Inside Her Regimen with Natalie Soderstrom
" There's always going to be things like that - for example, a new job or something, that gives you excitement but also fear because of a new challenge, but it's a healthy kind of fear. I wouldn't like to be stagnant and not grow, and sometimes it means I might need to be a little scared."
Born and raised in a small town in Sweden, Natalie Soderstrom never thought she would end up settling in the busy city of Hong Kong - for 7 years now! Since the age of 17, Natalie took advantage of her modelling career as a means of travelling the world and gaining new perspectives with everywhere she went. What she valued most was being able to fully integrate herself in each city she was in; rather than just spending a few days, her work allowed her to stay for a few months at a time to truly learn and appreciate the culture and uniqueness of each city. From parts of Europe to Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia, and several other places in Asia, she finally settled in Hong Kong. In this perfect mix of city and nature, she continues to spread her message of wellness through her passion for yoga and health.
What does being your #WholeSelf mean to you?
It's about being you and accepting yourself for everything that you are! Whether it's your flaws or sides of you that you don't particularly like, they're you. Like yin and yang, we all have parts that balance each other out. They all make you, you.
Tell us your story. How did you get into what you're doing? Well I really like that wellness is really "trendy" right now, but it wasn't always like this, especially when I first started modelling. It was all about being skinny and unhealthy ways of living. I experienced this as well and it was sometime in Hong Kong that I hit rock bottom. I wasn't feeling well, didn't look good, and was always tired. It was then that something in me told me I needed to change. I had a friend that did her health coach training, and it was all about your wellness as a holistic person; this meant including areas of your life like career, relationships etc. I thought it was interesting so I got into the program as well, then got into yoga and mindfulness, which has helped me a lot. I love now that in the modelling industry, it's more about looking well, feeling good, and overall a more holistic approach.
When did you know you had a message you wanted to share? After I finished my health coach training, I realized from looking at other people that they were making choices that weren't the most beneficial, and it wasn't their fault! A lot of the times they may not have the knowledge to know to choose differently, or financial or convenience reasons. I wanted to share my knowledge with others to help them feel better and become a better person. It makes me day!
How do you set goals for yourself, and what do you do to get there? I think I set pretty high goals for myself. If you have your end goal and know where you're going, then it's just about dividing up the journey there. If you set your bar really high, and not give yourself benchmarks, it's easy to lose motivation or get distracted. Having a good support system also helps me - having friends that go "yeah you can do it!".
How does your day get started? I usually try to wake up at sunrise, and drink a cup of hot water with lemon (and try not to look at my phone!). I take a cold shower just to wake myself up and get myself going. Then I'll be getting a cup of coffee, some breakfast, then meditate for 12 minutes in the morning. It's hard to slow down in this busy city, so meditation is important to me to set my day up, calm me down, center me, and retain my focus throughout the day. Then I'll go to work, meetings, or whatever I have that day.
How do you incorporate wellness throughout the rest of your day? I try to be mindful in everything I do. Things like drinking lots of water throughout the day, and my non-negotiable - one hour of activity whether it's yoga, HIIT, spinning, or anything that will get my blood going in my system. I make sure to set a time and pick a place for lunch so that when the time comes I am not starving or just picking something convenient (that might not necessarily be healthy).
How do you make time for balance and self care? You just have to make time for it! I know how I will feel if I don't get my meditation for the day in, as it will throw me off and make me feel imbalanced, so I make sure I set time aside for it. I also use crystals and essential oils to meditate. I think looking after yourself is not about doing it once a month, it's something that you have to do every day for yourself. And it could be anything, as long as its something that YOU want to do. It could be listening to your favourite podcasts, doing yoga, or getting your favourite dessert!
What are you most afraid of, and what are you most excited about? The answer to both is the future. The future is scary but it still excites me. There's always going to be things like that - for example a new job or something, that gives you excitement but also fear because of a new challenge, but it's a healthy kind of fear. I wouldn't like to be stagnant and not grow, and sometimes it means I might need to be a little scared. Like what's the worst thing that can happen? It probably can't be that bad!
What keeps you inspired?
My yoga teachers. Sometimes they say something that really resonates with me, and makes me think. That's one of my goals as well, to help others feel inspired and leave with good thoughts.
We all have stress, so we're curious - what do you do to manage it, and how has your outlook on stress changed? Meditation definitely helps. Even if it's just 5 minutes or 12 minutes, as long as it's consistent. Particularly since Hong Kong is such an intense city, and I'm always crowded in a small space, meditation becomes important to me. Even just snippets of mindfulness throughout the day; if I'm walking down a street and suddenly someone bumps into me, I take a breath and not let myself get too frustrated. I believe if I go somewhere with a peaceful mind, then it will spread to others.
Of the following 7 pillars- (nutrition, sleep, cognition, mood, cycle, fitness, and beauty) - which are the highest priority for you, and why? Sleep, nutrition, and fitness. These are important, although all those pillars are important as a whole. These are the basics.
How do you and your inner network support each other in living your best life?I do have a supportive system. I think I have a great support system where my family lives in Sweden, but we still keep in contact often. I love my friends and Instagram community for always reaching out and sharing energy, and I love being inspired by each other and spreading good energy!
What are your favourite skincare tricks & products? I try to keep my skincare as natural as possible, since it is our largest organ and soaks up everything. I use natural deodorant, soap, and essential oils as perfume. I like using my jade roller as well, and face masks 2-3 times a week. I actually hate makeup! I don't wear makeup unless I have to.
Do you have any advice for our audience on how to stay positive, and maintain a good outlook? Surround yourself with people that are like-minded and positive as well! Some people may feel draining, and so I'm not saying cut them out of your life, but spending more time with people that bring you up and make you achieve your goals - people that challenge you or hold you accountable for things!
A particular time to be aware of how you feel and be more positive is when you go through your cycle and feel your hormones dropping - sometimes you might close yourselves in or become sad, and it's in these moments that you need to stay positive! Drink water, get enough nutrients, move even if you don't always feel like it, or even just watch a comedy or something! It's all about getting to know your body better and quieting the outside noise.
What advice do you have for someone who's ready to start sharing their message?
Just go for it! If you know something that you think others can also benefit from, share it! Whether it's through social media, a group of friends, or with people in the same situation. By sharing everything, you create a planet of people that feel great.
At the end of the day, how do you complete your regimen? I definitely like to keep some time for myself. Of course, I would end my day with another 12 minutes of meditation and diffuse essential oils. If I'm watching TV or on my phone, I'll make sure to turn them off. I try my best to get off social media, since I rather read a book or talk to my partner. I know I can wake up feeling good if I have this good night time routine!
Big thank you to the sweet Natalie Soderstrom for speaking with us! You can find her on Instagram @natalie.soderstrom.
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Read more from our Inside Her Regimen series and learn about how Alexandra Dawson, a frequent traveler and avid walker, incorporates wellness into her daily life . Click here to read her story.