I was stuck… The Minimalist Challenge is helping me become unstuck in certain areas of my life. It feels great to downsize, list goals and take time away from electronics and the internet. Here’s where I’m struggling and it’s got nothing to do with the Minimalist Challenge but has had an adverse effect on the continuity of these challenge updates.
I get stressed out. I stress about little things and I stress out about big things. But my favourite thing to do is get stressed out, pretend I’m not stressed and hold it all in. Soon after I explode. It’s uncontrollable. Or it feels that way. I’m also, I think, at quite a vulnerable point in my life at some kind of cross-roads or fork or other imagery of a similar nature. My future is a stress-filled monster which clings onto me as I stroll down this damn lifepath. It’s bad, you guys. It’s really bad. Chucking away my clothes, unpacking boxes and counting books is an amazing distraction but it’s not unburdening (?) me. I still feel heavy. My stress monster is growing.
I really do feel like I’m hitting a lot of the challenges but I didn’t write about them because I didn’t feel like they were relieving me in the way I hoped they would (or are supposed to). Here are my retrospective thoughts on the challenges from days gone by.
Unfollow and unfriend, Practice single tasking.
Technology related things… delete delete! Easy, love it!
Single tasking is harder than it looks. You have to be constantly aware of what your body and brain are doing and really attempt to live in the moment. Making coffee (brew meditation) was a good way to start thinking about single tasking. Appreciating every moment, every action. Then it can grow from there. Though there are times where you find yourself reading a book whilst you’re peeing? Or dressing? Or eating? Or is that just me?
Go for a walk and practice mindfulness
Cornwall is great for walking, really amazing! My mum came to visit and we did a bunch of beautiful walks. Wind is great for clearing the mind. That’s a new thing I’ve learnt.
No TV all day, read instead
I’m still working on this one. A little bit of reading then a little bit of TV.
Journal for 20 minutes
Journal is just code for write all the time? About yourself? Right? Yeah… done!
Create a relaxing bedtime routine
I still haven’t found a bedtime routine that seems to work for me. I can make something as relaxing as possible and my brain will still be wired. “I’m supposed to be sleepy now.” It’ll say. “Let’s fall asleep. Ready? Three. Two. One… Sleeping? No, uh oh!” And on and on. So far I’ve learnt that reading helps as long as it’s a nice easy book.
Do this every day. Every single day.
Thinking of the things in life you’re grateful for and not taking things for granted. Two things that make-up practicing gratitude and things that I am guilty of not doing very often. It’s quite grounding, isn’t it? When you think about all of the things that have come your way that might not come the way of others. A few of the big things in my life that I am lucky to have and are grateful for having:
Education. I got through school with decent grades and with decent teachers. I went to university for three years and now I’m studying for a masters degree. This makes me a privileged person in today’s world. I’m so completely aware of this and I’m grateful. My parents worked hard so that I could get an education they didn’t receive, they told me to believe in myself and my goal, they taught me to embrace my creativity and nurture it. A majority of people don’t get the opportunity to live this way and I can’t take it for granted.
My home. I get to live in a house with someone I love. We always have food and water and books. It’s safe here. We have money to make it ours. And when it’s time to leave we can. I definitely take our ability to do this for granted but we are lucky.
There are more things I am grateful for but in a really long-winded fashion I want to mention sociology. Sociology is the study of humanity, its development and structures. And whittled down sociology asks that you question everything. Everything. When you make a cup of tea you aren’t just making a cup of tea. You could ask yourself why are you making tea? Where did you buy your tea and where does come from? Why did you pick it? Loose leaf or bagged and why? Milk? Sugar? Herbal tea, black tea? Why? Why this mug? Why? Why? Why? And when you’re done asking why you ask it once more.
From asking ‘why’ you can learn more about yourself and your world. You can understand your choices a lot more clearly and perhaps why things are taken for granted, and why they shouldn’t be. This has changed my way of thinking. It has saved me.
I’ll probably talk a little more about this in relation to buying and consuming in another post. But I’ll say that sociology has changed the way I see the world in a more concise way than this minimalism challenge has. I’m still stressed. But at least I know why I might be stressed… And I know where my tea comes from and why I drink it…
Thanks for reading.