Ah, the simple life. Where did it go? And more importantly, how do we get it back? Here are 10 great suggestions to help you do just that.
1. Get into routines. Organize your daily tasks into routines. Create a literal checklist of everything you need to have done each morning and evening and post it in a convenient place that you’ll see each day, like your bathroom mirror. Follow it every day and soon you’ll be in a thorough routine that will keep you from scrambling to do the same things. This will streamline your daily chores and free up your thoughts for other things.
2. Begin menu planning. Minimize the time you spend running to the grocery store and lamenting over what to make for dinner by creating a simple menu plan each week or month. You can also minimize waste by using the same ingredients for at least two meals. Invite the kids to help you plan and cook meals, too.
3. Unplug and go outside. Commit to spending some time outside each day, and when you do—even if it’s only a five minute walk—commit to unplugging yourself from computer, phone, and other electronic devices. Take in the beauty of nature, get some Vitamin D from the sunshine, and enjoy being unavailable to anybody but yourself for a few minutes. It’s heavenly.
4. Say no. It’s easy to fill up life with too many commitments, especially if they are all worthy causes. However, it’s important to be able to say no from time to time. In fact, it’s good for you. Try it.
5. Get rid of stuff. Clutter has a way of infiltrating a room, a house, and even your mind. If you’re overwhelmed with where to start, begin small, maybe with one drawer. Toss out garbage, donate things you don’t use anymore, and leave only the items you need and truly love. You’ll feel instant relief and rejuvenation as you simplify your belongings.
6. Single-task. Everybody is big on multi-tasking, but it can often complicate things and slow us down. For one day, work on single-tasking—focusing and completing one task at a time. The results will probably surprise you.
7. Eat slowly. It sounds simple, but simple is what we’re after. We often deny ourselves the simple pleasure of eating by rushing through a meal without taking time to thoroughly chew and savor each bite. People who eat slowly tend to consume fewer calories and enjoy the experience a whole lot more than the rest of us.
8. Identify your time-suckers. Most of us lose time without realizing where it went. Keep a log of your activities for a few days and see if you notice areas that devour your time. Maybe it’s sitting in front of the TV, or maybe you lose hours on the Internet, but whatever it is, identify it and then set parameters for yourself that will keep it from robbing your time and energy.
9. Breathe. Research has shown that simple breathing exercises can improve health, both physical and mental, specifically with anxiety and depression, as well as decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, and stress. Try this: Lie down flat with your hands on your stomach and breathe in slowly through your nose until you’ve reached capacity. Watch your hands rise with each intake as if you’re filling a balloon. (Your shoulders should remain still.) Slowly let the breath out through your mouth, in a soft, controlled movement. Watch your hands fall back down. Counting slowly to 5, 6, or 7 with each intake and output can help you stay focused. Repeat the process for 5 – 15 minutes every day.
10. Bake cookies. Take a little time to create something simple like a batch of cookies to enjoy and share with others. Roll up your sleeves, turn on some music, and invite a loved one (tall or small) to join you. The process of creating something is a simply satisfying experience, and the reward is, oh, so sweet!
Do you have tips for a simple life? Share them in the comments section!