Sober Yoga Girl

Letting Go in Order to Recieve with Emma Ebdon

November 30, 2023 Alex McRobert Season 3 Episode 30
Sober Yoga Girl
Letting Go in Order to Recieve with Emma Ebdon
Show Notes Transcript

Meet Emma Ebdon - a friend of Alex's from the Abu Dhabi days! Emma is now a Simplicity Coach and helps stressed out women simplify their lives. After an inspiring conversation where Emma came and spoke to Sober Girls Club members about letting go, Alex decided to bring Emma on the show to share her message with an even wider audience. Tune into this episode to learn:

- Why Emma became a Simplicity Coach
- Some of the difficulties in letting go 
- The health benefits in letting go 
- How letting go is a spiritual practice (connecting to yoga)
- What she let go of beyond physical possessions 
- Where Emma recommends starting to let go 

Connect with Emma and join her 30 Day Declutter Challenge Here!

Hi, friend. This is Alex McRobs, founder of The Mindful Life Practice, and you're listening to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world to the Middle East at age 23, and I never went back. I got sober in 2019, and I now live full-time in Bali, Indonesia. I've made it my mission to help other women around the world stop drinking, start yoga, and change their lives through my online Sober Girls Yoga community. You're not alone, and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.

All right. Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl Podcast. I'm really looking forward to this episode. And today I have a guest here with me, Emma Ebdon. And Emma and I know each other from way back when I was living in Abu Dhabi. Emma was a participant and later led some group fitness sessions at one of the fitness studios where I worked at and I taught yoga before I quit my teaching job. And Emma and I have been connected on social media for a long time, spent some time together when I was in Abu Dhabi, I think about a year ago.

And the work that she does now is she is a simplicity coach. And so she helps women start to let go and simplify their lives. And we had her as a guest in The Sober Girls Club, which is our Sunday night session for members a couple of weeks ago. And it was just such an amazing and inspiring talk and my whole group got so much momentum. We now have a de-cluttering challenge happening on our app that Emma is helping facilitate. And it's just been so amazing. And so I thought having her on the podcast would be incredible just so more people can hear her inspiring story and be motivated by her journey and what she shares. So welcome, Emma. How are you?

I'm very well. Thank you so much, Alex, for inviting me on to your podcast. I'm very excited. I'm very excited.

Super excited to have you here. Thank you. So in the Sober Girls Club we did a couple of weeks ago, you shared a bit about your journey and your story before becoming a Simplicity Coach and doing what you do now. So I was wondering if you could share some bits from that again so that our listeners can get a context into who.

You are. Yeah, sure. So yeah, my life before becoming a Simplicity Coach. Well, I came from a divorced parents. My parents were really young when I was really young, I was about five years old and I suppose that had quite an impact on my life. I lived most of my life in fear and I was quite a scared child. I lived with anxiety quite a lot. I would worry about everything and worry about, I suppose, maybe loss. Coming from divorced parents, you have that separation and that unsettledness in your life and then that need to maybe please everybody to make sure everybody's feeling okay. I think I definitely became a people pleaser very young in my life as I look back now and reflect because I just wanted to make sure my parents were happy. So that's where my journey started. I then went off to university and I study sports science because I was big in sport. Sport was my life. My mom always just used to say, You can run before you walk. I was a kid that danced really young and got into everything: climb the walls, climb the trees, the proper little tomboy.

So yeah, I got into university to do sport, which I absolutely love, but I was still really struggling with anxiety. I ended up on anxiety medication. I was having panic attacks. I was feeling overwhelmed just because of the excess that was going on. Not just the things that were around me, but everything that was going on in my mind or in my life, you know? Jumped forward. I got married quite young and had my children, 25 and 27 and suffered from postnatal depression, again linked to anxiety and depression and struggled again a little bit of just of where I was and who I was going to be in this world. But there was constant chaos with children come more stuff and there was more stuff coming in. There was very, very little stuff going out. And there was a lot of that expectation, I suppose, of how you're brought up or how society perceives you to be a mom or to live in the world and to conform. And sometimes it's pressure through generations, just of learned beliefs of how we lived our life. Jump forward again, my husband worked, I mean, he was also in the military, so that put a lot of strain and fear and stress on me still.

There are many times you go back into the 20 years ago, he was out of the country for a lot. I lived that life of constant worry. Is he going to be okay? Is he going to come back? I was raising children on my own, then he would be back. There was this constant shift of stuff going on in our lives. Then he left the military and we moved to a beautiful, serene area of Scotland, which was gorgeous because the outlook was amazing. We lived quite rural, but it was also quite a sad time. I lost my mom to cancer just a few months after moving up there. It took a year of my life to pause, really, because I wasn't sure what to do next because she'd been my protector, I suppose, from a young age. Being from divorced parents, I lived with my mom constantly. I lost myself massively because I didn't actually know my own identity. I didn't know who I was. That was a really difficult time of my life, and I held on to everything because I felt if I let go of her things, then I would let go of her love.

That was really difficult to comprehend in my head that her things were part of her and that I had to have them. Otherwise, she would look at me from above going, Oh, you've just forgotten about me because you've let go of my clothes. So that's a slow process. That was a slow process to change on that one. And we were living in a really large place as well. It was beautiful, the area where it was full of fields and everything. The outlook was amazing and very calm, but our property was vast. We had constantly worked, we're constantly putting effort and time and money into our home and it was full of stuff still. There was times where I felt that I was putting that before my children or before my partner or way, way before myself. I was always last on the list. So yeah, we made the decision, what, six years ago to take the job over here in the Middle East. There was me, my husband had moved. My son at 16 said, I'm not coming, I'm staying in the UK. We managed to get him a place in college and I had this home, a three-bedroomed, large farmhouse with a two-bedroomed, holiday apartment with a double garage and a double loft full of stuff that I had to deal with literally by myself.

And making those decisions of what we needed to keep, what we were shipping, what my son was going to have was quite traumatic. And even now I can feel the tension in my chest, all of that panic of, How am I going to do this? How am I going to get rid of these things? Or, How am I going to take what do we need? It was really, really stressful time. So it's really actually interesting. I was reflecting on that this morning, how in six years there's such a change of where we were then to where we are now, which we'll talk about later. So yeah, living with less really came about in COVID, I suppose. Covid was a hit or miss for some people, for us. It was a massive reset, I suppose. We were in a three-bedroom villa. There was us and my daughter, my son was still in Scotland. And all we realized was all we wanted was connection. We wanted connection with people, we wanted to see our family. We wanted to be able to have freedom to travel, which we didn't at that time. We wanted to be healthy. So if we did get COVID, we were protected and we just wanted to enjoy life and experience things.

We were looking around going, We're not using most of the stuff in our home. What's going on? Throughout COVID, we decided to downsize again to two-bedroom apartment and we just started to slowly let go of things. I've always been pretty good at selling stuff as my children, I grew them and things like that. But yeah, there was always those certain things you just keep a hold of that you still can be difficult to let go of. It's a process. So yeah, that's where I'm at now. And my daughter left. My children are 20 and 22, so she left Abu Dhabi. And two years ago, I became an empty nest mom, which was quite emotional. After being that person that gives to everybody and being that person just wants to see everybody else happy, I'm suddenly like, Okay, who do I help now? So that's where it started. And I was just like, well, actually, the effects this has had on me and my life and the ripple effect it's had on my family and my friends. Why can I start helping others? So it really started with just helping people to clutter and organize their homes.

And then this year, I suppose the end of last year, I realized the connection, it was the emotional connection people have with their things is so much rooted. A lot of this, even my own journey, the reflection back to things in your childhood. We talk a lot about childhood traumas and there's things in my past that I know have created a lot of that stress and anxiety that I don't judge or reflect or blame anybody my parents for. It's just how it was and they did the best that they could, but I know it impacted myself. So that's why I decided to become a life coach. I did my life coaching training this year as well from the amazing company called Mindful Talent in Scotland because I just wanted to have that extra understanding and coaching ability whilst going through the process with some clients because some people do find it really difficult to let go and it's trying to figure out what that story is then and what's the story really behind that story of why they can't let go and why at the moment they've got such an attachment to their things. So yeah, this is where I'm at now, really.

Thank you so much for sharing. And I find this area and this focus, this conversation, is so interesting and inspiring. And I shared a bit about this probably, I think probably in our Sober Girls Club or maybe earlier on. But this was a big part of my childhood was that my dad was a horder. He had trouble letting go, and he still does. And I adopted those tendencies throughout my life. And I don't think I understood what a high level of mental stress this was having for me. And I recently experienced something. I've been super up and down with holding on and letting go of all my stuff. And now I think I live pretty lightly in comparison to the average person because I'm moving places all the time. But I'll share one story, which is that I subleted my friend's place for the summer and it had three tenants before me who had all left their stuff in the place. Everyone was going to come back and then it had been sub-lease and sub-lease and sub-lease. And then I moved in. It was full of all these people's stuff. And I didn't realize that I would then be taking responsibility for all of this stuff when the lease, which it did while I was here.

And it was so stressful to have all of these things in my space. And thankfully, in the end, the girl who the lease actually belonged to took on all responsibility. And she was like, don't worry about it. I cleaned up what was mine and then she took care of the rest thankfully, which was really kind. But I could really feel the weight of all this stuff on me. And when I moved into this new place just with my stuff, I just have my stuff and then one bag of my friend's place. One bag of my friend's stuff that I had sublet it from that I said, okay, I'll take your guitar and your clothes. And I just feel this lightness in letting go. So it's true. There's a real spiritual, emotional connection to all of this.

Oh, completely. And it's... I suppose you think about it just as you described there. I try and say to people, it's like when you go on holiday, when you book, say, a beautiful place in ballet or a little log cabin in the mountains, if you walked into it and it was just full of stuff, it's not going to feel calming and relaxing and your space is the same. You can live in your home the same way as living in a holiday apartment. It doesn't have to have this credit. And it is, as you say, it's almost like a hand in effect. It almost makes you feel quite claustrophobic and then you can close in a little bit yourself and then that creates tension in your chest and you start breathing heavier. So yeah, it's definitely the... And I think initially I wasn't aware of that was the reason why I did it. I became aware of the change in my anxiety. The more I let go and the more I changed my own, I suppose, went on my own journey, my own personal journey. We had this, especially with my son, because my husband was in the military, we moved quite a lot and we'd also have all the boxes and packed up and they would just be shoved into the rooms.

They weren't unpacked or anything. We had to do that. We always had to do my son's room first. So my son is undiagnosed ADHD, but he's definitely on the spectrum. He has dyslexia, sensory processing issues, but he would go into almost a rage or just complete panic state if the boxes were all in his room and he couldn't sleep. So we were always, the first thing was always let's just build his room. Let's build his room and any boxes would just pull out so that he could rest enough. So again, we were aware that was creating his stress, but I wasn't really connecting it fully until I suppose, now in the journey that I've gone through myself. So yeah, you're right. And other people's stuff is also a weight. We have it in our homes. We've recently done it. When we moved here, we actually held on to things that we wanted to keep that were the children's and memorabilia and that stuff like we all feel we need to hold on to. And we left it in my stepfather's garage and we said it was only going to be a first short time and we'd move it.

And we hadn't six months, six years on and we cleared it all this summer because I said, look, this is so unfair. I'm going through this process. I'm teaching other people to let go and we've got all of these boxes. So my husband and I set a time to go in action all of this. We had, I think, 25 boxes were in there. We got down to two. We literally let go of all of it. And then we suddenly had a moment and we went, What if we paid to put that in storage? How much money would that have cost us? On average, even say 100 pound a month, that's like over 7,000 pounds to hold things we actually didn't want to keep. But again, decluttering is a journey. At that time, we felt that need to hold, but actually letting has freed us up so much more to living, I suppose, really.

Yeah. So was it difficult or easy for you when you started this process of letting go?

I think it can be both. So the easy wins are the things you're not really attached to: your kitchen implements, these things. But I suppose we started really in COVID when we downsized to a two-bed. It was like, okay, well, we don't need all of that bedroom furniture from that other spare room. We don't need all of these things because they're not going to fit in our space. So some of the big items like that was quite easy to let go of. The hardest parts, I think, are those things you have an emotional connection to. The things that we connect to because somebody has gifted it to us, a certain person, and sometimes there's a fear of judgment for letting it go, or it's something somebody's made, your children have made you, but it's lost what you do. You don't even know what it looks like, but you have that feeling because it was made by them, you should keep it. And also things people have passed is very difficult for a lot of people to let go of. But those things I found have been a process. I would assess some of them and it'd be okay to keep what I felt at that time I needed to keep.

I often revisit my whole home only in a two-bedroom apartment, so it's quite easy to revisit it all. And suddenly it's like, well, actually a year down, I've changed as a person or the season of my life is different. Now we don't have our children, they're older now. Do I need to keep all the birthday cards they gave me when they were two and three and four? I don't because actually, I just want that time with them. I don't need these things. So really understanding that my memories are in my heart and in my head and when anxiety goes, you can find them again so much easier. When you're fully anxious and you're stressed and you're full of cortisol, parts of your brain shut down and you don't find these things, you forget about them. But when you're in a calmer state, you know they're there. So having photographs is probably more important to me now than things. So it's a process and I think learning a bit more about yourself. I think I probably started it not really from de-cluttering, from going down my own personal journey of trying to find something or ways or tools to reduce my anxiety because I was seeing my teenage daughter at that time becoming quite anxious and I didn't want her to live the rest of her life the next 34 years to where I am now feeling this anxiety and fearing things and not living to her fullest potential.

I was like, well, it's not for her to change. I've got to make a change. I've got to change because I'm modeling. She's looking at me. Well, you don't do these things. You're scared of that. You don't just jump. Why should I? A lot of my work really started, I suppose, was my own personal development. Just listening to personal development books, walking, exercising again, amazing for mental health and just slowly doing going that way. And then, as I say, once we moved, letting go. And the more we let go of, the more we realized we could breathe. And it's such a calming, effective tool, I think, to anxiety.

And I have to share. As you start answering that question, I started thinking about something that really impacted me was the way that you reframed letting go—in The Sober Girls Club we had a couple of weeks ago of you reframed it in a way that it starts to become addictive to let things go. And it just took that one perception change. And it's so funny how for me, I didn't even realize that it was the same thing with alcohol. I had to have a perception change of like, This is harming me in order for me to not want it in my life. And now it's like I've changed in the way I just walk around my house. And if there's things that I can eliminate from my presence immediately, then I do it. And other things that would pile up like old receipts, I was the worst for that. I would accumulate receipts, which I'm like, I don't even need these. I have it all in my online banking transaction record. I don't need any of these things, but I would accumulate them in my wallet for no reason. And now it's like I see one in front of me and I'm like, How did that get there?

That needs to be thrown out. And I just feel like sometimes that reframe for me has turned it into a bit more of a joy instead of a chore or something to dread.

Yeah, definitely. I think I suppose it almost... I don't know if to use the word addiction because it's not. But it is because when we bring stuff into our home and we hold on, that's a type of addiction as well, especially people that obsessively shop. A lot of people shop because of the way it makes them feel in that moment, just like why people drink alcohol, why people eat certain foods, why people gamble, all of these junk happiness addictions, I suppose. And it's almost that in reverse. But the happiness is not a junk form. The happiness is a more natural soul-creating form that gifts you so much more. I try to remember what it is I said, I think it was literally looking at anything. I talked about is not everything that's on your floor. It's not just those things. It's anything that's getting in the way of you living the healthy, happy, joyful life that you wish to be living. So that's when it starts to branch into other areas of your life and not just your things. Yeah.

I love that idea of reframing it. So I have a question for you. What are some of the health benefits of letting go of your things? That was something else that stuck out to me, actually, in that session was you were talking about the health benefits of letting go, and I had never thought of it that way. And I began to wonder, I had inflammatory illnesses from birth, basically. By the time I was one years old, I started experiencing psoriasis, which my parents took me to the doctorand I was on... I would go to the doctor really frequently when I was young and I had all these medication for my psoriasis. It never improved it. And what I found has improved it, it's disappeared in adulthood, but I think it's due to such a healthy lifestyle that I'm living now with the food I'm eating, the self-care practices, the wellbeing, all of that. And I'm just wondering that when you said something about the clutter and inflammatory illnesses, I was like, I wonder if that had any connection to me experiencing this. So anyway, I'm just wondering what are some of the health benefits of letting go of your things?

Yeah, it's interesting to hear that. And obviously the connection I know you've shared about living in quite a horded home as a youngster. I suppose the big one for me, as I said, I went down this pathway of trying to relieve my own anxiety and my own fear. So that, to me, is a massive win. That's one of the most prominent health benefits you can get from letting go. Because when we're in an anxious state, when we're constantly in panic, we're in fight and flight mode constantly, our sympathetic nervous system is just on fire. So our heart rate is going up, our breathing rate is going up, and it switches part of our brain off, as I said. So we're not thinking correctly, we're not focusing properly. So when we can let that go and we can actually bring our body into a rested state and feel more calmer, then we're not having all of these effects. So we are allowing ourselves to focus better. It creates more productivity in your life. So if you've got at work and you're work off a desk and you've got stuff all over and it's paper piled up.

If you can find space for that, file it away, create clarity around you, your productivity and your focus is probably going to go up massively. But reflecting back to your inner health, when you're in that stress state, you've just got cortisol all over your body and we need it in our life, but it's also quite detrimental in a lot of health illnesses. A lot of illnesses are created by this high rise, constant rise and constant level of cortisol in our bodies because we're constantly living with these little micro-stresses in our life. A lot of them we're really unaware to until we let them go and we suddenly then realize, Oh, I actually feel better. Oh, I've cleaned that up and my skin is better. Because obviously if we've got stuff, especially hoarding, if it's piled up around you, the most amount of dust and dirt and things that can be gathered there, insects that then might drop feces, that is in your home that you can then get a reaction to as well. And you're also breathing that in. So then it could create and your skin reflects a lot of what's going inside you.

So the health benefits are just outstanding. I find with these are the main ones that I see in letting go is just for me, it is the anxiety and that overwhelm because you bring in that cortisol levels down, which then is helping your long term health. Because if you keep that high for many years, we get into that state of what they call age related diseases. And a lot of them aren't, they're just lifestyle, lifestyle choices. We are who we are today based on the accumulation of everything we've done to this point. Yes, some diseases are genetics and hereditary, but a lot of it is to do with our environment. What we're bringing in around our bodies, what we're allowing into our home, what we're cleaning our homes with, what we're washing our bodies with, what we're eating, have this choice. It's just becoming aware of it because there's so much stuff hidden in a lot of these products these days, which is pretty scary and pretty frightening.

But yeah.

Great health benefits if you're really struggling. I mean, today is actually Mental Health Awareness Day, isn't it? I think 10th of August that we're recording this. I'm not sure when it's going to go out. So yeah, for me, it's up there. It's a tool. It's in that little box of yoga, meditation, journaling, time and nature. It's all going back to simplifying life to how it was before we just had this consumed world of stuff. We must buy, we must have, we must need, we must own or we're nothing. We will be happy if we don't have this. That lifestyle of more and more, actually, we've learned that less, less, less is actually a gift to you so much more life. Yeah.

Speaking of you mentioned some of those toolkit things, yoga, meditation, and I was thinking a lot about the spirituality of yoga. There's this practice called Apri Graha, which is the fifth yama. It's about letting go. And so letting go is a big part of yoga, and I think it's a big part of other spiritual practices too. And I'm just wondering if you had any thoughts on the spiritual practices included in letting go?

Yeah, this was a funny question. We had a little chat about this earlier, but yeah. I suppose in a way, it's bringing it in as one of those things that may be not a daily thing. In fact, in a way, I could describe it as a daily thing, but definitely something on a weekly basis where you're making it part of your practice of, Okay, is there anything I need to let go of this week? And it might not just be a thing. It might be, What am I holding on to in here? What can I let go of here? Now, a lot of people journal to get things out of their head. That's a letting go practice. A lot of us do meditation or mindfulness, yoga. And it's bringing awareness, I think, into what's around you, what you have, what you need. And I think that brings it down to a spiritual type of practice. Now, on an everyday occurrence, we're not going to throw something out every day. I mean, you got trash. But what I often do is reset my home before I go to bed. You could bring that in as a type of spiritual practice, I suppose, on the end of the evening, just like maybe you might do a five minute meditation before bed or a journal just before you go upstairs.

It's just a quick case of tidying up the cushions on the sofa, make sure all the dishes are done, the kitchen's been wiped down, everything has been put back in its place. I love the whole that everything has a zone in a home. We talked about this in the Sober Girls group and a lot of people love that. The whole zoning of your things, just returning all of those things back to their little homes so that when you get up in the morning and you come downstairs to make your coffee or your tea or whatever it is you do, you're not faced with a stress of mess. You don't want to start your day like that. You want to start your day in your morning routine, owning what it is you want to be doing, being positive, having your affirmations, doing some yoga or meditation. If you journal in the morning journal, read a book for ten minutes. You don't want to be coming down going, I've got the dishes to do. Oh my God, why didn't nobody put all that washing away last night? I wish I'd just done this. So yeah, it takes five minutes to quickly just put things away, toys are back in the box and bring the whole family involved.

It's not just one person. If you're living in a home with your children and your partner, it's not all in one person to reset the home. By four, three to one, everybody go, we've got five minutes, then we're going to play a board game or something and always give it something afterwards. I think if you're doing it as a group thing like that, I would say we're going to do this fun thing, but everybody's got to do five minutes of this first and it gets them into practice. I think it's really important for our children of really small ages to learn where things are. It helps their mental clarity as well. If we feel overwhelmed in a space, imagine what our small children are feeling. As I shared with you how we were aware my son was feeling overwhelmed. I wasn't really putting the connections together. So gifting this to young parents now who have got young children, please, just your children. The more stuff you give them doesn't mean you love them more, which I think we grew up with. I would go into panic mode at birthdays and Christmas. He's gone, I haven't got enough.

I need to buy more. He would think I love him if you don't give him all of these things. That's so opposite now. We literally hardly exchange gifts now. We just arrange to do something cool together. We go on holiday or we go for a nice dinner, a really nice experience dinner somewhere or an event or something. We want to spend that time, I think, post-mum. It's coming up for ten years since I lost my mom now. That has been a massive shift in my life to realize we don't know how long we're not guaranteed tomorrow. I would much rather go on holiday with my kids as a group thing at Christmas than go and buy them a few hundred pound handbag and a new pair of boots. So yeah, I think it definitely is to be brought in. It just creates a more mindful way of being, I think, and becoming so much more intentional of now what you bring in. So that's the state we're at now. I still let go of things. I still have. I'm looking at it here now across my laptop. I've got boxes of old photographs. But now is the time I'm about to move again, so now is the time to go.

They've been in a cupboard and I haven't really addressed them that much, but I'm in a good place now to let a lot of them go because most of them are duplicates. Most of them have got a pit. I hang up with pigeons and random scenery that we're holding onto. Again, it's that process. You have to find that time that is okay for you to let go of these things and just reducing it. And then you might find six months' time, you can reduce it again. In six months' time, you can reduce it again. It's okay to wait, but when you can let go of one or two things at a time, it starts that habit. It starts that change. So yeah, it's definitely something. It's a win-win in all places, I think. Start cluttering your life today.

And I love what you suggested of just doing this five or ten minute home reset because I actually use this app now. I think it's called Habit. And I put in all the things I want to do every day. It's like, I want to have 10K steps. I want to do a yoga practice. I want to do a 20 meditation. I want to cook at least one meal by myself. And in there is a 10 minute tidy before bedtime. And I will just put on a podcast or a song and just tidy up the space. And that's become a daily practice. It feels really good when I wake up in the morning and things are organized.

Oh, that's amazing. I've not heard of that out, and so that's really cool. Yeah, it's definitely, as you say, that feeling of just getting up in the morning. You can just get on and do what you have to do, what your morning routine is going to be, rather than starting in that heightened stress state. Because often what we do then, especially if we're living in a household with other people, you then start getting angst or aggressive or just annoyed and angry because you're the one then doing it and nobody else has. So especially in a family situation, I think bring everybody together, have a 5, 10-minute reset, as you say, everybody gets involved and just slowly it becomes a practice. It's just part of your day. I think it's really important to start bringing in. Yeah.

All right. What can you let go of beyond physical possessions?

So other things. So yeah, this was interesting when we talked at the Sobergirls yoga group because obviously I was trying to make them aware that they've already let go. They've already started their process of letting go because they've all let go of alcohol. And I suppose in my reflection, it was that inner work. What can I do to reduce my anxiety? Oh, letting go of these things is reducing my anxiety. What else is cluttering up my life? I start to question that. I was like, what else is getting in the way of me living the life, the healthy life that I want to lead, the life that gives me a bit more freedom? So if I have to fly to see my children, if there's an emergency or my parents, I can jump on a plane quite easily. So a lot of that was we started looking into natural ways of cleaning our home. What's all these chemicals that we're using? All of these sprays and stuff. And I was aware that I'd walk past the stalls in the mall, you know what they're like here? And they're spraying the perfumes and things and I'd start coughing and I'd react and I was like, Oh, my goodness, it's creating a reaction in my body.

And it's like that connection. Well, all of these things in our home are almost doing the same thing. So yes, we started letting go of chemicals a lot now you can't eradicate them all the head in a lot of our products, but it's just becoming really aware of it and really mindful of what could actually be impacting our health. Now my mom passed away of lung cancer. So again, I never really connected anything but now reflecting back, it's like our childhood home. I was a 70s baby, so the childhood home is filled with shaken back and all of these sprays to till your room's refreshers and plug ins of air, fragrance's and candles and all of these scents, smells to hide other smells. But actually, a lot of them are quite toxic and they're quite damaging to our overall health. And did that play a part in my mom's lung cancer? I don't know. I would never know. But if you're breathing in these things that were spraying in our air, they're finding their way into our lungs, into the tiny little particles, into the little alveolies and the bronchial parts of our lungs. If you're doing that every day for 30, 40, 50, 60 years, there's got to be an accumulation of something.

They can't all get out. So it's looking at it when we talk about marginal gains in sport. If you change one little thing just one %, one %, one %, one %, you get this gain. And it's the same, I think, in that negative way. If you're continually adding toxins around you, then it's going to get accumulated at some point into something and create some reaction. At the end of the day, that just chemistry. It's chemical stuff and we're only a chemical body. A lot of us will react to some different than others. So yes, that was a major one for me. So we pretty much don't have chemical cleaning products in my home at all. I use more natural products and fiber-based products. Another big thing was our diet. What were we eating? What were we consuming? All of this food, some of it was making me feel sluggish. I was addicted to chocolate. That was my big thing when I was really suffering as a youngster of anxiety and stress and overwhelm. I had binge eat on sugar and sweets and carbs and these high-process type foods because it would make me feel good at the time, just like people will binge on alcohol because they feel happy in that moment.

But the effects afterwards, you start mimicking those connections. Well, why am I feeling so sluggish? Why have I got no energy? Why am I overthinking things or all of these negative feelings? And then you start going into self-berative mode as well. When you're feeling in that way, you start feeling bad about yourself because you then ate that food. So then you want to go and eat more to make yourself feel better and you get stuck in this cycle. So, yes, so letting go of food was a big move. I ended up doing keto, low carb for like six months, really to break my addiction to sugar. I brought it back into my life and I do still have it in moderation and I'm okay with it. So I'm very more mindful and aware of when to have it in my day as well. So I don't eat cake first thing in the morning, you know? That's not good. But it's okay to have it in small moderations. It's talking about excess. For me, it's what's in excess in your life. That's what you want to start letting go of because excess is what then starts creating disease somewhere.

Whether it's in your head or in your body or in the connections that you have with your family. I'm talking about that. That's, I suppose, another one. A lot of us live in some toxic environments or work in toxic environments. So that, I suppose, was an area that I re-assessed, I suppose, in some way. I was like, What could I do that is benefiting me? And if that person that you're hanging around with or the way somebody is speaking to you is creating a drain or creating a stress response in your body, I was starting to be aware of that and I'm starting to question that. And young Emma is that little people pleaser that she was, never questioned anything. She just did. She did what she was told. And more mature Emma, who's gone through her personal journey, has started to say no. And I think that was a big thing bringing in that boundary of going, This doesn't sit right with me. And it doesn't have to create an argument. Sometimes it could just be a distance, just constantly saying, I can't make that, I'm okay with that. And eventually you drift apart.

But also when it's family, it's a bit harder. Just having those conversations, being strong enough to connect with people and say, Look, what you said there's really hurt me or I don't believe in that anymore. This is how I want to be living my life. And that can cause an issue. It can cause that middle ground of your life. I suppose it's like moving abroad. When you move somewhere new, you've left this old person behind of this old life and then you're trying to form another one, but you're in this middle zone of almost by yourself. So that's why I think doing the personal development work really helps. And that's why I want to go into coaching as well, because you have to be strong within yourself to be able to go, It's okay to be me. It's okay to be by myself because those that want to come with me, those that love me and those who want to stay with me will come and will stay. And then I'll find some other like-for-like people that are feeling and loving and being in the same way that I'm wanting to flow and vibrate in the world now.

So yeah, that's a difficult one for a lot of people. I wouldn't say be harsh with it, some people want to, but for me, it's just the communication has changed massively in my family, I think. I'm more communicative and open with my husband rather than having expectations of him that he didn't know. Therefore, I'd be annoyed with him because he didn't do X, Y and Z, but he was like, How am I supposed to know if you don't tell me? The same with some of my parents, my siblings, just saying, Hey, that doesn't float my boat or Stop getting stressed over that. Calm down. It's okay. That's not my belief, but I really respect it's yours. Then, slowly start to learn that mutual respect for you as well. So yeah, anything else I've let go of, I suppose expectations on myself and judgment and negative self-talk. I was massive on that. I used to hate myself on many days. My husband was so loving going, What are you doing? You're amazing. Look what you're doing with the children. All of the stuff that you helped me out with. I was a state-of-home mom pretty much all my life.

I always think, I'm not doing this, I'm not doing that. But I was raising the children, especially when they were struggling with my husband being away so much. For us that we needed to keep that grounded, that stability for them, especially for my son. He really struggled with separation, anxiety. But I would go into the self-berative mode. I'm not good enough to do this. I've not been a good mom. I didn't make dinner in times like a bad wife. You get stuck in that cycle and then you'd go eat cake to make yourself feel better. That whole little negative junk cycle. And now that I've allowed that to let go. I've allowed to go, you know what, Emma? The day you're doing okay. And if it's not going okay, let's just accept it. Tomorrow will be better. I think really starting to love myself, find my own inner happiness and that happiness wasn't gifted to me as I learnt as a child, I suppose, in all of these things that it's okay to be happy, just to be and not feel lonely in the world that I have to have somebody with me to go and experience something.

I can go and do that myself if it's what truly bring joy. And that's okay too. So yeah, letting go of so much area I think, around this. You can let go. You can almost put it into any area of your life and reframe it in that way of, I'm decluttering that section of my life, I'm decluttering my home. It's not just, as I've said before, it's not just the things that are on our floor. It's anything that's getting in the way of you living that healthy, happy, positive life of what it is you want to be doing. And sometimes that's people, sometimes that's things, sometimes that's the place you're in. You might just be in the wrong location. Make a move, see what changes in your world that could create so much... So much doors opening for you just by moving the area that you're living in. So yeah, there's loads and loads of areas you can connect it to. It's amazing when other people start talking about different things, I'm like, Oh, I could connect to let and go. How can we reframe that. Definitely is a process, I think. But starting with your things is an easier one.

And then with the health aspect, like yourself and myself are living now, we want to live this healthier lifestyle. So it's suddenly questioning that then if that's one of my values. That's been a big thing I think with a lot of my coaching clients that I've worked with is really understanding your core values. I wasn't really aware of that myself until my coaching course has been amazing. What are my values? What are values? And then really going, well, actually questioning any decision I'm making, going well, is that living up to the value that I have set for myself of living a simple lifestyle, of living more free, of living with joy, of living with kindness? And that's also not how it's perceived out to the world, it's how it's being to myself. So hence letting go of the negative self thought, well, if I'm talking to myself in a derogative manner, I'm not being kind. I'm not being kind to me. So yeah, understanding your values, I think, is a really great aspect to go down and start living and questioning your life by them. And you see a shift. You can see that, well, actually, eating that cake is not going to lead to my healthy lifestyle.

But I'm okay if I have that small bit today because I'm not going to eat it every day like I used to.

Yeah, definitely. I love that. Well, Emma, this has been the most amazing, inspiring conversation. And I know I took so much from that first time you were a guest at Sobergirls Club, and I took so much from this call now, and I'm sure that our listeners of our show will as well. So I just want to thank you so much for your time and sharing all your wisdom and knowledge with us.

You're very, very welcome. Thank you. I do want to end on just one little thing. If people want to start their process of letting go, the best way I think is to create a vision. Sit for a day or a weekend, do some journaling. What do you want from your life? How do you want your life to look? How do you want to feel? How do you want your home to be? How do you want to feel walking into your space? How do you want your bedroom to feel when you go in there and into bed at night? Create this vision for yourself and then just start with one thing. Start with something really small and really easy to get that win, to gain that habit and start just letting go of a few things every day. It could be something simple as your fridge, clean out your fridge or your junk drawer or your bathroom cabinet, something small so that you can start seeing that change and that feeling that you get when you let these things go and the space looks clearer and calmer. So yeah, that's how I would get you to start de-cluttering your life.

Anna, thank you so much and really appreciate your time and your presence. And I'm going to put the link in the episode description to your website and everything else for our community.

To see. You're very welcome. Thank you so much, Alex, for having me. Thank you.

Hi, friend. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Sober Yoga Girl Podcast. This community wouldn't exist without you here, so thank you. It would be massively helpful if you could subscribe, leave a review, and share this podcast so it can reach more people. If we haven't met yet in real life, please come get your one week free trial of the Sober Girls Yoga membership and see what we're all about. Sending you love and light wherever you are in the world.