Do you suffer from Rushing Women Syndrome?
I am a city a girl at heart, I love to be in a busy buzzing environment, I love my work and more often than not I am wearing one too many hats. I think it is very heavily promoted to be busy in our time and culture and with all the wonderful technology we use, it can become harder and harder to switch off. When I heard that Sydney-based Women's Coach Beth Bridges promotes The Slowing Down Movement, I was all ears...
Personally, my Kundalini Yoga practice has over the years provided an amazing grounding experience for me. Meditation has taught me so much and continues to do so.
I still think it is very good to hear that it is not only okay but not negotiable to slow down and take time for ourselves. Meet Beth Bridges! I hope you get inspired...
Tell us a little about yourself, how did you come to do what you are doing today? What is your background?
I've always been interested in the human body and 'why it does what it does'. After studying human biology at uni, I went on to do naturopathy. While I was studying I went through an intense bout of adrenal fatigue, anxiety and hormonal balances - little did I know that within a few years this would be the basis of my work with women! I believe we 'teach what we need to learn', and by talking to women about their hormonal health and overall wellbeing, and how to thrive on all levels in our busy society, I am preaching just as much to myself as I am to them! After practising straight naturopathy for awhile, I started to incorporate life coaching as it was becoming so apparent that so many of women's health issues were stemming from lifestyle and stress, factors which need to be changed at their roots in order for wellness to be restored.
I love the idea of the slow down movement, especially since being busy is usually heavily promoted online.
Can you tell us what it is and why you started it?
Women are the ULTIMATE people pleasers, and in this day and age the expectation seems to be that we can be 'everything to everyone'. Mothers, daughters, daughters-in-law, friends, sisters, business owners, full-time workers ... the list goes on. However, we ALL only have 24 hours in a day and I believe that this enormous pressure and load that we have allowed to be placed upon us is resulting in the undoing of women's health! People love to think that 'busy is better', but in my personal experience and with almost all the clients I see, it's being busy that is the root cause of the problem. We need to create more sustainable lifestyles for ourselves and stop running ourselves into the ground. Life is too precious to be a hormonally balanced ball of stress all the time. I started what I love to call 'the slow down movement' because I believe it's a movement that's truly needed in modern society, especially for women - whose delicate reproductive hormones are dramatically affected by stress and rushing!
Why do you think are women busier than ever?
Women are innately nurturers, and we always want to fix everything for everyone. We typically take on so much of the house and family role (whether we have kids or not), and then on top of this we've also become very career driven. There's nothing wrong with either of these scenarios, except that when you add them together, it generally results in one very overloaded woman who has little to no time, to look after herself. I so often see this leading to burnout and illness. When we don't listen to our bodies and look after them, they eventually force us to stop!
The other big factor here is that we're always seeking approval. I find that in general, women find it hard to say no, set boundaries, and let people down. It's inherent in us to want to help, which is such a blessing but can become detrimental when we're depleted and have nothing left to give.
How does our busy lifestyle affect our health and wellbeing?
A constantly busy lifestyle, with no downtime, typically results in a never-ending cascade of stress hormones being produced within the body. We now know that this stress hormone imbalance, especially over time, can affect all aspects of our health - including reproductive hormone imbalances, weight, immunity, sleep, digestion, and more. It's more common that ever for women to experience things like chronic PMS, endometriosis, PCOS, IBS, other digestive disturbances, burnout, adrenal fatigue, and other conditions. Stress is always my number one factor to address when working with women.
What is your number one tip that everyone can do to be more mindful starting from today?
I think it's important to have some amount of non-negotiable stillness every single day. I understand that we all have different commitments, and it can be hard to take time out. But when we dedicate even 15 minutes of our day to ourselves - without fail - then we create a little space in our lives. Some breathing room. From here, we can start to break that cycle of 'rush, rush, rush', and we learn to realise that life doesn't have to be one big rat race. Do whatever you like in that time - sit still with tea, journal, stretch, breathe, or just lie down on the carpet! The point is to create stillness.
How do you personally balance your work and life?
For me, nothing is worth becoming burnt out anymore - I've been there, done that. Of course, I have my moments, but when i can see that the stress is spiralling and I'm getting signs and symptoms telling me so, then I always make a huge effort to pull back on things that aren't essential. I take time out for myself every single day, whether it be a yoga class, a walk, time on the couch with my puppy, reading, journalling, or meditating. I don't see this as self-indulgent because I know I can't do my work properly if I'm not feeling great. I also try to live intuitively - I don't push myself beyond my boundaries and have more of a 'consistent action each day' approach to my business, than a 'drive myself into the ground then rest' approach. I love my work and want to be able to show up each day for it - feeling great.
What do you offer your clients? How do your sessions work?
I offer coaching programs now (either 3 sessions or 7 sessions). I do these mostly over Skype, although I do see some clients in person. I initially have my clients fill out quite a thorough questionnaire so both they and I have a good idea of what we want to work out. We address not only physical issues but also mental / emotional / spiritual factors in their lives. My aim with my clients is to have them walking away having created a sustainable way of living for themselves, that supports THEIR health. I find that authenticity and 'living what you love' comes up a lot with clients - because it's SO important that our work and our lives reflect who WE are, not who society tells us to be! Ultimately, I just love to see women feeling empowered, confident, and worthy of living the life that they would love to.
What is your favourite self-love ritual?
Definitely yoga! Yoga changed everything for me years ago, and it's always going to be my 'go-to'. I just love it. If I'm feeling imbalanced - whether physically or energetically - yoga is always the answer. I'm so grateful for this amazing practice!
What means beauty to you?
Women shine from the inside out when their hormones are balanced. And hormones are balanced when we are living fulfilling, nourishing lives. So, to me, beauty is just a reflection of someone who is being 100% authentic and true to themselves. People who do this have a radiance that can't be matched in any other way. All women are beautiful, and we have the opportunity to shine brightest when we step up and give our true selves to the world.
THANK YOU BETH, for sharing your wisdom!
All photos by Gabriela Fern