When I write I like to refer to simple living as a journey, rather than a destination. And like most things in life that are worth anything, it doesn't happen overnight. I haven't arrived at a "destination simplicity" yet, have you? But I have been pursuing this lifestyle for the past few years, at varying degrees of intensity, and in that time, I've learned to recognize the signs that I (or someone else) need to slow down.
Simple living is different for each person, but if any of these signs ring true of your life, it may be time to slow down. Trust me, you'll be happy you did.
1. You're Constantly Stressed Out:
This is probably the number one reason people choose to slow down. Stress has a veritable laundry list of side effects on your body (fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, poor food choices...), mind (anxiety, depression, insomnia...) and heart (worry, social withdraw, distrust...) so obviously, eliminating stress is a good thing.
Try analyzing your priorities. If you're stressed out, chances are you're probably overcommitted or dealing with something outside your control. If it's the first, cut some things out. Saying no is a healthy habit. If it's the latter, remember that it's just that- out of your control. (Obviously, this is much easier said than done. But keeping it as a goal is a great place to start).
2. You're Sick Of Clutter:
One of the main goals of simple living is to turn your focus away from "stuff". People take it to various extremes, but in some way or another, all minimalists try to pare down their belongings.
There are other types of clutter too- not just the physical "stuff" that piles up in our coat closets and junk drawers. More about that in a second.
3. You're Tired Of Spending $$ On Things You Don't Use:
My husband and I have been SO guilty of this. We'd buy something to fill a space on our wall, or because we thought we "needed" it, but really, it ended up sitting in a corner or- gasp!- not even making it out of the box. Not only is this poor management of our money, but it's consumerism at its finest- and the opposite of living intentionally.
Since slowing down, we're able to ask ourselves if we truly need something, or if it's just another dust collector.
4. Your Mind And Heart Needs A Detox:
Remember the non-physical clutter I mentioned before? It happens in your mind and heart and is maybe the most dangerous kind of clutter.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that minimalism will solve the deeper desires of your heart- it can't do that. But I am saying that minimizing your priorities, things and stress can lead to a heart that's much less worried and a mind that has learned to appreciate the small things. It leads to greater contentment- that I can promise you.