I’ve recently rekindled my passion for crocheting, a creative endeavor that soothes me. I set aside time for it on most days. As a result, I have purchased a large assortment of yarn in shades of every color. Whenever I go to make something, I sift through various bags searching for what I’m looking for.

Likewise, when I was a young mom I was always frantically searching for a stray glue stick or my keys. Then I bought a rack over my desk to keep my keys securely fastened, and more recently, storage containers to hold various yarns, neatly marked by color. I also set up a school zone in my home where my kids could do their homework and keep their school items.

These small changes made a huge difference in my life, because they brought more peace, simply by eliminating what wasn’t working and fostering what brings me joy. Here’s how to do the same.

ELIMINATE OBLIGATIONS

It is not necessary or healthy to take on extra work if you don’t want to. Many people will take on added commitments in their personal lives just so they do not upset anyone.

So when you get pressure to join another committee, bake sale, or group project, say “no” to anything you have no interest in. It is a sign of good health to set boundaries, so you have time for you and family.

ADD SOLUTIONS

What are the things that drive you absolutely crazy on a regular basis? At work, when something isn’t working, you will likely fix it. Yet at home, I would encounter recurring obstacles but not change them.

Whether it is a simple fix like an overcrowded coat rack, a dish tray that goes awry, or a junk drawer that takes up space and serves no purpose, if we take five minutes in the day to ask ourselves what is not working organizationally at home, we can immediately make a decision and plan to change it.

ELIMINATE COMMUNICATION

This might sound harsh, but consider how many people call, text, and email you daily. Have you ever just sat down to dinner or to help your child with homework and get an urgent text or call from a frantic friend or co-worker who needs their problem heard right now?

Just because we have the technological capability to always be in touch does not mean that we must be at everyone’s beck and call. Of course, you will want to leave your phone on for your spouse and kids to be able to reach you, but you can also decide that at a certain time of day, you will not answer it for anyone else. It’s not rude, it’s self-sustaining.

ADD IMPOSED RELAXATION

This means something different for everyone. Some people reach optimal relaxation when doing yoga. Others get it from running, painting, or doing crafts. Often, it can be something simple like taking a bath or catching up on your favorite show. No matter what does it for you, it is key to introduce recreation and joy into your daily life on a regular basis. Otherwise, you will end up frazzled, and possibly resentful.

ELIMINATE READING UPDATES

Sure, Facebook is good for waiting rooms and long bus rides to work, but there are two big reasons to stay away from making it a daily habit.

So many of the perfect family holidays, vacations, and celebrations are falsely re-created snapshots that do not exist in real life. You might see your perfect friend with her perfect kids and perfect home, but not see that one minute after the photo was taken, the kids were arguing, the couple was fighting, and the Cinderella dream was dead. Comparing oneself to anyone (and especially on social media sites where nothing is reality) only sets you up to feel less than.

ADD MUSIC

There is something about music that is instantly soothing. When you turn on your favorite songs, your heart rate lowers, your mood changes, and you feel lighter, brighter, and happier. Just think of how much your home’s tone changes when you listen to the hostile news channels on television compared to turning off the television and playing your favorite song.

Music is an instant stress buster, so the next time your home could use a pick-me-up, turn up the volume, and sing your hearts out.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com

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