Have you experienced times when you felt overwhelmed, stressed out, and caught in an overly complicated life? I’ve definitely gone through cycles where my life seemed to be running me instead of the other way around!
Rest assured that others also have those feelings, hence, a movement toward simpler living is growing, and you can start on simplifying your life today!
Living simply means different things to different people. How your neighbour decides to simplify his life may be far different than how you would choose to make such a change. The good news is, no matter what stage of life you’re in, or what your current lifestyle needs are, simplifying doesn't need to be as extreme as giving up your job or your car, or choosing to live like a monk!
This process is a journey, not something you typically do all at once – although some have chosen to give it all up for an awesome tiny house in the woods – you can simplify your life with one small change at a time.
Here are nine suggestions that may inspire you to meander down the path to living more simply:
- Examine the situations and people that bring stress to your life. Are you feeling stretched too thin? Make a list of anything that leaves you feeling overwhelmed or trapped.
- Consider how you might reduce your involvement in these circumstances or with these people.
- Can you fully disengage from these stressful situations and individuals? If possible, select the one that you can most easily disconnect from and begin taking steps to do so.
- Focus on reducing one stressor at a time. It isn't realistic to think you can do away with all of them at once.
- Next, think about how you spend your money. Do you make unnecessary purchases? This can obviously become financially stressful. And if you tend to buy physical items, adding clutter to your home can also be a stressor (more on this in point 3 below). Review your bank account to see where the bulk of your funds are going.
- One fairly easy way to live a simpler life is to reduce spending on unnecessary expenditures. Focus on streamlining your expenses to decrease unwanted stressors.
- You can download an app or program to track your spending for you. I use a program called Mint.
- Pare down the amount of "stuff" you've accumulated. Many people collect a huge amount of belongings.
- Consider this... the more stuff you have, the more time you must spend cleaning and taking care of your belongings. Not to mention the space in your home it takes to store it all, or concerns you may have that someone might break or even take your stuff!
- If you haven't looked in those boxes in the garage for 5 years, you can probably disconnect from the items in them without much distress.
- Begin spending more time outdoors. Returning to nature offers time and opportunity for reflection on your life and feelings.
- Explore what makes you happiest. What brings you real joy? Maybe spending time with your children or your nieces and nephews is special for you. Perhaps you want to revive a favorite hobby you love.
- Regard your time as if it was pure gold. What do you do with most of your time? With whom do you spend the bulk of your life? Are you okay with that?
- Make a decision to spend your precious time doing enjoyable activities. If you do them with others, ensure they're people you care about and really want to be around.
- Strengthen your relationships with those you love. Protect your cherished connections to others.
- Contemplate your eating habits. The food you eat and your nutritional habits are central to your health and happiness. Eating healthy food is the first thing I advise clients to do to improve their stress levels, mindset and general happiness. It’s SOOO important!
- Consider cutting out foods that may be contributing to inflammation, allergies or unhealthy gut flora for three months (or longer). e.g. sugar, dairy, nuts and seeds, or grains. After 3 months, add things back one at a time and watch for signs of intolerance or reaction.
- Add gut restorative foods such as fermented vegetables and probiotics.
- Examine your level of physical activity. A closely connected habit to food intake is exercise. You need to move your body, not just for physical fitness (muscle mass and cardio), but also for clearing out toxins and fuelling your brain and balancing hormones.
- If you find yourself feeling disconnected from your body and its importance in your life, try to do some physical activity each day. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program to ensure it's right for you. Even just walking for twenty minutes a day can bring you great peace of mind.
- I use an app called "Seven" that prompts you through a 7-minute exercise cycle using only what you've got in your house - a chair, a wall, your body weight. You can do as many cycles as you like, but seriously, who doesn't have at least 7 minutes? No excuses.
The path to living a simpler life is connected to returning to your true self. Only you can decide what living a simpler life will look like for you!
TAKE ACTION TODAY: Commit to changing one small thing from this list or your own, to make your life less stressful today! Then do another one every week, or every two weeks as desired.
To your simplified life!
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