What could possibly be the correlation between living a minimalistic lifestyle and living with a chronic illness? There are many ways the two go hand in hand.
First it is important to clarify what we mean when we say ‘go minimalist’.
At it's core minimalism is all about focusing your time, energy, and resources on what is truly important to you. It is about identifying what is essential in your life and working to eliminate everything else.
The path of minimalism is more than what you do or do not own. It is a mindset, a way of thinking and living. This mindset can be especially beneficial to people with a chronic or mental illness.
Any one familiar with the spoon theory knows that everyone has an amount of energy, or spoons, to use in a day. Those of us with chronic and mental illnesses have a much smaller amount than the average person.
It is essential that we learn to use our spoons wisely. This means we must be mindful of everything we do, and that is what minimalism is all about.
Here are five ways that minimalism can help spoonies:
Stress makes everything worse, that is true for everyone, but it is especially true for us. For spoonies stress means flare ups.
There is a certain amount of stress that we can not hide from. But if you were to eliminate unnecessary stress wouldn't your life be so much better? How can you do that?
Here’s one example, do you have a pile of unpaid medical bills stressing you out? Don't have much extra money in your account? Try to avoid buying any unnecessary items for a period of time and use that money instead to pay on your bills a little at time.
Knowing you you're making a dent in them, even if it is a small one, will reduce the stress and guilt you may feel about them.
The less stuff you have, the less there is to clean, organize, and maintain.
Why use your precious spoons cleaning a bunch of stuff that you don't need or use?
Does this mean you have to get rid of everything? No, not at all. It means picking the things that are truly useful, or that undoubtedly have significant meaning to you.
When you surround yourself with only things you genuinely love, not only will cleaning be easier, but your mood and outlook will be brighter.
Having less things can simplify life. that is undoubtedly true. But reducing clutter is more than that.
Clutter can be negative thinking. Clutter can be unhealthy relationships. Clutter can be pursuing the wrong career path or way of life.
Clutter can be continuing to see a doctor that is unable to assist you. Clutter can be following a health regimen that is not helping you to progress.
Clutter can mean so many things, each of us have our own set of clutter in our lives. What would removing your clutter mean for you?
Having an illness is much like walking around in shackles 24/7. There is only so much that we can do to lessen that.
What we can do, however, is lessen how many additional shackles that we attach to ourselves.
The less you own and the less you buy, the more freedom you have.
The less you weigh yourself down with negative thoughts or negative people, the more freedom of mind you will have.
When you sift out the unnecessary and focus on what is most important, you will be happier.
When you choose to spend your spoons doing what you care about or spending time with the people you care about, you will be happier.
Less stress + less cleaning + less clutter = more freedom + more happiness. It is simple math really.
Does this mean you should drop everything right now and get rid of anything that you don't need? No. Take it a little at a time and pace yourself.
Get yourself in the right mindset first, then slowly but surely make the changes that will lead you on a better, freer, and happier path.