Summer holidays (if you had one!) are but a distant memory. If the renewed enthusiasm and vitality you returned to work with has now disappeared, and you’re feeling lacklustre or demotivated, SPA+CLINIC talks to Nikki Fogden-Moore* – former corporate executive turned vitality coach and author of Vitality: Fresh Air, Fresh Food, Fresh Perspective – about getting your mojo back, and keeping it.
S+C: How does someone in this competitive economic climate begin to “reclaim” themselves, their time and vitality? Many people are daunted by the idea of sudden, major lifestyle overhauls. What are some good “baby steps” to take?
NFM: I love this comment – the idea of reclaiming time and vitality. It is a fact how many people feel that need; pulled in all directions, never having time out due to being glued to digital devices, pick-ups and drop-offs, and making use of drive time for phone calls. There’s never a moment when they truly wind down. Yet it can be so simple to get back into a sense of control and space.
Here are three ways to disconnect so as to reconnect and reclaim time and vitality right now:
- One thing a time: No phones/digital devices when you are eating. It sounds simple enough but it’s actually a great way to guarantee some “be present” time every day. Everyone has to eat, but we don’t need to be doing it while at our computers or staring at our mobile phones. Do ONE thing at a time. Focus on that. Nurture your body with healthy food you enjoy and savour the small break you have to really be present. If you’re having lunch or coffee out with a friend, engage in real conversation, not half-distracted comments while you’re busy scrolling through texts or Facebook.
- No phone/iPads etc in the bedroom. Instead, create a spa-like space. Seriously, sleep is the most important gift you can give your body and ensuring your bedroom is uncluttered and device-free is a great way to start. Pick up a real book, talk to your partner and connect about the day, listen to music (albeit turn off the WiFi if you have this on your iPad, for example). I leave my phone charging in the kitchen and turn it on “Do not disturb between 7:30pm and 7am” so it does not ring. You can call people back the next day. Take some quality time for yourself before bed to slow down and recharge.
- Go outside (without your phone): Reconnect with nature, talk your kids or your four-legged furry child for a walk. You don’t need to capture every park, beach, sunset or selfie. Just be present. Notice the trees around your neighbourhood, discover hidden grassy areas, wonderful beaches or rich pockets of nature you didn’t know existed. We see a lot more when we look 3cm up (from our phones). This is also so important for our own mental and physical wellbeing. Get back to basics and embrace nature as your gym.
Doing these things seven days in a row enables you to develop new habits to replace those old ones and positive rituals you can enjoy as your very own slice of mojo during hectic weeks balancing family, friends and business.
S+C: Some people are good at compartmentalising their lives; they deliberately don’t have access to work emails out of work hours, are very efficient when they’re on the job but don’t take work home unless it’s urgent. But many others almost feel afraid to cut themselves off like this. How to break the habit?
NFM: For me personally, the first step is reminding myself I’m not a world class scientist working on a cancer breakthrough – things can wait! Also we work with more clarity and make better decisions when we have space and time to think about things clearly.
The guilt and fear are just stories we have in our heads. It’s up to you to map out what’s truly important and then follow that up with the conviction to live a life you love, and where you want to spend your time to be the best version of you.
Whether you’re self-employed or work for someone else, personal accountability, focus and effective use of time go a long way. Working for hours on end and not being productive is not having a sense of vitality.
Be focused, be clear and work out why you feel guilty. Ask yourself “Is that statement really really true?” Chances are it’s just that old inner voice and you can shut that out and start demonstrating time that is spent well.
Use the One Percent Rule – 14.4 minutes (okay, lets say 15 minutes!) is one percent of your day. If you carve this time out for those elusive activities you have always wanted to do but never have organised – this is the way to do it.
Make this time in your agenda as you would plan a meeting, action this 15 minutes every day for 100 days and you’ll be 100 percent better off.
S+C: What are some good ways to set a mindful, happy and healthy tone for the day? How we start the day usually dictates how it will finish.
NFM: Love this question! My first and biggest piece of advice is to get up as soon as you wake up. Our bodies are designed to operate based on our attitude and the energy we give via quality food, fresh air and exercise that best suits the lifestyle you lead.
Don’t hit the snooze button on your alarm. Attack your day with vigour and you’ll be surprised the results you get just from this one simple step.
Listen to music you love in the morning while you’re getting ready for your day – not the TV. Music is a wonderful way to reconnect with emotion, positive mood and create a great environment for you to kick off your day with healthy good vibes.
Choose food you love in the mornings that is good for you. Ditch the toast and processed cereals for delicious smoothies you can make with fresh fruit, quality vegan protein powders, coconut milk/water and healthy fresh ingredients such as spinach, kale, flaxseed and fibre-rich foods. I’ve shared a couple of my fave smoothie recipes (just throw in a blender!) and there are more my book. Keep it simple!
Move in the mornings! The other thing I do and recommend is some form of exercise, even if it’s 10 minutes of yoga.
When I’m at my home office I take Roxy dog and jump in the ocean. If I’m away presenting I explore the city early on foot by going for a jog or walk and pick up a delicious coffee on the way back to the hotel.
Mornings do set the tone and it’s about creating a new set of rituals that help make you shine from the inside out.
S+C: It’s unrealistic to think that people who enjoy a drink and “guilty pleasure” foods are going to give them up altogether.
NFM: Totally agree. I have a different philosophy altogether. No diets or strict regimes but healthy food you love and exercise you enjoy. It’s the 80/20 rule.
Don’t give up foods but instead add elements to your diet that are nourishing, full of flavour. Rediscover that healthy can be amazing. No use buying expensive creams and having treatments if you don’t take care of your inner health as well.
Choose fresh salads at restaurants and opt out of heavy pastas and sauces that cover what the real ingredients are. Enjoy a quality glass of champagne one day a week instead of having wine every evening.
When you start balancing healthy and wise choices you’ll find your taste buds will start craving other healthier choices over empty calories anyway.
S+C: What led you on this path?
NFM: I’ve always been healthy and loved the idea of using nature as my gym. I grew up in New Zealand, and competed in triathlons at a young age.
This philosophy held me in good stead with a demanding schedule as an adult working in advertising on big accounts, always travelling and meeting fast-paced deadlines.
I’d often write mini programs for my colleagues or clients when we were overseas, on fitness and nutrition they could combine with a busy life to start to feel better and manage performance.
I studied nutrition and did a personal training course years ago and just never stopped educating myself.
At 30, I took a sabbatical, drove a ski boat in Egypt and Greece and decided to set up the ultimate retreat for smart savvy people, based on those who I worked with and for, to provide a complete re-boot.
I designed what was then known as the Bodibreak – a complete break away in a stunning location, with top class service, great tailored activities and incredible coaching re how to bring business and personal vitality to life.
This evolved into Boardroom Retreats; one-to-one coaching and corporate programs that were targeting accountability and empowerment for individuals to step up and create the life they wanted. I haven’t looked back.
It enables me to lead by example and create bespoke and effective changes for people to really find the ultimate balance and get back to doing what they love and feeling great.
MORE TOP TIPS FOR BOOSTING VITALITY
- Get yourself and accountability buddy
- Share your goals with your family and ask your kids to give you a gold star when you do great positive things daily for your health and wellbeing
- Don’t expect everyone to support you, as that’s just human nature. Find your dream team either with other people at work, a good friend or a new tribe you have found online.
- Be yourself. Set goals that are about you being your personal best. Be inspired by others but celebrate the body you have, the personality that drives you and put health over wealth. Nothing beats the amazing energy of seeing someone when you know they are happy in their own skin and healthy from the inside out. No beauty shines brighter than that of a great heart.
- This point is so crucial if you’d like to lead yourself, your family and really create a life you love. When you combine your purpose with your skills you can create real magic. I really think it’s true and have followed that mantra. Whether you’re part of an organisation, run your own business or are a team member, you can still create a massive impact on your life and those around you. It’s a ripple effect. If you want to see change then start being the change. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to continually grow and keep educating yourself and sharing the knowledge you have. You’ll be surprised the positive impact you can create when you lead by example.
* Nikki Fogden-Moore specialises in working with CEOs, entrepreneurs and high achievers in creating the life they want. She divides her time between private coaching, and corporate vitality, boardroom and bespoke retreats, workshops and presenting.