Today I passed by the Flying Tiger. A Danish store chain which opened their first store here in the Netherlands in 2008. They celebrated their 10th anniversary. Everything for 1 euro.
What does that do to us? I saw people stuffing multiple shopping baskets with mainly plastic stuff they do not need. Stuff that will disappear in dark corners of the house, drawers, the attic or even worse in the garbage, faster than you can blink. Stuff that won’t contribute to our happiness; maybe for a tiny bit in time, and then it will evaporate into thin air. Useless consuming and materialism at its best.
Take it or leave it?
I too, stepped into the waiting cue. I had been to the store a couple of times looking for yoga blocks. But on each occasion I thought they were too expensive. I have to be critical about my money lately and find myself consciously contemplating if I need something or not. And if it will contribute to my happiness.
I think I was the only person that stepped out of the store with only 4 things in her bag. The only one who bought only what she came for. But I have to confess; once inside the store, I too had trouble not putting extra things into my basket. I even put things in and five minutes later got it out again a few times. That must have been a comical sight too.
Materialism and depression
But what does this materialism do to us? What does it do when our houses slowly fill up with useless stuff?
It so happens to be that the past two weeks I have been struggling with my depression a lot. Everything in my life had to pause. I felt no value in anything and my head was clouded and my body felt done. I had a lot of thoughts, but only useless and worthless ones. The only thing what I still wanted to do and did was practicing yoga. All other things stopped or I had to drag myself to it.
All of a sudden the idea came to get rid of stuff. To organize, clean and throw away stuff. The next day action followed and I started. Every day a little. It made me feel lighter. Not only in the amount of stuff, but also in my mind. And for a minute there I realized that I had forgotten that minimalism and a simpler life are also important when it comes to stuff you own or use. What a joy it is to work towards a nice environment for yourself with only a few things that make you happy. This is exactly the same for my mind. Order and space. It helps. How beautiful is it that my mind realized that I could only go on with other things when it felt organized again. And, that organizing was needed. A priority.
So, my advice is simple: Try to do a cleanup. Make choices about what makes you happy, gives you joy and a smile on your face. What things only take up space? Or what is in the way? What are things you never use? I find this to be the ultimate selfcare. It’s healing. This cleanup is so much more than only the action to do something. It will give you a feeling. Feel that feeling. It’s choosing you.
Keep it simple
If you want to start a cleanup like this, try to also resist temptation to fill up your Flying Tiger basket again and again. It will make you more happy in the long run. I really think that we become unhappy when we are surrounded by a lot of useless stuff. It weighs us down.
I believe that having less and living smaller can give your mental health a boost. Keep it simple. Both stuff- and head wise. And maybe you can try to cleanup other stuff in your life too, non-materialistic stuff, like for example your social life or the way you handle life… Think about it. The metaphor is beautiful.