Last Friday, I came back from a 5-day long trek. Apart from the fact that mountains are effing breathtaking, they never fail to overwhelm me with amazement, wonder, and serenity. Also, it is during trekking that I realize what my real needs are to stay happy and content. There are no distractions or too many options to confuse me. Time alone with myself helps me put things into perspective. I tend to ask myself questions that I usually don’t in my regular life. This time I have decided that I’ll not let this post-trek high fade away, just like that. I have decided to make my regular life simpler, once and for all. Hence, the thought of a minimalist lifestyle.
After some good research, here are 8 essentials plus one bonus to make life easy and minimal yet happier.
We can’t do everything. Out of all the things we deem important, we still need to prioritize. We have only so much time and it is important to pick and choose our activities. Choose things that you think are necessary for your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. The 6 mandatory tasks that take up most of our time include:
1. Health: It is important to have a health regime. Sticking to an exercise routine is essential. Not pushing it to another day or week. Being sincere. Committing your time to activities and following through.
2. Family and Friends: Studies have established that spending quality time with our FnF increases our well-being. And we need to be particular about quality more than quantity when it comes to people we choose to interact with.
3. Work: Well, for an average person this takes up most of the day. A healthy boundary on how much time you spend working and earning vis-a-vis other activities is required. Moreover, work should not only mean a “day job”. This may also include time shelled out to learn new work skills. 5 years down the line you shouldn’t regret wasting all the time just focussing on the “job” rather than upskilling.
4. Fun: Don’t wait for the weekends to have fun. Plan to go out during the weekdays, read your favorite book, and do whatever makes you happy on all days. However, limit Social Media. Turn off notifications. We end up wasting a lot of time on social media every time and still do nothing about it.
5. Social Responsibility: We all make time to give back to society in some way or the other whether by extending help to our family, colleagues, or neighbors or by giving back to nature. Prioritizing it adds meaning and a sense of accomplishment to our lives. And ultimately small things that we do over the weeks, become a mountain at the end of our lives.
6. Hobbies and Interests: Take out time for activities and hobbies that make hours seem like minutes. This may include picking up new interests to challenge yourself.
To get maximum satisfaction from all the activities that we indulge in, we need to strike a balance. We can’t achieve this balance without planning. Plan out your ideal week. Allocate time to activities of your interest and to those that are necessary. This doesn’t mean that we plan out each hour of each day. However, we should be sorted on all primary goals and plans, and at the end of the day, we should not struggle at having time for things that are important to us. Allocate time wisely to things that matter.
Decision-making should be easy. Get rid of too many options. Focus on the essentials. Here are ways to detox your life of unnecessary interruptions and distractions :
1. Simplify wardrobe: Buying too many clothes and accessories is okay. But buying stuff when you need it is awesome. Having an optimal number of clothes will simplify your life and optimize the time you need to spend on the upkeep of your wardrobe.
2. Reduce options: Have lesser options in general. And lesser things. It’ll make the task of managing them easier.
3. Automate and establish routines: Recurring tasks, everyday routines be regularized. Identify patterns in your life and streamline your everyday tasks.
4. De-clutter before organizing: Let go of what you don’t use. Period.
5. Find an Appropriate place for everything: We call only one place our home. We don’t live in different homes each day, right? The same should be true for all our belongings. Don’t fit in things wherever you find free space. Create space according to the things and where they truly belong.
Take out time for yourself. Learn to love your own company. Let thoughts flow when you are alone. Introspect. That allows you to get clarity on your own needs. Minimalism is not just in material belongings but also in your thought process and lifestyle. Being on your own helps you figure out the latter.
1. Walk: The best kind of lone time. You get fresh air, stay active, absorb your surrounding and get ample opportunity to evaluate your thoughts.
2. Take an annual retreat: How about a solo vacation every year? Experience new places, people, and cultures on your own.
3. Take a rest day: Simply take a day off once in a while. Not to complete pending tasks or meet up with friends and family or spend an additional hour on social media. Just to relax and rejuvenate.
Spending wisely in the age of consumerism is tricky. But it’s also very easy to acquire this habit. Not caring about societal norms like what car you drive, what location your house is in, or what brand of clothes you wear helps you figure out what is important for you. There is less stress to keep up with changing trends.
1. Minimize your needs and optimize your lifestyle: Plan your expenses mindfully. Own things that add value to your life and that you use frequently. What’s the point in spending hours shopping or maintaining things that you barely use. This way, you’ll have more time for activities that matter rather than just focusing on lifestyle or luxuries and keeping up with your peers. Additionally, not buying too many things is good for the environment. As we limit our buying habits, we end up creating less waste and consuming less natural resources.
2. Get rid of unnecessary costs: Just because we can spend, is not a good enough reason to buy. Think before you spend. Plus saving is earning, you know.
3. Quality over quantity: Focus on what rather than how many. A minimalist lifestyle is all about making mindful choices and not succumbing to whims.
It’s our fuel. The food that we eat will determine our immediate physical and mental well-being and how healthy, flexible, and long we live.
1. Eat simply: Eat healthily. Eat Mindfully. Get rid of processed and junk food as much as you can. Consume natural products as much as you can. Try to eat at home as much as you can.
2. Eat slowly: Taste the food. Chew it well.
3. Create a Simple Menu: That helps you have a balanced diet as well as simplifies the whole process of deciding what to cook and what to eat.
4. Avoid Sugar: Nothing good ever came out of eating sugar. Sugar does give a temporary high, but it makes you lethargic and so you crave more of it. Cutting sugar from your diet can prevent adverse effects like diabetes, leading to not only a smaller waistline but a better quality of life.
Try to always be present. Of course, there are innumerable distractions and we will feel as if we are always short of time but that’s mostly because of lack of concentration .
1. Avoid Multitasking: Multitasking is a myth. Doing many things at a time is our brain chaotically switching back and forth.
2. Streamline your life: Do things because you want to do them. Not because others are doing it. Arrange pieces of your life according to your own needs.
3. Questions to ask yourself: Will this simplify my life? Will this take me closer to my goals?
4. Learn what is enough: Know your limits in everything you do.
5. Put things in perspective: With time and experience, it is necessary to pause and re-calibrate. Have clarity and understanding of your beliefs and perceptions.
Find ways to drive the stress away. It is impossible to not get stressed unless you live in the Biblical Garden of Eden. The important skill is knowing how to come out of it. Different people have different ways of coping with stress. However, being able to de-stress is the cornerstone to achieving a minimalist lifestyle. Check out my other blog that talks about ways to drive away stress.
You know, go with the age-old adage. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Keep it simple. Be like water. Keep Flowing. Demand less. Need less.
I hope you find these ways to a minimalist lifestyle useful and practical. A minimalist lifestyle is not at all giving up. It’s inviting more structure, goodness, and energy to life! It is living the life exactly according to your heart’s desire.
These are all ideas. I am not an expert on this. Each one of us gets to define our unique journey. We just need to be open to ideas. If you liked my blog on minimalist lifestyle, please like, share, and subscribe.
Keep Reading. Chao!