The Pandemic left me unemployed for a while. In fact, as I write this I am still unemployed. It’s ok. I am sure I can get back to work soon. But these days at home have left me with a lot of time to think about what I want my life to look like.
I am already a minimalist so I have already been really intentional with my decisions about what I own and keep. But I didn’t really know I was living an intentional life and I definitely had areas in which I needed to improve.
Now that I have a break from my usual schedule I am learning about intentional living and I am surprised how much minimalism has helped me live an intentional life so far.
So, you may wonder, what do minimalism and intentional living have in common? Are they just fad lifestyles? How can minimalism help you with living an intentional life?
Is Living an Intentional Life Just a Fad?
Like minimalism, living an intentional life may seem like a fad. People hear those terms thrown around and they don’t understand them. I certainly didn’t. I used to think minimalism was boring decorating and I used to think that intentional living was something only yogis did.
But the truth is both of these lifestyles are made up of principles that can benefit anyone! Instead of being fads, they are both very beneficial, back to basics, recipes for less stress. We all need less stress and so maybe that’s why everyone is looking at these two ideas right now.
I have to admit that up until now I have been practicing minimalism. I mean practicing. I’m not perfect. And as for intentional living, I have to say I’m probably pretty new to it. I think I stumbled on intentional living unintentionally.
Before the stay-at-home situation, I was running from one thing to another and working real hard at so many things that I could barely keep them straight in my head. I felt stressed and overwhelmingly tired. There were a few things I did intentionally.
I jealously guarded my morning and evening routines, my exercise habits, my love of cooking exotic foods, and my cup of tea and a book before bed. I think that was a little bit intentional and it definitely maintained my sanity. But I need to learn more to live an intentional life in the big picture and to benefit my mental health.
I Started to Live an Intentional Life Unintentionally
However, the stay-at-home order changed everything. Suddenly I was not working anymore aside from some tele-volunteering. I poured myself into learning more about blogging and trying to stay active. I found myself busy every day but with a more intentional outlook.
What do I mean by an intentional outlook? I found myself thinking deeply about who I wanted to be when this was all over. I wanted to take the time to take care of my health. I wanted to treat this extra time as a gift I used to improve myself.
This time was given to me so that I could nourish my marriage and friendships, and so that I could do things that I always wanted to do. In short, I saw this as a golden opportunity. It was time to live an intentional life. I did not want to waste this precious time lying around on the couch!
As time progressed my situation changed even more. We had to consolidate resources with my parents because of the current health crisis which meant I left my little space and moved to a bedroom in a large house. That meant I was still living as a minimalist but with more amenities. That also meant that being intentional about how I took care of myself and my marriage became even more important because you can’t help anyone, or be peaceable if you’re a mess yourself.
So what do minimalism and living an intentional life have in common? What are the benefits you can expect?
Live an Intentional Life with Minimalism: Buy only what will really benefit you!
For both the minimalist and the person who wants to live an intentional life, a lot of thought is put into purchases. You need to think about what you bring into your home and your life ahead of time.
This means that you aren’t going into the store and buying something because it’s pretty or cheap. You are thinking deeply about where it will go. You ask yourself question before you buy anything. You ask how you will use it, and if it’s benefits are worth its cost. In short, will this thing really help you?
Both those who are endeavoring to live the minimalist lifestyle and those who are living intentionally are used to this thought pattern. The benefit? It saves them time, energy, and tons of MONEY!
Live an Intentional Life with Minimalism: Keep Only What is Useful or Makes You Happy
Everyone knows that a minimalist will only keep what is known to be useful or that sparks joy. The lovely Marie Kondo coined that perfect recipe for simplicity.
But what about intentional living? If you want to live an intentional life does that affect what you keep and get rid of? Absolutely! Why? Because when you know what you want out of life you don’t want anything that gets in the way. You will be ready to let go of things that don’t serve their purpose anymore. They are not part of the you that you want to be and the direction you are going.
Living an Intentional Life: Make Special Things the Focus
Both the ideas of minimalism and intentional living are really centered around making the things you love the focus. When you keep everything you can’t find the things that are special. Because you can’t find them, you can’t enjoy them. When that happens, nothing is really special and nothing can bring you joy.
But if you are a minimalist or you are trying to live an intentional life, you notice what makes you happy and you give it a special place in your life. The idea is that if you have only what makes you happy you have less.
When you have less and you take time to enjoy it fully you need less and want less but you enjoy life more! That is what minimalism and living an intentional life are all about!
NOTICE The Life Around You.
Look around you as you go about your life. Do you ever notice that many people today are not paying attention to what is happening right around them?
We are so sucked into technology that we often miss what our family is saying. We sometimes even don’t notice what our mouths are eating. If we miss those things we surely miss the beauty around us.
When did you last notice a gorgeous sunset or a stunning clear blue sky? If it’s been awhile than you are not living an intentional life.
I feel like this is really where living an intentional life can pack a punch on our modern life. The whole point of living intentionally is that you notice and appreciate the small moments in your life.
You take time to appreciate what is happening in the moment. From there, you work hard to be intentional about your choices so that you build a life that you love.
I challenge you to put your phone down for a family dinner. Try to take a walk instead of scanning social media in endless circles. Stop for a moment just to sit and watch the sunset. Take the time to appreciate every bite of the food you eat.
We forget to do these things even though this is what life is. Life is not your social media feed! It is made up of the beautiful experiences around you.
For a minimalist, this is just a little bit easier cause we naturally go for experiences over things. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. For me, it still takes a lot of effort to stay out of the phone vortex! But if you are living an intentional life you will realize that you don’t actually want to spend your whole life scrolling.
Live an Intentional Life And Take Time to Relax, Rejuvenate, Replenish
Do you need a little “me” time? Have you been doing any self-care lately? We all have families and who are we to say that we need “me time”? I am no stranger to that feeling. But think of it this way. If you are grouchy and worn down and martyred, are you a good family team member? I can speak from experience, as the A-type in the room. This martyred hard worker is not the person that my family appreciates.
I have realized that taking time to rejuvenate myself makes me a better teammate in my family. That could mean taking time to have a nice bath and paint your toes. Maybe it means taking time for a cup of coffee in silence in the morning. Whatever it means to you take time for it. Minimalism will make it easier to find the time. Enjoying it intentionally will let that experience give you the healing that you need from it!
The Minimalist Who Wants to Live an Intentional Life Looks for Experiences:
One key to enjoying minimalism is to look for and appreciate experiences above things. This has an obvious connection to living an intentional life. When you look for things to do rather than things to have, you enjoy a more diverse life.
If you are trying to live an intentional life you will participate in experiences appreciating every moment of the experience. These experiences will you learn and grow. When you focus on what you are doing and not what you are getting, you have less. When you have less to take care of you can enjoy even more experiences!
Live an Intentional Life and Keep It Simple
When you are living an intentional life you know where you want to go and who you want to be. When you have clear goals for yourself it will be easier to achieve your goals and when you keep your life simple you will be able to run the race to your destination unencumbered!
I know I can’t be the only one that has perpetually failed to achieve the goals I have had for a long time. But there is good news. I have noticed that having a clear goal and thinking intentionally about it each day helps me to pay attention to how my everyday actions affect my goal. That helps me stay motivated to drop things that are not going to help me succeed in the long run. I know that if you take the time to think about your goals each day, intentionally, you can succeed too!
The Benefit of Intentional Living and Minimalism
I’m sure by now you can see the many benefits of living an intentional life and keeping it simple.
I’m not saying it comes easy. Some days I am still on my phone all day and some days I’m still wanting to shop online but I’ve learned from staying at home, that keeping it simple and focusing on enjoying every moment, or living intentionally, is a great way to live with less stress!
How do you live with more intention? What helps you stay present? Please share in the comments below!
Start The Minimalist Lifestyle Today!
There is really no reason not to start enjoying simple living! Now is the time to try the minimalist lifestyle!
Learn why minimalism is good for your mental health and relationships, how it can transform your finances, so you can start having more energy and time for the things that matter!
But what if simplifying your life sounds like an overwhelming task?
If you want to simplify your life but the big bad word MINIMALISM scares you let me help! I wrote Doable Simplicity (Minimalism For Normal People) to help you get the inspiration you need to simplify your life and then take solid steps that make simple living doable for you!