Running a thriving business and staying super healthy can seem a contradiction in terms sometimes - what are your top tips for juggling the two?
You cannot give your best in anything you do if you don’t first look after yourself and I understand how truly easy it can be to pay lip service to this.
When we become overwhelmed it is very easy to disregard daily rituals such as moving, eating well, stopping to centre your breathing or simply just taking some time out to ‘be’ – but this is precisely the time when these rituals are of the utmost importance.
Scheduling can be very helpful for some people, yet we often forget to schedule things that matter to us – such as going outside for a walk, taking 5 minutes to make a cup of tea etc. I have a morning ritual that I don’t compromise. I also schedule my downtime and prioritize it. That usually involves a gentle walk in nature. I know that I cannot best serve others and my mission if I don’t ensure my battery is charged. Without your health you don’t have a business so investing in you needs to be a priority. Plus when you take good care of you it doesn’t just impact you – it impacts everyone around you. When you are taking care of yourself you tend to like yourself more and the way you speak to yourself and those you love the most in world is far kinder.
What's your number one 'pick me up' when you're having a bad day?
The language pattern ‘I’m having a bad day’ never occurs within me. It’s just not how I think or see things. There can be challenges across a day – major or minor, but that doesn’t permeate how I see and experience my day. Without consciously thinking about it, I am very in touch with how privileged our lives are because all of our basic needs are met. And still for too many people in the world that is not the case.
But of course I understand what is inferred by the question. And my answer is I go outside. I use all of my senses and observe. I usually stretch my arms out across my heart as if I am giving the earth a big hug. Then I bring all of my awareness inside and close my eyes and just be for a few minutes. I know people think the concept of being ‘grateful’ gets overused but I am truly grateful for life itself plus everything I have in my life – such a clean water and fresh air. An attitude of gratitude can be very energising – and in times of challenge I bring myself back to this.
Do you have any tips for wellness coaches/entrepreneurs who know everything they SHOULD be doing to look after themselves, but struggle to actually keep themselves on track?
That’s a great question and one I’m sure we can all relate to at some point in our lives.
There is a clue in the word SHOULD. When it comes to making long term and sustainable changes to your nutrition, movement, commitment to conscious breathing etc, the change must be motivated by more than thinking it’s something you ‘should’ do. That is when health and wellness can become a chore – “I know I SHOULD go for a walk”, “I know I SHOULD eat more greens”, etc. Empower yourself with self-love. For example say to yourself “I know that if I go for a walk, I will feel energized and more clear headed”, or “I know that if I eat more greens I will be supporting my body with the nourishment it needs.”
At the same time we also need to remember that it is what you do everyday that impacts your health, not what you do sometimes. Be kind to yourself and understand there will be times when you don’t do all the things you’d like to, but make a conscious effort not to fall into a downwards guilt spiral. Tomorrow is a new day, put a full stop at the end of your sentence (for example I ate too many chocolate biscuits. I haven’t moved my body in weeks. I didn’t eat vegetables with that meal.) - whatever it may be and move on. It’s the judgment we pass on ourselves that leads us back to the lousy behaviour day after day rather than it just being the odd one-off. And truly, if you knew who you really are, you’d be in awe of yourself and you’d treat yourself accordingly.
What's your favourite go-to meal after a long day?
I absolutely love the delicious Brilliant Brassica soup from my second cookbook, Real Food Kitchen. It is packed full of liver supporting nourishment from broccoli and cauliflower and I can prepare it in under 20 minutes.
What's your top tip for turning off a typical entrepreneurs busy mind to get a good nights sleep?
Stop working two hours – well, at least an hour! - before you want to go to bed. Capture everything you are thinking of and then put that list in a safe place - I consider this sort of like a brain back up. Unfortunately, I know so many entrepreneurs who take their laptops into their bedrooms. Most of us are exposed to screens the whole day whether it is our laptop, tablet, smartphone etc. – this screen time can disrupt melatonin production a hormone that helps us to sleep, so avoiding screens before bedtime is also critical.
And lastly, I would say to do something that makes you relax, read a book, have a warm bath, listen to a mediation CD, or simply just chat with your partner – whatever works for you!
For a good night’s sleep, it’s also vital to take steps to decrease the adrenalin (stress hormone) production that may have been rampant across the day. The reason for this is that adrenalin communicates to every cell in your body that your life is in danger and as a result it doesn’t allow us to sleep deeply. Its concern is if we did, we may not wake up in time to save our own life! So not having caffeine after midday, exploring your perception of pressure and urgency (these are modern day reasons we make adrenalin) can be helpful long-term to living less on adrenalin, as is breathing diaphragmatically.
With so much wellness information out there - what are the 3 most important things every woman must be doing for her health?
1. Eat more real food
Many people aren’t good at eating less of foods that don’t serve them. Instead, focus on eating more… more Real Food! By default, you’ll not only consume more nutrients – and those are nutrients that keep us alive – but you’ll also eat less processed and packaged food, avoiding some of the ingredients they contain that can take away from your health. Real/whole foods contain not only nutrients but enzymes, necessary for every biochemical process in the body. Look at decreasing your reliance on packet or tinned foods and whenever you can look at making alternatives yourself. A simple and easy dressing or homemade tomato sauce will be far more nourishing than their store-bought counterparts and eating real food will give you the energy you need to feel your best all the time.
2. Focus on health not on weight
Far too often people make grandiose statements about dropping a dress size or losing a certain number of kilograms. While the intention is good, focusing on weight usually means a focus on deprivation, which can’t be sustained, hence leading to poor long-term results.
Instead, focus on your health. Prioritise resolving niggling symptoms such as PMT, headaches, constipation, a bloated tummy, or a skin condition and watch how, as they improve, weight loss is the result (if body fat is something you need to let go of). Or focus on increasing your energy or feeling happier. The parts of your body that sadden or frustrate you are simply messengers asking you to eat, drink, move, think, breathe, believe or perceive in a new way. See them as the gifts that they are.
3. Try restorative practices
If you live on stress hormones, your body can think your life is in danger and sex hormone balance can be compromised. Embracing breath-focused practices can help reassure your body you are “safe” and allow your body to make its own progesterone, which doesn’t only have roles to play with reproduction, but acts as a powerful anti-anxiety agent, an anti-depressant and a diuretic. When progesterone is too low, women can feel like they are not themselves. Embrace tai chi and/or restorative yoga.
About Dr Libby
Dr Libby Weaver is a nutritional biochemist, one of Australlasia’s leading holistic health specialists, an author and an international speaker.
Author of seven number one best selling books in New Zealand. Sold over 220,000 copies
Newly signed international publishing rights with Hay House (excl AUST & NZ). Jan 2016 launch
Presenter of a TEDX talk with over 200,000 views
In July 2015 was a guest speaker for Sir Richard Branson and his guests on Necker Island
In October 2015 will be a guest speaker at Marianne Williamson’s event in Los Angeles
Featured in numerous media publications including the Times of London, The Huffington Post, Sydney Morning Herald, the Today Show and the Australian Women’s Weekly
Dr Libby's Australia & New Zealand Tour
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I'd love to hear from you in the comments below - what was your favourite tip from my interview with Dr Libby?