Simple living can mean a lot of things to different people. For me, it is about slowing down, trying to make stuff instead of buying, just having enough, and simplifying decision making. I started moving towards this path just almost a year ago, and I am loving it so far. I know that this concept may not really be applicable to everyone, and that’s definitely okay. It really is a different path from the norm, where consumerism and being busy are standard. Contrary to its concept, living simply can be quite challenging with all the technology and advertisements around us. I am not particularly sure when it happened, but I had a couple of mindset shifts that got me started on this journey.
1. Work and go after your goals, but there is no need to rush
This one has been particularly challenging for me. Simple living encourages people to slow down. In the past, I used to rush to meet my goals and feel bad when I don’t. Now, I am more accepting of where I am at the present moment (but admittedly still working on this). Yes, big moments of success and happiness are great, but the rest of time when everything else is “ordinary” – boring, even – should still be cherished and appreciated.
2. Using raw ingredients to make food and other stuff is more fulfilling and economical
Back in the Philippines, when my time was spent mostly at work or being stuck in traffic, I barely had time to actually create something. We didn’t even cook our own meals regularly since we literally just had to cross the road to go to the mall. Everything that we needed was bought pre-packaged or pre-prepared. Now, we try to create more things – our own homemade pesto, an apple cider vinegar hair conditioner, coconut oil hair mask, and we also cook or bake during the weekends. Yes, it is less convenient, but more fulfilling.
3. “We need much less than we think we need.” – Maya Angelou
I still do buy stuff now and again, but now I think a couple of times 1.) if I really need it, or 2.) if I really love it. All these years, we’ve been conditioned to think that our lives will be better when we have more things. But will it, really? It took a while, but now, discounts and holiday sales aren’t that exciting to me anymore, unless there is something that I have been really thinking of buying.
4. Making less decisions can help with your mental energy
Habits, routines, having less options, and automating stuff can really help preserve our mental energy. By making less decisions on the small stuff, we can have more energy to focus on the things that really matter to us.
What simple living isn’t
Simple living is not deprivation. Yes, you can have nice things and you can set and achieve many goals. The difference is that you become intentional with what you are pursuing instead of following society just because. You focus your attention on achieving things that are important to you, but still take time to enjoy your life. It isn’t encouraging you to be lazy either. Slowing down is taking some time for yourself to recharge, be in the present, and enjoy your life. Being lazy is being unwilling to do your responsibilities. Lastly, you don’t have to be perfect, applying simple living in all aspects of your life. Just take what’s applicable to your current situation, and see where it goes 😊
How about you? Have you been thinking of shifting to simple living, or have you been living this way already?