9 Steps to Living a Slow and Simple Life

An open book with a blue coffee cup and saucer sitting on top along with a bouquet of baby's breath.

  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 principle that is possible 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.

I believe that simple living is more of a mindset or heart posture, than it is a concrete set of rules. If you can take the time to think about why you want to live more simply and start making a few simple choices that steers your life in that direction, you’ll start to feel the effects of slowing down and wonder why you didn’t start sooner.

I hope this list of simple ideas for slowing down and living more simply inspires you to live the life that you want.

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.

I love a good podcast or Youtube video playing in the background while I cook or go on a walk, but when I intentionally choose quietness, it brings a peace and stillness over my spirit that a lot of us are severely lacking in this day and age. Our minds crave quiet in order to relax and decompress from the overstimulation of modern life, so why not give it a try and see how you feel?

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.

I realize that this is easier said than done since our brains literally crave the dopamine hit that they get when we pick up our phones, but choosing a different path and saying no more often is what’s better for our health.

Work with Your Hands

  There’s nothing more satisfying (in my opinion) 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, embroider, 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 out a new hobby that just might be your new go to slow and simple stress reliever.

Stay Home

  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.

I’m a natural homebody, so this isn’t hard for me, but if you’re someone who’s always on the go, then maybe choose to take a walk to the park instead of heading to the store for more stuff that you probably don’t even need at this point, or plan to have friends over for a game night instead of going to dinner and a movie.

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 downtime in our lives (especially our children) and shouldn’t feel the need to be 5 places at once every day.

Children need free time that isn’t parent-directed in order to learn social skills, problem solve and handle conflict. Sure, you can learn certain skills during organized sports, but they learn so much more when the parents aren’t directing or correcting every move. If you have children I would highly recommend evaluating whether the activities that they’re involved in are worth it for them and for the entire family unit.

Schedule Downtime

  We’re all so busy and on the go in our culture because it’s seen as “successful,” but is it really? Our brains, bodies and 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. Likewise, if the weather is nice, being outside is the perfect way to have downtime in my opinion.

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 and has so many incredibly fascinating mental and physical benefits.

It helps us to relax and relieve stress. Multiple studies have been done on this topic including patients getting well faster who have access to an outside view, kids who have farm animals around having a lower risk of allergies, kids who spend more time outdoors having lower risk for myopia and so much more.

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. If you need help in this area I have a list of 15 Cheap Pantry Meals with 4-Ingredients or Less that might inspire you.

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? 

An open book with a blue coffee cup and saucer sitting on top along with a bouquet of baby's breath.

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  1. I love this post! I'm retired, but I still try to find ways to simplify my life. You have some really great, common sense ideas here. I especially like staying at home and turning off the noise.
  2. I love this! Such simple tips that are easy to put in place. There truly is so much rushing around these days. Everyone is proud to say they are "so busy" and I think we could all use a little slow-down.
  3. If so inclined, visit a house of worship at least once a week. Take daily time outs for moments of quiet and reflection.
  4. I have been working at trying to make my and my husband's lives more slow and simple. I am happy to have found your blog because you have some very good ideas as to how to achieve this goal. I am an introvert and both my husband and myself enjoy doing our own thing and things together. I have a chronic illness and I rest for about an hour everyday, it really refreshes me. I enjoy attending some activities, such as, bible study, and going for walks and dinner with friends. I also have been slowly decluttering our home. I look forward to reading more of your ideas and further achieving my goals.
  5. Always seeking new ways to relax but still accomplish goals of decluttering. We are both retired but we spend way too much time on cell phones, scrolling . We think you can give us some help with this.
  6. Yes Amen, and listening to worship music. When it's done sitting quietly before the Father and giving Him time to speak to us and be with us. You'll get direction for your life and also His peace that passes all understanding. He loves us and looks forward to us drawing near to Him.
  7. Great posts love it. ESP quiet time and keeping things simple for kids. The simple things are the best. Bible study walks easy meals. Thank I for great post
  8. These are all great suggestions, thank you for inviting us to add more. I love to cook, when I sit down to the table with my food I take time to savor it while I eat. Taste the flavors and textures. When I wake up in the morning I don't hop out of bed right away, I give myself time to stretch and really wake up and start the day in a good mood. When I go to bed at night, I consciously go over my day and give gratitude for all the moments that may have been small (someone opening a door for me). I have found that doing this gives me a more positive perspective before I fall asleep, and I seem to sleep more soundly and feel rested in the morning.

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