Simple living, simplifying your life, minimalism have been buzz words for a while now, especially with the popularity of Marie Kondo. Many of us have taken on the concept of simplifying life through decluttering our home – but what if I told you that simplifying you life is more than just throwing out your shit? You can clean and clear and organise til the cows come home, but will that really change anything? Will it leave you less stressed? Maybe, as it’s pretty to look at lol. Will it be a magical cure to your house staying nice and tidy? Probably not, as you / who you live with will buy more shit to replace the shit you threw out… Read on to learn why simplifying your life is a holistic approach – it is way more than simply throwing out your crap.
Why Do we want a more Simple Life?
This is such a personal question it would have so many answers! We all have unique drivers in life – values, desires, goals. Oftentimes our goals are for material objects “I want a boat”, but if we look past the object – there is likely a personal driver beneath it “I want the freedom to be on the water”.
For us, since having children – one of which has special needs – we realised that life is super stressful. And when you have a child that requires a huge amount of input around the clock, you seek to find how you can make the remainder of your life less hectic.
Another driver for us has been time. We noticed how much time my husband was spending away from the kids – on the daily grind – just for us to make ends meet. How is that living? 2+ hours commuting to work each day! We wanted to figure out a way to make life work for us, rather than us being a slave to life!
A simple life might look like:
- Working less than the “norm” – i.e. working 4 days a week, or <40 hours a week
- Having more control over your food and nutrition, knowing what you’re eating and how it’s fuelling your body.
- Taking more ownership over your health and learning more about immunity and medicines (natural or not).
- Having a tidy and decluttered living space to help you have more time and space to do what you love.
- Prioritising your passions so they have time in your life, not for when you have a few minutes in the evening.
- Taking control of your finances, making your money work for you and reducing financial debt and stress.
But … it totally goes against the ‘norm’?!
Our current perspective on life is based off years of conditioning, through our early childhood years to school to the media as adults. We grow up believing we should go to school, go to University, get married, have children etc. But our world is changing rapidly, and many people are realising that this linear narrative doesn’t work with them.
We have created a life where we are so busy, that we distract ourselves from our true desires. These are mental habits that we create yourself, and over time they become normal to us. How many people find it difficult to not be doing anything? I am terrible with this – even sitting and watching TV I am wanting to multitask, to be productive.
But, I challenge you to think – what would you do with that time if you weren’t so busy?
What if you didn’t work 40, 50, 60 hours a week?
What if you had a mid range vehicle over that top class cool car?
Would it change how successful you are? Probably not.
Would it free up money, time, emotion to include other things in your life? Probably.
What are the Benefits of a More Simple Life?
Learn More About Yourself
When you rid yourself of stuff – be it material objects, a busy schedule, obligations, old patterns of thinking – you free up more space to learn about yourself. You will rediscover your values, your motivators, your desires, who you are as a person, a partner, a parent.
Knowing yourself better allows you to be a better contributor to your relationships (family, friends, romantic). When you rid yourself of distraction you also create more time and space to be engaged with those around you. When you have space to rediscover yourself, you also rediscover the people you want in your life.
Increased Cash Flow
This one is pretty simple: with less emphasis on ‘stuff’ there is less money spent on buying happiness.
Better Health and Reduced Stress
Altering your life so that it works for you – for your passions, your wants, your values, your needs – will mean you’re spending more time doing something you enjoy. This, of course, will see you feeling happier and in turn, reducing your stress. This will have a huge positive impact on your health.
So, how do we achieve it?
Let’s look at life from a holistic lens. Remember, simplifying your life is more than just throwing out your shit and living with less. To truly gain the benefits of a simple life, we need to take our whole holistic self into consideration. Below is not a list of steps to take – because there wouldn’t be one list that works for everyone.
Our mind is where our thoughts are created, our values are held and our beliefs are formed. It is always listening to our language and noting our feelings. This is where our conditioned beliefs live and our perspective of the world comes from. If you are wanting to simplify your life – it is a good place to start by sitting down and thinking “what do I want my life to look like?”.
What inspires you?
What makes you happy?
What do you want to spend your time doing?
It can be as outlandish as you want – visualise and create an image and list of what you truly want your life to be like. When there is something on that list that doesn’t gel with societal norms, that’s when you need to question your beliefs.
Me: I want to work 3 days a week.
Societal Norms: To be successful you need to work 40hours minimum, at least 5 days a week.
Is this belief true to me? What do I deem to be successful? Does my successful have to look like a 5 day week?
This is where we realise that creating a simple life is more than just throwing out your shit. If you solely focus on throwing out your shit, without considering why you buy it in the first place (and why you’ve attached to it), then old habits won’t change. You’ll likely end up buying new shit to replace the old – trust me, I’ve been there!
Another way to help simplify our life is to practise mental minimalism. Yep, that is totally a thing. Consider decluttering what you think and worry about. Techniques such as meditation, breath work, gratitude practice and journaling can help to quieten our minds.
The body is your physicality and your energy. Think food, wellness, health, stress. However, the body is completely connected to the mind – this is why when we’re stressed we might get a tension headache. Our body gives us physical symptoms of what’s happening for the mind. So to ensure we are at optimal health, a simple lifestyle would be making sure that we are reducing our stress, eating well and exercising. It would be tuning in to our body and noticing how certain activities, obligations and people make us feel – and in turn, making sure we are doing the things that make us feel truly good.
When we read spirit many people think of religion. While this might apply to some, it won’t for everyone. Spirit also encomapsses our purpose, our needs and our personal philosophy in life.
In our busy lives it’s so easy to lose touch with this aspect of ourselves; simplifying our life means creating the space we need to rediscover these things.
Our emotions encompass our feelings, our desires, and our motivators. Again, linked hugely with our body and our mind – our emotions show what is going on inside of us. To simplify our lives would be ensuring that stress is reduced and our mindset is positive.
While simplifying your life is more than just throwing out your shit – often it is a great place to start! It’s where I started! But to gain the full benefits of having and living a simple life – be open to the bigger picture of what a simple life might entail.