Louise Murray, Health and Mindfulness Coach(http://www.livewellwithlou.com/)
What inspired you to become a health & mindfulness coach?
I am a mum of four – I have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, 1-year-old and a new baby born in May 2020. I know first-hand that motherhood is one of the toughest experiences of our lives – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s not surprising that we feel ‘lost’ when you think of everything we have to deal with in the early years of parenting. I remember at one point after my first baby, I looked around and thought ‘what on earth happened to ME?’ – where am I? My life was so different and I felt like I had slowly faded away from myself, my interests and my passions without even realising it was happening.
As a result of my personal choice, it became my mission to help other mums find space in their life to feel energised and more like themselves again. I studied to become a Health Coach because it takes a truly holistic approach to health and wellbeing by combining nutrition with lifestyle, self-care and healthy lifestyle habits. I passionately believe that good food and lifestyle tools have the power to transform your body, mind and health. It’s my mission to help mums learn how to nourish their body and mind both ON and OFF the plate using the power of nutrition, self-care, healthy habits and lifestyle tools that will empower you to live your best life despite the overflowing nappy bins, toddler tears and tantrums!
What is your secret in successfully juggling motherhood, having 3 kids and one to arrive! And running your business?
Making sure that I have a little time for myself each day to fill up my own self-care cup. By lovingly tending to your mind and body, you give yourself the best possible chance of being the person you aspire to be. In order to save your health (and sanity), make time for self-care…even just 10 minutes of zen time a day to practice mindfulness can make a HUGE difference.
Also, it's okay to say no sometimes and to not take on extra work on your plate when you don’t think you can manage t or it will stress you out.
What advice would you give to other mums who wear the hats of both a mother and businesswoman?
Something I always highlight to my clients is that a healthy life is about so much more than eating the right foods for your body and exercising.
You can eat all the kale in the world and take all the HIIT classes BUT if you are in a toxic relationship, have fallen out of love with your career and are too busy for any form of self-care, you will not feel ‘well’ or happy and your health will be affected. No amount of celery juice can counteract an unhealthy lifestyle. This is why, I coach around nutrition as well as 12 aspects of your lifestyle, to nourish your life fully both on and off the plate.
Make a list for yourself, and try to stop just a few of these things. You will gain SO much more quality time in your life. Here are a few ideas for your ‘stop-doing’ list:
- People pleasing
- Negative self-talk
- Overthinking things you cannot change
- Mindlessly scrolling social media
- Negative people
- Dwelling on the past
Top 3 "go-to" self-care routines for busy mums, by Louise Murray:
Here are 3 of my favourite ‘10 of zen’ tools for those that have ‘no time’ for self-care….
Stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath. Do not underestimate the power of a deep breath. These precious seconds may be the difference between losing your cool and responding calmly; between feeling overwhelmed and staying focused.
I honestly believe that energy-boosting breathwork can be better than caffeine. Use the power of breath to create an incredible feeling of energy, clarity and focus through your body.
If you’re not breathing optimally, you’re robbing yourself of energy. The way you breathe may be causing you to feel tired, fatigued, foggy, and uninspired. This is because proper, controlled breathing ensures an optimal oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange. This is vital for high energy and mental alertness levels. Since oxygen is the breath of life, it’s rocket fuel for the body and mind.
With this exercise, we’re focusing on deep, diaphragmatic breathing. This means we’re not using our chest or upper body to breathe. We are engaging our lower belly as we inhale and exhale. On the inhale, your lower belly should rise outwardly. On the exhale, the lower belly moves inwardly, towards the navel. These movements draw air into the lungs, and not just the upper lungs, as in chest breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing fills every part of your lungs, including the lower parts.
Do this simple breathing exercise twice a day or whenever you feel yourself losing steam:
- Deeply exhale with a whoosh sound
- Deeply inhale through the nose for 4, hold for 7, exhale through the mouth for 8
- Repeat for 4 breaths
When you start feeling a little overwhelmed, this is a great ‘2-minute’ self-care tool. Mindful meditation doesn’t need to take a long time, just 2 or 3 minutes can be enough to give you a little space to slow down, press pause, re-connect and re-energise for the rest of the day. So if you are feeling a little stressed, just a couple of minutes to practice this ‘cup of calm’ mindful moment …
Make yourself a cup of your favourite warm drink and sit down. Notice three things in this moment – the colour of the drink, the weight of the mug, the feeling of the chair. Then consciously breath into your shoulders, try and relax them down a little and enjoy your cuppa – savouring the flavour. Return gently to the senses whenever you notice the mind straying into thought. Be open to your senses, rather than try to analyse what’s happening.
Gratitude is a fantastic little mindset makeover tool and something that you can practice throughout the day as you go, so it doesn’t add anything extra to your ever-mounting ‘to do’ list. Just try and slow down just a fraction, just enough to briefly ‘press pause’ and just try and be in the moment of whatever you are experiencing and mentally note down what you are grateful for in that moment.
So for example – a child’s laugh. Just be in that moment and mentally note down how grateful you are for that magical laugh. DONE! That’s it. Try and rack up as many of these as you can throughout your day. This micro self-care tool will help you embrace the everyday magic amongst the chaos and whirlwind of motherhood. Magic moments, are all around you if you can just try and tune into them – and if you can you are going to feel more positive, happier, grounded, calm and in control. You will shift your mindset into a positive ‘high vibe’ zone – and you will start to actually subconsciously train your brain to see more positivity all around you and in return, this will attract more positivity into your life.
Sophie Tyrrell is a co-founder of Squirrel Sisters, an award-winning healthy snack brand
What inspired you to create your business, Squirrel Sisters?
Gracie and I had always been really interested in nutrition and wellness and wanted to create a brand which combined feeling good with living life to the full (and not missing out). We cooked together a lot and during a period of our lives where we were on other sides of the world (I was in Singapore, she was back in London) decided to start a blog with recipes which were full of goodness but most importantly delicious! The blog gained a really healthy following and a lot of people resonated with what we were all about, so we decided to turn the blog into a business and launch a range of delicious and healthy snacks which Gracie used to make for me at home (as I have a gluten-intolerance).
What is your secret in successfully juggling motherhood and running a business?
I think that organisation and planning is key. Sometimes this is really hard so you just need to do what you can, but without planning you end up overlapping both things and not doing either as well as you’d like (plus the guilt when you aren’t focusing on one thing). I have quite a strict schedule where I get up early and focus on work, then work during Lola’s naps…I do work when she’s awake as well but I will always make sure I have several periods of time during the day where I put my laptop down and give her my full attention. Some days it’s harder to find the time, but it’s really important.
What advice would you give to other mums who wear the hats of both a mother and businesswoman?
Trying to separate the two as I mentioned above - if not, you will end up feeling that you’re not doing either very well. Other Mums who work for themselves say the same, that’s why I get up early and often work in the evenings because at those times I can focus and not feel guilty otherwise I get frustrated and I’m not much fun for Lola to be around.
Do you manage to squeeze any self-care/wellbeing practices into your busy daily life?
This one is hard, and unfortunately, I often don’t manage to, but what I try to do is make that last hour before going to sleep really relaxing so that I at least sleep well. I will have a bath, put my phone onto aeroplane mode and try and put the lights off by 10ish. If we’re going through a really busy period, then I’ll just try and take a few conscious deep breaths (our Mum always talks about this, and it really does help to lower anxiety levels).
What has been your experience with meditation? Would you recommend other busy mums to make time for this practice?
Absolutely!! Our Mum is a yoga teacher and has been meditating since she was 19 so has always talked about it, but it took me until my (now) husband was really ill about 5 years ago. He was in bed for 5 months, we’d just moved back from Singapore and were staying in a friend’s house and we're working towards launching the business. I was so stressed and finally listened to her advice and did a mediation course…it definitely changed my life! I would absolutely recommend it to other Mums as when you’re doing it regularly you’re actually more productive. And you will be different and calmer as a person.
Having a baby and running a business seems like an impossible task, what got you through? Do you have any tips you can pass on to expecting mums who are thinking about juggling both?
It is hard, but you will get through - I think my confidence has grown a lot, I’m more productive than ever and I love Lola and Squirrel Sisters so I want to give both my all. You just really have to get on with it and just try and find ways that work for you - try not to compare yourselves as everyone is dealing with stuff behind the scenes too. You can’t plan for how you are going to feel when you have a baby so try and think through every scenario before the baby arrives and have ‘tools’ and support around how you’ll manage. And always remember that your health is the most important thing - if you push yourself too much then you’ll end up getting ill and you won’t be able to work or look after your baby (I learnt this the hard way!)