Simple living ideas: useful ways to slow down your life

Simple living ideas - useful ways to slow down your lifeSlowing down, simplifying, becoming a minimalist …. whatever you like to call it, there is a lot of talk lately about people making a conscious decision to step back from the craziness of life.

I’m one of them. Although when I made a decision to leave my career to become a stay at home mum and focus on my family, I actually didn’t realise I was taking my first step towards simplifying my life.

At the time, I just felt overwhelmed and knew that something needed to change, and quickly, more for reasons of my health and happiness than anything else.

My family and I were stressed and anxious all the time, bouncing from one activity to the next, not enjoying what we were doing but just going through the motions from day to day, week to week.

I was so run down that I started to get ill quite often. I then developed a bad rash under my nose, called rosacea, which my doctor advised can be caused by stress. He had already run a series of tests trying to find some kind of physical  reason as to why I was always feeling so poorly. In the end, after discussing the ongoing stress I has been experiencing, he sent me away with some antibiotics and ointment to clear my rash as well as a doctor’s certificate to take a few days off work, rest and figure out what I wanted to do. But deep down I already knew the answer.

Handing in my resignation was one of the biggest decisions I have ever made; strangely it was also one of the easiest. It just felt so right, like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders.

Since taking that leap of faith a little over a year ago, I have come to realise that no matter what you label it, simplifying your life has a different meaning for different people.

For some, it’s about physically decluttering their homes and living their day to day lives with minimal possessions; buying less ‘stuff’; creating less waste; eating organically or even from their own home grown harvest.

But for me, the decluttering that needed to be done was all in my head. The decisions and actions I have taken to date have made a big difference to my life. They have brought back some balance and peace to me and my family.

Last week, I shared a post about needing to re-find my balance and it was such a good reminder of how much things have changed over the past year and the little things that tend to get overlooked.

So I thought I would share with you some of the ways I have been trying to simplify my life and I hope it offers useful ways to help you slow down your life.

Ideas for slowing down and simplifying your life

Focus on what is most important to youfor me, my family always comes first. I walked away from my career to spend more time with my family and simplify our lives, which were spiralling out of control into a world of busyness. Yes, life is still busy at times, but I feel I’m able to cope with this so much better than before.

Try not to over-schedule your life – one of the most important things I have learned is that it’s ok to say no. I have made a conscious decision to agree to only one social event each weekend and limit the number of activities my children do each week. This then gives us enough time to enjoy some time together as a family.

Find some time for me – in all honesty, I’m still working on this one but I know I will get there in the future. For the moment, I try to give myself at least 10 minutes a day – whether that be to sit, relax and enjoy a morning coffee while my baby naps, a guided meditation or a few minutes adding to my latest crochet project. Since having my baby girl four months ago, I have also been trying to find a way to add some yoga home practice into my week … I know new routines can take some time to stick so I’m hoping this will become easier over time.

Creating a positive morning routine – I find this really sets the tone for the rest of my day. It may not always go to plan – let’s face it, I have a four month old baby to care for and two children to get to school each morning – but even through the crazy mornings I feel more at peace.

Changing buying habits and budgeting to live on one income  My decision to become a stay at home mum has left us to live on one income and it’s fair to say that it can be challenging at times. Some ways I save money include creating a weekly meal plan for dinner; using modern cloth nappies and cloth wipes with my baby girl; and reviewing and updating our electricity and gas plans as well as our health, house and car insurance annual premiums. This is a work in progress and I’m continually reviewing our budget to find ways to save money and hope to blog about this more in the future.

Creating achieveable to do lists – I only ever put a maximum of three things on my ‘to do’ or cleaning list each day. That way I don’t feel like I have too much on my plate and if I get them all done I can either enjoy some time for myself or make a start on another task – bonus! I have a separate list of projects I would like to get done around the house, such as a major clean up on the pantry or the linen cupboard for these times.

Being realistic of my time – Writing is one of my passions and setting up my blog has allowed me to use this creativity since leaving work. For the moment, I  have set myself a target of posting once a week on my blog. While I would love to do more, I need to be realistic as I just can’t fit it into my life at the moment but that doesn’t mean it will be this way forever.

Be present, enjoy now  To enjoy my life and be grateful for what I have is the greatest part of slowing down and simplifying my life, but it is tougher than it sounds though. To breathe, even when the kids are pushing my buttons; enjoy short meditations; soak in the warmth of those early morning snuggly feeds with baby; respect the quiet of the morning before the kids wake. These things used to pass me by unnoticed, but now I try to fully experience them.

My journey still continues and, you know what, I think it always will as life presents new challenges and my children enter different stages of their lives. This is just the beginning and I thoroughly look forward to the experiences yet to come.

What does simplifying your life mean to you?

17 thoughts on “Simple living ideas: useful ways to slow down your life

  1. I really like where your head’s at, Erika! Reading this was inspiring.

    I definitely feel pressure lift every time I run a load of bags to Goodwill. Having less stuff definitely creates more room for me – mentally as well as physically.

    Mostly, it’s chasing that balance. Trying to be all things to all people (three of them kids!) while honouring the dreams inside yourself is what makes motherhood such a tough gig.

    xx

  2. These are great tips Erika. Over the past few weeks I’ve been committed to purging our house of all the ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated over the past few years. We don’t need it, it doesn’t add to our happiness and I’ve found it a really satisfying way to begin simplifying our lives even more.

  3. These are such great ideas. I try to keep my focus on my top priorities, have copious to do lists (probably too many to be honest but that’s another issue all together) and being in the now always helps keep me centred on my priorities.

    • He he I’m also a ‘to do’ list kind of person, but I have to say that creating a shortened daily to do list really does leave me feeling so positive at the end of the day and ready to tackle the next day. Previously, I used to just dwell on everything I hadn’t reached on my overflowing list.

  4. Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips Erika. We have simplified our lives after a couple of big wake up calls. We really don’t need all that much “stuff” in our lives to survive and thrive. I do love a good TO DO list – they are essential for busy Mums – and No. 1 thing on the list should be “Make some time for me today”! 🙂

  5. I admire that you have followed your heart and left your job to focus on the kids. I would love to do that, too, but managing on one salary scares the hubstacle and I A LOT!! So my next step to creating a little bit of calm in our chaotic lives is investing in a thermomix. I have high expectations and am wondering when they will launch the “does your laundry, too” chip.

  6. How difficult is the ‘just say no’ lesson? If people find it offensive, that’s on them, not you. No-one has a right to expect things of you just because. I often get asked to do things because I’m a stay-at-home mum, so that must mean I have more time to do them, right? I especially get it from my sister-in-law when it comes to arranging things for her parents. All. The. Time. So frustrating.

  7. That’s a lovely post, full of truths which I’m sure many of us can relate to. Good to have such a reminder. I’ve had a tricky day of feeling a bit overwhelmed and this made me feel a little less self absorbed! So thank you.

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