I believe the best way to simplify your life is to start from the heart and then work outwards.
If you’re interested in pursuing a minimalist lifestyle full of freedom and ease, then here are 17 heart-centred ways to simplify your life—your home, your schedule and most importantly your mind.
17 Heart-Centred Ways to Simplify Your Life
1. DECIDE TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
I can almost guarantee you that right now, you’re beating yourself up over something. Maybe you let someone down, spent too much at Target or failed to complete everything on your to-do list—whatever it is, it’s OK to forgive yourself and move on.
Here are a few tips to help:
- Apologise when appropriate
- Consider what you can learn from the experience
- Take steps to right the wrong (again, only if appropriate)
- Breath deep and remind yourself of your humanity
- Act with self-kindness
Forgiveness is required to deal with most mental and physical clutter, which makes it a great place to begin on your simple living journey.
RELATED POST: 5 Steps to Letting Go Of Expectations
2. ALLOW YOURSELF TO LINGER
Do you find yourself rushing through the day, either from place to place or from task to task? If so, why not allow yourself to linger …
- When you arrive at a destination, sit quietly in the car for a few minutes before getting out.
- Sit at your desk and take a few deep breaths before turning on your computer.
- Stand up and stretch between items on your to-do list.
I encourage you to create little pockets of space throughout your day and I think you’ll be surprised by the flow-on effect in other areas of your life.
3. LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLE’S STORIES
When we listen to other people tell their stories, we’re reminded that the world is not black and white. We become slower to judge and quicker to show compassion (both towards others and ourselves).
Talk to friends and strangers alike and really listen to what they have to say. Alternatively, I love a good memoir. A few personal favourites include:
- Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
- The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
- The Happiest Refugee: My Journey from Tragedy to Comedy by Anh Do
4. STOP WEARING THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE
Whether physically or emotionally uncomfortable, nothing in your closet should make you feel bad about yourself.
Try keeping a journal and notice if there’s any correlation between what you wear and how you feel. It might help you think differently about your wardrobe.
Related Post: 7 Questions to Declutter Your Closet
5. ASK FOR HELP
I know it’s hard to do. I’m not good at it either but I keep practising and you should too. Let’s change the narrative and stop glorifying self-reliance.
Humans have been working together in communities since the dawn of time. There’s no shame in asking or needing help.
6. DESIGNATE A CLUTTER-FREE ZONE
Choose one space in your home that you’re committed to keeping clutter-free. For me, this space is my kitchen island. It’s a focal point in my small home and almost always in my line of sight.
Every time I look at it, I feel peaceful and at ease—even when my day has been anything but calm!
7. MAKE TIME FOR SELF-REFLECTION
Regular readers have heard me say this a thousand times already but I’m going to keep saying it anyway. If you want to live a simpler, more intentional life then you must make time for self-reflection.
For those who are interested, I recommend creating a journaling habit or checking out my short course 7 Simple Days — but at a bare minimum, take five minutes each day to check in with yourself. A simple, “How are you feeling?” is a great way to begin.
Self-reflection is essential to simple living because the better you know yourself, the easier it will be to see what does and doesn’t belong in your life.
8. GET OUTSIDE
Take a deep breath of fresh air, look up at the big blue sky, and for a few minutes let yourself feel small.
9. LET GO OF ANYTHING YOU’RE KEEPING OUT OF OBLIGATION OR GUILT
Look around your home. What are you keeping purely because you feel guilty about the money you spent? Or maybe you feel ashamed about your purchase (and now it feels easier to keep it hidden in your closet than to face your mistake head-on).
I’ve been there and keeping it will only make you feel worse in the long run. Let it all go. Go back to #1 on this list—forgive yourself and move on.
Do you need more help decluttering? Subscribe below and get your copy of Mindful Decluttering, my free step-by-step decluttering guide and workbook.
10. DELETE YOUR EMAILS
In case you need to hear this—not everything requires a response. An email is a request for your time and attention and it’s not unkind to protect your space when you need to. It’s OK to be unavailable.
Also, a bit of tough love … if you’re saving an email to read later … you probably never will. Delete it and move on.
11. CREATE UPLIFTING ROUTINES + RITUALS
I’m a big fan of simple routines. Look for little tweaks, things you can do every day without much extra effort in order to:
The little things we do every day are powerful. Be intentional with your routines and use them to add value to your life.
Related Post: 14 Ways to Stop Living for the Weekends
12. GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO GRIEVE
I believe that everyone is grieving something—a loved one, a broken heart, or an unfulfilled dream—and we need time to work through these feelings.
Why? So we can create space to look forward.
Grieving helps us clear mental clutter and (believe it or not) physical clutter too. Often, we can’t let go of “stuff” in our homes because we haven’t let go of the memories or identities that our items represent.
13. MAKE TIME EVERY DAY TO UNPLUG
Clearly, as a blogger, I think the Internet is a special place. I’ve learned so many new ideas and met so many amazing people … BUT I’ve also lost hours of my life browsing nonsense.
Find a balance that works for you by creating boundaries and finding time every day to go offline.
Related Post: How to Consume Social Media Mindfully
14. BEFORE YOU BUY SOMETHING NEW …
Next time you feel the urge to buy something new, pause and ask yourself “What do I really need right now?”.
As a reformed shopaholic, I know that shopping is often a way of managing feelings we feel ill-equipped to deal with. What we really need is a shoulder to lean on, help with a problem, or perhaps even a long nap!
Shopping might be temporarily numb your feelings but you won’t find long-lasting relief unless you deal with the heart of the issue.
Related Post: How to Stop Mindless Shopping
15. LET A LOVED ONE KNOW YOU CARE
One of my biggest regrets is not making enough time for a loved one who is no longer with us. I’ve forgiven myself but if I could do it all over again, I’d do things differently.
Taking time for our loved ones is also a great way to reconnect with our priorities— and the more clarity we have about what matters, the less we worry about the things that don’t.
16. TAKE A BREAK
Learn to rest when you need to. This might be as simple as getting up from your desk and making a cup of tea—or it might mean taking an extended break from a project or obligation.
17. DO ONE LESS THING
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to add just “one more thing” to your plate?
One more responsibility at work, one more thing to do around the house, one more event on your calendar.
“It’s just one more thing!“
Except it’s not. One more thing, and then one more thing, and then one more thing … you get the idea. All those little things add up and it’s how we end up feeling busy and completely overwhelmed.
If this feels relatable, then reclaim your time by doing one less thing. Sit with it for a while, let it feel normal, and then repeat the process until you find the balance that works for you.
More Resources to Simplify Your Life
If you enjoyed this post, here are more resources to simplify your life:
- 20 Ways I’ve Simplified My Life
- A Simple Guide to A Simple Wardrobe
- Simple Eating: How How I Learned to Save Money, Reduce Stress + Spend Less Time in the Kitchen
- 3 Hard Truths About Simple Living
- Don’t Wait to Enjoy the Simple Life
What simple living tips have made the biggest impact in your life? Let us know in the comments! x