For young life coach, Riddhi, all aspects of one’s lifestyle, form a holistic approach. Including relationships with food which is a reflection of relationship with self. The inner reality is expressed in external relationships with others. “If one area is punctured,” she commented, “the other segments will invariably suffer. It’s part of the holistic way of life ancient philosophy,” known as Bhavachakra in Sanskrit. “In modern times,” Riddhi told us, “this can mean turning to a sugar fix when we are constantly on the go and our emotional resilience is lacking, which provides an opportunity for inward reflection.” Of course, this routine can also have a detrimental impact cognitively, “if turning to food to fill the emotional void”. The meanings we attach to the thoughts and emotions if remained unchecked can also influence our relationships at work.
Riddhi has worked with many big companies and a variety of organisational bodies, including the UK government, to increase efficiency through greater focus on restoring wellbeing, and with it fostering soft skills such as teamwork, time management and personal dynamism. Given that there is such a meditated logic underlying, it is no surprise that the young professional’s work has resulted in the affiliated workplaces emerging more organised, including “yielding higher profit, generally increased personal efficacy, and less staff members calling in sick.” Feeling better able to cope, employees could manage the workload and deliver more effectively. This created a relationship of mutual trust, confidence and momentum throughout the establishment.
Having spent 6 years working with city lawyers, prior to establishing the My Holistic Coach programme, Riddhi had one of the best social case studies to learn from. “As you know, legal work is some of the most stressful and high-octane. You’ve got sleep pods in some international offices, where workers stay overnight, and a sense of equilibrium is very hard to achieve. I found myself struggling with multiple interests, trying to manage nutrition and emotional relationships and wellbeing while others were increasingly stressed against tough deadlines.” As a result, the young worker found herself revisiting knowledge gained from an academic background in psychology and hypnotherapy to face the social challenge. “I found symbolically that a lot of the relationships between employees at work were akin to relationships between family members at home e.g. if there was tension at home, this would be brought to work and vice versa, this is because we spend the majority of our life “working”. It was important to address this among other areas of life. Another problem was eating times. My approach seemed to work, and soon the life coaching could grow into a part-time enterprise. In general, I advise the hard worker to centre organisation around their passion.” What better activation energy can there be than “efforts that sets your world on fire!”
Here, Riddhi made sure to emphasise that entrepreneurial women, especially, can benefit from examining the possibility of a psychological or spiritual void in their routines. In addition to My Holistic Coach, she has established a wellbeing plan, incorporating Mind and Body to this end. She spoke of the social expectations that exacerbate the pressure: “we’re expected to take on different roles: the student, the sister, the mother. There are different responsibilities that the balance of health and work priorities is yet more precarious. I organise seminars, workshops and retreats that will speak to this conundrum,” literally, “by allowing women to take off that mask and relieve stress by giving them a voice to articulate the particular issues, and let the emotions flow. This acknowledgement is the first step in developing better emotional resilience and redressing the imbalance. Coming together with other women and feeling empowered, female professionals can feel more fulfilled overall, and ignite that vital passion for their work. They go from stress to freedom.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a real My Holistic Coach insight without also considering the wider perspective: “actually, there are overlaps between the cognitive challenges faced by professional and boss women, heads of enterprises alike because both are highly intelligent and emotionally involved with the problems!
All the women I work with are self-sufficient and highly analytical, but this also means they might be overthinking problems at work and will be too invested at times. They develop tunnel vision with problem solving.” Generally, their thinking patterns either cause a greater emotional burden or lighten and streamline the path. “Humans do tend to experience mental blocks and are challenged when reacting to particular situations, and the type of reactions can have an impact on the system overall: it impacts our cravings and nutrition, which impacts how we develop as individuals.”
Riddhi also utilises mind techniques such as CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in her work. Thus, through her own precocious passion, Riddhi represents a contemporary professional movement that values emotional intelligence alongside the textbook smarts. Productivity is much about personal realisation and time management as reaching the corporate targets. “Companies can get lost in the chase for short-term,” Riddhi added. But, as she showed us, this does not guarantee long-term reward, including financial stability. This lies in the more elusive realm of collective livelihood, and the exploration of inner worlds. The young guide aptly concluded: “we can only give as much as we can express ourselves.”
You also do a lot of spiritual work; how exactly are there parallels with the Bhagavad Gita and modern-day living?
The Bhagavad Gita analyses three categories of food as sattvic, rajasic and tamasic gunas. It’s all about doing the lesser of the two evils. Fresh food and vegetables are better than baked foods, which are better than fried foods. All foods carry different energetic properties, which when consumed can either give us energy or zap energy from us.
The parallel can also be drawn between food and individual personalities. Sattvic personalities are the studious type, with a sharpened intellect and ability to focus well. Tamasic personalities are those who experience feelings of tiredness and lethargy regardless of how much they sleep and rajasic are somewhere between the two.
This is further analysed in the Gita by Dronacharya where he instructs each disciple to during an archery session to aim at a target. This demonstrates 80/20 vision, an optician’s worst nightmare. The ability to focus on bulls eye and not be easily distracted or swayed, thereby performing better in less time.
You have spoken on Zee TV and at British Parliament. Tell us, what exact topics did you speak on?
For Zee TV, I was speaking at a time when Public Health Authorities released a report discovering hidden sugar within cereals impacting children’s health. It’s important to identify where research is being done, and who is funding it. It has an impact on results.
At Parliament: I spoke on success career lessons and women empowerment learnt from Vedic scriptures, and how we manage our thoughts and emotions. It’s incredible how the Vedic Sciences go so far back.
Do you have a few thoughts on prioritisation and decision-making?
If you make a decision and take action within five seconds, it can make all the difference. Not acting in that time, leads to procrastination as an outcome. It’s basic time-management but effective. In terms of self-care, know when to reach out and ask for help with battles.
Finally, do you have some quick tips for health and well-being generally for workers?
It’s a vast area, but my main advice is to simply slow down. Professional business owners tend to look at grand outcomes, and don’t celebrate the little wins and individuals who can bring value in their own way. If not failing, try harder. There is no such thing as failure only feedback, it’s a comma, not a full stop. How can you become more resilient?