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Pit Stop: Reclaiming Your Life

Every day, more stuff comes into our lives: stuff in our home, stuff on our calendar, and stuff cluttering our minds. All that stuff gets in the way of where we want to go and who we want to be.

Our work lives often resemble our personal lives. Pair that with social media and internet consumption, and one could find themselves in a predicament that I was in several years ago: becoming a hot mess.

It was a slow, methodical takeover. I didn’t know it was happening until one day I completely broke down and realized it was a problem.

The excess in my life was so overwhelming that I did what any digitally-minded creator would do. I started a movement and built a community at No Sidebar.

While the original inspiration came from the literal use (and removal) of sidebars on websites, the direction of everything turned metaphorical.

A north star surfaced and defined our mission: Design a simple life.

I knew I wasn’t happy during that season. I wanted to turn down the noises that were disrupting the quiet of my heart and soul. I wanted to find clarity and experience the peace that comes with paring down.

So I sought to reclaim my life and made a list of action items to help me turn my life around. Those items became a priority, and I set out every day to make a real change—a course of action that proved successful.

Reclaiming Your Life

Here are five ways you can reclaim your life. If you feel overwhelmed by this list, try just one and master it then move on. After all, we’re all a work in progress.

1. Disconnect from social media — unplug your devices now and then.

We are all guilty of checking our devices too often. We need to take a step back from the computer and put down that smartphone, turn off notifications on social media apps like Instagram or Facebook—even if they seem harmless at first. If we do not learn how to balance life with technology, it can rule our lives.

2. Have meaningful conversations — seize the day and talk deeply.

Love and friendship aren’t something we often prioritize in our hectic days. Sometimes, it feels more beneficial to stay silent than challenging the status quo with an honest conversation—but what good is that if you’re not truly present or engaged? Be sure to ask questions, as digging below the surface level can help us grow as individuals by getting outside our comfort zones. Besides, you might be making connections that may last a lifetime (and beyond)!

3. Prioritize solitude — spend time all by yourself, with nobody else.

I’m not going to lie—making time for solitude is a struggle of mine. But if there’s one thing my years of experience have taught me, it’s this: If the silence in your life speaks volumes, then don’t let it go unheard. Instead, make space by scheduling an “alone day” every week or two. After all, I genuinely believe that white space is where the magic happens.

4. Do absolutely nothing — stop what you’re doing right this moment.

Unfortunately, the pressure of working all day can lead to some very adverse effects. One way you might avoid this is by taking time out for yourself during your workday- even if it means shutting down and doing something else! It’s essential to be physically healthy and mentally strong so that when life gets hard, there will still exist an inner peace within oneself due in large part to practicing self-care every single one these days.

5. Reflect often — look back and remember things that matter.

I’m a romantic—always have been, and always will be. But one thing I don’t do often enough is look back on my life and remember what is worth holding on to. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I’m constantly moving, thinking up new ideas, or attending to things on my to-do list. But, regardless of the cause, it’s therapeutic for me to close my eyes and think about my journey, and it’s something I want to go out of my way to do more. After all, why wouldn’t I want to remember the best days of my life?

If you begin to introduce some of these practices into your life little by little, you will find yourself enjoying your work life and personal life more. Comment below if you have any little things that keep you centered and in the moment.

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