How to simplify your life: 6 ways to reduce stress and stay healthy

simplify your life

My downsizing journey started in 2009 when I moved into a smaller home after divorce. Since then, I’ve made a concerted effort to simplify my life.

It’s taken courage to say yes to less when the world says more. It’s prompted me to get more clear on what I believe in and say no more often.

Some people love the idea of simplicity but are unsure how to get there. In some ways, it means questioning everything you’ve been taught.

Simplicity means questioning everything you've been taught. Click To Tweet

There are many things we take for granted or do because our parents did them. Consider whether you might live without some of those things everyone deems “essential”.

If you’re interested in how to simplify your life, rest easy. You don’t really have to DO anything. It’s all about letting go. Here are 6 ways to simplify your life.

1. Cancel your gym membership

If you’re an active person, you might not believe you could stay fit without a gym membership. You would be wrong.

The Minimalists have a great podcast episode with fitness expert Ben Greenfield. He tells you how to maintain a high level of fitness without ever setting foot in a gym.

Getting your fitness organically throughout the day saves you time on travel, money on membership fees, and frustration when you don’t get to the gym.

2. Declutter your closet

Okay, I said you wouldn’t have to do anything, but this one’s kind of fun. After you’ve pared down your closet using my 5-step guide, consider joining Project 333.

This is blogger Courtney Carver’s challenge to whittle down your wardrobe to 33 items every three months. (Including shoes and accessories; excluding pyjamas and workout wear.)

The now-famous challenge provides you with much-needed boundaries to keep your closet under control. And keeps you from growing bored with your minimalist wardrobe, because you switch it up every quarter.

3. Intermittent fasting

Keto diets, paleo diets, it’s hard to keep up and there’s a new one every month it seems. Whatever happened to the Zone plan Jennifer Aniston used to champion?

To simplify your life, let go of fad diets and do intermittent fasting instead. If you want to lose or maintain weight, simply reduce the window within which you eat.

Intermittent fasting generally means eating for eight hours a day and fasting for 16. But you can adjust the time to suit you.

Be aware there’s an adjustment period of a few weeks where you will feel hungry during the fasting period, but that goes away as your body adjusts to your new schedule.

4. Buy only what you need

Strike the word “shopping” from your vocabulary. Minimalists are intentional about how and when they spend their money. They only shop when they need something specific.

It’s not essential, but you might implement a rule that nothing new comes in your house unless something old goes out.

Great care goes into deciding whether an item deserves space in your life. You hone your values this way as you decide what’s important to you.

And, of course, less spending helps you reduce and eliminate debt, another way to simplify your life.

5. Streamline your to-do list

Maybe you’ve got dozens of things on your daily to-do list and wonder why you always feel behind.

Why not give yourself a fighting chance to feel successful? Be realistic about your daily to-do list.

Reduce your list to three to five items. Such a reasonable number gives you a good chance of completion. If you finish before the end of the day, reward yourself.

Set yourself up for success. Reduce your to-do list to 3-5 items. Click To Tweet

You’ll go to bed feeling victorious rather than frustrated. A simple but effective tool to trick your mind into feeling productive. It’s called being nice to yourself; give it a try.

6. Read

Have you noticed time moves more slowly when you read a book? Reading quiets the chatter in your mind and calms your body.

It keeps you in the present moment rather than flipping from tab to tab on a computer.

I believe reading a physical book has greater power than online media due to the distractions that tempt you with the latter. And something about reading online doesn’t have the same calming effect.

Reading has been proven to make you smarter, healthier, and more empathetic. Click To Tweet

Reading is the antidote to the fast-paced interaction we engage in all day online. Plus, reading has been proven to make you smarter, healthier, and more empathetic.


These are just six suggestions to help you simplify your life, and there are many more. If it seems overwhelming, try implementing one at a time and see the difference it makes in your life.

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