Self Care is... With Abby Prendergast

Introducing Abby Prendergast, Herbalist and Naturopath in Meersbrook, Sheffield. Abby works closely with clients on a one to one basis, supporting people to find greater balance in their health and life through Herbal Medicine and Naturopathic principles.

Here, Abby shares her vision and intention behind her own personal self-care rituals to hopefully help inspire you to cultivate your own.

One of the first things I love to ask other practitioners about are the words they live by. What are the words that really resonate with you?

Empowerment, Truth, Integrity, Adventure, Creativity, Compassion.

What are you driven by as a practitioner?

I’m incredibly passionate about women’s health and believe that women are absolutely integral in creating and implementing so many of the positive changes we need to see in our world today.

I feel that women in particular have a lot to contend with in our modern society and that we often have so many roles we are struggling to juggle and fulfill.

My dream is to work with women in a way that is nurturing, empowering and restorative, acknowledging our strength, supporting each other and sharing our journeys and stories to encourage and inspire each other.

Throughout the next year I will be attending seminars, workshops, conferences and also taking part in a mentoring programme to further develop my skills and experience in herbal healthcare for women. I hope to encourage and support as many people as possible while sharing herbal medicine and the ways in which this can be transformative for our long-term health and well-being.

We know as practitioners that we are so used to giving so much of our energy to helping others, whilst often putting ourselves second. How do you cultivate self-care and what has it come to mean to you?

To be very honest, it took me years to develop a real routine of self-care! I’m a very driven person and will admit that I can be (a bit!) of a perfectionist ;)

In the past my self-care was at the bottom of the priority pile, especially when I was working as a Nurse where I often found I was over stretching myself and burning out. This experience was so valuable for me as it was a major instigator in making building self-care into my daily life a priority, as I know this is so essential for me to be at my best for my clients and everyone else in my life.

I now love embracing self-care as an indispensable part of life and work and I’m able to share my strategies with my clients, benefiting their health as well as my own. Nowadays I find it helpful to take time out to reflect each month and make a fresh plan for self-care and restorative time moving forward, as life naturally shifts and changes along with our needs at different times.

Essentially I think self-care is about tuning into yourself on a very real level, asking yourself what you truly need and allowing yourself to respond to this with the same kindness you would show for a loved one, wherever you can. This can mean saying ‘no’ to things more often and in doing so, stepping into your power and living more authentically to yourself.  

What was your turning point that led you to where you are - in your life, career and health?

It’s so tricky to pinpoint one turning point! I really feel that the journey is continuously evolving along with my own health and sense of well-being as I grow and gradually refine my life to become more aligned with my vision and direction for the future.

I’d say I went through a lot of significant challenges when living in Ireland, which continued fairly relentlessly for almost 5 years. I really had to face up to a lot of personal struggles during my time there, including my own health difficulties and patterns of behaviour that weren’t serving me.

I’m so grateful now for that time as I’m much stronger, and have a deeper sense of happiness and clarity about who I am as a result.  

Who are your go-to Gurus for an instant pick me up?

Many years ago I encountered an organisation called The Soka Gakkai International which is a lay Buddhist organisation for world peace, based on Nichiren Buddhism. Daisaku Ikeda is the current President of the organisation and has written many books brimming with guidance which is deeply rooted in the realities and struggles of modern daily life. I turn to his guidance daily for inspiration and whenever I’m feeling stuck or confused.

I also love reading books and articles from various Herbalists around the world who inspire me with their passion, dedication and love for plant medicine. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by some of the challenges of being a Herbalist, these people bring me back to centre and remind me why I’m on this path!

Is there a book that has had a significant outlook on your approach to life and health? Or perhaps a book that you read time and time again, that continues to help you?

Yes, I’ve got two! ‘The Buddha in Daily Life’ by Richard Causton and ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer which is a beautiful exploration of indigenous wisdom, intertwined with science and our connection to plants and nature.  

What do you do to get your daily glow and flow on? (Your self-care routine)

I start the day by carrying out my Buddhist morning practice of chanting, in front of a scroll called ‘The Gohonzon’ to bring out my wisdom, courage and compassion for the day ahead. I find that this helps me to raise my life condition and move through the rest of my day with greater rhythm and ease.

Good nutrition, hydration, fresh air and plenty of green veggies are also an essential in my day! 

Finish the following sentences:

I keep having to remind myself that.... following your dreams takes a lot of hard work and dedication and to really make a positive change you have to stick at it!

It’s that feeling when... you harvest tomatoes and chilli peppers you planted from seed in the spring!  

When I’m stressed, I always... get out to nature! If I’m busy I go for a quick walk in the park, or if I’ve time, a good hike in the mountains or forest. We’re so lucky in Sheffield to have lots of green spaces around!

If I ruled the world, the first thing I would do is... get rid of all inequality….I guess that would also mean relinquishing my new role as world leader…ha ;)

And finally, what is in the pipeline for you and your herbal practice?

At the moment I’m also creating a series of upcoming workshops focusing on medicine making, harnessing the wonderful healing potential of our local plants. I’m also hugely excited to be collaborating with the wonderful Yoga teacher Esther Knowles, to create a collection of ‘Yoga and Herbs’ workshops.

Watch this space for our upcoming winter offerings, helping people to gain deeper connection with their body, while simultaneously exploring the power of plant medicine for ultimate health and vitality!

Check out more information about Abby and her herbal practice on her personal website: Abby's Herbal Clinic.

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