“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau
Happy birthday Henry David Thoreau! Today, July 12th, has been dubbed National Simplicity Day in your honor. Your advocacy for living a life of simplicity has inspired many and has led to the creation of National Simplicity Day. On this day, people are reminded to take a step back from their hectic daily schedule and start to simplify their lives. The call for people to welcome simple living with open arms will help people realize the important things in life and appreciate the small things in life.
Henry David Thoreau Quick Facts
- Against slavery, he even hid slaves in his home
- For small government
- Author and poet
- Leader in the Transcendentalist movement
- Well-known for his book Walden which revolves around simple living in your natural surroundings
- Died at the age of 44 from tuberculosis
- Ralph Waldo Emerson was his mentor (maybe he asked Ralph Waldo Emerson some of these ten questions)
7 Tips to Lead a Simple Life
- Re-evaluate your expenses: Ever have days where you stop and think “Wow, I spent way too much money.”? Well, it is time to really sit down and track where your money is going in order to see if there are unnecessary expenses you are incurring. Maybe you don’t need cable TV anymore, your daily Starbucks coffee or new outfit. By monitoring your expenses you will be able to see exactly where your money is going and where you can cut the unnecessary expenses. For those of you in college, here are some tips for making smart financial decisions in college.
- Put down the phone: I recently saw Eric Pickersgill’s photography project where he removes phones from images he snapped. These pictures are a great reminder of how important it is to put down the phone and be present. It is so important to not take your days for granted, cherish the moments you have with your loved ones and the moments you have to be able to focus on yourself. As the saying goes, “stop and smell the roses.” You can even find a list of the top reasons to put down your device and pick up a book here.
- Declutter your home: When you come into a room filled with clutter and mess, your life can begin to reflect it. Being a minimalist in your home can help you live simply and feel refreshed. Declutter a home can be quite the task, however, it can be done. Just start with a room at a time, categorize items into sections from never used to highly used and then discard, donate or sell things you never or rarely use. You can also eliminate the amount of items you have, for example, if you have 5 pairs of black sandals, maybe you only need two or three pairs.
- Don’t let the little things eat you up inside: Sometimes we obsess over the “what ifs” in life. By continuing to beat ourselves up about something, it is hard to ever move forward. Sometimes life happens, as John Shufeldt says “If initially, for whatever reason, you head down the wrong path, then change course, make it right, learn and move on.” It is also important to remember that forgiveness can also help set you free of inner turmoil, find out seven steps to help you forgive someone here.
- Exercise daily: Henry David Thoreau encouraged hiking and outdoor activities for fun in order to help people become more one with nature. Exercising daily not only can help you lead a simpler life, but it also can have great health benefits. For example, becoming less active actually increases the risk diseases such as heart disease. Becoming active doesn’t mean that you have to start running marathons, in fact, here are 12 easy steps to get more active daily. Also, for those of you who want to stay out of the gym, check out these neat ways to get fit without the gym.
- Volunteer: Helping others can be a huge pick-me-up and a reminder of how well-off you are. By putting others first, you also gain an inner perspective of your role in this world. If you are not sure where to start, click here to discover 50 good deeds that are categorized by personality type.
- Spend time on yourself: This may sound odd, but take a second to think about it. In the daily rush, we can tend to lose focus of caring for ourselves. In order to help others and to live a simple life, it is important to take time to recharge and relax. People need to make sure they are able to take a step back from a grueling schedule to focus on themselves. There is nothing even wrong with taking 20 minutes a day to just sit and do nothing. Remember your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Check out five common habits that are harming your mental health here.
We encourage you to join the challenge and live life more simply. We would love to hear from you! What are you favorite ways to live simply?