Most of us are so busy we barely have time to brush our teeth, let alone explore major shifts in lifestyle — even when those shifts promise to restore vitality and balance. That’s why, if you want a life that feels more sane and relaxed, it may help to start small. Making even one or two tiny changes is often enough to help you feel that other positive transformations are within reach. To help you along, here are 17 quick and easy suggestions — from action steps to attitude adjustments — that can have a surprisingly big impact on your sense of freedom and happiness.
1. Pay your bills immediately
Some people advise holding on to your money until the last possible moment. The idea is that this helps you accrue interest. I say, pay your bills the minute you receive them so you can turn your attention elsewhere. As long as a bill is hanging out there in the unpaid category, it occupies mental space worth far more than the pennies in interest you stand to gain. Another option: Pay your bills the day you get paid. The minute you deposit your paycheck, send in all the bills that have arrived during that pay period. That way, the bills won’t be on your mind, and you will know exactly how much money you have left over until you get paid again.
2. Empty your trash
Staring into an overflowing wastebasket makes you feel bloated, while an empty receptacle signals that your slate has been cleared, and you’re ready to move forward. One of the quickest “feel-good” exercises is taking out the trash. (Another place to “take out the trash” is your computer desktop. It’s a spot that gets cluttered quickly — and it feels great when it’s clean!)
3. Take “time for self” every day
If you let the batteries in your camera die, it doesn’t work. Don’t neglect your own personal batteries. Take what sociologists call “time for self” every day. Figure out what replenishes you — a daily walk, yoga, practicing guitar or a warm bath before bed — then incorporate it into your routine.
4. Spend time outdoors every day
Whether it’s sunny or overcast or snowing, step outside to reconnect with nature. Even if it’s only a walk around the block or having your morning coffee on the front step, that short time outside will refresh and energize you.