Highly Sensitive Person & Introvert · Relationships, Culture & Society

Collaboration with a Purpose: Minimalism – Three Ways I’m Applying Minimalism as a Highly Sensitive Introvert

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Finally my post has arrived, just a little over a week late! I’m working on the whole being late thing, and hey, at least my intro post was on time and I’m earlier than I was last month. 😛

Also, a little belated Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there! It’s one of the most difficult roles out there, and you’re incredible just for being one. ❤️

Now, on to this month’s collaboration instalment – minimalism!


Minimalism?

Just what is minimalism, anyway? When I first heard of it, I thought of the interior design version where it is a, if you ask Uncle Google, “deliberate lack of decoration or adornment in style or design.” Then, as I read around the digital world, I found out it also applies to one’s way of life!

Here’s an explanation from another site:

Minimalism has traditionally been linked to pure, intentional art and design concepts. But we believe it’s much more than that. We define minimalism as the process of identifying what is essential in your life and eliminating the rest. Less is more.

Our modern lifestyles are far from minimalist. With so many distractions around us, we often find it difficult to create time and space to enjoy the simple things in life, like spending time with our loved ones, exercising, getting creative, cooking, or just doing nothing. We’re too busy being overwhelmed by physical, digital, and mental clutter that leads to increased anxiety and an overall sense of dissatisfaction. Minimalism is an antidote to that state of overload.
~From The Minimalist Vegan: What is Minimalism? An Introduction to Living With Intentionality

The interesting thing? It turns out it’s already the way I’m currently living, being the highly sensitive introvert I am. 😆


Highly Sensitive Introvert?

I have a confession: I’m naturally a low energy person. I’m the opposite of the kind of people we call energiser bunnies, often found in the silence (or relaxing music-filled) sanctuary that is my home, and there’s an easy explanation for that – I’m both a highly sensitive person and an introvert! (Well, that’s why this blog is called Stories of a Highly Sensitive Introvert. 😛)

For those who are new to the term highly sensitive person (HSP), I previously wrote the traits of a highly sensitive person here, but in a nutshell, highly sensitive people have a nervous system that are wired to be more sensitive to things; to us, it feels as though we’re living life with the intensity dial turned up high!

Not every HSP are sensitive to the same things; for me I’m sensitive to bright lights (fluorescent lights give me a brain fog), loud noises (which give me headaches, especially construction noises), strong smells (I can’t stand perfume and cigarette smoke), caffeine (I become a temporary energiser bunny and crash 30 minutes later), touching feelings (tears are normal in touching movie scenes for me, even in a cartoon!), to name a few. I feel very tired when I’m subjected to these. 😅

Then, there’s the term introvert, which can be summarised to a person who is drained by social interactions, but it doesn’t mean they’re antisocial! I’m an outgoing introvert, outgoing enough to be labelled an extrovert – I can talk and have a pleasant chat with any random person when I’m out and about, go to parties, hanging out with friends – but in the end I’m still an introvert – I need alone and quiet time before to mentally prepare myself and after to recover my energy. 😅

Why Minimalism Works for a Highly Sensitive Introvert Like Me

Imagine our mental and emotional energy as limited units; kind of like money. Every day we start off with an x amount of energy units and we spend them as we go about our day – maybe some for a social outing, work, household chores – and if we spend too much of it, we’re too tired for anything at the end of the day. What do you do when you’re a low energy person to begin with, like me?

Minimalism is about focusing on the essentials in life and eliminating the rest, and by doing so, I free up more energy units for the things that actually matter to me! I’m no longer “too busy” to do something I enjoy, no longer too frenzied, and I feel fulfilled at the end of the day even if I run out of energy units. 🙂


Three (Main) Ways I’m Applying Minimalism in My Life

I should first start with a disclaimer: what’s important to me may not be as important for you! Just like self-care, it’s different for each individual, so it’s something each of us have to introspect and reflect for ourselves!

Here are three ways I’m applying minimalism in my life. 🙂

Thinking Before Succumbing to the Temptation to Buy Stuff

Unlike the stereotype of women, I really dislike shopping! It’s tiring for me, especially with the crowds and bright lights and everything. But it doesn’t stop me from feeling the temptation to buy stuff, especially when it’s something cute!

My natural reaction to a temptation to buy something is: “Do I really need this?” I imagine what it’ll be like having the said thing – say, having the stuffed toy on my bed and realising there isn’t space for it – and decide if it’s really necessary to buy it. I entertain a lot of these buying temptations when I’m out in a shopping mall, but I usually don’t buy anything (except some kind of foodstuff 😆) at the end of the day. It helps that I’m a cautious decision maker; I take several weeks to decide before buying big cost items (like my tablet, which I did buy in the end and it’s great!), though sometimes I may take it too far and take several weeks to decide if I really need to buy that $5 video game. 😅

This way, it helps me not to spend money unnecessarily and accumulate things I don’t need, and at the same time it doesn’t build up clutter in my house! It’s easier to keep a house clean when we don’t have so much stuff. 😀

Avoiding (Most) News

Once upon a time I used to read the newspaper cover to cover on a near-daily basis (we were told growing up that we have to be up with the times), and eventually I stopped. I realised reading the news had never made me happy but instead sad, angry, frustrated, drained or all of the above – who would be happy reading about yet another mass shooting, plane crash or what emotionally charged words a politician decided to use yesterday?

I also realised many news outlets like to keep reporting about the same major negative event over and over to increase their viewings. True story: my office pantry has a TV tuned to CNN that no one will miss when accessing the water dispenser, and one day a major plane crash in my country made international headlines. Every day for a week, I’d hear about the same plane crash over and over and over and over… and it doesn’t help that I’m a HSP, who feels emotions strongly. Good thing they decided to turn it off now. 😅

Of course, I don’t avoid all news; I still glance at the headlines every now and then (or hear them from my husband or sister 😆), just so I would be somewhat updated with the times. Because really, I don’t need to know every little detail or every little thing that happened somewhere, and that freed up some energy to read other stuff that matter to me, like stories, personality stuff and advice columns. 🙂

Focusing on the Relationships that Matter

I once heard from a friend that their friend has over a thousand friends on Facebook and I thought, “Really? How do they keep up with them? Even if they hang out with a friend a day, they can’t hang out with everyone before the year ends!” Which sounds exhausting to me. 😅

As an introvert, social interactions drain my energy unless they’re with really close loved ones like my husband, siblings and best buddy, so I’m one of those who prefers quality over quantity when it comes to friendships. I may have few friends, but I have very meaningful friendships with those I have and I have more energy to devote to them than if I have a pletora of friends. 🙂

 


Hope you enjoyed this post and do let me know what you think! 😀

~Nicolle ❤

A Short Self-Compassionate Letter

Dear Self,

It’s great how you’re already applying minimalism to your life, even before this post!


Read More on Collaboration with a Purpose: Minimalism

Collaboration with a Purpose Index

 

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13 thoughts on “Collaboration with a Purpose: Minimalism – Three Ways I’m Applying Minimalism as a Highly Sensitive Introvert

  1. Haha, I can relate to you when it comes to buying stuffs. Do I really need this? But I cannot wait for weeks. More often that not, when I decide not to buy a stuff and I come back the other day, it’s gone!! So I buy them when I really want them. As for Facebook, I’ve been contemplating of deactivating, but most of my families are there. I don’t want to introduce them to another app. I don’t want to make things complicated for them haha. But you know, I started unfriending people whom I haven’t hear in years. What’s the point of seeing the posts or seeing mine if we don’t really interact? Haha. I really enjoyed your article. It made me think less is really more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I have that dilemma with buying stuff sometimes too, that’s why I don’t wait weeks for stuff that I really want too. 😆

      As for Facebook, that’s works too; keeping it to stay in touch with family and unfriending those you haven’t been keeping in touch. 😀

      Thanks for reading as always! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t like to shop either, and I don’t watch the news (as much as possible). The news drains your energy. Shopping takes your money. 😂 Thank you for a thoughtful post. I agree that relationships matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quality over quantity is anyday better, even I like it that way. How honestly you wrote about minimalism and being a highly sensitive introvert, but readers must know that you are more outgoing than any extrovert. This is an amazing post by an amazing person.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed this post immensely, Nicolle. I agree that we need to think hard before buying more things, we need to remember that it’s OK to say “no” now and again if our energy is depleted and needs to be restored (I think that’s one of the main underlying themes of your post), and yes, we need to focus on the relationships that matter.

    I also think that, if you can’t avoid the news (I can’t; my family is comprised of news junkies), you should do whatever you can to minimize its effect on your life. And to remember that most people are good, most planes don’t crash, most cars don’t crash either, and that the world at large doesn’t need to be so scary that you stay home and brood all the time. (Which is what I am tempted to do, some days.)

    Wonderful post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks very much and glad you like it, Barb! The whole energy thing is certainly a theme here, because that’s usually what I’m concerned with. 🙂

      Also, thanks for the reminder about the news! For me, it’s not so much about the fear (to illustrate, I used to watch an aeroplane crash documentary series and can still ride one after 😛); it’s more on the sadness (of people suffering) and the anger / frustration (on the way some people act), and the effort to settle the negative feelings after the news. Currently I hardly read the newspaper, but my husband likes to share important or interesting news with me so I’m updated as well, and I think this works for me. 😀

      Thanks as always, Barb! I’ll get around to reading your post soon; don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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