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Black Women On The Soft Life Routines They're Unapologetically Cultivating
Courtesy of Anne-Marie O.

Black Women On The Soft Life Routines They're Unapologetically Cultivating

As a Black woman, journeying on the path of less resistance as self-care is an act of resistance.

Inspiration

Ease. Peace. Restoration. Preservation. Most of us have probably seen the #softlife hashtag trending or the caption “soft life era” making its way to our feeds on various social media platforms. But what does having a soft life really mean? Despite the way that struggle and hardship are sometimes placed on a pedestal, the soft life trend is about journeying along the path of least resistance, embodying softness, and sensuality, and therefore walking into the fullness of your most authentic self. It is unapologetic feminine energy, and by that I mean, a prioritization of being in a world that places value on doing, achieving, and accomplishing. Your quality of life is no longer about how hard you work, how much you do, and constant sacrificing and compromising.


Instead, the quality of your life is about vibrating higher and knowing who you are beyond those things that society feeds to you as a qualifier of your worth. You rest in your self. You are at peace with your self. You are at one with the nature of ease and the freedom of being. And therefore, you are at one with your self. And no a soft life era doesn’t mean you have to quit your job in order to enjoy the fruits of solitude. Instead, it is about no longer working yourself to the bone or operating from a place of burnout and low self-worth. It’s the antithesis of burnout because you enforce boundaries and limit the energy drainers that have access to you in place of the energy givers.

How can one do this? Alexandra Karlyn, a neuroscientist who is passionate about sharing her soft life journey to others through TikTok and Instagram, explains to xoNecole, "The key to soft living is to acknowledge that you are already worthy. You have nothing to prove to anyone and you don't need to fill a void, because you're already whole, you are already 'that girl.' Your value is not caught up in how productive you are or how well you fit into a capitalist model."

In order to start your own soft life journey, content creator Jaz Turner offers this advice to women, "Practice boundaries, first, with yourself. Do you dread going to the gym? Try a workout class. If that doesn’t feel right, try an at-home online program. Stay authentic, always. Choose the path of least resistance. Listen to yourself, and to your body. Date yourself, and get to know yourself again. Hype yourself up. Let people take care of you. Rest. Relax. Pour into yourself. Do things for yourself that bring the biggest smile to your face. Forgive yourself. Be soft and be gentle with yourself."

For more inspiration to start your soft life era, Alexandra, Jaz, and Anne-Marie O. share their transition from hustle culture to a soft life, what a soft life means to them, and their soft life routines. Here's what they had to say.

Anne-Marie O.

Age: 30

Title: Ecom/Digital Marketing Consultant

What inspired you to transition to a soft life?

I've started to realize that in order to be my best self I have to take breaks and take care of myself. Working 24/7 can get you jaded and obsessed about minuscule things, essentially leading to a whole lot of stress. It sounds bad, but it's simply not worth it. It's not worth it to compromise your physical health as well as your mental health for the sake of hustling and grinding.

As Black women, I often find that we go the extra mile to prove ourselves which often leads to us overworking ourselves. We feel that we have to be there and show up for everyone. My stance is that for now, I'm being here for myself first. I'm looking after myself first. If I am at my happiest, relaxed, and content, I will be my best version. I will be a better girlfriend, daughter, friend, acquaintance, etc. to you.

What is a soft life?

To me, a soft life isn’t lounging around lavishly or brunching to no end. For me, it’s simply avoiding stresses that can lead to burnout, both professionally and privately. It also means recognizing potential stresses and choosing not to invite those into my life. I always say a quiet and abundant life is a happy life!

What does a soft life look like for you?

Although I am a freelancer, I pretty much work 24/7 five times a week. I make it a priority not to be bound to my phone or my laptop after 5:00 p.m. on most days. I celebrate new clients, new skills, and new contracts - regardless of how big or small and often reward myself, whether it is something I've had my eye on for a while or making my favorite breakfast on the weekends. Traveling is also a great way to unwind and nourish your mind and body.

How has life changed for you since entering your soft life era?

I'm a perfectionist so I used to get very stressed and bothered to complete all my tasks, even if that meant working until late hours. I'm now more likely to close my laptop because I recognize that in the grand scheme of things, it can wait until tomorrow.

Walk me through the typical soft life routine you gravitate towards that reminds you of pleasure and leisure.

If my mind is right, my body is right. In the morning, I tend to listen to a meditation on what I currently want to focus on. The internet is great, there's a vast amount of free materials to listen to. Having a healthy breakfast also sets the tone for the day and even sets the tone to decide, “You know what? For dinner, I'm having my favorite takeaway meal.” Also saying yes more can open a whole new horizon of possibilities. Being flexible and open to being spontaneous can completely change the trajectory of your life. In good measure, of course.

For more self-care and soft life from Anne, follow her on TikTok @annemarie_akin.

Jasmine "Jaz" Turner

Age: 25

Title: Content Creator/Influencer + Entrepreneur

What inspired you to transition to a soft life?

For me, my hustle culture came in the form of school. From college to law school, to business school, everyone around me was “hustling.” Staying up all night, working hard, grinding, was seen as a badge of honor. The more “stressed” you appeared, the smarter people assumed you were. This hustle mentality had worked for most of my academic career until it did not. My body started to negatively respond to the energy drinks, all-nighters, and law school stress. I realized hustle culture was actually affecting my mental and physical health.

It wasn’t until I left law school, went to business school, and started pursuing TikTok that I started to live in my authenticity. I saw other women on TikTok live in their softness and authenticity. I quickly began to be motivated and inspired to go slower. I saw they were not hustling, were achieving more, and were more purpose-driven than those who prized “hustle culture.”

From the morning routines I saw on TikTok I began to take my mornings slower. I implemented routines and nurtured my passions. I started to pour into myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I began to choose myself and resisted uncomfortability. I was soft with myself. And I noticed once I made this change, I started to achieve even more than I ever had through “hustling.” I was purpose-driven, intentional, and feminine, and started to achieve all my dreams through softness.

What is a soft life?

Soft life means different things to different people. I believe TikTok has a habit of confusing “soft life” with “luxury.” It can tend to over-romanticize this idea of soft life and pigeonhole it into neutral colors, Pilates, and green juice. This is not the case. At least for me, it isn’t. Having a soft life means choosing the path of least resistance. People often think that suffering makes them worthy. Suffering is resistance. Hustle culture is resistance. Soft life is intentionality, mindfulness, daily habits, and routines, it’s a commitment. It's less about luxury, and more about knowing your worth, pouring into yourself. Listening to yourself. Letting things flow, being flexible with your journey.

"Having a soft life means choosing the path of least resistance. People often think that suffering makes them worthy. Suffering is resistance. Hustle culture is resistance. Soft life is intentionality, mindfulness, daily habits, and routines, it’s a commitment. It's less about luxury, and more about knowing your worth, pouring into yourself. Listening to yourself. Letting things flow, being flexible with your journey."

How has life changed for you since entering your soft life era?

Life has done a complete 180. I have actually accomplished more, achieved more, and have been a million times less stressed ever since entering my soft life era. Showing my healing journey, my soft life era, my femininity, on TikTok and IG has garnered a community of women who are like-minded, supportive, and authentic. I have built an income and a lifestyle from being soft with myself and motivating and inspiring others to live in this softness.

Walk me through the typical soft life routine you gravitate towards that reminds you of pleasure and leisure.

For me, soft life comes in its most pronounced form in the morning. I start every morning prioritizing myself. From choosing an alarm of birds chirping to wake up to, to my silk PJs that make me feel like “that girl,” to my cute Pilates/yoga set. To going to yoga or Pilates or any low-impact workout that makes my body feel good. To coming home to drink my green juice and my favorite avocado toast. To journaling and meditating before engaging with my TikTok community. I do this routine every morning, and prioritize myself before anyone else. I do this so that I can give people my all throughout the day, but not before myself.

My soft life can also come in the form of setting boundaries. With myself, my personal relationships, and professional relationships. It means listening to myself and noticing how I am feeling, and what that feeling is signifying. I am consistently authentic with myself. I live in and nurture my femininity, and lean into what brings me joy and passion.
Soft life can also mean if I wake up in the morning and don't want to work out, then that is how I am feeling, I honor that feeling, and I proceed as such. If I don't work out, I may spend a few extra minutes meditating or doing something else “good” for myself that morning.

For more soft life motivation and inspiration from Jaz, follow her on TikTok @jazturner16.

Alexandra Karlyn

Age: 33

Occupation: Neuroscientist/Research Coordinator/YouTuber/Mom

What inspired you to transition to a soft life?

Several burnouts during lockdown led to my transition away from hustle culture. Before making the switch, I was staying up late dreading the next day, and was constantly exhausted by the balancing act that I had come to call life. Time was just moving too fast. My journey to living a "soft life" began with a list of things that I would rather be doing with my time. Subsequently, I began looking for ways to create a life around that list.

What is a soft life?

A soft life means no longer feeling guilty about prioritizing a life that makes you feel happy. We work to live, not live to work, and that is something that we often overlook.

What does a soft life look like for you?

My soft life currently reflects three aspects: time with my kids and spouse, time doing things that I enjoy, and time to just be. This often means sitting out in the sun, rereading my favorite childhood novels to my kids, morning bicycle rides to the bakery, and things that I used to do as a child (roller skating, swinging at the park, painting, etc.) Why should we stop doing the activities that made us happy as children? I think it's important to make time for those things into adulthood.

How has life changed for you since entering your soft life era?

I'm happier. Now I have very clear boundaries when it comes to work and play. In addition, I've found that I procrastinate less and don't feel badly about not being productive every day. Ultimately, life no longer feels like a hamster wheel, one long work day with naps in between.

Walk me through the typical soft life routine you gravitate towards that reminds you of pleasure and leisure.

It's important that we acknowledge that a soft life looks different for everyone. Some people have to work more hours, whereas others have more flexibility. At the moment, I have "on days" and "off days." My "on days" are structured and productive from a work perspective, those days are when the bulk of my responsibilities are met. In contrast, "off days" are mostly doing what I feel like doing. Typically that involves doing something I enjoyed as a child: going for a bike ride while eating ice cream, creating a home DIY, watching my favorite movie, taking myself to breakfast, or just laying in the sun doing absolutely nothing.

The best part about it is it's guilt-free because I've set boundaries on when I work and when I relax.

For more soft life living inspo from Alexandra, follow her on TikTok @lexakarlyn.

Featured image courtesy of Anne-Marie O.

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