How To Focus On Soft Living This Holiday Season
Doesn’t the term soft living just make you feel calm and relaxed? When I came across the soft living movement on social media I was immediately intrigued. There has been a lot of talk about slow living, minimalism, and work-life balance so it’s not surprising someone has created the term “soft living.” The thought of living a life of balance, calmness, and joy sounds like a great idea to me! It still shocks me that people push for hustle culture when there could be so many better options. Why do people want to spend more time at work than with their friends and family? Why do people want to work their lives away with minimal time for play? I don’t get it! So the concept of soft living has piqued my interest enough to start implementing aspects of it into my life and so can you!
I think it’s especially important to focus on soft living during the holidays – typically the busiest time of the year for people. It’s hard enough to balance life as is but add holiday events, shopping, baking, family responsibilities, decorating, or whatever else you may need to do and it becomes a bit unbearable! So let’s unpack what soft living really is and how you can focus on the soft life during the holiday season!
Where did soft living start?
“The soft life” or “soft life era ” originated in the Nigerian TikTok community. The whole idea of soft living blew up on the internet, especially within the Black community. It started as a slang word for essentially living a life of low stress and comfort (which sounds amazing). I also love the fact that Black women were saying the soft life was a way of rejecting the “hard” life which is always having to be strong, always sacrificing, and always being the responsible one. From there it grew across the platform and now you can find tons of soft life content all over TikTok and Instagram.
While there is some criticism of soft living it is mainly due to the videos that have blown up showing very luxurious lifestyles and calling it soft living. The reality is, people like to watch content of the rich and the famous. However, that is not realistic for the majority of people and that is not what the original creators intended for the soft life to entail.
What is soft living?
The soft life is all about living a life of balance, joy, self-care, and prioritizing your needs first. It’s not a movement about quitting your job to stop having stress. The whole point of soft living is to reduce stress and live a comfortable, joyous, fulfilling life. Who wouldn’t want that?
So many people work too hard. While I would love to say the days of hustle are over, they are simply not. There are still tons of people who look down on those who don’t give their workplace their all. I’m not saying you should be a bad worker in the name of soft living but having balance should be a priority.
I say this a lot to my friends who get stressed over work and while it is sad and a bit morbid, it’s the truth – if you died tomorrow your workplace would replace you.
You know where you are not replaceable? At home with your friends and family. No one will ever replace you as a mom, a friend, a sister, a wife, and so on. You are YOU and no one else can replace you where it matters most.
This movement has pointed out that life doesn’t need to be so difficult. You don’t need to work so hard and live life so little. It’s taking away the pressure to do it all and instead do only what you need to do so you can make the most of your time here.
Soft living is a mindset most of all. A mindset of self-care, intentionality, and happiness.
My version of soft living
Soft living can then be a bit subjective. What exactly is a life of joy and comfort? That will look different for everyone but that’s the point! We don’t need to live a cookie cutter life.
To me, soft living is having extra time in the morning before work to relax and enjoy the quiet. It’s time to write in my journal and have a luxurious bubble bath whenever I want. Soft living is consuming less shit on the internet and having more time for hobbies. It’s not staying late at work and doing only what is expected of me to get paid. Living a soft life is making my home feel cozy and not just aesthetic. It’s buying a Starbucks coffee and chatting with a friend for hours. It’s asking for help when I need it so I don’t feel overwhelmed and stressed.
This way of life feels authentically me but it might not to you and that’s okay. Your version of soft living might be working on your small business because it gives you joy or doing yoga early in the morning because it relaxes you. Everyone is different!
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How to focus on soft living this holiday season
When it comes to the holidays our stress can be kicked into overdrive. There is so much to do and oftentimes you end up not being a priority. You might be working later than usual to meet deadlines because Christmas is just around the corner. Maybe you have to run errands after work daily to get everything done in time.
The holidays are also a hard time for many people when it comes to family. There are more family gatherings and responsibilities. Some of those might make you feel mad, sad, annoyed, or just freaking stressed! No one wants to deal with Aunt Carol on a good day and now you have to listen to her thoughts on politics over a dinner you don’t want to have. If you have a wonderful family that you love to see then disregard but I know for a lot of people, the holidays can bring up some feelings.
So, how can you take the concept of soft living and implement it into your life this holiday season? It’s not as hard as you may think!
1 – Set boundaries
This might be the hardest one on the whole list! Boundaries are not always easy to set but if you can stay strong and be clear with your work, friends, and family it will help you a lot in the long run.
Boundaries could look like limiting how much time to spend at a family gathering, who you spend your time with, not staying late at work, or saying no to taking on cooking the turkey.
Always remember – when you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. For example, if you say yes to staying late at work to finish a project you are saying no to having time for self-care (or maybe to doing something festive with your family).
2 – Rest
You know how you can make some of your stress go away? Get a good sleep.
Resting is so underrated, especially during busy seasons. I know you think you have to stay up late wrapping presents and doing everything for everyone but you also need rest.
There will always be something to do and that’s okay. That just means it will still be there for you tomorrow! No need to stay up all night when your list will never end anyway.
3 – Find small joys
Will you always be able to drop everything and do what makes you happy? No, that just isn’t realistic.
But you can do small little things that bring you joy every day.
That might be listening to Christmas music in the car, getting a holiday drink, decorating your house, taking a moment to appreciate the fresh air or anything else that makes you happy.
It’s not Christmas every day but if you waited until Christmas to feel joy the rest of your year would be pretty bleak.
4 – Put your needs first
Prioritize yourself!! Self-care, balance, minimal stress – this is all going to come from you putting yourself first.
If you have a holiday tradition you especially like, do it! Do you like to rewatch Elf every year? Make time for it. Do you like to get festive nails done with your bestie every year? Freaking do it! Do you enjoy baking cookies for the family? Do what makes you happy!
I know it’s hard to put yourself first during the season of giving but it’s all part of soft living.
5 – Consume less
This could be taken in several ways but I mean consume less content and media. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed when you are doom scrolling on your phone. There’s also the comparison factor – her house is decorated better, she is going to more cool festive events, her family looks so perfect, I wish I could cook a meal like that… see how that could be hard on your mental health?
It could also mean less clutter. The holidays are usually times of acquiring more things. So ask yourself what is truly important to you and what brings you joy.
6 – Be intentional
I try my best to be intentional with my time nowadays. Routines are important, habits are important, but not so much if you are doing them without any thought or care.
Focus on being present in your day-to-day life. Actually pay attention to your loved ones. Make the time you spend with them meaningful.
Be intentional with your money. Buy things that have a purpose. Instead of getting a bunch of meaningless stocking stuffers just to say you filled it up, buy things that will bring joy and mean something. That’s not to say you need to spend a lot of money… A meaningful gift could be a box of donuts from someone’s favourite donut shop or a new book they have been talking about nonstop.
It’s the thought that counts!
7 – Prioritize self-care and relaxation
Rest and relaxation can be different things!
I find swimming relaxing but it’s not resting. Reading is relaxing but my brain is not resting.
Find things that relax you (walking, yoga, reading, art, etc.) and then make time to do those things.
Since soft living promotes a life of comfort it’s important to find the time to truly relax. This might not be every single day but try to find the time as often as you can to reduce your stress and enjoy yourself.
8 – Make your space cozy
Christmas and coziness go hand in hand for me, add in soft living and you have the ultimate comfy cozy experience.
You may or may not decorate for the holidays. The best part about making a cozy space is that you can do it any time of the year.
Put soft blankets on your couch, dim the lights, hang fairy lights, light candles, surround yourself in warm tones, invest in a comfy chair, or whatever makes you feel cozy.
I love the feeling of the house when it’s decorated for Christmas. The tree, the lights, the stockings, the candles… give me all of it! Make the space something you are excited to come home to. Whether that is full of Christmas-inspired or just a few extra cozy blankets and pillows!
9 – Create new routines
Do a quick life audit and decide if your current routines are allowing you to live a soft life. How do they make you feel? Are there times when you feel more calm than others? Is there an aspect of joy in your routines?
There is nothing wrong with switching up your routines for the season (I have a winter specific night routine for example).
If you have less free time during the holidays you might find waking up earlier is better for you. There is more time to enjoy your morning coffee, read a book by the fire, and take your time getting ready. You might find doing your self-care before work is a good option.
Or on the flip side, you might find staying up a bit later and sleeping in longer is better for you when the weather is cold and it’s so dark outside. You might spend more time with family after dinner playing board games or doing some holiday baking with a cozy movie on.
Just look at your current routines and see if they are working for you. If not, fix them!
10 – Delegate tasks to others
It’s literally impossible to do everything. There eventually needs to be some give and take. This year for the holiday season, focus on being less busy by asking for help.
Get your sister to bring some side dishes to dinner. Ask your husband to buy the gifts on the list. Get the groceries delivered so you can get a Christmas themed workout in.
There are ways to have a calm and relaxed holiday season. It just means you may need to include others. It takes a village after all.
Soft living promotes balance! Don’t tip the scale fully one way just because you don’t want to ask for help, okay?
I really love the idea of soft living. It gives off cozy, slow vibes and I’m here for that!
There is really no reason to live life in a stressed out, crazy way. If you are able to find some balance and really start enjoying your life there is nothing better.
You don’t need to be rich! Your house doesn’t need to be spotless. You don’t need to go on luxury vacations.
It’s possible to truly enjoy your life and focus on the small joys while not having everything be perfect. Soft living is possible for all of us – it’s a mindset. It starts by making a CHOICE to stop the hustle and bustle.
I hope that you find ways to keep your work and life balanced. I hope you can live a life of comfort and happiness!
How could you focus more on soft living this holiday season or just in daily life?