Returning to Simple

I wrote this article about 3 weeks ago and submitted it for publication but since I haven’t heard back, I’m sharing it here!

Prior to March 2020, I had done well over the years to curate the simple life I desired. I’d read the books and listened to the podcasts; I’d purged my closet and let go of things that did not “spark joy.” I was proud of what I had accomplished and felt comfortable in my relatively simple life with few belongings. 

Then, like everyone else on the planet, I was thrust onto the emotional roller coaster of quarantine and social distancing caused by a pandemic that doesn’t want to go away.

I began this unimaginable journey feeling optimistic. I was going to make lemonade out of these lemons. I was going to take this time to dive a little deeper into simplicity, learn new skills, cook healthy meals, read more books, write more, and spend quality time with family. Most mornings, I got up by 6 am, got dressed, fixed my hair, and put on makeup. I enjoyed quiet time and coffee in the mornings when I would write and spend time in prayer. I set up a routine that, after some tweaking, was running smoothly. By the time my husband got home, everything was in order, and dinner was ready. I have to say; I thought I was doing pretty well. 

Although I battled occasional bouts of anxiety, I managed to help my son with his school work, get exercise, and complete projects. Meeting up with the ladies from my church and my mastermind group via Zoom kept my spirits lifted. There wasn’t anything we had to venture out for besides food. We had everything we needed and were actually enjoying the time at home.

We followed our routine for about seven weeks until my son crashed on his new bike and broke his arm. Then, life became a little more challenging. It was necessary to change up our routine as my son needed assistance for simple tasks, like getting dressed and writing, as he learned to adjust to his cast. 

May was busy with a book launch and final assignments for 2nd grade. Luckily, the Texas weather was being kind, and we were able to spend plenty of time outside. We helped my husband work on our ranch, took a day trip to the Sam Houston Monument in Huntsville, Texas, had a picnic and kept an eye on the nest a bird built on our porch. 

I was working hard to keep a routine going, but it was wearing on us, and frustration and aggravation began to set in. By the end of May, I began to slide into boredom, self-doubt, self-pity, and possibly some depression. I felt worn down. I was sleeping late, wearing shorts and faded t-shirts, no makeup, I gave up on my hair, and began to spend a lot of time scrolling, hours upon hours of scrolling. 

I am fully aware that marketing firms are watching my every click and advertisements cater to my viewing habits; I still took the bait and created excuses for purchasing products I didn’t need. I downloaded shopping apps and reopened subscriptions I had long ago canceled. I began filling my carts and eventually lost track of what was being delivered and when. 

In my attempt to learn new skills, I had craft boxes unopened, and several online classes halfway completed. I had also given up on trying to entertain my son with something educational and gave into hours of screen time for him as well. I was beyond worn down; I was becoming shut down and could no longer keep all the plates spinning. In my attempt to make life better, I ended up rolling out a welcome mat for disorganization, chaos, clutter, and overwhelm. 

This is where I find myself, and I’m over it!! I’m ready to crawl out from this mess I created and design a plan to return to simple. 

Here is are goals I created to get me to August:

  1. Empty carts and delete shopping apps. (Done.)
  2. Limit time on social media to one hour a day using a time blocking method I learned from my friend Kelly Buckner. (Down one hour. Trying to get down to one hour a day.)
  3. Read physical books. Share them when I finish. (Just finished Visionary by Courtney Noelle and about to begin Apple of My Eye by Amy Pederson. Both of these ladies are hope*writers, like me!)
  4. Take only one class at a time. (Right now I’m taking a course by writing coach, Ann Kroeker which has helped me get organized, create goals and increase my productivity.)
  5. Schedule a Zoom meeting with three friends I have not seen in years. (I’ve connected with a friend but we have not yet set a date.)
  6. Meet a friend for coffee. (Invited but haven’t set a date.)
  7. Schedule two day trips with my son.
  8. Declutter: each week focusing on a room or hot spot for clutter (e.g., office, car, email, photos, unused services, junk drawer, under beds, carport, etc.). (Junk drawer, under beds, and car complete. Of course, these have to be maintained.)
  9. Once, maybe twice a month, treat myself to something that brings me joy (e.g., fresh flowers, new nail polish, a home decor item, a banana split, etc.). I’m eyeing these 2 items: a duvet cover for office/guest room and a pie plate from Sweese – Note: Use the code LORISANDERS for 10% off.)
  10. Work on three personal/professional goals. (I completed a an online course by Tim Grahl, organized an online bookclub for my book, Unstuck, booked some great guests, began working on nurturing my email list and am working on creating 2 more blog posts and a newsletter. I also got my first haircut in over 3 months!)

There it is, a list of ten things that are easy and doable. 

If you are finding yourself slipping into a downward spiral of clutter and chaos, give yourself some grace, give everyone in your family some grace, and then come up with a plan. It is possible to return to simple and benefit from its ripple effects. I promise you won’t regret it.

When life is simple, life is grand.

Until next time, be well.

Lori

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