Simple living starts with simple habits…
I know that we are all busy these days. Personally, I can’t recall ever being this on-the-go in any other time period in my life…although I’ve been close. The thing that is different this time around however, is that I’ve found 7 simple things that have made a world of difference in my remaining relaxingly productive rather than near burnout.
Before I found that these 7 things are what keep me grounded, polished, and presentable, I took a few years to weed through who and what was important and nurturing for me. More than likely we all have continuous “pruning” to do of stuff, people, and activities that no longer support our growth or honor where we are in life, and during those times where everything is changing, these 7 tiny and simple habits truly help to keep you grounded as they’re such a healthy and stable foundation to return to. Most of them are free, and you can do them no matter if you are male, female, rich, or poor, or in sickness and in health. I literally cannot think of an excuse not to do these things, so don’t bother trying.
There have been a few times in my life things were changing too rapidly for me to keep up and yet I had to carry on. I had a professional job, I had presentations to make, I had obligations to carry on, and I wanted to feel good at least on the outside while I processed things on the inside. While I don’t believe in being fake or “putting up a front”, it is appropriate to always present your best self. On several occasions I have been in the local coffee shop and ran into a politician or high profile attorney that I was able to introduce myself and speak to…no matter what was going on in my life…because I took the time to make sure I left the house polished.
In true testimony fashion, I have experience the contrast to this as well. There have been times where I’ve had to run the other way and duck into my car fast because I didn’t take the time to present my best self. There have also been times where a bout of depression grabbed hold and I didn’t care either. I chalk those times up to having been the reminder that my 7 habits work because I naturally feel better when I’m put together, so please allow me to share these 7 things with you;
Wash your face twice per day – religiously
We all get too tired at the end of the night, and I have seen my fair share of mornings with last night’s mascara. Yet, we all know that doing this isn’t good for you, or your linens. This is why I now wash my face as soon as I get home from work, and then again as soon as I wake up. Once you start doing this for a few days, you won’t ever go back to being half-ass about it because it will feel different to you.
This may sound very funny, but I wash my face with Olive Oil. Really! I use the oil cleansing method, and my oil is organic. I spoke about this routine with a great “how to” link in my post about switching to natural products without going broke. Oil breaks down oil so anyone with oil prone skin may want to give this a try. My skin stays naturally hydrated this way so I don’t even need a separate moisturizer.
Taking this time forces yourself to take care of yourself and just this simple act will make a world of difference in how you feel and also the condition of your skin.
Use under eye cream and a concealer
Seriously, this can be for both men and women. Eye serums are life changing, and I find that if I use an under eye concealer, even if I don’t have much by way of circles, I don’t need a foundation or a BB Cream. My entire face looks brighter and more polished.
Further, the skin under your eyes is very thin and delicate, it really does need that extra care from a cream or a serum. I don’t care so much about wrinkle protection in that area, because I feel the more the “crows feet” the more I’ve smiled. My goal for this step is simply to take care of my skin, and have a fresh appearance since my face is the first thing people see.
Have your pants professionally hemmed
$9.00 makes all of the difference in the world. It looks better, it feels better, and it tells others that you will pay attention to the details so they can feel free to trust you. It doesn’t matter if the pants are $150 designer duds, hand me downs, or $2.50 off of the rack at the Goodwill, a small investment in proper tailoring will pay dividends. Even better for you if you have a talented seamstress friend that you can trade with!
BONUS: Since having my clothing professionally tailored, I found another great benefit as that it actually saves me money; knowing that I’m going to employ a tailor with the majority of the pants I purchase, I’m forced to examine what I buy and therefore buy less. I always end up spending money on a few great pair of pants that will last me several years, instead of a ton of stuff. It’s far better to have 5 pairs of great pants that you hem and keep for nearly ever, then 15 pairs of ill made “fast fashion” that will fall apart later.
Keep a standing appointment with your hairdresser/barber
This one was actually one of the last habits for me to form. For a period of time my hair was hella long and I could go up to a year without touching it because it was so healthy. Then I decided to cut it. Then I decided to grow it out. Then I found a great hairdresser whom I love and kept appointments religiously. Then once I had to cancel and never got around to rescheduling until I realized that my hair not being kept tidy made me look much older and more tired that I actually was.
Now a days I don’t care how busy I am, every 6 weeks I find the 40 minutes – that I know I can always find – to get a cut. I don’t worry about color or highlights because it’s really not my thing anymore for a lot of different reasons. Knowing that I don’t have lengthy processes to sit through make me much more inclined to keep my appointments. My guy is reasonably priced for a high end salon, and he is efficient. Wash, scalp massage, cut, and blow dry in under one hour. There’s no excuse.
To make sure that I don’t forget or purposely shove it off, I make my next appointment before I leave, and add it to my outlook.
Stand and sit up straight…and smile!
This is an instant make over right here. Nothing beats squared shoulders, and a warm friendly smile. In fact, it’s sadly rare these days so you’re sure to stand out.
To go even further with it, consider eventually adding a standing monthly appointment with a chiropractor and/or massage therapist. To keep smiles the brightest, look into “Oil Pulling”…it’s worth the Google.
Sleep a minimum of 7 hours per night
Seriously, turn off the TV, Netflix, Phone, etc a few minutes early. Whenever someone tells me that they can’t sleep at night or that they don’t have time to get a full nights sleep I can always recall seeing Facebook posts where they are talking about a show they’re up watching. Hey listen, changing habits is uncomfortable, which is the exact reason why many don’t ever do it. But we all know by now that not getting adequate sleep leads to heart failure, illness, obesity…it’s imperative that we find the time for our vessel to restore itself.
There are days that I skimp on sleep, but I make damn sure that naps become a staple on the weekends. I also find about 15-30 minutes to shut my office door and close my eyes while listening to something relaxing with headphones. It can be done.
Download a meditation / breathing app
I enjoy my Calm app. I’ve got a timer set to alert me to do deep breathing several times per day, and one timer set to remind me to meditate. Depending on what I’ve got going on, I can choose the time interval to meditate and it will keep the time. You can chose from 1 minute on to over an hour. I settle somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes during the day.
I encourage everyone to look up what mediation does for you both internally and externally. The science is all there and it’s world changing. People who meditate regularly respond externally in a more calm manner. That was my initial draw to it as I feel that I’m a pretty serious person and can react intensely. I wanted more than anything to be able to keep my cool in high stakes matters, and not only did I achieve that with meditation, I got so much more including lowering my blood pressure, healing hypertension and an ulcer. I think clearer, and I react better to most things that would have pushed me to anger before.
Presenting yourself in a polished matter shows the world that you take yourself and your talents seriously. Having a simple life only requires an intention and simple habits. Many people think that to be polished you have to spend thousands on designer fashion and glitzy high end make up. While there may be some expensive things that you may chose to invest in, I think the 7 basic steps above clearly show that there doesn’t need to be much money spent to look polished instantly. They simply show the world that you care about yourself. While you are doing these things about your outsides, your insides will start to change too. You’ll have to try them to see it for yourself.
According to Myra Brown, Founder of Capri Brand; a Personal brand is a unique promise of value. Before you even speak a word, you tell others around you what your “brand” and it’s value is. Presenting in a polished fashion can make you more money, it can gain you wonderful trusted relationships, and experiences. 7 practices, most of them either free or nearly free…what would be the harm in trying some of them right now?
I’m a blogger who likes things simple, efficient, and organized. Probably because at one time I wasn’t those things and my life was pretty complicated. Now that I have embraced simplicity, frugality, and deep gratitude, I will never go back. I’m just here sharing what I’ve learned from my journey thus far in the hopes that it all can help others. Carry on my wayward son.