Brand : Form Nutrition
Name : Natalia Bojanic
Title : Co-founder & Brand Director
Handle : @nataliabojanic
Natalia Bojanic is the Co-founder of Form Nutrition, which focuses on plant-based nutrition for the body and mind. The brand’s main belief is that we can be the best version of ourselves, whilst being mindful of others. Natalia is a qualified meditation teacher, with wide-ranging training, from Nepalese monasteries to certification as a Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute Teacher – a programme which began at Google and developed by thought leaders in Neuroscience, emotional intelligence and mindfulness. We asked her the best ways to de-stress in times of coping with burnout or if you’re feeling mentally drained.
What’s your work week like?
It’s fluid, which is great as I am never bored!
It can start on Monday, leading a meditation class in a corporate office, before heading to the Form office for board meetings, then hosting a staff training session at Net-a-Porter or sampling at Planet Organic. Meeting interesting people to discuss partnerships, designing our social media strategy, recording a podcast, sitting on a plant-based panel, sending products to the press, dealing with rejection from a sales pitch, tasting new products all come into it as well.
Then on the weekends, I like to develop recipes with our products and write articles on human-centred leadership.
What are the signs when you’re under stress?
I used to manage stress really badly by not acknowledging the pressure I was under and bottling it up. At university, I ended up being hospitalised with a hyperventilation crisis and also developed gastritis. I still remember the day I found my first grey hair – when I was 21-years-old!
Since I started practicing yoga and meditation, I’ve developed the ability to remain calm and collected in the face of challenges, so the honest truth is that these days I don’t really feel overwhelmed by stress anymore.
This quote from Shantideva, an Indian Buddhist monk from the 8th century has been a great anchor to keep me centred: “If the problem can be solved, why worry? If the problem cannot be solved, worrying will do you no good.”
What triggers you the most towards stress?
Airports, incompetence and disrespect.
When recalling the most recent occasions I have been stressed they were all connected to flights being cancelled without any warning, missing connecting flights due to delays and spending hours, days and months trying to get refunds and compensation for all the inconvenience caused.
How do you define Good Stress vs. Bad Stress?
Good = helpful
Bad = unhelpful
Before public speaking I can feel my heart racing, my hands get sweaty and my voice a bit shaky.
Immediately I recognise the fight or flight response, but then it is up to me to decide if I will interpret this as a sign of excitement as my body gets ready for an important moment, or if I will get overwhelmed by it which will negatively impact my performance.
This free online course written by Renato Boemer, a chartered member (MBPsS) of the British Psychological Society with a degree in psychological and behavioural sciences from the University of Cambridge, over the course of five daily emails shares the basics of stress and its crucial role in our physical and mental health.
5 Q & A – How to de-stress
When you’re feeling overwhelmed…
Extend your exhalations.
If you are totally new to breathing exercises, breathe in through your nose for a count of two and breathe out through your nose for a count of four.
Breath in for 1,2. Breath out for 1,2,3,4 – for at least three rounds.
Once you get used to this pattern you can breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for two counts and breath out for six.
When you’re feeling information overload…
It’s very simple: I limit the amount of input so I don’t feel overloaded!
My notifications are off and I ‘try’ to check my phone only five to 10 times a day (and of course, I don’t succeed in this goal everyday), so I am not a slave to what comes my way, but can consciously decide where and how to direct my attention.
I ask myself “what does it really matter now?” then focus on that one thing that will have a meaningful impact in my life.
When you’re making important decisions…
I pray for guidance and protection!
I am a firm believer that as long as we are doing good work in the world, there is a higher intelligence supporting us every step of the way.
I fully trust that this invisible hand and our faith is a powerful antidote against stress.
When you’re working under performance…
Establishing healthy standards of performance is key to start. At Form, we believe that performance is personal, only you can define it.
This is not an excuse to become complacent, but to foster a mindset of sustainable growth and positive resilience.
When you’re feeling mentally strained…
These are the moments a supplement can help coping with burnout.
Edge contains Bacopa Monnieri, an Indian herb and traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for its anxiety-reduction properties. It also contains an effective dose of Alpha GPC, a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which studies have shown improves attention and can protect against cognitive decline.
In addition to this supplement, I also believe B Vitamins are vital to brain health.