Tricia Paisis-Oakwell is my #mumhero of the week. She’s a mum of 3, a Health and Wellness Coach and runs her own business. Did I also mention she’s a Personal Trainer, a nutritional therapist, Yoga teacher, Boxing and Aqua instructor, too? I feel tired just writing those things down!
So how does someone manage to fit it all in and maintain that mum/life balance, which we all so desperately crave? I joined Tricia for a chat and this is her story…
Tricia, why do you love what you do?
As a nutritional therapist and personal trainer my job is to help other people reach their goals and live fit, healthier and happier lives. I love supporting them on their journey. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was having my own health crisis.
That’s surprising – I didn’t expect to hear that! What happened?
Back in December 2012 I was very overweight, stressed out and running my body on adrenaline. My husband and I were running 2 businesses that operated very long opening hours, 7 days a week. We were working almost 100 hours a week and had 3 small children under the age of 7.
I was very overweight, had adrenal fatigue, high cortisol levels and insulin resistance. I was only sleeping 3-4 hours a night and hadn’t had a holiday in 7 years. I realised that if I didn’t take care of myself then, I wasn’t able to take care of my family – and that was very scary, as they all needed me so much.
So what did you do about it?
With an enormous amount of support from my husband and family I set about making small changes. I joined a gym and started making changes to my food to include the vital nutrients I needed to get through my day and my high energy workouts.
With help from a Naturopath (someone who uses natural medicines to help the body get back into balance) I created a new eating plan and worked to get my body functioning more efficiently.
I addressed the 5 key areas that needed to change: my diet, my exercise, my water intake, a reduction in my stress levels (this was a gradual process) and I increased my sleep to at least 7-8 hours a night.
And how did you feel?
In just over 9 months, I had lost almost 5 stone!
I had more energy than ever before, I was running around playing with my kids and I wasn’t tired and sluggish.
It was all done in small steps, but the results were life-changing. The picture on the left was taken in December 2012 – and the one on the right was me 9 months later.
That’s amazing! And is that what sparked your interest in helping others?
Exactly! I’ve walked-the-walk, I’ve made the changes and I’ve put the hard work in – and I know how great it can feel once you start seeing results. I realised I wanted to help other people achieve their goals too – and that’s where my Integrated Health and Fitness business started from.
So how do you juggle running your own business and motherhood?
Like many other mums out there, I find there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Most people try to do too much, and end up doing a little here and a little there, and never actually completing anything – which only re-enforces the feeling of overwhelm and failure.
So I prioritise what is important and write my to-do lists. I focus on completing just 3 things on the list each day, to feel like I am accomplishing my tasks and marking things off my list.
And when you’re not being mum or helping other people, how do you make time for you?
Great question! I think as mothers we always prioritise the needs of our families first and often neglect our own needs. But how can we take the best care of them, if we are tired, rundown and sleep deprived?
I look at recharging my battery depending on how my week has been.
If I have taught a lot of classes and my body is feeling sore, I love to have a nice long soak in the bath – I often use my Epsom salts (for sports recovery or Magnesium salts). This is great, especially in the winter, and aids the aching muscles in recovering and helps me sleep better.
If I have had a slightly stressful week, I add in some mindfulness, meditation or some more yoga. This helps restore the calm in my mind and body.
And sleep is soo crucial. I am fortunate that my husband will allow me a lie in on Sundays as it’s the only day I don’t work, so I get to sleep longer whilst he and the kids make breakfast together. (Don’t worry I repay him by giving him his catch up sleep in the afternoon whilst I take the kids to the park or play in the garden).
I always remind my clients to try to have one early night a week or have Nana-naps during the day or weekend to catch up on their sleep.
Looking after yourself is vital – it’s not selfish, it’s self-preservation.