06: Establish routines
There's a podcast episode about this! Listen here.
My morning ritual is very important to me. I hate when something is going on that causes me to miss my morning ritual.
That happens very rarely because my morning ritual begins pretty early in the morning. It's only when we're traveling and I have to get up early to leave for the airport for a trip or something like that that gets in the way. I feel a big difference when that happens, and it's not a good difference!
My morning ritual has transformed my life so much. It has simplified so many aspects of my life.
Another thing we did to simplify is we started living in smaller homes. Back before all of this, before I decluttered, before this part of my story began, we lived in a pretty large house. It was definitely big for our family size at the time. It was about 3,000 square feet and we only had two of our kids. In my opinion and experience, it was too much for us.
It was so much maintenance and cleaning and it wasn't really worth it at the time because I was so overwhelmed. I was fighting depression and was pregnant with our third baby, Hudson. We couldn't even afford to furnish all of it, so it just felt empty, dull and high maintenance.
We ended up downsizing and started to live in smaller houses. Nothing super tiny or anything, just smaller. Small enough to where the potential landlord would say something like, “Are you sure this house is big enough for you guys?”
Friends and family would comment regularly on the fact that we were living pretty small. It didn't feel too small to us but small enough to where it got comments for sure. It was a little bit against the norm, even now when we have four kids. And now that we're going to be adopting, our family is going to grow even more.
Our house is about 2300 -2400ish square feet andthree bedrooms (plus our office). We work from home, we’ve got an office that's an extension of the garage. So even now our house really isn't that big for a family my size. It's definitely the biggest house that we've had since our big downsize.
I can handle a little more square footage now. I've got less stress and I'm not in a crazy season of struggling anymore. My kids are older, they help out a lot, my husband's here to help, we have a housekeeper that comes once or twice a month and helps.
We still live a little smaller than most people with our family size, and it's great. I love a small house. I think there's something really beautiful and there's something to be said for small living. And I love when people message me and they say, “You know, I've got two kids and we live in a thousand square feet and we just love it. We're outside all the time.”
It's so true, you get out and you start to live. You enjoy the outdoors. You really make your little home count, you know? It matters to you more. It's more important to you.
08: GET MOVING
Another thing that I did to simplify my life was I started walking. This might sound silly and you might wonder what that has to do with simplifying, but it really does.
I started walking as a way to simplify my health. I think that the health and wellness industry is a money hungry industry of unnecessary advice, and I got sick of it. I just wanted to feel better. I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to feel like I had more energy.
I wanted to get moving, but I really didn't like to exercise, so I just started to walk.
What I found was that, first of all, I love taking walks. Whether my kids come along or Brian's home and they stay with him and I go by myself, I love to walk.
I started to let my thoughts wander. I started to get really grateful. Then I started to intentionally think of things that I was grateful for while I walked. I call those my “gratitude walks.”
Sometimes I do that, sometimes I listen to a podcast or an audio book, sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I pray, sometimes I have absolutely no agenda and I just go for a walk and see where the Lord takes me. But walking simplified my health. I lost weight. I feel better.
I do more than just walking now, but I still walk almost every day. It's a simple practice that I am really fond of that's really changed my life.
09: IMPLEMENT A NOTHING DAY
Our "nothing day" used to be once a week. Now I guess I still have a “nothing day” once a week, but really a very intentional, absolutely zero things on my calendar day, once a month for sure.
Sundays I like to turn off social media, at least for the most part. I don't look at my phone much. There's no work, unless I really want to because I love what I do. Sometimes I getting inspired and want to jot down a blog post or something. It's just rest, whatever rest looks like that day for me.
“Nothing day” is when you feel pulled really thin and you just need a break. “Nothing day” is no phone alerts, no phone at all, maybe. No capturing things for social media. I just unwind. Maybe we'll go out and do something fun as a family, maybe we'll just hang out and do nothing at home. That's usually what happens, but the point is it's just a day of “vegging out” and just “being.”
It's something that is so overlooked and not very often scheduled and it needs to be. It's so good for the soul.
10: SIMPLIFY YOUR EATING
This goes back to the whole thing about the health and wellness industry- it's overwhelming! We eat at least three times a day and making food can be so complicated. It can really take over your day.
A friend of mine, Amanda Wilson, is an incredible Instagrammer for the health and wellness industry. I had a couple coaching calls with her about two years ago, and among other helpful things, she taught me about food prepping instead of meal prepping.
Food prepping is when you prep basic foods so that you can put plates together for meals, instead of deciding what you're going to eat way ahead of time, making the meal, and putting it in the fridge.
Because what was happening for me was I eat by mood, so I would make a meal and put it aside and I wouldn't want that later. What if I didn’t want leftover spaghetti or whatever it is when it came time to eat it? I was wasting food and opting for convenient takeout far too often.
Instead, I started prepping basic foods that I know I eat all the time. For example, grilling up some potatoes, grilling some chicken and seasoning it lightly with salt and pepper so it can be used for any recipe, making some cauliflower rice and putting that in the fridge... things like that. Things that could be made as part of a meal but aren't already a designated meal.
That really helped me and it simplified my meals.
I would encourage you to find a way that you need to simplify your eating, if that's feeling like a point of stress for you. I have a really good friend who just absolutely loves food. She loves everything to do with the creation of food. She would never want to simplify this area of her life. She loves cooking from scratch. She is amazing at it. But that is not me.
While I do enjoy cooking from scratch, I don't want to do that for every single meal. This is an area of my life that it served me greatly to simplify. I found a way that worked for me and our family. I would encourage you to do that if that’s hitting home for you.
And there you have it: 10 things that I've done to simplify my life. I hope that this was inspiring in a fresh way because I'm really just telling you something that I've done and not really telling you exactly how to do it. I think that can give you creative space to make it your own and apply this to your own life.