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  • Self Love & Becoming Your Own Best Friend with Mandy Smith

    1st February 2022

    1st February 2022

    By Catherine Hargreaves

    A new year represents a new chapter. For most people, this means goals, resolutions and, often, an immense pressure to achieve them. For Mandy Smith, fitness professional, lifestyle ambassador and Innermost Insider, a new year means another 365 days of honouring herself, embracing growth and experiencing the world around her with a refreshing openness that makes you instantly drawn to her. Something which she attributes to her commitment to self-love. So, we took the time to sit down with her to discuss self-love, her journey, and how to overcome the pressures of the New Year.

    So, Mandy, tell me about yourself!

    I'm Mandy (@mandy_moveit), a fitness professional and lifestyle ambassador. I live a full, open minded and open-hearted life. I became a fairly young mother and am fortunate that we have grown and embraced a journey through which we have developed our own aspirations, dreams and virtues in tandem. When asking my daughter for her view of me, she said I was not a conventional Mother but that I had “vitality and eccentricity”, something which pleased me to hear. Aside from being a mother, I live and work as a personal trainer, fitness instructor and presenter in London during the week and I’m on the South Coast with my partner at the weekends. Being one to thrive on variety and movement, this combination suits me to a tee.

    How would you define self-love?

    I would define self-love as becoming your own best friend whilst rationalising any judgment both within and around you. Self-love is to acknowledge your whole and accept all aspects of yourself, especially in today’s social media meta world. Rather than flaws, they are unique parts of your make up, so cherish them. Self-love also means to laugh at yourself. Take note of the things that make you the happiest and with this, confidence builds, and better and better days unfold.

    How has self-love been important in your journey, especially within the fitness industry?

    Self-love has not always come naturally to me. In the past, I have tended to think that I needed to always put others first, and knowing that others were happy made me feel content. However, always placing the needs and wants of others above your own will eventually result in low self-worth. This an affliction that many, to greater and lesser extents, are affected by but when affected it is as if we were living with the handbrake on. It is only with maturity and acceptance of myself that I have unwound the constraints of living to please other people. I can now say with ease that I live a more fulfilling life, encompassing my own morals and principles and both within and outside the confounds of my remit. Through self-love and embodying my best self, I can extend myself in my most honest form to the world around me, ultimately, the bigger and greater cause.

    Between New Year’s Resolutions and Valentine’s Day, it can be a difficult period to remain kind to yourself, what advice would you give to people struggling with their self-worth?

    Quieten the negative voices within and seek out an environment that you cherish. For many, the New Year means getting fit and healthy, but this can often then become a chore or a pressure, which then detracts from the very essence of fitness and wellbeing. By feeling that you ‘must’ do something often has the opposite reaction. Therefore, for motivation, I would suggest that we quieten any negative voices within, telling us we can’t do it, laugh off the perceived pressure from society and put yourself at the center of the fresh New year. What do “YOU’ get out of fitness and in which environment do you thrive? Are you an outdoorsy? Then take in the world around you as you get your exercise. Are you a team player? A solo gym goer, a yoga bunny? Or you like to try everything, like me! Whatever it is, focus on the why, the reason for you. The positivity, the health benefits, the feeling of achievement, make these be the reasons and not the conformity. Make your own fitness, your own business and celebrate the small wins.

    What are the three things you love most about yourself?

    I’m optimistic, warm, and energetic. I have the constant perspective and belief to see most things as ‘half glass full’, always seeing the bright side of things that others may find stressful. I’ll see challenges as an opportunity and a chance to re-evaluate, and small setbacks as insignificant in the grand scheme of life. After all, as Oscar Wilde noted, “experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes.” I’m told that I have warmth, and this is a byproduct for me of being confident in my own skin, not comparing myself to anyone and having genuine interest in others and learning from them. Energy is something I do embrace as a large component of myself, and I see it as a personal wealth. Through fitness, I find my energy is untapped. For me personally the more energy I exert, the more I generate.

    How do you plan to celebrate and honour yourself in 2022?

    I aim to enter 2022 with integrity and virtue. I will be seeing the world, enjoying the environment around me, and surrounding myself with people who make me feel alive and appreciate me, quirks, and all. I’ll train for my wellbeing. Functional training and cardio keep me feeling strong and conditioned and fantastic. I will breathe in the world around me with awe as always, the sea being my special place and the freedom it symbolises. Looking out at its magnitude and beauty astounds me, for it is never the same twice and so with open eyes I will enter 2022. I will eat clean, without denying myself the food that just tastes too good to miss out on, including my protein balls. Not only are they more-ish, but they also make me smile every time I make them. A smile is the most precious gift to receive, so love yourself and let your radiance shine through and you will exude magnetism.

    To keep up with Mandy, check her out over on Instagram @mandy_moveit.

    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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