After a period of burnout and utter exhaustion, Margo Reed reimagined her life to centre around her love of bathing. Her business, Solitude Body + Mind reminds us to find space to focus on ourselves.
I grew up in a small town on the Mid North Coast surrounded by hard working business owners. My grandparents on my father’s side were dairy farmers and on my mother’s side they owned a supermarket and shopping centre. My Dad was, and still is a builder, and I was aware that everyone was always working. Even my parent’s network of friends had their own businesses and since we all lived in beautiful homes, drove nice cars and went on holidays together this concept of “hard work for nice things” was what success meant to me.
Because I grew up in a small town, I believed I wouldn’t become anything without leaving. I always wanted to be “making it” in New York running my own interior design business overlooking the city and making lots of money! As soon as I finished high school I moved to Sydney to study my BA and then Milan to study a Master’s degree in Design.
College was intense so working through the night to meet deadlines was normal and this carried on into jobs and working for myself. Growing up around hard workers that always worked late and over the weekend meant I didn’t flinch or think otherwise. Over time I worked as an employee and for myself but I would always have something else on the side, whether it was another business or a part time job. I saw “working’ and being “busy” as success.
Fortunately and unfortunately my body gave way to this notion and after leaving a very stressful job to go on a health retreat in Thailand I caught Dengue fever and my body never really recovered. Of course that didn’t stop me, so I kept doing what I knew, always putting my hand up and creating more work for myself. It’s only in the last few years that I realised my body wasn’t able to keep up. I was becoming sick all the time and stress and anxiety had crept over me.
I was struggling through anxiety and stress and feeling like I’d lost my passion. I was feeling very much lost in what I wanted to be doing. On my way home from work, my partner Grant would run me a bath knowing it was this time of solitude and quiet that I needed to revive myself, and in his words “be a much nicer person to be around!”. The calm quiet space, warm water and essential oil concoctions I would add, along with restorative salts, meant I really was a new person by the time I came out. Having given time and space to myself I was then able to give my all to our relationship and work the next day.
Throughout this time I also started learning Vedic meditation at The Broad Place hoping it would bring me some clarity and it really changed everything for me. I cleared through the fog and I was able to understand that my career wasn’t fulfilling me like I’d always thought it would. I had lost my true essence, so I wanted to simplify instead of complicate.
I made a decision to take time off from my career to figure out what I wanted next.
I had such a strong urge to be challenged in new ways. I wanted to be creative again, to use my hands, learn something new, and revert to past hobbies. I went to different workshops and started playing in the kitchen, spending hours on Pinterest and listening to podcasts in the bath.
I kept bathing throughout my time off because it created space for my thoughts. The bath salts I was buying came in really tacky packaging but they had the all-natural ingredients I desired. It wasn’t until my brother gave me some glittery and chemical filled bath bombs for my birthday (something I would never put near my skin!) that the idea of SOLITUDE formed. I knew I could create something natural and beautiful for people to truly enjoy, both in and out of the bath.
Now I work smarter and not harder. My partner Grant calls it “Part time work, for a full time life” and this really resonates. It’s mornings for us and afternoons for business.
My unique work rhythm:
I’m such a slow starter in the morning and don’t really get going until after lunch so I’ve learnt to embrace this and spend the mornings slowly. After chatting in bed I meditate for 20mins and then enjoy an almond chai in the sun followed by a swim in the pool or walk along the beach. I’ll then sit down at my desk from about 11am onwards. I focus and work really well from here until I lose focus around lunch, and then get fired up again around 4pm. I notice I can work into the night when I’ve given myself time earlier so it’s a win-win.
My morning meditation is my non-negotiable but I can easily forget about moving my body or eating well, and with that I’ll soon pick up a cold or my body starts to seize up. The Capricorn and pleaser in me means I can slip quite easily into being busy, so taking time out and listening to my body is essential.
Visit Solitude to purchase bath minerals and bath cookies.