Elle Halliwell is an Australian journalist, speaker and author with a passion for fashion and entertainment, who has had such a successful career both nationally and internationally.
In 2016, Elle's life changed within minutes when she was diagnosed was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer and also discovered she was pregnant. Her health battles fuelled a passion for health and wellbeing and is on a mission to inspire others to live their best lives. We sat down with Elle to gain insight into her day-to-day life now, as a cancer thriver.
Q: You are such an authentic and confident speaker, is this a passion & skill that you acquired quite early?
I still get super nervous! I’ve never been someone whose words flow easily in social situations; I’m a bit of an introvert actually. Talking on TV isn’t too stressful for me these days as you’re essentially talking to an inanimate object.
With groups, though, you’re getting immediate feedback so it can be daunting, but knowing I have something to say which may be able to help someone feel less alone or more confident on their own journey makes the pre-talk nerves always worth it. I think anyone who really cares deeply about wanting to give the most they can to the audience gets butterflies.
Q: Do you have any words of advice on how to become a more confident public speaker?
If I focus on the audience, and not about myself or what people are thinking of me, my fear usually goes away. It quietens down the ego. I also use the '54321' method just before a talk, which helps to ground me. I take notice of 5 things I can see, 4 things I can feel, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell, and 1 thing I'm grateful for... It puts me immediately in the present moment.
Q: What has been your biggest success. Did it give you a new perspective?
My biggest success is becoming a mum to a healthy baby against all odds. I'll never take my health for granted again and the wisdom and growth I've experienced from my illness and pregnancy is something I'm grateful for every day.
Q: Being a cancer thriver, you’ve had your own health battles over the years, how has this affected your current lifestyle? Does overcoming these battles continue to motivate you every day?
My cancer is chronic, so every day that I take my medication for my illness I'm reminded of how blessed I am to be alive. I used to be chronically stressed and anxious and prioritised work over relationships and my health, and now my life couldn't be more different. I live at a slower, more mindful place, prioritise family and self care and am in tune with my body and its needs. I'm grateful, more mindful and make time for joy.
Q: We absolutely love your Auricle Ear Seeds, can you tell us about these and also what led you to embarking on this new endeavour?
Thank you! I've been an acupressure and acupuncture devotee for years, and when my acupuncturist girlfriend introduced me to ear seeds a few years ago I found them really effective for reducing stress and easing my nausea while pregnant.
Ear seeds are acupressure pellets which stimulate the nerve endings in the ear to initiate a therapeutic or homeostatic response in the body. For example, one of these nerves is the vagus nerve which controls our parasympathetic nervous system, eg our "rest & digest" state. Stimulating this nerve can reduce stress and aid relaxation.
Stimulating other points on the ear with auricular acupressure has also been shown to assist with pain relief, improve sleep and support the body's detoxification and immune systems. The great thing about ear seeds is that unlike acupuncture, no needles are required, they can be applied at home and can be left on the ear for up to four days.
Q: Can we gain insight into your morning ritual, what does it look like and does it shape the rest of your day?
My day usually begins at about 6am when I'm woken up by my three-year-old son, Tor, or the family cat wanting food, so it's not exactly serene! I'll drink a warm glass of lemon water, take my chemo medication and then depending on the day, get Tor ready for preschool. I'll drink a glass of fresh celery juice and then take a walk - usually the Bondi to Bronte or a few laps of the Bondi Beach promenade - and meditate on the rocks or the beach park.
If i'm hungry I'll have a late breakfast of medicinal mushroom porridge with berries, nuts, seeds and maple syrup. This doesn't happen every day, but I try to tick at least a few of these boxes!
Q: What’s your favourite Retreatment Botanics product (if you can name just one)?
That's a tough one! But right now, with the cool dry winter weather and repeated hand-washing we're all doing right now, I'm finding the Wild Kakadu Hand and Body Cream an absolute godsend for my hands.
Q: Can you name two of your greatest inspirations and why?
The late Dr Wayne W Dyer. I discovered his spiritual teachings when I was just 15 and since then they have been such a comfort to me throughout my life. He inspires me to always act from a place of love.
My other inspiration is my little boy. His strength and spirit leaves me constantly in awe, and he has taught me so much; patience, the importance of play, and the depth of a mother's love.
To discover more about Elle's health journey, you can read her book 'A Mother's Choice'.
Retreatment Botanics proudly supports the ONJ Cancer Wellness & Research Centre. The ONJ Centre is a comprehensive cancer centre providing world leading research education and treatment for people and families with cancer, along with wellness programs to support them in body, mind and spirit.