Good Life Feature: Turning a health issue into a new way of life

Andra Abolins - Abseiling

We actually met Andra on our radio show in Bondi – she was promoting Future Vets Kids Camp in Sydney which gives kids a chance to see what it is like to work with animals. I would have LOVED to do this when I was a kid!

Anyway after some talking we realised that Andra had a pretty inspiring story herself, so I had to book her for an interview too.

Enjoy!

What triggered you to re-assess your life?

In mid-2005, I woke one morning to find half my body was completely numb – it turned out that I was experiencing my first major MS attack. In an effort to avoid the available drug therapies I consulted with a naturopath and opted to manage my illness using diet and exercise.

I am pleased to say that I have not had another attack since and now, in my early forties, I am in the best health of my life.

How has your Good Life Crisis changed your life?

I had spent 15 years working in the hectic film and television industry before taking a year ‘off’ to start a family. My MS attack happened about 18 months after my son was born and my recovery – and re-invention – happened over the year that followed.

Although life is still quite busy, it is now filled with activities that I quite enjoy doing. As a result I find myself incredibly content which comes from having a healthy mind and body.

What are some of the key lessons and moments in your Good Life Crisis?

The biggest thing that I have learnt is that there is absolutely no point in worrying and getting all stressed out about things that you have no control over; my illness is here, I deal with it and don’t let “what ifs” enter my mind.

The only mistake I feel I made was waiting until a major health issue had influence over my lifestyle as opposed to realizing that everything is for nothing if we aren’t healthy enough to enjoy it.

My proudest moments come when someone tells me that something that I have shared with them – a healthy spin on a recipe or a specific exercise or stretch – has made a positive difference to how they feel physically.

It’s like a droplet of water landing in a larger pool, adding to the collective mass and the ripples it generates effecting everything from the centre outward. I believe that we are all connected and it is our duty to have a positive impact on the world around us.

How did you get yourself through the hard times?

I would not consider myself a particularly driven person but I do posses a very strong work ethic and believe that no matter what job you do, you may as well give it your all – to not do so is just a waste of your time.

I took a good long look at my life and tried to figure out what made me happy, what gave me a sense of fulfilment  All that is truly needed for anyone wishing to make a change in their life is a willingness to change and a positive attitude.

Andra Abolin and her family

“All that is truly needed for anyone wishing to make a change in their life is a willingness to change and a positive attitude”

What advice do you have for others who want to make a life change?

If you want to improve some aspect of your life, be positive and work at it and you can not help but realize change for the better. Be proud of every little step – it is one step closer to where you want to be and if you stumble, just brush yourself off and keep moving forward.

Excuses are simply self-sabotage.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you started this journey?

I wish I had realized how empowering change can be. I am more confident and less afraid of failure than I used to be.

What’s next?

The confidence and feeling of contentment that I have discovered has given me the time and strength to take on new challenges.

My husband, a veterinarian, and I have amalgamated our passions to create “Future Vet Kids Camp” a day camp for kids age 6-12 in the Sydney area who are crazy about animals.

Future Vets Kids Camp

Future Vets Kids Camp gives kids a chance to experience what it is like to work with animals

Over the next 5 years (and beyond) I want to continue to inspire those I meet to lead a healthy lifestyle and I want to help the children who come to the camp explore their passion and realize their own potential.

Future Vets Kids Camp - Andra Abolins

Future Vets Kids Camps inspiring kids to follow their passion for animals

When she is not inspiring Sydney kids to become vets, Andra is a personal trainer living  in Toronto, Canada.

 

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