Elizabeth Finch On Changing The Way We See Wellness
Welcome back to Winding Down, where we’ll be highlighting interesting women around town who celebrate self-care and what it means to them. We kicked off our series with Ashley Peeples, Founder and Creative Director of BEIGE. Up next, Elizabeth Finch. Read on to learn what the mom, health coach, fitness instructor, blogger and entrepreneur's self-care routine looks like.
Read the full interview below.
Can you describe yourself in 1 paragraph, please?
I’m a wife and mom of two daughters, a health coach, a yoga and group fitness instructor and a women’s wellness blogger.
My hope is to inspire women around the world to live a life with more balance, more mindfulness and more nourishment by shifting away from restriction and stress, and towards healthier daily choices, more nourishment, more self-love and mindfully listening to what your body is asking for. Because I believe that living a life of wellness should make you FEEL GOOD - in your body, in your mind and in your soul.
What is something people don't know about you?
That I met my husband when I was a freshman in college. We dated all through college and got married when I was 23. We will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary this summer! He’s still my favorite person to be with.
It’s been over a month since we have been practicing social distancing. We have found our inner chefs, bakers and really, all we do is eat, whether we make it ourselves or we buy it to support restaurants. What are your top 3 tips on eating healthy/staying on track?
1. Instead of worrying about following a specific diet or eating plan, just focus on eating fresh, whole foods that are unprocessed and unpackaged. That’s a great way to simplify and stay on track with healthy eating. Think veggies, fruits, whole grains, pastured or grass-fed animal proteins if you choose them, nuts and seeds.
2. Remember that you will eat what you have on hand and what’s most convenient for you to reach for, so keep your pantry and fridge stocked with healthy options. Have fruit washed and, if necessary, cut and ready to go on the countertop or in the fridge. Raw nuts and dried Medjool dates are favorite snacks that I keep on hand, along with hummus (store bought is fine) and veggie sticks. Keep these items on hand, rather than junky, processed foods.
3. I know it sounds so simple that most people skip over it, but drink plenty of water! I just wrote a blog post that’s all about the benefits of staying hydrated, but the benefits range from regulating your metabolism and helping to prevent weight gain, to increasing your energy, keeping your skin glowy and plump and helping with workout recovery. I recommend drinking at least 64 oz of water a day, throughout the day.
As a mom, it’s hard to feed your kids and husband healthy meals. How do you keep them on track? Do they enjoy healthy foods as you do?
I truly believe that it’s no different for kids than it is for adults — it comes down to your habits, and what you keep on hand. If you eat junky foods all day and that’s your habit, you’re going to crave junky foods more! My kids do eat all the meals I cook for my husband and me. I don’t keep a ton of processed foods, but I also do allow them to have treats. I try to teach them about balance and moderation, which is something I think a lot of adults struggle with. If you had a cookie earlier today, maybe fresh seasonal fruit would be a better choice for something sweet after dinner? And I try to teach them to pay attention to how their bodies feel when they’ve eaten lots of healthy foods and practiced moderation, verse when they’ve overdone the sugar or processed foods. I also like to involve them in our meal planning for the week. I’ll ask them what they’d like to have on the menu, which veggies they’d like to eat, which fruits they want me to pick up at the store. When they feel they are a part of the menu planning, they are more likely to be excited when they sit down and see that food on the dinner plate.
When you finally get to wind down, what are some ways you practice self-care?
I am a big believer in self-care and I always go back to the adage, you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others around you put theirs on. Self-care is anything you do to protect your own well-being and happiness, and for me that includes giving my body nourishing foods most of the time, taking some time to prep those foods so they’re ready to grab from the fridge, and also moving my body daily. But something else that makes me feel my best, so I prioritize it, is keeping my nighttime routine and going to bed around the same time every night so I can get a good solid 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. When I haven’t slept well, everything else feels off - my energy, my mood, my mindset, even my cravings for sweets are stronger when I’m tired. I love a hot bath before bedtime, a cup of tea, and I’ll put my legs up the wall (a restorative yoga pose) for about 10 minutes at night, which helps relieve any fluid or pressure around the feet and ankles and is generally relaxing. I try to meditate for about 15 minutes a day, and I love to journal my thoughts when I’m in need of some clarity.
What is one of your favorite things now? It can be anything that makes you happy.
I’m actually really appreciating home workouts and home yoga flows. Moving my body in different ways every day truly helps me to feel better physically, mentally and emotionally, and I can tell such a difference in my mindset and my energy on the days that I don’t move. The only things I’ve been using for home workouts and yoga are a yoga mat, a few sizes of free weights and bands, and you can do so much with those, in addition to taking nice long walks outside in the gorgeous Arkansas spring weather. I feel so blessed to be healthy enough to exercise my body, and to have some space in which to do it.
What is something you have enjoyed during this social distancing time?
I have really enjoyed the slower pace during this time of social distancing. In fact, before this happened, I felt like daily life was moving so fast that it was hard to truly enjoy the everyday blessings, and that insanely fast pace also left me feeling depleted most days. I for one will be thrilled if we adopt a slower paced lifestyle, and I think it will also be better for our health.