Ten ways to simplify your life + a cozy Green Soup for lockdown
We're halfway through 2021, and I wanted to write this blog as a bit of a check-in. I'm writing this in the middle of a Sydney COVID-19 lockdown and I'm using it as my reminder to look back at 2021 new year resolutions (remember those?) and assess what I've achieved, what's happened so far and how I've been feeling.
My goal throughout this year has been to simplify my life, both physically, mentally and emotionally.
Well, I've downsized homes, gotten rid of a lot of stuff I didn't need or use, tidied up my finances and my relationships to spend time working on underlying trauma.
Doing so has left me feeling alot more balanced and calm and helped me erase the exterior to focus on my own needs and desires, not the needs and desires of everyone around me.
Let me say that one more time for the people at the back: focus on your own needs and desires, not the needs and wants of everyone around you.
So, here’s a list of ten of the ways I’ve simplified my life this year. You may resonate with one, all or none of these, but it’s time to tune into your own radio station and figure out what you want, what you need and what you can leave behind.
- Downsize your Environment
At the beginning of this year, I moved out of the bustling eastern suburbs of Sydney to the calm and quiet of Palm Beach, also known as Summer Bay, for those who watch Home and Away. As someone who’s lived close to the city for most of their life, I didn’t truly understand how your external environment can make your heart beat faster and increase the rate of your breath until I left.
While everything here runs on Palm Beach Mean Time rather than Stressed City Time (commonly known as AEST, haha), I've grown to love it. People here aren't rushing from one thing to another; when you go for a walk, everyone moves slowly and greets you. I live with my daughter and Oscar our dog and Tinkerbell the cat love it too.
While I know everyone can’t move home, it’s worth looking at how your external environment impacts your internal environment – your mental health, stress and anxieties and seeing how you can downsize and simplify it.
2. Minimise your Things
If your wardrobe looks like your clothes are at war, begging for room to breathe, this one’s for you!
When I moved homes, I had to take my stuff with me, and there was more than I had realised that had accumulated. As someone who considers themselves somewhat minimalist, I was surprised at how much unnecessary stuff and clutter I still had. So, I went on a decluttering mission.
I sorted my clothes into yes, no and maybe piles.
My no pile went into bins to be sold or donated, and my yes pile went into my suitcase. I then asked myself if I needed and wore the maybe items. If the answer was yes, I kept it. If not, it went into my donation pile.
Now I have a capsule closet – I only have one or two of everything in my closet and stick to the basics. As hard as it may seem to say goodbye to the thirteen identical black pants from your corporate days, I can honestly tell you that you won't miss them, and you'll know they're in a new, good home where someone wears them.
The same theory goes for my beauty products. I have a couple of products that do more than one thing, like tinted sunscreen or an oil cleanser.
Simplifying my clutter has helped me make room for other things that I value more.
3. Live in Alignment with Nature
Have you ever been praised for being busy or for doing it all? Or perhaps, you’ve peered into someone else’s life and couldn’t understand how they do everything.
If someone looks like they're doing a brilliant job at juggling it all, they're probably not juggling everything at all. If someone is saying yes to every work opportunity or event, perhaps they're saying no to their health or time with their loved ones. While things can look easy from the outside, the hustling lifestyle many of us lead can't last forever without some burnout and unwanted compromise.
As a previous juggler (not in the circus, in real life), I’ve transitioned to living a life more attuned to nature’s rhythms. I wake with the sun, walk in nature, meditate next to the ocean and rest when I feel the call to do so. While it’s not exactly the hustling lifestyle advertised by every entrepreneur on Instagram, living this way has calmed me down, gotten me back to basics and helped me focus on what I find most important.
I’ve also spent lots of time with my dog and cat to put me in touch with cycles and seasons. Their needs are simple – they need care, love, food and walks outdoors, and I’ve realised, as humans, we don’t really need much more than that.
4. Simplify your Diet
I've cut down on the fancy mushrooms, superfoods and exotic foods and focused on the foods and supplements that help me feel best and are easy to prepare. I use Love Your Gut Powder for gut health and Fulvic Humic Concentrate for energy. I shop at my local farmers market and only head to bigger grocery stores for essentials. I've been eating at fewer restaurants and instead focus on cooking foods I enjoy. We've been enjoying this Green Eggs No Ham Frittata lately.
When I feel like a slow-cooked delight, I’ll pop either my hearty lamb shanks with root veggies or low FODMAP hearty meatball stew and slow-cooked ham hock soup in the slow cooker and let it sit all day while I work. When it’s time for dinner, these meals are ready and waiting for me to savour and enjoy.
I'm also sharing my easiest lockdown green soup recipe below, just scroll down for the video. It's a great recipe if you haven't got much in the pantry and want to eat something nutritious and calming.
I’ve also upped my smoothie game. I mean, is there anything easier than a smoothie? I think not. If you’re looking for some smooth smoothie inspiration, my top three smoothies at the moment are my vegan edible smoothie, microalgae green smoothie and pretty in pink smoothie.
5. Daily Meditation
Vedic meditation came into my life last year, a time when I needed it most. That said, I wish I added it into my routine twenty years ago. Meditation has been one of my most significant catalysts for simplifying my life and has come with many benefits.
Vedic meditation has helped me:
- Turn inward and work on my trauma.
- Live in the present.
- Increase my creativity.
- Sleep better and have more energy.
- Increase my intuition and awareness.
- Decrease my anxiety and stress.
- Turn inward and stop seeking external validation.
- Understand my place in the world and my purpose.
I meditate daily and can say it’s been a life-changer.
If you want to find out more about Vedic Meditation, you can read about it here.
6. Create a Budget
Is money a dirty word for you? Does the idea of a budget make you cringe?
Money can feel overwhelming, tedious, and like it's meant for someone else and yet, to others, money can help them create freedom and live more in alignment with their values. If you want the latter, it's time to simplify your relationship with money.
When I took the time to understand my income and outgoings and how they balanced out, I created a budget that I can stick to which makes me more conscious of where I spend my money. For example, I enjoy making my own homemade sticky chai above, instead of buying one out.
Perhaps it's time to make a budget, have a look at where most of your money goes or simplify your superannuation.
7. Downsize your Relationships and Media Time
The more work I've done on myself, the more I've realised that I am responsible for the time I spend on things that aren't working for me.
I've distanced myself from friendships that were no longer serving me to make way for new and deeper relationships that make me laugh, feel supported and who fill my cup rather than take away from it.
The same goes for my social media and email list. I’ve unfollowed and unsubscribed from people and businesses who don’t inspire me or make me laugh. I’ve limited my time online to make time for enjoyment.
I also close all of the tabs on my computer at the end of the day – I find it easier to start each day with a blank screen and focus on one thing at a time. I spend less time overworking and more time looking after my mental health.
8. Create a Routine and Stay Open to Learning
Creating physical distance from my previous life has helped me think about what serves me and what doesn't. As a result, I've started to make more firm boundaries about living in a way that fits me. I have a routine that brings me joy and fulfilment.
As an introverted word nerd, I make time to meditate, cook balanced meals, read books at home, play card and boardgames like cribbage and backgammon, garden and learn. I've also completed my advanced diploma in clinical nutrition this year which was four years in the making. There is always time to learn more about nutrition and the things that interest you.
What does your routine look like, and how can you simplify it to suit you more?
9. Learn How to Say No
The more you say yes to other people, the less you say yes to yourself. Sit with that for a second.
Where in your life are you saying yes when you really want to say no?
I've said yes to other people for a long time and found it the ultimate energy drainer.
I now ask myself what I want before I mindlessly reply yes to keep everyone else happy; this goes for anything from business invitations or time with friends. While it's not always easy, if something doesn't feel right, I'll say no.
Let's leave people-pleasing in 2020. Thank you, next.
10. Trust the Process and Don't Give Up
If you’ve read this blog, you’ll know that last year was one of the most challenging years I've ever had, and I know I'm not alone in that. While I'm so lucky to live my life, it hasn't always been easy. I've had to let go of my grasp of what I know to be true and trust that everything will fall into place.
When I loosened my grip a little, it made me realise that I needed to move away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and let go of friendships and things to make way for new ones, and so far, it’s been the change I needed.
I’d love to know – do you resonate with any of these? Let me know in the comments what you have done or want to do to simplify your life.
I'd also love you to try this delicious and very easy to make Green Soup that I've been making in the recent Sydney lockdown.
You can watch a video of how to make it here.
Lock Down Green Soup 🌿 🌿 🌿
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen beans
- 1 cup frozen broccoli
- Any fresh greens in crisper drawer such as broccoli/ snap peas/ zucchini (optional)
- Handful fresh rocket/ spinach
- 2 sprigs fresh coriander
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 tbs tamari
- Squeeze of lemon
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- Nutritional yeast flakes and coriander to serve
- Olive oil if using
- If using fresh greens place in a tray in the oven drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 mins
- If using frozen green veg place in saucepan and warm through, adding any other cooked greens you have plus rocket and coriander
- Add a squeeze of lemon
- Pour in vegetable stock and stir and bring to the boil and cook for 5 mins
- Add tamari and stir
- Pour in coconut milk
- Place in blender and whizz until smooth
- Pour into a bowl and top with nutritional yeast, coriander and stir in some Love Your Gut Powder to serve 🌿
Enjoy the recipe 🙂
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Thank you for sharing Lee. I love this post and it resonated with me a lot. After a few years of chronic stress with family illness and of course the experience that has been COVID-19, I am very much also working towards simplifying my life. I have taken some of these steps already but you have inspired me to keep going and to hold out for that peace that comes with a peaceful, simple life.
Hi Michelle, thank you for sharing your experience. Makes me feel like we are not in this alone and we have the support of each other to help us all recognise what is important. Lee x
Hi Lee, you have always been an inspiration to all of us trying to live a healthier life. I so resonate with you simplifying your life. I have found it doesn’t matter how many supplements you take or how much kale you eat, if you are stressed, it will still wreck havoc on you mind and body. xx
Thank you Tanya, I agree with you 🙂 looking at yourself holistic can really help. Lee x
To be frank, your blog is both informative and useful. I got your blog link with google search and read it, and it proved to be really beneficial to me. Thank you for sharing your valuable insight.
From the beginning of this post I was drawn in to REALLY read it, not skim over it. I’ve been on a “simple living” path for a few years and it really takes some focus to stay on it. You are so right about the pets keeping you in tune with cycles and seasons. My 2 Jack Russell are my medicine. I have recently given up a job that wasn’t good for my mental health, the co-workers weren’t “my people”, they weren’t bad people, just not MY people. Walking away from that caused me angst for about a week then my mind settled and started to find calm. The calm brought good energy and I was offered a part time job with like minded health focused people.
Good luck with your journey Lee, lots of us are on the same/similar path. Thanks for sharing your world with us xo
Off to make that delicious soup today AND clear out my wardrobe 😃
Hi Cath thank you for your comment :):) your puppies sound delightful! I agree it takes effort to stay on the path but it’s much better for our health and wellbeing. I hope you enjoy the soup! Lee xxx
Thanks for sharing your journey Lee. I have recently downsized and I know there are still things I need to lose out of my life. The soup looks fabulous. I have your books too and love many of your wonderful recipes. Stay safe in lockdown.
Thank you Penny, its all a process but we will get there 😉 Lee x
I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting you a few times now at your book launches that i hosted in Mundaring and honestly you are the most beautiful person inside and out. Thank you for your honesty in your blogs and for your amazing recipes and thank you for being you! Sending Lots of happiness, good health and positive energy your way!!
Dear Bridget, it was so nice to meet you and thank you for hosting me. I really appreciate your kind words. I hope everything is going ok for you in Perth xx Lee
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