How can we live a more simple and intentional life? I am committed to seeing what intentional living and simplifying my life has to offer. I’ve put this off for so long, but I have more stuff than our flat can comfortably “house” and the “backups” are getting overwhelming. How much of this overwhelming stuff is impeding my mental health journey? I have been exploring how we can live more intentionally and the benefits it can bring. Following my little journey, I’ve come up with 6 ways we can live a more simple and intentional life:
What living more intentionally means to me
A few years back I saw the whole intentional living thing going about the blogosphere and didn’t think it applied to me. I was on a mission to “find myself” and in doing so I needed to buy the perfect outfit or thing. I had no idea who I was or what would make me happy. Parcels would arrive daily, but they didn’t have the answer for me. I was trying to create this life that I loved by consuming more and more things. Yet, in reality, my life was just getting filled with stuff.
Intentional living is about living by the goals and values that mean the most to us. As we all have values and beliefs that are unique to us, intentional living will mean something different to all of us. It means putting the things that are most important to us, at the centre in our own lives.
With that in mind, here are 6 ways we can set towards living a more simple and intentional life:
1. Living in the moment
How much of your time do you spend living in the past or for tomorrow? I am extremely guilty of this. But in doing so we’re sacrificing the precious time that we have right here and now in the present.
All the time I spend worrying about the “what ifs”, is time away from making memories. All the time I spend on my phone when I could be having a meaningful conversation is a time I won’t get back.
I had counselling a few years back and she told me to stop and look around me. It didn’t happen overnight, but by looking into mindfulness, I started noticing the small things. The small things, which allow you to appreciate the bigger things.
2. Being grateful
Start every morning by reflecting on your blessings. Say “thank you” for everything and everyone in your life. I try to work gratitude into my morning routine. I have started going back to writing in my journal the things I am grateful for.
Also remembering to say thank you. Saying thank you to the bus driver or the lady who served you in the shop, costs nothing and everyone feels better for it.
3. Placing value on experiences, not things.
Placing value on material things, won’t always make you happy. As I said I have so much stuff, I don’t even know what half of it is. I have no idea how much money I have spent on all of this stuff, but it doesn’t make me happy.
Looking at it now, the space I was trying to fill with stuff, was an attempt to fill some emotional gap. I had a bad day at work, so I bought crap. I felt down, I bought something to make me feel better. Any blank space was a space needing to be filled.
Experiences, on the other hand, don’t even have to cost anything. Yet, they leave us with lasting memories. Memories we can call on when we are having a bad day. We recently had a spur of the moment drive to the seaside and it brought back good memories and created new ones. Much more lasting than clothes I bought after a bad day, which invariably have ended up in the charity bag because they were impulse purchases.
4. Declutter your space
Dan always jokes that I open the wardrobe and stare at it. He thinks I stare in awe. I stare because there is so much stuff that I can’t work out what is in there! I did a post recently on how the Keto diet helped me lose weight. The excess clothes was a massive stumbling block on Marie Kondo-ing my wardrobe.
As well as my wardrobe, I’m doing a thorough assessment of everything I own. Deciding what I need, what to donate and what is beyond repair. I mean I have a drawer just packed full of face masks. How many face masks does one person need! It is truly liberating.
Although, it’s not the first time I have been in this position. I have had many a mass declutter in the past. Yet, the need to fill some emotional void, means I end up with stuff once again. This is something I am working on as stuff doesn’t equal happiness.
Going forward I will make an effort to make only purposeful purchases. Thinking about what I am purchasing. Finding more natural and ethically sourced items. For example, I want to make the change from shampoo and shower gel to soaps once I’ve used up the mountain of “backups”.
5. Declutter your mind
Now that your space is clear, you can move your focus to de-cluttering your mind. Most of your mental clutter comes in the form of ‘to-do’s’. The constant thought processes of ‘don’t forget to buy milk’ or ‘I should decide on x’, is cluttering your mind. I talked in my post about dealing with overwhelm, about the importance of a brain dump and writing it all down.
Now that you’ve got it all out, go through every item that you’ve written down and make a decision. Do you want to spend your mental energy caring about this item, or not? If not, and it’s not important, cross it off. If it’s something that needs doing, prioritise.
6. Setting out your personal policies
What are the values and beliefs that are important to you? More importantly, learning to say ‘no’ when something conflicts with your personal values and beliefs. This is the bit I am currently at. The decluttering has given me space to think.
So going forward, I want to value the important moments by being engaged and present in the moment. An important aspect of this for me is capturing the moment by recording a 1 Second (not sponsored, just love the app).
I also want to be mindful of what I’m buying. If it doesn’t fit with my purposeful purchasing, then I need to think before I buy.
Hopefully, all of this combined will help us lead a more a more simple and intentional life!
Have you embarked on an intentional living lifestyle?
I would love to hear your thoughts or tips.
Lots of love,