Last Updated on June 24, 2019 by Ellen Christian
If you’ve heard that minimalism helps with stress, I’m finding that it’s true. It seems like I’ve been stressed and anxious for a majority of my adult life. It may just be part of my personality because I cannot remember a time when it wasn’t a problem. Sometimes, I don’t even recognize that it’s becoming a problem until my husband points it out.
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Minimalism Helps With Stress
For the longest time, I found that my stress level was increasing every day. I always seemed to have more and more things that I needed to do which in turn caused me to worry about whether they would get done correctly or on time or at all. A year or so ago, I came upon a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Since clutter is something I have always struggled with, I picked up a copy.
Fewer Visual Reminders
While The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up isn’t necessarily about minimalism, it is about decluttering and only keeping things that bring you joy. As I started to get rid of things following this method, I noticed that I was less anxious about certain things. There wasn’t a pile of craft supplies reminding me that I really should finish the eight craft projects I started. Surely, I was some a failure never to finish the projects I started. I obviously wasn’t a good enough crafter. I found that minimalism helps with stress because less clutter meant fewer visual reminders of what “has to be done.”
Less Housework to Do
Like many women, I’m in charge of the cleaning. It isn’t that my husband doesn’t help, it’s just that he doesn’t notice it the way I do. When my home was cluttered, I found myself moving boxes, piles of paper, and stacks of projects to vacuum or dust. There were too many pieces of furniture to move around, and every flat surface on my bookcase and entertainment center was stacked full of stuff that had to be moved and dusted. Too many clothes meant that I could put off laundry for a long time before I had to do it. After decluttering, I found that having fewer things meant that I had less housework to do.
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More Free Time
If you’re one of those people who find themselves working extra hours to pay for storage or for someone to help with housework or yard work, you may find that minimalism allows you to downsize. Reducing your belongings may mean that instead of a 3400 square foot home you only need a 1500 square foot home. Or instead of paying someone to come in every week to clean, you can handle it yourself or have them come every other week. Even better, you may find you need to work fewer hours at a job that is stressful when your financial obligations are fewer. Reducing my belongings and my responsibilities meant that I had more free time than before.
You Learn Who You Are
Once I identified the belongings that brought me joy, I was better able to see what made me happy. I found that I was holding onto a lot of things because I should do them or should have them not because I loved them. There was that photography book I should read to take better photos. I had a huge stack of craft supplies and tools because I should enjoy crafting. There were piles of magazines and books I should read because I bought them and hadn’t read them yet. I didn’t WANT to do any of these things, but I should, right? After actually evaluating what made me happy, I learned that I didn’t have to do things that I didn’t want to, even if I had invested time or money into them. It’s OK to get rid of the book you haven’t read if you don’t want it. It’s OK to pass on those pants you thought would look great on you but didn’t.
Minimalism isn’t the key for everyone or everything, and I’m not trying to say that life will be perfect and stress-free with fewer belongings. But, it has worked wonders for me. Now and then, I find myself getting stressed again and I stop and think about why. Often, I find it’s because I’ve brought something back into my life that doesn’t need to be here. It’s a struggle, and it’s ongoing, but minimalism has helped in ways I didn’t think it could.
Do you find that minimalism helps with stress in your life?
Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.