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Simple living starts with intention. In the crazy chaos of life, it can be easy to think that the hustle and bustle are normal, even necessary, without realizing the burden stress is putting on our families, mind, body, and soul. Making small changes can reap generous rewards so here are 5 secrets to simplify your life today!
It’s All in the Brain
In essence, simple living is a reduction of stress on mental energy–on the brain. Clutter, hectic schedules, and doing too many things increase stress on the brain, so the goal is to cut down on excess stress and create more sanity. Sound good?
I love studying the brain and it’s fascinating how it categories tasks into automatic consciousness (think routines and repetition), and the conscious mind. The more daily tasks you can move from focused consciousness to autopilot, the less stress you’ll feel and the more focus you’ll have to complete other important tasks.
The word “routine” might have just made you groan, but hear me out. Routines don’t have to be boring or monotonous. You can have variety within a routine. By applying these five secrets to simplifying into my daily life, I literally made more space in my brain for creative work. You can too!
1. Streamline Breakfast
When you have to put effort into thinking about what to eat each morning, you’re wasting precious energy and mental space. Life will be instantly simpler if you find one easy breakfast meal (or a few variations) and eat it every day.
If you fear boredom, switch things up by changing things like sides of fruit. This was one of the best changes I made to simplify my days. Each morning I wake up and prepare two pieces of toast, a cup of coffee and a bottle of water. I do shake it up by adding in homemade muffins prepared the day before or a side of various fresh or frozen fruit.
Result: You’re able to wake up and very quickly prepare yourself food and drink with almost no mental energy in order to get on with the important things! Giant productivity booster!
2. Create a Morning Meditation
It can be as simple as a five-minute stretch and some deep breathes. Add in an affirmation, mantra, Bible verse or quote that inspires you. Your word of the year can be effective as well.
Drink a cup of water, relax your muscles and embrace the silence. It’s the opposite of what we usually do in the morning (check our phone, email, social media, etc.), and it makes a world of difference.
Whether it’s 60 seconds or 30 minutes isn’t important, just take some time to clear your mind and ease tension in your body.
Result: You’ll be calm, relaxed, and eager to focus and tackle your day.
3. Declutter Your Closet to a Capsule Wardrobe
This may sound overwhelming, but I urge you to at least experiment on narrowing down your style and reducing the often overwhelming amount of decisions you have to make about clothing.
I’m a fan of Project 333, where you pick 33 items of clothes and accessories and wear only those for 3 months (seasonal capsules). But for some, this is too small, and that’s okay. It’s not about the number, it’s about simplifying your choices. Your number might be 20, or 50. Much higher than that and you may find you still look at your crammed closet and lament “I have nothing to wear!”
If the words “capsule wardrobe” strike fear, call it a minimized or intentional wardrobe. Or call it nothing and simply keep less in your closet and drawers!
Today, take action. Without letting it overwhelm you, peek through your clothes, pulling out anything you know for sure does not fit or you don’t like. Part with them. Then pull out any out of season clothes and pack them away in a bin or out of the way closet. With little effort, you’ll begin to notice how many fewer clothes you have to make decisions about! Here’s step by step how to create a seasonal capsule wardrobe.
Result: Less clothes to look at means less choices to make in the morning. Even better, set out clothes to wear the night before so you really don’t have to make any decisions when you wake up. Saved brain power and it’s faster to get ready for your day.
4. Clean Off Your Bathroom Counters
What do clean counters have to do with simple living? Well, visual clutter always makes life harder. It’s a challenge to find what you need. You don’t realize you are out of toothpaste. The list goes on. Life is stressful and frustrating when you’re wracking your brain to find things.
Take ten minutes out of your day, move everything off your bathroom counter and wipe it down. Then put back only the items you need out (usually this is soap and toothbrushes), and find close by places for all the things you don’t need out (could include toothpaste, floss, razors, makeup, etc.). Make sure to go through all the stuff stored in drawers and cabinets as well and keep only what is used.
Result: You’ll feel a sense of relief and relaxation when looking at a clear counter. It’s easier to wipe down and keep clean in addition to making getting ready in the morning and at night less of a hassle.
5. Learn to Fold
Now, hear me out. If you’re anything like me, you’re rolling your eyes and thinking that’s not simplifying that’s adding to my workload!
And while it might seem like folding just makes things harder, I urge you to just try it.
Not everything is worth folding, but some things definitely are.
- Kitchen towels.
- Bathroom towels.
- Pants and shorts.
If you keep clothing in drawers and they are just shoved in, I guarantee that messy crowded drawer is stressing you out.
By folding KonMari style, you’ll easily be able to see everything you have, take better care of your clothing and linens and also quickly identify things you don’t use, love or need. Get rid of the excess and embrace the visual beauty!
Result: A smile on your face when you open drawers or closets. Less stress due to no visual clutter. Less items because you keep only what you need!
Give Your Brain a Break
Your brain works hard all day long. Because simple living is really intentional living, it takes just that–intention–to simplify life. Creating more routines that let the brain go on autopilot results in more focused energy for you to pursue the passions you love.
The secret to simplified life is getting rid of the excess clutter in your home and heart, and adjusting life to have a few less constant decisions. Streamline meals like breakfast, take time to enjoy the silence, reduce your clothing, clear off your counters and fold those textiles.
Simpler life is waiting for you–what change will you make time for today?
Related Simplifying Articles
- How a Goal Crushing Planner Changed My Life
- How to Choose a Word of the Year that Changes Everything
- 6 Lessons I Learned from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
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