A study came out recently that linked living a “simple life” with decreasing exposure to certain toxic endocrine disrupting chemicals. Those toxic chemicals can lead to a number of health related issues. So, how can we simplify our lives? A simple life could be a life where stress is at a minimum, food is grown yourself, and lotions, etc. that are applied to the body are all natural. Having said that, living a simple life in college is not an easy thing. Running from class to class, and activity to activity, finding time to live simply can be extremely difficult. However, we believe there are a few things you can do that will decrease your stress and increase your “simplicity” at college!
1. Stop using Soap
WOAH! What?! Are you crazy? That’s disgusting. Yeah, at first it seems a little gross, but the ends are worth the means on this one guys and gals. Let’s start by looking at what soap actually is. It’s a bunch of chemicals that are meant to kill bacteria, etc. from your skin. Do you really think its a good idea to kill that bacteria on our skin? Its kind of, sort of like taking antibiotics for your skin…everyday… blech! Next, not using soap does not mean that you are not getting cleaned everyday! Scrubbing the dead skin off your body with a washcloth or shower sponge can be very, very good for your skin! As far as hair goes, HERE is a great account of an incredibly successful (sham)Poo-less experience of a college gal! It might seem crazy, but since I stopped using body wash, I stopped getting eczema on my skin. Give it a try, it can’t hurt. (ps: you can still use natural deodorants if you are worried about smelling :))
2. Drop an Extra Curricular
This one may not apply to everyone, and that’s fine. However, if you are the type of person who loves getting involved in everything that is happening around campus (student government, athlete, 17 bagillion different clubs/organizations, TA, on campus jobs… you get the point. You know who you are.) You may need to drop one or two activities. It is so, so great that you are getting involved around campus, but it may be a good idea to focus on being a really, really good TA instead of trying to be a really good renaissance man/woman. Reducing your activities will ensure that you will have time to focus on living simply.
3. 1 Hour of Studying Outside a Day
There is no better way to feel connected to your natural self than to go outside and sit in the grass. Sure, college presents us with busy schedules, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of what we’ve got! Studying outside=hacking the system. You are double tasking without doing anything different from your normal schedule. All you need to do is sit outside! Outdoor studying will also supply you with some great vitamin D exposure.
4. Keep Computer/Electronics to a Maximum of 2 Hours/Day
Keeping your technology use to a minimum in college can be tough. When it comes down to it, using facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. on a daily basis is really just waisting time. Now, wasting time is not neccesarily a bad thing, but if you are gonna waste time, do something awesome! like this. Wasting time on a computer can really take a toll on your brain. Studies have shown that overusing technology over stimulates the audio and visual senses which can lead to anxiety, aggression and boredom. If you are not going to be able to limit your tech use to 2 hours a day, try a facebook fast where you set aside a day, week or even a month where you do not use facebook at all. You will feel amazing during this time, I guarantee it.
5. Find 30 Mins/Week, 2 Times/Week to Meditate
It is no secret that meditation is going to relieve stress. However, it can also do some wonders for your brain. A study done in May of 2011 showed that mindful meditation increased brain connectivity. Meditation will also help relax your mind and diverge you from the hectic lifestyle you live in college. This will, in due time, simplify your college life!
6. Walk as Much as Possible
One of the main reasons our lives are so filled with stress inducing toxins is because of vehicle usage. Instead of being locked up in a stuffy car or bus, try walking. Not only will you be getting good exercise and vitamin D exposure, but you will also be interacting with the natural world. Instead of isolating yourself in an automobile, you can be saying hello to people you walk by on campus, climbing a tree, watching the deer walk across your campus, etc. So, try and walk to all your classes!