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Showing posts from June, 2019

40 Proven Stress Busters

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For many of us, the end of the school year equals the beginning of summer vacation.  Even if you don't have kids or grandkids, the longer hours of daylight mean that you have more leisurely evenings to spend with friends, go to a barbecue or picnic, attend an outdoor concert, or enjoy a long after-dinner walk. Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash Yet on a day-to-day basis, we still have work and errands and other responsibilities, and the stresses of those things can still get us down. Relaxation and stress relief are what we hope to gain from leisure, and the following ideas can also be helpful.  And since minimalism is about making space and time for what is necessary and valuable, and removing what isn't , it too is a proven antidote to a stressful life. Eat or drink: 1.  Drink a glass of cold water when you're feeling stress.  Your problem could be dehydration rather than stress. 2.  Migraine headache?  Eat some spinach .  It's full of magnes

Lighten Your Load

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I'm very pleased to feature this guest post by my husband Jon. John Muir Trail by Chris LeBlanc for Austin American-Statesman As my wife has written many times, minimalism isn't about having zero possessions or living a Spartan existence in a spare room or a remote cave.  As minimalists we value and use the essentials, realizing that we need some material things to facilitate our lives.  Ah, but "essentials" can be a tricky word.  What one considers essential, another may consider extravagant.  Hmmm... perhaps insight may be gained by comparing minimalist thinking with prepping for a wilderness backpacking trip! Why backpacking?  For many, it is the ultimate getaway.  You make your way on foot from point A to points B, C, and D while carrying all your essentials in a pack on your back.  No phones, no emails, no distractions.  Just yourself, your companions, the challenges of the trail, and the glories of the natural world. To start with, basicall

Keep Free Time Free

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Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash My friend makes amazing costumes for a small theater troupe in Chicago.  It's a non-profit, church-based group, and she donates her time and skills.  She's incredibly talented, and finds the most exquisite fabrics and trims at clearance prices.  I've seen photos of the finished creations, and having worn many costumes for plays and operas, I can see that the ones she makes are of better-than-average quality. I once suggested that she should have an Etsy shop geared toward cosplayers.  My son and daughter both enjoy cosplay, and usually make their own costumes, which are good but not as detailed and professional as what my friend produces.  My friend could definitely make some money with her work. She's justifiably proud of her creations, and loves doing the work, but when I suggested an Etsy shop, all the light went out of her expression.  She apologized and said, "Yeah, everyone keeps telling me I should do that, but it

6 Reasons to Make Something This Summer

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Mass production makes everything transitional and disposable, but the handmade object is personal. It takes time to craft, which gives it a permanence that factory-made objects do not have.... The handmade object, created with care and detail, embodying a history and tradition, is enormously powerful. Eric Gorges A Craftsman's Legacy: Why Working With Our Hands Gives Us Meaning When we only buy mass-produced items, or only buy with a click on the internet, we become merely passive consumers.  We're removed from the process of how things are made, how they work, the people who make them, and the raw materials and energy that go into their production.  We're distant from all of these things and people, and in a sense from the real world. We may not realize it, but we're surrounded by the hard work and innovation of people who came before us.  The chair and desk at which you sit, the lightbulb in your lamp, the glass in your window, the book on  your shelf, your pen, y

Summer Reading

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It's time to plan summer reading!  Beach reads.  Or maybe for you they're porch reads, or (my favorite) charming-little-cafĂ© reads.  Wherever you love to curl up with a good book when it's blazing hot (or if you live in the southern hemisphere, cold and stormy) outside. I'm always on the lookout for a good book, but many of the books that receive the most hype are disappointing for one reason or another.  Leisure reading should be a joy, not a self-imposed obligation to finish the latest "must read" title.  It should be relaxing and enlightening, not a chore. According to worldometers.info there were over 328,000 new titles published in the United States in 2010.  That's just one year.  Hundreds of thousands more will be added every year, and that doesn't count all the great classics from the 19th and 20th centuries and earlier. How many of those books will you actually read?  I'm a fairly committed reader, and I probably read 60 to

My Favorite Way to Travel

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You can travel like the Crawleys from Downton Abbey ** with piles of leather trunks, suitcases, hat boxes, and your maid to hold your jewelry box.  You can travel first class, with no expense spared.  You can let yourself be pampered and waited upon, and that may, perhaps, add immeasurably to your experience. photo by Jack Anstey on Unsplash Or you can travel light, with a backpack or a carryon, prepared to experience your destination as authentically as possible.  As you walk the streets, or ride on public transport, you can interact with real people not as someone they should be ready to serve, but as someone they can simply be friendly with. You can be weighed down, or you can enjoy the agility of minimalism. I love the minimal completeness of packing for travel.  You have to consider carefully which clothes you'll need, which toiletries and accessories.  You might bring a book or a journal; you'll surely bring your phone.  You have only what you've chosen

The No Money Weekend -- Part 3

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Photo by Gary Sandoz on Unsplash The No Money Weekend is a challenge suggested by Trent Hamm of thesimpledollar.com .  Today I'm posting a final 20 ideas for this challenge.  By this time you've probably thought of your own no-cost ideas, so please share them in the comments below. 36.  Swap entertainment. Increase your entertainment options without shopping.  Invite a friend to bring over some books, DVDs, CDs, or video games they think you'd like.  Provide a pile of your own and agree on a time table for a temporary swap. 37.  Shrink your "to do" list. Everyone has a list of household projects waiting for free time.  Declutter a closet, wash the windows, install that ceiling fan, or sand and paint that old dresser. 38.  Start a gratitude journal. It's easy to focus on the problems and disappointments in life.  Change that with a notebook, a pen, and some quiet time.  Think about people who have helped you, an opportunity before you, a s

The No Money Weekend -- Continued

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Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash The No Money Weekend is a challenge suggested by Trent Hamm at thesimpledollar.com .  Spend no money at all:  use food from your pantry, items you already own, free events and services, the company of other people, and your own ingenuity. Today I'm posting another 20 ideas for this challenge.  Not all of these activities will be interesting or available to you, but I hope that some of them will inspire you. 16.  Host a film festival. Invite some friends over and ask them to bring a favorite DVD and a favorite snack (whatever they have at home).  You provide the same.  Enjoy a lazy afternoon or evening just watching movies together. 17.  Beautify the neighborhood. Wear disposable gloves, carry two trash bags, and walk through your neighborhood or the local park picking up litter and recyclable cans and bottles. 18.  Rearrange furniture. It's amazing how you can refresh a room simply by rearranging furniture.  Put the