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What does It Mean to Simplify Your Life?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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As stress has been linked to more diseases, obesity and a variety of addictions, if you live a stressful life you may be told you need to simplify your life. What this means is to attempt through organization to cut down on things that make your life more complicated. To simplify your life, you may need to apply the process of organization not just to housecleaning, but to social aspects of your life, relationships, and career.

There are a number of magazines that are dedicated to helping you simplify your life. While some of these can boast great tips to help you reduce clutter and chaos, others are laughable in their recommendations. Suggestions of huge remodels of your home, and large and expensive furniture to help reduce clutter aren’t particularly simple. While these things might be helpful to some people, more often there are easier and cheaper ways to simplify your life. The following suggestions may help you lead a less chaotic life:

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Simplify Your Life at Home

This tends to mean organizing your home so things aren't difficult to find. It can start with going through your possessions to determine what you actually need. Hold a garage sale or donate items that are just taking up space. Invest in a shredder and get rid of paperwork that holds no meaning. You could also subscribe to fewer magazines, or contact catalog companies about being dropped from mailing lists. When children’s paperwork comes home from school, save a few items each year, possibly placing them in a special folder or scrapbook, and shred or recycle the rest. A life may also be simplified by delegating tasks like housework to others in the household (children, roommates, spouses, partner, or paid house \cleaners).

Simplify Your Life at Work

You may not need to change jobs but do consider the amount of stress your job entails. Are there ways to reduce stress at work, by either doing less work or not volunteering to work extra shifts, or to help with volunteer activities? Try to live in the moment, not bringing the worries of work home with you. Recognize that work may expect certain standards, but that you don’t have to necessarily exceed way above and beyond those standards. If stress in the workplace is high, consider other career options, or a reduced working schedule. Just as at home, focus on keeping work organized so that you don’t spend extra time looking for things you need. If you commute, contemplate a job nearer home, or moving closer to your job.

Simplify Your Life in Relationships and Society

Relationships are complex things and some are undoubtedly difficult to maintain. It’s a good idea to think about your relationships, and the way they serve you. Ask yourself how relationships make your life more complex, and whether these are “worth it.” For instance, you might look to spending less time with others who are only passing acquaintances. Don’t attend a party out of duty with someone you casually know; only attend if you want to. Learn how to say no to people who make unreasonable demands on you. While simplifying doesn’t mean becoming completely selfish, it does mean reducing demands on your time, especially those demands that will really create stress.

Engage in fewer activities, and have your children enrolled in fewer extracurricular activities. Sometimes the harried pace of life is far too stressful on adults and kids. Instead, work in time to spend by yourself, or to pursue easy, simple activities with family, like a family game night. Having unscheduled time to spend alone or with your children is one of the benefits of a simpler life.

In all, you won’t be able to take every recommendation on how to make life simpler. You may need to work at a stressful job. You might have very little personal time or very complex family relationships. Don’t stress out about how you can’t simplify your life. Instead, make little nips and tucks where you can and most importantly, give yourself permission to have an extremely complex life when necessary. There is nothing simple about feeling guilty for not leading a simpler life.

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calabama71
Post 2

@dinoleash: My life had kind of gotten out of control, too. My mother passed away and we spent a lot of time going through her things and brought most of it to my house. After a couple of weeks, we could hardly walk down the hall. I started feeling nervous and anxious every time I walked in my house because of all of the chaos.

I hired a professional organizer to help me get back on track. She came in on 3 different days and turned my house and my life around. Everything has a place now. She was such a huge source of encouragement for me.

To learn how to simplify your life, you must first find out what is making your life complicated in the first place.

DinoLeash
Post 1

One of the things that I did to “simplify” my life was to take Yoga classes. I was one of those people that stressed about everything that happened or was to happen. I started back to college this year and I was trying to juggle my schoolwork, help my kids with theirs, and work a full-time job. My life had become so chaotic, I couldn’t manage it anymore.

My husband bought me a membership to a local gym. Not only do I get to work out whenever I want, I get free Yoga classes with the membership. Since I have been taking Yoga, I have learned to slow down, meditate, and just relax. The stressors in my life have really been more manageable, making my life much simpler.

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