Life is complicated, even if you try to keep it still. Many of what complicates our lives is of our own hand. Let's take a look at ways you can lead a simplier life by getting out of your own way -
This is one of the ways we seriously clutter our lives, by constantly pushing and acting as if we're on an escalator we can't get off of. Here's some examples -
*Unrealistic expectation of yourself.
*A goal of perfection.
*Comparing with those online or in movies.
*Pushing yourself in many directions looking for something that "succeeds," "fills the void," or "gets you recognition."
*Doing what you think others expect of you.
*Being there for anyone and everyone 24/7 through cell phone and social media.
*Starting projects that soon take over all your free time.
*Saying "yes" to everyone and everything.
These sorts of busy-ness can cause elevated blood pressure, disease, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, resentment and more.
Upon reviewing my complexities in this category, I realized that I had a huge resentment for cell phones and social media as I felt I was on-call 24/7. I began to slow down on many social media sites, gave up some, and pared down friends lists. I also made Sundays the "you can't find me" day.
The Internet and cell phone are our biggest complications. You get involved in other's lives, you find yourself checking the screen, if you wake up to pee at night you peek into your social media to look for messages or see who's on.
Literally park the phone on charge, refuse to see who called or what is happening (like the old days). Pare back your social media time. Perhaps you are on during the block when most others are, 7-8 pm. After that, go live a real time-real place life.
I also reviewed my projects, as I have at any time about 15 or more going on. I put them on a time line - some could take longer, others were not real passions so I dropped them. There is nothing worse than doing a bit at a time on a ton of projects and feeling like nothing gets done. A time line and grooming the list was a huge boost!
HOME AND POSSESSIONS
Watching some YouTube videos on minimalism might make you turn up your nose, but they are onto something. Clearing the clutter, letting the light in, feeling spacious in your surroundings, can help you feel free.
If you've ever had a cluttered room and cleared it out, the feeling afterwards is so relaxing that you can sit in that space and not feel as if you have a thousand to-do's surrounding you. The less you have to dust, to move aside, to put away, the better. When you know you have a catch-all like the kitchen counter, put a basket there.
It can be hard to focus on what's in front of you when in your peripheral vision you see darkness, clutter, objects, patterns that make your mind have to focus on many things at once.
Reviewing what you actually use and what you have around "in case" is a good start. The "in case" items for example could be file folders that every few years you need to add one to your file cabinet - either store in the cabinet or consider a box to put these things in the garage or storage areas so they do not need to be out and about. If you don't access it daily, give it a new space. Consider shelving in a coat closet or storage in the attic or garage.
Perhaps the biggest culprits for cluttering your life and keeping it from being simple are things like kitchen items and clothing. And, you may have tables, but no need to fill them with objects. They lose meaning when you have too many. A white pillar candle and a small pot with a succulent, or maybe a hard cover book with a clay llama sculpture beside it....
Say who you are and what you love simply - no excess. The statement alone makes a real impact. If something is beautiful and precious, it should own the space. One single vase with a single flower is the star.
There are often appliances you meant to use but never did like an instant pot, food dehydrator, or ice cream maker. If you will never use the pressure cooker aspect of an instant pot, but have a crock pot, eliminate it. You can dehydrate in an oven on low temperature. Do you really make ice cream? When you buy the expensive ingredients and go through the trouble and cleaning it out, it's often not as fun as it sounded. So, be honest.
I have had a great time downsizing my life, but even so I find a sense of clutter by having my beloved houseplants everywhere. I bought a large plant stand that sits in front of a window and holds a dozen or so pots.
I put the plants there and found huge benefits. It made a big impact on a boring room. The plants got adequate light. I could mist them all together and water them in one place. And they created a humid microclimate in the dry indoors so they are thriving. A great example of how simplifying can bring more benefits.
We are spatial creatures. Standing outdoors and looking into the distance brings a great joy for open areas. Everything brings an energy into the equation or blocks an energy. Objects block energy flow. We feel it pooling in areas and dragging us under. Breathe in, breathe out, with space around you.
This is perhaps one of the most complex parts of our lives - that which include things like diet, lifestyle, hobbies, interests, activities, volunteering, caregiving, and the like.
Want to see how you can simplify a diet? Get a stack of whole grain tortillas (I like Ezekiel - don't let "whole wheat" fool you - you need whole grains). Now, you can make roll-up sandwiches with salad dressing and lettuce, lunch meat and cheese, make cheese crisps with salsa, create quesadillas, chili or refried bean burritos. One item, can take the place of the massive carb/calorie/body converting sugars of white bread and buns.
How about keeping Hummus and/or bean dip around? You can dip carrots, celery, bell pepper slices in it. Store the veggies cut and ready to dip in containers with water - change the water every couple days and they stay fresh long. Utilize the hummus or bean drip on some of the great new bean-based veggie burgers or on a sandwich with thinly sliced cucumber.
Think in terms of a key ingredient you can use in many ways.
When it comes to hobbies, talents and interests, sometimes these are pushed aside for the above reasons. But, sometimes these lead to too many commitments. Maybe you play bass in a band that wants to play clubs, but you are also on a softball team, and a writer's critique group. Like over-booked children, at some point you will rebel.
As many things as I love, I had to find a way to combine loves. So, I spend a lot of time in the garden, and I love creating, so I am making bird houses, bird nests, windchimes and other art installments for the garden. Now, they support each other and if I'm inside, I can craft for when I'm outside.
The fellow above? He loves music and writing, how about writing songs?How about fishing/camping trips where you bring your acoustic guitar?
Simplifying is really breaking it down to very most important things and using those themes to plot what to jetison and what to keep.
Honestly, most of us go on auto-pilot all the time. We get up and do the same things without thinking and then by the end of the day we are drained from working frantically at a multitasking rate that competes with computers speed.
The very fastest way to simplify is walk away from electronics - TV, phone, computer, video games - anything with a screen!