Women In Wellness: Nia Elin Davies of Yugenial On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Mindfulness — realizing that mindfulness and meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting and doing nothing for hours, but that it helps to meditate on the go i.e. when I become aware that I am getting lost in thought and following anxiety down the rabbit hole, disengaging by focusing on the breath. Also bringing more awareness to unhealthy coping mechanisms and channeling this energy into something else.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nia Davies.
Nia is a founder and wellbeing writer from London. She has a BSc in medical science from Imperial College and an Mst in entrepreneurship from Cambridge University. You can find out more about her venture and portfolio at niaelindavies.com
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?
Having left medical school during my finals due to an unhealthy lifestyle and mental health concerns, I became more interested in holistic approaches to personal wellbeing and self-discovery.
As someone who’s heritage is Welsh-Korean, this meant integrating Eastern and Western perspectives and finding more crossover in the intersection between mainstream and ‘alternative’ practices.
With regards to the world of work, this hybrid approach translated into creating more creativity and autonomy in my life — which has now become the norm thanks to the increasing numbers of people having the option to work with the remote model.
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?
I’ve had a lot of experiences along with their ups and downs since starting this journey. The lesson I’m still learning is to better balance polarities — such as enjoying putting myself out there and taking risks, whilst also being discerning and finding equal appreciation in the every-day, or generally trying to treat life more like a marathon as opposed to a series of sprints.
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?
When I first started, I was inexperienced and lacking in confidence so I was always looking around for answers, but I think that’s a natural part of the process and there are some lessons that are just better learned in practice than in theory.
I think it’s less about making the right decision and more about making the decision right and that very much depends on the circumstances and who you are as a person. For example, whereas some might prefer to start small and grow slowly, others are more comfortable going big and launching straight into the abyss.
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 a holistic wellbeing brand at yugenial.com to tie in with the interests I’d been exploring. It led me into the world of plant medicines including cannabis, and I became interested in their rich spiritual history — especially their ritualistic and ceremonial use. I think these are tools that help us to reconnect — both to ourselves and the wider world. In this time of ecological crisis, I think that not just thinking — but feeling our place in this wider ecosystem is becoming more important.
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.
1) Mindfulness — realizing that mindfulness and meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting and doing nothing for hours, but that it helps to meditate on the go i.e. when I become aware that I am getting lost in thought and following anxiety down the rabbit hole, disengaging by focusing on the breath. Also bringing more awareness to unhealthy coping mechanisms and channeling this energy into something else.
2) Journaling — writing down 3 things I’m grateful for in my Gratitude app every morning, and journaling away some of the overthinking, so I can form a more coherent picture and narrative.
3) Parasympathetic Activation — yoga, breathwork and giving myself permission to take time out. I love exercise like running, but it’s important to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system too
4) Supplementation — my diet isn’t always as healthy as it could be, but I try as much as possible to stick to the 80:20 rule, and take supplements such as Turmeric, CBD and Fish oils.
5) Tarot Cards — personally I love fun little rituals that bring a bit of magic back into the daily routine and I find tarot cards serve as great little prompts to help you look at an issue in a new way, or give you themes to think about.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1) Everyone else shares the same human fears and insecurities, and they never really go away no matter your position or experience
2) Enjoy the process not just the outcome — because the outcome is often mostly out of your hands but if you enjoy the process you’ve still won
3) Balancing direct and emergent opportunities requires staying open minded and flexible
4) Appreciate the failures as well as successes, because there’s always a blessing in the curse
5) Have more confidence in yourself and don’t always assume other people must know better.
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, because I think if we tackle that, then the other compassionate causes may naturally follow. Mental health is invisible but it affects every one of us, and dictates so much of how we live our lives.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
@niafaraway @miafordfotographie @yugenial
Thank you for these fantastic insights!