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Women In Wellness: Hedieh Safiyari On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Look at all your options to help make the best decision. Your wellness journey is ongoing. Don’t take a doctor or wellness provider’s treatment or advice as the final word. Look into different approaches, providers, and information. There’s always more than one solution. Wellness is not a cookie cutter approach.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Hedieh Safiyari.

Hedieh is the Founder and CEO of PromptHealth, a platform that allows wellness providers and seekers to connect in a dedicated space. Traditionally, wellness seekers can either go to the doctor or search online — which both have limitations. Hedieh is on a mission to build a community for wellness providers, and offer potential clients a vetted directory, as well as a space to engage with wellness providers and learn.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

As a young athlete I had to seek all kinds of fitness remedies to stay strong. But one day after a biking trip, I was told I had permanent nerve damage.

That was just the beginning of my personal health struggle. I had to go from one therapist to another trying to find a treatment that would help me. While waiting for an MRI, I ended up finding and working with a team of people including a physiotherapist, chiropractor, and exercise therapist. After two years of therapy, I finally felt normal again. I then witnessed my mother go through two different types of cancers, both needing different types of care. We were left on our own to find this care, and spent valuable time on a journey of trial and error.

I ended up starting my career working as a clinician at one of the Canadian pioneers of private healthcare, where we offered unique health and wellness services with a multidisciplinary team of clinicians. And again, I kept seeing this gap in the wellness system. How could patients find the care they really needed? I finally decided to take the learnings I gained and start PromptHealth!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

When I was part of Copeman Healthcare, I helped them launch a metabolic clinic. We helped people that had a cluster of heart disease risk factors, such as glucose levels or weight above a certain level. The key here is that we took a preventative approach, focusing on diet, exercise, accountability and life management.

But we regularly had patients showing up with bags full of supplements they were told to take — and had been for years! One supplement for one issue, another for another, never fully understanding how these were connected. Did they know why? No. Someone told them to do it.

The way patients access wellness knowledge is quite random. Either a friend or family shares something, they see an ad, or they search themself. And they’re alone on their health journey. I identified with these people.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

While I have knowledge around wellness and business, my technology knowledge was quite limited when I started PromptHealth. The initial product was built remotely, and because I wasn’t aware of certain things I was manipulated. Not knowing enough about technology meant I couldn’t vet the process well.

Looking back, I should have found a co-founder that had technical knowledge and could balance my business and wellness knowledge.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I started my career as a clinician at Copeman Health, where we offered unique health and wellness services. We had dieticians who worked with diabetics, wellness coaches who helped with accountability, physiotherapists who specialized in concussions, and more. But most people did not know these services existed.

Even us, professionals who worked at the clinic, had a hard time referring to these services outside of our own center. Our referral system was limited to the people we knew nearby, or providers we found through a Google search.

Witnessing the fragmented, ineffective healthcare system inspired me to want to solve this gap through PromptHealth. We make it easier for people to navigate wellness care themselves through trusted information, and help providers easily refer clients to different professionals with the confidence that they are vetted.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

Tailor your fitness and lifestyle activities to your personal health and history. For example, if you have injuries, are post-pregnancy, or have a chronic health condition — these are all conditions that impact your wellness and what kinds of solutions you should be adopting. Learn more about your body type and what is most effective.

I hear different diets becoming more or less popular all the time. There’s all these trends — but ultimately, a balanced diet and a plan that is sustainable long-term is most important. Find eating habits that you can implement and maintain — and ones that suit your body, age and background. Don’t follow the trends.

Mental health — acknowledge and stay aware of what we’re going through, how it has changed your life, and what steps can be taken to improve your mental health. But this is different for every person. Whether you need a wellness coach or need to take more walks, focus on finding the right solution instead of what’s often just handed to you.

Become an observer of how you’re reacting to external circumstances. Physical, mental and emotional health can affect different elements of your body. Don’t ignore symptoms. How often are things happening, and what is the cause and effect relationship? If a problem is recurring and you’ve got no idea why, you need help.

Look at all your options to help make the best decision. Your wellness journey is ongoing. Don’t take a doctor or wellness provider’s treatment or advice as the final word. Look into different approaches, providers, and information. There’s always more than one solution. Wellness is not a cookie cutter approach.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Going beyond focusing on our physical bodies. Holistic wellness is about focusing on mind, body and soul — and the pandemic has been a good example of this.

The pandemic plunged us into a mental health crisis. No one talked about the social and emotional health aspect that people dealt with to this extent before. We’ve started focusing on social connection, and the importance of togetherness. This connects physical, mental, emotional and even social wellbeing.

By highlighting the connection between your mind and body, we can all better understand our bodies and how to treat them.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. It’s going to be 24/7. It’s easier to have a 9 to 5 job and have holidays, but of course, you don’t get to build your passion into a business.
  2. Starting a business disrupts your life. It can be hard on your relationships. You’re so focused on your baby that certain responsibilities are pushed to the side.
  3. You need to motivate people, a lot. Not just your team, but your stakeholders and audiences too.
  4. You’re going to learn about yourself. You’re going to do a lot of things you’ve never done before. I wasn’t even on social media until I started my business.
  5. Creativity comes to different people in different ways. I didn’t think I was particularly good at telling stories or creating videos. But passion can drive you.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health. A mental health pandemic is still growing. People are isolated and alone, losing friends, family, jobs, entire communities. Kids are faced with an unprecedented new challenge that even as adults we are struggling with. And for those with mental health issues it’s even more severe.

We’re seeing higher numbers of drug and alcohol problems. Being at home can make people less active too, which can increase weight gain, and all of a sudden it’s a vicious cycle. It’s a perfect storm of mental health issues.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can find me on Linkedin, and my personal and company Instagram accounts, @hediehsafiyari, and @prompthealth. I also host a podcast for PromptHealth that covers different healthcare and wellness topics, sharing insights from health experts.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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