Alice Williams shares some information about her new business, Open Air Psychology as well as some tips for keeping motivated this winter
A great friend of mine and fellow Tasmanian Alice Williams has recently started up a business called Open Air Psychology and has provided us with some information about her business and the invaluable services she provides. Alice being an ultra marathon runner, a personal trainer and a registered psychologist has a very unique skill set and has also provided us with some tips for keeping fit, healthy and motivated, especially during the cooler months of the year. This is a must read!
1) Can you please tell us a bit about your business, Open Air Psychology?
My business is called Open Air Psychology (www.openairpsychology.com.au). I combine psychology, exercise and the outdoors to create a fresh and motivating experience of psychological therapy. I developed the notion when working as a Personal Trainer and studying psychology. I noticed that integration of movement and fresh air facilitated productive and open conversation, often making way for self discoveries, renewed outlook and greater clarity. Now working as a Registered Psychologist, removing the barriers of an office and the often forced face to face scenario, helps me to create the type of environment I believe works best for my clients.
My specialisation in psychology is around performance - whether that be for an elite athlete or corporate executive, or for someone just wanting to perform to their potential in their day to day existence. My sessions are usually focused on breaking down barriers to healthy and fulfilling living, and assisting my clients to adhere to exercise routines, manage performance and/or generalised anxiety and stress, set realistic and achievable goals, create rewarding and sustainable eating habits and learn mindfulness techniques aimed to enhance quality of life. While my preference is to work outdoors, Open Air Psychology offers Skype sessions for those interested in its services but not living in Sydney.
2) You have always loved to be fit, why has this always been so important to you?
I am passionate from both a personal and professional standing about the importance of exercising. For me, growing up in country Tasmania with ample opportunity to exercise and be in nature, fostered a love of the outdoors and of keeping fit. I find it rewarding to challenge my body, to test its limits and to notice the positive effects that exercise has on my mind set.
Movement is always a part of my treatment programs at Open Air Psychology for a range of mental health challenges, from anxiety and depression to trauma and addiction based disorders. From a psychological perspective, exercise is an incredible mood booster, a driver of productivity and creativity, and an under-utilised antidepressant.
3) A great saying is 'you are what you eat', is this something you believe in?
We are what we eat, without a doubt. I have little time for diets and restrictive eating, preferring to add value and meaning to eating as a way to creating sustainable habits in line with weight goals. Emerging research is adding weight to the argument that certain foods increase risk for psychological disorders such as depression. A helpful way to approach eating is getting in touch with your body and how it feels after ingesting certain foods. While the lure of sugar and its immediate high can be highly satisfying in the short term, the energy loss after this should be enough to tell you that your body isn’t liking what you’ve eaten and its time to treat it to some good quality fats, protein and carbohydrates.
4) Active Farmers donate 15% of all earnings, plus fundraising function proceeds to Riverina Bluebell, a non for profit organisation for mental health to help raise awareness about mental health in the Riverina. From your perspective is mental health just as important as physical health?
Absolutely! The two go hand in hand. I would love to see the stigma around mental health removed, and Open Air Psychology is committed to this endeavour by promoting exercise, mindfulness meditation, healthy eating habits and scheduled relaxation strategies as the pathway to psychological stability and fulfilment.
5.) Approaching the winter months it gets very hard to exercise when its cold and dark outside, do you have any tips for keeping motivated to exercise during winter?
I suggest taking a mindful approach to exercise, and by being aware of the chatter in your mind telling you to stay in bed, or to hit the pub early rather than sneaking in a quick 30 minute jog before you unwind for the week. The mind produces thoughts which we don’t always need to listen to or act on. Sure, we can foster positive thinking and strive to be optimistic in our thought patterns. But we are only human, there will be days where the negatives outweigh the good. Listen to your mind and body, identify the thoughts and decide if they are helpful, then remind yourself of your values and what committed action is necessary to do what is important to you. If your personal values are to live a healthy, fulfilling life, then more often than not the necessary actions will be to jump out of bed, pull your exercise gear on and get moving - once you’ve managed that, the hardest part is over. Of course, some goal setting thrown in is a great motivator - anyone who has achieved something physical they set out to do knows the hit of endorphins post event, and the days of basking in your achievement makes the hard work well worth it.
6) If there is one quote is motto that you relate to could you please share this with us?
Nothing worth having comes easy. My most valuable memories, experiences and achievements have come off the back of commitment to a goal, some hard work and a little bit of sacrifice :)
Alice thank you so much for sharing this information with us! Active Farmers make sure you make the most of the tips provided to help keep up your motivation as we approach winter and check out Alice's new website http://www.openairpsychology.com.au
See you all soon :)