This year I started out feeling a little flat and unmotivated. Almost an anti-dote to the New Year excitement “we SHOULD” be feeling. Was it overhwelm or pressure? Here’s what I did that changed the way I think, my habits and my space for the better, and definitely made me happier.
A fresh start, a new year and no energy. I did a massive spring clean to declutter things that had been clogging up our cupboards around the house – a chipped dining set, couple bags of clothes, general kitchen paraphenalia from the kitchen and more. But I still didn’t feel any different.
It was pretty unusual for me, I’m a motivated Capricorn, always on the go, but I just couldn’t get excited about what’s ahead. Carrying around that burden of stress and overwhelm was draining me big time. I felt lethargic and like I was stuck in Groundhog Day. I should be happy though, right? I have a home and a family of my own, I love my job. Why wasn’t I happy?
When I feel stuck (really stuck) I turn to NLP & Hypnotherapy because I understand that my blocks are hidden in my unconscious mind. I was displaying on the surface behaviour of frustration, feeling stuck and a constant low grade annoyance at everything. Detangling those unconscious beliefs and emotions needed to happen, because nothing else was helping!
I did 4 sessions with an NLP Practitioner & Hypnotherapist. It seemed I needed more to wade through all the frustration I was feeling. But ultimately, I was experiencing stress & overwhelm, I just wasn’t giving myself permission to give up that exact stress and overwhelm. I started seeing changes almost without trying – I felt calmer day by day, I wasn’t as snappy or frustrated. I felt it was easier to let go of things – domestic pressures to stay ontop of the housework, career and child. Like a former juggler, simply letting the balls fall where they may and shrugging their shoulders and being ok with it all!
Then I heard about a mum trying Minimalism and curiosity got the better of me and I watched a documentary on Netflix recommended by her called “Minimalism – A Documentary about the important things.” It was a turning point where I felt like I had a lightbulb moment. Perhaps the stress that I had been carrying around for at least a decade had been staring me right in the face. In fact, I had literally been carrying the baggage with me everywhere I moved in my adult life.
The filmmaker’s credo seems to be “Live a happier life with less”. It’s a powerful film talking about shedding the excess and realigning your life with your values. You know how coaching and self-help books say to realign your values? How the heck do you do that?
Well, the documentary gave several stories of how people had stopped living a stressful, exhausting life and made the choice to live a simpler one. It didn’t happen suddenly, it took time to make those changes, and the results are inspirational. From a mum who suffered MS and her conditioned worsened the harder she worked, to a father of 6, a Bachelor travelling somewhere new in the world every 4 months with his belongings being what he can carry, to a Family of 2 parents & 2 kids, people of all walks of life seem to be embracing this Minimalism movement.
What are the benefits of Living a Minimalistic life?
In the Documentary, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (aka The Minimalists) inspire their readers and fans to think about having less stress, less mental clutter, less physical clutter and clearer thinking, better sleep, more meaningful relationships and quality time with loved ones. All because of simplicity.
After Watching the documentary, it inspired me to make changes in my own life. To stop relegating a Spring Clean to the rainy day jobs list and actually taking the time to work through my stuff literally & metaphorically to free myself – my mind, my time and my attention.
I had accepted I was a “stress-head” type of person. I was wearing that badge with lacklustre enthusiasm and plodding along in the daily grind, wondering when the “stress” would stop as if it was happening to me. But I had a choice in all this – it was the choices I made that determined how stressed I was. I began to ask myself “How can I make it easier on myself?”
So I started decluttering again! This time using a combination of The Minimalists ideas with The KonMari Method. I’m still in the middle of working through everything, but so far have halved my wardrobe, thrown out 3 Doonas, 2 bags of clothes, 2 boxes of books and counting. The KonMari method talks about working through an order of : Clothes, Books, Papers, Miscellaneous and THEN Sentimental items.
So how is this relevant to Fertility & Pregnancy?
Stress and Exhaustion are common blocks to a couples fertility.
Funnily enough, I see a lot of clients in the same boat, where Stress is their main hurdle to their health & wellness. Not ever knowing how to manage it or completely get on top of it all, I hear people’s stories of how overwhelmed, exhausted, drained and unmotivated they feel.
True Resting – Decluttering your mind
Ultimately the stress leads to exhaustion, either because people are trying to work harder, stronger, better, sacrificing their sleep for assumed better productivity, when in actual fact their depriving themselves of the one key ingredient for evidence based better productivity – Sleep.
Meditation has been studied with vigour at Harvard University discovering lists of anti-ageing benefits, better brain health and cognitive function. So if you want to be more productive – Rest, Sleep & Meditate.
Along the way, our society has devalued Sleep. Thinking it is doing nothing and non-productive. In actual fact this is the most important time for your brain, to shut down, reboot and refresh, just like a computer. Although the Brain is active at night, it is doing it’s own Spring Cleaning and filing to tidy and process events. Without quality sleep, within three days straight of sleep deprivation, it has been proven that your cognitive function & decision making ability drops to that of someone with a blood alcohol reading over the legal limit.
Also by decluttering your physical space, you’ll help declutter your mind. If you lose keys, wallet, earrings or your phone regularly, then this applies to you for sure! With less stuff, you free up mental space rather than remembering where you put or file things. Think of every object you own…..on some level, your mind has categorised and rememberd details about everything you own. How exhausting! No wonder people commonly feel weighed down by their belongings and stuff!
Ask yourself, Does this object bring me Joy?
The Minimalists & The KonMari method both address this question. Its an important one. Because if we don’t surround ourselves with things that bring us Joy, how can we expect ourslves to be happy?
Such a simple principle to live by but profound.
Then once the physical clutter has been removed, The Minimalists talk about having MORE: More time, more frutiful relationships, more attention, more space. The amount of people I speak to who often don’t have time to do lots of IMPORTANT things, is quite saddening. If we buy into the “Busy-ness” of the modern world, we THINK we HAVE TO be go, go,go all the time. But you don’t, it’s not compulsory!
Meaningful Relationships as described by The Minimalists definitely activates your Heart space. This is such a crucial part of fertility – remaining connected and present to your partner, not going through the motions with sex for both the man and woman. Desire, attraction and arousal open up your fertility because of hormones. This is a part of the Heart Qi or energy.
In women acknowledging and dealing with the loss of a non-viable pregnancy, or miscarriage is crucial to supporting the Heart Qi and repairing it before trying to conceive again. Low libido can also be a sign of “their Heart’s not in it”, stress and exhaustion.
In men, seeking help and dealing with impotence and low libido is about the Heart & Kidney not communicating and the sign of overwork, overwhelm and exhaustion.
Space, Less Stress and Meaningful relationships are all highly relevant to couples trying to conceive. There can often be a rush to fall Pregnant and the journey can be a highly emotional, frustrating and stressful one. So why not make it easier on yourself and create a space that supports you both during such a trying time? Space to think, feel and simply be yourselves.
To be blunt; get rid of the emotional & mental baggage before you start this next journey into Fertility & Pregnancy. You’ll feel lighter and Happier for it.
For inspiration, I highly recommend the Documentary “Minimalism: A Documentary about the important things” on Netflix as it was rated the #1 Indie Documentary of 2016.