I just spent two months up north in a blissful existence.  I focused only on three things: my kids, my health and my work.  I stayed in a small condo with very few items – other than a few pieces of dingy furniture I had a few changes of clothes, a few dishes, swimsuits, my computer and some art supplies for my kids.  That’s it.

It was a very, very simple existence.

What happened?

My kids played outside and connected with me like crazy.  We swam every day, went on long kayaking trips, listened to the entire Beatles anthology and had a dance party every night.

I accomplished a ton of work.  I finished my 8-Week Anti-Aging Program, and took care of my patients and all the people that are part of my 7-Week Clear Skin Program.  I stayed on top of all my social media.

I ate simple, nourishing food and did yoga and meditation every morning on the dock as the sun was rising.  Then I jumped into the lake and had a rejuvenating swim.  I slept amazingly well (except for the last week).  I felt so good, every day.

I spent some time alone each day – either paddle-boarding or relaxing on the dock.

How did all of this happen so simply and easily?  It is because my life was dead simple.  I had three priorities and I stuck to them.  Family, health and work.  That’s it.

And – I did not have to worry about the normal tasks that usually drown out what really matters.  I did not have a big house to manage, rooms full of possessions, piles of laundry or complicated meals to make.  It was all – simplified.

I returned to Toronto last night and immediately felt the crushing weight of my house.  The first thing that I did (without even realizing it) was take a few huge garbage bags and fill them up with junk, which I tossed.  And, frankly, that is all I want to do today.  Throw out stuff so that I can feel the way I felt in Muskoka.

Simplicity is an ancient spiritual practice that has been practiced since the dawn of mankind.  Our lives can get incredibly complex, and eliminating the excess can lead to opening up and making more space in our lives.  We experience more freedom, less stress, more time, more focus, more happiness – and more beauty.

Here are some of my tips on how to simplify life.  I am going to be focussing on incorporating these into my Toronto life immediately – especially since the summer is over and it is time to start establishing my fall routine.

  1.  De-clutter: This is one of my favourite things to do.  Get rid of stuff.  When Marie Kondo came out with her epic work ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ a few years ago I was elated.  Her theory is that if a possession does not enrich your life or bring you joy – it must go.  I find my mind is clear and my anxiety is calmed when my space is neat and free.  I feel another ‘Kon Mari’ house session coming for me – and I think I am going to be more ruthless than ever before.
  2. Re-evaluate your priorities.  What matters to you?  What truly makes you happy?  Allow your priorities to dictate how you spend your time.
  3. Edit your to-do list.  If you are not doing things that are enriching your life and focussing on your priorities, cut it out.  Now.  Learn to say no.
  4. Reduce media exposure.  Take a media fast one or two days a week.  This will allow you to refresh your perspective and re-connect deeply with the people that you care about.  It is also a good opportunity to gauge how social media is affecting you.  Does it enrich your life or create dissatisfaction?  Use social media wisely.
  5. Manage stress.  Meditate.  Practice gratitude.  Refresh your mindset.  Heal your adrenal glands.  Sleep more.
  6. Establish a routine.  Many people are worried that creating a routine will reduce the spontaneity and creativity that living moment-to-moment affords them.  I actually find that a good routine increases my freedom and creativity.  Regular exercise, meals, and sleep times allow me to feel better, look better and give me the energy to live my days as I choose.  Another perk – establishing a routine is the best way to heal your adrenal glands!

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