Minimalism is about choosing the things most important to you, then living with those bare essentials. Doing this requires that you buck the social norm and not place value on the physical things taking up space in your life.
As an INFJ personality type, I crave structure and order, and clearing my living space is one way to help ground myself when I’m feeling stressed. However, sometimes clearing my physical living space isn’t enough to keep me energized.
(What’s your personality type? Take a free personality test.)
For introverts who crave a simple and authentic lifestyle, there is a lot to be learned from minimalism. We “quiet ones” are often the ones with the loudest thoughts. Sometimes a little decluttering of our lives is necessary to sort through our thoughts and feelings and achieve some much-needed peace.
When I’m especially overwhelmed, and my introvert battery is at an ultimate low, I know it’s time to take a minimalist approach. If you’re an introvert who consistently feels drained, here are three ways to declutter your life.
3 Ways to Declutter Your Life
1. Replace socializing with true connection.
When I’m feeling drained, one of the first things I reorganize is my social calendar. For introverts, this may seem like an obvious choice, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. Most of us still crave interaction with other people on some level — but we won’t find it at your typical party or happy hour.
Make time for true human connection rather than scheduling social events. Some of life’s most meaningful relationships are formed when you are least expecting them, with the people you are least expecting to bond with.
For example, in college, I worked at a public library with coworkers two and three times my age. I didn’t take the job so I could find friends, but the sense of comradery I felt while working there was one of the strongest I’ve ever experienced. When my shift ended on a Saturday evening, I felt energized instead of drained. My day had been filled with meaningful interactions with people of all ages and demographics, while we bonded over books and the community events the library organized.
If I had spent every weekend going to parties and football games, I would’ve missed out on this experience. Clearing my schedule for a job that I loved never felt like a sacrifice.
2. Minimize media to make space for your own thoughts.
The world is a noisy place. We switch from the car radio to our Facebook feed to the TV at the gym with little pause for consideration in-between. We are constantly filling our minds with facts, news stories, and pop culture references.
There’s nothing wrong with any of this, but it’s easy to spend so much time just reacting to this constant stream of information. When you minimize media intake to only that which is essential or intellectually stimulating, you gain more time to think about what you’re taking in — and therefore more time for original thought.
Self-expression and creativity are important for everyone, but they are especially important for introverts who spend a lot of time inside their heads. If you don’t minimize your media intake, inside your mind is where all those fantastic ideas will stay, because you risk spending all your time absorbing other people’s thoughts and not expressing your own.
Clear space to create, not just intake.
3. Approach your to-do list with mindfulness.
I love to keep at least one day a week free to be productive with my own personal projects, but I know if I’m not careful, even days free from social interaction will be spent rushing from one activity to the next. Sometimes the to-do list can’t be minimized. But are those chores really so important that they need to be rushed?
When I take the time to slow down, I find I actually enjoy seemingly-mundane tasks like grocery shopping and preparing my lunches for the week. It fills me with satisfaction to know I’m doing something positive, like buying healthy food and preparing it myself. I try to consistently keep my schedule clear for 3-4 hours on Sunday afternoon to do just that.
Blocking out this time is a luxury, and I like to treat it as such. I’ll put on my favorite music and make a cup of tea. Most important, I won’t allow myself to think of any of the other things I have to accomplish; this is my time to cook. Thinking about anything else during that time won’t cause the chicken to bake any faster, and minimizing your multitasking will allow you to more fully enjoy the task at hand.
If you hate cooking, pick something else you need to do but don’t typically enjoy because you usually rush through it. Maybe it’s your morning yoga routine. Maybe it’s the assigned reading for a class you know you’d like if you had the time to fully appreciate it. Clear time to find value in what you are doing, not just because of the pleasure it brings you in the moment, but also because of the long-term benefits.
Give yourself permission to minimize your social obligations, your information intake, and your to-do list. You might just find that what’s left is the energy for the thoughts, projects, and interactions you value most.
You might like:
- Introverts Don’t Hate People, They Hate Shallow Socializing
- 21 Signs That You’re Really an Introvert
- 12 Things Introverts Absolutely Need to Be Happy
- 17 Way-Too-Personal Confessions of an Introvert
- 21 Signs That You’re an INFJ, the Rarest Personality Type
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