Listen to your gut. This takes practice, but once you master your own intuition you will struggle far less with decision making. The key here is to avoid overthinking. I try to pay attention to the feelings in my gut, especially when I am at work in the Emergency Department. It might be a lab value that catches my eye for a minute longer than it typically would, or a patient voice that tells me a tiny tidbit that stands out. The smallest of signs or feelings can mean something. Usually it takes ignoring these signs, to learn when to pay attention to them. That’s OK. That is how we learn to listen to our intuition.
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?
Cassie Majestic is a board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician based in Southern California. She trained at Arizona State University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology. She then completed medical school at The Ohio State University after which she trained in Emergency Medicine at the University of California Irvine. Cassie currently resides in Orange County with her husband, a local deputy chief firefighter who she met on shift in the Emergency Department. They share two French Bulldogs EMS (stands for Emergency Medical Services) and Benzo. She is passionate about educating others on health, wellness, and lifestyle balance. Cassie does so on her website DrMajestic.com, which gives her readers a glimpse into her crazy, beautiful life inside and outside of medicine. She strives to teach her community that anyone can achieve a successful, professional career AND maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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 grew up in a small Midwestern town, as an only child, though I do have two half-brothers who are significantly older than myself. I was innocent and independent, spending my weekends playing outside in our huge backyard. I dreamt of bigger things and being older, in fact I often told people I was older than my actual age! My parents supported every hope and dream that came to mind, including my long-term goals of becoming a physician.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
At a very young age, I became obsessed with medical shows on TV. If you were born in the 80’s or before, you may recognize the show Rescue 911. I became captivated with the body and its fascinating functions. Any time a friend or family member was injured or ill, I wanted to know more details. Blood and guts didn’t scare me, in fact I tried to find ways to see more of it! There were no doctors in my family, so I’m not sure where the initial love for science and medicine came from, only that it was present within me at a very young age.
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?
Honestly, my parents were my biggest supporters and never stopped encouraging me. I spent countless hours on the phone with my mom in particular, crying and anxious about whether or not I would ever make it through medical training. My mom had no idea what I was going through, she had never been to college or medical school, but she never wavered in her belief that I was fulfilling my destiny. She always found the right inspirational words that kept me going.
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?
SO many mistakes and interesting moments in my medical training! As a young female physician, I have certainly encountered my fair share of judgment. It could be as small as a patient or colleague calling me “ma’am”, or by my first name, instead of “doctor”. While I am not offended by these things per say, I used to feel as if it were best for me to say nothing in correction; I just wanted to make people happy and comfortable. Over time I have learned that while my job is to care for patients and keep them healthy, it is not my job to hide my title in order to avoid potential confrontation or to seem more friendly. I have learned to politely declare myself as “Doctor Majestic” when needed, and with my head held high and proud!
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?
You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life, by Jen Sincero. I love this book, because it incorporates dry humor with extensive motivation to manifest dreams into reality. It has so many amazing pearls that I bookmarked during my first year as a licensed physician, when I struggled to feel confident making decisions on my own.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.
I had to come to terms with the unknown, as I moved closer and closer towards my goal of becoming a physician. I was terrified of failing. In fact, my path to medical school was not entirely traditional. Soon, my fear of getting perfect grades and test scores became fear for my patient outcomes. There were so many scary moments where my knowledge and skills were the thing between life and death for people. If I allowed myself to remain terrified in these moments, I could never create the clear head space that allows me to do my job. Failure is a part of life, and learning.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Working in the Emergency Department helped me realize that I craved more from my interactions with people, on a daily basis. Everything in my medical job is fast paced; I sometimes wish I had more hours in the day to educate my patients. Back in 2015, I took to social media to expand upon that desire. I regularly use Instagram and my website as an educational tool for health, wellness, and lifestyle pearls.
I also recently launched a product line on my website, DrMajestic.com! My vision included lifestyle products that would inspire, educate and elevate someone’s life. I currently have stickers and candles available, which I created from the ground up, including the scents, designs and labels. I put sincere emphasis on my environment and strive to create an oasis for my mind and body to be healthy and positive. My hopes are to expand this product line to include other lifestyle accessories that will help others do the same.
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.
1.) Give your mind “quiet time” daily. I know, I know, you are busy! I promise that you can find a few minutes in your day, to spare. Recently I noticed that I was filling my days from start to finish, with tasks and to-do lists. There was no time left to process anything, because my mind was already on to the next task.
If we never allow for our minds to review and reflect on what we are doing or how we are feeling, we cannot identify where and how we may need to make changes.
2.) Be mindful of the company that you keep. Look around your circle of friends and family; do they build you up? As I grew older and noticed less and less free time in my days, I had to make my circle smaller. Quality over quantity. It is not easy but notice how you feel when you agree to plans or time with each individual in your life. If you notice yourself agreeing to things because you feel bad, or you notice negative feelings when in someone’s company, perhaps that should be a sign to make a change.
3.) Limit self-criticism. This is huge and will allow you to elevate your being to the next level! You have to be your own best friend in every scenario. Negative self-talk is extremely detrimental to your mental well-being and is a major risk factor for depression. When I notice I am self-criticizing (sometimes in third person) I stop and ask myself, “what would I tell a friend in this moment?”.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
I love to implement yoga into my regular routine. Throughout the week, I will alternate through gentle, vinyasa, and yoga sculp classes (online right now, of course). The combination of physical stamina plus mental focus and quiet, required for a yoga class, creates meaning for me behind my physical efforts. Even if traditional yoga classes are not on my agenda for the day, I try to find quiet moments to listen to myself breathe. The ujjayi breath that is often taught in yoga, can be a powerful tool for disconnecting and overriding the unwanted noise throughout the day.
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.
- Move your body! You don’t have to force yourself into workouts that you despise. In fact, I recommend against that. Just move your body somehow, some way, every day. Bonus if you can get outside to do it! Feel good about the movement that you choose and change it up. It’s OK if you don’t keep a strict schedule. With a constantly changing shift schedule, I have been known to move first thing in the morning, and sometimes before bed. There are no rules here, just make it a priority!
- Aim for 8 hours of sleep nightly. This is far more important than we all think. Do your best to keep a consistent schedule. That may mean creating the perfect environment in order to sleep well. Invest in this environment! I always hated the quote “you can sleep when you’re dead”. Getting good sleep will help you live a long and healthy life! You will also notice more physical energy, brighter skin, and a more positive outlook when you prioritize your sleep quality.
- Read labels. In this day and age, much of our food is littered with additives and processed ingredients. The smaller the ingredient list, the better. The quickest options may not be the healthiest options. Be picky when it comes to what you are putting into your body but also realize that moderation is key. It is not healthy to shame yourself after indulging in something that may be “bad” for you. Live a little but educate yourself and listen to your body along the way.
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?
I personally feel as if we spend too much of our time these days looking for ways to be more productive and find the “hack” in life. Especially in America, we tend to race through our days on-the-go, with an emphasis on efficiency and speed. That not only promotes immense pressure and stress over time, but it does not allow us to add lengthier (but perhaps more enjoyable or healthy) regimens into our daily lives. Preparing meals and actually sitting down to eat them, requires time. Our priorities have shifted over the generations, and in order to create a healthier life we must stop and truly appreciate the benefits of eating healthy. I personally teach my patients that it could be as easy as implementing more colors into your day! Count the colors that you see in each meal and think about how you could add more. For example: enjoy your favorite pasta dish but add spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant (or any other veggies you can imagine) to the sauce!
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- Talk about your feelings, with your family, with a friend, or with a therapist. It doesn’t matter who you choose but get your uncomfortable thoughts and feelings OUT. Allow those emotions to sound loudly and understand that emotions are part of life. Emotions are not always comfortable, but it is imperative that you learn to listen to and manage your feelings as they show up.
- Prioritize your wellbeing. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Learn to say “no” and be confident in doing so. Making time for the things that you enjoy should not be a luxury, it should be a priority.
- Listen to your gut. This takes practice, but once you master your own intuition you will struggle far less with decision making. The key here is to avoid overthinking. I try to pay attention to the feelings in my gut, especially when I am at work in the Emergency Department. It might be a lab value that catches my eye for a minute longer than it typically would, or a patient voice that tells me a tiny tidbit that stands out. The smallest of signs or feelings can mean something. Usually it takes ignoring these signs, to learn when to pay attention to them. That’s OK. That is how we learn to listen to our intuition.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.
Absolutely! Smiling will have a positive impact on others, but it can also cause the release of endorphins and serotonin from the brain that is doing the smiling, which create a blissful sensation throughout the body. Especially now that we are wearing masks everywhere, I like to promote the famous Tyra Banks neologism, smize! It could really change someone’s day, try it!
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- Promote positive thinking. Every situation can be viewed with a positive or negative spin. Ask yourself if you are being glass half empty and then spin your thoughts the opposite way if so. It seems silly initially, but forcing yourself to do this exercise can train your mind to only see the positive in each situation.
- Forgive others and maintain an open mind. I like to remind myself that I never know what another person is experiencing in life at any given moment. That vehicle that cut you off on the freeway may be rushing to the hospital for a loved one. The person that gave you a dirty look may have just received bad news. Stay compassionate for other humans.
- Volunteer to help others. This can be anything! Hold the door open for someone, offer to buy groceries for your elderly neighbor, donate the belongings that you no longer need. Host a fundraiser for someone in need, volunteer for a free clinic, become someone’s pen pal. Each act of helping others can be spiritually fulfilling and lead to an overall feeling of connection with others in the world.
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?
I love the idea of connecting with nature to promote spiritual wellness. There is something about the earth and natural beauty, that can really promote internal reflection. The removal of distractions and technology can purify the thoughts and allow for a clear, free mind. I urge you to try different outdoor areas to find where you feel most calm.
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.
I am dying for more preventative medicine to be taught in our country. I find that many of us lack the most basic information on how to care for our own bodies. I wish there were a course taught in grade school or college, that educated on the basics of cholesterol, blood pressure, sleep, and stress management (to name a few). If we could reach people at a younger age when their brains and bodies are so impressionable, I know we could prevent illness and disease at a greater rate. Modern medicine is wonderful, but I am tired of playing catch up and treating diseases with medications, when they could actually be prevented in the first place. Limited access to physicians due to high demands and insurance limitations make this even more difficult. Education and prevention are key, and we are truly lacking here.
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 🙂
Recently, I have become fascinated with the book Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving. I am so impressed by Celeste Headlee’s writing and research for this book. I bookmarked more pages in this book than ever before and I continue to review and share them with my community daily.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can find me on Instagram regularly, @dr.majestic_md where I highlight all aspects of my life including medicine, being a firefighter’s wife, and my personal interests in home décor, fitness, and nutrition.
My website DrMajestic.com also features regular blogs centered around career tips, health and wellness topics, and my relationship.