“Your mental care is equally important as your physical care. Never place anything above you, you come first in your priorities. Sweat it out, workout for you and trust me, you will feel double alive with the process of self-love and self-care.” – Ila Andy
Born in Klang and raised in Petaling Jaya, Ilavarasi or Ila, for short, has been in the education field for 16 years!
Ila’s most favourite thing to do is painting and dancing. Not only that, but she also enjoys reading about human’s behaviour and psychology. Being a passionate teacher, she spends her time creating fun and engaging lessons and modules for children. “With the current way of learning which is through online-platform, I am exploring a lot of new ways of how to make online teaching fun and enjoyable (not just for kids, but for me too),” Ila explained.
In recent times, Ila has been exploring the various meanings of being healthy i.e in your mind, body and values. She mentioned, “through sweats, workouts and my personal relationship with myself.”
It all started when Ila started running on a treadmill a year ago. Like most of us, Ila decided that running on a treadmill is just not her cup of tea – even when coupled with music. She then discovered an aerobic workout called ‘Walk At Home’ by Leslie Sansone and it was love at first sight.
“I got hooked on it so badly that I felt empowered before, during and after the workout. It is such a great feeling. Then, I knew why I was enjoying aerobics so much – the music and the moves make you feel like you are dancing.” Ila shared.
Slowly, Ila started to pick up strength training activities such as training with resistance bands, 7 rings stretch bands, dumbbells and more.
“The journey of fitness has changed my life 360. It helps me to be more focused, creative, kinder to myself, kinder to my mind and body, seeing things from a brighter point of view, makes me stronger physically and emotionally, healthier and I’m learning to appreciate my body a lot more as well.” Ila shared.
Having gone on a fitness journey for one year now, Ila has found a new meaning in life. “The fitness journey makes you understand the power of your body and mind. I started to focus on building my mind and shutting down the unhealthy thoughts that come along when I work out. It’s cool to see how beautiful this journey of fitness makes you.”
Ila finds that your fitness journey will help you to understand the power of your body and mind. Dealing with different personalities at work can be stressful. Ila finds that working out helps her to manage her stress more too. “I started to focus on building my mind and shutting down the unhealthy thoughts that come along when I work out,” Ila reflected.
“Workout is the answer to everything. Sweat and feel your presence. It is like a relationship you are building with yourself!” she enthusiastically said.
For most of us, it is not the lack of time that stops us from working out – it is our mind telling us no. So how does Ila do it? At first, Ila craves the adrenaline that comes after a workout and the sense of achievement you get. While chasing that, working out slowly becomes a habit.
Another trick that Ila uses is to schedule her workout session. “I schedule my workout session and I make priorities list in my head as well and I just show up.” she offered. Of course, putting on music while you move your body is a plus too in Ila’s book.
However, just like the rest of us, there are days when the motivation just cannot be summoned. “Motivation is not there every day; we definitely can’t rely on that. But it is consistency and discipline that takes you from one day to the next.” Ila agreed.
Other than that, Ila’s biggest motivation is herself. “When I look at myself in the mirror, I see a happy soul blooming and growing mentally, physically and internally. I want that to continue.”
One other major motivator is by working out with a friend. “We share our thoughts and experiences in our fitness journey with each other mostly all the time. So, you can grab a workout buddy too!”
Ila’s fitness journey has made her think a lot about what self-care means. “Self-love is showing care and time for your mind, body and soul. It is deep, it requires more than action. It requires understanding, implementation and moving forward. The understanding for self-love does not happen easily, it comes with grace, patience, realization and practice.” Ila shared.
Ila also thinks that self-love is about being kind to yourself and one of the ways is to surround yourself with the right type of people and cutting off toxic people out of your life. “Self-love also means you forgive yourself for the thought built upon you in your head, you forgive your mind for all the bullies that happened, you walk away from people who give you the wrong impression about self-care and self-love,” Ila added.
“How I practice self-love is through 3 main core pillars; input, output and actions. Basically what I feed my mind, my body and soul in the input.” Ila shared. Using a holistic approach, Ila views self-care as more than just grooming and pampering yourself like what social media sells to us.
Ila thinks that we have to control what we allow access to us whether it is access to our mind, body or soul. As for external variables, we have to be mindful of how we react to things happening to us. “It is a journey that you will continue to explore daily. It nurtures values and other joys.” she declared.
Like most of us, Ila admits that she is an overthinker. She also admits that although she tries to block out negativity, being only human, it does get to her from time to time. “I don’t react to negativity immediately. I pause and think of a response that helps me from doing things that I would regret especially in my mind.”
As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Ila shares a good laugh with her friends by creating inside jokes about the negativity that she encounters. This helps to make a big, daunting and dark creature appear small and weak.
While it takes practice to overcome her overthinking, Ila admits that it is not an easy feat. Her advice? “I always ask myself one question before I do the thinking, ‘will this matter a month from now or a year?’”
Clearly, fitness is more than just your physical health according to Ila. “Trust the journey of self-care and dedicate yourself to yourself. So go out there and glow!”
We hope Ila’s story has inspired you the way it inspires us! To never give up and have hope, even if life seems hard. Take it one day at a time!
Do you have your own story to tell? Drop us an email at: [email protected]
Ila’s Instagram: @ilaandy
The Happy Hormones is a one-stop platform for all things Wellness! We aim to simplify those living in Malaysia who are looking to improve their well-being in terms of the body and mind, alongside helping people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired through our high-quality produced content.