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Annette Estrada of ‘Mini Manifesters’: “Exercise is key to obtaining physical wellness”

Exercise is key to obtaining physical wellness. My favorite physical activities include cardio, yoga, hiking, and free weights with my life partner. We enjoy pushing each other during each activity to ensure top physical wellness. Secondly, a healthy diet goes a long way! I am not perfect by any means. Yet, I am always including […]

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Exercise is key to obtaining physical wellness. My favorite physical activities include cardio, yoga, hiking, and free weights with my life partner. We enjoy pushing each other during each activity to ensure top physical wellness. Secondly, a healthy diet goes a long way! I am not perfect by any means. Yet, I am always including greens and as little sugar as possible with every meal. Lastly, I love to play games with all the children in my life. My profession as a schoolteacher, and having four kids, blesses me with many opportunities to keep my body moving fluidly and often!


Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewingAnnette Estrada.

Annette is the founder of the up-and-coming Mini Manifesters and has published her book Mini Manifesters, A Pocketbook To Energize The Young Leaders Of The Now, visit Mini Manifesters at www.minimanifesters.com and her podcast https://anchor.fm/annette408.

Annette Estrada has taught elementary, middle, and high school students in formal and informal settings for over 17 years; she continues to teach as a credentialed classroom teacher in the South Bay Area of California. During her 17 years serving youth, Annette remains passionate about youth development and about her own personal and spiritual growth.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I am a first-generation Filipina American. My life started in a small migrant working town, Orange Cove, located close to Fresno, California. The town was filled with many Mexican families in addition to a sprinkling of Japanese, Filipino, and White families. Many people of color worked the fields by picking fruits and vegetables and lived simple farm lives, where some families traded or bought livestock from neighbors for food. My family raised chickens and used their chickens for trade or sport (cock fighting).

I grew up in an emotionally unstable and terribly violent home due to my parents’ arranged marriage and different cultural backgrounds. In the middle of my elementary school years, my parents separated, and my mother relocated us to San Jose, California. It was a tough beginning, where my family of six rented out a room and had to share a house with two other immigrant families to survive. My parents finally divorced when I was in 3rd grade, and I continued to live with my mother, brother, and grandmother, in different multi-family homes where my father was rarely present.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

Along the way, teachers and my parents’ unhealthy relationship taught me the importance of safety, honesty, stability, and loyalty. In the end though, life inspired and guided me to my current career. Amidst the magic life brings I observed, an important element that was missing, I wasn’t evaluating, fast enough, the wounds that impacted my daily interactions. Once my partner and I got together, accountability on both ends skyrocketed through the roof, and I started to recognize how I would easily go into autopilot if I was triggered. To this day, we continue on this journey to self-betterment. There are many times when the journey seems bleak and heavy; I’m slowly practicing not to take things personally, the interactions with my partner remind me how taking things personally makes the journey unbearable. My partner teaches me what I need in order to have a healthy relationship; he teaches me that I have to put up tough boundaries, so I don’t become a doormat: One of the best and biggest life lessons yet.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My mentors are, my partner and children, my students, and the community I serve; all three entities, on a continuous basis, teach me so much about pure potentiality and the use of energy which has given me the ability to shift my own reality for the better. Before my partner and I got together, I was a free spirit doing as I pleased. Teaching and parenting my children, dating and going out. I was blessed to have witnessed the magic that occurred when children were given the space to create and be free to be themselves. This freedom, in turn, helped me be a free spirit and enjoy life, but the only drawback was the energy I was freely and continuously giving away. All aforementioned mentors have taught me the importance of conserving energy meant for my highest good.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

The funniest mistake I have made thus far is how I’ve anticipated a huge rush of events happening once I revealed my project however, people can’t be interested if there isn’t enough data and if people aren’t aware of what I’ve been developing. With this, sure and steady is the pace I have had to accept while simultaneously piecing together all the moving foundational pieces and developing the heart of the organization. My excitement and acknowledgement for the need of a paradigm shift such as this will have to move at a steady pace during its developmental stages. If I release too early, there may be some crucial details that could be overlooked, which will open up my organization to a vulnerable unsteady state.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

A book that has currently impacted my overall wellness is Stillness Speaks, by Ekhart Tolle. Our busy mind does not allow us to be still in the present moment. Many times, we’re stuck thinking about the past or the future. This quick and easy read pushes us to enjoy and accept what is literally in front of us in the NOW. For example, rather than thinking about my day while drinking my coffee, our main job is to FULLY enjoy the yummy sips of the coffee. Notice how warm and tasty the coffee is as it touches your lips and makes its way down your throat. This is with anything we do, the small tasks. It is the small things in front of us that help to anchor us fully in the present moment.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

A life quote that impacts my life daily is “If you want to be trusted, be honest. If you want to be honest, be true. If you want to be true, be yourself. In a world full of lies, opinions, truths, and half-truths, in the end, the only thing we ever have is ourselves. If we are not true to ourselves, becoming the best version of ourselves will come slowly. If we aren’t true to ourselves beginning within will be difficult leaving the void within unexamined and not allowing ourselves to walk with purpose. If we’re not walking with purpose, there will be nothing to disrupt, all we will encounter is the superficial reality that has been created for us; without purpose we will follow blindly and follow the reality that have no plans for us all to meet our purpose.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

It would be the up-and-coming Mini Manifesters, a social justice movement. Imagine harnessing the youthful energy and power of our young leaders and all the people they influence. Imagine adults nurturing an environment for young ones conducive to creating solutions to community and societal issues. So many of our young ones see and experience injustices, pain, and cruelty inflicted on our natural environment, their community, and their world. They want to be a part of the change! They are not the leaders of the future! Our youth are the leaders of the NOW!!! This is the exact movement I am working to bring to light! With the bombardment of technology, our young ones are being sucked of their creativity! This movement is progressing, and it will help make a difference in our unjust world!

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

These easy-to-follow steps require repetition when necessary and are taken from Ekhart Tolle’s Stillness Speaks. Activate this process when your mind runs you ragged with repetitious thoughts and feelings that are not feeding your mind, body, and spirit and causing distraction and pain in any of the three realms. The end result is PEACE! Food for the mind, body, and spirit!

1)Notice the unpleasant thoughts and/or feelings.

Notice the thoughts and/or feelings and acknowledge them without judgement. There are no good or bad thoughts and feelings, they are what they are thoughts and feelings. All these thoughts and feelings are sending you a message, it’s calling you to act.

2)Take responsibility.

Once the thoughts and feelings have dissipated, respond with responsibility to ensure pain is not inflicted. There may be decisions that you’ll have to make that could impact others, but you must first take care of yourself. If you’re overlooking your own boundaries, you are not loving yourself.

3)Embrace and SIT in the present moment.

Regardless of what’s happening in or outside of you, the only thing you have is the moment at hand. EMBRACE it. If you’re in conflict with someone, it is what it is. Sit in it, and once the tension settles, determine the next steps. Do not allow the present moment to slip away due to distractions of what should or could be.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

Some people are not into Yoga or meditation, but many people enjoy baths and nature and they are easy to do!

Not just any bath, an Epsom salt OR baking soda bath. The name of the game is ENERGETIC CLEANSING!

It is a great way to start the day.

  1. Light two+ candles to set the meditative mood.
  2. I throw “programmed” crystals in the warm water, based on the healing I require for that moment.
  3. I add the bubble bath of my choice in addition to the detoxifier of my choice (Epsom salt or baking soda).
  4. Once the water and bathroom are set, settle your mind and body into the water and into a still place. Listen for stillness and quiet, your mind will follow.
  5. Once you feel stillness and quiet, breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
  6. Lastly, breathe deeply as instructed in #5 until your body feels lighter. REPEAT the process if your mind still feels fuzzy or busy.

Another easy-to-do energetic cleanse is a nature walk to free your mind. I take in all the surrounding natural sounds, smells, and sights. Getting away from busy energy helps the mind to self-discovery, being present, and peace.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Exercise is key to obtaining physical wellness. My favorite physical activities include cardio, yoga, hiking, and free weights with my life partner. We enjoy pushing each other during each activity to ensure top physical wellness. Secondly, a healthy diet goes a long way! I am not perfect by any means. Yet, I am always including greens and as little sugar as possible with every meal. Lastly, I love to play games with all the children in my life. My profession as a schoolteacher, and having four kids, blesses me with many opportunities to keep my body moving fluidly and often!

Lastly, loving the body you have, helps us appreciate what we have and motivates us to keep it as healthy as possible.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, 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 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

The main blockage that prevents us from healthy eating is the world around us. Essentially every stocked item in most grocery stores is packed with preservatives, sugars, and other processed goods. You need to make an effort to read the ingredients before making your purchase. Additionally, our taste buds are used to the sugars that are included in every meal. A little bit of research on how to make your favorite meals a little healthier will go a long way!

Lastly, we have to think of food as energy; if there’s a day where you have to cave into your cravings do it! You’re human, just never forget to ask yourself, how will this food affect my energy level? If you have space to cave for a bit, honor your cravings, but if your mind is telling you “some other time, I need energy for ______.” Honor your body.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Set up boundaries around your needs. It allows others to know their limits, what you are and aren’t ok with. My partner and I set up boundaries with the opposite sex to ensure and show our dedication to each other. It allows safety in a world of opposite sex issues. Secondly, I journal often, ideally daily. My journal allows me to release bad energy and thoughts that build up over time. Lastly, my life partner and I show vulnerability to each other when triggered; we work as a TEAM through every situation. Having a life partner that is willing to learn from his mistakes allows my emotional wellness to blossom and strengthen with every situation. The key is to surround yourself with supportive people.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

Smiling is known to release endorphins that lead to many health benefits. While smiling spreads joy, I’ve currently been enjoying and promote internal smiling as well! I used to smile to everybody around me while in public; now I appreciate internally smiling as it pushes me to be mindful of how much internal happiness and gratitude, I actually have versus putting on a smile for the world to see. It’s a balance for me, to ensure I’m not smiling for show, but for myself and the ones I care for.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

One good habit is identifying spiritual books and teachers that may have golden nuggets to share; not every book and teacher speak to your heart but taking what fits your needs and releasing what no longer serves you is the ultimate key. Secondly, tapping into your own intuition is key! As a child, I was raised to blindly follow without listening to my own needs, there has to be a point where, we find stillness and our own voice, in the moment to honor ourselves because our selves are all we can really control. Lastly, if it is difficult to pinpoint your own intuition, self-reflect often in an electronic or hard copy journal. Introspection helps me honor where I am truly at in order to know what really serves me.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Nature is one of the best spaces to practice being present and being present is key to spiritual wellness and being peaceful. The natural terrain, its inhabitants, and everything the earth has to offer brings our attention to what we need to be peaceful, which is being present.

Ok, we are nearly done. 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.

Our youth are typically seen as leaders of the future, but if you look around, our youth are stepping up to the plate NOW. The number of injustices plaguing our world is unmanageable, and our youth see it; they want to be a part of the solution!! My up-and-coming organization, Mini Manifesters, a social justice movement can help with bringing about different change! Imagine harnessing the youthful energy and power of our young leaders and their families. Imagine adults nurturing an environment for young ones conducive to creation and social change! This is the exact movement I am working to bring to light! With the bombardment of technology, our young ones are being sucked of their creativity! A movement like this nurture emotional intelligence through Introspection, collaboration, empathy, passion, motivation, critical thinking, and so much more are all a result of what Mini Manifesters can do.

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, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to meet with Ellen Degeneres and or Malala. It has been a dream to collaborate with either of these women because of the struggles they have endured. Regardless of these struggles, they are thriving and have stories to share about how they crossed over from the world’s illusory limits! They continue to thrive by elevating the energy and by spreading truth and joy to the world around them.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annette.estrada.1111

Website: www.minimanifesters.com

Instagram: @annettemanifesters

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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