A Simple Living Guide
In this automated world, we constantly process an ongoing stream of information and feel perpetually overwhelmed, overworked, and triggered by societal expectations that can have long-lasting, damaging effects on our spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Our nervous systems are in a constant fight or flight state, out of both sync and step. Our homes feel cluttered, amassing a lifetime of items that serve little purpose and that no longer spark joy. We partake in abbreviated self-care practices that are effective in their essential efficiency but have lost their original intention to restore, replenish, and heal our bodies, slowly and with care.
We are disconnected from our ancestors, from nature, from ourselves. Feeling adrift, unmoored, and living at such a fast pace, that we have lost sight of our original destination as we float in a sea of debris.
So what can we do? How do we find stability as we navigate through these turbulent waters?
While there are many ideas that we could unpack and discuss, I instinctively and repeatedly gravitate to a singular theme in times of emotional upheaval.
The theme of simplicity has always resonated deeply in my heart, helping to keep me anchored in an ever-changing tide. An ethos that has encouraged a beautiful relationship with the lifelong ritual of keeping our home and living spaces simple and thoughtfully curated with items and furnishings that we truly treasure and harness and diffuse subtle, positive energy daily. From my self-care practices to how we maintain our living environment, each element and custom is mindfully and lovingly selected to nourish our joy and create space for wellness, stillness, and gratitude.
Now, these simple practices don’t always come naturally. I occasionally have to remind myself to take a moment to do a mental inventory, removing or adding what might or might not serve me in this season. The nearly effortless ritual of just reminding myself is profoundly cathartic and impactful and always results in a rejuvenating feeling of clarity - a gentle return to calm and clear waters.
There is so much that can be explored on the topic of simplification. Still, I want to share some of our favourite ways to add peace, calm, and simplicity to your daily life by creating visual space and fostering a natural, non-toxic environment that nourishes your entire nervous system and general wellbeing.
Every day, make yourself a warm beverage and take time to sip it slowly, inhaling the aromatic steam as you welcome the fragrant, delicious nourishment into your body. It can be hot water with lemon, a cup of your favourite herbal tea (I gravitate towards nutrient-dense moringa leaf with wild mint and roasted dandelion root with chicory) or a rich, dark roast coffee with a drizzle of creamy oat milk. Take the time to enjoy it. Don’t rush. You deserve this moment.
Avoid plastics and short-lived disposables. This includes everyday things like Tupperware, plastic bottles and cutlery, excessively packaged food, trendy technology, and battery-operated plastic items such as children’s toys. These items do not nourish our minds, bodies, or spirit, and they are damaging to the environment. Opt for sustainable and reusable materials such as ethically sourced wooden objects, bamboo, natural or tree-derived rubber, glass, and stainless steel. Apply similar principles when sourcing textiles and fabrics for your home. Organic cotton, hemp, and flax-derived linen are always my go-to for bedroom linens, towels, and clothing. You can also find lots of beautiful thrifted clothing in these sustainable fabrics!
Build an internal relationship with plants. Explore herbs and flowers that align with your intentions or needs in this season, and enjoy them as part of your self-care ritual. This may take the form of a herbal tea, tincture, spice or flower essence. Some excellent choices are Bach Flower Essences and plant supports such as Adaptogens, which help us to process stress and anxiety (i.e. Ashwagandha, Eleuthero Root, Tulsi Basil, Astralagus etc.) or Nervines, that support and replenish the nervous system (i.e. Oatstraw, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, Lavender, etc.). Plants are indeed our most significant allies.
Adopt a non-negotiable practice that is technology-free. Something that fuels your body or calms your spirit. Whether it includes a warm bath by candlelight, an outdoor walk along your favourite pathway, snuggling with a beautiful book, sitting quietly with a cup of tea after the kids are in bed, or a sweaty workout - unplug, and dedicate time just for yourself.
Donate regularly and shop with intention. I love to purge items that no longer spark joy or are not used habitually, and I frequently donate clothing, furniture, and miscellaneous objects that have lost their essential purpose in our home. Less truly is more, particularly when the items left behind are cherished and memorable. The same criteria can be used when making a new purchase. Will this item enhance our home? Does it enrich my life or nurture my self-care practice? Only purchase an unessential item if it brings you pure delight. Lean towards something that has been lovingly crafted by a small, local business or independent maker, choosing organic products that are ethically and sustainably produced.
Fall in love with second-hand and vintage goods. My entire home is furnished with magical antiques and refreshing repurposed decor. My closet contains beautiful pre-loved garments, sturdy retro clogs, and simple, practical bags. The old axiom that ‘someone’s old is another person’s gold’ really does ring true. Thrifting is an enriching practice that is environmentally thoughtful and emotionally energizing when you find a unique treasure and give it a new lease on life!
Find a few moments each day to reconnect and commune with nature. Exposure to the majesty of nature not only makes you feel better emotionally and spiritually, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of Adrenaline, Cortisol, Norepinephrine - the three major stress hormones. Stand outside in bare feet, breathe deeply, reflect on those that came before you, and your bold journey ahead.
You are an essential part of this extraordinary world.
Reach for non-toxic cleaning products. Your home is your temple and a reflection of you. Conventional cleaning products are laden with harmful irritants, chemicals, contaminants, and harsh synthetic fragrances that can adversely impact your health. Treat your home with tenderness and love by cleaning with natural, non-toxic formulas such as pure vinegar, fresh lemon, and baking soda. Simple, very inexpensive, and yet remarkably effective!
Discard all artificially fragranced products. Everything from laundry detergent to dish soap, shampoo, body perfume, aromatic candles, and home cleaning products is saturated with artificial fragrances. These lab-created scents might smell pleasant, but when used in our homes or on our bodies, they emit VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), including formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, alcohol, and esters. These harmful chemicals can cause health problems ranging from headaches, dizziness, and allergy symptoms to asthma attacks, respiratory tract infections, and more. So, when you eventually need to replace products for your simple sanctuary, opt for natural beeswax candles, essential oil and herbal-based personal care products, and unscented natural detergents and cleansers.
Turn off your Wireless Internet Router at night. Nearly all of us have a Wifi router in our home these days - which makes connecting a breeze! However, Wifi routers also emit Electromagnetic Frequency radiation (EMF) around the clock, which can disrupt our sleep, reduce our cells’ ability to absorb healthy and crucial nutrients, and shed toxins and free radicals. The simplest solution to this concern is to turn off your router before you head to bed and turn it back on in the morning or when you next need to access the world-wide-web.
Eat organically and locally whenever possible. Organic food can often be cost-prohibitive and may feel out of reach for many, but if you get creative, you can nourish your body with healthy, pesticide, and GMO-free foods all year round. Look for local CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), community gardens, and farm shares. Often, you can pay in small, advanced installments and receive a bounty of vibrant vegetables, fruits, herbs, eggs, dairy, and grass-fed meats during peak growing season at a fraction of what you might pay at a grocery store. You’ll be supporting your magnificent body and outstanding local farmers. A win all around!
It might feel overwhelming to take on the process of simplifying, and this list might feel long and daunting. The idea of converting to cleaner and greener products might also seem expensive! However, the point isn’t to replace everything you own with sustainable alternatives right away or toss out all of your plastic items and instantly replace them with an equal number of wooden or glass versions. That can be wasteful and clutter-inducing in itself! The hope is that with a bit of conscious effort and creativity, we can intentionally choose to live joyfully with less, concentrating on slowly narrowing down our vast collection of household goods to a more manageable gathering of items and practices that are thoughtful, treasured and environmentally conscious.
Once you start down this mindful path, you’ll find that these practices come to you naturally and intuitively. Allow your heart to be your guide. There is no need to conquer a mountain in a day. Remember that the simple act of just reminding yourself to simplify is an outstanding accomplishment in itself.
‘Great acts are made up of small deeds.
- Lao Tzu
If you’re looking to expand on the topic of slow and natural living, check out this post!
All my love,