Laura Henshaw and Steph Claire Smith on the healthy habits that have had the biggest impact

Keep It Cleaner founders Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw lived through months of life in lockdown. Here, they exclusively share the daily healthy habits that got them through their darkest days. 

COVID has taught us many things; how to bake bread, how important hand washing is, but also how it’s possible to see the silver lining to something as dark and deadly as a global pandemic. Just as Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw.

The Melbourne-based friends and founders behind online fitness programme Keep It Cleaner (KIC) open up about the daily habits they adopted during the seemingly never-ending lockdown in the Victorian capital.

The duo may be known for their bubbly social media personas and legion of dedicated fitness fans online, but both readily admitted that they had low days too, and struggled with motivation to look after themselves.

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With challenge comes growth

Laura admits that “2020 has been a year filled with challenges, especially for us Melburnians who have endured some of the harshest lockdown rules in Australia. With challenge however comes growth, and this year has taught me the value of daily habits and goal setting.”

The duo set an October challenge for their KIC members, focusing on just that – the daily habits that would get them through. And both found the learnings to be not only life-changing, but so do-able that they’re going to continue with them well after lockdown ends.

Laura explains that the experience “solidified for me that there is enormous power in goal setting, and that creating small habits that can have a profound and positive impact on our health.”

Even fitfluencers struggle with motivation

Laura readily confesses that “motivation is something that I’ve sometimes struggled with, especially recently. The motivation to exercise, connect with friends, eat well, give everything to work – it’s been something that has been tricky. However when I started to really plan out my goals, and tick them off over the month, it was incredibly rewarding and motivating.”

A laser focus during pregnancy

Steph recently announced that she is expecting her first child, with husband Josh Miller, so this time has been especially transformative, explaining that it’s “been an incredible time for me and my growing family… I started with some daily habits, simple things like drinking more water and staying on top of my exercise routine.”

“I also committed to a bigger goal, which at the time was so critical for me, and that was taking care of myself during the early stages of my pregnancy. I hadn’t announced my news yet, so this was something I had to really focus on managing every day. “

Hold yourself accountable

“No matter how small or big my goals were, I found that actually saying them out loud, believing them and then actioning them was really powerful. Putting small things in place that enable us to feel accountable… is so important.”

The little habits that reap big rewards

For Laura, it came down to two things, positive self talk and meditation. For her especially, positive talk was a struggle; “it should be something we work on and practice everyday, but for me it’s something I have to constantly remind myself to do. The ability to build internal confidence is so incredibly powerful, controlling the narrative in our minds and reminding ourselves that we are enough…”

“A little tip I found helpful is to try to say something kind to yourself everyday, it will feel uncomfortable to begin with, but over time, creating a daily habit will make it easier and easier.”

Mindfulness came in at number two for Laura, She said of her new habit, “I set a goal in October to do a guided KIC meditation three times a week, this is something I found so liberating… I used to think meditating meant completely clearing my mind (which I thought I could never do), but I have learnt it is also OK to sit in your thoughts, and process them. This has helped me so much with stress and managing anxiety.”

“I now plan on incorporating this into my ongoing weekly routine.”

Find what fits for you

For mum-to-be Steph, there were a number of healthy habits that she adopted and is now planning to make a part of her daily routine. “The habits I’ve built in this time have taught me the power of self-care and the importance of this. Every day I committed to do something for me.”

5 daily practises that worked for Steph

  • Morning movement: either a KIC yoga flow or a walk
  • Hydration: a big glass of water (or bottle) before coffee in the morning
  • Digitally detoxing: switching off before heading to bed to wind down
  • Social connection: Talk to a friend or family member, virtually or in person
  • Journalling: spend 5-10 mins reflecting on your day and writing down your thoughts