Week 3 of my 30-Step Minimalism Challenge is complete! Here’s what I accomplished over the past week.
Monday, August 17th – Create a Bucket List For Your Hometown & Create a Reading List
These steps morphed into something super fun. Creating my reading list was relatively simple; I was more or less just combining my Barnes & Noble wish list, a reading list on my iPhones notes app, and a couple reading lists saved from articles. My reading list, which I am refering to as the #etcbookclub, is now viewable here. Check it out and let me know your suggestions! My hometown bucket list ended up morphing into something super fun – a 101 Things in 1001 Days list!!!! I had such a fricken’ blast putting this together, combining all of my goals and interests into one super fun list. I am a type A, gold, ESTJ personality so lists are EVERYTHING to me. You can now view my 101 in 1001 list here.
Tuesday, August 18th – Go Offline for One Day & Avoid Screens
I felt like I was going to give up on these two challenges about two hours into the day. The weather has been pretty rainy and overcast all week, perfect for cuddling up in bed and watching Netflix. And I just rediscovered my love for Gossip Girl! But instead, I grabbed a blanket, a book, and a big mug of chai latte. Thirty minutes later I realized “I can totally do this” and it was cake after that. I looked a screen only once the entire day so that I could respond to a text message from my day. The rest of the day, I maybe glanced at my Apple Watch a couple times to check the time. I was honestly really proud of myself for completing these steps sucessfully, but here’s what I learned – social media, the internet, and TV does not cause me to be distracted and disregard my responsibilities. I personally make that choice, and I mainly use screens as medium. But when I don’t want to do something, I will stare at the wall and call it “fun” just to avoid washing the dishes. I also learned that my babies are the best source of entertainment so the only reason I should ever be on social media when they are around is to post a quick snapshot of their silliness.
Wednesday, August 19th – Mediate for 15 Minutes, Journal for 20 Minutes, & Enjoy Solitude
Mediation was another step I felt like giving up on probably thirty seconds in. I chose my bed as the location with the window blinds wide open because direct sunlight always makes me feel better. The babies were taking a nap, the dogs were sleeping at the foot of the bed, and my phone was on airplane mode – no distractions. I propped myself up into some comfy pillows, covered by lap with a fluffy blanket, and set the timer on my watch for 15 minutes. Immediately I started thinking “this isn’t going to last”. I was cold, my stomach started grumbling, the face mask I was wearing felt really tight, I was ready to abandon ship. Instead I sat their with my eyes closed and focused on all the good. The sun was shining, my home was quiet, my big bed was welcoming. Slowly all the negative I was feeling started to melt away and my mind zeroed in on only the good. The positive and the peaceful. I definitely did not clear my mind entirely during the experience, and I’m totally okay with that. When my alarm went off, I was feeling happy and inspired and motivated. The perfect time for some journaling. I grabbed my laptop and started typing away. I love handwriting, but my mind works to quickly for how slow my hand moves, so any word processor problem is perfect when I need to get my thoughts out quick. I only journaled for about 10 minutes, allowing my stream of consciousness to take me through life’s problems until I reached resolutions I was comfortable with. At the end, I set my computer to the side and reflected on how lucky I am to have this time in the middle of the day to myself. Enjoying solitude is a step I already have down pat, so instead I thanked the universe for allowing me to be so lucky to have opportunities to myself to allow creativity and inspiration to organically develop. At the end of the whole session of steps, I really just left full of life. It was amazing.
Thursday, August 20th – Go on a Walk & Practice Mindfullness
This step was really easy to accomplish as I have the opportunity to take two walks with the doggies every day. This evening was perfect for practicing mindfullness as it had finally stopped raining and the world was coming alive again as the sun was setting. For me, mindfullness is just being aware of the emotions and sensations I am experiencing, and being able to step outside of myself to analyze them. I was feeling appreciative of the outside world, when Kylie started tugging on the leash causing me to break from this thought. I was immediately angry and frustrated with her. This dog is almost three years old, and she still can’t behave on a walk! I took a step back and analyzed this emotion. Why was I mad at Kylie? First off, this walk is about her and Maddie getting to go outside, not about me. I should be focused on their needs and what they want, not getting angry because they interrupted my daydreaming. And, as her owner, their is no one to blame for her bad behavior, but myself; I am the one who trained her! After coming to this realization, I bent down and kissed Kylie on the top of the head and told her she was a good dog. Of course, Maddie started wagging her nub (her tail was docked before we adopted her), so I gave her the same recognition. Then we continued on our walk. Sometimes trying to multitask can lead to some useful realizations.
Friday, August 21st – Unfriend and Unfollow
I’ve been slowly going through this process over the past week, but I realized that just like tidying, it would be easier to do in one fell swoop. So I determined that attributes to look for in who to unfollow and unfriend on my various social media platforms.
For Facebook, I decided I want to keep things as personal as possible. Yes, I promote my blog and Beautycounter via FB, but I want my feed to exclusively go to people that are important to me. I only want to be friends with people I would be happy to see in real life. If I wouldn’t at the very least wave at you and ask how you’re doing, we shouldn’t be friends. I reduced my Facebook friends from 501 to 450. Not a huge difference, but still good. For business I like, they should be business that support that missions that really matter to me – equality, organic/natural products, sustainability, and human rights. My liked businesses went from 60 to 24.
Twitter has similiar attributes plus business/personalities that are inspiring and entertaining. I went from 72 to 55.
My Pinterest and Tumblr aren’t used too often so I’m not super concerned with the small number of people I follow on these sites.
Instagram and Bloglovin’ are the most difficult. Along with following people I personally know and love in real life, I ONLY want to follow strangers who make me feel inspired and empowered. On Instagram, especiallyy, I follow too many bloggers whose photos I love, but who also make me feel like I am not wealthy enough, taking enough vacations, pretty enough, fashionable enough. So I will say ENOUGH to these photos and click unfollow. Bloglovin went from 96 to 43, and Instagram went from 233 to 200.
I also unsubscribed to emails from over 60 businesses. Even with companies that I purchase items from often like Target and Starbucks, their emails don’t offer any value to my life. And I’m more likely to feel like I need to purchase something unnecessary when I get an email about a “big sale”.
Saturday, August 22nd – Turn Off Notifications
This step was relatively simple and not at all time-consuming. Which was perfect because I was still recovering from the time stolen by the previous days task. If you have an iPhone, I can walk you through this challenge, step by step. (1) Go into your settings. (2) Go into Notifications which is like the 6th option. (3) Choose which applications you would like to notifications enabled in. I am keeping the following enabled: Phone, Messages, Calendar, Reminders, FaceTime, and Latergramme (an app for scheduling Instagram posts). I have also chosen for all my notifications to appears as banners, with sound, visible in the lock screen. You may want each of your notifications to appear different, but I love order and consistancy. Is my Type-A showing? 😉
Sunday, August 23rd – Don’t Buy Anything for 24 Hours
My lifestyle made this step pretty easy to accomplish. We only eat prepped meals once or twice a week, the rest is homecooked from weekly shopping trips when I accomplish all of my purchasing needs. A lot of of our purchases are subscription based – diapers, home supplies, and toiletries all are purchased monthly online. Entertainment comes from media subcriptions like Netflix and HBO Go or memberships to local activities like our year membership to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. This makes it much easier for our days to not revolve around money. Our money-free day consisted of breakfast, baby playtime, some deep cleaning in the kitchen while the laundry ran, lunch, more baby playtime and a walk around the neighborhood, dinner, Skype with the grandparents, and a Netflix movie before bedtime. Minimalist and perfect.
I have to say this past week alone was extremely beneficial for helping me make the most out of my life. I’m really looking forward to my final week and sharing with you how much I have learned from this experience!