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In this awesome and inspiring FoodLoveMe Community, we are working together to create a healthy relationship with food. In my own journey I’ve found that just because we have the information doesn’t mean the knowledge is enough to make the change. Changing habits takes time and changing your heart and making a paradigm shift about how you relate to food takes even more time. But while we sure figuring that out there are things we can do to help us along the way. We can still lose weight while we’re working on the emotional issues. This isn’t about waiting until everything in your head and heart is right before you can lose the weight. No. This is a bit fixing the real problem so that when you do lose the weight, you have the mindset you need to keep it off. Because as we all know that’s the real goal. Keep in it off and moving on with our lives.
So I said all that to find you that my goal in the FoodLoveMe community is to help you figure out what you’re really hungry for But also to give you the tools to make losing weight easier while you’re doing the hard work of getting your headspace right.
So today’s tool/tip: Create more systems in your life! Let me explain.
As overeaters we use food to reduce stress, to calm down. So it makes sense to me that we not only work on eliminating food as a crutch but also get rid of as much of the stress as possible. Sure we should be able to deal with stress in a healthy way but nothing is stopping us from eliminating some of those everyday stressors altogether, right? Right.
So I started looking around and asking myself this question:
What in my life repeatedly causes me stress on a daily or weekly basis? And how can I permanently eliminate that stress?
And I realized that a lot of my stress was coming from the existence of clutter around my house and that clutter was a direct result of me not having systems in place to prevent that clutter from accumulating.
Simplify Your Life, Declutter, Reduce Stress: Create More Systems!
The very first place I look at was the kitchen. Dishes. Dishes. Dishes. And I could never catch up. Initially when I got married, I didn’t mind washing dishes. I loved washing dishes, I found it soothing. But suddenly with two people instead of one, it wasn’t so soothing and I never did it fast enough to have a moment when the kitchen was clean.
Solution: dishwasher. I’m not even remotely joking when I say that this purchase possibly saved my marriage down the road. Now you be saying, Duh? Of course you need a dishwasher but it take me a minute (or 3 years!)to realize that this was a major source of my stress- stress that was causing me to overeat!
But wait! There was more to that system. When we bought the dishwasher I realized immediately that it would cause me stress to always be wondering or having arguments with my husband about whether or not the dishes were clean.
So I bought this dishwasher magnet
online before the dishwasher was even delivered! So we’d have it right away and I explained it to my husband and I said “as soon as you hit wash on the dishwasher slide the bar to “clean” because it will be clean when that cycle it done”. To date, we haven’t had any issues because of this system.
My latest system brings me the most joy and I wanted to share it with you in this post because I believe that such a valuable lesson was learned in this process.
What was causing the stress? Clothes piled on the floor. We had one laundry basket and we would throw dirty clothes in it but inevitably we’d dump that pile to go get clean clothes out of the dryer or we’d dump clean clothes in a different room so that we’d have the basket available again for the dirty pile. And it drove me crazy so my solution was to begrudgingly ignore it until Sunday when I would fold clothes as part of my Sunday Prep. But about a month ago I asked myself some new questions:
Do you like folding clothes, is it cathartic for you? No.
And here’s the big one: do you actually feel the need to have the clothes folded and put away?OR is it just the pile on the floor that bothers you? It’s the pile! It’s the pile!
Once I had figured that out, I decided to choose my own happiness and declared that I was no longer obligated to fold and put away the laundry. If I want to do it because I want to be busy or I want am excuse to listen to a podcast, then I’ll do it. Bit it is no longer a mandated chore for me. I freed myself of that obligation.
But what about the piles on the floor? That was the thing causing me stress so I had to solve that problem
Here’s my new system:
I bought two new standing laundry baskets for myself.
And I bought two new baskets for my husband.
And finally I bought two new baskets for towels.
I labeled them with our initials (or in the case of the towels, I labeled, “towels”) and each pair got labeled – one clean, and one dirty.
[Update – I recently bought this laundry basket to replace the ones shown in the picture in our individual closets. I find them much sleeker and easier to handle because they are rectangular and have lids]
Then I explained to my husband what I wanted to do and asked if he thought he could easily follow the new system. The plan is: you throw your dirty clothes in the dirty basket. You throw your clean clothes from the dryer in the clean basket. And when you need to do laundry grab both persons dirty basket or as much as fits. Then when everything is clean its a two second job to drop clean clothes in the appropriate designated basket. If you need something to not get wrinkled you can grab that item out of your basket and hang it up. But no more required folding. No more piles of folded clothes that need to be put up. None of that. We are done all of that.
And you know what? It worked. It worked from day one. It was a system that fit seamlessly into our lives and was easy to understand and implement without a lot of communication. Done.
Best decision ever. Shaved time off my Sunday Prep which you all know I’m trying to improve. But most importantly this change represents growth.
I made a choice based on what makes me happy and didn’t make my husband unhappy and completely eliminated a constant stress in my life.
This works. Systems work!
Systems clean up your life, give you back time, and reduce stress.
So, go take a look at your everyday life and see what causes you undue stress. Could you create a system to remove that stress? I bet you can. But you better come back here and tell me all about it so I can get in on it too.
The laundry was just the beginning you guys! Stay tuned….
Do you have any systems in place that have simplified your life and reduced stress? Leave a comment and let us all learn from you.