In honour of Women’s History Month, we had the opportunity to sit down with some of our favourite female creators and ask them some of our burning questions! If you missed part 1 in this mini-series with The Birds Papaya, make sure to check that out here. Today, we are so excited to welcome Sasha Exeter to the blog to chat all about health and wellness. After struggling with two chronic illnesses, she shares how she stays motivated and focuses on her health and wellness.
How did you become passionate about mindfulness, manifestation, exercise, and overall well-being?
I’ve actually been an athlete my entire life. I picked up a tennis racquet at the age of 5 and never looked back. I played a couple of other sports at a competitive level as well until ultimately at the age of 12, I had to choose one sport to focus on and tennis was it. I think I was subconsciously encouraged in this direction by my parents, who are both avid tennis players.
When I was younger, I didn’t quite understand the impact sport at a competitive and elite level would have on other parts of my life. But by the time I reached high school, I had a superior knowledge and understanding of mindfulness, manifestation, the importance, and the power of visualization. Coupled with the education I received on healthy eating habits, my passion for wellness just became a natural by-product of what I was doing.
What advice would you give someone who is struggling with motivation to move their body?
Start with small, realistic goals. Honestly, I know it sounds basic but that’s the only hack that I can say works for me when I am struggling with motivation to do anything…not just move my body. Most of it is mental. Our bodies actually like to move and need it to function properly. It’s our brains that can lead us astray most times.
When I don’t feel like going to the gym, I just tell myself, “Put on your shoes and go. If you don’t feel like working out after your warm-up, then head home!” In this situation, I told myself to start small by just showing up and you know what, never in my lifetime have I ever turned around and went home. I’ve also never regretted a workout. I have ALWAYS felt amazing after and thanked myself for not giving in to what my mind wanted me to do.
Goals that are achievable avoids that feeling of disappointment or letdown, which can really put a wrench in your plan. So for instance, instead of saying “I am going to lift weights 5 times a week” after zero activity or movement for years, maybe best to start off with committing to strength training 2-3 times a week and supplement that with a bit of active recovery and tons of walking, so your body gets used to being in a routine. Then slowly work your way up to more strength training days per week after a month of consistency.
Who is one woman in your life you look up to and why?
This one is a no-brainer. Without a shadow of a doubt my Mum. My work ethic, how I parent and juggle being a mommy with my career 100% comes from her. I idolized her growing up. I’ve never actually asked her if she ever had mom guilt for not always being around because of her job. She wasn’t the mom who baked cookies for the bake sale or volunteered to help out on class trips. But on my PA days, I got to go to her work (she was a magazine editor) and hang out in her cool corner office, which I remember had a TV in it. I got to watch kid’s shows and movies before they premiered or were released while she was on calls. I got to sit in on meetings and I thought she was just so badass. I was never bummed about her missing out on some things because I know she was working hard to provide us with a life she didn’t have growing up. Because of her hard work, we got to travel all over the world, attend the coolest events and I was exposed to so many things. And when she wasn’t working, she gave us 110% of her. She had a very full career but don’t get me wrong, I do have tons of amazing memories spent with her during our childhood.
I feel like I’m a lot that way with my work and Maxwell!
What is one obstacle you’ve overcome in your career?
Hmmm, that’s a great question and truthfully there’s been many obstacles but I’m only better for it. But what I think has been the two most challenging are:
1. Being a Black woman working in predominantly white spaces. Looking back, that has pretty much been the situation since elementary school and growing up playing tennis. While in my corporate job, I was more times than not, the only Black female (or Black person) at the table and on teams. The social media landscape in which I work now is also designed for White creators not women of colour, so it’s always been a constant struggle to be seen, be heard and be respected. It’s been exhausting, let me tell you.
2. Living with two chronic illnesses has made life both work and personal, significantly tougher. It is NOT easy to wake up on most mornings being in immense pain but having to be on set and get in front of the camera when I want to crawl back into bed. The level of acting that goes into suppressing how I’m physically feeling takes a toll as well, because more often than not, I feel like shit and don’t want to bring other people down around me with a bad attitude.
These obstacles have been extremely challenging over the years but I continue to push through. I just work twice as hard as my counterparts in order to get the opportunities I know I deserve and I do my damn best to take care of my mind and body in hopes to have more good days than bad days when it comes to my illnesses.
What is one piece of advice you could give to young girls and women looking to make an impact?
My advice to all women who want to give back and make an impact is to remember to fill your own cup first. You will be able to do big things and be the catalyst for great change when you’re in a good place and are feeling fulfilled.
Stay tuned for the final Women’s History Month Q&A coming up next week!