A few months ago, the feed of Instagram fitness-phenom Sophie Gray—aka @WayofGray—started looking a little different.
The changes were subtle. Selfies that displayed Gray’s chiseled abs and perfectly tousled blonde hair paired with a comment urging followers to download her workout guides were slowly phased out, replaced with motivational phrases or the Insta-star’s smiling face. And the comments below the posts got longer—and way more real. A recent photo of Gray popped up in my feed, with this commentary below:
“Your physical appearance isn’t the thing that makes you deserving of love. You are deserving of love simply because you were born. You do not need a six pack, or a thigh gap or blonde hair or blue eyes to be worth. Every inch of your body including the pimples, dimples, cellulite, excess skin and everything in between is deserving of love.”
It’s a far cry from the ab selfies Gray was posting six months ago, but a very conscious change. “It’s a scary thing, to be known for fitness and being one way, and then totally changing direction towards more self-love,” she admitted to me when I asked her about the transition. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Followers might know a bit about Gray’s recent experience with anxiety and depression—she’s opened up about it on her social media channels—but a major event over the summer is what really influenced her evolution from fitness star to self-love advocate.
“I’d been traveling so much over the summer—like, 32 out of 40 days I was on the road. On my last travel day I was supposed to get on a flight from New York back to Canada, and for some reason I just couldn’t get on the plane. I’ve had panic attacks before, but this anxiety was completely unexplainable. I had no idea where it was coming from.”
Gray “couldn’t get it under control,” before the flight took off, and was forced to rent a car and do a 38-hour drive home instead of the four-hour flight. She spent the long car ride in thoughtful introspection, trying to figure out why she couldn’t shake overwhelming anxiety and dread.
“I realized that I’m taking care of my physical body, but I was completely ignoring my mental well-being,” says Gray.
So in that moment, she decided to start taking care of herself. “I had to put myself first, and that of course, impacted the content I was creating.” Instead of ab selfies, she was posting journal entries and powerful self-love mantras. “Posting a picture of my abs, that doesn’t empower me anymore.”
And since she’s shifted her content (and worked through her own anxiety and depression) she’s noticed that the women who sign up for her workout guides have come clean about dealing with the same worries and anxieties, too. Because of the overwhelmingly positive response to her new holistic, mind-body stance on wellness, she’s publishing a new 28-day guide—The Self Love Program.
Gray told me that when she was first working through her anxiety, she completely changed her morning routine. “I used to wake up and check my phone first thing in the morning. Since I stopped doing that, I’ve noticed a serious change in my well-being.” Here’s Sophie Gray’s exact morning routine to help stop anxiety in its tracks, and remind you to love yourself.
For my morning routine, I do all of this before looking at my phone. I leave my phone charging in my kitchen overnight.
In my shower, I repeat different mantras to manifest a kick-ass day.
“Today is going to be awesome. I love knowing that I am my own best friend. Today I am going to have a really wonderful day.”
Super simple statements like this to start my morning on a positive note!
Low blood sugar and anxiety and depression are highly linked. I NEVER miss breakfast!
I sit in silence or listen to a guided meditations for 5-15 minutes, depending on the day. You can always start off with simply 5 minutes and build on that.
For your meditation, it’s important to understand that you’re not trying to shut your thoughts off – that’s impossible. You are simply trying to bring your focus to a single thing. I personally like to think of my breath.
A really simple exercise for this is on the inhale say 1, exhale say 2, then do so all the way up to 10, then repeat.
I journal about anything that came up during my meditations and anything that may have happened the day before. I connect with myself and talk myself through certain challenges I’m facing.
How am I doing today? I know this is a super simple question but when was the last time we ask ourselves that?!
What am I grateful for? Starting your day with a grateful heart is SO powerful!
How can I show myself love today? Ask yourself how you’d like to receive love! Maybe a simple time out at lunch to stop and breath is all your body/mind/soul wants
After I complete all of this – which can be done in 30 minutes to 45 minutes. I start my day and go on my phone.
For this I say I like to CHECK IN before I CHECK OUT – so I connect with myself before I connect with the world around me.
In our society, we’re always go-go-go and never truly take the time to connect with our incredible selves. This routine helps one cultivate a practice of self!