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Practicing Self-Care Like a Pro: Amelia Phillips shares her tips

Self-care is a topic that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. We have asked exercise scientist, nutritionist and mother of four, Amelia Phillips what self-care means for her and what tips she can share for an effective self-care routine.

What does self-care mean to you?

To me, self-care is a mindset. A mindset of treating ourselves like we would treat someone we valued dearly. If you bought a puppy, would you neglect it? Feed it poorly? Keep it awake when it should be asleep. Not give it exercise? Use harsh words? I hope not! 

Self-care is similar, it’s a mindset where we look after ourselves from a place of self-worth. Sometimes self-care means saying no (to an already maxed-out schedule), other times it’s saying yes (to a 5 am wakeup because that’s the only way you’ll get your 4 days of exercise in). Self-care is also the byproduct of living a values-aligned life. 

How do you know when you're feeling stressed or burnt out?

The canary in the coal mine is usually my sleep. If I find it hard to get to sleep or wake up around 3 am, that’s the warning that my axis is starting to spin off course. A few days like this are manageable, but if this sleep pattern lasts longer than a week, something needs to change. Sleep deprivation leads to increased stress biomarkers such as cortical, CRP, T3, testosterone, and BDNF. And increases in stress are associated with poor sleep (and a whole array of health and mental health issues!). 

If I can’t reduce the stressors in my life, then I get busy managing them. My go-to’s are:

  • Exercise: One of the best ways to combat stress (Tip a proper 10min stretch, cool down and deep breathing at the end triggers the body to lower production of stress hormones)
  • Writing a list: at the end of my working day to get it out of my head!
  • Setting a bedtime alarm: meaning a ‘go-to-bed alarm’ and sticking to it (the hardest part!)
  • Box breathing: for 2min as I go to sleep (I’m no good at meditating but this works for me)
  • Sleep tracker: Using my sleep app to track my deep sleep (I love Autosleep for Apple Watch) and aim for 2+ hours of NREM sleep (deep, delta wave sleep). 

Do you have a regular self-care routine? If so, what does it look like?

I had four kids in five years, and my self-care routine was pretty rotten in those early years. Locking myself in the bathroom with my mobile phone and a cup of tea was about as good as it got (until the banging on the door got too loud)!

These days (my kids are aged 5-10, what I’m calling the golden period!) I really prioritise self-care. 

My self-care routine is:

Exercise: alarm goes off at 5:15 am four days per week and I’m out the door training (either running or CrossFit or both). 

Big brunch: I’m a fan of intermittent fasting so I really only have two meals per day; brunch and early dinner (with a small arvo snack). This won’t work for everyone but it does for me. Loaded GF toast (avo, feta, eggs, hemp or toasted pepitas). BTW if you’re in Sydney and you want yummy GF bread that freezes well, try Bare Wholefoods GF loaf.

Acupuncture and massage: These are my go-to treatments. Acupuncture is the traditional medical treatment that has the most robust research on efficacy (especially for pain and nervous system function - meaning stress management). I find the combination of acupuncture then immediately followed by a massage such a winning formula. My muscles feel like putty after acupuncture versus a stiff rope, so the massage therapist can really go deep!

Fun! I’m a pretty social person so self-care for me is socialising with the people who spark big conversations or who make me belly laugh on repeat!

What bumps you off your self-care routine and how do you get back on course?

Not having a clearly defined routine is the death knell of self-care for me. To get back on track I am looking for a program that includes tracking. I’m a big biotech and data nerd and that’s why I’ve put together an 8-week Inside Out Challenge using innovative biotech from Drop Bio Health. We use finger prick technology to track our blood biomarkers while following my 8-week exercise, nutrition and mindset program. Whilst weight management is a focus in this program, it can also be used simply as a way to prioritise health and self-care and learn about your biomarker levels. 

By having a clear plan, and tracking health beyond just the scales (scales tell us very little!), we are able to see how our habits are truly impacting our health. The awesome reports you get will give you scores for 25 biomarkers cleverly categorised into the health pillars of: 

  • Stress
  • Sleep
  • Inflammation
  • Energy/fatigue 
  • Fitness
  • Body composition, and 
  • Bio-age. 

Find out more about my Inside Out Challenge

Where do you go for inspiration, ideas or tools for self-care?

I’m lucky because it’s my job to be across the latest technology and trends! But podcasts are a fantastic medium to really understand health topics. Most are way too complex to understand in a tweet, short article or Instagram post. Instead, I listen to podcasts featuring great journalism, fascinating guests and topics backed by research. Podcasts I recommend are:

What do you think you need to improve in terms of your self-care practice?

I’ll be joining my own Inside Out Challenge and my areas of focus will be; cutting down the after-dinner snacking, more mobility movements, and following my stress management protocol.  

About Amelia Phillips:

Amelia Phillips is a health tech entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. Her career has seen her spanning roles as an exercise scientist, nutritionist, researcher, podcaster, TV presenter, corporate speaker and co-founder.

She was able to draw upon her expertise to co-found some of Australia's fastest-growing, female-focused health tech companies (including the country’s largest online weight management company) and has led the launch of multiple FMCG brands.

Amelia holds an Exercise Science degree and a Master's in Human Nutrition, which afforded her the opportunity to research and publish a paper on diet quality and mental health.

Amelia has proven that she can transform the lives of thousands through her approachable techniques. She knows what it takes to adjust mindsets and reframe lifestyles to ensure health goals are met and sustained in the long term.

Amelia lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, their four kids and their dog. When she’s not working, you’ll find her with her family at the beach, on a bike ride or trying a new outdoor adventure.

Amelia’s website: ​​https://www.ameliaphillips.com.au/ 

Amelia’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_amelia_phillips/

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