15 SIMPLE LIVING TIPS FOR LESS STRESS AND MORE FREEDOM
Simplifying life can help us create more ease, time and freedom with less stress. Here are 15 simple living tips to help you begin simplifying your life today.
TRYING SIMPLE LIVING FOR YOURSELF
Simple living is about streamlining and clearing the clutter from your life. Simplifying makes it easier to go about our day. We can get things done and still have more time for ourselves and the important people and things in our lives. A simpler lifestyle can give us less stress and afford us more freedom.
However, a simple life takes a little bit of work to become simple!
Our lives are becoming increasingly complex and finding ways to untangle them can feel unrealistic or difficult!
As Steve Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
To make the process easier for you and give you some suggestions to really help simplify your life, keep reading for some simple living tips for less stress and more freedom.
A QUICK NOTE ON GETTING STARTED
These are some simple living tips that I’ve found made a difference to me in my own journey to a more simplified life. There are plenty of others and the ones I’ve chosen here might not resonate with everyone. Yet, they’ll hopefully inspire and encourage you to explore what works best for you!
Take one aspect at a time, make a few changes and let them settle. Find out what gives you the most benefit and build on it.
Quick note – Don’t feel compelled to try them all at the same time! Unless you’re super-motivated and adaptable, it may be better to take it step-by-step. You want the changes you make to stick and have impact. You might not be able to keep up if you try to do them all at once. Remember that these are simple living tips, designed to make your life easier and not just extra pressures to cause you hassle or stress!
15 SIMPLE LIVING TIPS FOR LESS STRESS AND MORE FREEDOM
Try out these simple living tips and see which feel right to you. Take your time, build them up one at a time…
1. Declutter your home
Everything starts at home. Home is where we come back to at the end of a long day. It’s a safe space where we relax, have fun, entertain and spend time with our family. It’s a haven where we retreat from the world and recharge our batteries ready for the next day.
You want your home to be somewhere that you love to be, not that’s a burden on your time and energy.
You don’t want to be worrying about the state of your home, whether you need to clean it or when to get the next load of laundry on.
- Get on top of the clutter in your home, find ways to remove the unnecessary items that just take up your space, time and energy. Reduce the amount of stuff that you need to look after, tidy and clean.
- Develop routines for your housework so that the grime and dirty laundry doesn’t build up but gets done, little and often.
Your home will run smoothly and be much easier to look after with minimum effort from you. That means you can spend your time and energy focusing less on maintaining your home and more on living your life!
2. Learn to say no
Saying no is like a muscle. It gets stronger with use.
Life is full of demands and shiny things to tempt us or push us into saying yes.
Yet, when you say yes to everything because it all seems important, then nothing is important after all.
The only result is a full diary, more to do and probably more stress and less time for you.
Learn to say no when you’re being pushed to do something you don’t want to do, an invite for something you’d rather not join in with, an extra glass of wine when you’ve had enough, a pretty bag in the shops that you don’t really need to buy.
Saying no takes practice and it also takes discipline.
Focus on why you’re saying no and what you’ll be doing instead, rather than on what you’re missing out on by saying no.
3. Prioritise self-care
Everything happens at home, but it also usually starts with you.
When we’re overloaded, tired out or run down because we haven’t been looking after ourselves, then life seems much more overwhelming and tough.
It’s amazing how little niggles become frustrations. Frustrations that aren’t dealt with can turn into resentment and anger which is definitely not the way to lead and love a simple life!
Self-care and putting yourself first isn’t about being selfish. It’s about learning to find ways to empower and strengthen yourself, physically and emotionally, so you can be there for everyone who needs you, including yourself.
There are plenty of simple ways you can take care of yourself. Just small changes here and there to your daily routine can really help keep your body and mind strong and healthy.
They don’t have to add to your To Do list and you needn’t feel guilty for letting them take you away from other, supposedly ‘more important’ things.
If you’re struggling to get started or just need some encouragement, support and ideas, check out my FREE Self-Care Challenge.
4. Limit screen-time
Step away from the screens as often as you can to give your brain and eyes a rest. Explore other ways to spend your time. Don’t feel compelled to reply instantly to every ping, buzz and notification on your phone or from your inbox. You don’t need to be available to everyone 24/7.
5. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is fast becoming one of my favourite simple living tips.
Gratitude is something that we so often overlook but I believe it has a fundamental role in determining our happiness in life.
Are you happy? Would you like more clothes? More money? A bigger house? More shoes? More friends?
If the answer is yes, have you thought about what happens when you get these things? Will you be wanting more? Bigger? Better?
If we’re being honest, I think many of us wish we had something different because the grass is always greener on the other side!
Well, what about spending time looking after your own grass and seeing if that makes you happy.
Instead of wishing for more of what you haven’t got, be happy and grateful for what you have now.
- Think about 5 things you’re grateful for in life.
- The things that make you smile and get out of bed each morning.
- Things that you wouldn’t want to be without.
Focus on them, prioritise them regularly. Feel more content with these 5 things to enrich your life instead of being envious of the things that you don’t have but wish you had. You might not really want or need them anyway!
Read more about gratitude or try my 30-day Gratitude Challenge.
6. Avoid over-spending
Sometimes we have expenses that need to be paid for but, wherever possible, avoid wasting money on things you don’t really need. Shop mindfully, save wisely, create a budget and stick to it. Spend money on things that will add meaning and value to your life. Avoid stressing yourself out through debt, juggling multiple store cards, or not knowing where your money goes each month. If you struggle with debt, face it head on and seek support if you feel you need it.
7. Identify your priorities
There’s one thing about simplifying life that I hadn’t appreciated until I was a way into my own journey.
When you’re trying to get rid of the clutter, it’s part and parcel of the process that you have to work out what that clutter is. In identifying the clutter, you’re forcing yourself to prioritise and work out what’s important.
In the past I would have said that everything is important, otherwise why would it be in my life? But actually, when I really think about it, there are very few things that are truly, deeply important. My kids, my family, health and happiness, my relationships, my time and the legacy I’d like to leave for the world.
My priorities might change over time, but essentially these are what drives me onwards every day.
Identifying these priorities makes my life a lot simpler.
I focus on doing things that honour these priorities and do something towards them every day if I can. The rest of what I thought was important in life takes a back seat and I don’t clutter my brain, heart or time with the things that don’t matter so much.
Further reading: For more about living intentionally, you might like this post on What is Intentional Living – a beginner’s guide to finding clarity and direction in your every day.
8. Take action when you need to
Sometimes we hit problems in life, big and small. Sometimes they go away on their own but, often, problems require sorting. If you have a problem, need to make a change, require support, help or advice, I encourage you to seek it. Procrastinating, making excuses, blaming others or hiding your head in the sand won’t help. Be strong and make that first little step by taking action.
9. Create space in your diary
One of the main motivating factors for me in simplifying my own life was that I wanted more time. Not necessarily more time to fit things in, but just more time for me, my kids, my family and my sanity!
I wanted to do less, be less busy, less stressed out because I was always chasing my tail. I craved more free time, more down time that wasn’t filled with a list of things to do and places to be.
I wanted to have time to explore new opportunities, read books, play with my kids, watch mindless TV, take a nap.
This tip is way down the list but really it should be near the top. One of the most impactful ways of creating less stress and more freedom for yourself is by creating space in your diary.
- Stop overbooking, underestimating how long things take, committing to everything.
- Forget FOMO (fear of missing out!), learn to say no (see above), be intentional (see below).
- Create space in the form of free time. Carve out blocks of time when you don’t have to be anywhere or do anything apart from what you feel like doing at that particular moment.
- Keep it simple, uncomplicated and go with the flow.
10. Write things down
Sometimes my life gets a little busy and my brain goes into overdrive. It’s at times like this that I need to remember lots of things but it’s also usually these times when I seem to remember the least! I think my mind gets foggy with too many thoughts so my simple solution is to write things down. Whether it’s a quick checklist of things I need to do today or a shopping list saved on my phone for when I’m next at the shops, I write everything down. This stops me forgetting things and keeps my head clear for the more important things in life!
11. Delegate, automate and organise
This is one of my favourite simple living tips! Make your life easier and therefore a little simpler by taking away some of those routine tasks. Here are some ideas…
- Walking the dog
- Paying bills by direct debit
- Order your grocery shop online
- Set reminders and alerts on your phone
- Your paper filing system
- Your emails
- The medicine cabinet/box, pantry/larder/food cupboards, make-up and toiletries
These are just some ideas…
Look around your home and check your diary. Think about the things in your life that you need, require or use often and ways you can make them easier and simpler.
12. Simplify your wardrobe
We make dozens of decisions every day. Many tiny, a minority enormous. Some internet sources estimate that an adult makes about 35,000 conscious decisions each day which is a lot of decisions!
One of the first decisions of our day is what we’re going to wear. We throw open the wardrobe doors and often look for inspiration, only to be confronted with too much choice, too little that we actually want to wear and not enough time to give it some careful thought. The result is confusion, stress and throwing on something similar to what we wore yesterday! Sound familiar?
I’m the first one to admit I’m no style guru but I do like to look put together and vaguely looking nice. It makes me FEEL better for the day ahead if I think I LOOK ok.
One of the first simplifying projects I undertook and the one that still makes a big difference to me every day, is simplifying my wardrobe.
By getting rid of the clothes I never wore, curating a wardrobe full of clothes that I loved to wear and felt good in, finding my signature style and stopping buying random stuff just because it was in the sales, I learnt that less truly can be more.
My wardrobe is smaller but I know everything in it is just right for me. All the pieces coordinate with each other and I can pull an outfit together in the space of minutes.
That’s one less difficult decision made in my day. And, more time to do other things and stress less each morning. Bingo!
If you’d like to give it a go for yourself, try this resource:
13. Keep a diary
Along the same lines as writing things down, I like to keep a diary on my phone where I record every activity and appointment. I use Google calendars which I share with my husband so we can both see what’s going on, where and when. I check my calendar at the start of every month, week and in the evening for the next day so there aren’t any big surprises!
14. Listen to yourself
As one of my simple living tips I can’t stress this one enough although it might not seem the most practical way of simplifying your life!
Believe in your mind, body and heart. If they’re telling you something isn’t right, listen. Make changes, try something new, ditch an old habit, learn a new skill, give up something.
A simple life is a freer, flexible one. Make your life as uncomplicated as it can be by decluttering, minimalizing, organising, planning, cutting back and streamlining.
The purpose of this is not just to see how simple you can make things, but it allows space for you to listen to what you need and want in life.
Personal growth, self-development, time for family, making memories, living life to the full. These are the ultimate aims of simplifying your life but to make that happen for you, you need to listen to yourself.
Ask yourself some searching questions, for example…
- What do you need?
- What makes you happy?
- What inspires you?
Once you listen to yourself (and not the noisy world around you) then you can identify your priorities, what’s important and what’s not.
15. Get outdoors
Whenever I need to find calm, peace or clarity I go for a walk. I take a few minutes, striding out in the fresh air.
Moving my body, having time to reflect and think, makes me work through the thoughts in my head.
Nature has such a calming influence on me. It helps me put small problems into perspective, helps me work through big problems and simplifies my jumbled thoughts so I can take easy, effective and strategic action.
Try a walk today, even for just 5 minutes, and let me know how you find it!
Of course, if walking isn’t your thing, try running, karate, yoga, meditation, reading – anything you enjoy which calms and grounds you. Go back to basics, do more of what makes you happy and keep it simple and sustainable.
YOUR NEXT STEP…
I hope you enjoyed these simple living tips and you found them helpful.
Clearing clutter, in your home, schedule or mind is a great first step to simplifying your life.
To guide you through the process I’ve created a Declutter Starter Kit, packed with projects, tips and advice to help you start decluttering (even if you have a lot of stuff and not a lot of time or energy!).
Pop your details in the box below to get your copy…