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Simple Living

3 Side Effects of Simplifying My Life

February 12, 2019

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I'm  Amanda — simplicity-focused content marketing strategist.  I'm here to help you fit your marketing into your business.

Meet Amanda

For more than a year now, I’ve been working hard to simplify my life. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s most definitely been worth it. When I first started traveling down this journey, I did so out of desperation. My mind was…

  • constantly overwhelmed and never felt like I could get enough done
  • going a hundred miles per hour
  • trying to keep track of a million thoughts, despite using my planner all of the time

I just wanted it to STOP!

And, yes, simplifying my life did shut that buzzing off. I can actually relax and focus now! However, I’ve found quite a few wonderful side effects that have come about that I hadn’t expected, and they’ve been even better!

3 side effects that I've found from simplifying my life, home, and schedule. Simplifying and living a minimalist lifestyle has helped me to get rid of anxiety, stress, and overwhelm.

Side Effect 1 of Simplifying My Life: No Anxiety

Y’all this has been the craziest side effect by far—but first, let me give you a little back story.

 In 2015, I was put on Zoloft to medicate my anxiety. Mind you, this was long before our move and Russell’s deployment. However, I didn’t like the side effects, so right after moving, I weaned myself off of it (and got yelled at by my doctor for doing so—whoops!).

Then, during Russell’s deployment, my anxiety got so bad that I was really considering going back on Zoloft, because the side effects weren’t any worse than the extreme, constant anxiety I was feeling. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t end up with an ulcer in my stomach.

Anyways, I ended up not doing that, because I knew that the deployment was only temporary. Once Russell got home, it eased back to what I called “normal” levels. (AKA, fairly consistent underlying anxiety with a few full-out attacks each month). So, I continued about my life doing my best to cope with it.

Praise the Lord that deployment was only temporary because I was so DONE by the time Russell came home! Fun fact: we ended up accidentally matching—he walked off the plane in a gray jacket and black pants and I had worn a gray top and black pants to pick him up!

BUT. When I simplified my life (through decluttering, the number of people/things I said yes to, being intentional about connecting with Russell and setting aside white space, etc.), my anxiety disappeared. Now, I’m not a doctor. I don’t know why exactly this happened, but my guess is that by letting go of all of those thoughts that I was trying to corral (through simplifying), that my brain no longer being so overactive is what calmed my nerves. Those chemical messages that my brain was creating stopped when I got rid of all of the excess in every area of my life.

Since I began this journey, there have been times where I’ve been anxious or uncomfortable. But it was never anything that a few deep breaths couldn’t cure, and I always had a reason for why I felt that way. That’s something that I never understood about my anxiety before—it came out of no where for no reason. Or so it felt. Now? I’m pretty sure it was just that my brain was overloaded and shutting down. Science-y, right?

Side Effect 2 of Simplifying My Life: Connecting with Myself and My Passions

It seems like a running joke in our society for women to say that they don’t have a clue what they like to do anymore. Only, it’s no where near funny. We are so busy trying to do it all, and be everything to everyone, that we don’t make time for ourselves. Or, when we do make that time, we aren’t intentional with it, and we do things that don’t fill us up (like scrolling on social media). But so often, we see a spare five minutes and we fill it with a task that needs to get done.

But here’s the thing, that task? It can most likely wait. It’s probably not actually your priority at the moment, and you’re likely just letting the urgent overshadow the important. What’s more important to you? Having a clean house, or a strong relationship with your spouse? In your heart, it’s likely the relationship with your spouse, right? But when you see 5 spare minutes, how many times do you fill it with wiping down the counters {the urgent} instead of taking a minute or two to do something to show your spouse you love them {the important}? You have to know what your priorities are in order to make intentional decisions throughout the day.

Okay, I’m going to climb down from my soap box now.

All of that to say, that taking time for yourself should be a priority. Because if you don’t fill your own cup, you won’t be able to fill anyone else’s either. I dare you to wake up before everyone and spend 30 minutes doing something that fills you up. Read a book, go for a walk, do some yoga, paint, bake, whatever you love. Do it for you.

Side Effect 3 of Simplifying My Life: JOY

This one has been the most exciting side effect by far. It doesn’t mean that every day is perfect, or that I’m always happy. It just means that deep within me, there’s joy for life again. Without that constant state of overwhelm, I’m excited to get out of the house and do things. I’m excited to explore new places. I’m excited to just do life.

This one has been the most exciting side effect by far. It doesn’t mean that every day is perfect, or that I’m always happy. It just means that deep within me, there’s joy for life again. Without that constant state of overwhelm, I’m excited to get out of the house and do things. I’m excited to explore new places. I’m excited to just do life.

When we get some bad news? I can see past the moment and not dwell on it (usually). I can better accept the circumstances without feeling like I’ve somehow failed. More than anything, though, I just don’t feel like there’s a heavy raincloud hanging over my head 24/7 like I used to. And that’s exciting.

I laugh more, I smile more, I joke more. I even had one of my youth kids look at a picture of me recently and say, “Of course, Amanda’s laughing again”. He said it with an eye roll, but inside it brought me so much happiness. Maybe my joy is annoying to teenage boys, but it’s perfectly welcomed by me!

I can’t wait to see what side effects come to you from simplifying your life! Have you already seen some? Leave a comment below so that we can continue to encourage others to make that room as well!

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    […] but I truly loved it. AND, the best part of decluttering was how it freed up my mental capacity and helped to get rid of my anxiety. (I can’t promise the same will happen for you, because I’m no doctor, but I know that […]