Thursday, 12 September 2019
For our latest instalment of the It’s About Time blog series, nutritional therapist Laura Bryan discusses how diet and mindset can impact happiness and success.
At the age of 22, after travelling solo around South East Asia, I visited Wales, fell in love with its beautiful surroundings and friendly people and moved there. As a Englishwoman figuring out my new surroundings I did the cultural essentials like try my first Welsh Cake, learnt lingo like ‘cwtch’, ‘butt’ and ‘bardy’ and realised that rugby means everything.
With a fresh Exercise, Nutrition and Health degree I began working in the community organising the Cardiff Cycle Challenge and a variety of other active travel events. I was then offered the most amazing opportunity to work within the Welsh Valleys for a social housing association. I co-ordinated (then later managed) a programme which was all about supporting young families to become more active alongside teaching basic cooking skills and healthy eating advice.
Although I absolutely adored the job and the changes the programme made to families, I was blown away by how so many of the families that I worked with struggled with their mental wellbeing. Some of the parents were unable to leave the house and were so crippled with anxiety, depression and overwhelm that the last thing that crossed their minds was preparing food and fuelling their bodies. Processed foods were usually on the menu and along with a lack of fruit and vegetables, energy levels and feeling of wellbeing were often limited.
When the funding for this valuable programme ran out I felt the need to learn more about nutrition and, in particular, ‘how food can affect your mood’. From personal experience I knew that when I ate a colourful, diverse, nutrient-rich diet I felt amazing. I was determined to support others to have that feeling and wanted to show people that it doesn’t need to be a complicated and expensive thing to do. So with a passionate heart I went off back to university to gain a Masters degree in Nutritional Therapy.
In October 2018 after graduating I quit my full-time job to dedicate myself to building my nutritional therapy business, Mind Nourishing.
Mind Nourishing aims to inspire and educate people about how food can affect your mood alongside offering support around stress reduction, sleep and elements of positive psychology. My ‘average’ week includes working with clients 1:1 (both online and face-to-face) to create personalised programmes that are created to specifically support their individual health goals and symptoms. The advice is also made to fit their lifestyle and cooking skills so I also spend some time researching and creating recipes and handouts that my clients may find useful.
Alongside this you will also find me creating nutrition and mental wellbeing-themed social media posts and blogs, and even creating YouTube videos to try and spread my ‘food for happiness’ message.
To be able to continue my work in the community I have also been lucky enough to run nutrition cooking sessions and workshops to a variety of different groups. This has been great for showing how ‘healthy eating’ doesn’t need to be expensive, along with educating young children in safe cooking skills so they are prepared for the future.
I have found running my own business very challenging at times, but I love that every day I learn new skills and get a little closer to having my website, finances and marketing how I want them. I love the flexibility and that I get to do something every day that I really believe in. I still do however need to often remind myself of my own health messages, especially when I find myself working from home with long hours in front of a laptop.
My five main things I ALWAYS try to do when I find myself a little stressed or overwhelmed is:
In the near future I have a variety of exciting projects coming up, including : ‘Good Food, Good Mood’ talks and workshops I am delivering with a positive psychologist; linking up with a strength and conditioning coach to run online programmes; and gut health Facebook challenges with a health coach specialising in environmental toxins. As my business grows and my reach increases I hope that some of my messages can spark just the smallest changes in behaviour as I often find that even this can have such a big impact on happiness.
The It’s About Time series of blogs and articles is designed to inspire, inform and educate through the stories of women (and men) who are finding their own routes to professional and personal success. It is put together by Gemma Collins, NatWest Cymru’s business growth enabler for Cardiff.
It’s About Time is an initiative developed by NatWest Cymru in conjunction with Darwin Gray Solicitors, the University of South Wales (USW), Bizmums, and the Federation of Small Businesses. Research carried out by USW showed that women in business mentioned ‘time’ as a major factor in their lives – whether literally never having enough of it, or finding the right time to launch a business, and the right time to grow a business.