- June 14, 2017
- Posted by: Dr. Elise Cohen Ho
- Category: Health & Wellness
Please welcome guest blogger, Leah of Skin & Satori. Leah is a multifaceted blogger who is an advocate for Minimalism, Mental Health Awareness and Zero Waste.
Go to the gym. Walk the dog. After-school activities. Catching up with friends. Take the kids to school/daycare. Pick the kids up from school/daycare. Doctor’s appointments. Social media notifications going off every few minutes. BBQs with the family. Retail therapy. Renovating the house. Birthday Parties. Cleaning the house 5 times a week. Making breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Work, work, work.
On the go.
All the time.
“Work harder than you think you did yesterday.”
“Work Hard and become a leader, be lazy and become a slave.”
“Busy is the new happy!”
Affirmations like these are making people believe that being run off their feet is what is expected of them to be seen as normal by society. Society is glorifying busy and is turning us into stressed-out zombies with no time to just stop and take a breath. Then if you have the unfortunate added disadvantage of a mental illness like depression, you struggle to keep up. You also may feel like a failure when you can’t do everything that you feel is expected of you.
I am no super-mum, and I sometimes fail to even get the most menial of tasks done, like make dinner or give the kids a bath, when I am having a down day. Then add on top of all the duties of being a wife, a blogger and a person with my own hopes and dream it just isn’t possible for me to juggle all those balls at once. But I feel I need to, with a great big smile on my face, my hair perfectly coiffed and picture-perfect appearance.
So it was this feeling of failing to do EVERYTHING expected of me as a mum, a wife and a person which is what made me go in search of a better alternative. Surely I didn’t need to be superwoman to make it ahead in life and been seen as a normal functioning human being.
That’s when I heard about Minimalism. A movement that is gaining momentum because of the appeal of the freedom it offers.
I was telling my mother about this new thing I was into.
“Minimalism!” she scoffed.
“That is just how I used to live when I was young!”
And it’s true. People of the Baby Boomer generation, and earlier, have experienced this all before. It was their normal everyday life.
They didn’t have the distractions of constantly being “connected” to social media and work.
They lead simpler more carefree lives.
That is what I crave. That is what I crave for my children. A simple life with no distractions. Just the things that make us happy.
So how can Minimalism help us?
- Eliminate our discontent
- Reclaim our time
- Live in the moment
- Pursue our passions
- Discover our missions
- Experience real freedom
- Create more, consume less
- Focus on our health
- Grow as individuals
- Contribute beyond ourselves
- Rid ourselves of excess stuff
- Discover purpose in our lives
The First Steps to Becoming a Minimalist
Declutter your Home.
Everyone has seen all the tips to de-clutter your house, as a mum I feel like I spend most of my day cleaning so I am all for decluttering. It is a good place to start your journey. I love looking at a clean house, plus with less clutter it means less time to clean up and more time to focus on the important things in your life. These are a couple of sites with information on how and where to start decluttering. The Ultimate Guide to Conquering your Clutter and 7 Simple Habits for your Home.
Reduce your commitments.
Often times, our lives are too cluttered with all the things that we need to do at home, work, school, in our religious or civic lives, with friends and family, with hobbies, and so on. Take a look at each area of your life and write down all of your commitments. Seeing it all written down can be an eye-opening experience, as well as overwhelming. From here, look at each one and decide whether it really brings you joy and value, and if it is worth the amount of time that you invest in it. Another way to cut your commitments is to find a few that you truly love, and get rid of the rest. Learn how to say no and decline offers. If you drop the things that don’t bring you joy or value, you’ll have more time for the things that you love.
Reconsider your routines.
Many of us do not have any set routines in our daily lives, and simply tackle our obligations, chores, and daily tasks haphazardly. Without structure, it can lead to chaotic days and a drop in productivity. Instead, batch tasks together. Instead of doing your laundry several times throughout the week, do it all on one day. It’s helpful to write all of your weekly and daily obligations, chores, and tasks, and then plan out daily and weekly routines. Hang it up where you can see it and try to follow it. You might find that having a routine brings a new sense of calm and order to your life.
Being more conscious of life as it happens—may seem contradictory to those who are used to sacrificing living for pursuing their goals, but cultivating mindfulness will help you achieve your goals and enjoy life more. In fact, you’re more productive when you’re mindful, among other science-backed benefits.
But more importantly, being present is undoubtedly the only way to enjoy life to the fullest. By being mindful, you enjoy your food more, you enjoy friends and family more, you enjoy anything you’re doing more. Anything. When you are truly present things you might think are drudgery or boring, such as housework, can be amazing.
Try it: Wash dishes or sweep or cook, and remain fully present. It takes practice however it’s incredible when you do it.
All these tips have helped me lower my stress levels and appreciate living a slower, quieter lifestyle. For some people who may be of no interest or they are not ready for that style of living. But for people struggling to keep all their balls in the air or for people like me who suffer from a mental illness than this can be a worthwhile way of living.
And for those not ready for this kind of lifestyle, just remember… Never get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
This has been a guest post by Leah at Skin & Satori, please check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Do you live a minimalist life? Do you wish you did? Please share your thoughts in the comments.