An Interview with Healthy Habits Coach Nicola von Bratt

TeacherVision Talks expert Nicola von Bratt from My Healthy Habits Coaching talks to us about the stress and pressure that comes with teaching and her quest to help teachers find a healthy work-life balance.

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Nicola von Bratt experienced a series of events that changed her life forever. But what some would see as setbacks, Nicola used as opportunities to grow; and then to teach others what she learned. 

TV: Tell Us About Yourself; Where Did It All Start For You?

Nicola: Before building my healthy habits coaching practice, I spent several years working as a textile designer in the UK, travelling to European trade events and living in India and South Africa. I had spread my wings through these experiences, and I settled in Cape Town, my current home from home, where nurturing my own young family became my priority. Life got busier and busier, juggling the needs of my little ones, work and our home life.

As a result of two critical life events in my late 30s and early 40s, I needed to change my priorities and examine what health really meant to me. A difficult fertility journey and a serious accident were pivotal tipping points. I decided to retrain as a health coach with the Health Coaches Academy UK, and it has been life-changing for me ever since. 

"All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision" – James Clear

TV: Tell us more about being a Health Couch - how did this change your life?

Nicola: Most of us know what to do to stay healthy. But old habits and behaviours and fixed routines that don’t necessarily serve us now tend to get in the way. As I began noticing the positive impact of making simple, daily incremental changes in my own life, including planning ahead what my family and I eat, moving my body every day, and prioritising my own needs first (putting me at the top of my to-do list!), I began to feel much healthier physically and emotionally. The consistent, small, achievable daily habits I was implementing played an integral role in my behaviour change. This has been reflected through rooting myself in healthy habits coaching combined with a grounding in the science behind behaviour change, as I support others adjust their habits to transform their health. 

TV: Why Did You Decide to Join Us for Teachervision Talks?

Nicola: I believe we can all experience the transformative effects on our health and happiness by changing our habits. As a mother with young children of school age, I gladly grasped the opportunity to be able to offer support to our teachers by sharing my knowledge and experience as a healthy habits coach through my webinar “The Science Behind Our Habits: why we do what we do and how we can make changes.”

By helping our teachers foster greater awareness of their current habits and offering tips and advice on how to begin transforming habitual behaviours in tiny incremental steps, they will start to improve their physical and mental health. I hope that teacher and student together will be positively impacted due to the transformative effect of these key, tiny, consistent lifestyle shifts.

TV: What Key Piece Of Advice Would You Give A Struggling Teacher?

Nicola: When we are struggling, the first thing often to be pushed aside and forgotten about is ourselves and our basic needs for maintaining our own self-care

But, through investing in ourselves first, we are much better placed to overcome the challenges we face and to foster a better work-life balance with greater energy and an improved mindset.

Why not pick one action or habit you want to foster or change, and do that thing consistently? Ask yourself: “What is one thing I can change today that will move me closer towards the person I want to be?” You may want to eat better and have more energy, so choose this as your one thing. Ask yourself, what is the one action I can take to move closer to achieving this? It may be planning what you will eat ahead of time or creating a menu for the week. Write your shopping list and get the food all in one go. Plan your success by planning ahead. 

"Putting yourself first isn’t selfish; it’s necessary. All you need to do is start with one habit to foster or change and go from there."

Another key ingredient is being consistent. Do this one thing consistently, and see how you feel after doing it for one week, two weeks and so on… Then you can add a new action into the mix. Maybe it is improving your sleep routine to support your desire to increase your energy levels—one small step at a time.

In the words of the author James Clear:
‘“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision.”

Putting yourself first isn’t selfish; it’s necessary. All you need to do is start with one habit to foster or change and go from there. 

Watch Nicola in Action over at TeacherVision Talks

Nicola von Bratt is part of our panel of self-care experts for our latest teacher campaign; TeacherVision Talks and has shared a fascinating talk on The Science Behind Our Habits. Watch now for free!

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