Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time writing and reflecting on how life has changed over the last couple of years. I like to do this now and then because it helps me maintain perspective.
When I look back, I’m struck by the difference in how I feel. A decade ago, life was heavy and suffocating. I felt weighed down by settling down in a new country with a 4-year-old, starting my own business, single motherhood and responsibilities, but it was more than just my to-do list.
I can see now that it was also my expectations. There was so much pressure to do and be more, and it never eased, no matter what I accomplished. I felt like I could never take my foot off the gas. I felt the instant need to figure out what is next?
These days, things are different and I’m grateful. I’ve learned how to balance slow and simple living with my dreams and ambitions, in a way that feels right for me.
Today I share five easy things you can do to live a simpler life too so keep reading.
Life is almost always messy – but when you live simply, the mess is meaningful. You love and live and learn in a way that aligns with your hopes, dreams and values. Start small and start now, and in time you’ll slowly shift the balance so that you have more of what matters and less of what doesn’t.
Decide what you don’t want to do
We all have things we want to do and beliefs about who we should be – but how long is your list? And does it represent what you really care about?
The hard truth is you can’t simplify your life without letting some things go. You can’t have it all, but you can find balance by defining your priorities. A big part of this is making an intentional choice about what to walk away from.
Practice the doing nothing
Life is simpler when you slow down and create space to breathe—but how often do we allow ourselves to do so?
We do so out of habit and to some extent, fear. After all, many of us have been told to strive for productivity above all else and that there’s no greater character flaw than being “lazy”.
Doing nothing is something we all need to do more of. Switching off in this way allows us to forget about the outside world – where we’re accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – and instead allow ourselves to enjoy a moment of calm, whilst enabling us to consider what’s really important to us.
Prioritise Joy every day
This is simple but oh-so-important: prioritise joy in your life.
Don’t wait for tomorrow or “someday”. Instead, the time to act is now – keeping in mind that joy can be found in the little things.
A scent that reminds you of home, your favourite song on the radio, a cup of comforting vanilla chai latte, a walk in the forest or a long, deep breath under the stars – these are the things that ground you.
Create space to reflect often
Finally, I’ve learned that simple living is the result of hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny decisions. Collectively, these small choices to slow down, respect your boundaries, and care for yourself matter more than sweeping changes like a new career or moving home.
The key to creating this inner shift is frequent self-reflection. Create space to look at your life with curious eyes. Can you identify mental clutter, such as:
- Unreasonable expectations and perfectionism (both of which lead to worrying about things that don’t genuinely matter)
- Self-sabotage (are you creating unnecessary drama or complications out of fear?)
- “Should-do’s” that don’t serve you (“Much of what weighs you down isn’t yours to carry” — source unknown)
- Excessive worrying or anger (honour your feelings but know when to let go)