Ok I normally just do this on my youtube channel but here are my minimalists favorites for March! As always these things are really ‘things’ as such. They don’t clutter my home, give my life great value and usually don’t cost anything. This month i have 4 different favs:
ONE: A Morning and Night Routine
This is something I intend on doing a whole video, maybe 2 on as it really has been an enormous, positive change for me. I used to watch other’s morning routine videos on youtube and think they were silly. I think i only half believed that people actually did them every morning and of course a lot of them are just advertisements for different beauty products. However i am now a real convert to the idea and truly believe it is making me a much happier, more productive person, has helped me get out of a bad cycle of procrastination with my study and helps me keep my house cleaner and tidier.
It all started when i got to a point of mess in my house that I felt completely frustrated and went into a complete cleaning frenzy. Generally in the past i’m someone that will do a bit of tidy of specific areas like the kitchen so that id have space to cook the next meal and things like that. Often i’d let things get to the point that we are wearing clothing out of the clean washing basket (never being put back in drawers), the bathroom and floors only get cleaned if someone is coming to visit. It doesn’t help either that i have a mostly indoor dog, a toddler and a husband that isn’t all that clean either. After achieving what i consider a really deep clean of the house where i did things like vacuums the couch, mop the floors all of that. Well then i really enjoyed how nice my house felt and didn’t want it to go back to the way it was. I became a bit bossy grabbing dirty dishes and putting them in the dishwasher as soon as my husband finished eating things like that. Now i’ve been like that in the past after doing a proper house clean however what is different this time is i set up a proper routine that created a structure for getting it done. So part of my routine is that I make sure all the dishes are done and kitchen benches are clean and the living room is tidy before i got to bed. I also write a to-do list of what i want to get done the next day.
The evening routine is what supports my morning routine. Without it i wouldn’t feel good in the morning as i’d either have to do my routine in a messy house or more likely as i did in the past my morning would be spent cleaning up. This is why i’ve mentioned it as it is a crucial element. The morning part of my routine is more elaborate and kind of a ritual i do that is about doing this that set the right state of mind and intention for the rest of my day. Generally i get up when my toddler wakes up (so varies) after possibly catching up a bit on youtube and make my bed (something i NEVER did before). I shower, change my son. Then i make myself up some lemon water in my 1L glass jar with my stainless steel straw that honestly takes me many hours to actually drink. I turn on my essential oil diffuser. At this point i’ll put my todder in his highchair and give him some breakfast to eat while i get on with doing some yoga. I put on some kind of yoga/meditation music on my tv from spotify streamed through chromecast and do some stretches usually starting with sun salutations. It really isn’t all the ‘serious’ or lengthy of a yoga session, sometimes only 5mins or so. I like to do at least one musical track. At some point also my son may finish eating and want to get down and often he’ll try doing yoga with me or climb on me. So I really don’t don’t get to achieve that blissful breath focus or really improve my strength and flexibility from it, however the purpose of it is ritual and signalling to myself that I am starting the day with healthy habits in mind. After that i’ll either keep spotify playing with yoga tracks or choose something else relaxing while i have my breakfast and drink my lemon water. Then i get changed out of my yoga clothes into regular clothes for the day and thus ends the ritual component of my morning routine. Of course there are other things like feeding the chickens and doing laundry but they aren’t part of what sets my good intention for the day so i’d doing really consider it part of the routine.
Now I am by no means advocating anyone mimic this routine. Routines are so specific to individuals and your life circumstances. The point is rather than there can be enormous benefits achieved from creating a ritualised morning routine no mater how that looks for you. It seems to be especially helpful in breaking bad habits and creating new better habits even for things you might do at other times of the day. For example I find i eat healthier when i’ve done my routine.
TWO: Spring Flower Bulbs
It is Autumn here in Australia so spring bulb planting time. I’m so exited to be now living in a temperate climate that can grow things like daffodils and tulips and to have my own property now where i can plant them myself. Last spring i think one of my monthly favourites was also spring flowers, actually seeing them in other’s gardens but we hadn’t been living on our property in Autumn to be able to plant them ourselves. This year we are. For my birthday i’d asked my family for some flower bulbs. Really if you have a garden, plants make a fantastic minimalists’ present as they don’t clutter and can really enhance your property. Actually this isn’t the only plants i have received as gifts and having got a few lemon trees over the years too. And they really are a gift that just keeps giving for years as you get a crop of fruit or in the case of flower bulbs a beautiful show of flowers every spring. So in the end of March i was busy planting the bulbs i received as my birthday gift in our fruit orchard and i’m so excited to see what they look like in spring. I’m sure i’ll enjoy them a lot more in spring than now, although the anticipation is exciting, but wanted to include it in this month’s favourites in case you also live in similar climate (in the southern hemisphere) and might be interested in planting some yourself.
THREE: Doing Nothing
There have been a few days where i intentionally put nothing on my to do list and have really enjoyed the experience. This only works if you are up to date with everything, and there is nothing that really ‘needs’ to be done. There is no point having a lot of errands or work or housework to do in the day as you’ll just end up doing it anyway with possibly more stress as you won’t have a to-do-list to remind you of everything. And i only find this cathartic if my house is clean.
This isn’t something I could do all that often but every now and then it is really nice. I just get to go with the flow of the day, be more present for my son instead of just expecting him to play independently while i do housework etc. I’ve even got to do some fun things that i haven’t had time in months during my toddler’s naps like Zentangle or meditate. Normally these nap times I rush madly around trying to get more housework or cooking done while i can without toddler interruption. On this ‘nothing’ days i’ve also go to really take in my garden. Not do gardening work just hang out there, eating the odd cherry tomato or two or watching the chickens which is lots of fun. I think everyone needs days like this every now and again. But they do need to be planned for by being extra organised the day before and where necessary clearing a schedule. If I had a regular job i’d serious consider occasionally taking one day of leave just to do this.
Ok, i’ve done this one before but i’ve moved states since then and walking where i live is now a completely different experience. It started as an attempt to ‘get my steps up’ when i recieved a fitness tracker as a freeby with a new mobile phone i bought (It is terrible by the way i’ve discovered, there is a reason they were giving them away i think, however as a huge fan of the concept (i was a very early adopter of the first ever fitbits and would still have one except it got lost in the interstate move) i’ll probably donate this free one to the thrift store and get a new fitbit). That’s not the point of this though i’m not saying anyone needs a fitbit, i’m actually talking about walking!
Anyway walking is an entirely different matter living in rural Victoria. We live far enough out of town and in such a tiny town of only around 500 people that we don’t actually have footpaths or really anywhere specific to walk to. I used to be able to walk everywhere when i lived in the desert with lots of footpaths, it is actually thing i probably miss most! Toddler wearing (i tend to use my Toddler Tula Carrier the most these days) is absolutely essential now as i don’t want to be pushing my pram down a highway and the verge is often muddy with long grass. So I carry my son and walk around and take in our new neighbourhood. You really notice different things by foot than you do in a car. We get to walk by lots of farms with various animals and this is a nice chance for me to teach my son different animal words (although everything according to him is a dog or horse). I enjoy looking at all the different style houses, dams and plants and listening to the birds. There is also a lot of just bushy and forested areas too if i want to get off the roads. Some areas have made me uncomfortable to walk particularly where there have been large unrestrained guard dogs there is a whole patch of them in one area of my town, but i’ll get to know the best places soon so i can stay away from those. It is definitely more exercise than pushing a pram on a footpath and it’s also quite hilly. Sometimes i just walk around my 20 acre property too, especially up our rather steep hill which is really quite a lot of exercise, especially carrying a 12kg toddler on my back. Overall walking is a great mindfulness activity and exercise and has been great to do especially while i let my body heal from a running injury.