Before you start to simplify your life, or when the task of decluttering and editing seems impossible, it is still very possible to enjoy the benefits of living simply. In fact, starting small and creating slices of simplicity in your day can provide the motivation and momentum you need to take the next step.
My life is much simpler than it was a few years ago, but things still get complicated. When life does get messy, I remind myself that everything is temporary and that I can always find a simple slice to ground me. I think about when my life was consumed with …
And I remember that even then, I savored small slices of simplicity. I really appreciated the easy moments, the quiet meals, date nights, and taking time to enjoy a book. Those slices of simplicity helped me cope with the rest of it, and inspired me to fill my life with even more simplicity and less of the things that wore me out and got in the way of a more purposeful life.
No matter where you are in your journey to simplify, and even if you haven’t started yet, savor the small moments of simplicity now.
10 Ways to Savor a Slice of Simplicity
1. Turn off your phone for one hour.
Let the calls go to voicemail. The email messages will wait and the beeps and dings notifying you about other things will wait too. For one hour, you are off the grid and out of touch. Use that hour however you like.
2. Keep a gratitude journal.
Robert Brault said “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” I’ve found that to be true and would add that the simple things are often the things that mean the most. I kept a daily gratitude journal for one year, and it’s one of the few journals I’ve saved. When I peek through it, I’m always surprised at how meaningful those little things were. Now I use the Random Gratitude app. Whenever I add a new note of gratitude, the app shows me something I was grateful for at another time. It’s one of the few apps that always brings a smile to my face.
3. Call a friend who makes you smile.
Getting on the phone with a good friend is always simple, especially if it’s someone who doesn’t require catching up. I have a few of these wonderful people in my life and whether we are talking about old times or the last book we read, I always hang up feeling loved and refreshed.
4. Light a candle on a clean surface.
Clear off a countertop or any surface and light a candle. Sit quietly and enjoy that small space of clutter-free flickering light. Even if all the stuff is piled behind you, stay focused on the minimalist sanctuary you created. Take a few deep breaths and after 5 or 10 minutes, blow out the candle and decide if you want more of those simple spaces in your home.
5. Write about your day.
A journaling practice can help your busy brain, especially after a hectic day. Get your thoughts on paper, even if it’s just an account of the day. My friend Tammy wrote this beautiful post about how to develop a journaling practice.
6. Make something from scratch.
Find a recipe, turn on some music and make dessert or a whole meal from scratch. Don’t worry about the end result, but instead get lost in the chopping, mixing, and tasting. You can always find something wonderful to make here.
7. Uncurl your toes.
Do a quick check right now. Is your jaw clenched? Are your toes curled? Are you holding your breath? Those are the tiny physical signs of your bigger mental and emotional attempt to control the world. Your outward actions are directly connected with your internal reactions. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to let go when you simply uncurl your toes or unclench your jaw. Here are a few more tips to help.
8. Talk to animals.
If you have a dog or other pet at home, talk to them. Give them a good look in the eye and tell them how much you love them. Add in a belly rub for good measure. While you are connecting with your dog or other animal, think about how little they really need to be happy. Then think about how happy you are in that moment, and how little you really need to be happy. If you don’t have a dog, say hi to one at the park, or visit a local shelter.
9. Drink tea.
Leo Babauta said, “Tea is a form of meditation for me, a way of being present and practicing paying attention. It is a way of slowness, of savoring life.” Read more about tea rituals for focus, health & slowness here.
10. Ride a bike.
Last weekend Mark and I took our bikes out for a ride. We weren’t out for exercise or to get from point a to point b, but just to enjoy the morning. We stopped by Publik for a delicious cold brew and then rode out on a path by a river and then weaved our way through the city until we got home. I couldn’t help but savor the simplicity of the morning.
Begin to notice the natural slices of simplicity in your day and aim to add in one more with purpose, and with the intention of connecting those slices for a simpler way of life every day.
You don’t need it all, just a slice. Start and savor.