There are some days that I look around and wonder how my life got so complicated. It’s common to want to step back, take a deep breath, and live more simply. Many of us look at our hectic lives and wonder how we can back to a time when things were simpler — and maybe a little better. Simpler living has been connected to reduced stress, and increased feelings of well-being. Lower stress not only helps you feel better, but being able to relax is healthier for you as well.
If you are looking for ways to de-stress, you can start by encouraging a simpler lifestyle. Chances are that you will feel better and be healthier, too. Here are 6 ways that you can simplify your life:
1. De-Clutter Your Home
One thing you can do to help simplify your life is to get rid of the clutter in your home. A living space full of items that you don’t need, and may not even want anymore, really does affect how you feel. Plus, having all that stuff can weigh down on you, even if you aren’t planning on moving it anywhere. I’m always amazed at what a difference it makes when my home feels more open and clean. You can go slowly, or tackle all the clutter at once, but get rid of those things you don’t use or want anymore. You can sell it, donate it or give it to loved ones who need it.
2. Limit Your Family’s Activities
Extracurricular activities can be fun. It may be important to you to volunteer. But if everyone in your family has three different places to be, it starts to get ridiculous. Many of us are over-scheduled, and it becomes stressful — not to mention expensive. Evaluate where you are in life, and what activities is makes sense to do. Choose one or two things that you enjoy for now, and cut back on the rest. Limit your children to one or two extracurricular activities each term. It may force your family members to choose what the really want to focus on, but it will significantly reduce the scheduling stress in your life. And you’ll have more quality time to spend as a family.
3. Stop Buying Things
This isn’t a blanket ban on buying things. But it is a call to carefully consider your purchases. Make conscious spending decisions. Think about whether you really need (or want) the item in question. Give yourself a week to think about it. I’ve bought many things that I thought were just great — until I realized half the stuff was ignored after a couple of weeks. Even if it looks like a really good deal, stop and think. You’ll have more money in the bank, and less clutter in your home, if you reduce the amount of stuff that you buy.
4. Distance Yourself from Negative People
Life becomes complicated when you have negative people in your life. While you might not be able to cut some people out altogether, there are some “emotional leeches” that you can slowly distance yourself from. Look for supportive people, and strive to be a supportive person yourself. You will feel more uplifted, and you will feel less of a drain from toxic relationships.
5. Plan Your Meals
It’s amazing how much simpler your life seems when you take time to plan meals. Plan ahead, and make a shopping list. You can plan meals that are simple and fast to make. Consider crock pot meals that require little energy. Slow down and share a meal with your family. Getting back to the simplicity of the kitchen reminds you to relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Plus, you’ll spend less money on takeout.
6. Get Automated
When possible, consider automating what you can. Running programs on your heating/cooling system, setting timers on your sprinklers, and setting up automatic bill pay (to go with automatic deposit) are just a few ways that you can reduce stress and simplify your life, since you won’t have to actively do all of these items. Technology has provided us with options to streamline our lives, and in many cases a small amount of set-up work can greatly simplify your life down the road.
Of course, any changes you make will need to stick and that can only come with letting go of some of the habits and thoughts you may have developed over time and making core changes in your lifestyle. But as you do this, you will find that the benefits are well worth it.
Now your turn. Do you struggle to get on top of your life? What have you tried that works and what does not? Let’s hear it.