Increased creativity. Self-care recharges you so you feel more creative. In turn, being creative can be a type of emotional, mental, and spiritual self-care. Many self-care practices such as meditating, taking a walk, reading, coloring, or listening to music, free your mind and make space for creative downloads and new ideas which are important to successful leaders and entrepreneurs.
All of us know that we have to take breaks in our day to take care of ourselves. “Selfcare is healthcare”, the saying goes. At the same time, we know that when you are a busy leader with enormous responsibility on your shoulders, it’s so easy to prioritize the urgent demands of work over the important requirements of self-care. How do busy entrepreneurs and leaders create space to properly take care of themselves? What are the self-care routines of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders? In this interview series, we are talking to busy and successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and civic leaders who can discuss their self-care practices and self-care routines. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Ellen Albertson, The Midlife Whisperer™/CEO Tiger Wellness, LLC located in North Hero, Vermont.
In this inspiring, motivational, and action-oriented book, Dr. Ellen busts outdated concepts of midlife and redefines this powerful period of live. The book challenges everything you’ve been told about getting old and provides proven solutions to make midlife the best time of your life. Whether you want to love and accept yourself, have more fulfilling relationships, or live authentically with passion, meaning, and purpose, Rock Your Midlife provides the keys to unlock the life-changing power within and create a vibrant second adulthood.
Stop wasting time trying to find joy, health, and happiness. Everything you need is already within you. Rock Your Midlife will unlock the steps to get you there.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is an honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you please share with our readers your personal backstory; What has brought you to this point in your life?
I’m a psychologist, registered dietitian, national board-certified health and wellness coach, podcast host, and mindful self-compassion teacher. Known as The Midlife Whisperer™, I help women have the energy, confidence, and clarity to make their next chapter their best chapter.
A bestselling, award winning author, inspirational speaker, and expert on women’s well-being, I have appeared on Extra, the Food Network and NBC World News and been quoted in Psychology Today, Forbes, and Eating Well. She has written for SELF, Better Homes & Gardens and Good Housekeeping. My latest book is Rock Your Midlife: 7 Steps to Transform Yourself and Make Your Next Chapter Your Best Chapter!
I bring over 30 years of counseling, coaching, and healing experience to her holistic practice and transformational work. I live on the Champlain Islands of Vermont with my high-tech, raw-food loving partner Ken and tree-climbing Border Collie, Rosie.
What is your “why” behind what you do? What fuels you?
Helping midlife women thrive and raise their vibe by inspiring them to practice self-care, self-compassion, and self-love. Whether it’s through my books and blog, podcast (Rock Your Midlife), social media posts, or coaching, I love sharing my joyful energy, wisdom, and knowledge to help other women rock midlife too.
I’m also fueled by the desire to change the way individuals and our society perceive midlife and aging. Google “midlife” and it’s conjoined with crisis. Put it in the thesaurus and what comes up is, “the wrong side of 40.” I’m flipping the script around aging and changing the conversation from anti-aging to pro-aging. Aging is a privilege, not something to dread. Whether you’re 20 or 120 the rest of your life is before you and your best age is now.
How do you define success? Can you please explain what you mean from a personal anecdote?
I used to define success by numeric metrics — clients booked, books sold, money earned, weight lost, number of fans and followers… And then I got breast cancer. I realized that my workaholism driven, hustle culture definition of success needed an overhaul. Staying in remission required me to shift from human doing to human being.
Today, I define success by my level of wellbeing. Success means optimizing work-life balance and staying in alignment with my top core values — wellness, compassion, and spirituality. At the end of the day, if I feel good and have inspired others to transform themselves and have more joy, compassion, and vitality, I feel successful.
What is the role of a growth mindset in your success? Can you please share 3 mindset mantras that keep you motivated, sane, and propel you forward?
A growth mindset coupled with mindfulness and self-compassion (treating yourself like a good friend) fuels my success by increasing strengths like optimism, flexibility, resilience, and curiosity while mitigating stress, fear, and anxiety.
My growth mindset starts with radical self-acceptance and the belief that I am responsible for my life. Every day I act to make my dreams and goals a reality while simultaneously practicing self-care. This mindset fuels my love for learning helping me keep up with new information and research in my field. It’s essential for being a leader and entrepreneur because it helps me to take calculated risks and step outside my comfort zone. Mindfulness– living in the present moment — is also a key component of my growth mindset and helps me let things go, view failures as steppingstones (not gravestones), and move from strength to strength.
My three mindset mantras that keep me motived, sane, and propel me forward are:
You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Energy is everything, so the main way I bring goodness to the world is by sharing my vision, vibration, and message that midlife can be fabulous, fun, and meaningful.
I teach midlife women how to be authentic and live a high vibe life even when life is difficult. I do this by demonstrating how to be happy and healthy even when faced with challenges like cancer, clinical depression, divorce, and blindness all of which I’ve experienced.
I help people deal with mental health challenges and difficult emotions like grief, fear, and sadness, by teaching self-care and self-compassion practices. I also provide efficacious tools and techniques to help women make lifestyle changes (such as eating a whole food plant-based diet) that bring goodness to the planet by having a positive impact on climate change.
Midlife women are powerful and influence up to four generations — grandchildren, children, parents, and peers. By empowering and inspiring them, I give midlife women permission to shine and make a difference, multiplying the goodness.
Can you share a mistake or failure which you now appreciate, and which has taught you a valuable lesson?
Recently, I was invited to attend an event to meet literary agents and pitch a book project. It was a nice opportunity, and I had a great book idea. Without thinking deeply, I said yes which until recently was my default mode. Working on the book proposal reactivated my workaholic. It was stressing me out (not lighting me up), impeding self-care, and negatively impacting my health. I realized right now I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to devote to writing another book.
I learned three valuable lessons: 1) Listen to your heart, not just your head and ego, 2) NO is a way to say yes to yourself. 3) There are always more opportunities and if you’re meant to do something it will happen at the right time.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
What are some of the most interesting or exciting new projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
My podcast, Rock Your Midlife, which just hit 10,000 downloads and the Ted talk I’m crafting on body image and self-compassion.
Rock Your Midlife features experts and covers a wide variety of topics of interest to midlife women including menopause, relationships, spirituality, positivity, health, career, travel, and empty nest. It helps listeners get real, discover who they are, and learn information to navigate midlife and create a wonderful second adulthood.
According to an Ipsos survey 83% of women report being dissatisfied with how their bodies look. My Ted talk will help people with negative body image (a major source of suffering associated with depression, stress, low self-esteem, and eating disorders) by discussing a powerful, proven solution that anyone can learn: self-compassion. I will share the results of my research which showed that practicing self-compassion for as little as an hour a week reduced body shame, self-worth based on appearance, and body dissatisfaction and improved body appreciation.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview about Self-Care. Let’s start with a basic definition so that we are all on the same page. What does self-care mean to you?
Taking steps to be good and kind to yourself (i.e., practicing self-compassion) that support your wellbeing. Self-care means developing practices, habits, and rituals and performing actions that protect, improve, and support your health and happiness especially during times of stress. It entails taking an active role in your wellbeing and noticing when you feel rundown and doing what you can to replenish and recharge yourself. It is not selfish or self-indulgent. You must put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help others. Proper self-care is key to staying in balance, feeling good, and being an effective, successful leader and entrepreneur.
Like my clients, I’m a work in progress — always changing, growing, and transforming. As a result, my self-care specifics and daily routines are a moving target, shifting according to my energy level, day of the week, season of the year, and season of life.
I put acts of self-care into five categories: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, and Relational. Physical is how you support, energize, and revitalize your body. Mental is how you care for your mind. Emotional is how you soothe and comfort yourself. Spiritual is how you feed and connect with your soul and find meaning and purpose. Relational is how you connect with others.
As a successful leader with an intense schedule, what do you do to prioritize self-care, and carve out regular time to make self-care part of your routine?
Self-care is not an afterthought. It’s my top priority. I put self-care first which is especially important given my recent breast cancer diagnosis. I no longer push through fatigue or ignore my body’s signals for food, movement, and rest. Plus, I’ve learned to say no and ask for help.
I set myself up for success by starting the day with self-care practices. To balance cortisol levels, I open the blinds to get a hit of morning light. To detox and support my health, I do dry skin brushing and oil pulling. While swishing coconut oil, which takes about 15 minutes, I wash my face and apply serum, moisturizer with sunscreen, and do a series of exercises called the Five Tibetans. Next, I meditate, journal, and set intentions. Finally, I take a short walk (barefoot if it’s warm enough) around my property to connect with nature.
As a nutritionist, meal prep and eating right are second nature. My fiancée is a master gardener, so we have crazy amounts of fresh produce which inspire me to cook delicious, healthy meals that serve as the foundation of our whole foods plant-based diet. I love to exercise so I never have to motivate myself to walk, bike, swim, kayak, paddle board, strength train, practice yoga, or hike. Plus, I live on a gorgeous island in Lake Champlain, so spending time in nature (a fantastic self-care practice) is simple: slip on boots and walk out the door with Rosie, my Border Collie. To get in 10,000 steps a day I hold walking meetings (virtual and face-to-face) and write content on my cellphone while walking.
To ensure I have time throughout the day for all my self-care routines, I watch the clock and don’t let time get wasted by social media. I schedule worktime in 1–2-hour blocks and use self-care breaks as rewards when I finish a task. I typically work about 6 hours a day and take weekends off. I optimize my productivity, throughout the workday by staying focused and doing the most challenging tasks when I have the most energy. I have a great team who support me and free up time to focus on content creation and what I do best — write, speak, and coach. I also sprinkle in self-care habits throughout my workday such as using a standing desk, staying hydrated, and listening to inspiring music to stay positive and focused.
I check in with myself throughout the day to gage my energy level and see what I need. One day I may jump on a rebounder or take a dance break to reenergize myself and clear my mind. Another day I may meditate, do breathwork, take a nap, or go for a walk.
I also have weekly routines such as regular yoga and exercises classes, saunas, and movie night with my fiancée. Every month I schedule outings with friends and family to have fun and foster love and connection. I also plan local trips such as biking on our tandem to the farm’s market or visiting Montreal which is about 90-minutes away.
Will you please share with our readers 3 of your daily, or frequent self-care habits?
This is the main question of our interview. Based on your own experiences or research can you please share 5 ways that taking time for self-care will improve our lives?
Sometimes we learn a great deal from the opposite, from a contrast. Can you please share a few ways that NOT taking time for self-care can harm our lives?
Not taking time for self-care can hurt your health and make you more susceptible to illness and disease. Why? Part of self-care is taking actions to stay healthy from going to the doctor and dentist for regular check-ups to making sure you eat right, sleep well, exercise daily, and connect with others. In addition, many self-care practices active the parasympathetic (PNS), rest and digest nervous system which bolsters the immune system and lowers inflammation and stress. Not making time for self-care can make you feel impatient, resentful, and angry which has a negative impact on how you interact with others in your personal and professional life.
What would you tell someone who says they do not have time or finances to support a regular wellness routine?
Stop telling yourself BS stories. We’re all busy, and yes time is an issue which is why you must make time for self-care and create wellness routines and habits. Doing so will make you more productive so you have more time and reduce your risk of diseases that cost both time and money. Many self-care practices are free such as walking, listening to music, meditating, spending time with friends, staying hydrated, and sleeping well.
In addition, examine your Immunity to Change, i.e., what subconscious thoughts or beliefs about self-care are beneath the surface that make it difficult for you to give yourself what you need? Do you feel unworthy or guilty when you put yourself first? Do you feel you have to work all the time either to make-ends-meet or keep up with hustle culture? When you think about taking time for self-care what’s in your worry box? Asking these questions will enable you to get to the real reason that MAKING time for self-care is challenging for you.
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, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
Visit my website: https://themidlifewhisperer.com/. From there you can find links to my book, podcast, and social media platforms. You can also find me on Instagram @the_midlife_whisperer, on Facebook @DrEllenAlbertson or @drellensmastermind (my private Facebook group), and on Twitter @rockyourmidlife. My podcast is called, Rock Your Midlife is available on all major podcast platforms including, Apple, Google, Stitcher, iHeart, and Spotify.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher, and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness, and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at [email protected]. To schedule a free consultation, click here.