Ever wonder how other women create a life that feels balanced, intentional and fulfilling?
A Balanced Life is my new blog series in which I interview mentors, makers, creatives and others who are intentionally seeking to live a more balanced life.
We talk about living life without the hustle, resisting norms around productivity + busyness, and about consciously making the choice to live life more attuned to your own rhythms, energy, needs.
A Balanced Life with Clare Robertson:
Leaving time and space for creativity + yourself when running a business
This month’s interview is with Clare Robertson. Clare is a restorative practitioner, offering guided writing practice and restorative yoga.
To get in touch her with Clare you can DM her on Instagram. She’s running 1:1s, online classes, retreats in Scotland and is always delighted to hear from you.
Welcome Clare! Let’s dive into what living a balanced life by leaving time and space for creativity and yourself as a small business owner looks like to you!
What does living a balanced life look like you to? What does a day look like for you?
I’ve been working on finding balance in my life for probably around ten years. Before I was a yoga teacher, I was a designer—a very fast-paced, corporate world. Around the time that I was coming out of that, my husband Robbie was diagnosed with a brain tumour and he died three years ago. Restorative practice arrived at the right time for me. Once a week I had one hour to myself, to be with myself, to not have to do anything.
I remember my yoga teacher saying ‘emotions are stored in the body’, and initially I didn’t believe that. But it stayed with me and it’s become my key, and the reason I went on to explore and train in restorative yoga.
For me, one of the nicest approaches to yoga is to just take what it is what you need day to day. Yoga can be walking down the street. When I feel a bit anxious or nervous, being able to return to the moment and breathe through it, is yoga. Once you’ve learned some of these skills and you’ve practised them, they’re there for you. What really interests me in restorative practice is that it gives people the ability to find that space within themselves, without having to do a more active practice or run a marathon.
Balance has been giving myself space to think about creativity without the pressure to create.
Balance has also been giving myself space to think about creativity without pressure to create. I try to organise my working week leaving space for my own creativity. I don’t put pressure on myself to do something during my creative time—it’s simply giving myself space to see what comes up. Along these lines I highly Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way in which she emphasises deliberately making time for creativity.
Knowing what works for you is not an overnight process, it takes a lot of exploration.
I’m very mindful of how much work I take on. In my work as a support practitioner I only take on as many 1:1 clients as I know that I can give enough of myself to and still give myself time too. I’m not in this to get the most clients. I’m in this to hopefully help some people along the way and achieve my work-life balance. Knowing what works for you is not an overnight process, it takes a lot of exploration. It’s the same as with what you like to eat, or what movement practice is right for you.
What inspired you to live this way? Which choices and changes did you make, or have to make?
As much as I loved my job in design, I knew that there was something missing. I wasn’t paying enough attention to myself and what really brought me joy. I went back to art school and studied contemporary art practice for two years. It was difficult leaving a career behind, but I wouldn’t go back now. Where I used to put so much energy into corporate design, I now have that creative energy for me to use how I want to. And to help others as well.
Restorative practice was simply a natural development, it was never something that I set out to do. It was something that I began doing and I allowed myself to follow that path. I spent some time with Ana Forrest in Dundee and she talks a lot about tracking emotions in the body. The picture came together, also through my own healing practice and therapy after Robbie died.
Go with what’s giving you an inkling of joy, go with that little seed of magic in all of us.
We put so much pressure on ourselves, asking ‘What am I doing with my life? Where am I going?’, and actually, for a lot of people, they’re already on their path, they just need to check in every now and then. Go with what’s giving you an inkling of joy, go with that little seed of magic that is in us all.
What three tips do you have for readers who also want to live a balanced life?
The first is being authentic, being honest with yourself. Because if you’re honest with yourself you can never go too far wrong. And being with honest with yourself isn’t that everything is always magic and rainbows, it might be ‘oh God, I have to face something’.
If the “think positive manta” isn’t working it’s usually a sign that you need to do a bit more internal work. Sometimes that’s through restorative yoga or (shadow work as it’s often referred too) or sometimes it’s about seeking out support through therapy which I am a huge advocate of.
The second is to hold enough space and time for ourselves, which can mean setting boundaries around relationships as well. It means being mindful of how we hold ourselves with others, and how we place boundaries with others.
If you can get the basics right, then you can be authentic and honest with yourself and put in space and time for what it is that you really want.
Finally, the third strategy would be to make sure the basics are in place. For me the basics are sleep hygiene, rest, getting decent food in the fridge, allowing myself some air. If you can get the basics right, and you can be authentic and honest with yourself, put in space and time for what it is that you really desire and in time the rest just sort of unfolds and with each passing day it gets a little easier.
Thank you Clare, for offering us a peek into what a balanced life look like for you. I love your emphasis on leaving time and space in your business, and how intentional and deliberate your choices are. Find out more about Clare and get in touch with her through Instagram.
Want to find out more about setting boundaries, following your energy and living a more balanced life as a female small business owner looks like?
I’ll be posting interviews for A Balanced Life every month or so. Do you have a suggestion for A Balanced Life? Would you like to be interviewed? Great! Send me a message. I’m always looking for inspiring people to feature.