Winter months drag on and the season of “new year, new me” is already beginning to lose its sting. Snooze buttons persuade us to trade in our resolution of early morning workouts with “just five more minutes” hidings underneath our warm sheets. Reality hits and we find ourselves in a rut; unsure of the next big move that will magically boost our motivation to meet with that professor, look for summer internships or to ask for help after lecture because we’re lost already and it is only February. With bullet journals and minimalistic fashion trends hitting 2017 hard, it’s time to start your month of minimalism. Declutter, destress and disconnect for 30 days and I guarantee you’ll love how you feel. No secret tips, no complex diet and no cost involved; just some confidence boosting and a whole lot of self-love.
I occasionally give in to mental slumps, especially now because I feel my time flying by while my to-do lists get longer with every second that passes. I try listening to TED talks, stopping by my favorite coffee shop or listening to a vinyl but the weight of stress remains. One night, I was up late wandering through YouTube, desperate for motivation, and I found a video that served as my winter blues remedy. It was all about positive thinking and simple living; two concepts that I find extremely challenging as a college student caught up with a demanding schedule that requires me to be my best 24/7. I see my friends less and less as everyone becomes consumed by the study, eat, sleep routine. It’s challenging to find a balance in life when I teeter between embracing adulthood while also missing my eight-year-old self when life was far simpler. But that’s just it; although our daily tasks may seem more intense and our schedules packed with little time left to relax, we as humans have always been busy. Yes, the biggest problem I faced as a child was probably running out of cups at my lemonade stand, but busy is busy and some days still seemed long, regardless of age.
Step one for a month of minimal is a complete mental makeover. The power of our mind is limitless and adopting a new outlook can be challenging yet ever so rewarding when trying to get out of a rut. Target destructive thoughts that disrupt your ability to think clearly; it could be anything from self-doubt and constant worries to feeling overwhelmed and inferior compared to your peers. My target thinking pattern involves replacing negative vibes with positive thinking. Now that you have your personal habit, look for inspiration. One video that really spoke to me came from a YouTube artist that shared ten approaches to keep in mind when struggling with positivity. My favorite concept was the act of cutting out any and all negativity in your life; people, objects and even distant memories that seem to stick with us. Once you have your inspiration, write it out and put it somewhere you can’t miss it.
Now that your mind is at ease, it’s time to organize. This step requires a whole lot of patience and can be time consuming but it’s worth it. The physical act of organizing can be relaxing and helps put you in control of what’s going on. Put your favorite album on, light a candle and start small-keep it realistic; set out for clearing out one drawer at a time versus tackling your whole room in a couple hours. Organization does not always require cleaning or going through belongings; sometimes all it takes is starting a planner and writing down your course assignments for the rest of the semester. Small tasks add up and by the end of one month, your mind and life will both be at ease.
Destressing and disconnecting can be the most challenging aspects when getting out of a rut; they require soul searching and dedication to accepting new habits. Find something that makes you happy; not the fake smile you use to convince your friends that you’re okay with but the real joy you get from reading poetry, going on a hike or traveling with friends. Take a day off and do what makes you truly happy instead of dreading that monotonous Monday to Friday routine. This change of pace will alleviate stress and re-inspire you with the realization that there’s a whole world out there with endless possibilities. Disconnect from your world for a while. Take a break from social media portraying everyone’s “perfect” life and focus on living yours. Trade likes, texts and facetimes for surprise visits and paper-and pen letters home. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself rather than those who have mastered the art of backhanded compliments and passive-aggressive head games.
With spring break only one month away, you’ll be vibing with friends at summer musical festivals soon enough. However, before school’s out, you’re bound to lose motivation here and there. Instead of allowing those lows to overwhelm you, embrace each mental block that comes your way- use it as an opportunity to better yourself and realize that life is pretty simple.