Mental Health and Minimalism
You may be wondering what mental health and minimalism have to do with one another. For me it is quite simple: when I have less "stuff" (physical clutter, overflowing schedule, unfinished tasks, etc.) it is much easier to calm my mind, be more present and focus on the important things. When I truly embraced a minimalist approach to life, my road to mental health became much smoother. There are no magic, one-size-fits-all steps to minimize and improve your mental health; we all need to do it in the way that is right for us.
These are just a few of the steps that have changed my outlook on life and greatly reduced my inclination to stress and anxiety:
1. Shrinking the number of items in my wardrobe and selecting a color palette greatly reduced the daily stress of deciding what to where. Ever stood in front of a closet full of clothes and thought "I have nothing to wear?" If you have, you are far from alone. Over the past couple of years I have eliminated all of the clothes that no longer added value to my life and as a result, my mornings are simple. All the clothes I own are clothes I love and regularly wear. Equally as important, they all coordinate and make selecting an outfit for any occasion much simpler than in years past.
2. Reducing visual clutter lets my mind be at ease. Picture the main room of a hoarder's home - piles of unidentifiable clutter everywhere. In contrast remember your favorite hotel room - only the furnishing and decor that are necessary for a relaxing stay. As I eliminate unnecessary items from my home decor, the simplicity left behind is like a refreshing breeze for my psyche.
3. Eliminating functions that do not serve my best use of time has left me more opportunity to take care of my mental and physical health. Learning to say NO is key. We all get asked everyday to do things that are essentially good (time with friends, working for a worthy cause, participating in our community), but what do we sacrifice with each "yes"? Make your calendar sacred by scheduling time for yourself and the most important tasks first. You make not make everyone happy, but the benefits for you are immeasurable.
4. Knocking out "projects" keeps my mind from getting wrapped up in all the tasks I need to do. Some of the ongoing projects I have just decided to eliminate all together. While they may have been entertaining in the past, they had become sources of distraction. For the important work that remains I have a couple of approaches: if it is a simple task, do it now; for tasks that have multiple steps or are ongoing, I have established habits that keep me on track.
These aspects of minimalism have literally changed my life. While it may not be the right approach for everyone, for me it has been a game changer and another great tool in my arsenal to maintaining my mental health