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Enjoy the simple things

Many of us lose touch with the natural world, forgetting we are intrinsically linked. Taking time to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life grounds us, both mentally and physically. It also helps us live more lightly on the planet, by realising we can be happy with much less than we think.

Path leading down a forest with sunshine breaking through the branches

Taking time to enjoy the simple things enables us to better connect with ourselves and the world around us. This simple action can make a real difference - both to our own health and wellbeing and that of the planet.

By acknowledging the consequences of what we buy, what we eat, how we travel and the other many choices we make in our daily lives, we become more mindful in everything we do.  Contrary to what our consumer-driven society would like us to believe, the best things in life are often free.

12 Simple ideas to try

Walk barefoot. When was the last time you kicked off your shoes outside? You don’t have to be on an exotic beach to do it either - simply walking on grass calms the mind and literally connects us with the earth.

Read a book (preferably a physical one, rather than an ebook). Borrow one from a friend, start a book club or visit your local library. Re-visiting childhood favourites can transport you back in time and remind you of simpler times.

Grow your own food - even if it’s just a pot of herbs on your windowsill. Growing your own food in a garden or yard creates a relationship with your soil, the seasons and the weather and ecosystems where you live. It reduces food miles, increases our resilience to climate change and offers a real sense of satisfaction to put something you grew yourself on your plate.

Get lost or at least take a new route from time to time. We are creatures of habit and tend to take the same route every day, where it’s to work, school or wherever. The need to navigate rather than simply travel on autopilot means we’re more likely to notice our surroundings and fires up neurons that were previously lying dormant.

Forage for wild food. Over time we’ve gone from hunter gatherers to supermarket shoppers, but a wealth of free wild produce still exists, even in cities. Gathering berries, chestnuts, wild herbs etc. is a great way to be connected to the seasons and the natural world. Just be sure you know what you’re picking! There are many excellent guides around, such as Richard Mabey’s book Food for Free.

Person in Zen pose outside a cave with sky behind them.

Minimise - work out what you really need and get rid of the rest. Being content with less stuff frees you from many things which can complicate your life (Action 51: 'Buy less make more'.) If you want for less, then you often need to work less to pay for those things, making way for a simpler life with more time to choose what you really want to do.

Detox from the digital world occasionally - hours can go by in mindless scrolling through social media and websites. Don’t berate yourself; just recognise the signs that it’s become an ingrained habit or a need for a dopamine hit rather than a conscious choice.

Take time to breathe - you don’t have to join a meditation class to feel the benefits of taking time out. Just focusing on your breath for a few moments is calming in itself. If you can do it in nature, even better.

Dance like no one is looking, whether they are or not. Music, especially combined with movement, is one of life’s simplest joys and can lift a mood in moments.

Go wild - few of us truly experience wild places on a regular basis. Camp overnight; lie on a blanket under the stars; walk in forests; learn the skills of our ancestors such as fire-making

Create something - find your passion and go with it, whether that’s a painting, a poem, a knitted jumper or a home cooked meal.

Value friends and neighbours. We are nothing without a community around us. Bring people who mean something to you together as often as you can, whether it’s for a picnic, dinner or to share skills. (see Action 11: 'Refuse, reduce, reuse, repair & recycle').

Picture credits: 1) Alexander Ramsey - Unsplash.com 2) Bertvthul - Pixabay.com 3) tolu bamwo - nappy.co
Action
SIMPLE ACTION

Make time to just sit and breathe

EVERY DAY ACTION

Be mindful of the consumer choices you make daily

COMMUNITY ACTION

Gather friends and neighbours to share a meal together

GLOBAL ACTION

Share and celebrate the good news stories

Earth Care icon
EARTH CARE:
Recognising we are part of the natural world is an important step towards protecting it
Fair Share icon
FAIR SHARES:
Most of the world’s population gets by on far less than we do
People Care icon
PEOPLE CARE:
Slowing down and focussing on the simple things boosts our mental health