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National Simplicity Day

Sunday 12th July marked National Simplicity Day, which falls every year on 12th July to honour the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, who was born in 1817.

Thoreau was an advocate of living simply and wrote a number of well known books on the subject. He believed in simple terms, that people have knowledge about themselves that “transcends” all the external forces in their lives. He advocated for living a simpler life to better get in touch with those feelings. Written in 1854, his most famous work is Walden, an account of a two year period he spent living alone in a cabin – which he built himself by Walden Pond, Massachusetts. 

Although Simplicity Day is celebrated in honour of Thoreau, many groups of people through the ages, from the founders of yoga practice to monks of both Eastern and Western traditions, have all followed the philosophies of simplifying life in both mental and material ways. 

We currently live in an age where we constantly use our phones, televisions and other electronic equipment that we rarely have time to just sit and reflect and gather our thoughts. There are a few simple things that we can take the time out to do so that we have a chance for reflection, and this does not need to be specifically on Simplicity Day. You can make any day Simplicity Day:

  • Unplug all your gadgets- challenge yourself to take a break from your computer and smartphone for a day. It can be refreshing to not be constantly plugged into the lives of other people on social media.
  • Declutter your home- use your Simplicity Day as an excuse to take a long, hard look at all your various objects and figure out what’s really important to you vs. what’s just taking up space. Take everything that falls into the latter category and donate it — you’ll feel more comfortable in your home and you’ll have done a good deed!
  • Use your Simplicity Day to unwind- our lives are constantly scheduled out between jobs, school, workouts, childcare, etc and we often forget how taxing it can be to always be moving from one thing to the next. Take some time out, even if it’s just mentally, and focus on the importance of the simple things.
  • Go out and celebrate nature- Spending time in nature is a special and simple pleasure and it’s free!

With the emergence of this current global pandemic and lockdown, it has given us a lot of time for reflection and moments of calm and clarity- However, if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed talk to someone, but make sure you also take the time to just stop, even for a few moments, and breathe.

 “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”- Henry David Thoreau