Take time for yourself every single day. Schedule self-care as the number one thing on your to-do list. If NOTHING ELSE gets done, did you at least work out, go for a walk, or take time to do some stretching? I don’t work before 12pm each day, my mornings are sacred and I spend 3–5 hours taking care of myself during this time. Lately I’ve also been working later in the evenings so I take 90 minutes out in the evenings to stretch, do some energy clearing and write so that if I’m working late I know I am not burning myself out. My husband’s self care is walking around the neighborhood while he is on calls and playing video games to unwind at night. Whatever works for you, do it. Even when my baby was a newborn, I would get up at 5am for her morning feed, put her back to sleep, and then meditate, journal and stretch until 7am when she would wake up, and then I’d have her near me while I did a workout and made breakfast. I’d do the same sort of thing after she went to bed at 7pm, between that and her 10pm feed. You can do it all and not burn out — you just have to realize that your to-do list is not as important as you thriving in your body and mind. You also get to renegotiate the relationship you have with time; there is always MORE than enough time for it all. We stress most about the time we think we don’t have, and it’s a lie.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alyeria Faith.
Alyeria Faith is the founder and CEO of Maya Apothecary.
Born in South Africa and raised in Kenya, Alyeria moved permanently to London at the age of 17, and has been following her heart around the world ever since — all the way to California where she met her now husband and business partner.
She’s on a soul-lead path building her own vision, and inspiring women to take empowered action in her wake. Through her relentless obsession with personal growth and an unwavering commitment to living life on her own terms, Alyeria found her way into the beauty industry with a vision to awaken the collective feminine through elevated skincare.
Rooted in the science of self love, Alyeria and her team are focused on radically raising the energetic frequency of women everywhere, one luxurious product at a time. Are you ready to become a woman on the rise? To surrender deeply to your soul’s knowing and elevate your experience? Join Alyeria in her dream of bringing next level confidence to every “woman on a mission.”
About Maya Apothecary:
Born from a relentless passion to empower women to build a life they love, Maya Apothecary creates products and tools that women can use to tap into their innate feminine wisdom, power and pleasure, to magnetize the life of their wildest desires.
The Maya Apothecary brand delivers transformational skin care that bridges ancient natural healing wisdom and modern science by utilizing both in its unique formulations.
Grounded in sustainability, with a strong commitment to caring for people and the planet, we use only natural and organic, fair trade ingredients, delivering the very best products with as little environmental impact as possible.
All of our skincare lines, developed by leading skincare scientists, in collaboration with renowned alchemists, are infused with specific frequencies that activate the cellular memory of the bodies natural healing wisdom, to connect you to the true nature of your being.
Igniting the souls of visionary women
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Absolutely! My mom enrolled me in a school to be a personal trainer and nutritionist when I was 19 and I fell in love with all things health and wellness, even though I never actually went into personal training! I ended up becoming an “adventure athlete” and a wellness journalist in the UK instead.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Oh wow. At the end of 2019 I had a strange experience where I lost all conscious thought for several days — it left me feeling very lost and confused for a while, and it completely shifted the fabric of my reality. When thoughts came back to me I suddenly had this profound awareness that none of my thoughts were real, that the very nature of thought is mostly to make sense of reality, and that we can only make sense of reality from the past experiences and beliefs we hold — if we are using the mind and thought.
It was in that experience that I really saw that every belief and memory I had was not actually true, and that each one was just a subjective reflection of the event that created the belief in the first place. It was weird and liberating — suddenly I had no idea who I was.
I also realized I was inherently safe, because all of the beliefs I held before about what it means to survive in the world were made up based on false evidence.
It takes a long time to integrate something like that. I think I’m still learning from it. I now recognize when I am in an old pattern, and I’m able to shift back into the present moment more easily. I also no longer rely on thoughts to make sense of my reality or guide my decisions. I make decisions from safety. If my nervous system is in fight/flight and I’m trying to make a decision I always ask “If I knew I was completely safe, and that what I want is absolutely guaranteed, what would I do now?”
I also spend 3–7 hours a day taking care of myself, resting, working out, doing energy clearing work, or attending to my own self care, so that I can operate from a balanced nervous system that rests in safety.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
I think people believe that business owners actually know what they’re doing, when in reality most of the time we are all winging it. My funniest mistake has been the constant reinvention of the products and the endless testing of formulas. I’m sort of a perfectionist, and cosmetic formulation is not an easy process. It’s taken me over a year to get 2 product formulas to a place where I am happy with them, and I’m sure we will be tweaking them for a while based on feedback we get.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
Well, I’ve been in the industry for over a decade in one form or another so I’ve definitely put the time in, and I think my own healing journey has been the biggest contributor to why I’ve continued to stay in it. I’ve found and forged a path that is unique — I make every single decision from the quiet truth of my soul — and that’s a terrifying and liberating way to live.
It’s also my gift to all the women who come into contact with our products and community — the opportunity to rewrite the way we’ve been taught to live, to slow way down and learn to receive. Which ultimately means we create more, and live more abundantly in every sense, because we stop chasing ideals and relax into being where we are, now.
How to create safety in the nervous system, I believe, is the primary thing I want to share. The body is a self healing miracle, when we provide the right environment and circumstances for it to heal, and that starts with the nervous system.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mum has always been my biggest supporter and has pushed me more than anyone to keep doing the things I love. She invested in my business when it was just a fleeting idea and she has never lost faith in me. I wouldn’t be where I am without her and I owe everything to her relentless commitment to me, my well-being and all my hair brained crazy ideas and antics. We’ve not always seen eye to eye but in the last few years we have grown closer as I’ve matured and she has continued to support me no matter what. I am eternally grateful for that.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
- Habits. Most people have no idea how to form habits that actually stick. There are some great books out there on that topic, my top 2 would be Atomic Habits by James Clear, and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
- Identity. Who you believe yourself to be will ALWAYS be what you fall back on when you are stressed or your nervous system is in overwhelm, which for most people is all the time. You cannot change your behavior until you change what you believe about yourself and who you are choosing to be.
- Your nervous system. As I mentioned above, most people live in a permanently heightened state of “fight or flight”, which elevates their stress hormones and keeps them in survival mode. To create lasting change in any area of your life you need to be able to move from a reactive state to a responsive one, and that can only be achieved by regulating our nervous system.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Do less. Seriously, shorten the heck out of your to-do list and just tackle one major task on it every day. I have a to-do list a mile long for the week, and every Sunday I sit down and do a brain dump of everything I have on my plate, and then I go through the list and write a 1, 2 or 3 next to each one. 1’s are critical items that will move my business / life forward SIGNIFICANTLY and are non-negotiable. 2’s are things that don’t have tight deadlines, and that will move the needle. 3’s are not important. Believe it or not, all emails and most calls are 3’s. My email inbox gets cleared when I block off a half day each month to do it. Only answer emails once a day, for 30 minutes, and only answer critically important ones.
- Take a cold shower or ice bath for at least 3 minutes each day. This is one of my best life-hacks for regulating your nervous system. It takes almost no time to actually do and is an absolute game-changer. My 4 year old loves to time me in the ice bath and has become my biggest cheerleader. In winter when it’s raining and I’m standing outside in a swimsuit and I do not want to get in she just stands there yelling “you can do it mommy, go on, do it mommy!!! GET IN!” over and over until I get in.
- Take time for yourself every single day. Schedule self-care as the number one thing on your to-do list. If NOTHING ELSE gets done, did you at least work out, go for a walk, or take time to do some stretching? I don’t work before 12pm each day, my mornings are sacred and I spend 3–5 hours taking care of myself during this time. Lately I’ve also been working later in the evenings so I take 90 minutes out in the evenings to stretch, do some energy clearing and write so that if I’m working late I know I am not burning myself out. My husband’s self care is walking around the neighborhood while he is on calls and playing video games to unwind at night. Whatever works for you, do it. Even when my baby was a newborn, I would get up at 5am for her morning feed, put her back to sleep, and then meditate, journal and stretch until 7am when she would wake up, and then I’d have her near me while I did a workout and made breakfast. I’d do the same sort of thing after she went to bed at 7pm, between that and her 10pm feed. You can do it all and not burn out — you just have to realize that your to-do list is not as important as you thriving in your body and mind. You also get to renegotiate the relationship you have with time; there is always MORE than enough time for it all. We stress most about the time we think we don’t have, and it’s a lie.
- Don’t do shit you don’t like doing just because you think you should. In fact, don’t do anything because you think you “should”. And before you go using that statement as an excuse to do nothing at all, think about it this way : if there is something you know makes you feel AMAZING (like going for a run) but you don’t really want to do it, just take the pressure off yourself and realize you don’t have to, and instead choose to focus on how it will make you feel. Let that motivate you.
- I actually stopped running recently because it wasn’t making me feel good, and I switched to bodyweight HIIT workouts at home. I choose what I know will make me feel best each day, and I make decisions based on who I am choosing to be/become. I think in terms of who I desire to be, not based on who I have known myself as up until this moment.
- I keep making decisions that support my growth, but I never do anything that I don’t actually have a deep desire to do. I also never cut corners — I like doing things well, even if it costs more (time, money or energy).
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Endorphins and serotonin — I will never forget that line from the movie “legally blond” where she says “exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands, they just don’t.” The truth in it is that exercise balances the chemicals in your brain and releases all the happy hormones. People who exercise are happier and less stressed, period.
Sleep is also one of the most critical aspects of maintaining a healthy chemical balance in the brain and regulating the nervous system, and exercise improves sleep.
My favorite reason is, once again, the nervous system. If you want to have healthier relationships, make better decisions, and live a more fulfilling life, focus here. The more we exercise, the fitter we are, the lower our resting heart rate — which reduces stress and improves vagal tone. The vagus nerve is central to our entire physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, and is also the connection point between the physical body and your intuitive awareness (or soul).
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Stretching. Exercise without correctly balancing it with gentle, slow stretches will ultimately cause more problems and pain. Stretching also coincidentally helps ease nervous system tension.
Pick a form of cardio you love, whether it’s running, cycling or swimming, and do it, ease in gently and then just slowly build it up over time. Whatever you choose, know that doing sprints will be massively beneficial rather than always doing slow, steady state cardio all the time. Don’t be discouraged if it sucks at first — I had to learn to love running.
Lift weights. People think they’ll grow too much muscle this way but lifting heavy objects (even if you’re starting with light weights) can be immeasurably beneficial. The resistance creates a huge release of tension in the body and, you guessed it, strengthens the nervous system and supports better nervous system function.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think that what we are doing with our community is exactly that — building a movement centered around supporting women to see their inherent potential and giving them the tools to access and liberate that potential, build their confidence and teach them how to live beyond the confines of the mind. The movement is centered around Self care as a way of being, learning to truly put ourselves first and creating a baseline of safety in the body, and from there, living as our truest and most authentic, powerful and potent expressions.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud” — Coco Chanel.
I believe that in a world where we are taught to fit in, to listen to the collective narrative and to stay with the crowd, it takes immeasurable courage to think for yourself. I know that when I finally saw how my subconscious mind was interacting with life, I saw that the only thing it was ever focussed on was how to fit in, be liked, and stay safe. The nervous system and subscious mind live in an over-active survival state almost constantly. I had to figure out how to both acknowledge their role, and also make choices for myself that went against the inner anxiety that perpetuated my waking experience. That has been the single greatest factor in any of my success.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Richard Branson would be the top of my life. I’ve always admired his mind and genuine joy in how he lives his life and does business. I feel like we think in similar ways and share many of the same values!
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Instagram is always easiest for online. Our company Instagram handle is @mayaapothecary and my personal handle is @alyeriafaith
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!