It's a New Year: Un-JAM Your Life

Tea Cabinet.jpg

This is my tea cabinet. I love going into it every day. Looks great now, but last year, it was an overstuffed mess. Maybe it was the Polar Vortex, but that cabinet became jammed with so many boxes of different kinds of tea that it made my simple pleasure difficult.

In November, I finally took half an hour to get rid of the teas I had bought and crammed in on impulse but never really drank. (Luckily, a dear friend was happy to inherit my castoffs.) 

What I love about this cabinet now is how easy it is on me. It holds ONLY the teas that I use and enjoy. I don’t have to pull things out to see what’s in the back or reach past one box to get to another. That’s one less battle every day. One more way of taking care of myself.

As a professional organizer, I know all too well that New Year’s is the time for traditional messages about self-improvement: Set Big Goals and Achieve Them!  Make it a New Year, New You!  But in 2015, those resolutions seem vacuous and stale—like old cigar smoke lingering on the upholstery and walls.

Seven years following the economic meltdown, what we all need most is to be reminded to nurture ourselves.  We’ve been pushing hard for years, resolving to survive, reinvent, stretch budgets, learn new things. This is not the time to push harder—it’s the time to un-cram our lives to make room for the things that enrich us.

Yesterday, a wonderful, dynamic client told me that she has begun prioritizing sleep since our last session. As she was headed to bed, she’d fought her usual impulse to clean up a pile in the living room and instead climbed under the covers and read. Yes…I told her, remember that moment whenever you have the urge to jam something else in, and build more of those restorative choices into each day. 

My tea cabinet is a symbol of what I mean. Overstuffing anything—not only a physical space but also our time—is a way we put conflict into our own lives. Instead of shoving in another revision to an already good document, squeezing in an extra topic at a meeting, or wedging more projects onto your to-do list, leave some breathing space.

Choosing the peaceful path will slowly, subtly change the texture of your days—from one giant force of will, to a more fluid rhythm of effort and renewal, effort and renewal.  Rather than saving all your rest for bedtime, build in renewing moments throughout your day.

This creates a sustainable life. An enjoyable life. It makes you happier—and surprisingly, more effective in everything you do. Not the traditional way, but an easier one. Try it.

Here’s to a wonderful year.


PS—And if you don’t already have a tea cabinet, make room for one.