“Like a simple fried egg to top off your favorite dish, small things can add pleasure to your everyday life.”
Simplifying our lives is not easy. We fuss over what to wear, fret over our following career change, and beat ourselves up when we don’t check off the 15 things on our to-do list on Monday.
Humanity has its complexities, big and small. We need to learn how to manage stress and our reaction to societal pressures and trivial hurdles. We need to know how to do this without letting our emotions get the best of us.
How can we make it easier on ourselves? How do we simplify our lives?
Let’s first focus on the why.
Why aim towards simplifying our lives in the first place?
Life is already challenging and overwhelming enough! If you’re like me, still struggling with balancing work, play, love, and mastering the perfect banana cake, maybe slowing down and simplifying is worth a try.
Besides, simplicity allows for more clarity and time to get in tune with yourself.
I didn’t fully realize how quickly I tend to bury my feelings by “keeping busy” until last year. Shopping turned into a coping method when I didn’t want to deal with filing the necessary paperwork. Food became my best friend when I felt lonely or bored.
These negative habits have accumulated the more I’ve run away from my feelings and continue to put up a battle.
As I keep training myself to connect with my mind and body’s needs, I remind myself to take it one day at a time. One of our favorite YouTube channels, The School of Life, says it best: “One-day-at-a-time thinking reminds us that, in many cases, our greatest enemy is that otherwise critical nectar: hope and the perplexing emotion it tends to bring with it, impatience.”
Rushing through our day as if it were a race to the finish line does nothing but cause unnecessary stress —and who wants more of that?
Say we finish last in a race, fail an exam, or find some other reason to be bummed out. The best thing we can do is devote our energy and time to improve a little more every day.
Watch for more great advice on moving forward, steadily and surely.
Less distractions and things allows us more space to appreciate the things we already have
If you haven’t already gone through your closet, now’s the time to do it. Winter’s on its way out —finally!—, and spring is setting up camp. Time to do a wardrobe check and sort through the precious and once-loved items.
I highly recommend doing this with an accountability partner you can trust. For me, it was my favorite person and roomie, who’s already a devout minimalist and has supported me through the process of “to keep or to ditch.”
Getting through the dreaded task with someone else motivated me to stay on task and helped in the decision-making part, especially with emotionally detaching from things I no longer needed.
- If I weren’t sure about a shirt, Juan would ask me when I had worn it last.
- If I questioned whether to keep a dress, he mentioned how nice it looked on me when I wore it out on our date to Sushiro —our all-time favorite Tokyo Cheapo sushi joint—, which also helped me commit to a decision.
It pays off to appreciate the things you still want to hold on to and send off the no longer valuable items with a grateful farewell.
Sometimes, Less is More
Not all of you may agree, and you don’t have to.
Do I want more or fewer dogs in my life? Definitely MORE! But when choosing a sakura scented lotion —seven different choices = four too many— my brain is overstimulated and needs FEWER options! That’s why I often only have three tabs open in my browser at a time and clear off the table before I work or eat. Less distraction leads to a happier, better functioning Wendy.
You also have to think about what simplicity means to you. In my world, it means living with overall clarity and peace of mind. A simple life doesn’t equate to a lack of experiences or relationships, but rather more deliberate thoughts and actions towards creating rich experiences that shape your outlook and relationships that last a lifetime.
Egg on Top
So, my friends, I urge you to get in tune with yourself and your needs. Instead of burying them with hobbies, distractions, bad habits, do something that makes your heart sparkle while remembering to connect with yourself during this time.
I like making a hot cocoa cup with coconut milk or scheduling a sweat sesh to get the juices flowing in the morning. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you do while fully present.
Secondly, don’t be harsh with yourself if you didn’t get a ton done today. If you chose to spend the day doing some gentle stretching or even just lying around like Garfield, that’s OK.
Breathe. Smile. Pat yourself on the back for taking time for yourself and savoring the small moments.
Stay happy and healthy, and we’ll see you in the next post.