The past couple of weeks my posts have been really deep and vulnerable (which I love!), but that isn’t a true representation of all that I am. I love to have fun, make a fool of myself, and enjoy life. I thought it would be fun to show you guys some of the ways I’ve learned to take life less seriously without being unintentional and reckless. It’s easy to believe the lie that “not taking life so seriously” means not taking life seriously at all. Let me tell you friend, that lifestyle gets old, it never leaves you feeling fulfilled, and it’s almost impossible to achieve. So, let’s dive in and have some fun!
1. The first step to taking life less seriously is realizing what matters most to YOU. Then you can evaluate if what you’re worrying about really is worth it.
This step is crucial in order to start taking life less seriously. It helps you figure out what you want to spend your time and energy on and makes it easier to let the little things go. It makes you realize how many of the things we worry about really do not matter. This is by far one of the best ways to gain perspective.
I would recommend picking a top five. This simply means picking your top five priorities. The five things that matter most to you. For me those would be my walk with Jesus, my marriage, ministry, my friends/family, and my schooling/job. These are what I am most focused on in my life right now. This is what matters most to me in this season. This brings up a good point – your top five can change. Over time your priorities change, your interests change, and even your resources change.
Now that I have my top 5, I can filter my worries, problems, and concerns through those categories. I can look at every problem I face and ask if it affects my top 5. If it doesn’t, it’s a little easier for me to let it go and quit putting so much time into worrying about it. It’s not always that easy, but I promise you it helps. Eventually, it will be like clock work and you don’t even have to think about it!
2. Make time to rest and relax a priority.
Often times, the reason why we feel worried, stressed, or overwhelmed with our lives is because we have ran ourself dry. We have tried to do every single thing we possibly could do (GUILTY!!) and we just end up exhausted! We get burnt out on the things we are passionate about and we lose our drive.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to rest and relax:
- I LOVE baths. In my apartment I had the BEST tub! I would take a bath every single night, and sometimes during the day as well. Baths help me unwind and relax in a way that I don’t normally do. I am a busy body type of person, but you can’t really do much when you’re stuck in a bathtub. So, it forces me to slow down and clear my mind. It’s also fun to try different bath salts, bubble baths, and candles. You get to make the experience your own. I am currently LOVING anything eucalyptus!
- I also LOVE naps! I truly believe I could nap my life away if I really wanted to. I like being able to stop and rest during the day. It makes me stop thinking about everything going on around me and what’s on my to-do list. I always feel better after a GOOOOOD nap, can I get an amen?! Now, I understand that many of you work a 9-5 job, so naps are kind of out of the question. But, I challenge you to take a break from being productive on that Saturday or Sunday you have off and take that afternoon nap you’ve been dreaming of.
- Something else I really enjoy, that helps me rest without feeling unproductive, is hanging out with people who fill my cup! For me, rest can be spending time with those that I love and who encourage me, make me laugh, and love me well. I am definitely an extrovert and being around people reenergizes me!
- I think we can all relate to this one, it is so nice to sit down, your favorite beverage in hand, maybe even a good snack, and watch some of your favorite television. I love to watch Bob’s Burgers, Parks and Rec, Criminal Minds, Chopped, and those are just a few of my favorites to binge watch. Anybody with me on that? That is often how I rest, because sometimes the other options aren’t practical or possible with my schedule. Another cool aspect of this is that others can do it with you! You could watch tv with a group of friends, your spouse, or your family, while still taking time to pause in your day.
Each person is different and rest for you may look totally different. For instance, my introverted husband doesn’t get reenergized by being around people like I do. My husband, bless his heart, gets reenergized by organizing files, reading a book, and being in his own little world. (Yeah, I don’t get it either..it’s best not to ask, but I would love to know what goes on in his world.) It’s all about figuring out what works for you! However you like to rest, make time for it in your week, or even in your everyday schedule. It is so important to make sure we don’t get burnt out or exhausted and that we are making sure to take care of ourselves.
3. Disconnect so you can connect.
The last thing we need to do when life is dragging us down is compare our lives to everyone else’s. Social media is constantly shouting “be this way and not this way” or “like this, but not this”. It creates confusion and never allows us to be okay with who we are, where we’re at, and where we’re going. In reality, we are all going through the motions of struggles, victories, and just trying to make it to the next day. We are all trying to figure out this thing called life one day at a time. Let me tell you one thing I know for sure, there is absolutely no winning when it comes to comparison. You either end up feeling defeated or prideful, neither of which is healthy, right, or going to make you feel any better.
I know for me, I spend a lot of time on social media. (Is anyone else guilty of this?) When I start to get consumed in everything going on in my life, social media never seems to make me feel better about my situation. Taking time away from your phone, computer, or tablet helps in more ways than one. It causes you to be present. It allows you to spend time with the people you love. It creates space for you to get things done that may be creating some of the chaos in your life. It lets us clear our minds and think for ourselves as opposed to stealing the thoughts of someone online. I could go on and on, but you get the point. I advise everyone take time in their day to log off and disconnect. Disconnect so you can connect.
Trust me, I know it’s easy to hide behind your phone when the going gets tough, but I promise you, you’ll be able to see things more clearly when you put the screen down.
5. Shift your focus: make a list of the good things.
I LOVE making lists. It’s kind of a stress reliever for me to write things down and see them on the page. So, something that I do when I get overwhelmed is make a list. I have a few different lists that I write quite frequently: what I am thankful for, what good things happened to me today or this week, and listing the things that God has been doing in my life. These things can be small or big. It just helps me gain a perspective of the good things as opposed to the negative things.
6. Be flexible and enjoy the journey.
One of the main factors to mastering being flexible and enjoying the journey is being content where you are. It is so important to learn how to be content in whatever season you are in. If not, you are constantly chasing the wind. You’ll be aiming for what’s next and never be able to truly be present. We need to become experts at taking life one day at a time. That is the only way we will be able to create and truly cherish those deep, intentional, and life -giving relationships.
Another side of it is just being open to change during the journey. I have always struggled with being flexible and it is something I have been working really hard on. I like structure, plans, and to know what to expect. Sometimes structure can be damaging. We need to learn the balance between the two, because being too versatile can end with us getting taken advantage of. I am learning how to find joy in the unknown and being more able to “go with the flow.” I don’t have this down yet, but I am definitely working on it!
I’m sure, if you’re anything like me, you’ve had many moments where you felt like the world was ending, like everything was working against you, like life had become too much, and like you were never going to be able to make it out alive. BUT YOU MADE IT!! Take that and run with it! You made it and you can make it again! And again! Oh yeah, and again! You are stronger than you think! Be flexible, have fun, do things you’ve always wanted to do, and LIVE YOUR AWESOME LIFE!!! You are the ONLY person who can live your life, so only you have the chance to make the most of it! I am here cheering you on!! I hope I provided you with some practical things to implement into your day-to-day life to really enjoy your journey! Not only do I want you to enjoy it, but I want you to own it, make it your own, and love it! Life is too short to spend your time worrying about things that don’t matter, stressing about things that are years ahead of you, and comparing yourself to where someone else is at. Have fun, embarrass yourself, dance in the middle of Walmart, and make the most of this one wild life.