Oh, the homes I've lived out of. From a sailboat, to a tent, to a tiny house, and now coming this summer, a van. All have been benchmarks that capture my life in a snapshot and how I've always craved adventure. Funny thing is, all of them don't have much physical space for belongings.
The earliest concept of minimalism I can remember was passively instilled in me when I would get "new" clothes from the attic. They were actually my older sisters clothes they grew out of that were stored in cardboard boxes. They were marked "7-9 years old" or "11-13 years old" and until I was old enough to fit in them, they sat waiting.
I can vividly remember opening a new box of hand-me-down tied-dyed shirts, washed out jeans, sun dresses, and 90's CD's with frantic excitement knowing my wardrobe was getting a huge upgrade. It also meant my worn and too small clothes would be donated. I loved this cycle and usually rearranged my bed and dresser to complete the refresh.
According to Josh Becker with becomingminimalist.com, minimalism is intentionally living with fewer possessions to experience freedom from consumerism. Yes! It is also the freedom of a cluttered mind to make fewer choices and increase your quality life. Less decisions and stuff keep your passions front and center.
As I ventured through my late teens, twenties, and now in my (almost) mid-thirties (holy shit), I've learned a thing or two about living minimal. It's all about less stuff, more experiences, sharing my talents with the world, and having amazing relationships.
The impact it has had on my wellness didn't happen overnight but the long lasting effects are profound and important enough to write up a post about it.
Here are the 5 ways my wellness has been stabilized with minimalism.
Clear headed and less anxious
When I embrace less stuff, I also have less thoughts and worries in my mind. Yes, there is a direct correlation. There's more space, room in between thoughts and a deeper sense of being content in my own skin. Anytime I feel stuck on a project or deadline I do a short workout, tend to my plants, tidy up the kitchen, and take time to daydream. Being in a smaller home with fewer tasks (washing the dishes, yard work, or organizing) I end up feeling thankful for a space that allows me to live more fully in the present because my physical space doesn't overwhelm me. It actually does the opposite.
More outside time
In the morning, I walk downstairs and graze right past the door with two big glass windows. It's too accessible to open the door and see what the sky is like and how the air temperature feels on my face. I instantly feel grounded and makes going all the way out easier.
Getting hits of fresh air neutralizes your immune system and exposes you to the elements. It's like a workout for your immune system making it stronger when it comes in contact with bacteria and viruses.
Clean eater because I deal with my own poop
Minimal living is not only about how little you have but the simple systems you have in place that require less. The Nature's Head composting toilet is one of my tiny house MVP's. In some people's opinon, it's a draw back because I have to literally deal with my own waste when it fills up. Because of this fact, it has motivated me eat clean and regular so I consistently have solid poops. It's much easier to compost and clean out from the holding container.
Streamlines my habits
With a tidy space I "run into" my habit triggers (the thing, emotion, person, time or place that reminds you to do the next thing) with few distractions, like a glass of water sitting out on the counter to stay hydrated or my already visible yoga mat ready for a stretch. My closet and bathroom are the same room and 2 feet away is the sink and kitchen to continue my habits like cleaning my mouth, washing my face with oil, prepping breakfast and getting dressed. It's easy to stay on track because everything I need to do is all right there within reaching distance.
Happy with what I have
Minimalism is all about experiences over stuff. Quality of life over consumerism. It has made me grateful for what I have and more creative with my ideas, instead of wanting new, new, new!
Decision fatigue is real. Choosing my clothes for the day or what I'm going to eat for dinner is less of an ordeal because there are literally less choices. I simply choose the outfit or make the meal and move on. I create more time to wonder, relax, connect with myself and others, and live my passions.