February Intention: Reduce

Hello again, folks, and welcome to a new month!! Did February sneak up on anyone else, or was it just me? (hence the tardiness of this post...)

If you remember, last month I set 4 small intentions to help me refocus after the crazy-busy holiday season. Those intentions were to improve my diet and decrease my incidents of sickness by cutting out dairy, improve my sleep by setting a bedtime routine and exercising more, and to improve my anxiety by meditating and doing more yoga.

I'm happy to report that I was successful at *most* of this. I'd say 80% successful, which fits perfectly into the 80/20 rule. I cut out dairy completely (I miss my dirty chai lattes). I feel quite a bit better, and I've saved some money....BONUS! I also started drinking herbal tea and reading before bed, and I've noticed some improvement in my sleep. However, I didn't really start meditating more until right at the end of the month, but I did *finally* get my spare bedroom converted to a yoga/meditation studio in January, so at least now everything is more accessible and my excuses are no longer valid. Additionally, work was particularly stressful in January, so my anxiety level actually increased pretty significantly, but that's a story for another time. :)


Now let's talk about a few intentions for this month. I've been reading a book called "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less", and as a result, I want to take some time and look at ways I can reduce a few nonessential things in my life. Now, this goes beyond "stuff". Any of you who know me well know that I've pretty seriously cut back on "stuff". No, what I'm thinking here is more along the lines of nonessentials in terms of my lifestyle.

Let's take a look at the ways I would like to reduce the nonessentials:

Social media: Yup, I said it. The Facebook junkie of all Facebook junkies who is Alexis would like to cut back on social media. Hear me out: I know that when I'm anxious or uncomfortable with the emotions or thoughts I'm having, I pull out my phone and head straight for Facebook to scroll mindlessly, reading quips and watching drool-worthy cooking shorts. I think a lot of us are probably guilty of this behavior. It's a great distraction. But what are we distracting ourselves from? This behavior keeps us from having to be uncomfortable with our own thoughts and emotions. And for me lately, given the current political climate - the arguing, the bickering, the name-calling, the closed-mindedness - Facebook is actually stressing me out more! And I don't want to be stressed, nor do I want to be distracted from my own emotions and thoughts (I support self-awareness). So I'll be logging out of Facebook on my phone and tablet. I will remove the icon from my home screens and replace it instead with an app called Meditation Studio. There...less Facebook, more meditation. Win win!

Waste: I'm already at a point where I produce less than one full trash each week, and I compost everything I can. But I produce a huge bin of recycling...my guess is food packaging...which is odd because I don't eat a lot of processed food. So, this month, I'm going to pay closer attention. I'm going to attempt to shop more from bulk bins (reusing the paper bags for Hyvee bulk bins and taking my own containers to Food Fantasies (which I've already verified both will allow). I will also try to take my own containers to the meat and deli counters at Hyvee, which I have experimented with in the past and had no issues.

Consumption: I kind of already started this after the holidays. I felt like there was so much "stuff" coming into the house that I cut back on purchasing of all types last month. I also realized I was buying a week's worth of groceries every week when I have an upright freezer in the basement and kitchen cabinets that are full of food! So, I'm going to continue to try to make do with what we have...food included (except for fresh produce, of course).

Negativity: Oh the negativity!!! As I mentioned above, work has been particularly stressful lately (though it's easing up this week), but with it has come a fair amount of negativity. My personal life has also been pretty wrought with negativity, partially due to the fact that I set some boundaries and expressed of my feelings. And while I can't control the outside forces or the words or behaviors of others, I can control my reactions to those things. So, the self-doubt will be eliminated first and foremost. Guilt over expressing my feelings (when done respectfully, of course) will be next. And general complaining will also be on the chopping block. I think we find ourselves more relatable to others if we complain and speak or act in a self-deprecating manner. And if you think like I do, the opposite can feel so self-indulgent, but I'm gonna give it a shot! And maybe a gratitude journal...

That's my list, folks! What areas in your life could use some editing in an attempt at reduction?