I tried a minimalist daily routine for 14 days

I tried a minimalist daily routine for 14 days

My Minimalist daily routine in a nutshell –

  1. Drink water – 3 liters a day keeps the boy hydrated
  2. Eat Healthy – No processed foods
  3. Exercise – 30 mins to 1 hour home workouts
  4. Gratitude – Wake up and say thank you for having a chance to live this day
  5. Wake up early – Drink green tea, have breakfast, enjoy the morning before starting work
  6. Indulge in creative work – Singing, dancing, etc.
  7. Visual memories – Take at least 1 inspiring photo every day
  8. Help others – Help with the household chores
  9. Environment – Find ways to reduce waste
  10. Less Tech – Put your phone and laptop away. Switch off TV. Enjoy time with loved ones and yourself
  11. Self-care – Pampering yourself and tidying up your room

Minimalism was not my thing until 2020. I used to have a lot of unnecessary stuff and used to be a shopaholic. But things changed.

2020 brought with itself a wave of unfortunate events for the whole world, which made us all contemplate the things in our lives that actually mattered.

Time passed by, and the whole world was locked down. India being the 2nd largest population in the world, had to take extreme measures to make sure the virus doesn’t spread within the community.

A community-level spread would have been disastrous. Not only for India but to other people across the globe too. Remember, we are still the no.2 when it comes to making babies.

I came across this quote

“I’ve learned that minimalism isn’t about what you own, it’s about why you own it.”

– Brian Gardner

and it got me thinking –

  1. Do I really need all this stuff?
  2. Can there be a better way to optimize my lifestyle?
  3. How do I improve my life and get better?

I started reading about minimalism, and it really gripped me with its fundamental structure and beliefs.

Many of us believe that minimalists are people who wear just one shirt and jeans throughout a year and only have a single plate and cutlery to eat with.

Trust me initially, I too had a similar perception about minimalist. But minimalism is much more than this and often misunderstood. It is not about the stuff or how much less you have. It way beyond a materialistic approach to owning things in your life.

For me, minimalism brings value to my life. It brings a purpose that fulfills my daily routine and motivates me to aim higher in my life. As long as what you own in your life adds value to your daily routine, it has a purpose in your life.

Over the last hundred years, Americans have accumulated more clutter than ever. An average American woman had about 36 pieces of clothing in her closet, back in 1930. Today, the average consumer has 120 clothing items. However, according to Cladwell, 80% go unworn.

This blew my mind because this trend has now gripped India as well. With the rise in popularity of eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Myntra, Jabong, and many others, impulse buying has become the new normal in our country.

So for the last couple of months under lockdown, I came to realize that there are essentially two categories that you have in your life when it comes to acquiring stuff –

  1. Must-Have
  2. Good to have

Must-haves are the bare essentials in your life that you need. For example, toothbrush, toothpaste, some sort of a beverage that you enjoy like tea or coffee (remember I am discarding the life essentials like food, water, roof under your head, etc.)

Good to have are the ones that you aspire to have in your life. For example, Jeans from your favorite brand, a home theatre system, a bad-ass SUV in your garage, etc.

We have to aim to strike a balance between the must-haves and the good to have in our lives. The must-haves are the first ones to target, and then we should strive to achieve the good to have.

The good to haves can only be achieved when we progress in life. When we become better than we were yesterday. I sat down with Kritika Manshani (Self Improvement Content Creator and Ph.D. in Making) in my last podcast episode over “The Socially Desi Show.” We discussed a few productivity systems that one can adopt to get better in life.

Check out the episode on Apple PodcastSpotifyGoogle, or Stitcher for listening to the depth discussion.

Anyways, long story short, after reading about minimalism and its impact on life, I took upon a challenge to create my own minimalist daily routine. I followed it for the last 14 days to be able to observe any difference in my life.

Here’s what my Minimalist daily routine looked like for the last 14 days –

Drink Water

drink water

It’s a no brainer, yet most of us fail in drinking enough water to keep our body hydrated.

Our body is made up of 60% water approximately. Let me type that again in caps, and bold OUR BODY IS MADE UP OF 60% WATER. This should be reason enough for you to drink enough water daily.

  • I started incorporating 3 liters of water every day in my daily routine.
  • I had a water bottle dedicated to myself in my room.
  • Made sure it was always filled with water. 
  • Used the WaterMinder app to track my water intake
  • Made sure I drank water especially just after waking up and just before going to sleep

Eat Healthy

eat healthy

Eating healthy is a must if you wish to live a long, illness-free life. Eating junk not only degrades the condition of your body but also your brain. An unhealthy body creates a lethargic and lazy mind.

Consuming a healthy, calorie-managed diet helps in weight management. You stop being too hungry when you start the day with a balanced breakfast. Skipping breakfast can increase blood sugar levels.

Eating a balanced diet with the richness of vegetables and fruits will reduce the risk of heart disease like heart attack.

  • I got ride of my snacking habits
  • Replaced my soft drinks with fresh juices
  • Ate only homemade food
  • Stopped eating any sort of processed food
  • Never skipped my breakfast
  • Had dinner latest by 9:00pm

Exercise

Fitness Industry takes a Hit

Body and mind connection is the key to unlock your true potential. Be it in your personal or professional life. It is a proven fact that people who exercise at least 4 times a week for 30 mins to an hour live a long and healthier life.

Exercising reduces stress levels as well and helps to keep your body flexible. Exercising helps to keep your body weight in check and helps in maintaining a good BMI score. It also keeps you active throughout the day. It also means you can do a bit of cheating in your meals once in a while.

  • I did 30-45 mins of exercise daily using the CUREFIT app
  • My exercise routine was a mix of bodyweight training and yoga
  • Tried a few pilates sessions as well
  • Workouts usually happened during the morning time, but a few days I did it in the evening time

Gratitude

gratitude

Expressing gratitude made a massive difference in my mental health and mood. It enhanced my empathy levels and reduced a lot of stress in my life; stress because of my business getting a hit due to this lockdown situation across the country.

There was a time when I had problems sleeping and used to wake up in the middle of the night, worrying about situations, not in my control. Gratitude changed that. I could sleep better at night. It improved my mental health a lot.

Waking up every day and saying thank you made a hell lotta difference in my life.

  • Woke up every day and said thank you to life for letting me live another day
  • Thank you to my parents for supporting me in my life decisions, no matter how good or bad they were
  • Thank you to my house help which helped me in my daily work
  • Thank you to my pet cat to keep my company throughout the day

And the list goes on and on. The idea is to express gratitude daily, and you will feel an incredible change in your mood and mental health.

Wake up early

wake up early

This wasn’t so tough for me as I am an early riser. You know they say, “If you win the morning, you win the day.” But to be honest, for most people out there, waking up early is a real struggle. I get that, but try it once. 

Without trying, you can’t just say that it won’t do anything good for you.

I used to be that person a few years back – Lazy, waking up at 10am in the morning. Phew! I am glad that phase is over.

Here’s what happens when you start waking up early – 

  • More time to exercise and manage your day
  • Healthy morning routine
  • Perfect time for breakfast
  • Healthy skin
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Refreshing morning

Just wake one day at 6:00am in the morning and open the windows. Take a deep breath and feel the fresh air fill your lungs with energy. You can thank me later!

Here’s what you can do to wake up early –

  • Try to sleep early
  • Don’t make unrealistic promises about your waking-up time
  • Start slowly and gradually
  • If you wake up usually at 10:00am, start with setting your alarm clock to 9
  • Then after a few days set it to 8:00am
  • After 2 weeks, go for 6:00am. Trust me it will work
  • Start eating healthy
  • Start exercising
  • Reward yourself when you achieve your goal of waking up at 6:00am
  • Eat a lighter meal before sleep

Indulge in Creative Work

creative work

Indulging in creative activities boosts our confidence levels. We all have self-doubts, and doing something creative actually helps us to remove those doubts from our minds.

If people do not feel a sense of purpose to do anything that they love, they will not be able to turn up the courage to make time for it and forge their way past the gremlin of self-doubt to get down to work.

  • I like singing and creating music
  • Recorded songs almost every day
  • Played guitar

You, too, can pick up any hobby and start working on it. With the lockdown across the world, people are now sharing a lot of their creative work on social media. I have seen scientists sharing cooking recipes on Instagram, management consultants sharing fitness videos, etc. Find your hidden talent and explore it. Share it with the world, and you will see wonders happen

Visual Memories

visual memories

Visual memories are short term memories that you capture and relish for a more extended period. Keeping visual memories help you to cherish those moments in the future. It makes you feel alive. It gives you a purpose to move on. As a minimalist routine, keeping visual memories is a great way to acknowledge what you have that matters. This also helps you pick out the things that don’t matter in your day to day lives.

Try to click a pic form your mobile of the things that inspire you. Like a flower in your backyard, your pet playing around, or the sunrise.

Taking pictures is a great way. I used to take pics of –

  • My cat playing around
  • Dishes that I cooked
  • Casual activities around the house
  • Something inspiring

This made me realize the importance of the things I have in my life.

Helping others

help others

Helping others as a selfless act can really reduce stress in your life give you inner peace. By doing small things in your home, you can make a difference. It can be as simple as helping your mom cook food, or it can be assisting your dad with his haircut during this lockdown.

Giving to others will also help improve your physical and mental health. It emotionally inspires you and gives you a sense of belonging and satisfaction.

Just do something that will help your family members or maybe a friend, and you will see that it not only brings a smile to their faces but to yours as well.

Environment

save the environment

As part of the minimalist routine, decluttering and reducing waste around is a huge plus.

  • I rearranged my wardrobe, got rid of the old clothes that I don’t wear anymore (will be donating to charity once the lockdown is lifted)
  • Made sure I only use limited utensils (helps in saving excess water which is wasted for cleaning them after use)
  • Wore mostly loungewear at home (saves excess of electricity and water in the washing machine to wash them later on)
  • Getting rid of snacks from my healthy eating part helped in less litter

Keeping the environment free of toxic waste should be our goal. It gives a sense of satisfaction that you’re doing your part in keeping the environment clean.

Less Tech

less tech

Using fewer gadgets and trying downtime from using smartphones and laptops is a significant health booster.

In a minimalist routine, try to avoid over-usage of smartphones and laptops. When you are working, focus on your tasks and take regular intervals.

Spending time with your loved ones will help you to maintain a healthy relationship with them under lockdown. This bond will go a long way.

  • I made sure I am only using my laptop for work
  • My mobile has a feature that shows me the apps I use the most throughout my day/week.
  • I made sure I cut down on my social media
  • I spent more time with my family
  • Made sure I eat all my meals with my family including drinking tea together in the living room

Self Care

Read the Newspaper and Have coffee

Self-care includes taking care of your health and your surroundings. This includes your room, your desk, gadgets that you use, etc.

Pamper your body by taking care of it. Cleanse your face, moisturize, oil your hair, etc. Take a relaxing shower and make sure you spend some time alone in reflecting on things that you are doing and the ones you plan to do

Conclusion

No matter what you plan to do with your daily routine, a minimalist way of living is something that you can experiment at any time in your life. It’s not rocket science. It only demands your dedication and will to change.

I tried a minimalist daily routine for 14 days and the journey was extraordinary. Join me on this journey and maybe you would like to try this too. Here’s the summary – 

  1. Drink water
  2. Eat Healthy
  3. Exercise
  4. Gratitude
  5. Wake up early
  6. Indulge in creative work
  7. Visual memories
  8. Help others
  9. Environment
  10. Less Tech
  11. Self-care

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