Tanja Gardner is a professional copywriter, word weaver and story spinner at Crystal Clarity Copywriting Ltd. She helps health and wellness difference-makers like you write with concise, creative clarity that your readers intuitively “get”. That means they understand EXACTLY what you offer – so you can make more of a difference in their lives.
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Q1. What does wellness and health mean to you?
For me, wellness is about balance in all areas of my life. It’s about the physical stuff, the mental stuff, the emotional stuff and the spiritual stuff; and the way they all interconnect with each other… Plus it’s about being able to balance long-term effects with short-term pleasure.
So, in practice, it’s about being truly in touch with and guided by your own responses and reactions. It’s about being able to listen out for, hear and act on what would feel right for you.
And it’s about finding the balance between what would feel best now, and what would be best in the long term.
(complicated stuff, this Tanja-version of wellness!)
Q2. What is the #1 wellness practice you live by?
My #1 practice would probably be the act of taking a deep breath and focusing on the mantra: “Relax, it’s probably not as serious as you think!”
You see, I can be a major melodrama queen sometimes. Small problems can easily explode into big dramas if I let them. And let’s face it: “big drama” isn’t a state that supports balance or wellness in any of the areas I mentioned above.
So. What supports my wellness best seems to be doing whatever I can to step back and get some perspective. Often, if I can do that, the next step I need to take – the one that will help me actually get back into balance – becomes clear. Sometimes I’ll also support my search for a new perspective with journaling.
Q3. Thinking back, what were your earliest influences regarding living a healthy and balanced life?
Once upon a time, I thought of health as simply being the absence of disease. There’s been a lot of chronic disease in my family. I’ve now lost both of my parents to cancer, my father had heart disease and diabetes, and assorted aunts, grandparents and cousins have had or are having their own health battles.
I can remember deciding “I don’t want to be like that”… and immediately swinging, pendulum-like, in the opposite direction. I tried to starve myself to get my weight down. I tried to eat raw and only drink water. I compulsively exercised, dieted, and stressed about every last calorie in or out.
Funnily enough, that didn’t make me feel well. It certainly didn’t make me feel balanced!
Then, at some point, I realised I’m happier – and I feel healthier – when I just relax and let my body tell me what it wants.
As long as I remember to listen to it and then do what it wants, anyway.
Q4. What has your journey been like over the last couple of years to get you where you are today?
My journey’s been incredibly up and down recently. I thought I had a good balance going, until Dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in May 2011. I kept up an exercise routine I loved and a mostly-healthy diet for a while… but as he got sicker, both of them took a back seat.
To cut a long story short, I lost the habit of asking my body what would make it feel good long-term. Instead, I started only doing what felt good in the moment. I sometimes allowed myself to hide from painful feelings in the “right-now” pleasure of food. I was trying so hard not to slip back into over-controlling (again) that I let the pendulum swing too far the other way.
So my challenge as I write this is to bring that side of my life back into balance again. And yes, I’m using my “relax” mantra, and a LOT of journaling to help me with that .
Q5. Looking back what was the most challenging aspect of your journey and what did you learn from it?
Ooops – I think I’ve probably answered that already above!
Q6. What is the #1 healthy food you love? The #1 indulgence you give into once in a while?
Dark, bitter chocolate is probably my #1 favourite food, and it fills both those slots. It’s healthy in moderation (all those antioxidants!), so I have a couple of small squares a day as part of my morning routine. But I also choose it as my daily indulgence: to me “indulging” is far more about my mindstate as I eat than it is about the food.
Other than that, I don’t have a specific favourite healthy food. I love all kinds of different food textures, tastes and scents. Sometimes I’m more in the mood for one thing than another, but as long as I mindfully appreciate my food, I’ll always enjoy it.
Q7. To get you through challenging moments in life, what is the one mantra or quote that you live by?
My ultimate favourite quote is the ancient Japanese proverb: “Fall down seven times, stand up eight”. It’s carried me through WAY more craziness in life than I can even start to explain. It’s probably right behind the “relax” mantra I mentioned above as “favourite wellness practice EVER in the Tanja-verse”.
Q8. You’ve accomplished so much so far, what’s something you are most proud of?
It’s not directly wellness-related, but starting my copywriting business – and getting it to a level where I’m now ready to go full-time – is a MAJOR point of pride for me. The potential it has to help difference-makers in the health and wellness field is just huge.
Think about it. If I can show just one difference-maker how to get their wellness message out more clearly, how many people’s lives can I help them to touch? Now multiply that by all the amazing difference-makers in this interview series. And all the ones you’re planning to feature. And all the ones you’ve yet to invite… how AWESOME could that be?
I’m not usually someone who takes big risks, so this feels totally out of character for me. But the potential rewards seem well worth the risk. And yet again, my “relax” mantra is proving to be a lifesaver!
Q9. What’s your advice to those struggling with finding their own path to health and happiness?
Try to get a feel for what’s right for you, and don’t assume that someone else’s answer will necessarily translate for you. One of my key driving principles is that there’s no one right way to do anything – in fact, that’s important enough to me to be the title of my upcoming ebook.
The way I see it, we’re all very different people. We have different strengths, different challenges, and different goals. So why should an answer that works perfectly for me necessarily work the same for you?
My advice is to try different things out. Ask experts for guidance, but don’t accept anything as valid until you’ve tried it for yourself. Stay in touch with your body as you experiment, and listen to its reactions. Keep whatever tools or practices work for you, and let go of whatever doesn’t.
Remember that it’s your path, so you get set the rules.
Q10. Finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2012?
To stay as balanced as possible, while growing as much as possible. To launch my business full-time, and return to a place of balanced wellness in the rest of my life. And to help as many difference-makers as humanly possible to get their message out, so they in turn can help as many people as they can.