with Louise Barkas
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“Children are brilliant at picking up on other peoples energies. They do pick up on stress. It does impact them. Also children have these incredible imaginations, and these can work negatively too and they worry about things. They’ll put things into their little minds. It’s so important for children and parents to have these moments of calm."
Louise is a Children’s Mindfulness and Wellbeing Coach at The Calm Folk. She has a beautiful instagram page @thecalmfolk. It has the magical effect of instantly making you feel calm when scrolling (something quite rare on social media). She’s had an incredible journey with so much experience in various fields relating to children’s wellbeing and education. She’s a gentle, beautiful soul and this episode is just wonderful!
“I always knew I wanted to be around children and to be creative around children.”
In this episode we cover:
Louise’s journey and why her years in education led her to follow this path.
What mindfulness is and how it’s helped her personally as well as with clients
Her little creation to support people in creating mindful rituals at home
Minimalism and what led her to become a ‘Minimalist’
Her top tips for having a minimalist Christmas
Daily rituals Louise practices
The anxiety she has experienced in her life and why mindfulness has helped
Why the breath is so important.
And so much more.
Following this conversation I felt calm and peaceful, I expect it will have a similar effect for the listener. Happy Listening!
“Children are actually naturally more mindful. When a child has chosen an activity that they love they are engrossed in that activity, they don’t worry about ‘to-do’ lists. Obviously in this present moment they are worrying a lot more. But generally they are mindful, it’s us adults that are definitely a lot less mindful.”
In This Episode We Talk About:
1:57 A pivotal moment for Louise during her childhood.
3:40 We delve into Louise’s years in education, what that experience was like/what she learnt and how this the foundation for leading her into birthing The Calm Folk.
“There was an anxious child, a really anxious child and I started to do some meditation with him and the transformation of this child with just a 5 minute meditation was incredible. And I just thought, from there, this lightbulb that this is what I’m supposed to do, and that’s how the calm folk was born.”
9:20 Are children naturally meant to be stressed? Here we discuss the pace of life and how it’s changed. The four pillars (see link below).
10:50 The Calm Folk - what it is, how it’s evolved since the beginning as well as how it’s this year has meant branched out further into new areas.
13:06 The Calm Folkie Breathing Buddy - a physical tool Louise has created to help people at home.
15:20 Personal experience of being a mother.
19:37 How Louise describes ‘Mindfulness’. And how has it helped her personally with her anxiety. How it helps to start early with children.
23:15 How important is it for parents to practice mindfulness.
24:20 A particular story where Louise has seen a huge change. Here we discuss anger. The creation of a ‘Zen Den’ and a tool kit to help.
27:00 Top tip for parents at home if their child is anxious.
“Just taking one or two conscious breaths allows that pause. Allows that moment to disconnect from whatever’s going on in that moment. And just gives you a little time to respond rather than react and that even goes for little ones as well. Everybody if you just take a nice gorgeous breath in and relax with a big sigh, that is enough time to change things, change the chemistry in your body, I’m just a huge huge fan of breath work, so my number 1 tip is slow, conscious, mindful breaths.”
29:09 Rituals and routines and the benefits of these to prevent stress. Best times to do certain ones.
30:15 Sponsor Section
31:30 Minimalism and what that means to Louise.
35:17 Suggestions for having a Minimalist Christmas. Here we discuss whether too many toys are overwhelming for children. The 4 gift rule Louise adopts in her house at Christmas: ‘something they want, something they need, something to eat, something to read.’ The boundaries Louise creates with family and friends in terms of her minimalist principles e.g. no plastic. Secret Santa with the extended family. ‘Dip your toe into the lake method’ was the phrase neither of us could remember.
"The least a toy can do the better it is for the child, was always how I used to buy my children’s toys, just to really help with their imagination. Because something that’s full of beeps, tips and all of this, they used to play with it for a second, discard it and then play with the empty box for hours."
40:38 People that have inspired Louise.
43:23 What Louises personal daily mindful habits and rituals are.
46:35 Nature and why it’s so important for Louise. We discuss her ‘health’ anxiety.
51:25 Highly Sensitive People
"Children look at the world differently to adults and I just wish we could be more like them."
54:01 Rapid Fire Question series
"Minimalism for me is freedom. That’s what it feels like to be a minimalist. Because I am a highly sensitive person, clutter makes me itch inside."
Episode Resource Links:
The Calm Folk Website: https://www.thecalmfolk.co.uk/
The Calm Folk IG: https://www.instagram.com/thecalmfolk/
The 4 pillars of too much stuff. By Kim John Payne (Simplicity Parenting)
This article is wonderful on Louise and a piece I read in preparation for this interview. https://somedayslower.com/meettheminimalistlouise
Marie Kondo: https://konmari.com/
Jessica Rose Williams: https://www.jessicarosewilliams.com/
Song Louise dances to: You are the Universe - Brand New Heavies
Grounding exercise: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/5-4-3-2-1-countdown-to-make-anxiety-blast-off
Highly Sensitive Person https://hsperson.com/
Thank you for listening!
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This episode is sponsored by Kit + Kin, award winning nappies - head to https://kitandkin.com/ and enter the code BABY20 specially created for our listeners to use on the first subscription.
Recorded via Zoom and edited at LBS, Stockport. https://lbs.co.uk/
Producer: Adders Jeffry
Original Music written by Sadie Pickering, performed by Sadie Pickering, Dan J Logan and Jay Ansill
Podcast hosting service - https://anchor.fm/backtothegarden