Core Conversations x Hollie Azzopardi

Being a Body Love Advocate, what are your top tips for owning your own shape? How do you stay positive in your own skin?

To be completely comfortable in our own skin and truly love the body we are given, the love MUST stem from deeper than what we see physically when we look in the mirror. If I could narrow it down to say my top 3 tips to owning your own shape (because there are SO many tools to use) they would be:

Pay attention to your inner dialogue when you look at yourself in the mirror. What are the words you are using? How are you talking to yourself? Start to catch your inner-chatter when it isn’t loving or positive, and switch it up. So if you notice you are saying to yourself “I am so fat” - acknowledge it, and then change the dialogue to something positive about yourself, like “I have beautiful hair” or “I am a good and kind person”. This takes time and you may find the negative comments outweigh the positives at first. This is okay - just chip away slowly, until you no longer speak poorly about yourself (much easier said than done, I know!)

Make self-love practices a daily priority. The more love we give ourselves, the more love we will FEEL for ourselves. Start to fill your cup with things that truly light you up - that could be spending time with inspiring people, reading a beautiful book, cooking healthy and nourishing meals, spending time in nature - anything that brings you true joy! Take time for these things every single day - they really matter. 

Journal, journal, journal. Whether it be your weight you are obsessing with, or something else to do with your appearance, start to uncover WHY it is such a point of fixation for you. When you look in the mirror and don’t like your legs, for instance, ask yourself why not? Is it because of a comment someone once made when you were younger? Or because you think they should look a different way? And if so, why do you think this? Keep asking WHY and getting to the bottom of these stories we tell ourselves. Most of the time feelings of a lack of self worth will be uncovered - “If I am overweight, no one will like me” - which is actually not true. These body image beliefs stem so much deeper than what we physically see (which is why focusing on our mental health as much as our physical health is SO important). 

Even as a body love advocate, I still have my days where I will feel a bit ‘meh’ about my body - but I can usually trace it back to having eaten something that wasn’t nourishing or not taking proper care of myself mentally (packing too much in a week, for instance). I have found, in my experience, it is rarely about your body, and more often than not comes back to the stories we are telling ourselves. If we can catch ourselves out in these moments, body love is a given - because we are loving the PERSON that we are, regardless of carrying a ‘few extra kilos’ or not! 

 

Having dealt with anxiety yourself, what steps did you take, are you taking and what methods do you choose to take to transcend anxiety?

I have had generalised anxiety disorder since I was about 6 years old - it is genetic in my family and something that I was very used to growing up.

Panic attacks were a regular occurrence for me, however this did become detrimental when they became a ‘normal’ part of my everyday life (which they don’t need to be!) It wasn’t until a serious bout of adrenal fatigue in 2015 that I was slapped in the face with the severity of anxiety and just how taxing stress can be on our bodies. I wasn’t able to exercise at all - not even a light walk or yoga - I had to spend all my spare time in bed, not to mention how seriously unwell I was.

My first point of call was to reach out to a naturopath, who helped me give my lifestyle a complete overhaul, including:

A diet upgrade - no more gluten, dairy or sugar, and lots more protein (to stabilise blood sugars)

On that actually - no coffee. At all. Ever. If you have anxiety, don’t drink it. 

Sleep as a priority - 9 hours a night, non-negotiable (my nightly routine gets me ready for sleep each night)

Finding light exercise I truly enjoy (enter yoga and nature walks!)

Discovering my true passions and what actually lights me up (no more working just for the money!)

Taking time to REST - every single day - to alleviate the stress my adrenals had been under

Supplementation including liquid herbs and other supplements to keep my nervous system in check

Taking up meditation and deep breathing to ensure my body does not operate in fight or flight

Seeking therapy to talk things out with a trained professional

A daily journalling practice to get out of my head and into my heart

You can see there is not just one quick fix - these are things I continue to dedicate time to, to this day. A lot of the time people think it is a quick fix, or they see the changes that need to be made and can’t be bothered. But I am so glad I continue to work at it, it has benefited my quality of life in so many ways. 

 

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How important is it for you to enjoy the simple things in life, what do you ensure you make time for through your week?

Mindfulness and enjoying the moment are two practices I am so incredibly conscious of, although they are both things I continue to work on each day. It is so important that we take time out to enjoy life for what it is - the beauty of nature, our loving relationships, the really simple things like cuddling my puppy or walking in the forest close to my home. We can get so caught up in our day to day ‘to do’ lists that we forget life is made OUTSIDE of these things.

My non-negotiables each week that I always make time for include:

Time in nature - I always make sure to go for a walk in the forest near my home, at least a couple of times a week. I often sit and watch a little waterfall for a bit, and also hug a few trees along the way!

Music - any time I am cleaning, or doing any housework, I make sure I have music pumping and make a full performance out of it. My favourites at the moment have been the 90s Greatest Hits playlist on Spotify, and also a really mellow Ed-Sheereny one I found. Music is SUCH a simple pleasure and makes my soul smile 

Rest - rest is a guaranteed not just each week, but each day. I always eat my breakfast in the sun outside and take time to start my day slowly

Space - I keep my Sundays free, and rarely commit to ANYTHING on a Sunday. This allows me the space and luxury to do whatever I choose that day, and it changes all the time. Space is such a priority for me

Journalling - without fail. When we quieten our minds, our souls have such wisdom to share with us!

Meditation - every single morning without fail. Connecting with my breath enables a centred start to the day 

Body movement of some kind - whatever I feel like that week. Be it yoga, or weights, or walking - it doesn’t matter, so long as I move in some way

Laughter - and lucky I have some hilarious friends! Laughing is the highest vibrational frequency we can express, so it is an absolute must in my week!

We live such a fast paced life, how do you stay grounded and on your own path? What is your go to practice?

I am learning more and more about grounding my energy, as I am quite a flighty, ‘up’ person - so grounding takes a LOT of work for me.

I find my morning routine really sets me up for a good and grounded start to the day, including:

10 minutes of guided meditation (imagining a ball of light grounding into the earth and surrounding my body with white light protection)

10 minutes of journalling - to get everything from my head onto the page

Oracle cards - I pull a few to guide me for the day ahead and take their messages seriously

Essential oils - Cedarwood is my favourite grounding oil at the moment, I apply it to the soles of my feet and also inhale straight from the bottle

Nature - walking in nature is my ultimate grounding exercise, I always feel better for it when I start my day surrounded by trees

When I find I need a quick grounding ‘hit’ throughout the day, I will take off my shoes and stand outside on the grass, or even lie down in under the sun. Reconnecting with belly breathing is a biggie for me too. 

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Since creating powerful change in your life, how did you over come the fear of letting go of things that didn’t serve your positive purpose any longer? What have you discovered since doing so?

Truth be told, I haven’t experienced much fear in letting things go - I find they always naturally unfold the way they should. This involves complete TRUST and surrender, which can be hard. Yes, in creating significant change in my life, there have been flow-on changes in my day-to-day job (I work for myself now, not anyone else), my friendships have evolved and changed and even the way I am with money, food, exercise and spirituality. It has all changed. But change isn’t a bad thing. It is NECESSARY for our growth. And that excites me. I know some people can get caught up on the fear of change, but if we resist it we will never grow. And where is the fun in that? 

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