Ways to live more simply


I recently read a blog post by Tyson Popplestone that resonated with me. It was about 30 ways to simplify your life. Whist I try to do many of these things, it’s a good reminder to come back to.

The ones I find particularly useful are:

  • Say ‘no’ sometimes.
  • Check email, Facebook and news once or twice a day. Not multiple times during the day, or as soon as I wake-up or before going to bed.
  • De-clutter – home and desk at work.
  • Establish routines – I’ve written about this before and how establishing something as  a routine means we don’t have to keep making a decision to do something. We’ve already made-up our mind in advance.
  • Live frugally – consider purchases and choose quality over quantity.
  • Don’t allow debt.
  • Consider what is ‘enough’ for you. I like to remind myself that I have enough sometimes when my mind is craving.
  • Meditate, do yoga, walk.
  • Eat simply – natural foods.
  • Take a day-off from media.
  • Give everything a place.
  • Stop multi-tasking.
  • Take an annual retreat – or three or four in my case!

Letting it out

I’ve been reading ‘Let it out – a journey through journaling‘ by Katie Dalebout and wanted to share some of the exercises that I’m finding useful.

Get going

  • This is the best advice I’ve read for ages – make mornings something to look forward to – rather than wanting to press snooze. Get up even 10 minutes earlier to read, drink tea, listen to music, a podcast or TED talk. Journal – do anything that doesn’t feel like work and write plans down if it helps me to commit. Remember that I don’t have to do it all, or even the same thing everyday. Mix it up depending on how I feel and what is needed at that time.
  • I’ve also found this advice really useful and have been able to put it into practice a few times – get back on the wagon no matter what the time of day. Ask ‘what are three things I can accomplish before the end of the day?’ For me usually there are small things like washing up, changing my sheets, doing some admin etc but I go to bed with a sense of achievement and don’t feel like the whole day was a write-off.

Get organised

  • Pencil self-care into my diary, especially to compensate for non-negotiable commitments that I’m not looking forward to.
  • I’ve started writing a to-do list for the next day so I don’t go to bed thinking about things.

Find presence

  • Katie writes about a ‘joy jar’ however I kind of already do that with my gratitude journal. I did remind me though of my memory box that if filled with lots of lovely cards, photos, trinkets etc from loved ones, and also an album my mum gave me of photos from when I  was born until a couple of years ago. I need to remember to get it out when I’m feeling low and need cheering up, or to feel a sense of connection.

There are so many suggestions in the book and I’m not even half-way through, but these are the things that feel like they have the most potential to make the difference to me at the moment.

How to improve mornings

I’ve been wanting to change my morning routine for ages! Once I am up and out of bed, I consider myself a morning person – it’s when I’m at my most productive at work.

But getting out of bed is the problem. I often wake up naturally before my alarm then fall back to sleep. When my alarm goes and I press snooze three or four times, leaving myself just enough time to rush around getting ready before going to work.

Every morning I wish I’d gotten up earlier and think about how much nicer it would be to start my day in a more relaxed way. My current habits definitely don’t help the anxiety that is often present in my belly as soon as I wake up and open my eyes in the morning.

I’ve read a few articles about improving mornings so here are some of the things I think I might find helpful:

  • Put my alarm clock on the other side of the room so I have to get up. Or decide to only press snooze once if I think I can handle the temptation of having the alarm clock next to my bed.
  • Drink a cup of hot water with lemon. I don’t usually make myself hot drinks so this feels quite indulgent and a nice thing to do for myself in the morning.
  • Take five minutes to eat breakfast at home in my comfy chair in the lounge – I usually eat it when I get to work. I always have oats with skimmed milk, 0% fat Greek yoghurt, fruit and sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Meditate – even if it’s five minutes.
  • Read something positive – like a blog post. I really enjoy reading Mind Body Green.
  • Don’t look at my phone first thing – shower and clean my teeth first. I also don’t need to check the news first thing in the morning.
  • Tidy up – even something small – start the day with a sense of satisfaction.
  • Open the blinds and let sunlight in.
  • Stretch
  • Send someone a nice message – maybe not everyday but this is a nice idea to brighten up someone else’s morning.

It feels like an important time of year to work on this as the dark mornings and evenings definitely make the comfort and warmth of my bed more appealing.

I’m going to try some of these things this week – not all of them everyday – that would be unrealistic and I’m trying to be aware of my all-or-nothing thinking! Doing a few of these things two or three times this week would be a good start.