After years of prioritising the needs of family and focusing on work commitments, taking time to focus on her health and reclaiming some much needed me-time was something that our co-founder Tracey knew she needed to do. But where to start? A chance introduction to local holistic health coach Vivienne Alexa turned out to be the catalyst for change she needed.
Thinking that health coaching would be an opportunity to reset her eating and exercise habits, Tracey was surprised to find out that the sessions were about so much more. Whilst Viv did share a lot of helpful nutritional information, it was the whole-person approach she adopted that helped Tracey set in motion lifestyle changes that she now considers to be life-changing.
Here are some of the ‘aha moments’ she took away from her personal coaching sessions with Vivienne Alexa.
I have teenage children and I’ve lost count of the amount of money I’ve spent on swimming lessons, sports coaching and activity clubs for them over the years… not to mention the cost of all of the kit that goes with these activities! I believe that it was money well spent, giving my children opportunities to learn new skills, stay fit and healthy and have a good time. So why is it so hard for me to justify spending money on my own wellbeing? Life coaching was really good value for money - it was a short term investment that gave me lots of tips and techniques to help me live a healthier and happier life. It was definitely money well spent because, as the saying goes, I’m worth it!
Life certainly isn't black or white and replacing the word 'or' with 'and' has given me the ability to free myself from all sorts of guilty thoughts and experiences. Not feeling like something is good or bad has helped to bring more balance to the way I eat, exercise, work and live each day. If I find myself feeling guilty because of something I’ve done - or more likely haven’t done - it doesn't mean it's not "a good day". All of my achievements on that day still matter, no matter how small. Living the ‘and’ life has helped me to recognise that there is no such thing as a perfect day, but there are many things to be proud of each and every day.
Hands up all you people pleasers out there. I’m with you! We say ‘yes’ when what we really want to say is ‘no’. Whether it’s an automatic‘ ok’ when we’re asked to take on a task at work, or a begrudging ‘go on then’ when the kids need a lift and it has to be right now! We say yes to things that annoy us and cause us to feel resentful. We simply forget that it’s ok to say 'no' or 'not right now'. It’s ok to prioritise what you are doing, putting your needs at the top of the list. My coaching sessions helped me to realise that I don’t have to drop everything to prioritise other people’s happiness. My happiness is important too.
Over the years, I’ve recognised that alcohol simply doesn’t work very well for me. It disrupts my sleep, my mood and my energy levels and as I get older I’ve definitely noticed that it makes me feel anxious. Don’t get me wrong - I do enjoy a glass of wine or two on a night out, but I’m also happy to go without. Viv introduced me to the sober curious movement. It’s a shift in the way we think about alcohol, removing the pressure to justify your decision to not drink on a night out. We've all been there, where we fall back on excuses such as 'I'm driving' rather than having to justify why we simply don't want to drink alcohol. Viv reminded me that alcohol-free nights out are a lifestyle choice - and it’s my choice. Choosing not to drink doesn’t mean that I’m being boring, and it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But there’s a lot of pressure out there and sometimes you just need a reminder.
This is such a simple strategy and it can be applied to so many parts of your life. Put simply, if you want to see change for your future self, it starts with the choices you make today. Obvious, right? But it's not always easy to put into practice because we’re tired, hungry, distracted… the list goes on! Stop for a moment before you make these choices and think: 'Will this make my future self happy?' Too tired to prepare a healthy work lunch for tomorrow? Think about your future self. They will thank you for the effort you put in today to make a healthy meal that’s prepped and ready to go as you head off to work in the morning. Feeling too lazy to go for a walk today? Think about your future self. They will have more energy long term because of the effort you put in today.
Like many of us, I often turn to food when I’m stressed, anxious or bored, and that’s a hard habit to break because most of the time, I don’t even realise I’m doing it. HALT is a handy acronym that reminds me to take a moment to try to tune in to what my body is really looking for. It’s a way to identify how I’m really feeling, physically and emotionally, whether it’s;
It’s not always easy, but if I can identify the feeling it’s easier to make an empowered decision over what I actually need. Sometimes it’s food - and if it is then I choose what I feel like at that moment and enjoy it! However, sometimes what I really need is five minutes of headspace in the garden, or a break from work or a chat.
I met regularly with Viv over 12 sessions and this was a chance to uncover small, manageable changes rather than jumping into an all or nothing plan. It was also a great way to reflect back on changes that I had made, and which relatively quickly felt like they were the new norm. It was also an opportunity to celebrate my successes!
I’m most definitely still a work in progress, but I feel more energised and can see that all the small changes have added up. I’ve still got a way to go, but I’m remembering how good being healthy feels and I’m getting back to who I want to be. A huge part of my health coaching sessions was that I gave myself permission to do something for me, making my health and wellbeing a priority. It was also a reminder that I’ve worked hard to create the life I’m living now, so I want to get the most out of it!
*This is not sponsored content. Tracey was a paying client of Vivienne Alexa. To find out more about Vivienne and her services, visit her website or read some of her previous articles here on The List.