Simplify Your Life – 100Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter by Elaine St. James is a book about putting everyday situations and “stuff” into perspective. This is a small but thick book filled with really great ideas and recommendations for simplifying things that we have inextricably made complicated. If your sole focus in life is to keep up with the Joneses then this book is NOT for you. If however, you’ve burned out and want to regain some resemblance of sanity in a world that seems to constantly be on over-drive then THIS is the book for you. Ha! That sounded like a script for an infomercial. 😉 I immensely enjoyed this book. I wasn’t joking when I said I was on a “self-help kick.” I meant it. So much of what this book has to offer up as good advice sounded glorious to me! I am absolutely enamored with Elaine’s flippant and self-preserving, “If you don’t like it then too bad because I do” attitude towards life! Gosh…who does it remind me of? ME! That’s whom!
In 2010 I was diagnosed with Lupus, a diagnosis I did not take lightly. I went to see another doctor primarily because I did not like the other doctor very much. I mistrusted him. But I also went for a second opinion and he said that the tests were inconclusive; neither positive nor negative. He gave me some very good advice. He said that whether I had it or not, most people with the disease live incredibly long lives as long as they change their lifestyles. He gave me a long laundry list of habits that I needed to cut out of my life and others that I needed to incorporate. He also recommended that I routinely visit my general practitioner for routine check-ups just to make sure I didn’t have any organ failure. I figured regardless of whether I had the disease or not, I would undoubtedly benefit from these changes. So I did precisely as he had recommended. One of his suggestions that stuck with me the most was reducing my stress levels; more importantly, he highly recommended I eliminate all toxic relationships from my life. I took his recommendations to heart and they significantly improved the quality of my life and overall health. I also slowly started to develop that “If you don’t like it then too bad because I do” attitude that I was referring to earlier.
As I started reading Simply Your Life, I noticed that Elaine had managed to master that way of thinking and it too had brought her a lot of peace. This book is chalk full of great ideas for decluttering your home, workspace and daily agenda. All 238 pages are worth reading and considering. I’ve already applied some of her suggestions into my daily/weekly routine. I created a generic grocery list and a weekly schedule of meals. I’ve meal planned for the entire week and I’m all set to go! She has great suggestions for reducing house cleaning, clothes washing and food prepping time. I love how unapologetic she is about not answering the doorbell or telephone at certain times of the day or how she guiltlessly declines certain invitations to events she has no desire to attend. I too shamelessly do these things. And she is right. Life HAS gotten so much simpler since I started doing them. She even gives advice on how to simplify your finances.
I genuinely enjoyed the book. I read it in a flash. It was THAT entertaining. Obviously, it will not be as entertaining for you if you’re not looking for the same effect. Let me know whether you get a chance to read it. I’d love to hear which suggestion you started with!