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12 simple things you can do right now to reclaim your life (and sanity).

A woman jumping for joy - Reclaim yourself

Nowadays, life can feel really overwhelming and it feels like it’s getting worse. Burnout, instead of being treated as the (mental) health issue it really is, is rather becoming a badge of honour.

If you feel like life is flying past you, that you don’t have any control over your time and everyone wants a piece of you, you’ll probably be advised that self-care is the best way to address this feeling. But what does self-care actually mean and can it be used as a way to reclaim yourself?

The idea of reclaiming oneself is a powerful one. We have become accustomed of living our lives according to others' demands and their needs. Our boss, partner, kids, parents, friends and even random strangers on school Whatsapp groups seem to call all the shots.

What does it mean to reclaim yourself?

The Merriam Webster dictionary has one of these definitions for the word reclaiming - a : to demand or obtain the return of or b : to regain possession of.

These are powerful verbs that describe the process of once again finding yourself. Reclaiming yourself means that you make the conscious choice to follow your own life path. You no longer seek others' approval of your choices and you actively decide you are no longer going to be distracted by things that don’t serve the journey you’re on.

Reclaiming your life means that you realise it’s up to you to create your own happiness. It means taking ownership for the choices you make in your life and what you allow for yourself.

You have one precious life and if you feel it’s out of whack and that everyone else has a piece of you, it’s time to reevaluate your values and priorities. It’s time to take a step back and try another way of living life… This time on your terms and within your boundaries.

Reclaiming yourself is the journey we all go on, especially as we reach midlife, where we become more aware of our limited time on this planet.

We realise that some things are no longer working for us. If they haven't already been addressed in therapy, they’re now coming to the fore.

Your body may be communicating with you, telling you to slow down or take better care of it. Your family may be worried about the amount of work you have on your plate (or they may even be demanding more than you can give).

Reclaiming your life is like sculpting a masterpiece out of chaos. First, acknowledge burnout isn’t a personal failure; it’s often the system failing you. Start with boundaries—solid, firm, and non-negotiable. Weed out the unnecessary, then nurture your passions. Remember, self-worth isn’t tied to productivity; it's in the joy of being. Seek support, set achievable goals, and build a life that whispers, "This is me, unapologetically." It's about reclaiming your narrative and rewriting it with empowerment, grace, and fierce determination.


12 practical steps to start your journey of reclaiming yourself

Here are 12 practical steps you can take in the next few weeks to help reclaim yourself and your sanity.

1. Learn to say "No" because "No" is a full sentence.

Setting boundaries and saying no are crucial aspects of reclaiming yourself and nurturing your well-being. In a world where women often bear the weight of societal expectations and the invisible workload, learning to say no becomes a powerful act of self-empowerment.

"No" is a declaration of self-worth, signalling that your time, energy, and needs are just as valuable as anyone else's. By setting boundaries and saying no, you assert control over your life, creating space for activities and relationships that truly nourish and fulfil you. It's a fundamental step towards prioritising self-care and reclaiming agency over your own narrative.

3 tips for doing this:

  1. Prioritise your own needs and values, recognising that saying no is a way to honour them.

  2. Communicate your boundaries clearly and assertively (not aggressively, there's a difference), without feeling the need to justify or apologise for them.

  3. Finally, practice self-compassion and remind yourself that saying no doesn't make you selfish; it's a necessary part of maintaining your well-being and integrity.

2. Go to bed early or become an earlier riser

This is a simple action to take, yet few acknowledge its importance. It may feel like the nights after the kids are put to bed are the only times you get to have to yourself, but going to bed earlier and at a consistent time can do wonders for your state of mind.

4 tips to get this right during the week:

  1. Be mindful about automatically switching on Netflix and mindlessly becoming absorbed by the latest series. Could you be more intentional about what you watch on TV?

  2. Set a wind down alarm so that you can start your bed time routine at a consistent time.

  3. Make sure you leave devices plugged in far from your bed, so you can't be tempted to doom scroll before bed, or first thing when you wake up.

  4. If you feel like you need some alone time, why not wake up earlier in the morning and sit in silence or journal?

3. Declutter your space

You may be feeling overwhelmed because wherever you look around you, there’s a build up of clutter around you. This doesn’t help clear thinking and can keep you stuck in a particular pattern as well as keep you overwhelmed.

3 ways to handle this :

  1. Block some time out during the week to clean your office and desk or over the weekend to declutter your bedroom or kitchen. Anywhere really that you need to have calm and organisation.

  2. Have calm conversations with other family members and explain how the clutter and mess is making you feel. Ask for their cooperation and help to find a solution or help clean up.

  3. Donate what you don't need and feel good about helping other people.

4. Switch off the news and social media

The news today is particularly depressing. Whilst we can’t be unaware of what’s going on in the world, news channels make their money out of keeping you hooked into the drama, like an addict to an intravenous drug.

So do social media companies.

Enjoy feeling more positive and in control of your news feed. These are three immediate things you can do:

  1. Make the choice to limit social media and surfing news sites - set a timer on your phone or a timer within apps like Instagram or YouTube to remind you to switch off.

  2. Don't look at social media just before bed or first thing when you wake up. Rather look during the day, and after your most important work has been done.

  3. Take control of your notifications - Purposefully go into your phone settings or email settings on your computer and don't allow notifications or sounds to play. You'll be amazed at how much time an d focus you free up!.

5. Time-block your calendar

Make a list of the most important tasks draining your energy and keeping you awake at night. Tackle these by blocking out time to address them. If they are really large tasks, break them down even further and dedicate at least an hour every day to making them go away or by resolving issues. This will help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control. If you need a really simple, but effective planning tool, download my FREE Weekly Productivity Planner here.

6. Stop seeking validation from others

It’s exhausting trying to keep everyone around you happy. As a mom especially, much of our identity is wrapped up in solving other people’s problems or helping others. When we rely on others to make us feel good, we give away our power and our self-esteem dwindles.

When you start to feel the familiar feeling of resentment come over you because you never got the reaction or the validation you expected from someone else, take a pause.

Get curious about what it is you’re expecting and what you can do in future to ensure you are not taken for granted. Learn to verbalise what you need and be clear in your communication with others.

7. Reconnect with friends

The pandemic really altered the way we socialise and connect with people. So many of us were affected by the isolation from being in lockdown, unable to see people face to face. As we've come out of this long period, it’s good to start reconnecting deeply with people that matter.

3 tips for you:

  1. Plan time every week to reconnect with at least one person who you haven’t seen in a while.

  2. Spend time with only people who fill you up and want the best for you.

  3. Monitor how you feel after you've spent time with certain people. Do you feel drained or energised? Are you seen for who you are, or ignored and spoken at during conversations? Journal your feelings and look for connections.

8. Go away on a solo retreat

We’ve spent so much time at home being cooped up with family or worked so hard that getting away from routine and family could be a blessing. Take yourself away on a mini solo retreat, even if it’s only for a weekend. Give yourself permission to sleep late, eat what you like and do exactly as you please.

9. Get your body moving

There is a proven link between leading a sedentary lifestyle and depression. Even if you go for a walk or do a workout in front of the TV, try to get your body moving. You’ll find that as soon as endorphins start flowing, you’ll feel better and you’ll gain perspective, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed.

3 effective tips to get your body moving:

  1. Schedule time in your diary, and treat it as an important appointment you can't miss, so that you get moving consistently.

  2. Switch up activities so you don't get bored. Everyday try something new.

  3. Think of unconventional ways to move. This could be a Youtube belly dancing lesson one day, a yoga session another day or a walk to the shops another.

The benefit can be felt almost immediately. Clearer mind, anxiety relief and overall positivity. Plus some weight loss and toning is not too bad either ;)

10. Set new goals

What better way to reclaim your life than by setting new and exciting goals? Maybe your previous goals need a refresh or they've now been achieved? How far have you come towards achieving them?

A goal overhaul could be what you need.

4 ways to do this :

  1. Do old goals still excite you? if not, why?

  2. What is your why behind any of your goals? Be sure you can identify EXACTLY why you have set the specific goals that you have.

  3. Do your goals match up to your values?

  4. Examine your current goals - can they be smartened up? Look at making them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and assign a time to them.

This process may spur on other ideas and thoughts and get you excited again about where your journey is taking you.

Alternatively, I offer a powerful 2-hour planning Zoom session to deep dive into your values, goals and map out the key actions for YOU to focus on for the next 3,6 and 12 months. Totally personalised to your situation and vision for life.

11. Try something new

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, the solution could be to try something new.

Have you always wanted to learn the piano? Buy a course online! Why not? What have you got to lose?

Want to get out in nature? Join a hiking group and meet new people.

When we introduce novelty into our lives, it kickstarts creativity and positivity. It also builds confidence.

What have you always put off because of some or other excuse that you could now feasibly entertain?

And if you’re hesitant, journal about the reasons why you may be scared. You’ll be surprised that once verbalised, your fears might not be so relevant after all.

12. Break up with your inner "Good Girl" and reclaim yourself

Understanding and challenging the idea of being the "Good Girl" can be a game-changer for reclaiming your true self.

By recognising how societal expectations and self-sabotaging beliefs hold you back, you can start a journey towards authenticity and empowerment. Letting go of these constraints allows you to live more freely, making choices that align with your genuine desires and leading to a more fulfilling life.

How long does it take to reclaim your life?

The process of reclaiming yourself can’t be done in a weekend. You can’t time-block this out and expect to have it done and dusted in a few days. It’s an ongoing process and journey, and sometimes when we feel lost or we can’t see the wood for the trees, it’s good to remember there are a few things we can do to see clearly again and reconnect with that voice within.

It's little actions taken every day, consistently, that start to produce results.

All the best on your journey towards reclaiming yourself.

If you're willing to experiment with different ways of doing things to reinvigorate your life, why not work with me to inject new energy into your life & set juicy goals?

What do you have to lose?

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