Simple Life - A Week in Review

To describe what I mean when I say Try a Simple Life, I think the tagline for my blog "Our search for a simple, low-stress, low-cost life" is pretty accurate. I have added the word "peace" to that description on occasion, and all of it still stands true. So how are we doing? Each week has its ups and downs, and some months go better than others, but this week went well.
Week in Review

In fact, this was a better-than-average week. Changing the time I leave for work was a very good decision. My drive is less stressful and I have been able to exercise three days, while still allowing plenty of time to make dinner afterwards. My husband and I even got in a few walks while dinner was cooking, bonus exercise and relationship time. We have had temperatures in the 70 degrees this week and since it can snow in November in Wisconsin, quite a gift. Therefore, two days of exercise were on my bike. My original goal for biking this year was 500 miles (all after work or on weekends.) My two rides helped me finish mile 631! I am pretty proud of my accomplishment.

I read two books, both mysteries by Agatha Christie which challenged my mind, yet provided relaxation. One was even read sitting outside it was so beautiful out. I didn't quite stay within my original thoughts for changing my reading habits, but the switch to mystery books worked well. We followed our meal plan and ate healthy dinners; when we went to Walmart, we stuck to our list of consumables and didn't buy anything extra (consumable or not.) There was only one planned evening activity - my husband went out with an old work acquaintance, so our nights were free to do as we chose. The weekend includes only grocery shopping, one load of laundry, and cleaning one bathroom. When you don't have piles of things around the house, there is less to clean.Work included some fun projects for me, and our daughter is finally settling into liking her new job (less stress for all of us!) Financially, I closed October's books last weekend and was able to put a nice amount in our vacation fund - yeah!

A couple of things that didn't go well included my lunches and our son's project car. I only needed three lunches this week due to a fundraiser at work and conference out of the office one day. While I still made my lunches on Sunday for the week, I made a different kind of food and I immediately noticed the difference in my energy level in the afternoons. On the positive side, I now know my original lunch foods were right for my body. Our son worked on his project car in the garage, sanding the Bondo where he had cut out rust. This equated to lots of dust, and spray paint where it should not have been. Helping him clean (sorry, 18 year old boys are not the best cleaners) took one of our evenings, but was worth the pride he has in his work.

Struggles

By far the biggest struggle we had surrounded Christmas Plans with extended family. Each year is a juggling act with the agendas of each family, and who would like to do what. It is never easy and I always end up feeling stressed about it. This year we chose to forgo a family gathering and go on vacation instead. Next year, we will probably go back to a family gathering, but that hasn't made this year's discussions any easier.

Inspirational Blogs

On our journey to Try a Simple Life, for truly it is a journey, I find a lot of inspiration reading about others who have the same goal. Some of the posts I read recently that particularly spoke to me include:

Happy Simple Living discussed ways to make your holiday season more enjoyable; a common blog topic these days, but her list so resonated with what I have already started practicing the past few years. Fewer decorations, allowing for downtime, and spending time outside are so helpful in reducing stress.

Be More With Less chronicled her first 10 days doing the Whole 30 food challenge and has noticed the effect certain foods have on her body. As I described above, I immediately noticed the difference when I switched lunch foods this week. Two years ago I spent the entire summer eating only real food and have since been more in tune with how different foods affects me.

Melissa Camara Wilkins analyzed her full calendar and found it was just busyness, not fulfillment. I love an almost empty calendar, and the ability to just be; to just live life at the moment.

The Simplicity Journey wrote about her family's decision to move from the city to further out, giving them the ability to spend time outdoors. I love being outdoors and don't know how I lived for three years in an apartment with no balcony or patio. She also wrote about being a better writer in her head than on paper - I honestly compose so many blog posts in my head that never make it to the written page, I understand! Finally, her inspiration from other blogs keeps her focused, which I totally agree with.

I hope you had a good week, measured by whatever yardstick you choose! The beauty of living a simple life is creating the life which works for you.

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