Lisa Horgan is our in-house certified health coach and has been teaching yoga for over 10 years!
She's extremely passionate about health and wellness and how each unique individual can incorporate daily practices into their lives to live it to the fullest. So, we thought it was a particularly great time to have a chat with her about the importance of self-care.
Lisa is chatting with us about something that I think is very close to all of our hearts—mental health. I think if we haven’t personally suffered from mental health issues, we all have a loved one who has.
I wondered if you could first tell us why you think it's so important to take care of yourself?
It is the most important job of all! The most effective way to take care of others and really contribute to this life in the most positive and impactful way possible is to take care of yourself first. If we’re depleted we have no capacity to contribute fully and if we’re sick we’re no good to anyone.
Where has this self-care movement really emerged from?
Awareness! The arrival of the internet has allowed for us to have all this knowledge about health and wellness. We read stories and get to see other people living in a way that’s really appealing and we naturally want a piece of that. At the tip of our fingers we can discover self-care strategies and alternative therapies that have the ability to radically change our lives, very cool when you think about it and really empowering.
Also we tend to complain a lot about the negative impact social media has on our mental health but we shouldn't ignore that the introduction of social media has also increased understanding of mental health and helped to decrease the stigma.
What one thing has made the most of an impact in improving your mental health?
Yoga. Discovering a yoga practice that I loved had the biggest impact on my mental and physical health. Pre yoga I didn't have the right tools to help myself. What I did have was lots of negative coping mechanisms for my emotions—overeating, over-drinking, overthinking—to name a few! Initially, yoga enabled me to get out of my head and more into my body. From a physical stance, I became stronger and over time, my mind also became stronger and more balanced. I was able to handle external stressors with more clarity & ease and became way less triggered in general.
Do you believe what we eat can have an impact on how we feel emotionally?
Yes and no. I believe that eating junky crappy food all the time would most certainly lead to health issues and doesn't lend itself well to an energised body. But food has become so demonised—especially in the yoga world, and with this wave of wellness we’re on, we give food way too much power.
It’s okay to eat the odd chocolate bar and have a few beers, or eat that pizza if you really fancy it—and don't feel guilty, enjoy it!
What foods do you think make you feel the best?
Whole foods—foods that are the least processed; home-cooked food; food that doesn't come in a package or hasn’t been made in a factory; balanced out with the occasional indulgence. I do have a sweet tooth so in an attempt to keep that under control, I try to bake my own sweet treats like cake or cookies; at least that way I know what’s in it and will try to add a more nutritional element such as hemp seeds or CBD to my cookies. So, still a treat but also taking care of my body by giving it a little extra boost!
I know you’re also a yoga teacher. How important is it to be in touch with our bodies and how we move + breathe?
An awareness of mind-body connection is so important for mental health. Even calling it mental health is misleading as our minds are so intrinsically linked to our bodies. Our bodies are always communicating with us, and in fact, when we perceive an external threat we feel it in our body as a physical sensation first, the mind will process after. So the regular practice of getting in touch with our body and connecting with the breath is super important when it comes to personal wellbeing.
How do you like to start your day and end it? Do you practice any rituals?
I try to stay off of tech as long as possible, at least take a moment and drink my coffee before reaching for my phone in the morning. I always make sure I have a big glass of water with a squirt of Kurk. Then I will move my body, even if it’s just a simple few yoga stretches to get things moving.
In the evening, same with tech—super important for me to come off any screen at least 2 hours before bed, otherwise I really struggle to sleep. Most evenings I will make myself a herbal tea and then read until my eyes feel heavy.
And finally, what is one thing you wish you could tell everyone?
I love this quote, when this really sunk in it created so much freedom in my thinking— “I stopped explaining myself when I realised that people only understand things from their level of perception." It helps me to practice compassion and take conversations way less personally. We all come to the table with our own unique life experiences and we all have the right to our own opinions. If we all spent more time focused on our own wellbeing and less time trying to convince the world that we’re right, then we’d have a much more enjoyable experience in the relatively short time we have left on this beautiful planet.