What exactly does it mean when someone says that they’re choosing to live a simple life? This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a simple answer, a right or wrong, or even an answer that fits a mold for everyone.
How to Live a Simple Life
Living simply means different things for different people. While living simply in general often means that you are breaking away from modern society’s way of life, it really does vary by each unique situation.
If you live in the city, suburbs, outskirts, or the country you can make choices and changes to simplify and slow down your life.
I think the term simple in this context is often confused with easy. I’m not saying that living a simple lifestyle is going to be easier, in some ways it will be harder but in my opinion, it’s so worth it.
What is a Simple Life?
In essence, a simple life is choosing less. It’s living with less “stuff”, slowing down the pace, choosing less extra activities. Reducing stress so that you can enjoy your life is the ultimate goal. This will also result in a healthier life because stress wreaks havoc on our health. Can I get an amen?
When you aren’t distracted by all of the “noise” of modern day life, you can find peace and joy in the moments of life. I think society as a whole has trained people to live for “the next big thing” be it an event, a purchase, a vacation, etc…. This ideology truly robs people of the ability to be happy and full of true joy. You’ll never find happiness chasing excitement, you’ll find it in the still, small, quiet moments.
Why Live a Simple Life?
Why did we choose to live a simple life? Because we wanted to live a happy life and to raise our children in a peaceful atmosphere. For us, this simple lifestyle is a homesteading lifestyle.
By living this way, growing our own food, and spending a lot of time together as a family, we find ourselves being very grounded. We are more appreciative of the simple necessities in life. We gain a true understanding of what goes into raising food, making things from scratch, building or making items we need, etc….
Living a simple life doesn’t mean you can’t buy things from the store or use convenience items. In fact, sometimes living a simple life means we use paper plates. Yep, I know, not sustainable but sometimes being able to save the time and energy that washing dishes involves is needed to keep the atmosphere calm and peaceful.
You need to ask yourself what it is that you want out of life. If you desire a slower pace and the time and ability to find joy in the small things, you may need to simplify your lifestyle.
How to Live a Simple Life.
The golden questions of it all is how do we do it? How do we live a simple life? The first thing I’d suggest is to reduce stressors in your life. If your career causes you a lot of stress it may be time to reevaluate and look into something that you enjoy and can make money doing.
I think it is a travesty for a person to get to the end of their life and look back to see they spent many of their years working a job that made them unhappy. What’s the point?
Evaluate all of the activities in your life. Are you running in a different direction nearly everyday of the week? Are you over committed and never have a moment of rest at home. Life can be full of good things but these things may not be good for us.
Reducing outside commitment and committing to your home helps simplify life. I’m not advocating for laziness, being a couch potato is not part of a simple life. You’ll find your days will be full with much to do when you are busy at home instead of elsewhere.
Financial stress and strain makes living a simple life very difficult. You may need to put in the effort to reduce debt and become debt free (still working on that one here).
Take a good hard look at your needs versus your wants and see where you can cut costs and save money. Living on less is greatly rewarded with less financial obligations and stress.
Choose how you use your time wisely. This is probably the biggest factor in living a simple life. Over commitment is a culprit in making life too busy to enjoy.
When committing to something outside of the home you have to weigh the value of the activity. Is it going to enrich lives, yours and others? Is it going to drain too much of your time and energy? Is it going to be fulfilling or will it cause stress. Once you find the answers, you can decide if it’s worth the commitment.
Another thing to consider in how you live your simple life is your family dynamics. If you have a large family, you’ll find committing to a different activity for each child will complicate life greatly.
You’ll be looking at a lot of time going to and fro from activities as well as added up costs of activities. We like to find things that all of the children can enjoy doing that are inexpensive.
Activities like 4-H offer a great variety of activity for low costs and for all ages. Best part, mom and dad can also be very involved. Things like this works well even if you don’t have a large family.
What’s your personality type? I highly suggest learning about your own personality as well as your family members. I am an introvert, I know that committing myself out causes extreme overwhelm and quick burnout for me.
Some people thrive on activities. Having a simple life doesn’t mean you can’t do anything at all, it means you need to stay within the parameters of what you can handle.
This brings us to a very important aspect of simple life and life in general. Self Care. I undervalued self care for many years and my health suffered from it. I’ve learned what I need to do to take care of myself (diet, supplements, herbs, exercise, rest, relaxation, decompressing, etc…) and I’m a better wife and mother for it. If you neglect yourself, everyone in your family suffers.
By understanding your spouse and children’s personalities, you can be sure to care for them in the way they need as well. Some people will require more activities than others. Some will require much time to be still and recharge.
Personally, what it boils down to is choosing a lifestyle that suits your needs and brings you peace. Do you love gardening and hanging out with chickens? Fill your life with that. Is cooking from scratch where you get the most joy? Focus your energy on that.
I believe when we slow down the pace and focus on building a home environment where we thrive, we are happier. Throughout the years, I’ve added many skills and activities at home that I never would have know I loved had we not changed the pace of our life.
What steps have you taken to live a simpler life? Maybe you haven’t been able to start yet. My advice is just start somewhere. Find something that you can do to simplify your life and just begin there. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll find more and more ways to simplify and just enjoy your life.
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Our life has become immeasurably better since we moved out to the farmstead and embraced a more simple life. For us that means anticipating and celebrating the seasons, growing our own food, being outdoors and just enjoying our time together as a family. Great post!
Heather Youl says
Wow! This was a very powerful post! I have also struggled with balancing the needs of myself with the needs of others ever since I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. My friends and family are still struggling with my lack of “availability” to them and it really has opened my eyes to the basis of many of my relationships. Thanks for such a positive and insightful piece.
I’m so sorry you have chronic illness. It’s hard for others to understand what that is like. I’m glad you are encouraged by this!
I love the point you make about “just start somewhere.” Sometimes starting is the hardest part.
Tessa Zundel says
“Living a simple life doesn’t mean you can’t buy things from the store or use convenience items.”
This is so important to point out to people! Simple, in my house, means doing the thing that makes all the other things easier to do so we can go do the stuff we actually need to be doing. We don’t buy a lot of what most people would call convenience items but we do buy things that make our work easier. Sometimes I think people do things the hard way just to call it the real way.
I love this! Such great tips and I love how you really emphasize that a ‘simple life’ is different for everyone!
We’ve started to live a simpler life by starting to buy less processed foods in bulk and making as much as we can ourselves. Hoping to start gardening this spring, too.