Decluttering is all the rage these days as people embrace minimalism in their homes, schedules, and lives. Among others, Marie Kondo inspires us to say thank you and goodbye to clutter, leaving only the things that bring us joy.
Through the process we find peace in our environment. We’re able to rest easier and breathe deeper when the piles disappear.
But, can we apply this same decluttering approach to our minds? Can we let go of the things weighing us down and embrace “soul minimalism”?
As moms, our minds are cluttered with information, reminders, and details. Input comes at us from all directions: school, church, work, friends, family, social media, and podcasts. We don’t even have to seek information about topics. Open up our email or our social media feeds and it’s coming at us whether we want it or not. Many times it is overwhelming our brains, weighing down our hearts, and making our souls cluttered.
With each kid we add to the mix, an entire person’s life downloads into our brain. Soccer schedules, homework assignments, and remembering the band instrument all overwhelm our minds leaving us feeling foggy. We jokingly call it “mom brain” and laugh as the simplest of facts elude us, ones we could easily access back when our brains only had to store information related to our own lives.
No doubt, we carry a heavy mental load. Add in worries about our children’s futures and parenting regrets from the past and our souls are desperately in need of a good decluttering.
We can’t load up a box of unused nuggets of information and drop them off at Goodwill, so how do we go about achieving soul minimalism?
It begins with stillness and silence.
I realize, I just said two words that most moms haven’t experienced in years. When was the last time you experienced stillness around you, let alone within you? When was the last time you had a single solitary moment of quiet?
Life is busy and life is loud. We’re in constant motion, never slowing down to rest, let alone reflect. And even if we had 30 minutes to ourselves, our thoughts continue to race and scream at us from within.
The problem is that when we’re in a constant state of input – information coming in from all directions, at all times – we accumulate and accumulate. We keep trying to find places to store it all until our souls have piles stacked everywhere like a mental hoarder. We’re in desperate need of output to get rid of the clutter.
As Emily P. Freeman says in her book, The Next Right Thing, “We’re letting everyone else’s agenda live for free in the sacred space of our creative mind, and it’s time for an eviction.”
Stillness brings to your soul what decluttering brings to your home. Silence and stillness are how you sift through the day’s input and decide what to keep and what to let go. It’s hard to parent in wisdom when we can’t put together a coherent thought. We have to start getting things out of our minds and out of our hearts so we can parent thoughtfully.
But, the goal of soul minimalism isn’t just to improve your parenting. It’s for you, too. It’s a form of self-care as effective as a massage but with longer-lasting outcomes. Soul minimalism lets you rediscover who you are as a woman, outside of being a mom.
To begin, start looking for moments in your day that are naturally silent – the car ride to pick the kids up from school, the early-morning minutes while your coffee brews, or the time spent folding laundry. Resist the urge to fill the silence with sound or the stillness with motion. Instead, pause long enough to quiet your mind and your heart, letting go of all that weighs you down and stresses you out. As you do, watch your mental load diminish and your mom brain clear.