How to have a less stressful 2017: Do some serious decluttering between Christmas and New Year

Streamlining everything from your home to your friends will give you the focus to achieve your goals

Rachel Hosie
Tuesday 27 December 2016 13:13
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This year, a study found that stress in British workplaces has reached record levels. Our stress levels are rising, which is having worrying consequences on everything from our relationships to our mental health.

And whilst we’re sold a multiple of supposed relaxation methods from mindfulness to colouring, there’s one simple, proven way to de-stress and make it last: decluttering.

Studies have found that clutter does more than just get in the way - it actually has a harmful psychological effect too.

According to psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter, “clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli, causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren't necessary or important.” It also distracts us, makes us feel like there’s always work to do and creates feelings of guilt.

Clutter has been proven to make us struggle to focus too - a study in 2011 found that having chaotic surroundings makes it harder for you to focus than if you were in an organised, tidy setting.

So it turns out there’s more behind ‘tidy house, tidy mind’ than you might have thought.

And what better time to declutter and set yourself up for a stress-free year ahead than Twixmas - the awkward lull between Christmas and New Year’s Eve when the majority of the nation is sprawled on the sofa eating chocolates and leftover sandwiches.

Twixmas provides the perfect opportunity to streamline everything from your wardrobe to your kitchen.

But whilst some people are great at chucking things out, many of us are hoarders who struggle to let go because, well, you never know when you might need that sparkly gold leopard costume, right?

A lot of experts recommend starting in the kitchen - it’s easier to throw away out-of-date tins than clothes, and the feeling of satisfaction you’ll get should spur you on to keep going.

And if you find you have lots of perfectly fine items like books or DVDs that are just sitting around gathering dust, donate them to a charity shop - you’ll feel better and more inclined to carry on culling.

It’s not just decluttering your home that will drastically improve your life though - streamlining your social media and friends could set you up for a much happier, healthier and less stressful year ahead too.

Many of us cling on to old friendships that no longer bring any good into our lives purely out of habit, but there’s no need. Life’s too short to waste on 'friends' who bring you down.

And if there are certain people whose social media posts always make you feel inferior, just de-friend them.

Streamline your life and you’ll set yourself up for a healthier, more successful new year - you’ll sleep better, be more relaxed and find it easier to focus on your goals. Or you could just sit there and eat another mince pie. Your call.

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