A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: Simplified Self

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Have you ever met that person she describes at the beginning of Chapter 8?  Someone who is calmly confident?  As I read that, all I could think was “I want to be that person….”

But in order to be that person, I gotta make some changes.  Don’t we all??!!

Where Did the Frazzle Come From?

We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders.  What that weight consists of and why we carry it differs among us all, but we carry it nonetheless.  I love the way she describes us as “care-takers” of both the day to day and the long term.  That description legitimizes that weight I feel.  Which is good and bad.

Overcoming Overwhelm

1 – Track Your Triggers

Identify those triggers that make you feel overwhelm.  Call it  what it is – overwhelming – AND THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM.  Don’t feel guilty about it or talk your self out of feeling that way.  That’s not going to help the situation.

This may look like eliminating, avoiding or delegating.  At the very least, less the trigger’s affect if you can’t change it.

My husband leaves for work at 8:30 each day and at about 8:35, I would always be so irritated.  There was so much to get done and my children wouldn’t leave me alone to do it.

So, I started waking up at 5AM.  Some days I would work out, which just helped me mentally and some days I would tackle as much of my list as I could while three people were still sleeping.

It changed our days.  It changed my attitude.  And it made me tired.  I still don’t love getting up that early, but I know that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

2 – Give Your Brain a Break

All that empty space in our homes and margins on our calendars that we’ve been talking about needing to create?  We need to do the same thing in our brains.  But that is so much harder than decluttering a closet.

I have vivid memories of being bored as a kid.  Then, I started making my own schedule with my own commitments around 8th grade and I haven’t been bored since.  I haven’t been bored for almost a quarter century.  There’s something wrong with that.

“Somehow, we have gotten into the mindset that if there is empty space, we should fill it.” – Emily Ley, A Simplified Life


I am a maximizer.  If you have x amount of something, then you better fill x to it’s maximum capacity, otherwise you’re not using it well.  That’s just good stewardship.

Or so I thought.

I’m beginning to learn that this isn’t healthy in every situation and taking care of myself is one those situations.

3 – Find a Relaxing Release

Don’t apologize for it.  Don’t squeeze it in between other stuff if and when there’s room.  Prioritize it.

4 – Move Your Body

Just yes.

Whenever I’m feeling like I’m at my boiling point, I put my kids in the stroller and just walk.  We live in Minnesota, so there have been times that that has meant pushing that stroller through snow.  But the powers of fresh air combined with moving my body is like a miracle combination for a mood-shifter.

5 – Do a Brain Dump

Use Emily Ley’s printable for this.

Don’t feel the pressure to keep it all in your head.  Writing it down releases it and releases stress.  And, oftentimes, looking at a list makes you realize that there isn’t as much as you thought there was when it was all just flying around in your head.

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Simplified Self Care

1 – Fill your well with Joy, Happiness, Play, Laughter, Creativity & Self-Care

If at least one of these isn’t part of your day EVERY day, then you need to re-prioritize.  There are definitely seasons where experiencing all of these every day isn’t a possibility, but one of them every day isn’t overindulging.  It is necessary.

“Practical self-care is important; this includes taking care of the body God gave you.  You only get one.” – Emily Ley, A Simplified Life

2 – Schedule Annual Appointments

Make a list of all of the annual appointments that you should go to each year.  Then assign a season to each one.

In our family, we do annual physicals in the fall (it helps that three of the four of us have fall birthdays, so they line up), Dentist appointments in January & July and Eye Exams in the spring.  Each January, I make all of these appointments for the year.  It’s okay if you don’t know your schedule 7 months from now.  Get it in the calendar and change it if you need to.  You’re more likely to re-schedule an appointment you already had than to make a new one.

3 – Get Out & Move

File this under ‘Don’t Overcomplicate’.

You don’t have to do Cross Fit every day (but props if you do!) or train for a marathon.  Just move.

Park far away from the grocery store.  Leave the dishes after supper and walk around the block.  Turn up some music and have a spontaneous dance party with your kids.

Just move.

4 – Do Things that Make Your Body Feel Cared For

I run early on Monday mornings and then don’t go anywhere the rest of the day.  So, after my run, I take a long shower.  I deep condition my hair, exfoliate my face and shave.  It feels so good.

My favorite hack for feeling better than I may look is painted nails.  I almost always have painted nails.  Because even when everything else is a hot mess, painted nails add a level of polish (no pun intended) that makes me feel not so grimy.

5 – Learn the Foods that Make You Feel Great

And eat them.  This is not rocket science.

Figure them out.  Buy them.  Don’t buy the other stuff (or keep it somewhere where you’re not tempted to eat it).  Eat it.  Feel Good.  Repeat.

6 – Let Predictability & Habit Simplify Your Life

Default to routine.  Make few decisions less often.  Then, when you get bored, vary only the things that need to be different to change things up for you.  But rely on what works.

Simplicity Challenge

At the end of each chapter, Emily Ley has a ‘Simplicity Challenge’, which are 5 steps that you can do right now that make big strides toward achieving your goal.

Comment on each blog post with the number of simplicity challenges you completed that week.  I will track each person’s progress (this is a total honor system thing) and the person with the most challenges completed at the end of the book will get some swag.  Like good, helpful swag.   No clutter-y stuff.

Don’t forget to take photos of the process AND the progress and use #simplifiedsummer so we can all celebrate together!

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

  • Brenda
    August 8, 2018

    Working on getting 30 minutes of exercise worked into my life. Being consistent has always been hard for me.
    Completed all 5 challenges. Working on making challenge 3 a habit.

    • Kristin
      August 14, 2018

      You’re not alone, Brenda. I just have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to do a full “workout”, I just need to be active.
      Well done!

    • Kristin
      August 14, 2018

      You’re not alone, Brenda. I just have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to do a full “workout”, I just need to be active.
      Well done!

  • Rochelle K.
    August 13, 2018

    I have completed 4/5 challenges for this week! Exercise is my struggle in this season. I would say I can get 3 days in a week, but not 30mins EACH day…unless you consider running around a park with my kids formal exercise! ha!

    • Kristin
      August 14, 2018

      Preach it, Sister.
      And I would totally consider running around the park being active. That is one thing about having my Apple Watch (or any fitness wearable) – because it tracks “active minutes”, it has made me realize that the running around that I do with my kids is being active. It’s not the same as a class at the gym or running on the treadmill, but it is activity.
      Moral of the story: Count it!

      • Rochelle K
        August 22, 2018

        So true – if my heart rate is up, then it’s exercising! 🙂

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