Browsing Tag:

mindfulness

The best simple living podcasts to encourage mindfulness

best-simple-living-podcasts

 

I love podcasts. I love that I can take them with me wherever I go. I love that they are filled with such inspiration, humour and wisdom. And I love that they have this magical property of turning any dull task into a delight. 

 

I used to try listening to podcasts on the bus to university but I found myself getting increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t turn the volume up loud enough so I could hear them speaking without bursting my eardrums in the process. 

 

So I stopped listening altogether for a while. 

 

Then, when I started driving myself to and from work, I rediscovered the joy of podcasts. They gave me something to look forward to as I left the house, in the dark, at an ungodly hour and joined the humming, early morning traffic. 

 

Podcasts have this way of making mundane, daily tasks a pleasurable experience.

 

Suddenly, cleaning dishes, commuting to work or brushing your teeth becomes a time to relax and reflect. What once felt tedious becomes a routine I thoroughly enjoy.

 

I now find myself itching to go for a walk each day so that I can slip my earphones in and start listening to the next episode in my queue. 

 

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It’s exciting to me that podcasts are so rapidly growing in popularity. I’m delighted that more and more creatives are using this platform to share content. 

 

I love reading blog posts but I find there is something really special about hearing a person’s words in their own voice. 

 

As you know, I am a simple living enthusiast. I am passionate about slowing down, being mindful and living in the moment. And I love nothing more than connecting with or discovering other people who feel the same way. 

 

I wanted to share with you some of the people who inspire my writing. These are my go-to podcasts, the ones I’ll always make time for. Some of them I’ve been listening to for years and some are fairly new to my collection.

 

All of them will inspire you to live intentionally, to not take anything for granted but instead to appreciate every precious moment you have.

 

The best simple living podcasts to encourage mindfulness:


 

the-glorious-in-the-mundane

Image: Christy Nockels

The Glorious In The Mundane- Christy Nockels

 

Christy is a Christian musician and I’ve mentioned her lullaby album before in my post about ways to calm down when you are feeling anxious for no reason. I listen to her album on repeat on bad days.

 

And her podcast is just as beautiful as her music.

 

Each season she has a theme which she centres the episodes around such as ‘home’ or ‘postures of the heart.’

 

In every episode, she starts by telling a story from her everyday life. I know a lot of people who hosts podcasts do this, but I think Christy does it the best.

 

Her stories captivate your attention like your teacher did as she read to you while you all sat cross-legged on the mat. Her words have this way of making you feel lighter, softer and closer to God.

 

Christy will remind you to gently look for the beauty in the ordinary (hence the name, ‘glorious in the mundane.’) After listening to this podcast you will have a greater appreciation for the wonder of life, even in the dull moments. 

 

My favourite episode: Build my life | Episode 25

 

 

the-next-right-thing-podcast

The Next Right Thing- Emily P. Freeman

 

I came across this podcast last year when I was in the middle of job hunting and feeling so terribly lost (the theme of my twenties I feel.) I was drawn to the title because boy, did I need some help figuring out my next right thing.

 

Every episode of this podcast feels like a warm hug. A pat on the back. Someone giving you a little cheer as you drag yourself closer to the finish line.

 

Emily provides guidance and wisdom as we try to work out what to do next. She reminds us of the gentle nudges we often miss that are also known as our intuition. 

 

This podcast will encourage you to take things slowly, to give yourself a little grace, to take the little steps that lead to big steps until you eventually find your rhythm. 

 

My favourite episode: Stay in today | Episode 36

 

 

hashtag-authentic-podcast

Image: Apple Itunes

Hashtag Authentic- Sara Tasker

 

I stumbled across Sarah’s book and subsequently, blog through another blogger I follow.

 

Sarah is what you might call an Instagram guru. She runs her own beautiful blog, Instagram and a super successful business teaching others how to do the same.

 

Her podcast is so down to earth. You get the impression that she is one of the sweetest people on earth. She talks about mindfulness, creativity and social media in a way that brings together what can sometimes feel like polar opposites.

 

You will love this podcast if you are a fellow creative, a business owner, or someone who finds Instagram beautiful but impossibly confusing!

 

My favourite episode: Live in Manchester | Episode 67 

 

 

 

let-it-out-podcast

Image: Katie Dalebout

Let It Out- Katie Dalebout 

 

You may have seen Katie’s book ‘Let It Out’ around online. It’s a guide to journaling and one of the BEST journaling tool kits I’ve come across.

 

Her podcast has been one I have followed for a long time. What I love about it is that she doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects. She mainly focuses on health and well-being with topics such as self care, therapy, and body positivity.

 

Katie talks earnestly about a lot of things that are really rough about your twenties. She makes you feel like you are not alone. Her gentle, warm voice leaves you feeling comforted like you just caught up with an old friend.

 

 

the-commoners-communion-podcast

Image: The Commoner’s Communion

The Commoner’s Communion- Strahan

 

Strahan is another Christian musician but he’s actually from New Zealand which makes me really happy. Not only does he create fun, folksy music but he is also an incredible speaker.

 

I’m disappointed to say he hasn’t released any new episodes of his podcast in quite awhile but I highly recommend you go and check out his older ones.

 

Strahan is one of those beautifully articulate, poetic, wordsy people who reminds you that everything is sacred and special. His podcast makes faith and Christianity more accessible and less old and stuffy.

 

My favourite episode: New | Episode 4

 

 

the-little-chapters-podcast

Image: Jessica Rose Williams

The Little Chapters- Jessica Rose Williams & Kayte Ferris

 

This is one I only just came across recently but I loved the episode so much I had to add it to this list. 

 

I love how chatty and friendly these two ladies are. The conversation I listened to was really interesting and encouraging. 

 

This podcast is very real and authentic, it will inspire you to reconsider some of the beliefs you hold and take actions to improve yourself.

 

My favourite episode: Abundance vs Lack | Episode 15


 

What are your favourite podcasts?

8 ways to calm down when you are feeling anxious for no reason

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I originally sat down to write a post on perfectionism but as soon as I started, I realised something. I’m not really a perfectionist and I don’t have much to say on the matter. 

 

I would be of no use to you. I don’t have any advice for people who obsessively use rulers and match the colours of their clothes pegs. I am not that person. 

 

What I am however, is highly strung. I know all about feeling anxious for no reason. 

 

I carry anxiety around with me like most ladies do a purse. 

 

I am hopeless without structure and routine. I need to be able to plan ahead. I need to make sure I am adequately prepared for any and all eventualities. 

 

Spontaneity, completely throws me off, it rips the rug right out from under my feet. 

 

The older I am getting, the better I am becoming at letting go of control. I am slowly learning how to cope with uncertainty so that it doesn’t paralyze me. 

 

But sometimes when we feel ourselves slipping, we need strategies to help us calm down. 

 

We need tools to help us cope after a stressful day. A routine that can help us to prepare ourselves for something uncomfortable like a dentist visit or awkward phone call. 

 

We need to have a way of cooling off and resetting, a way of bringing harmony into our every day lives. 

 

Because sometimes there is a clear and obvious reason why we are feeling anxious, but sometimes we are feeling anxious for no reason at all

 

These coping mechanisms are especially important for highly strung people, those of us who are always just teetering on the edge of becoming overwhelmed. 

 

We need to know our limits and make sure we take extra special care of ourselves. 

 

So as a highly strung, often anxious person, these are my personal coping mechanisms. These are the ways I practice self care. This is how I manage to stay sane. 

 

8 ways to calm down when you are feeling anxious for no reason…

 

Focus on your breathing

 

When we get very stressed we tend to take short, shallow breaths. The problem is, this only encourages our body’s ‘fight or flight‘ response which ends up prolonging our feeling of stress.

 

The very best thing we can do in any stressful situation is to focus on our breathing.

 

Make a big deal of both your inhale and exhale. Pause and try to count a few seconds after each. Make your breathing as long and deep as possible.

jessica hagy illustration

Illustration by Jessica Hagy.

 

Listen to gentle music

 

Although technically not music, I love listening to nature sounds, especially rain or thunderstorms. There is something soothing about hearing the rhythm of nature. (Unless you look up whale sounds, there is nothing soothing about that!)

 

My favourite album to listen to when I am feeling anxious for no reason is ‘Be Held‘ by Christy Nockels. This is a collection of lullabies for adults which never fail to bring me back to a place of calm. 

 

I also made a playlist of slow, peaceful songs which I’ll put on in the car or as I am working to put myself at ease. Music has a way of reaching us that words simply cannot. 

 

 

Try using a relaxation exercise 

 

In one of my tutorials at university we spent the whole hour learning different relaxation exercises. At the time I thought it was a bit kooky but now I can appreciate the value of it. 

 

The only one I can actually remember involves your five senses. 

 

It goes like this… Find yourself a quiet space and close your eyes. Begin breathing deeply. Then start to take notice of each of your senses individually.

What can you hear around you? What can you smell? Open your eyes and what can you see? 

 

Slowly become aware of your surroundings and allow your tension to dissipate.

 

 

Just write

 

I always find healing in writing. I always manage to un-twinge my tension and stitch up the wounded bits when I write out exactly how I am feeling.

 

The most important thing to remember is that your journal/laptop/back side of a napkin is a safe space. Allow yourself to write freely without judgement.

 

You cannot fully let go of the built up pressure inside you if you are fretting about the things you are writing. So no judgement, just write.

 

 

Paint, draw or colour-in

 

Those adult colouring-in books became really popular a few years ago for a reason. Being creative is relaxing.

 

Painting, drawing and colouring-in bring us back to the present. They allow us to be adventurous and playful, to make a mess and just have fun.

 

They also distract us from the fears and worries that can overwhelm us. Sometimes what we need is a little distraction, a little moment of rest from all the hustle and stress.

 

 

Go outside

 

I am a nature girl. My happy places are all outside. I love the softness of the beach, the ruggedness of the mountains, the quietness of the forest.

 

I need greenery and I need wide open spaces. Nature is soothing for our souls.

 

While you are outside, try out the relaxation exercise I mentioned above. There is nothing more uplifting than listening to the early-morning birdsong.

 

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Get clean

 

Have a shower or run a bath but make it an experience.

 

Fill the bath with bubbles, allow the steam from the shower to soak into your pores, bundle yourself up in a warm, fluffy towel afterwards.

 

Often it is the simple things that bring the most pleasure. For example, when I want to feel especially luxurious I take the time to moisterize properly. I find the nicest, sweetest-smelling body lotion and I make myself soft all over. Simple, but delightful.

 

 

Talk about it

 

Bottling up your feelings will never do you any good. Be brave and open up to someone.

 

It often will feel like the last thing you want to do, but the effort it takes will always be worth it. Just make sure you speak to someone who is gentle and understanding, no judgement in your writing, no judgement in your speaking.


 

I’d love to know, how do you practice self care when you are stressed?

Do you ever find yourself feeling anxious for no reason at all? 

Mindful eating: 5 simple ways to be present while you eat

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Food plays such an important role in our lives. It is our source of life. It is what sustains us, helps to heal us and is the very building blocks our cells are made of. 

 

Food is what we plan and divide our days by. Food is a place of connection for us, a link to the past and a way of breaking down the barriers that languages and social conventions create.

 

As a nutritionist, I see food as a fuel source but as a poet, I see it as a thread that runs throughout our lives, rippling and twisting as it enriches and nourishes us.

 

 

Food is so intertwined with our everyday lives that over time we can forget its significance and true joy. Eating is something we do at least three times a day and yet, a lot of us seem to struggle with it.

 

Most of us are very good at eating, but what we aren’t so good at is mindful eating.  

 

We eat meals on the go. We shovel our food down to get the next thing done. We eat in front of the TV, at the kitchen bench as we scroll through our phone, and at our desks while we continue to do our work.  
 
 
It’s no surprise then that we feel hungry often, terribly sluggish and crave unhealthy foods to satisfy our appetites.

 

Most of us have forgotten the way our ancestors lived.

 

The way they spent their days scouring the land looking for their next meal. The way they gathered together and pooled their resources. The way they cooked over an open fire and ate in the flickering glow of its warmth.

How they sang songs and told stories and stayed beside that fire long after their meal was finished. 

 

Nowadays, we are always in a hurry, our lives leave no room for such frivolity.



I think we need to make mealtimes an event again.  

 

We need to return to that place of respect and appreciation for our food. We need to just slow down and enjoy life instead of always rushing on to the next thing. We need to make eating about more than just getting fuel.  


 

Mindful eating is a celebration of food. An act of  gratitude, an attempt at forging a connection and a search for deeper satisfaction.

 

It’s about being present while we eat for the sake of our health, our relationships and our general well-being.

 

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5 simple ways to practice mindful eating

 

Eat with others

 

When we have meals with other people we are more likely to make a bigger effort with our food and not just butter some toast and call it dinner. 

 

We tend to take time to prepare something special or at least something that resembles a full meal when we have company.

 

And we also tend to take our time eating the meal. Conversations meander, glasses are clinked together, stories are shared and laughter flows.

This coming together over a meal leaves us feeling not only satisfied with the food on our plates but also with the wonderful relationships we have in our lives.
 

 

Eat slowly

 

Take the time to appreciate what you are eating. Put down your fork between mouthfuls and chew your food more. 

 

When we eat slowly, we will often feel fuller sooner and therefore, consume less overall. Something I’ve learnt is that I am generally full long before I stop eating. If you were raised to finish whatever is on your plate then you might keep eating even past the point of feeling full. 

 

Eating slowly and chewing your food properly allows your body to digest the food easier and helps you to finish eating when you have had enough.

 

Eat without distractions.

 

Put your phone away. Turn the TV off. Stop reading the newspaper. 

 

Instead, try lighting a candle, turning on some soft music and focusing on just enjoying your meal. One of the best ways to be present while eating is to actually BE present rather than distracted by social media or the daily news.

 

An upside to this is that you’ll probably find your food more appealing and more satisfying if you’ve actually been present while eating it. 

 

Eat good food

 

Try to eat more fruit and vegetables. Try to eat more food that is fresh, whole and as unprocessed as possible. 

 

Make an effort with the meals you prepare. Mix it up and try new recipes, cook every recipe in single cookbook, try a cooking challenge. Make your mealtimes more exciting and pleasurable by widening your cooking horizons.

 

Buy good quality food if you can afford it. Shop at local farmer’s markets and make friends with the people who actually care about the produce they are selling. 

 

Say grace before meals

 

My dad has a grace he learnt at boarding school and he recited it every single dinnertime growing up. I know it word for word and although at the time it felt like an annoying impediment between me and the food before me, now I can appreciate its value. 

 

Even if you aren’t religious saying grace is a lovely practice. It’s as simple as taking a moment to appreciate everyone who took part in producing the food on your plate. Expressing gratitude for their hard work, the precious resources that went into making your meal and the blessing it is that we have food to eat.

 

 

The truth is, with our modern lifestyles we can be a bit hopeless when it comes to mindful eating. 

 

We need to get better at slowing down and making our mealtimes special again. Whether that be trying a new recipe, lighting a candle or inviting friends over to join us. 

 

Food is about more than just fuel. It’s a celebration of friendship, culture and satisfaction.


 

If you are looking for more ways to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life, then check out my 7 days of mindful living challenge.

If you want to add more rest, contentment and satisfaction into your life then this is where you should start. In just a week you’ll learn 7 different areas where mindfulness and intentional living can change your life. 

 

Mindful eating is just the beginning!

Do you struggle with mindful eating?

How to slow down and enjoy life without feeling guilty

slow-down-enjoy-life

 

The lazy sunlight yawns through the partly opened curtains. 

I pour the coffee grounds into the pot followed by the boiling water.  

 

Three stirs to the left, then three to the right.  

The motions of my mornings, slow and serene.  

 

I hop from foot to foot as I wait for the coffee to brew.  

I take delight in the effort of plunging, the delicious anticipation. 

 

Gently I tip the coffee into my cup, inhaling to alertness.   

It’s deep and bold and makes me feel ever-so-slightly dizzy.  

 

I sit and sip and peruse the newspaper.  

Finding rest in the gentle morning’s embrace.  

 

 

My father is one of those people who just cannot sit still. No matter what, it always seems as though he is on a mission. He has an admirable dose of determination and a laser focus like no other.

 

I know for sure that it is him I inherited this particular trait from. It is him that I blame for my obsession with to-do lists and my antsy-pantsy need to get every, single task done.

 

We are like bees, buzzing so quickly from one job to another that if you blink you might just miss us.

 

But for every doer there is a thinker. A brake that causes us to decelerate. An anchor that keeps us moored to the shore.

 

They are the ones who urge us to stop for a lunch break. Who remind us that night time is for sleeping. Who will gently bring us back to rest when we are whirling around like spinning tops.

 

My boyfriend is one of those people.

 

He knows how to slow down and enjoy life. It comes naturally to him in a way it never has to me, so we often are at odds with one another.

 

We are forces pulling in opposite directions. We are a paradox. An unstoppable force meeting an immovable object…that’s us.

how to slow down and enjoy life, slow down, simple living, slow living, mindfulness, practicing mindfulness in everyday life, how to relax, work life balance, stop hustling, finding rest, self care tips, how to practice self care

 

But I am learning how to slow down and enjoy life right now, in this very moment. I am learning how to sit still without thinking of my to-do list.

 

I am learning to find peace in those quiet moments and to practice patience in those painfully slow moments.

 

“Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday.” – Papyrus  

 

I’m terrified that because of my nature, because it isn’t often that I’m not in a hurry, I could end up missing out on life.

 

I could get so caught up in getting tasks done that I actually wouldn’t take the time to enjoy the seconds and minutes that life is made up of.

 

The irony is that sometimes I try so hard to make a moment memorable that I actually miss out on the enjoyment of the moment which is the very thing that makes it memorable.

 

But how do we become hummingbirds? Able to hover and rest in the moment.

 

How do we actually slow down and enjoy life?

 

Create a done list  

 

A list of the things you have achieved for each day or that week.

 

I often find that I can’t stop because I feel that slowing down means I am unproductive. And there is not much I dislike more than feeling lazy and unproductive.

 

So an easy way to get around that feeling is to prove to yourself that you have been productive. That’s where the ‘done’ list comes in. This means you can enjoy your time off because you know you have already worked hard and earned it.

 

Make time for it

 

Schedule that slow, restful time in your diary.

 

It might sound absurd to someone who is laid-back and doesn’t need to schedule time for rest. But for those of us who can’t sit still, having time set aside for relaxing can be the only way we will actually remember to do it.

 

Sit still or meditate

 

I’ve never been so great at meditation because my mind tends to wander and start working instead of resting.

 

I’m trying to get to the point where I absolutely clear my head and can rest there, but for now I find simply sitting still and absorbing the scene around me is all I need to escape for awhile. This brings my focus back to being present in that moment.

 

Again, this might sound excessive to some, but maybe try setting an alarm at random points throughout the day and for a minute just pause and take in what’s before you.

 

Notice the sights, smells and sounds. Be aware of how you are feeling at that moment and consider if there is anything you could do to make yourself feel better.

 

Do something just for fun

When you get stuck in cycle of constant productivity you don’t tend to leave a lot of time for goofing around. In fact, when other people try to get you to have fun it often ends in an irritated squabble.

 

One of the best skills to have is the ability to be adaptable. You can work on your flexibility by doing things just because they are fun.

 

Everything doesn’t need to have an ultimate purpose or a goal for you to achieve, some things (the best things) are simply just fun to do.

 

Be patient with yourself

Most of all you have to recognise that learning how to slow down and enjoy life isn’t always easy. As we move through life we will always be learning so we have to be kind to ourselves and extend grace where it is needed.

 

We might not always have as much patience as we wish we did. We might get frustrated by those who put on the brakes and slow us down. We might keep going and going until we burnout.

 

Eventually we will get to a place where slowing down comes naturally to us.

 

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” – Anne Lamott

Do you struggle with feeling guilty for slowing down?

Simple living: the secret to thriving in a society obsessed with the hustle

secret-to-simple-living

 

Sometimes things only become glaringly obvious to you days, weeks or years after they should.

 

Like the fact that leggings under shorts is not a good look. Or swimming in an outdoor pool without sunscreen is a bad idea.

 

Or how draining living in a big city can be on your soul.

 

At first, I didn’t notice the subtle ways the latter was true for me. The nights I couldn’t sleep. The tears I would sometimes shed in the car. The clawing feeling of wanting to escape that I kept ignoring.

 

I thought it was just the stress of trying to find a job right out of college. Or the helpless way I kept falling in love and getting my heart broken. Or my perpetual fear of an uncertain future.

 

Only now I am out of the city I can see the way it utterly depleted me.

 

I wasn’t happy. At least not the kind of happy that stretches deep beneath the surface, that bubbles away inside of you, giving you the energy you need to keep going.

 

The big city and all of its ways abraded me. It felt jarring, consuming and arduous to be a part of.

 

Being in the city felt like everyone and everything was taken in, chewed up and spat out into the same stressed out, discontented state.

 

There was something within me that knew I could never be happy there and when I finally listened to that voice, I got out.

 

I bravely packed up and moved home. To a city, several hundred thousand people fewer. To a place I feared would bore me. To a life that seemed slow and dull but in reality was the very thing I needed most.

 

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We live in a society that deems slow to be boring. We want things NOW. We want the biggest and the best. We want what everyone else has and more.

 

We live to consume. To outdo each other. To obtain more and more.

 

But this way of living is exhausting. The effort is futile and totally unsustainable. The ‘hustle harder’ mentality is not something we can maintain long term, eventually we just burn out.

 

That’s what happened to me.

 

I was so weary I could hardly summon the strength to get myself out of bed and go back to work.

 

I couldn’t face another day of squishing in between people on the train ride, running late and rushing through the crowds down the street or having to take so many coffee orders that I hardly had the time to look up and greet a person as they entered the café.

 

Every part of me felt suffocated by the way rushing had become the new norm. 

 

I wanted to have space again. I wanted to walk down the street without being swept up in the current of people moving forwards. I wanted to have room and time to actually breathe.

 

When you are constantly busy you don’t even notice the length of your days. Weeks fly by in a matter of minutes. I was terribly afraid that if I kept this up, my whole life could flash by and I wouldn’t even have lived it.

 

Simple living is about slowing down and realising what’s most important in our lives.

 

It’s about finding peace and contentment in the here and now. Being mindful of the way we consume and being aware of others around us.

 

I’ve seen a drastic change in myself over the past few months. Now I am out of the city and no longer a part of the hustle.

 

For the first time in a long time I am actually sleeping well. My mind switches off at night instead of worrying about all the things I have/haven’t done.

I finally feel positive and excited about life again. Once again I am actually looking for the beauty in every day. I’m no longer dreading and avoiding hard work. I’m even choosing to exercise because it makes me feel good!


 

But all around me I see people stuck in that same trap I was. Hustling endlessly each day, wishing for the weekend and burning themselves out.

 

I wish I could make them see that there is more to life than this constant competition for the flashiest Instagram photos. Or the addition of more belongings which clutter our homes. Or the mindless consumption of food wrapped in plastic, completely unrecognisable from its original form.

 

Simple living brings everything into perspective.

 

I thought slowing down would leave me feeling bored and irritable but instead, learning patience and practicing gratitude has made me so much happier.

 

I want that for other people, I want that for you.

 

So I decided to create a little challenge in order to do that.

 

And here it is…

 

Each day I’ve covered a different topic such as how to use social media cautiously or eat mindfully.

I’ve gone into detail to explain the importance of mindfulness in each area of our lives and then set a challenge for each day. This way you can easily incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.

 

Often I find that starting is the hardest part. It can be daunting and confusing to figure out where to begin. So this challenge will hopefully make it easy for you. 7 days and 7 ways to make your life a little more simple.

 

I’m super excited to share this challenge with you. If you are feeling overwhelmed and burntout and you’re keen to find more peace and contentment then join me by signing up below…

 

 

I hope you’ll slow down a little today and remember what is truly important in your life. It’s not all the THINGS you own or accomplish, it’s people. PEOPLE are what matter most.

 

One of the biggest struggles I have faced with living simply is making time for people. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting things done that I miss out on opportunities to build relationships.

 

So I’m interested to know your thoughts on this…

What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to simple living?

Minimalism: clearing the clutter and living simply

minimalism-clearing-the-clutter

 

I feel as though I am constantly adding more things into my life.

 

I’m finding more recipes for the same chocolate chip cookies. I’m buying more pyjamas because they are cute and festive and I couldn’t resist. I’m putting more things on my to-do list because being productive makes me feel less insecure and lost.

 

More, more, more.

 

Perhaps it’s because we have this need to fill up empty spaces. We have to colour in every last square, fill every bit of silence and cover every inch of our counter tops.

 

I think the blank spaces make us uncomfortable.

 

The empty and quiet feels unsettling. Those places leave room for possibility, a chance for the unknown…and fear hates nothing more than the unknown.

 

So we fill, fill, fill until we are bursting at the seams.

 

And the abundance, the overflow, the lack of blank spaces makes us feel safe.


 

Ever since I noticed this about myself, I have found the concept of minimalism fascinating.

 

The idea that less could actually be more. That blank spaces, emptiness, and quiet could be the keys to happiness.

 

And the more I subtract, the more I let go, the more I welcome blank spaces…the happier I find I am becoming.

 

It’s not just the physical clutter that I’m letting go of, although that certainly helps too. It’s the emotional and mental clutter that I’ve been learning to sweep out my front doorstep and slam the door shut on.

 

minimalism, minimal living, simple living, simplify, clear the clutter, declutter, mindfulness, minimalist lifestyle, minimalist,

 

I’m learning to…

 

Let go of “shoulds”

 

The ones that I place on myself and the ones that others place upon me.

 

Like those niggling expectations of what our lives should look like at this point in time.

I should have a real job…

I should go traveling…

I should be saving to buy a house…

 

Because as Brene Brown so wonderfully puts it, “expectations are resentments waiting to happen.”

 

There is no formula. There is no exact route or set plan. Your life is up to you. You have the freedom to chose to live it however you like.

Your story may look different to someone else’s but that’s excellent. Because that is what makes us such an interesting, diverse species.

 

Releasing myself from burden of all the “shoulds” has felt like a weight lifted off me. Instead of spending so much time looking over my shoulder to see how everyone else is doing it, I’m free to just figure things out my way.

 

Accept things as they are

 

Realizing that these are the cards we have been dealt. This is the body, the person, the life we have been given and choosing to make the most of it.

 

Accepting that our shyness might make some people dislike us at first, or our skin might be paler than we would like, or our occupation might be less glamorous than we had hoped for.

 

Sometimes happiness feels like taking a moment to just appreciate instead of needing to justify.

 

I don’t always understand why things happen. I don’t always know what I could have done differently or how something can be fixed.

 

But I do know this: I am where I am. I am who I am. That is all.

 

Just be present in a moment

 

Instead of giving into my natural tendency to think ferociously forward to the future.

 

I’m learning to enjoy the surprises and spontaneity that life throws at us. To just be happy living in the now.

 

Gazing up in wonder at the starry sky when we had to pull off the highway to fix the car. Stopping to smell a rose as I’m wiping tables down at work. Tasting every bite of the meal that took me hours to prepare.

 

It feels frustrating when I just want to get to the good bits…but sometimes the good bits are disguised as the boring, the ordinary and the mundane.

 

Slow myself down

 

Fighting the urge to match the pace of the hustle that surrounds me.

 

Enjoying when breakfast stretches long past midday. Laughing at the fact nobody is ever ready to leave the house when we say we need to go. Celebrating when I manage to tick just one thing off my to-do list for the day.

 

Productivity is sometimes overrated. It can be a crutch we use to keep ourselves occupied so that thinking and feeling are things we can avoid.

 

Slowing down forces us to sit with our feelings. To be vulnerable and insecure and keep living anyway.


 

A word that keeps springing to mind at the moment is surrender.

 

It makes me think of the mighty ocean beating on the shore. Everyone and everything must submit to the great force of the ocean. The severity of the waves, the drag of the tides. There is no place for stubbornness or refusal.

 

And like a piece of driftwood I feel myself being swept up in the ocean currents, flung this way and that, pushed towards the shore and pulled back again.

 

I find peace in surrender. I think minimalism is surrender.

 

Giving up what is easier to hold on to. Letting go when our natural instinct is to cling on tight.

 

We need to make peace with the blank spaces. We need to welcome the cringey, uncomfortable emptiness.

 

Living simply, means clearing out the old beliefs that hold us back from our full potential. Finding freedom in the here and now, accepting things as they are and slowing down a bit.

 

I have come to the conclusion that what I really need to be happy is less. Which is surprising in a world that tells us happiness is more. More money, more friends, more belongings.

 

But having less means having extra time, extra patience and extra room to grow, explore and create. I need less in order to have more.

 

So I’m starting to think this minimalism stuff might just be for me after all.

What things do you still need to let go of before the next year begins?