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Oh, my friend, it’s ok to be stressed out. It’s ok to feel your blood pressure spike in your body because of something that isn’t going the way you wanted in life. Or maybe even something that you had hoped to never have to deal with shows up on your emotional front porch.
But it’s here. You are staring it in the face and you have a mountain to climb. There is no going around it to the right or to the left. You can’t dig under, your only option is to go through it.
Can I tell you something though?
You can’t change something until you admit there’s a problem and you’re ready to make the necessary changes to fix it. And that includes stress.
The fact that you are reading this post and are still with me tells me that you are ready. You are ready to calm that stress response that happens in your body.
Yes, you can have some control over how stressed (or stress-free) you are. Don’t fall into believing the myth that you can’t do anything about stress because there will always be work responsibilities, family responsibilities, and people needing you and your time.
This is true, there will always be things in your life demanding your attention but you CAN do something about it—and embracing a minimalist lifestyle is a great place to start managing a stressful situation and life.
First, let’s briefly talk about what minimalist living means.
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to defining this. It’s going to be a different mindset and experience for each individual so keep this in mind if you start doing any sort of research on the topic and find yourself feeling confused about what it is and isn’t.
The Easiest Way To Think About Minimalism Is This
It’s purging all the things in your life you don’t need or don’t use – paring down to the essentials, leaving you with an uncluttered surrounding and a more simplistic life. This also means letting go of that overbooked schedule. It’s all about breaking free from the bondage of commercialism that today’s society is trapped in and not believing any more that you have to have the newest phone, car, or clothing trends to survive.
All the way down to something as simple as making do with simple kitchen tools instead of having every single gadget imaginable.
Personal Story: A few years ago my husband and I were going on our semi-annual trip to Tennessee and this time around I was determined to only take what we had to have and use what was there at the cabin. And If there wasn’t something at the cabin I thought would have been there we could go to Walmart the next day and get it. I didn’t take anything except clothes, minimal snacks, and food for myself (the life of a person with three food allergies), and I took my own water for coffee and that was it.
The peace that I felt there was AMAZING. Sure I made due with some weird things but it all worked. That brought me home on a mission do reduce things at home even more than I already had. Each drawer in the kitchen as breathing room. My closet is loose, and if something has not been used in over a year it goes. When you can SEE the things you have and don’t have to hunt for those things it is a glorious feeling.
This doesn’t mean that having material things is wrong. Even minimalists still need things. It’s just important to figure out which things are essential and which you can live without.
p.s I don’t touch my husband’s stuff. 😉If he wants to live in a packed full closet and not part with anything that is his choice.
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How Does Minimalism Reduce Stress?
Think about your current situation. Is your living environment so cluttered that half the time you can’t find what you’re looking for? Do you have a large house you despise cleaning because it takes so much time? Do you find yourself staring at a closet full of clothes but stressed because you just don’t have anything to wear? Do you have mountains of debt?
Now think about your backyard farm business. Do you feel the need to always buy the latest and greatest software or toy in your industry? Did you get goats because “that’s what homesteaders do”? Or do you have 25 chickens when 10 will give you just what you need?
Have you made some poor purchasing decisions? Do you feel like you’re working 24/7 because you are expecting way too much of yourself and what is realistic for the lifestyle you are living?
All those things put a lot of pressure on you and cause a great deal of stress. There are so many reasons stress is bad but you already know that.
The point is that minimalist living reduces stress because you’ll be getting rid of not only the physical clutter but the mental clutter as well.
Start clearing your calendar of things you don’t enjoy doing. In other words, you will start saying NO and leaving it at that. Believe it or not, no is a complete sentence! You don’t have to give a person a reason why because they could be a fixer and solve that reason you were using as a no.
As you go through and purge possessions you can sell things to pay down your debt, too. Other things you can donate to local charities or foundations that help those in need and feel good about what you’re doing. Doing all these things will reduce your worry and anxiety which of course means less stress!
Here’s the bottom line. A minimalist lifestyle is an easy way to reduce stress and may include any or all of these ideas:
- Downsizing living arrangements
- Driving less because your schedule is less busy. Which will enable you to get a less expensive car.
- Getting rid of cable. (We only have an antenna and it works just fine. Sure there are bad weather days but it forces you to not be watching TV all the time. Which is great for pushing yourself to reach your life goals)
- Getting rid of TV entirely or keeping just one ( we have just one and it works out just fine.)
- Downsizing your wardrobe to a very minimal, functional one (no more stress about what to wear!)
- Deleting apps off your phone that cause you stress. (I’m looking at you Instagram)
- Say no to commitments that are toxic.
- No more obsessing over having to keep up with the Joneses (in other words, no more excessive spending on things not needed!)
- Live on a budget within your means.
- Sell or donate material things that are no longer needed or useful to your new lifestyle
The beauty of embracing minimalism is that you get to choose what works for you and leave the rest behind. It’s your life. Design it the way you like. That alone will dramatically reduce your stress levels.
To Stress Less You Need To Do The Opposite Of Stress
Cultivate more joy.
This isn’t easy and takes practice. Something I am working on myself. It takes intention and daily reminders for stress management to become a daily life habit.
When you feel yourself spiraling down a rabbit hole ask yourself this.
Is it really important that I think about this in this form? How can I look at this differently? While it can be hard to want to work on your emotional health especially when you have some deep things you need to work on. But it’s so necessary.
Here are some things I do to bring more joy into my life when I feel myself slipping.
- Watching the lives from my favorite Facebook Page Scattered Sasha – She is so sweet and brings so much happiness into the world. – You can also go to her website.
- I am a part of her Glitter And Grace Club It’s super affordable – Check it out.
- Go out into the garden and be around my flowers.
- Go out and have some time with my rabbits.
- Paint in the winter.
My Favorite Podcast To Help You Stress Less
My favorite Instagram influencer literally started a podcast this week and her first full episode has been on repeat when I do chores outside or while I am taking a shower. She is so sweet and shares the real life.
Go look for The Good Day Podcast with Sara Joy and find her episode 3 hacks to have more joy.
It has been so helpful and life-giving to me.
While this can be good I think in certain situations you should be careful what you choose to do.
If you are waiting to do a test or a speech something like chewing gum or pacing can cause your anxiety to increase. Not decrease.
But doing something like taking a deep breath and sitting up tall and confident will help your emotions calm down.
But if you are trying to get to sleep or trying to stop stressing about something down the road going for a walk or doing work will help relax your body and burn off that excessive stress. I hate to work out. But I also know that I am more mentally at peace because of it. So on the good weathered days, I go on a walk behind our house in the field and do some kind of workout without weights at home.
I will turn on the KLove app and let that play to help distract me from how much I hate it😂
Count to Ten
It may sound too good to be true, but this strategy really works. Just count slowly from one to ten. (OR three if this is a drastic situation)
Try to breathe deeply as you do, this will enhance the effects. This little trick can help you quickly gain control of your emotions and feel calmer in a pinch.
Close Your Eyes
Yep. Shutting your eyes for a moment blocks out a great deal of the stimuli that are currently vying for your attention. This brief period of visual stillness will allow you to gather your thoughts and calm yourself.
When your eyes open you should be able to focus solely on the problem at hand and deal with the high-stress situation.
Talk To Yourself
Depending on the situation talk to yourself inside your mind. You don’t have to talk out loud.
Say things like “you’re ok, you can do this.” Or “remember what you did here? It’s no different.”
If you are trying to help someone or some critter that is banged up talk to them to keep them calm. It will help take your mind off of what is happening.
How To Stay Calm When Life, In General, Is Stressful
These are tips for when you have more time and you can get off by yourself to get the stress under control. Things like busy schedules, people who simply drive you crazy, or a stressful situation that you really can’t get rid of. You just have to handle it as best you can and get through it.
Move Your Body
Exercise is a fantastic way to get your blood flowing and your heartbeat racing. You’ll also amp up the production of endorphins in your body, providing you with extra energy to attack your issues.
You don’t have to do a full-blown exercise to benefit, though. Taking a leisurely stroll might actually be best during times when you need to chill out. This relaxing activity gets you moving, literally. It can remove you from a stressful environment and give you a fresh perspective.
I love to go on a walk to think things through. Being in nature have having the space to talk to God and just be instinctual about solutions to my troubles will really help put me in a positive attitude.
But you can also do things like save chores for breaks from your work throughout the day. I will save things like feeding time for mid-day or doing laundry and shifting the loads around as my time to get up and move.
Listen to Some Music
A soothing tune can be relaxing. Upbeat music can add energy when you need a boost. Maybe something with meaningful lyrics might improve your mood. Hillsong United is one of my favorites.
Especially when I am worried about something that is really important and life-changing. However, you want to be careful about choosing songs that are going to keep you in the grief state of mind. Some are great for people who are feeling broken and just need to be reassured that they are not completely useless anymore. But if you are tying to bring yourself up you don’t want to listen to a song that will meet you in that place you need a song that will give you strength.
Here is a good example of what I mean. The song Symphony by Switch talks about God making good out of the bad. Bu Highlands from Hillsong United talks about praising God when you are on the highlands and the heartache all the same. Which is a great thing don’t get me wrong here. But when you are looking for the power you need to be brought out of the valleys. Not left there.
Music is healing to the soul and has gotten me through some of the worst times in my life. And it can be for you too.
Whatever you choose, music is a great relaxation technique that can have a profound effect on your feelings and is a good option to rely on when you want to calm down or feel better.
Take a Bath Or a Shower
Lying in a bath of warm water can be quite soothing to the soul for many. (Personally, baths get cool too quick.) We have a hot tub so this is the route I go if needed. Otherwise, I will just get a shower.
It slows the stress hormone levels and will be a huge help to your mental health during a stressful season.
Taking the time to learn what works for you to reduce your stress levels and create a more peaceful life will help you have more joy in your life.
Make a list of the areas you want to improve on and take it one area at a time.
It’s worth the effort I promise you that.
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