Ten ways to simplify your life
There’s no doubt that most of our days are so packed with hefty to-do lists, that fitting everything in becomes next to impossible. Many of us think that we have to constantly operate in overdrive to function at our best. But life doesn’t have to be frenetic. There are little lifestyle shifts that you can make to streamline your life so that you can find yourself happier and saner in 2013.
1. Stop buying what you don’t need. For those who believe that retail therapy is the solution to all your woes, this is for you. Or if you’re making a pretty good salary but have very little of it in the bank, you need to read on. Your first plan of action is to take a look at what you’re spending. That may mean perusing supermarket bills, going through a week’s purchases, whatever. Are you paying for cable but hardly watch television? You may want to pull the plug. Are you buying food and still throwing things away? Then buy those items you definitely need. Before you go and invest in another $200 bag, just look at the others that are taking up space in your closet and think again.
2. Celebrate events in a frugal manner. You don’t always have to go the route of the most expensive things to have a good time, especially these days when money is tight. If you and your husband normally buy individual birthday gifts for your children, just buy one gift from the two of you instead. If your anniversary is coming up, how about making a special dinner by candlelight at home and spending time reconnecting with each other. Chances are that will go over far better than an expensive restaurant.
3. Declutter your life. There’s nothing that can make you feel overwhelmed than looking at the things you have piled in your house. It isn’t just our homes that need decluttering, it’s our workspaces, our minds, and our hearts that are filled with junk. You know that creates chaos. So to create more tranquil and harmonious environments, start dumping those physical and emotional attachments you no longer need. Go through closets and if you haven’t worn it in two years, it’s time to go. The same goes for the useless trinkets that are piled up in your life and won’t allow you to breathe. You’ll be amazed how much freer you’ll feel in your body, soul and spirit once you start to declutter your life.
4. Vacation without splurging. It’s easy to want to escape to someplace else when vacation rolls around. But remember one thing. We live on an island that few of us really enjoy to the fullest. So instead of running overseas, spend some quiet time at the beach, or trek to parishes and places you haven’t seen in a while. Pack a picnic basket and do something different everyday. And if you want the feel of a different environment, there’s always a staycation.
5. Don’t change your vehicle unnecessarily. Yes, Barbadians love their cars, but that doesn’t mean we like making car payments. So instead of changing your car when the mood hits you, how about servicing it, making sure it’s in good condition and make use of that old adage. You know the one, “If it ain’t broke..…”
6. Save money every month. This one might seem like the hardest thing on the list, but you’re guaranteed to feel better about your life and your finances if you do. The best way to ensure you save is to pay yourself before paying your bills. Divert it to an account that you won’t touch if temptation hits. But try to build up a nest egg that can tie you over in case of life’s emergencies.
7. Spend time with your family. There’s no one who reaches the end of their life who says, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at work’. The familiar refrain is ‘I wish I’d spent more time with my family’. So before waiting to make those deathbed confessions, do it while you’re alive and kicking. Go on dates with your wife or husband, pick up your children from school, spend quality time with your ageing parents and be present with your family. You’ll be a better person for it.
8. Practise gratitude. Everyday thank God for something good that happened to you during the day. Whether it’s keeping you from accidents, being healthy, taking care of your family, or simply being alive. It’s good to have an attitude of gratitude.
9. Volunteer and help others. There’s nothing that can help your spirit like helping someone less fortunate than yourself. Sometimes that can be checking on, or taking food for an elderly neighbour, visiting the sick at the hospital, helping out at your children’s school or at church. Not only will you be helping others, but the sense of well being it brings is priceless.
10. Follow your dreams. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, get a degree, whatever; find ways to do it. We can’t all quit our jobs and take that leap because, let’s face it – we have obligations. But we can take classes online, or in the evenings, you can write a few chapters everyday, or build that business in your spare time. Whatever your passion is, try your best to fuel it so that there will be no need for regrets.