Isn’t it funny how we often get more by doing less. We’re urged to work more, spend more, try harder, always seeking that elusive satisfaction and happiness. Everything seems to have a price tag, whether it’s the security of our own home, our children’s health, a relaxing holiday or spiritual enlightenment. But all our determined efforts can be taking us away from our goals. Maybe we need to stop trying so hard.
Own less. The less stuff you own, the more secure you are. There is less to lose in a crisis, less to insure, less to store, less to maintain. Less clutter will make your house more relaxing to be in. Go through your house and see what you can sell or give away.
Shop less. Try to limit your shopping trips. The less times you visit the store, the more you’ll make do with what’s at home. Buy in bulk and plan ahead. Make do and stretch your shopping days out. If you wander into a shop, you’ll walk out with things you hadn’t planned to buy and don’t really need. Then you’ll have to do step one again!
Think less. Meditation doesn’t have to be practiced in a sacred, quiet temple under a vow of silence. You can find moments of calm in your lunchbreak, waiting in a queue, when the kids have gone to bed, or while washing the dishes. Learn how to stop your thoughts, even briefly, to give your brain a rest.
Pamper less. Cold water tones your muscles, whereas water that is too hot can cause broken capillaries. Scratchy old towels invigorate and exfoliate the skin. Many commercial beauty products contain toxic or irritating ingredients. Some of those ingredients can have serious effects on your health, vitality and fertility. Stick to things you can eat (honey, oils, salt, vinegar, oats, yogurt, rice, flower petals, nuts, herbs, spices, citrus juices) or use plain water. You may find that your health improves dramatically once you simply stop slathering chemicals onto your skin. Ditto with house cleaning products.
Eat less. Serve smaller meal portions. Eating less is linked to a longer life span. In Japan, ‘hara hachi bu’ means ‘eat until 80% full’. It takes about twenty minutes for the brain to recognise a full stomach. Eat slowly, and stop before you are ‘full as a goog’ (Australian for ‘very full stomach’, like a googie or egg!). Try fasting one day a month, on water or bone broth. Fasting is an ancient way to give the digestive system a break and allow for contemplation and quiet tasks.
Watch less. Turn off the TV and talk to your family instead. You’ll see less advertising which is designed to make you feel unsatisfied with your life. Set limits for screen use in your house. Cut back on social media. Get creative and active instead. Talk, read a book, sew, mend, knit, write, play an instrument, mix your own body products, sort seeds, draw, bake, fix your bike, design something, meditate, play a board game. Most of these ideas will save you money, as you make or mend things. Live more in the real world.
Wash less. Dirt is good for your immune system. Kids who play in the dirt develop less allergies. We have evolved to digest our food along with soil bacteria (you can even buy it in capsules in the health food shop now!). Spend time outside. Try growing your own food. Don’t spray any chemicals like ant killer, weed killer, or any other poisons around. Then if your food falls on the ground, you can just pick it up and eat it safely. And you can eat your nutrient-dense weeds without poisoning yourself.
Cook less. Raw food contains enzymes that help you digest your food. Cooking destroys some vitamins and most enzymes. Eat raw sprouts, fruit, vegetables, fermented foods, egg yolks, meat, very fresh fish and even dairy if you can find it (despite raw dairy being safe for human consumption and healthier than pastuerised dairy products, it’s illegal to sell it in Australia). Eat more salad. Train your family to eat whole fruit and vegetables as well. Then you don’t even need to chop it up!
Save money, stay calm, connect to your family and increase your health by doing less. Which of these ideas have you tried?