From Panama Jack — April 22, 2014 at 5:00 am

6 Minimalist Lifestyle Choices for a Stress-Free Existence

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Jupiterimages / Creatas / thinkstock.com

Jupiterimages / Creatas / thinkstock.com

Do you find yourself counting the days until your next opportunity to escape the burdens of daily life? A beach getaway can be a real shot in the arm if you’re feeling overwhelmed, but living from vacation to vacation is no way to truly LIVE for the rest of the year. Stress can accumulate in your life, often reaching a fever pitch and making you want to mentally check-out for a while. It can creep in like invasive ivy in the form of bills, social obligations, household chores, and ‘to-do’ lists. Additionally, we are constantly reminded to strive for and be the best in everything! This pressure comes from advertisements, family, neighbors, coworkers, and social media, to name some of the more prevalent sources.

Don’t feel discouraged: you can significantly simplify your life almost immediately by adopting some of these tips for living a more minimalistic life. There are many benefits to learning how to identify the sources of stress in your life and systematically giving them the boot. You don’t have to ditch society in favor of living off the grid on a private island (appealing as that notion may seem at times)! Just give some of these minimalist methods a try and you’ll find peace in a more laid back and simplified life.

Boundaries: Get Some
Saying ‘no’ can be difficult. In an effort to try to please everyone, we often obligate ourselves to too many social obligations, leaving us little room to enjoy our own lives. Learn to prioritize these activities. If you volunteer for five different agencies, consider narrowing it down. By being spread too thin, we are unable to give 100% to many of our noble endeavors. Pick a favorite and start putting forth quality effort in that area.

Have ‘friends’ you dread visiting? Stand back and think about why you don’t enjoy your time with these people: do you they treat you poorly or demand too much of you? Nix or greatly reduce your time with people who drag you down—you’re an adult and you have control over the people in your social circle. Got a coworker asking too much of you? Draw a line. You don’t have to be rude about it. Most people appreciate clarity and honesty and will understand your need to manage your time better.

Stop Keeping up with the Jones’
In the constant hum of societal pressure, we are endlessly encouraged to keep up with fashion trends, the latest models of cars, gadgets, and home décor, house sizes and hobbies. In the words of Plato, “The greatest wealth is to live content with little.” Apply this philosophy to your own life. Freeing yourself from the desire to have the latest and greatest items will allow you to focus on more important goals. It will also free the constraints of your wallet considerably. You don’t have to live like a miser, but be choosy about the items you purchase and try to avoid redundancy when possible.

Anna Bizoń / iStock / thinkstock.com

Anna Bizoń / iStock / thinkstock.com

De-Clutter
“I forgot I had this!” Well, then it might be time to get rid of it, don’t you think? In addition to attempting to accumulate less stuff, you might need to consider getting rid of some things. This process can often be very cleansing. Take the ill-fitting clothes, multiple versions of the same kitchen utensil, books you’ve already read, and anything else that you haven’t used in years and send it away to the thrift store. Photos and other sentimental things are allowed to stay, but what emotional attachment do you really have to a pair of cut-off jean shorts you wore 10 years ago? After you purge your home of unnecessary items, you will find that the things you do have become much easier to locate. Cleaning your house will become a cinch in the future, and the objects you choose to display will have more significance and value.

Fix It!
In a disposable society, the knowledge and ability to repair existing possessions is becoming a lost art. Rather than tossing out a broken chair or a favorite shirt with a hole, learn how to restore it to its original splendor rather than rushing out to buy a replacement. Not only will you likely save money, you will learn some very useful skills. There is a wealth of information on how to clean, fix, and refurbish any imaginable item on YouTube alone. Fixing what  you already have is also a very eco-friendly way to live and will set an example for the rest of your family to care for the items they have rather than expecting a new ‘toy’ each time something breaks.

Make Time for Solitude
Have you ever bragged to a friend about how busy you’ve been? Being busy has turned into a competition and seems to indicate that you are undoubtedly a hard worker. However, being overly busy can sometimes indicate that a person is not the best when it comes to time management skills. Prioritize your tasks, but make sure to leave time in the schedule for yourself. Working out, yoga, reading, or devoting time to a favorite hobby can be ways to help you refocus and recharge. Be conscious of spending too much time soaking up TV or social media. Unplug for a while. Your psyche will thank you.

Less is Truly More
When you adopt a minimalist approach, you will quickly find out that you have a lot more freedom. Financial freedom from fewer expenses is an immediate perk. Additional free time is another great benefit; you will spend much less time cleaning, organizing, searching for lost items, shopping, and paying bills (especially if you dump your debt). This abundance of extra time means more opportunities to actually LIVE your life doing activities you love. Spend time with your family and friends without looking at your watch or worrying about the laundry list of tasks you must complete. Make memories, relax, and savor the special moments each day, devoting energy to what matters most: living a happy and meaningful life!

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