Maria Kay Claridge is half English, half Japanese. A Personal Trainer and fitness class instructor she teaches weight training, spin and yoga. Maria is currently back in education studying to become a counsellor and is hoping to have her own practice whilst still working in fitness (because she loves it). Maria wishes to make a difference and help people.
Maria and I met and became friends several years ago through the shared love of sport. She is an avid supporter of self care—mentally and physically—and will always be your biggest supporter when following your dreams. We caught up with Maria for a quick chat about mental health, keeping fit and chasing your dreams.
1.Is there anything you wish you knew when you were younger?
- Health always comes first before anything else.
- Money isn’t everything.
- Treasure people who treasure you.
- You must be good with yourself, able to sit with your thoughts, before you can team up with anyone else.
- You have the power to make yourself happy.
2. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in getting to where you are today?
Three years ago, I had a mental break down where I was hospitalised for three weeks. Moving back home to Hampshire from London and having to be on medication was a tough transition. It took a year to establish a new routine and feel more like me again.
Mental health should always be spoken about, and if ever you find yourself struggling, know there is always someone you can reach out to, friend or a stranger.
I do believe I am stronger today because of what happened and much more aware and emphatic towards others. If my break down hadn’t of happened, it wouldn’t have led me to what I’m doing now, which is qualifying to become a counsellor, so I too can help people who have been in a similar situations.
3, What has been your proudest moment so far?
Last week. I enjoy living in the present. The past can be for reflection and the future for planning.
I had a great week full of fantastic, motivated clients. It’s taken me two years to build a solid clientele through word and mouth. The feedback I receive is so positive I feel confident in my skills. Helping clients achieve their specific goals brings great satisfaction.
My spin, pump and yoga classes are always full of energy. So happy I qualified in yoga recently and am now able to teach it. My personal exercise was on point, my personal yoga flows helped established balance within me. I cooked some lovely meals and saw some of my dearest friends. I had down time to read, write poetry and relax. Life feels good when I have routine and a good work, life balance. I feel very fortunate to be doing something I love and proud I have friends, interests a good life down here.
4. What skills do you think have helped you succeed the most?
The ability to be or to remain positive and energetic. This has helped me through some tough times. Even if all you did today is survive, that is still something.
5. Do you have any strategies for keeping motivated?
- Waking up and going to bed around the same time.
- Morning Yoga
- Self-care (tidy room, baths etc)
- Journaling and setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time)
- Having a balanced diet
- Making time to see close friends
- Making time to relax and be with my own thoughts
6. What is the biggest lesson you have learned and what impact has it had on what you do going forward?
To be grateful for the good times and for coming out stronger after the bad times. It really is important to remember you are healthy and able to do things. Not everyone has that…
7. Who is your greatest influence or role model?
My mum. She’s so strong and brilliant. She has been my rock from day one.
8. Is there any advice can you give other women looking to follow this route?
As cliché as it sounds be true to yourself, whatever career you choose. People are drawn to people who are who they say they are. When it comes to fitness or counselling, you are providing somebody with the opportunity to change their life style or help with their negative thinking patterns.
Finally appreciate those who build you up, and don’t give time to those who bring you down.
My mantra:Choose kindness and laugh often (^0^)/
Maria also shared a poem close to her heart. The poem ‘It’s Okay’ was written by Maria, it resonates and aligns with Maria’s personal experience and growth. To celebrate Maria, we would like to share it with all of you.
Do you ever look in the mirror and think,
Okay is that really me?
Do you ever have days you want to become a bird,
Fly and be free?
Do you ever feel nervous, on edge when alone
Had anxiety so bad,
You can’t leave your home?
Has you heart felt so heavy,
But your mind on full drive,
Have you sat in the car,
And cried and cried,
On the flipside,
Do you have days,
Where no one brings you down,
A strut in your walk,
You own that crown,
I just want you to know
All these feelings are okay,
Sometimes it’s best,
Just to take it day by day
By Maria Claridge