That's quite a statement, isn't it? I am taking my cue from Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a book that has taught me so much about the powerful effect that our material objects have on us. This is something that has been on my mind lately, so it was really reassuring on some level to read a book written by someone who is a fanatic about tidying, and who also comes from a place of wanting to help people surpass the very mundane yet significant hurdle of clutter.
The other weekend, I followed the first step of the "Kon-Mari Method," taking out all of my clothes, shoes, accessories, and bags out of my closets and drawers. I spent hours holding each item of clothing in my hands and asking myself that fateful question, "does it spark joy?" And then I ended up with a closet that had about two thirds less clothing in it, all neatly rolled and hung.
Truthfully, I am holding onto some clothes (at least until the weather gets warmer) just in case. They are out of the closet and cluttering up another space in my house -- in purgatory, helping create the psychological distance between me and the clothes I spent a bit of money on.
Onward to the other January lifesavers:
Medicine Mama's Sweet Bee Magic All in One Healing Skin Cream. Quite a mouthful for something that only has six ingredients: organic olive oil, organic beeswax, organic honey, propolis extract, bee pollen, and royal jelly. I use it on my face and it is not overly greasy for my combination skin. I also use it for my chapped hands. My skin definitely feels smoother and hydrated this winter, and dare I say, more youthful. It definitely has a slight resin odor out of the container, but that dissipates fairly quickly. I find myself increasingly sensitive to fragrances in products, so I'm kind of grateful there is nothing added to this blend.
My phone. Well, not really my phone, but what I'm using on my phone has been a game changer for me. I recently came across articles and blog posts on two apps that seemed intriguing to me: Yoga Studio and Headspace.
Last winter, I went to Bikram yoga a lot (thanks to a 90-day unlimited Groupon pass), but struggled with the time commitment of commuting and showering on top of a 90 minute class. And honestly, after the pass expired, I couldn't justify the expense of continuing to go. And then I stopped doing any yoga at all. This winter, I found myself waking up with a sore neck and back pain, and decided to do something about it. I started waking up a little earlier than normal to do some gentle stretching, and then eventually came across Yoga Studio. This has been a game changer for my morning routine. I used to just snooze my alarm clock a million times and make a mad dash to get to work. Now, I have been waking up about 45 minutes earlier than I used to and getting in at least 15 minutes of yoga (in my new bathroom) first thing in the morning before I go about my day. When I come home, I try to do two sets of the 7-minute workout, and sometimes I will end with a short yoga class on the app. I love squeezing in this brief periods of exercise and stretching, without committing a ton of resources. It truly is the most significant yet small habit I have started working on.
I also tried out the free 10-day meditation trial on Headspace. I think I tried to meditate once when I was about fifteen after reading Siddhartha, and haven't tried it since. Headspace is a slick and colorful little app that offers guided meditation, as well as some fun animations that explain meditative concepts. I really liked the sound of Andy Puddicombe's British accent guiding me through 10 minutes of meditation every day. This is another app that offers bite-sized and structured guidance for my mindfulness practice, and I am seriously considering swapping out my Hulu subscription for this one in February.
Also, I have been listening pretty much nonstop to The Lively Show. Jess Lively has interviewed some of my favorite bloggers on creativity, simplicity, and intention, and I really love these conversations.
So yes, I have been feeling more positive and trying to be kinder and more appreciative. I have less negative and self-critical thoughts than I used to. Life is far from perfect, but I feel like I'm actively working on myself, and it's making a difference, at least for now.