Hi there! I’m Brett and I’m the founder of The Postcard Maven, an online postcard shop, monthly subscription, and platform I use to help people rediscover the joys of slower messaging.
More on my wellness journey
My journey began with feeling increasingly busy and disconnected in the rapidly rising tide of digital communication technologies and social media. I felt like I had to be always on, constantly providing replies to keep the little red notification icons at bay.
I didn’t think much about how this was impacting my mental health while I was living my life full speed ahead. But when 2020 hit, I started spending a lot of time trying to slow down various elements of my life and recalibrate to daily rhythms that felt more natural.
In addition to starting to grow my own food, cultivate a mindfulness practice, and reduce the amount of energy I expended at work, I began replacing more of my digital messages with handwritten postcards.
This allowed me to communicate more intentionally and directly with the people who really mattered to me. It also eliminated a lot of the unnecessary noise I used to deal with every time I opened my email inbox or any given social profile.
Wellness Q&A with Brett
What does a healthy life-work balance look like to you?
My healthy work-life balance prioritizes life over work every time.
I’ve read that one of the top five regrets people have as they near the end of their life (right up there with “I wish I’d kept in better touch with my friends”) is “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard,” and I’ve always wanted to avoid that.
In the past, this has sometimes looked like working for a while in order to quit and travel the world for a year with my partner. Or taking vacations that my bosses might not have wanted me to take but that mattered a lot to me.
We’re conditioned from an incredibly young age to make completing whatever work is assigned to us our highest priority. And this constant hustle from school to sports to careers to raising kids keeps many of us from simply being, connecting to our own imagination and creativity, and developing a deep understanding of who we truly are and what we truly value.
While I constantly struggle to feel comfortable with setting my personal and professional to-do lists aside in favour of daydreaming, exploring, or spending time with my friends, I think it is such an important thing to aim for as often as possible.
How do you make sure you are regularly prioritising your mental and physical well-being?
It’s a constant struggle trying to get this right because it’s all about balance and it’s very easy to let the scales tip too far one way or the other, which quickly becomes difficult to recover from.
When I’m struggling mentally, it becomes pretty clear that I need to prioritize getting back on track.
But when I’m doing well, it’s easy to decide to skip a yoga class or meditation session, and then maybe another, and I tend not to notice my mental health slowly slipping until a week or two later when the accrued impact starts to feel sudden and significant.
The things I’ve found that invariably impact my mental well-being when they’re missing include exercise, mindfulness, spending time outdoors, creative inlets and outlets, a tight-knit community, and variety in my day-to-day routine.
I’m constantly coming up with new ways of organizing and iterating on my daily habits, but my systems almost always involve writing things down on paper in some way—in physical agendas, journals, lists, index cards, notes to self, and so on.
How do you show yourself self-love and self-care? Are there any particular activities you indulge in and what inner work do you do?
For almost all of my life, I’ve been a perfectionist and overachiever. So the form of self-care that tends to feel most impactful for me is intentionally scheduling time to do nothing—literally writing “chill day” on my calendar at least a few times a month, to ensure I don’t automatically fill it up with things I “need to get done.”
On these days, I allow myself to feel okay about not being productive, and instead try to gravitate toward whatever is genuinely sparking joy and interest right then. Whether that’s driving around and stopping at any place that looks interesting, cooking something I don’t usually make, reading, crafting, watching a movie, or going to bed early to dream.
What is your go-to productivity hack?
A change of scenery always helps me!
When I’m feeling stuck or distracted, I pack up the bare essentials and head to a café and sit back down with a cortado to work with fresh eyes.
Long walks can also be a helpful change of scenery, particularly when I’m stuck on a certain problem and need to think about it without the distraction of my screen.
In a pinch, even stepping outside for a few minutes and taking a few deep breaths can help me get out of a rut. And turning off my phone when I really need to focus is always a must.
What self-help or personal development book would you recommend and why?
Rest Is Resistance by Tricia Hersey is the best book I’ve read so far this year and something I think everyone living in a capitalist society should read (or better yet, listen to as an audiobook, read beautifully with powerful lyrical emphasis by the author).
It’s less an instruction manual for how to live and more a manifesto, calling on all of us to reclaim our right to rest from the people and systems that profit from our collective exhaustion.
She celebrates rest for rest’s sake, rather than for the sake of rekindling our productivity, and convincingly argues that a well-rested society is one far better equipped to imagine new ways of living that work for everyone, not just for those at the top.
Get Rest Is Resistance on Amazon today
What would you say to your 21-year-old self?
You’re far more valuable than you think, and you don’t need to prove that to anyone.
And lastly, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Take every opportunity!
Where to find Brett
Find Brett and The Postcard Maven over on Instagram or at her website thepostcardmaven.com
Disclaimer: Please. note, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links then I will be rewarded at no extra cost to you. Any money earned through affiliates will be put towards running my blog and newsletter.
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