A Manifesto for a Simple Life

From Kelly Exeter—The Smile Collective

We all dream of having more hours in a day, of living a simpler life where family time is not an obligation, but a loving connection where we suddenly understand that the home is a safe harbor to anchor us to our best selves.

During the holiday season life is ramped to the max as we struggle to create a peaceful season that means more than social obligations, big gifts we can ill-afford, and too many yeses that stretch us thin.

This year, consider Kelly’s maxims for a simpler life. They can lead to the abundant territory of connection and increase the time to enjoy what is most important in life.

Eat Less, Move More

We tend to eat more in winter to fill not only our bellies, but also to fill the darker hours of the season. Even though it is winter, put on the rain jackets and get your family outside! Studies have shown that even a short amount of time moving outside eases brain fatigue and increases a sense of wellbeing.

Buy Less, Make More

Consider re-gifting gently used items this holiday season—favorite books, vases filled with flowers, a mixing bowl holding homemade cookies. Kids can be involved in determining who gets what (a little window into your child’s perspective) or spend an afternoon making sachet stones or cinnamon dough ornaments.

Stress Less, Laugh More

Laughter is a powerful antidote to conflict, stress, and a cranky mood. It doesn’t matter how you get there—it can be by stories, silly chase-me games, or the willingness to play good and goofy. To rev the belly laugh engine, here are two of our favorite youtubes: Bad Dog Denver and The Best of BBC One’s Walk on the Wild Side.

Feel Blessed, Love More

Spend all your kisses. You are rich with hugs and smooches, handholding and slow brushing of hair. Affection impacts our health and stress levels and is a no-cost way to express love and regard for one another.  Yes, our health can falter, money can be lost, a crisis can loom, but no one can take away the love embedded in your life without your permission. And that is priceless.

Find a Quiet Spot Every Day and Breathe

There is breathing to stay alive, and then there is breathing with intention to heighten peace and calm the brain. I use a mantra when life gets out-of-control-crazy: As I breathe in deep I say to myself …I am. I exhale and think …at peace. Even if it is totally fake and I am NOT anything CLOSE to peace, I find that there is at least a micro-adjustment in my attitude. And that micro-adjustment can mean the difference between snapping at a beloved and keeping my big mouth shut. It is the difference between alienation and attachment.

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