Skip to content
Font Size

Cut the Stress, Simplify Your Life

If stress is wearing you down, take some advice from those who have left their stress behind -- simplify your life.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life. -- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

OK, it's unlikely you're going to make like Thoreau and move to the woods. Heck, you probably don't even have time for a walk in the woods. If that's the case, though, that may very well mean that it's time to simplify your life. In so doing, you may just save your health -- and your sanity (not to mention actually having time to take that walk).

Recommended Related to Mental Health

Why We Love Scary Movies

Halloween is nigh, and along with the parade of adorable elves and fairies knocking on your door come some more disturbing phenomena: scary haunted houses, wild parties and, perhaps most jarringly, a new onslaught of ghastly horror films. This year the biggest new release will be Saw IV, the fourth installment of a tale of a psycho who delights in putting his victims through ever more elaborate and deadly traps. Scary movies are nothing new, but films like those in the Saw and Hostel series have...

Read the Why We Love Scary Movies article > >

Erin Bocherer and her husband are doing just that. "Our New Year's resolution was to simplify our life as much as possible to reduce stress," says Bocherer, an advertising account supervisor.

This is what the Bocherers have been doing:

  • Online banking. "This limits post office drop-offs and reduces the time and money spent on stamps and licking envelopes," says Bocherer. "It also enables me to schedule automatic payments each month, which saves several hours of our time because we no longer need to write out bills and balance the checkbook."
  • Hiring a cleaning service every three weeks. "We still clean, but they handle the nitty-gritty, time-consuming activities that seemed to fill our weekends," says Bocherer.
  • Hiring a nanny. Yes, this is expensive, but it saves the Bocherers two hours a day in the car dropping off and picking up their son at daycare. "It enables me to spend more quality time with my son (and with my daughter when she is born in May)," says Bocherer.
  • Reducing debt. "Debt is one of our biggest stresses that never seems to end," says Bocherer. By creating a strict, yet manageable budget, and focusing on paying off their debt, the Bocherers say they are creating a feeling of accomplishment.

Simplicity Movement Taking Hold

The Bocherers are not alone in their efforts to cut the stress from their life. Browse your favorite newsstand or bookstore and you'll see evidence of an anti-stress movement taking hold in this country. Generally known as "voluntary simplicity," or the "simplicity movement," the need many of us see for a less stressful, more meaningful life is reflected in magazines, books, and web sites devoted to simplifying your life, whether that means "de-cluttering" your home, "downsizing" your career ambitions, or living off the land.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Remember your finger
Are You Getting More Forgetful?
fruit drinks
Eat these to think better.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Close up of eye
12 reasons you're distracted.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.