Victoria Franca: “Here Are 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness”

Considering that 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. As a part of my series about the “5 Things, […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

Considering that 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.

As a part of my series about the “5 Things, Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” 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 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.

My first jump into the wellness field was being able to work for a luxury Natural Skincare & Spa Development brand. I began learning more about natural ingredients, aromatherapy, gut health, oxidative stress, mental wellness and had several opportunities to teach others about wellness and skincare through wellness events. As my career in that field grew, so did my passion for sharing my knowledge with others.

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?

Most of my clients come to me due to symptoms that they cannot pinpoint the reason why. However, I had one client who came to me simply out of interest in finding out how his minerals levels were but assured me he had no symptoms and felt fine. Upon reviewing his mineral functional lab test, we were able to detect and prevent him from extreme fatigue and hypothyroidism by balancing his mineral ratios before he began to have any symptoms. He was extremely happy to have chosen to take that preventative measure, but it certainly is not every day that I see cases like this.

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?

The most humorous mistake I made when starting was my transition to work from home. During the first few weeks I would add so much to my do to list and was working so many hours but couldn’t understand why! I then realized that I wasn’t treating my business setting as an office, I was treating it as a 24hr work environment. I kept wondering why my to-do lists were so big and then soon realized I was trying to do 3 days’ worth of tasks in 1 day! No one can succeed in that environment! I then adapted and created a balanced work from home schedule and focused on time batching my content and to-do list to ensure I properly space out my tasks.

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?

Absolutely, as Deepak Chopra says, “Success comes when people act together; failure tends to happen alone”. One person that has helped me tremendously along the way is Hannah Nieves. She is a Marketing, Brand and PR consultant and has really helped me define my brand voice, identity and create a marketing strategy and website that speaks to my ideal client. That way I can focus on what matters most, ultimate healing for my clients.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

Being in the wellness industry it’s easy to become so focused on helping clients with their mental and physical wellness that people may forget about their own well-being. My biggest advice is to check in with yourself daily and really ensure you are practicing what you are educating others about. Ultimately, it’s about taking time to ask your mind body and soul, “what do you need today?” and pivot in order to avoid burnout.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Considering that 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.

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.

Mental wellness should be everyone’s focus as we deal with so many environmental and emotional stressors each day. Regardless of where you stand in the spectrum, the below five steps can be followed to optimize your mental wellness:

  1. Diet: There’s been some incredible research regarding the Mind-Gut connection, a healthy microbiome, and gut health is the keys to lifelong mental health and wellness. The bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tract play an important role in the connection, communication, and health of our brain. Make changes to your diet by removing stressors such as too much alcohol, gluten, dairy, and grains and start eating an organic diverse range of foods for optimal results.
  2. Rest: De-stress at home. Take some time every day to let go of all the things that cause you 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, and journaling can help you rest and de-stress after a busy day which is instrumental for our mental health.

3. Movement: Moving our bodies is essential for our mental health and wellbeing. By getting ourselves moving a little more each day, we are helping our body and mind function at their best as it increases the blood flow. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, but also aids in carrying away waste products, including free radicals and toxins that could be affecting our overall wellbeing. By increasing blood flow, the liver can help flush these toxins and neutralize these toxins.

Some tips to increase movement during the day is to not sit for too long at work, make it a priority to get up every hour to move the body and get some water. Additional tips include:

  • Walk to work or school
  • Park far away from the doors
  • Take the stairs
  • Enjoy being outside and in nature, go for a walk after or during lunch breaks
  • Do some pushups in between conference calls or meetings

4. Sleep: We are meant to follow our body’s circadian rhythm; this means waking up during sunrise and go to sleep when the sunsets. However, this isn’t something that is widely followed. Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do most of their recharging and recovering between the hours of 10PM and 2AM. In addition, our liver, gallbladder and brain do some important detoxifying while we are sound asleep, contributing to overall health.

Plan to sleep between 10pm and 6am. A full 8 hours sleep per night enhances memory and mental clarity, boosts mood and the ability to moderate emotion, increases the ability to handle stress, improves overall energy and digestive health, supports muscle recovery and athletic performance and maintains immune function.

Lack of sleep increases irritability, anxiety, depression, personality disorders and increased appetite and those are all symptoms we do not want.

5. Shift your focus: Focusing on someone else outside of ourselves is an incredible way to practice better mental wellness. So often we find ourselves in our own head, repeating things and words in our subconscious that only cause more stress or self-damage.

We can focus our time and energy on someone else or on a community project. Giving back is so important for overall happiness and sense of fulfillment. This is something I really advocate for.

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.

Mental wellness after retirement is so important. We spend most of our lives in a routine and doing the same job every single day that when it’s time for retirement a lot of people feel a sense of hopelessness.

My recommendation to optimize mental wellness after retirement is to create a new routine with hobbies and activities that are of interest. Humans are creatures of habits and not knowing what is next may cause a sense of despair. By creating a routine, retirees will be able to acknowledge their new lifestyle and fully be present with their new normal.

Additionally, I would recommend that retirees make weekly or monthly plans with friends and loved ones to avoid self-isolation. Community is essential for mental wellness and what better way to do it than with those you adore.

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?

Teens and Pre-teens are always busy, from school to sports to extracurricular activities, they don’t stop! Although there are benefits to an active lifestyle, my suggestion for parents of teens and pre-teens would be to give their children a morning during the weekend to tune in to their bodies and ask themselves “What does my body need today?”.

This question allows people to begin to listen to what their bodies are really telling them. Perhaps one Saturday they will need to sleep more or the next they will want to practice some type of mindful exercising such as Yoga or journal their thoughts. Every weekend may be different but giving teens and pre-teens the ability to tune internally and choose what their body needs is the best way to optimize their mental wellness. They will grow to know what their body is requesting of them and know how to cope in their own way with anxiety, depression, and stress.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

Yes — Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson MD is a book that really impacted my life. It’s a very simple and short read but allowed me to really tune into how I cope with unplanned situations that happen in life. It’s a great book for anyone who may be going through a transitional time in their life and needs some self-reflection and a perspective shift.

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 10pm each night. There are so many incredible benefits of being asleep by 10pm 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.

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.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Readers can follow me on Instagram @victoria.wellness, Facebook page @Omne Wellness and my website.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.