Jordan Meachen - October 2022

If you are what you eat, what makes you hungry?

We asked Nadia Zekaria what her greatest wish for the world is. Her response? - "I wish for a world where every single person is continuously striving to be their highest self. To be a society free of the fear & sedation which limits us from striving to achieve this".

Nadia studied Psychology at university before following a more holistic coaching route. Through her work as a mental health & performance coach, she turns her wish into reality. Nadia works with clients one-on-one, as couples, and in men's groups. You can also find her running seminars for businesses and leading breath-work and meditation groups.

We sat down with Nadia to pick her brain about why mental health is such a big issue today and things you can do to help navigate some difficult times.

If you're interested in Nadia's services, you can reach her through her website Mind & Core or on her Instagram page.

Nadia Zekaria Mental Health & Performance Coach.

Q) What has your experience been like working with young people in the mental health & well-being space?

A) Honestly, it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done with my life. I love that every day no matter how big or small I feel I am making an impact, I’m connecting with people, and I’m having real conversations. It’s also taxing at times and has opened my eyes to another dimension of the basic challenges our generation seems to struggle with due to our current lifestyles.

Q) Mental Health is on track to be the biggest health concern in developed countries by 2030. What do you think are the biggest contributors to this rapid growth?

A) We are too fast-paced, we are encouraged to group think and look outside of us for “right” or “wrong” values rather than inside of us.

We're too often encouraged to take the easy way out. This means our minds are not processing information well. We are anxious, stressed, depressed, lazy, and becoming increasingly weak-willed and minded. We are insecure and led more by the fear to belong rather than the drive to be our best selves.

The bright side in my opinion is that a rapid improvement would be seen by a few simple changes. Limiting social media, tv, and radio consumption, regular exercise healthy intake of organic meat and vegetables, stopping visiting the pharmacy unless it's an emergency, spending more time in silence or in meditation to reflect on how you think and feel. Challenging yourself with healthy discomfort regularly.

Q) What’s the biggest misconception people have about seeking mental health support from a professional?

A) That they should wait to have a problem that needs resolving before they do it. Do you wait to fail the test before you study? No, you prepare.

You either view life as hard, or as a challenge you have to overcome. It depends on how well-conditioned you are for it. So condition your mind, and do the training before you NEED IT!

Nadia Zekaria Mental Health & Performance Coach,, working with a group of people, skincare that talks, boring without you

Q) What do you say to someone who is thinking about going to their first mental health event/session, and do you have any advice on finding a specialist who’s a good fit for them?

A) Do your research. Think about what areas you need support in. Then see if it aligns with that person's experience and qualifications. Ask questions!

Don’t give up if the first person isn’t right. It’s a bit like dating. You might have to kiss some frogs to find your prince, but it’s worth it!

Q) As a mental health coach, what’s one of the biggest challenges you face?

A) People who say they want to change, but not enough to give up the things that trouble them/make them sick.

Q) What are three things people could do today to boost their mental health?

A) Limit social media or delete it altogether - I’m talking cutting use down to several days a week (not at all on weekdays, and no more than 15 minutes a day).

Listen to your body – you feel shit for a reason. Don’t just work to feel better. Work to resolve what is making you feel shit. That is the path to feeling better.

EAT MORE! Imagine a car trying to drive on an empty petrol tank. How stressed would that engine be? Most of my clients don’t eat anywhere near enough nutrient-dense food. Thinking you can separate physical health basics like eating, sleeping, and breathing from how your head feels is one of the wildest things I see happen every day.

Nadia Zekaria Mental Health & Performance Coach, working with a group of people, skincare that talks, boring without you

Nadia, working at Cold & Conscious, a morning breathwork and cold exposure event in South Melbourne

Q) What's something that has more impact on mental health than people realise? 

A) Lack of mindfulness or awareness about what they are consuming.

In particular:
- Social media
- Notifications on their phone
- Diet
- Sleep
- Reality Televison
- Sex (having it with people they don’t really know, like, respect, align with, are respected by, or doing it for the wrong reasons ie. validation, distraction).

You are what you consume. If you don't feel great, evaluate what you're consuming.

Q) We all have ups and downs. What advice do you have for someone who’s really struggling at the moment? Someone struggling to get out of a slump.

A) This too shall pass if you can just keep moving and do 1% of the work at a time. Find one thing of meaning or movement and just start. 

Q) What’s some advice for people who have friends dealing with mental health struggles, and aren’t quite sure how they can help?

A) Be there. Don’t give up. You need to balance the subtle check-in with the, I’m calling you out, enough is enough, let's do something about this.

Encourage them to get professional help, you could even help find a practitioner for them. Basic tasks like that can just seem too hard when someone is at their lowest and become real barriers preventing them getting help.