01 Jun Decluttering Isn’t Just for Homes, It’s for Health
“Never underestimate the importance of removing stuff you don’t need.”
Are you one of those people who have a pile of decluttering books? How much time, money, energy and attention does your pile of books take? I love the irony of this and have found myself intentionally decluttering my own books to make my house simpler to clean.
There is a blog I follow called “Becoming Minimalist” by Joshua Becker, author of The More of Less. It’s a wealth of wonderfully practical and inspiring information about how to enjoy life with less — from possessions to time commitments. So as I was reading this blog I thought to myself,
“How can I be a minimalist around health?”
And the truth is I think I am already a minimalist there — I just never thought of it that way.
The benefits are huge and here’s how you can do it too:
1. Declutter your care and treatment regime
I am comfortable with my own and my kids’ bodies having symptoms and I don’t need an arsenal of stuff to intervene with.
When you accept illness as a parent the way you accept a rainy day, you can stop running around like a chicken with its head cut off “doing” a bunch of stuff and start supporting your child consciously. Being caught in the busyness of treating an illness often takes us away from the simple and helpful healing practices that will really make the difference for our child’s process.
Health clutter is similar to the home clutter you see in the myriad of kitchen tools — the avocado peeler, the apple corer and the cherry pitter — that accumulate at the back of your drawer. Certainly these tools do the job but so does the simple paring knife. Rethink having a cabinet overstuffed with cough syrup, antihistamines, three types of pain relievers, liquid and tablet anti-nausea meds, and multiple ointments for cuts. These things are most often used to calm parental anxiety — not the intentional use of modern medicine. (Subtle message: If I give you this pill I get to calm down.)
And for goodness’ sake, throw out old prescription medications. Keeping old prescriptions around increases the likelihood you will use them on another family member for something similar to that flu-like-thing you had in 2011. Gross.
You already own many things you can use to help make a child feel better when they are sick: salt (for homemade electrolyte drink), tea, ingredients for a simple soup, and probably some essential oils.
Takeaway: Declutter your medicine cabinet and look to the kitchen when you need to provide nurturing care to your family.
2. Minimize overreaction.
Being a holistic health care provider means I have a real world perspective on how parents respond to sick kids. Many overreact and begin the crazy-making trip into the black hole of over-researching. They Google “cough” 127 times, then call their best friend and their mom, and talk to the grocery store clerk about what to do. They call the “ask a nurse” who says don’t worry and they still make a trip to the doctor.
Not only does this whole set of actions teach your kid that sickness means chaos, stress and a loss of control, it often results in overtreatment both medically and holistically. As I have stated before the majority of childhood illnesses simply need to go through their cycle; our job as parents is to allow that to happen. If every symptom requires a trip to the doctor, consider that you may be really treating yourself and not your child.
You can decrease the pressure in the household and allow space for healing to occur with naps, stories, sips of tea and snuggles. A calm parent can provide the ideal atmosphere for a child’s healing.
Takeaway: Being with what is in the moment — a sick child — is okay and most often doesn’t need intervention but simply your presence.
3. Minimize hypersanitation
Be okay with dirt. As I highlighted in my last blog post, you don’t really need 10 types of scented soap or toxic hand wipes — and have you seen how many household cleaners are under your kitchen sink? Let your microbiome thrive and practice basic hygiene, not hypersanitation.
Your collection of various grades and types of household cleaners takes up both mental and physical space. It may be comforting to make sure your floor is so clean you can eat off it, but I am sure you never will. Cohabiting with our germy friends builds our immune systems and that is nature’s silent care of our body.
Takeaway: Soap and water — as well as living with germs — do a body good.
So I challenge you to embrace the more health of less intervention.
I believe truths are universal, so whether you are throwing out toys and minimizing clutter or streamlining your health care routine at home, less is more. It provides the same results — more calm, more connection and more balance in our lives.
Sign up here and be the first to enroll in my upcoming course when registration opens. I promise you won’t be adding any mental clutter because I give you ideas and information you can put to use every day as a Revolutionary, Evolutionary Parent.