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simple living

13 super easy ways to make your life a little simpler

make-life-simpler

 

A year or so ago I watched theMinimalism documentary. And from that point on I have become increasingly more aware of my consumption habits. To be honest, after watching the film I felt terribly ashamed and embarrassed about the way I had been carelessly allowing clutter to fill up my home and life.

 

I was in this continuous cycle of purchasing and discarding. Searching for newer and better things to replace the perfectly good items I already owned.

 

It is really easy to make shopping into a sport. A social activity. An outlet for stress. A way of taking control.

 

But it is that mindset which left my bookshelves overflowing, my closet heaving and myself still feeling empty.

 

A part of me wished I could do it better. If only I could make my life a little simpler. I wished I could find contentment with what I already had.

 


 

Then I came across another documentary, “Before the Flood.” In which Leonardo DiCaprio urges us to become aware of the impact we are having on the planet and to take action to prevent further harm.

 

With any emotive film, book or TV series, I am quick to jump on board their crusade. I want to do my bit. I want to take charge of my destiny. I want to feel like I have a teensy tiny bit of control or a say in how these things pan out.

 

So I felt the crushing weight of responsibility for my actions. I recognised my bad habits were impacting more than just myself but also the planet I called home and I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing about it.

 

I am not one who subscribes to the ‘this job is too big for me so I won’t do anything at all’ philosophy. No way. If I can make a change, no matter how small, you bet I will.

 

So first of all I got thinking about what is most important to me. These things would be the focus for my simple living goals, the hooks I would prop my coat on.

 

The things I value:

 

People. The relationships I have in my own life but also the indirect ones I am a part of as a consumer.

I wanted to be more intentional about who I spent time with, who I bought products from and who I followed on social media.

 

The planet. I love nature and being outdoors. I love that the country I live in is so beautiful and that we have the opportunity to appreciate forests, lakes and mountains that people travel from all around the world to see.

I wanted to be mindful of the products I purchased and the way they were processed so that I could help prevent further damage to our precious planet.

 

My health. I have spent a long time fighting against my body and I finally am in a place where I appreciate it for all of the marvelous ways it enables me to live.

I wanted to do more of what makes me feel good. I wanted to take care of myself so that I could live life to the fullest.

 

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With those things in mind I decided I needed to take action and make some changes. Thus my new philosophy for life was formed.

 

My simple living philosophy…

 

“To be intentional about the way I live in order to minimise my impact on the planet and others. To sacrifice convenience for the benefit of quality time, compassion and overall well-being. To live in a way that makes me so excited about the now that I forget about the not yet.”

 

Making tiny changes to my lifestyle has had a huge impact on the way I feel. I believe that when we live authentically, in a way that remains true to our core beliefs, we can stop fighting ourselves and find contentment.

 

So these are a few super easy things I have done to incorporate my simple living philosophy into my everyday life. Perhaps these are things you might like to try also…

 

How to make your life a little bit simpler:

 

Start composting-

I just started gathering food scraps and heaping them in a pile in our backyard. Then I would take that compost and return the nutrients to the soil in my garden. From nature to nature.

A lot of people think that food will decompose in the landfill but that isn’t actually true. Food scraps are trapped among the rubbish and unable to get enough oxygen to biodegrade.

 

Buy sustainable beauty products-

I’ve been working on buying products without palm oil and that come in recyclable packaging. I already have a strong appreciation for bar soap and I am keen to try out solid shampoo and conditioner bars.

 

Unfollow people who make you feel icky-

Stop comparing yourself to others. Only follow people who uplift you, inspire you or bring you joy.

 

Eat less meat- 

The agricultural industry is a huge contributor to global pollution and there is some speculation as to whether we should be eating as much animal protein as we currently do. I’m trying to include at least one vegetarian meal per week and when I do eat meat, I want it to be better quality.

 

Try growing your own vegetables-

I started this in order to better appreciate the effort required to get food onto my plate. I also wanted to become reacquainted with the lost art of preparing all elements of a meal by hand.

 

Buy secondhand first-

I absolutely love a bargain. But I also love that shopping secondhand first means less waste is created. We simply use what already exists.

 

Spend less time online- 

Find joy in being present wherever you are. Take less photos and spend more time actually enjoying the moment.

 

Buy quality products-

If I do purchase something new then I usually will spend a little more in order to get something of better quality. Because in the long run, quality products tend to last longer.

 

Reduce your plastic use-

The amount of plastic we produce is insane. Especially for products that get used once and then thrown away. So anything that can be used in place of plastic and reused is brilliant.

 

De-clutter your physical spaces-

Clear out your closet, your pantry or the backseat of your car. Make space so that you can actually breathe. This means you will also know what you have/what you need and can avoid over purchasing.

 

Be intentional with relationships-

Put down your phone when you are with someone. Make time to see old friends. Call or message often. Be the one who makes the first move.

 

Eat seasonally-

Learn what foods are in season then shop around for the best deals. Eating seasonally saves you money and means less environmental cost due to shipping from the other side of the world.

 

Support decent brands- 

If possible, make purchases from smaller, local businesses. Support brands that do good, and care about their workers and their environmental impact.

 

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And this is just the start of it. There are so many more things we can do to make our lives simpler and more intentional. If you want a little help getting started then check out the 7 days to mindful living challenge I released just last week.

 

Basically, it all comes back to awareness. Being aware of the impact, positive and negative, that you have on everyone and everything around you.

What little things do you do to make your life simpler?

Simple living: the secret to thriving in a society obsessed with the hustle

secret-to-simple-living

 

Sometimes things only become glaringly obvious to you days, weeks or years after they should.

 

Like the fact that leggings under shorts is not a good look. Or swimming in an outdoor pool without sunscreen is a bad idea.

 

Or how draining living in a big city can be on your soul.

 

At first, I didn’t notice the subtle ways the latter was true for me. The nights I couldn’t sleep. The tears I would sometimes shed in the car. The clawing feeling of wanting to escape that I kept ignoring.

 

I thought it was just the stress of trying to find a job right out of college. Or the helpless way I kept falling in love and getting my heart broken. Or my perpetual fear of an uncertain future.

 

Only now I am out of the city I can see the way it utterly depleted me.

 

I wasn’t happy. At least not the kind of happy that stretches deep beneath the surface, that bubbles away inside of you, giving you the energy you need to keep going.

 

The big city and all of its ways abraded me. It felt jarring, consuming and arduous to be a part of.

 

Being in the city felt like everyone and everything was taken in, chewed up and spat out into the same stressed out, discontented state.

 

There was something within me that knew I could never be happy there and when I finally listened to that voice, I got out.

 

I bravely packed up and moved home. To a city, several hundred thousand people fewer. To a place I feared would bore me. To a life that seemed slow and dull but in reality was the very thing I needed most.

 

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We live in a society that deems slow to be boring. We want things NOW. We want the biggest and the best. We want what everyone else has and more.

 

We live to consume. To outdo each other. To obtain more and more.

 

But this way of living is exhausting. The effort is futile and totally unsustainable. The ‘hustle harder’ mentality is not something we can maintain long term, eventually we just burn out.

 

That’s what happened to me.

 

I was so weary I could hardly summon the strength to get myself out of bed and go back to work.

 

I couldn’t face another day of squishing in between people on the train ride, running late and rushing through the crowds down the street or having to take so many coffee orders that I hardly had the time to look up and greet a person as they entered the café.

 

Every part of me felt suffocated by the way rushing had become the new norm. 

 

I wanted to have space again. I wanted to walk down the street without being swept up in the current of people moving forwards. I wanted to have room and time to actually breathe.

 

When you are constantly busy you don’t even notice the length of your days. Weeks fly by in a matter of minutes. I was terribly afraid that if I kept this up, my whole life could flash by and I wouldn’t even have lived it.

 

Simple living is about slowing down and realising what’s most important in our lives.

 

It’s about finding peace and contentment in the here and now. Being mindful of the way we consume and being aware of others around us.

 

I’ve seen a drastic change in myself over the past few months. Now I am out of the city and no longer a part of the hustle.

 

For the first time in a long time I am actually sleeping well. My mind switches off at night instead of worrying about all the things I have/haven’t done.

I finally feel positive and excited about life again. Once again I am actually looking for the beauty in every day. I’m no longer dreading and avoiding hard work. I’m even choosing to exercise because it makes me feel good!


 

But all around me I see people stuck in that same trap I was. Hustling endlessly each day, wishing for the weekend and burning themselves out.

 

I wish I could make them see that there is more to life than this constant competition for the flashiest Instagram photos. Or the addition of more belongings which clutter our homes. Or the mindless consumption of food wrapped in plastic, completely unrecognisable from its original form.

 

Simple living brings everything into perspective.

 

I thought slowing down would leave me feeling bored and irritable but instead, learning patience and practicing gratitude has made me so much happier.

 

I want that for other people, I want that for you.

 

So I decided to create a little challenge in order to do that.

 

And here it is…

 

Each day I’ve covered a different topic such as how to use social media cautiously or eat mindfully.

I’ve gone into detail to explain the importance of mindfulness in each area of our lives and then set a challenge for each day. This way you can easily incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.

 

Often I find that starting is the hardest part. It can be daunting and confusing to figure out where to begin. So this challenge will hopefully make it easy for you. 7 days and 7 ways to make your life a little more simple.

 

I’m super excited to share this challenge with you. If you are feeling overwhelmed and burntout and you’re keen to find more peace and contentment then join me by signing up below…

 

 

I hope you’ll slow down a little today and remember what is truly important in your life. It’s not all the THINGS you own or accomplish, it’s people. PEOPLE are what matter most.

 

One of the biggest struggles I have faced with living simply is making time for people. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting things done that I miss out on opportunities to build relationships.

 

So I’m interested to know your thoughts on this…

What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to simple living?

Minimalism: clearing the clutter and living simply

minimalism-clearing-the-clutter

 

I feel as though I am constantly adding more things into my life.

 

I’m finding more recipes for the same chocolate chip cookies. I’m buying more pyjamas because they are cute and festive and I couldn’t resist. I’m putting more things on my to-do list because being productive makes me feel less insecure and lost.

 

More, more, more.

 

Perhaps it’s because we have this need to fill up empty spaces. We have to colour in every last square, fill every bit of silence and cover every inch of our counter tops.

 

I think the blank spaces make us uncomfortable.

 

The empty and quiet feels unsettling. Those places leave room for possibility, a chance for the unknown…and fear hates nothing more than the unknown.

 

So we fill, fill, fill until we are bursting at the seams.

 

And the abundance, the overflow, the lack of blank spaces makes us feel safe.


 

Ever since I noticed this about myself, I have found the concept of minimalism fascinating.

 

The idea that less could actually be more. That blank spaces, emptiness, and quiet could be the keys to happiness.

 

And the more I subtract, the more I let go, the more I welcome blank spaces…the happier I find I am becoming.

 

It’s not just the physical clutter that I’m letting go of, although that certainly helps too. It’s the emotional and mental clutter that I’ve been learning to sweep out my front doorstep and slam the door shut on.

 

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I’m learning to…

 

Let go of “shoulds”

 

The ones that I place on myself and the ones that others place upon me.

 

Like those niggling expectations of what our lives should look like at this point in time.

I should have a real job…

I should go traveling…

I should be saving to buy a house…

 

Because as Brene Brown so wonderfully puts it, “expectations are resentments waiting to happen.”

 

There is no formula. There is no exact route or set plan. Your life is up to you. You have the freedom to chose to live it however you like.

Your story may look different to someone else’s but that’s excellent. Because that is what makes us such an interesting, diverse species.

 

Releasing myself from burden of all the “shoulds” has felt like a weight lifted off me. Instead of spending so much time looking over my shoulder to see how everyone else is doing it, I’m free to just figure things out my way.

 

Accept things as they are

 

Realizing that these are the cards we have been dealt. This is the body, the person, the life we have been given and choosing to make the most of it.

 

Accepting that our shyness might make some people dislike us at first, or our skin might be paler than we would like, or our occupation might be less glamorous than we had hoped for.

 

Sometimes happiness feels like taking a moment to just appreciate instead of needing to justify.

 

I don’t always understand why things happen. I don’t always know what I could have done differently or how something can be fixed.

 

But I do know this: I am where I am. I am who I am. That is all.

 

Just be present in a moment

 

Instead of giving into my natural tendency to think ferociously forward to the future.

 

I’m learning to enjoy the surprises and spontaneity that life throws at us. To just be happy living in the now.

 

Gazing up in wonder at the starry sky when we had to pull off the highway to fix the car. Stopping to smell a rose as I’m wiping tables down at work. Tasting every bite of the meal that took me hours to prepare.

 

It feels frustrating when I just want to get to the good bits…but sometimes the good bits are disguised as the boring, the ordinary and the mundane.

 

Slow myself down

 

Fighting the urge to match the pace of the hustle that surrounds me.

 

Enjoying when breakfast stretches long past midday. Laughing at the fact nobody is ever ready to leave the house when we say we need to go. Celebrating when I manage to tick just one thing off my to-do list for the day.

 

Productivity is sometimes overrated. It can be a crutch we use to keep ourselves occupied so that thinking and feeling are things we can avoid.

 

Slowing down forces us to sit with our feelings. To be vulnerable and insecure and keep living anyway.


 

A word that keeps springing to mind at the moment is surrender.

 

It makes me think of the mighty ocean beating on the shore. Everyone and everything must submit to the great force of the ocean. The severity of the waves, the drag of the tides. There is no place for stubbornness or refusal.

 

And like a piece of driftwood I feel myself being swept up in the ocean currents, flung this way and that, pushed towards the shore and pulled back again.

 

I find peace in surrender. I think minimalism is surrender.

 

Giving up what is easier to hold on to. Letting go when our natural instinct is to cling on tight.

 

We need to make peace with the blank spaces. We need to welcome the cringey, uncomfortable emptiness.

 

Living simply, means clearing out the old beliefs that hold us back from our full potential. Finding freedom in the here and now, accepting things as they are and slowing down a bit.

 

I have come to the conclusion that what I really need to be happy is less. Which is surprising in a world that tells us happiness is more. More money, more friends, more belongings.

 

But having less means having extra time, extra patience and extra room to grow, explore and create. I need less in order to have more.

 

So I’m starting to think this minimalism stuff might just be for me after all.

What things do you still need to let go of before the next year begins?