Maya, what inspired you to enroll in Nutritional Medicine at Endeavour?
I quit my job in finance and decided to travel around the world. I ended up in India, where I stayed for six months and studied yoga. It was here that I discovered Ayurveda (ancient Indian natural medicine) and decided it was time to follow my passion of natural health. Choosing Endeavour College was an easy decision as the college provides a good mix of scientific education along with practical experience treating people in student clinic.
Your background is in finance, so moving into natural health was a real pivot for you. Did you face any challenges during your change of course?
Absolutely! Going back to university as a mature-age student was challenging. I watched my friends move up in their careers as I started again at ground zero. Despite what felt like a setback, I wouldn’t change a thing. Waking up every day and knowing I have the ability to help others — and that I am following my passion — puts me ahead.
For those wanting to make a similar leap of faith, what is your advice for stepping into the world of natural health?
Dive in and go for it. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping others and contributing to the world in a positive way. I really believe we are “called” to this profession, so if you have that feeling, the time is now! I don’t think the calling ever goes away, so it’s better to give it a shot than be left wondering. There were definitely moments during my studies when I wondered if I had made the right choice, but every “thank you” I receive from a client reminds me I made the right decision.
On a more practical level, I think it’s helpful to understand what you enjoy within the natural health space, whether it’s supplements, meal planning or a particular health condition. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to be and do everything. Having an area of interest helps you become a “go-to” person and takes away the pressure of having to know everything about everything.
You have a unique understanding of both corporate life and natural health. What are your tips for those struggling with the typical corporate ailments of stress, burnout and lack of sleep?
This is my specialty! I think a lot of burnout stems from a lack of boundaries and, like many things, boundaries are like a muscle that grows with consistent use and practice. Creating space for non-negotiables is key. These will look different for each person but can include things such as scheduled exercise, meditation, screen-time limits, finishing work at a particular time, meal prep, etc.
Never underestimate the compounding impact small, health-promoting activities can have on your long-term health. For example, taking a 10-minute walk after eating lunch can affect your blood glucose levels for the rest of the day. It’s important to remember better health leads to better performance. Fortunately, many companies are recognizing this and offer employees onsite meditation, yoga and health workshops.
You’ve written brilliantly about wellness fatigue. Where did your interest in this topic come from?
My interest in wellness fatigue came from my own struggle of thinking I had to do it all. When I was studying, I put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect role model who practised yoga daily, drank green juice and added every single superfood to my smoothie. I felt unworthy as a natural healthcare practitioner and I crumbled under the pressure.
Through my own fatigue, I realised I didn’t have to be perfect from a health perspective to give health advice or be healthy. I finally relaxed and I became healthier when I started practising healthy behaviours because they felt good, not because I had to be perfect. Being imperfect makes me more relatable as a practitioner.
I find many people are embarrassed to tell a nutritionist what they eat in a day, so when I assure people that I love eating chips and a no-exercise Netflix binge day, they can relax. The truth is, we are all busy and we can only do our best. Sometimes, our best is ordering Uber Eats at the end of a long day as opposed to stressing in the kitchen.
What’s next for you?
I am continuing to build my practice, working one-on-one with clients and supporting them with traditional and new evidence approaches. I have written an e-book about flexible plant-based eating to support people who want to transition to a more plant-based diet, so keep an eye out for that!
Endeavour College of Natural Health is the leader in natural health education, producing the experts who keep the world well. With six campuses nationally, we offer courses in naturopathy, nutrition, Chinese medicine, massage and more. To discover a career in
a thriving industry, visit endeavour.edu.au