We had the opportunity to sit down with Steff Sullivan, whose project, Prescription Self Care, kicks off August 1. Read more to find out about this incredible community she is creating, guided by self care tips and tricks from fitness and industry leaders.
Well TO Do: Please introduce yourself to the Well TO Do readers
Steff Sullivan: Hey everyone! My name is Steff, and I’m a 24-year-old registered nurse, entrepreneur, business mentor, and wellness coach. I have been a nurse since 2014, specializing in women and infants health and currently work in Toronto at a fertility and reproductive health clinic.
Like many others, I’ve always had a side hustle outside of nursing. During university, I owned an eco-friendly residential cleaning company. Now, I work as a mentor and an ambassador for a health and wellness brand. I absolutely love experimenting in the kitchen, being outdoors and helping others through my various endeavours.
WTD: Tell us about this new project, Prescription Self Care.
SS: Prescription Self Care is a project that brings together 30 amazing community leaders to discuss their self-care practices that can make a difference in your life. The project launches August 1st, 2017 and will run for 30 days to offer participants simple, affordable, and practical self-care tips from real people. Together, we aim to spread the message that burnout is not sexy and that self-care does not have to be glamorous, expensive, selfish or difficult. Self-care is a practice and with time becomes a habit. Imagine what taking care of yourself for 30 days could do to transform your life, your relationships, and our world?
Each day, one of the community leaders will post about their experiences, offering tips-and-tricks, all for free! You can follow along on Instagram and complete the daily suggestions, or pick and choose which ones fit your lifestyle and goals. Participants are invited to share when they have completed the leader’s tips by commenting on posts or sharing their experiences over social media using the hash tag #YouFor30. Participants will also get a glimpse into the various leaders’ lives through Instagram story takeovers throughout the project. It is time we stop romanticizing overexertion and stop feeling guilty for saying no when we need to. We’re about to create a movement, so stay tuned!
WTD: What was the inspiration behind starting this project?
SS: I started my career in a bustling downtown Toronto hospital working twelve-hour shifts. These shifts alternated between nights and days, weekends and weekdays leaving my body confused, exhausted, and physically sick. For 2 years I was “grinding it out” before I noticed my body was screaming at me to listen to it. One day, fed up with constantly feeling tired and sick, I went to the doctor regarding my fatigue. After months of tests, naturopaths, doctor visits, blood work and more, I found out that my body was in shutdown mode. I was a walking, talking, zombie and I was not able to be truly present for my patients, my friends, and my family but wasn’t able to recognize it for a long time.
In the spring of 2016, I made the commitment to take care of myself, re-evaluate my priorities and take stock of how much time and effort I was spending just to try to remain functional, never mind healthy! I made a promise to myself that I would change my lifestyle and prioritize my self-care regime. After all, how can one take care of others if they can’t even take care of themselves?
A year later and everything has changed. All my previous symptoms of stress and fatigue have disappeared. Now, looking back, I can’t believe how I was living my life a year ago. All of that stress and anxiety, for what? We need to open up the conversation of self-care and the importance of making it a top priority, which is why I’m so excited to launch Prescription Self Care. It is a passion of mine to help others to prioritize their wellness all while giving them the tools to do so in a fun, safe and supportive space.
WTD: Who do you hope will take part in the project?
SS: What I want to see in the project is diversity. I think that this is key and will really help bring the community together by sharing various experiences and self-care practices with one another to add to our own tool-kits. Even the leaders are excited to participate and learn from other leaders. I am also looking forward to seeing how far this movement expands. I hope that people from all over the world take part. You never know the power of social media and the difference you can make for someone until you put something out there!
WTD: Can you tell us the names of a few of the people who will be providing tips during the project?
SS: I don’t want to spill the beans too much here! Some of the amazing community leaders include: Marlie Cohen (personal trainer, spin instructor and wellness blogger), Laura Davidson (blogs, works in finance and the founder of Whistle App), Alex Rabindranath (kinesiologist and personal trainer), and of course the team at Well TO Do. We also have yogis, healers, entrepreneurs, people in marketing, tech, business and more! I made sure that in selecting leaders I was capturing various demographics, interests, and career paths to ensure each leader brings something slightly new to the project. I want participants to feel truly connected to at least one of the leaders.
WTD: How do you practice self-care in your daily life?
SS: It’s a constantly evolving practice depending on what my body requires, but one thing I ensure I do is my morning routine. After my alarm goes off I brush my teeth and meditate for 10-15 minutes. I take time to journal and practice gratitude. I then drink hot lemon water as I get ready for my day. I attempt to not check my phone, emails etc. until this morning routine is complete to slowly move through my morning. Setting my routine up in this way has allowed me to arrive to work centered and ready to start my day powerfully. I also ensure that I sweat at least once daily, preferably in the morning, to get my blood flowing! That may look like cycling to work, taking a fitness class, or practicing yoga in the park near my house. For me, it’s a constant balance between routine and experimenting with new methods and filling your own unique prescription self care.
WTD: What’s your one tip for anyone looking to start practicing self-care?
SS: Self-care is not a cookie-cutter approach to wellness. Just like how some people’s bodies require certain food or workouts, your self-care regime should be customized to what that works for you. I recommend it be quick, easy and something you enjoy doing. With that being said, where there is resistance lean into it! It took me years of hearing how amazing meditation is before I could commit to exploring it for myself. Every body is different so listen to yours.
WTD: What’s particularly exciting for you right now about the fitness & wellness scene in Toronto?
SS: There is a massive shift in the way we share information. I believe the fitness and wellness scene in the city is booming but in a way that is collaborative and full of love! In the last year I have been getting more involved in events around the city, meeting people over Instagram and through workouts, and developing relationships with bloggers, trainers and entrepreneurs. I feel an outpouring of selflessness from our Toronto community; people helping people is what it’s all about. I am extremely grateful to be a part of it all.