Minimalist Monday: Stress Shopping

I’ve had a revelation. I’m a stress shopper. Since I’ve delved deeper into grad school and teaching I’ve been pulling 14 hour days every day. At the same time I’ve been doing my best to prop up my grieving, insomniatic fiance who is dealing with the double loss of his friend and father over summer. I’ve been stressed, to say the least. But I believed I was handling it well. I’ve been keeping on top of my schoolwork (although the apartment has gotten a bit messy and my diet has become more fast food than I care to admit). I’ve kept up my twice a week yoga and twice a week 3 mile run. I was feeling like superwoman.

It turns out I’ve been taking my stress out on Amazon. Archery equipment, accessories for my iThings, boots, sandals, a Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD. I’m out of control. When I realized I had ordered 7 items from Amazon in 3 days it dawned on me that I was having a compulsion. I was stress shopping. All of my minimalist philosophy went out the window because, damn, those boots were cute.

So I may just have to put my credit cards on ice until I get my stress under control. Literally.

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Drawing Abundance

I wanted to share this piece of wisdom I found on the Spiritual Awakenings Facebook page because I think it really captures the essence of why we embrace simplifying our lives and our minds: to welcome abundance into our lives, whatever form that takes.

“One of the important things you can do to prepare for abundance to come your way is to clean your house, literally and figuratively. You must re-evaluate what’s important in your life. Get rid of unnecessary mental clutter that keeps new thoughts and opinions from being able to enter your mind. Get rid of old bad habits, those that keep you in that negative mentality; and then make way for new good habits, thoughts and emotions that are drawing abundance into your life, rather than chasing it away.”

Productivity and My New Year’s Resolution

Last night I was at work 8:00 am-1:30 pm, then again from 6:00 pm-10:00 pm. It was one of those days where I remember why I’m leaving my job. But actually those four hours I was here in the evening I got an entire day’s worth of work done. I had thoroughly exhausted my blogging/facebooking/emailing distractions before I returned to work, and was able to focus completely on doing my job.

This morning I arrived at 7:30 am finished off my work from last night, and returned to my digital distractions. One of those distractions was this post from The Minimalists. The gist of it is that he is productive by focusing on single, meaningful tasks rather than frittering away time on distractions. He focuses on his real priorities which are defined as the things you spend the most time doing (not necessarily what you idealistically say are your true priorities).

The post reminded me of two things: one, the attitude-behavior gap where we say or think versus how we actually behave and live our lives. I might say my priority is to spend time with my baby family, but if you block out where the majority of my time is spent, it’s at work and on the internet. The second was my New Year’s Resolution.

My New Year’s Resolution was this: to become a more productive person, not through the use of stimulants (such as coffee) and stress, but through mindfulness and single-tasking.

Well it’s the middle of April now and I’ve had some success and failure with that. I don’t drink coffee. Actually I’ve been coffee-free for so long it’s anti-productive for me because I’m unable to focus on anything for more than two minutes. I’ve started a couple of blogs which is a great productivity/creativity outlet for me. I’ve upped my yoga practice. Yoga is the only thing I do where I know I am 100% truly present. When I meditate my mind is still all over the place, and a lot of the time I am thinking about things I have to do and such, but on the mat there is nothing but perfecting that pose on my mind.

Moving forward I am going to revisit this resolution. Maybe write it on a post-it or something so I can remind myself to breathe, focus, and be present rather than worrying about money/future/whatever.

Letting Go

Tristan always tells me that everything in life is just a state of mind. If we are stressed over something, it’s because we are allowing stress to take over.Worrying is in your head, stress is in your head, unhappiness is in your head, happiness, contentment, all of it is in your head.

With all of the pressure and expectations surrounding weddings, this mental battle is acutely present. Trying to deal with the opinions and criticisms of family and friends, sifting through all the bullshit the Wedding Industrial Complex tells you you *must* have or your wedding will be a failure. Trying not to lose sight of the your identity when everyone else wants you to to it their way. Sometimes you just need to get out of your head.

In preparation for the inevitable stress wedding planning will undoubtedly bring, I’ve amassed a few resources and techniques for dealing with the stress and drama:

First, initial reactions and coping.

Then, Zen Mind for letting go of the stress.

Letting your detractors know what’s up.

And finally, revisiting my favorite book…

I kind of want to live in the Hundred Acre Wood…