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Simple living . To me that’s the dream .
We live in a very toxic world .
A world where we’re told we need more . More stuff , more to do, more money .
We are told bigger is better and happiness stems from what‘s in your bank account .
I believe we all want the same thing . Happiness .
For me happiness comes from the simple things. A hot cup of coffee in the morning , cuddling with your babies before bed , family dinners , a cozy afternoon reading a book.
It’s so easy to forget to stop and enjoy these small moments when we have an endless to do list ,or we are just completely overwhelmed by our everyday lives.
My mental health has always been something I’ve struggled with . Anxiety in particular.
But as I started my zero waste journey I started realizing that this was it! The key to controlling my anxiety and living simply was not to add but to reduce.
Simplifying and reducing my life has allowed me more time to focus on the things that really matter . In fact the more I simplify the less anxiety I have.
To me the key to simple living is to slow down and simplify daily life so that you are able to enjoy each day. I don’t want to spend my entire life waiting for the weekend.
7 Ways to Simplify Your Life
1. Calm Your Mind
The first step to simplifying your life is clearing your mind so you can focus on what really matters. Life can get crazy and before you know it you’re thinking and working in over drive. If you don’t find ways to reduce your mental load you will never be able to enjoy the small things in life.
You cannot be successful in other areas of your life if you aren’t taking care of your mental health first.
2. Minimize Your Possessions
Another huge step in simplifying your life is to get rid of unnecessary items. This might seem a bit challenging at first but it is well worth it. The less stuff you have the clearer your mind will get.
I’m not saying you should get rid of everything. That is unnecessary. The goal here is to simplify not make life harder. Keep the items you use. Get rid of the items you don’t.
The less stuff you have the less time you need to spend cleaning and putting away. The less time you spend tidying up the more time you have to enjoy your life.
Keeping an organized tidy house is a lot easier when you don’t have shelf after shelf of knickknack’s and bin after bin of unused items. It’s amazing how easy it is to keep up with your house when everything has a spot and you only own items you actually use.
For me less stuff is also more aesthetically pleasing. Clutter doesn’t look good and it is proven to cause stress and anxiety. Not to mention the more cluttered my house is the less likely I am to clean , the dirtier my house is the more anxious I get, the more anxious I get the less I get done… It’s a vicious and never ending cycle.
Your unused possessions aren’t making you happy… they are stressing you out.
Do you really need 18 different bathroom cleaners? 15 different jackets? 40 pairs of shoes? 20 different appliances? Enough dishes for 35 people? Or are they just taking up space in your house and in your mind?
“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.”Francine Jay
3. Be Mindful About What You Buy
The world revolves around consumerism making it hard to be mindful about what you purchase.
I started being more conscious about my consumption last year in an effort to reduce my environmental footprint. This is still something I often struggle with.
Being mindful about what you are bringing into your home has more benefits than just stopping the demand for wasteful items. It also helps you save money, prevents a cluttered home, and calms your mind.
Set rules for yourself and stick to them. Make sure the items you are buying are needed, have a place in your home, and that you are not over spending. Spending unnecessary money and filling your house with unnecessary items will not bring you Joy.
4. Establish a Simple Cleaning routine
Cleaning… It’s one of those things that tends to weigh on all of our minds. If you let it go to long it can start overwhelming you, leaving you anxious and stressed. Or you might be spending so much time cleaning that you forget that there is more to life than a clean house.
Believe it our not, both of these are me without a cleaning routine. I often struggled to find balance with my constant NEED for clean and my utter exhaustion from over doing it.
For me the key to finding balance is a chore chart. Having mine and my husbands daily chores written down completely de stresses me. If you have simplified your possessions your daily list shouldn’t take you very long.
If you write out your chore list and find you can’t handle it, maybe you need to think about why your list is so big. If you can’t keep up with laundry then maybe you have too many clothes. If you don’t have time to clean all your bathrooms … maybe you have too many bathrooms. If you don’t have time to keep a clean house because your life is just too busy maybe you need to remove something from your life.
5. Create a Meal Plan
Nothing is worse than when you realize it’s dinner time and you have no idea what to make. So you order pizza… again!
I’ve been in this cycle many times. Coming up with last minute meals each day is overwhelming, then add trying to make them nutritious and delicious and you’ve got yourself a mental break down!
How many hours do you think you spend each day stressing yourself out about what you’re making for dinner? It’s probably more than you want to admit.
Lately I have gotten in the habit of meal planning… for every single meal and snack. It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s not. I spend 1 hour each week preparing our menu for the following week. ONE HOUR!
Everyday I know what I am making , I know I have all the ingredients, I know we are eating a balanced diet, and I spend ZERO hours each day stressing over dinner.
Don’t stress yourself out with these crazy fancy meals each day. If you love cooking and trying new things go for it but be sure to plan easy meals so you have time to breathe.
Each week I try out 2 new dinner recipes from my cookbooks and the rest are simple easy meals I can throw together in 30 mins or less. I usually plan all my lunches to be leftovers from dinner the night before. If it’s a meal where I know there won’t be leftovers I plan a nice simple lunch like sandwiches, soup, or pasta.
I have around 6 go to breakfasts and 12 go to snacks and I rotate through them.
Meal planing doesn’t have to be fancy.
Once you have all your meals planned go through each meal and add the ingredients to you grocery list. If you’re using a cookbook flip to each recipe and just write down the ingredients. I have been ordering my groceries online lately so I skip a grocery list and just add all the ingredients into my shopping cart.
BAM. You just bought a weeks worth of food you’re actually going to eat.
Meal planning is also a great way to reduce waste and save money. WIN WIN WIN.
Organization and planning saves so much time and stress if done right. Your time is important and stress is the number one killer.
Sit down, clear your mind, and get organized.
6. Say NO
Your calendar doesn’t have to be full. You do not have to do something every Friday night. Your kids do not need to be in 4 lessons each week. You do not have to go to that dinner. You are allowed to say no.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with filling up your schedule or always wanting to have plans. But if you are overwhelmed by you calendar maybe it’s time to take a step back and revisit your priorities.
” I don’t say no because I am so busy. I say no because I don’t want to be so busy.”
7. Make Time For You and Your Hobbies
If you are too busy to do things that you enjoy than what are you even doing?
To me the whole point of simplifying your life is to be able to have more time and energy to spend doing what you love with the ones you love. That’s what life is all about.
“All I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think that is enough.”
If you take anything from this post I hope its that simplifying is all about the mind. In order to truly slow down and simplify you need to quiet your mind. For me that requires organization. There’s something calming about not needing to worry about every little thing.
There’s something freeing about learning to say no.
There’s something beautiful about stopping to smell the flowers.
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