Wellbeing warrior interview #1 with Founder of Mutha Hood
Posted by Nicola Elliott
Gemma Metcalfe-Beckers, mum-of-2 is Founder of Mutha.Hood (she runs the show of this brand that is famous for its #stronggirlsclub tees! And also posts incredibly entertaining Instagram stories).
Passionate about empowering women through positive, strong and meaningful merch (and raising confident kids) we asked Gemma to share her wellbeing story - which involves taking a breath, thinking 'what's the worst that can happen’, feeling overwhelmed, eating well, Roald Dahl classics, and NEOM scents that have helped her mood.
Define good wellbeing for you?
To me wellbeing is about balance. It's about making sure you don't get too lost in the immediate urgency of day to day life by ensuring that you make time for yourself too. It's important to nurture yourself in life.
Describe a day of good wellbeing?
It's hard to achieve this every day. On the days when I don't quite manage to balance looking after myself with everyone else in the home, plus my growing business, I feel the impending sense of burn out fast approaching. I always try really hard to make sure I eat well, I have a tendency to eat badly if I'm stressed or panicked. Rather than putting pressure on myself I also often try to take a breath and think 'what's the worst that can happen.' Instead of shouting at the kids because we'll be late for swimming, I ask them this and we have a chat about the possible outcomes. They are sponges and I really want them to be naturally more easy going than I am, I recognise that my reactions to events are examples for them in the future.
To me a good day of wellbeing is where I've managed to intercept the rising sense of stress or panic by taking a moment to put the cause of the stress into perspective.
Do you have a favourite NEOM product and why?
I have been very fortunate to enjoy the Body Scrubs and Candles, the scents of which have really helped my mood. I am in love with the reed diffusers. We bought our forever home a few years ago and as I walked through the front door the smell of the Tranquillity Reed Diffuser led me through every room and I think it was part of the reason for me falling so deeply in love with the idea of my family growing within these four walls. I've made sure we still have one in the open plan kitchen/living area so that every time I walk in there it reminds me of how I first fell in love with our home.
How did you first try NEOM. Has is helped you?
After the birth of my second daughter, I found concentrating on nurturing myself was the key to my recovery; both physically and mentally. I was given a NEOM candle by a very kind friend and every other day I make sure that I set my alarm for 9pm, I stop what I'm doing, and I let myself relax in the bath. I give myself time, which is so often difficult to do nowadays.
What’s the one REAL WELLBEING thing you do each day?
I acknowledge that in the past I never gave myself time. In recent years I make sure I have a bath, if not every day then at least every other day. I've treated myself to some oils, a wonderful candle, I play a few of my favourite songs and I allow myself to be calm. I'm a total completer finisher, I hate leaving a to do list for the next day and so I will always busy myself. A bath ensures I stop and nurture myself.
Who inspires you the most? And why?
There are so many women like Erica Davies and Emma Gannon who inspire me without even knowing it. As I grow older I realise that my Mum, during my younger years, has been instrumental to where I am now. As a single mum working in the city raising me and building a career I see the sense of empowerment she gave to my childhood. She did it all and then some and she made me believe that I could do the same.
What book(s) do you recommend to feel good – and why?
I'm completely in love with 'Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine' at the moment. We're also slowly introducing Big Red to all of the Roald Dahl classics which I think will always have a place in my heart. Another book I go back to time and time again is Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph. I find it incredibly helpful and reassuring, it's a wonderful insight into how to raise daughters that doesn't at all bring out your inner neurosis that you've failed in the past. There's also a Raising Boys version for those with sons.
What tech rules do you have (if any)?
Before I had my children I had a job that was very email heavy. Rather than walk over to speak to people the office culture was to email each other. The volume became intense and it was after that experience that I made a commitment to limit notifications on my phone. I don't have email or social media notifications on. I think it's okay to not be instantly available 24/7. We live in an age where this is so expected. Where replies are anticipated immediately. For me, I'm already a hyper-alert and sensitive person, I recognise that I need a boundary to protect myself from that way of life.
Favourite food tip/recipe you recommend with wellbeing hat on?
I'm a serial dieter, I also use food as comfort when I'm stressed. After years of punishing myself by indulging and then fasting I've realised that a little treat here and there is good for the soul and shouldn't be held against ourselves as a failing. So now I treat myself to the fresh fruit that tempts me – the cherries, the redcurrants, the strawberries that I used to view as far too pricey to allow myself to have. This in turn stops me from feeling deprived in someway, which helps limit the amount of times I feel the need to binge on high sugar items.
What’s your wellbeing challenge?
I tend to feel frequently overwhelmed. Whenever I feel like this I have to strip it back. I tend to cancel a few weekend or evening plans to clear the diary, allow a few more lazy days and movie afternoons with the kids. This often happens when life admin, work and motherhood collide so I try and sit with Dom and go through what life admin jobs we can divide so that my list is a little shorter.
Wellbeing trends you’d like to try?
I'm trying hard to attend Pilates at my local leisure centre once a week and I'm also looking into mindfulness courses to try and help myself live in the moment a little more, rather than rushing to prepare for every eventuality in the future.
Check out Gemma over on her Instagram