September’s Spotlight shines on Elizabeth Shaw!
Each month we highlight a fitness professional that goes above and beyond to exemplify what it means to be a Mindful Fit Pro.
Read on to see what questions I asked Elizabeth and find out more about the work she does to promote mental wellbeing through fitness.
My name is Elizabeth Shaw and I am a mother to 3 boys (one is an angel baby) and a widow. I graduated from BYU Hawaii in Exercise and Sport Science in 2002. I have known for years that moving my body was an important part of my mental health. As I dealt with depression it led me to getting my degree so I could eventually help other women move through their emotions literally. As my life took another path for a few years I found myself being led back to fitness and movement a year before my husband passed away in 2018.
In 2019 I got certified to teach group fitness. I am also certified in High Fitness which is the class that I teach most often. I moved my family and started teaching at the same time. Having these classes has allowed me to not only work on my mental and physical health, but to help other women do that as well. Fitness has allowed me to build a community of women that love, support and uplift me on a daily basis.
As I continue on my journey with fitness and grief I have certified as a Grief Educator, Grief Movement and am finishing up my certification as a Reinvention Life coach.
What does mental wellness mean to me? I define mental wellness as the ability to manage emotions and mental health through your own coping skills as well as allowing yourself to ask for help. Having a healthy routine and habits that support honoring your body in every way through prayer, meditation, gratitude, service, exercise, sleep and other routines and rituals can provide ways to address emotions that will come up in everyday life as well as during challenging times. Being able to stop and ask for help from other professionals and from a supportive community is also a skill that we all need to have.
What do you do to care for your mental health? I have a set of habits that I try to incorporate into my everyday routines. They include prayer, scripture study, journaling, gratitude, service, exercise, sleep and furling my body. They do not have to be something big and elaborate. Some days the exercise is a walk or cleaning my home. Service can be my free classes or a text to someone that pops into my awareness. Journaling is a streamlined process that I created to keep it under a few minutes, but hits all of the areas that I feel are important. What’s important is finding the things that speak to you and make you feel good…then doing them.
Why is mental well-being an important part of your teaching? One thing that I am very proud of is being genuinely happy for others as they are on their journey with their fitness. I think that is something that people need, to have instructors that put them first. I love having people in my classes and I appreciate each one of them. I also understand that my classes are not for everyone. That’s the best thing about fitness though, is there are so many options out there for people. I want each person who comes into my class to know that I support their journey wherever it takes them. If it’s my class, great. If it’s another class, great. If it is hiking, lifting, swimming, running, pickleball…GREAT! I want people to find what they love and do that. I will be right here to cheer them on no matter what they choose.
How do you promote mental well-being in your classes? I always remind my participants that this is their journey. It doesn’t matter if they are doing the moves perfectly as long as they are moving and having a good time. I also emphasize that their journey is theirs. They don’t need to compare themselves to me or the person next to them. Everyone is at a different point in their journey. Listening to and honoring their body is the best thing that they can do. And High-5’s…I try to make sure I get around at the end of class to give each person and high-5 and let them know how much I appreciate them because I truly do. They are trusting me and investing their time and energy in my classes and I am honored that they do.
Thank you so much for reading this month’s spotlight!
If you’d like to follow along with Elizabeth and keep up to date with what she’s got going on, you can find her at @shawflourishfit on Instagram or Shaw Flourish Fit on facebook.
Do you know a Mindful Fit Pro?
Submit your nominations for a fitness professional we should feature in an upcoming monthly spotlight. You are also welcome to nominate yourself!
Please include a brief message sharing how this person embodies what it means to be a Mindful Fit Pro. Nominations should include a link to their website and/or a social media profile where we can contact them.