AS 2018 begins, many of people are coming up with resolutions to be both healthier and happier. Regardless of the new year, however, a fresh start is always on the horizon, and one Bangkok expat is proof that you do not need to surpass another New Year’s Eve to employ life-changing alterations.
Laura Martin is a 25-year-old Chicagoan who relocated to Bangkok after being gifted a volunteer trip to the country by her mother. Sadly, she unexpectedly passed away during Laura’s last month of university before travelling to the country, and this is when everything changed for the young expat.
“I have this emotional tie to Thailand,” Laura said. During her trip, she volunteered at an orphanage, an elephant sanctuary and even prolonged her stay so that she could celebrate the vibrant Songkran festival before heading home. When it came time to return to the states, however, Laura knew she was destined to go back to Thailand.
“I went home, and things just weren’t the same,” Laura said. “I wasn’t really the same, and I felt I was just a better person when I was in Thailand.”
With the support of her family, Laura bravely booked a oneway ticket to the Land of Smiles. Within a few weeks, she found a job, a place to live and even made a few friends along the way. Today, she spends her time eating, working out, hugging trees, hanging out with friends, exploring new markets, travelling and eating some more. The country has simply captured her, and she has been here for over two years now.
“It’s the way they (Thai people) view life here,” Laura said. “It’s more about actually living your life, not working your life away. They enjoy life’s moments, and it’s not pushed to the back burner by the endless flow of work.”
In addition to enjoying life as an expat in Bangkok, Laura works as a Kindergarten English teacher by day and a holistic health and wellness coach by night. One can tell Laura lives a healthy lifestyle just by looking at her; from her shiny, red hair that falls down her shoulders to the incredible yoga poses she can pretzel her way through found on her Instagram feed, one does not have to know her well to see she is one active, healthy human.
Courtesy of Jordan Bradley Munger
She has not always abided by such a healthy lifestyle, however.
Laura deployed significant transparency about her on and off struggles as a teenager and in her early adult life with food and how her journey to becoming a holistic health and wellness coach pulled her from this destructive path she found herself travelling.
“Life took a turn around the time I was 16, and I started to use food as my form of control,” Laura said. “This also played out in different areas of my life, hence why I took the holistic approach as opposed to just solely nutrition.”
Fast forward a few years, and Laura discovered the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, an online nutrition school in New York City hat has a health coach training program. At the time, she was going through what she referred to as, “a
little bit of an early-twenties crisis.”
She was in a toxic relationship; her health was not a priority, she did not know what career path to take and had little to no spiritual practice.
“I was a lost little soi dog in a big, intoxicating city,” Laura said.
Her interest was piqued when she heard about holistic health at the institute, and she was determined to learn more about it in hopes of saving herself, finding some balance and sorting out the bloated belly she had at the time. She did not realise, however, that her curiosity would turn into something much more: a career and lifestyle.
“As long as I’m giving my body good, my body will give good back to me,” Laura said. “Yoga and meditation have really helped me through my recovery by helping me understand mind-body connection.”
Today, Laura is running her website which she launched in November, and she posts every Sunday in addition to working her day job. Some things you can expect to find on her website include healthy recipes, the art of armpit detoxing, articles on how to deal with holiday food anxieties and much more.
While Laura has undoubtedly made tremendous strides towards improving her health, she recognises that she, like her clients, can always learn something new.
“I still have days where I’m not the nicest person to
myself; I’m still human,” Laura said. “But I’m able to slow down and tune inward and recognise that bad days happen, and bad thoughts are simply that - they’re just thoughts, and they can be controlled.”
Almost every aspect of Laura’s day and career revolves around her well-being now, but not in the obsessive and damaging ways she used to find herself succumbing to.
Instead, she is a beacon of healthiness that most people could take a few notes from.
Laura kick starts her day at 5.15am with what she referred to as ‘Laura time:’ stretching, followed by meditation, a cup of warm water with lemon and, finally, she wraps up her morning routine with some journaling and writing down five things she is grateful for.
“I think it’s so important to start each day remembering all the things that there is to be thankful for,” Laura said.
When Laura is finished with all of this, she still manages to squeeze in a HIIT workout, take a shower, make a golden milk latte and get ready to teach all before heading out the door at 7am. She also unplugs from her phone and Wi-Fi to generate more mindfulness to both start and end her days.
For those thinking about making lifestyle changes as Laura did, this holistic health and wellness coach has a few pieces of advice.
The first and most crucial step is seemingly the easiest but often the hardest: take the first step.
“Maybe your journey is just adding in a 20-minute walk a day or drinking an extra glass of water or sleeping seven hours instead of five,” Laura said. “Whatever it is, meet yourself where you are at and take it one day at a time.”
The journey to getting healthier does not start or end with a New Year resolution, either. Laura said to remember that sustainable change can only come in time and in combination with commitment to betterment and holding oneself accountable to generate a lifestyle change.
“At the end of the day, being healthy doesn’t have to be hard, it’s just being better than you were yesterday,” Laura said.
For now, her job as a Kindergarten teacher is what pays her bills, but being a holistic health and wellness coach has undoubtedly stolen her heart. She knows this because when she is working with people to make lifestyle changes, it no longer feels like “work.”
“Being able to help someone feel what I feel, healthy, fulfilled, balanced … that’s magical.”
For more information or to schedule a free consultation with Laura, please contact
096 802 2287, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.healingtohappy.com