Habits & Health episode 53 with Sarah Tait who for many years said ‘yes’ to everything and everyone, a perfectionist trying to spin far too many plates for most of her life, until one day it was too much and she cracked and suffered severe burnout leading to a psychotic episode.
Now a qualified coach she helps people to feel the way she feels now without going through what she had to go through!
In this episode, we explore what she went through, the causes and where she is now. We also look at the stigma around mental health and how she faced that.
Don’t forget, there is a transcript of every episode (scroll down the page)
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This video is related to an older episode featuring Hayley T Wheeler
Habits and health episode 53. Welcome to the habits and health podcast, where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life. Here's your host, Tony Winyard.
Tony Winyard 0:20
Welcome to another edition of habits and health. My guest today is Sarah Tait who had a mental health breakdown a few years ago, that completely changed her life. And we talk to her, she tells about how, what led to it in the first place. And then the transformation she's had since that incident happened. So we'll be speaking with Sarah in just a minute. And if you know anyone who could really benefit from some of the great advice that Sarah shares with us in this episode, please do share the episode with them and hope you enjoy this week's show. habits and health my guest today Sarah Tait. How are you, Sarah?
Sarah Tait 1:00
I'm good. Thank you. How are you?
Tony Winyard 1:02
I'm pretty well. We are in Essex today?
Sarah Tait 1:06
We are yes, Chelmsford in Essex.
Tony Winyard 1:08
And how is Essex today?
Sarah Tait 1:12
Had a beautiful sunrise this morning. But it's turned out quite great.
Tony Winyard 1:20
We spoke briefly before the show started recording. And obviously we've been corresponding for a while. So you were telling me about you had an episode a couple of years ago, would you'd like to let our listeners know some more about you and your story more. Why is that you're on a mission to inform people?
Sarah Tait 1:40
Yeah, of course. So I was always the strong friend, I have always been a born planner, a perfectionist wanting to please everyone take everything on. And I got married in 2018. And the wedding was beautiful. I loved every minute of it. And after the wedding, I felt like I lost a sense of purpose and wasn't really sure what to do with myself and had been planning this dream wedding for ages. And I decided the best thing to do would be to throw myself into work, which in hindsight, was not the best thing to do. And I worked ridiculous hours, I worked really long days, I worked weekends. And then it came to the New Year.
Tony Winyard 2:32
And just just to interrupt you when you said you throw yourself into work was that your own self employed job or working for someone else.
Sarah Tait 2:38
This is working in a corporate finance job. Yeah, so working in the city in London, working for a bank in the finance sector. And I it was my own choice to take on a big project and my own choice to work the hours I was working because I wanted to play myself into something because I guess I felt like I'd lost a sense of purpose and then was trying to get that back through work, which was definitely not the best thing to do. And it came to January. So we got married in the June. I then had no time off over Christmas because I've taken quite a lot of holiday for the wedding. So we got married in Italy. And I started January with a fresh outlook and did the whole new year new me Everything needs to change this year. And I'm going to put myself on a really strict diet, and I'm going to exercise and I'm going to do all of these things that are going to help me and it's as if my brain just when No, You physically can't take any more on there's no more that we can physically do. And I felt my brain pop. So physically a physical Poppins sensation in my brain. And I collapsed into my husband's arms that evening. And I then had what is called now known I didn't realise at the time but I had what is called a psychotic episode. So throughout a couple of weeks of being really quite unwell, I had believed things that nobody else believed. I thought my flight was bogged. I thought the TV was talking to me. I thought I was in a coma and that my mum and my husband were my physical my mental health and I had to complete challenges to be able to get out of the coma. I thought that the TV was ran the wrong way that then the way that I was watching programmes, everything was in the wrong order. I would write consistently it was like everything was trying to come out that had been stored in for the last 30 years of my life. And it was very scary. And I guess I'm here and the reason I want to share my story and talk on podcast is because I was the person that thought that it would never happen to me. And I was the one that was like, I'll always be Okay, I don't need to worry about any of that. And it did happen to me. So I guess that's why I'm really passionate about sharing that I think whilst there's still this really big stigma around mental health, and we're getting better, there's still a long way to go. And I think the more people that talk, and the more people that talk about mental illnesses that aren't talked about as much, so things like psychosis, the more we can break down the stigmas even more and get to a place where we know that it is actually okay to not be okay. And know that we can grow through the things that we go through as well, which I think is really important.
Tony Winyard 5:40
So from when that those incidents first started happening, and obviously you must be pretty confused, and, and also your, your husband and your mom, and so on. So what happened from there? And so I'm guessing there was some kind of medical assistance and so on. So how were they able to diagnose it pretty quickly. I mean, what happened there?
Sarah Tait 5:58
Yeah, so I am, I'm really lucky that I've got private medical cover with my employer. And I know that some people don't have that privilege and that luxury. And I know that I'm very lucky to be able to have that. And thankfully, I was able to get a appointment with a psychiatrist. Within three days, it was the weekend, so I couldn't be seen until the Tuesday. But as soon as I as soon as the psychiatrist saw me, he diagnosed me with something called hypomania, which is a milder form of psychosis. And then I got progressively worse. So when I went back to the psychiatrist after he wanted to, at that point section me, I was quite aware of going to a mental health hospital, I didn't think there was anything wrong with my mental health. At this point, I truly believed everything I was thinking and feeling was gospel, it was true. I didn't think that it was a mental illness that I had. And my husband, thankfully, was aware that I was aware of the fact that I didn't want to go into a mental health hospital. And I remember kids saying, Don't put me in a padded cell, because that's what you see on the TV. So you think that if you're mentally unwell, you might get put in a padded cell. And that's how it came out. So my husband said to the to the psychiatrist, like, please let us not section her, let me try and treat her at home. And he thankfully did, and him and my mom looked after me at home, I was able to then fully recover with the medication at home, and thankfully didn't end up being section. But I could have been, I think that's quite scary, but I could have been. And I'm very grateful to the fact that I had private medical that I got the diagnosis that I was able to be treated quickly enough with the right medication that I was then able to take at home. And I then got diagnosed at a later point that it was a psychotic episode, because it was, it had not happened before, I had not struggled with any mental illnesses before. And therefore it was classed as an episode rather than any longer term mental illness because of the way I was able to recover from the correct diagnosis and the correct treatment. And I then went on to have lots of therapy, I had one to one therapy, I had group therapy. And I was able to then come off gradually off on my medication and then discharged from my therapy. So all in all, I think the journey of being from the night, my brain physically popped to be discharged on therapy was about 10 months.
Tony Winyard 8:51
And just just to go, you mentioned, one of the things you said a few minutes ago was you were very thankful that you weren't second semester when I was leaving. You were very thankful that you weren't section. Were you aware at the time that that was a possibility.
Sarah Tait 9:07
Yes. And it's interesting because I I didn't think there was anything wrong with me. Mentally, I thought I had a brain tumour because my brain popped, and I then went, Well, I've got a brain tumour, something I physically felt something happened in my brain, therefore, something must have happened to my brain physically, rather than mentally. So that was my initial reaction. I need to go to a hospital as in a physical health hospital, not a mental health hospital, because there's something physically wrong with my brain. And I then wouldn't sleep because I was so scared to sleep, that if I slept I wouldn't wake up because I'd convinced myself I had a brain tumour. So Then it got progressively worse because I wasn't sleeping. So my mental health was then deteriorating even more, because I wasn't sleeping. And it was just getting worse, which was making me even more paranoid and even more anxious about the fact that I had a brain tumour. And then I felt like I had every other illness that I've ever heard of, in my life all within five days. So I remember first go into the NHS doctor because I had to get a referral to the psychiatrist and shouting at the doctor in the NHS, like in the surgery saying, I am dying, like, you need to help me I am dying. And I can remember now her being like, it's okay. And I'm like, No, you don't understand I'm dying. I physically felt my brain pop. You don't understand. She, obviously they can't tell you you're not dying, because they don't know. So they sent me for blood tests. And I remember getting the the results of a blood test. And my husband was like, your blood test to come back. There's absolutely, it's absolutely fine. I'm like, It's wrong. It's wrong, the blood tests are wrong. So I, I knew that there was something wrong with me, but I didn't think it was anything to do with my mental health. And I think then I started to realise, as we were going towards the mental health hospital, I, we drove past the physical health hospital. And I was like, Why? Why are we going past that hospital, that's where I need to be. And we drove towards the mental health hospital and I had the worst panic attack of, I am not supposed to be here, I'm not supposed to be at the mental health hospital, you're going to put me in a padded cell, and there's nothing wrong with me, I need to be in a hospital bed. And I think that's where it then. So it's like, I knew there was something wrong, but I couldn't associate it being my mental health, I thought it was physically my brain.
Tony Winyard 12:02
So therefore, once you started having regular sessions with the most psychotherapists, psychiatrist, or whoever it was, did you feel like any kind of stigma? Or how how did you feel about that?
Sarah Tait 12:18
I think once I'd had, I would say that my episode lasted a couple of weeks. So from the point where I was that my brain physically pop, to be able to actually have a conversation and be able to make my own choices to remember who I was, because there was point throughout that two weeks where I didn't know I was, I was like, am I male and female, like, who am I, I had to, I had a candle at one point with my initial s on it in front of the TV, to remind myself of my name. And because I couldn't make decisions for myself, and I couldn't think for myself, even the thought of like, my mom, or my husband asked me what I wanted for dinner was too overwhelming. Like, I couldn't make that decision. Unless something was physically put in front of my face. And I was able to decide that one or that one, I couldn't think it was too much to think. So I, once I'd been diagnosed, it was easier for me to be able to then say, okay, so how do I now get better? Now I know. And once the medication kicked in, it brought me right back down. And I mean, it brought me down so much to the point where I remember having my plate of food in front of me and my knife and fork. And it must have taken me about five minutes to get the fork into the bit of food to get it into my mouth, because it's like, everything in my brain was like on slow motion, because it just brought me down so much where I'd been almost so high with the hypomania psychosis. And it brought me right down. So I remember thinking at that point, well, at least we know, the medications working, but will I actually ever be able to have a normal life again, where I can physically function and make my own decisions and eat my food at a normal pace. And I think once we've got through all of that, that couple of weeks, once I came out the other side of that, all I wanted to do was just make sure it didn't happen again. So I was up for anything. I was like, give me all the treatment, give me all the therapy, let me work out why it's happened. Let me work out how I can make sure it doesn't happen again. So I think that was really important. And I think at that point, I didn't really even associate the stigma, because I was so determined to get better. And to make sure it didn't happen again.
Tony Winyard 14:43
And so you said, I think you said it's about 10 months. And so at what point did you think yeah, I'm back to hesitate to use the word normal, but yeah, I'm feeling okay again.
Sarah Tait 14:55
Yeah, that's funny. That word normal, isn't it? Because I think I think probably after a couple of months, I was able to do normal things in society again, like, meet friends, spend time with family, like be in a crowded room with people, which was that first couple of weeks, there's no way I could have done that, that would have been panic, I would have had so many panic attacks about. So I think I've got to the point, after a couple of months, where I was able to start seeing people again, I mean, I think even after three weeks, I went to the theatre with my husband, because we had tickets booked, I think it was only three weeks after it happened. But I remember being very overwhelmed and all of the lights flashing really brightly, and it being a lot. So do remember that. And I think it's funny, because I look back on points now. And I remember at that point, thinking I was, so I'm sort of good there. But then I look back now and I'm like, I'm so much better now. So it's interesting, I remember when I went back to work, so I actually went back to work whilst I was still having therapy. So I went back to work after six months off on a phase return. And I remember my first day back at work, and I was like, I have come so far, like I'm back at work. This is amazing. Like I'm being able to function in society. Again, I'm actually back the first day of the job. But then I also remember hearing somebody on a phone call, and then talking to a group of people, and sitting there thinking, I'm never going to be able to do that, again. I'm never going to be able to speak to a group of people on a conference call, which before was I would do it five, six times a day. And then I remember walking in, I think, and I'm never going to be able to do that again. And then it wasn't until a year later that I was then doing a conference call in front of like hundreds of people sharing my actual mental health journey. And then I thought that day. Wow, look how far I've come. And then I fast forward to now and I've done an NLP qualification. So Neuro Linguistic Programming, I've set up a coaching business to help other people. And I now speaking on podcast, and now I think, look how far I've come. So I think it's really interesting that it is I hate to use the word journey, but there's nothing else that describes it in the way that journey does. Because it is and I feel as though I'm continuously growing and continuously peeling back the onion layers of what else I need to, to work through. Because I was that way for 30 years of my life. And actually, around that time is where it all came to head. And then lots of things got untangled as I worked through it through therapy and then understanding myself more. And now it's almost like a habit in itself of self development and getting to know yourself on a deeper level and understanding why you do the things you do. So it's almost just continued from that point.
Tony Winyard 18:08
And you mentioned, one of the things that you were determined to do was you really wanted to find out why it happened. So you wouldn't happen again. So what what do you think of word of reasons? I mean, you mentioned about the pressure of the wedding and so on. Was it was there other things that contributed to her?
Sarah Tait 18:27
I have always been a perfectionist, I've always liked things a certain way. I've always been a people pleaser taken on everyone else's. I hate to use word problems, but everyone else is. What's the right word? I've always been a people pleaser. And I've always thought I want to help as many people as I can. But by doing that, I wasn't helping myself. So I think what happened is through therapy, I was able to have a real stark reality of actually if I continue to want work in the same way that I worked previously worked really long hours, which again was all about seeking approval and wanting to do really well in the workplace and wanting to be a perfectionist and keep on top of my emails. If I continued to do that, then it's only going to end again in the same way or I would have been that person that when they retired they dropped down dead because they weren't quite sure their body couldn't cope without the amount of work that they were doing. So there was lots of unhealthy habits and behaviours that I had that led up to that point and a lot of it I think now I know about NLP I know that most of the way that you view the world and most of your habits and behaviours actually come from a lot younger on in life. And I think I had a great childhood and I was the only child in the family For five years, and I had the unbelievable amount of praise, and you're amazing, and you're great at this, and you're gonna do really well in life, and you're gonna succeed, you're always doing really well. And it's almost as if that shapes your character. So you then take that through the rest of your life. And I think people sometimes think, well, if people have got problems in later life, maybe they had a bad childhood. It's not about that, I think it's about how you work conditions, and I was almost conditioned to be pushed, so great at everything, and she's so good at this, it's like, I have to live up to it. So I then continue the rest of my life trying to live up to this expectation of myself, of what that if I do that, I get really good praise. So I need to make sure and then seek your approval and doing a really good job. But nothing was ever really good enough for me, not for others. And it was these really high expectations that I set myself that all of a sudden, it was almost like, I had to put the brakes on. And it was like it all came at once. It was like you either carry on doing what you were doing, and carry on in that same cycle, or you decide to learn some new habits and behaviours and learn a new way of living and have a different outlook on life. So that that never happens again.
Tony Winyard 21:14
And what you've just described, I'm guessing you're familiar with the growth mindset and fixed mindset?
Sarah Tait 21:19
Yeah, of course. Yeah.
Tony Winyard 21:21
Yeah. Yeah, there's a lot of what you just said is kind of feeds into all of that, as well as,
Sarah Tait 21:27
oh, my mindset was so fixed, so fixed on I need to be the best need to do the best I need to need to keep continuing being the best and things like that. And it's just, yeah, it wasn't a healthy way to live. And it created lots of different behaviours around food around the way I viewed my myself physically, the way I actually looked after myself, the relationships I had with people, it's almost as if this there was like, that was one person up until that point where I have my psychotic episode. And then I was able to grow and use the growth mindset to actually continuously develop. So I am by no means perfect, and I still have bad days, and I still have a lot of triggers. But what I do now is I work through them. I'm like, Oh, that's really interesting. Where did that one come from? Why do I do that? And I actually now find it like, I find it fascinating why something might trigger me.
Tony Winyard 22:28
You know, something that's just occurred to me, as I'm listening to you speak. And I've never never thought of this before that. In many ways, it sounds to me. I mean, you give me your taken a little bit. It sounds to me, means from a mental health perspective, you're in a much healthier place than you were before the incident happened. And so that incident to actually improve your mental health, and so many people have the perspective maybe who've never had any kind of mental health issues. And so therefore, they think they're absolutely fine. From a mental health perspective. You're proof that actually, by having a mental health issue, you can improve your mental health?
Sarah Tait 23:07
Absolutely. Yeah, I think all I believe everything happens for a reason, I believe that was meant to happen to me, because it had to stop me in my tracks. And as horrible as it was for it to happen. And for those around me, it is like I needed something really big to happen to take me on a completely different road. It's like it needed to divert to say, if you carry on doing that, it's only going to end in one way. So you need to change perspective, you need to change the things that you do in your life, you need to start looking after yourself. And by doing that, you'll be then be able to continuously grow and develop and you will be able to have a much better relationship with yourself and a much better relationship with your mental health and the way you look after yourself. So yeah, absolutely, I actually wouldn't change it happening. So as horrible as it was for it to happen. I wouldn't change it. I'm not advocating that everybody goes through it to get to a better place because there's definitely other ways. But I think that having been through that has brought me to where I'm supposed to be today. And that is a much healthier outlook on life. And like growth mindset, like we were saying, and being able to help others, which I think is really important.
Tony Winyard 24:26
Well, so in helping others. I mean, you touched upon NLP. So how did you discover NLP and what happened?
Sarah Tait 24:34
It sort of just fell into my lap. It was really it was really amazing. I am when I recovered and was signed off with my therapy. I had a blog for self improvement, self development, I set up an Instagram page to share my journey. People naturally gravitated towards me and was asking me things about it and because I've always been quite open person. I was very open with what What happened to me? So if anyone asked, I would be very open about it. And I think what happened is, people started asking me for advice. The only advice I had was the advice I learned in therapy, which was great. But it was no qualification or training or anything like that. So I knew I wanted to do something, but I wasn't sure what it was. And I was on a conference call at work, and we have lots of development sessions at work. And one of my friends that was also on the conference call messaged me and said, that book they're talking about, I'm actually in that book. And I was like, wow, okay, why are you in that book? And she said, when I did my NLP training, I got featured in that book. And I was like, What's NLP? She was like, Oh, my God, Sara, you would love it. And she explained it to me. And she said, there's this amazing company that I learned with Dave on a two free day core. So go and try it for the first two days, if you like it, then you can continue. And I went for the first two days. And I was like, this is where I'm meant to be. This is what I'm meant to be doing. This brings together everything that I believe to be true about mental health, about how people can grow through things. This is my path. This is my journey. This is where I'm meant to be. And then it's just gone. From there. I did my practitioner training, which is the first level and then I did my master practitioner training, which included hypnotherapy as well, which is the the top level of Master Practitioner NLP training. And then I, I could go on if I wanted to, to do trainer trainer to train other people to do it. But I decided at the moment that I am really interested in helping people one on one. So I set up a coaching business in September last year. And I've been helping people using NLP which I find amazing. And not only do I absolutely love watching people grow and improve their current circumstances, I learned so much for my clients as well about me and about who I am as a person. So it's just, it's just great, I just absolutely love
it. We hope you're enjoying this episode of the habits and health podcast, where we believe that creating healthy habits should be easy. If you know a friend or a loved one who might be interested in learning simple habits to improve their health, then please share this podcast with them. We also invite you to subscribe, and to leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Now, back to the show.
Tony Winyard 27:39
And so you when did you sort of the most recent course that you did? When was that last year?
Sarah Tait 27:50
Yeah, so I did that last year. So I fully qualified at the end of July.
Tony Winyard 27:54
And what was there anything? I mean, I there's probably a number of things that you learn about yourself doing that shining? But what, what was the thing? Is there anything that most surprised you, which is
Sarah Tait 28:07
what I didn't know, before I did NLP was about how everybody views the world completely differently. So we all view the world completely differently based on the experiences that we've been through, that seems quite obvious. But get into the root of how that happens, and how people build their maps of the world, and then how they then filter information in from the external world internally, and then make it mean something to them. That was fascinating. So I think what it did for me is even though through therapy, I knew and I understood why I'd got to that point, I think what NLP did was helped me really identify what my triggers were, and why some of them were so strong, why some of them weren't as strong. And why I did the things that I did even before therapy, because I think at the time when I had therapy, it was very much like survival, I needed to work through those things that I needed to go through at that point to be able to function again in society. Whereas when I did NLP, I was already fully functioning in society, and I was able to then go even deeper and work out. Okay, that makes sense that why I would be triggered by that because of something that had happened in my past. And I was able to make all of those links back, which in itself was fascinating.
Tony Winyard 29:38
So since you've Well, the people you're working with now to the clients you're working with, are they is it? Do you have like a niche of people who went through something similar to what you went through? Or is it more broad than that?
Sarah Tait 29:53
I like to describe it as helping people before they get to the point I got to So if I think about all the things that I was doing, pre my psychotic episode, the people pleasing, they're trying to stay on top of everything, they're trying to be everything to everyone. They're not looking after myself, all of those things that contributed to me having a psychotic episode. They're the people I like to try and help now, so that they never get to that point. So I can almost like help divert them off the current path that they're on, before it gets down that road. And so, generally, the people I help are quite similar to myself pre psychotic episode, that are perfectionist people pleasers, trying to do everything got to do constant to do list in their heads, those types of people.
Tony Winyard 30:44
So why would they come to you in the first place? What what is it that makes them think I need to change something and then come to university?
Sarah Tait 30:54
I'd like to think that it is. They've seen what I've been through, and therefore know that there's hope. But no matter what they're going through, or no matter what they're feeling, that they can come to somebody that can understand their current situation, and move them from either out of that current situation, or to a completely new new situation. So I think people always have in them something they want to change, or somewhere they want to get to. And I think what for me, NLP coaching does is just help enable that.
Tony Winyard 31:39
So if so one question that's coming to my mind, and it's kind of, I guess, two parts. So people listening to this now, May, how could they spot a close family member or close friend, spouse? who maybe has similar? Who may? If they continue the way they are to have issues like that? You've you've mentioned that mentioned about? Or? Or how could they recognise it in themselves that they are going in that direction?
Sarah Tait 32:11
So I think some of the biggest warning signs for me, which I completely ignored is I stopped doing anything I laughed. So if you, you, yourself, or somebody, you know, has completely shut everybody out and stopped doing the things they loved and almost retreated into themselves. That isn't to say that that's going to end up in psychosis. But that, for me is a warning sign of somebody isn't quite right. And what
Tony Winyard 32:38
would what makes excuses what would they say as to why they're stopping doing things they enjoy, what you don't know, would be saying what kind of things
Sarah Tait 32:49
to think of some of the things that I would have said, I, I just didn't, I didn't make time for it's not about other people, it's I didn't even make time for doing things. For me, all I was doing was working. So I was throwing myself into work. And I didn't allow any other space to be able to do the things I loved. So see the people that I love, do the things I love. So I think I think some of the big things would be if people are shutting out people that they love in their lives, or stopping doing the things they love in their life. And that could be a number of different excuses that they could use, they can say, well, it's too busy. I've got too much on. I'm really sorry about a con. And this is the reason why I think the big warning sign for me now is about if people are really overly apologetic about something. And they are making lots of excuses. And also, I think another warning sign is if someone's really struggling to make a choice over something, if it's a particularly it's a small choice. So that for me was a big one is I was really struggling to be able to think clearly and make a choice. And I think now I would be able to recognise that in myself and probably others and say everything feels quite full in your life. Maybe you need to take a time to have a bit of a breather from that fullness is what I would probably say.
Tony Winyard 34:15
In mean in some of the communication we had before word of recording, you mentioned about the relationship that food and exercising contributed to all of this.
Sarah Tait 34:26
Yeah, so I had always been on a diet and yo yo diet. So I would do like shaped diets during the week, and then it would hit the weekend and I would just eat takeaways all weekend. And I think that that was a form of control. I think because I was feeling out of control in other areas of my life. I think I knew I could find a way to control food. So food became something I could keep some sort of control over if everything else fails. Like it was out of control, I knew I could control what I was putting into my body. But that wasn't in a healthy way that was not eating enough during the week, and then eating way too much at the weekend. So then I'd go, right, no need to stop, we need to start everything again. And it was like I was able to set the reset button on my food, the way I was eating, it was just really unhealthy, I would feel a lot of guilt around if I had anything that wasn't as nutritious as before. And I think now what I've done is just ditch the diets for good, and just build a much better relationship with food and my body. And I think that I have, I think when you build up your self esteem, when you go through something like that, and you build back up your self esteem and your self worth, that actually just perpetuates into the rest of the environment. And that includes the way that you look physically. And the way that you look after yourself, the things that you put in your body. The when we talk about exercise, I think before I would have been really trying to hammer it in the gym. Whereas now I'm much more relaxed about my approach to exercise, I think that if I fancy going to the gym, I'll go to the gym. If I want to go for a walk, I'll go for a walk, if I want to do yoga, I'll do yoga, and there isn't that pressure that I put on myself to be like, I must go to the gym five times a week and I must do this x y Zed workout, because otherwise, the world's gonna fall apart if I don't do it. So I think that's the difference now is that it was just really unhealthy. Even the healthy things were made unhealthy because of the way I was doing them.
Tony Winyard 36:43
And so how have you. So it sounds like from what you were saying you've improved your health in many aspects, aspects, obviously, from the mental side, but also from your nutrition and your exercise. And so I wonder what have you implemented any any habits to, to take care to improve the way you're eating the way you're exercising and thinking and so on.
Sarah Tait 37:08
I think for me, the choices I make around eating and exercise come from the mindset that I've got, because I know that if my head if I've got a clearer mind and I'm feeling more positive, I'm more likely to then nourish my body in a more positive way. So for me, that all probably starts with my morning routine. And I know that if I get up and I have a really good start to the day, my morning routine involves sitting and drinking a cup of tea in complete silence with no distractions and just thinking so that's really good too. The first thing I do then I journal then I use affirmations visualisations gratitude, I absolutely swear by
Tony Winyard 37:56
when you talk about your journal and gratitude. So is it a gratitude journal? Or is it just an aspect of the journaling?
Sarah Tait 38:02
So my journaling I do is just, I just write, I find it really cathartic to just write, I think sometimes we can put too much pressure on ourselves and having a perfect journal and then needing to be prompt and then needing to be this and I've got a notepad and I just write, I write the date at the top of it. And then I just write how I'm feeling. Sometimes I write about the dreams I've had, sometimes I'll write about the day ahead. Sometimes I write about something that happened yesterday, just whatever is on my mind, I will just write about it. And you'll be surprised you can write quite a lot when you're just doing that. So I find that fascinating. So that really sets me up really well for the day. And my gratitude produced separately.
Tony Winyard 38:41
And sorry to keep in touch. But I'm just thinking so on that journaling. So say today you write three pages, for example, did you ever look back at it? Or is it just something to get out of your head?
Sarah Tait 38:52
I don't often look back at it. No, I think it's just at that point in time. How I was feeling I have looked back it before. I have seen Oh, that was how I was feeling that day. And I think if I look back at it too much, it's almost as if you're going back over old ground all the time. Whereas I think that's just how I was feeling at that point in time. So I was always going to feel that at that point in time. That's not how I feel today that's going to be different. So I don't tend to go back over them. No, I tend to just write get it out. And then my gratitude I do separately, which will be to set up my day with three things I'm grateful for. And if I don't have time to do the gratitude, I will do it while I'm brushing my teeth. So I'll just think about it rather than write it down. So always make sure that I get gratitude into my day to day routine. That for me helps to shift the brain to look for more positives. And then as you start doing that, you just seem to naturally feel more gratitude and more more gratitude towards everything and more positive In general, I think gratitude is brilliant. And so I think it starts with me with my morning routine. And then that almost goes into the rest of the day. If I then if I woke up, and I've had that really nourishing time for myself in the morning, I then tend to nourish myself better throughout the day.
Tony Winyard 40:18
So that makes me wonder how can you remember how did you feel much gratitude before all of this happen? Did you have much gratitude to towards things in general?
Sarah Tait 40:30
I think before I was always chasing the next thing, and never reflecting on the moment of what I actually had, I think I always wanted more. And I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting more. But there is if you're not reflecting on actually what you've already got. Because what you've already got, is, will take you to wherever else you want to go. And I think it's really important to stop reflect what have you currently got? What are you grateful for, before then deciding what else you want or need in your life? And I think that's the difference, I think before I never stopped, and it was always I wanted the perfect wedding. And then as soon as the wedding was over, it was like, right, well, what's next, whereas actually, if I'd have taken time to be really grateful for the wedding, and be in a space of gratitude, I might not have then felt that afterwards, I might not have then felt that there was such a what's next, then?
Tony Winyard 41:35
My hunch is it'd be interesting to see your thoughts on this. My hunch is I think majority of people don't maybe have as much gratitude for for their own the things that they have in their life and friends and family and so on. But even more than that, this very few people, it seems to be living in a present and do reflect on on their life and things that are happening in their lives.
Sarah Tait 42:00
I think it's really hard to be completely in the present these days, because of the amount of distractions we've got. And I think it takes a lot of practice. And it's something I continuously work on daily, around practising gratitude. And being in the present moment. I think the society that we live in nowadays, there's distractions everywhere, that take you away from the present moment. And I really try to minimise those distractions as much as possible. So I don't have any notifications on my phone. So if I'm having a conversation with my husband, I'll try and turn the TV off. So there's no distractions there. There's no notifications that come in my face, I can be fully present in that conversation.
Tony Winyard 42:45
And it has to be worked on otherwise, it's just, yeah, it is a daily practice, isn't it.
Sarah Tait 42:53
So very few conversations, we have these days a distraction free. And even if they're distraction free, sometimes when we're having a conversation with someone, wherever, anticipating what they might say next, or thinking of your reaction to what they're going to say, or thinking about something else as they're talking. So very, very rarely are we completely in the present moment. And I think that's it does take practice, it is a muscle that you need to practice, you wouldn't expect to go into the gym and be able to pick up the heaviest weight first time round. So you can't expect that you're going to be completely in the present every minute of every day. It does take practice it is training your brain. And meditation is really good for that journal is really good for it. Finding moments of mindfulness for me is really important. And my days can be quite busy. So I think sometimes it's just taken a moment to sit on my sofa with a cup of tea with my dog, and just being like, Ha, let's just let all the thoughts settle. And let's just practice a bit of mindfulness in this moment, actually, how does the taste? How does the tea taste? How does how hot is it? How warm is it, that sort of thing. So I think those little moments of mindfulness are really important to incorporate into your day, to enable you to feel more grounded in the present.
Tony Winyard 44:18
So if someone's listening to this and thinking, I am distracted all the time, I don't have focus and and they they love what you've just said about how being more present and what what initial steps would you recommend people could take to maybe start to go towards that direction.
Sarah Tait 44:39
I would work out what distracts you from the present moment. That's a really good place to start. So I know that my phone can be really distracted. So if you break down what is it that takes you away from the present moment, whether that be physically or your thoughts that you're having? That way you can then start to break down Okay, so if it's my phone that distracts me from being in the present moment, what can I change about how I use my phone? To ensure that it doesn't take me away from the present moment? Can I therefore have screen top of screen three days of screen free evenings? Can I change my the way my notifications come up on my phone? Can I put my phone in a different room for half an hour? Like those sorts of things? And then I think around the thoughts, it's about journaling on them, I would say is, if there's repetitive thoughts that you're getting that are taking you away from the present moment, just sit and write about them. So you can be present with those thoughts.
Tony Winyard 45:37
But what barmy may people say that they've tried to journal and they do it for a couple of days, and then it stops? And then they try it again a few months later, and it's how could you give any tips for someone to make journaling and habitual thing that they do daily?
Sarah Tait 45:54
I think Have you heard of the habit loop?
Tony Winyard 45:56
The habit loop? Yeah,
Sarah Tait 45:57
I find that really interesting. So habit loop is about the initial trigger of the habit, and then the the action that you take, and then the reward that you get out of the back of it. So I think you there needs to be a reward for the habit, because otherwise, you're not going to stick to it. So for me, the reward for journaling is that it clears my mind. So if I don't do it, I know that my mind feels more full. So then why not? What's the benefit of it? So if you then know that the reward you get the back of that you get a clearer mind? For me, I would then question why would I not do it? So it's not a case of building in why you do it, it's why would you not do it. The other thing that's really good with habits is habit stacking, so attaching a habit to something you already do. So if you already get up in the morning, and maybe read the paper, you could have your journal next to the paper, which means that as soon as you open the paper, the next thing you know you do is then to journal or get out of bed and have your journal, your journal on top of your phone. So actually, you pick up your journal first. So whatever your current habit is, you have add in it physically in, or like I said, about when you're brushing your teeth, when you brush your teeth in the morning, added in gratitude at that point as a habit. So attaching habits to things that you already do throughout the day that are already you subconsciously do without even thinking about them, that can be a really good way to make sure that they stay as a habit.
Tony Winyard 47:35
Well, where time is pushing on, Sarah So a couple of questions I always ask every guest before we finish is, is there is there a book that comes to mind has really moved you in any way that comes to mind quickly.
Sarah Tait 47:51
So the book that I have loved the most. And I pick up every now and again is The Secret. And that's all about the law of attraction and how what you put out is what you get back. So it's about focusing on what actually is it that you want, and then visualising that, and working towards that. And that, for me has been an amazing book that I've read that's opened up possibilities that I never thought could be true. But it really does prove the power of your mind.
Tony Winyard 48:26
When if people want to find out more about you, your website, your social media, and so on, where where would they look.
Sarah Tait 48:33
So I'm on Instagram at iamsarahtait/ And I'm on Facebook at Iamsarahtait And on Facebook, it comes out Sarah tait coach and speaker. I'm working on my website at the moment. So that will be available in the next couple of months. And that'll be Sarahtait.co.uk.
Tony Winyard 48:52
And finally, Sarah, is there a quotation you particularly like?
Sarah Tait 48:56
I love the quote by Henry Ford, which is whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.
Tony Winyard 49:06
Why does that speak to you?
Sarah Tait 49:08
Because it just shows you the power of your mind. So if you believe that you could do something you absolutely can. If you think you can't do it, you're also right, you probably won't be able to. So it just shows the power of your thoughts and how by believing in what you want, and how you can get it you absolutely care.
Tony Winyard 49:31
Sarah, thank you for your time. And it's been it's been a pleasure chatting to you. Thank you.
Sarah Tait 49:35
Thank you so much. Thank you.
Tony Winyard 49:40
Next week is episode 54 with Tina McDermott, and she spent most of her life struggling with digestive issues and she didn't understand the embarrassing gas and bloating and constipation and the yo yo weight gain or loss. All of that was connected. And so we discuss about how she discovered that and then what she did and a lot more. So that's next week in Episode 54 with Tina McDermott. If you know anyone who would get some value from some of the information that Sarah shared with us in this episode around mental health, please do share the episode with them. Hope you have a great week.
Thanks for tuning in to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at Tonywinyard.com See you next time on the habits and health podcast.
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