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One of the most common ways to start a new year nowadays is to come up with the so-called New Year’s Resolutions, a list of things that you promise yourself to accomplish during the next 365 days. The internet tells you to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone to fulfill your potential.
What if that’s not enough to make you content?
We’re all different and everyone has unique needs. While the life-changing challenges and adventures are what some of us need to be happy, others might feel anxious and stressed trying to fit new time-and energy-consuming activities into their already packed schedule.
There’s a way to do it without the mental overhead: minimalism. Essentially, it’s about achieving more with less. We made a list of 12 simple minimalism-inspired projects that will help you feel less overwhelmed this year. And the best thing is that you can accomplish each of them in less than 30 days.
1. Wardrobe Revolution
We always think that to feel new we need to acquire new stuff. Got a new job? Time to buy new clothes. Have bad memories associated with your car? Buy a new one. And so on, when really what you need is a simple change.
Instead of overloading your house with more and more items try going through the things you already own and free up some breathing space. The most common rule here is if you have an item that you haven’t worn for the last year and don’t think you’ll wear in the next year or so, let it go. You’ll be surprised how much stress will leave your place together with those things.
Feel free to apply this outside your wardrobe too — create some space for yourself to breathe and relax.
2. Build an Emergency Fund
Naturally, letting go of things isn’t applicable to every sphere of your life. A good example is finance — an indefinite source of stress for most people. Although you cannot eliminate money-related problems completely, you can make your life easier by organizing your finances.
Today, several online tools can help you figure out a budget. The most popular ones being Mint and You Need a Budget (YNAB). Another simple way to manage your money is by using Trello. Once you choose the app that suits you most, set up a project to track your savings. Having a sum of money that you can use in case of emergency can bring some serious peace of mind into your life.
3. Create a Visual Calendar
Another way to better organize your life is to create a visual calendar of your everyday life. How is that going to keep the stress away? With all the important events you have to attend in front of you, it’s easier to keep track of them and limit the possibility of accidentally overbooking yourself.
4. Learn DIY Skills
We all use the internet to buy things on daily basis, but we often forget that, unlike shopping malls, internet is also a source of knowledge. You can even learn new skills online in under 30 days. Some of the most useful ones being DIY skills.
Depending on your interests, you can learn practically anything from scrapbooking and origami to carpentry and repair work. The benefits? By learning any of the above you’ll cut your spending, whether it’s gift spending or the money you pay to a handy worker. It will also allow you to spend some time away from the screens and modern technology. Besides, making things with your own hands somehow always feels extremely rewarding.
If you’re convinced that you and tech can never go separate ways, you can learn how to make, reuse, upcycle, and fix your technology with the MakeUseOf DIY section.
5. Start Drawing
Art has been used by psychologists as a therapeutic technique for years. Drawing (or even doodling) is a well-known method of expressing oneself. It can also help you relieve stress and delve into your inner world.
The best part is that to start drawing you only need to…begin drawing. If you intend to use this form of art as a relaxation tool, literally no special skill is required. So, pick up a pen and a piece of paper and let your mind flow free.
6. Create a Photo Gallery
An excellent way to give a new life to the old photographs you might still be keeping in the photo albums is to put them together in a Photo Gallery Wall. Use the internet for inspiration, but make sure the Gallery is your own design. Choose your favorite way to organize the pictures and devote enough time to crafting, that way you’ll gain more from both the process and the result of this project.
Some of the perfect places to have the Photo Gallery Wall would be the living room or the house corridor where both your friends and family can look through the pictures and remember the good times you’ve had together.
7. Clean Up Your Kindle or eBook Collection
What does your GoodReads list look like? Are you carrying around hundreds of books on your Kindle? Having a reading list with that many options can be quite overwhelming. At the same time, chances are you’re not going to read all the eBooks that you own or all the good ones that are still out there. Defeat the overwhelm by removing the books with a rating of less than 4.0.
Now, head towards your Netflix (or any other media list) playlist. You can use Netflix or Rotten Tomatoes ratings to eliminate the “weaklings”.
8. Discover New Source of Knowledge
Make use of your free time with some of the most engaging podcasts. Nowadays there’s a podcast for almost everything: storytelling podcasts as an alternative to listening to music, podcasts to increase your productivity level, even podcasts that will help you save money and get out of debt. In addition, listening to a podcast can help you relax while commuting.
Don’t know where to begin the search? Check out the MakeUseOf guide to discovering new podcasts.
9. Reduce Your Daily Screen Time
We mention spending time away from screens more than once for a reason. Horrifying stats show that on average Americans spend over seven hours staring at screens alone (that includes TV, laptop, tablet, and smartphone).
Try to clock your screen time one day. After you’ve recovered from the shock, divide it by two and take half that time to reconnect with nature instead. Doesn’t have to be hardcore hiking or trekking, start small with a local park. Long walks outside work wonders when it comes to stress relief and fighting anxiety.
10. Start Doing Yoga
Three things people turn to yoga for are flexibility, spirituality, and stress relief. Yoga can also help you lose weight, decrease your blood pressure and lower your “bad” cholesterol. Rumor has it, yoga even gives you a sense of fulfilling your potential.
Besides, there’s no such thing as “the perfect pose” or “the correct way of doing things” in yoga. It’s all about embracing your inner strengths and letting yourself be who you are. You will also learn the art of meditation in the process — what can be more helpful when fighting the overwhelm?
11. Learn to Dance
If you feel like yoga is a little too much fitness for you, we’ve got an alternative way to exercise ready to be explored. Just like yoga, it’s healthy and fun, but it’s a tad more social. Let’s talk dancing.
With the number of things an average person has on their mind these days, you’re bound to get tired of being constantly wrapped up in your thoughts. Dancing will help get you out of your head and give your brain the desired break.
It can also give you a boost of confidence and help you meet other people just like you. Furthermore, there are so many different styles, you will most certainly find the one that suits you most.
12. Treat Yourself
In this hectic world, it’s easy to get so involved in your career, household chores, and various duties. You end up only doing the part where you “work hard”.
Much like Tom and Donna from Parks and Rec you shouldn’t forget to give yourself a break every once and a while and take the time to enjoy yourself (as much as possible). Taking one day in a year/month/week and devoting time to yourself only can give you some breathing room to rethink your commitments and help you realize your needs.
Share Your Best Practices With Us
How do you cope with the everyday overwhelm? What strategies have proven to be best and worst in your experience? Would you apply any of the projects listed above in your life?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Image Credit: Sergey Nivens via Shutterstock.com