Simple living has become a major buzzword in our culture over that past few years and I think it’s because our modern lives are so consumed with being busy and rushing around that people are craving more peace, quite and simplicity. When you talk about simple living it seems like a kind of pie in the sky concept that no one can actually obtain, but I think it’s a possible principle to live by and that’s why today I’m going to share some practical tips for slowing down and building in more white space into your day-to-day lives.
Turn off the Background Noise
We have access to constant noise in our culture and I think it’s easy to become immune to it, but building intentional quiet into our lives is so important. Turn the TV off. Turn the music off. Turn the phone off and listen to the sounds of life. Extra noise can often mean extra stress that we don’t even know we’re adding, so turn down the noise. Keep a quiet house (and car!) and see how it affects your family and stress level.
Say No To Excess Screen Time
Just like noise is everywhere in our culture, so are screens. We can’t control the screens at the gas pumps or the check out lines, but we can control the ones in our own home. Setting limits on screens in your family will make your life significantly simpler. Some ideas could be no screens at mealtimes or after a certain hour before bed. Screens drain us and should be limited in order to live a more simple and gratifying life.
Work with Your Hands
There’s nothing more simple than sitting down after a long day and doing something relaxing with your hands. I love to crochet, but you could also learn to knit, sew, garden, draw, bake bread or anything else that appeals to you. When I’m working with my hands, my soul feels refreshed and my mind relaxes. We were made to create, so take a break from consuming and try a new hobby that just might be your new slow and simple stress reliever.
There are a million and one reasons to leave our houses these days, but being intentional about spending more time at home is good for our families, our waistlines and our wallets. Implement a stay at home day once per week and see what fun (free!) activities or projects you can do around the house.
Learn to Say No
There are a whole lot of good activities available, but the truth is, we need to be intentional about what we sign up for and what we give our time too because we can’t and shouldn’t try to do it all. Being selective about where our time goes is incredibly important. We all need down time in our lives (especially our children) and shouldn’t feel the need to be 5 places at once every day.
We’re all so busy and on the go in our culture because it’s seen as “successful,” but is it really? Our brains, our bodies and our souls crave downtime. It’s like a pressure relief valve for the soul and our cluttered minds. Try setting aside 10-20 minutes each day (without your phone!) to just sit and relax. You don’t have to be doing anything, but just sit and let the stress of the day melt away. I love laying down with some relaxing music and a sleep mask over my eyes for a short amount of time each day. It really does make a huge difference in my stress level and helps me to remember what’s most important.
Spend More Time Outdoors
We are all so busy rushing from one activity to the next, that we often forget to stop and spend a little time in nature each day. Being in nature is a balm to the soul. It helps us to relax and relieve stress. Prisoners are required to spend 2 hours per day outside because it’s so beneficial, are you and your family getting the same?
Cook Simple Meals
We have access to basically any food we want, which is great, but sometimes it seems like a burden because we have to decide which “perfect meals” to make each night. If you want to live simpler and lower your stress levels, then come up with a meal plan with easy, basic meals. Every night doesn’t have to be special or fancy. Make a list of 10-12 easy, no fuss meals that the family enjoys and rotate them throughout the month.
Declutter Your Home
If you’re always bringing stuff into your home and never getting rid of anything, then you have a problem. Sitting around in a home that is full of clutter and stuff can stifle our creativity, stress us out and also make us depressed. Think about how much time you spend cleaning, moving, picking up and rearranging your stuff. Pretty crazy, right? The less we have, the more freedom we have and the less burdened we will feel. Set aside a time each week to go through one area of your home and make a donation pile of the things that you don’t use, like or need. I bet you’ll be surprised at just how much has accumulated.
So many of these things are counter cultural, but if you want to live a slow and simple life then you need to be willing to go against what our culture is preaching. What would you add to the list?