Balance - the Authentic Tea podcast with Lwin

Lwin shares how her values have shaped her career in lifestyle medicine and life coaching.


We discuss creating healthy habits, including how we can better understand our thought processes related to food, conscious eating practices and tips for quality sleep.


Lwin shares how she has found her own work-life balance and identified people around her to support her choices.


For episode 15 of the Authentic Tea podcast I chat with Lwin:


Rach (00:00):

Today, I'm excited to be joined by Lwin. Lwin is the founder of Lenita Life Coaching Lwin is combining her passion for personal development and lifestyle medicine by providing coaching to help others thrive with a thought based and value-based approach. Lwin offers individual and group-based sessions to guide personal and professional performance. Welcome. Thank you. Great to have you here today.


Lwin (00:27):

Oh yes. It's great to be here too. Thanks


Rach (00:31):

To start with today. Could you share a bit about your own journey and how you discovered coaching and when you started to realize the potential benefits of coaching, both for personal and professional well-being,


Lwin (00:46):

I was looking into lifestyle medicine as a portfolio career GP path. And when I look into lifestyle medicine I found out that, you know, I need a skill called motivational interviewing and it is a main part of like a coaching skill. And as a medic, we never have any sort of like a training or course around this motivational interviewing or coaching. So I was looking on Google and what is coaching about because I've never had a coach, I don't know anything about coaching. So I got into that, like a coaching day like a free event, so to learn more about coaching and that day was quite inspiring. So the speaker who was a well-established coach the way that they asked you a question and the way that they should use them, and an example of coaching is very empowering, you know it can make a lot of change to other people life.


Lwin (01:43):

So that's how I'm interested in coaching and then one day lead to another. So I signed up for that diploma and start studying for coaching. Yes. I mean, there are so many benefits that you can get out of coaching. It can be for both your personal development or career growth, both of them. So what the coach can do will, be like to help you facilitate in someone from where they are to where they want to be. So basically like they try to you know talk you through the journey and by helping you to understand yourself a bit more and what do you actually want in your life? So that is a very, you know empowering things to have a coach going through to you about all this process.


Rach (02:37):

And do you think that when you started this process and you decided to actually then share that with other people and now you support people to achieve their own goals, did you have people in your own life who supported you in your career change and combining the coaching with your work in clinical medicine? Were there people you could identify who are like mentors or champions and would you advise other people to find people that they can be on their own team?


Lwin (03:07):

Yes. I mean, that's a really good question because I just had a mentor before I decided to get into lifestyle medicine and my mentor is provided by the NHS mentorship program. So it is freely available and I applied for that. And of course, I choose a mentor who has a similar career path as me that I want to do. So my mentor is also a coach, lifestyle medicine doctor and GP partner. So it fits really well with what I wanted to do and we get along very well. And that's another reason why I think I was quite motivated to go farther for what I want to do because the thing that I wanted to do is a little bit different from conventional medicine. And you don't know what the career part will be, but seeing someone who's already done that in the field and who is doing well, really give you some motivation.


Lwin (04:02):

Yes. So I would say that for anyone who is looking to develop their career or try to think of a different career, the best thing won't be, find out who is out there, you know, who is in the field, who is doing well and then try to contact them and then ask for some advice or guidance or some sort of tips. And if they don't apply, don't take it personally, probably you can move on to another person and then you will gradually find someone who will be happy to give you some sort of advice and guidance.


Rach (04:39):

Great advice. And that's why it's so wonderful to have you on the podcast because by sharing your story with other people, hopefully, it will inspire people to identify and to think about how they can identify those people who will support them in their life. Was the finishing off your diploma and actually getting trained in something and achieving that certification, did that change your approach, both to how you coach your clients, but also, has it changed your approach to how you work with your patients in clinical medicine?


Lwin (05:11):

Yes, definitely. I mean, you know, I did something called Personal Performance coaching diploma and yes, part of the training part of the diploma training is like I have to coach so many people and some of them are medics. Some of them are not medics and I got loads of experience from that. And it, it is useful because when I work as a doctor in my general practice and what I do is a consultation approach and consultation approaches generally me being the expert and I'm just giving the advice to my patients. So I am the provider of the service, and of course we chat about it back and forth, and that we make the shared decision at the end. But with the coaching approach is totally different because of the clients or the people who are in front of me, they are the main focus of the conversation.


Lwin (06:10):

So usually I'll be asking more open question to try to raise their awareness and that can help them to think about the new idea. And also they will come up with their own problem-solving ideas. So they are not dependent on me. They usually work out their own way. And I think that's why coaching makes people more empowering because you give them more power to think about what they need to do and how to do things. So, yeah, definitely that really helped me also in terms of wellbeing, because most of the wellbeing things is kind of like a habit and behaviour change and you have to do all of these change by yourself. So this is why the coaching is really useful.


Rach (06:58):

And there's such an overlap isn't there between that understanding that behaviour change in clinical medicine when we're talking to people about adopting healthy habits, and then also how you change behaviours to reach for your goals and to identify your visions and your values. How do you think that your understanding of your own values have helped you to move forward? So you like to have your values approach to your own coaching and how has that shaped your path in life and your business?


Lwin (07:35):

Yeah, so the value is a big part of the coaching. So when you coach someone we try to ask a question like, what is the most important things in your life? So it can be either the personal life or professional life. So the value basically defines who we are as a person. So knowing your value is the first step of like knowing what makes you happy. And that is a big part of, of course, well-being personal fulfillment work-life balance. So yes, for me personally, during my journey of coaching, of course, these questions, nobody asked me before, when I was in medical training, none of the supervisors asked me what my value is. So this was a new thing, an idea that I came across. So yes, by reflecting my own value I learned that I love freedom, creativity and positivity.


Lwin (08:38):

So by understanding what makes me happy and what my value is, like kind of try to give myself time to do these things. So for example I always, you know, allocate my time to do things like I enjoy doing, like pursuing my hobbies and things like that. So because I know what I value in life. So by doing that more and more and giving myself time to do that, I become more happy. And when you become more happy, you have a lot of new ideas coming to you and then, you know that will help you to move forward. And, you know, further forward quite easily.


Rach (09:18):

They are beautiful values. I really like that, the three of them they're really nice. And you talk about creativity as part of that. And so you, you've shared recently about how your passions and your hobbies of making wire sculpture and photography, really creative things. And do you think that by acknowledging what your values were that actually that creative side has grown in you, that you've been able to expand that and you feel more comfortable now doing those hobbies and sharing them with the world?


Lwin (09:49):

Yes, definitely. Because, you know, there will be a point in my life that I was like a full-time doctor. So my job is quite stressful. So I'll be working like a, you know, long hour shift every single day. And then at the end of the day, you kind of feel very tired and you don't even want to think about anything. So this kind of year that I remember, I didn't even think about my hobbies. So I kind of really neglect or forget about my hobby. So I thinking back again, what I really enjoy doing in life, what my value is, and I value the freedom, which will be the freedom to do things that I like to do. So I try to make myself time these days and try to make sure that these times are for things that I want to do. Yes, by doing these all these art-related stuff can definitely bring your creativity. And yes, it's definitely, it's the reason why I think, you know, the value really helped me get into more creative mindset


Rach (10:51):

And that creativity so much of the time gives us that balance doesn't it? Between a work environment, which for many of us can be so driven by part of our brain, which is very functioning and in the written word, and then the visual, also, and then communication, but then having that creativity may be using your hands or doing something completely different. It's like the opposite side. And I think that if we could offer to anyone is to find those little things. Isn't it find those things that spark your creativity and your passion and, and start adopting those, like you say, finding the time to switch those habits and allocating the time, which I think is a great way of bringing some more of these things into our life. So are there tips that you could share with people who want to maybe replace some of their unhealthy habits with more healthy habits or, or things that they wish they had more time for?


Lwin (11:49):

Yes. I mean, the habit is a very important thing to understand when you think about like a lifestyle change or want to have you know, want to improve your wellbeing. So yeah, I mean, I do have a blog about the habits cycle because I'm quite interested in these like a behavioural change and the model of that. So in order to get into a habit, which is like, we do things again and again at the level that we are doing that subconsciously and without even thinking it. So in order to have some habit, you need to have a trigger, something that prompts us to do some action. And when you add on something, then you get some rewards. So for example, like you know, I will give an example about the food. So if we get hungry of course we need to eat, the brain tells us to eat because we need energy.


Lwin (12:45):

We need to survive. And we do action, like eating some food, but we end up having the reward of having happiness satisfaction in addition to feeling full. So that happiness and satisfaction is the emotion that our brain remembers and keep that in the memory. So that is something called like an emotional trigger. So yes one the time comes that when you are feeling sad or unhappy, or even if you are just bored, your brain is going to, remember that emotional trigger and tell you to eat something like, some food. So understanding that pattern will definitely help you you know, to get away from the unhealthy habit. So for example, if you feel like bored or, unhappy, your brain might probably tell you to do something like eat something. So it's just an action that your brain, remember it not necessarily mean that you are hungry, so it's not essential to do these things. So you can be mindful about what your brain gives you the signal and what do you actually need to do. So if you don't actually hungry or don't need to eat something, you can just like yourself, or you can get away from the boredom by doing something else, like you know, going out or walk in the park or something. So yes, understanding why, you know your thought process came up as a habit cycle is very important,


Rach (14:24):

Really talks to like the consciousness of making conscious decisions. Doesn't it, and kind of overriding our subconscious, which we often find just kicks. You talked there about food and the value of, you know, good nutrition and how so many of us have habits with food that are just very automatic, like mood-related. So when you are doing your wellbeing coaching, and you include nutritional aspects of it, do you also draw on some of your own conscious eating habits?


Lwin (14:58):

Yes. I mean, definitely, because each client that I talk to, they have a different habit the way that they are eating habit is different from one client to another. So it's very individualized and it all depends on how you grew up with the foods and how your relationship with the food at the same time, like your culture, you know, the culture around food is also quite different for each and every person. So, yes. So that's something that I did try to explore every time that I speak to the clients. So what makes us eat what we eat. So that's, that's an important thing to know first before you start talking about changing unhealthy eating habits. So yes, and conscious eating the term is really interesting, isn't it? I used to say to my clients, like, think about mindful eating, you know, mindful eating is like, think about what you eat when you eat and how you eat it, you know? So these kinds of steps involved. And when you decided to eat something, for example, if your brains told you that I, you know I want to eat like chocolate because I'm sad or I'm bored. You can probably decide which type of like food or what type of chocolate you eat. You can either go for dark chocolate, which we all think that is the healthiest choice rather than going for the milk chocolate ice cream. So you can be still in control of what you make the choice at the end.


Rach (16:31):

So many of our choices link in to how we can have good mental and physical wellbeing. And we have that ability to take control over many aspects of our own health. Your work with lifestyle medicine obviously focuses on that element of prevention. Was there a moment in your clinical practice where you realized that this was important and this was interesting to you and what made you decide to start learning more about lifestyle medicine?


Lwin (16:59):

Yes. I mean on the personal level because I quite liked to have the work-life balance for myself. So yes, I mean, just like any other medic that we go to the training we've been in the full-time job, and sometimes we know that it can be quite stressful and yes, work-life balance is quite important these days for any doctors who are in the training or working full time. That's how I ended up interesting more about lifestyle and wellbeing, but I didn't think about taking it into the next level or learning about it. So it's more to do with also the professional level and as a GP, I've seen patient day by day, but as we only have like a ten-minute appointment and sometimes I feel like I can do a lot more by talking about lifestyle changes and not just by giving the tablet, but I mean, you know mainly because we also have a lack of training about nutrition side and we don't have a lot of training as a GP to keep up about how to eat or what food is out there or what diet is out there.


Lwin (18:06):

And another thing is the lack of time. So as a GP, we're struggling to do these things sometimes because of these things like for these reasons. So yes, that's another reason why I feel like I want to know more, first of all, I want to know more. And second of all, you know, I can also find some times and even start building things that I want to do by myself and talking about it more longer and help people who need to have a lifestyle change,


Rach (18:35):

Which is an amazing passion to have. And it's great that you identified someone who also had followed that route in combining GP and lifestyle medicine. And I know that one of the things you've recently done is create a peer networking group. So maybe you could give a bit of reflection for the listeners on how this has helped your own business development and how you value about connecting with your peers. So like-minded colleagues and people who are also going through a similar journey as well as obviously having a mentor who's already there and kind of ahead, but what does that kind of peer networking give you?


Lwin (19:14):

So the idea of peer networking is coming from the fact that I want to delve a lot, like a more particular niche in my lifestyle medicine. So lifestyle medicine is a kind of like a broad area. Obviously, you can focus on nutrition, you can focus on sleep or things like that. But I also had a diploma in sexual and reproductive health. So I am more interested in like woman health or these like a hormonal imbalance. So I want to learn more about that, but sometimes learning on your own can be quite boring. So if you can network with like, like-minded people, like when we chat about all these evidence-based medicine out there and different people who connect with me from that post are, they are also at the different stage of their career in lifestyle medicine. Some people just stop thinking about it, just finish the diploma. Some people are already a little bit farther ahead, just like you doing a podcast and stuff like that. So there are so many people at a different stage of the career and it's nice to have a network like that. So people can inspire from each other, learn from each other at the same time, motivate each other. You know, so that's the whole point of, I think what I like about networking is


Rach (20:33):

The great thing about the situation that we find ourselves in. It's actually the power of the internet and the power of social media because it does allow us to connect to people who we wouldn't be able to connect to. So for you and I, for instance, having this conversation today, it's the power of those tools that it can be really helpful in identifying peers and sharing and learning, and just that human connection, the value of connection. At the moment, we also find ourselves in the middle of the pandemic, which is very stressful for many people and very challenging, particularly for people who are working in the front line and are finding themselves in environments that are very different to a normal working environment, which may also be stressful. So a lot of things I find that people are asking about is self-care and how we can look after ourselves as well as looking after other people. Because if we don't invest in ourselves and give ourselves energy, it's really difficult to keep giving. Are there any things that you could share around self-care and you mentioned there around sleep, and I find that sleep is such a crucial component of self-care. So do you have any easy tips for people to identify time for their self-care and maybe some tips around their sleep and how could they could improve their sleep quality?


Lwin (21:58):

Yes. I mean, I totally agree that our sleep is a major part of self-care and having a good quality sleep is an essential part of that wellbeing. So, yes, when we think about a good quality sleep, we need to think about the light that we are exposed to, the noise, the environment that we are in at the same time, also the food and drink that we have. So, yes, the easy tip from me will be number one is like using a bed for sleep and sex only, not do any other things. And number two, and it's important to keep your hands and feet quite warm and let your body temperature to cool it down. So that's physiologically, you know, will naturally help you to sleep better. And three, you have to avoid blue light because that's the main problem these days, we have too many screens on and all these blue light coming from the laptop TVs and mobile phones. Uh they can upset your melatonin level, which is the normal body clock pattern. And that can definitely impact on your quality of the sleep. So I avoid blue lights a few hours before you sleep. And number four will be to avoid alcohol within three hours of your bedtime. And number five, we need to do active relaxation. I think these days, just like you mentioned, you know, we are in the, you know, our second wave of pandemic and all the frontline worker has been taken with so many stressful situations. So also we have so much constant information on social media news around us. It is very hard to switch off sometimes. So we have to do active relaxation, which is normally, you know, you can either have like a sleep meditation or some mindfulness apps that you tried to do before you go to bed. So these few tips can definitely help you to get a better sleep,


Rach (24:12):

Some great tips there, and also very simple things that people can add in to their life, even if they're very short on time, which is, I think what people are looking for. It's very difficult to start new things when we are short on time, but actually, just small things that we can add into a normal sleep routine and a bed routine. So thank you for sharing those, they are great. With your own practices are there practices that you use, which are related to mindfulness and you mentioned meditation. So is that something that you do as well?


Lwin (24:46):

Yes. hi to yoga. I like yoga and I think that yoga is one of the things that helped me to relax and even a bit of like mindfulness, to be honest. So when I'm doing yoga, it helped me distract from all the thoughts and focusing on how I move my body, how I keep my balance. So that is kind of like a mindfulness. You are mindful about your body movement. In terms of meditation I have to admit, I, I, I can't really do like a long episode of like meditation. So I can't really comment on that a few, like a short brief of meditation and a short mindfulness session, and they are really helpful. So what I can say is you know of course everybody, these days can be quite busy and it's very difficult to switch off or try to get away from these distractions in your life. Even a simple things like breathing like a mindful breathing technique can make a lot of impact in your life. So things like just sitting upright whenever you are in a position, either in your office or in the carpark before you go into your clinic room, you can start thinking about breathing in and out slowly and doing that for a couple of minutes, just like mindfulness breathing technique can help you more calm, relax, and help you with your resilience also.


Rach (26:17):

Thank you for sharing that. I think that it's wonderful to hear that you love yoga. I always love meeting people who love yoga like I do, but I, I agree with you it's a mindful practice. And actually, we can find that mindful practice in so many different ways. And for some people that can be immersing themselves in an activity. And so it doesn't always have to be strict meditation to find that moment where you're just focused. It might be being in the garden, or even for some people, it can be walking or running, but finding something where, like you say, you can leave some of the other distractions and you can just be present and be in that moment. A lot of what you've talked about there is about mindset. Isn't it, and kind of taking a little bit of control over our own mindset. You obviously balanced two parts of your life, which one of them at the moment will be very busy because of the clinical work you're doing. How do you find that you're able to maintain a positive mindset for you? And is the balance of your working life, part of that for you?


Lwin (27:24):

Yes, of course. I mean, just like I mentioned before, I do work as a full-time GP once, but these days I'm working more like a part-time GP. And also I can work in out of hour shift, which is as a locum. So this can be quite stressful sometimes when you have a long shift, long day, things like that. So yes, having, you know, having a positive mindset really helps. And for me, how do I, you know, consciously think about my mindset and keep it positive? Yes, that's something that I always have to remind myself because sometimes, you know you can get trapped into the pattern, like feeling tired and kind of like a, quite upset about small things. So yeah, having a positive mindset is very important. There's a saying that you know, all, do not believe everything you think or feel so sometimes our brain thinks and feel, but they are not actually the real feeling. Uh so how we respond to stress. Yeah. It's just like a stress response feeling is something that we have to remain mindful about what makes us feel the way that they feel and how we respond to that particular situation or events. I normally do like these kinds of like a simple breathing technique, which is the easy tips to do that for the daily purpose. Also no matter how busy I am, I, I keep finding times just to do a few sketches, you know, because I like drawing. I like art. Even I once keep an art journal. So, you know, some people might like writing. So if you are kind of like a person who like writing things down, keeping a daily journal at the end of your day or early in the morning, and having some gratitude of what you're grateful for the day can really help you to reflect on your day and how you can prepare for the next day. So yes, simple things, but you don't need to give a lot of time to do these things, just like five, 10 minutes, but that can definitely help you to keep a positive mindset.


Rach (29:41):

Thanks for sharing those. It's. I think it's often very refreshing for everyone to realize that we're always learning. We're always working on different ways to try and find that balance in our own lives. And none of us are perfect. None of us have all the answers. And I think it's, it's part of our journey. Isn't it to kind of keep going forward, keep moving forward, keep finding things, learning more about ourselves being more self-aware that's a beautiful thing. I really love the idea of the art journal and sketching, particularly for people who don't write. So, you know, often we talk about journaling, but actually sketching is to get that creativity, but also the mindfulness and the time for yourself. Where can people find out more about you and all the things you're offering with your coaching?


Lwin (30:34):

Right. So I had a website for my coaching business, which I set up not long ago. So the website is Lenitalimitedcoaching.com. So I also use a couple of social media I'm active on Facebook and Instagram. But yes I like using social media because it's nice for getting connection and things like that. At the same time, I also control my use of social media because of all the things about screen time. But it is nice to you know, connect with many people. So if anyone who's been listening to this podcast has any questions, feel free to contact me.


Rach (31:16):

Thank you. And we'll make sure to put all your links underneath the podcast episode, so people can take a look and see what you're doing. And I highly recommend that they do that. Have a read of your blog, look at your Facebook page, cause there's lots going on. And it's all really exciting. It's been wonderful chatting to you. And we could talk lots more about everything, but just one last question, the podcast is called authentic tea, and the idea is really that we can come as our authentic self and tell our story. So there is a final question. Where, and with, who would you choose to have your most authentic cup of tea?


Lwin (31:53):

Oh, that will be nice to think about these days...isn't? When we can be going out anywhere, but I love to have a cup of tea. Yeah, I really like, you know, the local family-owned cafe in a small village in England, sometimes like a peak district area. They do have like a small little cafe, so I will not have you know some cup of tea with my mother


Rach (32:22):

And it's a beautiful vision to share. So thank you for that. And thank you for joining us on the podcast today. It's been great to chat to you.


Lwin (32:32):

Thank you. Thanks for inviting me to.


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