Recently I was reading a post by another blogger about how her life has changed after having a baby. With a newborn, her life consists of nap time, feeding and nappies.
This from a woman who runs a travel blog worked in a high-profile job and was used to traveling on a regular basis.
She was very happy but she did make the comment that her life had gotten a lot smaller.
Her comment got me thinking and made me realize I’d had a similar thought about my own life recently.
Life can feel like it’s gotten smaller for a variety of reasons.
Like my blogger friend, you may have a newborn baby, have fallen sick or be recovering from an injury, lost your job, be looking after a sick or elderly relative, newly divorced or heartbroken, moved to a new city, or a whole bunch of other things.
The issue might be time-related (you started a new business or job and you don’t have much time for anything else) or money-related (you lost your job or changed to a one-income family).
Whatever the reason sometimes life can feel small (and repetitive) and we need to be equipped to deal with it in
the best way possible.
Here are my tips on how to have a big life when your life feels small.
Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Any compensation I may receive does not affect the price you pay.
1. Embrace whatever love you have in your life
Hopefully, this is something you do on a daily basis anyway but it’s always good to have a reminder.
Embrace the love in your life. Love expands our lives.
Don’t worry if you aren’t married or are currently single. Love doesn’t have to mean romantic love. You might have a family, a baby, your friends, or a dog or cat that you love with all of your heart.
Not to mention the one person you need to love no matter what – YOU. Let’s not forget that big important love in your life!
Whatever love you have, embrace it. Treat it like it’s precious because it is.
Love expands fear contracts. Embrace love.
2. Adjust your attitude
Sometimes it’s all about your attitude.
If you are walking around all day thinking – My life’s a mess, My life sucks, I don’t have any friends (or anything remotely similar) guess what, no matter how great and big your life is, it will still feel small because of what you are telling yourself.
The stuff you think in your head makes a HUGE difference so it’s time to start policing that voice in your head. You can do this in a kind and loving way – this isn’t about beating yourself up and feeling worse.
It’s time to be aware of what you are thinking and get busy changing those bad habits.
If you are struggling with self-doubt or trapped in a negative loop from hell, I have the perfect online course for you. I completed this course myself at the beginning of the year and it was a total game-changer! The course is How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence.
This course is run by the amazing Mel Robbins over at CreativeLive. I wrote a review on how I think this course could benefit you so make sure you have a look. The great thing about online courses is that they can be taken in the comfort of your own home at your own pace.
Related post – 3 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Positive Self-Talk
3. Make peace with change
Life changes – whether we like it or not.
Change can be challenging and hard. It can leave us feeling confused, isolated, and sometimes lonely.
Jobs come and go, people come in and out of our lives and our lives might feel smaller as a result.
But that doesn’t mean that things won’t or can’t change for the better.
Our lives might often feel that they are expanding and contracting with change and it’s not something to be scared of, it’s just the way it is.
It is, however, something to be aware of, because the more we are aware of the more we can make peace with.
There are times when we need to stop fighting against change and make peace with it. I’m not saying this is easy, just that it’s essential. You lose more emotional energy fighting change than you would if you ran with it.
4. Look for the beauty and wonder (even in the little things)
Beauty is everywhere, you just have to look.
Sometimes you need to look past the messy/ugly stuff to see the beauty and wonder.
As an example, my garden is a complete and utter mess. It’s full of weeds and needs so much work it isn’t funny,
yet every now and then I get these gorgeous large red flowers pop up.
It would be easy not to appreciate them instead of choosing to only see all the weeds. But I don’t, I choose to see the beauty in my flowers.
I find beauty in the way the sun shines through the lounge room curtains and fills the room with a warm, cozy glow. Those same curtains are old, worn, and starting to fall apart but that does not stop me from seeing the beauty.
As a cat owner, I can find endless beauty in my cat. The way the sun hits his whiskers at certain angles, his eyes changing in different light, and the fact that his tail seems to have a life of its own.
These are all moments to be treasured as tiny as they are.
While we are often happy to capture the big moments, what about the smaller ones? Do we take the time to document those? Perhaps a hardcover photo book of the small but precious moments in your life right now will help you realize your life is bigger and more beautiful than you think.
5. Don’t compare your life to someone else’s
This is probably the biggest trap you can fall into.
If your life is feeling small the last thing you want to do is start comparing yourself to people who you perceive to have a bigger and better life.
Note I used the word perceive there for a very good reason. People’s lives don’t always look like they do on the outside (particularly when social media is involved).
Take some friends of mine who are on their honeymoon right now. They are having a blast, their wedding was amazing, and the husband has a brilliant job that allows him to travel around the world. Yes, I know it all sounds amazing and they do have an amazing life together.
Yet the new bride was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She fought it and thankfully won but she will have to deal with the lingering effects of the disease going forward. That’s not the stuff you generally put on Instagram.
There are always pieces of someone’s life that you don’t see. Everyone has their own stuff to deal with, so don’t compare yourself to people because you don’t know what’s going on in their lives.
Related post – Don’t Compare Yourself to People on Social Media
6. Have goals (they just might be smaller ones)
This one is really important.
Just because you aren’t planning a big goal for the year, doesn’t mean that you won’t have goals.
You should still be setting goals. You should still be planning and taking action.
It doesn’t matter if your goals are a bit smaller than the ones you usually set. Set them and accomplish them.
In fact, it could be a good training ground for achieving your goals. Ticking off smaller goals will get you in the right mindset to accomplish your larger ones.
Understand that your goals might be a bit smaller but that doesn’t make them any less special.
7. Find healthy ways to deal with stress
The emphasis here is on the word ‘healthy’ which can be the tricky part.
All too often when we are stressed we comfort ourselves with unhealthy habits. You know the ones – eating, drinking, watching too much television, drugs, shopping, sex, and gambling.
Consequently, these things mess with our lives by making us fatter, broker, more desperate, sadder, horrible to be around, and a bunch of other things (most of which are pretty nasty).
Which guess what – makes our lives feel even smaller.
I’m not going to tell you to go to a gym since I hate them and haven’t been to one in years myself but I will tell you this, try to find ways to de-stress that don’t involve your unhealthy habits.
I’ve started trying to stretch more and eat less chocolate. I’m drinking less wine. I’m trying to read and write more which helps with my stress levels.
Start small and build up. Start, be consistent, and at least you will be moving in the right direction.
I came across a great course on relieving stress recently. I haven’t taken this one myself yet (I’ve got two other courses I’m working on right now) but it might be just what you are looking for. It’s called Stress is Optional and is run by Dr. Cynthia Ackrill over at CreativeLive.
8. Honor the struggle
I read this expression by Brendon Burchard and it hit home for me.
As someone who is trying to build a business, it can sometimes be a struggle. Some days are a total joy and some totally suck.
Brendon’s attitude is to embrace the suck and be engaged, instead of telling yourself how much you hate doing it.
You can watch his video below. I totally love Brendon’s work and find him to be an inspirational leader who really knows his stuff.
9. Consume quality content
It’s important to be aware of what you consume.
What do I mean by consume?
It’s the television you watch, the books and magazines you read, and the websites and blogs that you read and check regularly.
If you watch a lot of television be mindful and aware of the sort of shows and movies that you are watching.
If you are consuming a lot of negative, violent, or just plain rubbish media; you are much more likely to feel negative. You might even start to feel numb or indifferent.
Lastly, be aware of how much content you consume particularly when it comes to television.
You don’t want to be telling yourself that you don’t have enough time to achieve your goals but spend 40 hours a week watching television.
You don’t want life to pass you by because you spent too long on the couch.
Related posts –
10. Focus on learning
Just because you might be stuck at home or not going out as much, doesn’t mean that you can’t advance yourself or improve your life.
Whatever topic you are interested in the clever folks at CreativeLive will have an online course for you. If you are interested in taking a course at home, check out the home pages (links above) to see the amazing range they have available.
11. Make your home a place you enjoy being in
I need to take my own advice with this one because my home is very disorganized at the moment.
I recently had a mold treatment done and it turned out to be a much bigger project than anticipated. Consequently, the contents of my kitchen cupboards are still in a box in the garage waiting to be unpacked (as well as quite a few other things). It’s not very tranquil at the moment but I’m working on it!
Your home doesn’t have to be spotlessly clean, fancy, huge, expensive, or anything like that but it helps if it’s somewhere you feel comfortable (even more so if you spend a lot of time there).
You want it to be a place you enjoy hanging out.
It can be easy to look at your home and only see it as a series of chores that need to be done. Yes, chores are part of having a home but try not to make it the largest part!
It can be easy to see all of the things that you want to buy for your home but don’t have yet (also known as the shopping list in your head).
Your home should be a lot more than chores and a shopping list.
As an introvert, it’s an important place for me because it’s where I recharge before heading back out into the world.
Look past the chores and the shopping list and look at what you already have. Appreciate it and enjoy it.
If for some reason you are stuck at home a lot, how about using that time to declutter?
You don’t have to suddenly become a minimalist but it might help to open the cupboards and drawers and have a look at what’s inside. And by cupboards, I mean all of them (not just the ones you use regularly).
I only have a small two-bedroom apartment but it’s mind-blowing how much stuff it can hold.
If you want to make your life feel bigger, perhaps having less clutter and stuff around you will help.
Clearing the old and making way for the new can be a very therapeutic and liberating exercise.
13. Get out of the house more
This one might apply if you work at home.
While I love working at home in my home office (which has a window with a lovely view of the trees and sky), it does have its cons as well. I spend a lot of time at home.
I have to be proactive and deliberate about getting out of the house. Not having a car is good because I tend to walk everywhere, which helps with my overall health.
If walking is not your thing, find other ways to make sure you get out of the house on a regular basis.
Related post – How to Relax at Home When You Also Work There
14. Go exploring
Sometimes our lives can feel a bit small because we are stuck in a rut.
You might go to the same places with the same people all the time. You might go to and from work the same way, do the same job for a long time, and eat the same foods.
You simply might not have enough variety in your life (even if you are a person who thrives on the same routine).
Rut. And you are stuck in it.
This means you need to shake things up. Try something different. It might be a new restaurant, coffee shop, lunch venue, or way to work.
It could be something as simple as taking in your surroundings more and paying closer attention.
It could mean putting your mobile phone down and looking at where you are!
15. Do things that don’t require a lot of money
Let’s be honest here, sometimes our lives get small because we are low on money.
I can personally relate to this one as money is tight at the moment.
I’m certainly not going to tell you to go out and have a great time and not worry about money, because that’s just not practical.
I will tell you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great time.
The most important thing is to spend your money where your joy is.
In other words, spend your money on things that make you happy (preferably things that you can afford that make you happy).
Related post – How to Do More of What Makes You Happy
16. Connect with different people
Earlier I mentioned embracing the love you have in your life. Obviously, a part of that is embracing the people you have in your life.
That doesn’t mean that you have to always hang out with the same people though. Actually, this could be a great time to connect with people you haven’t seen in a while.
One of the reasons our lives can feel smaller is that our relationships and friendships change. You might get divorced, break up with a partner you’ve been with for a long time or an important friendship in your life may come to an end.
These can all affect the way we perceive our lives to either be expanding or contracting. It’s not always the case (as sometimes we have fewer friends but a deeper connection with the friends we do have) but it can influence the way we feel.
Just a quick note on the people closest to you. Make sure they are reliable and turn up when they promise they will. When your circle of friends is small having one that cancels on you all the time can leave you feeling lonely and isolated.
Related post – How to Deal with the End of a Friendship
This headline should say laugh a lot.
Laughing is good for us and we all need more of it in our lives. Laugh as often and as big as you can.
When life gets too serious, what we often need is a damn good laugh.
Writing is such a therapeutic exercise. It helps clear the mind and calms the soul.
Buy yourself a journal (I like to get a pretty one so I enjoy using it or a guided journal with prompts to help trigger ideas) and get yourself into a regular writing schedule.
It doesn’t have to be volumes every day, just get your feelings out and down on paper on a regular basis.
This is one of those situations where old school is better. The act of putting pen to paper (as opposed to typing something into an electronic device) is part of the power of the whole process.
19. Be grateful
Even though your life might be smaller, you still have much to be grateful for.
I know there are times in life when it can be really hard to feel grateful. Illness, for example, can really mess with our feelings of gratitude.
Grab yourself a gratitude journal and get into the practice of regularly writing down what you are grateful for.
Don’t worry if it’s a struggle at first or if the things you are grateful for seem insignificant (they aren’t by the way, that’s kind of the whole point).
When we feel ungrateful, it means we are often overlooking the little things. The little things do count and can influence how we feel about the big things.
Write it all down in your journal and see how it starts to positively impact your life.
20. Understand you might be in a transition
Without realizing it you might be in a transition period.
Often when we have big changes in our lives, we transition from one way of life to another and the transition can be frustrating and overwhelming.
Transitions can make us feel like our lives are on hold.
I wrote a post specifically about transitions so make sure you read – How to Deal with Transitions.
21. Remember it’s not forever
Remember a lot of things are temporary. They aren’t forever.
This one really depends on your unique situation but it can be comforting to remember that dark times and difficult days don’t last forever.
Hang in there. Seek out the light when it comes around again.
22. Accept that just because we feel a certain way doesn’t make it true
Here’s the thing, just because you feel like you have a small life doesn’t mean it’s true.
It’s a feeling and feelings don’t always represent the big picture.
Feelings also change, they ebb and flow. What you feel one day, might be different tomorrow.
Try not to get too bogged down in your feelings. Instead, be more focused on your actions.
23. Understand there is nothing wrong with small
Since we have been chatting about this small life stuff, we need to address an important point.
You might want a smaller life.
By that I mean you might want to downgrade your job to something less stressful, you might choose to move out of the city for more peace and quiet, or you might choose a less social, more relaxed life.
Having a small life doesn’t mean having a bad one.
It means whatever it means to you – good, bad, different, wonderful – whatever.
24. Love your life (even if it is smaller)
Your life can be as big (or small) as you want it to be.
You are in charge of your life. Changing or improving your life is completely up to you.
You are responsible for loving your life in all its crazy, messy, beautiful glory – so do that with all the energy, passion, and joy that you have.
Here’s to a big life – whatever that looks like for you!
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