Living Simply: What does simple mean?
I feel like every new lockdown, I am re-confronted by all of my stuff. Every time I have a newfound desire to clean, organize and minimize. Likely, many of you feel the same... Because when we spend more time at home, it becomes clear if all of our stuff is working for us, or against us.
That being said, I think simple living or the word "simply" isn't just referring to the items that we own - it's definitely broader than that. I think this idea of "simple" is about:
It's okay to NOT be constantly busy. I think sometimes we overwhelm ourselves to get at this ideal of "productivity." But what if being "productive" was also about our wellbeing - what if we scheduled in time to relax and unwind... why is productivity becoming synonymous with busyness. Is being "busy" something to be proud of?! Or does it mean that we're missing something important?
This is something I've been actively doing for the last year because I kept getting caught up on social media. Every day needs to be something new and fresh... and frankly I just can't keep up. I think an online presence and social media really adds to this notion of "busyness" that we may feel. Just like unsubscribing from store emails is helpful for our wallets, unsubscribing from societal pressures to post is helpful for our selves.
I read an article somewhere that as a society, we are decreasing our ability to focus. Attention-spans are at an all-time low. I think the ability to focus is really important and I often find that when I do something that I enjoy doing (like crafting or writing blog posts), I can focus for hours on end - however if I'm doing something I don't enjoy my attention span is lacking. Maybe we just need to focus more on what matters to us and our attention spans will increase exponentially.
Some things may come from a good place, but ends up hindering our wellbeing. For plenty of us this year, the news has been both a source of important information but also anxiety-inducing. Setting boundaries for our well-being is super important and I make sure that I don't consume the news all-day everyday. So no news notifications, no endless scrolling and no refreshing for the latest update. I check once or twice a day and that's it - I need to set that boundary for myself and I encourage you to do the same if it's become a source of anxiety.
A lot of these points are referring to disconnection or moving away from a habit. But, branching off that idea of focus - it's equally important to set goals and expectations for growth and achievement. Living simply isn't just about detaching and being in a zen meditative state - it's about refocussing on what matters and setting strong expectations for yourself and others will really help facilitate that. For example, maybe your expectations stems on how you want to treat your body (like positive self-talk or a lifestyle shift), or maybe it's how you allow others to treat you (maybe eliminating a toxic relationship or setting boundaries within certain friend groups). Being open and setting expectations for yourself and others will ultimately help us to refocus, set boundaries and live more simply.
I hope these ideas have sparked some inspiration for alternative ways that you can integrate living simply in your life. I know often the recurring narrative is closet declutters and massive clear outs - but that's only one tangible aspect of simple living. It's so much more than materialism alone.