Minimizing Your Lifestyle to Maximize Your Life

by Indiana Lee

Yes, you can have it all — but you may not be able to have it all at once. And that’s okay — it’s what the minimalist lifestyle is all about! It’s about living a different rhythm than what our modern world celebrates as essential, as good. 

Many of us have been taught from childhood to seek out the best and the most: the most success, the best house, the most money, the best car. But it takes a lot of time, energy, and focus to always be chasing the best. And, in the end, that drive to have it all may just end up leaving you tired, stressed, and unhappy. A minimalist lifestyle, on the other hand, means paring life down to its essentials. It means focusing only on what truly matters. Focusing on expending your energy only on what counts: your family, your health, your spirit, and peace of mind.

Peace, Be Still

We’ve all experienced FOMO, or fear of missing out. And thanks to social media, it seems as if life has become a series of competitions; who looks better, who has the most fun, who can provoke the most envy. Sometimes, it might even feel as if our social media-saturated world was designed to keep us in a state of perpetual FOMO.

But what if there were an alternative? What if, instead of FOMO, we learned to embrace JOMO: the joy of missing out? To live in a state of JOMO is to luxuriate in the sacredness of solitude. It means learning to delight in your own company. It means becoming your own best and most fascinating travel companion, and just enjoy quiet healthy moments by yourself.

Instead of bar crawling with 20 of your best friends, why not spend an afternoon alone in the great outdoors? Instead of filling your ears with the driving beat of the club, the cheering of a football game, the chatter of a party night, consider taking time to fill your evenings with the occasional silence or peaceful sounds of the outdoors. Studies show, in fact, that spending just 20 minutes outside in a quiet park will boost your focus and your mood. It will also help keep you healthy!   

And if 20 minutes isn’t enough time to satisfy your appetite for the great outdoors, consider making camping a part of your family’s weekend routine. A few nights under the stars with the people who mean the most to you can be just the physical and mental boost you need to make it through the work week. Plus, incorporating fun activities like geocaching will get your family moving, exercising and building physical strength and stamina. You’ll get a workout without even trying! 

Catch Some Z’s

One of the most challenging aspects of our modern tech-driven world is that it can feel like we’re never truly off duty. Our mobile devices, after all, enable us to carry our work with us pretty much everywhere we go.

But embracing the minimalist lifestyle means learning to prioritize rest and quiet as an attribute of self-care. For example, few of us are getting consistent and replenishing sleep, and it shows. Research indicates that poor sleep has significant detrimental effects. This ranges from depression and an inability to concentrate to low productivity and an increased risk of illness.

The minimalist lifestyle recognizes and honours the body and mind’s need for rest. And that means practising good sleep hygiene, which should include establishing a nightly ritual to help you relax, decompress, and cast off the worries of the day. The goal, ultimately, is an uninterrupted and replenishing 7-9 hours of sleep, with a consistent bedtime and wake time, if possible, each day.

Make Your Tech Work For You

Just because you’re embracing a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to renounce technology. In fact, with a bit of strategy, you can put your tech to work in helping you maintain your scaled-down lifestyle. 

Minimalism, after all, is about simplifying your life in order to increase your happiness and overall well-being. A part of that is finding the most efficient tools to help you get, and stay, healthy. 

Simple health and fitness trackers, such as wearable pulse and blood pressure monitors, will help you monitor your health and assess your fitness regime. Best of all, they’re affordable and easy to use, so you won’t get bogged down with complicated gadgets or budget-busting tech.

You Are What You Eat

It’s probably pretty clear by now that minimalism is both a mindset and a lifestyle. That’s true of every aspect of your minimalist life, including your diet. Minimalism in your eating habits may seem particularly challenging. After all, this will likely include periods of calorie restriction, especially if you find you are having trouble losing weight or keeping the pounds off.

You’ll also need to simplify your palate-and your shopping list. Choosing foods with high vitamin and fibre content can help strengthen your diet along with slimming your shopping list. Healthy minimalist eating involves limiting your ingredients and opting for fresh, high-quality basics. Your food’s flavour profile might shrink, but the nutritional value will skyrocket, particularly because fresh fruits and vegetables are the foundation of minimalist cooking.

The Takeaway

Living a simple life can seem impossible in a world that seems to be all about the max — maximum effort, maximum need, maximum reward. But adopting a healthy minimalist lifestyle isn’t about learning to do without. Instead, it’s about learning to focus only on what truly matters and refusing to waste precious time, energy, and resources on the things that don’t.

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