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  • Finding Yourself And Celebrating Individuality With Sandy Martin

    1st October 2021

    1st October 2021

    By Allison Strang

    Fitness instructor and wellness enthusiast, Sandy Martin, radiates confidence when it comes to knowing who she is. In a world where it's easy to lose yourself to whatever is going on in the chaos, she finds a way to stay grounded, to be true to herself and to enjoy the experience. We sat down with her to discuss the significance of individuality, the challenges she's faced and her advice for those who are struggling to find their identity.

    Tell us about yourself! Where are you from and what do you do?

    Hey, I’m Sandra but everyone calls me Sandy. Born and raised in North west London and I’m a rigorous multitasker. I love keeping busy - fitness instructor by day and superhero at night (joke). Seriously I’m a spin instructor, model, creative and wellness enthusiast.

    How did you get into fitness originally?

    I always loved being active. I got invited to try out classes through my agency and started training. Because I was at the studio so often, I got offered an opportunity to train and audition to become an instructor. It all kicked off from there really.

    There’s a ton of fitness instructors out there - how do you stand out as an individual in your field?

    I’ve been called the queen of smooth and complimented on my playlists. To be honest, I think it’s easy to stand out when you’re being yourself. No one can be you, and we all have our own superpowers. There’s so much room for what everyone has to offer. For me, I know I have a purpose and reason to move and be active. I am grateful that I can move because I had days where I couldn’t. For me, that makes me stand out.

    How would you describe your identity?

    I actually wouldn’t be able to describe it, you know. My purpose is to keep growing towards a better me, so my identity is always changing. I don’t ever want to stay stagnant or to be defined by words. I don’t think I was made to be described but made to be experienced.

    What does individuality mean to you?

    Freedom in just being and living authentically - feeling as free as water, having the ability to flow and grow and expand where needed. Being myself and growing in myself and choosing myself every day. Individuality should make you happy.

    How does your identity define who you are?

    I think we define who we are to be honest. We don’t have to fit in a box or have to be labelled. I just enjoying being with no expectations. Just being and growing in the directions that make me happy.

    What challenges have you faced, if any, in discovering what makes you, you?

    I think the biggest challenge for me was when I got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. It changed my life. It’s difficult accepting a part of yourself, especially a weakness that is unexplainable. It's been difficult, mentally and physically, but I had to learn to accept this part of me. My physical weakness became my greatest mental and emotional strength. I feel grateful for the things I used to take for granted about myself - a weak part of me is just as important as the strong parts. My challenging moments make me, me. My ability to overcome and persevere.

    What advice would you give to anyone who’s struggling with finding their identity?

    Stop looking for what you think you want to find. Explore, be open to learning and growing and, most importantly, make mistakes because those are the biggest lessons and biggest life growth spurts. Lastly, stop overthinking. We are tuned to be who we are, take the focus off the external and switch it internally. We have all of the answers we need within us.

    To keep up with Sandy, follow her on Instagram

    Other Insights

    Finding Balance and Inner Peace with Brin McKinnon
    This month, we sat down with Innermost Insider Brin McKinnon to discuss inner peace, managing conflict and maintaining balance. Representing us in Australia, Brin is a true Innermost Insider, having loved our products since she was a London native. Funny, thoughtful and eloquent, even with the 11 hour time difference making the interview 1am for her; this one's definitely worth the read. Hey Brin! Tell us about yourself! Hi, my name is Brin, and I am currently studying a Bachelor of International Relations at the Australian National University, whilst also working as a management consultant and freelancing. I've been using Innermost products since 2018 when I used to live in London, and since then they’ve been my favourite products, specifically in terms of vegan products. I then became an ambassador this year, because I wanted to share my love of Innermost products with other people. My favourite platform at the moment is my YouTube channel where I actually recently spoke about Innermost and the products I’ve been loving. View this post on Instagram A post shared by B r i n 🌱 (@brindarcey) Our theme this month is peace. So, the first question I want to ask is, what does peace mean for you, in your own life? A lot of the time in the health and wellness industry, the focus is on the physical and specifically on aesthetics, but I think that it’s really important to understand our health as something that's part of a bigger whole. It’s not just physical - it’s mental too, and that’s why, personally, peace is such a big thing for me, mental-health wise. Mental health is such an important part of our overall wellbeing and I think finding peace is really central to looking after your mental health. I wouldn't say I'm naturally a peaceful person but it’s a process to find that sense of inner-peace and maintain it. What process do you undertake to cultivate your inner peace? What steps have you taken? Over the last few years, I've definitely been taking steps to improve my relationship with myself and I suppose, in a way, to relax a little. As I mentioned, I think that it's definitely a process, and how you cultivate inner peace depends a lot on the individual. For me, a lot of that is spending time in nature, taking walks and exercising outside. I also think that meditating can also be useful, but I think that something that can dissuade people from meditation a bit and definitely dissuaded me was the idea that there’s only one way to meditate. But I think that just finding something that's meditative to you can be really useful in cultivating inner peace and it doesn’t have to be sitting down with your eyes closed. It can be spending time outside with your family or your friends, or even just watching a television show that makes your mind switch off for a bit. The first step to cultivating inner peace is finding what brings you peace. How do you make peace with your mistakes or regrets? I think that I'm quite lucky because I'm naturally quite good at letting things go and I don't necessarily regret things. So unfortunately, that's not going to be helpful for everyone. But I think that, for anyone, letting yourself come to terms with your emotions and letting yourself feel those emotions, is the most important step in making peace with them. However, I also think it’s then important to not hold on to those negative thoughts and feelings for too long. Once you’ve let yourself feel those emotions, you then need to accept them. A lot of the time your ego can get in the way of this step, but you need to be humble and say “okay, I've made a mistake”, perhaps get advice from friends or family and then just take time to reflect on yourself. In the end, the most important step is letting go; it's so important to accept and then move forward, otherwise we let things that we've done in the past continue to hold us back in the future. Is there anything that disrupts your peace and how do you manage it? I’m a person who doesn't necessarily enjoy change. So any small thing that happens in my day could completely derail how I'm feeling and that's something I'm definitely working on. But as I mentioned, it's a process. It's not going to happen overnight. The way I deal with this is not over-committing, organising, scheduling and planning things, but also respecting that things change and that's okay. In addition to this, I've also been going to therapy for a few years and I think that's been really important for me as well. Therapy is typically seen as something just for people who are deeply suffering with their mental health but, I think that therapy can be for everyone. It's just a really useful tool to break down the way that you think and the way that you approach situations that can derail your inner peace. And its been really important for me in my journey to protecting my peace from those day-to-day disruptions. How do you manage conflict with other people? I think that these last few years have been particularly emotionally challenging for everyone. So I think that an increase in interpersonal conflict is something that's inevitable. I'm definitely naturally quite a combative person and I'm anxious-avoidant in my relationships, so I have felt this in my life too. Whilst I do think that it's important to stand up for yourself and for what you believe in, I also think that approaching people with respect, openness and honesty is the best way forward when you're having a conflict with someone. Of course, not all interpersonal conflict is going to be fixable but that's okay. Sometimes we need to let relationships go as well. Beautiful you’ve been open and honest with people then you can move forward knowing you don’t regret how you’ve handled the situation. View this post on Instagram A post shared by B r i n 🌱 (@brindarcey) Do you feel like your nutrition is important in being in that good headspace? Absolutely. I think that nutrition is incredibly important. There’s a massive connection between your physical and mental health so eating a balanced diet is really important. I don't believe in restricting certain food groups, because I think this can actually disrupt your peace. However, I think by listening to your body and viewing nutrition as fuel rather than something to be labelled good or bad, you can make nutrition benefit your peace. For example, for me eating protein is really important because I'm vegetarian. I find it easiest to do this by using a vegan protein, so it’s about finding ways to make nutrition work for you. I actually think that finding balance in our lives is probably the best way to cultivate inner peace, across the board. We can't always strive for perfectionism but I don't think we should be happy with mediocrity either. We need to be somewhere in the middle; striving to do the best for ourselves in the moment that we're in. That’s where you find peace. To keep up with Brin, check out her Instagram! Read more
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