Today’s culture is busier than bees and littered with external distractions that can ultimately decrease the quality of life. Unsurprisingly, mental health struggles and stress-related conditions are on the rise due to chaotic, overly abundant lifestyles.
While many people, unfortunately, hit rock bottom before realizing the impact of living too busily, this does not need to be the case. Instead, simplify life right now!
Learn the art of simple living and how to simplify life in tangible ways to avoid burnout and lead a high-quality life in this article.
What Is Simple Living?
Simple living refers to embodying minimalism at its core. It involves living with intention and in alignment with personal values and removing the excess that distracts from those two concepts.
Marked by clarity, purpose, and intentionality, it is intended to help guide people along the process of decluttering the physical, mental, and emotional parts of life.
Conversely, minimalism or simple living is not always the quintessential imagery of selling all possessions, moving into a tiny house off-grid, and meditating by the lake for six hours a day. Although, there are people who do choose to live this way and are wonderfully content.
In reality, simple living will look and feel different for everyone, and this is its ultimate essence – inclusive, accessible, and flexible.
Myths About Minimalism
Busting some typical myths about simple living can further highlight its main elements.
- Minimalism means selling or giving away most possessions: There are many different ways to minimize possessions and simple living also involves decluttering the mind.
- There is a list of simply living rules to follow: Void of definitive laws, minimalism can be embraced in many different ways.
- Simple living is all or nothing: Embarking on a minimalistic journey need not be black and white or achieved overnight.
- Minimalism only involves physical declutter: Rather, simple living encompasses and definitely involves tidying the mental and emotional parts of life too.
- Learning to live simply is difficult: It certainly does not need to be and the following tips can help simplify simple living!
10 Tips to Simplify Life
They might seem unrelated, but living simply is as easy as identifying values, morals, and the important parts of life and then living in alignment with them. It will be enjoyed differently for everyone and how beautiful and freeing that is!
Nonetheless, there are a variety of tangible ways to begin a simple living journey, especially if it does not feel so simple right now.
1. Reduce Technology
Phones, computers, social media, television, and alike are tremendously distracting. What’s more, these platforms bombard us with advertisements, unrealistic depictions of life, and fake news and can elicit comparison and imposter syndrome.
Creating boundaries for screen time such as one hour a day can drastically declutter the mind and promote a much simpler life. If not convinced, just ask someone born before the ’80s!
2. Declutter Physical Bearings
A major concept of minimalism, reducing physical materials reveals one’s truest values. Many people collect more, more, more and think once they have x,y, and z, they will finally be happy. Unfortunately, this overly abundant mindset can lead to addictions and never feeling satisfied.
Try pitching, selling or donating one item most days of the week for a month (or year!) to elucidate what holds true value. Also before purchasing anything, consider how it fulfills or plunders an authentic life.
3. Decrease Material Spending
Related to the point just before, decreasing material spending drastically simplifies life.
Not only this, but it also instills gratitude for what we already have and reduces time spent imagining what we do not. That means more time to turn inward and focus on true matters.
4. Let Go of Toxic Relationships
Although rarely discussed, letting go of relationships that no longer serve a desired lifestyle is an important part of the journey. Often, poor relationships drain emotional energy or lead to fixation on problems and how to fix them.
Thus, removing or limiting these relationships frees some emotional anguish and offers more time to focus on healthy ones.
5. Find Enjoyable “Work”
Too many people stay stuck in dead-end jobs rather than pursuing fulfilling careers. This can lead to stress, health concerns, and feeling generally purposeless.
Second to sleeping, most people spend the majority of their life working (parenting included), so try to make it meaningful and watch as life simplifies.
6. Pay Attention to Time
Try keeping track of how much time is spent on certain daily activities. This can illuminate where time is wasted and how one would rather spend that time doing to create a dream life.
Apps like Toggl Track or RescueTime can help record time spent on daily activities.
7. Create a Budget/Track Expenses
Similar to tracking time, budgeting and monitoring expenses illustrate where funds actually go. This can help with prioritizing what deserves currency and what is unnecessary.
8. Develop Helpful Morning & Nighttime Routines
Lack of planning can easily turn into a chaotic day, but tackling the day with concrete intentions organizes scattered thoughts, ultimately allowing for clarified focus.
This is especially important in the morning to set a productive tone for the day and at night to calm the mind and prepare for rest.
9. Prioritize Joyful Activities
Rather than attending every after-work happy hour or social gathering, going to that uninteresting conference or watching that long webinar, prioritize what absolutely needs to be done then fill the rest of time with joyful activities.
In other words, engage in as many life-giving activities and forgo the rest within reason.
10. Live in Alignment with Values
Though listed last, this tip is the most important and the single quickest way to simplify life. Only engaging activities and behaviors that agree with true values inherently simplifies life.
This naturally reduces stress, anxiety, ruminating thoughts, materials, and all other unnecessary things.
Benefits of Simplifying Life
Simple living and minimalism likely would not be such a hot topic without the immense benefits of living in such a way. They may be experienced differently for different folks related to each individual’s definition of simple living but the following are observed and reported most.
1. More time for joyful activities: A major benefit of simplifying life is more free time for fun!
2. Better finances: Not only because of reduced spending on materials but because tracking or monitoring expenses correlate with better money management in general.
3. Improved mental health: Thanks to less stress about uncontrollables, more inner reflection, and better focus ability.
4. Increased self-awareness: Identifying values and living accordingly really allows one to know themselves at their deepest core.
5. Higher quality relationships: Due to putting more effort towards healthy relationships and less time and energy spent ruminating in drama.
6. Helps the environment: Spending less on materials reduces landfill waste remarkably and greenhouse gases admirably.
7. Freedom: To enjoy life’s simple pleasures and simply get rid of all else.
The Takeaway on Simplifying Life
According to Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, “Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated.”
As such, life has become less about pursuing joy and fulfillment and more about accumulating more material, status, popularity, etc. Sadly but unsurprisingly, depression, anxiety disorder, and other mental health struggles afflict more people than ever.
Thus, simple living can help remedy us back to our true roots. By identifying important values and behaving in alignment with them, we can begin to create a simply spectacular life. And our finances, minds and hearts will reap the numerous benefits!
Crespo R. What Is Simple Living? A Guide to Choosing a Simple Life. Minimalism Made Simple. Published October 10, 2019. www.minimalismmadesimple.com/home/simple-living-guide/.
Gardner B. Simple Living: 7 Ways to Live Simpler in a Modern World. Published October 1, 2019. www.becomingminimalist.com/simpler/.
Holbrok C. Six Science-Backed Benefits of Living a Simple Life. Happiness. Published November 27, 2017. www.happiness.com/magazine/personal-growth/six-key-benefits-of-living-a-simple-life/.