We talk to Pip Best from The Conscious Playground about living more with less, and her top tips for productivity, energy and creativity in the workplace.
Brianna Wiest is quoted as saying “true self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life that you don’t need to regularly escape from.” Considering this idea, how do we build a life and routine that doesn’t just “kick-in” after 5pm? How do we create more meaning and bliss in the everyday and find awe in the ordinary and regular?
Creating simple rituals and standards of everyday life that bring you into the moment, but that aren’t difficult or cumbersome to uphold is essential, and the basis of Pip Best’s business The Conscious Playground.
Below we chat to Pip about the idea of living more with less, as well as the best way to incorporate essential oils and conscious ritual into your daily life.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and The Conscious Playground
I’ve always been passionate about people: what makes us tick; the ways in which we interact with each other, ourselves and the environment around us. My background is as a case worker and I spent the last decade of my career working with adults and children struggling with mental health issues, homelessness, trauma and cancer. More recently, I spent two years working with vulnerable children in rural Kenya. I turned to yoga and meditation early in my career as a way to manage the intensity of the job. It became the cornerstone of my wellbeing and led to an increased awareness of my internal state and the world around me - which was something I felt pulled to start sharing with others.
The Conscious Playground encompasses the mindful and integrative practices that I’ve curated to cultivate a sustainable and holistic lifestyle - essential oils and plant-based medicine is a big part of that. Our goal at The Conscious Playground is to empower and educate people to enhance the quality of their wellness, to increase awareness, and to start a conversation about how we can use products that work in harmony with our bodies without the use of harmful resources. We initiate questions around what is means to look after ourselves in the modern world, and recognise the power (and struggle!) of coming back home to ourselves. Our work is to show people how to do this, and we’ve been lucky to work with hundreds of people, from all over the world, from a wide range of life experiences.
2. What was your vision for the business when you started and how has this materialised
I wanted to make conscious and integrated living accessible, light, and simple. A lot of
ancient practices and natural solutions are misunderstood or seen as “hippie” and ineffective. I wanted to be a part of making conscious livingthe new norm. You don’t have to move to an Ashram in India or drink green juice in order to experience the benefits of living a conscious lifestyle. I believe that by creating a world where we are more connected with ourselves, the greater impact we can have on the people and environment around us.
Through The Conscious Playground, I run regular essential oil workshops and one-on-one consultations to help people identify their needs, simplify their daily routines and take tangible steps to transition to a low tox lifestyle. Our work is to empower people to think differently about how they manage their physical and emotional wellbeing, and then act on this awareness.
3. Why do you do what you do?
I’m passionate about changing the way people approach their health. I’m interested in getting people to think about where their products are coming from, the impact they may be having on their health, and what companies they are supporting.
I want to help women carve out small moments in their day to pause, an invitation to take a deep breath, and enjoy a soothing moment. When women are in their optimal state, they are a force to be reckoned with.
On a personal level, when I started teaching essential oil workshops about a year ago, I knew it was important to me that I aligned myself with a company that sources ethical and sustainable products, who were also doing their bit to make to the world a better place. But it became more than that. I discovered it was a way to utilise my social work skills in a way that felt really fulfilling. When I sit in a room with women (it’s mostly women who come to my workshops!), they open up about their struggles with anxiety, their difficulty managing stress, their fears that they lack a sense of purpose. I constantly meet women who haven’t slept properly in months, women who are struggling with infertility, women who are living in toxic environments. I hold space for them in that vulnerability and together, we create a road map for healing.
4. Your business is based around the concept of ‘living more with less’. Explain this.
I believe that in our world of stress, overwhelm and burnout, nature has the power to simplify, detoxify and lighten our load. I travel frequently and feel incredibly lucky to have the tools that I do to care for my mind and body no matter where I am. A few drops of grapefruit and lemon oil after a long haul flight can help energise me and get me through the day. Lavender naturally produces melatonin which helps me sleep and adjust to the time difference. My self-reflection journal helps me manage my goals and reflect on my priorities for personal growth. A short meditation before a meeting will quickly reframe my mind. No matter where in the world I find myself, I have the tools to tune into myself, and to nourish my mind and body and I want to share that.
5. How do you balance health priorities with workplace priorities?
Having a yoga and meditation practice has forced me to really pay attention and become aware of what my body needs. I’m not someone who can pull all-nighters or go for another cup of coffee to get through the day. To function properly, I need to have adequate sleep, be drinking plenty of water and eating well. I know now that I’m useless to my clients if I’m not feeling good - so I’ve learned, overtime, how to prioritise my health. I play a lot with the idea of frequency over intensity, meaning our energetic state is more important that the amount of hours we are working. I time block (put in my calendar) the things I KNOW make me feel better - meditation twice a day, ten minutes in the morning and evening to brain dump everything that is in my head (I do it on the bus if I need to, instead of scrolling Instagram), exercising in the morning, and going to bed before 10pm. I’m so much more productive and effective when I’ve done those things.
I wanted to be a part of making conscious living the new norm. You don’t have to move to an Ashram in India or drink green juice in order to experience the benefits of living a conscious lifestyle. I believe that by creating a world where we are more connected with ourselves, the greater impact we can have on the people and environment around us.
6. Any tips for productivity, energy and creativity for your desk space?
- The idea of exercise is not new, but it works. Put time in your calendar to exercise, whether before or after work or in your lunch break.
- Create a running list (I use Evernote) with all the things you hope to get done. Each day look at your list and pull out the top three tasks for that day. Do them one by one. Everything else you do is a bonus.
- Figure out how much sleep you need (everyone is different, knowing your ayurvedic doshacan help) and aim for that.
- Adding medicinal mushrooms, such aslion’s maneand chaga, to my hot drinks has really increased my focus and productivity.
- Take time away from your desk - go for a walk, turn your face to the sun and breathe in some fresh air.
- Try single tasking - despite what we want to believe, we're just not wired for multitasking and having 99 tabs open in your brain is draining. Give your full attention and energy to one task at a time and go home feeling less frazzled and frenzied.
- Drink plenty of water. Fill up a jug and have it sitting on your desk, so it’s easy to access. Spice it up with some cucumber or lemon slice (call me Van Wilder).
- If you can, have a diffuser going at your desk to help with focus and clarity.
7. What would you suggest the three most important changes that someone can make to improve their wellness at work?
I think it has a lot to do with what you are doing outsideof work.
- Create a routine based on your ideal day - it’s easy to go through our days on autopilot without giving much thought to how we want to spend it, or how we want to feel. Take some time to write down your ideal day, from when you wake up to when you go to bed. What aspects of that you can incorporate into your day now?
- Turn your phone on airplane mode in the evening, and create boundaries so it’s not the first thing you reach for in the morning. Notice the difference that it makes when you energetically send out a signal that you are not receiving any information right now.
- In terms of someone’s work, I think it’s important to ask some hard, longterm questions, such as: do you like where you work (for the most part)? What would you want to do more of? What would you want to do less of? Sometimes people feel overwhelmed at the prospect of having to find or follow their passion, but by asking ourselves less daunting questions that we already know the answers to, we can move closer to the life that fills us up.
8. What are your favourite essential oils for the workspace?
Our bodies love us when we turn to essential oils instead of caffeine, sugary energy drinks, or prescription medications.
I love a blend of lemon, peppermint, rosemary, basil, and black pepper for focus. Ideally in a diffuser, but if Darren from accounts is giving you grief, you could make up a spray bottle or a roller ball to use throughout the day.
Wild orange and peppermint for a 3pm pick-me-up is a great caffeine free option. Put 1 drop of each on the palm of your hands, rub together and inhale.
The Conscious Playground has a rollerball blend call “Be Focused” and I roll that on the back of my neck when it's time to buckle down.
9. How can you use essential oils throughout the day?
Essential oils are incredible in that they can simultaneously transform one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. They also have the ability to turn mundane routine tasks into sensory rituals.
- Wake up in the morning by inhaling a drop of peppermint on a warm washer.
- If your morning shower is the most routine part of your day, why not make it something to look forward to? Put 2-3 drops of eucalyptus on your shower floor and create a mini-spa moment for yourself before 9am.
- As you get ready for work, diffuse citrus oils like lemon, orange or grapefruit and put Sister Act on loud (don’t judge me). I dare you not to skip out the door.
- Use grounding oils like cedarwood, frankincense, spruce and blue tansy on the soles of the feet to promote a sense of presence and stability.
- We all know “that girl” whose perfume suffocates us in the morning lift. Replace your toxic perfume with an uplifting blend of ylang ylang, bergamot, and sandalwood.
- Diffuse lavender, roman chamomile and vetiver when you get home from work. Let the smell symbolise the time in your day where you turn your phone on airplane mode, pour a cup of tea (or wine, whatever your poison), and tuck in to your favourite book.
For more ideas, you can download my free daily routine here.
10. And what’s in-store in 2018 for you and The Conscious Playground?
I’m brimming with excitement for what's in store this year. We are currently creating a photo journal blog about holistic living in our modern world where readers can get an intimate look into the lives of leaders in the wellness space — their daily routines, rituals, advice and inspiration. I am teaching more essential oil workshops in people's homes, workplaces, and collaborating with a bunch of different people to bring a range of workshops topics to our community. I am working closely with my team as we expand our reach together in 2018. With our tribe growing in numbers, I am energised to guide more people as they transition away from disempowering lifestyle practices and move towards a more intuitive approach to living their best, most full lives.
Pip has spent the last ten years as a social worker, working directly with clients in the adult mental health, youth homelessness and international development sectors. Looking to balance out the heaviness of social work, she found great comfort in a consistent yoga and meditation practice. It was through this practice that she was able to start to identify, simplify and detoxify her life, both physically and emotionally.
In a world where we are inundated with information, stress, and toxins, using the power of plants to support her well-being just made sense. After finding incredible support through essential oils, Pip's mission was ignited - to bring more people home using the power of nature.