A few years ago I started my journey out of overwhelm. I was overworked and stressed and I didn’t know how to get out of the cycle. I was trying to work harder out of it. It was so bad that I remember stopping to pick some berries on a week day on my way home and feeling guilty because I felt I ought to be working.

I was stuck into a mindset where my productivity and my worth were mixed up, and I wasn’t even aware of it.

Luckily I embarked on a coaching programme with Bonny Williams. As part of the programme, Bonny challenged me to spend one hour a week doing something called soft play. The idea of soft play was to spend an hour doing something nourishing and fun, alone.

At first I struggled to find what to do. Bonny suggested I think about what I enjoyed as a child. I remembered I loved being in nature, build dens, that kind of stuff. I can vividly remember my first soft play: I went for a walk to the local nature reserve, alone, on a week day, when I “should” have been working. I had a lot of stuff to do that and I very nearly didn’t go. But I did, and it felt great and oddly rebellious. And, oddly enough, that day I managed to do everything on my to do list and I felt great.

Fast forward 3 years, this has become part of my new routine, and had spread new fantastic new habits like year round river swimming, and drumming in the woods and 5 rhythms dancing. I’ve realised this is so important that  days I put the time in nature as the first task on my weekly to do list. And you know what? Magic has happened! I feel a more relaxed, creative and productive than ever. I also have a lot more fun. In fact I’m so elated with the results I’m planning to create a course sharing my experience.

The bottom line is this: You can cannot get out of the overwhelm created by working hard by working harder. Let me say this again: you cannot get out of overwhelm by working harder.

Instead, to create spaciousness in your life and more balance with play, you need to let yourself experience that play and spaciousness inside. Once you start experiencing this, all sorts of magic will unfold by itself and you will not look back.

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