The sweetest thing happened among millennial and even Gen Z Black women entering the soft life era: we chose ease.

Not only did this lead to scaling back at work and redefining the pace of life that felt truly worthy of us, but we also saw our health take top priority. With more time in our slower-moving world to acknowledge ourselves, we opened up a silky world of self-listening. Speaking on behalf of myself and maybe you: I like it here, and I plan on staying, indefinitely. Ideally, this movement of honoring emotions and personal boundaries lasts long, even and especially for the women who raised us in some way. 

They deserve it – your mom, your aunties, their friends, and their moms – all of them. The beauty of ‘soft life’ really needs to be extended to the older generations who’ve existed much longer outside of softness. The effects could be intergenerationally life-changing.

According to Boston University’s Black Women’s Health Study, “Black women have higher rates of many illnesses, such as hypertension, breast cancer at young ages, diabetes, stroke, and lupus.” While further research will uncover this health disparity, Black women are making major lifestyle changes to counter stress which affects the body.

While Black women become increasingly more invested in caring for themselves as a way to undo harmful ‘Super woman’ narratives, we must bring in older generations of Black women to join the conversation and instigate their own undoing and unlearning. Many of us were not raised with abundant examples of Black women who felt able to dwell unapologetically in their softness. While we embody our own versions of soft life, it’s not too late to inspire ease in the ones who need it too.

Here is how to usher the older generation of women in your life into their soft life era. 

8 ideas to inspire soft life for the older generations

Cultivate new ideas about rest

The most important thing about living your soft life is rest. Soft life is, by definition, a life that embraces being well-rested and rejuvenated. Often the greatest challenge to feeling worthy of rest is a lifetime spent earning rest. Living in tune with soft life is about reclaiming your rest time. The first step is recognizing that rest is a right, not a luxury. Yes, it will take time, but we’re learning not to rush things anyway.

Create a guilt-free space for pleasure

Encouraging the older women in your life to indulge in pleasure may be tricky but worth it. Being a pleasure-seeking woman is almost the opposite of the ‘Strong Black Woman’ stereotype that we’re learning to shed. The biggest tip is to be patient as you help the older generation of women in your life also release these anti-soft behaviors. Think back to how liberating it was for you and your friendship group to learn the power of choosing joy for joy’s sake.

Whether you allow yourself to daydream for as long as you wish without having to ‘make up’ for it in productive hours or get dressed up for no occasion at all, a pleasure-filled life looks different for everyone. Remind them that while we’re grateful for their strength, what we’re looking forward to is their season of engaging in hobbies, pleasure, and the sweetness of doing absolutely nothing as often as necessary.

Meditate together as a way to normalize stress-management

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova
Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova

We’ve all seen our mothers, aunties, or grandmas operating on nothing but stress and ginger tea for the day. Meditation takes you out of your daily hustle and bustle and offers you space to simply be. In meditation, you don’t need to operate as a mother, auntie, grandma, friend, wife, and so on. Rather, you simply show up as and for yourself. Meditating together is not only cute as hell, but it’s also a joint commitment to honor each other’s peace. This will help prove that it’s possible to operate from a blissful space rather than a stressful one.

A morning of your dreams

Ask them to describe what their ideal morning looks like and then offer ways to make it happen. Setting the tone in the morning can truly alter the day’s vibe. Dreaming up a morning that goes exactly as you envision allows you to see your visions come to fruition. There is nothing better than starting your day knowing that you can live on your own terms because that’s exactly what you did this morning.

Talk about emotions, without prompt

Having safe spaces to regularly check in about emotions is the best way to properly honor them. Releasing emotional blockages helps women of all generations affirm, remove negative self-talk and feel light throughout the day. Things don’t need to go into crisis territory before we address our emotional wellness. Some simple questions include ‘Did you get enough rest today? How, or why not?’ or ‘How is your heart today?’.

A soft life approach to work

While quiet quitting has become the way for millennials and Gen Zs to set work boundaries, it remains pretty specific to this age group. This is not a trend that older generations of dedicated hard workers have caught on to, yet. Perhaps there is resistance around being termed ‘lazy’ or a need to expand ideas about security and rest. Take the opportunity to guide the older women in your life back to a place of healthy boundaries. Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry recently published her book ‘Rest is Resistance’. This book is a perfect read to soften the approach to overworking.

Strategically make soft life habits accessible

Now it’s your turn to be in their business. Encourage older generations to dwell fully in their soft life through physical homely reminders. A Himalayan salt lamp lets off a gentle light that minimizes anxiety and brings about relaxed vibes. Other items to buy and strategically place around the home include candles or bottles of (Black-owned) wine for some self-care Sunday additions. If you know their love language is words of affirmation, a few loving reminders like ‘Have you scheduled enough time for chilling tonight?’ left around the home will go appreciated. 

Show them how self-choosing isn’t selfish

There is nothing selfish about putting yourself first. The best way to demonstrate this is by living your own soft life. Help the older women in your life feel entitled to self-choosing without the added self-criticism (thank you). They can start by choosing how they wish to start the day. Choose self-affirming words whenever looking in the mirror. Next is choosing the least chaotic working environment, the warmest home set-up, and beyond. There will always be obstacles that prevent choice occasionally. The idea is to make loving decisions that prioritize ease when you can. Being that real-life example in their life will make it seem all the more achievable for them.

Related: The Thing About Creating ‘Slow Living’ Habits In A Fast-Paced World

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