Faiza: A healthy lifestyle for me is living a life full of happiness.
Tamsin: So for me healthy living is all about respecting my mind, respecting my body, and remembering that what goes into my body can affect my mind and everything is connected.
Raul: It’s exercise, moderately, eating balancely and also thinking positively.
Laurie: Sometimes it sounds selfish but I put myself above everything else. My relationships are important, my work is important, my life is important but my mental health, myself; my health is the most important thing to me.
Raul: Would you say there was a time where you felt like you struggled with your health?
Fazia: Yeah, absolutely. Like I think, we’re all struggling and it’s all a journey to be able to find your optimum health. Like I feel like there’s such a big bracket of what healthy living is and what a healthy lifestyle is, especially like having a long term condition I never know what healthy is.
I was born with something called congenital heart disease. Living a life with a heart condition is quite a tough battle. It started from a young age, really, where I had to take care of my heart. I needed to look after myself because when you are born with a long term condition, you’ve got no choice but to take charge of you because no one else will do that.
And every single day I’m learning a little bit more of what I do regard as healthy and what I don’t anymore.
Raul: It was about same when I was about a teen, 15, I weren’t too happy with how I looked.
Raul: My body type is not your normal model. I’m a bit bigger, a bit brawner. Growing up I was made to feel like I was different, not by people, but the fashion industry, what was advertised, what we see on TV, magazines.
That just had a massive effect on me. So, now I’m a brawn model.
Laurie: So I think when we talk about health quite a lot of the time people think about fitness and about what they’re eating. But for me, especially, learning that health is not just physical health, its mental health, but they are one and the same. And a time in my life when I really, really struggled was not physically, it was mentally and I was very, very anxious, I was struggling to sleep, I was having really bad panic attacks and that’s when, you know, I would go out and I’d be drinking for confidence because I didn’t feel like my life was what I wanted it to be.
Two and a half years ago I decided to stop drinking. I was working and had a job and had friends. My life looked normal from the outside, but on the inside I was waking up with a hangover and feeling less productive and without realising it drinking had expanded into my life. And it took quite a lot of work to get out of that and I had to have you know quite a lot of support from friends and family and reading and going to the doctors and really having to take my health in my hands and my responsibility and actually, for a little while, letting go of trying to be my best self to just be my actual self.
Tasmin: I completely understand what you’re on about because I’ve been through that as well. I did this job it was a 4 month contract. Started off really great and it was my first time doing this new role/position higher up so I was like really excited, really eager and keen. And I didn’t want anything to go wrong. I didn’t want anybody to doubt me. So I was like working as hard as I could. I was working really long days and I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t respecting myself, and that brought my whole body my mind down to the ground. And, taking time away from work and resetting everything. Just grounding myself and not being pressured to succeed in my career more than look after myself was a really important lesson for me to make. I was neglecting my body, I wasn’t sleeping at all and sleep is so vital because now I try and get at least 8 hours of sleep, because my body needs sleep.
Laurie: So what choices did you make to live a healthier and happier life?
Raul: I started being a little more active, moderately. So I was playing football again, I was playing rugby again, I was going to the gym. Fit made me feel a lot better and I started thinking differently. So the people I was following on my social media and the people I was talking to I was around, reminded me that it’s okay to be me.
Faiza: Similar sort of things, like, healthy eating has always been a massive part to my life and my well-being in terms of taking care of my heart but also believe yoga and mindfulness really, really made a massive difference in my life. It’s really just changed my perspective to be in the present moment, and to just simply live life as it is.
Tamsin: I started skateboarding, like having a hobby is really important for my mental health and making me happy and especially to live a healthier life, because I’m doing something I enjoy but I’m also exercising my body and using/getting rid of those negative thoughts, creating happy memories, creating new feelings with new people.
Laurie: To live a healthy lifestyle you just need the foundation. You just need the basics. To be eating enough and sleeping enough and talking to your friends.
Tamsin: What would you say to your younger self?
Faiza: I think the biggest learning curve I found is drinking well, eating well, having a healthy relationship with exercise is all to do with a healthy lifestyle and healthy well-being.
Raul: I think being healthy looks different and is different for everybody, it’s not defined by shape or size.
Laurie: So it took me a long time to learn this: school, work, exercise, friends, it’s all important but you are the most important thing in your life. So you need to look after you and everything else is a focus, but you need to be the central person in your life.