For The Healthified Podcast, I interviewed Christina Watkins, certified holistic nutrition coach and founder of her business The Wellness Concierges. The early moments of our conversation took a turn away from talking about nutrition to making the connection between life alignment and holistic health. I am also a health coach who sees this phenomenon in my clients constantly, so I wasn’t surprised.
After the birth of her first child, she started working with a nutritionist. This decision changed her life, both from a physical health perspective and an emotional one. While she learned so much about nutrition and sustainable healthy habits, she also learned so much about herself and developing self-trust. She also didn’t expect the process would encourage her to make a big pivot in her career.
During one of their sessions, she remembers reaching a breaking point, as she wasn’t getting the results she was looking for. They then started talking about stress. Her nutritionist dug a little deeper and helped Christina realize that not only was she very stressed out due to the demands of becoming a new (and working) mom, but she also wasn’t very happy in her career.
“I had this long commute to work, I had this job that was high demand. I don’t think I was very happy there. I was commuting with my son at the time…I was extremely stressed.” When asked what she wanted instead, the “aha moment” hit her: she wanted to go down the path to becoming a health coach.
Despite struggling with weight her entire childhood, Christina remembers health being a focus in her upbringing. It felt natural to turn something that had caused her a lot of struggle and strife for most of her life into work that fulfilled her and allowed her to help others as the nutritionist had helped her.
After releasing the initial thoughts and stories that would have held her back, she got clear on the actual action steps she would need to take to make her dream come true. She said after making the change in this area of life, she not only noticed how much happier she was, but she also became more confident, and this translated into better health: “I was excited I was starting this new journey that I got to choose. It was what I wanted…it was confidence too…less emotional eating. I was less stressed, I was happy, I wanted to feel good, I had more confidence in myself. My eating cleaned up…It gave me a lot of power to realize…that we have control over our lives. What do we want it to look like? How do we want to feel? What are the steps we need to take to get there?”
I have heard countless client stories that sound similar, my own health story included! Our happiness, our life alignment, and our ability to find more joy and fulfillment in our day plays a large role in our holistic health. When it comes to weight specifically, many people still believe that happiness comes after achieving a certain number on the scale, but I argue it is the other way around. Feel the happiness/flow/alignment, and the physical goals of life will more likely fall into place. If you are wanting to find more fulfillment in your day, but don’t know where to begin, here are five questions you can ask yourself that will help you get there.
If you could do anything using your talents and interests, what would you do?
This question might sound too open-ended, but it is a good one to ask to get your mind going. You may have noticed a knee-jerk response, pay attention to that! If thoughts of doubt and negative self-talk quickly come up after the initial answer(s), you can notice those too, but simply allow them to pass without attaching to them. You want to sift through the answers that are rooted in some reality, hence the caveat keeping it in the realm of your talents and interests. For example, if you heard “be a pop star,” but you can’t sing, that might not be a reasonable goal. If you don’t know your talents and interests, see question three .
If money wasn’t an issue, what would you do?
When it comes to pursuing a passion or pivot, a major block that can come up for people is money. Everyone has a relationship to money, or what I like to call a “money story.” This story (just like your food story) likely stems from childhood experiences, the lessons learned around money, and what your parents taught you about money. Generally, if you have more of a scarcity mindset about money (versus an abundant one), it may feel more challenging to take financial risks to pursue a new career path. Start by asking yourself if money wasn’t an issue – imagine winning the lottery or receiving a large inheritance. This reflection exercise will help you get a sense of a bigger picture. Then start to notice those “money blocks.” Separate the stories (i.e. fiction) from the truth. You may realize that taking baby steps, or starting out smaller than you first imagined, might not be as financially demanding after all.
What activities did you love as a child?
As humans, we are innately creative beings. Children demonstrate this beautifully. It doesn’t take long for parents to realize that their child has a natural knack for something. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way to adulthood, these interests and talents can get overshadowed by fear and “shoulds.” Others’ opinions and people-pleasing can have us pursue a path, even if it’s not what we want. It can also feel indulgent and privileged to pursue a passion when we need to work for financial reasons. There may be some truth to this, but that shouldn’t stop you from adding in more activities that spark joy. If you loved playing a musical instrument when you were younger, you might not quit your day job to become a professional musician, but perhaps you join a weekly group that plays music together for fun. Or if you loved a certain sport growing up, join a local league. It’s the feeling of alignment and flow you are looking for, and it doesn’t take much to find it. The more you get into alignment, the more magnetic you become to attract more experiences that put you in alignment!
What does your ideal day look and feel like?
Every six months or so, I do an ideal day visualization. I call it my “life alignment check-in.” I learned about the exercise from my amazing life coach, and I have been doing it for years. From the moment you wake up in the morning, to the moment your head hits the pillow, what does your ideal day look and feel like? This isn’t an ideal day on vacation, but rather a random Wednesday during the work week. Write down everything that comes to mind, from your morning routine to the people you come in contact with, to how you wind down in the evening. If there is a large discrepancy between your ideal day and your reality, what are one to two changes you can make to be more in alignment with what you want? If it’s pretty similar, that’s great! There could still be a couple of feelings you are wanting to experience. Maybe it is more focused, so you rid your day of those things that make you feel distracted (no more scrolling social media during your peak productivity time!). Checking in with yourself, while taking responsibility for your alignment, is an empowering exercise to finding more fulfillment.
What is beyond your comfort zone?
This question brings it all full circle. It is likely that your response in question one was something that feels uncomfortable. It’s like the Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “Do something every day that scares you.” I am not talking heart-stopping scary, but something that brings you beyond your comfort zone. For example, typing this article for my online magazine scares me. It brings me so much joy to write, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have those doubting thoughts: Who will even read this? You are wasting your time. You should be doing something different. However, I know they are just thoughts. I also know that because I’m human, they are completely natural. So I feel the fear and I do it anyway. You will know your soul is pulling you in a certain (scary) direction when the cost of not doing the thing outweighs the fear of doing the thing. That’s when you know the experience is worth it, causing growth and expansion on the other side.