When I first began the journey to simplify and naturalize my life, I remember feeling super overwhelmed. Using my time more efficiently…organizing things better…new products I needed – or should I make them? Essential oils, gut microbiome – oh my! I honestly didn’t know where to start. The first “natural-type” thing I bought was Eucalyptus essential oil, because I had a cold and I’d heard it helps with respiratory health! That was only a couple years ago, but it marked the beginning of a lifestyle change.
It really doesn’t matter what you do or buy first, just start where you are. Below I have outlined a step-by-step guide for converting to a natural, simple lifestyle.
1.Make the decision
It all starts with a choice. Everyone has the option to live naturally, but it is becoming more and more difficult in the modern world. If it helps you, write down a mission statement, and even some goals for yourself. For me, this choice came when I realized I wanted my family to be healthy and not caught-up in worldly stress.
2.Be prepared to really change your life
If you were really serious about your decision, you will be prepared to change things. But consider this fair warning – you’ll be going against the majority, and it won’t be easy. But it is rewarding. Of course, it’s up to you exactly how much of your life you want to change. But implementing a pure, simple lifestyle can be one of the most drastic changes you make in your life.
3.Pick a place to start!
Still on board? Spectacular! So, uh…what now? I have some tips for you, but it’s up to you to pick a place to start. The first thing I changed was using essential oils in place of ointments/medicines. If you want a little more direction, starting with food is a great place. I’m a big fan of the Paleo diet, but just minimizing sugar (and artificial sweeteners!) is an excellent start. Read about my sugar story Here!
4.Declutter your house
This is a big one! It may take a lot of time, depending on the size of your house and how much clutter there is, but it is SO worth it! As an added benefit, you can make some extra cash with the items you get rid of 😉 The best way to start de-cluttering a house is to go through one room at a time. Just like the whole switch to natural living, this can feel really overwhelming, so take small bites! Here is a post detailing How to Go About Decluttering Your House.
5.De-clutter your schedule
Decluttering your schedule can be tricky because you may have made commitments you can’t get out of, or have other people relying on you to follow through with things. Nevertheless, the key here is priorities. I actually recommend making a list of your priorities, and then ordering your schedule accordingly. Don’t be afraid to put “relax” or “me time” on there – you’ll never be at your best if you don’t recharge, so it’s in everyone’s interest that you do so. Freeing up your time also gives you more time to really be present with the important people in your life. Here is a post with more on Decluttering Your Schedule.
6.Read the labels
Reading labels is just a good habit to get into, especially on food. I’ve gotten to the point where I hardly buy anything if I don’t know exactly what every ingredient is. It’s crazy how many products have added sugar or things with names I can barely pronounce! Also, beware of when they say “natural flavors” or “natural sweeteners” – this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re okay, so you may want to look it up to verify. You can look up all sorts of details about ingredients and nutrition for specific foods here.
7.Start buying ingredients, not packaged/processed foods
This is another big one, and it can be hard to make yourself do. But after you commit to it, it can be so much fun, and of course much better for you. It is just so EASY to grab the pre-packaged dinners or fast food…but is it worth it? With proper meal planning, it won’t take too much more time to make your own meals, where you have control over exactly what goes into them. You can even make them ahead of time so you can just re-heat them if you’re in a hurry!
8.Find a balance between making and buying
Let’s be honest, here: You probably don’t have all the time in the world to make everything from scratch – I get it! Neither do I. I would love to be able to make every little thing from scratch, from meals to cleaning supplies to beauty supplies, and many of them I do. However, I think it’s important to be okay with buying something pre-made sometimes, as long as it’s made by a company you trust and contains ingredients you approve of. For example, I have made nut milks in the past, but the cost, time, and mess wasn’t worth it to me, so I buy unsweetened almond milk from the store.
9.Set realistic goals for yourself
I didn’t actually do this step when I started changing my lifestyle, but it can be a huge help to some people. If you want to keep yourself on track, outline what you want to change, and set dates for each of the things. You can start by using the previous eight things on this list, and writing the date you want to have them done by next to each of them!
10.Stick with it!
The whole simple, natural lifestyle will get easier and even become second-nature as you integrate it into your life. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet your goals or you cave in and buy a candy bar. The important thing is to not let yourself give up. You got this!