Growing up, I thought I was the only Thalia that ever existed.
(Apart from the muse I was named after.)
It was such a unique name, it never quite made its way on to personalised jewellery, stationary, or even on the coca-cola bottles when we were told to “share a coke.”
So I assumed my name wasn’t really that in demand and I must be the only one with it!
Over the years though, and as social media became more about community building than staying in touch with friends, I’ve stumbled across a few other Thalia’s.
But this week’s Q&A guest is probably the Thalia that I admire and feel inspired by the most.
I even sometimes think we could be twins thanks to our joint love of books and quirky personalities!
So it was such an honour to have Thalia, a small product-based business owner selling book inspired candles, appear on my blog and chat about her mental health and well-being journey.
So, sit back, relax and enjoy.
♡ Thalia xx
Hi, I’m also called Thalia!
I’m a theatre manager turned candle maker, book lover, water baby and cat mum.
With my West End theatre closed due to Covid, I decided to create book inspired candles to create an opportunity to escape within our homes, as well as to shift the atmosphere and our mindsets and open a new world for us to enjoy.
I’ve always loved being crafty.
I started making candles the previous year in 2019 when I was suffering badly with my mental health, so after a few creative brainstorming sessions with my partner, Botany & Books was born.
I now run the company full time and love it every day.
More on my well-being journey
In 2019, I had a pretty dramatic ‘mental collapse’ as I like to call it.
I couldn’t work and I was very confused about what was happening.
And through a combination of chronic stress, trauma and generalised anxiety disorder, everything kind of fell apart.
It took me a few weeks to realise that I wasn’t just going to get better.
Over a period of months, I went on a very determined journey to try and heal myself with the help of a psychiatrist and psychotherapist.
After months of feeling stuck, experiencing severe anxiety and still not being able to get back to work (work had been my everything), I did a lot of unlearning, learning how to process emotions, learning about my body and how the mind works.
I did a lot of reading and research, and I did the things I was recommended to do.
The pain I was feeling was unbearable so I was pretty committed to doing what I could to move in the right direction.
It took a lot longer than I had imagined it would, to start feeling better.
But things really started to shift when I let go of the expectations I had put on myself to keep working and achieving in life.
I’m now living a life that puts my mental and physical health as a priority, with (almost) daily practices and kindness to myself.
It now means I run my own business instead of being in traditional employment, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. But I’m also still healing.
It’s definitely been a journey with ups and downs, but I give myself a lot more time and space to honour that these days.
Wellness Q&A with Thalia From Botany & Books
What does a healthy work-life balance look like to you?
Being able to take a lunch break without feeling guilty.
Allowing my fluctuating menstrual hormones to dictate how hard and the type of work I want to focus on at different times in the month.
Having proper time off without feeling I need to be thinking about my business and be able to exercise, spend time outside and time with loved ones.
Having time off when I’m not feeling well, again without feeling guilty.
I think it comes down to removing guilt when prioritising mental and physical wellbeing (these things take time so I don’t want to compromise on them!)
How do you make sure you are regularly prioritising your mental and physical well-being?
It’s pretty much my personal ‘why’.
I want to be able to live a life that doesn’t compromise my mental and physical health, and I remind myself of this daily.
I’m pretty self-aware, so when things are going downhill I take a look at what I’m doing and see what I can do to help myself.
After a lot of trial and error, I definitely have the tools and activities I need to help me get back on track.
How do you show yourself self-love and self-care? Are there any particular activities you indulge in and what inner work do you do?
I journal every day (hello period tracking!!) and reading is my go-to self-care ritual to relax.
I’ll read every day and that gives my brain a break from the chatter whilst resting my body.
I also move every morning (yoga, stretching, swimming) which I couldn’t do when I was working.
So I feel grateful every day as I get to do it now I have my own business.
Those three are my everyday habits (more like rituals, they are conscious and carry meaning for me) that makes a huge difference.
What is your favourite productivity hack?
When I feel ‘on fire’ about something, I’ll drop everything else and prioritise it.
I think this is when I do my best work, so if it’s going to really shift things, I think it’s important to put that energy towards that thing.
Which self-help or personal development book would you recommend and why?
The Happiness Trap was an absolute game-changer for me.
It’s based on the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which has completely changed how I’m able to process emotions and move forward.
It got me clear on my values and the kind of life I wanted to live.
The idea for Botany & Books actually came to me while doing the journal exercises of this book.
If you’re not sure about the direction you want your life to go in, this one is incredible.
What would you say to your 21-year old self?
The best way to be kind to others is to learn how to be kind to yourself.
If you keep pushing yourself, you won’t have anything to give to others.
It is okay to prioritise your happiness and health because then you’ll have a full cup to pour from.
And lastly, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The Serenity Challenge!
Develop the courage to solve those problems that can be solved. The serenity to accept those problems that can’t be solved. And the wisdom to know the difference.
Where to find Thalia and Botany & Books
For more tips on mindful reading and lovely book recommendations, follow Thalia on Instagram at @botanyandbooksco
And to learn more about Thalia’s book inspired candles, monthly subscriptions and workshops, head to botanyandbooks.co.uk
Christmas is coming up and if you ask me, books and candles make the best gifts!
One last thing…
If you are a health and wellness entrepreneur and would like to collaborate with me on a guest Q&A and reflect on your well-being journey, then please get in touch via my contact form or email me at email@example.com
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