Sobriety, entrepreneurship, and mental health
Sobriety, entrepreneurship, and mental health with Nicole Lawson — founder of Supported Soul
I am drawn to courageous vulnerability in others and there is no shortage of that from Nicole Lawson, founder of Supported Soul, a yoga and supply business based out of British Columbia.
Nicole answers a few questions about her business and then gets into the topics that I find have been ever-present in conversations I have among my friends, specifically those who are new mothers, and about sobriety, which is a lifestyle that I have been quietly pursuing myself for a few months now.
Nicole Lawson started Supported Soul in Port Moody, BC during her struggle with postpartum depression. She found solace in her yoga practice and wanted to create beautiful products to support others in their wellness practice. Now through her business she is also supporting Black Health Alliance, BC Children's Hospital Foundation and Qmunity through giveback programs.
Enjoy this read with a cuppa something warm, and please reach out to Nicole or myself through Instagram if you want to connect further on any of these topics!
Oh, and there's a discount code for 15% off all Supported Soul products at the end of the post, like a little pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
What projects/products/ services are you most excited about working on with Supported Soul right now?
N: Recently we launched our Pro Grip Deco Alignment mat and I am absolutely obsessed with this gorgeous mat! The lines in the design are so helpful when I’m practicing.
We have two amazing collaborations in the works right now… but I’m keeping them top secret for now! Stay tuned.
Do you find that there is a common problem that you help people overcome through your products?
N: Many yogis practice with a towel on top of their yoga mat and it’s frustrating to constantly stop and fix it. Our Supreme all-in-one yoga mats are a game changer because they are a yoga mat and towel in one product. No bunching, no distractions and it’s machine washable!
Is this a business that you've always dreamed of creating and/or is there a good story about how you came to be doing this?
N: I always hoped to combine my nutritional science degree with my experience in the fashion industry, but wasn’t sure how to approach it. It was my husband that encouraged me to start my own business after I had expressed an interest in creating yoga mats with beautiful artwork on them. My little boys were aged 6 months and 2.5 years old when the idea for Supported Soul started to blossom, and I would chip away at it whenever I had a spare moment. The transformative power of yoga is what helped get me through my postpartum depression (and other difficult times in my life) and I really wanted to motivate people to take time to focus on their physical + mental health by sharing my passion for yoga + wellness, and offering beautiful products to support their journey.
What lights you up about running your business? What drains you? How do you deal with balancing or managing each?
N: I love collaborating with local brands and artists. The energy and creativity of working with like-minded souls to create something beautiful really ignites my passion. Knowing that my products are part of such a valuable, healing time in someone's life is so gratifying, and nothing beats getting messages from customers that are thrilled with their purchase.
I get drained when my work to life ratio feels out of balance. I want to give my family AND my business all my attention. When business takes over and I feel like I’m neglecting my kids (and myself), my mental health starts to take a toll and I get burnt out. Thankfully I’ve learned to identify this pattern and step back to recharge and reconnect with my family. My mental health has to come first so I can show up as the best version of myself in all aspects of my life.
Do you have any insights gleaned from running your business that you think are often left out of the limelight?
N: I believe that as a small business owner, it is important to include yourself in your brand. When I launched Supported Soul I had no intention of posting images of myself or sharing any aspect of my personal life. Over time I realized that what I enjoyed most about other business accounts was learning about the people who created the brand. Each time I share part of my story my hope is that it resonates with someone else so they don’t feel alone. I now find the process quite healing and it’s such a wonderful way to connect with my followers.
On Sobriety + Motherhood
Tell me about a time when you had to make a big change or pivot in your life. How did you know that it was time to shift? What tools supported you?
N: After becoming a mother, I knew I had to prioritize my mental health in order to survive. As my kids grew older and I was able to focus more on self-care, I started to question if "mom life" was the only cause of my exhaustion + anxiety. My gut feeling was that I should stop drinking alcohol but it was so ingrained into my lifestyle that it seemed impossible.
I decided to participate in dry January in 2020, and during that time I read Ruby Warrington’s book, Sober Curious. What I learned confirmed that my “normal” drinking habit was a problem as even one drink causes more tension, stress, anxiety and deepens depression.
After a few months of sobriety I experienced a new level of wellness + resilience which was my catalyst to keep going. The cravings eventually went away and I even started to forget about drinking. I continued reading many more helpful books that supported me on my journey:
- Annie Grace - This Naked Mind
- Claire Pooley - The Sober Diaries
- Lauren McKowen - We are the Luckiest
- Amanda Eyre Ward - Sober Lush
- Glennon Doyle - Untamed
Now that I’m aware of the negative impacts of my drinking, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by living alcohol free. Quitting drinking had to come at the right stage in my life. There was definitely a time where I didn’t give a sh*, but these days I want to prioritize my physical + mental health and stop the war with myself. Eliminating that one toxin from my life has provided me with the ultimate in nourishing soul food... a clear conscience.
Something that I have been personally working on for years now is learning how to discern the difference between knowing when it's fear or intuition that’s leading me. Can you relate, or tell me about how you define this for yourself?
N: I can absolutely relate! Fear often takes over when I haven’t made time for my daily rituals that make me feel grounded- drinking lemon water, meditating, eating nutritious foods, spending quality time with my kids, moving my body, limiting my time on social media, getting enough sleep. I can always count on my yoga + meditation practice to help me re-center and offer some clarity. Once I remove all the external noise I can more easily tap into my intuition and lead from the heart.
What challenges have you overcome that lead you to a deeper understanding or a shift in perspective for you over the last year/ through the pandemic?
My husband and I are both entrepreneurs that work from home. We were faced with brand new challenges when our two little boys were home with us 24/7 and we were homeschooling them. It would be fair to say that the stress and tension levels in our household reached an all-time high! Although my mental health suffered, I was able to cope much easier because drinking alcohol was out of the equation and didn’t add fuel to the fire. I’m grateful that I was completely present for all the time we had together as a family because I now know my children on a deeper level and I’m able to offer much more patience.
What would your advice be to budding creative entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help because there are so many people that are willing to offer advice and help in any way possible so you will succeed.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of being able to give back to the community. Through sales of Supported Soul yoga mats I’m able to donate to organizations that I admire. I’ve been fortunate enough to support the BC Children’s Hospital, Black Health Alliance, Qmunity and the Pacific Post Partum Society.
What would you tell your younger self?
Stop listening to your inner critic!
I would hand the 20 year old version of me the book “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer and hope that I would fully appreciate it’s message. I wasted too much time allowing myself to be controlled by negative thoughts and this is something I am trying to teach my children now.
Tell me 5 things about you that may not be well known
- I was born in a tiny town in the interior of BC
- My favorite junk food is jumbo gumballs
- I love reading self-help books
- I’m a dual citizen to Australia
- I was a cheerleader for the BC Lions