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“It was the biggest mistake of my life, to not prioritise myself, because of the level of exhaustion I was at, I had to figure out what self-care was.” 90's Dolly Cover girl Alison Daddo.
It’s either the last day of August or the first day of September, depending on where you are in the world and where this newsletter lands.
And on that note, before you strap in, it’s a doozy; I wanted to acknowledge you and your presence on my sporadic (of late) newsie and thank you for being here.
This newsletter has had many evolutions and began way back in my Raw Vegan and travel blogging days (hello, my Girl on Raw readers) in 2010 when I offered a freebie of my 5 top raw recipes! It went like hotcakes, and my email list grew without any need for ads or shouting about it on social media. My SEO was hot! I still didn’t even know what that was then, but let's just say I had high traffic to my website. My newsletter was a way for me to have two-way convos with my blog readers.
I’ve effectively been writing to some of you for 12 years :) Of course, many of you haven’t been on here that long, but wow, what a ride, eh?
With that in mind, I’d love for you to send me a short note if you feel inclined to let me know how and when you joined my email list, what it was for and where you are in the world. I’d like to get to know you better.
So evolution is natural, is it not? Although my consistent theme has always been expressionist writing, since way back in my childhood, I dreamt of being the first child novel writer until I found out about S.E. Hinton, who wrote The Outsiders, when she was 15.
I loved English and then began my studies as an English and Home Economics teacher, but like many things, I didn’t complete them.
I started my travel and then health/raw food blog in 2008, before the age of the social media ‘influencer’ or term ‘content creator’. I was essentially just sharing my travels as a flight attendant in Saudi and how I remained healthy on the road and in hotel rooms.
Before Facebook even offered paid advertising, and I knew how to monetise my blog, I amassed a healthy, loyal, beautiful worldwide community of readers, which exploded when I documented my travels to the USA to train in Oklahoma as a raw food chef.
I had no idea what I was doing, but it was fun, and I could continue writing and sharing and building connections with friends worldwide.
I met my online hero in person in Arizona, Kristen Suzanne, who was my first blog binge and introduced me to the raw food world before I’d even considered starting a blog myself.
I answered the call in 2011 and wrote my first ebook - Travelling in the Raw. Part prescriptive, part recipes with guest contributions from others I’d admired online. Despite its unprofessional appearance, that PDF flew off the virtual shelves, and I woke up to constant dinging from PayPal. The ebook provided value at $7.
I began running in-person workshops both locally and when I travelled. Woman’s Day called me Australia’s Leading Raw Chef. I did private classes and groups, and those that couldn’t come to my classes in person asked for an online version. So I created it again, not understanding what I was doing but learning as I went, offering a video course of my in-person events.
Years later, after investing in coaches and courses to refine my skills and professionalise my business and after more events, I teamed up with another blogger, Adele McConnell, Vegiehead, to share what we’d learnt with up-and-coming food bloggers. This program took us to Bali and introduced us to many incredible women.
I took a little break after this to focus on my young family, and during this time, I was renegotiating my next moves as I felt I had shed my skin as a raw foodist and was seeking something similar but different. Fortunately, I could invest in my family and my relationship with myself during this time. I found myself drawn to intensive self-development and changed my body and mind. I wasn't thinking about my professional life at all and wrote purely for myself.
After several years, I decided to use these writings to put my book The Body Plan together, and I quietly launched it in 2019. I say ‘quietly’ because we used little digital marketing despite my launch knowledge. This book was a passion project, and I knew I would return later. During the writing and development of this book with my editor, we pulled out material for the 2nd and 3rd complementary books, which have not yet been published.
I did more study, coached more women, spoke at events, networked with emerging and established entrepreneurs in the Gulf, and kept moving forward.
I don’t need to talk about the last couple of years as we’ve lived them. Pivoting is a massive theme, and I don’t want to take us back.
We returned to our home country after 16 years abroad last year, and I hit the ground running. I was offered an unbeatable opportunity to work with a company I had been an early adopter of and regularly used in my own business in a role that seemed made for me. Community Manager at Canva. It was brilliant, and all my skills and strengths could be utilised. The company was fantastic, I worked directly with another business owner I’d met years ago at a digital marketing conference, and it was working from home. LOVED IT.
But the timing was off. I hadn’t had time to settle my family; we moved between homes and schools two times before arriving at our permanent home, my kids (and us) were dealing with reverse culture shock, my daughter became extremely sick, and we almost lost her. Then I got shingles, and my self-care has been virtually non-existent. I was in constant survival mode, waiting for the next week for life to improve.
I had been pushing through too much. Almost a year after I began at Canva, I reluctantly put that part of my life on pause. It wasn’t easy, and I left the most fantastic team and community, but home life and I had to take priority for the time being.
I hit 45 this year; I just found out I have endometriosis (God knows how I got to his age and only just found this out!), I’m staring down the barrel of peri-menopause and learning to live with neurodiversity in my family, and high school is looming in our life next year. I guess you could say that life is pretty full right now. But isn’t it for everyone?
So as I take stock of life’s blessings and have open palms to what’s in store professionally for me next year (we have a few rumblings of things that we’re slowing marinating on), I look back on this evolution of self and think whoa, what a lot to cram in. I still have so much more to learn, fail, and complete, with many projects on the go.
But the biggest thing is, we are right where we dreamed we wanted to be years ago. We are back in our home country, living on the land we plan to make as self-sufficient as possible, surrounded by like-minded people, close enough to the beach and the mountains, and radically simplifying our lives, one step at a time.
As we head into September, my soft focus is Self Care September.
I kicked off early, starting over a week ago, easing myself back into my go-tos when reclaiming my self-care.
Things I’m proclaiming to do daily are:
Focus on improving my nutrition (this has been non-existent for the last 18 months) - I’m back to a protocol that I know works for me, focusing on anti-inflammation.
Taking my supplements
Meditation, even if it’s only 5mins
Practising gratitude and positive self-talk
Cooking and meal preparation for my family
Connection with friends
Bed before 10 pm (9 even better)
Family fun time: beach, walks, cleaning the garden together, chats over dinner. Whatever time allows but make sure it’s daily
Many of these are problematic when we’re so time-poor - believe me, I get it, but I am ensuring these are non-negotiables.
Ali Daddo, 90’s Dolly cover girl, said, “it was the biggest mistake of my life, to not prioritise myself, it’s a massive mistake. Because when perimenopause came a calling, the symptoms were so much bigger because of the level of exhaustion I was at, and I had to figure out what self-care was.”
So I invite you to join me for Self Care September. Just pick a few things you’ve meant to do for yourself but keep putting them to the bottom of the list. Don’t go crazy; select a couple you know you can achieve.
Hit me up and let me know what you plan to do, or even better, come to my little community here, Self: A Journey Back to You, for accountability. I’d love to see you there.
Anyway, thanks so much for reading; I have so much I’d love to continue to share with you through here, not so much my socials if you’re interested in following along our homesteading-ish journey where us city slickers grew and learn how to take care of ourselves and get back to basics, let me know.
PS if you got this far, don’t forget to reply to me with what brought you to my newsletter, and where in the world you’re located. Would love to hear from you
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