with Sarita Walsh
Brooklyn based interdisciplinary creative Sarita Walsh is known for her minimal and philosophical design-takes on instagram exploring themes as far ranging as mental health, human behaviour and habit building. We spoke with Sarita about the role of her art practice, her wellness routines and her forever evolving formula for a more content life.
I’m an Australian/Thai interdisciplinary creative—born in Bangkok, bred in Sydney, and been brewing in Brooklyn since 2014. I’ve worked in branding for over ten years—to me that means telling stories through design and experience. Outside of branding, I enjoy creating engaging, meaningful, and purpose-driven content and experiences, to help cultivate and inspire intentional and joyful living.
It’s hard for me to identify one great source as I find myself in a constant dance with inspiration. Having said that, the most lasting influence would be Dieter Rams—a German industrial designer—and his simple and brilliant design philosophy, “Less, but better”. I habitually find myself referring back to this principle in both my creative practices, and life.
Art plays a vital role in my wellbeing. It gives me a playful opportunity to practice being present by slowing down, connecting with my body, and my feelings. I find in the state of flow—free from distractions or judgment—I am able to regulate my emotions more effectively.
I also practice painting without attachment to the outcome—allowing my creativity to unfold in the absence of my attempts to control it—which I considered an active meditation. When my mind is trained to be more present and at ease with itself, I feel calmer, clearer, and content.
Every morning I measure my temperature and tune into the natural psychological flow of my infradian rhythm. In short—unlike the 24-hour circadian rhythm—the infradian rhythm is a monthly biological clock. When harnessed, it can be used to greatly improve our wellbeing. It has helped me understand and work in harmony with the monthly ebbs and flows of my body (e.g. energy levels, mood, metabolism, mental acuity).
I find that I enjoy my day much more profoundly when I listen to my body. I am more compassionate and gentle with myself.
[My] First drink is always a full glass of filtered water with synbiotics. I typically think about the gut-brain connection, and how grateful I am for my healthy mind and body.
[My] Second drink is matcha—with vanilla ghee and oat milk—my wonderful partner creates for me every morning as a way to tell me he loves me. In this present moment I generally think about how grateful I am to be deeply loved and appreciated.
On most mornings, my sphere of silence consists of these ingredients: Water, synbiotics, matcha or genmaicha, Astier de Villatte incense, BulletJournal, a book, yoga, and meditation.
I don’t set an alarm clock unless I have an important meeting or appointment. Sleep has become a priority for me. Solitude in non-negotiable. I am very intentional with blocking off my morning to create a sphere of silence—I don’t start working til noon.
Sometimes I walk to my climbing gym while listening to a podcast or an audiobook. Walking is one of my favourite activities since I was a child. I could walk for hours and hours—it really grounds me. My morning is intentionally devoted to nourishing myself—so I could give to others by pouring from an overflowed saucer, and never from an empty cup.
My thoughts create my feelings, create my behaviours, create my results. If I want different results, I need to change my thoughts. Slowing down and examining my thoughts has been a powerful practice for my wellbeing.
Prior to freelancing I was working in a fast-paced team environment where there was little to no time to slow down and scrutinise anything. The way I was living was very reactive, as oppose to responsive. I was constantly the “survivor” of circumstances, instead of the “creator”.
By being present and becoming aware of my thoughts, feelings and emotional reactions, I am able to intentionally change my thoughts—which in turns change my feelings, my behaviours, and my results. Over time, this allows me to elevate my state of being—and be the creator of my life.
I [also] love a simple system, and I personally find this question to be wonderfully effective;
“If I were 5% more responsible for my life today I would…“
I list out 3-6 things—depending on my energy level that day—and create a 5% better life.
In terms of personal habits, I’m proudest of Bullet Journaling. The system I have created for myself gets better and better every day—as it evolves with me. That’s what it’s designed to do, and what makes it so unique. Walking after eating is another habit I love and proud of.
I’m working on rewiring my brain to think differently by strengthening new and improved pathways that are more useful as a default. It’s been an extraordinary and rewarding process.
My approach to wellbeing and beauty has not changed much for me. I like to keep things simple:
Prioritise sleep. Drink water. Eat colorfully. Use few simple ingredients. Move daily. Be with nature. Bathe in sunshine. Go for a long walk. Connect with friends and family. Listen to music. Take time for play. Take a hot bath. Journal. Read. Learn new things. Slow down. Meditate. Be present. Be kind. Be grateful. Invest in yourself. Give generously. Stay curious. Laugh often.
The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique is one of my favourite simple tools to use when I need a little grounding. It helps regulate the hormone cortisol, which controls your fight or flight response.
Find somewhere comfortable to sit and close your eyes:
Empty your lungs
Breathe in through your nose to the count of 4
Hold the breath to the count of 7
Exhale through your mouth to the count of 8
Repeat the cycle up to 4 times
[Lately] I’ve been thinking a lot about metacognition and being the driver of my own brain.
I’ve been thinking about loving my future more than my past. I focus on the possibilities of my future rather than ruminate on the experiences of my past, which limit me from creating anything I desire.
This has helped me love the adventure of the unknown—rather than fearing it like I used to. More of that.