If you’re reading this post called “Four Ways to Make Your Life Better Immediately,” then I’m on holiday. I hope.
I hope I crossed everything off my to-do list.
I hope my house is finally painted.
I hope I finished all the remaining edits to my cookbook.
And I hope I’m lounging by a pond, cookbook in one hand and cocktail in the other, deep in the wilds of central Vermont.
In truth, I need this downtime. Since I officially launched my coaching business in July, I’ve helped more than a dozen women figure out the next phase of their life. I’ve shown them how to create a vision for their life. I’ve helped them start a creative endeavor. I’ve talked them through some very sad times and Yahoo-ed them through some major victories. I’ve helped them revise resumes, craft brand new biographies, and, really, write the next chapter of their lives.
I love this work.
I feel alive.
I feel awake in a way that’s different than most other times.
The connections I’ve made feel magical and pre-destined in some woo-woo way (the very good kind of woo-woo). And I need some downtime to process all the information you’ve shared and figure out more ways to support our growth. You see, there are so many areas within our life that need attention in order for us to have the highest quality of life and find true happiness. I’m studying all of them in great depth and plan to return in the fall with something woo-woo and new to continue to help you get to the heart of the matter, unblock your potential, and make some real dreams come true. (Sign up to be the first to know!)
But I’m not leaving you with nothing. I’m not leaving you with a recipe (sorrys!)–but I’m not leaving you with nothing, promise!
After this time coaching, I can say without question that there are at least Four Ways to Make Your Life Better Immediately. And I want us to talk it all out–especially the last one, it’s the most important. Maybe now is the time that you try one of these things, even just one of these things.
1. Practice one bit of self-care every single day.
(I am so serious, people.)
It’s way okay to me that self-care is in the news, on the blogs, and all over Instagram. Women have real issues prioritizing self-care over all the other things and people in their lives. We de-prioritize our physical and mental health before most anything else.
Do just one bit of self-care and you’ll have a brighter outlook on everything else in your life. Your self-care practice doesn’t have to be all fancy. Take a 15 minute bath tomorrow morning. Listen to some soothing music before bedtime. Go for a short walk anywhere. Give a hug. Make yourself a simple cup of tea pronto and sip it slowly in silence. Make all your doctors appointments for the next year today. Light a candle and just sit with it. Create an altar in your kitchen or studio. Do 20-minutes of stretching. Read a chapter of a book, just one chapter. Write any pressing thoughts down before bed, get them out of your head, my friend. Hang up all your clothes. Get a hug. Have a girlfriend date. Find your happy place (a nook in your home or maybe Sweden). Stop reading social media for 24 hours. Challenge any negative thoughts in your head. Breath in and out slowly for 5 minutes. And, next time you look in the mirror, say, “You look good, girl.”
2. Cultivate your community like it’s your job.
(Again, I am so serious, people.)
Loneliness is, well, lonely and while it’s lovely to be alone sometimes, we need people around us to love us, nurture us, hold us up, give us perspective, and hug it out when times are terrible. Studies show that having people not only makes us better, it makes us happier (Read this piece on How to Be Happy) and more likely to live longer. Your partner is great–but they are not enough. Let me repeat, a partner alone is just not enough to live a high quality life.
You need friends to chat through big problems with over coffee. You need friends who like to move the way you do–yoga, running, lifting that glass of wine to your lips. You need people who are more experienced than you to give you advice and others who are less experienced than you whom you can support and mentor, too (because, gosh, that feels good). You need people who understand the work you do and want to help you be better. You need all these people because they’ll strive to understand you and you’ll strive to understand them and the greatest ask we have in life, more than almost anything, is to be understood. With understanding, comes compassion. With compassion, comes love.
Find your tribe, love them hard. And by hard, I mean, prioritize them like you would any meeting at work or date with your partner. Open up your calendar and block off time to see a friend every single week. Do it before work or during lunch, if you have to, but do it. You will rarely regret moments spent with good friends who get you.
3. See new places at every opportunity.
Every person I have spoken within over the last year wants to travel more. And there’s a profound reason for that–well, there are likely numerous profound reasons for this–but let’s talk about a few of them.
Travel makes you happy–because you’re gaining new experiences and challenging your boundaries. It boosts your self-confidence because you have to deal with unexpected situations, like how to order a glass of bubbly in all the other languages (truth). Being away from home makes you appreciate your family and home–after two weeks in Ireland, I couldn’t wait to get home to my own bed and I loved my own bed way more.
When you travel, you make new friends (and that helps you cultivate your community, see above). When you travel, you’re often off social media, email, and work–and that pause recharges you. Plus, you’re likely to stay mindful and in the here and now (and mindfulness is a powerful thing). Travel allows you to learn new things–like how to find the best Indian food restaurant in New York City (which is a life skill, people). If you travel to a sunny local, you’ll get a nice boost of Vitamin D which sometimes puts us in a better mood. Trips give us moments to remember and recalling those memories can give us a sense of contentment and happiness. In the long run, travel can make you happier and way more relaxed, which improves your daily life once home.
Go someplace new. A plane trip is great but a drive to a body of water is nice, too. Just go some place new at every opportunity.
4. Reframe your definition of success.
(This is a very hard one. So let’s be real and honest.)
When women try to define success, they talk about money (having more), time (having more), and satisfaction (having more). There’s nothing wrong with any of those things–it’s very important to know what you want out of every choice you make. But I encourage women to refine their definition of success, to nurture some purpose or meaning beyond money, time, and satisfaction.
You see, quite often, this need to achieve more money or more time or more satisfaction is tied to what others expect of you or what you saw your parents do or not do. I grew up wanting to make a million dollars before I was thirty. This goal was exceptionally arbitrary and based on how I grew up with less and how my parents were from immigrant families raised on very little. Once I achieved that goal, I went into a deep depression and a long time of questioning–because, ultimately, all the money only brought more problems and more sadness. That’s because it was all arbitrary and not tied to a deeper purpose.
I’ve worked super hard (it’s not easy) to reframe my definition of success. Now, I quite simply want to live my life’s purpose and always have enough. And my purpose has broadened over time. I still want to very specifically help people eat well and cook better. But I also want to help people live well and be better. (Hence, the coaching business!)
You see, I need you to know right now that we are more than money and time and self-satisfaction. I believe we are here for so much more. And during this downtime, my little getaway to the green hills up north, I want to take all the time I need to ponder that question and return with a new offering that helps all women achieve not just big metrics and goals, but also serious fulfillment, true forms of creative expression, and positive change in the universe. (Sign up to be the first to know!)
Until then, I will share that if I sound like your sorta person then you can join my tribe by working with me come the Fall. My current rates will change come September so feel free to email me by August 30 to book future work at my August rates (which are way, way below market rate). (You’ll hear back from me around September 4th with an invoice and first meeting time!)
I like you all very much and hope we get to have some super powerful conversations very soon. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, please!
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista–shop girl, writer, author, and creative business coach. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is working to open her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food–as well as coaching women in food to reach life and business goals. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: 100 Recipes to Encourage a Healthy Relationship with Food, Nourish Your Beautiful Body, and Celebrate Real Wellness for Life, will be published by Roost Books on February 5, 2019.