WOW! I can’t believe what is going on in the world right now. It feels very surreal. I have definitely noticed how different I am feeling. In some ways my world feels very fast, just trying to adapt to the daily changes in the way the outside world is operating. In other ways, my world seems small and slow. Just going outside is such a pleasure now. I notice the appearance of the sky, the colors, how many clouds. I noticed how much wind there was in the morning versus the afternoon and precisely when it changed.
Before our lives changed, I didn’t notice these things because I was only outside for small amounts of time; walking to my car to go to the office or another meeting. And although I consider myself a fairly avid outdoors-person, my daily routine didn’t involve much in the way of absorbing my outdoor environment on a daily basis. Even when I was outside for a run, I had things on my mind. I was strategizing my day.
But now, all this has me contemplating life before. Did I need to be so busy? What other small things was I missing out on? How can I live more simply even when there’s not a global pandemic? I do have a few thoughts on how to begin living more simply, and ideally more happily.
Go for a walk, take a hike, go for a bike ride, plant something, dig in the dirt. Anything that involves moving your body in the great outdoors is good for you physically and mentally. Channel your inner child and draw a hopscotch on the sidewalk and hop for a bit. Find a jump rope and skip around your yard or down the street. What ever you do, be in it. Don’t strategize your day. Try not to think about the news of the day. Just enjoy being outside. The possibilities are endless!
If you are stuck inside, minimizing can feel almost as amazing as a breath of fresh air. We have discussed this on a previous blog, but it is a topic worth revisiting when we are looking at how to simplify your life. This exercise is especially fun when you are stuck at home! It’s a little game my family and I play quite often, when we feel like clutter and junk is starting to take over our living spaces. We were inspired by The Minimalists Challenge and last summer we worked for 30 days to get rid of 1 thing on day 1, 2 things on day 2, 3 things on day 3…you get the idea! However, by day 20, it got hard! My kids started to hunt and scavenge; they started digging through closets and packed up toys, I found a box of miscellaneous picture frames and was able to get rid of at least 10 frames that were not being used any longer. We calculated that over the course of a month, we had gotten rid of over 400 items! And, it was fun! Things felt a lot less cluttered, visually and mentally, after we donated all of the items we had accumulated.
Eat Real Food
Most people agree, their health is key to living a happy life and your health begins with what you eat on a daily basis. What you eat affects every facet of your life. From your mood and wallet, to your waistline and hobbies. Changing food habits and nutrition is the start to building a strong foundation for a better life, and this is one of the easiest things to change that will have a lasting impact. Changing what you eat can be easier than finding a new job, moving to a new town, or learning to play an instrument!
Start with Just One Meal A Day
Start with changing just one meal a day that incorporates more plant-based ingredients. Here are a few simple meal ideas for each meal. Pick one and start by changing just one meal per day. We always recommend checking with your family doctor before making significant changes in your diet.
Oatmeal, whole grain toast plus a piece of fruit
If you are not excited about cooking your grains and beans, start with canned beans (look for no or low salt) and pre-cooked rice. Rice can be found pre-cooked in packages that can be heated in the microwave. Here is an example. Make your simple life journey easy, start with what you are comfortable with.
Are you still questioning how easy these new changes may be? Maybe your cooking skills need a refresher? Or you just don’t know where to start in the kitchen as you journey into a more plant-based lifestyle. With everyone sheltering in-place and practicing social distancing, a cooking class in your own kitchen could be a fun family project or engaging as a solo endeavor. Forks Over Knives has a class that you can do in the comfort of your own home. The course begins April 21st and teaches the basics of plant-based meal prep, helps you identify ingredients and make amazing meals! Evita Ochel also offers video classes that you can start anytime on your own pace.
No matter what you do with your time… Stay safe. Be kind. We are thinking about you.
“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder