Who doesn’t want to simplify their lives? It’s the easiest way to manage stress, for sure. So please keep reading today’s guest article by Emma Sturgis, on tips in how to live a healthier lifestyle by simplifying your life and making it more environmentally friendlier.
There are magazines, websites, documentaries, twitter feeds, news articles and seminars dedicated to the idea of living simple. Materialism is out, simplicity is in. Most of the material boils down to the idea that we identify what‘s most important to us in life and get rid of the rest.
This media promises serenity, peace, and happiness as a result. There is probably truth in both assumptions, making it worthwhile to at least give the idea a fair shot. The following are five easy ways to simplify and “green-up” your life.
1. Evaluate time and commitments in your life.
What’s really important in your life needs to balance with the time that you spend on activity doing what isn’t important. Learning to say no to time commitments that don’t enrich life is a valuable skill. Spend a couple of weeks tracking your time and note how much of it is spent doing things that have no meaning. Then, do something about it!
2. De-clutter life!
We can free ourselves by getting rid of the extra stuff in our lives, drawer by drawer and room by room. Lots of the extra stuff can be recycled or re-used by someone else. There are also cars and purses and desks at the office to work on.
Dig out all of your old electronics and recycle them—you can even make some extra money if you sell old iPhone to SellShark. There are many non-profits that can make good use of some of your clutter. You can be unselfish and simplify your life at the same time!
De-clutter might also mean looking at the people in our lives and slowing down with relationships that are draining and take too much from us.
3. Shop for Needs, Not Wants
We buy more than we need. How many times have you gone into a store needing two items, only to end up spending $100? The solution for overbuying and overspending is making a list and sticking to it. Sometimes the distinction between a need and a want is a fine line. Do you need a new fall jacket? You need to be warm in the fall, but if you have two other jackets already, chances are you won’t need another. This is a great time to create a budget and goals for savings so that these choices are more about what you want in the long run than what you desire in the present.
4. Eat Well
We can all take a good hard look at what we are eating, how we are eating it and where we are getting our food. Eating better improves health, the quality of life and maybe even our connection to the community. Restaurants can contribute significantly to bad eating and bad budgets. By cutting down on the amount of meals we eat outside our homes, we can improve our finances and our health.
If we are not eating at restaurants, that opens the possibility of relaxed enjoyable meals at home with our families, serving healthy food. Part of the goal of simplicity is to do more of what we love and less of what doesn’t serve us. Eating with the people we love serves this purpose well.
Most communities offer farmers markets and food co-ops where fresh fruits and vegetables and wholesome ingredients are found. By participating in these markets and co-ops we are participating in a vital part of our community.
5. Do What You Love
Human beings have built-in natural instincts that speak to what matters and what doesn’t. An important part of a simple life is discerning those things that are really important and separating it from the things that are not. This requires a great deal of introspection. Try taking a personal inventory of the things that you give energy to in life and rating their importance to you. Sometimes a pencil and paper bring an objectivity and a different point of view to things you thought you already knew.
To know what makes your heart sing is so important in the process of separating the wheat from the chaff in life. Taking the steps to simplify bring us so much closer. Who knew that a little decluttering and a new perspective could make such a huge difference?
About the Author
Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2
Do you have any tips and tricks in how to simplify your life and make it healthier and greener in the long-run? Share your opinions in the comments below!