Simplicity can't reign very well in your life if you have untreated physical or mental health problems. And how you take care of yourself must be sustainable. It makes no sense to begin a vigorous exercise program and a monk-like diet if you are going to abandon it in two weeks or two months or two years. You will need to integrate health into your daily routine for life.
TACTIC: See qualified health professionals about an exercise, dental hygiene, and nutrition program that you can sustain.
See a doctor and get a physical exam first. The exercise program must be realistic: it should involve activity that you enjoy doing so that you will continue doing it. Your goal is to get a lifetime diet and exercise routine, not a quick fix or a fad.
Be willing to try different exercises. Organizations in your local area probably offer many different kinds of exercise classes. Consider dancing as a social activity and exercise. Consider using your lunch or break periods at work for walking or see how you can integrate exercise into your routine.
If you've done the work of optimizing your place, you may already having walking built right into your daily routine as you go about in your neighborhood. Otherwise, find a place where you can walk for 20-40 minutes a day, perhaps on your lunch period or break. The idea is that walking an extremely simple addition to your activity that helps maintain health. By living in a place where, by walking as part of your routine, you'll get exercise and do errands all at once--one of the huge benefits of living in a walkable area. You might even be able to live car-free or car-lite.
Few things are as powerful as a walkable urban area for giving you a chance to walk for routine errands. If you are lucky, you might be able to walk to a grocery store, bank, restaurants, cafes, offices, perhaps even your workplace or school. Building walking right into your life is a great way to motivate yourself to walk--you do it automatically.
The great freedom, liberty, and choice that walking affords you is truly American! No government-issued ID to use, no need to look for subsidies or handhouts from other taxpayers to pay for your transportation choices (such as subsidies car drivers get for the purchase, use, parking, storage, and fueling of their cars), but true independence and freedom. Walking is truly the American way!
TACTIC: Drink water.
Water is essential for human life, and in most places, easily available. By choosing water over drinking soda pop, sweetened fruit juices, energy drinks, or sports drinks, you'll simplify your life. You can choose water in restaurants over any other beverage, in most cases. By choosing water, you'll be giving your body exactly what it needs and you won't have to purchase and store those other drinks. There is probably no other health-related idea for simplifying your life than I can think of than drinking water as your beverage of choice.
I can't think of a single practice for simplifying my life that I use more often than drinking water--it saves the time, money, and storage space required for other beverages, and it maintains my health.
Adding some ice and perhaps a slice of lemon to your water as shown here makes it delicious.
You might chill your water in stainless steel bottles (as shown here) and always have cold water ready to drink. I rotate these two stainless steel bottles out of my refrigerator: I use one bottle to pour into a glass to drink and have the other bottle chilling in my fridge. In this way, I really don't need any more than the two bottles. You can clean these bottles periodically with a bottle brush or by using the same tablets used to clean dentures.
TACTIC: Eat real food: consume what has been widely recognized as supporting human life.
Humanoids (genus homo) have been on earth for over 2.5 million years. Modern humans, (species homo sapiens) have been on earth for about 200,000 years. Your body is a result of this evolution, and your nutrition should match what your species needs for a healthy life. Think of it this way: a zookeeper would carefully feed a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) exactly what he needs to eat and would not likely want the animal to consume ice-cream bars, corndogs, and potato chips. By consuming species-specific food yourself, you'll simplify your life because you'll take care of your body for life and living. Could you consume something not healthy for your species from time to time? Of course. But a habit of consuming food that your body does not need and skipping food that your body needs is going to compromise your health and, over time, complicate your life as you cope with low energy or health problems.
You can avoid processed foods or foods that have been introduced to the human diet in the recent past and have not been proven to be healthy for human consumption over a long period of time.
After you eat food, ask yourself:
- Has this food satisfied my body with nutrients?
- Do I feel even hungrier than before I ate this food?
- Do I feel lethargic or sick after eating this food?
- Do I notice that after consuming this food, I can't seem to feel satisfied no matter what else I eat, and I have cravings for still more foods like it? (e.g., fast food, snack food).
I would watch out for and avoid any food or additive that turns off your ability to feel full. Some foods seem to trick your body into thinking it is still hungry or make you have cravings for still more food. Real food will fill you up, and you will feel full.
Examples of vegetables are:
- Use in soups or eat them raw to satisfy your craving for crunchy food to snack on
- Also keep on hand as a snack to satisfy your craving for crunchy food
- Use in salads or snack on
- Great for the basis of a salad
- Romaine Lettuce
- Also great for the basis of a salad
- Use in salads or soup
- Use in salads
Examples of fruit thare are widely available:
- The quintessential health food; eat whole or in
- Great whole or in yogurt
- Sometimes called "the perfect food" because of its nutrients
- Slices can flavor water
TACTIC: Seek professional help for depression or mental distress.
Depression is an illness that can limit a person's enjoyment of life. One of depression's symptoms--reduced ability to make a decision--will hobble plans to simplify your life. Just as your regular routine may involve visits to a doctor, your mental health routine may also involve regular treatment or regular counseling and support groups.
Contact you local mental health department or agency.
TACTIC: Quit smoking and the misuse of alcohol or drugs.
Probably nothing is going to complicate your life than an addiction to tobacco or drugs.
Seek help to end any dependence you have.
TACTIC: Keep to a fixed sleep pattern by waking up at the same time each day.
Getting up at the same time will make your life a whole lot easier. Your body will adjust, and you'll be able to wake without aggravation.
You may recoil at the thought of getting up on your days off at the same time you have to get up for work. If so, ask yourself--if I can get up at 5am for someone else, why can't I get up at 5am for myself? You'd be surprised how much more time you have on weekends to follow your interests when you make full use of all the time you have. You'll also be surprised how getting up at 5am consistently isn't difficult at all.
TACTIC: Regularly set aside some screen-free time: devote a day or a good portion of a day as specifically screen-free (that is no use of a television, computer, phone, tablet, video games, electronic entertainment, or any other screen-based entertainment, information, or work). Make this day a regular event, perhaps weekly, or perhaps as part of your own spiritual or religious observance.
I regularly set aside each Sunday as a day on which I do not login to the computer or use a screen (video, cellphone, tablet) from the time on waking to sunset. Instead, I read (paper books), have some quiet time, clean my apartment, go for a walk, or do something else. The time away from the Internet is absolutely essential as many people in the early 21st century have reported that they use online communication incessantly--on computers, tablets, or mobile phones--and are rarely away from it. This is a serious issue. I've found I have at least been able to break from it during one day and turn to experience the world as it is instead of through screens.
TACTIC: Tell the truth.
If you were a Boy or Girl Scout, go back and look at the pledge you took. You probably pledged to keep yourself mentally, physically, and morally fit.
No matter how corny or trite, pledges of integrity keep your life simple. Lies will complicate your life beyond measure. A lie can easily grow into a series of lies to cover up the first lie.
Make a decision now to always tell the truth, even in the most mundane situations. Bowled a 45 and golfed a 192? Tell someone the truth. If you find yourself telling someone anything incorrect, correct it with them as soon as possible, no matter how awkward or no matter what the consequences.
Avoid lying to make yourself or others feel better. You might be surprised how much simpler your life can become by following what might be considered "old-fashioned" advice.