Ericka has created an online community called Where’s My Mojo At sharing tips with her mojo makers on mindfulness, mindset, skincare, nutrition and happiness.
Ericka is sharing her experience of being a General Practitioner and her expertise in gut health, skin health and mental wellbeing to support others to develop healthy approaches to self-care.
Episode 29 features a chat with Ericka. Join us to hear more about how Ericka discovered mindfulness, meditation, affirmations and visualisations to create balance and positivity in her life. It was fantastic to reconnect with Ericka and hear how she has created her path through her career and stays healthy and energetic.
It's wonderful to be joined by Ericka for this episode, Ericka has created an online community called Where's My Mojo At, and she's sharing tips with her mojo makers on mindfulness mindset, skincare, nutrition, and happiness. Ericka is sharing her experience of being a general practitioner and her expertise in gut health, skin health, and mental wellbeing to support others to develop healthy approaches to self-care. Ericka also runs a business, sharing the Auburn skincare brand and product. Thanks, Ericka for being with us today.
Thank you for having me. It's lovely. It's nice to hear your voice again after so many years.
Yeah. It's wonderful to reconnect with you. Ericka and I were at university together and trained together a long time ago. It feels like a really long time ago. Maybe you can give us a glimpse of where you've taken your life and career to now. And when you started to explore the relationship between gut health, skin health, and the importance of nutrition, where did that come from through your medical career?
I'll try and keep it short because it's a long story. Rachel and I met med school many years ago and after doing my general medical training, I decided to go into general practice. I completed my general practice training in 2006, so quite a time ago. Since then, I've had three children and was working almost full time as a GP. I was also very busy doing lots of things for schools. I was chairing school PTA and being a school governor and doing all these things. And to be honest, I didn't have much time left for my kids and I was really quite close to burnout. That was probably about five years ago.
I started feeling a bit stuck in my life, enjoying lots of elements of being able to serve, but not the bits where I was missing out on time with my children, feeling emotionally drained, and not having enough to give anyone back. So I spent a bit of time thinking what else can I do? How are my skills transferable? There's gotta be something else out there. To live really a more balanced life is what I wanted. I just wanted more time with my children and to still be able to have a career.
So I ended up looking at lots of different things and heard about a brand called Auburn through another doctor. And once I heard about what the brand was and the whole ethos behind the brand, and how it was something that I could build up along with everything I did and not have to retrain, I just thought, "Oh my goodness! This could be it. This could be the thing that creates more balance in my life."
So I decided to partner with the brand three and a half years ago now. I was pregnant with my third child at that time. What it's enabled me to do now is I'm working less than half the hours in general practice as I was before. Now I only work two days. I am, therefore, much more present for my children. The days I do work are shorter and I get to also then build a business. I don't do it in the evenings when the children are asleep. My life is much more balanced now, but what that has introduced me to is all these other things. It's introduced me to mindfulness, it's introduced me to gut health, and looking more at skincare, healthy aging, and all these things that I've become really passionate about. So through starting a business to create balance in my life, I've learned about nutrition and skincare properly.
How did that happen? If we take the mindfulness, for example, how did that happen at the same time as you starting to develop that business? Is it something that the business introduced you to, or was it it that you were doing something different so you had faith to explore something new?
Yes. It's competitively introduced through the business. Initially, I started it because I wanted the ability to earn a separate stream so that I could cut back my GP hours. But then after being in the business for a little while, I realized that everybody who was very successful in the business was doing all these things like meditating and practicing visualization and affirmations, and doing a lot of personal development so reading all the books and investing in courses and things.
So I thought, "If all these successful people, people that are where I want to be are doing that stuff, then I need to give it a go as well." And lots of people were talking about the law of attraction and the book called The Secret, which probably some of your listeners will have heard of. So I thought, "Okay, I'm just going to watch The Secret documentary on Netflix." And it literally was like, "Oh wow. I can get behind this.
It made sense to my logical scientific brain. What I probably previously thought was a bit out and weird, I thought, "Actually, there is some science behind this. I need to start giving this a go." That was my introduction really. Yeah, it was the business that then led me to the law of attraction. Then I started implementing things into my life.
I started first doing meditations; pretty short meditations. I used an app called Headspace to start me off on that journey because I found that, again, that was quite a logical easy way into it. Then what that did is it made me relax and I learned to switch off my brain, which was always like buzzing around. I found that I could use that as a tool to de-stress myself. If I feel my stress levels rising, I can easily just take three minutes to control my breathing and just reset and feel better.
I started practicing affirmations daily and I noticed that things really started to improve, not just in my business, but in my personal life. Also, within me becoming more confident in the conversations that I was having with people. And they are part of my everyday practice now.
And what does that look like? Are there things that you do in the morning or do they change throughout the day? Like will you change the way that you meditate or add your affirmations in? Just give us a little glimpse of what that looks like on a regular day.
I know a lot of people will follow something called a miracle morning. To be honest, I probably don't follow a set miracle morning because I'm a bit of a night owl. I do tend to stay up quite late so I'm not really that great very early in the morning. And with three kids in the house, when I try and do medical morning, I usually get disturbed by some of them. But what I do try to do is I do some in the morning and then I implement it through my day.
I would always try and do a 10-minute meditation before I get out of bed in the morning. If I don't manage to for whatever reason, then I'll try and fit it in at some points during the day. Like I said, if I get a few minutes a day where I'm feeling a bit hurt, then I will take time, even if it's five minutes, or I'll do it before bed.
Affirmations; I actually got recorded on my phone and I have an alarm on my phone that goes off a few times during the day, and I sit and I say them out loud. It was really weird at first, but you get used to it and they work. Visualizations, I sometimes do along with meditation, or I might do when I'm in the shower. And when I'm showering as well, I sometimes do my affirmation.
So you can make it fit in your day. It doesn't have to be just sitting there for an hour, doing this whole process that you can fit them in. And writing a gratitude journal, even if it's just three bullet points each day of something you're grateful for. It just really focuses your mind on the positives and you learn to think more abundantly.
I love all of those things. And I think it's so nice how you're describing how they fit into your life. I think that's the joy of them. If you can learn some simple tools like that, then it's so easy to fit them in when you can and when you need them, and find a lot of space for whatever everybody's priorities are. Our day-to-day lives change on a weekly basis. You were saying earlier, this week looks a little bit different than a normal week. Being able to have those tools for self-care I think is the value. Are there other little things that you do for your self-care with nutrition that you try to keep doing?
Yeah. I think self-care is such a big topic, a big area. And I think people often just think that self-care is just maybe having a ball, or putting a face pack on, or treating yourself to a facial or something every now and then, but actually self-care is fueling your body in the right way, moving your body every day, working on your mindset. Spending half an hour of reading personal development book or something that is all self-care.
Nutrition plays a really big role now. Even when I not being 100% good with my nutrition, every day, I will always start my day with a greens shots, which is just containing all of my essential nutrients. And I also put in there some pre and probiotics, digestive enzymes. I have a vegan collagen that goes in there, lots of different vitamins and things. So I always start my day with that and always start with a really healthy breakfast as well.
Porridge with my protein; that's pretty standard and my frozen berries. I know that whatever happens, if I've got maybe an evening out or a few days of maybe being a bit more lavish, I know that at least every day, I've started my day really well, and I'm getting the nourishment that I need. That's really important. And if, for whatever reason, I've missed them, just for one or two days, I notice the difference. There's definitely a slump in my energy.
Now when you look back to five years ago, and you think about your energy levels then, what's the difference between now and then?
There's a huge difference. I think that generally we get used to our bodies living just below pub. We just accept that maybe we're just supposed to feel a bit tired because we're a bit older or we've got loads going on, or everybody gets a headache in the afternoon. I used to have daily headaches and I thought that was just me. Now, I hardly ever have headaches. And when I get one, I'm like, "Oh, I've got a headache." I just focused on fueling my body really well. It makes such a difference. When you spend time focusing on fueling your gut in the right way and giving your body what it needs, you realize how your body is supposed to feel and function.
How do you think you've taken those lessons that you've learned for yourself? Have you been able to use them in your clinical practice? Has it changed your approach to individual patients when they come to you with complex problems?
Yeah, absolutely. I think prior to really taking the time to research about nutrition and particularly gut health—that's something I'm really passionate about— my nutritional advice to patients would have been, "Eat your five fruits and veggies a day. Don't fry your food, try and follow a Mediterranean diet." That would have been it. I didn't really appreciate probably how many diseases—in fact, I think probably the majority of disease begins in the gut—and if you can fuel your body in the right way, you can not cure everything, but certainly prevent a lot of things and improve lots of conditions.
So now, I will spend time with my patients talking about gut health and the anti-inflammatory effect that can have, and the link between our guts and our brain; how it can affect our anxiety, stress, and mood levels.
And also the meditation thing as well. When I'm now having consultations with people about stress, anxiety, depression, previously in a 10-minute consultation, I probably would have ended up saying, "Okay. Well, you can either go for counseling or have antidepressants." Now I'm able to say, "Well, have you ever thought about meditation? Do you practice gratitude? This is how you can stop."
And because I've read a lot of personal development books, I've got books I can recommend. There are podcasts I often recommend to patients as well. And I found that people are much more receptive, much more grateful for the time and often say, "Well, yeah, I don't want medication. I'm going to try all these things first and see how I feel." Don't get me wrong. There is still a place for medication. I'm not saying that it prevents everything and stops the need for medicine. But I think that there is definitely a huge power in the mindfulness gut health.
And they're so accessible, aren't they? A lot of these things, like you say, being able to signpost someone to a book or a podcast or something that they can do for themselves. There's quite a lot of self-empowerment with that, and the individual being able to take control or realizing that they can alter that path of development of disease.
I think that's something that a lot of people aren't even aware of. It's like you were saying about nutrition. Even when we were training, it wasn't something that we learned about how much the way that we are eating and what we're eating can impact the way that we develope disease. It's really understandable why so many people go to seek out medical care and think that the solution lies only in one aspect of it. Whereas are all these other bits have got their places and they're really supporting a much more holistic approach to wellbeing.
Absolutely. And I think, like you said, it's really good to be able to empower people to make their own decision and make their own choices and realizing that they can take responsibility for their own health.
And that's something that you're doing with your Facebook group, which is amazing. You've got lots of people on there. Where did that idea come from? How did you start the Facebook group? And do you have a sense of who's joining you in there?
A part of what I do with my business and what I really love about what I do is helping people. It sounds cheesy, but I guess that's why I went into medicine because I like to help people feel better at the end of the day. So I spent a lot of time last year thinking, "Okay, what is it that makes me tick?" And it is helping empower other people to be more confident, feel happier, feel more fulfilled in their life. And I thought, "Well how does that come about?" Well, it's about the self-care. It's about the mindfulness. It's also about looking after your skin. It might be about putting some makeup on to make you feel good. It might be the way you're dressed. It's so many different things that make us feel good.
Over the last year, so many of us have just lost our mojo basically and it just felt like a bit urgh. Even myself—as somebody who I, I like to think I'm quite a positive person, and I do a lot of personal development and personal growth, I've spent a lot of time doing that in the last few years—I felt a lack of motivation, particularly the first few months of this year and this real battle to get out of this fog. That's where the inspiration from the group came. I just thought, do you know what? There are so many people feeling the same way. If I can start a group where we introduce all of this and gradually build a community, even if it helps one or two people feel good, then that's good with me. My hope is that it just keeps growing because I really enjoy doing it.
It's wonderful. If anyone gets a chance, it's so nice to follow what you're sharing on there. You share so many different aspects of mindset and mindful living and drawing in all of your expertise and your experience as a GP and everything you've learned. I'll put all the links underneath the podcast as well so people can join you.
Within that community, you also shared recently a success curve and you were talking about commitment and determination, which I think is really interesting because having trained with you at med school, clearly, years on, we're quite a long way on. Clearly, you have that commitment and determination yourself. When you look back at that curve of success, what does that look like for you? What do you now think about in terms of success for yourself?
Success is different for everybody. So you've got to work out what success means to you. In the past, success for me was becoming a doctor. That was my focus. And that's the same; it's a lot of hard work and there are times where you feel like you want to give up and you're failing the exams at med school, but then you just keep on going and then eventually you get there. So that's what the success curve looks like.
But now for me, success means living a life that I feel like I never need to take a holiday from. That's probably what it is. I think, generally, we're so used to just living working and that's it. We feel that we need to get a really good job and do all these things in our life and then retire and then enjoy life. That's the traditional path, isn't it?
And actually, I don't want that. I want a life where I just feel that every day is really good. I don't feel that I'm just going on this treadmill, the hamster wheel, whatever. I don't feel like I need to take a holiday all the time. So I guess it's about creating choices and a bit of freedom in your life to be able to do all the things that you want to do when you want to do them
When you've created those choices for yourself and those decisions where there moments where it was quite difficult to take that step, or where there are moments the fear factor came in, how did you find your way through that?
Everybody has fear. Fear is normal. It's just learning to push through that and knowing that the good comes to pushing through the failure. It's always good on the other side, but you feel better once you've done something. I think that as long as you know where you want to go, you've got a vision of what you want your life to look like and what the end goal is, then you will keep going if that why is strong enough, the reason that you're doing it.
Actually, that will change as you go along. Even at the beginning, when I first started my business, like I said, it was just to half my hours. Well, I changed that fairly quickly and now my vision is so much bigger for what my life can look like. So it changes all the time and you need to reassess that all the time.
I was listening to somebody else the other day and saying that actually you never arrive at where you want to go because you're always wanting yourself to be a little bit better. And I think that's okay. Not everybody's like that, but personally, I always want to be better than I was the day before. It's always having something to achieve and I always like having a goal.
And there are days where you don't feel like doing things. We all have days like that. We all have days where we just would rather just hide under the duvet and not do anything. And sometimes those days can turn into weeks. I think, as long as you know exactly what that end goal is, then and you can keep going. That's where discipline comes in.
And it's a never-ending journey. Some of your affirmations speak to that. You said you've got them recorded. Is it you recording them or are they ones that you've found from other places? And do some of your affirmations speak to that determination and fixing on the go?
They do. Some of my affirmations are like , "I am consistent in everything I do." "I am disciplined." "I have this constant abundance of time, freedom, and money," because that's what I am attracting into my life. Affirmations start with an "I am" statement and they are generally like what your future is like, and also there will be your present as well. So it's just, "I am in perfect health." "I have a strong lean body." Things like that.
Those are part of my affirmations and then there's lots of other things in there as well. Mine are all personal to me. I have in the past listened to recorded ones and they're great as well. And there are some brilliant nighttime affirmations that you can just put your earphones in and listen to, just go on for 20 minutes, half an hour, and they're great to fall asleep too. But I think it's good to write some personal ones.
One thing when I'm teaching people to do affirmations, when you first start doing them weird, it's weird standing there and saying, "I am amazing." "I am beautiful." "I am strong." It's strange, but you get used to it. And we are our own worst critics. The things that we say to ourselves, we would never dream of saying it out to other people. We say really horrible things to ourselves in our head. And what you want to do is do the opposite to that.
So what I help people to do is get a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle. On the left-hand side, just sit down for 10, 15 minutes and write down all the horrible stuff you say to yourself. That can be quite difficult to write it down on a paper and think, "God, do I really say that to myself?" And you've got to be honest when you're doing that. Then on the right-hand side, you ride the opposite. So if you're writing, "I'm fat," "I'm ugly," "I'm useless, whatever it is, you're writing, "I'm beautiful, "I am capable of great things," "I have a strong, amazing body," whatever. Then those affirmations become personal to you. I think that is a really good task to do if you're struggling finding your affirmations.
Love that. That's a really nice way to be able to identify your affirmations and things that are really personal. It's really lovely chatting to you about all of this, but where can people find out more about what you're doing? Where can they join your Facebook group and just a little reminder of what it's called?
My Facebook group is called Where's My Mojo At. You can find me on Facebook, Ericka Good, or on Instagram. I'm Dr. Ericka Good. I do quite a lot on Instagram as well. I'd love to connect with you all and find out more about you how your affirmations are going, and how you've set mindfulness in your lives as well.
Brilliant. Thank you. One of the reasons I wanted to do this podcast really is to share stories of other women finding their own path through medicine, through their clinical careers. So it's been really wonderful listening to your story and sharing it and being able to reconnect so many years on and see what you're doing now. Thank you for doing that. The last question is because my podcast is called Authentic Tea, where and with who would you like to have your most authentic cup of tea?
I've been thinking about this. This is such a hard question because you think about all the famous people, dead and alive, and people that are close to you in your life who have passed. I'm like, God, who do I pick? There are so many. Then I thought, do you know what? I'd love to have tea with my future self, so my 90-year-old self and just to listen to what she says about how my life has turned out and the things I have achieved, and maybe give me some guidance of things I should veer towards. I think that would be amazing. And it would have to be on a nice beach somewhere, like a beautiful place with a white, sandy beach, and white canopy cartons, just really chilled. That'd be lovely.
That is a brilliant, answer. I love it. Thank you. That is a beautiful vision. I think that would be a really nice thing to do. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. It's been really wonderful to have you as a guest. Thank you, Ericka.
Thank you for having me.
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