Thursday, September 28, 2017

There is beauty in simplicity

Lately I have been scouring the internet for articles on simplifying life, decluttering, de-stressing, etc.... The fact that I have been doing this indicates that I feel a need, and that perhaps a simple, uncluttered, unstressed life is not something that I currently have.

There are so many good lists and suggestions out there, giving sincere and earnest advice on how to improve your life with less:  less "stuff", fewer commitments and calming down.

Everyone has ways to uncomplicate their life which are personally meaningful.  For some the main emphasis would be reducing time spent on SM and in front of a screen.  For others it might mean having that huge garage sale to get rid of half of their household contents - the half that are never used and just collect dust without paying rent.

Being drawn to this desire to simplify means that I yearn to find balance, to rectify my current state of overcommitment and not having enough hours in a day to do all those "shoulds" and "musts".

So here's my list of what I can do NOW, and it's a reminder to self to stay on track with creating the life I desire in a different location and career:

1.  Go through the physical stuff - the closets, the drawers, the storage locker, the cupboards - and get rid of anything that hasn't been used in a year (it probably won't ever be).  Movers charge by the box, and it's better to pay to have 30 boxes moved rather than 50!  Donate the stuff that is in good condition.  Giving feels good :-)

2.  Cybertime and screentime detox.  Set a timer to deal with emails for 10-15 minutes, once or twice a day.  If SM is a necessity, schedule and regulate time for that, and keep it to a minimum.  10 minutes per day for a quick post, Tweet or update is all that's needed.  Getting this out of the way early means it is off the plate early.  Keep emails brief and to the point.  Save non-priority emails and chats, Skype, etc. for the least busy day of the week and set a firm limit (with a timer!) for that as well.

3.  Make time for exercise and stretching.  Even if it's a 20 minute bout of cardio or 5 minutes of stretching on the living room floor while dinner cooks, it counts!  Exercise feels good and improves mental and physical resilience.

4.  Set a sleep schedule and guard it without compromise.  7-8 hours is needed for optimal health and functioning.  Short-changing by an hour or two will affect mood and performance the next day, and 6 coffees won't fix the deficit.

5.  Take regular breaks and vacations.  This could be an afternoon off, a massage (save the RMT receipts for taxes!), a drive to a forest or park for a walk, or an inspiring documentary when in the middle of a tedious project.  A vacation could be an overnighter with a sleep-in the next day, a weekend getaway somewhere relaxing, or a longer holiday such as a cruise or a plane trip.  Longer holidays require advance planning and more detail, but if done right they can be amazingly rejuvenating.  Make sure any vacation is based around stuff that is relaxing and enjoyable, otherwise it's not a vacation.  The reason I don't vacation with other people, as much as I appreciate the good people in my life, is that my vacations are for ME, not for catering to the whims of someone else.  If I spend the time trying to keep someone else happy making sure they get what THEY want - there's no point in being away.  A vacation truly has to be a vacation :-)

What would you do to simplify YOUR life?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

To buy organic or not? That is the question.

In this era of growing concern over quality of food, many people are turning to organically sourced produce and animal products in an effort to avoid contaminants and other toxins.  "You are what you eat" is as true today as it was thirty-odd years ago when my mother admonished me to eat my vegetables and drink my milk.  However, nowadays one has to ask where those veggies and that milk is coming from.

I'm a big fan of gathering information to make important decisions, such as what to put inside my body.  I'm also a fan of smart spending, so $12 for an organic cabbage seems a little pricey when its non-organic counterpart is sitting pretty at less than $4.  I did some research to find out just which produce items should be purchased from the organic section, and which ones don't have to be.

The readily-available list is called "The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen", and this link will take you to one of the many websites indexing these produce items.  I like this particular source because it rates the foods in terms of relative level of contamination as well:

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/food/what-are-the-dirty-dozen-and-the-clean-fifteen/

How much of your food is organic?  Do you notice a difference between organic and non-organic?

Feel free to comment with your opinion on this topic!