In my work with women with autoimmune disease, I've learned that there is one component of health that can derail an individual's progress and hold them back from achieving their goals, even when all other aspects of health (diet, sleep, movement, toxin exposure, and social connections) are being addressed appropriately. That factor is STRESS. Most people know that stress is bad for them, but taking practical steps to reduce stress can be challenging.
Among women in particular, clutter is associated with high levels of cortisol output (which indicates stress). Studies have also found that visual chaos (i.e. clutter) can inhibit productivity and creativity. So, one very practical way to reduce stress and clear the distractions from your life is to reduce the clutter in your physical surroundings.
Starting on March 1st, I'd like to challenge you to participate in a 40 day decluttering challenge. On Day 1 of the challenge, you will identify one item to let go of that does not bring you joy and/or that you no longer use and/or you do not need. On the Day 2 of the challenge, you will identify two items to declutter, and on Day 3, three items, and so on until by Day 40, you will have decluttered an impressive 883 items! Do not simply throw these items in the trash-- donate or recycle if at all possible. Also, strive not to replace these items immediately. A shopping ban while decluttering and for a time thereafter can be useful.
This 40 day decluttering challenge coincides with Lent for those of you that are Christians. In this post, I reflect a bit more on my views of Lent as a non-denominational Christian. To summarize, I see Lent as a practice of spiritual discipline that can strength your relationship to God. If it resonates with you, giving up clutter for Lent could be a valuable experience.
If you'd like additional support during the 40 Days to Declutter Challenge, join my Facebook group here. Show your progress on social media with the hashtag #40daystodeclutter.