The Power of Choice

As someone who seeks joy from simplicity and is no stranger to the rewards of owning less, I often find purchase decisions overwhelming. Take the grocery store for example: it’s not uncommon to spot me agonizing over ice cream flavors, chocolate chip varieties, or tea blends. Do I want pistachio or salted caramel? Mini or semi-sweet? Mint medley or pure peppermint? Don’t get me started on deciphering among toothpaste brands or picking out the perfect greeting card.

It’s not just grocery stores either. It’s clothing stores, communication stores, app stores, and home goods stores. I can barely decide what book to read next, let alone what color socks to buy.

It can be challenging to sift through the number of options we have at our fingertips, whether we’re browsing for bed sheets or baking soda. In many ways, variety on our supermarket shelves and in our shopping centers is a blessing. It allows us to personalize our homes and wardrobes and transform our gadgets into personal assistants.

It lets us exercise freedom in deciding what enters our lives and what doesn’t and experiment with new ways of being.

It fosters creativity, connection, brand loyalty, and innovation. There’s something comforting in knowing that self-expression can be sought from a number of shades, textures, shapes, and sizes. Apple’s trademark phrase, “There’s an app for that,” is no longer just a figment of our imagination, but a rapidly evolving reality.

I was reminded of this recently by the influx of applications being offered for free or at a discounted rate as the world rides this tremendous wave of fear and uncertainty. Developers of health and fitness, meditation, and education platforms are taking note and doing their part in hopes of easing the suffering many are experiencing.

As an avid meditator, I was initially tempted to take advantage of each new offer coming my way. Like a kid in a candy store, it was hard to resist that which was now so easily accessible. And free!

But I soon found myself feeling a bit panicked: how was I going to keep up with all of these programs? Would I find each of them useful? What would happen when the promotion period ended – would I be inclined to subscribe, and if not, would I miss what I once had?

Our values can be so easily compromised when temptation arises. I don’t typically fall for flash sales, one-time-only offers, seasonal promotions, or drastic discounts. But I briefly entertained the idea of opting in because I worried that if I didn’t, I might be missing out.

If you find yourself struggling with similar thoughts, I encourage you to be mindful of what you’re saying yes to. When I asked myself what I’d be committing to, I realized I was pretty happy with the meditation practice I already had. I knew that I’d likely get overwhelmed by trying to keep up with all the new content being rolled out and didn’t want to create stress around a ritual that was meant to be relaxing.

In the end, I realized that it wasn’t realistic or useful to increase my meditation practice tenfold. I recognized that I was more excited about the idea of a premium product being made available at little or no cost than I was about many of the products themselves.

I made a conscious decision to limit my use to one app and I’m so glad I did. Perhaps, you prefer having two or three apps to choose from and that’s ok too. Understand what you’re needing during this time and be deliberate in how you go about obtaining it. If you feel that familiar urge rise up to say yes to something simply because it’s free, ask yourself how it might serve you and if it fills a need that isn’t currently being met elsewhere. Sometimes giving yourself a day or two to decide can help you connect with the feelings beneath the surface that might be driving your impulses.

We can’t always limit the number of options from which we have to choose, but we can remind ourselves of the deep joy to be found from owning less. We can maintain the routines and rituals that ground us and recognize that their simplicity is part of what makes them soothing. We can challenge ourselves to say yes with conviction to that which makes us feel whole and connected, and no to that which leaves us feeling empty and in a state of longing.

We can remember, today and every day, that the strength and calm we seek resides within.

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Share Your Coping Skills

As we navigate this continued period of increased stress, fear, and uncertainty, I’d like to invite you to share some of the coping skills and resources you’re relying on to bring a little extra light, joy, or laughter to your days. How are you taking care of yourself? What have you found most helpful? I hope that sharing your voice will not only provide a positive outlet for self-expression, but offer the chance to make a difference to those who might be struggling.

Please complete the brief survey by using the link below. You are welcome to do so anonymously if that’s most comfortable. I’ll be compiling responses in a future post that I hope will introduce you to some new ideas or simply serve as an avenue for deeper reflection.

Click here to complete the survey.

For immediate help managing stress and anxiety, please consider the following resources:

Disaster Distress Helpline
Call 1-800-985-5990

NAMI HelpLine
Text NAMI to 741741

United Way Worldwide
Call 211 from your phone or computer

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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What Story Will You Tell?

It’s Monday, a day often dreaded, that many of us would be heading to the office or ushering the kids out the door after a weekend of playdates, errands, and Sunday brunch with friends. Instead, you might find yourself having to adjust your routine and settle into a new normal. As we contend with school closures, social distancing, and quarantines, we’re being called to change our lives in drastic ways, most of which, we never imagined.

Whether you’ve been blessed with more free time or are having to dial back on work responsibilities to home-school your kids, you might be feeling anxious, restless, giddy, relaxed, or all of the above. You might be reading, working out, playing games, and catching up with old friends more. You might be praying, journaling, and going for walks each day, activities that were once merely aspirational. You might be sitting in silence each night and reminding yourself that we’re all in this together, returning to the familiar mantra, “One day at a time.”

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The Little Book of Self-Love Special Sale

The Little Book of Self-Love is now available for $1.00 (regular price $4.99) as part of a special sale. My goal is to make it accessible to all, particularly those who might be experiencing heightened fear or anxiety during this time.

The Little Book of Self-Love serves as a beginner’s guide to exploring the ways we can express greater compassion, understanding, and kindness toward ourselves. It’s been updated to include a 100 Days of Self-Love Challenge with weekly themes and daily activities so you can take your self-care routine to the next level.

You’ll get 15 weeks of inspiration to start tackling everything from your bedtime routine and exercise habits to your relaxation and gratitude practices. Here’s a sneak peek from week 11:

Week 11: Start Fresh

– Wake up 30 minutes early

– Eat breakfast outside

– Read positive affirmations before you start your day

– Make a breakfast smoothie

– Do a morning stretch routine

– Read for 10 minutes before getting out of bed

– Visualize your day

I hope this guide serves as a steady companion as you experiment with taking care of yourself in new ways. If you’ve purchased a copy and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review in the comments section. Click Read More below to purchase your copy today! To ensure delivery, please provide a valid e-mail address and allow up to 24 hours for it to arrive in your inbox.

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