Gemma Thomas & Liz Clifton Interview Transcription:
Liz Clifton: Welcome to the amazing and wonderful Gemma, it's an absolute honor to have you here. And she's just, and she's just starting her journey of life coaching. She's working in the mental health industry and his mom to an autistic child who is completely an athlete. Welcome, Gemma. You're welcome. Okay. So the first question, what does self care mean to you?
Gemma Thomas: Self care means looking after yourself, to enable you to look after others and you know, to stay healthy. I think it's very important.
Liz Clifton: Yeah, absolutely. So on your personal self care to ensure that you're looking after yourself to enable you to have to everybody else. Do you have like a daily routine at all?
Gemma Thomas: I do. Yeah. So I make sure I'm in bed no later than 10:00 PM. I used to be a night owl. It turns out I'm more of a morning person though, which is great. I got a lot more done in the mornings now, so yeah, early nights definitely make sure I get my eight hours sleep, sets me up for the day. Make sure that I'm eating my three meals a day because sometimes life gets a bit hectic and busy. I always make sure I've got some healthy snacks on the go as well. If I am kind of having a busy day, mainly yeah, food is a big part of my self-care for me. So I kind of have to suss out the nutritious foods and I, I tend to listen to my body. So I try and tune in and think, what do I need? What am I missing? Why if I'm feeling a bit groggy or tired, I think, right. Okay. Time to lie down, close your eyes, listen to yourself and suss this out and see what you need. And I always find the answer. I prefer the answer to be cheesecake than broccoli, but it's usually broccoli or something like that.
Liz Clifton: I love it when you're taking that moment. And you're closing your eyes and tuning in, then you're asking yourself what you need like nutritionally?
Gemma Thomas: Yeah. It mainly nutritionally, but it could be anything I could, I could kind of answer myself in my head with you just need to bath, just lie that in the bubbles. Don't even have a wash sometimes just get in that bar and just take that 10 minutes to yourself. Or it could be, that's going to cook up a storm in the kitchen, you know, through a stir fry together. it could be anything that comes up.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love that. And is that a practice that you've done for as long as you can remember. Or was it something that you had to actively sort of again,
Gemma Thomas: No, I, I, took a course in mindfulness, about four years ago after my daughter was born. I was struggling with some mental health issues. the mindfulness course taught me a lot and it taught me how to tune into me and my feelings, my emotions, just to have that awareness of myself and what I needed. So I've been doing it for about four years.
Liz Clifton: And so then thinking of like your whole self care journey, what's the very fast memory of self care that you could share with us?
Gemma Thomas: Let's see that goes back to my childhood and my mum. I'd say I was probably having what we call growing pains and I was restless and couldn't sleep. And my mum taught me what I now know is called a body scan. So, she laid me down in bed next to her and just went through a body scan with me and relax your toes, be aware of your toes can feel the, do veil on them and then relax your calves and went through the whole body. And that's something that's sort of stuck with me throughout life. But I never realized that that was part of mindfulness and that, you know, a lot of other people do that. I just thought it was something my mum did from my childhood.
Liz Clifton: Oh, I love that. And do you share that with your own child?
Gemma Thomas: I do. Yes. She thinks I'm a bit crazy, but it's just, I can't feel my toes. So I touched her toes and I say, now you can't. Yeah. She enjoys doing that.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. And I think it's so important. Isn't it to share it when they say young. So as amazing that your mom was able to share that with you, that's really say thinking about like your whole sale pitch, any idea, how has that sort of developed and progressed as you've grown?
Gemma Thomas: I think I neglected myself in my twenties, mostly, too caught up with trying to work hard and play hard. It wasn't until I had my daughter Allana. I realized that, you know, there were things affecting my mental health and I needed to look after myself to look after her. so I did that mindfulness course. I got some self-help books and I started building habits into my daily life. So just basic stuff, like getting your eight glasses of water a day, eat in your five vegetables or fruit today. go into bed at the same time and getting up at the same time. So the habit building, just became part of my life. And as you know, I went on the newer linguistic programming course to become a practitioner. And that changed my life. that developed me, made me aware of other issues that were going on in my life and helped me find my way around them and not let them hold me back anymore. So yeah.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love that. And I think it's in sharing our own experiences that we get to kind of shine the light. To those people that are in the same situation that we were in when we started looking around for change.
Gemma Thomas: Definitely, yeah, it's enlightening and it's changed my perspective on myself, on other people and how I communicate.
Liz Clifton: I love that. Well, thank you for sharing. It's really, really interesting. If you were to be supporting somebody right now, he's coming at self care for very first time. Where do you suggest they begin?
Gemma Thomas: Ooh. by listening to their body and their mind. but being honest, just lie there, close your eyes and just ask yourself, what do I need What does my mind need What does my body need And just write down everything that comes into your head, no matter how silly it may seem to you just write it down and then you've got that list there and you think, okay, that's coming from somewhere. You know, maybe I need to come jump in a muddy puddle, you know, it's coming from somewhere. And that, that's sort of telling me if, if that popped into my mind, that would say right, you need to go and have some fun. You need to let you mean a child. So yeah, just listen to yourself, find out what you need. if you can't find it out yourself, brainstorm it with a friend or somebody you trust and say, well, I'm go. I'm feeling this. What can I do about this Just, yeah. Get to know yourself, find an awareness.
Liz Clifton: So a couple of things that popped up for me with that. First one is what do you do for yourself at the moment?
Gemma Thomas: I go for walks down the beach and in woods with my daughter with wellies and we jumped in all the pedals. Of course. yeah, we're not afraid to get cold or wet down the beach either. Even in this weather, I make sure we pack towels and dressing downs in the car when we're quite often seen coming home from the beach, just wearing dressing downs and wellies. But yeah, it's fun. I like to have, yeah, just other little things like on a rainy day we'll bake cakes or cookies and just put a film on and just, I'm on the a sofa eating cookies and say right today, no broccoli we're baking cookies.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love that. And I'm, I'm gonna steal that dressing gown idea. That's brilliant as we do that with towels but yeah dressing gowns next time.
Gemma Thomas: In the car for the road home.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. That's perfect. And then thinking about sort of, when you began to look for things to do for joy, where did you start to like, did you look back to your childhood with things that you really enjoyed when you were younger?
Gemma Thomas: I didn't have to look back because I've got a daughter, I can sort of look at her and I thought she knows that she's enjoying this so much. Get involved, get more involved, be, you know, be in the moment with your child. it does the simple act of rolling. Some Play-Doh can be quite therapeutic and playing with sand. You know, you just get involved, you're taking that five minutes out of your daily adult life to just be with your child and do what she's doing. And I find that therapeutic in itself because she just thought of switch off you to do less is gone. And you just sit in the moment.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. Yeah. I think that's really important. And that you said a lot of people asked, she kind of can set it. So you sit on the beach or you're playing with sand, like you just said it runs through your hand. Just sit in that really like natural state.
Gemma Thomas: At this time of year, our favourite thing is to collect leaves. and then we just sort of make a call arch out of them or something. And, there's a lot of glue going on. So she sticks, leaves on, on lots of things. She came home with just a bag full of leaves yesterday from school.
Liz Clifton: Oh, I love that. And they say creative is such a gift in a, to be sharing your life with, with children because they just, they have that like energy and happiness over the simple things. And you also mentioned about sort of like the cooking and things like that. I think that again can be a really creative release.
Gemma Thomas: Yeah, I tend not to follow recipes. I just go with what I've got in the fridge and the cupboards and like find a recipe in my mind. And I think, well, it may work. It may not. It doesn't matter if it doesn't. We can try it again.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love it. Give it a go. So we're coming sort of towards the end of the questions I've got really. As a final kind of thought for people on self care, what would you like to share if there's any sort of pearls of wisdom that you've got?
Gemma Thomas: Get outside because the trees, the air just, it really, really helps just go for walk, even if it's just, you know, a five minute round the block, just let yourself think while you're walking and just be aware of your feet on the ground and thoughts will pop into your head and it may be something that you think, where did that thought come from, but no, that's the power of nature and just getting out there and things pop into your head and, you know, it does help to sort of clear your minds and not so much clear mind, but get focus and clarity that you wouldn't have when you're in your home, surrounded by your to-do list. And yeah, just take a break, get outside.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love that. And how you would describe it. Cause it can feel very much that we are literally surrounded by our, to do list it's weighing us down as you see everything that we get to do today. And then just that stepping outside can just break that up.
Gemma Thomas: Yeah.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. That's beautiful. Well, you're amazing. Thank you so much for your time and for sharing some of your experiences.