From Actress to Mind and Wellness: Beating Burnout Holistically with Gemma Merna S1 Ep5
You can listen to this episode of The Goode Health Podcast by clicking here.
Or you can read the (timestamped) transcript below.
Please note: Transcript is automatically generated.
Hi, and welcome to the Goode Health Podcast. I’m your host, Nicole Goode, a registered nutritional therapy practitioner and functional medicine practitioner. Join me as we explore thyroid, brain and fatigue conditions with positivity. From Hashimoto’s to multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue to adrenal dysfunction.
I’ve got you covered with expert advice and tips to help you take action now and inspiring real patient stories from successful individuals who refuse to let their health hold them back. Start your journey to Goode Health today, and don’t forget to come and join the conversation on Instagram @ goode_health
That’s goode, or visit my website at nicolegoodehealth.com to find out more today, we welcome Gemma Merna to the Goode Health Podcast. Gemma is an English actress, and you may recognise her from portraying the iconic role of Carmel McQueen in the soap Hollyoaks. Gemma and I have worked together previously with her being a client of mine within clinic, and I also now help support her mind and wellness community with nutrition.
Gemma was an actress and was on the soap of Hollyoaks for eight years, and then went through a time in her life of grief and burnout. Through this, she experienced the benefits of working on things like yoga, meditation, and hypnotherapy to support her health. Gemma is now a qualified life coach, meditation coach, yoga instructor, and personal trainer, and has set up the amazing mind and wellness community to help support other people going through a similar journey.
Today I’m gonna talk to Gemma about her experience with burnout, what led her to make a change within her life and her career, how she’s got herself back, being able to lead the life that she wants, and what her hopes are for the mind and wellness community. Let’s jump straight into the conversation.
Gemma, welcome to you the Goode Health Podcast. I’m thrilled to have you here with me today. So for those of you who don’t know, I’ve worked with Gemma on her health before and I’ve also jumped into her mind and wellness community, which we are gonna get into discussing very shortly, [00:02:00] with some nutrition support.
So I’ve helped with that for your community. But before we get into that part of your life, what I’d really love to talk about first is your personal journey of experiencing burnout as an actress and how that kind of impacted your life and career. So, Yes. Well, thank you first of all for having me on. Um, really excited to be here.
Um, so yeah, my, my experience, I was in my twenties, living my dream job that I wanted from a child. Visualized it and achieved it. And I think because of that I did everything that was expected of me and more. Yeah. So I, you know, did the job as playing the character, but then I did all the red carpets, the events, the other things outside of work.
The photo shoots everything. And my life was literally a hundred miles an hour and I just got used to it. I just got so, so used to it. It becomes normal doesn’t it? Oh, totally. And I was. You know, I’m a chatty person anyway, but I was like, you know, every single day. And it’s like I was just running on that adrenaline so much that I remember if I went on holiday, I would be sick by the time I got off the plane.
Like I remember once I went to New York, with my husband, when we first met, and by the time I got off the plane I couldn’t speak and I was in bed for three days. And looking back now, I’m like, oh my goodness. But that was normal. And people go, oh, it’s when you stop. Yeah. It’s when you stop, you get sick. Yeah. We hear that so much, don’t we?
And it becomes so normalised. It becomes so normalised and the, the world of being busy and having this busy job, and if you are busy, you are successful. I think there’s a lot of that. There is, yeah. But yeah, definitely. So with, with my [00:04:00] career, it was over eight years of being there and two years before I left, my dad suddenly passed away.
My granddad died and a week later my dad had a heart attack and just never woke up again. I think through the stress, you know, didn’t look after himself for years. Yeah, he just retired. And it really kind of just opened my eyes up to, is, is this what life’s about? Just constantly working, not looking after yourself, putting everybody else before you, because that’s what my dad did.
He put us, my mum, his parents, everyone before him, and his health was so bad and he didn’t go to the doctors and you know, it was all said. So whenever there is a death like that, and especially your parent, I think it does open you up to be questioning what life is about. It makes you reassess, doesn’t it?
You sort of, it makes you think, you know, is what, what is, what’s the point of life? What am I doing? And does make you sort of question everything. Yeah, it does. And so I was doing everything. Like, because of that I ended up doing a show called Splash, where it was like a diving program with Tom Daley. And I was doing it because I was like, I don’t like water and I don’t like heights, so I wanna do something to challenge myself.
But I was doing this show alongside doing my day job, plus doing all the events. And I did, didn’t realise within like those two years, I pushed myself into burnout. Yeah. I, because I was trying to live my life in a way. And going through grief as well. Cause you, so you had both. Yes. And you were going through the grief and you had this burnout coming on as well.
So you had, it’s like a double-edged sword for you. Yes. Yeah, and I was just like, and then when I kind of moved away from the show, I was just like, I was so ill, like, I just remember like I just couldn’t do much. And that’s why, you know, I got into yoga many years before, but I felt so safe on my mat through going through grief, but also that [00:06:00] slower movement.
Because something I didn’t mention when I was in the show as well, there’s so much pressure on your body looking a certain way. Yeah. I was like getting up at 5:00 AM going to the gym for six, doing a workout at hit high intensity workout, six till seven, getting into, um, work, having a shower, getting into makeup, doing a 12 hour day.
And I was going, but it sets me up for the day. I feel so much better. But that on a long period of time when you are running on your adrenaline, that didn’t help as well. Yeah. And that’s one thing I’ve learned about movement and exercise is also the HIIT sort of workouts aren’t for everyone and they’re not for me anymore because of that adrenaline, cortisol, you know, that type of thing.
So yeah, I think all of, I think it was just accumulation of everything. Everything. And they’re all quite kinda pushing, you know, they’re all quite normal things. Like at some point we all have to go through grief. That’s sadly, that’s just, it’s part of life and it will happen to everybody at some point.
And you know, we all have high pressure in life these days. Because I think life has just gone where it’s a hundred miles an hour for, for everybody. I think it used to be something that was sort of associated with, oh, you know, if you are, you know, maybe an actress or in a high powered job or you know, something like that, then it was expected.
But actually, I think almost everybody is suffering with this now because everybody’s lives are going at a hundred miles an hour and they’ve become so normal that I think, yeah, more and more people are struggling with this, with this journey as well and, and not necessarily realising that that’s what’s happening to them.
And I think that’s, that’s really important is to, is for people to understand what their body’s going through and be able to recognise those signs. And that’s, I wanted to ask you, you know, if you can look back on that now and on that journey that you were going through, you know, what were some of those warning signs or [00:08:00] symptoms of burnout that you were experiencing? And did you recognise them at the time or was that a process for you to work through, to be able to kind of realise then what was happening and you know, and how, how did you go about that when you did realise? Yeah, I think at the time I didn’t, I didn’t recognise it at all.
I don’t think I connected to my body and mind at all at that time, and I don’t think many people do. Yeah, and this is something I have learned, and this is why I do what I do now, is to try and connect both together, try and get more people to understand between their mind and the body connection. So if there is things coming up, don’t ignore it.
Don’t just brush it off, go, oh, I’m, I’m just tired because I’m busy or I’m not sleeping. Or, you know, get, I, I remember saying this to somebody the other day, like, I was waking up feeling sick in the mornings, like feeling really sick, but just getting myself out of bed and going to work. And I’m like, oh, it’ll clear up in a minute.
But I had that for months every single day. I was just, Yeah, it like at the time I didn’t know at all, but I noticed I was coming out in, when I look back now, I was having like kind of in my skin, I had lumps on my eyes and so it was all coming out within my body and there was all these signs, but I was just ignoring them was going, oh, it’s just what it is.
It’s because I’m overworked. It’s because I’ve got so much on, I’m going away on holiday in a few months. That’s fine. But maybe if I’d have caught them at the time, I wouldn’t have got to the point that I got to. Yeah. And I think some of those signs that you’ve mentioned just there like, you know, skin and things like that are not necessarily what people think of when they think, oh, you know, I’m not, you know, I’m not, I’m not burnt out because yeah, actually they’re managing to get up and go to work. So, you know, and you know, come home and spend time with the family. So they don’t see themselves necessarily as burnt out, [00:10:00] but they might be having these signs and symptoms going on that they are maybe putting down to other things or putting down to, oh, you know, I’m just getting that a little bit older so it’s just sort of happening.
Or, you know, whatever it is they put it down to. There’s loads of excuses that we can come up with for ourselves, but sometimes I think people don’t recognise it as burnout and the symptoms can be, you know, the signs of it can be so varied. It’s not necessarily a case of I’ve crashed and I can’t get out of bed and I can’t go to work.
There’s a lot of signs along that way, isn’t there? Yeah, this, this sign that that like your body tells you. And my, one of my biggest one, and this is something I’ve worked on for many years and why I do what I do now, was anxiety. Yeah. Anxiety just took over me, like took over me to the point where it was that severe that I, my whole body and mind was taking over.
I had no control over it. Yes. So that was my journey to go, I can’t live like this. And I kind of moved away from the show, started doing what I’m doing and one of my dogs actually, and it’s just, come up this, so we have just lost Cole a couple of months ago, but six years previous to this, he got rushed into, the vet hospital with tachycardia.
And we thought we were gonna lose him that night. He was a Saint Bernard, I think he was around eight at the time. And my whole body shook for 24 hours. Yeah. Like shook for 24 hours. And that was the moment to me where I was like, I can’t carry on living like this. Because like you said, things are gonna happen in life.
Like life, you have your ups and downs. We are gonna lose people. Things are gonna happen that we can’t control. Yeah. But if my body is gonna shape for 24 hours every time one of these things happen, that is gonna make my health number one worse. But also I felt like I had no control over myself, which that made me really sad.
Like I was like, what’s [00:12:00] happening? Like I can’t control this. And you know, maybe me saying that I’m a little bit of a control freak, but I think you have to ask that question if your mind and your body is taking over what you want to do. That’s when I think you’ve gotta, something’s gone wrong yeah.
Something’s gone wrong. And I think that’s where you’ve gotta do a little bit of self discovery and delve in deep to go, okay, what is going on here? And then that’s what embarked me on meditation, hypnotherapy, all that sort of thing. Because I was like, that’s the only way I can kind of help myself with this is regulating my nervous system.
Yeah. And that, and it is, that is a sign that your body is just not coping with those stressful events. And you know, I see this with people that I work with who have either burnout or usually with chronic illness, because they’ve usually been to the doctors when, and you know, doctors will turn around and sort of say with with particularly with certain chronic illnesses, well, you know, you need to avoid stress.
You know, that’s, that’s all really nice. That’s great. Wouldn’t we all love to avoid stress? You know? Yes. But it’s not a fact of life, you know, and, and we can’t avoid stress. What we need to do is support our body so that we can handle stress and manage stress effectively. Yeah. And totally. And that’s what’s important.
And I think people. Maybe miss that they don’t realise that actually that’s what we need to try and do. And I’d what I’d love to, I’d love to just jump in because you’ve, you’ve sort of mentioned, you know, your switch, what you do now, and I’d love to talk a little bit more about that. So, what inspired you to pursue specifically sort of yoga and hypnotherapy as those sort of healing mod modalities that you, um, you know, that you now use and practice and you, you are using with the mind and wellness community that you’ve set up and, you know, were they things that helped with your own health initially?
And then what made you kind of decide to train as a practitioner in these things? Yeah, 100%. It’s my journey. I’ve built mind and wellness out of what helps me with my journey. [00:14:00] So, you know, within mind and wellness we have like pre-record meditations, yoga, we have movements such as Pilates. Nothing high intensity.
Yeah, still strength, but nothing high intensity because if you are, you know, like myself, like I mentioned, you, you can’t be doing the HIIT stuff. It’s just not good for you. So it’s about finding movement, if that’s getting out in nature, anything like that to make you feel better. And it’s created more of a lifestyle.
So it’s a platform for people to delve into it, to have the tools to create a lifestyle for them. And I found meditation and hypnotherapy was the things that really helped me with stress. Really helped me with anxiety. And it was just, it unlocked something for me when I had, these treatments and I was like, this is amazing.
Like, why does everybody not know about this? Like, the results are unbelievable. So yeah, I kind of, I always remember when I was at my worst, and I always say this to my clients, um, in our membership, I always, I felt very alone. Like when my anxiety was so severe, I was on the show and I would confide in a few friends at the time when I was there, I’m like, have you ever felt like this?
Like I was, I was a little bit paranoid, like, what people thinking of me? Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ve, I’ve snapped there. I didn’t mean to, but, you know, and I was very worried about external stuff so much. Yeah, yeah. And I, and everyone was just like, no, no, I’m fine. I’ve never had any anxious thoughts and, and I just wanted to like develop something that people can come in, be really open and say, you know what? I have got anxiety. I do feel overwhelmed. I sometimes get depressed about this and feel okay to talk about that. Like it’s fine to say that. Yeah. And feel safe. And you’ll find that [00:16:00] somebody else on the call, because we have like a monthly connect as well and we have a WhatsApp people, uh, go back and say, oh, I’ve had one of those days today.
Don’t worry about it. I’ve tried this meditation. I’m on the trust meditation today and I’ve built this like commu and we’ve built this community of like-minded women that support each other and know that. We all have our own stories and not every day has to be amazing. Like some days aren’t great and that’s fine, but then we can pick out our meditation that we need.
We can move our body with yoga, we can make sure we’re eating the nutritional food that’s gonna support our body, go out in nature. And we all chat and we have that support with each other. And that’s what I just wanted to create was a community where you could be open, no one judges you and everyone’s there to support.
So that, I feel like that’s what we do at Mind and Wellness. Yeah, I love that. And, and you do, you do such a great job of it as well. And , we’ll link the Mind and wellness website as well and the Instagram page so people can find it. Because I think if, if anybody is suffering with these, you know, the, an anxiety, the burnout, any of these things, it’s, it would be a great resource for them to check out.
So can you tell us a little bit about how practicing the yoga and the hypnotherapy for you. You know, any sort of personal stories and how it’s helped you to recover from burnout or any specific, you know, techniques or types of yoga or anything like that that you feel have been particularly beneficial for you?
Yeah, so when I, I trained in like Vinyasa and Yin and back in the day, 10 years ago, I hated yin because it was very still, it was very slow. And I was like, come on, give me the fast paced yoga. My mum always says that, I always say to her, well you should try yoga and she’s like, oh, I don’t know if I can cope with the slowness.
Like, I feel like I need to be doing something else. That’s the ch that’s the challenge. And honestly now I’m the other way. I’m like, I am the slow [00:18:00] one, the teacher that just loves the slow movement and the type of yoga that I teach. It’s very somatic. It’s very much, releasing any stored emotion within your body.
So anything, you know, if you have been through an illness, we’ve got a few people on the mind and wellness membership who come to the yoga like on a Saturday morning and do the pre-records, but they’ve gone through illness and it’s stored in their body, like, I mean, the emotional scars of it. And they’ve been able to release that through yoga and by the end of it, they’ve had a cry.
They’ve released it, they’ve let go and moved on. You know, it’s that type of, it’s like when you know how much emotion you can store in your body. You’re like, that’s not gonna happen again. So it’s a bit of a process sometime with yo with yoga, but once you start releasing emotion, it is the best form. So that’s why I always do the Saturday Morning Live.
So I kind of say, let’s release the week and step into your weekend for you. So that’s the sort of yoga teacher I am. And it really helps me exploring, especially in like the hips, because they get really tight and stored emotion. Like, what am I feeling? And if I’m in that posture, what memories are coming up?
What am I actually feeling around this? And do I need to let go of it? So that’s where it’s really helped me. Yoga is is that stillness. Yeah. And trying to be in the present moment and not going away with my thoughts. And we don’t get a lot of that in our, in our lifestyle these days. You know, if, if you think back to how people, you know, how humans used to live.
They had so much stillness in their life. You know, people think that, you know, that they, I don’t know, people think it was maybe harder because they were out and, and if we go way back to when they were like hunting food and stuff like this, but they still had a lot of downtime even, you know, if we’re going back even not that far, you know, our grandparents and great-grandparents, there was a lot more still downtime.
You know, there wasn’t [00:20:00] so much to do in life and they had a lot more of that. Yeah. They had fun times and they did things, but they still had more of that stillness as well. And we seem to have lost that somehow in, you know, we we’re home from work and we’ve got to, you know, sort out family life and then we’re off out and then we’re home and then we’re back out again.
Yeah. And it’s like we, we just live this constant fast paced lifestyle these days and that stillness has gone and I think sometimes for people, they actually need to implement a practice like yoga or meditation or, you know, it’s whatever. Mm-hmm. Whatever it might be that actually makes, forces them to, to slow down.
Totally. And that’s something that I needed, like I was always around people. So when I left the show and I was like, I was just on my own, like my husband was going to work and I was like, what do I do with my life now? Yeah. You know? And I had to figure out how to be with me. And then you realise, and a lot of my clients have come across, you don’t really have a strong relationship with yourself.
It’s always the external, always gotta be with someone or going out. And I think it’s about building that relationship with yourself and knowing yourself and understanding yourself. So then when you are on this journey, and you might be leading to burnout, go, okay, where do I need to pull back a little bit here?
Like, where do I need to find stillness? Like there the amount of people that I go, oh yeah, I teach meditation. Oh, I can’t sit still. Yeah, I can’t do that. I hear that all the time. You have not tried. Yeah. Why can’t you? Yeah, why can’t, why can’t, it’s like anything. It’s learning, it’s retraining and it’s. So practice.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It’s like, you know, if it’s like somebody saying, you know, can you know, can you play the piano? The answer is, you know, no. Unless you’ve sat down l had the lessons learned and trained. Exactly. Then of course you can play the piano. And it’s the same, it’s exactly the same thing with, with, you know, a meditation or a yoga, whatever it might be.
It’s, it is a practice and you have to practice it. And, and I always say, particularly with anxiety, cause I know that’s, that’s one of the symptoms that you’ve obviously suffered with and [00:22:00] you’ve mentioned that I think with, when you’ve got anxiety, it’s really important as well to, practice those, those modalities, whatever it might be when you are not feeling anxious as well as when you are Yeah.
Because I think people just think like, oh, I’m, I’m really anxious today, so I’m gonna sit down and, and do like a meditation or yoga and you’re not gonna do it well when you’re in that anxious state yeah. You know, and you’re gonna find it hard to do when you’re in that anxious state. And actually what you need to do is practice those.
Correct me if, if you found different, but actually, you know, practice those when you’re not anxious and make them a regular thing so that actually when you are anxious you can implement them a lot easier. Totally. 100%. Like my teacher, my meditation teacher who I train with David G, he said, don’t be a crisis meditator.
Yeah, like a crisis meditate. Oh, I feel stressed today so I’m gonna meditate. Yeah. But what about all the other days in the year? Yeah. So it’s really interesting you say that because that’s how people come. To me. Uh oh. And, and do it. And then they go after a couple of months, oh, I’m not feeling as great.
Well, have you been meditating every day? Have you been using the platform? Have you been, you know, no, not really. I start to feel better. Yeah. And it’s like, you know, and it is just what it is, isn’t it? So this is why at the moment we’ve got a challenge on, so I will do challenges with as well. So at the moment we’ve got 30 days of meditation.
So I have built it out for them where there’s a meditation every single day. They don’t have to think about it. They just put like today, day six, day six in, and then the meditation comes up and already everyone is putting in the WhatsApp group. I feel so much better. I’m feeling ama six days in their feeling amazing. And it’s like that shows you, they won’t have all started that at, from a, from a time of feeling like they really needed it. They’ve just started it because you’ve set that as a challenge. Exactly. But then they like it because it’s easy because I’ve done it for them. Yeah. They go, last night we were on our connect call and they were like, oh I really like it because I don’t [00:24:00] have to think. Yeah. But sometimes in life we have to think we have to take responsibility for our own wellbeing and happiness. Yeah. So we have to think, like I say to them, I was like, there’s over 70 videos on there. Like you can go on and pick which one, just don’t overthink it. Just, just press play on one of them and do it.
Like the move, they’re having a challenge on the movement. They’re like the next one, can we add movement? I was like, I know I will do, but last time you said you didn’t like that. I know, but I need pushing. But are you gonna do it? Yeah. Like they’re 15 minutes, you can do 15 minutes of movement a day. Yeah.
Like you can fit that in your life. Don’t make excuses. And this is where I will catch out my clients and hold them responsible because I’ve done exactly the same. Yeah. I’m, we all make, we’re human beings. We make excuses for ourselves. It’s about noticing our language. And reframing that and kind of going, yeah, I can fit 15 minutes in because if I can scroll on Instagram for 15 minutes Yeah, exactly.
I can do 15 minutes of movement or get out for a walk or meditate for five minutes or just just breathe. You know? We all have time. And if you don’t have time, you need to look at your diary yeah. Make time. Exactly. I, I get the same, I always get, you know, people always say to me, uh, if, if they’re maybe on a call with me thinking about working with me, and they’ll sort of say, you know, well, will this work for me?
Will this definitely work for me? And my answer is always the same. It will work. I can give you all the tools and the tools will work, but you have to do them. I can’t, I can’t do it for you. So if you are going to give the time and you’re going to make the changes, and you’re gonna do the things we talk about, then you’ll see benefits.
If you, if I give you all the information, you go away and you don’t do it, then no, it’s not going to work. Yeah. No, totally. And, and this is what I have with the hypnotherapy. So I work with people privately with hypnotherapy. I do the group stuff with on mind and wellness, but the private hypnotherapy is so powerful and I will work with people, you know, like [00:26:00] yourself, like on packages 12.
12 sessions package. Because anything less doesn’t. Yeah, it just doesn’t work. You need that time, like you totally do. You need that time to grow. You need that time to trust me. You need that time to trust the practice. And also you need that time to get away from the stigma of hypnotherapy. because everyone thinks that the therapist has mind control.
It’s not at all, it’s basically a meditation with a goal. Yeah. I’d like, I’d actually really, I’d like to jump into the hypnotherapy a little bit more because Yeah, this is something that I know we’ve sort of talked about before and mm-hmm. I know that it’s something that. Others are maybe not as familiar with, you know, people sort of hear about yoga more, they’re more familiar with what it involves, but you know, hyp hypnotherapy does tend to have this sort of stigma attached to it.
I think, you know, people, you say hypnotherapy and, you know, people think someone on TV being hypnotized and, you know, told to do something daft and um, yeah. You know, quack like a duck or something like that. And they, they, that’s what they have this vision of hypnotherapy as being. Yeah. And, and it, and it’s not like you say, but for those listening out there who actually would really benefit from hypnotherapy but maybe don’t quite know what a session would entail or you know, what that might look like.
Can you just tell us a little bit more about hypnotherapy itself? Yeah. So in a nutshell, hypnotherapy is meditation with a goal. So say your goal is weight loss, that is what your session will be about. So we. In our subconscious mind, we run on programs that we’ve learned between one and seven. So these programs can be from our parents, our grandparents, even our next door neighbour.
So if some people have got like a fear of flying or anything like that, that could have come from somebody else. And we’ve been around it between one and seven when we were a child. And then it can kind of lock into our subconscious mind. So when we work together, with hypnotherapy, I would switch off the conscious mind.
So the thinking [00:28:00] mind. So as I take you into the theta brain wave, which is just before sleep, we get you that relaxed, that it switches off this thinking mind, the mind of, oh, is it gonna work? Is this for me? Oh no, I can’t be doing this. It switches that off. Like there’s just no. There’s no way really to keep it on because the meditation is so relaxing.
You end up just going so relaxed that the conscious mind just switches on off. Sorry. That’s what our aim is to do. And then the practitioner speaks directly to the subconscious mind. So for instance, like if it is anxiety, we will feel that emotion and then we’ll go back to a time and your memory will bring up when anxiety maybe first started to happen in your life.
And that could be when you’re a child or a certain age. And then we would take in adult version of you and heal that. So it kind of gives you a big eyeopener of where these beliefs have been created if they’re actually yours or if they’re somebody else’s. So if they’re somebody else’s, like if it’s your mum’s or your dad’s, you can then pass that belief back.
And then when you come out of hypnosis, it’s, like I said, it’s just a lovely relaxing meditation. I then bring you out of it and you just have a lot more awareness of, okay, that’s where it’s come from. So that’s not my belief. Number one, I’ve released that you instantly feel a lightness. So sometimes if you feel like a heaviness in chest with anxiety, you will feel a lightness straight away, and then the results just become stronger over the weeks and the days.
The reason why I like to do 12 sessions is within that 12 sessions, if you are coming to me for anxiety, [00:30:00] There will be other emotions we need to work on. Yeah. So there’ll be fear, there’ll be overwhelm, there’ll be maybe depression, there’ll be other emotions. So when then we see each other in a week’s time, we can discuss.
I always do like accountability forms, so I know how you’ve got on within the week, how the last session was. We discuss and go, okay, what’s come up for you? Well, this has come up for me this week. Okay, let’s explore that. So that’s why it’s a really nice journey over the 12 weeks. And then over the time you are just shedding so much stuff that you’ve been holding onto for such a long time.
Um, and yeah, like I’d just come off a call then and every time I do a call, it just reaffirms how amazing it is. Like it worked wonders for me. Like now when I get anxiety, I know what to do, but it doesn’t control me at all anymore. And. Yeah. It’s just, it’s so, so powerful. But the thing is, with hypnotherapy, you’ve gotta believe it.
You’ve gotta want it or it won’t work. Mm-hmm. So the practitioner doesn’t have any control over your mind. You are completely in control. It’s how much you want the change. Yeah. And that’s probably the bit that probably scares people almost a little bit with it, is that letting go and losing control part of it, I think.
Exactly. But exactly. But what I’m hearing actually, in that, there’s a couple of things you’ve said that actually in a way kind of link back to the functional medicine approach, which is that we always say that one of the root causes of things like any chronic illnesses and things like that, one of the big things is childhood trauma between the ages of one and seven.
So we use that same age kinda. It’s fascinating that it, yeah. It’s so linked. Yeah. Which is really interesting. And the other thing as well is that sort of, So we, we call it that sort of root cause finding the root cause of what’s going on. And, and you are, you are almost doing the same with the hypnotherapy of finding actually, when did the anxiety start going back to those memories?[00:32:00]
Yeah. Going back to the root of the problem, which yes is actually very similar to that sort of functional medicine approach of, you know, we look for the root causes, those underlying imbalances, let’s go down to the roots and find out what’s going on. So there’s almost, yeah, sort of that similarities there between the hypnotherapy and the functional medicine, which, which I didn’t know of before this conversation, but it’s, it’s quite, it’s interesting.
It’s really interesting to hear. It is. I noticed this a lot actually when I’m looking at different kind of healing modalities. There is a lot of similarities but in just different ways. But I remember when I went to my first hypnotherapy session, I was so nervous because I was like, I can’t let go because I was so up here.
That I remember when I was going into relaxing, I felt like I might have a panic attack because I wasn’t used to relaxing and having stillness. So I had to get myself through that at first. And then once I did, I was like, this is really on the other side. I’m like, this is lovely, this relaxed feeling. And yeah, like we said, we go back to the root cause.
We also then can go back on the timeline of any time that you might have had trauma or anything like that, and we can go back and heal it and reframe and there’s so many different like techniques to it as well. So that’s why, like I said, I like to work with my clients over a longer period of time so I can really get to know them and by the time they’re walking away in the 12 weeks, They’ve released so much, but also that they really believe in hypnotherapy and it becomes one of their tools that we’ll do for the rest of their life.
Because I do, I have regular hypnotherapy because it is just the best form of therapy for me. When I did like talk therapy or anything like that, I just didn’t feel like it got me anywhere because it was conscious mind. I’d make excuses. Yeah. I’d be like, I don’t like that. Where with hypnotherapy, I think because it was so relaxing and it [00:34:00] was like a meditative state.
I was like, I don’t feel like I have to do anything. I’m just relaxed here. And then the results spoke for themselves. Like, I cured anxiety, I got confidence to get back on stage and sing. I’ve run my own business now. You know, all these things that I wouldn’t have done before hypnotherapy has helped me to do.
Yeah, I love that. It’s, uh, it’s something that I think, you know, more people should explore and, uh, as part of mm-hmm. You know, I mean, you know, we are all about taking that whole body approach and that includes the mind and Yes. You know, I think more people should, should be aware of this as a modality.
And I think they’re not necessarily, people know about meditation and yoga more now, but I think hypnotherapy is one of those that we really want to kind of get the word out a little bit more about and let people hear about it in the same way that, you know, I want, I want people to hear more about functional medicine and know more about what that can entail and, and how that can benefit people.
And. I know that you’ve taken a whole body approach. Obviously we’ve worked together, so I’ve, you know, we’ve talked about all of this and, you know, I know that you’ve incorporated nutrition into your healing plan. Yeah. But what, let’s just talk about that sort of side of things. Did you find that easy? Did you find it difficult?
Because again, you know, I, I tend to come up against the same things that you are sort of saying, you know, people finding the time to make the changes and all of this sort of thing. Yeah. You know, how did you feel, you know, working on that kind of healthy eating and getting that into your routine and what would you say to people who are wanting to go down that road and sort of start on a healthy nutrition plan for, you know, for burnout and these sorts of things?
Number one, I think, to anybody, you’ve got to invest in yourself with all these modalities to live a better life. So I think if you are not going to invest in you time, finances, You’re not giving yourself the self love that you need to give yourself to be healthier, be happier, to live a better life with the nutritional, uh, [00:36:00] side of things as we’ve spoke about.
I found it really hard. Like I found the change hard, I found the supplements hard because for some reason I just, even though I need to take them, I still don’t take them. And I go, oh, you know, and I’ve said to you, I’m someone who’ve been on call. I’m like, I definitely need some hypnotherapy around this because it’s obviously, it’s a resistance that my I am coming up against.
And yeah, it’s, it’s interesting because it’s either I’m not giving myself enough self-love that need to, to make myself better, or it is. Childhood where my nutrition wasn’t the best because my parents didn’t know what nutrition was. And actually I’ve kind of explored it and thinking about it. And I think it’s more to do with that because the older I get, the more I find a lot of childhood stuff is coming out in my life now.
Like those programs, like of the things I, I always said once I got old enough, I’d cook my own food and, and like probably from the age of 20, to 30, I was like extremely healthy apart from going out and obviously drinking, which I don’t drink at all anymore. But I was really healthy. I would take the time to cook and stuff.
And then after that I kind of went into that program and I, I’ve not got any time. Yeah. And I was like, why have I lost this? So yeah, I think working with yourself, it’s really, made me put a mirror up to myself and made me kind of look at myself and go, no, I need to take some responsibility for my own health and my wellbeing, because when I am eating better, when I am taking my supplements, I feel fantastic.
So why am I not doing it on certain days? So I think it’s, it’s been a big self-reflection for me, but that’s because I will, like catch myself out. I will kind of own up to it. I won’t make excuses for myself. I’m like, okay. No. But I do find when I take the supplements, and I’m eating [00:38:00] better, I do feel so much better.
And that’s what I feel with my mind more than anything. I feel like I’m more focused, I get more stuff done, I feel calmer. And I’m all about educating people and having a healthier brain. So nutrition and what we put in our body should be the number one thing, shouldn’t it? But yeah, I think, is it because the world has made everything so convenient, fast?
Yeah. I think that’s a big part of it. Fast. Yeah. And we all say we’re so busy. Yeah. And it’s, but then it’s the same, you know, I think that’s the same with things like exercise or, you know, I tend to call it movement with my, with my clients because I’m the same. I hate the word exercise. I don’t like it. I think, you know, I’m not, I’m not a person who loves exercise.
I’m mean, I’m going to openly sort of say that that’s not, you know, I’m not one of these, it’s going to be out like running and I don’t, it’s not a love for me. Mm-hmm. So I don’t like calling it that because I think when I, when I say that to clients that particularly if they’ve got, you know, burnout and chronic illness, things like that, they, they’re maybe just too exhausted and they feel like exercise feels like a, a bit of a hassle to have to do and it can be difficult.
Whereas if we just talk about it in the way of movement, I think it’s, um, yes. They, they tend to prefer that and feel that it’s more, more achievable, but mm-hmm. I think it’s the same, you know, whether it’s nutrition, whether it’s, whether it’s movement, whether it’s things for your, you know, your mind, like meditations Yeah.
And things like that. I think it all really comes back to the same that we’ve, you know, we’ve got, we’ve got to give ourselves a bit of self-care. We’ve got to sometimes put ourselves first, not in a selfish way. You can still look after other people, but we need to give some time to looking after ourselves.
Right? Yes. And we can’t help, you know, I always, I always say to people, you know, it’s, it’s like when you’re on a plane. And they say to you, you know, you must fit your own, um, oxygen mask. You know, in the safety thing they do at the [00:40:00] beginning. Yes. Know you must fit your own safety mask before you help other people.
The reason for that is if you stop being able to breathe, you can’t help anybody else. So if you’ve not fitted your oxygen mask, you can’t help other people. Mm-hmm. And that’s, that’s sort of the, that’s how I always put it to people, is that’s how you’ve gotta think about it. You’ve got to feed yourself so that you can feed and help then the people around you that you love and you want to help.
I totally agree. And, and I think that’s important. And, you know, I tend to find that people who are experiencing burnout, they are usually hugely successful people. They’re not, you know, they’re not people that are necessarily struggling in life, and I think mm-hmm. You know, they, they are, you know, maybe, maybe married, they’ve got families, they’ve got high powered jobs, you know, they.
You know, from the outside for people looking in, they probably think that they are doing really well in life and actually, you know, quite successful. And, and we, you know, there is this element of the, you know, that sort of Instagram glaze of everything looking perfect. The highlight reel, though, there is the element of that these days, but generally, I think people would look in and think, you know, this person’s doing really well.
They don’t look ill, you know, necessarily they, they’re getting on, they’re, they’re doing really well with life. They’re often juggling lots of, lots of balls and lots of everything that’s going on, and, and they don’t necessarily want to drop anything. They want to keep on top of everything. But what advice is somebody from you who has kind of been there, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re very successful, you’ve had a hugely successful career, you’re now running your own business.
As somebody who did recognise that you needed to take those steps in life to put yourself first occasionally and have that, that self-care, what would you say to people who are experiencing burnout now or chronic stress? Even in their, if they don’t associate it as burnout, if they just, you know, that sort of stressful life, you know, if they’re listening to you and they’re sort of recognising themselves in this story that you are telling, you know, what would you, what would your advice to them be?
Just to take those first steps? Because that’s often the bit that is the most difficult is those initial little steps. So what would, [00:42:00] yeah, what would you kind of recommend to them to get them going? Well, the first thing that kind of comes up and, and just something for them to kind of say to themselves, like, it’s okay to like not do it all.
Like I always say to all my clients, everyone who says you can have it all is lying. You can’t, because if you have it all, that’s a detriment to your own health and wellbeing and your mental health. So it’s okay to not have it all and not be doing everything all at the same time and keeping everything going.
So first of all, you know, take your foot off the gas. And breathe and have a bit of stillness, like have a little journal and a reflection of where, like, what’s going on and where do you want to go. So how do you wanna feel? Do you wanna feel better? If you want to feel better, what do you have to put into place with your own routine and diary to feel better?
And if that’s like one morning a week, go into your local gym and going, having a swim and a sauna or something like that. And that is your time once a week, like honor yourself that, give yourself that time. It’s fine. Don’t feel guilty about it because you have to look after you to look after everyone else.
Actually, if you can schedule that. Time that self-care time into your diary, you’re much more likely to do it. I, I put something in every Wednesday morning, I will, most of the time it, it shifts up. But every Wednesday morning I will put in like a yoga class and a swim and the morning and I have some lunch and that every week I try my best to stick to it because I know when I do that, I’m such a better person.
I’m happier and I give, I come back and I notice my energy is completely different to everybody that lives with me. So like, I’d rather be that person than the stressed out version of me. Yeah. So yeah, I think, I think that’s one of the things is put something in the diary for you and honor that. I [00:44:00] think the other thing is number one, look at your nutrition.
Look at your sleep, look at your movement. Look how many, how much you get outside. Like. Getting outside in nature is the biggest thing to, to make people feel better. And also look at your brain health, you know what I mean? Like, are you breathing technique? Are you doing meditation? And another thing, look at what you’re drinking because I think people don’t realise that alcohol is probably one of the worst like drugs out there, isn’t it?
You know, that we kind of say it’s fine, but if you are doing like that the weekend, if you are having a couple of bottles of wine, Prosecco, whatever, you’re not gonna feel great in the week because you’re gonna feel exhausted. It is gonna make your anxiety worse. It’s gonna make you feel overwhelmed, because you’ll be on that catch up and then you’ve got a busy week and then you’re doing it again.
So just look at your, like, your schedule, your life, like how you are living it. Uh, but most of it is like honoring yourself. Like, you know, put yourself first. And that’s absolutely fine. And I think we have got. We have sort of become a society where people feel it’s wrong maybe to put themselves first.
Right? Yeah. Yeah. Particularly with family, I think. You know, like where with family and Yes. Within that family, close friends kind of circle. Mm-hmm. We sort of see that actually we need to put other people within that circle ahead of ourselves rather than Yeah. Putting yourself first. And that’s maybe in our own minds, we sort of view that maybe as being a bit selfish to do things like that.
Mm-hmm. But it’s so important. It’s so important, so important. Boundaries. This is what I like. As well as being a hypnotherapist. I, I, I’m a, a life coach as well, so I will work with people with life coaching like six months and boundaries is the biggest thing we work on. And that’s something I had to put in because I did put everybody else before me and I was ill from it.
So I had to really put strict boundaries [00:46:00] in place and go, no, I’m not doing that for them. And it’s OK to say no and need to do something for me and it’s fine. It’s okay to say no. No is such a powerful word that not enough of us use. Like and remember a people will always want a piece of you. People will always want a piece and want more and want more.
It’s human nature. Yeah. It’s about us putting and going. No, you must have had a lot of that being an actress, being in that world. Totally. You know that, that feeling of people wanting a little bit of you all the time, that must be something you all the time really came across. And I, I remember someone saying to me, a coach one said to me, No is a complete sentence.
And I just thought that’s really powerful because it’s like, it’s one word, but actually it is a complete sentence. If, if you say no, you mean no. And that’s it. That’s the, that’s, that’s, that’s the end of the sentence. And I always thought Exactly. That’s really just, just quite a powerful thing to say No is a complete sentence.
And that’s okay to have that boundary and, and to say that. Mm-hmm. And I think, and it’s not like something that’ll happen overnight. It, it’s something that you probably will need to work on or work with a coach on as well to have that support. So if you are, if anyone is listening to this and you are looking to kind of change your life in that way and go, um, no, I wanna live my life differently.
Look for a life coach. Look for, you know, and kind of discover yourself. And because once you kind of look inwards and that self discovery, you then become such a better human being for yourself. But everybody else around you like. I feel now, like all my relationships flourish so much more because I do look after myself and I do have boundaries in place because then I do have the time when I’m with those people to give them the best of me.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And there’s the, you know, there’s always going to be times where we have to do things or go to things or, you know, whatever it might be that we maybe don’t want to go to or, you know, and things like that. It’s not, it’s not about it. It’s not about never doing anything that you [00:48:00] want to, you don’t want to do.
It’s just about having those boundaries in place to give yourself a certain amount of time and a set amount of time to. Exactly. Look after yourself and be able to heal and to not get burnt out, which is the, you know, is the key. And, and I think as well, you know, It’s really important for people to understand that actually, you know, the stages of burnout and if you can actually stop yourself from getting to, you know, so for me, when we talk about burnout with, we as practitioners, we talk about it as, adrenal dysfunction.
And there’s different stages of that. And actually you need to stop yourself before you get to that sort of stage four or that end stage. Because that’s when you will crash and not be able to do anything. Or you’ll develop a chronic illness or something will go really wrong and you won’t be able to live the life that you want to live because you will have to make time to heal.
And actually you want to jump in before that happens so you don’t get to that stage. So recognising these little signs is really important. Exactly. And I feel like working with yourself, I recognise those signs even quicker now. And I will like, like I said with exercising that as much as I do love a HIIT workout, I, I do, I love that kind of high energy.
I know that’s not great for me because if I carry on doing that, I know I will end up close to burnout because I know I’ll get obsessed with it and I’ll keep doing it and keep doing it. And you know what, for my physical body, yeah, it’s better. But for my actual overall health, it’s not good at all. So that is something I’ve had to really work out is slowing down my type of movement, to match the way where I am in my life now.
I’m not, I can’t do the things that I did in my twenties and that is absolutely fine. And it’s about owning that as well. So it’s about creating a plan for yourself the older you go and the more the journey you go on. And I think you do notice, like I notice if I get up in [00:50:00] my, an anxiousness and I’m up here all the time, I know I need to take a few days just to bring myself back down again, yeah.
So. Off the back of your kind of, you know, your personal journey, you set up this incredible community thing. Yeah. You know, you’ve set up mind and wellness, you’re doing great things with it. But what are your, what are your goals? What are you hoping to achieve with the mind and wellness community and what do you hope that people, what do you hope that you know, people who join that community, what do you want them to get from being a member?
I want anybody who that joins our membership and mind and wellness. I want you to get and create the lifestyle you want to create. Or if you are not aware of what lifestyle is or what it is, we have the tools for you to. Like, pick and choose what works for you. I always say it’s like a little sweet shop because you can go, oh, I can do a bit of this today.
I can do a bit that. So it’s about you exploring what feels good for you in the lifestyle you wanna create. And I always say like, look at like a version of you in a year’s time. Like how do you wanna feel? How do you wanna look? How do you want your health to be, be and then work back. These are the steps that you’ve got to take.
So if that is having a meditation practice every day, and they, they start from like three minutes to, to like 15 minutes. So they’re not long. You can fit them in and it’s about the mind and wellness is all about people. Who’s never done this sort of work before stepping into it and then you grow, uh, the more you kind of go along.
But my ambition for mind and wellness is to get it out there as much as possible. Make meditation mainstream, make hypnotherapy mainstream, and not, people go, oh, that’s a bit weird. It’s like, it’s not weird. It makes you feel amazing and you literally live. I, I’m living my best life because of all what’s in there, because of meditation, hypnotherapy, yoga, educating myself on my brain, what negative thoughts are coming in and what I can replace them with, with positive thoughts to, you know, go [00:52:00] and create what I’ve created.
And my next step with mind and Wellness, is to go into companies and business. And I do, a stress management course and I’ve built out to go into companies to make people realize what are their stress levels and what do they need to do, because I think the work that, that we do, sometimes it’s hard for people to invest in themselves and also take that first step.
Now, if I can go into their workplace and help them out there, they might go, oh yeah, I did one a couple of weeks ago actually. And, I walked in and we did the, the stress management workshop and the first question about like, what is your percentages of, of stress? And they were like, oh. Never thought about this.
Oh God. Yeah. It’s really high. And, and it just gets people thinking and none of them have meditated before. I was like, keep your eyes open, you know, let’s just have a bit of stillness and breathing. And after we finished they were like, that was amazing. Like that. And that’s all it is. It’s just I want to get out there and try and educate people.
Like we don’t have to live in this high stress anymore. We have a choice. Yeah. And we can still have an amazing life and a career, but we can be, we can live our life better and be calmer. Yeah. So yeah, that’s my next steps with it. Yeah, I love that. I was actually looking at, some statistics, because I’m doing, I’m working with people who are, you know, in those sort of, you know, high positions within jobs or within big companies and, and looking at co uh, at burnout within, within corporate, the corporate world.
And yes, I was looking at some stats actually this morning. And there was a, there was a. A survey that was done and they, they went through different companies, but there were figures for Deloitte’s and they questioned a thousand employees at Deloitte. And the, the survey was all trying to gauge actually [00:54:00] how many people have got burnout within the corporate world and at 70% of the staff had burnout would’ve been classified as having burnout. And 70%, I mean, that is huge. That was in January this year. So January 23. And I mean, that’s huge. That’s huge. Huge. And, and there were a couple of other stats that I was looking at as well, and they were all like, you know, there were 70% that would’ve been classified as having stress.
It was 90, I can’t remember the exactly, it was 90 something percent that would’ve been classed as they would’ve classed themselves of having chronic stress, like really bad chronic stress. Yes. Um, and of those 90 odd percent, 70% would actually have been classified as having burnout. And it was just, the figures just completely astounded me when I was like, I mean, I knew it was bad.
I knew it, I know it things, I see it in clinic a lot and that’s why I want to do this work and I wanna go out into those places and help those people. So I knew it was a problem, but when you actually dig in and start reading the sta the statistics on it, it’s like, Oh my gosh, this is such a huge problem.
You know, 70% of the workforce, huge. And they’ve done it at different companies and the, and the average overall was coming out that they reckon around 70% of the workforce in the UK is, is suffering with burnout, which is just, and. And the thing is, and I’ve ran this, this course that I’m taking into corporate, I’ve ran this course with my clients online.
Within four weeks of running a course, like every week, which this would be a workshop, everybody has pulled their stress levels down literally from 10 to 2, 1 0. And that is from. Hypnotherapy meditation, moving their body, eating nutritious foods, taking the right supplements, getting out in nature. It’s all very simple things, which in putting it in place and seeing it in black and white as well and being coached and helping them kind of see what they can do to [00:56:00] help their stress levels and the boundaries and the what boundaries they can put in place.
So, you know, it’s, it, it’s there, the information’s there, we can help people. It’s just, um, yeah. It’s just educating people as much as possible and it, and getting our work out. Yeah. Like you do with all the nutrition. I’m, you know, with all the meditation side of things and movement is, both of them work so hand in hand and people can be less stressed if they do this work.
Yeah. And I think it is taking that whole body approach as well, or, or body. And you know, when I say whole body, I include the mind within that. Yes. Um, but taking that whole approach of looking at everything and it’s not just you. People, when people ask me, I’m like, you know, what do you do? I’m like, I don’t just do nutrition.
It’s not just, I’m not just going to tell you what to eat. There’s a lot more to it than that. And that might be using other practitioners and for other modalities and bringing it in and building out that, that whole picture. And I think that approach is what gets the results. I agree. And it’s also, especially, you probably find this as well with nutrition, it’s a lifestyle is, it’s also, it takes time.
Like people, like I said, will, if they think nutrition, they will think maybe, you know, an eight week program or, or something, someone telling them what to eat, you know what I mean? A PT telling ’em what to eat. It’s nothing, it’s not like that at all, is it? It’s the fact that you’ve got to, you’ve gotta really look at you and delve deep and go, okay, I’ve gotta start implementing all this in very slowly and build it as my lifestyle over the next couple of years.
It’s not gonna be overnight as well. Yeah. So, I’d like to just ask you just one more question. I’m asking everybody the same question at the end of every sort of, okay, one of these, um, these chats. But for anybody out there who is listening, who has heard your story, who has heard about the work that you are doing, what would be the one thing, the one final thing that you really want them to leave this conversation with [00:58:00] today?
One final thing. You put me on the spot here, aren’t you? Um, I’d like them to sit with themselves in stillness and notice what comes up for them in the sense of like, for instance, stress level. What is your stress level between zero and 10? And if it’s anything above five, six, you need to start doing some work on yourself, um, and start to bring that down and.
You know, live a better life. Like we deserve to live a better life and not just exist. Yeah, a hundred percent. I love that. Gemma, thank you so much for joining me today and having this conversation. Because I think it’s gonna be really beneficial for so many people out there. Oh, thank you. No, thank you for having me.
I’ve loved it. Brilliant. Thank you.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Goode Health Podcast. Do share the episode with anyone who you think it may benefit or who may enjoy it and help me spread the word by rating the episode or leaving a review. If you want more, you can find other episodes in the series on your podcast app.
We’ll sign up to my free newsletter. Not only will you get information on new episodes launching, but we cover lots of health topics with the Ask Nicole section where you can send in your questions. My favourite recipes, my favourite products, tips and tricks to help you on the road to goode health and much more.
You can sign up free of charge at nicoelgoodehealth.com/newsletter. Also linked below. I hope you have a lovely week. Don’t forget to hit subscribe and I’ll see you next time.