Jenn Waller & Liz Clifton Interview Transcription:
Liz Clifton: Hi and welcome it is my great pleasure to introduce you to the wonderful Jenn Waller and she is creator of the Me Project. Okay. So Jenn, we're going to kick straight into the interview now. And first question, what does self-care mean for you?
Jenn Waller: That's such an interesting question. and I love that you're asking it. Because I think for me recently, it's been a journey of actually figuring out what that means. And what I've kind of come down to is kind of thinking about it like a bank account. So, you know, we give and we give. And you know, whether it's work, whether it's kids, whether it's, you know, programs that we're doing, whether it's life. When we're constantly, you know, putting out and putting out and spending and spending and nothing's ever coming back in. It gets to that point that if the bank account goes empty, it's a crisis. So to me right now, self care is what are those little deposits that I can make constantly into my bank account. So that I can give, but then also receive. So it's that constant flow of, yeah, maybe it dips a little, maybe it goes up a little, but there's always something there.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love that. Very much like the, you know, the filling of the, well. Like when the bank accounts empty, there's nothing left for us to give. So just keeping the Flow, that's beautiful. And thinking back over your whole life, because you spoken about what self-care journey you've been on recently, what's the earliest self-care memory that you could share with us?
Jenn Waller: That's challenging. Jenn Waller: I think honestly, like I know that there's probably something earlier, but really in college I think is when I started to really understand, you know, because I was working for a time and I was studying and, you know, I was, I was still playing soccer, you know, for my university. And I think it was, then it was like, even just that extra 10 minutes to have a bath instead of a shower where I could, like, it's not just about, okay, I've got to get through this thing as fast as possible. It's, I'm actually going to sit and take a couple of deep breaths. And even if I only have 10 minutes, it's still that intentional minute, like tensional downtime. And I think that's when the memories really start, because I think that's when it became something that I made a point of doing or came aware how important it was.
Liz Clifton: And so, you're looking back then at college, how has your self care developed to now?
Jenn Waller: I think just, yeah, really honing in on and what are those things that feed my soul. Because I think even back in college, I almost felt it had to be this big, great thing. Right Like, oh, I'll get away for a weekend or, which was wonderful. But it's also like, what are those little things on a daily basis that I'm doing to kind of feed my soul and have that, you know, taking care of me. Because we all have days where, you know, things are great and they're going along great and everything feels great. And it's like, okay, nothing can go wrong. And then there was other, those other days where nothing feels like it's going right. And it's like, okay, so what are those little things I can do in those moments. When maybe my kids still need me or maybe, you know, they're just, doesn't feel like there's an hour. But five minutes still actually really feeds. And five minutes can sometimes completely reset where you're at. And so for me, it was that evolution of realizing it isn't this big grand gesture. It's those little things. You know, and I know it sounds so funny, but lately I've been like so excited about clean socks and it makes it sound like I'm not doing my laundry. But I'm training for an iron man right now. And it's like, sometimes for me, it's just like, you know, coming out of the shower and just putting on, you know, clean clothes that smell good, but a clean pair of socks. It's just like, oh yeah, I'm cozy. You know.
Liz Clifton: I love it. Yeah super self care for those little feet. So at the moment, that's a lot of things that you're, you know, you're inputting into right now. So what's your top, self-care say of today, or this week?
Jenn Waller: Right now is like, so with my training, I'm actually going into what they call rest week. So we're still moving, but it's really that intentional reset. Not being pushing at 80 to 100 percent all the time, which is such a great analogy for life. So for me, that focuses back on sleep, like really just where's the rest. Where is it needed and being intentional of what am I doing to take care of myself today. And like, I'm getting a massage in two days. Right. But it was that intentional. Like I'm booking it, I'm booking it because this is my week to take care ,regenerate refuel. I'm minding my sleep minding, what's going into my body nutrition wise, but just, just taking that little extra time.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. That's beautiful. And I love how you mentioned, you know, obviously sleep, which is physical and then also that nutritional side as well. See what other areas are you checking in with yourself care on, on a regular basis?
Jenn Waller: I make, I try to make an intentional time to read right now, Which I know sounds kind of funny and I'm famous for like my friends and family that know me really well. I'm always reading something educational. Like I'm such a geek for information and I mean that nicely. But I love, and so right now I'm actually reading a novel and it's actually been challenging. Because there's that part of my brain that's like, oh, but if I have half an hour, if I have 20 minutes, I should be reading on this or I should be doing research on this. And it's like, no, no, no. The whole intention of this is to let my mind to come down and get lost in fantasy, like get lost in the story so that I don't have to do that thinking. And there are days that I'm loving it. Like I we're having beautiful weather right now. And I got to sort of sit and read yesterday for a little while and just, just enjoyed the moment. But it has been a little bit of that push pull, right. It's like, how do I get to turn the brain off in an enjoyable way that lets me escape for a little while.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. It can be really challenging like you said, you know, if we're stuck into the, the logic and the end analysis constantly getting in, getting in and then just being able to relax. And just be still. Yeah. I love that. And on a, like an ongoing basis, do you check in with yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually does that come into your self care as well?
Jenn Waller: For me it's, it's when I'm not really taking care of myself, what comes up for me emotionally, usually is frustration. So when I kind of noticed that I'm like, okay, breathe, you're reacting to things quickly. Okay. That's a signal that something's going on. And for me, that's kind of that, okay. Like what's going on that the frustration levels getting high. And it's that kind of check in and sometimes yes, there's tears and then it's like. Okay, but that's where the frustration is coming from because I'm avoiding those feelings or sometimes the frustrations, because I'm trying to do too many things at once. And I'm not multitasking very well. So instead of taking that deep breath and going, okay, this actually doesn't have to be done in the next 20 minutes. And sort of prioritizing, it just does slow me down. So that's, I think where some of the emotional stuff comes up for me. Is it sort of manifests in frustration and it's taking that time to be okay, what's actually going on underneath this. Am I overdoing it? Am I trying to do too many things Am I trying to avoid feelings because I can do that too? Or it's like, I just don't have time for that right now. I'll deal with it later, you know Like, but it's like, no, this actually needs something now, even if it's just an acknowledgement. Like there's something going on. Okay. I need to be aware that that's there. Yeah.
Liz Clifton: That's beautiful. Like that. Self-awareness, you know, the acknowledging is that first step, isn't it. And so, when you have acknowledged things, do you have a sort of a support network now if for the things that come up through yourself care?
Jenn Waller: Yeah. I'm lucky that way. That's how we met each other. I've got some amazing friends and family that, you know, I share things that I'm doing, with me too. Right. And sometimes it's even just that, oh my gosh, I'm spinning. Can you just, can I just blurt it all out and have somebody there as a sounding board right. And then it's just like, oh, now I just talked myself into my answer. Or it's just letting all the thoughts out to be like, okay, there's just a lot of thoughts. And you know, that's all it is and there's nothing wrong with it. It's just, I needed, I needed someone to be able to vent to or to just let it all out to. I can kind of hold me accountable to yeah.
Liz Clifton: And say, that's about you sharing verbally with others. You've also mentioned about just taking that time to acknowledge yourself. Do you ever do, journaling or meditating, anything like that to kind of ease that process through?
Jenn Waller: So that's something that I'm working on. I have huge resistance to it and I'll be honest about that. And then there are days where I can pick up a pen and start writing and then like pages and pages and pages. So I think for me, it's just that in that moment of what is supportive to me. So I find like a journaling practice for me on a daily basis almost gets me irritated. And yes, I know that there's very good things to it. But I think what I'm learning for me right now is there's times where journaling is so supportive. And then there was times like I have a couple of meditation apps where it's like, I just need to turn it on. And even if it's two minutes, right. Like read and just bring everything down because I'm not seeing things in perspective. So for me, sometimes it's more of a, okay, what's going on. And how does that best serve me rather than, oh, I'm going to journal every day or I'm going to meditate every day. Or I'm going to do yoga, every, whatever that is. I feel like what serves me best is kind of that situational of what do I need right now Okay. I need to get it out or, oh, I needed to just be still, or, and I'm kind of learning what really, really serves me in those particular moments because each moment seems to be a little different. Yeah.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love that. And it's, it's perfect because there is no one size fits all. And there is no every time this happens, this is the answer. And I think a huge bit of the self-care is just being able to tune into yourself and check actually, what do I need right now? What do I get to do for me right now for the best for me? Yeah. See, that's beautiful. I love that. That's where you are in your self-care journey and I can see it shining kind of through you. It's really good. Well done. And actually that brings me on to another question. How do you celebrate your wins?
Jenn Waller: That also happens to be a big piece for me. And I've had a lot of encouragement and it wasn't comfortable at first. You know, and, and it's sorta like, you know, whether you're in business or whether you're, you know, w you know, we come into situations in life where it's like, one negative comment can take away, you know, 10 positive things. Right. So for me, it became that. Okay. Like, that's nice. Yeah. I accomplished it, but it wasn't this big, crazy thing. So why am I celebrating right. And so, yeah, I've learned that, and it does make a huge difference and I'm still a work in progress, but being able to say, yeah, okay. I wasn't able to do that before, and I'm doing it now. Or, you know, even just talking about the self care, like to actually say, yeah, I'm in a place where I can say, take a deep breath. Yeah. This is what I need right now. And be like, yeah, something is evolving for me. And I get to actually be happy about this because it is serving me in a way that I didn't have before. You know, which means that I'm, I'm discovering new things. I'm coping with things better. I'm handling things better. I'm actually accomplishing more. I'm happier, you know, it's like, hey, there's all these amazing things, but Jenn Waller: I don't want you to talk about it. You know Like it's, it's, it's kind of funny. So I think when it comes to celebrating, sometimes it's just, it's simple as sharing with somebody, Hey, I did this. Because if I just have it in my own head, it's just like, okay, yeah, that's nice. You know Or it's sometimes even for me, it's like, okay, when, when certain things happen, then I'm going to ward myself by, you know, doing X. Or, you know, the other day I took myself out for dinner and I'm like, when have I ever gone to dinner by myself. And I thought I was going to go crazy sitting at a table with no one to talk to you, but it was actually so pleasant. So it's like, and then I get to celebrate that because I'm like, I did something I've never done before. So yeah. It kind of creates a ripple effect.
Liz Clifton: And you're getting your massage in a couple of days.
Jenn Waller: Yes.
Liz Clifton: That is super for self-care. So what is your very favorite self-care thing that you've ever done?
Jenn Waller: I don't know if it's, if it's what I've ever done, but I love when I have a decent chunk of time, it should just go for a walk and forest. There's a, there's two or three places around me that I just absolutely love. And it's like, it doesn't matter. What's going on how rough the day is, whether I'm going through grief, whether I'm going through, you know, there's something about just being in that space. That just is so grounding. It's so opening. It's just, you know, so when I can make time for that, right. Make a point of making time for that. that's gotta be my favorite thing. Favorite thing.
Liz Clifton: So would that also be, your favorite happy place, your favorite joyful place? And again, I can see your eyes, you know, they're sparkling. It's so beautiful. And is that a picture that you sometimes use, you know, individualization or meditation in these stressful moments?
Jenn Waller: Yeah, I, I, yeah, actually I love that. You said that. Cause I do sometimes if I'm here, even at home and the kids are going crazy, it's like, just think about the trail, just think of all the trail. And I'm like, I can picture myself on, you know, certain points of it too. Like there's a beautiful wooden Ridge on one of them. And I'm like, I'm standing on the bridge, I'm standing up straight and it's just like, it's just that instant. Okay. I can relax.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. That's beautiful. And that's such a useful thing. you know, for the audience as well, just to pick those moments where you've been super happy and just bring yourself back to them because no matter what's happening, we can always give ourselves that feeling of happiness. Yes. And it's momentary, but it's that, and it's real. We get to keep it.
Jenn Waller: Totally.
Liz Clifton: So thinking of self-care time, how do you protect that time?
Jenn Waller: For me, it's just, I am better, I'm, It's still a work in progress, but like intentionally, okay, this time, this is what I'm doing for me, regardless of what's going on. Or on Saturday, I'm having that walk because there's a half an hour gap right now. And I'm not allowing anything to get scheduled into that. And I think for me, that's just been huge of like intentionally putting it into the calendar. You know, I was, if this was my son's birthday, of course it's going to be on the calendar, I know it's happening. You know, if a friend of mine is getting married, it's on the calendar, I know it's happening and nothing is going to stop it while same as self care. If it's on the calendar, I have the power to make sure it happens. Whereas it, when it's not on the calendar and it gets okay, well, I'll figure it out later, later never comes. So I get to protect it by intentionally scheduling it and saying like, this is my protected time and I deserve it.
Liz Clifton: And do you, do you are so worthy of, it, and with the protection of it, do the people around you, are they aware that that is your self-care time?
Jenn Waller: Most are like my kids, like they laugh, they're teenage boys. Right. So they're like, oh, it's mom time, you know, and they kind of laugh, but, but they also know and respect it. Right. Like they've come to okay. When mom takes time for herself, she actually has more to give afterwards or she's more available or she's more present afterwards. So it's kind of become a funny joke because they're like, you know, teenage boys, but, but there's a deep purpose behind it. And they kinda know that too.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love that. And say, in sharing your experience with self care time and then viewing how you are after it, have you noticed a change in their own self care time?
Jenn Waller: I think so. I mean, I think they're, they're in that stage of, you know, being teenagers, figuring out the world as it is. Right. And for them self care, video games. You know, so it kind of makes me laugh, but I do see like a little intentional of, you know, little things that they do of, oh, I'm actually going to do this right now. Or, you know, my son was asking me yesterday about nutrition. And he's just like, I know I'm doing okay, but how can I better take care of myself Right. Like, so I know the example I'm setting is sinking in, even if there's days that, you know, they're typical teenagers and I don't think I've done anything. There's there's moments for sure. Or they'll stop me. Like sometimes we'll be out and I'm trying to go from place to place and they're like, mom, just breathe. You know And I'm like, okay, I'm doing something good. Yeah.
Liz Clifton: Oh, that's beautiful. I love that. Especially when they spin it round and then they're supporting you. Yeah. You've done a great job. See, that's something to celebrate.
Jenn Waller: Yeah for sure, for sure.
Liz Clifton: So you get to put a celebration in there for that too, because sharing what we've learned, especially with our kids is like essential.
Jenn Waller: Yeah totally.
Liz Clifton: They get to take it with them. and I know that nutrition has been really important, you know, with yourself. And are there any kind of top nutrition or self-care tips, that you can think of that you could share?
Jenn Waller: Well, it's interesting too, because nutrition, it has so many common pieces. It's also not cookie cutter. Right. Just like self care. And so I think when, when I get asked that is just, you know, like, are you hydrated because hydration really, really plays a huge part in our health. And it is different for everybody. Yes. There's calculations and there's all these things. And you know, your body, when you start to kind of intuitively check in. You kind of know the answers. And so I would say, you know, hydration is, is huge. Protein is huge. Are you eating enough protein? Are you getting it throughout the day? Especially in north America, you know, we're awful at protein and breakfast, you know, people have cereal and milk, right. Or oatmeal and oatmeal is wonderful, but is there some protein with it because it's so important to have that throughout the day as well. So those are kind of the two biggest things that I initially start with people when I'm working with nutrition with them. Because when you can get those sort of building blocks, the rest of them fall into place.
Liz Clifton: That's really, that's really interesting. And then I guess the sleep that you already mentioned kind of fits, you know, with all that as well. Yeah. That's really exciting.
Jenn Waller: Yeah it's simple. But those are usually the two big things that I start with with people, because once those start to come, then we can get into the finer pieces. And again, everybody's different, but until you start to kind of understand yourself, it's hard, it's hard to sort of know what's best to. So it's kind of a funny, a funny dance with nutrition.
Liz Clifton: Yeah. And again, it's like he said, it's that checking in with yourself and intuitively being aware. Because I think when we get close to how we're actually really feeling. We do tend to know what we need more of. We tend to kind of crave it completely. Yeah. And see for that initial staff, if people right at the beginning of self-care, they've not really approached it at all before. What would that kind of the first thing that you'd suggest they started with, what would that be?
Jenn Waller: Like with nutrition wise?
Liz Clifton: Any wise so nutrition, or just generally speaking, whatever comes to mind?
Jenn Waller: You know, it's funny you ask because when I start working with clients, like I say, I tend to do more health stuff cause I'm a health coach, but my first step for everybody is something I call a five minute action. And so every day I get people to commit to one five minute actions towards their health. So that can be looking at hydration. It can be looking at movement and literally it's five minutes and people are like, but how does, how do things change at five minutes Well, if you're not doing anything intentional, now five minutes is like, you know, way more than a hundred percent difference. Right. And so it's like, if you're not moving your body intentionally, but you start moving your body intentionally. I don't, you know, it doesn't matter if it's dance or a walk or weights or on a bike or like, it doesn't even matter what it is.
Jenn Waller: But if you can commit to five minutes, things start to go, right. Like maybe you go for a walk and after five minutes, you're like, oh, I'm just getting started. I can do more. Well, that's great. But you're going to commit to five or for somebody maybe it's just, it's prepping their own dinner. Maybe they're not a great cook. And so they tend to order out or get stuff that goes in the microwave, you know, whatever that is. But that five minute action is I'm actually going to intentionally prep something. So it can look different for everybody. But it's like, what's that five minutes step. Cause everybody can find five minutes in a day. Everybody, there's no excuse for not finding that. But what's something you can do every day. That intentionally takes you just one step closer to where you want to go. You don't have to do the whole staircase at once. You just have to do one step. So that's where I start with with people. And it, whether it's self-care, whether it's nutrition, whether it's movement. We all can start with that one intentional piece. Right. So it's just, yeah, it's just the five minute foundation.
Liz Clifton: I love that. Yeah. And you get a little bit more commitment, then I do, cause I say just three minutes. So I'm like check on your emotions, check how you are mentally and then check physically. but it's the exact same concept. So it's just getting that self-awareness right. And we got to start somewhere. I've got to know where we're starting from. Yeah. So we love that the five minute movement. I get to add that into my, into my days. A little bit, extra. So yeah thank you. So, so much for your time. This has been amazing. Yeah. So thank you.