For 20 years Annette has been delivering an integrated approach to wellbeing as an exercise coach and Mindful Meditation educator.
How did you get into the wellness industry?
I made a conscious decision to move out of the corporate workplace and into the wellness industry after observing so many people around me suffering from poor physical and mental health. I felt my energy would be better utilised helping others live a healthier and happier lifestyle. My journey in the wellness industry began 22 years ago as a personal trainer. I was always drawn toward teaching holistically, and the last 10 years, I taught a fusion style of Yoga, Mindfulness and Mindful Meditation.
Why did you want to become a Mindful Meditation Teacher? and Wellness Coach?
Mindful Meditation saved my own mental health, and became a fundamental practice in my own personal life.
Early in my career, I was introduced to meditation and visualisation, after I suffered an unexpected loss. It played a pivotal role in my healing, but it wasn’t until years later, and after a major health scare, that I really embraced and understood the value of Mindfulness and Meditation.
I immersed myself in teacher training courses, began developing my own Mindfulness programs and began teaching Mindfulness to corporate organisations and various other clients.
What changes have you seen in the industry since COVID and how did you adapt it?
Early in lockdown last year, there was an initial novelty and enthusiasm around finding alternative ways to exercise and practice Mindfulness online.
Unfortunately, after such a long time in lockdown with studios, gyms and workplaces closed for so long, and people suffering screen fatigue, the fitness industry is hurting.
I had some small groups of elderly clients who attended my exercise classes for well over 15 years and moving to online classes was life saving for them. It enabled them to keep moving and connecting with people. However, I also had clients that refused to exercise online and they found it difficult to find an alternative.
My colleagues and I attempted various models of teaching Mindfulness online, however over time, it became very taxing and difficult to truly engage with people. Ultimately, human beings need face to face and physical connection.
What advice would you give to people to keep their physical and mental health in check especially in lockdown?
Put energy into the things that you can control, and let go of the things you can’t control.
You can control how much you look after yourself. You can control what you choose to focus your energy on. You can’t control Covid.
Don’t go to war with yourself, or your family over small things. Accept things are not ideal right now, and that it is ok not to feel your usual self.
There are still many positive things that you can do that are good for your mental and physical wellbeing such as going for a walk, doing some deep breathing and relaxation exercises, cooking a healthy meal, checking in with a friend, doing something kind for someone else, treating yourself with something that makes you feel good, doing something creative or learning something new.
Try to adopt a growth mindset - an attitude of positivity and belief that you can still find purpose, happiness and love in life, despite experiencing difficulty.
How do you de-stress?
Depending on how I am feeling will determine how I de-stress. After many years of practicing mindfulness, I have developed a better sense of self awareness so I am much more in tune with what I need to draw upon to manage my stress.
My number one de-stress strategy is to purposefully slow down my breathing. Long slow breaths calm down the nervous system. It really works.
A regular yoga practice and mindfulness practice keeps my stress levels in check.
Other ways I de-stress, particularly if my body feels tight and tired, is to have a bath with lots of magnesium salts. I also love to add essential oils. At the moment I’m loving adding in some drops of Arithmos body oils, especially the de-stress oil which is so calming on the mind.
Gardening, cuddling my dog, walking with a friend, massages, drinking red wine with a good meal, doing something positive, creative and keeping mentally stimulated also help to reduce stress.
What is your daily self-care ritual?
I’m not the most routine person, but there are some self care rituals that I do daily.
I take time every morning to pause. Sometimes it is for a few minutes, and sometimes it is for longer. During this pause, I mindfully drink my coffee and either do some Mindful meditation, breathing, reflection, visualisation or gratitude practice. Most days I go for a walk and do some stretching, yoga or strength work. I am very conscious about staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water. While I am far from perfect, I do try to eat well most days.
What’s your skincare routine?
Twice a day, I clean my face and massage it with an essential oil blend, and then moisturize. I always choose to use natural and organic products like the Arithmos range which, by the way, I’ve been really loving. Not only do they smell beautiful, but they feel incredibly soothing and nourishing on my skin. Having very sensitive skin, the Arithmos oils have been working really well.
Incorporating oils and aromatherapy into your daily routine is a great way to practice Mindfulness (which is all about becoming aware and present). When I massage the oil onto my face, temples or body, I take a moment to try and really become present by focusing my attention on the aromas of the oil, its texture, temperature and the sensation experienced by applying it. This little routine helps steady the mind, connect to present moment awareness, and appreciate the luxuries and beautiful things we do have.
Where did the idea to start an ethical gift box business come from?
During the bushfires, and then lockdowns, the importance and impact of doing kind things, giving, and supporting others became obvious. The seed had been planted for a business that could spread joy, profit and be meaningful. It made sense to approach ‘gifting’ with the same holistic values that I teach and live by. This meant sourcing products that are good for the body, the mind, environment and society. Ethical comes from the Greek word ‘ethos’ meaning moral character, moral sense and moral standards. Choosing to purchase and support ethical, Australian made and small businesses gives so much more meaning and value to what you do.