October 25, 2014

Slowing Down

All around me I see people who live busy lives, sometimes because it's a product of that particular season of life, but often it seems there is a false sense of accomplishment or importance in being busy. I think it's good to have space in our lives for quiet and thinking, to just see where the day takes us. Choose to live a slower pace. Decide what's important to you. It really is that simple. It might take some time to make the adjustments but start taking small steps now to work toward your goal. I bet you'll feel the weight just fall from your shoulders.

I receive a lot of comments and emails about living a simpler life. I didn't really set out to slow down, it just started creeping into my daily life and the more it crept in, the more peaceful I felt. I'm a slowly reforming type A. I still have my moments of insanity but I try to find more balance these days.

I believe living a more simple life comes down to three things: reducing stress, managing time and finding joy.

1.) Rid your life of chaos and negativity.
Eliminate the negative as well as the unnecessary things that make you busy but don't add value to your life.

This one has been big for me. I'm a work in progress. I'm trying to cut out negative thoughts about myself and others. It changes my perspective to focus on the positives, while eliminating the negatives in my mind and my home. I invested time organizing my house and try to stay on top of it. I ask myself if I need it or love it (hopefully I answer yes to both), if not, then it goes. The same rules apply to bringing new things home. I limit the magazines I subscribe to and even the TV shows that I DVR. I cleared out my email subscriptions. I limit my time online. Instead of bringing me pleasure, all of that felt like another item on my to do list. I ask myself is this adding to my life? Pinterest? Yes. Obviously! The Bachelor? No! It's different for all of us. When there is too much chaos in my life I can't think. I can't focus. I can't relax.

2.)  Be smarter with your time.
There will always be obligations that you can't get out of, but you get to decide how you spend your free time. Choose wisely.

Say no. Sorry, I can't. That's all that is necessary. Then say yes to yourself. Few things make me as anxious as having a calendar full of commitments and appointments. I try to limit myself to one social visit during the week with a friend. I love a day when I don't have to leave the house (I'm an introvert at heart) and try to have 2-3 of them a week. I try to plan my errands so I can do them all in one day. I menu plan, have a laundry day, pay bills twice a month and have a cleaning schedule. I keep tweaking til I find something that works for me. I don't have it perfected yet but I've come a long way.

3.) Feed your soul.
Do more of what makes you happy. Seek out joy. Be inspired.

For me, this changes depending on the day. It could be yoga, a walk through the Village, knitting, having friends over for dinner, reading, creating in my studio, playing games with Em, baking with Maddie, snuggling and watching a movie with my guy. There is no better feeling than waking up excited to live your day.

Here's the thing I've come to realize, when I have less in my life it feels like more. When I put space in my life, I live it more fully. When I live life more fully, it feeds my soul.


  1. Loved this post. I feel I live a much more simple life too. I agree with you on doing things that make you happy. Sometimes if I feel anxious or stressed out, I will go run or walk in my neighborhood. Another thing I do is knit. It is so important for each one of us to take time out of our busy schedules for ourself. Since I don't work, I am able to manage my time effectively too!

  2. This resonates with me so much today. I have not been myself, but it looks like the doctors have gotten to the bottom of it. Today, after a blood transfusion yesterday, I feel so much better and got up this morning wanting to do all sorts of things. But, I stepped back a moment an asked myself what was really important and what did I really want to do. I am going to use this little bad health episode in my life to rethink things.

    Steve and I are working on negativity. We get frustrated with the world around us. Like many old people, we bemoan the good old days. We feel that people are not as nice as they were when we were kids. But, we are catching each other and each time we begin to say something negative about someone or something, we stop and focus on all of the good surrounding us. There really is a lot more good.

    Make it a great day!

  3. yes...perfectly said. I am working towards that goal myself.

  4. I just love all of this, and the creative photos too, wonderful

  5. Your words are so true. Busy is good but it has to be organized. I now have alot of "me" time but I don't feel organized. Maybe because my house is on the market. But I need to try harder for sure.

  6. You hit the nail on the head! This is how I have been living my life for many years. It feels great! Kit

  7. My favorite days have always been quiet days at home with no obligations whatsoever. I turned off my computer last week and spent my free time in the evenings knitting and watching my new favorite show, The Middle (hysterical!). I can't and won't even try anymore to keep up with bloggers who publish posts daily. It's not how I want to spend my precious time at home. I'm a homebody like you, so this post resonates with me. The best moments are spent doing everyday things with your family and I think you've got it all figured out, Jen. :o)

  8. Jan- I wish I knew all of this 20 years ago when I was running at a frantic pace all the time...sometimes so much that I didn't have time to enjoy the small pleasures of life. I know I missed some things in my kids' lives and you don't get do-overs on that.

    This is a wonderful post and I am so happy that you are finding peace and joy in the small things of everyday. xo Diana

  9. I think it is fun to work and to be a stay at home Mom-I have done both! I still take the summers off! But my kids are out of school except one in college! I still like to sew and bake on my days off. I think if you have a creative side you can feel good about what you create and enjoy your life no matter what you do! I enjoy your blog!

  10. Great post!
    You and I are very similar at our cores from what I read. :) Right now I am in that season of working hard to get my home in that organized state that will allow more freedom for the less. Meaning, as you said, going through things and clearing out and trying to put systems and organization in place that my three men can actually follow, making less for me to do in the long run. So, right now my life is more chaotic than I'd like (especially with two teen boys adding to my emotional angst), but I know that what I'm trying to get settled now will put me in a more peaceful position later on- hopefully! :)

  11. Beautiful post. I find that the season of life I am in right now is a busy one...much busier than I would prefer. I have tried to limit as much outside stress and activities as possible and that has helped. I am greedy with my time and my family...if we have a weekend day off it is "our family" day. I also have started say no to many things and although it has been hard it has been wonderful at the same time.
    As always I love my visits to your blog...

  12. Loved this post ~ I need this!
    Thanks for sharing!

  13. I love this post so much, Jen! It's exactly what I needed to hear today. You and I are really very similar in so many ways. Since my daughter started TK two months ago my calendar seems to be filling up, and I know life just gets busier as we approach the holidays. I have no problem saying NO, though!

  14. jen, bravo! This post gave me more confidence to know someone else felt as I do. A simpler life is so much more fulfilling, and being home to me is bliss as well. This Wednesday my husband will finally return home after being in two hospitals and a physical rehab facility, total four months gone after two strokes. Yes, he has become more disabled, yes he will need more care, but as the seasons begin to change so will life. Even though he will need more care seriously life will be easier for me. Less driving to the facilities, more time home, more home cooked meals at normal times, and just being here will help in his recovery. Thank you for always sharing these wonderful thoughts of yours, they make me feel so much more confident to return to life as I knew it in my mom's days and less worn down by life now in this too face paced world! Enjoy out Indiana Autumns and the sensational colors outdoors we are blessed with in our state! Lori

  15. Great post -- thanks for sharing! I hate having too much on my schedule too!

  16. jen... i always love the perspective in what you write and share! the past two weekends of ours have been unusually busy due to the season that we're in... so in response to your post... i took a little nap after the kids went to school this morning... had a yummy lunch... sewed and caught up on a few of my favorite blogs! it felt good to slow down! hugs, friend!

  17. I so agree with everything you said in this post! I have been better at simplifying my life lately, too. I am still decluttering the basement, but I have gotten rid of so much stuff this year. I rarely watch TV and I cut down on my magazine subscriptions. I now only subscribe to a few favorites. The "big" thing I did this year is to (mostly) stay out of Goodwill. I would always come home with great stuff - but nothing I really NEEDED. My basement was becoming overrun with "stuff". I don't need a ton of household decor, even though I do like to rotate it. Less is more. I love my weekly yoga class and my walks through our local State Park.

  18. Great post! Its Thanksgiving and I'm catching up with "friends". We've never met but I believe we could be friends. I love your decorating ideas and your kitchen! I was wondering where that beautiful wall calender came from? I love it! Thanks for the encouragement on simple living. Any suggestions when you come across something you feel you "should" keep and feel guilty or stressed about getting rid of it? I have lots of that. Lol

    1. The calendar was bought at Anthropologie but is made by 1canoe2


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