Stressed to Stress-less: Steps to Simplify
Spring has officially sprung. This time of year, there is a sense of wanting to start over, and get rid of things that no longer serve you. A big spring cleaning project can quickly become overwhelming and stressful, taking up hours or days. Your energy and time are valuable, no need to let the pressures of the season fill you with dread when you can use a simple technique that I call the Energy Suck Assessment.
What is Energy Suck Assessment?
Traditionally, spring cleaning implies a complete overhaul of your physical environment and with that comes a lot of unnecessary stress. It may not be helpful for your mental health to put such a large task at the forefront of your mind. Instead of letting everything pile up, use the Energy Suck Assessment to address one item at a time. The assessment asks that you utilize moments of calm to evaluate your physical environment, social environment, and mental well-being. Take that time and think about just one task that would improve your well-being, even if it is small, and do it. This could be cleaning out one drawer and putting aside a few items to donate, or brainstorming ways to communicate better. Seemingly small improvements that take minutes and can make life feel doable. The Energy Suck Assessment will likely take on many forms.
Why do an Energy Suck Assessment?
This assessment helps you clear a path from where you are to where you want to be. By checking in with yourself regularly, even just once a month, you can declutter your brain and physical environment. Small moments and small changes compile to make a huge difference. Think of this process as a way to optimize your time and space in a way that works for you.
How to do an Energy Suck Assessment?
There is no right or wrong way to use this tool, in fact, there is no start or endpoint. Think of this as a healthy habit that helps prevent burnout and encourages personal growth. There are many ways to go about the assessment like using a gratitude journal, meditating, or applying your energy to a manageable task – find what works best for you. You determine how much time and energy you put in.
Getting the Ball Rolling: Ideas and Examples
You can choose who is worthy of your time and energy. Take a few minutes to think about your relationships whether they be friends, co-workers, romantic partners, or family members. Each relationship is different, you may want to learn to set boundaries for those who are not filling you up and practice saying “yes” to yourself.
It is easy to get bogged down by perceived obligations and let your physical environment become an ever-growing task for your future self to handle. Use the Energy Suck Assessment to formulate baby steps to enhance your space. Think about donating what you don’t use or need. What you cannot donate, recycle, or repurpose. What you cannot recycle, try to dispose of responsibly. In the kitchen, remove expired items from your pantry and fridge and donate unnecessary appliances and utensils. In your closet donate clothes that no longer serve you – they could mean the world to someone else.
You may also use these moments of clarity to think about how to repurpose items you already have before adding something new to the mix. Maybe the Greek yogurt with berries is not to your taste but adding curry powder and lime juice could be a satisfying dip for vegetables or your old sentimental t-shirts could be used to make a quilt instead of ending up at the bottom of your drawer untouched. The Energy Suck Assessment can open doors to new hobbies, passions, and relationships by helping you stay on top of the minutiae of daily life.
- It is okay to start and not finish it the same day
- Take things one step at a time
- It is not selfish to take care of yourself
- It may be spring but you do not need to take on everything all at once
- You are in charge of your energy and your time
To learn about creating your own simple, healthy meal planning system or find support to meet your health goals, schedule a free one-on-one Nutrition for Wellness Strategy Session with me!
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Cheers to your health!
By Alicia Connor, MA, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Chef
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Alicia Connor is a registered dietitian nutritionist and chef who is passionate about encouraging lifestyle shifts with a focus on meal planning and simplifying healthy eating. Alicia built a career as a chef, including working at a top San Francisco restaurant. As a young adult facing hereditary vision loss, she took control and pivoted to another career as a dietitian to grow roots deeper than ‘just cooking.’ She has seen the impact of meal planning and nutrition in her clients over the years, often through their increased energy, empowered weight loss journeys, and freedom to pursue more of their passions due to increased confidence.
Moving away from the mindset of dieting, Alicia helps clients build a toolkit of strategies to reduce stress and increase peace of mind. She supports her clients through one-on-one sessions and a virtual meal planning program to build helpful habits and create actionable plans to meet their goals.
‘Quick & Delish by Alicia Connor’ is a video cooking series on YouTube where Alicia presents easy recipes with minimal steps for flavorful, balanced meals.
- Woman happily dancing and singing with a mop
- Donation box full of clothes, books and dishes.
- Author photo: Alicia Connor a pretty brunette with dark wavy shoulder-length hair wearing a denim jacket as she leans on a kitchen counter with assorted veggies in front of her.