What I tell pre-med students is to put your head down and work hard, ignore the nay-sayers, pray and know that if you try your hardest and follow your heart you can’t and won’t lose, no matter the outcome.
At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.
As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jen Caudle.
Dr. Jennifer Caudle is a board-certified Family Medicine physician and Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Rowan University-School of Osteopathic Medicine. She graduated with Honors from Princeton University and earned her medical degree from UMDNJ — School of Osteopathic Medicine. She is one of the most visible physicians in America. She appears as a regular on-air health expert for local and national news networks, including The TODAY Show, The Dr. Oz Show, CNN, FOX News, Rachael Ray Show, Steve Harvey Show, Fox 29 Philadelphia News, PBS and many others. Her health articles have been published in The Daily Beast, CNN.com/Opinion, DoctorOz.com, ABCNews.com and she has been quoted by the New York Times, USA Today, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Prevention, Shape, Huff Post, Readers Digest, Good Housekeeping and others. Dr. Jen gives information about health and wellness, but she also gives inspiration; her fresh attitude combined solid health information enables her audiences to take charge of their minds, bodies, and lives.
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 of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?
Ialways wanted to be a doctor, but I had a little detour on my way to medical school. During college I worked a number of jobs to help pay for my tuition. During my sophomore year in college, a woman at my parent’s church told me about the Miss America Organization which is the worlds largest scholarship organization for women. I didn’t know this before she told me and because of this, I jumped at the chance to participate even though I was an unlikely and inexperienced candidate. 4 pageants later, I was competing at the Miss America Pageant as Miss Iowa ’99. I didn’t win the title of Miss America, but my experiences helped me pay for college and med school and I learned the art of communication.
After competing in the pageant and serving as Miss Iowa for a year I eventually resumed my path of medical school, but the communication bug was still in me. So, when I was a medical student, I looked for opportunities to communicate health information with the public which led me to doing television work as well as practicing medicine. I truly feel as though I’m living my dream by having the opportunity to do both- seeing patients as well as communicating health information to the public through television. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
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?
My parents. I know everyone probably says this, but it’s true. I talk to my parents every day (I used to be embarrassed about this, but I am no longer 😊) because they are the people I can talk openly and honestly with. They are also the people who ALWAYS believe in me, no matter what.
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 look at my early television segments I often cringe! Early on I had the “deer in headlights” look on camera- you know, really wide eyes! Thankfully, I overcame this. I also had to work on making my hand gestures more smooth and had to learn to slow down when speaking because I talk fast when I get nervous!
As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
I always say, “trust your gut.” I truly believe that our heart and soul will guide us to exactly the place we are meant to be. As a medical school professor, I teach med students and medical residents who are still on the path to becoming licensed physicians. I also speak to pre-med students a lot. I remember being pre-med, I was scared and worried that I wouldn’t get into med school (like so many others). What I tell pre-med students is to put your head down and work hard, ignore the nay-sayers, pray and know that if you try your hardest and follow your heart you can’t and won’t lose, no matter the outcome.
Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?
Honesty and transparency are how I’ve built my following. I am an open-book and I’ve come to realize that this is what helps me engage with my followers. Yes, having curated pictures and clever captions is nice but people want to know who you really are. They want to know your story; they want to know that they are not alone in their struggles and they want to be a part of your journey. I’m honest and transparent with my audience not to build followers (though it has done this), but because as much as it might help them, it helps me too. I rely on my followers for support as much as they might rely on me for that. I appreciate them so much.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart. You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self-care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)
Sleep! Yes, sleep does wonders for my mind AND body. I have been known to take an afternoon nap on the weekends when I’m able (they are the BEST!) and I try to get enough sleep at night. I’ve learned that I just don’t function optimally when I don’t have a lot of sleep, so that’s my go-to!
This time of year, I suffer from bad allergies. I know that many allergy sufferers do not take the medication that they should for fear of drowsiness, but I know that importance of taking medication to help control symptoms. I recommend taking an antihistamine such as Xyzal. It provides continuous relief from allergies caused by tree pollen, weed pollen, grass pollen, dust, dust mites, mold and pet dander and since it is taken at night. I take Xyzal myself and it helps my allergies from the moment I wake up in the morning when pollen is at its worst.
Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
Getting fresh air literally takes me to a place of peace and calm. There’s nothing like taking a deep breath and getting fresh air. I love to take walks and though I’ve changed up this routine a bit due to Coronavirus, it’s still possible to get socially-distanced walking in which helps me a lot (while wearing a face mask, I might add).
I also talk to my nieces- they are 3 and 6- via FaceTime. Every time I talk to them, they remind me about all that is right and good in the world. They literally take me away from whatever I am thinking about, worrying about or going through and I love it!
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
Believe it or not, I have a sticky note on my bathroom mirror that says “Beautiful.” I do this to literally remind myself that I am beautiful on the inside and out. Often, I don’t feel beautiful, don’t think I am beautiful or am too hard on myself. I think everyone feels this way at some point or another. So, I literally put a note right in front of me that I look at every morning to help remind me.
Eyelashes. Yup, false eyelashes always change the game for me. I can’t walk past an aisle of false eyelashes in the drugstore without buying some (guilty pleasure). But it’s because they make me feel so glamorous and, well, beautiful. Whatever it is for you- lipstick, curling your hair or whatever — just do it!
Spend time with people who truly love you and care for you. We’ve all had toxic relationships- whether romantic or friendly. Toxic relationships are not only difficult to endure, but they can chip away at our self-worth and convince us that we are not all that we really are. I try to only keep good people around me, because rather than tearing me down they build me up and I do the same for them. If this doesn’t make you feel beautiful, I don’t know what will.
Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?
I am an Oprah fan to the core! Her podcast, magazine and features have kept me going for years. I have learned so many valuable tips about life, love, career and myself through her work. She is someone I truly admire.
I am also quite grateful for Brene Brown! Boy does she have a handle on the mind- from vulnerability to leadership and everything in between I have learned so much. I listen to her podcasts and TED talks on the regular- thank goodness for her!
As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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.
As a family physician I believe in the importance of vaccines. Vaccines save lives and I would love to help inspire a movement that encourages more people to get vaccinated. There are many successful vaccine efforts already happening which is wonderful. I would love to add to this by continuing to advocate for this important public health measure.
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 with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
Oprah. Hands down.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!