Jill Bucaro of Wellness Riot: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing

Remember your why: Why do you want to lose weight, why do you want to eat clean, why do you want to work out more? I hear all the time, “I can’t have carbs” or “I have to go to the gym”. Why? Keeping your why top of mind will help guide you and put any changes you are making into perspective. For example, eating anti-inflammatory foods doesn’t really mean anything to me, but being able to get on the floor and play cars with my 10 year old because my joints don’t hurt — now that means a lot.

As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Bucaro.

Jill is an Integrative Health Practitioner and owner of Wellness Riot. She has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a graduate of the Naturopathic Doctor program through Trinity School of Natural Health, a Board Certified Doctor of Natural Medicine through the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board and a certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Jill helps busy men and women who feel stressed, tired and overwhelmed come up with a plan to feel like their joyful, energetic selves again. She also has many tricks up her sleeve for kids, so she loves helping parents who are looking for healthy solutions that include the whole family. Jill’s true desire is to make health and wellness accessible, affordable, and exciting for everyone.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

Absolutely, I appreciate the opportunity to connect with you! It’s been a lifetime of events that guided me to where I am today. I was introduced to the idea of healthy food by my 70s granola mom. We had black strap molasses and wheat germ in everything, no fast food and very little soda. At school, nobody would trade lunches with me, so I had no choice but to eat what she packed! As a teenager and in college, I rebelled a bit (OK, maybe a lot) and ate all sorts of junk…and paid for it. It was during those years that I started to understand what you eat really affects how you feel. At the same time, my mom went through some health issues related to artificial sweeteners, which initiated my skepticism towards “magic bullets”. When I became pregnant at age 35, I was automatically lumped into a high risk category (even the word geriatric was used as a descriptor of me on a doctor’s invoice!). This confused me because I was waaaay healthier at 35 than I was at 25, so I started to question the markers and measures they used to determine health status. Why did the doctors only look at my age to determine risk of pregnancy? Why is 35 considered elderly? If we are supposed to feel worse as we age (because isn’t that what we’re told?), why did I feel better at 35 than 25 and now feel even better at 46? Why didn’t all my friends and family feel better as they aged? Why did some people get diseases and others didn’t? A few years later, I started to experience some difficulty with swallowing and digestion. I was eating pretty healthy at this point (I understand “eating pretty healthy” can mean like a thousand things), but I had an incredibly stressful job and a 3 year old, so I started to understand what an impact stress can have on physical health. On top of that, my doctor (a GI doctor, mind you) never asked me about what I ate, what I drank or any lifestyle questions at all. After an endoscopy showed I had erosions in my stomach, I was given two prescriptions to take indefinitely and a wave goodbye. I decided to do my homework and ended up resolving the issue by adding and subtracting foods and supplements and incorporating some serious stress management strategies. I felt like a superhero! And I thought about how many people I knew that could benefit from this kind of information, yet I was sure they didn’t know any of it. I returned to school so I could add some credentials to my passion and now I help empower people to improve their own health. Anyone can do this, anyone can feel better regardless of starting point.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I was preparing to do a presentation at a local health food store about advocating for your own health. I had reached out to a friend of mine, a medical doctor, because I had wanted to get his thoughts and perspective on what patients could do to help support their own health journey. He replied with “Happy to help, but I would probably learn more from you than you would from me.” It really took me by surprise, a medical doctor thought he could learn from me? I felt humbled and honored and proud, it was definitely a wow moment.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

Well, I always like to try things out before I form an opinion about or recommend them. I had heard about the Master Cleanse and wanted to give it a whirl. Now, I had read up on the program in pretty great detail before embarking, but didn’t realize just how serious my relationship with the loo would become. Oh, and sometimes your breath is less than desirable. And mood fluctuations are not totally uncommon. And the best part? I decided to start it just two weeks after moving in with my boyfriend. Why I decided to turn my digestive world upside down at that particular time still stumps me, but thankfully my now husband found it adorable…or at least not a deal breaker.

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I think being an authority in any field means you are always open to learning more. I love learning, I like seeing and hearing all perspectives. In the health and wellness arena, there are many “sides” and the battles between sides can be fierce. I think it does everyone a disservice when we don’t listen to what others have to say, even if we think we disagree. If you hear the other side and still disagree, fine. But what if you learn something?

My specialty is really sleuthing or getting to the root cause of health issues. Most people know what is going on — can’t sleep, excess weight, low energy, aches and pains, bloating, etc. I help people figure out why it’s going on. Then I help them take small and sustainable steps towards optimal health. I treat everyone as an individual, no one size fits all for me!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

You’re so right! I consider myself fortunate to have had so many amazing people contribute to my vision, journey and success, but I’ll try to pick one to highlight. Angie Ates was one of my instructors at Trinity School of Natural Health, she was dynamic, knowledgeable and so much fun. After I graduated and was knee deep in the job search, I mentioned her name at an interview because she had access to a book that was relevant to the position I was applying for. I got the job (thanks Angie!) and a few weeks later, the company informed me they had reached out to her and she was coming out to help us with some training, so our paths crossed again. We kept in touch over the next few years, mostly through social media. She started her own school for natural health and had posted that she was looking for nutrition experts to teach modules as part of a Family Nutrition Course. I submitted interest and got the gig (thanks again Angie!). She was incredibly helpful, supportive and positive through the process and continues to support me in multiple ways. Much gratitude.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Ah, that’s the good stuff, isn’t it? They say knowledge is power, but it’s truly action that is power. So, here are 3 things that keep us from doing what we know is best:

  1. We make it too complicated. Do you think hundreds and thousands of years ago people were counting grams of carbs or timing out their protein intake or spending hours reading ingredient labels? Nope. They ate whole, unprocessed foods, drank plenty of water, moved around in functional ways, got some sleep and spent time outside. The end. OK, I might be simplifying it a little bit, but we really do make things more complex than is necessary. And overcomplicating things is a great way to come to a dead stop.
  2. We think it can’t be fun. Now, I’ll admit that the health and wellness community is not necessarily known for its levity, however you can still enjoy your life while eating healthfully. In fact, I would argue that you can actually have more fun if you eat nutrient dense food and get some regular movement in because you will feel better. And I happen to think feeling great is pretty darn fun.
  3. If it doesn’t work in 5 minutes, we’re not interested. We have become big fans of instant results, but unfortunately, the quickest solution isn’t always the best. It might help in the short term, but for how long and at what cost?

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

Happy to share! In addition to each tweak, I’ve included a specific action step that you can take today to get started.

1.) Remember your why: Why do you want to lose weight, why do you want to eat clean, why do you want to work out more? I hear all the time, “I can’t have carbs” or “I have to go to the gym”. Why? Keeping your why top of mind will help guide you and put any changes you are making into perspective. For example, eating anti-inflammatory foods doesn’t really mean anything to me, but being able to get on the floor and play cars with my 10 year old because my joints don’t hurt — now that means a lot.

ACTION STEP: Write down your why, keep it handy, keep it visible and always keep it in mind.

2.) Think beyond food: Many times, we don’t consider stress, work, physical activity, relationships, toxin overload or sleep when it comes to health. You can eat all the salads and smoothies you want, but if you are working 80 hours a week, in a toxic relationship, not sleeping or overscheduled, at best you will see some improvements, then plateau, but often you won’t see any changes at all and end up feeling frustrated. So, always take a holistic view.

ACTION STEP: Write these things down and rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10: Stress, work environment, home environment, movement/physical activity, sleep, toxins, relationships and community. Now put some attention on the areas where you scored the lowest.

3.) Remember what our bodies and minds know, love and are familiar with: Some things we see as normal today really aren’t. Sitting all day, being inside, on screens, staying up all or most of the night, driving, drinking out of plastic, taking medication, processed food, pesticides and cleaning with chemicals are all things we see as everyday and not out of the ordinary, but when we think a few thousand or even a few hundred years ago, almost none of that was in place. It’s really a tiny sliver of time that this has been our norm compared to how long humans have been on the planet and our bodies just haven’t had time to adapt. This also applies to getting healthy: Processed “healthy” snack bars, sugar free beverages, counting calories, grams or ounces, invasive procedures like stomach stapling or liposuction are all foreign to our bodies. Our bodies will try to compensate and deal with it (and they are experts at doing so), but it takes energy and causes stress, so it’s always best to stick to what’s in alignment with nature.

ACTION STEP: Go through your day and compare your environment, your actions, your routine, your food to what it might have been like 10,000 years ago.

4.) Stop being everyone (or anyone) else: We are all different and while there are some things that are generally good for all of us like eating more vegetables and drinking plenty of clean water, there is a lot that can vary from one person to another. Have you ever started a diet or eating plan with a friend, family member or co-worker and one of you does great and one, not so much? Or have you ever bought a book, started to follow the plan, but you don’t actually feel any better? In fact, you feel even worse? Then what happens? We think it must be something we did wrong. So on top of not seeing the improvements we want, we feel terrible about it and start questioning our integrity, our ability to commit, our knowledge. Nothing is for everyone. Some of our bodies tolerate dairy, some don’t, some do well with grains, some like to go longer between meals, some thrive on raw foods. When we tune into our bodies and really feel what works and what doesn’t, it’s amazing what we can do and how great we can feel.

ACTION STEP: Track what you eat and how you feel for a few weeks. Consider not only tummy issues, but how you sleep, your energy levels in the afternoon, mood fluctuations, aches and pains and mental clarity. Then use this information to make decisions about what to continue doing and what to change.

5.) Don’t make 50 changes overnight: I, too, have done 7 day health challenges and 21 day challenges. And even if they went well, I’ll tell you what happened on day 8 or day 22: Back to the routine I was used to and back to the health issues I was used to. Of course, because these were unsustainable changes that were not meant for the long term. Making small, but impactful changes over time may not seem glamorous or thrilling, but small changes work and they last…without turning your world upside down. Changes should push you outside of your comfort zone, but they shouldn’t add stress to your life because honestly, don’t we have plenty of that already?

ACTION STEP: Think of ONE thing you can do to step towards health. Implement that for a couple weeks or until you are comfy with it, then add on.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

Three things my clients (and most people) are concerned about are energy, mood and sleep. Studies have shown that exercise can positively impact all three areas! In addition to having a direct effect on energy, mood and sleep, the 3 areas impact each other. When you’re less stressed, you may have an easier time falling asleep and when you get quality sleep, your energy is more balanced. Win-win-win!

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

What’s most critical is choosing an activity that you enjoy and will actually do. Do you like dancing? Dance! If you find joy in running, run. If yoga is your jam, then om and namaste to you. With that said, something that increases your heart rate (walk, swim, run, bike, hike) a few times a week has been shown to benefit your cardiovascular system. Strength training, which can look like lifting weights or exercises that use your own body weight, has been shown to help support bone health and improve muscle mass, which can give your metabolism a boost. And don’t forget to stretch! Stretching helps improve flexibility, posture, range of motion and can help decrease the risk of injury…and it just feels so darn good.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

Only one?? There are countless, but one that sticks out is In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I loved reading it and I really loved sharing it. I bought it for every person I knew for any and every holiday that year. I believe health is much simpler than we make it out to be and this book just nails that concept. It also is full of aha moments with regards to how food is processed, just how much food is processed, how food companies get to put questionable foods on the shelves (Olestra, anyone?), farming practices and who actually benefits when we eat a certain way.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Well first of all, thank you for the compliment! My movement would focus on increasing the availability, accessibility and affordability of proactive and preventative health solutions. At this time, very few of these modalities are available through or covered by insurance, which puts them out of reach for many that need them most. We need to connect medical doctors and health coaches. Every medical doctor — general or specialized — has a coach to support their patients post appointment. The average doctor’s appointment is 12 minutes, this is not nearly enough time to address the root cause of symptoms, discuss a thorough health history or provide detail regarding approachable and sustainable solutions. The doctor and coach work together to ensure their patients succeed in feeling better, and not just by masking symptoms, but by getting to the root cause of the issue and supporting the patient as they make diet and lifestyle changes.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Growing up, my dad would regularly ask my brother and I to help with chores around the house (as dads tend to do). We usually replied with a groan or grumble, to which he would say “I’m not asking you to cut your finger off, I’m asking you to [fill in chore]”. We hated when he said that, but it makes me laugh now for a couple reasons. First, he was right, he never once asked us to cut off our finger. And second, we most certainly and positively overreacted to his simple requests. I think of this saying often when I’m faced with a task or work I don’t want to do because in some weird way, it puts things in perspective. I have not yet needed to cut off my finger, and for that I’m grateful.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Dr. Zach Bush, hands down. I don’t know of another human that is so captivating, so heart and humanity focused and so in alignment with nature. He’s what we need in the world. If you have not heard him speak, I urge you to do so, you’ll walk away changed.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Website: www.wellnessriot.com

Wellness Riot on YouTube

Wellness Riot on Instagram

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Jill Bucaro of Wellness Riot: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Delia Passi of WomenCertified on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help…

Women In Wellness: Delia Passi of WomenCertified on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Be informed and smart as to where to go for the best health care. Go to the Women’s Choice Award website and become familiar with the best in emergency care, stroke care, heart care, obstetrics, orthopedic care, bariatrics, breast care and so much more. Just know before you go, because if can cost you your life!

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Delia Passi.

Delia Passi is the founder and CEO of WomenCertified Inc., the home of the Women’s Choice Award®. The award allows consumers to identify brands and health care facilities that meet the needs and expectations of female customers based on robust criteria and data that consider a woman’s experience. It was named by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies for three consecutive years. She is the former publisher of Working Mother and Working Woman magazines and was responsible for the success of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” list. Delia has dedicated her career to empowering women and is a leader in marketing and selling to women. She is the author of Winning the Toughest Customer: The Essential Guide to Selling to Women. She has been a keynote speaker for multiple Fortune 500 companies including Toyota, Wells Fargo, Ameriprise, Office Depot, Merrill Lynch, UPS, Microsoft, Harley Davidson, Lexus and more.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and passion to empower women. I am the former Group Publisher of Working Mother and Working Woman magazines and author of Winning the Toughest Customer: The Essential Guide to Selling to Women. In 2003 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and experienced a horrific health care experience, which made me determined to empower every woman to make smarter health care choices by providing publicly available reporting on the best breast centers and hospitals. The need was evident as the brand grew and expanded quickly, resulting in being named by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies for three consecutive years.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Wow, this is a tough one as I’ve been blessed and challenged with lots of life lessons! After starting, growing, selling and closing a custom publishing company, I needed a job as I was a single mom of three young girls, so I accepted a business development consulting role at Working Mother magazine at far below what I was making running my own company. I remember walking into my new office which was a converted closet, with a small desk and a phone. I turned my experience as a custom publisher into an entire new revenue stream for the magazine, creating special advertising sections, custom books and customer inserts, generating millions of dollars for a struggling magazine. Three months later I was offered the publisher position, and 18 months later Group Publisher position. Lesson — When you know your worth it doesn’t matter where you start, what matters is what you do.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Greatest mistake was selling 40 percent of my custom publishing business to a publically traded company without a protection clause. Three years later the parent company filed Chapter 11. End result was that my entire team of amazing, dedicated staff of mostly single, working mothers had to be told without notice that their jobs were terminated. The hardest day of my career.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve been blessed to have a few amazing mentors, mostly men. My dearest champion was Ben Bliss. By the time I met him he was retired but quite a force in his time as an “Ad Man on Mad Men” personified. He had no fear and taught me how to see beyond boundaries, to call anyone and to network with everyone until you get what you need. He showed me the true meaning of “the sky’s the limit.”

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

We all thrive when women are empowered to choose the best health care for her and her families. Choosing the best care was, and continues to be, a challenge, especially for certain demographics, but fortunately for women and men the Women’s Choice Award provides a free resource where patients are provided fact-based reporting and ratings on every hospital as well as for breast centers, mammogram imaging, surgical centers and more.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

1) Be informed and smart as to where to go for the best health care. Go to the Women’s Choice Award website and become familiar with the best in emergency care, stroke care, heart care, obstetrics, orthopedic care, bariatrics, breast care and so much more. Just know before you go, because if can cost you your life!

2) Breathe — learn to destress by a simple breathing exercise you can do anywhere and when needed to lower your blood pressure and anxiety.

3) Know your body, know your breast, be in tune to changes.

4) Early detection is so important so be proactive — when something doesn’t seem right don’t put off going to the doctor.

5) Sleep well. You hear this often, so if you haven’t embraced getting a solid 7–8 hours of sleep, then get started on a healthier you tonight.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Well, I’ll give you a sneak peek of what’s coming as that’s my health moonshot! To give every woman in America access to the best of the best doctors on demand and the drugs she needs at costs she can afford. We will be launching in markets throughout the USA soon through OKVera.com.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Don’t be discouraged by naysayers. People love to share all the reasons why things won’t work. If you have a clear vision of your success you can make it happen!
  2. Starting a business is going to take an extraordinary amount of perseverance, beyond what you think you can handle.
  3. Identify the people you want to help you succeed and then approach them. Don’t be afraid, the worst thing to happen is that they say no, but most will offer at least some valuable advice.
  4. Be prepared with enough money in the bank to carry your household for 18 months when starting a business.
  5. Don’t ever personally sign for a startup business loan. Find another way.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health. One of my daughters, an attorney, struggles with ADHD and depends on Adderall. I see first-hand the many challenges she faces with access convenience, access to her prescriptions and support. Legislation needs to allow telehealth access so doctors can prescribe responsibly controlled substances while offering a convenient and affordable option to those in need. An opportunity we plan on addressing through OKVera.com.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

https://www.facebook.com/WomensChoiceAward/

https://www.instagram.com/womenschoiceawardusa/

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Delia Passi of WomenCertified on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women Of The C-Suite: Cathy Butler of Organic On The Five Things You Need To Succeed As A Senior…

Women Of The C-Suite: Cathy Butler of Organic On The Five Things You Need To Succeed As A Senior Executive

Decisiveness — Your entire day as a CEO is spent making decisions.. I don’t think I understood the importance of this skill until I was in my first CEO role. As the person who has the final say in everything at your company you cannot be paralyzed about making a decision or you break the entire system you’ve worked so hard to create.

As a part of our series about strong women leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cathy Butler.

Cathy Butler is the CEO of digital agency Organic, where she leads the agency with over 20 years of marketing and tech experience. She has worked with brands like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and American Express in their ambition to be digital-first businesses.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My career beginning was unusual compared to most advertising agency CEOs. I started out with the goal to be a music journalist and my first job was at Rolling Stone Magazine. While I was there I helped the magazine move their content and experience online and in the process I discovered that “online”, whatever that meant at the time, was interesting. With some nascent online experience, I then went on to launch Epicurious, and e-commerce for Barnes and Noble and IKEA. It was really exciting to create anew, but also led to a deep but early understanding of online customer experience. I then jumped into agency land, working my way through roles in project management, operations, learned to run a P&L, and marketing/client service, leading bigger and bigger teams. It was this tour of duty that prepared me for being a CEO.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There’s been a few times, early on in my CEO journey and through today, where I’ve been mistakenly overlooked as someone who holds the decision making power. I’m a petite Asian American woman and, at first glance, assumptions have proven that I don’t ladder up to the look of engrained CEO expectations. It’s a reminder of the challenges that female leaders continue to face, and that we have a long way to go to reset expectations.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Gavin Fraser, now CEO of Small Planet, was instrumental in my early career. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without his mentorship, guidance and support. He really understood my ambition to lead a company one day and he helped me cultivate skills that I needed to become a CEO. Under his wing, I worked intentionally across every facet of running a company from P&L management through marketing to client services.

In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?

I sleep a lot, and deprioritize many things (TV bingeing, invites, life!) so that I can get close to a coveted 8–9 hours of sleep. I learned this the hard way, having spent a couple of years incredibly stressed and sleep deprived. Getting enough sleep enables me to feel healthy, happy, productive and able to manage the stresses of my job. I also like to have personal projects outside of work that require commitment and focus; I’ve run five half marathons and am currently training for my first triathlon.

As you know, the United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?

As an Asian American female CEO, diversity is inherently part of my success story. so I am responsible for ensuring opportunities are available to future leaders. Equally important is our responsibility to create work that represents our world at large. People who are diverse create work that is diverse. It’s as simple as that.

As a business leader, can you please share a few steps we must take to truly create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society? Kindly share a story or example for each.

Declare it as a priority and understand this challenge is much larger than you or I. We have to do everything we can at an individual and company level to ensure we’re cultivating an inclusive environment that strives towards a more equitable world. This isn’t about celebrating a DEI benchmark on paper or highlighting cultural history for one month out of the year. It’s about making conscious efforts each day to foster an environment where each voice is heard and respected so that we can all share in the benefits of diversity. At Organic, we host recurring “UnTownhalls’’ to create space for all voices to be heard and we coordinate regular 1:1 meetings between folks that don’t normally work closely together as another way to foster inclusivity and connection internally. Our goals for diversity will prevail if we continuously instill inclusivity as a belief system and exercise those values transparently.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?

My main job is to set a vision and to simplify the complexities of achieving that vision. To do so requires a macro view of everything happening at our company — from our people to our clients, the work being produced to our fiscal performance. Details really matter to me, and my goal is to create a company that feels personal with great career opportunities.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive. Can you explain what you mean?

Being the CEO can be a lonely gig. There is a perception that CEOs aren’t normal people and I spend a lot of time demystifying that belief. I try to make it clear that what separates me from everybody else is just my level of experience. I am not a super human. I make mistakes, I’m super clumsy and I have terrible ideas. I put in effort so that people really get to know me, and to know that I care. A lot. My goal is to talk to 3–5 employees every day. I have smaller breakfast meetings with specific teams and coffee with all new hires. I do whatever it takes for my employees to see me as a real person, not some distant, out of touch leader — even when it means getting out of my comfort zone as an introvert.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Career planning and skill building is so important for women. There is a lot of research pointing to the importance of women being proactive about their own careers. For example, if women aren’t managing somebody within the first three years of their job, their career path will be entirely different than a woman who gets that early management experience. Young women entering the workforce have to be their own best advocates, be vocal about their goals and own their career development.

What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

I never considered how lonely the CEO role is. There’s a lot you have to keep close to your chest while making pivotal decisions every day.

Certainly, not everyone is cut out to be an executive. In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive? Can you explain what you mean?

Decisiveness. Your entire day as a CEO is spent making decisions.. I don’t think I understood the importance of this skill until I was in my first CEO role. As the person who has the final say in everything at your company you cannot be paralyzed about making a decision or you break the entire system you’ve worked so hard to create.

You also need to be capable of earning trust. My approach is to be completely transparent — I will answer any question that I’m asked. This is especially true if you are pushing for dramatic change in your company. When you are asking everyone to take a huge leap of faith in your vision, you have to be open and honest about what that means.

What advice would you give to other women leaders to help their team to thrive?

Your career isn’t a linear progression. You have to develop skills you need to get you to where you want to be. I recently interviewed a candidate for a HR position who never held any HR-specific roles however her entrepreneurial endeavours taught her skills that are invaluable to this particular role. The more time you spend on growing and broadening your skillset, the more opportunities you can create for yourself.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I make a point to get to know my junior staff and build relationships with each of them. A goal of mine is to foster an environment where we can all learn from each other and cultivate opportunities for the next generation of women leadership.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. It’s not about climbing the hierarchy. It’s about preparing yourself for the expertise you’ll need to succeed in your dream role.
  2. Work/life balance is impossible. Set yourself up for success by organizing your priorities (and your calendar) while staying flexible instead of getting bogged down trying to strike a perfect balance.
  3. Perception is reality when you’re a leader and you’ll have to rise above those presumptions to be successful.
  4. True authenticity requires self-reflection. I carve out time each week to reflect on the days past and week ahead.
  5. Be receptive to change and committed to collaboration.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Building corporate cultures around the idea of Positive Intent. If we all believed and behaved in the best interests of each other — no politicking, not acting on our insecurities, and thinking about the greater good of the company — the fundamental DNA of your corporate culture would be built upon trust. Trust breeds great relationships and great work. And that’s important to all corporate futures.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Are you a Giver or a Taker?” It’s a fundamental question that those on the cusp of or are in leadership roles really need to define for themselves as it shapes your leadership style. Adam Grant’s book (Give and Take) transformed how I defined the traits about being a good leader.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them

Barack Obama or Oprah. They’re both incredible listeners, great decision makers and very empathetic — all qualities that I admire in a leader. I continuously strive to hone those leadership qualities in my position.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.


Women Of The C-Suite: Cathy Butler of Organic On The Five Things You Need To Succeed As A Senior… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dr. Brian G Brown of ‘The Genesis Zone Advantage’: 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental

Dr. Brian G. Brown of ‘The Genesis Zone Advantage’: 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness

Surviving & Thriving, Never The Victim. A phenomenon that I’ve noticed after years of clinical practice is that those who identify as surviving and thriving almost always have the highest optimized mental wellness. There’s no room for being a victim of your mind. This doesn’t mean that, by definition, you’re not a victim. The difference is that you do not identify as a victim. Much like letting go of offense, this is an active choice that may need to be practiced daily.

As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Brian G. Brown of the Genesis Zone Advantage™.

Dr. Brian G. Brown, the “Gene Fatigue” Doc, is a functional & integrated practitioner, author, and international speaker. He leans into his 23 years of experience to help high-achievers naturally eliminate “gene fatigue” obstacles that lead to unresolved emotional and physical challenges, so they can optimize for higher achievement & live the life of their dreams.

Dr. Brian accomplishes this by focusing first on the genetic causes, which he calls the True Root Causes™. Through this lens, he can facilitate more precise and practical recovery and performance optimization using gene-centered nutrition & supplementation.

After an undiagnosed pediatric heart condition that nearly claimed his life and left him with extreme fatigue and a host of physical and mental health challenges, Dr. Brian developed the Genesis Zone Advantage™, an efficient 4-step formula to naturally resolve emotional and physical health challenges at their True Root Causes™. Powered by his proprietary formula, Dr. Brian has helped thousands overcome emotional and physical difficulties, reclaim energy, and optimize their life for high achievement.

Dr. Brian is the author of the forthcoming books Health Hijackers for Women and Health Hijackers for Men. Dr. Brian is a dynamic presenter whose insights have been featured on podcasts and stages before world audiences. He can be found in Medium, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, iHeart Radio, and forthcoming in BuzzFeed & Entrepreneur Magazine.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Around age five, I was electrocuted. Apparently, in the early ’70s, no one thought to check a kid’s heart status after an electrocution injury, so I was treated for burns and sent home. Within the year, I was waking with my heart pounding, shortness of breath, and profuse sweating. Everyone thought it was night terrors.

I carried the “night terror” diagnosis well into my adult years, even though less than 1% of children carry this into adulthood. By my early 30’s, I began struggling with anxiety and depression, and by the time I’d finished my medical training, I was placed on Prozac. This would be the first of nine different depression medications over the next 16 years.

Out of frustration with a broken medical system and a burning desire to end the madness, I set out on a journey to find healing. I closed my office practice and began working on re-educating and re-skilling. It’s led me to where I am today. Now, my focus is on healing the body, starting at the genetic level.

Genes are like light switches that can be turned on or off. They’re the basic building blocks of life. Most people think of genes in a negative light, but the overwhelming majority of our genes positively impact our health and often balance out the negative influences.

The key is knowing which of your genes have positive versus negative effects so that you can implement a custom-tailored plan to support your genes positively. Then, once this is done, other aspects of the healing journey come more easily and quickly.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

At the height of my frustration with mainstream medicine and the lack of healing that had occurred in my body, I had decided to leave mainstream medical practice. The problem was, I didn’t know how to get out of the hamster wheel.

Within days of saying to myself, “I can’t do this anymore. I’ve got to get out,” I attended a cardiovascular conference in Boston, Massachusetts. In the keynote address, Dr. Ernst Schaefer went utterly off-script. A Big Pharma company was paying him big bucks to speak about their drugs. Instead, he talked about natural treatment alternatives for cardiovascular disease management.

What he said piqued my interest, so I approached him as he exited the stage. He told me that with time, he’d concluded that the body was designed to heal and optimize itself. He’d also concluded that it sometimes needed a bit of help to get unstuck. He’d learned that natural alternatives were the answer, not the Big Pharma “chemical soup” prescriptions that many are forced to take.

Noticing my interest, he told me about a colleague and friend who offered functional and integrated medicine courses. He encouraged me to look him up and check into taking one of his classes. I accepted Dr. Schaefer’s challenge, and the next week I was in Salt Lake City, Utah at his friend’s course.

I left the course in Salt Lake City with an illuminated pathway off of the hamster wheel. Within 30 days, I announced to my patients that I was closing my office.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

When I first started practicing, I had a blended practice; office, inpatient hospitalization, and nursing home. At least once per day, the funniest thing would happen when I saw patients in the nursing home. Fully adorned with a white lab coat and a stethoscope around my neck, I would walk into a patient’s room, and they would ask me, “Are you a preacher?”

For years, it made me uncomfortable, I would laugh nervously, and I would politely correct them. I later concluded this was a mistake. My take-away was this. To those at the end of life, a preacher, pastor, reverend, rabbi, or priest is a symbol of comfort in times of distress. Who was I to take that away from them?

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Hands down, without my wife, I wouldn’t be where I am today. We married at age 19 and 20 and put each other through college and graduate school. She’s been my number one cheerleader encouraging me through all of my educational, professional, and entrepreneurial endeavors.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

To my colleagues in mainstream medicine who’ve been practicing for at least ten years, there’s a high possibility that you are burned out. So the question is this, “How do you stop the burnout cycle?” The answer, you get out of the hamster wheel.

Einstein was credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.” Regardless of who said it, there’s a lot of truth here. Many busy professionals live in an endless loop of insanity.

As medical professionals, we’ve invested a lot of time and money into our education, so getting out of the hamster wheel seems daunting.

The best advice I can give is to make self-care a top priority. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will be there to care for others?

Lastly, allow yourself to think outside the box regarding your continuing medical education (CME). Mainstream medicine is notorious for shackling us with blinders that make us focus only on what’s inside the box.

Take the blinders off and get some CME’s in an alternative medicine field; acupuncture, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, bio-identical hormone replacement, functional medicine, or naturopathy. These are but a few examples of the limitless possibilities from which to choose.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Two things come to mind. For some, this first one may not be practical, but for many, it will be. Every single one of my staff is a product of the product. Being in the functional and integrative medicine space, all of my team members were clients before coming to work for me.

Culturally, having staff who were clients first sets an excellent tone for interoffice interactions and client interactions. It conveys a depth of empathy and understanding of processes that’s unparalleled in standard-hire situations. So, when possible, I encourage you to foster an environment where staff can be a product of the product.

Secondly, coming out of the first COVID year in 2020 has taught us a lot about work culture adaptation. I had been moving in the direction of telehealth for several years, but the rest of my team worked from a physical office building. One of the most significant epiphany moments has been allowing a flexible work environment. If a staff member wants to work from home, then do so. If they wish to work in the office, then do so. We’ve seen workplace happiness and productivity increase with this model.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.

I’m so glad you pointed out that mental wellness is not merely binary and that one can improve mental wellness even when it appears good already. This is why I prefer to use steps that are applicable no matter where you are on the spectrum.

In my 23 years of clinical experience, I’ve met people who struggled with unforgiveness and ingratitude. I’ve met others who considered themselves victims versus thriving human beings. Some had no concept of WHY they wanted or needed a wellness strategy. In any case, they unwittingly set themselves up for failure.

No matter your place on the spectrum, the effects can be disastrous if they aren’t kept top of mind. That’s why I’ve included these top five things that will optimize your mental wellness.

  1. Let Go of Offense. We’re all human and make mistakes. Research tells us that society, as a whole, is angrier than the previous generation. This is primarily due to harboring unforgiveness or offense, and it can take down the mightiest of persons. Letting go of bitterness is an active choice. The mistake people make is thinking that it’s a “one and done” option. In most cases, it requires an ongoing process of actively choosing to let go and forgive.
  2. Practice the Art of Gratitude. When it comes to mindset, the most straightforward place to start is gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of your day, take an inventory of your wins for the day. Celebrate your successes and write a brief gratitude statement for each one.
  3. Surviving & Thriving, Never The Victim. A phenomenon that I’ve noticed after years of clinical practice is that those who identify as surviving and thriving almost always have the highest optimized mental wellness. There’s no room for being a victim of your mind. This doesn’t mean that, by definition, you’re not a victim. The difference is that you do not identify as a victim. Much like letting go of offense, this is an active choice that may need to be practiced daily.
  4. Do You Have a Big Enough Why? I’ve come to learn that if your why is big enough, you can accomplish pretty much anything. I had a client that struggled for months to find a big enough reason why she should lose nearly 100 pounds. She would lose five pounds and gain seven due to self-sabotage. When the light bulb finally went off, she realized that if the weight loss didn’t occur, she could become disabled or die. This would relegate her twins to living with an abusive ex-husband — her why suddenly got big. Within ten months, she’d take off nearly 85 pounds. What is your why, and how big is it?
  5. Progress Not Perfection. This is a hard one for most Type-A personalities because many are in hot pursuit of perfection. Perfectionism is a seductive mistress that’ll pull you into her vortex of lies that she is the same as progress. Although it’s possible to achieve progress during perfectionist pursuits, it demands a tremendous amount of energy and resources that often lead to burnout. The answer is what I call “The 51% Rule.” With this rule, dial perfectionism down from 100% to 51%. In the end, you’ll discover that you’re able to get more accomplished, be able to keep your sanity intact, and feel better physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.

Whether you’re retirement age, in mid-life, or approaching mid-life, there is one thing that you can do to solidify the optimization of your mental wellness. You can learn to nutritionally support your genes.

I hear things from clients in mid-life and beyond like, “I don’t have time to feel bad… have low energy… or deal with depression or anxiety. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m tired of dying a slow, miserable, painful, and grouchy death.”

Once I’ve identified your gene imbalances, I craft a custom-tailored plan to support your genes nutritionally. This allows your genes to function correctly so that symptoms like depression, anxiety, irritability, brain fog, and low energy begin to resolve quickly in days versus months. It also saves you years worth of expensive guesswork found with other methods.

How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?

The basic human need as a teen and pre-teen is belonging versus individualism. There’s a persistent struggle to belong while remaining a unique individual. If I could give teens and pre-teens any suggestions for achieving optimal mental wellness, I’d have to say to them, “Don’t let peer pressure define who you are. Be your own person and walk your own path.”

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

The Big Leap by Dr. Gay Hendricks is a book that I’ve fallen in love with. Dr. Hendricks explains how to overcome the mental blocks that hold us back. He calls this The Upper Limit Problem. It’s a book that I keep on the corner of my desk and refer to often because once I’ve cracked through one upper limit and enter a new level, there always seems to be a new upper limit to breakthrough. Life is full of upper limits that deserve to be shattered. This book has helped me do that on numerous occasions.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Like Dr. Gay Hendricks’ Upper Limit Problem, I would create a movement that helped people break through the upper limit of their physical issues at the genetic level as well as their thoughts and emotions. Not surprisingly, as genetic research advances, we’re learning that our thoughts and emotions intersect at meridians within the nervous system that is regulated by gene expression. In essence, the two are inseparable.

With technology having advanced as much as it has the past few years, we’re now able to identify genes that can be nutritionally supported to operate more optimally. When combined with eliminating all manner of “stinking thinking” and emotions that hijack our behavior, supporting genes to become expressed more healthily becomes the next evolutionary step in peak performance.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. ― Mark Twain

As far as relevance is concerned, I’ve learned that finding your why or purpose is a journey. I’ve found this pursuit to be a series of significant events that draw us closer to our destiny. That’s what I think Carl Jung meant when he said, “Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.” I laugh to myself when I think of these quotes because I’ve done an awful lot of “research” in my lifetime.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Here’s how people can get in touch with me:

On the web: www.drbriangbrown.com

On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drbriangbrown/

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brian.griffin.brown

On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drbriangbrown/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/drbriangbrown

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Dr. Brian G Brown of ‘The Genesis Zone Advantage’: 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Renee Watt on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey…

Women In Wellness: Renee Watt on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Be tough on yourself. I don’t mean that in a worthiness sense, but in a work ethic sense. If you know that you have work to do, but you’re on your second hour of Animal Crossing, you may need to check yourself. Sometimes your only choice is to roll up your sleeves and make yourself do the work that needs to be done, even if you don’t feel like it.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Renee Watt.

Renee Watt is a Celebrity Psychic/Podcast Host that has been featured in such well-known publications as COSMO, INSTYLE and TEEN VOGUE. Her extensive knowledge of the spiritual realms empowers her clients and improves their quality of life through positivity and optimism. Renee is host of the weekly podcast THE GLITTER CAST and co-host of the livestream BETWIXT THE SHADOWS with SAL SANTORO. Renee is an expert in crystals and creates magickal kits that support empowerment, prosperity, and wellness.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I was introduced to the Tarot when I was only 10 years old. My eldest brother’s girlfriend at the time had a deck of her own, which she showed to me and my sister. I was immediately taken by the images, and the idea that I could tap into the future and discover hidden information. I saved my allowance, and a few weeks later I was in a new age store, where I purchased my first deck. I busted out those cards every chance I got, and could often be found giving readings at recess. Around this same time my mother took my siblings and I to a class on developing your psychic ability and intuition, which was an exciting detour from the Catholic Sunday school classes I was used to. As with the tarot, I took what I learned in that class and began offering psychic readings at sleepovers with my schoolmates. Not long after that, I found a book on witchcraft at a local used book store, and began practicing the craft. On my 13th birthday I formed a coven, and we would often meet for slumber parties that involved casting spells and dabbling in divination.

My high school years were a bit more angsty, and I moved away from spiritual practices in favor of punk rock and atheism, though I would still reach for my tarot deck from time to time. College ended up leading to some very dark times, and the majority of my 20’s had me struggling with a severe opiate addiction. At the age of 28 I was broke, in debt, living with my parents, about to get a divorce, and I finally got clean.

I wasn’t interested in 12 step plans or rehabilitation therapy, I’ve always been a pretty internal person, and I wanted to sort out my issues in a solitary manner. I began having extremely vivid dreams, which I noticed where oftentimes prophetic in one way or another. It was as though all the intuitive senses I possessed that I’d dulled with drugs and ignored for so long, came rushing back with an accuracy and clarity I’d never experienced before. Without a second thought I picked up my spiritual practices, as if they’d never left, and began to feel a peace and joy that I hadn’t known for a long time.

In an effort to find myself and experience freedom, I embarked upon a cross country road trip that lasted several months, with almost no money in my pocket. About a month into my journey, I found myself in Louisville, KY where I stayed with one of my friends from my college days. I was near broke and 1,700 miles away from home. I decided to head down to New Orleans. I befriended a street poet there, and he helped me learn the ropes of the French Quarter. I pulled out my tarot decks, set up a booth in Jackson Square, and offered readings to tourists. In one weekend I earned more than enough money to continue on my journey,, which helped me come to the realization that this could be a profession for me. A few months later I was packing my bags for Los Angeles, which is where my career really began to take off and where I remain today. I spend my days giving readings, writing horoscopes, filling orders and working on my website rainbowglitterstar.com and I also have a podcast “The Glitter Cast” and a youtube show “Betwixt the Shadows.”

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

I’m not sure that there’s one interesting event that comes to mind, because every day is interesting to me. I have this unique privilege to peer into the lives of strangers every day, and I’m always surprised by the information that comes through in my readings. Outside of readings, I feel like a lot of my current success is the result of spells I’ve performed and the witchcraft I practice. When you live a life with so much focus on magick and intuition, every day brings forth synchronicities and surprises that are both big and small.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I am a person who is always trying to see the best in others, and for that reason I don’t always acknowledge red flags when they are presented to me. I think there was a period in my professional life when I may have trusted or gotten close to people who didn’t have my best interests at heart, and I went through some unfortunate experiences because of it. I definitely use more discernment when I am meeting new people on both a personal and professional level these days, though I still try to remain open — it’s a delicate balance.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m lucky to work in an industry with colleagues that value helping others and doing good deeds. There have been many people who decided to take a chance on me by allowing me to work in their store, quoting me in articles, interviewing me for their podcasts, and the list goes on. I’ve been fortunate that the people in my life know that helping me doesn’t take away from their success, and we are always trying to lift each other up.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

In the content I create, like my horoscopes and podcasts, I stay away from negative messages or thought processes, and instead try to promote patience, love, and understanding. Within both public and private platforms, I share the tools I use to live a healthier, more balanced life. Whether it’s on my podcast or in a reading, I am always trying to encourage people to be their best. When I work with clients one-on-one my main objective is to empower them, so they can leave behind bad situations and evolve into a more successful and happier version of themselves. I think the work I do has a ripple effect. If I am able to help a client overcome their fears, they then have the chance to go out into the world and do something fantastic. I also have a variety of different products available on my website rainbowglitterstar.com , to help my clients and followers manifest the life they dream of living. I keep my prices as low as possible because I want these tools to be accessible to everyone.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

1- Take care of your body! I believe that eating well and keeping a consistent exercise routine works wonders for mental health and will give you the stamina you need to grow your career.

2- Be tough on yourself. I don’t mean that in a worthiness sense, but in a work ethic sense. If you know that you have work to do, but you’re on your second hour of Animal Crossing, you may need to check yourself. Sometimes your only choice is to roll up your sleeves and make yourself do the work that needs to be done, even if you don’t feel like it.

3- Be gentle on yourself- As important as it is to have a strict work ethic, you also need to know when to chill out and slow down. If you need to schedule your bubble baths and self-care activities, write it in your planner and keep the appointment.

4- Be happy for other people’s success- Nothing good ever comes from directing anger or jealousy toward someone because they scored a win (even if it’s internal). For the same reason, it’s good to avoid negative gossip and people who try to drag you into those kinds of conversations.

5- Keep your thoughts positive- If you’re feeling exhausted, switch your internal dialogue from “I’m so tired” to “I have the energy to get through the day.” Programming your brain to move in a positive direction can work wonders for your psyche.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I’m such a solitary person, that I’m not sure I’d be great at starting a movement! I do however love the idea that the work I do could have an impact on others and could help them to live their best life. Movements inherently will attract and repel a certain type of people, because there is no one-size-fits-all path to wellness. I think people often need to explore a variety of lifestyle choices before they find what works best for them, and I just hope that they can be open enough to explore new things.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I became a vegetarian at 10 years old, when I learned of the harsh realities within factory farming. I initially stopped eating meat because I felt sympathy for the animals, but as I expanded my knowledge on the subject, I realized there were environmental and health factors that validated my decision even further. As a teenager I became involved in political activism, with a focus on social justice and equality within race, gender, and sexual preference. I always try to be an advocate for those who are marginalized, and once a month I offer free readings to anyone who donates $25 or more to a progressive charity, which I promote on my Instagram @RainbowGlitterStar. I think the world needs a lot of help in a variety of ways, I don’t have one specific cause I feel committed to but do remain politically and socially active in a fluid sort of way — picking and choosing different charities to support throughout each year.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

You can follow my business account on Instagram @RainbowGlitterStar to keep up with my daily life and new products I release. For daily horoscopes and updates on podcast episodes follow @TheGlitterCast.

I also have a livestream on youtube that airs every Wednesday www.youtube.com/c/betwixttheshadows.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Renee Watt on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Gabby Ortega of ‘OM Therapy Coaching’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will…

Women In Wellness: Gabby Ortega of ‘OM Therapy Coaching’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Get on your morning routine! I know this is talked about a lot, but it’s that way for a reason. The way you set up your morning is how you will show up and feel for the rest of the day. When you roll out of bed and instantly start answering emails, or scrolling through social media, or watching the news, you rob yourself of the precious time you have to program your mind, do your grounding work, and mentally prep for what you’re stepping into. Instead, leave the phone in another room and carve out 30–60 minutes to ease into the day. I suggest incorporating a short meditation, some mindset mantras, gratitude, stretching/body movement, and some kind of nourishment to get the most out of your Me Time!

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gabby Ortega.

Gabby Ortega is a trauma survivor, Psychologist and researcher, Conscious Business and Leadership Coach, and Owner and Founder of OM Therapy Coaching: an ethical, seven-figure holistic healing, soulful business, and conscious leadership community that helps women from all backgrounds learn how to master their inner world, discover their true power, and step into their purpose of helping others by creating businesses that allow them to share their gifts with the world. In just under 3 years, Gabby has amassed a following of hundreds of thousands of dedicated fans on social media and has helped countless women through her tight-knit community, her podcast (“The Conscious Leadership Podcast”), and her uniquely nurturing coaching containers. Gabby has been a featured speaker amongst some of our generations’ biggest names in wellness including, Marianne Williamson (former Presidential nominee), Shaman Durek, Lalah Deliah, and Danielle LaPorte, and is leading the wellness movement by activating light leaders and healers across the globe into conscious leadership through her coaching programs, live events, and high-value content.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I’d love to! Looking back, it’s clear that my path towards becoming a trauma researcher, Psychologist, and Conscious Leadership Coach was deeply informed by my own personal life experiences — as both a witness to others’ pain, and as someone who experienced it deeply as well.

It all started as a child, when starting at a very early age I was relentlessly tormented by other children at my school. I’m hesitant to even call it “bullying”, because it felt more like peer-on-peer abuse. It was so intense and never-ending, that by the time I was twelve years old I became severely depressed and started having suicidal thoughts. At such a young age, my life already felt worthless and hopeless, and I didn’t see the point in sticking around if I was going to feel this way forever. My self-worth was non-existent, I had crippling anxiety, and was flooded with feelings of shame and self-loathing. The interesting thing is that I never hated my bullies more than I hated myself. I turned that rage within because I started to believe that something was fundamentally wrong or broken inside me, which is why these kids were punishing me — when the truth was that their behavior really had nothing to do with me at all. It was, I realized much later, the result of the pain that they were carrying around from things going on in their lives, mainly from having absent, abusive, or neglectful parents. They chose me to punish and rage on, and that was their way of coping with their own inner turmoil. When I think about it now, I’m filled with so much compassion and sadness for these children who were really suffering inside, and I hope they eventually found peace as adults.

At the same time that all of this was happening, I began witnessing members of my family struggling with their own mental illnesses. My cousin was living with bi-polar disorder and deep depression; my father also struggled with severe depression for more than a decade, which prevented him from being able to work or find much happiness; my mom was overwhelmed and anxious all the time, trying to keep everything afloat; other family members experienced hospitalizations and homelessness; and one family member actually ended their own life because they were in such a place of pain- which was a hugely shocking and traumatizing event for me. Although I did not witness it firsthand, it shook me to my entire core. The grief, the pain, the confusion of it all — why did this person have to check-out? What didn’t we do right? How could we have helped? Could we have even stopped it?

I later experienced sexual assault when I was at college, which only added to the already heavy cloud of pain that I carried with me wherever I went.

All of the residual trauma that occurred from these experiences percolated in my unconscious mind through my twenties. For a while, I did a really fantastic job of compartmentalizing, pushing away, or numbing out the feelings that I was too scared to face. I buried myself in my college coursework, partying, and keeping things superficial. The brain has a brilliant way of engaging defense mechanisms to prevent us from feeling psychological pain, and I was fully leaning into ALL of them. I just wanted to move on and be done with these memories — but unfortunately that’s not how healing works. We have to face the things we’re scared of in order to process them and integrate them into our mind, body, and spirit. We can’t simply ignore or “forget” about them, because the feelings will still be there, stored somewhere deep in our unconscious mind and making us act out in other ways that generally aren’t healthy or good for us.

When I really thought about why I was running from my feelings, I realized how much fear I had around feeling them. I thought that if I actually sat down and said, I am in tremendous pain and I don’t know what to do about it, I would just be completely annihilated — that speaking my truth would open the emotional floodgates for pain to come in, and I would never be able to close them. I was terrified of being swallowed up by my pain like a black hole swallows entire galaxies.

At this point, I was in my mid-twenties and fell into another much more severe depression. I felt lost, constantly in emotional pain, unmotivated, hopeless, and cripplingly anxious. I would go days without showering or leaving my apartment, and at times fantasized about how much easier it would be to just not wake up the next day. It was scary, and eventually I realized that feeling that way was WAY scarier than just facing what I needed to face and getting it over with.

I entered therapy for the third time in my life, but for the first time really committed to working on my mental health and healing. I had a wonderful experience, but it only took me so far and after two years I felt stuck. I had tremendous self-awareness that I didn’t have before about my trauma and why I felt the way that I felt, but no real tools to help me actually move forward. I was in a loop and still depressed, and now getting frustrated.

This is when I decided to take my healing into my own hands, and I vowed to do as much research and try as many different things as I could to truly move the needle forward and create real, lasting changes in my life.

I went back to school to earn my master’s degree in clinical psychology, primarily to learn what I needed to in order to heal myself. It was a life-changing experience. Suddenly, I had a context and framework to understand how my mind operated, and to understand my feelings and how to work with them. I also realized that I wasn’t alone — in fact, every single person in that room learning with me, expressed their own experiences with mental illness and trauma. This made me feel so normal, and just having my experience normalized in that way was a powerful healing agent too.

By the time I graduated, I realized that being a healer was my calling and my soul’s purpose. I wanted to give everyone the tools that I learned to heal themselves, because we all deserve to have the ability to create the life that we dream about, and to feel as good as we possibly can!

I tried the traditional route of becoming a clinical therapist and found it to be really archaic and limiting, because it didn’t allow me to fully step into the holistic practices that I knew also worked so well for my own healing.

So, I decided to shift over to the coaching world, dive into educating myself more around eastern medicine and neuropsychology, and create an entirely new framework for self-awakening, healing, and transforming after trauma. My signature method now incorporates aspects of traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy, mind-body medicine, neuroscience, gut health maintenance, somatic work, community creation, mindfulness, and spiritual connection (to self, a higher power, or to the universal consciousness), to achieve whole person wellness. This is what I’m currently writing my dissertation on and hoping to publish into a book in the near future!

This past March, in the wake of the COVID crisis, I was already so blessed to have a full coaching practice while my friends and colleagues were struggling to figure out how to deliver their healing services when they no longer could operate from their offices and studios. I had many conversations where they asked me, “Gabby, what the heck did you do to create OM?? Can you teach me??”…and that’s when I knew that I was being called to not only help people heal from trauma, but also could support the lightworkers who are helping so many others heal as well!

This was the beginning of the OM IGNITE Program and the OM Leadership Academy, the now central focus of my business, where I help therapists, coaches, and other lightworkers step into their power, get into full alignment, and create conscious online healing businesses that will change the world and how we think about mental wellness.

We just launched our fourth iteration of the IGNITE program with over 20 incredible women, and I can’t wait to see what they bring to life!

I like to say that by the time you’re done with me, you have all the insight, tools, and inner confidence to step into your Highest Self and actively create a life that happens FOR you, not TO you.

We are truly the architects of our own experience, and my goal is to support you in becoming yours.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

So, at the very beginning of OM I received an application from a potential client who was a huge Instagram influencer. She was absolutely gorgeous, had this glowing smile and seemed so happy all the time, and commanded a following of over a million dedicated fans. She was super successful with her business and quite intimidating, to say the least. When she applied, I recognized her pretty quickly and immediately felt imposter syndrome rear its ugly head. She had EVERYTHING, so what could she possibly need from me??

Well, as it turns out, a lot.

I work with all kinds of humans, but the thing that is most surprising to me is that we all have our own pain and baggage. It doesn’t matter how rich, successful, beautiful, or gifted we are — at the end of the day we’re all still human beings with the same fears, dreams, desires, insecurities, and all we want is to be accepted, loved, and fully seen.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Yea, there’s definitely one huge mistake I made early on and that was not understanding how google drive works before using it with clients. I laugh about it now, but at the time I was so horrified and honestly thought my career was over.

I had this one client who was just an incredible soul. We were doing deep work around becoming their Highest Self after a childhood filled with trauma, and inadvertently I shared a template for journal exercises with this client that was already shared in Google Drive with another client. At the time, I thought I was simply copying the document and sharing it, but I didn’t understand that it was also being shared with that third outside party.

Long story short, my client saw this and immediately thought I did it on purpose. It made sense because their entire life was filled with betrayal and pain, and “of course” I would also be someone who would betray and hurt them intentionally. Even though this was the farthest thing from the truth, I completely understood this person’s anger and hurt — and I felt horrible for making such a stupid mistake.

But in that moment where my client was really telling me how they felt, they were using their voice in a way that we had been trying to get them to use since we started our work together. And right after I took full responsibility for my mistake, really listened and saw their pain, and gave them space to let it out, I said, “Did you see that? You just used your voice, set boundaries, and let me have it!! Yes!!!”

It took this person a second to realize what had just happened: they actually used their voice to advocate for themselves in a way that they’d never been able to before. They immediately burst into tears, and I recognized that through this huge mistake I made, there was deep healing that was able to happen — healing that might not have occurred had I not made this mistake.

But that’s the magic of the Universe, I think, that in these moments of rupture there is opportunity for deep repair and redirection, but only if we’re open to it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I think the person who I am most deeply grateful for on this journey is my mother. She is one of the strongest, smartest, most compassionate humans I have ever known, and someone who has always encouraged me to go after my dreams with everything I have, no matter how crazy they may seem to other people.

When I was younger, whenever I wanted to learn something new or try something out of the ordinary, she was right there helping me get the things I needed to make it happen. She taught me to always ask for support, and to surround myself with mentors and inspiring people who would elevate my vision and help me make it a success. I can’t pick out any one story to exemplify the incredible lessons she’s taught me, but what I will say is that her unconditional love and belief in me helped me believe in myself.

I also can’t forget to mention my incredible fiancée, Devyn, who stood by my side during the darkest moments of my healing journey and always held the light for me to find my way home. He is my rock and I couldn’t run this business without him!

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I’m so glad you asked! One of the non-negotiables to me is always being focused on the big picture: how are we going to spread healing across the world so that anyone, anywhere can access the tools, knowledge, and support needed to get better?

I started my work through the lens of sharing free mental health resources via social media, but that has evolved and transformed over time to include helping the helpers deliver their healing medicine through the online world.

By helping ethical, aligned, compassionate, skilled healers learn how to find the humans who need them most, I’m able to amplify my original mission of spreading healing across the world even more efficiently. On the other hand, therapists, clinical practitioners, and other holistic healers suffer regularly at the hands of an abusive healthcare system that values burnt-out helpers rather than ones who are healthy, happy, and compensated fairly for the incredibly taxing and important work they do.

I am here to lift healers out of these horrible situations so that they can step out into the world as leaders, share their unique gifts, and help as many people as possible. When our healers are doing well, then we do well too!

I want to also change the way we think about doing conscious business, especially when it comes to the wellness space. There are so many ways we can create strong communities around healing, offer free and accessible help to those who need it most, and also call-in abundance and ease at the same time. I figured out exactly how to do this over the past few years, and I’m excited to teach others how we can create a world where all of us can win.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

First, get on your morning routine! I know this is talked about a lot, but it’s that way for a reason. The way you set up your morning is how you will show up and feel for the rest of the day. When you roll out of bed and instantly start answering emails, or scrolling through social media, or watching the news, you rob yourself of the precious time you have to program your mind, do your grounding work, and mentally prep for what you’re stepping into. Instead, leave the phone in another room and carve out 30–60 minutes to ease into the day. I suggest incorporating a short meditation, some mindset mantras, gratitude, stretching/body movement, and some kind of nourishment to get the most out of your Me Time!

Second tweak would be to try scheduling your activities and appointments according to your personal energy blueprint. Personally, I find that Mondays through Wednesdays I have the most energy, and in the late mornings is when I like to interact with people the most, so I’ll schedule meetings and coaching calls during those times because that’s when I really feel my best for that activity. On Fridays I don’t take any calls because I’m usually exhausted, and instead will use those days for content creation, recording my podcast, and other tasks that feel less taxing for me to do. Pay attention to your energy and then adjust accordingly.

Third, practice self-compassion at all times. Remember that you’re doing the best job you can with what you have right now, and that’s more than enough. When you feel your inner critic getting loud, remind yourself that you’re human and it’s ok to be as kind, patient, and loving with yourself as you are with everyone else in your life.

Fourth, say “no” when you want to say “no”. Don’t make excuses, don’t lie, don’t say yes and then resent the fact that you didn’t say no — just say no! As one of my favorite poets, Nayyirah Waheed, once wrote: “‘No’ might make them angry, but it will make you free”. By honoring your needs, you’re building self-trust and not allowing others to control your energy. It’s ok to upset others — you can’t light yourself on fire to keep everyone else warm.

Fifth, give yourself permission to shed anyone and anything that isn’t serving your highest good. Ask yourself, “what value is this adding to my life?” and if you can’t come up with an answer, if it doesn’t bring you joy, growth, love, happiness, community, healing, or anything else to support where you’re going — leave it. It’s ok to grow into a new person with a new life, and although it’s hard, it’s also the most liberating thing you’ll ever do.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The one I’m already creating 😉

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. This won’t happen overnight. I think we see so many successful individuals and we think that they all just woke up that way one day, and that’s simply not true — at least not in most cases. Be patient and hold the vision as you’re building. It might take a little bit to find your groove, but you’ll get there!
  2. Alignment is EVERYTHING. If any part of you feels icky about the decisions you’re making, the people you’re surrounding yourself with, the plans you’re making, listen to that gut feeling. Our bodies hold incredible wisdom, and when we are falling out of alignment with our values, we feel it. Alignment means abundance, so never compromise on that.
  3. You don’t have to be perfect to make a big impact. I think many of us get hung up on the optics of things — I have to have a large following before I launch my offering, or I need to be skinny and have glossy hair to grow a following, or I can’t have human feelings or a bad day ever if I’m supposed to be a healer — and that’s going to keep you from ever starting. Focus on service, connecting with others, and adding value because those are what really matter.
  4. Your idols are humans too. They will disappoint you and make mistakes, and that’s ok!! It means that we’re all the same and there’s room for everyone at every level.
  5. You are way more special than you know, and you don’t have to do anything extra to be successful. You as you are, are more than enough.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I think for obvious reasons, mental health is absolutely where my passion is. As someone who has survived her own mental health struggles and helped others with theirs, it’s my life’s work to continue spreading healing across the world so we can create a more peaceful, happy, and whole human race.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

I live on Instagram and we have a beautiful community there, so come join us @om_therapy_coaching and let’s keep this healing movement rolling!

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Gabby Ortega of ‘OM Therapy Coaching’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Kayleigh Christina of ‘CLEARSTEM Skincare’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Wil

Women In Wellness: Kayleigh Christina of ‘CLEARSTEM Skincare’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Prioritize your mental health. If you can’t show up for yourself, you won’t be able to show up for anyone else. You and your body are what are most important, which includes your mental health. Going to a therapist, energy healer, or even just talking things out with a friend can make a huge difference.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kayleigh Christina.

Holistic Nutritionist Kayleigh Christina is the co-founder of CLEARSTEM Skincare, a non-toxic skincare line that targets acne, anti-aging, and scar reversing utilizing premium ingredients. Guided by a passion to make a positive impact, Christina studies the latest research on skin and whole-body wellness. She is the co-host of the Balancing Your Hustle podcast, which interviews thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and wellness experts, diving into their individual stories and journeys. Christina is also the published author of Healing with Apple Cider Vinegar: 115 Recipes for Health, Beauty, and Home and has been featured in numerous health, wellness, and lifestyle publications.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Thank you so much! I am honored to be a part of this series! I used to work in the corporate world and also as a holistic nutritionist. During this time I experienced a lot of different health issues, which led me to expand my knowledge about how what you put into your body affects your overall wellness. I felt a personal responsibility to share my findings with others so that they could also gain control of their own health. I struggled with celiac disease, leaky gut, and, to top it all off, extreme cystic acne. I was able to get everything under control, except my acne, which led me to dive deeper into research and cross paths with my now business partner Danielle. Together we discovered the extreme lack of knowledge surrounding skin health and acne, and the struggles I went through with my acne turned into a company, CLEARSTEM Skincare. We not only created a line that tackled both aging and acne, but also provided consumers with information about nutrition, hormones, supplements, and whole body wellness.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

I was one of 20 female entrepreneurs invited to Lorna Jane’s house. Because I consistently shared the behind the scenes of my business and was vulnerable on my social media, I was noticed and invited. Danielle and I were also featured at FounderMade’s Discovery Show this past year, which was a career highlight.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake in CLEARSTEM’s early days was when 2,500 bottles arrived from overseas with pink metallic labels. Our labels were white and blue. We had no way to reverse this and the company had an 8 week lead time, so we just had to roll with it, and, luckily, people went nuts over it!!! They loved it and still ask for it sometimes!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I could never choose just one person. I am truly grateful for the friends I’ve made along the way creating my business who have also been huge mentors to me in many different ways. To name a few: Brandon Cohen, Steven Barelli, Rich Blankenship, Julia Broglie, Mark Mastrandrea, Sam Pantazopoulos and Christina Rice.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

At CLEARSTEM, impact is our motivation. There’s so much misinformation about skin health that exists, particularly around acne and aging. These two pain points for people cause a lot of stress, anxiety, and confidence issues. We help people become confident in their skin by taking control of their health and helping them see positive results. When people become more confident, they let their light shine and are able to make a positive impact on others.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

I believe simple changes make the biggest impact. It’s also easier to make small habit changes that create massive change over time.

  1. Drink more water. I know you hear this all the time, but drinking more water is one of the greatest things health wise that you can do for your body. If you’re in a pinch, find a product like Liquid I.V. that you can put in your drink on-the-go.
  2. Sleep quality > sleep quantity. It’s not always about the amount of hours you get. Your body and cells do the most generation between 10pm and 2am. If you are missing these hours, you are missing quality sleep. If you’re anything like me, you have a grind mentality. Something I always prioritize is quality sleep because I can’t show up to do my best everyday if i’m not feeling my best.
  3. Prioritize your mental health. If you can’t show up for yourself, you won’t be able to show up for anyone else. You and your body are what are most important, which includes your mental health. Going to a therapist, energy healer, or even just talking things out with a friend can make a huge difference.
  4. Limit caffeine intake. Caffeine may seem like something that just gives you energy, but in reality it can spark anxiety and blood sugar levels for a lot of people. The combination of these two can put your body in a high stress mode that can lead to poor sleep, inflammation, high levels of anxiety, and overeating. Limiting your caffeine intake can help you avoid that.
  5. Reframe to the positive. Life is full of twists and turns and it’s never going to go the way you expect it to. When you learn to take things that seem to go “wrong” and find the learning lesson and positive experience from it, it shifts your mindset so you automatically start viewing anything negative as an opportunity to be a positive.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

A movement idea is National No-Makeup Day! Celebrities and models included. It would inspire everyone and connect us all in such a powerful way!

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Pick what you say yes to wisely. There are going to be a lot of opportunities and directions you can go in. Always lead with your gut and focus on your main priorities.
  2. Prioritize your time. Having the flexibility to make your schedule can be both a blessing and a curse. Create routines to make the most out of every day and stay focused.
  3. There are going to be a lot of ups and down, so learn to pivot. Things are going to go really right sometimes and really wrong other times. Pivot when things go wrong. You’d be surprised how many amazing learning lessons come from that.
  4. Your network of people is everything. Who you surround yourself with is a direct reflection of you and can either inspire you or bring you down. As you grow, you realize that your network of people is your biggest support system.
  5. It’s ok to grow slowly. Growing takes time. There are a lot of changes that happen along the way so be okay with growing slowly and making small adjustments along the way. Sometimes growing too fast doesn’t allow for little tweaks and changes that can make a big difference.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health! We are saving people’s mental health by helping them feel confident in their skin again!

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

You can follow my personal Instagram account @kayleigh.christina and also @clearstemskincare.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Kayleigh Christina of ‘CLEARSTEM Skincare’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Wil was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Julie Quick of ‘Cultivate Financial Wellness’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That…

Women In Wellness: Julie Quick of ‘Cultivate Financial Wellness’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Consider All Dimensions of Wellness: Wellness can be viewed as a multi-dimensional approach to living life to the fullest — by cultivating and engaging the mind, body and spirit. To do so requires conscious and deliberate attention to what is referred to as the eight dimensions of wellness. Here’s a brief summary of each dimension:

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Quick, CFP®, BFA™, CDFA®

Julie Quick is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM professional with over 20 years of experience working with a wide variety of clients. Throughout her career, she learned that financial planning is about so much more than numbers. It’s about paying attention to the emotions and life experiences of each individual person.

Julie understands that women, in particular, face unique financial challenges. These may include the long-term effects of the gender wage gap, time out of the workforce to care for family members, and longer life expectancies — all of which can be compounded by a death, divorce or other major life events. As founder of Cultivate Financial Wellness, she uses her personal and professional experience to help women take charge of their financial lives and move from feelings of uncertainty to a place of freedom in pursuit of overall well-being.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I am the third of four daughters. My early childhood was pretty idyllic. We lived in the country where we could run around, explore, build forts, ride horses and eat carrots out of the garden after a quick rinse with the hose.

My parents divorced when I was eight years old. Overnight, my mother went from a stay-at-home mom to a single mother of four girls who had to work as she put herself through nursing school. Money was tight and a persistent source of stress. Even at that young age, I understood the vulnerable position my mom was in and how quickly financial security could change — especially for women.

The next formative money moment in my life came much later, when I was in college. I wanted work experience in business and I came across a listing for a part-time job at a consulting company — which turned out to be a financial planning firm.

I quickly fell in love with the idea of being deliberate with money and understanding how all the pieces of our “financial puzzle” (income and expenses, investments, taxes, insurance, etc.) fit together to form a cohesive picture. I went on to get licenses and certifications to further my technical expertise but also realized that financial planning is about much more than numbers — there is an emotional component to money.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Years ago we had a client pass away suddenly and I was working with his daughter to settle his estate. Three months after her father died, her husband asked for a divorce. This made an already emotional period of her life far more challenging. I enjoyed guiding her, serving as a confidant and helping her evaluate the various financial implications of her situation with objectivity. This is something that is hard for anyone to do in the midst of turmoil.

From a physiological standpoint, emotionally charged events affect the quality of our decision-making. The emotional portion of our brain takes over. We may think we’re making rational and objective decisions when the fight-or-flight response may actually be in play. Having an objective third party helps to reduce mistakes and any unintended consequences when we react emotionally.

Because her father had done good planning, her inheritance was not included in the divorce settlement. I saw first hand the necessity of combining both the technical and emotional aspects of financial planning.

Throughout my career, I naturally gravitated to working with women finding themselves in similar situations — highly emotional life events surrounded by uncertainty. It’s a privilege and an honor to stand beside someone during their darkest days and see them emerge with confidence and resilience.

It seems obvious now, however, only after doing my own reflective work did I make the connection between my personal story and my desire to help women in similar circumstances. I knew I had to cater my services to women.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It’s ironic but my biggest mistake was playing it safe out of fear of making mistakes. Despite my desire to provide financial planning to women, my fear of failing prevented me from making it my focus. Instead, I stayed in my comfort zone, supporting other financial advisors and their businesses. I found myself feeling unfulfilled. I came to a point where I couldn’t deny the dream that was in my heart to build my own financial planning practice catered specifically to women going through major life events. There is a quote by Ernest Shackleton that sums up how I felt: “I believe it is in our nature to explore and to reach into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to try at all.”

As a result, I linked my passion for helping women navigate financial challenges to my desire of having a business that provides meaning and serves the life I want. I used to think that I stumbled into this profession by accident. I now believe, wholeheartedly, that finding this profession was no coincidence. This is absolutely the work I am supposed to be doing and God has had His hand in guiding me the entire time.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have been blessed to work with some amazing people over the course of my career — colleagues and clients alike. The widows and divorcees I’ve been able to serve have especially impacted me. They have shown me the courage to be vulnerable and also the resilience of the human spirit.

My previous employer and mentor, Tom Duncan, with whom I worked for 14 years gave me the opportunity to learn, freedom to make decisions (and mistakes), and encouragement to grow professionally. Under his leadership, I was able to gain experience in all aspects of this business which has been instrumental in my ability to run my own firm.

Last, and most certainly not least, my husband of 18 years, Jeff. He has been a source of unending love, confidence and support. Because of him I understand the massive power behind the phrase, “I believe in you” and have depended on that belief in moments when it was hard for me to believe in myself.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

It’s important to expand our definition of wellness. I firmly believe that our financial wellness contributes to our overall sense of well-being. It’s just as important as our physical, emotional, spiritual, and social health, etc. The opposite of this is also true: financial stress impedes our ability to feel happy and fulfilled.

Year after year, money is cited as the leading source of stress among Americans. Stress has far reaching implications. It leads to physical health issues (migraines, heart disease, diabetes, difficulty sleeping and more), emotional issues (anxiety, depression), and social issues (affecting relationships with loved ones).

To complicate matters, most of us aren’t adequately taught how to manage money by our families and schools. In fact, our culture views money as taboo. Furthermore, we all tend to have what is known as “Money Scripts”, a term coined by psychologist Dr. Brad Klontz, which are the unconscious money beliefs that stem from our childhood and shape our current and future financial state.

And yet, we can’t escape the fact that money touches every single one of our lives every single day. We must intentionally and proactively address our financial wellness like we would other aspects of our health.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

1.) Identify Your Core Values: Financial wellness goes beyond numbers and investments. Knowing our values helps clarify the “Why” behind our money. It allows us to establish meaningful goals which determine the financial decisions that need to be made. When our goals are aligned with our values, we are more likely to achieve them and we feel more fulfilled as a result. Keeping our core values top of mind when making any major decision (not just financial) can contribute to optimal wellness. I like to start client engagements with a values identification exercise. To do this yourself, you can search online for a list of values. Identify the 15 that resonate the most with you. Reduce the list down to 10 and then to your top five core values. Post them somewhere conspicuous so that you see them on a regular basis.

2.) Consider All Dimensions of Wellness: Wellness can be viewed as a multi-dimensional approach to living life to the fullest — by cultivating and engaging the mind, body and spirit. To do so requires conscious and deliberate attention to what is referred to as the eight dimensions of wellness. Here’s a brief summary of each dimension:

  • Physical Dimension — recognizing the importance of physical activity, good sleep, and proper nutrition
  • Emotional Dimension — identifying, understanding and respecting feelings (both in ourselves and in others); managing emotions in a constructive and healthy manner; promoting positivity and resilience
  • Social Dimension — developing and maintaining meaningful relationships and a sense of belonging with others and our communities
  • Intellectual Dimension — expanding our knowledge, skills and creativity; maintaining curiosity
  • Spiritual Dimension — connecting to a sense of purpose and meaning in life — with or without organized religion; aligning our actions with our beliefs and values
  • Occupational Dimension — finding satisfaction and fulfillment by contributing our unique gifts, skills and talents in a meaningful way
  • Financial Dimension — managing our money in a responsible way; feeling confident with current and future financial conditions
  • Environmental Dimension — seeking pleasant, healthy and stimulating environments — both in our personal surroundings and global environment.

Each dimension is interconnected and makes up our overall sense of well-being. Disruption in one dimension can have ripple effects in other areas of life. Although each dimension requires focus and awareness, it’s important to note that there doesn’t have to be equal balance among them. Rather, thoughtful contemplation and assessment on our level of satisfaction within each dimension can identify areas needing attention. As humans, we are constantly ebbing and flowing. Regularly evaluating each dimension allows us to determine different areas that require our awareness as we grow and change.

3.) Take an Active Role in Your Finances: Even if the day-to-day financial activities are delegated to a partner as a way to divide and conquer household tasks, you can stay on top of what is going on through regular reviews of budgets, accounts and mutual goals. Regardless of your marital status, understand how much it costs you to live, put some money aside for your future self, protect yourself from the financial devastation of various risks. This also sets an awesome example for children. In the event you should become fully responsible for your finances, being familiar with your situation will put you in a much better position.

4.) Seek Out Professional Help. There is an abundance of information available on personal finance. Educating yourself is a good place to start; however, it can be daunting and the information isn’t personalized and curated to your unique circumstances, goals and values. Not to mention, some people simply do not have an interest or the time to do it all themselves. Similar to hiring a trainer when we want to get in shape or a therapist to help us through a difficult time, hiring a financial planner is a great way to develop financial wellness. When looking for a financial planner, take some time to consider your needs and desires. More and more planners are specializing in a specific niche such as a specific occupation or industry, stage of life, and more. Furthermore, don’t be too quick to let physical location prevent you from working with someone who would otherwise be a perfect fit. Thanks to technology, many financial planners are effectively serving clients nationwide. Simply entering your needs into a search engine could help you find a great match.

5.) Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness exercises such as meditation and journaling provide a whole host of benefits not the least of which include exploring and improving our relationships with money. They are a great way to resist impulsive purchases, reconnect with core values, and explore your history around money and any prevailing money scripts. These practices can help to redirect our attention away from external influences, such as advertisements and social media, instead allowing us to focus on our internal motivations, goals and desires.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Without a doubt, I encourage people, especially women, to take a much more active role in their finances and to consider it another form of wellness. Women, in particular, face unique financial challenges including the long-term effects of the gender wage gap, time out of the workforce to care for family members, and longer life expectancies — all of which can be compounded by a death or divorce. Unfortunately, despite all the advances in women’s power and equality, it is incredibly common for women of all age groups to defer financial matters to their partner. According to a 2019 UBS study, 58% of women globally — including millennials — defer to men on important financial decisions. Yet, life expectancies and divorce rates suggest that more and more women will be responsible for their own finances at some point in their lives.

Even though “money can’t buy happiness” I firmly believe that when our financial resources are used intentionally and in alignment with our values and goals, they can be a tool to enhance our lives as we seek fulfillment.

Even though “money can’t buy happiness” I firmly believe that our financial resources can be a tool to enhance our lives and seek fulfillment when used intentionally and in alignment with our values and goals.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Emotions can often trump facts. The financial planning industry is improving, however, much of the education and training has been mostly technical in nature. There has been very little focus on the emotional relationships people have with money or how to help them address those emotions. When left unchecked, strong feelings will often influence decisions despite knowing better or being presented with strong analytical evidence to do otherwise.
  2. Living life in fear of failing, isn’t really living at all. Failure is part of the process, an opportunity to learn, evolve and experience joy. It isn’t something to be avoided at all costs.
  3. Progress not perfection. I’m a huge fan of Brené Brown and her work on courage and vulnerability. I love her quote “Perfectionism is a 20-pound shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.”
  4. The Universe is working for you. However,…
  5. Anything worthwhile takes time. In a world of instant gratification it’s easy to lose sight of this. I think it’s the Universe’s way of testing how bad we want something.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Definitely mental health. Especially as it relates to our relationships with money — which are often complex. We all have individual histories and beliefs around money that ought to be examined as part of our pursuit to financial wellness. Human beings can’t be boiled down to numbers and spreadsheets.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

They can find me on Instagram and Facebook with the handle @cultivatemyfw. Or for deeper insights they can sign up for my email newsletter through my website.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

Thank you!


Women In Wellness: Julie Quick of ‘Cultivate Financial Wellness’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Chimere Holmes of ‘Be Ye Renewed Consulting’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That…

Women In Wellness: Chimere Holmes of ‘Be Ye Renewed Consulting’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Create a daily routine- In order to overcome the monotony of quarantine and the woes of COVID fatigue, it is helpful to create some sort of daily routine, as structure allows people to feel focused, more energized, and lends the way to a daily sense of purpose. Try not to neglect the things you would do if this were life pre-COVID. Take a shower each day, drink plenty of water, write down a small list of goals for the week, maintain healthy eating habits, aim for 7–8 hours of sleep every night, and do not neglect your fitness routine. During these times of social distancing, it is important to mask up and take walks outdoors for fresh air and vitamin D-3 whenever you can.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chimère G. Holmes, LPC, founder of Be Ye Renewed Counseling.

Chimère G. Holmes, LPC, an ordained minister and licensed professional counselor founded Be Ye Renewed Counseling, a private counseling practice in center city Philadelphia. Chimère is also the co-founder of the forthcoming podcast, “Trust Us; We’re Almost Doctors!” Created with her classmate and friend who she met in her current doctoral program, the podcast will offer a fun and fresh perspective on mental health — particularly as it relates to Black women, men, and families. Chimère was also a 2018 recipient of Main Line Today’s women on the move cover feature and was named a 2018 Power Woman based on her clinical work and dedication to men and women struggling with mental health disparities as well as opiate addiction. She obtained her first Master’s degree in Theology and Pastoral Ministry from Villanova University (Villanova, Pa) and a secondary Master’s degree in School & Mental Health Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pa).

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I have a background in journalism and majored in communications in college at Immaculata University. I have always been an avid reader and writer. I spent several years as an editor at a medical publishing company. Later, I pursued my first master’s degree in theology and pastoral ministry at Villanova University. This 3-year program was transformative, as it afforded me the opportunity to become a campus minister who educated prisoners facing life sentences who were obtaining their college degrees in jail. I learned a great deal about social justice and I will forever be changed from the international missions work I did in Kingston, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Guatemala. This program resulted in me becoming an ordained reverend and I practice ministry by serving as a keynote speaker, preaching at churches, and officiating weddings throughout Philadelphia. After Villanova, I pursued a secondary masters in counseling at the University of Pennsylvania and garnered diverse clinical experience throughout Philadelphia, before becoming a licensed therapist. To date, I oversee my private counseling practice, Be Ye Renewed Counseling. At Be Ye Renewed, I treat individuals, couples, and families struggling with depression, low self-esteem, family challenges, anxiety, and spirituality issues. My prior work as a minister informs my practice as a therapist, and I love the fact I can offer a unique and holistic scope of practice to people struggling with emotional pain and distress.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Upon graduating, I spent the early years of my counseling career working in a very impoverished part of Philadelphia at a methadone clinic. This was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had in my life. I was extremely fortunate to meet and serve some of the most resilient, intelligent, and special men and women who happened to be battling both mental health and substance use disorders. Working at the community agency in the throes of the nationwide opioid epidemic was rewarding and heartbreaking all at the same time. Most of the patients I worked with came from treacherous beginnings and had less than ideal upbringings riddled with various forms of trauma, abuse, and neglect. I learned firsthand about poverty, the crisis in the urban education system, and what it means to be a resilient human being. This role helped me to not only cultivate a tremendous sense of gratitude for the life my parents provided me, but it also humbled me and proved that at the end of the day, everyone deserves kindness, help, and to be loved. The addiction crisis is real and when you are poor and have a substance use disorder, it is harder to get quality care and long-term help. We need more efficient and quality rehabilitation facilities in this country.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Looking back, I think I treated much of my career endeavors like a sprint instead of a marathon. I tend to be a bit of perfectionist with my work, and this can be both helpful and harmful. I now have greater trust for the timing of life, how my career will unfold and ultimately learned that if certain opportunities are meant for me, they will always find me and vice versa. The 2020 pandemic stretched me to think outside the box and tap into my creativity. The quarantine also forced me to slow down and take a step back from all the busyness — which in looking back may not have been serving me in the first place. Biggest lessons learned have been to trust the process of life and savor everyday; the pandemic is a constant reminder just how precious life is.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are numerous people who have helped, trained, mentored, and blessed me to get to this point in my career. The one constant and my number one fan that has been “team Chimère” from the beginning is my mother, Kimberly. She epitomizes the definition of a stage mom — but in a fun loving and supportive way! My mother’s love, wisdom, support and faith in me have been invaluable. From the early years of taking me to dance class or attending my high school plays, she was always there for me. My mother saw to it that I received my education. She would drive me to television auditions, practice with me before big job interviews, and I will forever be grateful for my mother’s deep faith in God and the fact she always encouraged me to shoot for the stars and that I can do anything I put my mind to. I love to bask in every level of success with her now because she is a major part of it. I want to give back to her just as she gave so much to me — love you Mommie!

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

My work as a therapist is providing much needed counseling services to a generally underserved population — the African-American community. People of color must overcome several obstacles to get adequate therapy. My philosophy is that everyone deserves and can benefit from participating in therapy. Factors such as historical trauma, distrust and uncertainty toward the medical community due to maltreatment and systemic racism tend to keep African-Americans away from the counseling office. Generational trauma and the societal stigma surrounding all things psychology and psychotherapy also contribute to people not seeking professional help in a timely fashion. My work enables individuals and families to alleviate their emotional suffering and gain a fresh perspective — it gives them hope. People seek counseling when they do not feel well, need help making a difficult decision, or feel stuck, perhaps unfulfilled in their life and relationships. I strongly believe that human beings are tripartite — composed of a mind, body, and soul. I also think we are spiritual beings having a human experience here on earth. Assisting someone understand and manage their anxiety, trauma, and depression initially impacts their emotional wellness, and it can eventually improve their physical and spiritual health as well. I love journeying with people and watching them accomplish their goals. The more healthy men and women there are, the healthier families, children, communities, churches, and organizations become. Awareness is always the first step to psychological change, so essentially good therapy has the potential to strengthen and improve systems and communities — one mind at a time.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  • Introspection- Find some quiet time throughout the day to think about the major takeaways of each day. Reflecting on key lessons learned in 2020 can set the tone for how we will all navigate 2021 and put things into proper perspective — e.g., the importance of health, family, friends, faith, social networks, and fulfilling your life’s purpose.
  • Maintain an attitude of gratitude- Research suggests that there are various mental health benefits of being thankful and grateful. Taking time to name, list, or write down daily wins, gifts, and blessings of the day improves the mood and rewires the psyche. There will always be things to complain about, why not combat the negative and concentrate on the things that are going right in your life instead.
  • Practice Mindfulness- Mindfulness is all about paying more attention to what is going on in the present instead of fixating on uncertainty or things beyond our control. Incorporating mindfulness exercises into your daily routine can greatly impact your mental and emotional health.

Mindfulness-based practices such as deep belly breathing and tapping into the 5 senses keeps us from going into “autopilot,” which can put us in a position where we are more likely to react out of stress or respond to stress with unhealthy coping mechanisms.

  • Focus on what you can control- We are all affected by the actions of others, but it is important to remember that we can only control our own words, thoughts, feelings and responses. Make it a point to focus on what you need to do in order to prioritize your own health and wellness.
  • Create a daily routine- In order to overcome the monotony of quarantine and the woes of COVID fatigue, it is helpful to create some sort of daily routine, as structure allows people to feel focused, more energized, and lends the way to a daily sense of purpose. Try not to neglect the things you would do if this were life pre-COVID. Take a shower each day, drink plenty of water, write down a small list of goals for the week, maintain healthy eating habits, aim for 7–8 hours of sleep every night, and do not neglect your fitness routine. During these times of social distancing, it is important to mask up and take walks outdoors for fresh air and vitamin D-3 whenever you can.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

If I could start a movement that would contribute to overall wellness to the masses it would involve accessible psychotherapy services for as many people as possible, particularly the marginalized. I am equally passionate about contributing to the healing of our nation’s racial divide and wounds that continue to linger and infect the way we treat each other. I can foresee myself presenting work on the psychology of racism and steps to achieving more racial justice and harmony — starting in the counseling room.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  • There is no such thing as perfection. If you make a mistake or fail, count it as a lesson that you would not have learned otherwise.
  • Always consider the “Why behind what you do.” Intentionality and having a clear understanding of the work you want to create and the people you wish to serve will help you forge forward when you grow weary and want to throw in the towel.
  • When building a business it is important to take risks from time to time. It does not always pay to play it safe and stay in your comfort zone.
  • Change is good! It’s okay to shift, reinvent, and fine-tune your vision. Human beings change and evolve all the time, so the same must be true for business endeavors.
  • Rest, rest, and rest some more. Our society has it backwards with the whole multitasking grind culture. Less really is more when you are trying to cultivate quality of life. None of us can pour from an empty cup and in order to be the best at your craft, you will need to unplug, get quiet, and recharge.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I am most enthralled with all things mental health at this time. Being a mental health practitioner in the midst of a pandemic has been an incredible new aspect of my work. More and more individuals are reporting issues of isolation, anxiety, stress, and depression. Perhaps one of the many gifts of the pandemic is that a lot of people have had to address their mental health challenges and give their emotional wellness time, attention, and the help it deserves. When it comes to mental health, I think we are only seeing the beginning of the ramifications of collective trauma from COVID-19. There will need to be emotional supports in place for the first responders and frontline professionals who are in the thick of fighting this virus. Telehealth has been a revolutionary new way to conduct therapy. I am hopeful that the stigma that has always surrounded mental illness and mental health will start to fade away. Hopefully, mental health will be all the more normalized and embraced like any other health or medical discipline for the long haul.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

For more information please visit my website: www.chimereholmes.com and please follow me on Instagram: @beyerenewed_counseling

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Chimere Holmes of ‘Be Ye Renewed Consulting’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Megan Faller of The Aligned Cycle on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help…

Women In Wellness: Megan Faller of The Aligned Cycle on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

The power and beauty of a woman’s cycle goes beyond her ability to get pregnant. So often when we discuss menstrual cycles, the focus is on periods and trying to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy. But our menstrual cycles provide us with critical information about our health, our mood, and our energy. We can get a baseline picture of health from a single charted cycle. With continued charting, we can predict when the next cycle (period) will begin, we can evaluate the impact of dietary or lifestyle changes on a particular person’s health, and we can go deeper into understanding our own unique patterns.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Megan Faller.

Megan Faller is a Menstrual Cycle & Productivity Strategist and Founder of The Aligned Cycle. As a Certified FertilityCare Practitioner she spent years helping women understand their bodies and chart their cycles so they could make important decisions about planning their families and scheduling medical procedures. She stumbled into using the power of her cycles and hormonal waves to schedule her work and now she helps other women put their cycles to work for them, so they can make an impact and grow their businesses with flow and ease.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

In my early 20s I was introduced to fertility awareness and it blew my mind. How I’d gone through over 10 years of menstrual cycles, sex education, and hundred of women’s magazines and never come across this foundational health knowledge still confounds me. Eventually I took a class to learn more about tracking and interpreting my cycles and then I went through an education program to teach other women fertility awareness. While I personally used the power of my cycle to interpret my health and plan my family, it wasn’t until I stumbled into resting during menstruation that I realized the full potential and beauty of my cycle and hormonal patterns. Now I use my cycle to plan my schedule so that I can enjoy more flow and ease in my work, and I help other cycling female entrepreneurs to do the same. As a homeschooling mom of 3 boys, I want to use my work time to the fullest, so that I have energy, time, and attention to give me family, home, and health.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

During a session, a client exclaimed that she had to call her mom and tell her about what she just learned about her cycle and reproductive health. She wanted to fill her mom in! Not on the details of her health, but on general reproductive knowledge that she thought her mom needed to know. The client herself was almost thirty years old, and yet there she was, wanting to fill her mom in on this important information. The main takeaway is that we can do so much better. We should equip all women with the facts of their health and fertility, and do it early on.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was scared to pivot, so I kept doing the same work, in the same way, for too long. It was safe and familiar, but I was approaching burnout. I knew I wanted to continue working in the fertility and wellness space, but the way I was working wasn’t aligned with my highest skills. I wanted to be energized by my work and to find ease and flow. I wanted energy and attention to give when the work day was done. I have found these things now, but I had to let go of something good to discover something better. The lesson is — don’t be afraid to pivot or change course. There is power in leaning into the unknown. Also, tune in to your unique patterns of energy and mood and work in accordance for maximum flow.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The other women in the world of women’s health and cycle/fertility awareness. Their passion for, and commitment to, serving women and empowering them to make informed choices is an inspiration. The work they do, in spite of many obstacles and objections, inspires me. Our work as entrepreneurs can be lonely. On particularly hard days, the collaboration, community, and encouragement of women doing similar work make it possible to keep going.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I believe that women have incredible gifts to share with the world. Sometimes women can feel like their biological design keeps them sharing their gifts on a larger scale. I want all women to have the tools and support they need to make an impact. Our womanhood allows us to create, grow, and nourish human life. It also gives us an advantage when it comes to building and sustaining businesses and movements that change the world. We should know how to tap into, and maximize, that advantage.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

The following tweaks are good for fertility and cycle health, but also overall wellbeing.

  1. Optimizing your sleep by limiting unnatural light. We can do this by avoiding screens in the hours prior to bed (or wearing blue light glasses when screens are unavoidable). Sleeping in total darkness helps increase our sleep quality and supports our hormonal health, so get the lights and devices out of the bedroom and invest in some blackout curtains.
  2. Find your favorite fast, good-for-you food options. Instead of being tempted to grab processed foods focus on keeping some easy, nutrient dense options on hand. Some of my favorite options include bone broth and sweet potatoes. All you need to do is warm the broth or roast the sweet potatoes and then add in what you have on hand. For bone broth, this may be veggies, herbs, or spices, along with a scoop of coconut oil or a splash of coconut aminos. And for roasted sweet potatoes, consider hummus or avocado, a pickled veggies for gut health supporting probiotics, and a sprinkle of seeds.
  3. Dry brushing. It is super accessible and can help with lymphatic flow and detox. As an added bonus, it feels amazing and exfoliates the skin. I like to dry brush prior to a shower. You simply use a dry body brush to brush your skin, beginning at your feet and brushing toward your heart with long, gentle strokes.
  4. Find your favorite way to move and do it, often. We all know exercise is good for us, but sometimes we get caught up in how it should look. But the thing is, movement does so much for our bodies — releases stress hormones, increases blood flow, supports digestion and detox. We don’t need fancy classes or equipment to move our bodies. We just need to find a way of moving that brings us joy and to incorporate it into our day. This could be as simple as stretching, hiking/walks, or jumping jacks.
  5. Take a few slow, deep breaths before meals. It helps your body shift into rest and digest and allows for better digestion and nutrient absorption and it supports hormone health by reducing stress.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

A cycle awareness and tracking movement. Understanding that our cycles are an important indicator. Charting our cycles provides a to monitor and optimize our wellness. Cycle awareness gives menstruating women a powerful way to connect to their health and wellbeing — both their physical and mental health. Thankfully, I think this movement has already begun, but I would love to see if spread like wildfire. My vision and hope is that we are equipping younger women with this critical self knowledge and that they can pass it on to future generations. While cycle tracking directly impacts the health of cycling women, I believe that women who understand and care for themselves are better able to care for the health and well being of those around them, both young and old.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. The power and beauty of a woman’s cycle goes beyond her ability to get pregnant. So often when we discuss menstrual cycles, the focus is on periods and trying to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy. But our menstrual cycles provide us with critical information about our health, our mood, and our energy. We can get a baseline picture of health from a single charted cycle. With continued charting, we can predict when the next cycle (period) will begin, we can evaluate the impact of dietary or lifestyle changes on a particular person’s health, and we can go deeper into understanding our own unique patterns.
  2. No matter how much you have on your plate, as a woman there are times of the month when it will all feel like too much. This is what hormones do to cycling women. They rise and fall. And when they plummet, right before your period begins and on the first few days of your period, you aren’t feeling your best. You may experience overwhelm, exhaustion, or mood swings. Your inner critic may come out. This will pass. Give yourself grace and keep on going.
  3. Managing your energy is key to preventing burnout and achieving your goals and our cycles provide a guide. So often we focus on managing our time and our money, but our energy is a critical resource. We need periods of rest. Tune in to when and where you most need a break and focus on the activities that actually restore your energy versus the ones that deplete your energy.
  4. There are answers out there to whatever challenge we face. When we are faced with challenges — health, work, or personal — sometimes it can feel like we’ve hit a dead end. But just because you haven’t found the answers yet doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. During my time as a FertilityCare Practitioner, women would come to me after months or years of not finding answers or solutions to their health issues. They were thrilled at the chance to have someone look at their issues in a new way and, often, answers were found. Try asking “What haven’t I tried?,” “Who might be able to help?,” etc. to keep yourself open to new paths.
  5. The way we work is equally important to the work we do. We often come to our work with a paradigm of the right way to work. We internalize a standard that may not be right for us. Ambitious women can get really good at self motivating and taking action, so much so that they find it challenging to take a break. When we work with our cycles we tune into our unique needs, whether they encourage us to go out and make things happen or to retreat and recharge. And as we work with our cycle, we can take our break with peace of mind, knowing that our time to move and do is just around the corner. We can also push hard during mid cycle when our hormonal waves are increasing our energy and drive.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health is such a huge issue and can be more closely related to our cycles and hormones. We hear jokes about women being hormonal, but our hormones, or more specifically, hormonal imbalance, can cause a variety of mental health related symptoms ranging from mood swings to suicidal thoughts. There is a condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) that can cause severe anxiety or depression in the week or two before the beginning of a woman’s period. Tuning in to our cycles and connecting it to our moods and mental health can really help women to understand themselves and to seek help and support where and when we need it most.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Follow me on IG @thealignedcycle to learn how to tune in to your cycles and to grow a business with flow and ease.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Megan Faller of The Aligned Cycle on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.