If you’re reading this, perhaps it’s because you or someone you care about is struggling with chronic illness. And you’re probably wondering what minimalism has to do with your health.
I struggled with chronic Lyme disease for nearly a decade. And all the solutions I found were extremely complicated, time-consuming programs that took every available drop of time and energy to implement. The stress was often causing me crippling anxiety, and after years of this vicious cycle, I was giving up hope of ever feeling well again.
That’s when I discovered minimalism, and with whatever strength and focus I could muster, I began getting rid of everything I could. I started with the typical stuff, like books, old clothes, and clutter. I cleaned out the kitchen drawers and the fridge. But most liberating of all was throwing away what might have been at least a thousand dollars’ worth of supplements.
I had been so overwhelmed by all the programs that required sometimes more than 20 different supplements, with complicated schedules, and with no clue what was doing what, that it just made sense to quit them all. Every time I looked at the supplements, I felt various combinations of disappointment that they weren’t working, guilt that I wasn’t taking them, and desperation that I’d tried everything already.
That’s when minimalism really saved the day. I prioritized only what really brought me joy, and as that principle permeated everything in my life, I started to feel a sense of relief and lightness that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. What had started as a somewhat trivial complaint almost a decade ago just kept accumulating more and more complexity. My illness was just like physical hoarding. And I realized I was so attached to this identity, this diagnosis, that I was burying myself underneath it.
Obviously, getting rid of all that stuff didn’t just magically heal me. But it did create the space to allow for healing. Instead of filling my day with supplements, detoxing, researching, and obsessing over everything related to my health, I started meditating. I started taking walks. I started listening to my body and eating the things that really felt good.
Minimalism saved my life. It opened the door to healing by giving me permission to do the things that reduced my stress levels. And that has made all the difference in how well I feel today.