjoy is noticing something beautiful and saying, “this is love.” Interestingly, the more love I notice, the more love I notice.

5. Write about forest bathing.
Even though I’m writing this article in an airport far from the forest, I can feel the good vibes of forest bathing. Just by turning my attention to remembering how the dirt and leaves crunched under my hiking shoes, and how the sun streamed through the trees, I am transported. Write about how you feel when you are in nature.

The post Forest Bathing: 5 Simple Ways to Stress Less and Smile More appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Stop Schedule Shaming and Get Your Life Back

Be More With Less - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 12:33

If you’ve ever felt bad about yourself after a long day that wasn’t long enough to get it all done, you know all about schedule shaming.

Schedule shaming happens when we tell ourselves…
  • I should be more organized.
  • I should have more check marks on my to-do list.
  • I didn’t do as much as everyone else.
  • I am lazy and unaccomplished.
  • I let people down.
  • I didn’t do enough.
  • I am not good enough.

When I saw the Nourished Planner’s #Stopscheduleshaming Instagram post (shown above), I knew exactly what they meant by schedule shaming. I have so been there! We jam every possible event, obligation, and to-do into our calendars and lists and then hang our heads at the end of the day discouraged that we can’t do it all. Or we compare and compete with the busy lives around us and feel less than enough if we aren’t measuring up.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Author Brené Brown said, “The expectations of what we can get done, and how well we can do it, are beyond human scale.” Most of the expectation setting is an inside job. Our focus is on getting as much done as possible instead of getting anything done well, or finding joy in what we are doing. When we try to juggle everything, we can’t enjoy anything.

If we won’t stop measuring, let’s change the measuring system. Let’s stop measuring who we are by what we accomplish. We need to measure less by what we cross off our to-do list, and more by what’s on our heart, by how we feel, and by how we treat people.

Let’s stop schedule shaming and tell ourselves …
  • Organization is overrated. Less is the answer.
  • I am not my to-do list.
  • Comparison is futile.
  • Slow and steady encourages more health and happiness.
  • I will work with people who want my best not my busiest.
  • I did enough.
  • I am enough. In fact, I’m freakin’ awesome.

It’s time to stop chasing time and start enjoying it instead. – Nourished Planner

Heidi and Alexa from Nourished Planner created a free 5-day challenge to help you create space and under-schedule your life. I’m not recommending this challenge because they asked me to (they didn’t), as an affiliate promotion or a push to buy their planner (although it is awesome). I’m sharing it because their message resonated with me and I thought it might pull on your heart too. I just joined the challenge myself and plan to share what I’m learning along the way.

If you want to join the 5-day challenge and share the adventure with me, follow these 4 little steps:

1. Sign up for the challenge here.

2. Follow Nourished Planner on Instagram.

3. Post your images using hashtag #stopscheduleshaming (I’ll be looking for your pics of legs hanging off docks, hammocks, tea, sunsets and all the ways you enjoy doing less and enjoying more.)

4. Oh, and follow me too @bemorewithless. I love sharing images that inspire less doing and more being.

To encourage even less #scheduleshaming, I might take a whole month to do the 5-day challenge enjoying and practicing each lesson on my own time.

One more thing. Let’s stop schedule shaming each other too. If someone says no to a request or invitation, shows up a little late for lunch, or takes a while to respond to an email, be graceful and grateful that they are taking care of themselves, and doing their best to navigate a hectic life. Instead of rolling your eyes (that used to be my signature move) or pushing others to do more, remember that we are all in this together. Less shaming. More loving.

P.S. For my Canadian friends … I’ll be in Canada with the Tiny Wardrobe Tour this August. Tickets are available for Vancouver (8/24) and will be ready very soon for Victoria (8/23), Toronto (8/28) and Montreal 8/30). Please save the date! I can’t wait to meet you in person. 

The post Stop Schedule Shaming and Get Your Life Back appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Let’s Stop Apologizing for These 8 Things

Be More With Less - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 09:00

Living with less stuff, stress, and busyness is important for a healthier, happier life, but there are other things we can benefit from eliminating too. Let’s stop apologizing for things we don’t need to be sorry for. It’s exhausting and often a quiet reminder that we aren’t good enough. Our hearts show us the way, but when we are apologetic, our heart’s hear, “shhhh …”

Pay attention to how many times you say sorry in a day. A heartfelt “I’m sorry” is powerful. A meaningful apology can repair a relationship or turn us around when we are going in the wrong direction. Let’s not waste it on things we shouldn’t be sorry for.

Let’s stop apologizing for …

staying home.
We apologize by making up elaborate excuses for turning down an invitation. “No thank you, I hope you have a lovely time.” is sufficient.

how we are dressed.
When we think we don’t fit in, we apologize for being under dressed, overdressed, or mismatched. Except for rare circumstances, no one really notices what we are wearing. We can stop apologizing for what we wear.

saying no.
If you spend your free time catching up and doing all the things you don’t have time to do, you don’t have free time. If you want free time – real free time, or if you crave 8 whole hours of sleep, a proper lunch break, or at least 24 hours away from your email, you are going to have to say no without an apology. A lot. This will help.

thinking differently.
Being curious and considering new ideas and ways to create, thrive, love, and live is a blessing. When people reject that and make you feel like apologizing, remember that it’s not about you. They may feel threatened and afraid that if you change you may think differently about them. Be gentle and inspiring instead of apologetic.

for being yourself.
We desperately need to you to be unapologetically you. Ok?

for changing our minds.
Sticking to it for the sake of sticking to it serves no one. Things change outside and inside. When we hold on so we can be right or because we are afraid to change course, we compromise the opportunity to learn and grow.

putting our health first.
Going to bed early, saying no to food that doesn’t agree with us or working out instead of meeting for coffee is nothing to apologize for. When you put your health first, you can serve and connect from a place you just can’t access when you are rundown, sick or tired. Good health is nothing to apologize for.

taking longer than 3.2 seconds to respond to Email.
How many of your emails, voice mails, or other interactions start with “sorry for taking so long to get back to you” even though it’s been less than a day? We are doing our best.

We can be kind and loving without being sorry. Our hearts deserve that.

P.S. I’ll be in Atlanta tonight for the Tiny Wardrobe Tour. Tickets are available here and at the door. 50% of all ticket sales will be donated to The Hope Effect

The post Let’s Stop Apologizing for These 8 Things appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

How to Maintain Motivation to Simplify Your Life

Be More With Less - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 11:17

Have you ever started a big closet clean out, began a debt repayment program or tried to simplify your life in other ways only to lose motivation midway through? Maybe you stopped because you didn’t have a strong support system, or it felt too hard to continue. The thing about simplicity is that it isn’t always easy, especially in the beginning. In most cases, it doesn’t happen overnight either so figuring out ways to maintain motivation is essential.

The good news is that with each thing you release, you feel a little lighter. The new space and time you create will serve as motivation and inspiration to keep going. Here are a seven ways to maintain motivation to simplify your life and possibly inspire people around you to simplify too.

1. Bring it to life.
Reading and sharing books and blog posts is a great way to stay inspired as you pay down debt, declutter, and begin to live a simpler life. Bringing what you read to life is an even bigger dose of inspiration. Attend a meetup.com get together, local minimalist.org meeting, or attend one of the following events:

Tiny Wardrobe Tour. I’m traveling to 33 cities (at least) to share the hows and whys of starting Project 333 (the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months) to bring more simplicity, love, and joy into your life. I’ll be sharing my “enough is enough” moment and what led me to give away most of my stuff, downsize to a small apartment, and leave a 20 year career in sales and marketing. I’ll bring my tiny wardrobe but the conversation will have very little to do with clothes and fashion. It’s all about health, happiness, and love. The Q & A and discussion part of the evening is my favorite.

Next week I’ll be in Louisville (6/6) and Atlanta (6/8). There are seats available and 50% of all ticket sales goes to The Hope Effect, a non-profit changing the way the world cares for orphans. Find your tickets here and please bring your friends, co-workers, and community members. I promise a fun evening for you.

For my Canadian friends, please save the date! We are finalizing venues for Victoria on 8/23, Vancouver on 8/24, Toronto on 8/28 and Montreal on 8/30. Tickets will be available soon.

Less is now Tour. Join The Minimalists for a night of less. Joshua & Ryan will present an in-depth talk about minimalism and record a live version of The Minimalists Podcast. You can learn more about the Less is now Tour here.

2. Get your heart in the game.
If your heart isn’t in the game, permanent change doesn’t stand a chance. Really understand your motivation to change. What’s pulling on your heart? For instance, quitting sugar to lose 10 pounds to fit into your high school jeans for a reunion may get your ego’s attention, but it might not really speak to your heart. But, if you think quitting sugar will help you sleep better, prevent cancer, and live longer … now it’s a matter of the heart.

Why do you want to simplify your life? I simplified for better health and more love. I can’t tell you what your reasons are, but I do know once you identify them, vocalize them, and write them down, you will never look back. Once your heart is in the game, you will find the strength you need to let go of the clutter, the busyness, and all of the other things standing between you and what matters most.

3. Change your subscription habits.
Unsubscribe from emails and publications that encourage you to spruce up your wardrobe, and buy things that eventually contribute to your clutter. Let go of anything that suggests you need to buy more stuff to be more you. Let your inbox and magazine reading inspire motivation and not derail your efforts. Try Simplify Magazine. The first issue on happiness is free.

4. Curate your social feeds.
Fill your social feeds with inspiration to simplify. Join me on Facebook or Instagram and follow your favorite simple living authors and advocates. If part of simplifying for you is cutting back on social media, try a digital fast for 24 hours a week and set a timer when you do engage. It’s so easy to go down the Facebook rabbit hole, but if you set a timer, you’ll be reminded to unplug and go for a walk or do something else you enjoy.

5. Live it now.
You don’t have to wait until you are debt free, clutter free, or living as simply as possible to enjoy your life. Find little ways to enjoy the simpler life you are creating each day. Take a long walk. Cook a simple meal. Spend a phone free evening with people you love.

6. Have fun with it.
We aren’t motivated by tasks and chores. Make your simplicity journey fun and light-hearted by hosting a minimalist scavenger hunt, or play other games like I describe in this video.

7. Be good to yourself.
Big change usually comes with some slipping and sliding, a few steps forward and then even more steps backward. Don’t beat yourself up or let guilt hold you back from trying again. Be good to yourself. Take care of your body, heart, mind, and soul. Good things take time. You’ve got this.

I’d love to know how you maintain motivation while simplifying your life. Is there one thing that’s made the biggest difference?

The post How to Maintain Motivation to Simplify Your Life appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness
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