The Conscious Girls Guide to Everyday Living
What is a conscious lifestyle?
I recently set aside an afternoon to rewrite all of the verbiage on the website to give a more accurate description of the “new” Sister House Collective. It occured to me when I was having trouble explaining what all this rebrand will encompass, that living a conscious lifestyle looks different for many of us. For some, it might look like only buying expensive, ethical clothing from here on out (a little more about that in last post). For others, it might look like slowing down, adding meditation to our self-care routine, and yet others, it could be something entirely different. (*Let’s note too that buying ethical clothing from here on out doesn’t have to be expensive though. More on that in the coming posts! Thrift stores and holiday sales are my jam.)
In a few sentences, I came up with this:
“Living a conscious lifestyle looks something like this: knowing that we each have the opportunity to be a force for good- for ourselves, for our families and for our fellow humans. It’s slowing down, acknowledging the impact we are all capable of having- from the way we talk to those around us to the products we buy and the people they support. It’s knowing that perfection isn’t possible, but progress is the destination.”
That’s all it is, friends. A simple concept and a practice.
So for this post, I came up with seven guidelines I try to live by, as a major part of my own journey of living a more conscious lifestyle:
Do your best.
Do what you need to be your best self. Like I said above, this is so different for everyone. For you, it may be doing everything in your power to make it to that pilates class. It may be scheduling a hike the following weekend so you have something to look forward to. It may be cooking, baking, spending quality time with a friend or your partner, talking to your mom every day to hear her endlessly cheer you on- whatever it is, identify it. Do your best to give yourself what you need. And inevitably, when you find yourself having a moment on a day where you just can’t do the things that fill you up, just do your best. It’s okay to not be a bubbly ray of sunshine every day. Luckily, there’s a new one on the horizon.
2. Remember to breathe.
There are so many different ways to practice breathing. Yes, I said practice breathing. Before I lose you just yet, let me explain. Before I ever went to therapy for my anxiety, I remember hearing the phrase ‘just breathe’ and thinking, “JUST BREATHE!? What does that even mean?” Especially to someone with innate anxiety that probably began in the womb, I couldn’t imagine that a solution so simple could exist. And not that breathing is a heal all, but it helps. It helps us slow down, regulate our blood pressure, slow our thoughts. It’s wonderful. One of my favorite breathing techniques when I need a moment to calm down, is breathing in while mentally counting to 4, holding for 7 seconds, then breathing out for 8 counts. For more on breathing techniques, Dr. Weil’s is a good resource!
3. Be patient and kind.
This means with yourself AND others. It’s easy to get frustrated when someone swerves into your lane while you’re driving and gives YOU the finger, but give that person grace (and yourself as you learn to breathe through sticky situations). I always think about what that person might be experiencing when they act out of anger in way that seems abrasive and unnecessary. It’s obviously not a personal attack, so give them the benefit of the doubt. Our actions are a reflection of a lot of different factors- the stress we’re under, the personal situations we are dealing with- there are so so many factors that contribute to someone acting out in a rude manner. My rule of thumb is to only focus on controlling my own behavior, which leads to #4:
I smile at people a lot. I like to think of it as a social experiment, but really, I just like to see other people smile back. There is something so simple and sweetly kind about smiling at strangers. Sometimes it turns into a conversation, other times the person won’t smile back (totally okay!) but again, I focus on my own behavior and often times, I find smiling helps me stay in a good headspace. And to add to this one: laugh. Laugh as often as possible. It’s good for us, says science.
5. Eat well.
I know this one gets a lot of attention, but it does for a reason. Nourishing our bodies with good, healthy foods is what fuels us. Whenever possible, give yourself nutrient rich food. Opt out of fast food, which is highly processed (ie: barely real food anymore), and plan ahead of time to bring healthy snacks when you’re out and about. If you find yourself out and “hangering” for a snack, stop at a grocery store (this gives you a little adventure and some extra walking- both good for you) and grab something that’s going to make you feel good. Food should most often fuel you, not make you want to take a nap.
6. Take your time.
Sometimes we get into such a habit of rushing through our to-do’s, we end up rushing through our conversations, meetings, meals- all of it- when it’s actually better for our brains to slow down, rest, and then reset so we can keep up with the pace when it’s time to grind again. Try and remember to take your time when completing tasks that aren’t on a timeline (yes, that means imagined timelines too)!
7. Keep in mind, tomorrow is a new day.
I don’t think this one needs much explaining. When all else fails and nothing- or almost nothing- seems to be going right, remember that tomorrow is a new day. Get a good night's rest, and do your best then.