All images: istockphoto.com
All images: istockphoto.com
All images: istockphoto.com
But it doesn’t have to be that way in 2019. There are ways to slow down, take stock of your surroundings and push stress down to a minimum. With a few steps, you can take back control of a world that feels like it’s rushing at a breakneck speed, threatening to leave you behind. To help you get started, here are 19 of our best tips on how you can surrender to a simpler life.
Ditch the Clutter
A recent study showed clutter affects your perception of home and ultimately, your feelings of satisfaction in life. So, take some time to de-clutter. Maybe you start with one bookshelf, or your bathroom cabinet. Tackle one thing at a time.
Take Time for Yourself
Try scheduling time in every week to go on a walk or bike ride, attend a yoga class, or sit in the corner with a blanket and a good book. It will do wonders for your mind, and you’ll emerge from this time refreshed and ready to tackle any obstacles in your path.
Harvard researchers are currently studying a link between mindfulness and depression, and how meditation lowers people’s feelings of despair. If meditation on your own feels like a stretch, try downloading an app like Headspace to walk you through a short, simple practice, then build up the amount of time you spend meditating as you go.
Get Organized With a Colorful Planner
One great way to calm the mind is to buy a colorful planner to organize your life. Just the simple act of writing everything down will let your mind relax, so you don’t ruminate over your schedule until the wee hours of the morning.
Fill Yourself With Gratitude
Instead of throwing yourself a pity party, try focusing on gratitude. Take stock in what you’re grateful for mentally, or purchase a gratitude journal where you can jot down a few thoughts every day. Science has shown practicing gratitude improves both physical and mental health.
Only Say ‘Yes’ When You Really Mean It
Always saying “yes” can quickly lead to feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction. Before you say yes, really think about whether it’s something you want to do. Is your week too busy? Suggest another date. Do you really not want to hang out with that person? Reexamine your friendships.
Set a Time to Put Down Your Phone for the Night
Our phones are a constant deluge of information and input that can be exhausting on the mind. After a long day of work and checking your smartphone, make a habit of shutting it down or putting it in a drawer for the evening. Then, give yourself permission to look at your phone one time before going to bed. Remember what it was like before the iPhone hit the market?
Try ‘Forest Bathing’
In Japan, people practice something called “forest bathing”, which is just being in nature and using your senses to really appreciate and experience the fresh air, the trees, and the birdsong. Just a short time in nature disconnects us from technology and reconnects us with the planet. Follow these steps to experience forest bathing for yourself.
Create a ‘Capsule’ Wardrobe
Do you ever stand in front of your closet for a good 10 minutes every morning, wondering what the heck to wear? Create a capsule wardrobe, a collection of 10 to 50 pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a huge variety of outfits, then accessorize for the time of year.
Organize Your Digital Clutter
Spend some time going through your digital files and photographs. Delete those you no longer need and back up others to a separate hard drive. Go through your documents and whittle them down. Eliminating digital clutter leads to greater peace of mind.
Read More Books
The simple act of daily reading will make you feel calm. Try reading with your morning coffee and before going to bed rather than checking social media on your phone. Besides being relaxing, reading a book increases your brain power, reduces stress, and increases empathy.
Focus on Being Present
Living in the now means taking the time to enjoy and feel thankful for your surroundings: Stop and smell a flower or watch the wind rustle the leaves of a tree. For a few minutes each day, stop planning for the future or thinking about the past. Just be.
Make Bedtime Sacred
Creating a bedtime ritual means you’ll sleep easier every night and wake up feeling rested. Take some time to plan your bedtime routine: Maybe this means a warm bath every night, turning off your phone at a certain time, and indulging in a good book. Also, try to keep your bedtime and wakeup times the same.
Find Free Forms of Entertainment
Money often leads to stress and anxiety, so try to stop spending so much of it. Entertain yourself for free: Take a walk or a hike, find out if there are free dance classes in your neighborhood, or go to a museum on a “free” day.
Stop Paying for Cable
Cable can cost over $100 per month, which is money that could better be spent elsewhere. Invest in a Netflix subscription, or don’t pay a dime and rent all your movies and TV shows from your local library.
Set a Weekly Workout Routine
Exercise has a huge array of benefits, and setting a weekly workout routine doesn’t give you the opportunity to opt out. You’ll know which activity you’re doing on each day. Join a gym with classes you enjoy, or find online workouts to do at home.
Don’t Waste as Much Time on Social Media
Social media can be a major time suck, and depressing at that! Browsing Facebook isn’t going to make you any happier, and it’s definitely not going to simplify your life. Set designated times when you can check social media during the day, then turn to a book or a magazine.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Rather than thinking about dinner at 3 p.m. every day, plan things out on a Sunday, then do all your grocery shopping for the week. You could also subscribe to a service like the $5 Meal Plan, which sends you meal plans and grocery lists every week.
Learn How to Budget
Yes, budgeting can sound boring, but once you master it, you’ll feel so much more relaxed because you’ll finally be in control. Check out budgeting programs such as You Need a Budget or Mint, and find one that works well with your style. Once you know where your money is going, you can begin saving for one of those bucket list adventures you’ve been dreaming about.