I had a chat with the lovely Daisy - foodie, traveler, mum, entrepreneur and wife to Izzy Dagg - New Zealand rugby union player.
Whatever our story is, we get to choose what our experiences mean for us. We get to choose who we are from what we’ve been through. Your life journey is your own and it is determined by the choices you make. Daisy shares her beautiful journey with me…I felt like I was listening to my own similar story with social anxiety.
We talk pregnancy, hormones, balancing being a mumma to the gorgeous Arlo and Tilly, life in Japan, the connection between nutrition and mental health and her secrets to staying mentally and physically healthy.
Pregnancy can be a physical and emotional roller coaster— everyone can seem like they don’t have problems, but everyone’s human. Everyone can feel yucky on the inside at times.
So if you’re reading this and you’re having a hard time, no matter how big or small it seems to you, I want to remind you that you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through. Just the opposite. It could be the most important thing you do. It was for me.
How do you achieve balance as a mum and businesswoman and wife?
The business side of things has gone downhill slightly but I am lucky to be self-employed so I can choose what workload I take on. I also have a family friend currently helping me with the kids which allows me to do my work, exercise and just basically get out of the house especially with the hubby being away all the time with rugby. Balance is key and routine and organisation help you to achieve this. I love organisation and routine but I'm also happy to adapt to variation and change. I definitely have my moments but it's all about being able to recognise these moments before shit hits the fan basically. Stress is good, its healthy and enables you to build mental toughness and resilience.
In a nutshell, what’s your food philosophy? And the connection food has with wellbeing and / or mental health?
In a nutshell I basically have two food philosophies – “Everything in moderation” and “Eat right for your body type”. I love food, I love eating it and experimenting with recipes and different cuisines from different countries. I'm not big on dieting fads or cheat days. I'm a fairly balanced person and I eat a balanced diet but I do believe that food and mental wellbeing have a huge connection. They say “you are what you eat” and I totally believe this. You need to find what works for you, listen to your body and what it responds well to. If you have a bad day then just be aware of what you eat the next day, if your body responds badly to certain foods then avoid them. Everyone's bodily systems are completely different so what works for one person might not necessarily work for you. Don’t copy or envy others in what they eat, find you own balance and your own food journey.
Have you experienced anxiety, depression, and hormone imbalances throughout your adult life?
I have always been a fairly anxious person. I love to be busy and organised so I think a lot of anxiety I have stems from disorganisation and chaos. I tend to internalise my feelings which can ultimately lead to anxiety also, but this has always been very mild and manageable. It wasn’t until my second pregnancy with Tilly where I found myself suffering from anxiety on a much higher level, potentially due to hormone imbalances. I have never been shy, always fairly outgoing and I absolutely loved meeting people. During my second pregnancy this completely changed. I'm not sure how it really came about but I found myself wanting to avoid people at all costs. I hated big crowds of people and I freaked out being around people I didn’t know. I would go into full panic mode and conversations which usually flowed easily were awkward and horrible. It was like that feeling of being stuck in an elevator with someone, that’s what I felt like continuously. I hid in toilets or made excuses to would leave events or gatherings. I didn’t tell anyone, not even Izzy as I was terrified it was the beginning of post-natal depression. I had to really focus on the fact that this wasn’t me, it wasn’t who I was so it was clear that there was some hormonal imbalance due to my pregnancy which had led to social anxiety. Lucky for me it did not turn into anything more severe and it went away after I stopped breastfeeding. I got myself back and became my loud, bossy, self again.
What do you do to ‘reset’ the balance button when life gets a bit hectic? Or when certain struggles arise to find balance?
I think the first step before you aim to reset is acceptance, accepting that potentially things are getting a bit much or life is getting too hectic. In saying this don’t get too caught up with the fact that you shouldn’t feel like this, like you're not in control or not feeling happy. Accept how your feeling and then you can work on some realistic expectations for yourself to reset. Don’t treat it all like a threat but something you actually have to work on, a challenge to be embraced. You just have to be proactive and change your mindset. Find out what works for you – but to help me clear my mind so I can focus on resetting I go for a walk preferably somewhere around water, do a yoga class, cook, read quotes or poetry, listen to a motivational speaker, ring a friend for a good chat, run a bath and have a red wine or just sit down and a have a cuppa tea. Make this time for yourself, its important.
How did becoming a mum change you as a person in your outlook or view on life? Being a mum has changed my life in so many ways. I definitely do not attend the parties I used to or travel as much I used to but I'm completely at peace with that. I would take hanging with my kids over hangovers any day. I always tried hard not to get caught up in any drama or anyone else's business but my kids have given me a pure platform to focus on and I have learnt a lot more about prioritising my time and energy on those that truly matter. I no longer have time or patience for some people or certain things. In the words of Meryl Streep “I lost the will to please those who do not like me and to love those who do not love me. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid or inflexible personalities”. The love I have for my children cannot be explained simply in words and I really hope to teach them so much about the world, kindness and embracing an open mind outlook on life.
What would be your message to first time mums / mums in general going through a period of struggle in their life?
Everyone out there are on their own journey of struggles. Life is one big stressful struggle. Again, learn to recognise and accept when things are getting a bit too much, don’t treat it like a threat and learn to embrace the challenge of finding what helps you reset. Don’t try to take on everything yourself as this will only cause you damage which will ultimately affect your kids. Take time for yourself, communicate with those around you, delegate and allow others to help you. Being a mum is the most challenging yet rewarding journeys you will ever go on. Don’t wish away time, for their hands will never be that small again.
What are your thoughts on social media in regards to mental health & well-being? Social media is the platform against which we all judge and compare ourselves these days. Unfortunately, that’s just the way of the world at the moment. Social media is out there and has fast become the world's advertising platform with everyone blaming models and influencers for increased depression, suicide rates etc. Instead of looking at this in a negative way and hating on it all, I think we need adjust our focus as parents of the next generation and aim to accept this as part of evolution because it is out there whether we like it or not. We have to change our mindsets and focus on building strength in our children to be able to handle this brutal, materialistic world. Teach them the importance of self-love, self-acceptance and beauty from the inside out. As individuals we need to keep open minds and have an “each to their own” mentality whilst staying true to our own values and morale's. I totality believe in freedom of speech but not if it at the expense of another human being. If we all encouraged each other instead of trying to bring each other down then it would be a much greater world. Stop comparing yourself to others and what you see on Instagram and focus on your own journey.
What are your views on The Simplistic Road as a platform for others going through challenges or chapters of struggle in this journey called life?
I think it’s a fantastic platform for inspiration and the realisation that you are never alone in your struggles. Yes, you are on your own journey and the choices you make are your own but there are so many people out their battling their own demons just like you. The Simplistic Road can help put in to perspective that even though someone else's life might seem perfect through the rainbow coloured world of Instagram, they too have everyday struggles, mental health issues, body issues, health problems and just general life struggles.
How do you practice self-care / love and why do you think this is so important?
On the physical side of self-care, I will take a walk, do yoga, exercise or take my kids on an adventure. Mentally I will take time off, for myself to sit and evaluate what I have and all I am yet to achieve. This is time without technology, so no phone in front of you, no laptop playing Netflix, just you and your own mind pondering over your thoughts and dreams. This is so important to help find your zen, or inner peace.
Favourite book / podcast?
To be completely honest I haven't really got into listening to podcasts yet but it's something I really want to start as I have heard some can be extremely inspiring. As for books, I actually haven't read a book in so long but I love reading! I'm a total dreamer so I am into any love story, anything Nicholas Sparks. I also love reading poetry and my favourite poet is Lang Leav so I read a lot of her work.
Have you found it challenging to find balance moving to a new country? Balancing a new life with your 2 beautiful children?
Obviously, routines of both myself and the kids have changed a lot but I haven't found it too difficult to find the balance. I have definitely had far less time to myself but I learnt fast to accept this and be grateful of the opportunity to live in Japan for four months. The kids have adjusted really well but I think Arlo is just pining for our backyard in New Zealand. I wouldn’t want to live in an apartment forever and I'm really looking forward to returning home but I have lived and learnt a new way of life and I'm extremely grateful for the experience.
What does a typical day look like in Japan? What have you learnt about life / wellness being around a completely different culture and way of life?
A typical day in Japan is basically centred around the kids. We try to get out of the apartment whenever we can to go on walks, or to the many indoor playgrounds they have over here. We are super lucky there is lots to do around us. We have been on family adventures to Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and all over Tokyo. We have been to Disneyland and Universal Studios and to other amusement parks. We have indulged in a lot of Japanese food and immersed ourselves in this amazing culture.
The Japanese people are beautiful, with a very different way of life to us kiwis. They never seem to rush and always seem very content in their own journeys. Sometimes I look around and it feels like everyone has found their own inner peace and are just happy on their own paths. They are so respectful of their elders and are extremely helpful, especially when I have been lost on numerous occasions.
Lastly, what is your favourite quote or mantra you like to live by and why?
I learned a few years ago that balance is the key to a happy and successful life, and a huge part of achieving it is to install rituals into your everyday life - a nutritious balanced diet, daily exercise, time for yourself and acceptance that life sometimes just does not go on the path that you want it to. Your life journey is your own and it is determined by the choices you make. The question is... What sort of life do you want to live?
Here is the mantra that I live by...
“Balance is key. In everything you do. Dance all night long and practice yoga the next day. Drink wine but don’t forget your green juice. Eat chocolate when your heart wants it and kale salad when your body needs it. Wear high heels on Saturday and walk barefoot on Sunday. Go shopping at the mall and then sit down and meditate in your bedroom. Live high and low. Move and stay still. Embrace all sides of who you are and live your authentic truth! Be brave and bold and spontaneous and loud and let that complement your abilities to find silence and patience and modesty and peace. Aim for balance. Make your own rules and don’t let anybody tell you how to live according to theirs.” ― Rachel Brathen
Thank you Daisy!
For more on this amazing lady check out @daisydagg or www.daisydagg.com