Are we wholly responsible for our own wellbeing?

Are we wholly responsible for our own wellbeing?

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to spend a lot of time talking to women.

Talking one to one to clients, chatting to Facebook followers, communicating over email to women I’ll probably never meet, and also making presentations to small groups on a regular basis. I’m a talker, I love to talk. I get it from my Mum. Who got it from her Mum, but that’s beside the point.

The point is I love talking, especially to other mothers, because it’s how I can best support the clients I work with, how I can get the message I want to share out into the world, but most importantly, it’s how I learn so much about this wonderful client group I work with.

Yesterday I was excited to be the guest speaker at a meeting of the Australian Breastfeeding Association here in Adelaide, where I was asked to talk on the topic of ‘self care for Mums’.

Now it’s true that phrases such as ‘self care’, ‘put yourself first’ and ‘find time for me time’ can often feel like massively cliched buzzwords in today’s motherhood environment. They’re a dime a dozen and I bet they’re sprawled all over the sponsored ads clogging up your news feed on a daily basis. It seems everywhere we turn Mums are being told to take better care of themselves, meditate more and eat more kale. Hey, I’m one of those people saying those things!

And while most people would agree that taking care of your own wellbeing is an exceptionally important task, both for your own sake, and that of your family, there is also another consideration to this ‘make me-time a priority’ message, as one of the women in my presentation yesterday pointed out.

Her comment was that this drive for mothers to prioritise self care can often feel like another big unachievable task on that never-ending ‘to-do’ list. Something that women already know they should be doing, and desperately want to do, but for whatever reason it just doesn’t happen.

What she was questioning was this: why is it just the responsibility of the mother to look after her own wellbeing? Where’s her support squad? Shouldn’t we expect our husbands, partners, parents, friends, aunties, grandmothers, or whoever else we have in our lives, to also step up to the plate. To be there to help us look after ourselves, just as we support everyone around us to look after themselves.

It’s a valid point.

 

Certainly we shouldn’t expect other people to look after us and cater to all of our needs. It’s not the 1950s after all.

But surely we deserve a little bit of consideration? Especially in those early months (or even years) of motherhood. It’s okay to want our village to step up. But here’s the thing. What we might actually need to do first is invite that village in.  To reach out and seek support, to let our tribe know that we’re really focused on supporting our own wellbeing and that we’d love any help they could offer up. They’re not mind readers after all.

I know asking for support is not always on our list of top five favourite things to do. It can leave us feeling open, vulnerable and perhaps even weak. But it can also open us up to truly receiving love and compassion from those around us, and to feel sincere gratitude for those people in our own little village when they step up.

Which brings us back to the question of “are we wholly responsible for our own wellbeing”? Well I guess the answer is yes – because our own wellbeing is too important for us not take the reins. It is ultimately up to us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t sub-contract the task out to those we know and trust as well. We just need to have faith that those we ask will respond. But it starts with asking. And that’s on us.

What about you? Do you have people around you who support your wellbeing? How do they do it? How would you like them to help?

Let me know in the comments, pop a note below this post on facebook, or even email me at sarah@bloomwellbeing.com.au

Until next time.

Sarah xx

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Blooming Mama Tribe – Shani Prideaux of The Fuel Focus

Blooming Mama Tribe – Shani Prideaux of The Fuel Focus

I’ve been talking A LOT lately about the need for Mums to have a tribe. A group of women they can go to for support, advice, understanding, debriefing. Being a Mum is a tough gig. I’ve said it before and it remains true. Personally, I am so fortunate to have a whole tribe of amazing women in my life, many of whom I have only met, or found online, since I had my own children, and I’m keen to introduce them all to you.

So here it is – The Blooming Mama Tribe. These are the women who I look to for advice, support, understanding, when I need to let off some steam or just feel like catching up for a cuppa. Some of these women I’m lucky enough to consider my closest friends, some of them are part of my online tribe, who I’ve never met in person but who have been integral in my motherhood journey. And as the months go on, I’m hoping to get some of the big guns on here – some of my top hit-list women, the ones I’ve never met or even emailed, but who have inspired me for their knowledge and the message they are getting out into the world. Watch this space….

Today, I’m starting with a super-special tribe member – my amazing co-host on the Well Fuelled Woman podcast – Shani Prideaux.

As a holistic health coach, personal trainer and director of her own business The Fuel Focus, and mum to two gorgeous kidlets, Shani certainly has a lot on her plate.

From dance-battling her kids home from school, to smashing her personal training clients in the gym, to uncovering hidden health problems for her coaching clients – this lady is the epitome of a Well Fuelled Woman. She is passion, drive and determination all balled up into one little pocket sized bundle of energy. Read on for her interview – and just try to keep up…

 

Bloom Wellbeing: What does being “Well” mean to you?

Shani: It means LOVING myself so much that I can’t help but be really conscious and plugged into all my choices 80% of the time. I follow the 80/20 rule. If I’m happy, well, moving and eating to benefit my mind and body, sleeping, living with passion and purpose 80% of the time, I can handle the 20% that isn’t optimal.

In other words, I’m not perfect, I don’t want to be, I want to SHOW my babies my reality. Which is pretty darn amazing 80% of the time, at least!

That means eating well, eating fresh, moving everyday, they come too, they are often at the gym with me, training too, we cook, we shop together, they even come to coaching appointments sometimes, my daughter especially loves it. She could probably tell most people where they’re going wrong. We meditate, do kiddie yoga in our lounge room.

 

BW: Have you always lived a healthy and active life, or have you had a long journey to where you are now?

Shani: Big journey! I had a great start, mum was really health conscious and I had a problem with having seizures – Mum refused to medicate me and we began working with a naturopath.

I was pretty sporty, netball and equestrian – pretty good too.

I am a hairdresser by trade and travelled in my early twenties, when I fell off the wagon in a big way, eating and drinking my way around Oz. When we came home we fell pregnant with our eldest and our whole world changed!

She was born and at a week old was very sick from a virus, it attacked every organ in her body and she had viral myo-carditis (swollen heart muscle). A long journey and open heart surgery. Five long months later we brought home our medically fragile baby, who had a sketchy prognosis! Mumma bear was on it! With help from my Mum and others, we set out to rid her of every toxic drug and substance we could and I got real educated about nutrition and Organic farming. We healed her with food!

Interestingly, probably due to money mainly, we didn’t eat half as well as her!

When she was 2 and 4 months we had her brother and at the time we were kind of homeless, our house was un-liveable due to an oil leak (I know right) it was deemed unsafe and toxic and at 37 weeks pregnant we were living in a hotel!

Anyway, to cut it short, I had an aha! She was noticing EVERYTHING, I was breastfeeding, stressed, isolated, living away from my home and support network. NOW is probably the time that I NEED to be well… omg lightbulb!

I knew what to do, I’d learnt all about it for Peyton (and she was starting to reject my efforts, coz you guessed it, I wasn’t role modelling it)

So I did. I dropped a bunch of weight and slowly, but surely, began my love affair with feeling good, the better I felt, the happier the kids were.

I began teaching group fitness (mainly so that I had to turn up, it was completely selfish) but over time I wanted more and more skills, I wanted to know more about how to help people feel better.

Now I’m obsessed with learning new things and relaying them to people who can benefit.

Shani: Then and now.

Shani: Then and now.

 

BW: Your children have obviously been a big part of your health journey, but how else has being a Mum changed your life?

Shani:  Nothing happens by accident, thank goodness my baby got sick! I have so much admiration and love for that child, she saved us! Literally! She came into this world with a clear and vivid gift, which she shares readily, showing you yourself! It’s amazing, her intuition and conviction on what she ‘knows’ is amazing.

It wasn’t by accident that she was sick, it was to show us what could be done and now it’s our job to show others what can be done. She’s a miracle.

My boy is also this fascinating, light filled bundle of insight and joy. He’s my joker and my partner in crime to make s*&t happen, I love it!

If anyone suggests or even thinks about something fun to do or create, or have a go at, he’s on it!

What a great quality!

They drive me! They make me feel like I’m capable of anything. The pair of them have such unfaltering faith in me, that I can’t not be inspired everyday.

They are so great, they’re patient when I need them to be, if I have presentation deadlines or coaching calls or need to teach at the gym . But the second I’ve had a gut-full, they’re right there to tickle and laugh some life back into me! They can brush their teeth and get dressed in two seconds flat because I’ve decided to go ‘do something’ and they’re like little puppy dogs excited to see what it will be…

The best! I’m truly blessed!

Her inspiration

Shani’s inspiration – her kids.

 

BW: I know you have a really holistic approach to health, fitness and wellbeing, and you’re passionate about getting the RIGHT information out to your clients – what are the major misconceptions you come across in this industry?

Ugh, so much! Dogma is my biggest issue. People trust us as health professionals and many, many abuse that trust by perpetuating their own agenda.

Everything works! For someone! Just definitely not for everyone.

We need to learn to trust ourselves and how we FEEL more than what someone tells us to do, or what they did. That doesn’t mean don’t try it, it means listen to your body talking.

Did you know Dr Atkins died of a heart attack? Yet his products are everywhere! Low carb diet has had MASSIVE world wide success and so it should, lots of people do well on low carb! Bars, shakes, powders and pills is NOT what Dr Atkins learnt kept people healthy in the villiages he studied. It’s marketing, money making and riding on coat tails at it’s finest.

I’d really love for the one message people take away from that little rant is to just stop for a second and assess. Even if there is some merit to the theory I’m reading, is what I’m being sold here the same as the original intention?

If you’re standing in a store whilst asking this question, looking at a product, chances are likely to be no.

There are many reputable, objective, holistic health coaches like myself around. Use us if you need guidance… but only if their objective is aligned with helping you to not need them for long.

Because that’s my other pet peeve, (and we were taught it in PT school) don’t give your client too much info, make them need you, they need to not know what to do without you… BS! Even if I’m coaching someone multiple times per week I’m not with them more than they are with themselves, for success to yield success, we must TEACH and empower!!! It flows on.

BW: Finally, if you could give just one piece of advice to all the Mums out there – what would it be?

Monkey see, Monkey do. PLEASE don’t put off making time for yourself. Being selfish is being selfless! It is THE way to help your children.

They see health, they see love, they see passion and vitality and then they want to be those things.

And… ‘No’ is love, sometimes they want things that aren’t best for the greater good, their health, happiness etc. No is love!

Every time they ask for something you have a teaching opportunity.

80/20 rule, my kids know it. If it’s over 20% you are doing them a disservice and that is not love.

 

 

WHOOOOHOOO!! What do you think? I really hope the passion Shani lives with has come across in this interview, because she truly does live her truth. If you’d like to know more about Shani and her business, check out The Fuel Focus, or listen in to our Well Fuelled Woman podcast.

Until next time – Be well.

S xx

 

In praise of mentorship.

In praise of mentorship.

Do you have a mentor? What about a business advisor? Health coach? Life coach? Think you don’t need one?

That’s what I thought too. But I’d urge you to think again.

For the first 14 and a half of my 15 years as an Occupational Therapist I didn’t have a mentor. For most of that time I worked as the sole OT in rural locations, so I made do with remote supervision from higher level OTs several hundred kilometers away. It was a tough slog, especially in the early years, constantly trying to figure out on my own what and how I should be doing day to day. But really, I was doing “just fine”. I was getting good feedback from bosses and clients, and would always somehow stumble upon a solution or the exact resource I needed at the last minute. We OTs like to pride ourselves on our resourcefulness (rightly or wrongly!).

So mentorship was never something I considered.

I’ve always been a fiercely independent woman. Which is probably because, as the daughter of a fiercely independent single Mum, I grew up with the notion that it’s best to be capable and resourceful and not be reliant on anyone else. So I never sought out a mentor. “Pfft, I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do,” I told myself.

Until about six months ago. When I decided it was beyond time to open my own private practice. All of a sudden I had a ridiculously steep learning curve ahead of me. As fellow SASS sisters, I know you understand what I’m talking about! Running a business is a huge undertaking. There were so many things to be done and all of a sudden I wasn’t just an OT. I was also an accountant, marketing manager, administration officer, business planner, saleswoman and PR agent all rolled into one. I was also the mother of two little girls and wife to a husband I hardly had any time for anymore.

In short, I was swamped. I was trying to do it all myself with no support or guidance – except what I got from Mr Google.

So here I was, about to create an entire future around a business where I support and mentor women towards their health goals, when it hit me – like the proverbial tonne of bricks.

“Sarah – your new business is all about encouraging women to get professional support, advice and guidance – yet you seek none of this yourself!”

Whaaatt!

All of a sudden, it became crystal clear to me how much I wasn’t following my own advice. I didn’t know anything about running a business – it was ludicrous to try and do it on my own. That’s when I knew I needed to seek out professional business support.

Fast forward six months and I now have two clinical mentors, a business coach, an accountant, a graphic and web designer, 15 peer mentors from three in-person masterminds, dozens more from another online mastermind – and of course, the amazing Sass ladies.

It has made the world of difference – not just to my business, but to my entire life. Hand on heart, pinky swear.

I’ve learnt how to do the business stuff faster and smarter, what to prioritise, what to do myself and what to outsource. It means I don’t waste valuable hours on tasks I hate and/or simply can’t do in an appropriate amount of time (hello website development!). It has freed my time to provide more value to my clients, to create more programs, and most importantly, spend more quality time with my family.

I look back now on those 14 and a half years I worked without a mentor and wonder how much more I could have achieved if I’d have had the amount of guidance and support I have now. I’d probably have my own talk show.

So I urge you, whatever your big challenges are right now – whether it be starting a business, overhauling your health, overcoming emotional demons – to seek support. You don’t need to do it on your own. You don’t need to do the hard slog day in, day out, hoping to stumble on the right resource, like I did for so long. Reach out to someone who can guide the way for you – hire a health coach, a business coach, a personal trainer, whatever. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, seek out free resources, start your own mastermind.

You won’t regret it. I know I haven’t.

Until next time – be well!

Cheers, Sarah

 

(ps. This post first appeared as a guest post over at the fabulous The Sass – a networking, co-working and support group for women in business. Check their website out here.)