Every month the trainers at UR take it in turns to write a blog. For inspiration I turned to the internet and started searching for important days in July. Other than my birthday (LOL) I came across National Simplicity Day which falls on the 12th July.
National Simplicity Day is a holiday in honour of Henry David Thoreau who was born on this day in 1817. He was known for many things, one being an advocate for living a life of simplicity and the need for wildness as a tonic for the spirit. I would think that living in the 1800’s would be simple but in 1845 Thoreau spent 2 years, 2 months and 2 days in a wooden cabin in a forest on the shores of Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. He saw the experience as an experiment in simple living and kept a daily journal which was later published.
It got me thinking about our lives today, in 2019 and how many of us are not living a simple life.
In our fast, ever increasingly busy lifestyles, National Simplicity Day is the time to take a step back and begin to simplify our lives. One can start by slowing down, tuning into nature, enjoying the simple things in life, decluttering, spending time without technology, taking time for yourself and striving for balance. Once you have done this, you can begin to enjoy the many stress-reducing pleasures and benefits of a simple lifestyle.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things” – Robert Brault
So what could you do on the 12th July (or any day in fact) here are a couple of ideas :
Unplug from your devices (www.careukhealthcare.com)
- Leave your phone at home. Close down your internet browser. Turn off your emails. Not possible, you say – I work at a computer! All the more reason to keep other technology usage to a minimum. You can cope without it all for one day.
- Set a specific time for checking emails. Very rarely is an email so urgent it needs a response straight away.
- Catch up with your social media another time. You’ll probably find you didn’t miss much anyway.
- If you need a map to know where you’re going, look up directions before you head out and write them down.
- Need to find something out? Do what we did before Google came along, ask someone else.
- Itching for Amazon? Save your money for now, you can always buy it tomorrow if you still want to.
- Take the time to listen to the sounds around you instead of the music or podcasts that keep you wrapped in your own audio bubble.
By giving technology the cold shoulder for a day, you’ll see just how capable you really are at still getting things done even when your phone, laptop or tablet isn’t by your side.
Declutter your life & reduce stress (www.lifehack.org)
Excessive clutter is often a symptom and a cause of stress and can affect every facet of your life: from the time it takes you to do things to your finances and your overall enjoyment of life. Clutter can distract you, weigh you down and in general it invites chaos into your life.
Tackling the clutter can seem an insurmountable task if you don’t know where or how to start. By devoting a little of your time to getting rid of the clutter in your life and maintaining things relatively clutter-free, you’ll reap the rewards of pleasing living areas, reduced stress, and a more organised and productive existence.
The best way to declutter your home, your work space and your life is to take things one small step at a time. Combined, small steps will lead to big improvements that will be easier to maintain over the long-run.
Take time out for yourself (www.youngminds.org.uk)
Life is busy, whether you’re at school, college or work. Sometimes, the pressures can seem all a bit too much. Taking some time off for relaxation is vital to help your mind and body switch off from those pressures.
Relaxation is an important part of maintaining positive mental wellbeing.
It’s tempting, after a pressured day to reach for a cigarette, bottle of wine or even drugs to wind down. But these quick fixes are stimulants, and won’t help you to relax properly. They’re also bad for both your physical and mental health.
Stress-busting relaxation techniques
- Pause – make time during the day to take breaks or pauses. Pausing throughout the day can prevent stress from building up.
- stop what you are doing
- look out of the window
- let your shoulders drop
- allow your mind to calm down
- take deep breaths and concentrate on your breathing close your eyes
- Mindfulness. Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. Learn more in Mindfulness for mental wellbeing.
Great ways to relax
- Switch off the screens – turn off your phone, tablet and computer and go and do something that doesn’t involve tech gadgets instead.
- Get a hobby– a hobby away from work can help you switch your brain off from work pressures. If you love woodworking, for example, you focus on the tools and the wood rather than the presentation you’re giving next week. You’ll cope better with work after taking a break from it.
- Aerobic Exercise – increases your heart rate and releases endorphins that make you feel good. Going to the gym, cycling, skateboarding, surfing, horseriding, swimming or team sports such as cricket or netball are all great exercise. Choose one you love and build your exercise routine around that.
- Walking– as moderate exercise, walking releases “feel good” endorphins. It can also help you to switch off – you have time to take in your surroundings and walk in a steady rhythm. Walking can be a less stressful way to travel than on a packed Tube or crowded bus. Fresh air helps you relax and sleep better.
- Spend time in the natural world – An old Zen proverb says: “You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
- Yoga, tai chi and Pilates – disciplines designed around controlled movement and breathing techniques, which can aid relaxation.
- Run a warm bath–light some aromatherapy candles, run some scented bubble bath under the taps and play some chill-out music while you have a relaxing soak.
- Watch a film or read a book– escapism is a great way to switch off from reality and help your mind relax.
- Meet a friend– leave a stressful situation and spend some time with a friend. Talking things over, having some laughs and hearing a different perspective can take your mind off things and help you wind down.
Enjoy your simple day!!