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April 11, 2023
Back to The Basics of Simple Living

Carolyn McIntosh

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The Art of Simplifying Your Life

The fast-paced world we live in can leave us with our heads spinning from time to time. Our days are filled with constant updates, demands and requests from our employers, colleagues, loved ones, and social media. It can be hard, sometimes even impossible, to stay on top of everything. Our commitments to work, family, and community can feel overwhelming. And there is that ongoing reminder in the midst of attending to everyone and everything around us that we also need to attend to ourselves.

It’s a nice notion, and it’s one that we should embrace, but how do we do that while we are, in simple terms, often just trying to hold down the fort?

Perhaps there is a word in that last question that can help us. Simple. Maybe it’s time to reset our priorities, reduce our stress, and realign with who we are to get back to basics. There are many ways in which we can simplify our lives. These are some of the tried-and-true practices I have adopted into my life:

Be more present in daily activities

There is a joy to be found in tasks that are part of one’s everyday routine and beauty in the mundane. Take time to focus on your breath, and reduce your stress simultaneously. Be mindful of your amazing senses. Notice the beauty of the clouds on a summer day or the gentleness of the snowfall in January. Feel and appreciate the touch of your loved one’s hand. Savour the taste of that first sip of coffee in the morning. Unplug and revel in the sound of a cardinal.    

Say no

Sometimes people aren’t aware of the demands they place on others and how they impact us, and you might be the person who is constantly being asked to go the extra mile for those around you. Perhaps a conversation with the demanding people in your life is warranted. And maybe entering into a conversation is not going to be beneficial for you. It might be letting them know that you are unable to meet their expectations at this time. Take the time to recognize how you are feeling when the people in your life want to take what is precious and what is yours such as your time, your efforts, your talents, and make sure that you can identify how full your own cup is at this time, and whether you should focus on refilling your cup or theirs.


Make a conscious effort to reduce and even eliminate anything that no longer serves a purpose for you. This could be as simple as unsubscribing from unnecessary emails to purging your closet to the deepest of decluttering which could involve detaching oneself from negative self-talk. When I declutter, such as when I recently tackled my pantry, I always feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, and then I ask myself, why don’t I do this more often?

If you have ever wanted to challenge your negative self-talk, explore mindfulness, set and maintain healthy boundaries or just explore how to more fully embrace simplicity in your everyday life, Shift has many wonderful therapists that can support you. 


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