ARTAH founder, Rhian Stephenson, shares with us her personal story, the importance of making empowered health decisions, and why feeling part of a community is so important right now.
Rhian is a registered Nutritionist, Naturopath, and has been at the forefront of the fitness industry for the past 6 years. We first got to know Rhian when she was CEO at Psycle, where APOTHEM is a community partner. Rhian went on to found ARTAH in 2019 with the launch of its flagship retreat property in Spain. Following the success of the first digital programme, “ARTAH At Home”, ARTAH's latest retreat ,“Virtual Recharge”, gives guests the opportunity to shed negative energy, boost metabolism and head into Spring feeling completely renewed.
COULD YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND?
I'm originally from Canada but my father is from Wales, so I spent a lot of time in the UK as a child and that always made me want to spend more time here. I moved to London in my 20's and worked in a clinical setting as a Nutritionist and Naturopath until I met the investors from Psycle. I had the opportunity to join the Psycle brand team before we launched back in 2014 and within a few months I was asked to be CEO, which was an incredibly opportunity. I was CEO for 7 years before leaving at the end of 2020, and seeing how much the attitude to health and fitness transformed over that period was amazing. It was so fulfilling to be able to be such an important and impactful part of people's lives.
Getting back into the world of Nutrition and functional medicine has also been amazing. Fitness is such an important part of the puzzle, but Nutrition is the most impactful factor and has the strongest influence on our health, our energy, and how we experience our life. I think I'll always be torn between wanting to spend time in the fitness world and time in the nutrition world - they are both my passions! But right now I'm super passionate about helping people get to the root of their health issues and really take control of their metabolic landscape, it couldn't be a more important time for people to feel empowered when it comes to their health.
WHAT LED YOU TO LAUNCH THE LATEST VIRTUAL RECHARGE AT ARTAH?
The challenges and restrictions we've faced over the past year have really taken their toll, both physically and emotionally, so I wanted to create a programme that will help people feel like they have a tangible, effective way to reclaim their health and let go of some of the negativity and stress we're all living through.
Having a 5-day programme that you can do with a community and amazing instructors gives you structure and motivation but also accountability and support, something that everyone is crying out for right now. It's amazing how impactful 5 days can actually have - we've curated a super impactful programme.... we have yoga and barre for fitness, amazing self-care workshops and the results-based nutrition that we're known for.
I actually can't wait to do it myself! It's nice not to have to think - to have something that you know will just take care of you. When it comes down to it, we just wanted something that would make everyone feel amazing, so we're really excited.
WE’RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE WORD ARTAH, DOES IT HAVE A MEANING?
It does. ARTAH means purpose in Hindi. This really resonated with me - in order to live your best life, you need to be in your best health. I've always encouraged people to attach meaning and purpose to their health so that it becomes a core value rather than a fleeting weight related goal, so when I saw this it just felt right.
IN YOUR RESEARCH FOR SETTING UP ARTAH, WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAME ACROSS THAT SURPRISED YOU?
One of the biggest realisations that came out of my research was how many of people are actually suffering with lifestyle related conditions or symptoms on a day-to-day basis without the knowledge or tools to fix or improve them. When I look at my immediate group of friends, every single one of them has something that they have just come to consider as normal - IBS, eczema, chronic sinus issues, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, weight related issues, hormone imbalances - and these are all health-conscious individuals. The pattern was the same in the bigger picture. So many of these things can be significantly improved if not fixed with the right diet and lifestyle prescription, and people are hungry to understand what they can actually do to impact their health.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DO WHAT YOU DO?
I was an incredibly sick child - I had terrible GI problems and had to sleep propped up because my reflux was so bad. I had chronic sinusitis, migraines, respiratory infections and just no energy at all. I spent years going to specialists and it wasn't until I was in my late teens that I discovered I was allergic to the proteins found in milk. I cut these out and within 6 months I was a completely different person - it was shocking to me how much my life improved just from changing my diet.
AS A NEW MUM, WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU REALLY TRY AND STICK TO WHEN IT COMES TO SELF-CARE?
Nutrition is the one thing that I've buckled down on since having a baby. As a nutritionist, my nutrition has always been good, but before I had a baby I had the freedom to train whenever and however I wanted, so you can get away with more.
When you have a baby everything changes, and I really felt the swings from what I ate after I had my c-section. I couldn't train for 3 months (which was a first for me) while I was healing from surgery - add fatigue, pain and stress on top of that and it makes for a pretty challenging environment. If I ate badly, I could just feel everything getting worse - my mood, my ability to cope, my energy. It's just not worth it. So I've actually found it easier to stay completely on top of my nutrition since having a baby, probably because I need it so much more.
Of course, exercise is a huge one for me. I still move every day, even if it's only for a short 20-minute session. It's essential for my mind and to have a bit of me time amidst a business and a baby!
HOW DOES CBD PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR WELLNESS ROUTINE?
I have always been a fan of CBD, but even more so since becoming a mother. I'm really responsive to CBD and it's helped me feel more balanced and steadier throughout the hormonal swings post birth. I especially find APOTHEM’s LIGHTS OUT CBD oil formulation helpful - my mind is pretty full and I have a tendency towards feeling wired at night. When I have to wake up multiple times a night for the baby, I really struggle with switching off so if I need extra support, I find that the benefits of CBD work for me.
IF YOU COULD ONLY SHARE 3 TIPS FOR DAILY WELLNESS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
- Focus on food first. Your nutrition is the most influential factor on how you feel.
- You'll always feel better if you move.
- Stress is a thing. You need to make sure that you have things planned into your routine that specifically help you recover and down regulate your stress response.
AND FINALLY, WHAT IS THE SONG YOU TURN TO THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD NO MATTER WHAT?
It's a bit of a weird one - but She Doesn't Mind by Sean Paul. It reminds me of my favourite ride I taught at Psycle and I smile every time I hear it.
Visit https://www.artah.co to check out Rhian and the team's latest wellness offerings.