When we go through our homes & bag up unwanted items & send them on their ways to new homes, it feels like a weight has been lifted, doesn’t it? When we scroll through our news feeds & become pickier of who we follow, it feels inspiring & uplifting, wouldn’t you say? I’ve discovered doing all those things doesn’t seem like enough though. I wish we could donate our emotions & thoughts in the same exact way we donate a few old pieces of clothing. Why does the decluttering process have to take an immense halt when it comes to our minds & mental wellbeing? I think it’s something we seriously need to consider.
Our belongings fill voids of emotions we don’t want to acknowledge.
The decluttering process can become an endless cycle of bringing things in & sending things off. There were times where I felt like I wasn’t making headway with this less is more lifestyle. I’d get rid of bags of items & a few months later find myself with closets filled to the brim once more. There is a psychological component to consumption of all forms. We crave things because we know it makes us feel better. But in reality the things we tend to crave are the unhealthy things like scrolling through social media too much or buying tons of clothing or makeup or even food. It fulfills us in the moment but gradually that high goes away. To maintain a better wellbeing, we need to crave options that fuel us in a healthier way & don’t just give us that short lived satisfaction.
What we should focus on:
getting outside more often & even ground ourselves in nature
consume less media
Being One With Nature
During quarantine I learned the importance of getting outside. Even just opening the blinds & letting the sunlight peak through was enough. Taking walks in the neighborhood, breathing in that fresh air & just admiring the surroundings helped with my cabin fever & my overall mental health. In reality, when we are feeling closed in or not ourselves, we need to resort back to our roots of taking advantage of the Earth around us. As I was researching about this topic, I learned the concept of grounding & how we need to remember to use our senses & way of touch. Whether it’s doing some gardening or digging your feet in the sand at the beach, these actions actually benefit our mental wellbeing. I can attest to this because when we were renovating our backyard, I felt so alive. Although weeding was a lot of work & I got bit by a few bugs along the way, being outside in nature & away from technology gave me a sense of clarity.
Consume Less Media
As much as I love listening to podcasts & music during my walks, I made the habit to do these activities in silence. I think we drown our minds with sounds & voices so often we become restless when it’s silent. Even when I sleep, I’ve learned to rely on a sound machine. It’s something I’m trying to break from because in reality silence is peaceful. When I was pulling weeds in the backyard, I left my phone inside & just worked with merely the sound of the trees moving in the wind & the occasional chirp of a bird. I forgot how meditative that is. And I think we use these forms of media like binge watching a tv series or listening to music to drown out the thoughts we don’t want to acknowledge. Distractions can be healthy but if done too often, we are simply running from the problem instead of facing it.
Declutter Our Homes
This is something we know all too well. If we feel overwhelmed, we can get rid of a few things & clean our homes for some mental clarity. Although this isn’t the end all be all to feeling fulfilled, it’s still an avid step in mental minimalism. When our spaces are clear, so are our minds. On a seasonal basis, I go through our home, my social media & even personal relationships & see what I need to change. To get that boost in the right direction, sometimes it means to clean out a closet or organize the laundry room. It may seem insidental at first, but it actually trains our minds to have this less is more mindset.
Slowing down & just focusing on your breath is something so easy but also something we tend to forget. Lately, I’ve been feeling so busy & the other day I just sat in my favorite chair in my living room put on a relaxing youtube video [ shoutout to all my ASMR fans] & just meditated. I didn’t even close my eyes. I just stared into space & just completely let myself turn off my overthinking mind & just be one with this video. If someone walked in & saw me doing this they would probably think I was insane but it seriously relaxes me & sometimes even puts me to sleep. We need to learn how to balance our thoughts. We can’t let them eat away at us & cause headaches or worry. Telling yourself, “I’m setting those thoughts & emotions on the shelf at the moment & I’ll get back to them later” is the healthiest thing you can possibly do.
Find Free Activities
This might seem like an impossible task. But just like we should celebrate those small wins, we also must enjoy the simple things in life. I think we all can relate to the fact the pandemic caused us to see life with a different perspective. Some of my favorite moments are having a few people over the house & just having good & genuine conversations. Times we are getting to know one another on deeper levels is so priceless. Taking walks outside & admiring the views is something free we take for granted. I find those intricate plans & big events seem fun in the moment & are things I still enjoy, but those spontaneous times where no thought is given are ones I hold more dear. And on days I wake up with dread or sadness, I try to remember those precious & simple times. I try to find small ways I can make my day better. It doesn’t take much to maintain a sense of happiness. I think we place too much expectations where we end up feeling disappointed or let down. But if we focus on the big picture of why we are all here, I think our mental wellbeing would thank us for that.
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Minimalism is far more than getting rid of a few old belongings. To get to the core of the issue, we must look inward & take care of our mental wellbeing. We must not let our minds be filled with clutter & useless information. We must not let people’s opinions or projections flood our minds & cause pointless worry. As someone who struggles with anxiety & stress, learning about mental minimalism & decluttering my mind has been the best coping mechanism. So, you CAN donate & clean up your thoughts & perspectives just as easily as any other form of clutter. It’s probably the most crucial one of all.