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What’s all this ‘masculine/feminine energy’ talk?

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The wellness world has cycles. When I first stepped into learning all about wellness, it was 5 years ago and my Dad had been diagnosed with cancer. At that time, juicing your greens and chia seed puddings were really NEW. Like, not at all mainstream. Chia seeds were bloody hard to find, and I remember people double taking my green juices as I downed them. Now no one looks twice. It’s mainstream. Which is freaking awesome if you ask me.

There have been multiple ‘wellness’ trends becoming mainstream lately: everything from meditation and the apps you can use, to yoga retreats, to natural beauty. People are becoming more and more conscious about living their happiest and healthiest lives, and it makes my freaking heart SING! The health food aisles in supermarkets are expanding, About Life chains are popping up left right and centre and no one bats an eyelid when I talk about my penchant for oils and crystals and the chakras. I BLOODY LOVE IT.

A biggie in the wellness community at present is ‘tapping into’ our masculine and feminine energies. Our yin and yang (not a typo guys, it isn’t YING contrary to popular belief!)

I started hearing talk about all this ‘masculine feminine stuff’ about a year ago. And truth be told, at the time it just seemed a bit far out for me – I didn’t resonate with it. I know now it is because I wasn’t READY for that part of my journey. But recently I HAVE been ready and in learning more about these innate energies and states of being, I have been able to really enhance my life in so many ways.

So what the fuck are you talking about Hollie? What do you MEAN masculine and feminine?

I get it. When we first hear these terms it sounds like we are talking about males and females. But that’s the first misconception with these energies – they are NOT gendered. In fact, in my life I have operated from a far more masculine stance than I have feminine. I have men in my life that are more feminine than masculine. And with this in mind, it is neither good nor bad. But when you become AWARE of which energy you are naturally inclined to operate more from, you are able to swing back to the opposite (the masculine/yang or the feminine/yin) to counteract the overstimulation of that initial energy.

Stay with me guys, this stuff is freaking mind blowing.

Masculine looks like….

Constantly striving, running on adrenaline, knowing everything, determination, being driven and successful, ‘busyness’, exercise like weights and running, logic, decisiveness, reason, power, survival.

You can see that these states of being are neither good nor bad. They just are. Operating from your masculine means you get shit done. It is that state of being when you just need to put your head down and do the damn work. When you need to make decisions and call the shots. THAT is when you tap into your masculine.

Masculine energy can lend itself to high productivity, but naturally, it also lends itself to overexertion and burnout. Where are my type A’s at? Fatigue, anxiety, perfectionism? All very much stemming from that masculine energy.

Starting to make sense?

Feminine looks like…

Rest, love, yoga, compassion, kindness, space to do nothing at all, nature, calm, quiet, emotional awareness, organised, intuition, going within, nourishing, creativity, sensuality (this is a BIG lesson for me currently).

See the difference?

When you are operating from your feminine energy (remember this goes for males AND females) – your are softer, steadier, more considered and gentler. You have created space to rest and tap into your innate wisdom, rather than rushing from task to task, to do list to to do list (now that’s a mouthful!)

When our feminine energy is TOO overactive, we can become indifferent, unable to make decisions and passive. We allow others to control our lives rather than taking life under our own wing. We care about what others might think.

Do you see how these energies are both as important as one another in our lives? There will ALWAYS be one we are more inclined to naturally gravitate towards: for me, it is very much a masculine energy. Striving, pushing, working hard to achieve. And it has served me the WORLD of good in running my business, for example. However I have become increasingly aware of my need to tap more into my feminine: with my clients in our sessions, as I study energy work, with my partner, with my friends. Operating from one energy constantly is damn exhausting!

How do I know which energy I am operating from?

Chances are if you have read this far, you know just by reflecting on how the above traits apply to you. You will start catching yourself when you acknowledge where the driving force of a decision has been made. Like anything, once you are AWARE of the energy, it becomes easy.

For me, I started to really notice majority of my decisions were very masculine and driven. And I didn’t want it to rule my life anymore. I was craving softening, and solace, and quiet. So I started to tap into my feminine more.

Here are a few things I have done recently to really tap into my feminine energy:

  • Consciously choose clothes that make me feel beautiful and sexy (rather than just dressing for comfort)
  • Wearing a full face of (all natural) makeup even when I am just heading out to the shops (playing with my feminine sensuality more – and being totally unashamed by it!)
  • Solo walks in nature, hugging trees and watching waterfalls (literally, I have become THAT girl)
  • Lathering my body in coconut oil infused with essential oils just because it FEELS good
  • Journalling my heart and soul rather than my mind – connecting more with my intuition
  • Taking full days off for nothingness – EVEN when there are emails to be done (they will always be there!)

You will know in your heart what is right for you. If you are craving more masculine energy, go for a run, or start speaking up more at work. Play with it. That’s a big part of my journey actually – not taking any of this too seriously. It is all a part of bettering yourself and your life so you damn well want to be having fun while doing it!

I’m curious – what is your experience with the masculine and feminine? How is your journey unfolding? Share with me in the comments below…

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Doing the SOUL work

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Today I am going to share with you guys something that leaves me feeling a tad vulnerable, a lot open and 100% REAL (which is so important).

For the last 18 months or so I have been really stepping into a spiritual ‘soul’ path. You may have noticed in my Instagram stories, or maybe you are a client of mine who has experienced my spiritual connection first-hand through oracle readings.

It has not been something I am totally openly sharing, because I find it is a path I am happy to journey alone – spirituality is a very personal experience, I have come to learn.

However what I am also realising is that people WANT to talk about this stuff. We are interested in the angel numbers, oracle cards, free-writing and journaling until our mind quietens and our soul speaks. And it would only ever be from a place of FEAR where I don’t share the truth behind my spirituality and how integral it is to my daily life, and the life I am living today.

FEAR being – what will people think of me? Just another ‘hippy non-sense talker’? Would it effect my credibility? Would people question my intelligence when I start speaking more openly about intuition or divine timing?

I realise now that I don’t want to hold back from that place of fear anymore. Spirituality and soul work is such an important part of what I do and the person that I am. If that doesn’t resonate with someone, then that is okay. If you are reading this now and it isn’t for you, that is also okay. But it IS important to me, and this is why I am sharing this today.

I have listed below  some of the key spiritual practices I have in my life, why I do them, what the practices have lead to and how you can incorporate them into your life, should you wish.

Angel Numbers

My connection to ‘angel numbers’ began in my former life – working a corporate job in an industry that didn’t light me up. I knew I wanted ‘out’ but was too fearful to do anything about it. I started seeing 11:11 constantly. That pattern then lead to MORE number patterns: 2:22, 5:55 – it was almost laughable. My colleagues would role their eyes when I proclaimed another number pattern aloud – like I was watching the clock on purpose. But I wasn’t. And I knew there was something more to it.

So I took it on myself to research what these patterns meant. And 3 years later I continue to receive guidance through number patterns. What started as just patterns related to time, has developed into number plates, bank statements and receipts – anywhere you can see numbers, I am receiving patterns and messages.

If you notice a repeating number pattern occurring in your life – look it up! It’s called Google, peeps! Type in the number and the words ‘angel number’ and read the message. Feel what it means to you. If it continues occurring, it may mean the lesson still needs work. I also have Doreen Virtue’s book on Angel Numbers that I can reference at any time.

Numbers for me are always a nudge that I am on the right path and doing the right things. At the moment, my numbers are 888 and 0000 (specific, right?) Play with them, smile when you see them and know that you are being guided. Always.

Oracle Cards

These are not to be confused with Tarot, or telling the future. My love affair with oracle cards is a relatively new one and one I am now able to incorporate into my sessions with clients, which I am so grateful for. I have done oracle readings for clients that leave us BOTH in goosebumps and tears.

I have 6 decks now, all with their own meanings, and each time I intuitively pick what is the right one for a person, or myself, that day. I use the oracles as a guide rather than as an answer. I don’t live my life by their messages, but I do ask for guidance and often receive exactly what I need to hear (whether it’s what I WANT to hear is a very different thing!)

People often ask me how to use oracle decks in their own life – I say, find a deck that captures your attention. Don’t just pick a deck that everyone else has, or that I have used for you. And then just play. Shuffle the deck. Ask questions. But don’t take the messages for gospel. Remember that they are just added guidance you can use any time you feel stuck or unsure.

I use mine every morning as part of my morning routine and just love all of the guidance they continue to give me.

Meditation

It has taken me some years to commit to a regular meditation practice: struggles of ‘turning off’ my thoughts, and feeling uncomfortable in silence, have lead me to giving up in the past, over and over again.

I am so grateful to have pushed through the discomfort, as my regular meditation practice is something that I can turn to any time I want to turn up the volume of my intuition. Practicing stilling and quieting my mind allows for my intuition to speak up loud and clear. And the more we practice this, the louder that intuition becomes.

Journaling

“When we quieten the mind, the soul speaks.” I love this zen quote, and it has been entirely true in my journey. Journaling is another non-negotiable daily practice I have. My history of anxiety, and not being able to turn off my racing thoughts, has lead to a commitment to journaling like never before. Every single morning, without fail, after I quieten my mind in meditation – I open my journal and write. Whatever falls onto the page, I know is supposed to be there. Sometimes it is pages and pages of words that don’t make much sense. Other times it’s a poem, or a story, or just a few lines. Whatever it is, I know it is my soul speaking to me, quieting down my racing mind, and allowing me to start the day clear-headed.

Nature Time

The older I get, the more my connection to Mother Earth strengthens. Holy smokes I love my nature time. About 5 times a week I aim to get out into nature – I am grateful to live right by a state forest – and so take myself out for an hour, podcast in my ears, walking through the trees. I am often walking off the paths and make my own way – and yes, I even hug a few trees along the way. Nature is spirit, just like we are. We cannot physically survive without nature. Literally, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat – it is EVERYTHING to our survival and yet so many of us lose that connection with it.

My time in nature is my time to slow down, to really connect and ground myself and just be 100% me. And for some of you that may sound hippy, but to me it makes total sense. Nature is our survival. If we can’t show it love, then we can’t really show much else love can we?

Gratitude

The word ‘grateful’ has become an innate part of my vocabulary. I honestly say how grateful I am for things more than I can count each day. Practicing thanks does that – the more you open your eyes to what you are thankful for, the more you HAVE to be thankful for. It is science and the nature of metaphysics, yet so often we get caught up in what we DON’T have (and thus, the cycle continues).

Tell someone – right now – that you are grateful for them. See how it makes you AND them feel. Write your three gratitudes daily. Speak them out loud as you shower. And especially on your hardest, most challenging days – this is when the time calls for giving thanks more than ever.

Sage and palo santo

I used to sage my bedroom and home office religiously, to maintain a positive, neutral energy and repel anything negative or heavy. Especially working as a coach, in one on one scenarios it is paramount I protect my energy, given the nature of topics in my sessions (everything from mental health, eating disorders and suicide, to sexual assault and rape, to death and grief, and the list goes on). I am so incredibly grateful to do the work I do, and to offer guidance and healing to those that need it – however I must also guard myself from energies that do not serve me and are not mine to carry.

I didn’t realise how important this was starting out as a coach. And then after any back to back sessions, I would be zapped on the couch for hours with migraines and needing to sleep the day away. I look back now and smile – I was so naive! My energy was completely zonked through no fault of anyone but my own.

Today I use palo santo (or holy wood) to smoke my client space before anyone enters it. I ask Archangel Michael for guidance and protection. And then I do the same after the session. I also soak in epsom salts regularly to really cleanse my energy.

If you are interested in starting out, go to Tree of Life and start with sage which is super gentle. There are wonderful how to guides online.

Chakra healing

The most amazing and also completely unexpected occurrence has been happening in my sessions over the last 3 weeks. I have been channeling chakra blockages in certain clients. Stay with me guys, it was more confusing for me than you would know! I have been taking on physical ailments my clients have been experiencing (sore throats, headaches and cramps, for example) and each time I ask the client if they have been experiencing the physical symptom I am feeling, they say yes. I am then intuitively guided to direct them to a chakra (energy) point in their body that needs work. I am not (yet) studied in how to clear these blockages however watch this space…because these instances have lead me to realise my work has JUST begun. My business as a wellness coach is evolving into something far more than I could ever have anticipated and it is exciting and nerve racking all at once. I cannot wait to share with you all what is in store.

There is so much more I could share and write on this – I stopped writing at 2,000 words when I realised this is becoming more than just a blog post. In my daily spiritual life I use essential oils, crystals, moon rituals, colour therapy, kinesiology, gosh the list goes on and on. Please let me know if this resonated with you and if you want to learn more. It may just become an ebook if the demand is there!

Thank you for being open enough to read this. I really want to ‘normalise’ the part of us that craves spiritual or soul connection. Wellbeing after all is MIND, BODY AND SOUL. And if I cannot talk freely about my OWN soul journey, then I’m not really doing my job am I?

I would really love to hear your thoughts on this one guys. Did it resonate with you? Did it make you uncomfortable? Why? What are your spiritual practices?

Sending you love ALWAYS,

Hollie xxxx

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Because you’re worth it

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Yep, I can see the irony of this title already. A blog about self love and self worth using the tag line from a multi-million dollar cosmetics brand fuelling purely on women’s LACK of self worth.

You’re worth using our makeup to feel beautiful, because chances are without it, you don’t!

Okay that was a cynical side of me I rarely show, but felt the pull to get it off my chest.

Now that that’s done, let’s dive in, shall we?

Self worth.

Gosh it’s a biggie. 18 months in business, coaching a range of clients with all kinds of backgrounds – men, women, mum’s, teenagers, business owners, performers, those with a mental health challenge, those with eating disorders, relationship challenges, the list goes on and on…and it ALWAYS comes back to self worth.

Why?

Because if we don’t feel personally ‘worth it’ then what’s the point?

If we don’t see ourselves as worthy of living our dream life, then are we really going to try our hardest to succeed at our dream job?

If we don’t believe we are worthy of our OWN love, then how can we expect anyone else to love us too?

If we don’t believe we are worthy of health or beauty or vitality, then are we going to FEEL healthy, or beautiful, or vibrant?

You can bet your bottom dollar not! (First time I have ever used that phrase, how fun!)

I have had beautiful clients sit before me in tears, their life in shambles, not knowing which way forward, because deep in their heart and soul they don’t even know what it FEELS like to wake up feeling deserving of a GOOD life. To actually OWN your RIGHT to happiness and love.

I held a workshop a few weeks ago and part of it was around developing our own personal affirmations, telling ourselves the things we really needed to hear. When it came time to share them, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Thirty women in tears proclaiming they want to feel worthy of love, they want to feel worthy of putting themselves first, to feel worthy of living their dreams.

Why don’t we already feel like this?

In my experience the opposite of self worth is guilt, and shame, and dare I say it, disgust.

Instead of thinking: I DESERVE to take time out for myself because it is good for my mental health, we think “I couldn’t POSSIBLY take time out for myself, it makes me look lazy and I’ll feel bad.”

Or rather than thinking: I AM WORTHY of my dream job and living an incredibly abundant life, we think “Who am I to think I can live an amazing life? What makes me special?”

I can see you nodding along with this.

I have been working on this with my clients for a while now, and it always comes back to the same thing: cultivating self love. That being said, it doesn’t mean I have it all sorted!

Recently I have had an influx of client bookings, writing gigs and speaking and workshop bookings. My business is thriving and I am forever grateful to be able to do what I do for a living every day. Alongside the bookings, I am also regularly approached to provide my services for free.

Since starting my business I have never offered a free coaching session – not even to my best friends or family members – because I see the value in what I provide as a coach, and for clients to really excel their needs to be a true VALUE EXCHANGE.

Think about it – if you have invested your money into bettering yourself and your life, you can guarantee you are going to be doing your homework, showing up on time and putting in the work. As a result, my coaching is going to be super successful for you because it comes back to how invested you are in the work.

If I were to offer a free session, chances are you aren’t going to do the work, or value it as highly as if you had financially invested in the coaching.

Makes sense doesn’t it?

That being said, I receive multiple requests for free writing and speaking gigs. My own self worth has been tested time and time again in this regard. The main reason I do what I do is because I want to HELP people. It is my driving force. So when a charity or amazing foundation or business requests my help by providing free content, a big part of me really wants to do it.

However, what I have realised in my time working on my OWN self worth – is that in providing my services for free, I am undervaluing myself. Not only that, but I am undervaluing paying clients who see the value in what I do, by prioritising free work over them.

Having this realisation left me feeling a bit yucky at first. Wanting to help as many people as I can, I felt guilty turning people away who don’t have the funds to book me.

But the guilt is quickly replaced by self worth once more.

I am an ambassador for the Children’s Tumour Foundation and provide pro-bono support to Macquarie University for their Chair of Surgical Oncology fund. I already work for both of these foundations for free. So why am I feeling guilty?

Here’s the thing: if I don’t recognise the value in what I do, and that payment is a necessary part of that, then I am of no help to anyone. I end up spreading myself thin, for no financial benefit, and before long, Universe forbid, I can no longer write, or speak, or coach because I am no longer making money.

I have seen it with my family who are musicians – asked to work for free because of the exposure they will receive. My partner’s friend runs an electrical business, and is constantly asked for discounted rates. Chances are you know someone, or ARE someone, who deals with something similar. Or maybe you are the person asking for the free work?

In doing this, without even realising it, we are potentially saying we do not value that person’s time or efforts – and as a result, will never be satisfied with the work they do. There will also be a build up of resentment in the person doing the free or discounted work for you. The relationship has not been built on value exchange, and rather on guilt and a lack of value.

I was discussing this with a client recently who is starting her photography business. She is no longer interested in offering free work because she has done the work on her own self worth and sees her value (#clientwin!) That being said, she is comfortable with a value exchange – so taking unpaid photos for a yoga studio is okay by her, if she receives classes in return. See how there is a real exchange of value here? It doesn’t HAVE to be financial – it could be an exchange in services, in time or in cross-promotion.

On the flip side, if you ARE caving regularly to ‘freebies’ and ‘mates-rates’ – ask yourself why you are doing it. Chances are it is less to do with helping the other person, and more to do with recognising your own value.

Where are you undermining your own self worth? Is it in the work you do for a living? The people you spend time with? The way you spend your OWN time (on what you think you SHOULD do versus what you WANT to do?)

How can you start to see what you are really worth?

Repeat after me:

I am worthy

I am deserving

I will no longer undervalue the incredible person I am

Because guess what? You’re worth it.

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Last week a stranger called me fat…

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It’s true. It went something like “So now that you’re fat you are trying to convince everyone else and yourself that you are healthy…”

The picture he was responding to is the one I have shared above. A before/after of a different kind.

I have become privy to sharing these kinds of images on my social media channels – an attempt to break down the stereotypes we have around what ‘healthy’ looks like. That even though my ‘before’ image looks the picture of health (with my toned body, thigh gap and abs), I was actually extremely unwell. And that while in the after photo I am more curvy (even more so than I am right now given this was taken 2 months into a Europe dream trip where I ate whatever I wanted) – I was far healthier in the second photo – mind, body and soul. Even though I don’t have the abs, and heaven forbid my breasts are bigger.

When I posted this photo I didn’t expect much, because I wasn’t doing it for any kind of ‘exposure’ or external validation. I was sharing it for my clients – the ones suffering anorexia and bulimia, the ones who have attempted suicide and self-harm driven to helplessness because of an obsession with the way that they look. I was posting it for young girls growing up in an era like never before – where ‘fitspo’ and eating disorder encouragement Instagram accounts are easily accessible at the click of a button. Where ‘skinny teas’ are even a thing (why?!) I was posting it for anyone who has ever looked at themselves in the mirror and burst into tears. For anyone who ever fad dieted in an attempt to feel better about themselves, only having the opposite effect, and feeling far worse. I was sharing it for my sister, for my mother, for my family and friends – all of us who have ever felt ashamed by the beautiful bodies we have been given.

So you can imagine my surprise when the post went semi-viral. I had to re-charge my phone 7 times that day, until I eventually gave up and switched it off. More than 5 thousand people liked the post (and for someone who gets excited at 100 likes, you can imagine the overwhelm). I doubled my followers overnight. My message requests went through the roof. Messages like:

I am 18 from Paris, and I want to tell you how inspiring you are. I am struggling with a binge eating disorder. I feel alone. And sad. Seeing your account made me a little less alone and thank you for that. 

Thank you for this post. I am trying to love myself but it is so hard some days. I see a post like your and we have very similar bodies, but one difference – you smile more. I need to learn to love mine and then mine will be beautiful like yours. Thank you for the inspiration. 

Today I am in the first situation – obsessed with my body, my weight, the gym…my goal is to like myself and never feel this culpability again. And when I discovered you, it makes me strong because I know that I will arrive, I have hope, because it is possible. 

Literally hundreds of comments and messages like the above. Beautiful women who are sick of fighting life-long battles with their bodies. Crying out for understanding and love.

So when someone jumps on my post and calls me fat, it infuriates me.

And not for the reasons you might think.

I have done the work on myself enough to know that these comments are empty words – in fact, at first when I saw them, I would smile. You know you’re doing something right when you start pissing people off.

But then I sat with it. And got mad. How DARE these people feel it okay to body shame with absolutely NO idea of my circumstances. It made me angry for my clients, for my followers, and for all the women who had reached out to me offering love and support, crying out for help. These people were not to know if I was battling an eating disorder. If I was self-harming or heaven-forbid had attempted suicide. Do they not understand the power of a phrase like that, especially on a post aimed to inspire and uplift?

It also shocked me the number of men feeling it completely in their right to comment on my breasts. The sexualisation of my body has been something I have been extremely self-conscious of. I am bigger busted naturally, and constantly hide my figure behind baggy clothes, covering my face with my long hair. Truth be told, part of me has never wanted to be ‘seen’. I have been conscious of my body my entire life for this EXACT reason – sexualisation of my body because I have big breasts.

When I made a comment about this on my Instagram stories, again my inbox was flooded with women who feel the same. Incredibly self-conscious of their beautiful feminine shape, because they don’t want to be a ‘target’ for unwanted male attention. It really struck me how big an issue this is. And how I no longer want to hide behind the baggy clothes.

I LOVE my body and I have worked fucking hard to love it. Every single inch of it. But that doesn’t give ANYBODY the right to abuse it, shame it or sexualise it. Ironically (or maybe not) ALL of the shaming was from men. And that upsets me because I love men – my dad, my fiancé, my brother, my best friends. Is this a generalisation I am making or a real issue? And either way, what can we do to stop it?

Truth be told – I have no idea. But I am grateful for my post, and the comments it received, because it opened my eyes to issues far larger than before/after pictures or ‘fitspo’.

And mark my words I will make it my mission to promote body love every single damn day. For me, for you, for our future daughters (and sons). No more baggy clothes for me.

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Let’s talk about sleep, baby

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Honestly, nothing gets my juices flowing like a good 9 hour sleep. I’m not even kidding. I’ve just woken up from one of those incredible sleeps – where the minute you put your head on the pillow, you are out for the count, gone to the world, and before you know it, it’s 8am and your alarm is tingling softly waking you from your slumber.

Now, I know for a lot of you would be reading that with a bit of an angry or jealous twinge:

9 HOURS SLEEP?

WAKING UP AT 8AM?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN “ONE OF THOSE INCREDIBLE SLEEPS?”

Hear me out guys, stay with me.

There is nothing sexier than someone well rested. And yet, sleep is the most undervalued, underrated health tool we have free and easy access to (in my opinion).

We spend so much time focused on how often we exercise (not to mention WHAT we do for exercise. #F45 #aerialyoga) and the types of foods we are eating (#gf #df #vegan) and yet, we are walking around like zombies, topping up our caffeine fix every few hours, proclaiming to the world when we pull all-nighters or whinging about the awful sleep we had the night before.

And yet…we don’t do anything about it.

This cycle of wake up groggy, have a coffee, push our bodies, and roll into bed only to lie awake tossing and turning until we have to get up again and repeat the cycle all over again HAS GOT TO STOP.

It isn’t cool. It isn’t something to be proud of. And most importantly, it is not at all healthy.

When I see my clients for the first time, one of the first things we look at is sleep.

I can tell if someone is having a healthy sleep cycle by a few things:

  • How many hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep they are getting (between 7 and 9 is ideal FYI)
  • How long it is taking them to fall asleep at night (15 minutes is great, 30 minutes not so great, any longer – serious issue)
  • How often they wake through the night (uninterrupted is key here folks, once you are out, you should be out for the count)
  • What time they are getting to bed at night (the hours of sleep we get BEFORE MIDNIGHT are worth 4 times as much to our sleep cycles as the hours we get after midnight)
  • How they feel waking up after a full nights sleep (you don’t have to be jumping out of bed on springs but feeling alert and awake is a given)
  • How many coffees they are drinking to ‘get through the day’ (personally I have a vendetta towards coffee and don’t drink any. 1 is ideal if you must, 2 I can make exceptions for, any more than that? Signals deeper issues)

Can you tell I am passionate about sleep? My friends are always tagging me in those memes like the one where your friends are making plans for a night out, and you nod along knowing perfectly well you will be asleep in bed.

It’s true! I AM that friend. But only because I learned the hard way how vital sleep is for your wellbeing.

When I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, at rock bottom, I was sleeping constantly. That’s the nature of fatigue right? But the QUALITY of sleep I was getting wasn’t good enough.

I was lying in bed for hours before drifting off. And when I did fall asleep, I was waking up every few hours tossing and turning. I would get out of bed after 10 hours feeling like I had been hit by a bus. I had to nap in the meeting room at my old job just to make it through the day, as otherwise I was literally falling asleep at my desk. My energy reserves were empty and the only thing I could do was slowly start to top them up (complete lifestyle overhaul anyone?)

What frustrates me the most is we aren’t taught these things. We aren’t sat down in PE class (at least I wasn’t) saying “Okay kids today we are going to learn how if you get your sleep cycle on point, you will become a far more productive, alert and focused person” not to mention the amazing effects sleep has on your athletic abilities (some of the biggest sports teams in the world have their own SLEEP COACHES to ensure they are getting optimum night’s rest for peak performance. If it’s good enough for them, hell, it is good enough for me.)

There are SO MANY WAYS you can get your sleep on track, so that you are getting a HEALTHY level and quality of z’s. I work on this with my clients in our 1:1 sessions, and I am lucky enough to be sitting down tomorrow with Australia’s leading sleep doctor Dr. Levi to chat further around ways I can integrate HIS teachings into my sessions with you guys.

Because sleep SERIOUSLY MATTERS. Just as much as exercise and nutrition. And it’s time we wake up to the facts and realise this.

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Exercising and eating well doesn’t make you healthy

 

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Well that is the closest headline to click-bait I have ever written. Who even am I? But I am glad I have your attention. Welcome. Take a seat. Prepare to be shocked.

I am ready to rock your world.

Here it is.

Are you ready?

(Okay suspense in becoming annoying, I get it, I’ll stop now.)

Just because you exercise regularly and eat all of the healthy foods doesn’t make you healthy.

There.

I said it.

Gosh it feels good to get off my chest.

But seriously – it is probably the biggest misconception of the ‘wellness world’ that I am seeing. That if you train your butt hard for hours at a time (or not even, just are consistent) and if you eat a #clean,  #glutenfree, #freeverything diet, then you are officially a healthy person.

I get it. We are bombarded with #fitspo social media stars with ripped abs and thigh gaps who LOOK healthy, sharing their training programs and meal plans with us, and we buy into what they are selling because, well, they are the picture of health right? And we want to look like them, even just a little bit right?

It’s okay to admit this guys, I feel you! I used to feel the exact same! If you are familiar with even HALF my story you will know I was ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE – sharing my ab selfies and meal preps and all of those things.

But, in my time as a wellness coach, I have learned that nutrition and exercise are one SMALL part of overall wellbeing. The challenge is, they are the only part getting the attention and ‘air time’. Why? Probably partly because fitspo is sexy and people buy things off good looking people. And also because exercise and eating well are potentially some of the EASIER health components to understand. Calories in, calories out right? Just don’t eat shit. Exercise heaps. It isn’t rocket science.

There’s a saying in the wellness world: mind, body and soul. Sound familiar? The notion that to feel TRULY well, on all levels, your mind (that is your mental health), body (physical body) and soul (spirituality, life purpose and passions) are all aligned. I truly believe this is the hidden key to wellbeing that isn’t being spoken about enough.

Let’s break the components down a bit for you:

MIND

Our brain is the hub of mental health. If you have experienced a mental illness before, you would understand how powerful the mind is. It can make you believe things that aren’t actually real. Sometimes, when you aren’t looking after your mind, it is hard to ‘turn it off’. Thoughts race, causing physical reactions like chest pain, heart palpitations and shallow breathing – but it all stems back to the MIND.

Some simple tricks for you to get your MIND in shape?

  • Meditation and deep breathing (I use the Insight Timer app)
  • Sleep – literally, you need AT LEAST 7 hours a night. I get between 8 and 9. People DO NOT TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY ENOUGH. I guarantee you that sleep IS as important as your squats and your bulletproof coffee
  • Read. Challenge your mind. Join a book club (like Soul Reads). Stop scrolling before bed
  • Journal. Write your thoughts on paper when they become too much (this is a brilliant technique for anyone experiencing anxiety. If you don’t have a journalling practice, start one. Stat.)
  • Practice gratitude to cultivate more positive and inspiring thoughts in your daily life

There are literally hundreds more things you can do to ‘exercise your mind’ – I am merely illustrating these as things that have worked for me.

BODY

Okay, so we get that we need to be exercising and eating ‘well’. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty – what does eating ‘well’ mean to you? Here is a little fun fact – there is no one ‘right’ way to eat. One person’s food of choice can literally be another person’s poison. Which is why dieting DOES NOT WORK. Well, it does work, for the businesses pushing the latest trend and making money from you. But as a whole, dieting is never in your favour.

Find foods that truly make you FEEL good. Make sure they are organic and whole foods – as close to their natural state as possible. Ditch the processed stuff, say no to refine sugar (this is standard) and then experiment. You might not need to be gluten free. And even if you ARE gluten free, check the labels of the foods you are eating. Be a conscious eater, not someone who jumps on the next bandwagon because it promises weight loss (eat for health people!)

When it comes to exercise, you should be genuinely looking forward to it. If it feels like a chore, it’s time to change it up. Some bodies don’t agree with going for a run or weight training. Just like yoga may bore you to tears. That’s okay! It doesn’t have to be trendy to be good for you. Find what gets you excited and move your body as often as you can.

SOUL

The most underrated wellbeing tool, in my opinion. And also the one that tends to cop the most slack for being a tad ‘woo woo’. Which I really don’t care about anymore. When people ask me what my secret to overall wellness is, I am totally unashamed to say it is spirituality. For you, that could mean going to church on a Sunday. For someone else, it is following their passions and bliss and what lights them up. Realising they have a purpose in life greater than what they do in their 9-5.

For me, my soul lights up when I am helping others – doing the work I get to do in the world. It lights up when I write, when I share my messages, when I have deep conversations with my soul sisters and soul mate. Angel cards are my latest soul hobby – as are crystals and essential oils.

For you, your soul might light up when you sing, or play music, or raise money for a charity close to your heart. Find your soul joy and invest AS MUCH TIME in cultivating spiritual work as you do exercising and eating well.

Now THAT is when you will really glow with health.

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Loving your rock bottom

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Something I am constantly telling my clients is that this whole ‘self love, personal development, mental health, live your best life’ journey is not a quick fix. Not even close. Hell, my job is to coach you guys on living YOUR best lives, and while I like to think I am pretty good at it, it definitely does not mean I have all my shit figured out. FAR from it.

Stepping into bettering your life is a LIFE-LONG commitment. There will be times you are killing it – your health is thriving, skin is glowing, you are sleeping your 8 hours and loving life. And then BAM one day you wake up on the wrong side of the bed after 5 hours sleep with a hideous break out and feel like you are back to square one.

You feel me?

What is important in these moments is not to judge them, or you, for feeling this way. Because guess what? WE ARE HUMAN. And part of the human existence is things aren’t ALWAYS going to be rainbows and unicorns. Even when we grasp at all angles and do all the ‘right things’. We actually set ourselves up for failure in thinking this way. Sometimes, you are going to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Sometimes, your anxiety or depression will flare up. Sometimes you will get into an argument with a loved one.

Does that mean all of your hard work has been for nothing?

HELL NO!

In fact, it is in THESE moments that you are really able to STEP UP – put what you have learned into practice, and really grow from the ‘rock bottom moments’ as I like to call them.

I was reminded of this myself just last week.

My theme for February really was: try and fit everything I wanted to do into my life with minimal time for myself ignoring everything I preach and have learned until I verge on a breakdown.

And then last week, the breakdown happened.

What is frustrating is I KNEW it was coming. I spoke about it in my last post. But it was all too late. Even though I had taken my foot off the accelerator, my body was already running on adrenaline. Hi there burnout, old friend, nice to see you again.

Feeling very sorry for myself last weekend (again, I am human, and also just being honest), I started to put into practice all of my learnings. My February theme of grasping at everything, stemmed from a fear of missing out. But in doing so, I was not allowing any room for space – space for the magic to happen, as it has done for me (and as I have shared) in the past.

My body was screaming out at me to STOP. Not even to slow down, literally to slam on the brakes. I had a really symbolic dream last week, where I was driving my car, and while my brakes WERE working, they weren’t working enough to stop when I needed to – at stop signs and traffic lights. So I ended up in danger, even though I was slowing down. Because I wasn’t STOPPING.

(Thanks subconscious!)

So last weekend, I stopped. Luck had it (totally not luck by the way, more divine timing) that the Friday night I attended Sarah Wilson’s book launch for her new book all about the anxious experience: First, we make the beast beautiful. Buy it. Read it. Read it again. Especially if you have anxiety or any kind of mental illness. Or even if you don’t but a loved one does. I spent the entire weekend in old tracksuit pants, devouring the pages between deep naps and some feeling sorry for myself crying. I let myself feel whatever came up. I journalled. And I realised that my frustration was at MYSELF. This was all MY DOING.

So, the coach in me was asking (yelling at me more like it) – WHAT IS THE LESSON?

And the lesson was to create more space in my life.

So…I resigned from the jewellery shop. My sanity depended on it.

While I love the shop and the people, the running theme was that, in filling my life with ‘stuff’ I was burning myself out. Like I have done time and time again. Only this time, I read the warning signs MUCH EARLIER and made a decision. Yes, it felt yucky and I felt guilty and the fear was present (working at the shop is my only source of guaranteed income).

But I also knew I had to practice what I preach. That nothing is worth holding onto if it is only fear holding you there in the first place. I knew that in resigning from the shop, my health would flourish and more importantly, I was creating space for the MAGIC to happen in my life again.

I resigned on Tuesday. It’s Thursday.

Here is the magic that has already happened in that time:

  • I have been offered a panelist position for a Beauty From Within event at MYER next Friday
  • I have been shortlisted for an opportunity to be a features writer for a renowned wellness publication
  • A leading wellness/lifestyle PR agency reached out to meet with me and discuss opportunities
  • I won a double pass to the Taste Of Sydney Festival
  • I booked a promotional gig that dreams are made of – the movie premier of Beauty and the Beast (5 years old me is SCREAMING at the thought)

Literally, all of this in two days.

It’s almost laughable except that I knew this would happen. So did Trent – every time I called him to proclaim a new bit of magic, he wasn’t even shocked. Didn’t bat an eyelid.

Speaking of, my left eye is twitching as I write this. Like a little reminder that my body is still playing catch up.

Cherish your bad days – embrace them. These are the days to put what you have learned into practice – to search for the nuggets of wisdom.

Don’t run from them. Don’t give up. Because they will just become bigger and yuckier and harder to deal with.

Take INSPIRED action. Talk it out with people (remember I am here for that).

And remember that if life is shaking you up, it’s time to pay attention as to WHY.

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