Individual Sustainability

Hello Friends!

Welcome back!! It feels like ages since we last communicated in this way, and I’m thrilled to be back to writing my newsletter and sharing it with you!

And thank you for understanding my need for a break. As you might have guessed, given the subject of my last newsletter was Burnout, the break was much needed. Turns out, you can’t keep going indefinitely without taking care of yourself. Who knew?! 😉

Machines need outages. Cars need their oil changed. Phones need their batteries topped up. Humans need downtime and energy replenishment too. 

I am not a big fan of the term “self-care”. Somehow it doesn’t really speak to me. It sounds a bit too much like just taking a bubble bath, not like the very necessary need to be able to live a life that is energetically sustainable.

Not liking the term however, shouldn’t mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater!! Which is what I kind of what I was doing. 

Does this sound familiar? “I don’t have time to go for a run today, because I have to finish this proposal/preparing this workshop/answering these emails.” I became stuck in the Aggregate Blindness loop quite a bit last spring – pushing off one run is no big deal, but losing sight of the accumulated 3 months of doing it is! 

So how can we live a sustainable life? What are the secrets? And how can we figure out how to unlock the key to our own individual and personal sustainability? 🤔


As James Clear, the Guru of Habits (his 3-2-1 newsletter is one of the few I read unfailingly each week) wisely wrote:

“Self care takes effort. It doesn’t just happen.
The body and mind need to be maintained. Similar to a garden, without effort, weeds will pop up and overtake everything.
With a bit of consistent pruning, the results can be beautiful.”

A simple concept, but one that is not always easy to keep sight of. It’s an ongoing thing, not just something you can do on holiday. (Oops! I had rather lost sight of that.) It needs to be a habit. A commitment to and investment in one’s daily physical and mental health.

To that end, I have started an accountability group with a few friends. I know I want to develop and prioritize healthy habits, like drinking enough water and getting regular movement during the work day, and having a few trusted friends on the journey with me makes it a lot more fun, as well as a lot more likely to happen!


One aspect of individual sustainability I hadn’t thought about before the summer was silence vs. noise. There is always some sort of sound going on around us. How often do we spend time being silent, and getting to know ourselves better? 

As Erling Kagge puts it in his brilliant book Silence in the Age of Noise:

“[I] avoid being present in my own life. Instead I busy myself with this or that, avoiding the silence … rather than holding still and shutting out the world for a single moment.”

I tried an experiment this summer. I asked a few friends if they ever spent time in silence. None did. None of us had avoided it intentionally, but in fact we all admitted we were rather afraid to spend time with our own thoughts. So we agreed to give it a go – spend time in silence and let whatever thoughts come, come – and we all found that it wasn’t nearly as scary as we’d been expecting! 

As Kagge puts it, “the quieter I became, the more I heard.” ♥

So I’m using my headphones less these days, and letting my ears hear what nature has to offer. As well as enjoying the silence around me too.


I was really fortunate to be able to spend three weeks in my favourite place this summer. On Amrum. (The header photo is from there this summer). It’s the calmest, quietest, more restorative place I know. For me, it is meditative just being there.

But since we can’t be on holiday all the time (and even if we could, I imagine we’d want to mix it up a bit, too!), there is also actual meditation. Dan Harris of the 10 Percent Happier Podcast spent time this year with the Dalai Lama, and produced a free meditation course called The Dalai Lama’s Guide to Happiness. One of the sessions is named “Wise Selfishness” and I love that title. We think of selfishness as negative. And yet, being entirely selfless can be just as detrimental. How do we balance the two? Wise Selfishness makes me think of doing right by myself, as well as by others.


When I saw this quote from Cory Muscara, it stopped me in my tracks. Because yes, I am that person who can be cranky and terse when I am over-tired. (Hard to imagine, I know!! 😉 ) I got into a cycle of working too much, not being able to shut down at night, going to bed too late, not sleeping enough, and then waking up cranky.

So when I saw this quote, the perspective was such a powerful mindset shift for me! That self-care IS we-care. That taking care of myself was actually good for others. And that helped me to start thinking about my choices and my time management from that perspective. 
Because as the Buddha said, “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”


A few podcast episodes that got me thinking about self-care and individual sustainability:

The Happiness Lab – A Daily Workout to Tackle Nagging Self-Criticism

Wellness with Ella – An episode on how self-discipline is self-love and to act according to your priorities, not what your friends advise.

Caffeine for the Soul – Self-Compassion 

Smarter Leben – Selbstfürsorge (in German)


Being on a Social Media Sabbatical this summer was just the break I needed. I spent a lot more time monotasking this summer – reading, walking, sleeping, swimming for hours at a time. Restorative and completely blissful!

I read so many good books this summer that I’ll be recommending them over the next few newsletters! 

I am going to start with one of my favourites of the summer: Ruth Ware’s One By One. Ware’s website describes it as a “twisty, page-turning whodunnit” and that’s exactly what it is!! I stayed up way past my bedtime reading this, completely gripped by the story and wanting to know what happened. 
The story opens with the news that 4 people are suspected to have been murdered while in a chalet in the French Alps during a snowstorm and subsequent avalanche that knocks out power and cell phone reception, and burying a group of 12 inside their chalet. You know from the outset that 4 people die (I’m not spoiling the story) but not who, why or who the murderer is. 

It was a face-paced, rather believable story, and I was hooked right from the beginning. I’ve read a few of Ware’s other novels and this one was by far my favourite!

How do you feel about Individual Sustainability (aka self-care)? Are you intentional about Individual Sustainability (aka self-care)? Are you ensuring that your tank never gets empty? What are your secrets to a sustainable life? I’d love for you to share them!!

The fall is always such an inspiring time of year for me. I love that back-to-school feeling! It feels like a fresh start with healthy intentions. 

Wishing you a wonderful September, and lots of energy-sustaining moments!

Be emotional. Stay healthy.



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