Tips to live a simpler life
This year I vowed to live a simpler life. Last year was an emotional rollercoaster with mum getting diagnosed with cancer and then 4 months later passing away. Just as I had put my big exciting plans and goals for the upcoming year on the wall, I was tearing them down again. Instead of being proactive and motivated and inspired, I went fully into fight or flight survival mode. My cortisol and adrenalin was through the roof, I was stressed and sick all the time, and just plain exhausted.
What I decided coming into this year was that I wanted to take a year to really look after myself and get back to full health and vitality. To get into some good habits to take care of my body and mind. I still did some plans, but they were much more lifestyle related than particular targets I wanted to achieve. Instead of having set goals, my plans and priorities involved ‘learning to say no’, ‘getting enough sleep’, and ‘eating nutritious food every day’.
This shift in mindset has allowed me to feel more relaxed, but its taken awhile for me to give myself permission to take time out and do less. Our society sees ‘busy’ and ‘stressed’ almost as a badge of honour, and this ‘need for speed and busy-ness’ mindset can be challenging to shift.
If this is you, and you would like to start looking after your body and mind, de-stress, and live a more simple life, here are some of the strategies I’m learning that are helping me to become more grounded and centred.
1. Learn to say no
Don’t be afraid to disappoint people. The most important person is yourself, and you need to look after you first, before you will have enough energy and love to give out to others. It’s like they say in aeroplanes – put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. It’s important to value your time and space, and create boundaries to conserve your energy. Your friends and family will see how much value you place on yourself and respect you for it, even if it means saying no to them sometimes.
2. Get enough sleep
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep each night to function at an optimum level. I personally need around 8 hours sleep each night to function at my best. If I get less sleep, I might be ok for a few days but eventually it will catch up to me and take its toll. This is a work in progress but being aware of your sleep patterns is a great first step.
3. Taking time out
This is so, so, so important for me! Everyone recharges in different ways, and I’ve found that I recharge by having time out for myself. This means time at home on my own, either reading a book, cleaning my house, watching a movie, or some other activity that allows me just to be in my own space. If I don’t have time every single day to do this, I get anxious, stressed, and agitated. As a teacher I expend a lot of energy giving to others each day, and I really need the time alone not talking to anyone to rest my voice and recharge my batteries.
4. Eating nutritious food
Eating good quality food and drinking enough water are both vital to maintaining a well-functioning body. My meals are often at different times each day depending on the classes I teach, but as long as I eat something healthy and nutritious at each meal, I know my energy will be sustained and keep me going much better than if I ate processed, sugary foods.
5. Time with my family
Just like taking time out for myself at home, I find spending time with my family recharges me. My family are the most important people in my life, and if I don’t see them regularly I tend to feel anxious and resentful. Spending time with anyone whom you love can give you amazing energy and this is definitely a priority for me.
6. Practicing yoga and dance
One of the biggest priorities is to fit in my own yoga and dance practice. This is an absolute must! Doing either dance or yoga each day sets me up in good stead, and I feel much more grounded, centred, happy and peaceful. This goes for anything you are passionate about, whether that’s yoga, gardening, walking or painting. To engage in your passions each day is recharging not just for your body and mind, but for your spirit.
Not all these strategies will work for everyone, but finding the strategies that work for you is important. When you love yourself and value your time, you will be able to easily and effortlessly share that love with the people around you. And that is what I try to do every day J