Annie is a yoga teacher and founder of Mind Body Bowl — a space designed to connect readers to their own sense of balance. Annie is also one of our expert judges at the 2017 Health Blog Awards.

We caught up with Annie ahead of the Health Blog Awards to find out more about her passion for wellbeing, yoga and practising gratitude.

What does ‘wellness’ mean to you?

I think it’s about being connected. So listening to my body and recognising what’s going on for me on a holistic level (mind and body) and intuitively doing more of what feels good and less of what doesn’t!

How did you first get into blogging and vlogging?

It was always just a creative outlet for me. I’ve always been quite creative but after leaving school it wasn’t se easy to get out the paintbrushes, so it was just a way of expressing myself. Then as the community began to build, it started to become a way to connect with other people and to feel inspired by them!

How important is authenticity in blogging and social media, and how do you make sure you are authentic?

I think it is the most important thing — I wouldn’t do it if I couldn’t be authentic. It isn’t about getting loads of followers, free stuff or invitations. For me this all started from a wellbeing perspective and that was about connecting to myself. If I am authentic in what I share, then I have nothing to hide. I think there is a responsibility when you find yourself in a position of ‘influence’ to be real.

At what point did you decide to take your love for yoga a step further and become a yoga teacher?

I left my job and had some savings to buy myself some time while I tried to explore what was out there. I was loving my yoga practice and had thought about it a bit but I realised that I might not ever get the opportunity to take the time off for a long time, so I spent the last of my savings on my course and flights to India and the rest is history!

You have lots of things going on (classes, retreats, blogging, a book…) – how do you manage your time so you don’t get overwhelmed?

When you are balancing lots of things, I find the first thing to go is looking after yourself — and that’s not really ‘balance’ for me at all! So I try to carve out the time to move my body, meditate and have fun. The busier I am, the more non-negotiable that becomes, so I try to be really strict with it. Ultimately, when I look after myself, the positive effect ripples out into my work and personal life too so it’s the best investment to make!

How do you make sure you give yourself time to relax and unwind when you need it?

I try to switch off at the weekends and as much as possible in the evenings too. During the day, I have started stepping back from my email inbox as much as possible and tackling it in shorter, more efficient bursts instead. That way I am more productive and have more time to  unwind. And if I am working at the weekend, then I try to give myself a bit of extra time in the week to relax. Luckily lots of my friends are yoga teachers or work freelance, so I can usually find someone to hang out with, otherwise I book myself a class or find somewhere to sit and read my book!

What has been your biggest lesson from your own wellness journey so far?

Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, listen to yourself and be guided by your own intuition.

How do you practise gratitude in everyday life?

I used to keep a gratitude diary — that was really helpful for developing a daily practice of gratitude. Now it comes more naturally and I don’t have to think about it so consciously. But if I notice that I haven’t been acknowledging the practice then I go back to writing it down!

What is your go-to healthy meal?

Kale salad – sounds boring but it’s still so simple and delicious!

Do you have a favourite quote or mantra you live by?

“Everything happens for a reason.”

Annie is also one of our expert judges at the 2017 Health Blog Awards – get your tickets for the ceremony below.