It’s been one month since I walked away from my job as a registered nurse. I was struggling with anxiety and I felt an undeniable pull to clear more space in my life. I’ve been taking a closer look at my life and striving to live with more intention. Here are some of the ways I’ve simplified my life this month, how I’m feeling, and my plans moving forward.
What I’m Doing
A bag in every room/Slowly decluttering
I’ve placed a large paper bag in every room of my house including my bedroom, my daughter’s room and the kitchen. As I notice things that can be donated or sold, I add them to the bag. That way, I can declutter and organize as I go without having to put aside time to do so.
I’ve also realized that the key to having a decluttered home (and probably the most difficult aspect too) is maintenance. Even if you have the time to spend a whole afternoon, just focusing on cleaning your whole house (which no one does anyways), you have to maintain the cleanliness in order to have a consistently clean home. I’m definitely still working on it, but I’m trying to get myself in the habit of just putting things back where they go as soon as I’m done with them, rather than letting them sit out. I’m also taking a closer look at the clutter in my home and finding ways to organize items if they do in fact need to stay out all of the time. One of the things we always have laying around is chargers and headphones. So, I got a cute basket from the thrift shop to put them in and it looks a lot nicer than just having them laying around all the time.
No one’s house is clean all the time and continuously decluttering definitely takes some time to master, so I’m being patient with myself on this one.
Less online shopping/Creating a wishlist
Impulsive, online shopping was definitely a coping mechanism of mine back when I was working as a nurse. Originally, when I quit my job and realized that I would need to start budgeting, I told myself I would do away with online shopping altogether. Later I realized that cutting it out entirely just wasn’t very practical for me. As a mom, Amazon Prime is just too convenient and I’m not sure that I could find a lot of the supplements that I use in store where I live. So, my Prime account remains but I am much more mindful about the things I buy when I purchase online.
Another method I’m using to cut back on my online spending, is creating wishlists. I have a couple of different lists in my notes app on my phone (home wishlist, clothes wishlist, etc.) and whenever I think of an item that I want, I just add it to the list. That way I can be actively shopping around for a good deal on the items I need. Before I would impulsively just buy the first thing I’d find online because I was so busy, I felt the need to purchase ASAP out of fear I’d just forget about whatever it was I needed to buy. Having a wishlist also helps me visualize the items I want and prioritize whether or not I actually need them.
Basically, I’m shifting my thinking from I need these $50 floor pillows from Urban Outfitters to I don’t need the $50 floor pillows right this second. I love them, still want them, and they’re staying on my wishlist. I really look forward to when I own them but they aren’t a financial priority and that is okay!
Less takeout/simplified diet
Back when I was working as a nurse, I was spending a lot of money on restaurant food. We probably got takeout twice a week and sometimes even more. Half the time, it didn’t even taste that good. The reality is, I can make better food at home for half the price and now I finally have the time and energy to do so. Most restaurant food is made from the same frozen ingredients purchased in bulk from giant corporations anyways. So, this month we got takeout a total of three times for the entire month. The times we did get takeout, I actually appreciated it a bit more since we’ve done it so little.
Overall, I’ve simplified my diet. I’ve been cooking a lot of simple, healthy meals at home consisting of fresh veggies, sometimes rice and sometimes organic meats. As someone who’s toyed around with diets like Whole30 and veganism, I’ve realized that placing restrictions on my diet just isn’t good for my mental health. These types of diets work great for some people but for me, they cause me to get way too absorbed and be super hard on myself if I derail even slightly. I’ve been striving to eat a healthy diet but also just eating the foods I want and enjoying everything in moderation.
How I’m Feeling
Well, to be quite honest, I’m feeling really good. All of this time with my daughter is exactly what I’ve been needing. My writing career is (slowly) coming together, as I’ve begun to find some work as a freelance copywriter and editor. My hope is that with time, I’ll eventually make a full time income as a writer so that I can make my own schedule and travel with my family.
Something I’ve noticed is how as I’ve reduced and minimized my life, it feels as though my mind is depressurizing. It’s as if before, my brain was so filled with all of these thoughts (obligations, schedule coordination, prepping for the work week, anxiety/stress) and they were just ping ponging around in there as I panicked internally. But now I’m slowly clearing more space in my life, literally and figuratively, and as I clear more space the thoughts in my mind are slowly releasing. This clearance of space in my mind has been making it easier to focus and be more present and I’ve even had some revelations.
I’ve also realized that my anxiety had gotten to the point of causing me to feel afraid of being alone with my thoughts. A couple of months ago, I would dread getting in bed at night because I knew I would just be overwhelmed with stressful thoughts. My mind was so wound up all of the time, even if my body was completely exhausted. One night recently, I laid down to go to sleep and realized that I no longer felt this fear. I actually felt excited to lay in the silence for those few moments before falling asleep and I was happy to be alone with my peaceful mind.
In the month of December, I’d like to put aside some time to really clean things out. I’ve got the bags in each room ready to be filled, so now it is time to fill them up and start clearing more physical space in my home. My goal is to eventually go through every room of my home and get rid of all of the extra items I don’t need. While doing this, I’d like to pay attention to my belongings and question why I purchased them in the first place. This will help me pay attention when making future purchases.
Also in the month of December, I’d like to try to find more stillness in my life. Now that I have started to make some money from home, it can be easy to want to rush over to my laptop every time I get a free moment and tackle my work for the week. Although it’s awesome that I have the ability to work from home, I need to find a balance. Sometimes I try to work for just 30 minutes, then I get way to absorbed and can’t relax after. I just recently took a full day off from all writing for probably the first time since I started this blog 6 months ago! So, I’m trying to find more stillness in life, master the art of doing nothing, and learn to shut my mind off every once in a while.
I look forward to checking back in a month to see how things are progressing. Thanks for reading, friends!