March 27, 2023

20 little ways I simplify my life

I thought that I would share some of the really small habits that have improved my life. Individually, these daily things that I do may not have transformed my life, but together they have had a real impact on making life easier, more joyful, slower and have definitely reduced my stress.  They also help me appreciate what I already have so that I do not feel like my life is lacking.

Setting boundaries.  I have started to say “no” to things instead of being a people pleaser.  I no longer feel obligated and do things because I feel guilty if I don’t, or am afraid that people will fall out with me or I won’t be accepted.  I also no longer engage with people who sap my energy, or have very different values to me. I only want to be around kind people. Staying away from people that are toxic to me, or may have undermined my confidence due to their own issues, has improved my quality of life.  I have learned that putting myself first rather than every one else is not selfish (I am still not able to do that with my children and my grandchild!).

Look for joy in the small things.   I have learned to be more mindful and notice the small things like a flower in the garden, a tune on the radio or the sunshine on my face.  Taking photographs and foraging, especially, helped me become more mindful of my environment and it filtered into other areas of my life.

Focus on one thing at a time.  I used to have to be a multitasker but now that I am slowing my life down I can give all my attention to one thing, appreciate what I am doing and do it well. This again is part of being mindful.  It helps me be less stressed and tired as my brain is not in over drive trying juggling lots of things at once, and I appreciate the task I am completing and feel more satisfaction.

Batch jobs.  If I have a job to do I will do double of it to save time and effort later.  If I am cooking food I will make double for some for another day, if I am gardening I will complete more than one task, if I am taking photographs for an article on my website I will think of future articles and take more at the same time whilst my mind is on that task. I especially do this if I have a journey to make in the car.  If I am going for a walk with a friend in a nearby area I will visit the tip, go to the petrol station with the discounted fuel, visit a shop and pick up some wood at the same time. I will squeeze every useful thing I can out of that journey.

Going for daily walks in nature. Nature, and especially trees, are a fantastic healer.  Spending time in nature helps me reset, refocus and gives my brain an internal shower with ecotherapy.  I am also getting exercise that helps my knees, I have time to think, and I feel like my internal tank of emotions is being refilled.

Protect my time.  I no longer fill every hour of every day and ensure that I have time to just relax or pursue my priorities, for example spending time with family, writing or reading.  I try not to just fill the time with tasks, but leave time for relaxation and joy.

Make a meal a celebration.  We usually eat at the table and use nice crockery.   We also put thought into meals, present them nicely, and eat more slowly.  I no longer eat in front of the telly.  This makes me more  mindful of what what I am eating and I enjoy my food more.  I have stopped eating things because they are cheap.  I find ways to make things I like with the ingredients that I have.  This is helping me with my weight loss journey after adding ‘lockdown lard’.

Meal plan. This saves me time and money but also helps me shop from the cupboards, and ensures that  I am getting a balanced nutritious diet whilst having some treats.  It is also fun and brings out my creative side, and I know I have food to look forward to.

Have a chalk board running grocery list.   Having a list stops me running out of things, helps me prioritise what I need, and prevents me over buying things. I no longer have ingredients at the back of the cupboard going out of date as I do inventories now and again that help me write my list.

Have a designated place for things I used to always lose my keys, the phone charger and my handbag.  I wasted so much time looking for them, or was stressed as I thought I had lost them.  I now have a tray for my keys, a hook for my handbag, and my charger is in the same draw as other electrical chargers.  This has helped with household paper work too as I can just put my hand on it when I need it.

Gratitude first thing in the morning.  My morning ritual when I first wake up is to think of 3 things that I am grateful for from the day before.  This makes me feel more positive and aware of how fortunate I am.

Resetting each Monday morning.  I treat the start of every week as a clean sheet and forget about mistakes or broken intentions.  I forgive myself and wipe the slate clean and start again.  It helps me show compassion for myself, and clears away a feeling of guilt or sense of failure. It also puts me back on track for my goals and increases my motivation.

Take breaks  It has finally dawned on me that I don’t always have to be productive.  I used to struggle with this, and if I wanted to watch a film, I would ensure that I did some ironing at the same time so that I wasn’t ‘wasting’ time. When completing a task that I don’t enjoy I now set a timer for a break. During the breaks I will move around and stretch, do something I like, have a drink, watch a YouTube, or read a magazine. Jobs like decluttering bore me, which is why I put them off and procrastinate but, if I know I can do something fun in between, I am actually more productive and can focus better.

Set screen time limits. I am sure the other admins of my FB group must get fed up of me some times as I will put my phone in my handbag and not let myself look at it for an hour or two.  I want to focus on what I am doing, be it a walk in nature, a meal, or looking after my grandson.  It is easy to waste so much time scrolling, playing games or watching YouTubes and time is precious.  I find that my eyes improve when I am not staring at a screen as much as well.

To do list. I will often  in the make a ‘to do list’ in the evening before I go to bed, especially if I have a lot on the next day.  I am therefore not tossing and turning with worry.  Now that I don’t work, a few tasks and commitments can seem overwhelming as I am not used to my day being structured. With a list I wake up focussed and not worried that I will forget to do something.  I often do forget things if I don’t have a list and so it keeps me organised as well.

Declutter regularly.  I am learning to decide what I want to keep rather than what I want to get rid of.  Psychological it is harder to let go of something than it is to keep something.  I am trying to make decluttering a habit that I do in small doses every week.  My home feels calmer and more organised because of it which helps my stress levels.

Make things that I use the most often easily accessible.  My kitchen cupboards were a mess.  I used to have to take lots of things out to get the equipment that I needed.  I have now had a big change round and have all the things I use regularly in cupboards where I can access them easily.  There is no more climbing up steps daily to get things from a top cupboard, or getting down on my knees to search in a bottom cupboard for a tin of beans.

Buy less.  This has happened over time as my mindset has changed but buying less has helped me stay frugal and to keep my house tidier.  It has also reduced my housework as I have decluttered and helps me feel more relaxed.  I no longer look at my credit card bill with a sinking heart. I am more intentional with what I buy, and in my head I know that if I buy something I have to get rid of something to make room for it, which makes me think twice.

Wait to make important decisions I have always been emotional and impulsive but I am learning to take time before making important decision or before sending emails or contacting people if I am angry or upset. I am learning to think more about my decisions and think long term rather than short term, and be wiser.

Go to bed early and get up early.  The morning is my favourite time of day and if I am up early I have time to enjoy the sunrise, sit outside in the garden and eat my breakfast with the birds. I enter my day more slowly rather than rushing around. That is my quiet time and when I write.  I also find that I sleep longer if I go to bed early and at the same time every night.  It saves money on energy to heat the home in winter too.  I rarely stay up watching a film or something now or get lost in games on my phone.  Everything can be watched or played at a different time.

Do you have small habits that have improved your life? Please share.  Have a good day.



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