No matter how successful your career may look from the outside, , if you are thinking about changing your career then it obviously isn’t that “successful” for you. Friends might envy your job, it might sound good to strangers, it might pay for you to have a rather nice life – when you’re not working. But if you’re reading posts on changing your career, then you’re probably in the wrong one (I know, I’ve been there!).
Christine and I first met over a year ago at Nature Care college, where we both study nutritional medicine. At that time, Christine was working full time as the online editor of a health mag and trying to fit in study as well. I remember talking to her on that first day and thinking to myself, “Here is a gorgeous, talented girl with everything going for her, but something’s got to give!”. Speaking to Christine, I could tell she was struggling to find balance between her career and her studies and still find time to look after herself.
It was a struggle I recognised, as just 6 months before I had made the decision to stop full time work (and my beloved sense of security that it brought) to start working part time in order to focus on my health and studies. It sounds like a cop-out perhaps, just turning your back on a career on what may be seen from the outside as a “whim”, but deciding to cut my wage in half was a huge decision for me. It’s not everything, but financial security is very important to me, particularly as it’s not something I grew up with. Once I made the decision to make a change it took me another 6 months to take the steps to carry out my plan. I’m going to write a little post on this soon 🙂
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Christine and I met up for a chat in the Spring sunshine and my, how things have changed! Glowing with life sounds like such a cliche, but that is how Christine looks now! I really wanted to find out more about Christine’s decision and how she came to make it, particularly as the first time we met she was so unclear about what path she should take.
Christine, you were writing for a health magazine when I first met you , when did you first realise you weren’t following your own advice?!
I actually really enjoyed what I was doing, especially since I got to meet so many health and wellness experts and interview them for stories, but for the past year, my passion for wanting to be one of them myself (more specifically a nutritionist) overrode my desire for continuing the hectic lifestyle I was leading. In short, juggling full time work with part time study while trying to find time for social, personal, fitness and family life was a struggle.
I hear you Christine! How did you come to the realisation that a career in Nutrition was what you wanted to follow?
By reading and hearing too many stories of people healing themselves through food! Reading books by Deepak Chopra and other authors from the holistic health mindset on healing (back when I didn’t care even care about healthy eating!) piqued my interest in nutrition. Then as I got more into writing for mainstream health mags, I couldn’t possibly ignore all this amazing advice on how people can heal themselves through food. Even though I don’t have Hashi’s, Sarah Wilson‘s blog had a huge influence on me as well, mainly because she packaged health advice in such a fun and engaging, real way. I gradually tried being healthier myself and noticed my PMS, cystic acne and lethargy went away! That was a few years now, and I haven’t turned back.
Yes, well as you know I’m a bit of a Sarah Wilson fan myself!
Can you tell us a little more about the decision making process in going from a full time career to a part time job and student life?
Like you, it wasn’t easy because there’s a comfort in routine and the financial security that comes from a full time job. But what it really came down to was following my heart. It sounds so emotional and like you say, looks like a “whim” decision from an outsider’s perspective, but I believe you can never go wrong if you follow your intuition, no matter how scary or unknown it can feel at the time. I have to admit though, there have been a few friends – including you – who have done something similar so they were my inspiration.
[*Gulp* What a lovely thing to say, back at you, Christine!]
I know you’ve suffered your own health problems, do you want to tell us a little more about them and how they affected the path you decided to follow?
It was the culmination of a few things like PMS, cystic acne and lethargy that got me on a healthier path. But having gone through secondary amenhorrhoea (aka no periods for over 6 months or more) gave me alarm bells. My body basically wasn’t doing its natural thing because of the stress from my hectic lifestyle and so something had to give. Miraculously, two days after I left my job, my periods came back. But looking back on what I did before it became regular again, I took up yoga, cut my subjects by half and made more time for self-care.
Wow, just goes to show, if we pay attention to our body the signs are there! I love yoga too, it’s the best form of exercise and relaxation for me.
How did you feel once you had made the decision and how did friends and family take the news?
Like I could breathe again! Seriously, my body was chronically stressed and because you get so caught up with it all, it takes some sort of health crisis sometimes to force you to re-evaluate everything. To be honest, my family would have preferred me to continue some sort of less-hectic nine to fiver for the financial security, but they know my health is priority, so they understand. Some of my friends, especially those whom I worked with, think it was a brave move.
It was a brave – but wise – move. And how has your emotional and physical health changed since?
I generally feel like I can enjoy life more. I have a sharper sense of what can take too much of my energy, so I really to pull away from that ‘to-do’ list, ‘I can do it all’ mentality. I generally have always just put too much pressure on myself, so being able to see when I do that has meant I’ve lowered my stress and my health is a lot better for it.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to do the same thing?
Listen to your body. Take a risk in the name of following your dream or passion. Don’t worry too much of what other people think, but take on their advice where you see fit. Those who care only want what’s best for you, but if it goes against your own intuitive wisdom, it’s best to do what you know is best for you.
I think that’s amazing advice, Christine.
What scared you most about “making the leap” and what is the best part about your new life?
The loss of financial security scared me most. But I now work at a naturopathic clinic and health foods store as well as studying, so it’s good to be still in the health and wellness industry.
What does your future now hold for you?
Not entirely sure, but definitely hope to be helping people realise the power of food as medicine. Food education is so important and if we can get them young, they won’t realise it’s worth later in life.
Thank you so much for your insights, Christine. I found your words hugely inspiring and I know others will too! It’s always reassuring to know that the world doesn’t end when you decide to make positive changes in your life, no matter how major they may seem. The world keeps turning as you build yourself a better life, one step at a time.
You can see more of Christine and her health and wellness tips on social media:
Blog: Health is my Oyster
Facebook: Health is my Oyster