As I am writing this blog post, we have just experienced a bushfire very close to our home. We live in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia which is an incredibly beautiful part of the world, but also has areas of dense bushland. We were very fortunate that the weather was on our side, the wind changed and summer rains came just in time.
In the midst of this ordeal, we had to go through our home and pick out our most precious items to put in a suitcase to be ready to leave. On reflection, this has made me think even more deeply about our 'stuff' and how we justify having so much. I have dreams of being a minimalist, but never quite make the time to prioritise the sorting and decluttering required. Our home isn't overly messy, it just has lots of stuff - we have 2 kids aged 4 and 10, and the things have just slowly accumulated over the years.
I have followed the work of The Minimalists for a number of years now, and am constantly inspired by their words- this is the content of a recent email:
Our possessions possess us. This is how we let go. If a thing stops adding value, sell it. If it doesn't sell in a week, lower the price. If it doesn't sell in 30 days, donate it. If a donation place doesn't accept, recycle it. If it can't be recycled, trash it (as a last resort). Once we let go, we're able to move on.
Decluttering our external environment is conducive to good mental health. Researchers at UCLA’s Centre on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) have identified a direct link between the stress hormone cortisol and clutter (or “a high density of household objects”).
I think we can all agree that decluttering and organising our external world helps with stress management. Decluttering our outer world also helps to find calm in our internal world. When we are looking to improve our health and well-being, decluttering can be a gateway to better emotional and even physical health.
If you are yearning for more spiritual connection in your internal and external world, but feel overwhelmed or don't know where to start, begin by decluttering. You could try the 30 Day Minimalism Game as a starting point! If this is too overwhelming, engage the services of a local Professional Organiser to get you on the road to declutter-town!
If decluttering is too much to deal with, or you are constantly frustrated by the mess that the kids leave around the house, looking after your internal environment may be a better place to start. When we feel powerless or overwhelmed by our external environment, our health can suffer on all levels. Learning to control the internal environment means that (mostly) the external stuff won't get to you as much. In addition, when we start to nourish our internal world, solutions and inspirations start appearing to deal with the external issues.
How do we nourish our internal world?
Self-care, meditation, nature, creativity, meaningful connections, doing movement we enjoy, eating and drinking nourishing foods and beverages, journaling, seeing a practitioner for emotional/spiritual support, kinesiology, Reiki therapy and other body work/holistic therapies.
So, do I work on my internal or external environment? The answer is to work on both! The thing is, both avenues lead to working on the other one, so you can't go wrong. If you need support with nourishing your inner and outer environment, check out holistic health coaching. This takes into account the whole person, including your environment. Get support with changing habits!
Yours In Health,