Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in North London by Irish parents, having two brothers and a sister. I moved to the UAE with my husband (Abu Dhabi for my first year and then Dubai) 14 years ago and definitely consider it my home now. Around 4 years ago I started my own corporate wellness company, offering nutrition and life coaching. After completing a strengths based executive coaching course I started to consult as an executive performance coach for a company called 2b Limitless.
I am passionate about health and the beautiful journey of becoming the best version of yourself. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s a few years back and honestly it was one of the best things that happened to me as it was my body’s way of letting me know I needed to learn to slow down and embrace self-care, in the same way I had been advising my clients to do for years! A reminder that we often neglect ourselves, even when we know what to do. Thankfully I was armed with the right tools to treat autoimmune conditions and have been doing that quite successfully since! Autoimmune conditions are so common nowadays, many undiagnosed.
What led you to becoming a wellness/health coach?
I had an interest in health and fitness from a very young age; I was really into my athletics and netball and noticed how my body could feel more fatigued at certain times. I also battled with bad skin in the form of acne, an issue many teenagers I see experience and it was crippling my self-esteem. I started to notice how both my fatigue and pimples were improved when I altered my diet. This was the beginning of my journey. I went on to study genetics at university as I wanted to deepen my understanding of what we have evolved into. Part of my genetics degree looked at chronic disease and how both our genes and our lifestyle (nature versus nurture) play such important roles, “genetics loads the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger.” There is a long history of autoimmune disease, cancer and heart disease in my family so I wanted to find out how I could prevent that loaded gun going from firing, studying nutrition for my masters felt like a natural progression. When working with clients for nutrition I noticed that many were not able to make the changes they needed to, this is when I studied neurolinguistic programming (NLP) and life coaching to become a life coach. Essentially coaching helps clients to identify false and limiting beliefs, so that they can stop bad behaviours and generate new and healthy behaviours which will enable them to achieve their nutrition and life goals.
What are your coaching passions?
I am really passionate about performance coaching, getting a person from good to being at their very best! This for me has to be a holistic approach, starting with getting on track with their rituals for health as a basis for their overall performance and happiness. When we are healthier – have sleep on track, eating whole foods, moving our bodies regularly – we are emotionally more stable, our brains function more effectively and we are then in a position to fulfill our life’s purpose. It is all about starting with the basics – something that a study from the Harvard business review called the “High Performance Pyramid”.
How do you deal with people struggling with negative feelings?
Self awareness is the starting point for everyone, when we become aware of the inner narrative we can then start to make changes to it but the first step is realizing how much we berate ourselves and hold onto limiting labels from childhood – even though they no longer serve us or are no longer true! As Tony Robbins says “where focus goes energy flows” so it is then also about harnessing the power of gratitude and seeing what is going right for us, looking at the world in terms of abundance rater than scarcity. It is also so important to cultivate a growth mindset, learning from past what didn’t work well for us in the past and taking action steps to assess what will work for us in the future – there is no failure, it’s all feedback!
As a strengths based performance coach, I am passionate about focusing on what you are good at and leaning into those strengths to become the best version of you!
How do you shape people’s mental health?
As a coach I work as a facilitator, assisting others on their journey. All of the answers are inside them so it is really about the art of asking the right question at the right time.
As a nutrition coach and GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome) practitioner I am aware that the gut is the second brain and a major focus of looking after our mental wellbeing is to take care of digestive health. For example many people with parasites/candida or bacterial overgrowth may experience issues with things like brain fog, anxiety and low moods.
What keeps you going? What is your motivation?
As a person with an autoimmune condition, I am so aware of the power of the holistic approach to healing. It is my mission to pass on that knowledge to help others.
When it comes to coaching, there is nothing better than watching your clients excel and experience major shifts.
What advice would you give women to keep their mental and emotional health balanced?
The power of rest. There is a great equation for growth that I follow personally and with my clients and that is: STRESS + REST = GROWTH
In order for us to keep growing (which is one of the most important of the 6 basic human needs) we must prioritise rest. Many of us have that stress part of the equation being met but without adequate rest we will never be able to grow mentally, physically, emotionally.
What that rest looks like is different to each person, for me I schedule in yoga, walks in the sunshine and meditation as if it were a client meeting. Sleep is also the most important way to rest so maximizing sleep hygiene is paramount to being happy and balanced. Prioritising rest has meant that I am able to keep my autoimmune condition under control and in fact feel healthier than I ever have!
What advice can you share for someone going through fear and anxiety during this global change?
Focus on what you can control. I like to go through an exercise with clients where we look at the circle of concern and influence (taken from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey).
This is a really good exercise to explore the things we have influence or control over in our life so that we can be more proactive. The more we focus on what we have influence or control over the more in control we feel and less reactive, so our energy is spent in a more effective way and we feel more positive. I recently listened to a podcast with the brilliant Brene Brown and she spoke about howanxiety is the most contagious emotion, like a domino effect is can easily spread but also how calm can be as contagious as anxiety. So looking at ways to cultivate calm, explore who you spend your time with, focus on what is under our control/influence (what we read, what we post on social media, the people we follow on social media, what we eat, who we spend time with, how much we move our bodies, our behaviours) and not focus on those things we cannot control (other people’s behaviour, the corona virus, the media, the economy, political issues).
What is your favorite quote?
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer
Share with us your 5 top life tips
- Connect with someone you love at least once a day, ideally hugging them if you can but during such times this might not be an option for everyone. Even just having that eye contact helps lower stress hormones and feeds our innate desire for human connection. As a side note, that hug can also be with a pet – studies show hugging your dog releases oxytocin, aka the love hormone and this lowers stress hormones!
- Schedule in time for rest, total switch off (no scrolling on social media allowed during this time). This will help us to be not only happier but also to perform better in the workplace and at home. The best way I do this is to get to bed earlier and boost sleep time! Sleep is the real superpower!
- Focus on what’s right with you, what is the best version of yourself? Discover your strengths and lean into them daily, research shows that when we do this we become happier, more productive and resilient.
- Give back to others – contribution is another one of the most important human needs and helping others helps you can garner a sense of purpose, connection with others and self-worth. This is especially important in times like this as it is a great way of building resilience – helping others helps you.
- Feed your microbiome and daily – the gut microbiome is a total game changer in our health – both physical and mental. Our gut and brain are directly connected and we cannot look after one and neglect the other and expect to be the best version of yourself. What does that look like? Lots of plant based foods (the wider the variety the better), fermented foods, healthy fats, herbs and spices.