On a minimalist life journey, there are many opportunities to re-examine our lives and discover thoughts, habits and behaviours that may need a little fine tuning.
The practice of minimalism encourages us to become more mindful in all areas of life.
Regularly examining things like your daily habits, your living environment, the way you feel during the day, what you’re eating, and how you’re communicating all gives you a good indication of whether or not you’re steering in the right direction.
Your habits should ideally be taking you towards (rather than away from) your life goals, towards fulfilling your purpose and to living with joy and freedom and peace.
If you’re looking for ways to improve mindfulness and foster minimalism in your daily life, here are some ideas that will help you nurture that intention.
Meal Planning and Prepping
Life (even a minimalist one) contains some unavoidable demands, and eating is one!
If you’re looking for a way to streamline your habits, routine and save time, I highly recommend creating a meal plan.
You’ll enjoy healthier meals, you won’t need to stress out about cooking, and you won’t resort to unhealthy fast food options.
I love that by meal prepping, you only mess up the kitchen one time and you’ll enjoy meals all week long.
If you’ve never tried meal planning before, try this guide to help you get started. It worked for me!
Embrace Digital Minimalism
Many of us spend a big portion of our lives online. Unfortunately, as we accumulate apps, social media accounts and photos, our minds become cluttered and our lives complex.
Digital minimalism is so helpful in making life less stressful and more organized.
Whether you decide on a one screen policy, start switching off notifications, or deleting apps, there are many options that will immediately simplify your life and improve your state of mind. (In fact, I’ve written about 15 ways to simplify your digital life here.)
Practice Being A Conscious Consumer
There are many ways to go about increasing your mindfulness while shopping. Try to incorporate these two tips into your habits:
Only buy something if it’s exactly what you want. If it doesn’t tick all the boxes – wait! It’ll only end up at the back of a closet or kitchen cupboard. Before going out to buy something, identify what you need and why you need it. Do the necessary research so the item you choose meets your specifications and intentions (perhaps you want to support an eco-friendly brand). Don’t settle for good enough.
Which follows onto the second tip: wait a little while before buying something you want. You may identify a gap in your wardrobe or have a kitchen appliance break. Try waiting a few days (or even weeks) before you purchase a replacement. This can help prevent an impulse buy that you later regret, but also helps you identify if you actually truly need that item. If you do, you’ll know soon enough. But you may notice that as time passes, you don’t really miss or even need the appliance (or sweater or bag, etc!).
Shop from your own home first. Before going out to buy something, check through your storage, look into cupboards and drawers. You may already own something you could use or rediscover something you could repurpose.
An oldie but a goodie: Don’t go shopping without a list. After already identifying and noting down exactly what you need, a list helps you stay on track and not make mindless purchases.
Initially, decluttering your living space is a large project. With my free guide, you can declutter your house in 6 weeks, but it’s not something you want to have to do every few months.
Take some time on a regular basis (once a week or fortnight), to zoom around your house and look into some clutter-gathering areas.
Quickly remove out of place items that have gathered, maybe decide that some decor pieces in fact do need to go and look at everything with a critical eye.
Remember that one goal of decluttering is to release things that no longer serve you.
Perhaps you’re holding onto items because of guilt. Whatever the case, if they’re holding you back from leading a life free of pain and free of the past, gather your courage and let them go.
Make Self Care A Habit
Self-care doesn’t necessarily mean a whole spa day. Take moments throughout the day or find out what works for your schedule.
I discovered that waking up early allowed me to nourish my mind, body and soul with precious time spent alone before starting the daily routine.
Use this time to do whatever you need to do for you – do nothing, feel bored, watch birds, read, meditate, journal, take a bath, drink tea – do something that gives you joy.
Avoid Screen Time Before Bed
This healthy habit has only positive benefits for your mindset and general health.
Avoiding your phone, laptop, and TV an hour or more before sleeping helps you wind down properly.
Instead of mindlessly (because you’re tired and less likely to be intentional) consuming content that may have little value to you, use the time in bed to truly relax, reflect and connect with yourself.
You’ll sleep better and feel more rested during the day.
Incorporate More Movement
Modern life often requires us to sit for long periods of time in front of computer screens, at our desks, or in transport. Medical science is clear that a sedentary lifestyle leads to many health problems.
If you’re not someone that wants to get started with a full on exercise program, why not try something simple like walking!
Once you look at it, there are many opportunities to walk instead of drive. Try walking to the next bus stop, or take a walk during your lunch break.
Not only does it do you body good, but getting your body moving freshens up your mind and, in turn, your perspective. Take the time to breathe deeply, to look around you, to feel your emotions and your body, and to smile.
Create Gratitude A Habit
I’ve intentionally used the word ‘practice’, because gratitude is truly a practice.
Science has shown that practicing gratitude improves your life in a myriad of ways including feeling happier, more positive about life and more optimistic.
Gratitude doesn’t only arise spontaneously after being given something special or receiving help in a tight spot.
Throughout the day, reflect on things you feel grateful for. You can do this while driving, walking, washing dishes, eating food – use ordinary moments to savor things you are grateful for.
Initially, it may be tough, but try starting off with just three things – perhaps your partner, a pet, the delicious coffee you drank this morning – and focus on the feeling of gratitude for the positive experience or person in your life.
As the feeling becomes more familiar, include your gratitude practice in your journaling. Really reflect on the gifts you have in your life and what they mean to you.
Incorporating these simple habits into your life will help you reclaim your time, improve your wellbeing, and nurture your meaningful and intentional life goals.