An Interview with Karina from Balancing Act - a wellness wonderwoman inspiring a community.
Introducing Karina – the creator of Womens wellness community Balancing Act. Karina hosts unique urban retreats in Aucklands eastern ‘burbs. Each of the soulful retreats have a different focus but with the same underlying theme of nourishing women and their mind, body and soul.
As a Mum of two, living very far from her native Cairo, Karina knows all too well the art of balancing! We caught up with Karina to get the low down on her approach to wellness. Read on!
What was your inspiration for creating Balancing Act?
Women are by nature very compassionate and empathic and we tend to hold the weight of the world on our backs and in our hearts, it's important to find simple ways to nourish ourselves so that we can be strong and keep up with things.
My inspiration for creating Balancing Act is bringing women together, learning from each other and from health & wellness experts so that we can all feel inspired and healthy from the inside out.
It is so important to feel well and to check in if we aren't so that we can all be happy mums, wives, daughters, friends, colleagues, etc
I also love figuring out what makes people tick and giving them the tools to make the changes they want to make in their lives to be happier.
What is the philosophy behind Balancing Act?
Learn, connect and share.
I am a connector and a people person. I love connecting people together, reaching out to experts and bringing them into Balancing Act's community. I would like to think that I can make a difference in people's lives to help them with any struggles they might have - small or big. We are all trying to figure things out, why don't we help each other along the way.
I am very passionate about health and wellness but I understand that some topics might resonate more than others and that's ok. I want Balancing Act to be an open community where women can feel comfortable and not judged. No one has it completely figured out, and it is easy to think that everyone else knows how to do it all. Building a community of women who all want to work on themselves, help each other grow while being authentic is what it is about.
What's your personal approach to health and wellness?
It is a way of life. A choice you make on how you want to live.
It's about feeling good in your own skin.
Gratitude is huge for me. Whenever I feel a little low or when my mind "plays" tricks on me, I remind myself of all the amazing things I am grateful for in my life. It's extremely powerful.
Physically at the moment, I'm loving my Bfit bootcamp classes (child friendly too!). I go 2 to 3 times a week and bring the boys with me. It's a really fun activity for all of us, I think it's important for the boys to see mummy working out and taking care of herself. I also try to fit in yoga on the weekends either at home or at True Food and Yoga. Walking in nature, dancing! Dancing either
before or after dinner always makes everyone happy in our house :)
I also eat real healthy food, don't necessarily follow any fads just keep it real :) I feel great when I know what I am putting in my body and on my skin.
How do you manage to balance being a Wife, Mumma to two boys AND run the Balancing Act community?
I have a very supportive husband, he gets just as excited as I am about my business. He is even the one who came up with the name - Balancing Act!
I think it's all about team effort, open communication and being authentic and open when one of us needs a break or that extra support.
At one of my workshops, we had an exercise where we had to split our days and see how much time we spend on everything from preparing lunch boxes, driving, working, playing with the kids to time spent on social media and time with our husbands/partners.
And that made us all think about things differently, as unromantic as it sounds to schedule things in like date nights, fun adventures together etc in our full days actually scheduling does bring back the romance! There is always time to be spontaneous but we have to be realistic and take time to plan things as a couple. It makes us all happier parents too!
As for being a mummy to the boys and managing Balancing Act, I try to organise my time and be realistic with my own expectations. On days when I have the two boys, I know that I won't work except for in the evenings if need be. And on days when I only have my youngest, I get work done while he naps. If I set too high expectations, I get disappointed with myself and become cranky. So instead I just enjoy my time with them and try to be in the moment and know that I have already allocated time for work.
My husband and I try to remind ourselves to be mindful with our boys, to be less reactive and more aware of our own emotions and frustrations instead of reacting negatively.
I guess balancing it all requires flexibility, communication, and knowing when you need a break instead of being on autopilot and of course LOVE. Easier said than done I know, but everything is work in progress.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start up a biz?
Go at your own pace. The journey is your story and your ongoing evolution of where you choose to go. Have faith, be patient and persistent.
What's your current fave (or kids fave) things for; -
Breakfast: Scrambled or poached eggs on gluten free bread or Paleo bread. The boys love eggs!
Smoothies are also a favourite!
Lunch: A healthy wrap with some hummus spread or now that avocados are in season some avocado mash with shredded veggies, feta cheese and a portion of protein if we have some available.
Dinner: They love Shepard's pie! Organic mince meat, with either Kumara mash or the good old fashioned potatoes and melted cheese on top.
Care to share your latest fave recipe?
We had this tonight and it's a favourite!
"Egyptian bowl" - inspired by a very typical Egyptian dish called "Molokhia" which is basically a green soup. But I make my own version with the ingredients in season.
Sautéed onions with olive oil, add your favourite greens vegetables - for example: zucchini, spinach, parsley, kale and vegetable stock.
Simmer for 5 minutes, let cool and blend everything.
To create the bowl - layer white or brown rice at the bottom, add the green soup, followed by a tablespoon of hummus and or some Greek yoghurt. Drizzle some dukkah on the top (Egyptian spice blend made from roasted nuts, seeds and spice).
For those who want to add animal protein - you can add some shredded chicken in between the rice and the soup.
I also love Buffy from Be Organics, my boys love her Green Hummus with spirulina. A great way to sneak in some more greens!
I also use it in their sandwiches as a base.
Any advice for Mum's needing quick snacks, or any advice for dealing with picky eaters?
I love roasted almonds or raw cashews, boiled eggs for both the kids and me. A fruit with some nut butter.
I try to include my boys in the prep work while cooking so they get to try the different ingredients. My oldest loves raw broccoli and raw carrots but not cooked - go figure!
Being patient because they go through phases as well, one minute they like something the next they are off it. Try not to force anything but I would start by introducing healthier foods that your child already likes and go from there.
What's your approach to holistic health?
Personal growth is really important - I need to nourish myself mentally. But at the same time, also telling myself that it is ok to not be productive on some days, I am definitely trying to work on that. Instead of being on auto pilot, realising when to slow down so that I don't get worn down.
Embracing my imperfections and reminding myself that imperfections are actually perfect! :)
What are your favourite modalities for healing?
Take a break and put your feet up :) Production will come tomorrow.
I have a tendency to be quite disciplined, but it is also just as important to listen to my body and be less rigid with myself. Learning to shift gears when I need to shift.
Working on myself - I enjoy learning and want to grow and always be expanding.
There is something about lighting a candle that is calming.
Connecting with my children and husband.
Quiet time with myself.
How do you practise self care?
At the moment, my thing is yoga, guided meditation practices, and listening to podcasts that teach me something new that I can easily put into practise. I'm loving Melissa Ambrossini's podcast these days.
It takes a village to raise a child so they say, but a lot of us these days don't have one. Relocating from your native Egypt must have been challenging, especially with a young baby! What's your advice for creating a village if you don't have one?
It is definitely challenging living away from my parents. Not just because of the lack of help but just the emotional support and the positive influence they would have if they saw the kids more often.
But I am not the type to dwell, so I am grateful to see my parents when I do, and when we are together it really is quality time for everyone involved.
Being here without my parents, our friends in Auckland have become family to us. I love to meet new people and learn from them. I think we all have something to learn and give to one another.
Auckland is also so international, I was lucky enough to find a few other women in similar situations as me, so we know exactly how the other feels and therefore support each other immensely.
One thing that I always say about New Zealand is the sense of community, it is something I really love about it.
We can all count on each other. And it's okay to reach out to friends and actually say I need help or simply just vent.
We are very lucky that we live in such a beautiful community and I am sure that everyone in our lives is and will be shaping our boys positively.