Pure and simple: Why less is good for us

Since early 2020, our lives have been turned upside down. But surprisingly, many of us have relished the simplicity of our ‘new normal’. 

For many Australians, life in lockdown has taught us that we can do with less. How much did we really miss that third espresso in a packed cafe? Or sorting through our wardrobes in a panic every morning? Or an overflowing social calendar with barely enough time for our own families?

We may not have chosen it, but our lives have become simpler — and that simplicity has, in some cases, helped us feel calmer, more in control of life, more connected to the people we love.

As we’re slowly getting used to the ‘new normal’, we might want to consider holding onto the simple things. Here’s why.

Why simplicity is good for us

In the past 50 years, the pace of life has changed dramatically, largely because of technology. “Our brains don’t grow as fast as technology has been introduced into our lives,” says Dr Melissa Weinberg, director of Academic Studies at ISN Psychology and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Centre on Quality of Life at Deakin University. “We’re forced often to work at a faster rate and to be more productive and more efficient. It may take a long time for our brains to catch up.” By simplifying the areas of life we can control, we can keep life’s inevitable stresses at manageable levels before they lead to distress.

The keys to wellbeing

Research has shown that our happiness is a product of how satisfied we are with seven areas of our life:

  • standard of living
  • health
  • personal relationships
  • achievements
  • how safe we feel
  • connection to community, and
  • sense of future security.

According to Weinberg, by keeping your focus on these areas, you have the foundations for a healthy level of wellbeing. She says that people have misperceptions about what will make them happy. “One of them might be that we need to be busy and we need to be constantly active and doing things all the time and keeping up with everybody around us. But in the past, the pace of life has been much slower and people have been able to achieve happiness.”

Holding on to simplicity

Life will inevitably become busier when the pandemic comes under control. That’s when the most important word in your vocabulary will become “no”. Learn to use it to avoid the “busy-ness creep” and keep your focus on the things that matter most to your wellbeing. For example, Weinberg emphasises the importance of achieving something every day, even if it’s something small.

Simplify your insurance

Insurance is one of those life admin things that we don’t always associate with simplicity or wellbeing — but ensuring that it’s adequate and up-to-date can help remove a potential source of stress. Take a moment to review your policy, checking whether:

  • it’s up for renewal
  • your sum insured is appropriate to the value of your home and contents, or your vehicle
  • all your personal info is correct.

If you’re in the shopping-around phase, it’s a good time to brush up on how GIO can help you stay covered.

Learn more about Home Insurance

Learn more about Car Insurance

Other ideas

  • Strip back. By cleaning out cupboards, wardrobes and spare rooms, you’ll help to declutter your life both mentally and physically.
  • Stop the tech creep. Remember, the more devices, gadgets and kitchen appliances you have, the more likely something will go on the blink and you’ll need to find time to get it repaired.
  • Watch your screen time. Every time you think “I’ll just check Instagram for a moment” is a moment you’ll never get back.


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This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.