5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

How to simplify my life is more than just throwing your stuff out. We’re getting rid of stress and welcoming happiness into our home. Simplifying and organizing are sometimes used interchangeably, but we’re not going to organize today. We’re going to focus on simplifying our space by knowing how to do it without stress or frustration.

If you want to have peace, experience freedom, and have more space, let alone functional space, it starts with who you are and how you operate. You are a smart person, you’re creative, and you have an amazing future. So this task of simplifying is going to need your mind, creativity, problem-solving skills, and an understanding of yourself.

Are you ready to reduce stress in your life? Let’s break through the clutter to seriously unleash your potential to live a do more than exist kind of life in your space.

The top 5 pieces of advice to simplify my life

1. Simplifying your life is a lot harder than you think.

To make simplifying work for you, you must include your brain. To make this experience a fantastic one, you’ll want to do two things: get in the right frame of mind and understand your motives.

Do you want to find things easier? What about getting rid of sour memories to make room for sweet ones? Do you want to create more space? Clean up? Do you want to live lighter? Or do you want to downsize? What is your motive in simplifying?

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2. Ask yourself questions.

Since I’m on a roll with questions, we’re going to keep going! When asking yourself, “How do I simplify my life?” Ask more questions. Let’s say you come upon your old t-shirt from high school ask yourself a few things:

– Why am I holding on to this?

– How is this going to change my life for the better?

– When was the last time I used it?

– Can someone else use it?

– Is this something I could sell this week?

– Is it worth the space in my house let alone mind?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions when you run into something that might be hard to let go of. When push comes to shove, just remember you can’t take it to heaven.

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3. Simplify my life step by step, but not too slow.

Okay, so decluttering and cleaning isn’t a fun thing for you? We all have our dislikes but we still need to do them if we want something done. For instance, I don’t like washing the kitchen floor. However, what helps me get it done is if I put it on the calendar. I can then mentally prepare myself and start visualizing how awesome it would be to have a clean kitchen floor. With that said, take a look at your schedule and block off some time to start your decluttering project. Get serious about your space.

Yes, this kind of task is a big deal. Have you seen those shows about hoarding? There’s a little hoarder inside of us all. Go about this step by step. Maybe tackle the kitchen one day, then the bathroom another day, and so forth. You got this!

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4. Get it out of your living space.

When you start to sort through things, get them out of your living space. By removing it from your living space you’ll get a taste of how much you really miss it or not miss it; plus you’ll see how much stuff you are getting rid of. This is an easy technique that is extremely helpful.

This can be a big eye-opener and can even change your spending and collecting habits for the better! I have been known to do snow angels on the floor after a declutter day.

5. Make 4 piles.

Make piles: keep, donate, sell, and pitch. When you plan on having a garage sale, designate a space to keep all those things…like your garage or closet. Same rule for things to donate or to sell online. As for pitching, start a pile and fill your garbage bin every week until it’s gone.

When all said and done to simplify my life.

We’ve lived in the same house for over 17 years. Within those years we have had four garage sales and numerous trips to the donation center. Every garage sale blew my mind with how much stuff we were keeping and not using! With our quarterly clean-out, I still get amazed at how much stuff we accumulate in a matter of months! As for selling things online, the best place I’ve found to be is to use Facebook Marketplace.

When you get in the right mode for simplifying you’ll be surprised at the things you had kept over the years and the things you still want to keep. This is your living space we’re talking about, so make it the way you’ll love it. When you enjoy how you’re living you’ll be a whole lot happier.

Before you go check out these other posts:

Stress Free Moving: 2 Critical Steps

How to have a happy family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Benefits of a Garden: 1 huge reason to take up gardening

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

5 Stress Fighters Most People Forget About.

5 Stress Fighters Most People Forget About.

Stress got you? Stress can make us do funny things with our actions, words, and even our bodies. But I’ve found some stress fighters that are packed with a punch. They’re so simple that ANYONE can do it TODAY.

Stress happens

Stress can be sneaky or it can be a slap in the face. My face stung after I accidentally deleted my entire website. The uninvited hot, prickly stress-wave crashed on my face when I saw ‘File Not Found’. It’s in these stressful moments when we start talking out loud to ourselves, “WHAT THE? NO!!”

Building my own website and blog was my choice. I wanted the challenge. Doing something like this requires time, perseverance, learning, and creativity. It has been a journey of gratifying moments and ‘oh crap’ sessions. That night was one of those “why am I doing this?” sessions. One accidental click, GONE!

Stress is like a leech that won’t detach.

Stress saps the life out of us. So how do we manage this life-sucking Jabba the Hutt from our bodies? First of all, I hate leeches. Years ago I went on a fishing trip in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. It was an amazing trip, but guess what we used as bait? Leeches! I screamed every time I TRIED to bait my hook. The leech latched onto my finger…not cool! Do you think vigorous shaking of my hand and screaming got the leech off? Apparently, leeches don’t have ears. My husband had to pull it off for me…everytime.

What if we could see stress attached to our bodies? We’d probably do a better job at managing it. Stress is the cause of many ailments. It’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, has a hay-day in our bodies. Chronic high levels of cortisol contribute to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), heart disease, anxiety, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, sleep disturbances, and the list goes on.

Your stress fighters working?

The way to detach stress is to naturally fight back with things that decrease those levels, right? Easier said than done. So get this…some people will use things to manage their stress that actually causes MORE stress! I’m talking about eating a pint of ice-cream, sugar-filled gluten-rich desserts, a bag of salty snacks, alcohol, smokes, or pills. Sure, in the short run those things might help; but in the long term the leech is feasting off those inflammatory substances.  All those foods inflame your innards. Without awareness or portion control, that inflammation can lead to physical issues = STRESS! It’s a vicious cycle. Believe me, I know!

I wanted to fix my website immediately.  But all I could do in that moment was intertwine my fingers and pray. I needed someone to pull the leech off. So why not ask God. As calmly as I could I prayed, “Dear Gracious God…wait a second, OH GOD. AH! I DELETED MY WEBSITE!! HELP ME FIGURE THIS OUT. PLEASE! AMEN.” Not the best prayer, but who is judging?

My Awakening

beauty and the beast hand

It felt as if my fingertips went numb. Whoa, what is happening to me?  God is that you? An angelic song filled my house as divine power struck my body. Light beams shot out of my fingertips. I started levitating. Wait. Wait. See how stress can make you think of funny things. As much as I wanted the Beauty and the Beast resurrection, I knew it wasn’t in the plan.  In fact, God did answer my prayer; but in a way I didn’t expect.  He nudged me to move.

Christy, manage the stress, before managing the problem.  I closed my eyes. Inhaled a deep breath and exhaled slowly. I was afraid to touch the keyboard, so I took that as a sign to step away. My desire to go outside to sit next to my favorite tree was unstoppable. Strange? Eh. Kind of. But with good reason…

Why nature helps reduce stress

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, spending even just five minutes around trees or in green spaces, helps lower blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood, instills focus, accelerates healing, increases energy, and improves sleep. And you wonder why I craved to get outside…

The article goes on to say, “Numerous studies show that… simply sitting looking at the trees reduces…stress-related hormones… Looking at pictures of trees has a similar, but less dramatic, effect.” Get outdoors and if you can’t sit and imagine you are in nature.

I trusted that instinct and sat next to my blue spruce. Its soft yet firm pine needles combed my sweaty palms. The sky was black and peppered with stars. My body relaxed. Heart quieted. I was reminded of how big our world was and how I was making this little mistake bigger than the world! Within a matter of minutes, a calm came over me. “Hi God, it’s me again… thanks for getting me outside. I needed that.

Here are 5 stress fighters most people forget about:

  1. Admit it. Say, “I’m stressed out. ___ is causing my stress.”
  2. Say a prayer… Your Creator may need to remind you of something.
  3. Find your happy OUTDOOR place and go there… the beach, woods, prairie, park, yard…Go barefoot a.k.a “Earthing” and SMILE.
  4. Create an environment at work that promotes peace. Pictures of the beach, mountains, trees, sunrise, a garden…whatever nature scene speaks to you. Put a picture or two in your office, cubical, or wallet. Have it handy.
  5. Start incorporating an outdoor recess at work or home, whether it’s exercising, reading the paper, walking the dog, playing with the kids, a lunch break, just get outside.

In conclusion

This may sound too simple, but you’ll find it’ll make a BIG impact. The next morning I mended my website mishap. It so happened, I found a backup on the server. But I wouldn’t have been able to figure that out without a clear head, a good night’s sleep, and a little time outside with my trees. Do your existence a favor, get outside. What is one thing you can do this month to make that happen?

Before you go, check out these other posts about stress:

4 Simple Stress Strategies for You & Your Kids

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

Finding Grace in the Cards We’re Dealt – 3 Tricks

How to Help your Digestive System: 10 Triggers to Watch For

By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

One of the pillars to a happy life is to know how to reduce stress in your life. If you think you’ve heard it all about stress management, think again. Get these 10 impressive tips on how to reduce stress in your life so you can live a healthy happy life. Seriously, you’re going to want to check these out.

We’ve all heard the key to stress reduction is to manage your time. Yes, that helps. But there is one thing that gets in the way of all the stress management techniques out here and it is this: we are all different. If you learn anything from this post it is this: understand who you are. When you do, you will know what stress management tip will work the best for you.

how to reduce stress in your life puppy in basket

What triggers stress?

How to reduce stress in your life starts with knowing what triggers the stress. Ask yourself what gets your goat. Is it time management, getting stuck in traffic, not being able to say no to people, what about what you’re eating? It also could be a who. Who is it that stresses you out? Your stress trigger might even be a certain time of year, like the holidays, or even a certain event. What about regrets?

I’m not sure it’s fair to say that stress and anger go hand in hand, but usually, when we are stressed, anger follows. Not a good combo. Take a look-see at these 3 Simple Anger Management Tips. Just FYI, when someone in your family is angry, they’re stressed. Take what you learn here and gently pass it on to them.

10 Impressive tips on how to reduce stress in my life

#1 Drink more water.

Drink at least one more glass of water a day. Doing this simple task helps give you more energy. Water also cleans out the toxins that linger in your body. With that said, make sure you have the right kind of water filter. Plus, who wants to be dehydrated…talk about stress!

Along with drinking more water, gradually start to clean out the processed foods. When our bodies are filled with crap, we’re going to feel like crap, let alone look like carp or crap. The processed foods mess with your digestive system and could leave you with leaky gut…which causes all sorts of issues including food sensitivities, allergies, and weight gain. Aiming for a clean diet is a fantastic goal. Experiment with going gluten-free or dairy-free. I’ve got some recipes to get you started. Here are a couple of other posts to help you out:

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

Food Combining Does What? Manage Stomach Acid Now!

how to brighten your home

#2 Step on the scale

Another super effective way to know how to reduce stress in your life is weight loss. Touchy topic, I know. Just a suggestion here, you might want to explore the idea to know how to lose weight. Being overweight stresses our bodies out and how they function. The excess fat actually smooshes our internal organs. I get it, I experienced it. Being 20 pounds overweight did a number on me…talk about depression. Within 6 months, I lost all the weight and then some simply by making a few small adjustments. This was back in the 1990s, I’ve kept the weight off ever since. I’m telling ya, it’s not rocket science. The secret to losing weight is this…you gotta want to lose weight. If you want it bad enough, nothing is going to stop you from getting it.

Don’t forget to exercise. Tie up the walking shoes and get out there. Walking has SO many benefits. Get your body moving when you’re stressed out. Exercise gets the blood pumping, clears your head, and increases the feel-good hormones.

Get yourself on the right track to good health and stay healthy: How to Stay Healthy: 15 Simple Ways

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#3 Put on the organizing hat

Get organized. I recently moved, talk about stress in my life. Why? Our stuff was everywhere! I’m the kind of person who likes to have certain places for specific things, like the toothbrush, which should be in the bathroom not the kitchen. When we moved, I didn’t feel at peace until I got organized. Boy, I learned a lot about how to make moving stress-free.

Organizing isn’t just for moving or packing for vacation. Organizing is kind of like having a routine. Studies have shown that we humans like routine. This goes for your kiddos too. How to reduce stress in your life starts with a routine. When a routine is in place, our days are happy and nice!

One of the simplest ways to get organized, especially in organizing your time is to get a planner. Sure we can remember most things in our head, but when we write things down and see them on paper, we can be a lot more productive and purposeful. Writing things down includes a daily to-do list. Every day I have a make a list. My daily to-do list is like my compass for the day. Be sure to take a look at these posts for more tips:  

3 Problem Solving Strategies People Often Forget

The Best Daily Planner for Teens Ever! What to look for.

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Health in Youth

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#4 Declutter all together

This is an instant way to know how to reduce stress in your life. Declutter your environment. Along with organizing, decluttering is similar. With organizing, you are simply moving one thing to another place. Decluttering is actually getting rid of excess things and things you don’t need anymore. When we moved, I made a trip to the donation center, a trip to the recycle center, another trip to the dump, and a sold a few things. I can’t stress enough how FREE I felt when I got all the clutter gone. Decluttering is a fun way to get instant gratification in knowing how to reduce stress in your life.

Another way to know how to reduce stress in your life is by decorating with certain colors. You can find a lot of decorating ideas on Pinterest or Houzz. But when it comes to accent walls or pillows, choose colors like whites, greens, blues, and purples. Studies have shown that these colors and a few more help reduce stress. What else? Here are a few more posts to get you motivated:

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Cleaning the House: 5 Factors to Understand

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good

#5 Time to play outside

Get outside, daily. We are beings that need nature to survive and thrive. There is something magical that happens when you get fresh air and are amongst the trees. Take a break at work and step outside, even if you have to walk to your car and down the sidewalk for a bit. Look at the blue sky, walk around the parking lot, and listen to the sounds of what’s going on outside. Getting outside naturally resets your mental mindset. It breaks up your day. Here are some amazing posts about getting outside:

Nature quotes: the power of the outdoors

How to Make Camping More Comfortable: 7 Critical Tips

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt Challenge

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#6 Time for a hobby

Dust your hobby off and dig into it. One super fun way to know how to reduce stress in your life is to get a hobby. A hobby is a healthy way to break up the pressure to perform and balance out the hormones. When people think of a hobby their first answer is typically knitting, gardening, or woodworking. I like to think of a hobby as something to get your creative juices flowing while keeping your hands busy. Here are some suggestions for you to explore: Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

#7 Forget the drama

Say no to drama. One of my goals in life is to manage the drama that comes at me. Whether it’s the news, a family matter, or another relationship fiasco I will achieve a drama-free life!

One way to say no to drama is to meditate. I’m not a person who meditates. But I do enjoy listening to instrumental music when I’m stressed. Meditation helps a lot of people and I encourage you to try it. But if you’re not someone who enjoys meditation there are other things you can do. I already mentioned listening to instrumental music, notice I didn’t say Metallica. When we listen to music without words, our minds don’t need to process both words and music. Instrumental music naturally calms the state of being and allows free thoughts to flow, which lower those nasty stress hormones.

Another alternative to meditation is to simply enjoy the silence. Turn the background noise off for a few minutes. Talk to yourself. Open the window and listen to nature. Silence is soothing when you need to think and rest. Enjoy the silence.

Sometimes when there is an overwhelming amount of non-sense drama circulating around you, how to reduce stress in your life right then and there is to laugh. A good old belly laugh turns the stress hormones off and the happy hormones on. What’s even more fun is laughing with your family. There’s nothing irreplaceable than a good corny joke the whole family can enjoy.

Check out these 5 valuable ways to manage mental wellness in kids and us.

lee Iacocca quote on stress

#8 Get your volunteer game on

Give others what you need. Volunteer, be generous. Giving your time to someone else helps your mind shift from circling around you to helping someone else. When we give attention to someone who needs it, a.k.a. love, this releases those feel-good hormones which will melt away the good old stress hormones. Volunteering also helps with depression. When you’re feeling down and out about yourself, go help someone. Don’t know how to start volunteering? Ask your local church, search online at library events, ask your child’s or grandchild’s school, or head over to your community center. Heck, you could even voluntarily pick up garbage around your neighborhood.

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#9 How to manage money

Get a handle on your money. I know this is a sensitive topic, but if you understand how to manage money smartly then you will be set free from stress about money! The very first step in how to manage money is to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. At the end of the day, there should be a little money left over. In my Freebies, you can download a budgeting spreadsheet. Here are some great posts to help you make your money work for you.

How to manage money better!

How to Help Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

7 Surefire Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping

Gift Ideas for Hard to Buy People

Isaiah 41:13
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#10 Know yourself better

How to reduce stress in your life final tip. To get to know yourself and your values. When you align your values to the choices and decisions you make, you will naturally have less stress. Talk to yourself. Seriously, talk out loud to yourself about your day, what you want to get done, what you got done; talk about your dreams, what you want for dinner, how amazing you are, things like that. There is nothing silly about talking to yourself.

Wrapping up how to reduce stress in your life

Simply put, learn how to relax. When you can get your mind and body to relax, you have a direct stress management technique to lean on. All this depends on your identity and understanding who you are.

Find what helps you relax that is not dependent on another person. This is your thing, not theirs. Things like going for a walk, taking a bath, reading a book, or for some people can be chores that serve as therapy; for instance, doing laundry, ironing, washing dishes, vacuuming, or mowing the lawn. If chores work for you, then keep it up! Keep your relaxing regimen clean without the use of drugs or inappropriate actions. After all, kids get stressed too and they may ask you how to manage stress.

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By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
6 Simple Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day

6 Simple Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day

Let’s save money on Valentine’s Day this year. You’ll get my 6 simple ways to save money on Valentine’s Day along with a little history about February 14th. Explore my simple and inexpensive gift ideas for you, your family, and your friend; but first I gotta tell you what I learned about this ‘loving’ holiday, it certainly surprised me!

6 simple ways to save money on valentine's day

Valentine’s Day originated from a Roman festival. It had nice intentions of celebrating the coming Spring. Because as we know, with Spring comes rebirth. The Romans capitalized on this season and promoted fertility at this time. Side note; if you have a November birthday, your parents probably practiced the Roman tradition. LOL! Anyway, what I didn’t expect was a dark side to this ‘lovers’ holiday.

The Dark side of Valentine’s Day

This Roman festival included, what sounds like, arranged marriages by a lottery. Say what? All I can picture is taking a ticket at the meat counter and waiting for someone to call my name and hope and pray I was attracted to him. This does not sound very romantic, but they did it!

And according to legend, there was a priest whose name was Valentine. The story isn’t clear of whether the priest secretly married people behind the emperor’s back to spare men from war, or if the priest signed a letter to a jailer’s daughter “from your Valentine” which created havoc. Either way, the emperor, Caludius II Gothicus, martyred him! Yes murdered the guy named Valentine.

As for cupid, he represents the Roman god of love. Are you as confused as I am? This holiday is messed up, murder, love, lottery, and a naked baby with a bow n arrow. The Romans back then had some mental issues.

What We’re Spending

I get it that we’re celebrating this guy, Valentine, but “Be My Valentine” or “Will you be my Valentine?” sounds weird to me now that I understand the back story. Frankly put, these days, retailers use the holiday to get more business. In 2019 53% of all Americans spent a grand total of $30 billion. Heart-shaped candies and decadent chocolates get me all the time, but I spend maybe $25- $50 on Valentine’s Day, that’s including dinner. However, the average person spends about $225 on one person. There is nothing wrong with that. Your significant other’s love language may be ‘gifts’. But if you’re on a tight budget there are other ways to go about showing your love.

Save Money on Valentine’s Day with Simple Ideas

Valentine gift ideas under $25

The Card

The average cost of a Valentine’s card is $4.99. That can add up with kids and even pets. Yes, they have cards for pets. Three kids alone plus a dog could cost $20. Ouch. Here’s a different idea, back in the day, my husband and I were strapped for money, and so instead of buying each other a card, we took a picture of the card in the store then shared the pictures with each other. I know that sounds lame, but it was actually quite fun. There are many benefits to this: it’s inexpensive, saves the environment, and you can keep it on your phone forever! In fact, if you found more than one perfect card, you can take a picture of that one too!

As for kids, homemade Valentine’s are the best. Any kind of gift made with our very hands means so much more than something you buy. You can Google a joke or cute saying and incorporate that into a homemade card.

The Gifts

Unless it’s your birthday on Valentine’s Day, big gifts are out, at least in our home. Money doesn’t buy love. Time does. Time with your spouse, friend, kids, and pets says a lot more than the latest video game. What are they going to remember more? The gift and who got it for them? Or will they remember the memory of playing Battleship and Clue and the epic popcorn-launch-in-your-mouth game? Actually, the Game of Clue might be appropriate for Valentine’s Day…remember Roman times? Here’s my skinny on gifts and what we do in my family. Candy.

The Candy

Candy is instant, enjoyable for everyone, and easy. Get whatever is their favorite sugar bomb. I know it’s not the healthiest, but skip dessert and have the candy instead…don’t forget portion control. My son loves those Sweetart Hearts, my husband is all about Nerds, and me, well, my hands-down favorite of all favorites is See’s Candies. Seriously, these are the best chocolates I’ve ever had. AND they are gluten-free! If you don’t have a retailer near you, you can order online, believe me, it’s worth it. They are SO good!

The Flowers

If candy isn’t your thing, flowers do make a great gift. Here’s the kicker. Keep the flowers simple. They don’t have to be red roses. The jester is what counts. Recently, my husband stumbled upon white roses at Trader Joe’s. He got a dozen for like $7.00. Can’t beat that, and they lasted a long time. They were beautiful. Thank you Trader Joe’s! The other option with flowers is to go for the carnations. They are a simple flower that comes in a variety of colors. A large bouquet is about half the price of a dozen roses (roses not from Trader Joe’s). I personally like to mix carnations and roses together like in this picture.

The Touch

Besides the gift of time, sweet treats, and flowers, touch is just as important if not more. Touch is another language of love. It’s definitely my husband’s. Intimate time with your spouse or boyfriend is probably all they want for Valentine’s Day. Stop spending your money on other things, just give him some lovin’. As for kids, snuggles or tickle-attacks while watching “Be My Valentine Charlie Brown” serve the best of both worlds for child and mom/dad. Feel goods with hugs and laughs with tickles are a joy to the heart.

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Save money on Valentine’s Day dinner

Let’s talk about dinner. If it’s just your spouse/friend with you, you’ll spend an average of $50 at a restaurant. And don’t forget to tip! Oh, did I mention the babysitter? As for time, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest nights at restaurants. You may have to wait for a table. I didn’t even mention traffic or weather. A different option is to have a candlelight dinner at home. This saves time and a great way to save money on Valentine’s Day. I know it may sound boring, but that’s up to you. Dress up, get some music playing, and have your kids wait on you and play restaurant at the same time. It’s something different to try this year. At the grocery, you’ll spend at least half of the amount on a meal than at the restaurant. Get some steak, salad, and garlic bread. Start up the grill and “By the Power of Grayskull, I HAVE THE POWER!” Yes, I have dated myself with He-Man. Dinner at home can be fun for everyone!  

Final Tips for a Great Valentine’s Day

Lastly, decorating with construction paper hearts tapped on the sliding glass door gets everyone in a loving mood. This is an easy way to save money on Valentine’s Day. You don’t need to go all out with decorations. Keep it simple. It’s a gentle reminder that Valentine’s Day should be fun and not filled with a martyr. Now, don’t forget the chocolate! For more ways to manage money, be sure to check out my post on money here!

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By Christy Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved. 

How to Help Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

How to Help Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

When economic strife hits do these 9 must-do steps to help with money problems. There is no way in predicting tragic storms, destructive earthquakes, virus pandemics, wars, a house fire, sudden death of a loved one, or unemployment. If we could tell our money ‘a tornado is coming, hang on tight’, life would be so much easier. In fact, we can tell our money to do that, but what if we weren’t ready? In knowing how to fix money problems you can do some simple steps. To get started, I’ve got 9 easy-to-do steps to help you manage money wisely starting today!

First things first

First and foremost, remember these times of despair are just that, a time. It’s not forever, it’s not the end of the world; it’s just a season that is visiting for a while. It may seem like an eternity but it will pass like all our other seasons IF you want it to. The hard part is getting through it without much pain. But you must get through it, keep moving forward! Want to know more about motivation? Check out How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything.

Your 1st priority

Your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family. If it’s a spreading sickness, do everything in your power to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Did a storm hit your house? Then get your family to a safer shelter. If you lost your job, then start looking for a replacement job, even if it pays less than the work you had before, just get something going so you have a little income.

When the overall shock has faded, this is usually about a week to 10 days depending on the severity, you can start working on these 9 must-do steps to get your life back on track and put your money problems behind you.

Step by Step Guide
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9 Steps to Manage Money Wisely

1. Clean up the unnecessary subscriptions

Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions: magazines, the gym (unless you’re using it), weight loss programs, email subscriptions that you’re not using every week, and might I even say cable TV? When you add all these things up, you will be surprised at how quickly things add up! It will make you sick. Stop giving your money away to companies you’re not using! Again, look at the numbers and the amount of time you use these things. Is it worth it? Is it distracting you from accomplishing your goals?

2. Work on your budget

Having a budget is the BEST tool out there to manage money wisely. Money problems happen when a budget is not in place. What I love about a budget is that it can help you find the holes and to see what holes need to be filled. For instance, my hsuband and I recently redid our budget and found that we were spending way more than we thought on eating out. Ouch! I like to think of a budget as a treasure hunt or a crime scene. It lays it all out so we can solve the case.

A budget doesn’t need to be restrictive, tedious, or confusing. Keep it simple. Paper and pencil work great. Or step it up to an excel worksheet. I already created one for you that you can use for free. Go to Freebies to get yours.

If you want something beefier that has printable reports I highly recommend Quicken or Quickbooks. We use both for different accounts.

Budget tip

Start your budget out simple. Scale down and only focus on your necessities. This may be hard but look at it from a survival perspective. What can I, or we as a family, live without for two months? Do we have an emergency fund?

THere’s another post about budgeting to checkout. #1 Cause of Money Problems, plus 4 tools to solve it

simple finance journal
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3. Make extra money

Wipe your money problems away by making extra money. There are some amazing side gigs out there that I’ve even done! For instance, you can grocery shop for others. This is actually a fun job if you like the grocery store. There are numerous delivery services that are desperate for people to work. I suggest searching online using keywords like “work from home jobs”, “part-time jobs”, and “best side hustle jobs”. There are a lot of opportunities.

Heads-up: Many bloggers say to start a blog, but I do not recommend this. You’ll be spending more money on starting it than making any money on it. They are only telling you to start a blog to sell their blog-building tools or to exercise their affiliate programs. Building a profitable blog takes time and money, it’s not impossible, but it is a lot of hard work, especially starting from scratch.

Simply look at what businesses are booming in tough times and then go there and inquire about opportunities. For instance, health care during a pandemic, delivery services, construction workers, or restaurants. Search with an open mind and ask yourself what you would enjoy and be willing to try.

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4. DIY (Do It Yourself)

Do things yourself. Ideas in this arena include selling your crafts and creations on Etsy, cleaning your own house, mowing your own yard, and for minor fixes around the home get on YouTube to find ways to fix things yourself. Doing things yourself can help save you money and give you gratification and confidence!

5. Cut Costs

Cutting back on costs can be kind of fun to figure out yet still be content. Things to look at are the number of visits to: the hair salon, getting your nails done, trips to the grocery store, and the car wash. Other ways to cut back are to shop at a lower-priced grocery store, and to be mindful of your utilities: shower or bathe once a day instead of two, turn off the lights when not using that specific room, turn the thermostat down one or two notches, ‘when it’s yellow let it mellow when it’s brown flush it down’, turn the faucet off while scrubbing those pearly whites. Things like that. Here’s a great post on how to save money grocery shopping that you should check out.

6. Sell stuff

Sell stuff through Facebook Marketplace, Mercari, or other trustworthy platforms. This is a great time to declutter your home and really ask yourself if you need certain things. Selling your things is a lot easier these days too. If you don’t want to hassle with a garage sale, sell things online. I have done well using both methods. In my last garage sale, I squashed a money problem using my profits. It felt so good!

7. Be smart

Make smarter buying decisions on the necessities. Okay, toilet paper baffles me, unless you have an underlying condition like Crohn’s, colitis, or cancer, cool your jets on the TP. Simply take what you need for two weeks then manage the toilet paper you have in the house.

Ask yourself if you really NEED a particular item before buying it. Look for deals or coupons. Opt to never buy full price for anything! Always keep your reciept incase you have buyers remorse and want to return an item.

The solution to your money problems isn't more money; it's new habits. David Bach

8. Whoa-back on large money deals

It’s human to be uneasy during uncertain times, but only allow yourself one day to ‘freak out’. After that, get your battle face on and make adjustments. However, the one caveat to making change is to not make any major financial decisions in the first 7-14 days. For instance, don’t cash in your 401K or buy a new car/house, or rank up your credit cards. Put your mind to work and figure out some ways how to adjust in ways that help you and not hurt. Put together a budget and get a plan in place.

9. Emergency fund

When all is back up to speed, start to build your emergency fund for the next time something like a pandemic or war sucker punches us again. One way to do this is to put a little bit away every paycheck. Some people do 10%, others 5%, and so forth. You will be amazed at how quickly this adds up, especially if you put it in a savings account that accumulates interest.

In closing

I believe in you. You totally got this. Just remember your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family with the necessities. Work together as a family. Working together will not only bring you all closer together and working as a team, but it will be a lasting memory and bring more happiness into your home.

Before you go, check out these great blog posts:

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

How to be Smart and How to Teach Your Child

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

How to Build Self-Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself.

How to Build Self-Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself.

How to build self-esteem is so critically important, that it WILL affect your future. I’m not saying for you to walk around and boast about yourself. In fact, the people who have the greatest self-esteem are those who listen more and talk less. I have 3 tips to help us know how to build self-esteem right now.

how to build self esteem

Lately, I have been reviewing my life and asking myself if I’m happy with how I’ve been living. In most areas of my life I can confidently say Yes, I love it. But in others, I can’t say yes. And when I can’t say yes, I start comparing myself to others in that particular area. And then I find myself with low self-esteem that seems paralyzing.

Comparing and Self Esteem

Yes, I’m jumping right to the Bible. There are many Biblical truths about self-esteem, we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and we are chosen (John 15:16) to name a few. But there is one verse that really stricks me. Before I mention it, I want you to know that when we start comparing and trying to be like everyone else… just to be liked…that’s when low self-esteem makes its way to our thoughts, words, and actions. Is that what you want? I, personally, do not want you in this place. I’ve been there and it made me gain weight, brought on depression, and affected my path in life. Live in the freedom with who you are today and everyday in moving forward.

be fearless in who you are
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A good verse to memorize

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…His good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

This verse is a good one to memorize, especially if you find yourself comparing and going along with the crowd. Not to mention how to build self-esteem. Claim this scripture as yours. Pray it, say it, and be aware of what you are putting into your mind. I was finding myself comparing my pattern of life to others’ patterns of life. The reason I started to even do that was because of one area in my life that wasn’t like everyone else’s, my career. 

Step by Step Guide
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The comparing game

Seeing other people climb the corporate ladder, own a thriving small business, and stay in the job for years on end, made me feel small or, honestly, valueless. The problem was comparing. And how can I even start to compare? Everyone’s life is so incredibly different. We don’t know what others’ childhood was like, we don’t know their educational background, we don’t know what happens at home, and we don’t know the problems they deal with, so what right do we have to compare or judge for that matter. We don’t have a right. In fact, these “successful” people may be comparing themselves to you and want what you have!

So what do we do?

We mind our own business and focus on the goals we are passionate about. Our job is to enhance our talents, abilities, and gifts and to know how to love others by using what we’ve got. Our Creator (God) made us to be us and no one else. We need to trust in Him to embrace who we are and love ourselves. When we love ourselves, we can love others the way we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). Yet, there is one thing we must have to move forward, motivation.

simple living planner for teens
Download at my Etsy Shop

3 Tips to help stop comparing and how to build self-esteem:

1. Pray for your eyes to be opened to the talents, abilities, and gifts God has given you to be revealed and for your mind to be renewed.

2. Remind yourself that everyone is different… every day. Comparing is not helpful at all! Read affirmations daily. When you talk to yourself in a loving way, your self-esteem grows tremendously. This is a powerful exercise that will help you to love yourself. Get to know who you are. By the way, loving yourself isn’t selfish or conceited. You can download a list of my favorite affirmations in Freebies.

3. If you want something to happen, YOU need to make it happen. We can dream all day, but executing those dreams is scary. Ask yourself “How bad do I want it?” If you want it bad enough, you’ll need to pull your big girl pants up and go get it. You got this. Please keep moving forward without regrets. Take things step by step.

All in all

God is with us every step of the way, He wants us to enjoy life and flourish. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, instead help the world come alive by being YOU. Your uniqueness is an amazing gift, use it while you have it.

Be sure to check out these other great posts to build confidence.

Drama-Free Life? A Strategy You Don’t Want to Miss

Do You Know How to Smile?

3 Ways to Help our Kids Not Be Stuck in a Mold

Simplify Firefly Etsy

By CT Copyright © 2016 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved

Benefits of a Garden: One Huge Reason to Take Up Gardening

Benefits of a Garden: One Huge Reason to Take Up Gardening

The benefits of a garden are more than growing pretty flowers and organic vegetables. A garden serves many purposes, but on this particular day, it served a HUGE purpose I didn’t see coming. Walk with me into my garden, this just may be the best-kept secret to peace, gratification, and an anxiety antidote.

benefits of a garden

The garden draw

There is something about flowers and vegetables growing in your very own garden. The benefits of a garden beam from our yards with vivid colors and luscious greens. The garden is so soothing to the eye, it draws me to be a part of that picture. If my garden looks peaceful, maybe if I go to it, then I will become peaceful?

Let me ask you this: where do you go when your heart is a mess? I hope that place is a haven for you and not somewhere toxic. Our hearts need tenderness and embrace. Whether that be a cozy corner in your home, a decorative closet, or the bathtub for a long soak. Depending on the season, my safe place is my garden.

In 2018 I found myself walking to my garden, but I didn’t go there to do my normal tending of it. I went there to sit in the dirt. I had a troubled heart and felt like dirt, so why not sit in it too? That was my attitude. If you don’t have a garden, don’t think this post isn’t for you. Each and every one of us has and needs a ‘garden’ for gardening, maybe for the sole purpose of why I needed it on this particular day.

seeds you plant
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Dirt meets dirt

I was completely dumbfounded by how I got myself in this state. Do you remember as a kid when you got in trouble with your parents…the flush of prickly heat bursting from your heart like a firework going off? Yeah. It’s that feeling when you know you really messed up.

Believe me, this wasn’t an easy post to write; in fact, I wasn’t going to write it. But it dawned on me that when my human self learns something hard and valuable, I should probably tell someone…maybe it will help them in some way.

So here it goes. I unintentionally hurt a dear friend of mine. My doing screwed up a valuable friendship. I messed up. Part of me wanted to crawl into a cave, but the other half wanted to go to a place that knew me. So I went to my garden. As I looked over the rows of flowers and herbs I wrestled with scenarios. I tried to foresee the future. I played back my actions. Why did this happen? How did this happen? This came out of nowhere! My identity jolted.

In my garden that day, my gut was a trembling mess. My heart was anxious. I paced the paths and hid my face from my neighbors. As I dug for a tissue I knelt down and stared at the dirt. “Dear God, forgive me. Help me see the root of this action.” I blew my nose, took a deep breath, and got my hands busy. As I plucked little weeds and churned up the soil, layers of thoughts peeled off and exposed the truth. Wow, I didn’t see that coming. How juvenile. We all have our adolescent times, this was one of mine.

What blooms from dirt is beautiful

His presence in the garden that day was strong; there is no doubt Jesus met me where I was at. I felt His comfort yet discipline. “What must I do to mend this mishap?” I asked Him. As I walked to the other side of the garden, facing a dripping mess, Jesus’ words “the truth will set you free” squeezed my heart. But I don’t want to tell the truth, I’m embarrassed, I said. 

“If its freedom you seek, the truth will set you free”. After I wrestled with it for about 20 minutes, I dusted myself off and wound up the courage to do just that…tell the truth. What do I have to lose that I already have lost? As soon as I expressed the truth of the matter to my dear friend; my stomach stopped tossing, my mind stopped spinning, and I felt the imprisoned shackles unlock. I exhaled and knew I made the right choice. Thank you.

rose garden

The benefits of a garden

Gardening is a task where we get our hands busy. Our garden is a place where we can be alone. It is a moment in time where our soul is unguarded, where we can let it free and know it’s safe. A place where we cradled the unique ability our Creator gave us. So what’s your ‘garden’? What place knows you? A woodshop, craft table, mixing bowl, knitting basket, sketch pad, kitchen, garage, where is it?

The benefits of a ‘garden’ no matter what place that is, will take you to peace and to resolution. It’s there where we can be raw, where we can lament, and feel safe. It’s the garden that serves as a therapy session, to think through our struggles, to problem solve, and let go of what’s holding us back.

When we’re feeling troubled where do you want to go?

me in my garden

Our ‘garden’ opens her arms. She knows that when we get on our knees, we need her touch. She knows we need to get busy, so little projects present themselves. It’s quiet. We’re focused. As we work, the surface looks brighter. It feels good. But as we move throughout the ‘garden’ and dig a little deeper we find a few deep-rooted invasives. These weeds have been there a while. Seeds from their fruit are ready to plant themselves. Is that what we want?

The thistles on the stalk pierce our touch. We may step back for a bit, but find that if we gently grab the very thing that hurt us, we’ll then have the power to wrench and wrestle it free.

Our garden understands the pain that comes with breaking free. So she prays. And because our soul is defenseless to her love, we feel the hope she prayed for. It’s within our gardening where tears nourish her beauty. Where truth is told. And where strength and might persist. It’s a place to rejoice when we pull the weeds out and plant new life in its space.

Benefits of a garden conclusion

Gardening does more than entertain and strengthen our talents. Our gardens listen, they heal, they comfort. I’ve got some questions for you: What is keeping you captive? When are you going to do something about it? Who do you need to talk to?

I encourage you to visit your special place this week. When you’re there, whisper loud enough for you to hear, and talk about what imprisons your heart. All you’re doing that day is getting the frustrations out. Then revisit your place again later in the week. Get your hands busy. And ask God for help. You may not hear anything right away, but as you live your life over the next couple of weeks be aware of your surroundings, open your senses. He’ll talk to you and give you the answer.

Before you go, check out these posts:

Claim Your Life Back: 7 Steps to Fight Spiritual Warfare

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

Nature Quotes: The Power of the Outdoors

Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved.

Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

Have you ever gotten overwhelmed, in a funk, or frustrated about the pace of life? Having a hobby can help quiet the roar of chaos and make you feel human again. I’ve got some great hobby ideas for you. But wait! I know what you might say, “I don’t have time for a hobby”. I used to think that way too, but after a little experimenting, I found my hobby to be a superhero to my mental health. Let’s get a better understanding of why a hobby helps us then get hobby ideas to try out.

What exactly is a hobby?

A hobby is an activity that someone does for pleasure when they are not working. The keyword in that definition is “not working”. The hard part is knowing when to stop working. What I love about a hobby is that time isn’t ticking in your ear. You’re not looking at the clock to see when your shift is over. A hobby is your gift to yourself, so you can be yourself! When we’re under heavy stress our bodies produce more cortisol which can be harmful to our health. But when we’re engaged in, let’s say, a hobby, we’re producing the ‘feel-good’ hormones.

I like to look at a hobby as a type of recreation that rejuvenates your spirit. It’s an activity that challenges you in a way in which you want to be challenged. You see, your hobby is YOUR hobby. No one can tell you how to do it unless you welcome the suggestions.

Top 13 reasons to get a hobby:

1. Helps enhance meaning in your life.

2. Gets the creative juices flowing.

3. Increases personal satisfaction.

4. Builds self-confidence and self-esteem.

5. Relieves stress.

6. Gives you something to talk about other than work.

7. Helps you meet new people.

8. Contributes to society or the community.

9. Boosts brain power and cognitive function.

10. It has the potential to create extra income.

11. Gateway to happiness.

12. Helps prevent boredom when boredom can be harmful to you. Let me expand: overeating, depression, drug use, looking at things you know you shouldn’t, or alcohol use usually come into play when we’re bored. Boredom and its adverse effects are going to get the best of us at times, but when we have a hobby we have an easy way out and can focus on that.

13. The icing on the cake about a hobby is that it actually helps you do a better job at work. CNBC posted an article about how a hobby can improve your work performance. For one, it helps prevent burnout. As said earlier, it helps inspire creativity and enhance your problem-solving skills. A hobby helps reduce stress. 

More on hormones.

silhouette standing in start

Hormones are a love/hate relationship. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. As said earlier, the most damaging hormone is cortisol which is produced in our bodies when we’re under stress. The good news is that happy hormones do exist, but to get them we must do a few things. There are four major blissful boostersendorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. Each hormone serves a different purpose, in a nutshell, this is what they do:

  • Endorphins are essentially the body’s pain killers. Vigorous exercise or even eating spicy food releases endorphins.
  • Serotonin is the mood mediator. Get outside. Being in the sun helps our bodies produce vitamin D, which helps produce serotonin. Or even low-intensity exercise helps.
  • Dopamine is a gratifying hormone, in terms of goal achievement. It’s all about goals and achieving them to bring on the dopamine. We set an achievable goal and go after it, when we reach it, dopamine is experienced.
  • Oxytocin. This is the love hormone. I think my husband has an abundance of this one! LOL. Physical contact, hugs, massage, and sex release this hormone.

When it comes to your hobby, aim to achieve one of these hormones. Now if you want to experience all the bliss boosters at once, you might want to look into “R5HHPJ” as your hobby: Run 5 miles while holding hands with your honey, drinking hot pepper juice from your water bottle…now that’s a hobby!

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What are some great hobby ideas?

This is a loaded question because you can make a hobby of your own; the trick to finding one you love is to try some on. Here are some hobby ideas for you to check out:

Knitting, exercising, reading, sales shopping and discount hunting, start a blog, music, woodworking, organizing, auto work, boating, horseback riding, hobby farming, candle making, photography, dance, winemaking, beer brewing, cooking, traveling, wilderness survival, Bible memory, drawing, painting, decorating, gardening, hunting, fishing, camping, running, write a book, kayaking, cycling, walking, surfing, sewing, essentially any sport, collections, puzzles, and pretty much anything other than work.

Remember a hobby is something that gives YOU personal enjoyment yet still a little challenge to enhance your well-being. Think of it as keeping your hands and mind busy getting lost in creativity. This could very well be the peacekeeper you’ve been looking for to help balance life.

Ink children's story
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In conclusion

There are some great hobby ideas out there to suit you, you just need to experiment with which one or ones find your fancy. Hobbies do change too. Pay attention to when you might be phasing out of one hobby, so you can start searching for new hobby ideas. Just remember, hobbies are not a waste of time, they are our therapy to keep us happy.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved

The Best Daily Planner for Teens Ever! What to look for.

The Best Daily Planner for Teens Ever! What to look for.

Planners aren’t just for adults, teens need them too! Get a daily planner for teens today and teach them how to manage their time and develop this amazing skill. Teens may think they know everything, but we can help them learn how to get organized. As you know, when you’re organized you feel better, you’re happier and nice to others. A simple planner might just help everyone get through the teen years.

Planner history

In the 1700s the planner was invented by your very own Benjamin Franklin. And in 1984 the Franklin Planner was brought to our eyes thanks to Richard I. Winwood. One of our most valuable things on this planet is our time. How we plan our minutes determines the outcome of our lives. Let me be bold: No one is to blame, except for you, for how you use your time. A planner is a great tool to help you guide your teen in planning their days, know what to look for, and make this year a great one.

best planner ever what to look for

Two things that need to happen for a productive life

For you to experience an amazing, productive life there are two things that need to happen. The first is to know yourself to the best of your ability. When you understand who you are and where you want to go in life, directing your time becomes a little easier. And when your time is managed the way you like it, you are at peace. Understanding your identity isn’t an easy thing, we are ever-changing beings. I’ll give you some tips in a minute.

The second thing that needs to happen is for you to have a plan, at least something to go by. Organizing life starts on paper. As we all know, we can plan all we want, but the Lord directs our steps. Wandering aimlessly is straight-up stressful. Try traveling without a map…this includes your phone navigation. Think about a time when you were lost. Do you remember how that made you feel? Is being lost, the source of all stress? Hmm. Yet, there is one thing that keeps on ticking, time.

Teens and tweens struggle with time management, it’s okay, managing time is a skill they need to develop. The other thing that needs to happen in life is encouragement and positivity. I created a daily planner for teens to do just this. To focus on the good things, to give encouragement, inspire, and speak truth into their hearts.

Identity, how it orchestrates our day

Understanding identity is a HUGE thing right now. People are exploring what they like, who they like, what they believe in, etc. Identity is a controversial topic because it involves all the things people get mad about race, religion, sex, politics, vaccines… The crazy part is that we all want to be liked, so in some weird ways, we go along with the crowd even when we don’t want to. This creates a whole different ball of twine and a blog post, but my point is for us to understand who we are.

As the Bible says, we are to not conform to the pattern of this world, but instead, to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, for then we will be able to test God’s will for our life, his perfect, pleasing, and goodwill (Romans 12:2). In other words, seek your Creator to understand who He made you to be, then you will understand where you should go.

journal prompts
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That was some fun theology, this is not to discourage you, this is to encourage you. Because when you think you have to do this life alone, that you need to figure everything out yourself, and you have to make every minute count, not to mention, keeping up with what everyone else is doing…give it to our Mighty God in Heaven. Ask Him, your Heavenly Father, to help you, direct you, open your eyes, and protect you. He will. I guarantee it!

Planner plan

In 2020, we faced a dead stop in life with the COVID pandemic. The time came to a screeching halt. Many of us went bananas, others went on an extended mental vacation. There were many things we learned while being at home, some things we didn’t want to know like how lonely we were, how much we depended on others, and how much we needed “me” time. Getting sick wasn’t the only fear going on, knowing what to do with our time competed for first place. To help you with your time there is one thing you can invest in: a planner. Yes, even if you work from home, a personal planner is a must!

As 2021 came to be, life seemed completely the opposite of 2020. There was a new super speed! Traffic got heavy, people got rude, and many of us tried to fit as much as possible into our days. Were we trying to make up for time lost during the year before? Did we have different priorities? The year 2021, was a transition year and we were trying our hardest to get back to “normal” as much as possible. And now we’re all cranky and have headaches. My planner was definitely full, yet it was a true life-saver in staying sane. 

What to look for in a planner

There are a lot of planners out there that not only address our day-to-day but also have journal prompts and inspiring quotes, etc. Planners have come a long way since the 1770s; in fact, planners started out as journals. However, depending on your needs, we should be careful of what kind of planner to get; some can be time-consuming, stressful to keep up with, and distracting. Many planners look beautiful and fun, but I worry some people may get too focused on filling out their pretty little planner instead of living life and making things happen. Planners are a tool to keep you focused and sharp.

Download this daily planner for teens today

With that said, I created two downloadable planners in PDF format that is simple and essential to anyone’s life. I prefer the downloadable planner because you can print as many pages as you like! Both Simple Living planners come in three sizes so you can find a fun binder and put your own spin on it…which is great for making it your own.

Simple Living Planner Plus
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The Simple Living: All You Need Planner will help you stay on task. I designed it so it still gives you a few daily journal prompts that are fun to do. It is 17 pages. My goal is for this planner to help you get through your days feeling confident and productive. It focuses on the important things that will save us time and headaches.

The second planner I designed is the Simple Living: All You Need Planner PLUS. This 25-page simple planner PLUS is a great way to kick off a new beginning and to be strong and successful throughout! I absolutely LOVE this planner because it feeds my mind, energizes my goals, and makes me feel good! This planner is like your personal life coach. It’s filled with healthy mental goodness that anyone can benefit from no matter what age. It has all the same great pages as the first planner, but with bonus pages suited to feed the mind and creative spirit. Designed for a daily planner for teens or tweens but so good for a planner for mom or grandma. Feel the love through this planner, truly a game-changer.

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Wrapping the planner up

Using a planner is an excellent way to get the most out of our time, but choosing the right planner is what will make or break you. Start the New Year on the right foot and allow happiness to penetrate your heart. It all starts with your time, organizing, and utilizing it well.

Stay Connected
By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved
How to Manage Stress in a Healthy Way: 4 Tips

How to Manage Stress in a Healthy Way: 4 Tips

Are you feeling like you need to slow down? Get ready for a showdown with your opponent: speed. Going at a fast rate and stress go hand in hand. However, there are ways to manage stress in a healthy way while keeping the pace of life. But first to have endurance and finish strong, a ‘whoa back’ is in dire order. Today I have four questions to help you manage stress in a healthy way before stress takes you out.

“She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes.”

While writing this post a lyric from the old childhood song, She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain got stuck in my head. She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes ‘whoa back’. Busyness can take many forms: a badge of accomplishment, a strained ball-n-chain, or simply a lifestyle without margin. When we get in the busy mode we have blinders in our peripheral vision, our backs are heavily weighed, and we kick ourselves to go faster. The term ‘whoa back’ isn’t in our vocabulary, so slowing down would be a crime.

However, at some point, we will get bucked off and hit the ground, it’s just a matter of how hard we hit. After we dust ourselves off we most likely will ask what the heck was that? Or where did that come from? Staying on the horse is about knowing when to say “not right now”. It’s about knowing where we need to slow down. And it’s about knowing how to do it.

teen planner

4 tips on how to manage stress in a healthy way

Question 1. What is causing me to stress out and fall off my horse?

I recently got bucked off of not knowing what caused my unstoppable momentum. My schedule had no margin. If I wasn’t working on my blog, I was working on my second job, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was busy with some other project, and then finally…I would fill in the cracks with my family. My priorities were out-of-whack, seriously backward! The harmony of the many roles I played each day was out of tune. And the problem was that I knew I had too much in my schedule. Does anyone hear me? I knew it but ignored it.

Was I addicted to being busy? Running from something? Trying to impress someone? I’m not 100% sure, but I know when I fall prey to comparison, my schedule builds. If she can do it, I can do it. The word “no” doesn’t exist. The word “stop” is blasphemy.

How comparison happens

busy horses running wild

During these comparison seasons chatting with colleagues and hearing stories of massively insane schedules makes me wonder how they get it all done. Am I doing something wrong? Am I not doing enough? Are they really getting it done? This thinking catalyzes my expectations of myself, which can be good and bad, but differentiating between the two is a challenge.

Why am I so tired?

This superficial race is mentality exhausting and frankly, it’s stupid thinking. No one is perfect. Who has it all figured out? No one is ever skipping down the Yellow Brick Road with all her ducks in a row. Everyone has different strengths. Yet, the problem with comparisons, whether it be on social media or in grocery store conversations, is that we don’t know the whole story. We don’t always see the condition of others’ hearts and how it weighs on their wellness. We just see the ‘yes man’ and subconsciously start to compete.

The ‘yes man’ is a vicious cycle and a damaging one. We agree to things we don’t want to do, we fill our schedules to please others, and we constantly aim for perfection. But what happens to us in the process? What happens to OUR well-being? What happens when we’re running here and there and everywhere with no time to spare? Mistakes. Mistakes happen.

Simplify Firefly Etsy

2. When do I know when something has to change?

My red flags come from a variety of sources. One source is my family when they voice their opinion. Another source of red flags is when I don’t have time to get outside to garden or walk. The biggest warning that something has to change is from my body, the one vessel that makes it all happen. If there is one thing that will slow us down, it’s our bodies. My mistake is not listening to these messages. Before you know it your body will tell you when to change things. Unfortunately, in 2019 I ended up with horrible piriformis syndrome which forced me to slow down, way down. Injuries aren’t the only signal from our bodies, but being overweight, being chronically sick, and developing a disease can tell you too.   

woman laying on log slow down time

The Bible talks a lot about slowing down, taking a Sabbath (Exodus 20:9-10), just be (Psalm 46:10), and coming to Him who are weary and need rest (Matthew 11:28). These are just a few references in the Bible. But the Lord has a reason for teaching us how to slow down. I believe one of those reasons is to give our bodies and minds rest so we don’t make big mistakes.

3. Where do we need to slow down?

This question is simply answered by paying attention. Where are you most stressed? What is occupying the majority of your time? How is your schedule affecting others? Are the people around you agitated? Needy? Lonely?

Perfecting balance in every area of your life is not a destination. It’s a moment. We can’t be everywhere at once. There will be days when the schedule weighs heavier in one area than another, but the key is to recognize it. Quieting the mind and sitting in silence helps see where there is congestion. Slowing down a racehorse isn’t easy, so start by giving yourself five minutes of silence. This awareness helps you try harder the next day to find that harmony. Consciously be aware of how you’re using your time, you’ll see where it needs to slow down.

4. How do we slow down before it’s forced upon us?

This is a great question. I’m still figuring it out. One thing is for sure, we need to set boundaries. Setting boundaries gives us permission to say “Not right now” or “No, but thank you for thinking of me”. Boundaries give us our space to recuperate so when we do say ‘yes’ we can be our best. You can say ‘no’ to others, but it’s imperative to also say ‘no’ to yourself and the expectations you’ve created.

Wrapping it up

How to manage stress in a healthy way starts with being aware of what you’re reacting to. Asking yourself key questions will help you understand why your body and mind are reacting on overdrive. What is causing this stress? When to change something. Where you need to make that change. And how to slow down. Please note that racing with other horses is a game, not a lifestyle. Set your boundaries and take the time to love yourself.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved. 

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