A Simple Approach to Living With Less

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Take a Nap

In our household of 10, all but three of us have been sick during the last couple weeks. From croup to bronchitis to sinus infections and good old-fashioned colds, we’ve had quite the collection of sickies around here. I am thankful to be one the three healthy folks so far.

Dealing with sickness is never fun, but in between the moments of exhaustion I am thankful.

  • I am thankful that there’s a drugstore less than five minutes away.
  • I’m thankful to have a dad who’s an ER doctor. He’s saved me many a trip to the doctor for prescriptions and is on call for those scary 1am croup attacks.
  • I am thankful that we homeschool so my kids aren’t getting behind while they are trying to get better.
  • I am thankful that I have a job that let’s me work from home so I am available to help nurse my family back to health.
  • I am thankful for the reminder to slow down and rest.

The Going Gets Tough

There will always be things that come up in our life unexpectedly. A change of job, a sickness, or other needs in the family. We simply can’t plan for everything. As an emergency room physician, my father jokes that “Accidents keep him in business.” If we knew they were going to happen, they wouldn’t be called “accidents.”

Here are some strange accident statistics to be aware of:

  • 11,500 Emergency Department visits are related to snow shoveling each year
  • Air and Paintball Gun Injuries caused more than 20,000 ER Visits in 2008
  • Table Saw-Related Injuries have remained consistently high
  • There has been a 70% Increase in basketball-related traumatic brain injuries

If we knew what was coming, some days we would just hide in bed under the covers. The only thing we can do it take it one day at a time and keep our lives as simple as possible.

The Tough Take a Nap

What helps me the most in times of dealing with the unexpected is the simplicity buffer I’ve created for myself. As a homeschooling, working mom there are always things to get done. Thankfully, there are very few things in my life that would come crashing down if something doesn’t get done at the exact time I planned for it.

We don’t have busy schedules or lots of activities for the kids. So dealing with the stress of rescheduling our lives isn’t a concern.

When I’m up all night with my sick daughter my to do list for the next day gets rearranged completely. Instead of working on web design projects for clients, I move “Take a Nap” to the top of the list. I wasn’t always in a position to do that, but building in my simplicity buffer allows me that flexibility.

Build Your Simplicity Buffer

Could you use a simplicity buffer of your own? If so, start thinking about ways you could change your schedule and adjust your budget accordingly. If you cut your expenses, maybe you could work part-time. There are so many opportunities to work from home these days as well.

No one will build your buffer for you. It doesn’t always happen fast, but it can happen.

Spend some time thinking about the toughest parts of your life and the things you dream about changing “some day.” Write them down and make them actionable goals. You just might surprise yourself by what you can accomplish.


Thank you to everyone who has purchased “A Minimalist Family Christmas.” It’s currently #1 in its category on Amazon. I’m getting really great feedback on the book and that’s very encouraging to me.

If you’ve purchased the guide here or Amazon, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would submit a review on Amazon.

I have to admit that I’m typically a procrastinator when it comes to dealing with Christmas. Writing this guide has helped me as much as it’s helped my readers and I’m looking for a calm, minimalist Christmas this year.

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Article originally published on 11/03/2011

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  1. I love the idea of a simplicity buffer. It’s a shame most workplaces are so structured that people aren’t allowed to take time out to care for themselves.

    • Faith Janes says

      I couldn’t agree more. More and more companies are discovering the benefits, but not nearly enough yet. Thanks for commenting, Jonathan.

  2. Love the idea of the simplicity buffer! My husband and I built our simplicity buffer by cutting our expenses, drastically reducing the things we own, drastically cutting our income, and then we moved to Central America! We’re living in Costa Rica now, with a baby on the way, where life is very simple. I’ve learned that we as Americans tend to make our lives more complicated than it really needs to be. People here do not question the need for naps, breaks, or simply relaxing because it sounds nice. We can always make our own life more simple if we just give ourselves permission to do so and stop buying into convention.

    • Faith Janes says

      Hi Sherri,

      I would LOVE to experience the simple life of Central America! It sounds awesome. My husband and I hope to travel and do something similar someday. Congrats on your little one on the way. It’ll be quite the blessing to be raise with a simplicity buffer instead of having to learn it later in life.

  3. I watch my granddaughters(5 months,a one year old and a terrific two year old) and I remind myself that I napped when my 6 children napped so I must nap when my granddaughters nap. They deserve a well-rested patient grandmother when they wake up. That means I can only have one cup of tea in the morning or too much caffeine will cause me to skip a nap.

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