Progress NOT Perfection
Posted by Adam Meads
Talking about wellbeing and what it means to others is sooo important when discovering your own needs. So, this week we’re talking to Journalist of 22 years, current Health Director of Red Magazine, mother, nutritious food obsessive and lover of sleep, Bridget Moss, about everything wellbeing.
Q You are a busy working mum - what are your 3 tips for keeping your wellbeing in check?
A 1) At least one early night a week where I'm in bed before 9pm, usually two. That means I rarely watch TV - sometimes I think I am missing out but if I don't get sleep, like most people I am not my 'best self'!
2) Podcasts are a great multi-tasker. I like Happiness with Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft, who chat about happiness hacks (and make each other laugh), The Emma Guns Show because she's so fabulous and funny about wellness and beauty and Tim Ferris, who often interviews smart-living health hackers.
3) Vegetables. Whether I'm cooking, shopping or at a restaurant, my question is: can I add more veg to that? Can I add a side dish? There's a running joke in my house, that there's rarely a dish without courgette in it. I've discovered you can add courgette to everything: chilli, sauces, stews, curries, on pizzas. (I do use other vegetables too).
Q One of your last pieces was - 'Keep Fit On Holiday' - should we keep on moving on hols? What small steps can we do to keep going (in between the margaritas and on a lounger stuck in a new book)
A I think you should do exactly what you feel like on holiday. You might need to take a break from training - or just take a break from everything - and do precisely sod all. That said, I just had a holiday in Asturias, northern Spain, where we were cycling, swimming and hiking every day, and came home feeling strong and on a total natural high. I'm going to Yeotown soon and I cannot wait. That mixture of delicious food, yoga and hiking is right up my street.
Q You once interviewed Sheryl Sandberg about her new book Option B (about resilience in adversity when option A is not available to you) - what part of this really stayed with you? Why? Have you taken any advice from this book? Which part and why?
A That was an awe-inspiring conversation: if you've read the book, you'll know it includes incredibly personal details about the death of Sandberg's beloved husband and the impact that had on her and her children, who were pretty young. I was struck how engaged she was; although she had written the book and talked about what had happened, it was only two years since his death.
The mission behind the book is to help anyone going through any kind of adversity, and that there are tools you can use to help you along the way. the one that's stuck with me, the major one, is knowing that the waves of pain will pass, that you're not going to be stuck in that terrible moment forever.
Q You have written your own book on IVF. Did you find it helped others with taking this journey? How did you find the time to fit in writing a book?
A Women have got in touch to say, IVF: An Emotional Companion was super useful to them. It's 22 women's personal stories, so they've told me it made them realise they weren't the only ones feeling desperate, lost or hopeless going through IVF. I found the time outside my day job by sitting at a desk, not going out, not watching TV, barely exercising and working every weekend for six months! I think most authors would say the same.
Q Meditation and wellbeing. Why do you think it's important? Do you meditate in your own time?
A I don't really meditate although I do try to sit and breathe and do nothing for five minutes at least once during the day. I don't know if I do it consistently enough to make a difference, to be honest. I can't remember who I got the idea from - it's called a brain nap. I really only do a yoga class for the the savasana at the end.
Q You’re obsessed with nutritious food. What do you mean by this? Neom believe in the 80/20 rule (not afraid of a glass of fizz come Friday). So, how can us busy working women plate up nutritious dishes for ourselves or for our families without spending hours in the kitchen? And what's your Friday night tipple?
A I am obsessed with how delicious nutritious food has become, that's for sure. And I also believe in the 80/20 rule (maybe 70/30 actually - I find it almost impossible to turn down chocolate in the office, sorry). I have borrowed the idea of a quick breakfast dish from The Detox Kitchen, which I try to make a few times a week. It's an egg wrap - ie a thin, lightly cooked 2 egg omelette - cooled then filled with chopped salad and an olive oil dressing (a mix of different leaves, sorrel, spinach, plus basil, mint, thyme, cucumber, tomato, pepper and, of course, avocado) plus you can also add smoked salmon or ham. You basically get your 5 a day before you've even had coffee. Or I whip up some buckwheat flour pancakes, with three eggs to make them filling.
Also I try to think about the gut when I'm planning what to cook; Eve Kalinik has a brilliant new book, Be Good To Your Gut, with loads of delicious recipes. Deliciously Ella's recipes work if I'm busy - you can buy all the ingredients from the supermarket (the Blackened Cauliflower with Spring Onion Pesto from her book, Deliciously Ella With Friends is so good). I have also found a chestnut flour cake recipe - by Nina Parker in Nina Capri - chestnut banana bread that works for breakfast, after dinner and dressed up as a birthday cake. And Hemsley + Hemsley has a one-pot butternut squash, coconut and red lentil curry where you just shove in the ingredients and cook it. On Friday nights, you'll find me with a glass of red (from More Wine who have a range of organic wine - I'm sure you get less of a hangover) and maybe a crisp!
Q You have a son what's your go to easy dish that you can guarantee he'll love?
A He eats pretty much everything, we are very lucky. I've found a lot of children like to eat a little bit of chilli as they get older - coconut curry especially with poppadoms (some mums will be thinking I'm being ridiculous here, so sorry to them). I used to make a tomato pasta or pizza sauce with lots of added vegetables pureed into it, or mash broccoli to go into pesto. but I don't have to hide vegetables. I also used to add green powders, broccoli or spinach or kale to his banana berry smoothie, but he got wise to that.
Q Green smoothie or prosecco?
A If I'm lacking in veg, I'll often have the Itsu Raw Veg Cleanse in the afternoon. It does contain a lot of apple juice, but also coriander, ginger, spinach, avocado. (I actually find Prosecco too sweet).
Q At NEOM our mantra is 'wellbeing: small steps big difference', - do you agree? Why? Why not?
A Of course. What you do every day adds up to how you feel each day. But I do think my biggest changes come after weeks away, when I've realised how great I feel when I exercise or eat better or just properly relax. It's so good to bring those changes home.
Q We believe that lack of sleep, poor energy, stress and mood dips are all related - do you agree? Why/why not?
A Oh they are all the same thing, right? A recent study said people find it hard to be 'positive minded' after a lack of sleep and that's definitely borne out in the experience of pretty much everyone I know, even the ones who say they only need a few hours' sleep. You only have to spend time with a tired toddler to know how extremely a lack of sleep affects the human psyche, how hard it is to overcome even the slightest setback when they're tired ("I want the PINK cake NOT THE BLUE ONE"). As sleepless adults, we might not be able to throw a whacking great tantrum all over the floor but we can easily end up in a massive inner tantrum.
Q What’s your health and wellbeing mantra?
A Progress not perfection.
Follow Brigid on Instagram: @brigidredmag