With so much of the planet being called to stay home, our old routines seem to be on hold indefinitely. But while it may not feel like it right now, one thing is for certain—this situation won’t last forever. Eventually the whole wide world will open up and be ours again to enjoy.
So the real question is, how will we live in that world when we get it back? For us, there are certainly hidden gems buried in this unexpected experience that are worth taking with us...and many things that we’re ready to leave behind for good.
Our Favorite Keepers
While all of us at The Simple Folk will literally be dancing in the streets (and nearby forests) when this crisis finally passes, we’d also like to honor the gifts this situation has brought us that we absolutely want to hang onto as this incredible shift in consciousness moves us forward.
- Deepening our relationships. We’re watching our relationships with our children, friends, and communities deepen and expand more than ever before. We’re more connected with relatives than we’ve been in the past, and we’re expressing ourselves with more conviction, patience, and authenticity. We’re spending more time than usual watching our little ones play in the glow of the afternoon sun. Love is in full bloom.
As we’ve slowed down, we can feel that we’ve connected more deeply within ourselves and are therefore able to offer a better environment of love to those around us. Imagine the difference we can make in the world if we each commit to being just a little more present and loving each day. It’s a game changer for our lives, our families, and our future.
Conserving our resources. Eco-conscious as we try to be, it’s shocking to realize how much food, water, electricity, and paper products we tend to burn right through without even realizing it.
These times remind us not to waste a single scrap or morsel because it might not be so easy to replace what’s gone. Perhaps in the midst of a pandemic, this feels like a day-to-day survival strategy—but a consciousness of conservation is exactly what’s needed to enable Mother Earth to keep providing for us all in the decades long after this pandemic is ancient history.
- Getting dressed with joy. The simple ritual of getting dressed has a whole new meaning to us these days. Not only does it boost serotonin levels and, quite frankly, just make us feel good, it also marks the passing of time and brings a welcomed sense of self-care and normalcy to our slower-than-usual lives.
Slowing down to truly savor and take pleasure in these simple daily practices has opened our eyes to how much beauty and wonder can lie in the little things if we let it.
Creative cooking from scratch. Just trying to get groceries is an adventure now, and you never know what will be in stock on any given day. So it’s been back to basics when it comes to meal prep, and bringing a pioneer spirit to the kitchen. With the focus on keeping the pantry filled with wholesome, non-perishable ingredients—and enjoying those precious perishables while they’re still fresh—getting creative with what’s on hand and cooking gut-healthy meals from scratch (and ideally from the garden) has become the new daily routine for our whole family.
That extra time and effort yields surprisingly delicious rewards, along with the discovery of so many exciting new and healthy recipes and my favorite discovery of all: my talented, budding sous chefs who now LOVE to cook! We’re eating real, slow food that we’re all involved in preparing...what a wonderful thing!
- Savoring family meals as memories. Back when our schedules could get intense, it was easy to grab meals on the go for the family or even to eat in a rush because of our impending list of things to do and places to go. This crisis has centered us all around the family table and we find we are basking in these special moments with one another...something we plan to continue with vigilance when the pace of life picks up again.
Taking nothing for granted. The gift of uncertain times is that all the good moments we experience somehow taste so much sweeter. Whether it’s the first buds dotting the bare branches outside the window, a caring phone call from a loved one, the music of a child’s laughter, or the way that one curl graces their little cheek—every tiny spark of joy we can grab feels like a miracle.
All this time at home also brings a sharp awareness of the people and experiences we can’t enjoy right now, and that none of us ever imagined would be absent from our lives. Actively missing the powerful group energy of friends and extended family, the simple pleasure of a holiday get-together, or just being able to greet a neighbor with a warm hug brings an aching appreciation for physical community and how lucky we are to be part of this vast human collective.
It would be such a shame if, when the world reopened, we ever allowed ourselves to take all of life’s everyday treasures for granted again. We hope to move forward with reverence and gratitude—mindfully embracing the multitude of gifts in every millisecond.
- Revisiting old resolutions. This sudden huge expanse of available time is an invitation to finally commit to those lifestyle changes that have been ever so subtly calling us. Whether your resolutions involve making more conscious purchases, getting more sleep, active movement, mindfulness practice, spending more time engaged with your children, or boosting your well-being and immune function—the healthy habits born of sheltering in place can help change our world as we know it if you stick with them when things begin to reopen. After all, transformation begins with the individual.
Our Top Tossaways
Tough challenges (especially huge worldwide ones!) also bring to light what’s not working for us so we can finally let go. Here are some ways of living we’re very ready to leave behind and not drag into the new tomorrow.
Sweating the small stuff. There’s nothing like a major shakeup to drive home the fact that the only matters of life and death are...well, life and death themselves. All the things that used to be such awful stressors—a negative neighbor, a toddler tantrum, sibling rivalry, or hurtful criticism—suddenly don’t seem like such a big deal anymore. A little perspective has really helped us all zoom out to see what truly matters.
We are committing to trying to roll with life and accept all that is as it comes. Negativity, after all, is part of the spectrum of harmony. Let those emotions simply bubble up and gently pop, and watch your world become a much happier and healthier place.
Collecting all the “things.” As minimalists at heart, the idea of jumping back on the consumerism bandwagon and attaining more and more material things just doesn’t hold any kind of thrill, especially when you consider the chaos our many possessions actually cost us (our sanity, our communities, our environment) and how good it feels to value those few timeless items we truly cherish.
For us, there’s no going back...we’re prioritizing less over more, quality over quantity, and deepening our relationships with ourselves and our planet because a blank canvas allows for more creativity, play, connection, and discovery.
- Disposables. One of the most glaring cast offs we’ve become aware of during this crisis is all the stuff we’re tossing away every day. Being home so much makes it impossible not to notice all the unnecessary food, food packaging, and paper products we use that are piling up in the trash and polluting our overburdened planet.
The power is in our hands. We’re making lots of other ethical and sustainable choices right now and as we move forward—like opting out of fast fashion, composting our scraps, and swapping out unnecessary disposables for eco-friendly alternatives like stainless steel straws, washable napkins, and reusable containers.
Toxic, synthetic materials. Along with becoming acutely aware of the waste we’re producing, we’re taking a good hard look at the materials that surround us inside our homes and consciously choosing to avoid synthetics like plastic, polyester, and others. They often come from petroleum products and carry a major load of hidden, toxic chemicals that could be affecting our health and well-being.
If you want to go one step further to keep toxins at bay, look deeply at the source of your clothing and other materials. Conventional cotton, for example, harbors many toxins you would never want near your delicate skin. We’re actively embracing clean, organic fabrics and naturally-derived materials like plants, wood, steel, or bamboo.
- Overwhelming schedules. Sheltering at home removes the blinders and allows us to finally exhale and honor our natural daily rhythms. Living at breakneck speed had become so much the norm that most of us weren’t even aware of how stressed and rushed we were. Once the world reopens, we’re determined to reenter on our own terms, savoring a nice and slow pace, and not allowing anyone or anything to rush us through our days again.
Sometime down the road, a morning will dawn like all other days, except on that day COVID-19 will finally be history. Knowing what to pack as we plan for a more sustainable future—as well as what to throw away forever—should make our reunion with the world brighter than anything we’ve known.
Here is a brilliant, visual story composed by Probably Tomfoolery about the waste and wonderful of our former lives, inspiring us to bring forth a new way of living and being. It so perfectly captures how all of us at The Simple Folk are feeling right now, and how you might be feeling too as you navigate these times with your little ones.
From our family to yours, we’re wishing you safe passage and wellness now and in the days to come.