“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1838. In 1923 Coco Chanel said that “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” And recently, Marie Kondo started a revolution predicated on a simple question.
Soma agrees, simplicity is in our DNA. But another equal part of our DNA is realism. In such a complicated, complex world, where we are summoned by tiny devices every minute of the day and consumption is at our fingertips – how can we live minimally? Does it make sense to try? What do people even get out of minimalism? Many people report being happier and feeling less stressed when they are not bogged down by some of the many things that can overtake their lives and there are practical benefits to minimalism too. But on the opposite end, other people find the standards of minimalism anxiety-inducing. And the key to lowering your stress is not stressing out on how to do it. So, we’re going to share with you a few easy ideas to give you a healthy level of simplicity in your life. Because the math is reasonable enough, if you get rid of the things that don’t matter to you, you can focus on the things that do.
Here are our favorite ways to be minimal and happy enough.
What Matters Most. Make a list of the top five most important things in your life. Things that mean the most to you and make you happy – loved ones, health, the environment, food, fitness, music, dancing, being outdoors, quiet time, what have you. No judgments, no pretense, just five things you love more than anything else.
Strategize. Figure out how you can incorporate those five things into your everyday life, even in the smallest of ways. Sometimes just spending a minute sending a note to your parents or your best friend who moved away can make you feel connected to your loved ones. And maybe you don’t have time to work out every day, but fitness is important to you – consider riding your bicycle (or using a bike-share that many cities offer) to work, or using a standing desk, or sitting on a fitness ball. Maybe you love to dance but you can’t find the time or money for a dance class every day – start your day with a 5-minute dance party in your bedroom before you shower and try to carve out time once a week to dance with others. If you love quiet and your smartphone interrupts your days, give yourself airplane mode or do not disturb breaks from it once a day and get the quiet that you crave. Look for ways you can bring the things you love into the foreground.
Learn to say No. We sometimes spend time doing things we don’t want to do because we feel that we cannot say no. But we can. Our time is only ours and it is a finite resource, treat it as you do you your bank account and be thoughtful about how you spend it. Saying no extends beyond time as well. Sometimes we accumulate things we don’t want for the same reason or maybe we did want the item but no longer do. It is never too late to say no. When you’re walking through your space and you encounter something that doesn’t matter to you anymore, just say no. And find a home for it elsewhere. If someone gives you a gift you don’t love, exchange it for something that you will (and be sure to thank them – “the ___ you gave me was lovely but didn’t quite work in my space but I was able to get _____ in exchange and use it every day!” or so). A wise mother-in-law once said, “a gift shouldn’t be a burden.”
Above all, everything in moderation. Even minimalism! You don’t need to have a home that looks like it isn’t lived in, but when you look around, we hope you’ll be surrounded by people and things that you love and that make you happy.
And if you want to look at a list of other ideas for incorporating minimalism, see here.
Be simple, be happy, be well.