There are plenty of things outside of your control, but your mindset is one of the things you can control. By adopting a growth mindset, you can embrace flexibility, up-level your technology skills, focus on progress, learn and grow from your mistakes, and reinvent yourself in a new way.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shawna Robins.
Shawna Robins is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), a national board-certified health and wellness coach, best-selling Amazon author, and CEO of Kaia Health and Wellness. Her book, Powerful Sleep — Rest Deeply, Repair Your Brain and Restore Your Life can be downloaded for free at www.powerfulsleepbook.com.
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?
Mystory begins with my father — a successful, driven, and hard-working entrepreneur who built two very successful mortgage banking companies. He was a great leader and wonderful father, but unfortunately, he didn’t excel at taking good care of his health. At the age of 62, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. My family was devastated, and his diagnosis really rocked me to my core. I began my journey to understand this devastating disease, which leads me to nutrition school, health and wellness coaching, and then onto writing my book, Powerful Sleep: Rest Deeply, Repair Your Brain and Restore Your Life. Helping my clients understand how to make good lifestyle choices in their 40s and 50s so that they can create a roadmap for wellness and longevity as they age is my life’s mission.
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?
Right now, I am on day 18 of quarantine for COVID-19, and reading books brings me great peace of mind. I feel as if the world makes sense again when I pick up a book. One of my favorites is Dr. Dale Bredesen’s book The End of Alzheimer’s because it was the first book to give hope to Alzheimer’s patients and their families. The concept put forth by Dr. Bredesen that “food is medicine” was life-altering for me and my father. Dr. Bredesen’s diet and lifestyle protocol has such high success rates and has become a wellness guideline that I personally use and recommend as preventative medicine in my health coaching practice. My father is still fighting this disease like a champion even 10 years after his diagnosis, and I know that following Dr. Bredesen’s protocol has been a game-changer for him. I only wish my father would have started back in his 40s because this is when neurodegenerative diseases usually begin. Another favorite book of mine is Loving What Is by Bryon Katie. By doing The Work in my daily life with my own thought patterns, I am able to pull myself out of negative and fearful thinking much more easily, which given our current state, is a great gift. I also get the joy of watching Katie’s Four Questions create deep healing with my clients. Finding bliss and joy in our everyday lives right now takes work. And Katie’s message of living in the present can be a helpful resource for everyone.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons to Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
My 5 Reasons to Be Hopeful During the Corona Crisis are all related to the mindset and lifestyle changes that we are being forced into right now. First, I would encourage everyone to adopt a growth mindset to deal with the massive amount of daily changes. There are plenty of things outside of your control, but your mindset is one of the things you can control. By adopting a growth mindset, you can embrace flexibility, up-level your technology skills, focus on progress, learn and grow from your mistakes, and reinvent yourself in a new way. For example, my husband and I are both working full time with three kids at home now. Our house is very small, so we all had to move around our furniture to make room for desks and chairs to create quiet work and study spaces. Being flexible and creative is the name of the game right now. My second reason to be hopeful is that I see the positive impact this pandemic is having on our ability to sleep. Many people are focusing on making sleep a priority now. Even my teenagers are no longer sleep deprived, which is a miracle! Teenagers have the highest levels of anxiety and depression because of sleep deprivation, so I love seeing my kids sleep 10 to 12 hours each night. Sleep is so important for so many reasons. It’s during your sleep cycles that your body is able to repair and restore itself. Your immune system makes new cells, your brain cleans and regenerates itself, and your blood pressure drops so your coronary arteries can heal. Sleeping is a powerful gift from this Corona Crisis. The third reason is thanks to our “shelter in place” restrictions, there is no more rat race, no more errands, and no more commuting. So there is extra time for relaxing, reading, meditation, walks in nature, and home cooking. These things were pushed aside in our old busy world, but today, they are available to everyone. My fourth reason to be hopeful is based on the research that loneliness is worse for our health than smoking cigarettes. Because of this crisis, we are all now using more technology like Zoom or FaceTime so we can easily connect everyday with our friends and family around the world. I especially love having coffee each morning with my dad over FaceTime, which is something we never did before the Corona crisis. My fifth reason is we now get to take a pause, which allows us look back on our old lives and figure out what wasn’t working. When our quarantine finally lifts (and it will), each and every one of us will get to reinvent ourselves into a better, more authentic, and happier version. So ask yourself, what do you want to be? Is it to be healthier, sleep more, love more, be more honest with yourself, eat more nutritious foods, spend more time in nature? There will be a global shift in priorities and right now is the perfect time for you to figure out where you want to best fit in our new post-Corona world.
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?
F.E.A.R. can either stand for — “Forget Everything And Run” or “Face Everything And Rise.” The choice is yours. As I said earlier, you can’t control what is happening in our world right now, by you can control your mindset and your thoughts. So first step, decide which camp you want to be in — Run or Rise. And then watch your thoughts and use strategies like a gratitude journal to help focus on the good in your life every day. Second step is to figure out how you can best support yourself and your loved ones. Do you/they need compassion, kindness, forgiveness, a warm meal delivered, a happy hour Zoom call, a dog walked? Third step is to do what you can. Sometimes that might just be a smile or a wave to your neighbor or an offer to grab groceries for a friend. Do something good for someone. Fourth step is to find a way to calm down your body and mind so that your adrenals can relax and stop pumping out stress hormones. Try meditation, listen to relaxing music, take a warm bath, make yourself a cup of herbal tea. This will go a long way in helping you fall asleep at night, so your body can boost your immune system. Fifth step is to focus on exercising daily, so you can boost your heart rate, make happy neurotransmitters (like serotonin, the “feel good” brain messenger) and become more stress resilient. Then you can lead by example.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
I recommend a deep breathing exercise to anyone feeling overwhelmed and anxious right now. You can use an app like Calm or Headspace or YouTube a belly breathing video to learn the technique. Then you can use it anytime, anywhere. Anxiety is a completely normal part of our human response. Don’t try to control it, just breathe through it.
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 life lesson quote is by Wayne Gretzky and is one my dad used to always say, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” My dad raised me to believe that I should always take the shot, even if I miss it. Because mistakes are the best way to learn, and learning is how I get better. He was my first growth mindset coach, always encouraging me to identify and acknowledge my progress, not focus on perfection. When I started my first company (a small public relations business in 1998), he gave me my first business loan and told me to go for it. His confidence was infectious. Even when I was just starting out, unsure and worried about failing, he reminded me that just trying and learning something new was always the best way to go.
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. 🙂
You never know what your idea can trigger. During this time of uncertainty, I would start a movement where women can prioritize their own self-care and learn to care for themselves as well as they care for others. Only by becoming healthy in mind, body, and spirit, can women have more influence, more impact, and more power. Women are intuitive, intelligent, and gifted nurturers and healers, but we need to use our superpowers on ourselves first and foremost.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
LinkedIn: Shawna McKinley Robins
Facebook: Kaia Health
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!