Mental decluttering

Ok, so it’s been a while since I last checked in. If you happened to have missed it, there is a bit of a global pandemic going on and sadly it caused most of Melbourne, Australia (where we live) to shut down into hard lockdown and even evening curfews and restrictions.

Good or bad (I’d say it’s a little bit of both), we happened to be house sitting for family members outside of the city when the lockdown came into force. Bonus was the approximate distance to the beach and the good company in the house. Somewhat of a downside was that we had only packed clothes and other things to be away from home for about 2 weeks (#minimalist101). Lucky we had Freyja the super cat with us. Unfortunately, my camera did not make the packing list.

Fast forward (or slow forward) 3 months and we’re now:

  • Back in our small apartment in central Melbourne.
  • Enjoying a gradual release of restrictions and social distancing (still wearing masks anytime we are in public).
  • Celebrating that when some relationships struggled, we chose to get engaged instead! Yep, that’s right, I would imagine mid-Covid engagements are probably pretty rare… 😉
  • Getting ready to move back into a slightly bigger apartment a bit further from the city.
  • Trying to deal with a fair bit of change and feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

Which made me realise that the post and video for this week had to revolve around mental decluttering. So I’m going to do one of my favourite exercises and bring you right along with me.

You see, decluttering and minimalism of the mind is just as important as that of your physical space. And it’s pretty straight forward.

Grab a piece of paper or a notebook plus a pen. Or if you’re more of a digital person (like I am), just open a blank document on your computer or phone. Now:

1) Write down everything that’s on your mind. Everything you stress about, everything that annoys you, every little thing you’re trying to remember that you have to do. You get it – basically write all of it down. Don’t edit yourself, just write it ALL down.

2) Once it’s all captured, it’s time to colour grade it. Use different colours or markers to highlight what A: the things you can control (green in my example) B: The things that are totally out of your control (red in my example).

3) Look at the distribution of that list and focus your daily actions and practise on 5+ things you can control. My favourite ones that recur regularly are things like:

  • How I fill my space
  • What I do with my time and how I spend my money
  • How I exercise, eat and look after my body
  • What makes me laugh
  • Who I reach out to

Simple Essentials are not just about the things we declutter, but about the things we choose to focus our thoughts on. Just because I highly value simple and healthy food, does not mean that I won’t order not so healthy Uber eats for dinner and drink half a bottle of wine on another day. Just because I know that certain people and dramas are not worth my time, does not mean that I won’t get upset and sad another day.

The main difference is the act of mental decluttering and full awareness of what’s on our ‘big worry list’. Awareness brings clarity and the opportunity to clean out. If you don’t know what’s there, it’s hard to clean it out.

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