I seek places where I can find peace, for that is where I am most myself.
Mathilde Gøhler comes walking through Kongens Have in Copenhagen. She is exceptionally beautiful, but it isn’t just that that makes her so striking.
Mathilde Gøhler radiates a unique calmness. Charismatic. Almost otherworldly. Despite her mere 30 years, she seems completely at peace with herself. Like someone who has discovered her inner core, and maybe even found the meaning of life.
Mathilde is pushing a pram with her youngest daughter Lelou, who is just 9 months old. Big sister Kenya is in school. Little Lelou beams a wide, gummy smile to the world around her. She’s a cheerful little bundle of energy, and it’s clear what a strong and affectionate bond exists between mother and child.
Most people might find two young children and three jobs pretty stressful. But Mathilde has found a number of strategies that help give her the time and presence she needs for her various roles.
- I’ve learned in my adult years that I’d rather have a more organised life and just sleep two hours less every night. Every so often, I’ll take a Sunday where I completely relax, or I’ll take an afternoon nap with the girls to energise me again. I think that life, especially with both school children and work, is hectic. There are so many things that you need to fit in during the course of a day, and still make sure the kids are tucked up in bed by 7.30 pm. You have to stick to a schedule, and it’s really surprised me just how much structure it actually requires. But when you find peace in your structure, well, then it works fine.
You also need to remember to retreat once in a while and notice when you need a short break. I also keep an eye on Kenya to see when she needs a break. It’s important to take a day off together sometimes, when everyone can breathe, and we don’t have to go so early to bed.
It’s become easier for me to say no,
because I’m also acting on behalf of my girls’ needs now.
- I'm the kind of person who doesn't say much, and I think a lot. I spend an enormous amount of time inside my own head. I need a lot of alone time when the girls are tucked up in the evening. Then I cherish the time for myself. I enjoy my own company. And I make sure that I feel good when I’m alone. Because this is when you find clarity with your thoughts, because you don't have time during the day to think about all your thoughts and feelings. I tend to put them to one side during the day, but I bring them out when the children are asleep.
One of the goals in my life is to constantly evolve.
To constantly become a better version of myself.
And constantly become better at knowing what I want,
what I bring and what makes life best.
Mathilde's days are usually fairly busy. And not just because of all the business lunches and exciting photo shoots. There are lots of completely ordinary tasks and chores for her to deal with every day too. But she still manages to remain calm and doesn't get caught up in stress so easily. The trick for her is to get off to a good start.
- It stresses me out if I’m running late, and when I have too many things to do in a day and I’m behind with things. I've learned to pack fewer things into my day, so I can spend the time it takes - because otherwise I end up not being present in things. And if this happens, I won't enjoy it and it just won’t do. It doesn’t bother me being busy, because what I do is something I actually look forward to. I have learned that you can plan your way out of busy days. For example, if I lay clothes out for Kenya the evening before, then I feel a few steps ahead when I wake up. I think it’s the small things that make all the difference to whether you enjoy the moment or feel stressed by it.
The small, daily, practical tasks also need to be enjoyable, because there are so many of them. If you don’t make them enjoyable, everyday life can soon become tiresome.
Mathilde's job as a freelance model and influencer allows her to decide how she spends her time – to a certain degree. But conversely, being self-employed also means she has to be flexible and available.
- When you’re a freelancer, and you’ve got no one to lean on but yourself, it’s a real challenge to say no to things, but I’m getting better and better at it. I know that my mental health is more important than any financial gain, so I don't want to compromise myself and, for example, make myself feel stressed for long periods of time. I've been there before, and it's not a nice place to be, and you're not the version of yourself you want to be. That’s why I have become much better at saying no in relation to what makes me happy and which collaborations are a good match for me and give meaning to my life. It all boils down to meaning and passion. If you feel there is passion and meaning, then it doesn't really feel like work, but more like an interest.