What if doing less actually gave you more? If you're chasing your own tail towards a burn out, you may want to rethink your strategy to life. Our new approach? Intentional Living. And here is exactly what you need to do to get there, thanks to Beth from A Lagom Life.
What is meant by ‘Intentional Living’?
"When we talk about ‘intentional living’, we simply mean living with intention. So let’s roll back a moment and take a look at what ‘intention’ is. An intention, simply put, is a mental commitment to carry out an action.
So, intentional living is living with an intention, living within your values and beliefs. Your version of an intentional life will probably look different to my version of an intentional life but that’s ok. That’s how it’s meant to be.
My favourite way to describe this is “living on purpose”, you’re not simply going through the motions."
How does this differ from ‘hustle culture’?
"Ah ‘hustle culture’, the one that we grew up with (unless you’re young unlike me!). Hustle culture is very much based in the ‘shoulds’ of society - you ‘should’ work 50 hours a week, you ‘should’ have a certain sized house by the time you’re 30, et cetera, et cetera.
Now, if working 50 hours a week is completely aligned with your values then that would be living with intention - if it doesn’t align with your values, that’s where the trouble starts.
It’s so easy to succumb to hustle culture, but the effects of it can be dreadful. When you’re constantly living out of alignment with your values, you end up in a stressed state. The effects of long term stress on the body can be devastating. Having experienced stress related illness myself, I can testify that the effects of chronic stress are absolutely not worth it."
"In 2020, three quarters of the UK workforce reported experiencing burnout"
What are the benefits of taking life slower?
"When we take life a little slower, we’re able to spend more of our time in our parasympathetic nervous system. This is where we’re able to rest & relax. In this state our body is able to function properly, your digestive system can do its job well, your heart beat slows & everything works just as it should.
We are also able to make decisions more easily when we’re taking life a little more slowly... It even makes making decisions easier. When we’re in a stressed state we go down the path of least resistance, we say yes to things we don’t actually want to say yes to and our resilience plummets. When we’ve slowed down a little and are more intentional, our resilience bounces back up and we’re able to make choices that are the right ones for us."
How can I start living more intentionally?
"My biggest tip for living with intention is to first get really clear on what your intention is. What are your values? How do you want to show up in your life? Journal on this or have a chat with a wellbeing coach, like me. We’re here to help you get mega clear on what intentional living looks like for you.
Pick a few activities that align with your values, these could be meditating (I know a lovely class), practising yoga, learning to paint, baking, forest bathing. Whatever aligns with your intention - make a plan to do more of that. I have created a 40 Day Meditation Journal that can help you stick to your practise if meditation is one of the activities on your list.
Use all of your senses to live with intention. Think about the things you touch, see, taste & smell in your day to day that will help anchor you in your intention. For me essential oils are a must. By using a technique called aromatic anchoring, you’re able to bring your attention back to your intention, simply by smelling a certain oil. I swear by Bergamot, the oil of Self-Acceptance. Each time I smell it it brings me back to the intention of simply being myself, not succumbing to the version of me that other’s hold. I offer complementary essential oil consultations if you’d like to learn more about how to use essential oils to support your intentions. Or if there’s a group of you, there’s nothing I love more than getting together to do a bespoke workshop."
What should be my first step?
One of the questions that I use with my clients is ‘What would your best average day look like?’ this helps you see what you want to bring more of into your life. Jot down everything that pops into your head, from the thing you eat for breakfast to the sheets you go to sleep in at night. Every single little detail will give you an insight. From here you can dig deeper by asking yourself ‘What are the things in that day that are core values?’, free write here. There’s no right or wrong answer, take the bed sheets example - are they organic linen? That gives you an insight into what values you have around the purchases you make.
Once you’ve dug around in those details, re-read what you’ve written and pick out some key words, just 3 or 4, continuing our bed sheets example, maybe you’d choose the word ethical or sustainable?
Those 3 or 4 words are your values. Now it’s time to set your intentions. I always like to word them like this; ‘I am the sort of person who …’ By wording them like this, you begin to identify with that intention."
And to finish, your best piece of wellness advice?
"Find something that works for you. A much beloved client of mine had tried every ‘self-care’ idea that she could think of, she’d often say in a session “I know I should do (insert wellness activity) but I don’t want to”, therein lay the problem. There was the ‘should’ - ‘shoulds’ have no place in your wellness activities!
Finding your ‘thing’ is beyond empowering & you’ll return to it day after day because it fills you up. That’s what true wellness is about."
Thank you Beth! Find A Lagom Life over on our wellness directory here.