Simplicity of the Mind
I have been doing pretty well simplifying the physical aspects of my life. I've gotten rid of a ton of clothes, simplified my beauty routine, and things that I own. I thought I was doing pretty well. But for some reason I still felt surrounded by clutter. I was desperate for more to get rid of but no matter how many shirts I stacked in my give-away pile, it wasn't satisfying that itch. That's when I realized, I'm simplifying my home, but not my mind.
2017 was huge in my simplifying journey in a physical sense. That is why a lot of my new years intentions
for 2018 were centered around simplifying mentally and internally more so than externally. Both are equally important, because they piggy back off of each other, but the mental simplification is where I'm at in my journey and what I'm needing most right now. Maybe you are feeling the same way.
Here are a few things that are helping me simplify mentally. By implementing these small changes, I have more room to breathe and simply just live life fully without feeling pulled in a million directions.
1. Letting things go
I'm am that person that cannot, CANNOT, sleep until everything is done. I'm have to have a clean room, close my closet door, and make my bed before I get into it to go to sleep. I do like being this way for the most part because I enjoy having a fresh start to my day each morning. But there is a line and I need to be able to determine whether I need to tone it down a little. If I had a really long day and I'm super exhausted, I need to choose to go to sleep even if there are dishes in the sink and clothes on the floor. And not lay there thinking about the dishes or the clothes!
I have a hard time turning my brain off at night and not thinking of the thousands of things I need to do the next day. I have to stop feeling guilty if I don't finish every single thing on my to-do list. It feels great when I do, but I am not a failure if I don't. That's life. Things happen. Sometimes you take a nap instead of writing a paper. It's okay because that's just life.
2. Less to-do lists
You know it's bad when you're about to shower so you write "shower" on your to-do list just so you can cross if off when it's done. The satisfaction is addicting. Now I'm not saying I'm getting rid of to-do lists completely. Me without lists is like donuts without sprinkles, spring without flowers, instagram moms without their shaker peg boards. You get my point! But I'm using less and making them less of a big deal.
In the past, I would never be able to get through my day without a list. But now, I almost feel as though I'm more productive when I just write a short general list of things I need to get done in the day, instead of writing every little detail. This for one, leaves me more leeway for changes in my schedule and also avoids the "oh no I didn't finish my to-do list" feeling. I'm still experimenting with this and finding what works, but I know something needs to change.
3. Unwinding at night
Like I said above, I have trouble turning my brain off at night. I recently saw something on Pinterest about what Meyer-Briggs Personalities think about before they fall asleep. I'm an INFJ and mine said "anxiety about the future and the inevitability that they will grow old and become corrupt, another cog in the capitalist machine. How many will be consumed in this entirely hypothetical hedonistic warpath?? The INFJ does not sleep" and I am LAUGHING because that's me! Why I feel I need to plan my entire life out before I go to sleep, I don't know. But it gets annoying. Something I'm doing to help is really taking time to unwind at night and think about other things. I will turn my phone off AT LEAST an hour before I go to bed. I take time to write about whatever is going on in my head into my journal. And when I close that journal, I forget about it. Tomorrows tasks, today's stress. It's out of my mind. Then I pick up a book and lose myself in that world for a bit before I go to sleep. This way I can go to sleep thinking about happy things like Cole Sprouse instead of whatever stress the next day may bring.
4. Starting my day right
I've had a general morning routine down pat for about a year now but having a routine means nothing if it's not the right one or put together in a way that suits your needs. These past couple weeks I've been really trying to nail down a good morning routine that works for me and makes me feel good because I've realized that what I've been doing doesn't work. My mornings look a lot different than most people because of life with Theodore. And I know that may sound a bit dramatic because it's just a bunny right? But I have to be on full mom-mode whenever he is out running around, ready to spring up and chase him away from whatever he's not supposed to be doing, you know, bunny mom things.
Ever since I adopted him, the first thing I would do in the morning would be let him out of his crate because I want him to have as much exercise as possible. But lately it just hit me that this doesn't work. I can't start my day peacefully with a cup of coffee and Jesus if I have to be interrupted by chewing a million times. So, I've started waking up an hour earlier and taking that hour to myself, before I let Theo out. And I'm trying my best not to feel (bunny) mom guilt when I walk past his crate at 6 am to get my coffee instead of letting him out. Nothing has changed for Theo, he still gets the same amount of time out each day, and a more strict routine is better for bunnies anyways. So I think this is good for both of us.
Taking that hour in the morning before the craziness begins has helped so much and makes me feel like a normal person. I never want to take having Theo in my life for granted, and this little change has helped me be more grateful for the mornings I have with him because I feel refreshed and ready for my day when he comes out.
As you can see, these are small changes that are making a huge difference in my life and my mind. Although having a simple physical space does make a huge difference mentally, sometimes there's still some changes that have to be made in your routines and rhythms. This is why I tend to prefer the words "simple living" rather than "minimalist" because it reminds me that simplicity must be infused in every aspect of my life, not just my home.
What are a few things you have found that brings simplicity and peace to your mind? I'd love to know!