We discuss in this interview:
– Vanessa’s journey from being diagnosed with RA to remission with the Paddison Program
– How she has consistently reduced a heavy cocktail of drugs within a year
– Meditation and exercise
– Her new activity as a workspace well-being holistic coach
– Three tips Vanessa shares to approach working from home without any stress
– Benefits of walking
– The importance of human relationships
– Hormones and well-being
Get to know Vanessa
Clint – Fun episode today with Vanessa. She’s going to be sharing some fabulous things that we can do since we’re all working from home and our stress levels are up. If our kids are running around while we’re trying to get things done because they’re not at school, because of all of the situation around the world with the COVID virus. And it’s going to be fun, she’s also going to share about how her improvements with rheumatoid arthritis exciting and very significant. Before we do, I just like to pop over to iTunes and say thank you for a five star review recently. And it’s a lovely comment that we’ve got here by Sir Robert Wilbury. And Sir Robert Wilbury says the podcasts were a joy to listen to. As someone with a family member who has severe arthritis, it has encouraged me to keep her going. She wanted to stay at home. However, I have forced her to leave the house in her wheelchair.
Clint – She has now inspired the whole family. Her leaving and recovering has mainly come to me listening to these podcasts and pushing my family member, thank you so much. These podcasts have revolutionized my and my family’s lives. They are so interesting and a pleasure to listen to. So thank you, Sir Robert Wilbury. And if anyone feels inspired and uplifted after a podcast, please go over to iTunes. It only takes about one minute and another five-star review would be amazing and keeps me pumped and excited to continue to deliver these free episodes as often as I can. And with that, we’re going to now have a lot of fun talking to Vanessa. As I said before, she’s got a combination of a few things for us to learn from today. We’re going to enjoy this. Great. Vanessa, how are you?
Vanessa – I’m good. I’m really, really pleased to be with you today. Thank you for having me.
Clint – Yes. It’s our second conversation in a fairly short period of time, you and I got together to talk about your situation. You know, one on one session, about two or three weeks ago, we built a plan for you. And just before we hit record here, you said that you’ve already made progress in the direction that we want by reducing some dependency on the steroid. So what we’ll do today is we’ve agreed, you’ll just tell us a little bit about your improvements by following the lifestyle changes that I always recommend. And then you’ve got some wonderful tips for us regarding doing better, keeping moving, keeping busy and staying healthier at home whilst we’re spending a lot more time at home. So over to you to talk about your progress and challenges, ups and downs with RA.
Vanessa – Well, thank you. So I guess maybe it is a good place to start is with the original diagnosis. So I was diagnosed with R.A. after the birth of my son like four and a half years ago. So I believe it was the pregnancy and the birth that triggered my RA which I know is not uncommon. And it started with pain in my feet, like I’d been walking too much, almost like bruising, and then it spread pretty systemically to knees, hips, jaw, hands, wrists, all of the joints really. And was pretty tricky with a newborn baby, first child and trying to manage that and not being able to get up and feed him in the night, having to have my husband bring him into me, not being able to do poppers on little suits, not being able to sit down and have a baby grace, but having to sit on a chair and just really not knowing what on earth was going on.
What happened after the diagnosis?
Vanessa – Luckily, I was diagnosed quite quickly, we’ve got some great RA Doctors here in Birmingham, in the UK. And from there on in, it was steroid injections to start with loads of painkillers, and then an introduction of a cocktail of drugs it feels like. And just a bit of a merry go round, really, of different drugs, different dosages, and tapering up, tapering down and so many side effects for me that went with that. I was pretty unlucky, really, in every drug I tried seem to have some sort of ill effect, a feeling of either being hung over all the time when I hadn’t drunk a thing, a lot of fatigue or sickness and just intolerable, really. So needing to find another route, I eventually came off the worst of the drugs and just stuck on the hydroxychloroquine and a low dose of steroids and stuck with quite a lot of pain in order to try and have another baby. And unfortunately, that wasn’t to be for us, we had a few rounds of IVF which didn’t work out, but it was around that time I discovered the Paddison Program and I was at a pretty low then, I had a lot of pain, had a rough time. And a friend told me about the Paddison Program. Just assuming that I knew and I was like, no, I don’t know. And she kind of waxed lyrical about it. And it was August 2019, yeah I started to just start over a year ago. And I was excited. I was excited to finally take control back of this merry go round that I felt like I was completely out of control. And I followed it to the letter, I did the three day fast as well. And the results I’ve got to say, were staggering. Within ten days, my pain score that I was looking every day in my spreadsheet religiously fell by about 30 percent, just in 10 days. And 15 days, I was able to start coming down on the prednisone that I was on one milligram at a time. And within six months I look back on my spreadsheet before this call, my CRP went down from eighteen when I was first diagnosed down to under one.
Clint – That’s incredible.
Vanessa – So I actually went into remission. So, I mean, everyone around me was completely flabbergasted, including my R.A. consultant, who is a great man, a great doctor, but not that interested in diet and exercise and all those things. And he genuinely didn’t get it, and he sat there in his room with my spreadsheets going, look what I’m doing. But, you know, I did it, I did it through the affirmations which I had on my fridge and I looked at them every day. I really believed them you know, I did the diet to the letter and I found a real sensitivity to dairy through doing that, because when I did have a tiny bit of milk by accident actually make my throat swell. So I think it was pretty clever that it picked that up. I meditated daily, which is something that I’ve never done before, but I picked up the Headspace app and I absolutely love that now. I can’t imagine life without it, the space that it gives you. And I exercised six days a week and I still do, whether it’s hot yoga or cycling. I have a peloton, which is the live streaming cycling thing I talk to you about before and I’m obsessed with and I’m sort of leaner and stronger and I feel more powerful than I ever have done before. And that is a year of the Paddison Program and making those changes.
Vanessa – And for me, it works because it is so holistic. It allows you to make a lifestyle change, and it allows you to be part of something bigger than you, bigger than the disease. And like I said, to get control for the first time really since getting diagnosed. So for that I’m grateful, it was the thing that pulled all these strands together of nutrition, exercise, things I instinctively knew were important, but I didn’t know how to put it all together. And I needed that, and I needed the confidence because I’d lost a lot of confidence with the diagnosis, with the journey that I’ve been on and also leaving my job. I left a big job because I was too poorly to do it, but the program really gave me the confidence back to move on and do something new.
Clint – Wow, what a transformation, that is absolutely phenomenal. And, you know, I always get surprised too, your rheumatologist looking at your spreadsheet and showing you all of the progress and stuff. And whilst I do hear this a lot, I always still get surprised. Not that it works, but just how effective it can be. And also, you know, because I also on the flip side here, so many people saying how bad the situation is in a state before they get started. So I’m constantly reminded of how shocking the condition is, how bad the disease is. And so I hear by sides, it’s like, hey, I’m in a terrible state, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s awful. And what should I do? And very desperate. And then I likewise hear stories like yours. And so the contrast always twists my mind, you know, gosh, what a fantastic outcome. And, we’re always striving for better and we’re always striving for the best possible outcome. And you’re at the moment, just to complete your story, working on just trying to taper down, the only drug you’re still now on, which is that prednisolone. And you and I put together a plan over an hour. You know it takes time to pull together all aspects of one’s situation and look at where there’s room to make a tweak here and a tweak there and that’s what we did. So, I think that, you’ve already been successful in getting a couple of milligram off of your daily dose. And that’s really exciting, and as we spoke about and put together, you’ve got a plan to really move through the next few months with that.
Consultation with Clint
Vanessa – Yeah, that’s it. And I had plateaued and that’s why I sort of sought out your help in that One-to-one consultation. And I’m so glad I did, because I’ve gone from plateaued, could not get down a milligram. And I tried about three or four times thinking I couldn’t be stricter on my food, I couldn’t be more dedicated to the exercise, I could have been meditating any more than I am there aren’t enough hours in the day. And yet with these little tweaks here and there, that’s just experience and expertise, I’ve got down 2 milligrams in two weeks. And I’m thrilled, and I’m doing good. You know, it’s not easy, but I feel like I’m going to do it.
Clint – You will do it, you will do doing it that’s it. So fantastic. Now, I invited you actually on this podcast to talk about your business, and you mentioned that you’d come out of a work situation due to the combination of things and an opportunity arose for you to do something that you’re more passionate about. And I said, why don’t you talk about give us some tips, just give us some tips we had against Masumi come on some time ago on the podcast, and she shared some wonderful tips about an area of her passion. And then she also had a book and some people got great value out of listening to the tips. And some people wanted all of them and went and got her book. And it worked really well. And I thought, what, unless you come on and give us some great tips around what you’re doing because you know what you’re doing is so relevant to everyone’s lives right now. So to tell us what you’re up to and give us some insights into how we can do better, given that we’re spending so much time at home and we’re stressed and so forth.
What is Welfy?
Vanessa – I’d love to try. So I’ll start with expanding what Welfy is that logo behind me that’s the business. Like I say, I spent some time in a career previously, I was about 20 years actually working in marketing at Unilever, say giant and a global job, doing great things, lots and lots of travel, lots of stress, and then more recently in advertising agencies working at a kind of board level. And I had some nickels I probably ignored some signs that maybe that was all a bit too much sometimes. And I’d always had it in the back of my mind that what I really wanted to do was retrain to become a coach, because I had a business coach through a lot of my career that helped me so much, not just as an employee, but as a person, to learn things about how to live a happier, better life. And so I’ve kind of always had this idea and this passion for wanting to retrain. And that’s what I’m doing, I’m retraining to become a business coach. And I am loving that because it’s giving me the opportunity to meet great people and to help them to understand what their best self looks like and to then put in steps in order to help them get that one step at a time. That for me, is just absolute joy. You know, they could literally pay me or pay them sorry for the pleasure. And but I also had this feeling over the last year or so that that’s not quite enough. I feel like a bit of a walking experiment if and what I’ve been through and what the Paddison Program has taught me. And so I wanted to do more than just coaching, I wanted it to be more holistic. And it was just serendipitous, really, that I got talking to a really great friend called Amy, who I actually met through baby classes like four 1/2 years ago. And she had a similar kind of story, and she works for another big corporate and a big sales director role, similar stress, similar travel, crazy, crazy world. And she’s also looking for a new world and is training to become an (inaudible) practitioner, you have an (inaudible), I’m sure you have. It’s basically one of the world’s oldest healing systems for people that don’t know originated in India. It’s fascinating and it’s all about creating health through realising the connection between mind, body and spirit.
Vanessa – So beautifully aligned to a lot of actually what Paddison talks about, but also what I’m learning as a coach. We thought, hang on a minute, could we not bring these two things together? Plus our business acumen, twenty four years experience between us to create something really compelling that we both have a lot of passion for. And that’s what we’re doing. And that’s when welfy was born also around a year ago. And so what we are is a workplace wellbeing training business. So we go into businesses, we bring a lot of evidence and science to what we do, and we provide training programs essentially that the employees and the employer with the tools and the knowledge that they need in order to create lasting change to total wellbeing. So we don’t ever just talk to the employee, we talk to the person, because without that holistic view of someone’s whole life, you’re never really going to make that much change to productivity to turn over to absences. And as I’m sure you know, like depression, anxiety is absolutely rife in the workplace. Despite so many great initiatives worldwide, the rate of depression, anxiety in the workplace is growing in spite of all that, in spite of all the investment and of course, with what’s happening with covid-19 things worse still and creating more pressure for people.
Vanessa – So our offering is workshops, whether they be remote, which they mostly are at the moment, there’s a lot of this going on and we deliver our content in chapters to keep it really neat and not too much at once to take on. But we do do face to face when the world allows. We do coaching, we do line manager training, that kind of thing. But our difference really is that we bring our business background to it in order to make sure that it’s measurable and that it really does create a return on investment for the businesses that are spending precious cash on that training.
Welfy’s Core Belief’s
Vanessa – So our core belief is that success needs to be redefined. Careers can’t be about just climbing the ladder anymore and replacing one burned out employee with another. Businesses need to take that holistic view of people’s wellbeing, and we provide a way for them to do that. We also don’t take ourselves too seriously. You know, there’s some real humor to what we do and some lightness. And we’re not afraid of showing our own vulnerabilities and telling our own stories because we believe it’s those stories that enable other people to open up and share and realize what it is that they want to change. And then giving them the tools in order to make those changes and stick with them. So we do a lot of work around behaviour change and habit change, which I’m sure you’re pretty well versed in, given the shape of your program. Because you can have the best ideas and intentions in the world, but unless there’s a framework and a program to put around it, willpower alone is not enough usually. So we put a lot of effort into helping people learn about how to change and we’re finding that’s really making the difference. That’s Welfy.
Clint – Yes, it does sound very good. You know, I’m picturing listening to you if you were sort of pitching your product to me, if I was a business owner and I had a few staff, which I do. But, you know, and whether or not I think all your services would sound good and appropriate. And, you know, you touch upon so many personal emotional sort of aspects and just, you’re very good at connecting to the human and not so much pushing any sort of corporate stuff. And at the same time, the corporate side of it, which is the measurable outcomes and, redefining the way businesses think about success. This stuff that also sounds fabulous. So, you know, I’ve never heard you say that. You know, obviously, this is the first time I’ve heard about your business.
Vanessa – You’re a good focus group.
Clint – And so, I’m just giving you these very, very good feedback on how that sounds. And, you know, when I picture my audience or who’s listening or watching this is probably a good portion of people who are at home by themselves, who are moms and dads or husband and wives or on their own or whatever. And then there’s also who, either working from home or past working age or in between jobs. And then there’s people who are in corporate environments who may be interested in talking to their business or in a position themselves to make a decision about your business. So let’s hope that this reaches some people who are going to reach out to you. Let’s get some tips for you, though, and get some from you. Learn a little bit about the sort of things that we could, get and implement should we do more with Welfy?
Vanessa – Great. Let’s go. So I’ve got three tips for you, very much handpicked for your audience. So I’ve made some assumptions about your listeners, given I am one of your listeners, but also trying to think a bit more broadly. And I think that they are pretty savvy about health already. They’re part of the Paddison Program so they know about the basics of good nutrition, about plant based eating, they know about the gut and they probably know a decent amount about exercise as well. So these are not the beginner class, this is like the intermediate class. So I’ve been really careful not to talk about things that super obvious because I know if it was me, I’d just be like in the off switch. So I’m also going to be really mindful of the pandemic. You know, it’s everywhere, we can’t ignore it. And as you just said, a lot of people are working from home and working from home with the challenges of rheumatoid arthritis, it’s like a double whammy. So I want to try and give some tips that are going to help there. But I appreciate everyone’s in that position, and I think that a lot of what I’m going to share will be useful no matter the industry desk job or not, working or not working as a decent amount of content in here that will, I think, help even any of those people across that spectrum. So I’ll get stuck with number one of three.
The benefits of walking
Vanessa – So number one is called, Don’t zoom just walk. So I know we’re on one right now, so this is a little bit ironic, but being on a zoom, Google me, hang out, or whatever it might be, being on those hour after hour, day after day is immensely draining. And we know that instinctively. But some studies have been done to show that the reason they’re so draining is that your brain is struggling to read the body language of multiple people on the screen at once. It’s not so bad now because it’s just you and I, I can actually, if I concentrate, imagine that you’re in the room. It’s OK. But it’s when you’ve got like nine people in a row, your brain is trying to process all of that on a really, really tiny space. And that’s why it’s so, so tiring for you. And alongside that is just the danger of sitting of being sedentary as that, if it’s like five hours worth of zoom calls in a row without moving apart from maybe to go to the loo.
Vanessa – And I feel like the danger of sitting is really well felt by RA sufferers because actually we begin to physically feel it, I know that I do. I feel my fingers seizing up my knees. So we kind of have a built in alarm system, it’s time to move, get up. Lots of other people don’t have that and could actually sit from nine to five or more without moving. And the dangers of sitting are largely unknown by the masses to be sedentary. The World Health Organization believes actually accounts for six percent of all deaths now, globally. So chronic inactivity causes six percent of mortality. But there’s some good news, The Science Daily published a paper at the end of last year to share that, even for the people that are the most sedentary, if they are to replace sitting with half an hour of activity that will reduce their mortality rate by 50 percent. To just for getting up and moving for half an hour a day, you can make a huge impact to your lifespan and the health of that lifespan. And that was amazing to me, the change only has to be small.
Vanessa – And so the Welfy proposal is that you swap at least one Zoom meeeting per day with a walking meeting that is outside. So it’s one small change and we all know already the obvious mental health benefits of getting out into nature. Like we all feel it just being amongst the trees and the grass, you just feel better. And there’s been countless studies done to prove that it is enormously helpful for depression and for lots of other diseases. But there are also some more surprising benefits.
Vanessa – So Stanford University did a fascinating study where they found that walking and talking, so doing a meeting with your headphones in, plugged into your phone, actually results in more creative ideas. So when you are moving, you are accessing parts of your brain that you wouldn’t otherwise. And they found that for 81 percent of people, they had an uplift of 60 percent or more. So imagine being 60 percent more creative if you’re on a cool and you’re trying to tackle a very difficult problem or you’ve got someone who works for you asking you for some fresh ideas or some feedback, you will be 60 percent more creative with your ideas and your responses if you’re moving. I just find that amazing. And I just think, why wouldn’t you? It’s going to make you less stiff and you’ll be more creative and happier. And a couple of more great benefits to this idea. The second one, which I know you’re a fan of, is exposure to vitamin D. And I know you’ve been doing a whole lot of reading from the last conversation around that particular hormone, and it’s linked to RA and reducing RA activity. So it’s now been proven that getting out to the sunshine, exposing your skin up in your vitamin D can reduce activity of RA in patients. And this is tricky in the UK where it’s pretty cloudy a lot of the time, and so we do need to supplement as well. But on days when the sun is out, get wrapped up as much as your body, you get your arms and your legs out if you can bear it as much as your face possible appreciating. You may need a mask at this time, but getting that vitamin D onto your skin, into your eyes will improve your RA.
Vanessa – Anything you want to add on that one?
Clint – No, I want to give you a personal experience, a couple of them that really tie in with your 60 percent more creative study result. But I’ll wait until you close out and then I’ll share your thoughts.
Vanessa – And a final reason to do this walking meeting is it can actually improve your sleep, which sounds a bit crazy. But it’s been found that getting out in the morning, getting the sunlight into your eyes. So not wearing sunglasses while you’re doing this walking meeting, even if it is sunny, just for at least 10 minutes of the walk to have these sunglasses free will actually allow the sunlight to enter your eyes and that aids your natural circadian biology. It basically tells your brain, hello, it’s morning time and that enables you to circadian biology to be more in tune when it’s the night time. So you will find yourself if you get out daily habit around the same time, get that sunshine into your eyes. You will sleep better at night over time. And we all know that great rest and great sleep is a huge component of managing RA. But it certainly has been to me.
Clint – Hmm. It’s such a great suggestion, and whilst a lot of us intuitively think, yeah, that makes sense, sometimes we just need that reminder and we need to be told to go and do it because it’s not really a barrier or inappropriate to jump on a moving Zoom call. I’ll give you a couple of examples recently were three things I want to share around this. When you’re talking, all I could think of was recent examples where I’ve done this it was great. First of all, anyone who’s watched any of my YouTube videos over a long enough period will see that a lot of the time I’m walking when I’m recording the videos. And so, I hadn’t really broken down, why I like to do that and thought about why I like to do that, your study results showing that 60 percent more creativity applies tends to fit with my personal experience. I find that when I’m moving, my thoughts comes to me better. I seem to talk more fluently and there’s definitely feels like I’m in sync with the creative energies when also my body is moving. And then something else that just came to mind over the years when I’ve been doing stand up comedy, my tendency is to slowly walk left and right along the stage if there’s room.
Vanessa – (inaudible) all comedians do don’t they?
Clint – Yes. And whilst I don’t know if this has ever been studied, you know, it tends to be more of the one-liner type of comic who stands in one spot and just delivers line after line. But those who are storytelling, those who are getting into a flower rhythm of some kind of longer monologue are definitely walking around. And I don’t think that’s just for the audience’s benefit of something to look at for them to be moving. I think it’s getting into the storytelling and creativity. And then there are two more recent examples because you’ve just stimulated my creative juices.
Vanessa – Imagine if you’re moving, Clint.
Clint – Yeah, that’s right. So I actually was contacted recently by someone, a member of a community who actually she’s an expert at book publishing. And she contacted me and said, enough’s enough. When are you going to do your book? You know, I can help you call me. Right? And so I said, okay, let’s do it. And so I got in contact with Jill and jumped on moving and I thought I want to talk to her while I go for a walk. Okay. So I jumped on a moving zoom call and we had a sensational talk and yeah, I’m going to get back into now getting this book done. Yeah, it was just really, really good again, I just feel more energized with a moving zoom call. And I hadn’t done it for a while just because, you know, there’s the stigma around, oh, you’re out doing something else at the same time therefore, you’re not focused on me. And I don’t think that applies. I think with the right education, particularly coming from a boss and saying everyone can do it, here are the reasons that we’ve just learned from Vanessa.
Vanessa – Exactly, it gives permission.
Clint – And that’s right, it needs permission that is the right word. Yeah. Thank you. And then the last thing is, I am part of an or I won an award many years ago for my science and I am getting invited every year to presentations for that award ceremony. And I just watched that whole awards ceremony this year, just two days ago whilst at the gym. And so whilst I wasn’t visible, you know, I found that I fitted the old criteria of moving whilst I’m being engaged with something that I had to from a work so-called work kind of angle. So, look, I’m all about that tip number one, if the next two tips are as good as that one.
Vanessa – The pressure.
Clint – In the interest of time, let’s get on to tip number two and three.
The importance of human relationships
Vanessa – Let’s do it, so tip number two is called, “Know Your drain’s and radiator’s.” First, have a guess at the single most important predictor of a long and healthy life.
Clint – The funniest answer came to mind, Quad’s quadriceps strength is one that is linked to life span, as well as group strength, which is linked to a life spent. Whether or not you live on a hill and walk up and down hills is a lot of your social environment. And whether or not you treat old people as valuable or not, all these things link into the lifespan. But of course, all this ties back to health ultimately. So, I mean, what is the answer that you had prepared for us?
Vanessa – You’re pretty good. So what is Harvard’s claim? They’ve done the longest study on human behavior, so they’ve been studying 734 men since 1938 at the time of the Great Depression. They’ve been studying and every single year, the ones that are still alive and they found that the ones that lived the healthiest, longest lives are those that lean into relationships with their friends, their family, and their community. So your social point was on the money, it’s not about exercise, it’s not about food, and it’s not even about necessarily muscle strength. All of those things, of course, contribute but, what they found is the answer is quality relationships, which I found pretty amazing. And it made me reflect on just how carefully we choose the people that we spend our time with. Yeah, and that’s how we came up with this idea of Drains and Radiators. So drain’s being there are people in your life that you spend time with and you feel drained. You feel like your energy has been sucked out of you. And then there are people who are radiators they are warm and they fill you up and they make you feel like the sun is shining on you as a result of spending time with them. And then there are lots of people in between and so one of the exercises that we do in a welfy workshop is we have people just lift 10 people just off the top of the head. It could be work or it could be home life. And then we get to draw across a page on big line drains and radiators. And then we have the plot and here are ten people across and they get like thirty seconds to do it. So there is no time to really overthink it. And people spotlit staring at the page like, whoa, they’ve never really thought about it that way before for most people. And it seems a little bit brutal. But actually when you realize that this is the most important thing in determining how long and healthy your life is, it’s really, really important. Hmm. However, finding who your radiators are is simple, spending time with them right now is not so simple. We are all around the world being kept apart like we never have been before these are strange times indeed. So the tip is to find radiators, first of all, work out who they are, the people that fill your tank up rather than depleting it, and then to find a way to get to your radiators working with the restrictions that you have in your region or in your country right now. If you can meet with people still, whether it be outside or with the relevant precautions, then do so. Meet them safely and. There might be somebody that you end up with on your chart. He was a radiator that someone you work with, but maybe you don’t even work with him that much, but they just fill you up. When you speak to them, they make you laugh. Then maybe it’s time to ask them some advice on a project with some input and to meet with them in an appropriate place at a safe distance. The pleasure and the happiness that you could get from that hour, that experience is likely to be quite a creative experience, quite a useful experience, but ultimately will make you feel happy and more productive than you might have done for weeks. And also, we’re big fans of bringing back the spontaneous cool, as we call it. It feels like everything is so schedules now. And I think even more so with everybody working from home. It feels like every hour, every minute is a scheduled Zoom call. And it is OK to just pick up the phone and ring someone that you really like at work as if you were the watercooler, just having a natter and the good old days of going into the office. Because great creative thoughts come out of those conversations that’s why companies like Google created their offices in a way in which they would be human friction. People are designed to bump into each other in corridors and spaces because they know that that unplanned human connection creates great ideas and great thoughts, and creates networks that might not have existed otherwise. To bring back spontaneous calls, work out someone that’s in your work network. That is a radiator. I just rang them.
Clint – Mhm. Yeah. Love it as well. Absolutely. I have been following Anthony Robbins’s work for gosh, a long time, fifteen years, or something and the way he puts it is who you spend time with is who you become. There’s a million other sayings and metaphors for this. You know, show me a person’s friends and I’ll show you the person, you know, birds of a feather flock together. All of these different ways of saying that we end up sort of if the other one is the expectation, we always rise to the expectations of our peer group. And so it’s so important as to who we spend time with. And Melissa and I, my wife, after we, you know, have a particularly up or down experience by having a friend visit or us visit friends, you will often say no, I always feel so and uplifted or vibrant after we see that person or that family. And then there might be someone, you know, a neighbor or something. And we have not so good experience where we think, you know, not the biggest fan of their energy. We say that that’s how we put it then the energetic sort of sensation or not on their wavelength or they just the vibe. It’s about vibe and energy, isn’t it? So I love this one as well. And I have a couple of friends, the guys at mastering diabetes in this sort of community, and they run masteringdiabetes.org. And they are so upbeat and vibrant, fun, and happy that we have a WhatsApp group. And every time we hit each other with WhatsApp, it’s just always laughing and hilarity and, you know, I just love that connection. So for me, whilst one’s in Costa Rica and one’s in Santa Monica, we’re connecting all the time and laughing. And that’s how little WhatsApp group. So, you know, maybe one implementation would be to create a WhatsApp group with people in your business who you do get the good vibe from.
Clint – Yeah. And I mean, that’s what’s working for me just one example. And there’s an event organizer called Elain who organizes plant-based events, and she’s just big in that space. And I just called her out of the blue. Must have been yesterday, the day before yesterday. And it felt weird that I was just randomly calling her. And I have a different number, a different phone number now because we’ve got back to Australia and she’s like, hello? It’s like, why am I getting a strange call from someone who I don’t know without, you know. And yeah, but it was strange, it was like a tiny little mini thrill just to call someone I respected and liked to I hadn’t scheduled and just say here you go.
Vanessa – (Inaudible) people out a little bit, but I think in a great way and again, it’s a mission. If the business supports that and says, no, everything has to be scheduled, we want you to call each other. You don’t always have to be a reason to become educated enough to know creativity will come out of that, a connection will come out of that, then they’ll support that and it won’t be weird anymore. But even when it is weird, it’s kind of cool.
Clint – I love it. Well, thank you. I love these tips. Now let’s hit the third tip.
Hormones and well-being
Vanessa – The third and final tip is to learn how to hack your hormones. So we did lots of talking around hormones at welfy and our workshops because we believe that understanding just the fundamentals of some of our key hormones can help us to demystify what can be quite a cloud of feeling. Sometimes you can feel anxious, you can feel stressed, can feel overwhelmed, and just not be able to unlock that. And yet, if you can understand the hormones that are driving a lot of those feelings, you can decode it and make sense of it and actually feel a lot more in control. And I don’t know about you, but despite my very best efforts and knowledge over the lockdown, I have definitely suffered from a feeling of malaise. Some days a complete lack of productivity. I was going to plan this out days ago, but it happened today because I needed the motivation and the deadline. And that’s not me. That’s just a feeling of well that you get when we’re all under the pressures and the stress that we are. So I want to share just the least obvious of our hacks from the welfy workshops to enable the audience to try them out and to get a much-needed boost to that feeling of well-being. They are really simple and they are really easy to try. So I hope you like this. So first of all, we have to talk about not so happy hormones and that adrenaline cortisol. And I’m sure everybody knows this, but they are the stress response hormones and they are overworked right now. We are all feeling a lot more stressed than normal. And the fact that they are being so overworked is partly why we’re all feeling a little lethargic versus our normal best selves. They are not bad, adrenaline cortisol kept us safe for many, many hundreds of thousands of years when we were running around in caves and being chased by saber tooth tigers. That is a fight and flight response is what kept us alive. But now we’re almost in a constant state of anxiety and fear. And I heard someone the other day say, I just feel like a hummingbird trapped between two panes of glass. I thought, what a great explanation and that’s how I feel. Sometimes it’s like you can feel it in your body in different ways, but it’s not good and it’s not good at all short term or long term to be in that state. It can have really, really serious implications for our long term health. We are not evolved to be feeling that way as regularly as we currently are. So there are lots of pretty obvious ways to tackle the meditation and mindfulness, the deep breathing exercises. But there’s a really interesting and not so obvious one, which is to run your finger along your top lip very, very gently back and forth. Everybody is doing this with me because otherwise, I feel very silly. There are parasympathetic fibers in your top lip that activate your parasympathetic nervous system. So the parasympathetic nervous system is like the into the yang of the sympathetic nervous system. So on one side, you’ve got your fight or flight and on the other side, you’ve got your resting digest, calming the nervous system. So you can basically hack into that just by doing the action. It should make you feel just slightly more relaxed.
Vanessa – So let’s say you on a call and you’re feeling suddenly triggered, angry, and frustrated. So just sit quietly and (Inaudible) be doing this will make you feel calmer. And then hopefully after that cool you can get out in nature, have a proper break, go gravity, whatever it is, you need to climb down from that adrenaline rush, but it’s just to take it away. And I found it enormously useful since learning about that. And so I hope it’s one that you can try out. So then we’ve got four hormones I’m going to go through and one little tip to try and hack it and then this tip will be all done. So we’re going to start with endorphins, that’s the first of all for happy hormones. So endorphins are associated with a feeling of euphoria. They’re stimulated by some illegal things that we won’t talk about, also by alcohol and fat to say chocolate. And if you are a partisan devout like me, then those things are all off the menu. So they’re no good and we need some other ideas, and there are some obvious ones. So endorphins are very commonly known to be associated with running. When you get that runner’s high endocannabinoids going around your bloodstream, your endorphins are rushing and it feels amazing. It feels like you could run through a wall, but you’ve got to get to the stage of the run or the cycle or whatever it is you’re doing. We’re talking about 20 minutes of hard work to get to that high. So in the working from the homeworld, we need a quick hack and a hack for this one is laughter. So laughing it creates exactly the same response of triggering your endorphins. So I have myself a little library of ridiculously funny videos on YouTube. And if I’m having a bit of a trough and I feel like I need a little pick me up rather than grabbing a ball of chocolate, I get myself some funny cat videos. I’ve got a bit of an obsession with watching Cat so frightened of cucumbers. And other things that really, really make me laugh, and they’ll be certain things that really make you laugh, whether it be people falling over old reruns of friends, like particular clips that crack you up. But we’re talking belly laugh. It’s going to really get your funny bone. And just having a little library of those can save your day. So, that’s endorphins and I will move on to oxytocin next.
Clint – In just bit whilst it’s still current to talk about it, just so happens that out of the blue. I reached out to a friend of mine called Mark McConville, who is a stand up comic buddy of mine for a long time. And I am in the process of organizing to interview him. I think we’re scheduled for next Wednesday and he is a laughter full health expert with a degree in this. And so he’s going to share all of the health benefits of laughter across, you know, a full-length podcast interview shortly. So, yes, we can learn a lot more about the endorphins and other health benefits of laughter from a professional really soon. So I just want to share that as well.
Vanessa – I’ll look forward to that one. Great. So the number two hormone is oxytocin, so commonly known as the love hormone. But more accurately, it’s actually the trust. For me, it’s about creating trust, which triggers this. It’s also stimulated by coffee. But again, off the menu and this one might sound a little flippant, but the hack is hugging. Hugging creates oxytocin in your body and that makes you feel great. And I’ve been reading a lot about this recently, and I’ve found that the optimal number of hugs in a day is, make a guest?
Clint – Well, I don’t think we can overdose on it. I think there is an adequate number to be able to feel well supported, loved and secure in life might be maybe, three.
Vanessa – I thought that two apparently its eight, lets say you need to up the quota. The good news is it can be humans and animals so, Apparently hugging your pet dog can release just as much oxytocin as your partner. And so I think it’s got to be the silver lining of working from home trick here in the office, really, unless you’re very poly. But, you know, if you’re just popping down, grabbing a cup of tea and you bump into your child, your dog, and your other half, just grab a quick hug. And explain like, OK, that’s number five of the day every three months and that’s such a simple thing. And how does that go to be a great thing, even if you’re not really feeling it like just get that hug. I think that every time poorly spent and if you’re not living with someone, you don’t have pets. It’s been found actually that positive visualizations can have almost as good an effect. So it might be having photographs on your desk of loved ones, or a holiday, or your family that are further afield can release oxytocin as well. I love that one, the hugging hormone.
Clint – I’m glad we’re having this conversation now and not when I was a teenager because I would not have been able to take this conversation seriously. I was such a slutty, immature teen and I would have been just interrupting you. And just trying to hug the person next to me and think stupid and kissing someone to get the top lip activated. I mean, I can only handle this without being childish now as an adult.
Vanessa – We welcome childish, it’s all good.
Clint – OK, great. What’s this last one?
Vanessa – We got two more hormones like serotonin is next and it’s the happy hormone. Interestingly, this one’s stored mostly in the gut and I find that interesting, particularly given what we know about the gut now. Right. It is stimulated by exercise, too, but also things like massage, try and behave, but also natural sunlight. So just another reason to get outside and to get sun on your skin and on your face in order to really boost that serotonin safely. Just another example of getting out, taking those breaks, and feeling good rather than getting bigger and bigger trough, working from home as the day drains on. And then finally, it’s dopamine, which is the pursuit of pleasure hormone. And this is what you get when you win on the races or the lottery or even a smaller scale. If you get a like on Instagram because you’ve posted a picture of your cucumber and celery juice. But it can also be triggered in some smart little ways when you’re working from home. So Longway, is what we call little finish lines. So you may already do this, I bet a lot of your listeners do this when they’re working from home, but it’s writing a list of the things that you want to achieve that day and drawing a little box next to each thing that you can then tick. Now, ticking those things as you go will create little rushes of dopamine as you do them and that’s why it feels good. Some people write things on lists just so they can take them and they probably don’t know why. It’s because it’s actually creating a rush of dopamine.
Clint – I agree, and what I’m doing is I’m just reading what my list is, my microphone is sitting on the most important book of mine that I use each day. And so I’m just going to flash what that looks like. It is a list with little boxes right next to them of all the things that I have to get done. And I like we planned it, that’s hilarious. And I’m putting that book back under my microphone in its special spot. And that is for me, such a (inaudible) main hit it. And you’ve just basically described what I had decided was why I like doing that. And so on my are list of things like sometimes as small as clean up the fallen foliage underneath the backyard garden plants so that it looks neat and tidy. And I’ll tick that and that only takes me two minutes to do that and put that into the green bin where the scraps go. But then I take a box and when I take the box, I’m like, I’m achieving something today, I’m making progress and that feels good and accomplished.
Vanessa – Yeah. And there’s a lot of project management tools now that do this brilliantly. Monday is the tool that we use at welfy and it does it beautifully. So when you turn something done, it always does those little fireworks for you it’s like Titok on acid it’s good. I’m going to give you one bonus one for today because I really like it. And the final hack is to identify the songs that give you chills. Do you have a song that makes you go when you hear it?
Clint – I like “I remember you” by Skid Row, makes me feel like that just because it brings back a lot of sort of feelings of a part of my life when I was like, you know, very, you know, feeling like I, you know, just emotionally vulnerable and stuff. And, yeah, some of these old rock ballads I like that make me feel like that.
Vanessa – So for me, it’s Florence and the Machine “The dog days are over”. And I know because I’ve become quite interested in this, that literally at three minutes and eight seconds, that is when I’m going to get the chill out the back of the neck. That’s dope me is a point where the vocal comes back in and it’s so powerful and so amazing. And same for me, it’s a time in my life when that song came out and just in a really happy amazing place. But what’s really fascinating to me is that it works every time. And I tested it just before this call. I was like, does it definitely work? And I don’t even have to listen to the whole song. So that is a hack that I can use if I’m having a bit of a dip in the day or I’m just about to join a cool and I want my energy to be good, I can use that. So having a little bank of songs that give you chills knowing that you’ll get that dopamine hit is a really handy way to try and keep your energy high.
Clint – That’s awesome. We have a thread inside Rheumatoid Support where people post their YouTube videos of their favorite songs that pump them up and make them feel great. So we actually have everyone’s collection all being added to each others. And it’s a resource that you can go through and watch all those.So that one a great one as well. So thank you, you’ve put obviously some thought into making sure that this list matches the audience. And I’ve sat here and thoroughly enjoyed all of these tips. You know, and the thing I love about doing this and speaking with you today is that none of this is planned. And so I get to enjoy this on the spot and I don’t have to think on now I have to tell it to say that or whatever. I’m just like, let’s just roll and just see how we go. And it’s and it feels so fresh and I’m enjoying it as we go, and I hope that everyone else has enjoyed listening to your suggestions here. And I can really see how helpful these are and founded on science, which of course I always love to go back to as well. So you’ve done that as well. So this has been a ton of fun. Thank you. And if people want to learn more about Welfy, please tell them what to do.
Vanessa – So, yeah, thank you. Its www.welfy.co.uk is the website, so you can see how we spell welfy up here as well. And there’s a blog there which we post to around once a week. This is really I hope interesting but also humorous articles on there written by myself and Amy. The most recent one was when we went wild swimming and nearly drowned, there’s some pretty funny stories in there. And also we’re on Instagram and Twitter and our handle is @getwelfy.
Clint – Ok, fantastic. And do you work with businesses or individuals outside of the UK?
Vanessa – We don’t currently, but we absolutely can. So we’re a real fledgling business, we’re just amassing new clients here in the UK. But as I said, everything we do can be remote, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t work with companies abroad. And I’m used to working in all sorts of funny time zones, given my global roles in the past. And I think it’s about 11:00 at night here, but we’re all good.
Clint – That’s right. We have to make it work that way. Yeah, it’s a time zone challenge, but everyone’s very accommodating. So I thank you for that as well. So congratulations on being entrepreneurial despite a health challenge. And this is something that I am all about. I think it’s fantastic when we have a purpose that’s over and above, just trying to get well, just trying to get well as our only objective put so much pressure on that. And when we have something else that we’re doing, whether it be part of, you know, part of a social group or a committee or if it’s part of a large corporation or a small business, whatever, great. But if we don’t have anything like that at the moment, then being entrepreneurial is a way to fill that need to be productive, to contribute, to solve problems, to look towards goals and just a sense of purpose.
Clint – And so congratulations on doing that, despite obviously having been through a lot with your health and having a lot on your plate with that and being a mum to a young child. So anyone else who’s out there thinking that they have something to share, just as you’ve shared today. And something to contribute to our community and have a business like this, that’s helpful. Please, we’ve got a platform here to reach a lot of people. So I’m totally excited what you’ve shared today. I want you to send those studies to me as well. I’ll probably use some of those studies in my book.
Vanessa – You’re welcome.
Clint – And so thanks very much. And yes, it’s time for bedtime for you so I’ll let you go. And we’ve got the links to get to Welfy and thank you very much and keep up the wonderful effort.
Vanessa – Thank you. Thanks so much for your time Clint it’s been an absolute pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed it.