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!
In this conversation, I talk to Melissa Strange about what wellness means to her, what it looks like in real life and how she helps business owners achieve their goals without the stress and overwhelm.
With a wealth of experience in various administrative support roles including 10 years as an Executive Assistant and International Relations Manager, Melissa recently transitioned her skills to start her Virtual Assistant business, MKS Virtual, fulfilling a long-held dream to create a life on her terms by building a business she loves.
Melissa is passionate about supporting female coaches and heart-centred business owners in the personal and professional development industries. As a detail-minded admin professional, she helps them to get organised, simplify their systems and regain time and energy to focus on what they love and do best. She helps to lighten their workload through the daily implementation of tasks and projects, as well as providing accountability, strategic planning and personalised support.
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?
With my wellness journey, I guess I’ve always been somebody who’s cared deeply about my health but I suppose I’ve looked at it very much on a surface level for most of my life. You know, am I eating enough? Am I eating well and getting enough sleep? Am I getting enough exercise?
It wasn’t until very recently, where I started looking at it in a holistic way and sort of started realising that everything was connected in terms of mind, body and spirit. And I realised that I’ve been neglecting mainly my mind and my spirit like I didn’t even know what spirit meant at the time. That’s sort of been my journey for the last couple of years, I suppose, just really sort of getting to know myself.
I had a situation through COVID, I was overseas at the time, I came home at the height of the pandemic and I lost my job. I’d been working with the company for over 10 years and so that was a really difficult time for me because I was unemployed for 6 months and it was the first time I’d been unemployed in 20 plus years so I really lost my identity. I had to do a lot of deep inner work to kind of rediscover myself. You know, who am I? What do I want? Who am I without my career? That’s how I’d always defined myself, by my career and by what I did and so, without that, I just felt really lost and really lonely.
But, in many ways, COVID was a really good thing for me because it was the catalyst for being able to start my business and having the confidence and courage to just go for it. It was the right time, I had absolutely nothing to lose and it’s been amazing! You know that they say that your first year in business is almost like 10 years of therapy and it really has felt like that for me. It’s been such a revelation discovering who I am and rediscovering my identity again. So it’s been an interesting time that’s for sure.
At Vitalita, we believe wellness is about creating a life brimming with vitality. In your own words, what does wellness means to you and why is it important?
What I’ve come to realise it’s just about being kind to myself.
I kind of think that, for so many years, I was so unkind to myself. I was now my own worst enemy. I was my harshest critic and that really made me suffer mentally. My mental wellness suffered for the majority of my life and I didn’t really realise it but I was doing it to myself.
So I think, looking at it in terms of kindness, treating myself as I would treat any other person. I give my heart and soul to everybody else that I meet and everybody else in my life but I don’t do the same for me so that has been a huge thing in terms of redefining my relationship with my personal wellness.
I think that’s the biggest thing, just those simple acts of kindness that you take for granted sometimes. Like, some days an act of kindness could simply be getting out of bed in the morning and having a shower and getting dressed on the days that you’re feeling like crap – that’s an act of kindness to yourself. So it’s not taking those little things for granted ’cause it’s the little things that all that up and they are the things that matter essentially.
Less is definitely more. I’m starting to realise that more and more especially since becoming a business owner. It’s work smarter not harder and that ‘less is more’ concept is really powerful.
You work for yourself so you have more flexibility than the average person. What does wellness look like for you on a daily basis?
I’ve really put self care at the forefront of my life now where for many years I didn’t. I didn’t do anything for myself, nothing positive for myself. It was literally, just go to work, come home and eat dinner, go to sleep, repeat. Whereas now, I have the time and the flexibility to be able to incorporate self care activities into my daily routine.
So, you know, my daily routine isn’t strict or rigid by any means and I’m still very much experimenting with different things and seeing what feels good. It’s all about looking at your energy on a daily basis, what does my body need today, what does my mind need today, rather than putting you know, you have to do this today, you have to do this for this amount of time. It’s just not realistic.
For me, there are 3 things that I like to try and do daily. It doesn’t always happen but I like to do at least 1 or 2 of them every single day and it just gets me off to a really good start.
So, the first one is doing some sort of movement. At the moment it’s yoga. I get on the mat for a minimum of
10 hours 10 minutes every day and I’ve really adopted that ‘less is more’ concept with that because when I first started practising yoga I thought it’s not even worth getting on the mat if it’s going to be less than 45 minutes or whatever and it just wasn’t sustainable. I ended up only doing it a couple of times a week and I couldn’t keep it up. So now I just do 10 minutes every day and I really look forward to it and it just feels so good to get on the mat every day.
Then I try and do some sort of meditation. It could just be 5 minutes and, you know, same thing with that, I used to think oh you’ve got to meditate for 20 minutes a day for it to have any effect. That’s so not true. 5 minutes is fine, just to find that small amount of time to calm yourself, ground yourself.
And then journaling is the third thing that I love to do. It’s something that I’ve experimented with over the years but it never really stuck until probably 12 months ago and I really sort of tacked it onto my morning routine. So, you know, if I do yoga that that leads me to doing meditation if I do meditation that leads me to doing the journaling so I’ve kind of created that stacking sort of system where it’s helped me to create that morning routine. So yeah, they’re the 3 things that I try and do on a morning.
It only has to be 5-10 minutes like it’s doesn’t have to be any crazy length of time but it’s just whatever you can manage on a morning.
But essentially I’m a night owl so I have a lot of a lot more energy on an afternoon and on a night time. So, I also have an evening routine which sounds like a lot but it’s not! I try and stop work by 6 o’clock, I sit down and have a cup of tea with my partner, after dinner we usually go outside for half an hour walk then, before bedtime I’ve got a series of affirmations that I like to say which has been really powerful, and then I read a couple of pages of a book and fall asleep. It sounds kind of rigid but it’s not at all; it’s really quite an enjoyable way to spend my evenings.
It’s nice to connect instead of just sitting on the couch after dinner both on our phones scrolling or whatever. It’s just nice to have that amount of time together where we can go for a nice walk and talk about our day and you know kind of be a bit more mindful rather than just in front of another screen be it the TV, the phone or whatever. It’s nice to get out and do something active.
Having those things in my life of completely changed everything. My whole approach to wellness is [about] making time for these things that make me feel good about myself.
When it comes to wellness, what has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Mindset has been a big issue for me throughout my life and, like I said, my mental wellness. I’ve never been depressed or anything like that but I’ve had a lot of mental and emotional challenges that have held me back for as long as I can remember.
I was a very introverted kid and I’ve carried that through into adulthood and I always saw that as a character flaw. I saw it as something that made me weird or not normal and it’s not until recent years that I realised that there are so many strengths that come with an introverted personality and I’m starting to actually embrace that.
It’s just reframing a lot of those negative self-beliefs that I had. That’s been huge! So, I’d say my own mind is always my biggest challenge.
But I was lucky enough when I came back from the UK to Australia, I reached out to a friend who is a mindset coach and she offered to do some coaching with me and that really helped me look at some of those deep-seated issues that I’ve been carrying for so many years and had never really dealt with, never addressed. And that was quite confronting to do that but it was probably the best thing I could possibly have done at the time because I’d just started my business and I had a lot of self confidence and self doubt issues like, can I really do this? Am I cut out for this? So I really knew that I needed to do that deep work and really, you know, be confronted by all of these things that I was dealing with.
So it’s an ongoing challenge and I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that. It’s not 3 months of coaching and you’re going to be all cured. It’s something that you have to do every day. You have to really work on yourself a lot and it’s not always easy and it’s not always something you want to do or you enjoy doing, especially on those days when you’re not feeling too great but you kind of have to fight through that and feel the feels and just deal with whatever is going on in your life at the time.
I think I used to sweep a lot of things under the carpet but now I just try and deal with things as they come up and just try and accept them for what they are and try and move through it and then move on.
I think we’re so stuck in our own heads so much of the time that talking to somebody else about it or you know getting the help that you need is so powerful. Like, I always say everybody needs a coach. Whether you realise it or not everybody needs a coach and, having worked with 3 or 4 amazing coaches over the years, I’ve realised how much I needed it. I probably needed it 20 years ago but better late than never, right!?
I notice that you regularly post on social media about rest, productivity, energy and respecting the natural rhythms and cycles. How important is it for you to model sustainable business practices for your clients?
It’s really important. I think that that’s something I’m trying to incorporate into my own business so a lot of the time I’m writing posts for myself, I’m reminding myself to take the time you need, take breaks, rest, recuperate, whatever you need to do because I think we’re just so used to being in that cycle of working, pushing, striving, constantly go go go.
When I started my business I knew that I didn’t want to design a business where I had to work 24/7. You know, the whole point of me starting my business was to be able to work on my terms, work flexibly and so I want to help other people to do that as well in a way that feels really good to them.
My goal was really just to help busy women to operate their businesses with more ease and with less stress and overwhelm. And to do that, it’s not so much about time management as it is about energy management. You know, we all have the same amount of hours in a day but we don’t all have the energy that we need to do all the things we need to do.
It gives me a lot of joy to be able to help people get to that point where they’re operating in a much more easeful way, doing the things that they love to do, that they’re good at doing and that are making the biggest impact in their business. And just growing that relationship with people so that you know they feel comfortable and trust me enough to hand over those other tasks that they don’t necessarily need to be doing but they’ve just done for so many years and are just so used to doing everything themselves. That’s amazing to be able to get to that point with a client and then realise that I’m really making a big impact on their business but [also] their lives and that’s amazing.
It’s just about looking at your priorities and working out what is important. Anything that’s not important, that you don’t need to be doing, get rid of it. I think that’s something that I would love for women to know is that they’re not alone and that they can ask for help. Asking for help isn’t a weakness, it’s a massive strength and if everybody could do that I just think everybody would be running much more easeful, wonderful, beautiful businesses.
You know, I’m one of those people who struggles to ask for help and recently or, since starting my business, I’ve realised that I need to ask for help. It’s essential, I can’t do what I do without having mentors and people there to help and guide me. And it’s amazing the people that you meet in the communities that I’m in. People are so generous, there’s always somebody there that can offer you help and support and they don’t expect anything in return.
I recently went to a networking event and I met a lady and found out that she lives 2 streets away from me and so she invited me round to her house, we’ve become friends and walking buddies and she has become sort of like a mentor to me. She’s been in business a lot more years than I have and she’s been mentoring me unofficially for the last few weeks and it’s just been amazing. She asked for nothing in return and she’s just so generous with her time and her experience and her knowledge. I think a lot of people feel like they’re going to be burdening somebody when they’re asking for help but people want to help. You know, it makes people feel really good inside when they help other people and I think a lot of us forget that you’re doing somebody else a service if they feel like they can be of use and really help somebody else. It’s a two-way street basically.