I don’t know about you, but I often feel easily overwhelmed during this time of year. It’s bad enough that the sunlight seems to last as long as the lifespan of a fruit fly and that I need to mainline vitamin D just to feel like a normal person, there are also the holidays to contend with. On the one hand, there is this feeling of celebration, when we all slow down and sort of “dial in” the end of the year. Yet, on the other hand, while we may be slowing down on some things (I cant tell you how many people have said to me we’ll connect further after the holidays), we seem to put those extra reserves towards other things, like holiday shopping, spending money we don’t have on gifts people don’t need and getting though this season with some sort of grace intact.
When I get overwhelmed I crave simplicity. It’s just so easy to get distracted and feel like I’m being pulled in too many directions. The crazier I get the more I want to eliminate extra stuff from my life. It seems to be my only defense against the holiday madness.
Simplicity can come in many forms, but basically it’s about culling down to the bare essentials that you really need and leaving the rest behind. While one would think that the more options we have the easier it is to make a decision, the opposite is actually true. If you’ve ever watched Barry Swhwartz’s TED.com talk on the Paradox of Choice you would really understand.
I often explain this concept with my clients this way: Think about the last time you went to a diner and the waiter handed you a menu with multiple pages. You know, those diner menus that have just about every food option imaginable, how long did it take you to make up your mind on what to eat? A long time, right? Now, think about a time when you went to a restaurant where the menu had one page of options that contained only a few appetizers, a few entrees and a few desserts. I bet it took a lot less time to choose what you wanted to for dinner.
Too many choices, too much stuff, too much stimulation creates decision paralysis and, while it is nice to have the luxury of an abundance to choose from, it can also sideline you and slow you down. This is why I crave simplicity when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I have too much to do to get stuck on something that takes too much time to figure out. Choose and move on is what I live by when I’m stressed out.
Why am I bringing this up? After all, isn’t this a blog about fashion and style? Well, how we do one thing we usually do everything and the closet is often a great indicator of how the rest of your life is working. What does it look like in your closet? Is it overwhelming, disorganized, do you have too much stuff? Ask yourself if you’re really saving yourself time by having more than you need? This is the common American affliction…stockpile so you can have an abundance of choice. However, what is that abundance of choice in your closet really getting you besides hamstringing you with the extra time spent trying to figure out what to wear? Don’t be fooled by the idea that more is more…it’s quite the opposite, and the saying is quite true, less really is more.
Sure, there is little we can control during the holidays, the drama, the frenzy, the stimulation, however, when times get crazy we really can get control by thinking about the areas of our lives where we really can tailor it down and remove the sheer overwhelm of too much to choose from, from too much stimulation.