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  • Zoe

minimalism as a lifestyle.

It is an honour to be a guest blogger on ASVH, as I have been reading this blog myself for quite a while. I was excited when Amanda asked me, but also nervous as I was aware that she has quite a following. This space that I am allowed to fill today is going discuss a topic that is dear to my heart and has been for a couple of years now. I am talking about minimalism.

Wouldn’t it be great to live on a beach without all the materialistic things that are weighing us down? Leaving back stress and all the unimportant things in our lives?

But also without escaping to the beach scenario, we can minimize. Minimalism is often misunderstood. For me, it is not about being strict and restricting yourself. It's about being mindful - to yourself and your surroundings. Reacting and caring about relationships and the environment about you.

Opposite to common believe minimalism is not about forcing anyone to get rid of all one's belongings, mindlessly throw stuff out just to own and live with next to nothing in the end. It is a lot more and can be applied it to all aspects of life.

But let's start at the beginning. I had three encounters with the concept of minimalism in my life. Those led me to start my blog to share my journey to a simpler maybe even purer life. I hope to give inspiration to others with the hope of providing some insight into the concept. Why and how it can be adopted. That it doesn't have to be strict, restrictive and weird.

"Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives." - Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Joshua and Ryan have brought the concept of minimalism to the attention of society, but the concept has been, also in your life, even if you do not recognise it.

The first time I encountered some parts of minimalism was when my mother told me I had to sort through my toys and give some to charity. The ones I wasn't playing with anymore. We applied this concept to everything I owned when I got older. Everything that would not be used or did not give me any joy anymore had to go. And I can still remember, that I surprisingly felt better and much more content every time I gave some of my belongings away.

Applying minimalism to your life cannot be done by a handbook. It is not a fashion trend, that has to be used in every aspect of your life. Minimalism is different from person to person. Everyone prioritises different things and values.

It is a tool to find inner peace, happiness, freedom, bliss - whatever you may call it. It makes you prioritise.

The core problem does not lie with stuff and possessions itself, but rather how we treat and what meaning we give them. Take a quick guess, why are most rich people not happier than the average paid employee? Precisely, because materialistic things beyond a particular stage and money above a certain income, does not improve happiness or makes life better. (Yes, there are studies about this). There is a cap and going beyond that makes you indifferent or in some cases makes you worse. Those people forget to look after their mental and physical health, they burn out, don't see a purpose in their life anymore and some fall into depression.

But let's not get too negative here. If you want to own a nice car, have your own apartment/house/estate, go for it! If you want to climb the corporate ladder and build your own family, that is amazing! But while doing this, why not employ the tool called "Minimalism" to make mindful decisions?

I am by no means at the end of this journey, because it certainly is a journey with ups and downs. Sometimes you go one steps forward and two backwards. But that is just life.

My second encounter with minimalism was when a friend gave me this book called "The life-changing magic of tidying up". This is a book written by the Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo provides you with a method called KonMari which is explained step by step. It takes you through organising, sorting and simplifying your belongings in your household. A good read, sometimes a little bit over the top, but her main concept is that everything that does not add value to your life should maybe find a place elsewhere. Recognise that concept from somewhere?

Eating healthy, exploring veganism, trying different diets and recipes, I have been interested in a healthy lifestyle since I moved out. At some point it hit me, happiness and contentedness do not come solely from working out and what you put into your body. A big part of it is mental, how to handle stress and how you live. Which brings me to my latest significant encounter when I watched the documentation about Minimalism on a late night when I couldn't sleep (it is available on Netflix and really worth a watch). This documentation brought me back on the path that I had strayed from and made me start my blog. Because sharing is caring.



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