Simplicity Matters in a Connected Life.
We all recognize that life is running at a chaotic pace. We’re doing less physical running and more running from appointment to appointment and from store to store (or website to website). There’s so much commentary on this lately with thousands of blog posts and articles related to reducing stress in every industry. We’re all running around with our figurative hair on fire…STRESSED!
In order for things to change, we have to change. I’ve found that one of the best ways to beat stress is just to slow down. I’ve learned to stop thinking of everything as a fire drill and every day as a sprint. In order to do this, I’ve drastically cut down my schedule, obligations, and my purchases. An unexpected side effect of living more simply has been the amount of time I have for others.
Originally I wanted to cut down on the products and chemicals I was buying in order to have less of an impact on the planet. What I’ve discovered is that it leaves me much more time to focus on what’s important. In the past I would think, “If I could just get this more conveniently, then life would be easier.” Paradoxically, convenience doesn’t necessarily make things easier. Instead convenience adds to the clutter in our lives.
I’ve used these 3 questions and a statement to help me drastically cut down on what I’m buying.
- Do I really need this right now?
- Is there another way to get this and meet the same need?
- How can I plan ahead this week so I won’t need to buy anything?
- I can live without this and still be happy and accomplish what I need to.
I’m a recovering perfectionist so it’s been important to me to learn how not to have everything perfectly lined up, especially with things that promise convenience and ease.
I’d like to offer you three counter-intuitive ways to simplify your life so that you connect with others more. These are some of the steps I’ve taken along the way to de-stressing my life.
- Simplify your beauty routine. If you’re using even half the recommended products, you’re putting thousands of chemicals on your body before you leave the house each day. Especially for us ladies, they say we need eye cream, face cream, neck cream, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, etc. ad nauseum (No, really. It makes me nauseous thinking about all the chemicals in these products). Chemical engineers will tell you that the basic recipes for these products are 99% the same, but small tweaks are made so you’ll buy more. Advertising teams spend billions of dollars convincing us that we NEED these items to be beautiful. Happiness is beautiful. No amount of eye cream will make you happy. Save your money and drink water (from the tap, please).
- Turn social media off on your cell phone. Okay this is a HUGE one for me and something I just did last week. My hand is still a little twitchy. I found myself checking Facebook several times a day when I was bored or when I wanted a distraction. Plus all those dings coming through my phone is like psychological warfare. If I’m getting a ding it means someone mentioned me, my vanity was DYING to know what was going on! It was time to turn it off.
- Find experiences that don’t require money. More often than not these are experiences that allow you to interact with others in a meaningful way. Parks and art experiences are great resources for this. They allow you time to connect with yourself and with those you bring with you. Ask open-ended questions so you learn more about the person you’re with: What do you think about this piece? If you were to design this playground, what would you do? Play is therapeutic for the soul and for relationships.
I’ve really struggled to not use money to buy convenience in my life. The more time I spend with those who can’t buy convenience, the more I have to learn about resourcefulness. One of my neighbors uses his whole yard as a garden. They also clean up the trash in our neighborhood and scrap the metal they find. Forget Kimye as models of American living, these folks are my heroes. They are amazingly resilient and resourceful.
What are your tips for living more simply? Share with us on Facebook or the Tweet Machine ways you’ve found to buy less.