The wellbeing and mindset coach shares her take on being present, finding balance and her passions - including creating moments of calm and throwing the ultimate dinner party. Read on to learn all about Lily, and for some helpful, practical tips to incorporate into your daily life.
Tell us your story - how did you find your passion for helping others?
I started doing yoga at about twelve, and have drifted in and out of the practice ever since then. During my 20s, I was working full time as a journalist for fashion, with a demanding schedule and lots of travelling, so yoga became a way for me to help my own self development. As I continued to enjoy its transformative qualities, I decided to share it with my community and to volunteer at charities to pass on the practice.
What is your London? What is it about?
I was born and raised here actually, in North London, close to Camden and Primrose Hill. In a way, it’s all I’ve ever known, but I have also chosen to stay here due to the people. I’m lucky to have a wonderful sense of community, surrounded by funny, sharp and kind individuals.
How do you find balance?
'Balance' is such a pernicious word, and at times, not very helpful. It’s been taken over a bit by big corporations and marketing. I don’t believe that balance really exists, or that I ever achieve it day-to-day. I try to think of it more as seasons, which involves compromise. It’s easy to feel like we’re failing when we don’t achieve our idea of ‘balance’ everyday, when really, some weeks we’re able to spend more time with our children, others with friends, others at
work and so on.
What keeps you inspired?
Peace and silence. I find a lot of inspiration by just walking about and having a moment to myself. At times, getting a bit of space or distance from one's life can be helpful, and I’ve been lucky to be able to travel abroad and experience other cultures. Reading has always been a big source of inspiration for me. At the moment, I’ve been enjoying Substack. It’s refreshing to find more personal, engaging and emotional pieces again.
What do you do to motivate yourself, or to switch up your energy throughout the day?
I’m quite good at giving myself a talking to! As I have children, I have to be quite good with how I spend my time so that I can be present in their lives, too. I always try to eat the frog first, whereby I immediately approach the biggest task of the day, once that is done, I move on to smaller tasks, so that I don’t end up working into the evening.
How do you define wellbeing?
Another one that has become quite commercial and limited by its current presentation of a slim white girl in a beautiful gym with her green juice who doesn’t touch alcohol. When really, wellbeing is multifaceted and very personal, differing according to our needs, whether we’re physically able, or neuro diverse, our income, the environment, society at large, these all impact what we consider to be well.
Any tips for tuning into what our mind and body is trying to tell us, or need?
Finding moments of silence or stillness is very important. Just being able to slow down and take a step back if we’re busy… A regular check in, daily or weekly, rather than monthly, can help us feel less overwhelmed. Creatives always say that inspiration comes in those quiet moments, and I’m a really big believer in that. Prioritise boredom; waiting. Get used to not being stimulated by an outside source - limit phone use while you’re travelling, or, use aeroplane or do not disturb mode for when you want to take a breather.
What do you consider to be your haven, or space of calm?
Honestly, I would describe it as being inside you, so being able to find a moment of calm wherever you are. For me, meditation has been incredibly helpful, whether that’s on the floor at home, or in transit. Otherwise, I find the outdoors incredibly soothing, I adore being amidst mountains and lakes.
We’re constantly confronted by our screens, how can we be more present in our own lives and avoid digital fatigue?
The digital space is incredibly active, and can be overwhelming. It’s important that we remind ourselves that we have a choice over what we see and consume digitally. Breaks from social media and digital devices are great, and they don’t have to be long. I advise many of my clients to try a digital sabbath, and to put their social media on pause from Friday to Saturday evening. Or, if that is too much to start out with, using modes on their phone, like do not disturb and aeroplane.
It really comes down to habits, so identify when you are using your phone, when you can be doing something else. Replace it with an alternative action, whether reading a book or just being present.
Can you share a few strategies for regaining focus, or calm, for when one is feeling overwhelmed?
Question your thoughts. When you feel that your thoughts are spiralling, ask yourself whether the questions are useful, and if not, try to let them go. It takes some practice, but is a very useful tool. Even though meditation works well for me at the moment, there are times where I’ve struggled with it. It also just doesn’t work for everyone, if that is the case, try to find things that can facilitate the same feeling of presence for you… Often, painting, cooking, gardening or craftwork can lead to a similar, meditative state that is as enjoyable. Lastly, talk to people. Spend time creating a community which you can get support from, and give support to in times of need.
You have an amazing podcast, Priorities. How can priorities help us live better, and what are some ways we can discover what really matters?
Modern life has so many demands and expectations, it’s become almost impossible to do everything. The more we prioritise, the more we can move away from things that are not serving us, and the more time we can spend on what excites us, and what we consider to be of value.
Often when I speak to people, they identify values that they are not expressing through their lifestyle and choices. When we invest time in finding out our values, we are in a better position to make decisions that can lead to the life we want, and the person we identify ourselves to be. It’s a bit like a GPS!
What are some things we should pay attention to if we want to improve, or sustain, our mental health.
Flexibility is the biggest thing. As human beings, we should be prepared to feel a range of emotions, and experience a range of challenges - it’s natural to feel sad at times, or to be happy. The most important thing is that we acknowledge our feelings, and are kind and compassionate to ourselves. Understand that things aren’t perfect all the time. Practice acknowledging when things are going well, not just when they are not.
With so many Londoners returning to work, do you have advice on how to avoid burn out before it’s too late?
September is always a funny month, as you have that back to work energy, as well as a bit of a slump as summer ends. Check in with yourself regularly, and keep in mind that what is urgent for someone else does not mean it has to be for you. Establish what is important, what can wait and what can be delegated. So often our workload reflects our boundaries, or our lack of them.
What is your mantra or philosophy to face life’s challenges?
It’s a pretty simple one, but be kind. Compassion is life changing, for yourself and others.
Is there something on the horizon that you’re looking forward to?
The new season of my podcast, priorities, launches 21 September 2022, so definitely that! I also have a weekly newsletter coming out, prioritise this, which I am very excited about and my Substack will be launching early October.
You’re known for being an amazing hostess, even hosting your own events, MindFULL. What are some of your essentials to throwing an amazing dinner party?
Margaritas and Martinis are a must! I love cooking, so I always go all out on the food and the drinks. Something I swear by, which my dad actually told me, is to cook something you’re familiar with, as well as something completely new when you’re having people over.
The host makes any dinner party, and it’s important that they are relaxed. If cooking doesn’t come naturally to you and stresses you out, get friends involved who enjoy it, and focus on creating a lively atmosphere. A good playlist is key and I like to have a mix of people who haven’t met before to keep conversation interesting.
Lastly, if you could have dinner with absolutely anyone, who would it be, and why?
I’d have dinner with my grandma. She was my absolute best friend and I lived her for a few years before she passed. She was, and is still, so special to me, any opportunity to talk to her again would be amazing.