Life has been busy lately for Zach and I.  Between working multiple jobs and trying to create a name for ourselves while balancing family, friends, and overall health and wellness, we both hit a wall.  Recently I have become far removed from my yoga practice and have seen my workouts decline as I try to find balance in the rest of my life.  We both feel so inundated lately with the responsibilities of being adults that our dreams seem to fall to the side.  I wonder, is this what happens to everyone?  I went to the gym after work last night with all intentions of sweating out my day and frustrations, but I couldn’t bring myself to get on the turf and foam roll.  Instead, I went to the empty yoga studio upstairs and put Ray LaMontagne on Pandora and unrolled my yoga mat.  

I came to the top of my mat in samastitihi and started with my sun salutations as I always do.  I immediately felt grounded and my mind started to calm down.  I didn’t do a long practice; nor did I do a particular sequence.  Instead, I did my best to listen to what my body needed and pushed the world away.  By the time I went in to savasana I felt calmer.  My mind wasn’t running a million miles a minute thinking of the 100 things I need to get done or the goals that I am trying to accomplish all at one time.

After I was done, I rolled up my mat and realized that I need to simplify my life.  I have gotten so caught up lately trying to do everything that I have lost sight of the most important things.  So here are a few ideas I came up with to simplify my life right now.

-Unplug.  I’m not saying to be rid of technology, but I am saying that we should all spend less time utilizing it.  We spend so much time connected to our smart phones, our laptops, our computers, and our TVs.  One of the best things about technology is how it has the ability to simplify our lives and make things easier to access.  Our smart phones allow us to use them as alarm clocks to wake up early in the mornings and often times we will turn off the alarm and immediately start to scan through our work emails or social media before we have even wiped the sleep out of our eyes.  We take pictures of everything and live behind the screen of our phones instead of experiencing everything as it happens.  We get home from a long day of work and jump on our computers to finish up reports and do one last check of emails before dinner and then vegetate on the couch to watch mindless TV with our phones never too far away for fear that we will miss an “important” post on Facebook or Instagram.  

-Stop comparing yourself to everyone else.  You will never look or be like anyone other than yourself.  So be yourself.  We so often put other’s lives on pedestals that we forget to look at how incredible our own lives are.  If you are feeling down about your own life, take a piece of paper out and a pen and find one thing that you are grateful for.  Sit there until you can think of one thing.  If you can think of another, write that down and keep going.  No one has a perfect life.  We all have our struggles.  Be grateful for what you have and the person you are.

-Fancy food is fun, but simple is great too.  The other night while Zach and I were cooking I joked about how plain of a cook we can be at times.  We had company coming over last minute and put together a quick dinner that we thought would suffice but our friends raved about how awesome it was.  They even suggested we post it as a recipe because of how much they enjoyed everything.  We laughed and thought they were joking because the only seasoning we used was salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika.   Every meal doesn’t need to be a fusion of different cuisines or covered with sauce.  In reality, the best thing about working with fresh whole ingredients is that you don’t need much to make a flavorful meal.  Enhance the natural flavors that are already there and let the food speak for itself.

-Make lists.  As busy as our lives are, it is inevitable that we will constantly have something on our minds.  We will probably forget a thing here and there as well.  One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is to make a list and now I have lists for everything.  There are three different shopping lists on my fridge at all times (Sprouts, Target/Walmart, and Costco), there are lists on my desk for things that need to get done around the house or throughout the week, there are lists on my laptop for different projects or goals that we are working on, and there are lists in my emails of tasks that need to be completed for work purposes.  Writing it down helps me get it out of my mind (for the most part) and works as a constant reminder of things to do and ideas of how to get things done.  And there is nothing more satisfying than crossing something off of my list once it’s completed!

-Slow down.  We live such fast paced lives all the time that we are often caught up in tomorrow instead of today.  Much of my work life consists of forecasting into the future what might happen or projecting how to make things happen.  I am constantly thinking about what will happen next and have realized that it often makes the present a lot less satisfying.  The next time you feel yourself getting anxious about what is coming, take a step back and look around.  Take a long deep breath in and slowly let it out.  Look at your surroundings and appreciate everything in that moment.  I love my mornings when Zach and I are able to sit on our couch and drink our coffee.  Everything else falls away and it’s just the two of us.  Find a routine that works for you that allows you to be present.

Simplifying our lives can be important.  It helps to bring back the focus on what really matters.  What are some tips that you can offer to others that are trying to simplify their lives?