Maintaining Practicing

Soft Living: What It Is, How to Do It

There are some people who genuinely live to work, enjoy doing overtime and can’t really understand the counterculture that has sprung up since the pandemic that promotes self-care and “quiet quitting”.

Well, now there is a new term that has evolved to describe our inclination towards a more relaxed lifestyle – Soft Living.

The term “soft life” actually originated in the Nigerian online influencer community and was initially used as slang for living a life of ease, low stress, and comfort. But the term resonated with online audiences as it seemed to finally put a name to the focus on prioritizing self-care and living life in a gentler way. So much so, that the term has been trending on TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

But what exactly is it?

Soft living is basically about making the decision to embrace and cultivate new belief systems around a different way of living that mainly involves adopting a simpler, more stress-free life. It is a rejection of the “norm” of hyper-productivity, fast-paced consumerism, and hustle culture. It’s about putting your own needs first and making healthy choices and decisions that support well-being and preserve our energy.

What Soft Living is About:

  • Adopting an “anti-struggle” mindset – if you don’t have to struggle – don’t.
  • Not going over and above at work without reward, no more overtime or staying late for no extra pay (still doing a good job but with more balance).
  • Speaking kindly to yourself.
  • Letting people help you, openly accepting help & embracing community.
  • Stop trying to be a hero of hyper-independence.
  • Stop going above and beyond for family & friends who might actually need to figure some things out for themselves, accepting that you don’t need to “save”
  • Stop ignoring your own needs, instead, start tuning into your needs and tending to them via self-care and putting yourself first.
  • Adopting simple life hacks to minimize life stress.

Practical Examples of Soft Living

Start thinking about life hacks that can make your life easier with minimum input and maximum output, here are a few to start you off:

  • Send your laundry to a local laundrette if you have an extra busy schedule.
  • Get your groceries delivered – instead of spending time driving to a grocery store 3/4 times per month, walking around for an hour, queuing, packing, and unpacking groceries consider ordering 1 monthly shop online & getting it delivered for a small fee, it will save you a lot of time, gas and stress at a busy checkout and it’s also a greener option too as it’s swapping maybe 4 car journeys for one.
  • Smart working – think of simple ways that you can maximize your performance at work, for example, CC’ing in multiple colleagues to emails to save time and repetition to the team and delegating work to colleagues who are keen to help.
  • Cutting off draining relationships – whether they are romantic, friendships, or business associates, if the relationship is taking more energy from you than it is giving – it’s a no.
  • Hold firm boundaries around your self-care, if you have planned a date with your bubble bath and a glass of wine, don’t abandon it to attend an event that you know you don’t want to go to.
  • Batch cook – instead of having to think of different recipes for every night of the week, buy different ingredients and spend an hour cooking each night after work, batch cook once or twice per week. By cooking one large pot of say stew, spaghetti bolognese, or pesto pasta on a Monday night you can feed everyone for a few days and use the extra time to relax in the evenings.
  • Community support – avail yourself of local community support groups that might offer help with home maintenance tasks if you live alone or are a single parent. If you search for community support in your area online, you will usually find local organizations or church groups offering support.

At a glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that choosing to live a “soft life” sounds a bit selfish, or even lazy, however, that’s not the case. It’s not about neglecting the needs of others around you, but it is about stopping neglecting our own needs.

Our society glorifies self-neglect. We are taught to “feed everyone else first”, and to check in on our friends, family members, neighbors, and children regularly. That’s great – but it’s also healthy and necessary that we check in on ourselves too and that we stop constantly putting our own needs last.

-Catherine Smith

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash


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