120 Transcript: Boost Your Zen, Nourish Your Soul (with Grace Estripeaut)

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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 120. In this episode, you'll learn some simple and nourishing micro tweaks that you can use in your life to help you boost your Zen and feel like you're on solid ground again. Stay tuned.

Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.

J: Hey, welcome back. I'm Jen Riday and this is the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, and I'm so glad you're here; so glad we're on this journey together of taking care of ourselves so we can better love and serve and help and show up in this world as women and moms and employees and entrepreneurs and everything else we're doing. Thank you for being here. On our last episode, I spoke with Sally Boyle all about deconstructing divorce, understanding the divorce process. And I know some of you said, “Ugh, divorce; I don't know,” but there were so many things I learned from talking with Sally. And if you haven't listened to that, go back and do so, learn a few things; not that you might need to divorce someday, but maybe you need to support someone else who might be going through that and doing so with compassion.

Today I'm talking with Grace Estripeaut all about boosting your Zen and finding that calm space again. This is so important in our busy world to learn how to make these tiny little micro tweaks that will help you feel calm and in control, even when you still have to face some of those busy things in your life. The calmer you feel, the happier you show up and the better everything goes. So let's learn what those micro tweaks are by diving in right now.

Grace Estripeaut is a mental detox expert and peace of mind specialist. A self-proclaimed hyperactive Latina, granddaughter to Italians turned Zen master, she's an unwavering advocate of positive energy and practical Zen in the midst of a chaotic world. In 2012, Grace's meditation expertise prompted her CEO to ask her to lead a group of investors in a mindfulness session. It was so well received that it sparked a career change for Grace and fueled passion to help driven go-getter women find their center. With a master's degree in organizational development and 15 plus years of meditation training, Grace’s magic lies in helping women leaders eliminate exhaustion, overwhelm, and the rush mentality. In her own day-to-day, Grace leads programs on meditation, stress management, and mindful leadership to corporate employees as well as online. Grace lives with her partner in Denver, Colorado and she is a nature lover. Welcome to the show, Grace.

G: Thank you so much for having me, Jen.

J: I'm so glad you're here. I can imagine you there in Denver and that feels so outdoorsy to me, so I love that you describe yourself as a nature lover; so fun. I am too so it's good to know you.

G: What's your favorite thing to do outdoors?

J: I like trees, but my favorite thing to do is a tie between hiking and just lying on the grass and letting the grass soak up all my stress. So…

G: Mm, that sounds perfect to me too.

J: (Laughs). How about you?

G: I have to say, I like being anywhere around water. So…

J: Ah.

G: … by a creek, in a creek, kayaking in a lake, anything in water.

J: Nice.

G: Yeah.

J: That’s awesome. Well, let's have a quote from you and we'll let that launch our discussion today.

G: Yeah. So I live by the motto of, “Slowed down to speed up.”

J: Ah!

G: I mean, it’s so simple, but I feel like anytime I forget to actually slow down when I'm making decisions, slow down when I'm making plans or even just in my day-to-day life, it's basically the difference between pausing, being intentional present versus living in autopilot, just go-go-go, react-react-react mode. And I think slowing down also saves us a lot of… it helps us manage our energy better.

J: Hmm, yeah, that's so true. Well, did you have a time in your life when you were rushing and rushing and needed to slow down like that?

G: Oh my goodness, yes, a lot; don't we all in a way? I… you know, I was raised in Latin America by a very hyperactive driven type-a parents and I became exactly the same.

J: (Laughs)

G: And I think all my… you know, for sure, all my childhood and early adulthood and into my late 20s I was just… I was going, from the minute I woke up till the minute I put my head on the pillow, just go-go-go and that felt the… like that was my sense of worth, you know, how much I could get done in a day, how much I could accomplish or push through. And I would say in my early 30s, I started to feel that keeping going like that was definitely going to lead to burnout.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: I also realize, you know, it just led to exhaustion very… you know, the exhaustion level was hitting earlier, earlier in the day.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: It used to be like, oh, at night I was tired, but then, all of a sudden, if I started to pay attention, I was like, “I'm exhausted by 2:00 PM; by 3:00 PM.” And I know I wasn't being as effective as I really needed or wanted to be, I was just rushing.

J: Mm.

G: So when I started meditating, that’s when I started realizing, “Wow, if I go to a meditation class in the evening, the next day, I am that much more productive, that much more efficient.”

J: Mm-hmm.

G: And then I go, “How?” So I started paying attention like, “Oh, I slowed down (supposedly, right?) and I was intentional, I paused, I cleared some mental space, and emotional. And then the next day, I was that much more efficient.

J: Mm!

G: And that really got me looked.

J: I find the same is true for me. When I get unfocused and unclear and what I want to do, I can't get anything done, you're paralyzed. And then you get grounded and centered and bam, you knock it out. I agree; that's amazing.

G: Yeah.

J: So tell us more about your life with type-a driven parents and your own low points and what you've learned since then.

G: Yeah, boy, like low points. So, you know, I do the work I do now primarily because I am the result of, I would say, pretty significant difficult transitions, you know? In general, we're not very… as humans, we don't really love change, it's more like we manage it; we get along with it if we can. But I was really the result of someone who probably all through her 20s and even before I was 20 because of the circumstances in my family, I kept moving countries, which really, every time you move a country, it really means you start all over.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: So new house, new environment, new people, new relationships, and new jobs. And, you know, over a period of about 7 years, I moved 6 times.

J: Whoa!

G: Which really means a whole lot of saying goodbye and starting over it and kind of bouncing back. And the reason I really kind of went towards meditation and… because I wasn't… I wasn't your typical person that you would probably see walking into a yoga studio, I super hyperactive myself, very, very type-a like the people I help now, and I just I thought it was nonsense to still slow down.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: But when you're in a point in life where everything around me was constantly changing, constantly moving, I had no sense of stability externally, you know? And the first few times it sounded like exciting, “Oh, cool, everything's changing!” but after a few years, that really starts to wear your sense of, you know, belonging and safety and… and that's where I started to turn inside into a practice with meditation because it's almost like I knew you innately, even though I didn't have the words for it, that I needed to find that peaceful and like solid ground inside myself. And one particular thing happened where I was basically told that I had 7 days to pack up my life and move countries. And the story about it all is pretty lengthy, but I was literally at 22 years old given 7 days, “FYI, you know, on Sunday you're leaving and everything changes.

J: Wow.

G: And I found myself just sitting on the floor just crying like, “How does this keep happening?” And also, I'm super strong resilient per se, but I just I felt like I didn't have any grips on things.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: And that feeling of having the floor pulled from under you, which I know we've all had that at least once in different ways, it could be through a relationship or, you know, financial just stop feeling like, “This is what it was steady for me and now it's gone,” I feel like that's where we really find ourselves, and it's incredible to have very good tools. And that's how I found my way into meditation and into a practice that helped me find my floor (to call it something) inside and not depend on the external world.

J: Hmm, I love that. Let's go deeper here because so many of my listeners women, you know, all women pretty much, but many moms, many who work, but the common denominator is this sense of, “Ugh, I'm crazy busy,” and, “Ugh, I’m overwhelmed.” I hear it almost every single day over and over and over.

G: Mm-hmm.

J: And maybe a term… there's so many terms people use as well, “I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” or I feel like I'm in the deep end of the…”

G: Yes.

J: “… pool, treading water and I just can't get anywhere.” And so…

G: Yes.

J: … what would be the first thing you would advise for someone who's feeling this way to find that ground you're talking about; that center?

G: Well, there's 2 things; and I hear that a lot as well. You know, I feel like it's become popular and hip and cool to be over busy, you know; the more we do, it seems like the more we think we are. But… and sometimes we just have a lot on our plate; it just is the way it is. What I want to say about that is 2 things. One, I think that women have been given so much advice over the years like, “You know, make sure you give yourself some time to go to yoga or to… or to go work out or to go get your nails done or to whatever the thing is.” And so there's a mentality of all or nothing. And so I hear a lot of people say, “Well, I don't have an hour,” and I say, “Great, but do you have 10 minute?”

J: Mm-hm.

G: Because we all have, no matter what our life looks like, if we have 7 kids and a full-time job, there's still moments in between things, you know?

J: Mm-hmm.

G: Waiting at the doctor's office, sitting in traffic is an in-between time. In between one thing on the other, we're using that time right now probably on autopilot and checked out. And if we can start to use the in-between time, which really, over a week, is quite a bit of time and then over a month, it's even more. So if we could use like 3 minutes sitting in traffic to actually sit back, relax our shoulders, let go of the tightness in the wheel like, you know, instead of white-knuckling it, just like release some of the pressure, and just take some deep breath and just go, “Okay, I'm here.”

J: Mm-hmm.

G: And let's start to change its relationship with, you know, the red light instead of it being like, “Ugh, I'm frustrated! I'm late. I’m this,” to more like, “Oh, red means breathe.”

J: Oh yeah! That's great (Laughs); red means breathe.

G: Yeah, every time I hit a red light it's time for me; I get to breathe.

J: Hmm!

G: And just like takes deep belly breaths and relax and go, “Oh, okay, I'm here.” That's just one example, but I'm a big advocate, and that's a lot of what I teach and women is there are moments in between in your life, and you're either using them right now to deplete you or you can use them to nourish you.

J: Mm.

G: And there are super simple ways to use the moments in between to nourish you. You can actually chose to, instead of spend 3 minutes in between meetings, you know, scrolling through social media, it's actually to use 3 minutes between meetings and close your eyes and just pause and, again, take a couple of deep breaths and just connect to yourself, you know, “Am I present today? Am I intentional? Am I running around? Okay, do I maybe need to go to sleep a little earlier today so I can catch up?” Just micro tweaks and micro shifts throughout the day make a huge difference because we're either compounding towards more stress every day by, you know, certain behaviors that we've learned, you know, not really taking care of ourselves, running from one thing to the other, never pausing, you know, not really looking at what we're doing, all of that compounds to more stress. Or we can start compounding towards more vibrancy and, for sure, more decompression.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: And in short small ways throughout the day.

J: Yeah. Oh, that’s brilliant.

G: So I think that's… that's what I would say, you know? And then this thing of like, “Well, I don't have a whole hour,” which I hear a lot, but you do too, doesn't take an hour.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: You can do something in 10 minutes. You can choose to eat and then go take a 10-minute walk.

J:Mm-hmm, that's so brilliant, yeah. Those micro tweaks and micro shifts; yeah, I love that. So that's the first thing you recommend to find that ground or center, what's that second thing you recommend?

G: So what I want to say about this is, you know, it's important and it's completely valuable for the well-being of your whole life, your mind, your emotions, your… just your energy level, your physicality to give yourself mission to discover what really brings you vibrancy. For some people, it's running. For some people, it's doing yoga. For some people, it's sitting down and knitting. For some people, it's cooking. For some people, it’s spending time with dogs. It literally is so varied, and right now, I feel like the information about wellness is still pretty prescriptive, you know, it's like…

J: Mm-hmm.

G: … you need to sleep enough, you need to eat enough veggies, and you need to move enough; beautiful. And the truth is, because we're all so busy and we live in a society of go-go-go, there… we need to help ourselves be more motivated to… within the pausing and within the finding time that we're excited enough to do the thing. So, for example, I'm a nature lover, my non-negotiables in a week is how do I incorporate some hiking, some walking outdoors, some music, some dancing? Those are the things that really always basically like hit the spot. If I'm having full week, even if it's not difficult week, and I incorporate these elements in it, and again, it doesn't have to be an hour, but like, “Oh, 20 minutes of this today and 30 minutes of that,” then I'm okay. I don't hit burnout at all at the end of the week because I've incorporated decompression vitality things. And, for some people, again, it really might look like… I don't know you go and you pet, you know, dogs in a shelter. And, see, very few of those examples that I just gave are the ones that are kind of being propagated in the media, it's mostly like, “Go to the gym and eat enough broccoli and kale and sleep.”

J: Yeah.

G: Beautiful.

J: It's so true.

G: You know what I mean? Like, what if your thing is actually being quiet and listening to music and crocheting?

J: Yeah.

G: Well, that's… exactly. And so I feel like what I want to say to women specifically is, “Please give yourself permission to discover what that is for you and allow it to shifts throughout your life. But, when you find it, honor that; honor it like you honor… you know, like you have an appointment at work.” And when women work with me, they discover like, “Wow, like I love dancing and I haven't done that in 20 years.”

J: Mm, yes!

G: And I go, “Beautiful!”

J: Yes.

G: “Let's go see where there is, you know, like that.” And then they think it's silly because it sounds like dancing and it's not the workout that doctors are talking about.

J: (Laughs)

G: But emotionally, mental health is super important.

J: Well, that reminds me, I think a lot about our society, we rely on questionnaires telling us what we should do or who we are, and those are great; they get us started. But recently, I was thinking about the 5 love languages, are you familiar with that?

G: Yes, very much, mm-hmm.

J: So the areas of this questionnaire are, you know, it's suggesting that we all have a love language that we need to meet our needs through or we express love through, and those are quality time, acts of service, physical touch, gifts and… what am I missing? (Laughs)

G: Acts of service, touch… words of affirmation.

J: Yes, words of affirmation. So I filled that questionnaire out a long time ago and I got acts of service as my top.

G: Mm.

J: But recently, I was paying attention, well, maybe in the past year, year and a half, I was really paying attention just for myself separate from questionnaires, “What really makes me feel loved? What's happening when I'm feeling most connected to my spouse?” And I watched and I paid attention and I listened and I coupled this with meditation and knowing myself, and I realized it was physical touch. And that's so interesting because when I filled out the questionnaire or had in the past, I think I filled it out in a way that kind of met social expectations or those prescriptions you talked about that doctors make; well, I'm a woman so I'd probably answer it this way. But that's what's cool about what you just said because we can all meditate and know ourselves deeply on that intimate level every morning. And then as we go throughout our day, we can recognize “Oh, this is what really fills my cup. When I do this thing, I'm good for hours afterwards,” or, “When I talk to this person,”

G: Yes.

J: “I am on cloud 9.” And we start to really know ourselves and that's a big component to our happiness when we can do that; so I love that.

G: Yes, mm-hmm. Yeah, a woman told me yesterday, she said, “You know, after having a conversation with you, I spent half a weekend making jewelry, and I feel like I went a vacation.”

J: Ah, yes! Isn’t that funny?

G: She said she’s sitting at home beading, you know, and I know it's just like, “Wow! There you go!” She didn't need to go do a hike or, you know; like, it was beading. And it makes sense because it also helps her be focused, and when you're doing that, you can be multitasking. Like, nervous system can just calm down.

J: Oh, yes.

G: And she was almost on the verge of tears. She said, “I was so burned out when I talked to you, and I feel like I went away,” and I was like, “Wow, there you go.”

J: And isn't that interesting? Beading, for me, would make me want to poke my eye out (Laughs); same as sewing or knitting. But like, for me…

G: Sometimes I feel like that too.


J: … an hour of yoga…

G: That’s how I feel too.

J: Yeah.

G: This is why it's important to have… you know, allow ourselves permission, you know? When someone's like, “Oh, you know…” I have a girlfriend who says, you know, she comes home after a really… she has one of these really intense corporate jobs, she travels a lot, and when she comes home to decompress, her ideal of decompressing is putting together an elaborate meal.

J: Oh! (Laughs)

G: And I’m going, “(Unclear) [18:32].”

J: (Laughs)

G: That, to me, is work (Laughs). So this is where I… you know, and… but she feels cooking how I feel dancing.

J: Yes. Well, and the other one is society idealizes the idea of the vacation. And I started to pay attention, for me, traveling with my 6 kids, I felt awful at the end of a vacation; I felt terrible. And I realized, if I just spent one hour in a yoga class, it was way better. So why even vacation right now? It's too much work! So that’s so funny you said that.

G: (Laughs)

J: So dancing for you, what kind of dancing do you like to do?

G: I… you know, I grew up dancing quite a bit. I danced ballet and then I did jazz and tap. And so I know way…

J: Mm!

G: These days, I like going to seeing things like Zumba classes or one of these places where they can do… there's like always in town somehow, I've always found a place where they kind of played like drums really in… in person, real drums.

J: Hmm.

G: There is kind of like interpretive dance, I guess. Someone is facilitating something, but it feels more like a meditation. You just kind of close your eyes and move to the beat of these drums. And, for me, it's a meditation, but it's also flowy and it allows… every time I go, I feel like, “Wow, I just took a year off my shoulders.”

J: Mm!

G: Just like that.

J: You've mentioned that word ‘flow’ twice, you know, you said when you're dancing you get into that state of flow and when your friend was beading, she was in that state of flow where she was concentrated. Can you talk more about what that really means to be in a state of flow and how we've… we know if we've achieved it?

G: Hmm, good question, you know, I’ve never been asked this.

J: (Laughs)

G: So there's a lot of science and there's a lot been written about flow and, you know, states of flow. In general, they're describing a state where you're kind of out of the part of your mind that can start to worry and that can start to… I mean, generally speaking, in our day to day, we are in the part of our brain that's always solving a problem.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: Logistically, it’s just planning and figuring things out and it's just problem-solving. But in that state, there's a lot of limitation. It's like, “Well, not… no, no on this because of that.” And we always are like, “No. Okay, no, over here… okay,” it's very structured inside our brain. But when we're in flow, it's a space and, you know, people who are artists and people who are in sports, you know, at a professional level, they've been studied thoroughly because their best performance comes when they enter the state of flow. And what it really looks like is we are outside of that rigid, calculating, problem-solving part of our mind; like, we essentially are able to bypass that and the creativity opens up. And it's usually a state where we're extremely present.

J: Mm! Yes.

G: So, for me, you know, I don't experience that shooting hoops like in basketball or something like that or in tennis, but when I get out of my busy to-do type mindset and I'm more in my body, which definitely happens through yoga, I feel it in nature, and dancing completely takes me there, there's a freedom that we feel.

J: Mm.

G: You know, there's… you're not thinking your every single step and, “Okay, if I do this and then at 5:30, I need to do that and then this,” that's like the problem-solving part of the mind and it's exhausting; but we need it and we're in it most of the time. But flow is much more expansive and very creative and it allows us to stay in like I focus so much, much longer.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: And because we have more access to our instincts when we're in flow and our bodies wisdom, our results are better.

J: Mm-hmm, I love that, and it's so true. That state of flow is just the problems fall away in your present, just like you said. Well…

G: Yeah.

J: … tell us more about Boost your Zen and how you help women find that state of focus and flow and calm and finding the ground again beneath our feet.

G: Yeah, thanks for that question. So, I mean, I feel like my job in the world is to remind women of what they already know. You know, I think, similar to your work, you know, a lot of what I teach, I run a program called Breathing Room which it goes for 4 months and it is for, you know, high achieving, very driven, type-a women who want a lot out of life. And because they want a lot out of life, they have a lot on their plates. You know, most of them are moms, most of them work full-time, whether they own their business or they work as an employee. And what's happened is, in a way, they reach certain levels of success, they reach certain levels of, you know, achievement and they're like, “How do I keep this pace up? I don't know that I can. Something's gotta give. I'm starting to have panic attacks and I haven't told anyone because I'm afraid to,” or, “I… you know, I'm gaining weight and it's not coming off,” or there's just, you know, an accumulation of pressure that they're feeling. And my work with them really is about, again, starting to become more present and less out of pilot in their life. And it doesn't need any radical changes in their lifestyle, it's more about, “How do we start using the moments in between, you know, what I described?” They all start to get these ideas about like, “Ooh, when I drive, I could actually turn off the radio,” for example…

J: Mm-hmm.

G: “And actually have soft instrumental music playing that actually soothes me. Ooh, when I get home, before I walk in the door and face my kids, can I take 5 minutes and do something for myself? Either connect with someone, make a phone call or actually play a recorded meditation and just do it briefly,” things like that. And what I've learned is over helping, I would say probably 2000 women at this point, women really know what they need, but there's a level of exhaustion and confusion and just busyness that we all live in that actually gets in the way of that information. So we do quite a bit of work of calming down the noise of life so you can really hear yourself again. And then when you can really hear yourself, you know which shifts and tweaks you can make in your life so that you're again at the center of it, which means taking care of yourself.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: And without the complexity of sometimes what the medical profession wants you to think, it's sometimes not even that complex. I mean, they have… I'll give you an example. I had someone who came to work with me in the beginning of the program, Breathing Room, which goes for 4 months. She was in a place where she was like, “Okay, I quit my corporate career. I started a business a year ago. The business is doing well. My kids are happy because they see me more. Grace, I'm having panic attacks for the first time in my life, and they happen on the regular; like once or twice a week.” And so I was like, “Okay, I'm not a panic attack expert by any means,” but we started doing some of the work I described to you, you know, “Okay, how… what can we do while you drive? What's happening in the mornings before you get started with work? Do you have a routine to wind down at the end of the day?” because that's something most people don't have. They go-go-go all day and then there's an expectation like, “Okay, I'm just going to switch into pajamas, put my head on the pillow, and my body will know it's time to unwind.”

J: Mm-hmm.

G: Hmm, doesn't really work that way. So we start incorporating these like small habits, little by little by little. Three weeks later, she hasn't had 1 panic attack, 3 months later, she hasn't had 1 panic attack, and now it's been 8 months since she did the program and not 1.

J: Ooh! That's great. Just by creating spaces; just using the spaces.

G: Well, it's… her nervous system was completely over… over in overdrive, right? So we just… we helped her find ways to decompress that worked in her life. But also, then there…she's just like, “Oh, I could take care of myself,” because she's got space now. And this is what she keeps saying, she says, “I feel like I have more time in life, but I still have the same amount of time.” And it's because, before, it was just… it's basically like when you clear the clutter somewhere. We cleared the clutter of stress and over during that was happening in her life. And she still has the same responsibilities, same bills to pay and kids to take care of. Her circumstances haven't changed, but her internal world is completely different. She's completely anxiety free and knows when she's in overdrive now; which is most important to me. It's not about just clearing the symptom, but know when you're… if you were from 1 to 10 and 10 is really high, high overdrive, she knows when she's getting to an 8 and knows what to do about it now.

J: Mm, that's so smart; tracking those feelings. Do you train people to analyze where they're at every day or every week? How do we know when we're about to lose it? (Laughs)

G: Yeah, yeah, I love that question. We start with weekly and eventually… you know, because otherwise, if you're tracking daily, it starts to feel overwhelming in the beginning. But when they start to feel more spacious and more like, “Okay, that's working. I feel better and I'm sleeping better and I'm… you know, I'm less reactive,” then I start saying, “Okay, every day, just like when you're brushing your teeth, find a moment in the day that becomes an anchor where you say, ‘Okay, 1 to 10, where am I today?’”

J: Mm-hmm.

G: And if the answer is anywhere above 7, you know, 7 or above then, you know, that that day needs special attention. You know, that day you really might need to find a 20-minute spot in your day to just apply a decompression. And decompression, again, it can be very personal. It could be a chat on the phone with a girlfriend, it could be a glass of wine or it could be a walk by yourself or whatever your decompression is. But if your response is, “You know, I'm kind of like at a 4 or 5. Today's a pretty like mellow, easy day,” then you don't need as much that day, but you need something. You need something every day because the truth is, life is going at a very rapid speed, we have way more information to process than we've ever had, and that's not going to change; technology's just going to make everything keep speeding up. So we do need something… just like, you know, we have an understanding that we need to take care of our bodies, which means, drink enough water, have some food, you know, so you don't faint and get enough sleep, like those are the basics physically, well, we need basics every day to take care of our energy level and our emotional and our mental health. So, yes, I advise people to track daily and then figure out what's, you know, what do they need to add to decompress throughout the day.

J: Hmm, that's so great. Well, thank you, I love everything you've been sharing. And let's take a quick break for our sponsor and then come back and talk about some of your favorite things and what this looks like in your life because, you know, learn more about you.

G: Sure.

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(Interview resumes) [31:21]

J: Welcome back, Grace, and let's hear, what does your morning routine look like? You know, you're this hyperactive Latina, as you describe yourself, on overdrive sometimes. What is your morning routine look like to bring that nervous system back down to a sense of balance?

G: Yeah, good question. So the first thing I want to say is, it ebbs and flows, so I don't have a set, you know, routine that always is the same, but it definitely includes aspects of… first thing I do in the mornings is I wake up and I drink something like 6, you know, 4 or 5 glasses of water, like a significant amount of water because really, we've been not drinking liquid for something like 7 or 8 hours; so I drink a lot of water. I have an aspect of movement in my morning, so it either means like I play 2 songs and it kind of dance around and just kind of like stretch and move my body because, again, it's been still throughout the night, or you do some yoga, and I'm not talking about a whole bunch, I'm talking about like 10 minutes; just some version of movement and stretching and kind of getting into my body. And then I either journal or I meditate; which journaling can be kind of a meditation, but I either just sit down and do like free flow writing and just let my brain empty out, and so get really clear on what's priority today. Or, some mornings, I feel like my mind is pretty clear and I don't need to do that, so then I just sit down and… and I practice different versions of meditation again. So sometimes it's very prayerful, sometimes it's not prayerful at all and it's just about focus, sometimes it's more mindful (the approach), and sometimes it's with music and more releasing emotions. It's… so it ebbs and flow quite a bit, but, for sure, I have at least a 30-minute morning, I would say, buffer before I get going with my day; before I start responding to things that are asked of me, I spent 30 minutes focused inside, which is a combination of, you know, stretching, moving my body and, you know, either journaling or meditation.

J: Mm, that's great. And what's your favorite book, Grace?

G: My favorite book. I would say that, currently, the one that I've really been enjoying and I'm getting a lot out of is called ‘Playing Big’ by Tara Mohr.

J: Mm.

G: And it's a book for women; I highly recommend it. It basically talks about… you know, again, in a society that it's everything's about, “More, more, more. Do more, be more, keep going. Bigger, bigger, bigger, more,” you know, how do you define what more really is for you?

J: Mm-hmm.

G: Is that really what you want? Do you want to be in that race or not? And also, there's been, in… in the women's movement, this… you know, I would say it got really popular after… ‘Lean In’, that book, ‘Lean In’, like, “Okay, you know, raise your hand, take on more responsibility,” again more, more, more. And what playing big is about is defining what big is for you.

J: Mm, yes.

G: It might be that you have, you know, 20 hour a job responsibilities and that you balance a home garden; I don't know, it could be anything. But she helps you and coaches you in that book through getting really honest about what big is for you, honoring that, and also, “What are some of the typical like mental stops that we will do to not live our own big?” You know, whether we're conditioned to do it one way; which aren't we all to do quite a bit?

J: Yeah.

G: So it's been really helpful in my business, but it wasn't my personal life like, you know, I don't always have to be this go-go-go-go setter.

J: Mm-hmm.

G: And how much that leads to stress and burnout.

J: Right, right, it's so true. What's your favorite easy meal?

G: Oh, I live by this. I eat quinoa and scrambled eggs quite a bit. (Laughs)

J: Yum, that's easy, yeah.

G: Yeah it takes about 4 minutes.

J: And what is your favorite way to boost your mood if you're having a rough start to the day or something happens?

G: A really good dance song and being left by myself to just move to it. Like, I close the door to my room or, you know, an office or something, and I just play a song and I just close my eyes and go.

J: Mm, that's so fun.

G: Rarely does it not lift; it's very rare.

J: Yeah.

G: It always hits the spot.

J: That's awesome.

G: Especially if it's a good dance song, you know?

J: What's your favorite song for a dance song? I mean, that's almost impossible to say, but maybe you have one this week.

G: (Laughs). I mean, these favorite things is hard to pick. But right now, I’m doing quite a bit of Justin Timberlake's ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’; that one right now, it's working really well.

J: Yeah!

G: So I tend to get bored of one to the next one, but that one's really working.

J: That's awesome. What does it mean for you to be a vibrant happy woman?

G: I feel that someone… you know, when I'm connected to myself and I really honor my needs, when I give myself some room and space to be fully human, which means make mistakes and, you know, scrape my knees and ask for support, and when I'm just really completely connected to myself, my needs, my emotions, my fears, and honor that, and honoring that means then I take care of myself, that means vibrancy and happiness, to me. And, you know, it's that kind of thing, like when I'm in that space, people around me want to be around me. And when I drop the line and I don't live like that, people around you feel it.

J: Yeah! Isn't that so true? Ooh, that's good.

G: Mm-hmm.

J: It's really true, you know, the greatest gift you can give your loved ones is your own happiness or, as you kind of just said, “The greatest gift you can give your loved ones is to take care of yourself and be in that authentic, aligned, grounded space because they feel it,” hmm.

G: Yeah, my energy is what determines everything, right? My energy determines my mindset, whether I'm, you know, in a positive frame of mind and I can overcome obstacles that are typical in a day. My energy determines whether I'm crashing at 3 PM or I'm actually ok; all of it. So it determines how creative I am. So taking care of my energy is essentially my number one priority.

J: Mm.

G: And that I think has a lot to do with vibrancy. So, you know, most people are like, “Yeah, well, I ate today and I kind of slept, but, yeah, no, I haven't worked out and I haven't, haven't, haven't, haven't.” And I go, “But that's where everything comes from.”

J: Mm-hmm. It’s true.

G: Anyways, it takes something to really take responsibility for our own energy.

J: Yes, yes, and people pick up on it; it's so true.

G: Mm-hmm.

J: Let's have a challenge from you to our listeners. I love everything you've taught us, I wonder which challenge you'll pick; there's so many you could do. (Laughs)

G: Yeah. I would say the simplest and the one that can be the biggest game-changer for people who drive is start to relate to red lights as time to breathe. So, you know, I'm assuming that when we all learn how to drive, it was like yellow means slow down, red means stop, and now I say red means breathe. And, you know, breathing will remind you to, “Okay, like let loose a little bit of the wheel, you know, like release the grip and sit back and relax your shoulders and just… red lights mean breathe,” or if you're using public transportation, whenever the train or whatever it is that you're sitting on, the bus stops, same; a stop means breathe. And I'm telling you, when we start breathing more, our lives change.

J: Mm-hmm, so true; breathing more. Okay, well, that's an excellent challenge. Thank you so much for sharing that with us and for being on the show. Remind us again where we can find you and then we'll say goodbye.

G: Yeah, absolutely. People can find me at boostyourzen.com.

J: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on Vibrant Happy Women, Grace. I loved it, we have so much in common and we'll have to stay in touch.

G: Absolutely, Jen, I love your work in the world. Thank you for having me.

J: Take care, Grace.

G: Bye-bye.

Thank you so much for joining us and I will be back later this week with a happy bit. And next week, my guest will be Kristin Neff, the self-compassion expert. She started self-compassion research years ago and now she leads beautiful workshops that help you learn the art of self-compassion. And I'll give you a hint about what we'll be talking about next week. Self-compassion really begins with loving, connected presence. It's a little bit of kindness towards yourself, it's a little bit of mindfulness, and it's a little bit of connection to all of the rest of humanity. And when we're more self-compassionate, we are more able to be compassionate with other people. It's a beautiful process, I cannot wait for you to hear that episode. So be sure to come back for that, and until then, make it a phenomenal week. Take care of you and be your best self. Take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.