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Posted on 02-05-2018

Family Crisis and a Lesson on Clutter                                     Article of the Week Feb 5 to 9, 2018

A week and a half ago I was in downtown Toronto with my daughter when I got a phone call from my wife Jennifer in a great deal of distress.  It just so happened that the timing of the mild weather and thawing coincided with the failing of both of our sump pumps in the basement.  Our finished basement was taking on water and we were in a full-on panic to get our furniture out of the basement before it became irreparably damaged.  Even though Maddie wasn't done her course I raced home from Toronto to help Jen move furniture and assess the damage. 

Sorting through boxes and bins has given me the opportunity to get re-acquainted with the things we have had in storage and re-assess what should stay and what can go.  Over the years we tend to accumulate more and more “stuff” - photos, clothing, mementos, books, camping gear, sports equipment and more.  While the world tells us that things make us happier and more fulfilled, I actually found that research says the opposite is true.  Reducing clutter and getting rid of what you don't need can actually make you happier and healthier.

One particular study by a team of researchers from Princeton University found that people who worked in a cluttered space experienced greater stress and performed more poorly than those who worked in a de-cluttered space.  Another study assessed mothers who lived in homes filled with toys and clutter.  These women were found to have elevated stress hormones including cortisol that subsided after they left the clutter of their homes.  Being surrounded by clutter can create a low-level anxiety that erodes your health insidiously over time. 

Your body is designed to deal with short term stress but when stress is chronic and longstanding it can detrimentally affect your health.  Elevated stress hormones have been linked to everything from heart disease to digestive issues to depression.  The question I want you to answer this week is, are you living in a chronic low-grade environment of stress due to clutter in your life?  Not only will it slowly rob you of your health, it will also reduce your productivity.

As you begin the process of reducing clutter in your life, attack things one zone at a time.  Begin with the zone that you will be able to de-clutter the fastest and move on from there.  Key clutter zones include your bedroom closet and/or dresser, bathroom, kitchen, office and garage.  Here are some simple suggestions to help you.

  • Wardrobe – Purge clothing you haven't worn within the last year.  A simple trick is to turn all of the hangers in your closet backwards, and as you wear each item turn the hanger around so it is facing you again.  Whatever is facing backwards at the end of the year, consider donating
  • Digital sweep – consider going paperless with your bills.  Unsubscribe from email lists that you no longer use.   Invest in a shredder to get rid of old bills and paperwork no longer needed.  Remove unused applications on your smart phone
  • Pull everything out (one zone at a time) so you can clearly see what you have and place items in 3 separate piles for keeping, discarding or donating.
  • Use the “tape trick” - if you are considering something but concerned you may use it in the future, put a piece of tape on it with the date.  Put a note on your calendar to go and check these items in 6 months or a year to see if you have in fact used the item.  If not, consider donating or dumping

Chances are you know the areas that are the highest priority.  Overall I consider myself a fairly organized person who does not hang on to things that I don't need or use, but this recent domestic crisis showed me that I have areas that I can raise the bar.

A cluttered physical space is often accompanied by a cluttered mental state.  Take this simple step to improve your state of mind and overall health.

Warmly,

Dr. Tim

Grace Chiropractic – 1-3230 Monarch Drive – 705-323-9100 – http://gracechiropractic.ca

Upcoming Closures- Wednesday Feb 14 & Monday Feb 19 2018

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I have been attending Grace Chiropractic for many years now. Dr Tim was the first chiropractor I saw, and he is is much more than just a chiropractor. Dr Tim and the rest of the office staff are so focused on the well being, mind, body and soul, of each of their patients. You never walk into the office without a warm greeting, and you always leave with an uplifted spirit. Dr Tim not only makes adjustments and corrects any pain, but he gives you the tools to adjust your lifestyle to ensure you are the healthiest version of yourself. I am very grateful to all the staff at Grace Chiropractic!

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