We all want to feel peaceful and calm every moment of every day but the reality is that it’s just not possible! But what we can do is put things in place that help us feel gentle each day, no matter what’s going on around us.
To me gentle living encompasses:
Being kind and gentle with yourself, each other and our beautiful planet. On this little blog I often share about the brands and companies that I know are being a bit kinder to the planet but I don’t often share personal stories of how I actually choose to live a more gentle life, in general. Everyday habits that help me feel gentle.
These last few months have been hectic (teaching and mentoring teens, delivering my online youth mentor training for adults and writing a book!) and I’m sure you would probably be in the same boat – who isn’t?! And while it’s all good and well to say things like, “oh I don’t believe in the word ‘busy’,” and “let’s stop the glorification of the busyness” (which I wholeheartedly agree with by the way), the reality is we are pretty busy. Whether we fill our lives with nonsense or fun stuff or family commitments or work – most people’s lives are pretty full.
So for me, it’s about finding ways to come back to my calm happy place when I’m feeling frazzled and essentially working in a way that suits me. I’ve been reflecting on how I got through the last few months so here are some tips I came up with:
1. Use your Sunday to get ready for the week. Whether it’s an hour in the evening to have a quick look at the week ahead or whether you need to spend the afternoon prepping food for the week because you know you won’t have time alter in the week.
2. Have some white space in your week. There is nothing more overwhelming to me than a choc-a-block calendar. Give yourself space in your calendar so that you can be flexible and have play time. This may not be possible all the time but when you know you have a super busy week, make sure there’s a day or two the following week where you can chill out.
3. Be flexible. Tune in to how you’re feeling and work with your body. If you wake up super tired and you have the choice (depends on what you’ve got going on), sleep in and work later that day. I think we can get caught up in trying to be a ‘morning person’ or trying to have the perfect routine. My partner Davey always laughs at me because I do crave routine sometimes but ultimately I hate being ‘boxed in’ by anyone or anything so he thinks it’s hilarious when I try to box myself in with schedules and routines. 😂
4. Tune in. When you’re fried, step away from the computer (or whatever you’re doing). Nothing productive comes from pushing through when you’re brain is done. But a walk outside, a cup of tea, a nap, a yoga sesh or a phone call with a girlfriend can instantly uplift you so you can go back for more.
5. Hug the slog. Marie Forleo said this recently when she was writing her speech for Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and it’s really stuck with me. There’s a time for not being so gentle and actually just slogging it out. Sometimes you just have to stay devoted and keep on going. You can still step outside for a moment to recharge but don’t allow that to become a 3hr break that turns into “oh I’ll just make dinner, watch Netflix, go to bed and start fresh tomorrow.” So easy to do but not so great with looming deadlines!
6. Have some daily things you can turn to that you know bring a bit of gentle-ness into your day. Whether it’s a morning walk with your dog (my favourite thing to do), meditation (another essential daily practice for me), doing a face compress at night with a bit of lavender, having essential oils going throughout the day, a chilled-out work playlist in the background or lots of herbal tea (OK these are just all my favourite things!).
I’ve just finished delivering my first round of Youth Mentor Training and I can honestly say that I have never worked this hard in all my life!! But I absolutely loved it and found that, because it was so intense for 4 or 5 months straight, that I needed mini breaks too. A couple of days camping. A week in Thailand to visit my Dad (even though I worked from there, the change of scenery helped). Adding an extra day to play in Melbourne on a work trip. These little trips helped me enormously.
Ultimately, I think it’s been getting to meet so many of the women in this course at the in-person training days and the absolute joy I’ve felt seeing them rise up and actually put everything into practice (setting up their own businesses or prepping for their first workshop) that has given me so much energy and inspiration to keep on going, even when I felt a bit wrecked.
The other thing that’s really helped over these last few months is simply honouring the fact that I am introverted (which I talked about in detail recently on The League of Extraordinary Introverts podcast – check this podcast out if you identify with being a little quieter) and I LOVE home time so if I go out and about to teach, see little mentees, or socialise, I then need time to recover at home. I’ve learned to factor this in and I’ve really enjoyed saying those two little letters N-O quite a bit lately. Letting my friends know that I’m in hibernation mode to deliver the course and write my book has been wonderful too. People understand…if you give them an opportunity to.
I hope that reminds you of some gentle tips you can add or bring back in to your own life!
**If you’ve ever thought about working with teens yourself, check out the free training series available for the next few days here.
With love and peace,