Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back To Basics: 10 Ways to Simplify

If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve probably realized by now that life seems to pick up speed and get more hectic as you get older. Responsibilities multiply and the load you shoulder never gets any lighter. You often feel like you’re at the very edge of your limits only to have them pushed a little further. And while you sometimes marvel at the amount you’re able to accomplish in a day, it just never seems to be enough. Not only that, but with inflation, everything you used to be able to afford has gotten more expensive. When did a cup of coffee start costing as much as a night out at the movies? And when did movies start costing as much as your dry-cleaning bill? It’s enough to make anyone crazy! So how do you get back to that hazy memory of a time when life was easy and filling your gas tank without taking a second mortgage was not entirely outside the realm of possibility? Simple. Just simplify (and save)!

Go ride a bike. If your morning commute isn’t too far, get in a little mood-boosting exercise on your way to work. Or if it’s a long way off, eschew hours in traffic in favor of public transportation; sip on coffee and read the paper while someone else honks in frustration.

Brown bag it. A homemade lunch is both healthy and cost-effective, so stock up on your favorite meats and cheeses, go for some multi-grain bread, and throw in a couple different kinds of fruit for morning and afternoon snacks to keep you going without a trip to the vending machine.

Hit the park. If staring at a screen all day is driving you nuts and you can’t afford to work it out with a little retail therapy, consider an afternoon in the park as a free alternative. Plant your feet in the grass and stop to smell the roses for awhile. Remember that the best things in life really are free.

Take a nap. Kids have the right idea. Around the middle of the afternoon, our bodies and brains need a rest. So if you can swing a siesta (or even take 15 minutes to lay your head on a desk), you will get a boost of energy to keep you going until the end of the day (instead of a double espresso, which will make you manic for an hour and then lead to a crash).

Read a book. Save on electricity and transport yourself to another world for awhile by turning off the TV and tuning in to literature. With a library card, you can access the latest bestsellers without the hefty prices that retailers charge.

Get a massage. Just so you know, this does not have to be an expensive outing. Chances are good that if you’re stressed, your significant other is feeling the same way. So look online for some tips on massage and try them out on each other for a free way to relax and get intimate.

Salvage friendships. Time is essential to any relationship, and if you’re busy, you’ve probably been neglecting yours, so call up old friends and throw a potluck. You’ll catch up with everyone and save on a pricey dinner out. Plus, talking to friends is a lot better than paying for an impersonal therapy session.

Go camping. Forget the ridiculously expensive summer vacay to a tropical island or bustling metropolitan center (both pricey and stressful). Opt instead for the natural beauty of your local surroundings and a trip free of hotel, transportation, and fast food nightmares.

Ditch the DVR (and the cable, while you’re at it). Despite what everyone says, you don’t NEED these things. They are sapping your savings and your will to live! Spend some time playing board games or reading books with your family instead of sitting in front of the tube. Or if you just have to watch the latest episode of your favorite show, see if it’s available online, or wait for the box set to come out and rent the whole season.

Do nothing. Remember those lazy days of childhood boredom that you thought would never pass? Now you wish you had them back. Lucky for you, they’re easy enough to attain. Simply clear your calendar for the day and stay home. Unplug the phone, leave the laundry for tomorrow, and forget about the fix-it projects (they can wait a little longer). Just enjoy the fact that you have absolutely nothing to do for an entire day.

Kyle Simpson writes for Medical Coding Certification website where you can find information on a career in medical billing industry.
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