Enjoying and maintaining the simple life


Colette Cooper

AS WE continue our daily lockdown trials and tribulations, I have noticed many things, one of which is that a frazzled and unorganised mindset can start to creep up on us and add to our stress and worries. Giving ourselves less to think about certainly helps the days to go by a little smoother, which is why I aim to continue to follow more of a simple, minimalistic lifestyle. I’ve found doing that to be extremely effective in lifting my mood and clearing my mind during times of uncertainty.

Taking more of a slow and simple approach to life has provided me with a sense of peace and joy that I didn’t think possible. This lifestyle can be incorporated in several ways, from daily activities, to how you interact with others. For me, less is definitely best.

Throughout the year—and during lockdown in particular—I have been more cautious and particular about the types of activities I like to do on a daily basis. For instance, I’ve continued to carry out a simple routine of: reading a chapter of a book each day, 20-40 minutes of daily exercise and carrying out creative activities. This has allowed me to stay focused, yet take the time to enjoy simple pleasures that would often be overlooked when spending the day rushing around. While it’s good to be busy, overwhelming ourselves with too much may lead to forgetting about living purposefully and appreciating what’s around us.

I’ve incorporated more of a simple, stress-free life through my purchases and possessions. After reading a book by Marie Kondo called Spark Joy, I employed some of her tips and tricks on how to simplify the space around you, your clothes, and how you organise your possessions. Ultimately, these approaches have made outfit choices much easier to deal with, as well as how to accurately pair things together and only keep items that truly ‘spark joy’ within you. Another handy tip, to really cut down on clothing items, is to stick to a colour scheme. For the most part, I only own neutral coloured clothing items, which has not only made outfit pairing so much easier, but has allowed me to keep less, add more space and encourage me to be more mindful about future purchases.

We may not notice it at first, but it’s easy to build up frustration after scrolling through social media and seeing endless news clips and posts about the current circumstances, filling our minds with constant information and images. I’ve noticed that social media detoxing and cutting down on the number of apps I have on my phone can be a great source of comfort, particularly if you’re already feeling out of sorts. Although social media has certainly brought us together during this time—through enjoyable Zoom calls, quizzes, and games—too much usage can definitely tire us out. So, cutting down on screen time and taking some moments throughout the day to quieten our minds, can really help put things into perspective and give us a sense of peace.

Finally, I believe a simpler and slower lifestyle is achievable through daily planning, sticking to a schedule, and journaling. You may think certain things aren’t worth writing down, such as those last-minute items you had to buy from the supermarket, or something you had to fix around the house, but sooner or later, one small ‘to-do’ turns into a fairly large list. I like to write and prioritise tasks out on paper each day, so as to not forget about them altogether and clear my mind of any worries. On a particularly stressful day, journaling helps me regain a sense of focus, while being able to project all of my concerns out on paper. I highly recommend it. Furthermore, I believe sticking to some sort of schedule or routine is pertinent—setting times for your daily walk, making food at the same each day, and so on. These are just some of the examples I’ve tried to incorporate into my daily life, and have found them to be highly effective in staying productive and happy during stressful times.

Colette Cooper is a journalist, blogger and creative writer