Friday, March 9, 2012

How Do You Keep it Simple?

Have you ever see-sawed between extravagance and simplicity?

One month I'll go all out and stock up on extra groceries, splurge on little happy-makers like candles, and dream about adding expensive items to my wardrobe. The next month I just want to put on a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup, buy as few groceries as possible, and find new ways to wear the clothes I already own.

When I'm in a simple frame of mind, the way I am now, I have little desire to shop. I usually spend more time with non-fiction from the library because current events seem more complicated than I have the energy for. In fact, earlier I perused the online version of the Wall Street Journal, and few headlines grabbed me.

Often, I get more accomplished in this frame of mind. I'm calmer. Less stressed. Instead of thinking about the things I want, I enjoy the things I have. I wish I could keep this mentality going indefinitely, but inevitably, the pendulum swings and I'll be thrilled to walk the aisles of Target once more.

My schedule could never be described as simple, but I add as much peace to my days as possible. Instead of working through lunch, I leaf through a magazine or listen to music. Afternoon tea always happens, even if I work with the tea in my hand. If I can't fit in a full workout, I'll do ten minutes of yoga stretches.

Sure, I have days where nothing feels simple. Well, on those days nothing IS simple! That's okay. Life doesn't have to be perfect. :)

How do you infuse simplicity into your days? What keeps you sane in a hectic world?

Have a fabulous weekend!


  1. I definitely go through these stages too. Yesterday I ended up cleaning out my closet wondering why I have all this STUFF.

  2. My writing keeps me sane, and I try not to let life get too complicated. It's not always easy, but when I focus on my family it helps.

  3. Wow, your lunch break sounds so relaxing. Unfortunately, I usually work on my lunch break, but it's usually writing stuff, so it doesn't feel as much like work...usually. But when I start off my lunch break with a little devotional time, I feel more relaxed at the end of it. Love that. Happy weekend to you!

    Someday I want to try yoga. I really do.

  4. Like you, tea is a pretty essential part of my daily life! Just taking a few minutes to sip it and breathe its steam is so calming.

    I can't do this every day, but when I get the chance to make bread, it is a wonderful opportunity to clear my mind. Especially the kneading part! Something about the rhythm and steadiness of kneading the dough is so soothing. Plus, it's an awesome workout for my arms.

  5. Like you, I go back and forth between Ultra Woman and Simple Lady. But I try to 'turn off' every couple of days, whichever mode I'm in. On those days I'll still work on my books or whatever, but I try to take a little extra time to read a book, enjoy the view from our porch or play a little more with bebe. Keeps me sane!

  6. I know this might seem strange to admit, but I think the fact that my husband and I are both extremely frugal helps me to keep it simple.

    I simply don't need much.
    ~ Wendy

  7. I recently discovered that, for myself, scheduling a couple of days off from writing during the week helps me be more productive. Since I work second shift, my morning time is limited. I can say 'that errand can wait until my errand day tomorrow' and it frees my mind up to be more creative on writing day.

  8. I know you've heard my story but after being unemployed for four years, we love frugal and thrifty and I rarely go near a store! It feels right and good and I appreciate more what I have:)

  9. I'm pretty simple to begin with. I've never been a big fan of shopping. Crowds generally drive me nuts, so easy chicken noodle soup days are pretty much my life.

    One thing I do to ensure simplicity is my kids aren't involved in every single sport or extra curricular activity. I drive my daughter around enough just going to Youth events! But that does help the feeling of rushing and complications. :)

  10. I'm a big candle fan, too, Jill! In fact, there are soot marks on my ceiling we have to clean up or paint over, so I had to switch to an electric tart burner, LOL.

    I know just what you mean about stuff, and the stages you go through. I'm a big organizer, so look out when I get the organizing bug! My family then has to adjust to the new places everything goes, poor guys. :D

    Have a great weekend,

  11. Love your perspective, Jill!

    Sometimes, our brains just go on overload considering all the demands we have placed on us. As moms, wives, and writers, it's easy to put ourselves & our own needs on the back burner every once in a while.

    I like to simplify by going someplace quiet like the nature center or library (yay!) or sometimes even a local park when the weather's nice.

    Oh...and this is a bit off-topic. We're getting free magazine subscriptions with our Silver Dollar City theme park tickets this year. I always think of you when I see magazine selections--wish you lived closer so I recycle them to you! :)

  12. You guys have great simple living tips! I, too, wonder why I have so much stuff? And I'm not much of a shopper either. So how does our house fill up? It's a mystery! Ha!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  13. Jill:
    I don't have the energy to be a dedicated shopper. Also, we are on fixed incomes. I like nice things but the definition of nice has become "what's comfortable." I am taking a Financial Peace University. A statement D. R. made in the video last night made me stop and think. "Beyond food, clothing, shelter and transportation, everything falls under the catagory of WANT.

  14. Tea can calm the frazzles of any day. Saw a funny cartoon about Target. A mother and her daughter were outside the store with cart ready to go in. The mother said to the little girl," I only need a few things." As they pass the Target bullseye logo, the logo said "Look deep into my eye." The mother totally mesmerized mermered, "Why yes, I do need curtains."

  15. Life feels pretty intense for me these days as I'm learning lotsa new things. What helps keep me from totally stressing out is my exercise regimen. Who knew working out or walking each day would have so many great benefits? =)

  16. Thanks for the reminder, Jill. Things are getting off-track around here and I need to turn this train around.
    May your days ahead be sweet with peace!!

  17. I like to think I'm pretty simple. (That doesn't sound right...) :)

    I should say I'm pretty frugal. I have this fear of debt. It's weird. But my hubby thinks it's good. LOL

  18. What keeps me sane: bubble baths. Yep, it's that simple.

    And also my quiet time with God each morning. :)

  19. I like to keep it simple, but it's amazing how often I don't do that. :)

  20. I don't have children but somehow my life sometimes speeds by at frantic pace, my day job can be pretty stressfull so I guess it starts there.
    Fresh air, definately tea and yoga I've been doing it for less than a year but love it already.
    If all else fails across from my house is an amazing park with a river and lots and lots of ducks, even watching them for a few minutes de-stresses me they always sound happy, now I sound weird!!
    Have a good weekend.

  21. I try not to feel guilty about keeping things simple. That helps :) I make sure to read my devotional each morning and listen for God to speak to me.

    Have a great weekend!

  22. Hi Jill -

    I have those days as well. Right now, my birthday money is burning a hole in my pocket.

    Susan :)

  23. Ooo, I'm writing a few of these down! I, too, love bubble baths, ducks, and quiet time with God. We've always been frugal, but sometimes I resent it and want, want, want! Then, other times, I'm so glad I'm cheap. :)

    Cynthia, I would love it if we lived closer so you could recycle your mags to me! I would take them. You know I would. :)

    Thanks SO much for stopping by and brightening my day!

  24. I guess those stages in life help keep us balanced and mindful of what's really important. I like simple days but that's kind of hard with a baby who doesn't like to nap. So...when she IS napping, I almost always find some down time--even if that's doing the dishes. For me, having two free hands and bit of quiet to do the dishes IS down time. But I've been loving magazines!

  25. Hi, Jill! I love Target, too!

    I know what you mean about going back and forth like that. I find myself praying for peace lately, as somedays I feel like I'm trying too hard to have control over everything - when really, so many things are out of my control.

    I like to do yoga, too, and my favorite TV shows relax me at night. Writing is also a great release.

  26. Ah, simplicity. Hard to come by for me -- I have a demanding job an hour from home, so long days and a long commute. So weekdays are long and stressful. I try to simplify by just staying home on the weekends. Puttering around the house, doing some writing, sipping hot green tea while looking out the window of my home office at the pond and trees behind the house. I also try to create a serene atmosphere by keeping my desk (both at the office and here at home) as clear as possible, and putting one or two beautiful items (e.g., a crystal block with the Eiffel Tower laser-etched inside or a small painting I love) on or near my workspace.

    It's a constant battle in these crazy times to resist the urge to acquire more stuff and fill up our days with more activity. I just try to smile and say "no thanks" more often.


  27. I love simplicity. Peace. Quiet.

    Now, as far as what keeps me sane...nothing. I think I lost my sanity years ago. But, just as your tea soothes you, my writing serves as a sedative. It calms me, brings contentment, and sometimes makes me APPEAR sane.

    I also do a few minutes of yoga. ;)


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