I was recently invited to speak on a panel called “Secrets of the Side Hustle” at the Marie Claire Future Shapers event in London, and sitting in that room full of insanely inspiring women I realised one thing:
Many of us had spent a large portion of our lives focusing building homes for the people around us (12 years in my case), when in actual fact, we needed to first focus our energies on a different kind of ‘home’ making; the home that we build inside ourselves.
We can achieve whatever we want to achieve when we get our house in order. Our internal environment has to come first because our sense of belonging and true sense of self has to start there.
It took me a very long time to realise this, and, like many people, that realisation only came once I was almost entirely broken. I’d like us all to get to a place where that kind of breakdown isn’t necessary.
So to real home making; what does it take to really create the time, space and energy to maximise your hours in the day and live your best life? And I don’t mean to find new and intense ways to flog yourself and live on the brink of exhaustion, I mean; to create a life that’s fulfilling and truly joyFULL. One full of energy, light, love and laughter.
For me, I had to look at how I was living before I could get to what I was doing. Here is my recipe for successful home making:
1. Clear the way so you can hear the messages from your inner most; spiritually and physically.
We live in a world of distraction and disconnection. Before we can move forward in any kind of positive direction, we need to give ourselves the chance to truly listen to what is at play in any given situation. My emotions used to jump up and down and all over the place, with all kinds of different situations triggering my fight or flight defensives.
The thing that’s allowed me the space to really stabilise and walk in line with myself, is the work I have done (and continue to do) on stillness. That is, the art of just being. The art of connecting to yourself in such a way that you can determine what is for you, and what you need to let pass you by.
For me that has meant learning to meditate as the backbone, but that isn’t something that’s static and disconnecting me from the rest of the world. True meditation can happen every moment of your waking life if you let it, by simply living in a connected way. Start small, just a few minutes here and there, and see if you start to feel inspired to do a little more.
2. Honour your body and give it the space to rest.
Once you have cleared some space within yourself, you should start to tap into how you are feeling underneath everything. Life is amazing, and there is no end of what you might be able to fit in; but at what cost?
Learn to make choices that support you being at your best, and support that by choosing to say yes to the things that are truly enriching, but no to the things that aren’t.
I used to beast myself marching all over London, largely driven my overwhelming FOMO. Needing to be at the best gigs, the coolest art shows, the most awesome graffiti jams… when in truth, yes those things are great, but a good night’s sleep, one where I’ve managed to disconnect from the day and truly rest, is more enriching than anything else.
3. You aren’t just what you eat, you are how you eat it too.
The focus on health today is a beautiful thing, but much of that is tied up with an overwhelming drive to achieve something that isn’t what we truly are. The truth is; much of our actual life-enriching health comes from the inside out.
Our mental wellbeing is huge, but also what we are consuming in terms of produce. How much, when and in what energy. Many of the things that we feel are ‘healthy choices’ are still being made in the wrong energy. That energy is one of disconnection.
So by choosing to connect first, we are in a much better place to make the right choices for ourselves at the right time. I constantly evaluate and look at what I am consuming and why, and I continue making the changes I need to support my inner glow.
4. Finding a structure that works for you is everything.
People are at their best at different times of day. I truly believe that. For me; that time is at the beginning of the day. I wake early, and have a morning routine that supports my connection, my health and my growth.
That means a mixture of meditation, movement and learning. To support that, that means I need early bedtimes. Normal for me is 9-9.30pm.
It doesn’t matter how you are built or what works for you; the key is to find a way of being that works for you. Just you. Not me or anyone else. Craft a way of being that supports both your evolution and the brilliant human being that you are right now.
My evenings are all about rest. Sometimes there might be something that keeps me out a little later, but typically I use that time for relaxation (disconnecting from the internet in good time before bed) and to set myself up for the next day.
5. Flip the script; changing your inner dialogue.
Flipping back to mental wellbeing here; in most cases we are the master of our own internal destruction. That is to say; we are our own worst critics and therefore usually the most negative person we have in our world.
If this sounds familiar, I’m afraid I don’t have a quick fix here, but what I can say is that with time, patience and love, you can at least become aware of how you address yourself internally, and catch yourself in time to change the conversation.
I literally say ‘no!’ to myself when I catch myself doing it, and force myself to change my attitude. Zero tolerance. We can choose better thoughts.
In time, I have become better overall and show myself much more forgiveness than I might have done before. I also tell myself ‘I love you’. Sounds crazy but it honestly works.
6. Embrace your inner child.
With true joy comes playfulness, you can’t even help it. Allowing yourself some time to play is key. Create a couple of hours in your week where you do something you really love. Doesn’t matter what it is. Take yourself on a date. Whatever takes your fancy.
Once you allow your natural curiosity to unfurl, its very easy to start to follow the trail of breadcrumbs to figure out what truly lights you up (if this is something you are still working on).
Another good compass is to observe where you can feel yourself feeling jealous of something. Jealousy; whilst not our favourite emotion, is a sign of frustration with ourselves. So what is your jealousy telling you that deep down you feel like you might like to do?
Ultimately what I am trying to say here, is that it’s wonderful to have desires to live your best life and to work towards that, but that I promise you, it will all start to fall into line once you keep a firm check on the house you live within day to day.
I am now the proud owner of a glorious home. She’s still a bit of a fixer-upper, but that’s half the fun. I can’t tell you it’s easy, but I can tell you it’s worth it.