Start each morning by setting an intention for the day or word of affirmation. This can be something that brings you joy and peace or perhaps a bible verse. When you feel uncertainty, anxiety, fear or loneliness, remind yourself of that intention, affirmation or verse to bring you back to a peaceful state of mind. If you find that it’s hard to remember it, add sticky notes throughout the house. This will put a smile on your face and shift your energy in a positive way.
As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Victoria Franca.
Victoria is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and founder of Omne Wellness. She helps career-driven individuals that are feeling the burden of stress, focus on their mental and physical wellness by guiding them through a bio-individual protocol addressing diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction and supplementation.
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?
Myjourney with wellness began several years ago, I have always been a health and wellness enthusiast but caught in a cycle of trial and error when it came to my own mental and physical wellness.
A few years into my career, I began having several hormone challenges, very uncomfortable stomach pains, severe bloating, nausea, adult acne, and severe fatigue. That’s when I began to look for the root cause of my symptoms versus relying on treating the symptom.
I then became certified as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and focused on a mind body and soul approach to healing myself. As I was able to heal my body by figuring out the root cause of symptoms, Omne Wellness came to life.
As a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, I help guide my clients through understanding the root cause of their symptoms and give them the right tools to improve their mental and physical wellbeing.
Through breakthrough Functional Diagnostic Testing and analysis, I help them uncover the hidden causes of why they are feeling the way they are and create a specific plan tailored just for them.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Working with different clients brings different situations and scenarios into play each day and that certainly keeps my work interesting! A specifically interesting situation was with a client who has been dealing with chronic fatigue and chronic yeast infection for over 8 years. She has gone to several different doctors however they were never able to pinpoint the root cause and just treated the symptom. Through working with me at Omne Wellness and focusing on a functional medicine approach, we were able to get to the root cause of it and give the body foundational support through balancing minerals, hormones and managing stress to heal her once and for all.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
We spend more than one-third of our lives in the workplace, a fantastic work culture should include work and life balance. Employees that have a positive quality of life have shown to have increased productivity, high engagement, business growth, and positive mental health results.
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?
The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol was an impactful book that focuses on mindset and your belief system. One of my favorite quotes from Claude M. Bristol is, “Whatever we fix our thoughts upon, or steadily focus our imaginations upon, that is what we attract.” This resonates with me because it’s been true in my life and the power of believing can change your life. It’s a powerful mindset shift that once obtained, there is nothing that can stop you or deter you from achieving greatness.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?
Personally, I define mindfulness as the ability to be present within yourself, aware of what is happening with your own body, mind, and soul, and acknowledging those emotions, breathing through those feelings without an urgent sense to combat or react.
The state of being mindful is being present, meeting your current self where you are, being compassionate and having grace with your current emotions and thoughts.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?
Learning to be mindful is something everyone can benefit from. Being mindful is a skill that focuses the attention on what is presently happening with your breath, body, and surroundings and acknowledging those events without immediately reacting.
Being mindful of emotions helps to acknowledge and accept what you are currently feeling and allow yourself to process it without jumping to conclusions.
Some questions you may ask yourself are:
- What emotion am I feeling?
- What caused this emotion?
- How are my body and breath right now? (Are you tense, sweating, shaking, breathing slowly or uncontrollably fast)
You can then focus on breathing in and out until you feel your physicality begin to change and your emotions begin to calm down.
By doing this exercise, you are acknowledging what you are feeling and presently dealing with that emotion with grace and compassion for yourself.
A physical benefit of mindfulness is being more in tune with your body and breath. You will notice that if you are in a stressful situation, your breathing will pick up and you can control it by placing one hand on your stomach and breathing in and out. With every breath out, release that tension in your body and notice your body come back to balance as your stress level decreases.
A mental benefit of mindfulness is how it helps lower your cortisol levels (stress hormone). Our adrenal glands release cortisol as a response to stress and fear. It is part of our body’s innate fight or flight mechanism. By practicing mindfulness with a few deep breaths, it activates the Vagus Nerve (one of the most important nerves in the body) which then signals your nervous system to slow our heart rate, decrease blood pressure and cortisol. By doing so, you’ll be able to lower your stress and anxiety levels.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
From my personal experience and what I have been sharing with my community and clients, below are the five steps that I recommend which helps develop mindfulness and serenity during uncertain times:
- Create a schedule that includes time to sit and be present with yourself. Creating a routine will allow you to practice your mindfulness skills each day and in return feel better mind body and soul. For me, everyday from 7:00am-9:00am is “ME TIME”. I get my coffee, bible, journal and sit outside. I spend this time writing out my thoughts, emotions, reading bible verses and tuning into my feelings for the day. Find the best time and length of time that fits with your lifestyle.
- Start each morning by setting an intention for the day or word of affirmation. This can be something that brings you joy and peace or perhaps a bible verse. When you feel uncertainty, anxiety, fear or loneliness, remind yourself of that intention, affirmation or verse to bring you back to a peaceful state of mind. If you find that it’s hard to remember it, add sticky notes throughout the house. This will put a smile on your face and shift your energy in a positive way.
- End your day writing a list of things you are grateful for. Shifting your perspective before going to bed will ease your mind and allow you to have a moment of thankfulness and end your day on a positive note. On days that you might be struggling emotionally with anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, open this journal up and see all the goodness in your life. You will be able to shift your perspective and see re-focus yourself on the good that is within you and around you.
- Learn to be in tune with your body by asking it “What do you need today?”. This simple question will allow you to start tuning into your emotions and feelings and you start giving your body what it needs. Sometimes you will need more sleep, other times you will need more movement. Whatever it is, practice mindfulness and get to know yourself on a deeper level.
- Take some time every day to let go of all the things that cause you to stress during the day. Silence our phone, take 30 minutes to 1 hour for yourself and do something that calms your mind and body. Practices such as yoga, meditation, walking, sitting in nature, can help you rest and de-stress after a busy day which is instrumental in helping cope with anxiety, fear, loneliness, and uncertainties.
From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Be open with others about how you’re feeling during this time. A lot of people may be going through the same emotions as you and may feel alone. By sharing how you are feeling, it helps you to acknowledge it, but also help someone talk about their emotions as well. Don’t forget to share your mindful tips with them as well.
- Do an online workout together — set a time and choose an online workout to do together. Exercise releases endorphins which are chemicals in the brain that trigger a positive feeling in the body and aid in lowering anxiety levels.
- Reach out and schedule a Zoom or Facetime dinner date, choose a meal to cook together over a Zoom or Facetime call to catch up and bond with one another. Community makes all the difference during these times and the feeling of not being alone can certainly ease levels of anxiety.
- Set a mindful goal with some friends and create a group chat to keep each other accountable. This can include checking in daily with yourselves to inquire if you have all done your morning routines, breathing work and movement. Having accountability is a great way to motivate each other to stay positive.
- Shift your mindset by agreeing to only share positive news with each other. There is so much negativity and worry on social media, that it’s inevitable that every time you log on you feel anxious, loneliness and sadness. Plan to share with each other at least one positive news instead of feeding each other more anxiety, fear and worry.
What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?
A very simple and effective app that can be downloaded is Headspace. Headspace offers meditation and breathing techniques for beginner and advanced levels so you can start at the right level for you. It is what I personally used in the beginning.
Another resource is Heartmath, which is a heart rate variability (HRV) monitor that you attach to your earlobe connect to your phone through an app that monitors your heart rhythm patterns. This device allows you to train yourself through breathing on how to lower your heart rate and remain in a calm state of mind. It’s a very effective tool if you would like to track your progress and have more accountability.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
My favorite quote is a bible verse, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Having dealt with a lot of anxiety in my past, a part of my mindful transformation has been my relationship with Christ. This bible verse really resonates with me in every season of life and I hold that close to my heart.
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. 🙂
This may seem simple, but I would like to start a movement for everyone to sleep by 10 pm each night. There are so many incredible benefits of being asleep by 10 pm that I wish everyone could experience for themselves.
Sleep is an anabolic process (it builds you up) and helps to ensure memory and learning are consolidated in the brain and allows the brain to commit new information to memory by making new neuronal connections (neuroplasticity). As the normal body cycles are restored, free radicals are removed from the brain and your organs either re-charge or detoxify. It’s an incredible and essential process that a lot of people are omitting to commit to and I wish they would prioritize.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Readers can follow me on Instagram @victoria.wellness, Facebook page @Omne Wellness and my website www.omnewellness.com
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!