Stressless Style

Small Changes. Big Differences.

These days, you hear a lot about self-care and wellness. Everyone wants to get well, be well and do well. Most of us do our best to take good care of ourselves, too, but sometimes life gets complicated. There’s often so much to do, and many of us put such a premium on staying busy all the time. We’re so busy—caught up in our own work, caring for others or putting everything into what we think we should get done—that we can neglect ourselves and overlook our own needs.

Maybe we should banish the word should from our vocabularies and just slow life down a little. Smell the flowers. Pause more often to truly take in the sights and the sounds, reveling in all the senses—the basic joys of simply being alive—rather than being so task-oriented. Talk is cheap though, right? It’s only through taking action that we can make real differences in our lives.

Sure, it’s easy to say these things and even to agree with them. Who doesn’t want to slow down and get more out of life? The problem is, change is scary, and transforming our entire approach to how we think about and live our daily lives sounds at best time-consuming and difficult, and at worst overwhelming, but there’s one little secret to making this whole thing work: Start small.

Small changes can make big differences in our lives. There, I said it. My revelatory, grand pronouncement and thesis, unveiled. It sounds simple because it is, but its potential impact can be transformative, if you let it. Again, however, for it to be effective, you must choose action over talking points. Small changes can begin inside your home or involve behaviors and lifestyle.

Either way, small remains the key word. If you’re intimidated by the idea of attempting to change your own behavior, look to your home. Start with a single room where you spend a significant amount of time. Consider your color scheme in this room and whether it still pleases you. Ask yourself simple questions. How do I feel when I walk into this room? Is the atmosphere welcoming and open, or busy and cramped? Is there enough natural light? Is there enough furniture? Is there too much? Is it comfortable and accommodating? What small changes can I make to this one room that could make it better suited for what I do when I’m in it? A little paint, a throw rug, a lamp, a new sofa or an extra bookshelf can change a room’s entire vibe.

Meanwhile, if the first small changes you have in mind relate to yourself, consider your lifestyle. Think about your habits and routines and whether they’re making you a healthier person—physically, mentally, emotionally or otherwise. When this particular behavior occurs, how do you feel about it afterward—physically, mentally, emotionally or otherwise? Are you serving your own best interests? Is the outcome better health? If not, you’ve found a candidate for a small change.

Remember, it’s a new year. Time to redirect your focus onto wellness. Getting well, being well and doing well can start simply, with small steps around the home or in your life. Either way, small changes can make big differences. Start with one, and you’ll be on your way to another.