HOW PRACTICING MINIMALISM HAS HELPED ME + MY NEW MINIMAL OFFICE REVEAL

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I’ll be honest, this post started out as something completely different,  It started out as a minimal office reveal  but I found myself writing more about my own journey with minimalism so far and now it’s out there, I felt like it would be a shame to remove it, so please accept my apologies if this isn’t quite what you were expecting. 

The true meaning of minimalism goes well beyond the things that we buy.

Until the 1st January 2017, I had no idea what ‘minimalism’ entailed. After seeing in the new year the night before, I decided to spend the first day of 2017 with a good old Netflix binge. Sat their scrolling through the endless list of things to watch, my attention landed upon a title called ‘Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things’. I read through the description and thought it sounded like something good to pass the time and so I pressed play. One hour and nineteen minutes later, I felt like I had just had an epiphany! I had resonated with every single word that had been said in the documentary and I felt like ‘Minimalism’ was exactly what I needed in my life.

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This year was the first year, I had not made a new years resolution. I want to say it was because I don’t believe in resolutions and all the BS but in truth it was because I just didn’t know what I wanted anymore? I had wrote about how I had faced my own version of a midlife crisis last year and how I was going to make it my primary focus to find more enjoyment, but I have to be honest I was struggling. I was still so caught up in the past and everything that had happened in the last year or so. I felt like Minimalism could be exactly what I needed in order to start focusing on the future.

After watching the documentary I went straight to the Minimalists blog, scoured all their essays and was delighted to learn they had a podcast. I went on to spend hours and hours listening to their advice on how to de-clutter – both physically and mentally, setting goals and prioritizing. Minimalism to me wasn’t just about getting rid of stuff, it was more about getting rid of things that held me in the past and stopped me from moving forward. Yes it did mean, I got rid of a lot of thing, 6 car trips full of stuff that went straight to the charity shop to be exact (and I’m still not finished!) but I noticed a difference in my way of thinking almost immediately. I moved on to de-cluttering my phone, removing apps that served no purpose and clearing out my inbox.

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Within 31 days, my stress levels have reduced significantly, my anxiety is no longer waking me up at night and I am using my time so much more effectively. Removing pacifiers such as Facebook and resisting the urge to binge on even more Netflix has led me to work differently, making time for me to pursue my hobby of wildlife photography and blogging and I have even started yoga!

More importantly this clarity of mind has allowed me to focus more on my health. Today will mark 40 days of being Vegan (I have always been vegetarian), Gluten Free and sugar free, something I would never have had the strength or willpower to do before adopting a minimalist approach. This change has been the most beneficial to me, as a sufferer from Endometriosis, it was suggested that a dairy free, gluten free and sugar free diet might help to combat the chronic pain I was experiencing. Although the symptoms have not gone completely I am still noticing a difference, the pain is less frequent and more manageable, which is life changing for me. I’ve spent way less time this past month curled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle than I did previously and I can finally think about moving forward rather than worrying that my illness might stop me in my tracks.

Of course, there is still a long way to go, but for now, I finally feel like I’m back in control and that makes me really really happy.

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Finally, a few words on my office.

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HOW TO MANAGE STRESS WHEN PLANNING A WEDDING: PART 1 – RELAXATION & MINDFULNESS

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Last week we shared the results of our recent survey with you, which you can see here. We are so thankful to you guys for taking the time to provide us with so much useful feedback and were thrilled to see so many suggestions for new posts ideas. It seems that a fair few of our gorgeous brides are beginning to feel the pressures of planning and are in desperate need of a little R and R. So today I am going to share my tips on how to use relaxation and mindfulness for those overwhelming moments of wedding planning.

1. Eat Healthy

Nourish your body with healthy food by starting the day with a good breakfast. I used to always eat sugary cereals but since quitting sugar in January I have found lots of even better alternatives. My favourites include Creamy Coconut Porridge or if that feels a bit heavy an Oaty Smoothie from Deliciously Ella. Since changing up my breakfasts I have been amazed by how much more energised I feel and another benefit is how wonderfully filling they are. I stay full right up until lunch which is great for keeping a clear mind and positive attitude.

Taking the time to actually prepare breakfasts in the morning is also a great destresser, the action of chopping, cooking and blending, offers your mind the chance to focus on the now, so enjoy the moment, as well as the taste!

2. Go for a Walk

I try to make time to go for a 3o minute walk at least once every day! Apps like Fitbit are a great motivator as you can link up with your friends, set goals and complete challenges. A good dose of fresh air and (sometimes) sunshine can make you feel so good! I am always much more awake and alert after a walk and it’s great for creativity to.

If you like to keep fit doing just 20 mins of exercise a few times a week can do you the world of good! I am currently obsessed with the new Sweat with Kayla app. Similar to Fitbit, you can set goals and complete challenges which is a fantastic motivator and offers the opportunity to work off a ton of stress and frustration.

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3. Meditation & Mindfulness

Meditation and Mindfulness works wonders for clearing negative thoughts and relieving anxiety. I currently use the Headspace app which is good for beginners and also includes information on how to manage things like depression, stress and anxiety. Sessions can last just 10 minutes which means they can easily fit into any brides busy schedule.

4. Stretch

Whether you just take a couple of minutes to stretch at your desk or you take a yoga class, stretching not only relieves stress from you body but your mind to. Concentrating on areas such as the neck, shoulders, lower back and head will remove tension as well as promote circulation of new blood to the brain which can result in mood elevation.

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Take a Break!

Helsinborg, Sweden

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a situation that it leaves you paralysed? You feel crushed, sick, anxious, angry, sad all at the same time? Nothing anyone can say will help and it takes all the energy you can muster to even be still and just cry? I have heard a lot of people talk about this on other blogs so I know I am not the only one that feels it but when it is happening to you, you can’t help but feel alone.

It is something I speak very rarely about and admitting this to you today is really very scary but here goes, I suffer from severe anxiety. Or should I say I used to suffer with severely and then I met Jess and she completely changed my outlook on life, but that is whole different story for another day. Now and again it comes back to rear its ugly head, however I am proud to say it is very rare and in the last two years I have only suffered two bouts of mild anxiety. My last episode was just before christmas. With the stresses of money, work and the impending festive period… I was starting to feel drained, tired, breathless, sick, my body ached, and I would wake up in the middle of the night and feel as though someone was sitting on my chest, symptoms that those of you that suffer from anxiety will know all too well.

I have two main triggers that usually cause my anxiety levels to rocket. In the past my main one was work pressures, although that is a lot less now I work for myself (it certainly helps having a job you love!). The other is money, or the lack of (the downside of working for yourself, the irony!). Basically, I have a crippling desire to want to make everyone happy and if I think that isn’t going to happen, I beat myself up – big time! I honestly don’t know how this happened? I have never had a bad experience with money, I have never been so poor that I have had bailiffs knocking at the door or had to live off noodles. I have never failed an exam or failed to meet a work deadline. I just for some reason hate the thought that I might let someone down. I have extremely supportive friends, family and Mr T is amazing so as I said, I can’t tell you why I worry so much about these things, I just do?

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