People pleaser, perfectionist, keeper of the peace, always smiling, last to leave the office, always giving 110%...
For years I have long wore these as badges of pride.
Pride covered up the fear of showing weakness, and the need to ask for help. But it was also the reason for not standing up for what I truly needed.
Put together a stressful job, an uncontrollable environment, and an anxious perfectionist and the outcome ain't pretty. I let the heavy burden of expectation from others and myself drive my mental and physical well-being into the ground.
This was the pivotal point when I realized that I was the one responsible for my own health.
Slowly since then I've been building a personal support system. Taking away big stress triggers, making time for consistent exercise & meditation, putting care into important relationships, and practicing healthier & more wholesome eating. And I also decided to start seeing a naturopath.
I was tired of feeling like a number and being rushed through my doctor's office as fast as possible. Frustrated with being given solutions that barely scratched the surface of addressing the root cause. (Do not get me wrong, I think we should visit our GP's regularly, but for me it just wasn't enough).
And this is when I met Lindsey, the co-owner of Mahaya Health Services in Toronto. A passionate and multi-talented woman who graduated from Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine with a specialty in mental health and mind-body integrative medicine. Her background combines a science degree in Kinesiology as well as certified yoga teacher training. Because she has such a vast diversity of knowledge and experience, she is able to improve the health and quality of life of her patients through a holistic approach. Exactly what I was looking for!
She is clearly devoted to the work she does and specializes in anxiety, stress, depression, eating disorders, and sexuality issues, including the health needs of the LGBQT community. She compliments her treatments with nutrition, herbs, homeopathy, and acupuncture. What I appreciate most is that she truly believes in having a deeper connection with our bodies & minds. And that true healing starts when we nurture this connection.
Outside of her role at Mahaya, she also co-founded the beautiful and inspirational Body Monologues project (inspired by Eve Ensler). A space to create awareness and dialogue about the physical experiences in our bodies. Body Monologues helps people people learn to take care and honour themselves and take experiences of self abuse/hate and transform them to self love and acceptance.
The more I learn about Lindsey and her work, the more I'm inspired by her passion and her views on health. Read more of her inspirational words and advice:
What drives you? What's your mission?
People drive me.
I love the complexity, the beauty, and the difference of all human beings.
As a business owner I see this in the practitioners and staff that work in my clinic. These people are continually pushing me and inspiring to do more and do better. As a naturopathic doctor, I’m aware that it’s a great privilege to hear the internal worlds of patients. I am awestruck by the stories of vulnerability.
Was there a key/favourite moment in your experience so far that has made it all worth it?
We ran our first strategic planning session with Mahaya Health Services this past spring. Getting practitioners together on our precious weekends can be hard, but for those who came out made it all worth while. Their vision, their passion and their passion to build the Mahaya community and working together towards one vision helps to make the late nights and early mornings all worth it. I think this is a key moment because it is reminder of the power of working with a team and that we can’t do it alone.
What is your favourite way to nourish yourself and your health?
There are so many. Taking care of myself has been always been at the forefront, since I was a young competitive athlete. I would say my favourite thing is SLEEP. I love sleep and I love feeling refreshed in the morning, which is also probably why I love the mornings. Exercise and eating veggies are probably next on the list.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
When I’m reminded to be my authentic self. This means doing what I love, seeing patients, planning programs, working with people. Working with people feeds my soul, it gives me energy and ultimately beauty inside and out.
If you had one piece of advice for the next generation of young women, what would it be?
You don’t have to have a plan, one passion or one idea.
You just need to lead with your heart and let this be your guide. You will end up exactly where you are suppose to.
If I could add a second piece of advice it would be to form strong and meaningful relationships. I don’t mean networking with the right people, I mean taking time and getting to know individuals. Taking pride and being conscious of your interactions with people and build authentic relationships where you have built a connection.