10 Ways to Savor a Slice of Simplicity

10 Ways to Savor a Slice of Simplicity

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 …

  • busyness
  • exhaustion
  • drama
  • clutter
  • debt

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.

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I talk to the squirrels. Actually both my husband and I do, no matter where we are – on a trip, near our apartment, or on a walk. We have been known to pull our car over to the side of the road to talk to them! We love the “dead eye” look they give us!

  2. says

    I like number 10. I often get on my bike just to ride. No purpose, just ride. It’s a great time to clear my head and simply not think.

  3. says

    Nature walks to do it for me…long hikes or simple walks around my yard.

    The gratitude thing is HUGE…started keeping list a few years ago and I have thousands of entries. It also serves as a personal journal of sorts. When I look back at the list I can see this things that were going on in my life.

  4. MelD says

    The British know that there is nothing like soothing the soul with a cup of tea… no wonder I’m proud of my English roots LOL – along with the humour, they keep me sane!

  5. Carrie says

    Thank you for your words. I just took the first step in simplifying some of life today. I unfollowed a bunch of Facebook “friends”. I wasn’t ready to delete, but only follow those that have a good impact on my life. Baby steps!

  6. Cathy says

    When I remarked to an elderly friend that it was so great that she walked for her health almost daily, she said “I walk for my soul…my body just follows along!”. She has it figured out! I have been following her example ever since and my life is much calmer.

  7. says

    I am the world’s slowest cyclist, so I love number 10. I rode it today for hours, just to explore and see the sights. I rode it so far that I got totally lost in Berlin, where I’ve just moved to, and almost had a little strop – but I just made the decision not to, and soon found my way home, enjoying everything I saw, heard and smelt along the way :)

    Thanks for this great post Courtney.

    Katie. X

  8. says

    love your blog Courtney. great tips for everyone. thanks for sharing. i’ve started blogging about our own minimalist journey….hope you’ll drop by for a visit. blogs like yours and Leo’s and the Minimalists kept me going strong on my quest for simplicity, now I too want to give back by sharing my personal story and any insights I’ve gained along the way.

    Melina xo

  9. says

    One of the best things for me to de-clutter starts with a long walk – it clears my mind so quickly. I also meditate in the morning or afternoon (sometimes both).

    Great article and even better tips to simply your life

  10. says

    Yes I really believe that creating a daily gratitude list and journaling each day is incredibly powerful and uplifting. I do both and they have helped me immensely!

  11. says

    Number 4 is one of my favorites. There is nothing like the simplicity of a single flame to bring everything back into perspective. I use this time to meditate and reflect on where to go next. It always helps. :)

  12. says

    I love this list Courtney. I started incorporating minimalist principles in my life about two years ago but I’m far from a fully-fledged one. I’m in Ireland, so just like the UK, we are big tea drinkers. I would love to use #1 more, as sometimes I intentionally “forget” to bring my phone on short trips to the shops etc only to discover that I’ve saved my shopping list in it! So turning it off rather than not bringing it would certainly make more sense. And when I read #7 my jaw was clenched! Thank you, they’re all tips I’ll refer back to again and again.

  13. says

    I love all of these. I have recently switched from coffee to herbal tea and I can tell there is a huge shift. Our minds are so closely connected to our bodies that this little change is having a great impact on my focus and sense of calm. I feel like I can do things more slowly and better enjoy OTHER little simple things in my day. A little slice, or sip, of simplicity :-)

  14. Ray says

    Ride a bike…. ABSOLUTELY! Such a stress buster for me. I can BREATHE when I go out for a casual ride. I try to ride everyday. EVERY one of them. Nothing better.