Minimalism, Minimalism, organization

Mental Minimalism & How We Can Declutter Our Mind?

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

declutter our homes

meditate

find activities that don’t cost a dime

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.

You May Also Like: Messy To Minimal Series: Living Room | Kitchen | Bathroom| Closet

Meditate

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.

You Might Also Like: 10 Ways To Live a Stress Free Life

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.

B

self care

How To Have a Mindful Self Care Day

It took me a long time to realize how important self care is to our mind, body & soul. In a world where society preaches “the grind never stops” & “sleep is for the weak”, we almost get in the habit of thinking when we slow down & make time for ourselves it means we are being lazy & unproductive. As I’ve been adapting intentional living in my routines, I’ve learned it’s completely ok to take a breather for a while & just be. Slowing down & taking time for myself has helped me manage feelings of burnout & fatigue. I have gained a sense of balance. Here are 10 Mindful Self Care Techniques I Do Regularly:

  1. Morning Stretches: I have found as someone who is not a morning person whatsoever, taking the time to do some slow morning stretches or a short yoga practice helps me wake up & become energized for my day. I can feel rather stiff as soon as I wake up & this light movement & meditation grounds myself for the tasks ahead. It’s so important to stretch as it promotes proper blood flow & loosens up those tight joints after being asleep for 7 to 8 hours. This practice has also helped me with any feelings of anxiety or stress I may be having in the moment. Focusing on my breath & just intentionally slowing down teaches me to let go of these feelings of needing to always rush.

2. Make Your Bed: I am someone who wouldn’t make their bed in the past because I had the mindset it was pointless since I’d be getting right back in it later. But as I’ve developed the habit of making my bed in the morning, it immediately makes me feel like I have my life on track. And when I return to it in the evening, it’s nice to see a tidy bed awaiting me. The idea of appreciating slow living & properly doing my tasks has helped me let go of the notion of feeling like I never had time for such a small task. Before, I would always rush out of bed & let the sheets go haphazard & return to the mess later. It seems like such a silly change but I’m telling you it shifts your entire mindset for the rest of the day.

3. Wash Your Face: Would you believe if I told you I have a one step skin care routine? I’ve learned the more products you use on the skin, the more clogged it can be. Not to mention, I have rather sensitive skin, so experimenting with products is usually the wrong way to go. I simply use a gentle facial cleaner & wipe away with water. And somedays, I’ll just use water. To some of you, that may sound insane. But I’m telling you, my skin has been the most clear in years. Even though my skincare routine is fairly simple, it is still a vital step in self care. The feeling of clean face is underrated.

4. Fuel Your Body: Be mindful what you put into your body. But also be attuned to what your body may need. I’m someone who doesn’t like the concept of diet culture & more so someone who is striving for a balanced yet healthy lifestyle. If you feel you need more carbs one day, go ahead & eat that pasta. Having a sense of balance & understanding of properly fueling the body is a form of self care not a lot of us consider. Lately, I’ve been loving starting my day with a strawberry & banana smoothie. I’ll sit down at the kitchen table & savor each drop.

5. Rest: When we are in the swing of life & on the road to accomplishing goals, we forget burnout can creep up on us all of a sudden. I learned taking a break, resting & getting proper sleep are key components to staying productive & creative. A few months ago, I took a break from my blogging passion & that hiatus gave me the fuel to come back more creative than ever. If you want to hear more about this, click here. Make sure you get proper sleep. No one really thinks you are more successful if you pull all nighters on the regular. Sleep is in & burnout is out.

6. Vitamin D: Sunlight is the ultimate self care ingredient. I can’t even describe the feeling I get when I go outside even for just 15 minutes. Being cooped up in a house can be detrimental to the psyche. I’ve made the habit of getting outside more often whether it’s writing a blog post on our back deck or taking a walk in the early evenings. You can take vitamins to help boost these levels but there is something about getting it from its nature source that seems so much better.

7. Spending Time With Quality People: I guard my energy like it’s a piece of gold. I no longer try to waste time on people who drain it from me. Especially when I’m in the need of proper self care, I make sure to spend time with people who lift me up like my closest friends, boyfriend & family. Self care doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavor. I’m looking forward to seeing friends & family more often this summer & have proper get togethers. I’ve realized how much I need that to maintain happiness.

8. Cry it Out: I think society preaches the idea of positivity too hard. Instead, we need to be more acceptant of all emotions even if it’s negative ones. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned it’s ok to cry & that release is actually rather therapeutic. Anytime I am at this breaking point, I will either go to a room & lock the door or take a shower. But allowing myself to get those feelings out, as intense as it may feel, always relieves the pain I was holding in at the time.

9. Laugh it Out: Whenever I’m feeling down or just need some quality me time, I always find myself looking for funny videos or tv shows to watch. Some of my best moments are scrolling through TikToks with my boyfriend in the evenings. We catch ourselves laughing our asses off & honestly that feeling is magic to the soul.

10. Collecting Experiences: One of the best feelings is discovering a new place or learning a new activity. I think we all have the right to immerse ourselves in all kinds of experiences – new & old. Making memories & truly living in the moment is something we all need to do more often. I new outfit or a new makeup product doesn’t give me the amount of joy adventures do. It enriches the soul & brings a sense of happiness that is priceless.

Self care can mean a lot of things. It’s not just a pampering day at the spa or even a luxury trip. It’s something only you can define for yourself. It’s what brings you joy & rejuvenates your entire existence. Honestly, my self care list is never ending. Each day, I discover something new that helps keep the balance. Having a mindset of prioritizing such a need is something we all should get in the habit of doing. There is no shame in taking care of yourself.

What have you been doing for self care lately? I’d like to add more to my list.

-B

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Health, Self Growth

Don’t Let Negative Energy Put You in A Funk

Energy, whether it be positive or negative, flocks to me like a virus (is that analogy too triggering?). Not to get all cosmic with you, but we need to learn to protect our auras. Raise your hand if you are an empath? *raises both hands way up high* I’ve found I am someone who embraces emotions even when they aren’t my own. And sometimes those emotions aren’t always pretty. What do we do when we are constantly faced with negative energy? And how do we protect ourselves from letting said energy affect our lives?

I think we first need to understand the idea of empaths.

In my own definition, I find empaths to be warriors of emotions. They absorb energies from people & make them our own. They take the analogy “walk in someone else’s shoes” a little too far. If you are reading this thinking, “oh my gosh, that’s me”…this post is for you. I’ve been really trying to work on this side of myself & have been doing a bit of research & I think I’ve found some ways we can control this “superpower” we have.

Yes, I’m saying being an empath is a superpower. I think once we understand it better & learn to set boundaries for ourselves, we can use these traits for good. It’s when we surround ourselves with too much negativity and even toxicity, this is when being an empath isn’t too fun. Especially when those people are one’s we can’t necessarily cut out (ie. colleagues or family members)

UNDERSTAND THE FUNDAMENTALS OF EMOTIONS

We must first understand why people tend to gravitate to certain emotions. Use your empathic super power & understand we are all human & have a wide range of emotions from time to time. I’m sure you’ve had a bad day or even a bad month before. So, understanding where a person is coming from first, can help you in finding ways to then put those feelings into action. The thing about being human is we run on patterns. We tend to develop these habits that can, in turn, become traits in our personality. I tend to see people who side on negativity have in some way or another developed a bad habit, especially if the negativity is ongoing. Like any habitual trait, we must learn to combat it & not let it rule us. Don’t let negative thoughts become your comfort zone.

CUT THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE

This might sound harsh but bare with me. Taking the minimalism techniques I talk about & applying them to people in our lives is so important. Never feel guilty about cutting someone out of your life (even if it is family). Yes, I said it. And I’m not taking that back. Life is too short to be prioritizing people who bring us down. And regardless if they are blood or not, certain people just have the ability to drain us emotionally. And we have to learn how to gracefully walk away. Especially when it’s people you meet by choice like friends & acquaintances. Never feel obligated to keep these people in your lives if all they do is suck the life out of you. I call these people emotional vampires. And why would we choose to keep these monsters around? I think the notion of quality vs quantity within friendships comes with age. I’d much rather have a few people in my circle who truly have my back instead of a bunch of people who don’t.

KEEP IN MIND LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE

I fully believe in the concepts of manifestation & what you feel is what you will attract. If we feel we are surrounding ourselves with too much negativity & would prefer not to, we must first observe our own behavior. Sometimes without even realizing it we can be letting ourselves get lost in toxic environments because in some ways we like the attention, find comfort in it or feel like there is no way out. But as I said before, the energy we let stay is our choice. So, decide wisely. I find people tend to make happiness into this vulnerable concept. Society seems to embrace bad news & has made it be this weirdly sought after trait. I find we need to let go of this notion & see emotions as balancing acts. It’s unrealistic to be heavily one sided on either emotion. We need to take our emotions as they come & place action in front of them.

SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

If there are people in your life who mean well & are still toxic feeling, another opinion is to set clear boundaries. Without even realizing it, people in your life could be preventing you from your dream life. People in your life can mean very well, but their protective natures could be stopping you from pursuing what you’ve always wanted. Those same people can think they know what’s best for you & think their opinions are the only correct ones. Don’t ever abandon yourself. Always remember, you know yourself more than anyone else. During my research on these topics I came across some great responses to people who are trying to dictate your path:

“I appreciate your concern but I know what I want / know what I’m doing”

“That may be your case, but that is not my truth”

“I just need some space right now”

DETERMINE YOUR TRIGGERS

Awareness is golden. When we come to terms with what triggers us, we become more empowered as individuals. Regardless of what other people may or may not understand about your boundaries, you need to take ownership of those feelings & protect yourself when you feel it necessary. Whether that’s creating a smaller circle of friends, exiting certain topics of discussion or letting go of old habits; these actions will guide you to a better understanding of yourself & you will gain a sense of power that you may have lost.