1. Health
Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

Simple Living, Recession-Style

By March 20, 2009

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I remember a few years ago, the 'simplicity movement' started gaining momentum. I first heard about it with Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance, but many different sources were talking about it around the same time. The idea was to pare down and get rid of all the extra 'stuff' that we think we need, but don't: extra belongings that clutter our homes, extra activities that pack our schedules to the hilt, extra food that lingers on our waistlines--you get the idea. In getting rid of what doesn't really serve us, we can enjoy what's really important in life: stronger relationships (which we can nurture with the extra time in our schedules), work that exercises our creativity and utilizes our natural gifts (which we can focus on when not distracted by all this other 'stuff'), and a better understanding of 'who we really are'.

Now there's another big reason that many are opting for the simpler life: finances. While the simplicity movement had consisted of people who chose simplicity for its stress-relief and personal-growth benefits, now many people are opting in out of necessity: to save money! While the experience of living with less may at first feel much less empowering when it's forced upon us (it all goes back to locus of control issues), the benefits are ultimately the same. Families may find themselves with more time together because they can't afford as many outside activities, or may eat together more often as getting 'food on the run' becomes too expensive, but family togetherness will still be the end result. People may find themselves selling off some of their possessions that aren't essential, or buying less non-essential 'stuff', but the end result is still a less-cluttered home. Those who are laid off may find themselves re-evaluating the work that they do as they search for new jobs, but the inward reflection may still result in more rewarding work once a new job is found. This is not to say that a massive recession is something that anyone would have chosen, but taking on a more simplified life as a result may eventually bring less stress, stronger relationships, and more meaning in life.

Whether you're feeling the squeeze of the recession or are feeling crushed by it, learning to live more simply can help relieve some of the stress. By spending less and enjoying more simple (read: inexpensive) pleasures, and by having a long-term plan for economic survival, many of us can get through this more easily than we otherwise would have. The following resources are from this site and from around About.com, and can help you live a more simple lifestyle, which can save money and relieve stress at the same time!

  • Simple Living Tips For Stress Relief
    Are you taking on a simpler lifestyle to save money? Here are some tips and resources for simple living newbies.
  • How To Simplify Life
    Living simply isn't just about spending less money. Here are some proven strategies to cut out the extra stressors from your life and live more simply.
  • 8 Fun Stress Relievers to Try
    Here are some inexpensive, enjoyable ways to relieve stress and have fun at the same time. They fit right in with a 'simple' lifestyle.
  • Top 10 Ways to Start Living the Frugal Life
    While some of these bring more benefits than others, there are plenty of great ideas here from our 'Frugal Living' Guide at About.com.
  • Frugal Parenting Do's and Don'ts
    Here our Pediatrics Guide tells you where to cut corners and where not to, for safety and the happiness of your kids.

What are your tips for living the simple life, saving money, and feeling rich? Share them in the comments or in the Stress Management Forum.

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