Why do we spend more time “fixing” than preventing?

This past weekend my body gave me no option but to put in a little self-care time. On Friday I pinched a nerve in my neck and quickly turned into tingly numbness in my fingers and toes on my left side.

I spent the majority of Saturday using a (DIY) heat compress on my back, doing gentle yoga and pampering myself. I added a bit a reflexology to my arsenal. I had a hot bath. I visited my chiropractor and picked up some DoTerra goodies. I slept with a pillow between my knees for a few nights. I basically spent the whole weekend trying to fix my neck. I never spend this much time on myself. Suddenly I had a question pop up in my mind.

Why do we spend more time “fixing” than preventing?

I “fixed” because I was forced to stop. I couldn’t move forward at full speed until I did. The nature of “fixing” means that I neglected important maintenance along the way.

What if I focused more on caring for myself before I needed to “fix”? When we slow down we can better listen to our bodies to know what we need. Speed masks our emotions (especially those we don’t want to feel) and our bodily pains. Adrenaline keeps us going. And cortisol makes us unhealthy.

How can we make time for ourselves during stressful times to keep us healthy and well?

Be Active.

My best reset activity is a hike. When I want to feel grounded and re-energized, I lace up my hiking boots and hit the trails. Whether it is for a few hours or a full day, my self-imposed “timeout” is always a treat. If you can’t make it out to the woods, try walking to your favorite neighborhood café instead. Even a simple stroll will help you clear your mind.

 

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Be Mindful.

I am an off-and-on meditator. I can tell you that when I remember to breathe, I am a calmer person. One of my favorite new activities is yoga. The past month or so I have started (and sometimes ended) my days with 15-30 minutes of yoga. Reconnecting with my breath and body, I feel looser and more fluid. When I skip a day I can totally tell a difference in my body feel tight and out of alignment. The next day I am usually eager to get back on the mat.

Be Social.

This is a hard one, especially as adults. Let’s face it… It’s not easy to make friends! We don’t have teachers reminding us to be nice and make friends. As adults we are totally left to fend for ourselves. Having social time makes me confident and lighthearted. I reconnect to my playful side and let go of my worries.

Dance It Out.

Did you know listening to music decreases stress levels? Well, the right music does anyway. I have a secret confession. When I am at home by myself and a great song comes on, I can’t help but bounce around the living room. Just the other night I sat down to watch a bio pic about James Dean. The song during the credits just begged for a good dance! I laughed so hard at my own ridiculous dancing. It was instant decompression.

 

When the days fly by, it is not always easy to be attentive to ourselves, especially with all the other demands made on us each day. A little goes a long way. That’s the mantra from my favorite set of yoga videos. A little self-care now can stop the breakdowns later, not to mention add pleasure along the way. Let’s spend less time fixing our problems and more time preventing them. Are you in?

A Personal Guide to Eating Well and Feeling Better.

One of the benefits of minimalism is the time and energy to embark on new discoveries. It has jumpstarts a lifestyle change toward health and wellness on other fronts as well.

I find that I am paying special attention to my relationship with food as of late. My past relationship to food was lacking. I have always struggled with eating the wrong things and eating too much of them. This leaves my body feeling sluggish and my skin less than optimal. In the past, I did not particularly enjoy the food I ate and I certainly did not look forward to cooking a fresh meal.

What follows is not a post about weight loss (though I think I’d be just fine if a few pounds fall away). I am not a nutritionist or certified health professional. My desire to change my relationship to food is about living a whole lifestyle committed to overall wellness and being the best version of myself. I want to eat good to feel good. I want to enjoy what and how I eat.

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Eat Local.

One of the best parts of my week lately has been going to our new local produce stand. I’m lucky that it’s only a mile or so from my home in East Nashville, TN. Other than chatting with the owner, who happens to have gone to high school with my Dad, I’ve found some other feel-good reasons to shop local when it comes to food.

I always look for easy ways to create a more sustainable, environmentally conscious home. Because the bulk of my produce does not travel across the country or around world these days, the carbon footprint it creates is much less than what you typically buy at the grocer.

It is also pretty cool that less travel time means I am able to purchase food much closer to the time it was picked. Buying at the peak of freshness means we have much less food waste in our home now. Blueberries that would usually last only 4-5 days are now lasting over a week!

Eating at the peak of freshness has other benefits too. The flavor is so much better. If you’ve had a locally grown strawberry, you know what I’m talking about. The sweetness does not even compare to the watered-down flavors I get at chain grocery stores. Along with better flavor comes more nutritional value. From reading on the topic, I have learned foods are more nutrient rich the closer in time they are to being picked.

 

Eat Fresh.

I love celebrating the change in seasons. I not-so-patiently wait for the beginning of strawberry and then peach season. I equally look forward to harvest soups in the fall. Eating seasonal foods highlights the varieties of flavor throughout the year. It keeps food boredom at bay by making the change of every season feel like a treat! I savor the last bite of peach for the year while looking forward to fall root vegetables.

Because the foods offered at local produce stand change with the seasons, there is a good chance that you’ll try something new almost every season. Take last year’s adventure with Turkish eggplant, for example. I learned that some colors aren’t palatable at all, but others are quite delish. It was also fun to try out a new recipe.

On a more practical level, eating seasonally saves a ton of money! Just last week I picked up a dozen ears of corn for $2. That’s enough to feed my extended family at our 4th of July celebration. At the chain grocery store near by house, the price was double (still not a lot, but double is double after all). Going back to less food waste, I also save by my fruits and veggies keeping longer.

 

Eat for body and soul.

Lately I have been reading about the impact different fruits and vegetables have on the health of our skin. Adding more antioxidant rich foods to our diet goes a long way in keeping our skin and body healthy. There is also this thing called “resveratrol”. I’m still learning, but it’s found in blueberries, grapes, and RED WINE. It is super good for both your heart and your skin!

I pay close attention to how I feel after I eat a meal. Some foods give me energy while others bring me way, way down. Some foods stick with me, while others leave me feeling hungry in a short while. I haven’t had a cheeseburger in months because I realized how sluggish and sleepy I felt afterward (I’ve also cut beef out of my diet for other environmental reasons that I won’t discuss in this post).

I suffer from a really serious problem when it comes to food. I get hangry. Really, really hangry. It is probably my least attractive personal quality. While I laugh about it with friends and family, my brain actually begins to feel like it is shutting down and goes into a panic mode. My blood sugar drops and so does my patience. It has become really important to restructure my eating habits to get rid of this. No husband wants to come home to a hangry wife after a long day of work!

I’m no good at deprivation. My soul would be crushed if I couldn’t have the occasional poutine or chocolate croissant. Instead, I’m learning balance. If I have a heavy meal one day, I’ll eat lighter the next. The days of eating out many times a week are over. Yesterday I had a turkey, bacon, and avocado sandwich for lunch from my favorite local deli. Today lunch is half of a quinoa stuffed bell pepper with a side of oven-roasted potatoes. Likewise, if I eat a large lunch a light dinner will follow. It’s all about balance y’all!

 

Eat Only Enough.

As the typical American, I am often guilty of stuffing myself and then eating “one more big bite”. I am lucky to live in an economic condition and location where I have easy access to food whenever I need it. I remind myself constantly “I don’t have to eat it all right now”. Sometimes I listen to my inner voice and sometimes I don’t. I can tell you that I feel 100% better when I do listen.

Lately I have enjoyed “second lunch”. In an effort to allow my body to understand what “enough” food feels like, I’ve been eating only half my lunch. I put the rest in the fridge and go back an hour or so later for a few more bites. I’m lucky that I have a flexible workday so taking a few minutes for a late second lunch is no problem. It works for me because it also keeps me from snacking in the late afternoon, which I am prone to do.

 

Does all this mean I’m giving up the proverbial Millennial Avocado Toast? Nope! As I mentioned before deprivation is not for me. But I make a conscious choice to eat more local and seasonal foods. I hit my local stand first before setting foot in the chain store. By taking these easy steps, I have noticed the “other stuff” is quickly being replaced.

So far, my energy has increase, my skin is looking softer and brighter and my husband gets a happy, non-hangry wife. Apparently, my waistline must be looking smaller too because a neighbor asked if I had been doing the Whole 30 diet. No, no I’m not!

 

 

Get the stuffed quinoa recipe from Minimalist Baker!

Read more about eating for your skin in Mathilde Thomas’ The French Beauty Solution.

I Learned Acceptance And Here’s What Happened.

As I reflect on the past year of pursuing minimalism and simplicity, one word comes to mind. ACCEPTANCE. It’s something I have found to be challenging throughout my life. Not being able to accept my shortcomings (or others’) has left me feeling disappointed and let down time and time again. It has caused an incredible amount of stress and worry in my life. What follows are a few ways I live ACCEPTANCE day-to-day.

 

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I have learned to accept what I have and what I do not. As Minimalists, we give up the pursuit of MORE, MORE, MORE when it comes to both physical possessions and time-fillers. So many times I have found myself wanting something I knew I couldn’t afford because someone else I know has it. Not to mention the times I’ve rushed from place to place for the sake of FOMO. Over the past year, I have become okay with having less and doing less.

I have learned to accept myself. In trying to be all things to all people, I have felt like a failure a hundred times over. Minimalists prioritize and refocus their lives based on their values and goals. My focus has turned inward toward my home, my partner and myself.

It has been a struggle for me to refocus my energy. I have spent too much time marking off items on my priority list that are number 10 and number 11, rather than focusing on numbers 1 and 2. While I still have a long way to go, I am learning to redirect my energy toward my top priorities. I will fail many, many more times and get stuck on time-wasters or forget my priorities. I  accept my failure when it happens now, and recommit to the life I want.

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I have learned to accept imperfection. Perfection. That’s an overwhelming word and an even more impossible goal. Perfection is a trap that keeps us in the rat race of life (more on exiting the race below). All I can do is my best, and that’s okay.

In shifting my priorities, I’ve let go of the dream of a perfectly neat, clean home. But you know the best part about that? I can invest that new-found freedom in having wonderful adventures. My floors may not be sparkling clean, but that hike last weekend sure was fun!

I have learned to accept that I will not always win the race of life. Heck! I don’t even have to run the race. Do you ever feel as if you are racing to get somewhere? Have you ever gotten “there”? Has anyone? The answer is NO. There is no “there”. Personally, I’ve run a million races in my mind. I’ve taken shortcuts and still lost. I wasn’t the first to buy a house, get married, or find my dream job. Does that mean the life I’m living is any less worthy to be enjoyed than another’s? No Way! I took my time. I found my own path and learned a lot along the way.

Slow living reminds me that it is truly about the journey not the destination. It is fruitless to join in the race society propagates because I am never going to cross the finish line. I don’t need to be the “best” minimalist or lead the “most” simple life. Minimalism is not my destination. It’s a way of living. It’s a frame for my life. When I gave up the goal of trying to win the race, I could revel in the scenery on a simple stroll instead of barely noticing a blur of images as I speed by. I can enjoy the company of those who walk beside me as well.

Through acceptance I continue to find freedom and happiness. Acceptance means I acknowledge even the ugliest, most imperfect parts of myself. It frees me from the worry of being “found out” and the energy it takes to cover up who I am. Freeing myself from all that worry, I can be more present and enjoy the moment. Along with accepting the bad, I also more fully accept the good in my life and myself. I view my life with a lens of gratitude. I appreciate so much more how good I have it to be financially stable and to have a home, a loving husband, adorable cat, supportive family and friends.

Have you given acceptance a try?

-Hailey-

 

 

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You might also enjoy Why Does Minimalism Appeal to Women?

 

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Our Minimalist Honeymoon

I am ashamed to admit how long it has been since I have had a proper vacation without obligation to family or work. It is often hard for me to relax on vacation. Not to mention I usually book my trip full of sights and activities only to return feeling as if I need another vacation.

This trip will be different from those before I found minimalism. Our time away will be slow. It will be less encumbered by the things I pack and the things I buy. The goal of our trip will be to recharge and invest in our relationship.

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I have mapped out a few keys to create memories that will last long into our future.

PACK LIGHT 

Wardrobe To-Go. In the past I have been a chronic over-packer. Eight pairs of shoes is not too many, right? Being a convert to Project 333 there is no doubt that my entire winter wardrobe could fit in one suitcase. But even that seems like too much. While I have not packed my bags yet, I am planning to take versatile items that can be easily layered or mixed and matched. As most of my winter wardrobe is black, this should not be an issue.

Wear It More Than Once. I won’t be on any catwalks and I am not a fashion blogger. Let’s face it; no one cares what I wear. I will definitely wear the same outfit more than once.

PLAN LESS

Minimize Schedules. This will be the biggest difference in vacationing pre- and post-minimalism. Usually I book all my time with fun activities and sightseeing. For this trip I have booked no activities as of the writing of this blog post. Not one activity. I am sure we will book one or two along the way, but not the onslaught I would usually experience. We will sleep in. Wake up slowly, and then make a plan for the day.

Relax and Refresh. There have been countless trips that I have returned from feeling exhausted and no more grounded than when I left. This will not be one of this. Because of our work schedules, my husband and I rarely get this much time away from work. We plan to use it to recharge our new marriage and ourselves.

Do Nothing. That’s right. I want to go on a trip and do nothing. Okay, so not every day. I want to have at least one do nothing day. I want one day to spend reading, writing, and reflecting on our experiences so far. Sure, this may involve leaving the apartment to grab a good meal or take a walk, but there will be no museums or tourist-laden locals.

PURCHASE LITTLE 

Skip the souvenirs. There is another word for souvenir. Clutter. If I am honest with myself I can tell you there are only one or two purchases that I have made on trips I actually still enjoy. We will be opting out of the traditional souvenirs, and applying our purchasing questions to any items we buy. These things will be useful to our daily lives.

Eat local. We will be in the same city for 8 days, and we are excited to explore the local food markets. Purchasing groceries instead of eating out for three meals a day will help us to not only save money, but also to experience locally grown produce and meats.

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EXPERIENCE MORE

Put the Camera Down. Sometimes it feels as if an experience did not exist if it was not posted to Instagram or Facebook. My life almost never looks as adventrous or lovely as the folks I follow on social media. While I will definitely be taking my fair share of snapshots, I do not want to spend the entire trip behind the lens. Our screens can only capture such a small segment of what is happening all around us. While that small bit may be beautiful by itself, I do not want to miss out on the whole masterpiece.

Memories make the best souvenirs. Instead of buying small items to take home, I will be spending my time and money creating memorable experiences. We are opting for small food tours and wine tastings over loads of shopping. I have taken time to map out a daily walk around the city incorporating a museum here and there. I like the idea of planning walks because they can be done or not be done. There is no cost to us. If we decide we would rather linger somewhere else, we can without feeling the guilt of losing money. Who I am traveling with is the most important part of my trip.

Let It Sink In. I am endlessly tempted to cram as much into our vacation as humanly possible. The trouble for me is over booking myself does not allow me to process where I have been, who I have met and what I have seen. I’m turning over a “slow” leaf. I am very much looking forward to being able to sit down with a notebook and write a few words about the day.

 

This blog will be quiet or the next couple of weeks while we are gone. There is no doubt that I will return with lots to share and write. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you.

What are some of your favorite slow vacation moments?

You can now follow along Facebook and Pinterest too! Interested in providing a guest post for Ditch The Stuff? I look forward to hearing from you!

Podcasts to Inspire

Time to load your phone with great podcasts to keep you inspired and moving forward in your journey toward a simple life.

I am getting ready for a big trip. One of my favorite parts of any trip is binging on podcasts. I have already stockpiled my favorites for our trip. As I was making some last minute downloads I thought of you.

Here are a few of the minimalism podcasts I enjoy. You may notice those guys at The Minimalists are not on the list. They’re great. I thought you may have already heard of them. I am hopeful this list gives you a few gems to explore!

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If you have press play on any of these over the next couple of weeks, leave a comment. I look forward to chatting about them when I return.

(Links: Slow HomeLet It BeLow Tox LifeThe Mindful KindFunctioning Minimalist)

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Navigating Minimalism With A Little One

Hi there!

I’m Jenny from This Tiny Blue House where I blog about living minimally, simply and frugally with my husband Mer and miracle baby Margs. I’m beyond excited to share some ideas on managing minimalism with a little today. But first, I would like to extend an enormous thank you to Hailey from Ditch the Stuff for this incredibly opportunity to write a guest post for her lovely blog and to share my ideas with you fine folks.

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My minimalism journey started after my husband and I found ourselves faced with a heap of credit card debt – 21k to be exact. It was scary and overwhelming but we vowed to take control of our finances. To do this we had to acknowledge that we were miserable, surrounded by things we truly didn’t need and felt compelled to continually buy into the consumerist chaos that surrounded us because for the longest time we focused on “keeping up with the joneses” rather than focusing on our own contentment.

That journey started roughly 7 years ago. Since that time we’ve been able to pay off all our debt (excluding our mortgage), buy our first home with a 50% down payment and bring a beautiful baby girl into the world after 1 still birth and 2 early miscarriages.

My daughter Margs is my raison d’etre. She’s the reason I’ve found the ability to love again and believe that there is good in this world. From very early on in my pregnancy my husband and I decided that we wanted to focus on moments- not things and slowly we’re navigating minimalism with a baby toddler.

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One of our biggest dilemmas thus far is dealing with the fear and guilt that by choosing to live a minimalist lifestyle we may be inadvertently depriving our little girl of a typical “consumerist” childhood. As a result, we’ve come to a compromise that allows Margs to enjoy a fairly typical childhood without necessarily buying into excessive consumerism.

We focus on building memories and not accumulating things. Christmas is a perfect example of how we’re building traditions focused on memory building and not consumerism. I wrote a pretty detailed explanation of how we’re handling the “big” holiday around here. But, in a nutshell we’re opting not to remove gift giving completely from our household because ultimately we don’t feel that we have the authority to make that decision for Margs. Instead, we’re focusing on building moments and traditions that we hope will overshadow the gift giving aspect of the holiday (birthdays included).

We buy used 99% of the time. Babies need stuff. Toddlers need even more stuff – it’s just an inevitable part of raising a kiddo and we’ve made a decision to buy everything and anything we can used. We’ll never deprive our child of what she needs which includes things like food, medication, diapers, clothing, medical and dental care. But, above and beyond these essential necessities we are extremely particular about what items we bring into our home. If/when she needs a new toy (do they really truly ever need a new toy?) we buy used. Our focus isn’t to deprive Margs from having toys – instead, we’re using our minimalist beliefs to hopefully encourage her to be selective and frugal with her choices. When she’s old enough to understand the concept that money buys things we hope she’ll make conscious consumerist decisions and be able to discern from the desire of wanting versus needing.

We barter and trade our baby gear. Baby gear, toys and clothes pile up don’t they? In an effort to combat baby clutter we’ve come up with a strategy to barter, sell or trade everything Margs has out grown. This way, we’re not really spending a ton of money (I’m a frugal cheapo for what it’s worth) on any baby related gear. This not only helps us save money but it helps combat the toy accumulation in our house. Margs enjoy toys and as a a result I would never deprive her from play because play is such an important aspect of child development. However, I do not want to litter my house with hundreds of toys because it simply doesn’t fit with our lifestyle choices. By bartering and trading we’re able to constantly trade out her toys and keep the selection “new” to her without necessarily accumulating an alarming amount of stuff. Hopefully, as she ages and begins to understand why her jumperoo disappeared and was replaced with a walker she’ll learn that toys, gear and stuff are only a temporary and passing need in most circumstances.

We regularly “purge”Margs’ toys. At the moment, I purge her toys but I hope that eventually she’ll become an active participant in the process. We’ve gotten her a small toy box that we use as a guide to control her toy collection. Essentially, when the box appears to be too full it’s time to purge through and eliminate toys that are broken, not useful or that she’s otherwise outgrown. Our logic here is that the bigger the “storage” container the more toys we can stuff in there. We’ve set this as a benchmark and we’re hopeful that moving forward she’ll consider this “space” when she makes her own decisions about what items or objects she chooses to bring into our home.

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Communicate your lifestyle choices with those closest to you. This is probably the most important element of living a minimalist lifestyle as a family. I don’t want to bore you with details of Margs birth but I will say that in the days following her entrace into the world we were bombarded with gifts. Although extremely grateful by our friends and families generosity we were extremely overwhelmed with the volume of “stuff” that we now had in our lives. As the weeks and months passed this trend of receiving baby gifts continued mainly from Margs’ grandparents so we knew we needed to sit down and have a chat with them. First and foremost we made it very clear that we were beyond grateful for their generosity but kindly communicated our desire to keep her life as clutter free and minimalistic as possible. They didn’t really understand it (I’m not sure they ever really will) but they do respect our decisions. As a result, they’ve opted not to purchase her excessive quantities of clothes or toys. Instead both sets of grandparents opt to add to her education fund. We’ve also made monetary donations to the March of Dimes in honor of our still born twins which our friends and family are more than happy to partake in instead of purchasing Margs an outfit, book or toy.

All this to say, there’s no right or wrong way to approach minimalism as a family. We’re still very much in a learning curve because as our baby girl grows her needs are changing as well. Clearly, we hope she’ll take to minimalism the same way we have but ultimately that will be her decision to make when she can understand the basic tenants of the movement. Until then, we hope that living minimally, albeit a more relaxed form of minimalism she’ll learn to appreciate the moments, memories and traditions we’re building through a minimalist lens.

So thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts today. If you’re curious about my blog or would like to follow my journey please feel free to pop over to my tiny piece of internet real estate : this tiny blue house. Alternatively, I’d be thrilled to connect with you on Instagram, twitter or pinterest!

Now tell me, what does minimalism look like to your family?

Guest Post by Jenny from This Tiny Blue House. Thank you to Jenny for such a wonderful piece. You can now follow along Facebook and Pinterest too! Interested in providing a guest post for Ditch The Stuff? I look forward to hearing from you!

Why Does Minimalism Appeal to Women?

Have you noticed the number of female minimalism and simplicity bloggers seems to be steadily increasing?

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The simplicity movement speaks to the modern woman. For the past several decades we, as women, tried to do it all. We tried to be all things to all people. But we forgot one person… Ourselves.

Women have been the primary objects of the “Do More, Have More” society in which we have been living for the past few decades. We joined the workforce, but kept our home duties. We were told if we added this item to our home or bought that dress, we would be happier, prettier, better women.

We neglected our own passions and interests for the care of the family, our coworkers, and our communities. We organized PTA meetings, planned dinner parties, and kept the home neat and tidy. This approach has a deep flaw. We are not giving our best.

We spend so much time giving to others that we forget to give time to ourselves. Don’t get me wrong giving to others is a good thing. It is something we should do. But we cannot give to others at the expense of ourselves. It is a recipe for stress, burnout and depression.

The more we invest in our own wellness, the more we will be able to invest in the well-being of those around us. If we feel exhausted, stressed or over-extended, it transfers to our interactions with our family and friends. We are more likely to be irritable and unengaged. And then will come the inevitable guilt we feel when we realize we aren’t giving our best.

How do we become our best selves? We slow down. We take time out. We edit and prioritize. We accept that we cannot be all things to all people. We say “Enough!”

We have had enough of the “Do More, Have More” society. We are enough. You are enough. You are enough as a woman, sister, daughter, wife and mother.

The simplicity movement gives us permission to slow down, to reflect, and to refocus. It grants us allowance to rid our lives of those activities, people and things which bring no value to our lives. Minimalism gives us permission to focus on who we are and on who we want to be rather than on what we have. The movement encourages meaning over mindless, quality over quantity, and taking time out over busyness.

If you are in need of permission to take time out, let me grant you permission right now. I give you permission to stop juggling. I give you permission to put down a ball (or two, or three) to pick up your “Self-Care” ball. I give you permission to ask for help.

Do you feel like you spend too much time cleaning? If your budget can support it, I give you permission to hire a cleaning professional.

Is a home cooked dinner too much to manage every night of the week? I give you permission to plan a no-cook night. Eat out. Eat Leftovers. Let your partner cook.

Does the huge pile of dishes stress you out after dinner? I give you permission to ask for help from your family.

Do you feel like you don’t sit down from the moment your feet hit the floor? I give you permission to take 10 minutes to just sit and breathe.

Would you like to cut back the number of hours you work away from home each week? I give you permission to trade hours away from home for time to be more present in your home.

Do you need permission to wear that special occasion dress more than once? I give you permission. Besides, it’s unlikely anyone will even notice.

What do you need permission to do or not do? I will be the one give it to you, if you cannot give it to yourself.

Editor’s Note: I have received feedback that this post is “one-sided” and does not express what men bring to relationships. The topic of this post is minimalism and its appeal to women. The post is one-sided. I do not feel I am suited to write a post about minimalism’s appeal to men, as I am not a man.

You can now follow along Facebook and Pinterest too! Interested in providing a guest post for Ditch The Stuff? I look forward to hearing from you!

Am I Less Fun Now That I Am A Minimalist?

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Photo Credit: CK Photo taken during our wedding reception.

One of my dear friends told me I was no fun the other day. Let me explain.

She held up a can koozie and said “You need this!” I replied quickly, “It’s cute, but I already have a koozie at home.” The response I received from her was “You’re no fun now that you’re a minimalist.” I think she was just teasing me, but it made me wonder. Was I less fun now?

It’s true that now I am unlikely to accept an invitation to go to the mall. I have been eating out less too, trying to reach some of my financial goals. I have been learning how to say “No” to being busy and how to enjoy the quiet moments. I am different from before. My “fun” is different now too.

Here are a few ways I have fun as a minimalist:

Reading.

I have read probably one book every week (or two). I’ve always enjoyed reading. Spending less time doing chores has given me time to sit back and take in a book without feeling guilty about ignoring my to-do list.

Cooking.

It was not until I met my husband that I ever cooked a meal from scratch. If anyone had told me I would enjoy cooking, I would have laughed. There is something wonderful about taking an hour or so to make something that will nourish myself and my husband.

Hiking.

While I got away from my habit last year due to overworking myself, it is something I am ready to embrace again. And what’s better is that hiking is nearly free once you have all the gear.

Watching Documentaries.

I have developed a thirst for knowledge. There is nothing better than a really wonderful documentary. Docs allow me to gain perspective on my world, and inspire me to make healthy changes in my life.

Listening to Podcasts.

Okay, Okay. Maybe the only thing better than a wonderful documentary is an interesting podcast. I really cannot get enough. I listen to probably one or two podcasts a day. Roadtrip? Podcast. Dishes? Podcast. Morning cup of tea? Podcast. I think you get the point.

 

I suppose you could say that I have embraced my inner introvert. While I’m enjoying quiet activities at the moment, I have a sense of peace and contentment that alluded me when I packed my schedule full of social outings.

Am I less fun? Perhaps in the traditional sense. And you know what… I am okay with that for now.

What is your “fun” now that you’re a minimalist?

How a Making a List Helped Me Tackle The Urge to Buy, Buy, Buy

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I’m a Minimalist. I no longer want to buy things or have the temptation to make unnecessary purchases. This could not be further from the truth! Years of learned behavior has not gone away overnight for me. It’s not as if I woke up one morning and said “From now on, I will be the perfect minimalist”. You and I, we are pursuing in the real world with our real selves.

Even as a minimalist, there are still things that I would like to buy. Mostly these are very useful, practical things (a new bed frame, a black cashmere sweater, or reusable produce bags, for example), but there are frivolous things from time to time as well.

Now that I have finished clearing the clutter and am working daily to keep it out, I look at purchases with a more critical eye and plan out my purchases based on my budget and upcoming expenses.

I ask myself a few questions and if I feel the purchase passes my little test, I add it to a “Want List” I keep on my iPad, along with the date I added the item. If I am on a website, like Amazon, I always add items to my Wish List rather than my cart. There are a few reasons a “want list” helps me be happier with less:

  • I dare say I get a little high from adding the items. It’s like shopping, but better because I’m not actually shopping. Add it and forget it.
  • I am giving myself permission to buy it if I still want it at a later date. Who doesn’t like the feeling of being able to make a purchase guilt free?
  • I find more often than not I remove the item from the list the next month. My tastes change often and many times I find I already own items that are a good substitute for what I’d like to purchase.
  • Sometimes just knowing I can make a purchase enough.
  • I get to put more money in my savings account every month.

What’s on your “Want List”?

 

 

The Blogger Tribe

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As I mentioned yesterday, I have been away from the blog over the past week. I was feeling a lot of doubt about getting back into my habit of writing and wondering if my writing was adding any value to this already crowded WordPress we call home. I know what I have gotten out of writing: time to reflect, new friends, and the joy of learning something new. But I do often wonder if what I write matters.

That’s when I got back on the blog and saw this Blogger Recognition post going around. I was so very surprised to have two bloggers mention Ditch The Stuff in their posts. What a lovely gesture! And it came at a time that was quite needed.

What I love most about this is that it gives me an excuse to share some of the bloggers I read!

Thank you to Jenny of This Tiny Blue House. Jenny writes an absolutely amazing blog. Her posts have a clear connection to her heart. In just over three months Jenny has amassed almost 2500 followers which I think is a testament to her spirit and connection to her readers. Jenny and I also have a fun guest post in the works for next month. Stay tuned!

Thank you also to Reynolds Made. Her blog showcases her photography talent and clear tips for actionable change. I especially enjoy her post on Decision Fatigue. You cannot help but notice how sharp she is. She is about to cross her 100th follower mark. So, GO. NOW. Be the 100th follower!

This blog was started really as just a catalogue of my thoughts to help process the lifestyle change toward minimalism and slow living. I’m not an expert on anything really. All I can do is share what is working for me (and what’s not). The publishing of the blog was encouraged by my lovely pen pal, Laurence who writes about her own Zero Waste journey. We were excited to share our journey with each other and teach each other a few things along the way. I write this blog for no other reason than that I truly enjoy my time of reflection.

I am a new blogger. I hardly think I am qualified to offer any advice. Two things I remind myself are to write what I feel and to write it often.

Blogger Recognition Post

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created.

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My Nominations & Favorite Posts

  1. LES CO COS ÉCOLOS– It’s all in French. So I can’t read it. But it’s written by a dear friend. If you are fluent in French do give it a read!
  2. Typewriter Girl – The Joys of January
  3. Tiny Home In The City – No Bedroom? No Problem
  4. Lisa’s Simple Life Experiment – Should We Aim For Mediocrity?
  5. Small Dog Syndrome – The Paradox of Space and Stuff
  6. Mindful In Style – Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe
  7. More Time Than Money – Busy Is The New Fine
  8. Simply & Fiercely – A Practical Guide To Being Present
  9. Simplify & Pursue – One Small Change that Made a Big Impact
  10. The Minimalist Plate – First Step to Minimize Your Daily Distraction

 

Look for some of these bloggers to pop up on guest post for Ditch The Stuff over the next month or so!

P.S. I tried not to mention blogs I have seen nominated by either of the blogs who mentioned Ditch The Stuff. You are just as awesome as the folks I listed above. I just wanted to spread the love a bit!

P.P.S. To the bloggers I listed, you need not do anything mentioned above. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blogs. Think of this as a High Five for the work you do.