When I started this blog, over two years ago, one of my first “blogger” friends was Catherine from the Blissful Mind. I fell instantly in love with her positive outlook and inspiring writing! If you’re looking to find more focus, balance, and fulfilment in your daily life then please check out her site—but first, I’m delighted to share this guest post she generously wrote for me. Enjoy!
A few years ago, I felt massively overwhelmed with life. Though nothing particularly overwhelming was going on, I felt like there was something weighing me down. The days seemed to merge into each other, and I was going through the motions of my daily routine without even noticing what I was doing.
For me, one of the best feelings in the world is opening a new journal and turning to the first blank page. There’s something about it that’s beautiful to me—like a breath of fresh air, calm and soothing but also full of possibility.
I feel the same way about the start of a new year.
I know it’s a bit silly—after all, the first of January is just a date on the calendar! But I love it anyway and use it as a reminder to stop and reflect on how I’m living my life (something I think we all need to do more often!).
This year, I was particularly inspired by this blog post written by my good friend Sam and I decided to make a few lists, including this one. These aren’t new year’s resolutions (which are way too structured for me!). Instead, they’re gentle reminders I can refer throughout the year to help me live with intention and stay true to myself.
Hello friends! I know it’s been a looooong time since you last heard from me, but I promise I’ve got a good excuse!!
Regular readers can probably guess what I’m about to share (or if you follow me on Instagram, you already know!), but to make things official — I’m a mum now! My little girl, Edie June, was born 14 September at 6:01 pm.
Here are a few photos of my little beauty. (Note: I won’t be sharing many photos of her here on the blog, but if you want more baby spam then be sure to follow my Instagram account.)
Not surprisingly, having a baby has changed my life in a million ways. I won’t bore you by going into them all here but over the past two months, I’ve been thinking about a few things relevant to this blog that I wanted to share with you.
Because I’m running on caffeine and little sleep, instead of the long form posts I normally write, this will be short and sweet (this may be the norm for the next few months!!) but I’m hoping you’ll stick with me anyway because I have so much I want to share with you!
Hands up if you’ve ever fallen into the trap of waiting to enjoy life?
You know what I mean, right?
It’s feeling like the future will be AH-mazing once something finally happens—maybe you’ll find a new job, lose weight, or finally declutter your home?
Whatever you’re waiting for, sometimes it feels like our lives are on hold while we wait for some magic moment in the future, when everything is going to change.
This is something that’s been on my mind a bit lately because, as many of you know, I’m waiting for our little one to join us (she’s due next week!). As much as my brain knows I should relax and enjoy the present moment, I can help feeling impatient—like I’m waiting for the next stage of my life to hurry up and begin.
While expecting a baby might be a new feeling for me, this feeling of impatience and waiting isn’t. I’ve been there before: waiting to pay off debt, waiting to quit my job, waiting to move house—and waiting to simplify my life.
From personal experience and many reader emails, I know it can be difficult to enjoy your life when you have a vision of simple living that’s still miles away from the reality of your day-to-day life.
Maybe your home, schedule, and mind are all still more cluttered than you’d like? What then?
The good news is you don’t – and shouldn’t – have to wait to enjoy the simple life.
As some of you may know, I’m expecting my first little one very soon (in just under 10 weeks to be exact!) so perhaps unsurprisingly, minimalism and motherhood has been on my mind.
I’m not worried but I am curious about how my life will change – so when I received an email from Candace, a minimalist, mom and traveller – I was intrigued! I invited her to share her thoughts on simple living and motherhood and here is what she had to say. I hope you enjoy this beautiful essay as much as I did.
I am Candace. I am a traveler, a mom and a minimalist. I blog about life as a single parent of color at MySpoclife.com. Minimalism is what helps me to keep my life as a mom and a traveler focused on the right things. I feel that it helps me to achieve my dream life by keeping me aware of the important things. Let me explain.
Being a mother in the western world is not always easy. It should be. However, with the invention of social media and the prevalence of opinions, mothering just got more difficult. There is an impossible standard that is being held up to everyone, mothers included. It is displayed everywhere you look. The perfect way to bring a child into the world. The perfect nursery, the perfect preschool, clothes and gear. The best activities for your child, the types of things they should or should not eat. The list goes on and on.
When a mother chooses minimalism, this storm of opinions is hushed. Your life is simplified. You are suddenly able to hear what your heart says. You can focus on the most important things: your well-being and that of your family.
Last night, I sat down to write a short proposal for a freelance project I’m working on. I didn’t expect it to take long – it’s not a big project – but it turns out I was having one of those days.
Do you know what I mean? One of those days when nothing feels simple, everything falls into the ‘too hard’ basket, and all you really want is to throw in the towel, get into bed, and hide for a bit. (Tell me you can relate?!) Unfortunately, hiding in bed wasn’t an option, so I sat in front of my laptop and tore my hair out for a few hours.
I knew I was overcomplicating things, but I just couldn’t seem to find the path to simple.
I could feel myself approaching breaking point, so I closed my eyes, took a deep breath – and then a thought popped into my head:
“Just be honest … “
I opened my eyes, exhaled, and started typing from the heart. I explained what I could, couldn’t, and didn’t want to do – and within 30 minutes, my proposal was finished and sent.
Relieved, I sat and basked in that wonderful “checked something off my to-do list” glow – but my mind couldn’t help reflecting on why I struggled so much at the start.
Why are things that are supposed to be simple, sometimes so hard to do?
As a minimalist, I try hard to be intentional about what I include in my life – from my possessions to my relationships – but there’s one thing I’ve always struggled to let go of:
Picture this – you go to bed with a clear picture in your mind of how the next morning will play out.
You’ll wake up refreshed, have a nice cup of coffee, read or meditate, get to work early, have a productive morning …
Sounds good, right? (Yes!) But then life happens. You sleep through your alarm, you’re out of coffee, you miss the bus … and next thing you know, you’re on the fast track to a Bad Day.
I know we’ve all been there and it’s more than just a challenging morning; there’s also the disappointment we feel when our reality doesn’t match our expectations.
I’ve struggled with this all my life (I’ve written about it here and here) but it’s at the front of my mind again because of the little one growing in my belly. I’m already realising my body and my schedule are not my own anymore and I know it won’t be long until I really have to say goodbye to control and learn to roll with the punches!
I’ll be honest; there’s going to be a learning curve – this is not a habit you unlearn overnight – but I’m getting there (slowly!). If you struggle to let go of expectations as well, here are 5 steps that might help.
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Not too long ago, I was a bit of a skeptic about self-care. It felt a bit indulgent, selfish, and – for lack of a better word – a bit ‘woo-woo’. I had a picture in my mind of pampered women wearing fluffy robes, in clay face masks, drinking cups of tea from tiny china cups. Nice … but not really necessary (and definitely not something I pictured incorporating into my daily routine).
But that all changed a few years ago. As part of my journey towards intentional living, I started journaling daily, and in my scribbles I noticed a pattern: whenever I had a bad day (a fight with my husband, a stressful day at work, or just a general bad mood), I could almost always trace it back to not taking care of myself.
Or to be more specific – when I was tired and worn down, I stopped caring about my values.
- Instead of going for an evening walk, or watching the sunset, I’d sit in bed and scroll on Facebook.
- Instead of cooking a healthy dinner, I’d give in to fast food and takeaways.
- Instead of talking with friends about my worries and stress, I’d mindlessly wander the aisles of a big box store.
- And instead of being grateful and compassionate in my relationship, I’d be snappy and impatient.
On the other hand – I noticed when I was well rested and cared for, I could handle difficult situations with ease.
With this in mind, I decided to try making self-care an active part of my life – but I was surprised to discover it was much easier said than done. Finding organic ways to incorporate self-care into my life, without it feeling like a chore or just something else on my to-do list, took a lot of time and practice.
After several years of experimenting, I feel like I’ve finally found my feet, so I wanted to share the self-care tips and ideas that work for me. Keep in mind that self-care is personal but I hope my practice will inspire you to incorporate more self-care into your own life. Enjoy – and don’t forget to leave your own tips and ideas in the comments!
This is a guest post by my friend Wendy from Ditch Perfect. I’m really excited to share this with you because I know perfectionism holds many of us back from living simple, intentional lives; we keep things we don’t need or we hold back from chasing our dreams because we’re afraid of not being good enough. If you can relate, keep reading – Wendy shares a few truth bombs we all need to hear!
Letting go of my perfectionism – a few years ago this would have terrified me. I felt I was strong because of my perfectionism. I felt I was successful because of my perfectionism. My perfectionism was what made me… well, me. Now I know better.
Ever since I was a kid I loved going to school. I was a good student and was praised as such. All through school and college I proudly called myself a perfectionist. Being diligent and extremely detail oriented, favoring quality over quantity, preferring to work alone, holding myself to high standards, and working in a structured and organized manner; those were just some of my perfectionistic tendencies. You might recognize them in yourself.
I was convinced that these habits of perfectionism got me the good results I got. Up until I entered the workplace that is. All those tendencies and impulses ended up getting me nowhere. Quickly, I realized two things: 1. I needed to get another job where my talents weren’t wasted; 2. I had to let go of my perfectionism.
To be able to let go of my perfectionism, I needed to get back to the basics. I needed to unpeel the layers to get to the truth of what perfectionism is and how it affects myself and those around me.
Today, I want to share with you the truths I learned along the way, so that you don’t have to go through the same struggles I did when overcoming your perfectionism.