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The Slow Living Series: How to Cultivate Calm Spaces Through Minimalism

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that there is beauty in slowing down. That’s why we created The Slow Living Series. Throughout this year, we’ll be exploring what slow living truly means and the tactile ways that we can implement it into our daily lives. First up: how to cultivate calm spaces and adopt a minimalist lifestyle in more ways than one. 


Did you know Iremia means “calm” in Greek?

On my honeymoon, I travelled to a small town on the Southern coast of Greece. It was there that I discovered an overwhelming sense of stillness and peace. I cleared my schedule, my concerns, and - most of all - my mind. 

In other words, I found my first true calm space

After that, everything shifted. I decided not only tocraft my own minimalist sensitive skincare line, but to bring that feeling of calm into every aspect of my life. Today, that is the essence of the Iremia brand: to find moments of calm and stillness every single day (even in your beauty routine).

For part one of ourSlow Living Series, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about calm spaces: identifying them, cultivating them, and using minimalism to nurture them. 


What is a calm space?

The definition of a “calm space” is different for everyone. Some might find calm in nature, while others are most at peace when they’re cozied up at home. 

Either way, a calm space is an environment that provides a sense of complete tranquility. A state of being where you feel serene, worry-free, and present. Many people will meditate in their calm spaces. Others might take the opportunity to journal, stretch, or simply breathe. 

A calm space can be a physical location or a sensory experience. For example, there might be a song that fully relaxes you and clears your mind. Or maybe it’s the aromatherapy of massaging your skin with natural oils. 

By combining both tangible and intangible elements, you can cultivate all sorts of calm spaces throughout your day. 


How to create your own calm spaces 

Almost every calm space is defined by four of the five senses:sight, sound, smell, and touch. To cultivate your own calm spaces, consider each sense and the version of it that brings you the greatest feeling of peace. 

Sight

What is surrounding you? Many people are most calm when surrounded by nature, sitting in a forest or in front of a body of water. When creating a calm space indoors, think about the objects and colours that make you feel relaxed. For many people, that includes house plants, neutral tones, and a clean, tidy aesthetic. 


Sound 

What are you hearing? This might be a genre of music that soothes you, the chirping of birds, or the sound of running water. Many calm spaces exist in complete silence, which is a sound all on its own. 


Smell 

What aromas are around you? For those who find calm spaces in nature, it may be the scent of pine, grass, or firewood. Indoors, the smell of candles, incense, or essential oils might be most soothing for you. 


Touch 

What is your physical body interacting with? This might be the texture of your clothing or the surface you’re sitting on. It could even be the feeling of the breeze in your hair,lotion on your skin, or the warmth of the hot sun.

Sit with each of these four categories and identify the factors that bring you calmness. Mix and match your “calm factors” to cultivate a place of tranquility that is unique to you. 

Although you might have a long list of sights, smells, and sensations that put you at ease, it’s important to not overload your calm spaces. In between the elements that bring you peace, you need enough room to simply be. This is where minimalism comes into play. 


What is minimalism? 

At its core, minimalism is about freedom. Freeing yourself from material objects, stress, overwhelm, health concerns, and even debt. 

Essentially, a minimalist approach is one that aims to do more with less. A minimalist home is less cluttered and easier to clean. A minimalist workload is better for our mental and physical health. And a minimalist beauty routine is safer for our skin and the environment. 

Most of all, minimalism is a mindset shift. It allows us to tie less of our value to material things and focus more energy on the people we love and the activities that bring us joy. 


How to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle

How exactly can youbecome a minimalist? Here are our top tips to start introducing minimalism into your daily life. 

 

  1. De-clutter your space
One of the most important aspects of minimalism is owning fewer possessions. Think about de-cluttering your life and identifying which objects bring you value. (Marie Kondo talks about this in her bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”). 
To get started, go through one room in your home. Pick up every object and ask yourself: 
  • Does it serve a necessary function in my life? 
  • Does it bring me joy? 
If the answer to both of those questions is no, it might be time to remove that object from your space. Donate it to your favourite local nonprofit or give it to a friend who will find value in it. 

 

  1. Audit your calendar  
Minimalism is also about de-cluttering your schedule. When we feel overwhelmed with work and other obligations, our mental and physical health suffers. We feel stressed and fatigued, which can show up in our body (including our skin). To eliminate the overwhelm, start by auditing your time for one full week. At the end of each day, take note of how you spent your time, from work to chores and self-care. This will help you determine where your calendar is most cluttered. Think about how you can minimize those hours and create more free time in your schedule.  

  1. Consider where your money is going 
An easy way to start your minimalist journey is to be more intentional with your transactions. Every time you spend money, take a moment to consider where that money is going and who is benefiting from it. Do you value the items you’re spending on? Are you supporting businesses that you respect? Before every transaction, meditate on these questions. After practicing this for a while, you’ll start to not only minimize your spending, but spend every dollar with intention. 

  1. Identify where you over-consume
Is there a junk food that you can’t stop feasting on? Is your makeup bag overflowing with beauty products you never use? Is your closet packed with fast fashion that still has the tags on? We’re all guilty of indulging in things that bring us momentary pleasure. But when it comes to minimalism, the goal is to remove overconsumption from our lives. Identify what you are indulging in most and be mindful about reducing those tendencies to consume more and more. 

  1. Scale down your skincare routine 
The more products we use, the more overwhelmed our skin becomes. In fact, scaling down my skincare routine was the number one cure for my rosacea and sensitive skin. To introduce minimalism into your skincare, choose a small number of products that are free from harsh ingredients. Select products that are multipurpose to keep your routine short and simple. And most of all, take it slow. Always patch test new products and ease into your routine every morning and night. 

 

Read more about our minimalist skincare routine for dry, sensitive skin  here


Use minimalism to cultivate your calm spaces 

Through a minimalist mindset, we can nurture our calm spaces. Minimalism creates more time in our schedules and less overwhelm in our daily lives, inching us closer to the art of slow living. We can become more intentional with our time and take advantage of the spaces that relax and rejuvenate us. 

And by keeping our calm spaces free from clutter, materialism, and stress, we can benefit even more from the peace they provide. 

What do your calm spaces look like? 


Xo, Elaine