Hive Life caught up with Health Coach Gwen Siu, the Founder of Gwen Siu | Holistic Wellness about her tips for how high-achieving women can establish a work-life balance. Read more for advice every busy entrepreneur needs to hear.
Working two full time jobs as the Country Manager of Hong Kong & Singapore at Vivino and the Founder and Health Coach at Gwen Siu | Holistic Wellness, Gwen has her hands full balancing her work and personal life. Gwen shares important insights on the key to establishing a work-life balance as a women entrepreneur in fast-paced environments like Hong Kong.
Working in a variety of different fields, from DJing to marketing, to F&B, Gwen started her career with extensive hours and high stress levels. With this type of environment, many people can fall into destructive behaviour, and as a highly sensitive person, Gwen found herself adopting these habits herself. “There were a lot of destructive behaviours that I was accumulating, and because of that, I burnt out multiple times. I realised that I wanted to get my life in order and I just didn’t know how.” Wanting to break this cycle Gwen went on a two week retreat in the Philippines. Through practicing yoga and sacred silence, a lot of healing, and journaling, Gwen found inner healing and discovered she wanted to help people.
After she returned to Hong Kong, Gwen decided to further pursue her interests in food, health, and nutrition by enrolling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. And this was how she fell in love with health coaching.
Gwen describes her target clientele as “the old me from a few years ago,” so high-achieving women that work in male-dominated industries, with main areas of focus on health and wellness.
“It’s actually specifically helping them to build time into their schedules so that they can learn to take care of themselves. You try to push yourself to those limits and self care often falls at the bottom of the priority list. So because of that, I think it’s super important to first tackle that one obstacle. Once that happens, then everything starts falling into place,” Gwen adds.
What is Health Coaching?
Health coaches help people meet their health and wellness goals. For many people, this revolves around transformation, mindset work, and nutrition guidance, especially with highly-occupied clientele.
“Everyone knows how to live a healthy lifestyle. You can drink a kale smoothie, you can leave out the carbs. But it’s about why they won’t do it. So, a lot of [health coaching] is going deeper into what’s stopping you,” Gwen explains.
Tips for Establishing a Work-Life Balance
1. Use Different Phones
When maintaining a busy schedule it’s difficult to stop thinking about work when it is the weekend. When enjoying a Saturday hike or Sunday night dinner, it is difficult to receive a notification from the office and not start thinking about work. By simply using a different phone for personal life and professional life, and not using a work phone over the weekend, one can clear their mind and focus on important self care activities.
“I have two full-time jobs, so it’s very interesting to manage health coaching and tech. So there are a lot of things that can come into my day, which can very easily [make you] lose your balance with your focus.” Gwen herself has three phones, one for each job, and a third personal phone, which she emphasises is important for building different boundaries.
2. Find a Meditation Practice That Works for You
Everyone has different methods for practicing meditation, whether it be using an app or setting aside a few quiet minutes of your schedule. The whole point of meditation is to bring you into the present and into a different level of awareness. Gwen herself plays nature sounds in the background and sets different focuses each meditation session.
3. Turn Off Your Phone
Gwen advises whether it be to focus on a self care activity like meditation, or setting time aside to spend with loved ones, to focus your mindset and turn your phone off. Every single electronic device is a main source of distraction, so by turning your phone off, you can focus more easily on important tasks for your wellbeing.
4. Be a Team Player
Gwen’s advice for women finding themselves working harder to prove themselves is to always delegate. Ask yourself: can someone else do this? And if it does not have to be you, hand it over to someone else, because that is what your support team is there for.
“You don’t need to be the biggest boss in the world. You need to know what’s going on, but you don’t have to do [all of] the work. If it’s not necessary, you can be a team player by doing what you need to do, not what you could do.”
5. Find Your Identity Outside of Your Job
Especially in Asia, for many people, finding an identity outside of their job is something they struggle with. It is often the first characteristic they share when introducing themselves. Look at your identity outside of your job and find self-worth in your personal life, interests, and relationships.
6. Set Boundaries
Setting clear boundaries is a struggle for many professionals in Asia. Gwen shares that she sets specific days of the week to focus on her two jobs and herself. This will allow you to establish a work-life balance that will enable you to be your true authentic self. “It makes such a huge difference because then you’re able to live the life that you want,” Gwen adds.
7. Schedule Time to Do Absolutely Nothing
People are not used to sitting with themselves and having their minds still. Another reason people cannot meditate is they need to relax a little more. Take a deep breath and be present in the moment. Even just half an hour to yourself a day will allow you time to focus on yourself and de-stress from your busy schedule.
Through setting healthy routines and wellness practices into your schedule, even the busiest entrepreneurs will be able to thrive and maintain a work-life balance. It is often difficult to find spaces in a seemingly inexhaustible task list, so this is where health coaches come in. “It’s all about finding the joy in it. Because, when it starts feeling like routine, when it stops being fun, then you lose your complete motivation for it. So you need to find joy in anything that you do,” Gwen adds. This applies in a person’s professional life as well. Health coaches provide the accountability, support, guidance, and mentorship needed to start these wellness practices.
Gwen will be speaking at MakerHive at the Hive Kennedy Town in September about Gaining “Me Time” with a Busy Schedule. Hive members are also welcome to a free time audit with Gwen as well as an additional 15% off coaching services at Gwen Siu | Holistic Wellness.