While we can’t all leave our modern way of life and join the Amish faith, the Amish way teaches us to slow down and focus on the important things in life.
Here are some simple living suggestions:
1. The Amish do without electricity and modern technology like television. Why not try turning off the TV and sitting quietly? Or you might go outside and enjoy the sounds of nature. What could be more pleasing than listening to the melody of birds singing or hearing the whisper of the wind as it caresses your face?
2. Since the Amish have no electric dryers, they hang their laundry outside to dry. When you have the time and the weather is nice, try hanging your laundry outside to dry. You’ll not only be saving energy, but the fresh, clean smell will relax your senses.
3. The Amish travel mostly by horse and buggy. They also walk many places, and some ride bikes or scooters. Whenever I ride in an Amish buggy I notice so many things around me. Why not take a leisurely walk in the country, or even a stroll around your neighborhood? It’s amazing how many things you’ll see when you walk instead of ride in a car. The fresh air and exercise is good for you, too.
4. One thing I’ve noticed about most of my Amish friends is that they like to read. Many have often said that they enjoy reading because it takes them to places they’ve never been able to visit. Reading is also a good way to relax. So as you read one of my novels, allow yourself to be drawn into the lives of my Amish characters.
5. At every Amish gathering I’ve ever been to, there’s been a lot of visiting going on. For the Amish, simple living involves spending time with their family and friends. Try visiting with a friend or family member, without the distraction of TV or radio in the background. You’ll be surprised at how enjoyable the conversation will be.
6. My husband and I have had the pleasure of eating in many Amish homes, and the home-cooked meals have always been delicious. Eating out less and fixing more home-cooked meals is a great way to simplify your living. You’ll not only be saving money, but there’s satisfaction in eating a delicious meal that’s been made from scratch.
7. While the Amish do buy some gifts that they give to family and friends, many of the gifts they give are homemade. Rather than buying all your birthday and Christmas presents, why not try making some handmade gift items to give friends and family members? There’s something satisfying about making a gift with your hands.
8. I’m always amazed when I see my Amish friend’s vegetable gardens. Besides the abundant crop that will help feed their family, their gardens are virtually weed-free. One way to live more simply is to grow a garden. If you don’t have room in your yard, you can plant vegetables in pots. Nothing tastes as delicious as fresh, homegrown produce.
9. Since the Amish don’t have electricity, they light their homes with propane or kerosene lanterns. Some also use candles for extra light in their rooms. When you want to live life a little more simply, try turning off the lights and eating a meal with only candlelight. Soft candlelight can be soothing and relaxing.
10. The old saying, “Many hands make light work,” is certainly true among the Amish. At work frolics and barn raisings there’s always more than enough help to get the job done. Even for things like preparing meals, cleaning the house, and doing outside chores, everyone chips in. Try getting together with some of your friends or family to do yard or household chores. It will get done much faster, and you’ll enjoy the fellowship that comes with working together.
11. The Amish take part in many volunteer activities. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many Amish men belong to the volunteer fire department. Many Amish women make quilts and other items to sell at benefit auctions which help people in other parts of the world, like Haiti. After the terrible hurricane that struck Louisiana a few years ago, some of our Amish friends went there to help rebuild. Part of simple living is helping others, so why not devote more time to volunteer activities that involve helping people in need?
12. One of the things that impresses me the most about the Amish is their strong family values. If we want to experience simple living at its best, then we need to reinforce family values and strong family ties. Why not set aside a certain time every week to spend quality time with your family? You might play some games, work on a puzzle, or do whatever you enjoy together.
13. The Amish wear simple, plain clothes, and they wear no jewelry. Many of their clothes are homemade, and they don’t own a pair of shoes to go with every outfit. Buying fewer clothes and unnecessary material things is one way to simplify your living. We can often get by on much less than we think.
14. My Amish friends seem to have a more relaxed attitude than most Englishers I know. When I’m with them, I feel more relaxed and patient. Try slowing your pace, and don’t be in a hurry to get everything done quickly. You’ll feel calmer and more relaxed.
15. The Amish I know have a time set aside every day for devotions. Even a few minutes in prayer and meditation each day will make you feel closer to God and the world He created.