A couple of years ago, Claudia thought she was living the perfect life. She landed her dream job at a large PR company in Amsterdam, working at least fifty hours a week among amazing leaders. Then, on what started as a normal Monday, she collapsed. Job burnout. She tells us her story about recovering from that burnout and how she traveled the world and found her place in life.
It turned out that the long days in the office, the constant pressure and the never-ending stream of emails weren’t for me. This was hard to face at first. The feeling of having failed was hard to shake off, but by working with good therapists and the help of dear people around me, I recovered, I learned and I finally became myself again.
A trip around the world
I decided to leave the corporate PR world and travel around the world. A trip that brought me and my husband to white beaches, beautiful temples, the highest mountains, peaceful ashrams, big cities and tiny villages. After a year, we moved to Oslo, Norway, where I joined the travel service Stay.com as their Content Manager. Here, I got to combine travel, writing and PR, and I truly felt at home again.
Although I was, and still am, very happy at Stay.com, there was still something that was haunting me: my passion for health and food.
Hunger for more
I enjoy preparing healthy food, I read tons of nutrition books, I can’t get enough of inspiring blogs and documentaries and I love talking about it. This used to be very different for me, as food used to be a scary thing. Something I’d rather avoid. I had struggled with the eating disorder anorexia in my early twenties, but I had managed to turn that fear of food around, and fall in love with food and mindful practices like yoga.
I didn’t want to keep that story to myself. I know many people battle eating disorders and I believe that being open and honest about this battle, can help those people. That idea, in combination with my constant hunger for more nutrition knowledge, led me to applying for nutrition school.
I studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. This is the leading nutrition school, based in NYC, and I’m very grateful for that experience. Me and my fellow students from around the world got lectures from inspiring people like Deepak Chopra, Marie Forleo and Andrew Weil, and the program formed the basis for what I do today.
I now focus primarily on women trying to become happier and healthier. That means I do not only help people lose weight, but, instead, me and my clients work on really accepting their bodies, falling in love with preparing healthy food and combining this with all kinds of mindful practices like yoga, meditation, mindfulness and reiki (reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing). That all might sound a little fluffy, but actually comes down to very practical things.
When I work with women with eating disorders, for example, we work on finding ways to fall in love with eating and preparing food again. First, by making easy homemade meals and later with more challenging meals, like sweet treats. I always stand beside them, as their coach, their partner, a person they can rely on. Also, many women live very busy lives and find it hard to incorporate healthy eating, me-time and self-care. With them, I focus on finding what makes them tick, what brings them energy, what drains energy, what brings stress, and how can we eliminate or change that?
I always try to be my own coach, too. It’s so easy to get trapped in our busy lives and to focus too much on caring for the people around us and too little for ourselves. That’s why I always put self-care high on my list. This can be a yoga class in the morning, a quiet evening alone in our apartment, a warm soup, a movie night with homemade popcorn, a warm bath with essential oils, lighting candles and reading books.
It’s never to late
I always advise people to be gentle with themselves, but that can be hard. Sometimes it’s easier to work with someone else who holds you accountable, like a coach or a therapist, or even a friend you deeply trust. However you choose to do it, I believe it’s never too late. It’s never too late to start eating more vegetables, it’s never too late to take that first step on a yoga mat, it’s never too late to break free from that job that kills you, it’s never too late to do what you truly, truly love.
Name: Claudia Menger
Occupation: Certified Health Coach and soon-to-be yoga teacher. Offers personal, one-on-one coaching sessions and online programs.
Lives: Oslo, Norway