5 Things To Do On National Simplicity Day (July 12th)

Summer is such an exciting time of the year but it can also be extremely busy for most of us. Most days it seems are filled with parties, vacations, cookouts, Independence Day celebrations, you name it. Amidst all the fun you may feel like you need a day to recuperate, and if so, you’re in luck! According to the National Day Calendar, July 12th is known as National Simplicity Day.

Simplicity Day was founded in honor of writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau who was an advocate for living life simplistically. Henry, who was also born on July 12th, felt that as though life shouldn’t be spent working to gain wealth and unnecessary material. He believed our focus should be more on nature, knowledge, self-reliance, and creating our own path.

According to Goodreads, one of Henry’s most famous quotes states:  “our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” 

While simplifying may mean different things to everyone, the goal of Simplicity Day is to make us take a step back from our on the go lives and focus on the basics, at least for a day. If you’re into the idea and not sure where to start, we’ve made a list of 5 things you can do to celebrate National Simplicity Day.

5 Things To Do On National Simplicity Day (July 12th)

1. Limit Your Technology

I’m sure it isn’t a surprise to see cutting out technology listed first. According to Market Watch, a recent study showed that American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media. That’s up from nine hours, 32 minutes just four years ago.”

In today’s time, it is hard to cut out technology completely when it plays such a major part in our daily lives, but what about in your free time?

We spend so much of that time scrolling meaninglessly through various social media sites and before we know it, two hours have gone by.

We tend to tune out and don’t even realize what’s going on around us or what we may be missing. By limiting the use of your phone or laptop on Simplicity Day even for an hour, you’ll have a little extra time to focus on yourself or do something productive. You may find you don’t even miss it!

2. Read A Book

With your extra free time from putting down the technology, one thing you can do is read a book. As a writer himself, Henry felt as though reading was a vital part of life. So much so, that he wrote an entire chapter in one of his books called Reading.

It can be any type of book, magazine, newspaper article, just find a quiet place and flip through a few pages.

Taking the time to read also has quite a few benefits. Aside from giving you a short break from the hectic world around you, reading can reduce stress, expand your vocabulary, and provides mental stimulation which reduces your chances for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Plus, there are so many types of literature out there, almost anyone can find something that entertains them. 

3. Enjoy Nature

Another way to celebrate simplicity is to spend some time outside. You don’t have to live off the land in a cabin in the woods like Henry, there are plenty of other simple ways to connect with nature.

Do whatever you enjoy like going swimming, having a picnic, taking a walk. You could also do something new like hiking, kayaking, maybe even scuba diving. The possibilities are endless! You could even ask a friend to join.

If you want to do something to not only get outside but to be a little more eco-friendly, why not walk or bike somewhere you would normally drive, such as walking to work. These changes may be something you find you want to incorporate for even more than just one day.

4. Get Rid Of Something Unnecessary

In the true spirit of Henry’s idea that we have too many meaningless things, one idea is to get rid of something unnecessary.

We all have things we don’t use lying around taking up space. Take this time and use it as an excuse to declutter.

Go through your closet, your room, anywhere you have items you don’t use or clothes you don’t wear. Not only will you feel a little better having simplified your space, but you can also use this as a chance to donate your items to a local good cause.

5. Practice Introspection

Lastly, but still, a very important way to celebrate Simplicity Day is to practice introspection or self-reflection. Simplicity Day is a great excuse to take time for yourself to analyze yourself. Introspection gives you a chance to look at your life, your thoughts, and your goals in the past, present, and for your future.

A few questions you can ask yourself are: “am I using my time wisely?”, “am I taking care of myself mentally, physically?”, “what is something that is most important to me right now?” How deep you decide to go is up to you, but doing this for even 30 minutes can make a difference. You could answer questions about yourself you may not even know you had.


Whatever you decide to do on July 12th, we hope you take a chance to get back to the basics. With the holiday being on Friday this year, you could even celebrate into the weekend! Who knows, you may decide to incorporate some of these ideas into your daily routine.

There are so many ways you can choose to appreciate Henry David Thoreau and National Simplicity Day. Let us know a few of your ideas!