I love the soft life aesthetic. I love seeing Black women and femmes indulge in rest and find new ways to treat themselves to nice things. But, it isn't lost on me that some components of this lifestyle require access to resources that are hard to come by. For many people, a soft life is the ultimate goal—nobody wants to struggle. Unfortunately, life is not always easy and carefree.
You won't always have the funds to take a trip on short notice, visit the spa weekly or pay someone to clean your home. We often sacrifice our time and energy to meet deadlines at work, take care of our loved ones, or work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Sometimes, we go through difficult experiences that test our resilience and strength.
While a soft life might seem like a pipe dream for some, it's important to remember that we all have different definitions of what a soft life looks like. For some people, simply being able to experience leisure and enjoy the simple pleasures in life is enough. For others, the soft life means a life of luxury.
No matter how you define a soft life before you can have one, you must work on your mindset and create habits that will help you maintain the lifestyle long-term. Here are a few ways you can do that:
1. Schedule "me time."
"Me time" is intentional time you spend nurturing yourself and restoring your energy so you're not running on empty. This is essential to sustaining your well-being, but it's one of the first things we'll sacrifice. Sometimes we'll notice that we have free time on our schedule and immediately think of how we can use that time to be productive. Someone will ask us to help them, and we'll say "yes" even though we want to spend that time doing something for ourselves. Think of "me time" as going on a date with yourself. Don't cancel your date! If you have to cancel, make sure you reschedule. Remember, "me time" isn't your free time.
2. Cultivate new beliefs about rest.
If you tie your self-worth to how productive you can be or grew up in an environment where you were called lazy for relaxing, you may feel guilty when you aren't busy. Rest shouldn't be the response or reward for overworking yourself. Making time for restshould be a staple part of your daily routine. If you find yourself overworked, even when unasked, try setting boundaries and limits with yourself. For example:
- No working past 6 p.m.
- No working on weekends and holidays.
- Take three breaks during the workday.
3. If you don't have to struggle, don't.
Struggling doesn't always make the journey worthwhile or the destination meaningful. You don't have to struggle to have an empowering, "relatable," or inspirational story. We aren't all dealt the same cards, so if you currently have access to things that make it "easier" for you to accomplish something or achieve your goal, take it—don't feel guilty. Choose ease.
4. Let people help you.
This is a big one. If you have well-intended people in your circle of trust willing to help you, let them help. Some of us fear letting people help us because we don't want to be a burden, we fear coming off as incompetent, or we don't want people to throw us needing help back in our faces. Life is hard. Trying to figure everything out on your own is overwhelming. Find the courage to be vulnerable and accept help when it's being offered. If you have people in your life who make you feel like a burden or you're in one-sided relationships, it may be to re-evaluate whether you want to continue investing your energy with those people.
5. Speak to yourself kindly.
We spend a lot of time talking to ourselves. What does your inner voice sound like? Does the voice inside your head tend to be negative and critical? If it is, that's okay. Negative self-talk is something that starts in childhood. Statements like "you're so dumb," and "what would even possess you to do something so stupid" can get ingrained in our psyche. But we have the power to interrupt that voice and replace it with one that's compassionate and kind. If you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk often, try placing affirmations around your house and say them out loud when you see them. It may be uncomfortable at first, but over time you'll become used to associating yourself with positivity. Also, take time to examine where those negative thoughts came from and do the work to let them go.
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6. Stop trying to be humble.
I hate when people say, "I don't want to gas you up" or "don't let it get to your head." People always try to remind people not to get too full of themselves. Why? Humility means "not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive." It doesn't mean you don't take time to not compliment yourself and bask in all the great things about you. Tell yourself you did a good job today. Tell yourself you look good. That way, when people reiterate those thoughts to you, you're not shocked and it doesn't feel foreign to you.
7. Focus on what you can control.
Sometimes we worry about things we can't control, like other people, the future, and the past. We worry about things that might not even happen, ruminate, or how we wish things would have gone. We can't stop worrying, but we can try to interrupt these thought patterns and focus on calming methods.
8. Stop trying to be the hero.
It isn't your job to heal, fix and rescue everyone from themselves. Sometimes we play the role of rescuer in our friendships and romantic relationships because it gives us something to do. Sometimes we fall into that role to avoid facing what's most important, ourselves. We end up losing ourselves and straying further from our own healing and happiness attempting to save other people. Find the courage to focus on rescuing and keeping yourself.
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9. Prioritize joy.
Indulge in things that make you smile or make you feel genuinely happy. Dancing to your favorite song, watching an episode of your favorite show, reading your favorite book, or wearing your favorite shoes. Savor those fun and peaceful moments.
10. Accept that you are worthy and deserving.
You don’t need to do anything to deserve the soft life—it doesn’t have to be earned. When we believe we are worthy of a life guided by ease and comfort, we will reject things that don’t align with that vision and make decisions that get us closer to maintaining that lifestyle.
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Featured image by JLco - Julia Amaral/Getty Images