Simplify your life for better physical and mental health

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Take charge of the things weighing you down

It’s a great time to take a close look at your life and take charge of the things that are weighing you down — both physically and emotionally. Here are six ways to simplify — and empower — your life.

1. Organize your time. Are you always running behind or forgetting important dates? Smart time management can reduce stress and make life easier. Use lists and calendars to keep track of tasks, projects and appointments. There are many daily planner formats to choose from and a variety of apps to make this easier.

2. Clear the clutter. A messy house, a messy desk, a messy car — all of these things can zap your energy. Take a hard look at the items you own and decide which ones stay and which ones go. Then figure out the best way to manage the items you’re keeping. You can find all sorts of storage solutions online and at specialty stores. To keep clutter from building up again, vow to put things away immediately after you use them.

3. Learn to say no. You can do anything — but you can’t do everything. And a jam-packed schedule can make anyone feel overwhelmed and overtired. Turn down commitments that don’t spark your passion.

4. Plan to eat smart. A healthy diet can help ward off serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It can also reduce the risk of depression. Rid your pantry and refrigerator of less-than-healthy foods, and stock them instead with things like fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, dried beans, nuts, eggs, canned fish, whole grain pasta and olive oil. With a well-stocked kitchen, you can quickly and simply prepare a nutritious meal.

5. Make other healthful habits a priority too. Sleep isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity. Help your brain unwind by staying away from screens starting two hours before bedtime. Do your best to stick to a regular sleep schedule too. And use your scheduling tools to set aside time for some exercise. Moving more can boost your mood and help relieve stress.

6. Spend time with people who support you. That positive connection is important to good emotional health.

Sources: American Heart Association; HelpGuide; Mental Health America

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