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Friday, June 28, 2019

40 Proven Stress Busters

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.



Monday, June 24, 2019

Lighten Your Load

I'm very pleased to feature this guest post by my husband Jon.


John Muir Trail
by Chris LeBlanc for Austin American-Statesman



Friday, June 21, 2019

Keep Free Time Free


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 would mean a lot more time, and I don't think I could make it work."  I recognized the look of a woman burdened by people's expectations of her.



Monday, June 17, 2019

6 Reasons to Make Something This Summer


Photo by Nadya Spetnitskaya on Unsplash

Mass production makes everything transitional and disposable, but the handmade object is personal.  It takes times 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, your eyeglasses, the qwerty keyboard on your computer.  The coffee in your cup, and the cup itself.  You're surrounded by history.



Friday, June 14, 2019

Summer Reading




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.



Monday, June 10, 2019

My Favorite Way to Travel

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 to take with you.  It's the ultimate in decluttering.



Friday, June 7, 2019

The No Money Weekend -- Part 3


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.



Monday, June 3, 2019

The No Money Weekend -- Continued


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.