9.00 am, your alarm buzzes. You're awake, and through your hazy, sleep-addled eyes, you start to make sense of what's around you. Familiar room, familiar temperature; maybe a little bit cold but alright. All the thoughts that were circling your brain the night before have been completely expunged from your mind, and your brain's a sponge, ready to absorb the day. You take a deep breath, reach over to your phone and start reading through the profound slog of mind-numbing notifications overwhelming you. You got an Uber Eats deal. You got MyFitnessPal reminding you to log your breakfast. You got a group chat from the night before. Bam. Day ruined.
Living in this world totally dominated and essentially controlled by these tiny devices is tiresome at best and depressing at worst. I know from my experience oftentimes, it sets your day off horrendously, and it can be a struggle to shake that mindset and actually have a decent day. In this digital age, we are so suffocated by stimuli across digital and physical realms it can be totally overwhelming to get anything done, or even know what you necessarily want to get done. And that's just detailing the personal, individual issues that our world creates, not even mentioning the overarching widespread damage it does to our society and environment as a whole.
Tied into all of this is the issue of Consumerism, a strong proponent of environmental issues alongside cultural problems, which is totally interwoven into society. It could be argued that a reduction in consumerism culture would be totally beneficial for society and for the world as a whole. I present to you a solution. Welcome to your own personal, curated handbook for minimalist living in our excessively busy, maximalist world.
Minimalism, at its core, is a philosophy based upon when "you strive to only use things that serve a purpose." This core concept can be attached and translated to almost every aspect of life. Increasingly, more and more avenues of our life in the 2020s are being reimagined in a minimalist context. From living spaces, to food, to clothing, to social media, to phones - I could go on. People are finding solutions to the problems that come with living in this overwhelming world, and thankfully these provide solutions to the likes of consumerism too.
With social media being a pretty strong focus point for some of the stresses facing people in our digital age, a decent way to get started would be to consider some methods for social media minimalism that could help you on your way.
"Social media minimalism is an approach to using social media that’s proactive, controlled and intentional. It’s about seeing social media as a valuable tool that enhances your life—while reducing the impact that social apps have on your time, relationships and self-esteem."
This article provides some helpful steps to get started with social media minimalism. Some useful tips include changing your notification settings to only allow certain apps to send push notifications, hopefully leading to less time on your phone overall.
If you're looking to go one step further, a solid option is looking at minimalist smartphone alternatives such as "The Light Phone" , which only gives you the option to call and text. This kind of technology is becoming more and more commonplace as more people adopt and choose a more minimalist technological lifestyle.
Minimalism in regards to fashion is one of the greatest ways you can go about adapting to a minimalist lifestyle whilst having a really strong positive effect on the environment. Fast fashion is one of the biggest issues facing the world at the moment, and a minimalist wardrobe is rejecting all the facets of fast fashion, focusing on "stripping back the unnecessary, leaving only the things that provide you with real value and joy". Going through your wardrobe and only keeping what you essentially require can be extremely liberating and freeing.
An additional step to further your positive impact would be to donate, sell or gift the unwanted items. There are many avenues available to do this, including apps like Depop and Vinted or even just going to your local charity shop to donate.
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A closing note
Minimalism as a whole can be a tool that helps us process and deal with the oppressive force consumerism is in our lives digitally and physically whilst providing a solution for many societal and environmental problems. Hopefully, this article can function as a quick introduction to the facets of minimalism and show you some resources to look at to understand this way of life a bit more. Not everyone has to follow every rule of minimalism to the fullest, and even the smallest change can make a heap of difference in the world and the more people willing to make these small changes, the better off we will become as a society and a world as a whole.