The Self Care Series: Amy Rushworth
Updated: Feb 1, 2019
Amy Rushworth @wellnesswithamy is a life coach, health and wellness enthusiast and fashion industry tycoon turned girl boss. We sat down with Amy to get her top tips for self care.
"Tell us about your personal journey to getting comfortable in your own skin."
My journey to self-love and self-acceptance took me 25 years. I had felt uncomfortable in my own skin since I was 10 years old. It was around this age that I had a traumatic experience that led me to believe there was something wrong with my body and I began comparing myself, physically, with the other girls around me. I was academically bright, but my focus became fixated on my physical appearance.
In my early 20s (aka my former life!) I worked as a fashion stylist – an industry, which is all about looking good and looking the part. This was perfect for me, because I had spent my entire life pretending I was happy, confident and self-secure.
Really, I had been struggling with my body and self-worth for a long time. I’d go through periods of intense dieting and exercise, abusing laxatives and over-exercising, to weeks of binge drinking, self-harming, taking drugs, smoking multiple packs of cigarettes a day and eating crap. You wouldn’t even recognise me compared to now. It took more than a few seriously dark, rock bottom moments to snap me back to reality. In 2014 I started having panic attacks and crippling anxious thoughts. In a period of a few months, I’d been through a breakup, the pressure at work was high, I’d been going out a lot and my mental health was really bad. I finally acknowledged that I needed help and sought out a therapist, who diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Not long after this, my body completely shut down on me and I was bedridden with pneumonia and burnout for a month.
This was a big turning point. I knew I had to turn things around and start treating myself with love and respect – starting with my physical body. I’d never felt more alone in my life at this time, so I knew it was up to me. I committed to being my own best friend and make self-compassionate choices in every area – from my health, to relationships to my social habits. I started focusing on the person I wanted to become and the values I wanted to be known for, rather than the way I looked to the world.
What started as an experiment to get healthier, turned into a full-blown personal and spiritual transformation that saw me quit my career, move abroad, start a business, cultivate an entirely new set of relationships and getting married! Naturally, when I started taking care of myself in this way, my health began to flourish anyway. I feel fabulously healthy and unimaginably happy and I practice deep daily gratitude for the body that survived so much.
Becoming comfortable “in my skin” never eventuated from reaching a goal weight, fixing my flaws or having an enviable designer wardrobe. I truly felt comfortable when I felt a deep love and thankfulness for the person I am on the inside.
"How do you help other women to find self love and practice self care, through your role in the wellness industry?"
Self-love (although now a buzz word!) is a pillar of the confidence coaching work I do. Practicing self-compassion is a key component of any type of behaviour change and an essential foundation of confidence. When we align our everyday behaviours and thoughts with self-compassion, we build self-esteem that helps us to take on challenges that might otherwise cripple our confidence. I give my clients the real-world tools to look at their mistakes as opportunities to be kinder and softer with themselves. I provide the support and guidance these women need to dial down their self-doubt and approach challenges as spiritual opportunities to love and trust themselves more deeply. When I’m not coaching, I’m sharing this work through talks, podcasts, retreats or workshops. Sharing authentically and being vulnerable are part of who I am – by sharing my messages and owning my light, I let other women know that they will be OK.
"What role do you think body image and our relationships with our bodies plays in emotional and mental well-being for women?"
Emotions are everything – I mean, we are emotional beings! Women are often socialised to conform to beauty standards from a very young age, believing that beauty equals power and popularity. Beauty is an extrinsic goal (a goal outside of you) therefore when we make our confidence or happiness depend solely on having a beautiful body – that confidence or happiness can be stripped away at any time. Equally, having a poor relationship with our body image will influence our mental well-being. Our physical bodies are also highly influenced by the health of our emotions. I can’t express to you how often in my coaching clinic, I have seen physical issues that spontaneously clear up once the client has the opportunity to really express their feelings. I’ve seen gut issues like IBS, hair loss and skin conditions clear up from being able to talk with me and move forward in more empowered, positive ways.
"What are your favourite self care rituals, when do you do them and why?"
My number 1 self-care ritual is my gratitude practice.
Every morning and evening I say aloud 3 things I am grateful for in my life. Before I start my work, I also sit down and write a full page of gratitudes, in addition to a daily intention for the day and a few key “milestones”. These practices bring my stress levels down and keep me focused on what I have, rather than all the things I don’t have “enough” time or energy to do.
Secondly, saying NO is a hugely powerful act of self-care. I’m a “yes” person and naturally want to help everyone. But if you try to help everyone, you can’t help anyone. So when I am feeling really overwhelmed or drained, I practice saying an empowered “no” to opportunities that aren’t essential and cancelling plans without feeling guilt or shame.
When all else fails, I’ll hit the sauna and meditate!
"What does being kind to yourself mean to you?"
Self-kindness is at the heart of everything I teach. It is so important! Self-kindness means honouring your relationship with yourself. Personally, I do this by checking in regularly with myself, being aware of how I’m feeling and honouring those feelings. If I’m feeling low or stressed, I’ll journal about my strengths or what I’m grateful for. Plus, I’ll have a heart-to-heart chat with my husband about how I’m feeling – allowing myself to express “negative” emotions or my inner worries has been hugely freeing for me, because in the past I have been a suppressor and someone who always puts on a brave face. Part of my mental health healing journey has been about learning to speak my mind more and expressing my true feelings.
"Social media can feel like a negative place when trying to be comfortable in your own skin. What advice would you give to make the most of social media as a tool, without letting it affect you negatively"
Social media gets a bad rap, but it’s also a hugely positive force for good. It’s allowed me to meet so many amazing women and it inspires me so much everyday. Our experience of social media and how it influences our self-worth, comes back to who and what you choose to consume. I personally follow people whose values I align with and who inspire me to be a better human being. If it’s comparison that is getting you down, I’d suggest getting clear on what it is in the world that really inspires you or lights you up, and follow people who exude that energy. I’d also recommend listening to my free audio masterclass (https://www.wellnesswithamy.com/audio) where I dive into some of the key reasons why we compare ourselves to other people and how to break free of that mindset.
"If there were one piece of advice you could give your former self, what would it be?"
I have no regrets about the past, because all those experiences created the Amy that I am today! However, I would probably tell my 10 year old self this…
You matter. The coolest person you’ll ever meet is yourself. You are the person that will make yourself feel most loved. You are the person who will be there to pick you up when you fall. You are the one that people need. First though, life is going to break you. You’re going to wonder where the light at the end of the tunnel is. But, one day you’re going to rise up and feel stronger, lighter and happier. And then you’ll realise that the light you found, was you.
Keep up with Amy on Instagram @wellnesswithamy and at www.wellnesswithamy.com for more tips & advice