More self-love. The more you love yourself, the more you can love others. You can only love others as much as you love yourself. If you heal yourself and love yourself. Then you can start to spread that around the world. The more people that love themselves, the happier this entire planet will be.
As a part of my series about the “5 Things, Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Travillian.
Andrea Travillian is a life coach helping women transform their lives. Through her private coaching, Andrea takes women on a healing journey to better understand what is blocking them. Heal those blocks and start achieving their dreams.
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?
Right as I was turning 40, I was starting to struggle emotionally. I had always focused on the goals and dreams I thought I wanted. Yet, nothing seemed to make me happy. I was falling apart, my health was taking a hit, my business was not bringing me joy and my marriage was failing.
I decided to do whatever it took to find happiness. To “fix” myself enough that I could reclaim my excitement about life. To make it so I no longer felt like I was broken.
This took me through many different emotional and spiritual healing experiences. Most of which have helped me to restore my mental health. Over about five years, I explored. I experimented and ultimately figured out exactly what makes me happy.
I was so excited by the changes I saw in myself that I started coaching other women. Helping them find themselves. To do their own self-discovery to find what makes them happy. Because it turns out what makes me happy is the process of discovery!
No matter what area I am in looking at, I love to learn and have those big aha moments!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
To me, the most interesting thing that has happened and continues to happen is the number of women coming to me with the same stories. I have learned that most of us tend to hide and keep things to ourselves. We believe everyone has it figured out.
But we don’t! When one person starts sharing their story, others feel more confident to begin to work on themselves.
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?
I have made many mistakes throughout my life. In every area. Some I still even cringe about when I think of them. Nothing truly comical comes to mind, but I have mastered the art of learning from my mistakes. So maybe in the future, I will think there are some humorous ones!
More importantly, I always approach mistakes as learning opportunities. I have created a couple of questions around mistakes to help me through them.
First, I ask myself what I learned. But I don’t stop there. I then ask myself if this is tied to a pattern I have seen in my life. Then is this a bigger life lesson, limiting belief or issue I need to dig into.
We tend to make many of the same mistakes in different ways. They may appear to be different, but they have a common theme. So, by looking at my mistakes this way I can figure out the underlying problem and fix it!
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?
It takes a village is the most accurate statement. I have had the help of many people. But the one who was there no matter what and no matter when was my best friend. And when I say no matter when that means 2 am phone calls!
She supported me when I needed to be heard, gave tough love and kept me going. Without her, the journey would have been much longer.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
It is critical to set aside time for yourself. You can’t tell others to take time and apply self-care if you are not doing it yourself.
Way to do this that I recommend are limiting how many clients you can work within a day. Taking vacation time, where you don’t work. And taking regular social media breaks all help to avoid burnout.
The key here to making this all work, especially if you are self-employed is ensuring you are charging enough for your services. If you can’t take downtime because you are not making enough. You are not helping anyone.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
You must lead the way. We create what we are.
If you never take time off, are mean to others and are a micro-manager. Don’t be surprised when your workforce has a high turnover. They won’t take vacations as they know it will be detrimental to them. They will feel unappreciated and won’t be willing to take extra effort to help you.
If you want a healthy, strong work culture, then you have to lead the way. You have to take time off. You have to work on your mental health. You have to be respectful. When you do that, the rest will follow.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.
You are so right that it is a spectrum. Mental health is about more than are you depressed. Mental health is about managing daily stressors. Dealing with emotional pain as it happens and learning to take control of your life.
Even if you are never diagnosed with anything, you can still be stressed, angry and playing the role of victim. This is not mental health.
Here are the five things I recommend people do to maintain mental well-being.
- Journaling. This is hands down my favorite way to deal with life. Not in the sense of tracking goals. But instead of writing about the problems you are facing. Emotions you can’t figure out. Understanding ourselves better. Research has shown that writing the details of an event and nothing more will help ease the stress around the problem. Even 10 minutes a day can help.
- Meditation. The research on the benefits of meditation is endless. But to me, the best part of meditation is allowing your inner wisdom to come out. When we go non-stop, we can’t hear our own voice. When we slow down and allow our minds to take a break, we can begin to hear exactly what we need. Our minds want to tell us what will make us better.
- Sleep. Yes, that is right sleep will help you stay mentally healthy. Sleep is critical for every area for us. In fact, insomnia has been linked to those with mental health issues. It was originally thought to be a symptom. But now they are realizing that it can trigger mental health issues. So, make sure you prioritize sleep.
- Movement. The more we move our bodies the healthier we are — mentally and physically. This does not have to be extreme fitness. Anything that gets your body moving. Yoga, walking, biking or swimming are all great options.
- Social connection. We all need somebody to talk to. To be there for us and support each other. This can be a friend, your family, a significant other or if you need a counselor. Make sure you are not moving through life alone. We all need someone.
Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.
Many people struggle with purpose after retirement. You go from having a daily schedule and a meaning behind each day to no plan. And you can only play so much golf or travel so much before you get bored.
Before I started working as a life coach, I was a wealth coach (my original training is in finance.) The first thing that I did with my clients was to come up with an after-retirement life plan. This way they knew before retirement what they wanted to do long-term. Staying focused on what you want to accomplish can give you purpose. Having purpose keeps you mentally healthy.
Some ideas besides golf and travel might be: volunteering, taking a part-time job in an area you have wanted to explore. Going back for a degree or even helping with the grandkids.
How about teens and pre-teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre-teens to optimize their mental wellness?
My son is 14 and I have taught him all the things I already mentioned. I really emphasize sleep with him, as sleep is when the brain does its work to develop to a full adult brain. They don’t get enough today with how much they are expected to do. In addition to trying to get him to sleep as soon as possible during the week. I also plan extra sleep time on the weekends if possible.
Plus, I work with him on understanding the impact of electronics on our mental health. It is quickly becoming an addiction, that they need to learn to step away from.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I was compliant, meaning I pretty much agreed to whatever others said. Reading this booked started me on the journey to understanding my voice had validity. Once I began to implement more boundaries in my life, I found more confidence in myself.
Confidence takes you a long way in building a strong mental health foundation. Everyone should learn about boundaries, both how to implement them and how to respect them.
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. 🙂
More self-love. The more you love yourself, the more you can love others. You can only love others as much as you love yourself.
If you heal yourself and love yourself. Then you can start to spread that around the world. The more people that love themselves, the happier this entire planet will be.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.” — Don Miguel Ruiz
This is a quote from The Four Agreements and specifically the agreement to not take things personally. This has been huge for me. I used to live my life based on what others thought and said. When I finally began to understand that what they said and did was about them and not me, I realized that I did not have to worry what others thought. Because it had nothing to do with me. This opens me up to a freedom I had never felt before.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
I am on just about every social media channel out there, but my favorite is Instagram! You can find me at: http://www.instagram.com/atravillian
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!