Photography Veronica Tay, assisted by Angela Guo Styling Dolphin Yeo, assisted by Angela Chu Hair Junz Loke/Passion Hair Salon Makeup Clarence Lee, using Les Sautoirs de Coco by Chanel Outfit Bottega Veneta
Belying her cool and immaculate facade, Jacelyn Tay is as obliging and amiable as they come – her cheeriness never once wanes during her photo call and subsequent interview. We’re not surprised, given that she has long been known for her professionalism.
All those years away from the spotlight, save for the occasional appearance on local television, have been good for her. The Jacelyn today is radiant and full of life. The 40-year-old is a wellness coach at Body Inc., the holistic wellness centre she founded in 2006, as well as mum to a five-year-old son.
It’s a busy life that’s going to get busier this year. Besides plans to expand her business, Jacelyn is also busy with an ongoing Western herbal medicine course, which means no more acting engagements for the year, she explains.
She seems to manage all this busyness effortlessly. It’s all about prioritising and finding creative avenues for work, life and love, she says. We asked her to share her tips for forging the balance here:
Get Your Priorities Straight
Jacelyn admits she used to suffer from mummy guilt when her son was younger. “But guilt doesn’t help. So I slowed down in terms of acting to make time for him,” she says. “Not all working mums have the luxury of taking on less at work, but they can still make some adjustments to help balance their lives.”
Jacelyn’s strategy: “I cut out all my activities with friends during the first few years after he was born – so it was either work or my son,” she added. “Now, my friends understand that if they want to meet me, I’ll be taking my son along.”
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Don’t Cheat On Sleep
She attributes her healthy glow to getting eight hours of shut-eye a night. “No matter how busy I am, I try to be in bed by 11pm,” says Jacelyn, who is up between 6am and 7am every morning.
Eat Clean Even When Dining Out
The mumpreneur says she never snacks. Neither does she prep and cook her own meals – she mostly eats out. “It can be hard to find healthy food when you eat out, but it is not impossible,” she says. “If I go to the food court, I buy economy rice and choose dishes that are healthier, like steamed broccoli or fish, and avoid the oily dishes. I eat cleanly and simply.”
Rice, Not Salads, For Her
“I don’t put on weight when I eat rice, and I must have it with my meals,” she explains. “I don’t eat chicken because it’s not good for my blood type.
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“Not everyone can take salads,” Jacelyn adds. “According to traditional Chinese medicine, if your body is cooling, salads may worsen your circulation and slow down your metabolism. That may be a reason why some people eat lots of salads but still can’t lose weight.”
So which is more important to her – watching her diet or exercising? Jacelyn answers with a laugh: “I don’t think working women have time to work out, right? It’s quite hard for mothers to carve out time for exercise, myself included. It’s hard to find someone to take care of your kid so you can go for classes. And even if you manage to do so, your time is very restricted.
“While I don’t have a daily exercise routine, I make it a point to walk up and down the stairs. So if I’ve left my phone on the third floor, I will climb up to get it. And I do the same for other items. I can do that up to 20 times a day.”
Her tip for busy working mums: “Even if you’re in the office the entire day, try to stand and move around; don’t remain sedentary.”
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Jacelyn also takes advantage of the weekends to add more activity to her life. “I take my son out for a jog at the Botanic Gardens, go cycling or do some water activities. That way, I stay active while getting to spend time with him. I love nature. I hate gyms,” she says sheepishly.
Get Active With A Sport You Love
“I don’t think setting a daily exercise routine and telling yourself you’re doing it for health or weight loss is motivating. I’d rather do a sport I like and be active,” says Jacelyn, who started wakeboarding 15 years ago. “I used to go wakeboarding every week – twice a week even. I stopped for a while after I got married and had a child, but now that my son’s older, I’ve picked it up again.”
Schedule Me Time
“For friends with families, it’s easier to spend time together since the kids can play and entertain themselves. Sometimes, I leave him with friends and take half a day out for myself, to go wakeboarding, for instance. We take turns so everyone gets some time off,” said Jacelyn.
Make Time To Care For Your Skin
“I do facials and body treatments frequently as part of my job. And if I have a photo shoot, I apply a mask for three days in a row – it helps nourish and hydrate the skin,” says Jacelyn.
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“I also take vitamin C supplements as they help brighten the skin, especially if I spend time in the sun. I did it the other day when I went wakeboarding and was afraid my freckles would darken. For the vitamin C supplements to be effective, I take them at least one week in advance.”
Supplements are also a boon to busy working mums, Jacelyn says. “Women in Singapore are so caught up with juggling work, family and kids that they don’t manage to have three healthy, nourishing meals a day. Supplements can help you get the nutrients you need.”
Jacelyn’s Top Tips For Healthy Living
The nutrition coach shares some advice on what to eat for overall wellness.
For Optimum Health
“Take echinacea to boost immunity, Siberian ginseng to boost energy levels, thyme to clear phlegm, and lemon balm to reduce stress. I also take hawthorn in a concentrated form to help circulation.”
Feed Your Skin
“White fungus and papaya soup is good for the skin as it nourishes the lungs and improves the ‘yin’ in our bodies.”
Start The Day Right
“For breakfast, I prefer rice or porridge and vegetables. And no, you won’t put on weight if you have rice in the morning.”
This story was originally published in the March 2016 issue of Simply Her.