Wellness Wisdom for Busy Women is not about the perfect body or the perfect morning routine. It’s about real women who understand that good health underpins every area of their life and shapes who they are and how they show up in the world. Get a glimpse into the lives of women just like you and find out how these women prioritise wellbeing… no matter how chaotic life is!
Heidi Eiser is on a mission to provide daily encouragement and inspiration to help women live an empowered life.
Heidi is a graphic artist with a passion for women’s empowerment, body positivity and self love. Her digital drawings are based on real women who have stripped bare and posed nude in individual or group photoshoots. Her art prints encourage women to feel comfortable in their own skin, let go of societal standards and embrace their so-called flaws.
She has also worked with an impressive portfolio of female-led brands to create unique custom artwork as well as surface pattern designs for textiles and fashion.
In this conversation, I chat with Heidi about what wellness means to her, what it looks like in real life and how she inspires and empowers women through her artwork.
If you’d prefer to watch, head over to Instagram when you’ll find the recorded conversation or click play below to listen while you multitask.
Can you tell us about your journey and how you came to be where you are today?
I was working for the Queensland Police Service in public relations. So, that was my chosen career and I thought I loved it, it was what I wanted to do but it became really stressful and I ended up getting really sick. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease which is an autoimmune disease so I had health issues up and down while I was working there.
So I decided to go back and study and I chose graphic design so I went to Shillington College and studied. I did night school while I was working full time and then I ended up in hospital and was just really unwell so I decided to quit my job. I graduated and I moved back home and decided to start my own business so I could focus on my health and, I guess, kind of work around days when I was feeling good and days when I wasn’t I’d be focused on recovering.
Since then, my health has been amazing. I’ve managed to get off all of the drugs and treatments that I was on and now have a thriving little business.
At Vitalita, we believe wellness is about creating a life brimming with vitality. In your own words, what does wellness mean to you and why is it important?
It’s such a hard one ’cause I feel I feel like it encompasses so much and there are probably different areas at different times of my life that take priority. But I think the holistic approach of eating well, exercising, listening to your body and then mental health as well like I see a therapist regularly and then just other practises like getting out into nature and getting grounded, going for massages and yeah I think it just encompasses so much.
I love how you use words such as nourish and celebrate to describe self care. What does self care look like on a daily basis?
I’m a brand ambassador for my local gym so I go there at least twice a week, often more and sometimes those kind of things can feel like a chore so I think by reframing it and making it about nourishing [your body] and not doing it for weight loss or to improve how you look, and more about you actually treating your body to the movement, especially when you’ve had a full day in front of the computer or sitting down.
I think it’s about reframing those kind of things and then choosing those self care practices that feel good for you. I remember early on figuring out all this self care kind of stuff I was doing things that I thought should be doing [for] self care and I remember my therapist said to me “If it feels like a chore, you probably shouldn’t do it.” So, I think it’s like just choosing whatever feels good for you ’cause that’s going to make you motivated to do it, whether that’s going hiking, going out into nature, whether it’s just having a binge day watching Netflix.
Whatever it might be, it’s just about whatever fills up your cup.
How has learning about your cycle influenced your approach to wellness and self care?
I think probably, like many, I was on the pill from the age of 16 and then got off it when I ended up in hospital when I was 25 I think. So, I was on it for about 9 years and I just wanted to get all of the drugs out of my body and then the whole rebalancing and trying to get my hormones back to normal was just crazy. My body went through that all of these ups and downs so I really wanted to learn about living in a natural flow with my cycle.
I came across Claire Baker on a podcast and she talks about the different seasons that you go through with your cycles. So like Winter being the time that you’re bleeding and moving into your Spring and Summer and then back into Autumn to wind back down to your Winter season. I just was just so fascinated by it and I couldn’t believe that this wasn’t taught!
And working in an environment like the Police Service, I would just kind of have to pretend that I didn’t have my period; it was such a masculine environment I really had to just switch that off.
So, in working for myself I’ve been able to kind of harness that power because when you do you learn about the best times of the month that you’re creative or you have the most energy or when it’s time to be organised and to do your planning. So I did Claire Baker’s workshop when she came to Australia and it was incredible just learning about the cycle and how to harness its power. and it’s something that I have implemented in my business and I think it just comes pretty naturally now which is pretty cool.
It’s so fascinating. Women are such incredible creatures like even just noticing that my body gets in tune with the moon and I’ll bleed on a new moon. It’s just incredible to think that that’s the way we work and so often we just have to switch it off and society just expects that we should operate on a 24 hour cycle which is just not how women’s bodies work.
And what is your one non-negotiable? What impact does it have on your life?
I think probably the first thing that popped my mind is therapy.
I started seeing a psychologist probably 5 or so years ago when I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and I’ve seen a few different ones over my time. But now I see a counsellor regularly, she does a blend of counselling and kinesiology [and] it’s just incredible to have the space to be able to talk. I had an appointment this afternoon and I didn’t even really have anything major going on but I just need to get a few things off my chest and have the help to really process this new information and how I can deal with things. It’s just amazing to have someone in your corner and help you notice the progress that you making as well.
I’ve been seeing the same person for years now and we talk a lot about business stuff and something really exciting happened in the business and she’s like “Do you remember a year ago when you thought this could be the moment you were wanting and working so hard for?” So yeah, I think it’s just really beautiful to have that person who gives you that space just to be able to vent. Like, how often do you get to just sit and just have a one-way interaction I guess and [have] someone who’s in your corner?
As part of your creative process you do a monthly photoshoot. What have you learned about yourself and how has your relationship with your body changed?
My art collection came about because I was doing some passion projects to attract the kind of client work that I would like to get and someone asked if they could have one of the pieces printed in their home so I thought maybe there was something from this.
I wanted to be able to draw women but I’m not very good at doing it from my mind so I asked some women to pose nude for me and that first nude session was just incredible. And I wanted to strip off nude as well – I was taking the photos because I felt like it would be hypocritical to be in that space fully clothed while asking them to strip off and I wanted to be part of the experience.
So then, in terms of promoting my artwork, I wanted to photograph myself holding them. Creating that content for social media to help sell the pieces but also just to show you know that I am promoting that message, I’m trying to be comfortable in my own skin as well.
I feel pretty natural in those [nude] photoshoots now. I’ve started doing a few modelling campaigns which have come out of these shoots and in some of them I’ve had to wear clothes and I’m [actually] more comfortable in my underwear. I feel more awkward when I have clothes on.
I’ve definitely learned about my body and come to really appreciate it and like the look of it.
How about the other women who have posed for you. What is their experience like?
So I did another [photoshoot] a couple of weeks ago ’cause I have a small collection coming out just before Christmas. It’s going to be a limited collection. So I had a group of women strip off and pose for me – all new women who haven’t done it before. I felt kind of jealous because the experience now, it still feels very special but that initial feeling when you first do it is quite incredible and I don’t think you can replicate it.
But it’s so beautiful to witness and to watch them go through it. I just kind of see them being so nervous at the start and then strip off and I can see it in their faces when they look at these other women and think “They are so beautiful yet they have these flaws and, if I can appreciate that beauty in them, why can’t I appreciate that beauty in myself?” It’s like they don’t even compare themselves to each other, it’s not about size or anything and it’s not even like looking at their bodies or their marks or anything like that. It’s just being there as human beings and by the end of it they’re all just standing around talking while they’re naked and every photoshoot I’ve done I have to say “Ok, you guys can put your clothes back on, we’re finished!” And they’re like disappointed that they have to put their clothes back on.
It’s really beautiful to watch it and I always get really positive feedback from them afterwards. They always want to do it again or just go live in a nudist camp or something!
I’ve been to Japan. I didn’t go to the baths but it’s so interesting that their culture is so different to ours. They are quite, and I’m generalising, but they are usually quite reserved yet they have this tradition of getting naked in the baths together. Whereas Australians, we’re so often loud and outspoken yet nudity is so taboo and reserved for a private space.
Your latest collection is called ‘Love Suits You’ and it’s a visual reminder to wear love until it feels like a second skin. I’m assuming you’re talking about self love not romantic love?
Yeah, it’s a bit of both.
The collection is, obviously, a reflection of what’s been going on in my own life, as they always are. And I think this year has been a real focus for me to let my walls down and not to be so guarded but I think that starts with ourselves. I think it’s about accepting yourself and knowing that you are the one person that you’re going to be with forever. So, while it might be about letting love in from other people, I think ultimately it’s about loving yourself before you can be okay with loving anyone else.
Does being body positive mean you always love and accept your body?
No, definitely not! It’s interesting doing so many more further shoots lately for other brands and things, like you get the photos back and sometimes it can be a little bit like “Oh, does my body look like that?” and sometimes it’ll take me a couple of days.
But definitely, I go through days where I don’t feel so good about myself.
I get fake tan really regularly and it feels so good but I’ve been limiting them ’cause I have a really big photoshoot coming up where I need to get the scrub in before I can get another fake tan so I’m really pale at the moment and that’s been getting to me a little bit, just not feeling as vibrant, I guess.
And I think we just go in waves, it comes and goes. And the time of the month can affect that as well, like it I’m premenstrual and bloated and I feel like I’m retaining a lot of fluid then I just feel larger and I don’t really feel myself but then it rolls around to ovulating and I feel great again!
So I’m definitely not immune to having those negative thoughts but I think it’s just about riding the wave and doing things to feel like yourself again.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
I always find this question really hard ’cause I feel like I wouldn’t change anything ’cause it’s led me to where I am today.
But I think just be kinder to yourself.
I think back to high school me who had a big booty and I was a ballerina so I didn’t look like that [ideal] and like Mischa Barton was a big deal back then.
I think it’s just be kinder to yourself and you’ll find where you fit in life. Like I started going to the gym and saw women who had stronger muscles and bigger booties and realised that there wasn’t just one body type!