Entire books have been written on how to slow down, enjoy simple pleasures, and lead a simple lifestyle. These books exist because people often long for simplicity, but don’t know how to get out of the rat race long enough to learn it. The good news is, you can start small by implementing some simple tips and suggestions. Here are some ideas.
Ten minutes is a doable time increment for even the busiest person, so it’s a good place to start. Pick when your ten minutes will be – right before bed, maybe, or at noon. The point is to be quiet and focused during those ten minutes, and to enjoy a simple pleasure for that time. Draw a picture, read a book, meditate, write a few lines in a journal. Make it a quiet ten minutes – no phone, no television, no computer.
If you do this every day, you will carve out an hour and ten minutes each week. Think of it as a small investment in your simpler future.
Many of us feel driven by what we think we must do; we live in a world of “have to’s” and “need to’s.” But do we really? Sit down and evaluate things for a moment, and consider what you really need versus what you want.
Are you running around with no time to breathe because you have too many commitments? Ask yourself tough questions – do these things/events/people really need you there? If you said no, could they still carry on? Chances are, yes, they could. The same goes for your kids’ activities. Where can you say no? When does an opportunity become a burden? No one can do everything. Sometimes, you really have to pick and choose.
This is an area where people often feel conflict. Many of us admire people who can do without television and movies and computer games, and who get their pleasures from simple things like a walk in the forest. But although we may admire them, we don’t feel like we can do the same. Chances are, though, that those simple-pleasure people you admire were once in the rat race, too – talk to them about it (more on that below).
In the meantime, think about your entertainment choices. Entertainment is a pleasure, and if you’re moving toward enjoying simple pleasures, maybe you need to think about where you get that pleasure.
One idea is to start with one simple replacement. Instead of watching a television program, take a walk. Notice the landscape, the colors, the shapes, and lines. Little by little, replace electronic, complicated pleasure with simple ones.
Talk to Each Other
Prioritizing relationships is key to living simply. In fact, as you connect with others who live simply, you can ask them about how they came to that place. Putting people ahead of tasks and “to do’s” is a way to connect with your community and enjoy the simple pleasure of companionship.