Minimalist Ideas for a Decluttered Mind

Hi everyone,

Today, I want to explain the amazing benefits of being a minimalist. I think it may be becoming a lost art. I personally plan to make steps towards becoming a better one, however, it is not a competition of who can have less for more. Everyone does this at their own pace.

You know when you’re going through a closet full of items and wonder why you still move them from house to house? That may be what the inside of your head looks like.

If you had 30 seconds to grab everything you find most important in your living space, what would these things be? If you have a pet, I would hope they would be your first priority. Apart from animals, which things do you have the most love for? A charm necklace with a memory of every trip you’ve been on? A piece of art? Whatever the keepsakes are, they hold parts of you. Those possessions do matter.

Being minimal does not mean you can’t have nice things. It refers to selectivity of what you accumulate. There is minimalistic art or music, architecture or fashion. You may find that when you condense what you have in terms of possessions, you will breathe easier.

Clutter accumulates over time and we often make excuses as to why we have it all. The best question to ask yourself is “do I need this?” If there is hesitation, the answer is most likely no.

By no means should someone give up a routine or tradition that makes them feel centered, or one that brings them consistent happiness. If you get your hair done at the same place with the same person and it’s something you always look forward to, despite the cost, it might not be wise to eliminate. If you love to see bands live in concert and go to multiple concerts and festivals annually, and you practically mark your calendar for them, don’t eliminate them. These would quality as exceptions.

Spending is difficult to control for many people. I would say I would have more trouble with the clutter as opposed to spending, because I’m more of a saver and pack rat as opposed to a spontaneous spender. Some ways to reduce spending and begin to immerse into the minimalist lifestyle:

Spending:

  1. Always ask yourself if you need it. If you don’t, practice telling yourself the money is better spent elsewhere.
  2. Start to separate “errands” and “shopping”
  3. Try to avoid buying a different version or brand of something you already have.
  4. Go for quality over quantity. For instance, wardrobe. Some people have a lot of clothes of lesser quality to choose from, and some have a more limited wardrobe of higher quality that required more investment. Quality clothing lasts longer and maintains shape, and a more limited wardrobe would mean less “stuff.”
  5. Set aside money for something in the future. Whether this is plane tickets to a summer in Europe or Coachella tickets (yes, they are very expensive), saving for something specific will give you the motivation to limit spending and give yourself practice as a saver.

If you focus on your spending and question all of your purchases, you are already making strides towards a more minimalistic lifestyle.

The next thing to tackle is clutter.

I still have all of my yearbooks, birthday cards dated back to 2004, and Harry Potter Premiere tickets from my hometown’s cinema. The Goblet of Fire ticket was honestly a work of art. So, to be frank, I have to de-clutter. I have moved from the Seattle area to Portland, then to San Francisco, and back to Seattle. Moving is tiring and makes me want to become someone who can live off of two duffels. Unfortunately, this isn’t as realistic.

The more realistic option is to eliminate junk. My list of ideas:

  1. Get rid of any duplicates. You don’t need two toasters unless you have the habit of destroying kitchen appliances.
  2. Have a clutter-free zone in your apartment or house that you can always rely on. When I live with my family, I always have a desk area that I keep perfectly tidy and de-cluttered. I use this space to write these posts!
  3. Practice traveling lightly. You don’t need three lotions with different scents for different moods. A particular skill I have yet to master is putting together more outfits than just stuffing options in until the bag explodes.
  4. In general, making a list of reasons why you simplify your lifestyle could prove as solid motivation to actually make it happen.
  5. Start small. If you’re not ready to start with your closet, you can start with a drawer or a small space. It’s more about making the effort to start and the task itself, rather than what you decide to start with.

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Minimalism is countercultural. In a society that feeds into advertisements and consistent marketing strategies, people often pride themselves in what possessions they obtain. Let’s go back to the idea that a de-cluttered surrounding makes a de-cluttered mind. Clutter induces distractions and often stress. Having so many possessions that you somewhat like as opposed to having less but just things you love, it could be clear which one is more appealing. Will you make the distinction?

I’m not saying that everyone is the Gollum character from Lord of the Rings, desperately holding onto our flat screen televisions and various end tables, but we could all do better for ourselves.

Placing a higher value on what we have in terms of possessions brings more internal satisfaction. Think of it in reference to your life or your career. You want a quality life with a job you value and are passionate about. Why not hold everything to a higher standard, down to the miscellaneous cabinet?

As Nido Qubein once said : “change brings opportunity.”

Thanks for reading and happy organizing! xx

-Kelly

 

Health Impacts of Undeserved Authority

Hi everyone,

Like it or not, it’s my comedy post for the week (I hope you actually like it). I’m gonna turn a somewhat unfortunate ongoing situation into an inside joke now made public.

Have you ever felt unimpressed with authority? I’m not talking about local law enforcement, I’m talking about those individuals in your everyday life that have some sort of ability to have authority over you, and you don’t really like it.

Whether you feel used, disrespected, or unappreciated, this is a welcome sign to how to cope and make the situation comical. People that have a management position that really shouldn’t often have their own insecurities and they tend to reveal them in their work. I had to deal with these people every day in my college career in athletics.

Corrupt management in any way can harm the mental health of a worker in an organization or a player in a program. It’s a hard situation  where it seems like there is no winning (ironic if you’re a college competitor).

I am absolutely not saying college athletics is something I regret; quite the opposite. But even though I was playing the sport I love, I still had to put up with the people that secured my feelings of being unimpressed by authority. I’m keeping this super anonymous, because it’s always good to have a little bit of imagination…

I worked so hard for four years, at two different universities for tennis. I loved the game, and this very poor authority kept creeping into my daily thoughts unless I found this comedic edge. I would say I successfully found it during junior year, where I would actually laugh to myself and it made me feel so much better.

Just because someone is above you on the job ladder or social agenda, or any system you’re a part of, does NOT mean they necessarily have earned that place. They also have not earned the right to practice poor management. They have not earned the right to interfere with your daily tasks, goals, or emotional mindset.

So much of everything is about politics, and everyone can’t stand politicians, right? Right.

Laugh at them. Maybe not outwardly laugh, because you might not want to deal with confrontation, but make these people small in your head. They are a stepping stone to your life, and when you’re gone, they will still be there trying to sweep away their failed attempts at ‘management’ and ‘leadership.’

People are not pawns, they are not pieces to maneuver or micromanage, and it’s wrong. So keep thinking it is, because you’re right. Don’t shrink into the habit of not having a voice. You might not speak up and never know you’re a bada**, or even a really good public speaker. Or both.

Not all authority have the right to obtain that authority. Plain and simple. Managers, leaders, coaches, etc. If you aren’t a leader, why is it on your name tag or LinkedIn profile? Because you shouldn’t be, and those you lead lose respect for you. That’s how it works.

You can still listen and cooperate without respect. 

I completely lost respect for these individuals in those four years, and I’m very fortunate to have tougher skin to be able to stand up for myself. You should too. Because people that push boundaries in authority do so because:

A) They shouldn’t be a leader

B) They don’t know what they’re doing

C) They can’t see anyone saying anything about it

I’m not saying to walk around the place like you’re the #1, but hold yourself up without using others as crutches to hold your ground. Be humble but strong in your opinions and values, and use your voice if something isn’t right.

I was on a scholarship, paid to do a job, which was my athletic commitment to the university. I loved being a contributor and an athlete. I didn’t love the politics associated with it. I didn’t love when people of authority didn’t act morally or correctly when they had a place of power, so I stood against that power. And to this day I am proud of myself for that, and my family consistently tells me that they’re proud of me too.

Anticipate to be alone while standing your ground. Don’t expect people to back you up, but when they do, those are the people to keep. It takes one person to reject an amateur leader. If the system doesn’t change there’s nothing else you can do about that, but you can reject it when you are experiencing it.

I understand that situations differ in what you can and cannot say, and not everyone is a part of the no filter club (it’s a good club though if you’re interested). I’m simply saying that if you are investing time and money into something where you are working so hard, you deserve to question bad authority.

This world is full of judgers and perceivers. Both types can be great people, but filling into the judging position makes you embrace healthy resistance to an unjust power.

Standing out when everyone else is following the same patterns is not a negative thing. Be like this duck:

Fit In

The duck stands out, right? Your eyes go directly to it.

Consider your health and wellbeing of the highest value. You are your own person and be proud of your strength. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly ❤

 

 

 

Healthy Outlets for Stress and Anxiety

Hey everyone,

Given it was just the Fourth of July (if you are in America), stress and anxiety don’t seem to be current worries. However, when you get back into your work or school routine and multi-tasking on a regular basis, you may need to check up on the ways to re-set yourself.

I use the term re-set because many of us seem to run at 100 mph, at maximum efficiency to maintain our productivity.

I have always been known by my peers to be a sort of blur on campus, given my university schedule starting at 5 or 6 am every morning. Being a college-athlete had amazing pros, but the cons were definitely present as well.  My typical college day would be as follows:

  • 5 or 6 am weights
  • 2 hour practice directly afterward (until 9 or 10 am)
  • Full day of classes until late afternoon (maybe 3 or 4 pm or so)

After my classes I had a window of time to do my homework, any errands, laundry, cooking, and prepping for the next day.

I am happy to report this is no longer my everyday routine due to the fact that I’m graduated. However, if you find yourself stressed and overwhelmed, I understand that feeling for it somewhat encompassed me for four years straight.

Checklist for reducing stress and anxiety:

  1. Organize yourself. Time management is essential to stay stable in a busy routine. Dry erase boards are great to write weekly due dates and events, I swear by these! Planners are also great and portable. You can keep one in your school or work bag and even used color coding for various events. Color coding makes everything more obvious when you’re skimming through your obligations.
  2. Think ahead, always. If you’re a very busy person, preparing for the next day(s) will only benefit you to avoid forgetting details or scrambling at the last minute. Whether this is putting fresh outfits in the car or meal prepping, taking the time to do these tasks ahead of time will make you feel less rushed.
  3. Don’t shut out friends and family when stressed. Chances are many of your school friends are feeling just as stressed, just maybe not for identical same reasons. It is helpful to be able to release your stresses to a good friend or family member and talk through what is making you feel overwhelmed. The process of releasing bad energy is not necessarily the content, it is actually just the releasing part. Just talking through things helps you feel more centered, which is why we sometimes come to realizations ourselves in a conversation, when the other person technically didn’t help us get there.
  4. Incorporate things that make you happy throughout a long day. If you have break times, bring headphones to listen to music or communicate with someone to take your mind somewhere else for a few minutes. I often drew something on my hand in the same spot whenever I was feeling super down and out of energy, and I would look down at it and trace it with my fingertips to relax me. Whatever these small things are, they can work wonders to keep you focused in a healthy way.
  5. Set aside time to do some activity that relaxes you. This is so important. Just like when you’re on a hike and you know the view or lookout at the end will be insane, you need something to look forward to in a day of obligation. Taking a bath with candles and a book, sketching, writing, whatever creative outlet or activity that pulls you away from obligation. Make this time completely for you, and maybe even turn your phone off if it is blowing up. Some other ideas: yoga, pilates, or meditation. These are slow-moving activities that bring you a lot of self-awareness and care for your body. Below is my provided gear for a yoga and core class at my gym, and a new book on scientific writing that I’m super intrigued by :).

Just like the list above, if you find yourself to be very into making lists, make sure they are prioritized in need of importance. For instance, if your laundry can wait another day it might be better to do your homework or work and get to bed at a more reasonable hour. Often times, errands can be completed on weekends (which sounds awful), but if you’re busy during the week you will be pleasantly surprised how many hours there are in a day when the weekend rolls around.

A very scheduled routine can be your best friend. Routines make you develop a rhythm that you can stick to. I’m not saying you can’t have two cups of coffee in the morning instead of one because I would be a hypocrite, but the overall message is to establish a beneficial relationship with the clock.

Forms of expression: Above I mentioned sketching and reading, but art in general really can increase a relaxing state of mind. I love to look at art pieces because they bring me inspiration, and distract me from reality. Below is my favorite piece of art to date; a graffiti piece on the Bondi Beach boardwalk:

SYD art

“I was once of the world, yet I am not of this world.”

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I stress organization skills in this piece because organization gives us a sense of control. When we feel in control we find motivation a much easier thing to obtain.

Letting stress literally take over your body isn’t healthy. Mismanaged stress causes an imbalance of emotion and a likely result of an energy deficit. This can be the outcome if you do not embrace what is causing you stress. There is another alternative.

To briefly go all scientific on you, stress isn’t all bad. A stress response is created in the brain to tell us that that we need more energy than our current capacity. This evokes a somewhat panicked reaction, however, it can also act as a stimulus for positive change.

The possible benefits of stress:

  • Improvement of memory: Have you ever noticed a sudden clarity of a decision while under stress, or a major boost of recall to answers during an important exam? Stress responses can actually sharpen your memory and help you focus. This is short-term. Extended, long term stress can make your memory foggy. These are totally different.
  • Turning stress into motivation: Think of this as transforming stress into positive energy. This also includes awareness. You know the stress is there, so change it to be positive. Stress as motivation can help you make hard and fast decisions, and be more productive under pressure. This in turn boosts your confidence and mental toughness, two very sought after qualities for any kind of profession. Again, this is a healthy dose of stress.
  • Stress as excitement: We experience stress in exciting situations as well, it is not just a survival tool. When we finally talk to a person we like (for the romantics), or when we conquer a major fear, we feel some sort of stress. This stress can feel like the pre-stage of adrenaline that makes our lives more interesting. Achieving this stress can bring us fulfillment and happiness.

Long-term stress: Stitch is adorable but this is not a good situation.

Stitch GIF.gif

From above, there are positive things to draw from short burst of stress. Long-term stress is not healthy exposure, so practicing how to harness and transform it into a positive outcome is key. Take the time to find what works for you, and incorporate these methods  into your everyday routine. I hope this provided insight to the background of stress and how to find healthy outlets. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly ❤