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Downshift in Six Steps

"Tips on simplifying your life"
By: Maria Paula TolentinoDownshift in Six Steps

Downshifting is living the simple life. It involves a total change in goals, mindset, and sometimes, values. Downshifting is also closely linked to personal financial management, frugality, and being disciplined enough to live below one’s means.

Many of those considering to “shift” cite job stress, living competitively, consumerism, and “not being able to live up to someone else’s expectations” as major reasons why they want to downshift.

Other major reasons are a life-changing experience, some health reasons, or a personal crisis. Some wish to conserve natural resources.  By doing these, downshifters reject consumerism and focus on sustainable living and environmental concerns.

There are no hard or fast rules in downshifting. In fact, anyone can do it and there is no specific age or income to live by. This revolutionary approach to living encapsulates the idea of keeping what you truly want and need from what the modern world has to offer and discarding the rest, questioning the importance of certain things in your life, and putting it to the acid test.

Those who have downshifted experience a new sense of living and personal freedom. They are no longer easily persuaded by trends, politicians, and the populace in general. Downshifters eventually decline items related to social status, eat out less, plan their spending efficiently, and take less holidays away from home—since most downshifters have turned their home into their private holiday destination already!

These individuals choose a place of residence that suits their hobbies, type of friends, and the need for peace in a less toxic environment. Downshifting is a process that doesn't occur overnight though, but rather is refined over a number of years. It is revolutionary in a sense that it means less consumption and being happier for it.

Downshifting means choosing to live simply. Here, some tips to help you get started.

  1. Get a hold of your finances. Try writing down for one week your daily expenses, even the small cup of coffee you bought at the convenience store. This exercise gives you an idea of where your money goes and how much you’re spending on those “small” things. The wake-up call may come with the motivation to prioritize what matters most when it comes to your spending habits.
  2. Be frugal. When you start taming your expenditures, you will most likely go into the direction of becoming frugal, which means taking a hard look on how you can save money.
  3. Get rid of home junk. When you free-up more space, you have fewer fixtures to keep tidy.  Have a garage sale so that others may find something useful among your to-go stuff.
  4. Keep your own garden. One of the highlights of downshifting is growing your own fruits and vegetables. By having your own vegetable garden, you not only cut back on grocery bills, you also get the pleasure of growing and cooking your own food ingredients.
  5. Re-assess your work life. These days, working from home has both its advantages and disadvantages. If you’re really on the path to downshifting, however, you may want to give home-based jobs a second look.
  6. Try living in the countryside. Country life gives you a picture of what it feels to live simply and also serves as a reality check. With chores to be done and the country weather to deal with, it will be difficult not to appreciate housework and those who dedicate their lives to do it.
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