My day-to-day life involves running from one job to another in between writing articles or attending graduate school classes. I’m not the only one whose schedule borders on insane. The minimalist life, on the other hand, simplifies the day-to-day so that life can be enjoyed, even when it’s frenzied. But how do you do that when it’s impossible to change your schedule or lessen your responsibilities?
Clean out the clutter. Do you need everything you want? Most likely not. Some things we need only to make ourselves happy, and other things just occupy space. If you’re not using that thing you bought or it’s not bringing happiness or balance to your space, get rid of it. Donate the clothes you no longer wear, or get rid of the “box of exes” you keep under your bed. Start fresh and uncluttered.
If you can’t pay cash, don’t buy it. One of the biggest things that hold us millennials financially underwater is debt. We have student loan debt from college and credit cards from every store. It may have been impossible to go to college without incurring some debt, but using credit cards to live the good life means you can get into trouble fast. Curb your spending to only include things you can pay for from your bank account, and learn to budget to pay off any credit card debt. You’ll feel so much lighter mentally without extra debt hanging over you.
Spend time by yourself. While you don’t need to go to a cabin in a remote part of the world, you can set time aside to be completely and utterly alone. Think bubble bath and soft music. Or hot chocolate and reading that book you’ve been meaning to pick up since forever. Turn off your cell phone and computer, remove external distractions and just…be.
Try yoga, pilates or meditation. This tends to go in tandem with spending time by yourself, but the point of this is to engage and relax your body as much as your mind. Take care of the stress in your life by learning to let it go. You might still have to deal with your work deadlines, but you can allow yourself a healthy break from that to refresh.
Minimalism can take many forms depending on your lifestyle and personal needs. Some people completely eschew modern conveniences, live away from cities or have a wardrobe of only 20 to 30 pieces of clothing. You don’t need to give everything up if you don’t want to or it doesn’t make sense for your schedule or where you live, but you can free up more of your space and your life. The key to minimalism is this: Find what matters and shed the rest.