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The art of simple living

  • Published at 05:23 pm November 13th, 2018
WT-  Nov 13, 2018

The key to a simpler life doesn’t lie with adherence to a strict set of rules, rather it’s about asking yourself what makes you happy, pursuing the answer passionately and cutting out the rest. It’s about shifting gears and slowing down, living mindfully and with intention.

We live in an age of hectic schedules - with one day blending into the next - and rampant consumerism - believing our happiness lies in acquiring the next big thing. We stress about things that don’t really matter to us, only to find ourselves drained and wishing life was simpler. Why isn’t it?

The key to a simpler life doesn’t lie with adherence to a strict set of rules, rather it’s about asking yourself what makes you happy, pursuing the answer passionately and cutting out the rest. It’s about shifting gears and slowing down, living mindfully and with intention.

Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. Here are some tips and tricks to apply in different areas of your life and make things easier.

The psychology of decluttering

The first step to achieving mental clarity is decluttering. If you’re drowning in clutter, and that makes you depressed, then all you have to do is tackle it one old receipt at a time. 

Start with the least overwhelming - things you don’t have to think twice about throwing away like expired credit cards and bottles of foundation, dried-up nail polish, old ticket stubs - and work your way up to items of greater value. With those, ask yourself if it holds any actual purpose in your life: if the answer is no, it has got to go. 

If the bulk of your clutter is paper, consider going paperless. Who needs takeout menus and instruction manuals anymore when you can find them online? Opt for e-statements instead of bills that pile up on your desk and gift/donate those notebooks you’ll never use. 

Yet, somehow all the junk find their way back into your life eventually right? The trick to avoiding accumulating clutter is to make a habit of letting go, which means consciously letting go of small things every single day. It’s not as bad as it sounds, trust us. 

Say yes, say no

Say yes to activities you’re passionate about - like writing that book you never get around to or finally starting that project you’ve always dreamed of; say yes to activities you don’t feel like doing but you know will benefit you - like eating better and stretching to work the rust out of your joints. 

A major reason we find ourselves exhausted is that we overcommit our time and efforts. To manage your time better, say no to multitasking by practising time-blocking; say no to social obligations you’re iffy about; say no to tasks out of your job description. Basically, give yourself a break.

Detoxifying digitally

This one’s all about unsubscribing to mass mailing lists that you waste energy deleting individually, trying to check your inbox at fixed time slots only, resisting the urge to scroll through news feeds that don’t have an ounce of anything newsworthy and occasionally considering turning off notifications - like on weekends and mornings. Social media can consume so much mental space without leading to productivity, it’s up to us whether we allow it. 

Financial dieting

No different from dieting for health purposes, to manage your finances better you have to actively make better choices as a consumer - that means you have to stop spending money you don’t have. Credit cards are easier to carry than cash, but that doesn’t mean you need to accumulate debt by having three different ones! Narrow down your spending by asking yourself the tough questions - do you really need another pair of shoes? Must you go to that restaurant that’ll leave you bankrupt just for the sake of being hip? 

Keep your mind at ease by having a financial safety cushion; ideally, you should aim to save 20 percent of your monthly income. To help ensure you never miss a bill payment deadline, set up an auto-pay system with your bank, let them take care of paying your child’s tuition fee or your monthly rent on time. 

Embracing minimalist style

Gone are the days of 10-step Korean skincare routines, who has the time for that anymore? Pare down your skincare regime to minutes with the help of all-in-one skincare products like tinted moisturizers with an SPF. 

If you have a passion for fashion, go all out. If not, why bother? Show fad fashion the cold-shoulder and invest in high-quality timeless pieces such as black velvet sari blouses or georgette floral kameezes that’ll have you looking elegant no matter what. 

Kate Middleton, the picture of sophistication, is an advocate for style repeats, and we can all take a page out of her book when it comes to this. Save yourself the stress of buying a new outfit for every other dawat or lunch date and go with the tried and tested.