9 times out of 10, you ask a woman how life has been and the answer is “busy”.
We wear busyness as if it’s a badge of honour, and our lives a series of accomplishments - with success being some elusive end goal more often than not tied to financial gain or life milestones achieved.
University, marriage, kids, mortgage.… you know the rhetoric.
Life is fast, and it’s only getting faster. One of the most common things I help my clients with in my coaching practice is learning how to slow down and enjoy life.
Which is a paradox, as they often come to me wanting and feeling as if they need to be doing “more”.
But that’s just it - we actually need to be doing less. Less of what drains us to make room for more of what energises us, and lights us up.
Four years ago I was living a ‘busy’ life, working a corporate job with huge demands, playing indoor netball, studying part-time, filling my weekends , seeing my family - doing all of the things - and I burnt out. I found myself in A&E having a panic attack at the weight of the demands and pressure I’d put myself under.
That was a huge turning point for me, as I realised I was living a life out of integrity with who I was and how I was wired to function. My body was shutting down and my mental health was suffering. Now I coach women in the same boat, teaching them how to tune into their minds and bodies and slow down so they can actually enjoy their lives, not whittle through a series of achievements that aren’t actually making them happy.
No longer living up to the expectations that their parents, or socialisation has forced upon them.
My tips for slowing down:
Most goals fail because the ‘why’ isn’t strong enough. Why do you want to slow down? Is it so you can optimise your fertility and become pregnant; start the family you’ve always wanted? Is it so you can finally create the space to start the business you’ve always dreamed of? Or is it simply so you can learn to love yourself deeply? Vague goals produce vague results, so get super clear on what you want and what achieving the goal will allow you to be, do or have.
What activities and commitments in your life are you doing that you don’t need to? What are you saying yes to that you don’t actually want to do? Do you need to fill every weekend with back-to-back social plans? Get radically honest with yourself and ask why you have filled every moment of your week. What is it about being with yourself that scares you? What are you avoiding? What is the story you’re telling yourself about having no plans? Is it that you’re lazy? That you won’t meet anyone staying at home? Drop the stories and think about everything you will GAIN from implementing white space.
Many of the women I work with have actually forgotten what joy feels like, and what activities actually bring them joy. (And if you’re not aware of what makes you feel good, you’re probably not going to prioritise it, right?) So we go right back to basics and make a ‘joy list’. This might include: throwing sticks in the ocean for my dog. The first sip of my morning coffee with the sun streaming on my face and birds chirping. An 80’s dance class. Wearing a colourful outfit. Sitting in the library with a book. Listening to Spotify and dancing around my room. Painting. All of these activities create a pleasurable response in the body and encourage us to slow down and savour the moment.
One of my favourite things is having white space in my diary where I have no clients, no plans, and it’s time where I decide how I will fill it. Sometimes that means I’ll do nothing at all, except laze on the couch and read a book, or watch a Netflix show, or go for a walk, or create new content for my business. I get a lot of my ideas and inspiration in this ‘white space’ and I highly recommend it - not only for peace of mind, but for clarity and creative inspiration.
The tips I’ve shared already provide a solid foundation for practicing deep self-love. When you love and honour yourself fully, you set the expectation for others to do the same. You become a magnet for it. The most important and impactful way I practice self-love is by saying no to things I don’t want to do or that don’t light me up. More often than not we say yes because we don’t want to seem mean or ungrateful. Boundaries aren’t mean or selfish; they’re necessary to build thriving relationships.
I’m a firm believer in living in accordance with my menstrual cycle and honouring its rhythms. As women, our hormone profiles change every single day, yet most of us think we should be doing the same intensity of exercise every day, eating the same type and level of foods, and managing our time and schedules consistently, every day of the month. But this isn’t the best thing for us physiologically and can lead to hormone issues. So I really listen to my body and what it needs on a daily basis, and honour that. Bottom-line: women need to stop living like men. High intensity exercise and keto diets were created by men, for men and are only ever tested on men. Something isn’t right there…
So if you want to live more in tune with your intuition and experience greater inner harmony, less resistance and less anxiety - focus on slowing down.
Remove things from your life that don’t light you up - people, habits, beliefs, clothes, physical clutter. It all holds energy that either fuels you or drains you.
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Ask anyone what organs they think are the most important to take care of. They’ll probably mention the heart, lungs, liver, and so on. And these are all great answers. But you’ll rarely hear someone mention the body’s largest organ: our skin.
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