We caught up with Steph from @thewellnessbalance_ ,who is an advocate for healthy living, wellbeing and mindfulness for busy women and mums and got her thoughts on what wellness means to her when life gets busy. As well as being Mum to her 4 year old son and holding down a job, Steph is currently studying at the College of Naturopathic Medicine, to become a Naturopathic Health Coach.
What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness is so much more than the food we eat (although it's a very important part!). It’s also about the people we surround ourselves with, the way we connect to the world around us, how we manage stress, the way we move our bodies and most importantly - the relationship we have with ourselves.
Why do you think we struggle to maintain our wellbeing ?
It’s definitely a side-effect of living in our society today. We are all juggling our jobs, friendships, relationships, children, social lives, running households….it's no wonder we feel as though looking after ourselves is another thing to add to the never ending to-do list. Women and mothers in particular are more likely to put themselves last because it's our natural instinct to put the needs of others before our own.
What has helped you maintain your wellbeing?
It's been said that it can take approximately 21 days to form a new habit. When I first started my journey into looking after my wellbeing, I “attached” a new habit to something I was already doing, so it would be easy to remember with very minimal effort.
It was as simple as dry body brushing whilst I was waiting for my shower to warm up, or doing a couple of minutes of mindful breathing whilst my coffee was brewing. When I took my son to school, I would have my workout clothes ready to put on as soon as I woke up so I would be more likely to do my 20 minute pilates workout after the school run. It's definitely about forming small, sustainable habits and not trying to do “all the things” at once. Once you start to experience the shift in your mental and physical health, it's easy to maintain because it makes you feel good.
What distracts you from it?
If my son brings home a bug from school (which happens a lot!) it definitely throws a spanner in the works. Or when life inevitably goes through busy and stressful periods, I also find it challenging to remember my rituals that keep me grounded. We’re all human and life happens!
What advice would you give anyone who’s excuse for not implementing wellness, is being “too busy”?
I can totally relate to this, because I felt that way for years! My advice would be to start with one small change and go from there. It could be as simple as buying yourself a nice new water bottle to encourage you to drink 2 litres of water a day - it sounds like such a simple thing to do, but you’d be surprised how many health concerns can stem from not hydrating your body properly!
Wellness doesn’t need to be a spa day or an hour-long soak in the bath. It can be tiny “micro-moments” throughout the day to keep you grounded. Instead of scrolling on your phone whilst your coffee is brewing - why not sit outside for a few minutes in the sun? On your commute to work, listen to a guided meditation instead of reading the news. Sprinkle some seeds on your morning yoghurt for some extra gut-loving nutrients. If you struggle to find time to cook during the week, look into companies like Mindful Chef who have a wide range of delicious, nourishing meals that can be ready to eat quickly. In the evenings, put your phone away an hour before bed, apply an essential oil to your wrists and read a chapter of that book you’ve been meaning to start.
Remember, it's the tiny changes that make a big difference. I think it's important we continue to break down the barriers surrounding self-care and prioritising our wellbeing.