How to stay calm and relaxed when even the simple life gets a bit too busy.

It's easy to take on too much. I know I do sometimes (well OK, often), but I have found lots of very simple ways to stay calm, grounded and relaxed amidst some weeks that could otherwise feel overwhelming and chaotic.

I recognise that I have a tendency to saying 'yes' to just about everything that sounds interesting, positive and worthwhile. This past month for me has been so wonderfully busy, that I think I have actually found new levels of capacity.

I love being down at the University of Sunshine Coast Community Garden. I'll be there again in the morning.
I am amazed sometimes at how much I can fit in and like many people, I wish I had a few extra hours each day. It's often a bit of a juggle to find those extra hours and maintain a good balance - to keep this balance over the past few weeks I have only written a few posts and been out on my bike less.  I am raring to get back into both.

These past few weeks I have led a workshops most days of the week - permaculture, sustainable living, community gardening...
I do need to remember to be gentle with myself and I thank my family for being onto this - they read my energy levels before I do, and the kids especially encourage me to delight in the present moment.

With a little one around, I am always reminded to slow down, get outside and play.

I am a mum with 3 children under 10, two of them homeschooled. I run an education and design business from home and a not-for-profit foundation. I love to cook things from scratch and tend our edible landscape. Our house is often open to the public so I need to keep it looking relatively neat.

In busy times, doing all this can sometimes be a stretch - we don't have cleaners, gardeners or childcare - but somehow it all works and I love it. The kids are thriving. I feel nourished by my work. Evan and I love feeling productive and active in our communities of practice. We all spark off each other's enthusiasm for what we do.

I value simple living. That doesn't always equate with a 'quiet life', but for me it's a 'good life'.

This is how I stay calm, relaxed and focussed when the simple life sometimes gets a bit too busy....

Be Organised

  1. I actively plan my time.
  2. I have become a supreme list maker - so things to remember are not swirling around in my head.
  3. I always carry a notebook and jot down ideas and new things to do - lots of mindmaps.
  4. We plan our family's week together to make sure everyone's needs are being met and keep a shared calendar.
  5. I aim to get everything ready the night before (lunches, clothes, workshop resources) so our morning can be relaxed and happy. 
  6. I have found my quiet niche - the time when everyone else is asleep - no TV, radio, music - just me and my myself. At this time, I can clearly and effectively think, plan, write, focus, create...
  7. When things do get busy, I let go of some non-essential expectations I have of myself (e.g: writing every day).
I love riding my bike!

Stay Healthy

  1. I eat well and usually take homemade food out and about.
  2. I carry a glass jar of water infused with rosella, lemon myrtle, tulsi, turmeric and ginger (vitamin C, relaxing, refreshing, immune-strenghtening) and sip throughout the day. 
  3. I take a nap cuddling with the kids (I do this at their bedtime) - that extra hour or two makes all the difference especially to be able to do my 'quiet-time' shift at night. 
  4. When I need to 'veg-out' I avoid the telly or shops - instead play, talk, make, read, walk, think, write....
  5. Ride my bike, or play tennis, walk and bounce on the trampoline with the kids.
Baking with the kids - we always love to experiment with healthy sugar free ideas.


  1. I potter in my edible garden - planting, tending, harvesting - noticing the little things along the way.
  2. I cuddle the chooks and talk to the birds.
  3. I spend time outside in fresh air and amongst the wildlife (I make my office on the front verandah - birds visit, kangaroos pass by, waterbirds visit lake below and I cast my eyes regularly to the hills and national park across the valley).
  4. We sit and eat meals together and check in with everyone, tell stories, joke around.
  5. We play music and dance together after dinner. (We have a great big box of instruments.)
  6. I lie down outside with the kids and watch the clouds or stars, chatting about their questions and big ideas.
  7. I love to play with the kids - whatever story they make up. I'm often a horse for little Monty!
  8. I ring my parents (interstate) and have a long chat.
Paint, create, get messy and have some fun!
Cuddling chooks always brings a smile.
A slow stroll through the garden, smelling the flowers and noticing the small things always helps me to refocus and slow down.

Stay Positive

  1. I spend time in community gardens with wonderfully positive and engaged volunteers
  2. I acknowledge the positive things that are happening and think about how I am contributing, and can add more value to that.
  3. I regularly reflect on what is important, try to keep things in perspective, and keep the bigger picture in mind.
  4. I am conscious to not complain about being busy. I make it so. There is a good level of busy-ness.
  5. Smile - and the world does smile back.

Be Mindful

  1. Mindfully do housework. When I wash the dishes, I am just dishwashing (or daydreaming out the window) not thinking about the next thing. 
  2. When I go to bed - I empty my mind, slow my breathing, relax my body before drifting off to sleep. Sometimes I set my self a challenge - to come up with new ideas in my dreams - but usually I aim to just 'be'.
  3. I remind myself to breathe - especially when there's a need to finish some work and the kids also need my focussed attention.

Flowering rocket and in the background, mustard spinach - it's great to just sit and watch what happens around these flowers - so much life!

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