Modern lives are filled with noise, even for minimalists. And every day, it’s getting harder to turn down the volume of our crowded minds.
Even the places in which once held solitude are often now filled with the deluge of our heavily mediated culture. From airport waiting rooms to check out lanes at your local market, we find ourselves bombard with ambient advertisements, social pressures, and visually distracting clutter. Or as I call it- digital stress.
And don’t get me wrong, digital stressors often help to keep our business running and our homes entertained, and for bloggers like myself, a steady source of income. But like all good things moderation, digital stress can help to usher in consumption consumerism including our televisions, Internet connections, smartphones, tablets, and our infinite technical advances—the means by which we invest our attention spans every waking moment of every single day. The same stress that leaves us depleted, feel inadequate, and in constant need for irrational change.
But there’s good news: we can turn down the noise. We can halt the digital stress. It’s not easy, and it takes a certain kind of awareness, but we can turn it down.
This is where minimalism comes into play for myself, my home, and my family. Minimalism has taught me to recognize the need in my own life to turn down my stressors, to know when I need to detach from noise, to reconnect with friends and family, and when I need moments of solitude and self-care in my life.
These are the five ways I use minimalism as a tool to help me create solitude and minimize digital stress during chaotic times in my home and in my life:
- Reevaluate your mornings. Minimalism has taught me the value of waking up with purpose. I enjoy waking up early. Waking up slowly. Taking my time to enter my new day with clarity and purpose. To take my first stretch from bed. To limit my digital stress by avoiding marketing and emails for a full two hours after I wake each morning. To do this I set aside twenty minutes each morning for devotion and to write in my gratitude journal in a quiet room with no distractions—no TV, no radio, no clocks, no noise: just me, my thoughts, and my mental clarity. I’m waking up to the world stress-free and on my own terms.
Schedule time to read. I love reading, especially classic literature, political memoirs, and all things Jane Austen. Minimalism teaches me to make time for the things in my life I love especially reading. I now schedule a time to check out books from the library, find free digital books online, or to attend a local book club. This forces me into solitude: just me, my thoughts, and the characters on the page.
Going for a walk. Before I became a minimalist I lead a very sedentary life. I worked in a corporate office. I then transitioned to working from home first as a caretaker, then at-home legal position, and then as a blogger. My life is now very different. I now walk all the time. Walking gives me uninterrupted time to think, time for myself, time inside my head to marshal my emotions and reactions to business dealings, spirituality, and even interpersonal relationships. Walking is the healthiest distraction I’ve ever found and I love the nurturing solitude it provides. Even if it’s a fifteen-minute walk, it’s worth my time: just me, my thoughts, and the street lamps below small town southern skies.
Make time for exercise. Like with walking, I make time to exercise each day. I just walk into my spare bedroom turned home gym and perform everything from yoga stretches to push-ups, squats, and pull-ups. Whatever I do, I enjoy having the opportunity to do it by myself in solitude: just me, my thoughts, and my body in motion. I’ve been able to burn away stress, physical, emotional, and digital, and I’ve lost sixty pounds in the process this past year as well. Exercise has helped to create a new me. Minimalism has helped me recognize it.
Declutter your distractions. When we are distracted by the digital noise we can also become sidetracked from common sense, a state of being that doesn’t seem all too common these days. We forget obligations. We stop taking care of yourself. Luckily, you can try to turn off your cellphone, turn off your television, even take an internet sabbatical. That’s what I’ve done, I turn off social media each weekend and it’s been great: just me, my thoughts, and a more meaningful life. When I minimize my distractions, I can truly cynosure onto life’s greatest pleasures- being a joy-chaser extraordinaire.
So these are the 5 ways minimalism helps me to avoid stress at home and can do the same for you. Now, friends, I’d love to know how do you avoid the stresses of life and digital distraction and stress in your neck of the woods? I’d love to hear about it below!
Here’s to better living,