Modern women are busier than ever before; it’s not unusual for a busy, working mother to have to juggle a multitude of vital roles such as domestic goddess, kiddie wrangler, peacekeeper, chef, sock finder and husband wrangler – all before she hits her desk for a full day’s work at 9am.
And so burn-out can be swift; as women, we spend so much time looking after everyone else, we can so easily neglect our own self-care and well-being. When was the last time you took a mental-health day or “wellness day” for yourself?
Brisbane wellness advocate and hatha yoga instructor Heather Sartain, 55, (pictured) who’s just opened unisex boutique spa sanctuary, One Wybelenna, says as chief carers of the family, as is usually the case, women must regularly take time out for themselves. Heather’s interest in health and well-being extends back to her training as a registered nurse.
One Wybelenna, based at Brookfield in Brisbane’s inner-west, offers the most extensive selection of Ayurveda Aromatherapy products in Queensland. Set amid landscaped gardens, it’s an urban oasis just 12km from the CBD.
“It is so important to take care of ourselves so that we will have the energy and resources to care for others,” Heather says. “This self-care takes different forms for individual personalities and body types. Maybe it’s a gentle yoga class to help to clear the mind for some, while others would prefer to run, or play tennis with a group of friends, read a book or walk in nature.
“Whatever is your ‘timeout’ activity of choice, it is important to do something for yourself, no matter how small, each day. We must also eat healthy, wholesome foods to nourish our bodies. Eat live food; lots of plant foods and fresh foods, not dead, packaged and preservative laden foods.
“We must breathe, mindfully, deeply and frequently, not just the short shallow breaths that become so much a part of a busy life. And we must sleep well. Our bodies need rest to restore and rebalance. At One Wybelenna, we offer the perfect environment and treatments to assist our guests to relax and rejuvenate complementing their lifestyle choices.”
Heather, who practises yoga and meditation daily, says beauty treatments are also a great way for women (and men) to gain calm and zen in today’s crazy busy world.
“At One Wybelenna, our rituals incorporate the maintenance treatments in a serene environment, making the whole experience a sensory journey,” Heather says. “Massage should be acknowledged as being very important to our general well-being rather than an indulgence. The sense of touch is vital to life and helps reduce the levels of stress that build up physically and emotionally.”
Her favourite treatment is a 90 minute Custom Facial, which begins with a skin assessment and includes a back and neck massage. She also highly recommends a Subtle Energies Ayurveda Aromatherapy package of Blissful Marma Massage combined with the Mukha Chikitsa facial or the Germaine de Capuccini Crystal and Pearl Elixir. “Both of these rituals combine bodywork with facials and induce the deepest sense of wellbeing and rejuvenation,” Heather says.
And blokes aren’t forgotten – they can also treat themselves to the Amor for Men Facial. This treatment starts with a back, shoulder and neck massage and includes a 24-step Shiatsu Zen facial massage and detoxifying mask. One Wybelenna’s professional therapists also use Germaine de Capuccini skin care products.
The spa is open for bookings Tuesday-Saturday. Visit www.onewybelenna.com.
Are you stressed out trying to be the perfect worker, wife, mother and housekeeper? These roles are at once conflicting and impossibly hard to juggle: welcome to the “superwoman syndrome.”
The poor superwoman wannabe will think nothing of sacrificing her own self-care in a bid to perform all these tasks perfectly, completely stressing herself out in the process. Well, I say to hell with that ladies! It’s time to shake off the superwoman myth and outsource, where possible. Repeat after me: outsourcing is the answer!
If you’ve got street smarts and/or are a well-educated businesswoman, you will have most likely learnt to delegate in the corporate world; the same principle applies in your private life.
My high-flying CEO best friend of 20 years recently hired a housekeeper out of sheer necessity; she’s often too busy wheeling and dealing to make a healthy family dinner/dust/clean toilets. And why should she feel guilty about this?
Another good friend hired a nanny when she had her second baby; she needs important back-up to care for her toddler while her fly-in-fly-out husband is away each month for three weeks at a time.
So, instead of rushing through life in a semi-depressed state due to your impossible burdens; hire help if and when you have the means. This might even just be something as simple as outsourcing the bathroom cleaning once a month, as I have done with great relish, to save you both the time and the energy you can otherwise devote to running your business and/or playing in the park with your children or – God forbid – a yoga class, or an hour or two to yourself.
Instead of this impossible, unwinnable “I need to do it all” superwoman syndrome, you’re effectively making an important choice about your top priorities.
And it’s often a hard lesson to learn: you can’t be the perfect wife/mother/worker and housekeeper all at once, nor should you even try to do so.
Learning to say no to tasks you hate, resent and just plain don’t have time for is a good life skill. So, ladies – take off the Superwoman costume and keep it simple: pay more attention to your own well-being and less time on trying to please everyone else.
What do you think… Have you ever sought hired help and/or fallen prey to the superwoman syndrome?
Images via girlsjustwannahavefunds.com, vaishalipatelpsychotherapy.com
Can you stay serene while striving for success? Janine Hall, the smart, savvy and super-successful entrepreneur and founder of Escape Haven – a group of women’s surf, yoga and luxury spa retreats in Bali, Byron Bay, Portugal and Morocco – says hell, yes!
Janine, 40, who splits her time between Bali and Byron Bay, knows a bit about overcoming adversity after starting out her life as an orphan when her Australian mother gave her up for adoption. She lived in an orphanage before being adopted and was reunited with her birth mother 18 years later when she came to New Zealand to find Janine.
A former fashion executive, Janine quit the corporate world to open up a surf and yoga retreat in Bali in 2010. And her success has been swift – Escape Haven Bali’s now the No.1 ranking women’s retreat on consumer review website Trip Advisor. And within four years, Janine’s expanded to Sagres, Portugal; Byron Bay and Marrakech, Morocco, with all four Escape Haven retreats generating more than $1 million in revenue.
Janine’s true passion is teaching guests the same wellness techniques she’s used to grow Escape Haven. And, she’s also recently launched The Creating Futures Foundation charity in Bali which aims to transform economically poor villages by teaching orphans surfing, yoga and education. So, how on earth do you stay zen while growing a business empire?
“It can be very daunting starting a business, particularly in a third-world country where initially I didn’t know one person,” Janine says. “It definitely had its own set of challenges and when you feel isolated on top of all of this, the road can be a little rough. Having self-belief and energy to persevere helped immensely.
“The more I focused my energy, the further I could drive. I gained perspective to make the right decision and do things better. It also bought me a lot of happiness.”
Janine believes people are more effective when they are in a calm place. “You make better decisions, and you feel happier,” she says, “you connect better with others and all you can see is possibility.”
She attributes yoga, surfing, meditation, beach walks, massages and a healthy diet to her success, which she strives to pass on to Escape Haven guests, who are taught well-being tools which can be integrated into their daily lives post-retreat.
“Women can reach their dreams, make the right decisions for them and overcome their self-imposed limitations,” Janine says.
For us non-guests, here are Janine’s top five tips for staying serene while striving for success:
1) Think happy, be happy: “Your thoughts are so powerful, and in turn affect your mood and outlook on life,” Janine says. “Next time you are feeling overwhelmed at work, take a few deep breaths from your stomach, and think yourself happy and calm.”
2) Take time out to feel vs think: “Switch your mind off even for a few minutes. If you have a busy brain, get outside and connect with nature,” Janine says. “Experience everything around you by fully exploring all your senses. How does nature smell, feel, what can you see nearby and far away? Before you know it you will be so immersed in a world that feels calm.”
3) Utilise the power of aromatherapy: Using calming oils in the office will induce feelings of tranquillity and simplicity, Janine says. “Try experimenting with different scents for different moods you want to evoke – energising, calming, relaxing – the choice is yours!” Janine says.
4) Don’t deprive yourself of sleep: Good energy levels are crucial, Janine says. “Getting well-rested sleep is particularly important. You’ll feel better, make better food choices and feel happier overall.”
5) Don’t take yourself so seriously: It’s easy to get caught up and lose perspective. “Laughter is the best medicine,” Janine says, “especially through hurdles. It will instantly make you feel better and offer you a clear perspective to make the right decisions.”
There are a lot of rogue cowboys out there in the fitness industry, like any industry I guess, but how do you find a good personal trainer? Should there be mandatory PT course modules on professionalism, customer service and how to run a viable business?
Finding a good PT can be more complicated than you’d expect; and let’s face it – a PT is a luxury spend – it pays to shop around to find the right one for you. If you want optimum fitness results from a person who may put you through so much physical pain you will wish you were dead, here’s some handy hints on what to look for in a good personal trainer:
A personality fit
For optimum results, you need to find a trainer with whom you gel – your personalities have to be a good fit, otherwise you will not want to spend the considerable money on them each week and start to resent having to do so. If your PT continually riles you with their outspoken political and/or religious opinions – like the bad cabbie you can’t escape – abort! Or if spending time with them makes you question the future of humanity, shop and train elsewhere.
Professionalism is key
I just broke up with a PT who was constantly late; changed our session times at the last minute; complained about not enough toilet/coffee breaks because she was stacking clients together too much and who refused to take the time to do my regular measurements. If it’s not working out with your PT, act fast and take your hard-earned elsewhere – it’s not personal, it’s good business sense to do so. I know it’s not easy running a small business, but you shouldn’t have to put up with that BS from a so-called “professional”. Be upfront – break up with them by saying you need a change.
A good PT will change things up often, so you don’t get bored. Who wants to do bloody kettle bells and burpies each session, when you’re paying good money to get both results and more motivation to exercise outside your sessions? Tell your PT often and loudly what you want and expect – be it boxing, kickboxing, or a good cardio/weight mix-up.
Eye on the prize
A first-rate PT worthy of your hard-earned will want to do your measurements, even though you may loathe them. Measurements and weigh-ins keep you both honest and motivated. Don’t put up with a PT who fobs you off, as I did for too long. Sure, it might be time they have to put in outside of your session, but it’s an important part of their job. And getting good results is the best bit – a lovely boost when you are sore and exhausted and wondering why the f*** you got a PT in the first place.
Mind your manners
Good customer service buys loyalty and longevity. Repeat after me – your trainer is not your friend; if they don’t treat you with respect – abort! You are the catch. There are plenty of trainers out there – find one who doesn’t ignore you during your sessions, belittle you or make you feel bad in any way. PT should be a positive and empowering experience – it should boost, not detract from your well-being.
Keep it strictly business
While Samantha in Sex and the City had some enviable raunchy PT bedroom encounters; in real life it’s probably best to avoid sexing your trainer. Take the personal out of personal training! If you’re blessed with a PT who resembles a Greek god, power to you sister, but do try to keep your hands to yourself lest the relationship turns sour quickly and he really does try to kill you on the stairs. In addition, your PT is not your counsellor, not you his/her’s – I don’t want to feel like I have to give a PT marital advice in between crunches. Conversely, don’t expect your PT to care about your emotional needs. It’s business time!
Image via flickr.com