[00:00:00] Cristin: What is up, Notable Women. Thank you so much for joining us for today’s episode of the Notable Woman Podcast. My guest today is Valerie Friedlander. Valerie is a life and business alignment coach with a background of her 20 years of science and spirituality based personal development. She’s passionate about helping high achieving women with children shift patterns that aren’t serving them and confidently create their life by creating their own rules. In addition to her coaching and energy leadership certifications, Valerie draws on her 10 years in corporate management and studies in sociology, neuroscience, addiction, recovery, and spiritual discernment to help her clients get off the emotional roller coaster, connect their head and their heart and increased focus, follow through and fun in all areas of their life.
You know how I feel about alliteration. So I love that. Now when she’s not working with clients, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband, who I had the pleasure of working with in California many years ago, her two sons working on an art [00:01:00] project, or nerding out with a sci-fi fantasy or comic book movie.
She’s also the host of a podcast Unlimited. Valerie, thank you so much for being here today.
Valerie: Thank you for inviting me.
Cristin: So why why did I invite Valerie? I decided that I wanted to focus on specific topics on the Notable Woman Podcast, things that I thought that people had an interest in, something that I was interested in.
And so I wanted to talk about rest and I thought that Valerie would be the perfect person. So thank you for joining me. And so do you think that women have such a hard time getting rest?
Valerie: Besides children which is a thing in and of itself. From my sociology background. I love looking at how the social dynamics influence [00:02:00] our individual dynamics and vice versa.
And there’s a lot of energy around doing and productivity as being tied to our value. Like how much you get done, how productive you are, how busy you are, not even productive, but just how busy you are, how hard you’re working equates to your value and your value to society. But intrinsically we internalize that as our intrinsic value.
And so a lot of us have this push to be busy and do and accomplish partly because we like accomplishing things; that feels good. But also because there’s this subconscious trigger around being valuable and needing to be valuable and valued and work hard.
Cristin: Now, do you think that the pandemic has shifted this in [00:03:00] any way?
Valerie: That’s a great question. I think in a lot of ways it has both magnified it. And by doing so, made us a lot more aware of it. I think that the pandemic has done that across the board with all the things; naturally, anytime you have stress added on you experience all the other places that you have stress more fully, it just exacerbates things.
The, idea of being hungry or tired, we tend to be a lot more reactive it’s because there’s actual stress on our bodies that trigger all the other things. So something that might, you might have been a little annoyed about, but like you could totally show up to it in an intentional way.
Like your kid saying something or doing something that normally I’d be like, [00:04:00] alright, this is a teaching moment. We’re going to engage this calmly. If you’re hungry or you’re tired, it’s much more likely that it’s going to bypass that frontal cortex, that things creatively and go straight to your limbic system and go, this is a threat.
And then we show up in defensive mode or victim mode. And so I think the pandemic is such an immense amount of stress in so many different ways and areas that it naturally emphasizes all of the other things that are stressed, that aren’t working well in our society and not resting and working hard and being busy is one of them for some, because they’re really they’re, like searching for things to be busy with because they don’t have anything to be busy with.
And others who are burning out with the amount of busy that they have, that they’ve infused their life [00:05:00] with. And now throw in. Also being a co-teacher and having everybody on top of them and all of the things of caring for other people in the house without breaks, you start to see where, Oh, I’ve boundaries take on a whole new meaning and need a whole new exploration, including those self boundaries and boundaries around our time and, our ability to rest.
Cristin: So many things from that made my brain go [whirrrr].
Valerie: Where do you want to go? Next?
Cristin: I know what, I just want to I’ll bring up something I had heard. So, early in the pandemic and it was an interview with Anderson Cooper and NYU professor, Stern professor Galloway. And is his name last name? I don’t know his first name.
Scott Galloway. And he said that [00:06:00] coronavirus was an accelerant. It was not a disruptor that it was an accelerant and all these things that were already happening with just happened so much faster. And I’ve really felt that to be true in so many ways. And that. So many of the disparities that already existed just got fire added to gasoline essentially that was already there.
And so that really stuck out for me. Your comments made me remember that and think that it’s so very true. And then one of the things I wanted to ask you about is that, how do you think that the, amount of executive functioning that has to go into your everyday life in a pandemic as you navigate your workload around your.
Child’s school schedule around your [00:07:00] grocery pickup time around your masks. And do you have them ready? And are they securely fit? How do you feel like the executive functioning of all of that combines or compounds even to affect people’s need for rest?
Valerie: It, definitely does the. Reason we like routines.
We like habits so much in part, at least is because it’s easier when you have a habit. The part of our brain that is like the executive functioning part, the frontal cortex, the one that does all of the figuring things out and creative thinking and putting pieces together and making decisions is the part that burns the most amount of energy.
Anytime you’re utilizing your frontal cortex. You’re going to burn more energy. Our brain is designed to put as much [00:08:00] as possible into the and I forgetting the word. There’s like a scientific word for this, but like the, those low, slower burning parts the ones that don’t need as much energy.
So those more habitual parts, the autopilot parts. So anything that it can put there, it’s going to put there that is beneficial because it means that we can think faster on our feet. We can do things more quickly. We can get more things done. We can be more productive. And efficient. That’s the word I was looking for efficiency.
That’s one of my words and I totally forgot it, but it means that we can be more efficient energetically, biologically. It has a downside in that so much of what we think is subconscious. We think a lot of stuff, but that’s only about, I think like 5% of what we actually are thinking like what our brain is actually doing.
So [00:09:00] a lot of my work often is helping people bring to consciousness. Some of those automatic patterns in terms of interaction with all areas of their life, in this case, because there are so many decisions to make with situations being so new and. The fact that some of them are life and death, and we’re not even sure exactly which ones for a good part of this cause science is all learning new things and getting new information.
And so we’re waiting for new information that waiting for information and the potential of it being a life or death decision puts a lot more pressure on the energy expended by our bodies. So it certainly impacts how much bandwidth we have. There’s a term within the community that has [00:10:00] chronic illness of spoons.
If you’re familiar with that, but like you only have so many spoons to give. And that I think is something that would be a beneficial thing for most of us to take on is to recognize that we all. Only have so many spoons. We may have more spoons than other people or less spoons than other people, or at different times we may have different amounts of spoons because hormone cycles and things like that.
But. We need to know. Once we run out of spoons, we’ve run out of spoons.
Cristin: I was actually to the concept of spoons and spoon theory with Julie Morgan lender in episode two of the notable on podcast, she actually was just on episode 41 talking about her book that she just published. And so I think that’s a, great connection.
And something that, that makes me think [00:11:00] about, because obviously there’s a lot here around all of us being at this weird capacity that we’ve never been at before. And I have had long conversations with people, hours long about things like. Do I get my hair cut. Do I go to the dentist? Do I take my kids to the dentist?
Am I a bad parent? If I think that we should hold off on this annual cleaning because of X, Y, Z am I, is that neglect or something like that? Because I don’t want them to die in a pandemic. So many complicated things where normally you just go to the dentist or you get a haircut or. You go see your family member at Christmas or whatever, a holiday or someone’s birthday, or you go to the baby shower or you go to the wedding, whatever.
It’s not this complicated where it’s now it’s obviously very complicated, but these are the sort [00:12:00] of questions that people with chronic illness have been facing for a really long time. Julie herself talked about in her episode and we also have she, and I talked about this one on one about the.
In many ways, the pandemic helped limit the decisions that people in chronic illness used to have to make, where she has to. She used to have to think about, okay I want to, do something tonight. There’s these four options available to me, this one has an elevator, but the parking is really far away.
But this one, the parking is really close, but it’s stairs and she didn’t make decisions like that. Whereas now she had these four. Wonderful options that were all online and she could go to anyone and she got to actually pick the one she wanted to go to instead of the one that was easiest and most accessible to her, which I thought was certainly interesting interesting point and one that I would not have thought of myself.
And that all makes me think back to the very [00:13:00] first thing that you mentioned when we talked about how society tells us that we have to have a certain level of productivity. Which in many ways has not translated to predictive productivity, but it’s translated to busy-ness and that people are just busy for busy-ness busy-ness is sake.
And so what are your thoughts about how societal structures and systems keep us from getting rests?
Valerie: I think one part that you just said, there’s a certain amount of productivity. Part of the issue there is that there isn’t a defined amount of productivity. So it ties into that idea of what is, perfect, right?
How much is enough anytime you have like that idea of not enough, that lack mindset as it were. There’s. This push to do more or be more, or [00:14:00] this pressure and fear that leads us to do things that are not intentional things. They’re not chosen things they’re not aligned necessarily with our real values.
They’re fear-based of trying to be enough, which is one of the reasons why I always recommend for people to define what enough actually is for them and take a look at well. And if you actually define enough in this context, what does that look like? How do you feel if you’re enough and what are you doing if you’re doing enough and how reasonable is it?
What you set out would you say this to another person like to your friend, to your spouse? What, does enough look like for somebody else in this? Because oftentimes. We’re going to that subconscious not enough, trying to fill a bucket that we haven’t even decided what size it is. So it’s just like pouring [00:15:00] on the floor basically instead of filling a container.
That’s so good metaphor.
So, we don’t want to just be sprayed. It’s just like with stress, like we don’t want to just spray it everywhere. We want to actually focus it because it can be helpful if it’s focused. Doing things is helpful. We don’t want to not do things, but it needs to be focused and intentional.
Like I have this spoon, I’m going to use it here. I have the spoon. I’m going to use it here where we’re, choosing consciously and giving space for discernment because that, as I mentioned takes energy. I don’t think we give very much recognition too. Discernment as also being part of the productivity process.
So, societaly speaking. One of the things that I love to explore is feminine cycles and [00:16:00] how looking at hormone cycles for women, there are different. Dynamics within productivity at different points in our natural hormone cycles. And this is true for men too, but their hormone cycle is shorter. So I’ve heard anywhere from like 24 hours to three days, something like that.
Theirs it’s a much shorter hormone cycle. Whereas ours is what like 30, 28 to 32 days. So because we’ve devalued the feminine in our society and we’re out of balance with. That though those two dynamics, we value this fast turnaround, masculine energy that has a different experience of productivity for women.
There’s more of a, there are times when we’re planting seeds, when we’re maximized to. Think of [00:17:00] things to have ideas, to generate thoughts and ideas and, all of that. And it’s usually when our estrogen is going up, then we get, to this point where, they could get stuff done. Like we have this power boost probably about three days to a week or so, where we have like this the fertility period where like we can do all the things and that’s comparable to that masculine energy of doing, like doing, going all that.
And then it drops off as our progesterone goes up and our estrogen goes down and progesterone says, slow down, we’re getting ready to grow a human. And we need that energy to grow a human whether or not you’re growing a human, but like it’s tells us to slow down because that energy is going to be used differently.
So that energy is. We’re going to pull in. Now we’re going to start assessing and analyzing. This is when I look at business stuff. [00:18:00] This is like the time where you sit and you look at your analytics and you go, okay, what worked, what didn’t in that burst of energy, where we were super productive and we’re getting all this stuff done.
What it’s like, Charting the course. And I was using this analogy with someone else the other day of a, with a client who was talking about setting a deadline for her. And it’s there’s this time period where it’s good to decide where you want to go. There’s this, creative time of like, all right, I’m going to go here and I’m going to plot this course.
And I’m going to outline the route. And then I can go to Lightspeed. You don’t want to go Lightspeed before you hit the go on. Like until before you plan out the route you go to Lightspeed before you plot out the route, you could end up in a wall, anyone who watches any of those, I find that you don’t want to do that.
You want to, have that plot and then. [00:19:00] You go there, you hit Lightspeed, do all the things and then you stop and you assess, okay, what worked, what didn’t, how did that experience go of actually getting things done? Did that feel good to me? Did it have the impact that I wanted it to make? Did it actually match with where I thought I was going?
Once I got there was that really where I wanted to go to, what about that? What I want to change? And you do that assessing period. And then you go into the creative thinking of okay, now what, how, what do I want to do? How do I want to take that information and feed it into the next thing?
We, as a society only value the Lightspeed part. And that means that we don’t take time to assess where are we going? How are we getting there? Is that a way that actually matches with the life that we want to live? What could we do differently? Like we have choices, we could do things [00:20:00] differently. We don’t have to just survive life.
We could enjoy it. What would make this more enjoyable? What would have an actually engaging that space. If we don’t value that we don’t make space for it. And if we don’t make space for it, we end up just zipping places all the time and not being intentional with where we’re actually going. And it’s less effective because we ended up going places we didn’t actually want to go.
Cristin: Yeah, absolutely. I thought that metaphor around would you go into Lightspeed before you find course is I’m certainly not as, a cooler into all of that stuff as you, but I have watched a little bit of it in the pandemic with my husband and my 10 human. And certainly it would be very silly to that.
So I have a lot of clarity around that in my brain. Now you’ve given us a number of different ways to think about this, about rest as you’ve, answered [00:21:00] my questions, you’ve brought up this other thing that someone could do thinking about what is enough was one example, thinking that if you only have so many spoons, how do you want to spend them another example and then to think about your energy cycles and to think about when are you thinking and idea generation and when are you acting and then what are you testing?
And then I would say probably like, when are you resting is another good place to another thing to add into there, but what would you say if. For the wonderful, Notable woman audience who are listening to this, how can they incorporate some of these ideas into their life right now?
Valerie: So that’s, that is where the rest part comes in is allowing for pause.
A lot of times we have this urgent need to respond immediately. To do something right [00:22:00] now. And most of the time it’s not actually necessary. So one of the things actually, the very first thing is, anytime you have something, come up to practice the pause. And, just checking in on what’s going on, what is necessary right now?
And this is true in just about every area, whether it’s work, whether it’s interaction with other people, practicing pausing, instead of engaging right away. Because when we engage right away, it tends to be more reactive. It tends to go to the autopilot part of our brain. That’s the part that triggers first.
If we already feel stressed, So most of the time, it doesn’t have to happen right away. So you can take a moment and check [00:23:00] in what do I need right now? I like to encourage people to give yourself a little bit of space to decide how do you want to show up to life? How do you want to experience life? Those are similar, but they’re a little bit different.
And what impact do you want to make? It’s essentially what I would call your vision. It’s not like where you’re going to. Are you being, so how do you want to experience life? How do you want to show up to it? What does it look like when you’re showing up and what impact do you want to make and what are, say three?
I like threes three non-negotiables to support you in doing that. What are those things for you? And maybe they’re daily things, maybe they’re weekly things. Maybe they’re a monthly things. Maybe they’re all of those things. Like you can pick three for your day three for your week three for your [00:24:00] month, that are the things that will help you most align with your vision.
For some people that might be meditating for five minutes in the morning. Or journaling for five minutes before you go to bed. Like it doesn’t have to be a ton of time. But what helps you align with that vision for yourself so that you’re able to engage and allowing space for that is one of the key things that we don’t do.
We don’t allow space for ourselves. We don’t allow ourselves to take up space. Feminist probably heard about that. Taking up space, we deserve to take up space. And part of that is using our voice. But part of that is valuing our own time and valuing our own time also looks like valuing our own [00:25:00] being, which means.
Giving it a break does not have to do all the things. And some of our most powerful connections happen when we’re sleeping. When we are giving ourselves rest. I like to a phrase that I came across in a spiritual community was urgent need is my will calm, certainty is God’s will. And for me, that basically means the urgent need is my, self preservation, my survival mode.
And God’s will means when I’m aligned with my higher self, being present to the moment can’t be present to the moment. If I’m not allowing myself to pause and actually be present to that moment. So what are those three things that need to be non-negotiables for you to honor who you want to be and what your vision is?
Cristin: I like that so much. I love this [00:26:00] idea of who you’re being. It’s a conversation that I have with people often, which is are your actions matching what you say? You believe right? Or we’re not. And very often they’re not right. And it’s because I think of one of your earlier points, which is that something like only 5% of your thoughts are unconscious and everything else.
You’re just pre-programmed. To already be believing something. And so that’s why it’s so important to do this work, particularly around rests because you are programmed to believe that you are not valuable unless you are productive and productivity is undefined in my opinion, purposefully. So you are just constantly striving and always trying to achieve and never succeeding because it doesn’t exist.
There is no actual. Level [00:27:00] that you’ll then get to take a break.
Valerie: You have to do decide it. That’s the thing. If you don’t choose it, it’s not chosen. It’s like that whole idea of and not making a decision is still making a decision, not deciding what enough is, deciding that there isn’t enough ever, no matter what.
So you have to define what enough is otherwise. You’re always going to be chasing enough. It’s I like the, to think of like a horse that is dangling a carrot. It like somebody is dangling a carrot in front of the horse to try and motivate the horse to move forward. And if the horse never gets the carrot, eventually the horse will die.
Like you can only go so far without feeding the horse. We are taught to believe that we have to always incentivize ourselves in the future. What if you could [00:28:00] munch on the carrot and walk in the direction that you chose, you have to choose the direction and then eat the carrot as you go. You can make the direction and the walking enjoyable.
Cristin: Yeah. Oh man. So much there too. Talk to you all day. It really makes me think a lot about I’ve. I very much feel like our society, trains people to need external motivation for everything so that you don’t ever you, Probably started life, enjoying certain things and having internal motivation for them.
That’s one of the things I always say to my husband, do not provide an external motivator for the child for things that he enjoys. He enjoys it. Just let him enjoy it. You don’t need to cookie or I don’t know, give them a snack [00:29:00] or whatever, or let him play his game after like he enjoys doing this.
Just let him enjoy it. Because we don’t need to provide an external motivator for things that people already enjoy doing. And I think that is it’s just present in parenting guides and styles discipline information that parents receive it’s in schools and all the parts of curriculum.
That we don’t just let people enjoy the things that they enjoy.
Valerie: It’s to get people to buy into rules that serve other people.
Cristin: Biggitty bam. That’s a meme if I ever heard one. That’s so true. And so painful. Oh.
Valerie: There’s a, lot in there and I think that it ties to if, you don’t feel enough, you are going to search for things to make you feel better and you will spend money.
[00:30:00] To get those things and it applies in so many different areas. If you’re not enough, then Oh, I’ve got what will help you feel enough? I think it’s part of what plays into our various epidemics, like the opioid epidemic and the amount of depression that we have. It’s, constantly reinforcing, not being enough.
In and of yourself that doesn’t feel good. And there’s a belief that if it’s what’s necessary to make us motivated to do things and it’s a lie.
Cristin: I think the first thing that popped into my head when you started to talk about that was the fact that now self care is like an industry, right? And now it’s, a word that even people get, they don’t like it.
Yeah, there you go. You don’t like it. I [00:31:00] think that I certainly don’t mind it. Cause my self-care doesn’t need to be like a pedicure or anything of the sort, but I am always conscious of words that get commandeered.
Valerie: Yes, my industry does a lot of that.
Cristin: Yes. Embarrassing experience. When I first went on Instagram, cause I’m a little bit of Instagram, grandma not going to lie about it.
And when I first got an Instagram and I was doing hashtags and I had not done, I didn’t do any hashtag research of any kind, which I do not recommend because of the story. And so I did hashtag something around feminism and then I went to check. And see how I was ranking on that hashtag was I showing up or anything?
And it turns out that whole hashtag had been commandeered by anti-woman white supremacists. It was a whole Instagram feed of some of the most horrible, hateful things I’d ever seen. And I was. Terrified [00:32:00] that I had accidentally used this hashtag, which was a normal phrase that didn’t have anything to do with any of these things.
But in, in the Instagram, it was not used to talk about women empowerment. It was used to talk about anti woman topics that are then also related to many other horrible things. And words can get commandeered self care has definitely gotten commandeered as a topic. And I think that it’s become an industry where you have to spend money, that you can take care of yourself rather than just taking care of yourself.
Valerie: Yeah. I look at money as energy and so it’s an energetic exchange and it’s important again with the assessment part of was that exchange equitable? Did I get the equal amount of energy back from what I spent [00:33:00] and how could I better spend that energy? Whether it’s financial or time back to the spoons?
How much do you have? And it’s one of the reasons why I get, I never liked the we’ll just put it on your credit card or just invest more than you have for some people that’s okay. Some people that does not trigger additional stress for them, because they’re, there’s just a different relationship, but for people who that triggers more stress for.
You’re not going to get an equal exchange for the amount of stress. Like you’re, paying both in money, but also stress. And if you’re not going to get a return on that, which is hard to do, because the more stress you have, the harder it is to do anything then you, have to factor all of those things in.
Cristin: I think there’s a lot there around [00:34:00] you’re going to, let’s just say your self care is Go and get a Manny petty. There’s, you’re spending the time to do it. You’re paying for it. You’re traveling to get there and back and whatever, however, that works wherever you live in the world.
And then there’s all the interactions around that. Which could be very pleasant for you. I’ve taken my mom to get a Manny petty and it’s a lovely experience. We have such a nice time. And then I know people that do it. Particularly when I’ve gone in New York city where it’s just, another chore on the list of activities and that that is what I think it seems to me that people have been taught that this activity will help you achieve a certain level of whatever that mythical thing is that you’re trying to achieve.
But really it’s just a way for you [00:35:00] to spend money.
Valerie: It gets tied to our, face, our and that’s a sociological term of like how we present and what we want other people to perceive us as something that starts out as caring for ourselves, especially if it’s a visible thing, but especially for people who are influencers in the self-care space, if certain ways of.
Being perceived and actions get tied to what they believe. Other people perceive them as and how they want other people to perceive them. Then the disruption of that becomes problematic for their social face their, interaction with these spaces. And so it becomes a should. Anytime self care is a should.
It’s not self care anymore. The purpose of self care is to show love [00:36:00] for oneself. It’s just support, loving yourself. If it’s playing into an industry or a space that tells you’re not enough, how loving does that sound to you? If it’s a, should you should do the, got it. Don’t should on yourself.
Cristin: I just love that.
Valerie: Oh, I got to thank my mom for that. She always used to be like, stop shoulding all over yourself.
Cristin: It’s good. It’s good. One of my Voxer friends says it and I enjoy it. And so I think that it’s a, it’s such a good point, right? It’s such a good point that if, self care becomes a should, and it’s what it’s making me think of is when certainly when the pandemic first started, I know a lot of people were like, but how are we gonna do soccer, karate, ceramics swimming I don’t know, or a gummy, whatever the activities were that they had with their kids.
And so the [00:37:00] idea that. This sort of carefully crafted existence that they had created further they’re small humans or mid-sized humans. Was it going to be different? And I just thought. Or like a Dyna pandemic, you want to do it’s it just is what it is. And I think that you can create fun experiences for your tiny humans in other ways.
And certainly many people have brought these programs online and fabulous ways, not so much, but a lot of people have done really good work. And the nice thing, like Julie mentioned, About things coming online. This is in many ways it can be more equitable
Valerie: It calls into question, the purpose. What is the purpose of the activity?
What is the purpose of the doing? Because our doings, oftentimes when they go into that [00:38:00] autopilot part of our brain, and this is just what you do, and maybe it’s because this is just what I do, or this is just what you do. And we’re socialized dynamic of this is the, what the people in my community do.
This is what. Americans do you know, if it goes into that space of, this is just that face of this is just what you do. We lose a connection to why, do we do that? What is the purpose of it? Is that a purpose that I agree with? Does that align with the person that I want to be in the world?
And that’s why I was say w going back to what you brought up before of what actions can we take? It’s okay. Tapping into what actually is important. And that is who do you want to be? What impact do you want to make? Because we’re social creatures. So impact is part of that. Like how do you want to impact other people?
How do you want to experience life? And what are the things that you [00:39:00] need to support? That it’s just a basic way of checking in. Does this support that. How does this support that? What do I need to support that? And it may be a lot simpler than it’s been built up to be. And when things get super disrupted and we have to be flexible, it gives us the opportunity to check in and go, okay, how do we discern what the things that we need to do are.
Outside of the sugars that are reactive brain, our survival brain will kick into gear that also takes in all these social dynamics. What actually is important.
Cristin: Amazing such, good questions. I appreciate them so much. Now, if people listen to this and they just thought, Oh my gosh, I am loving Valerie.
How [00:40:00] could they learn more about you and follow you?
Valerie: You can find me at my website, which is valierfriedlander.com. I have my podcast, which is Unlimited. And on there, I share things. I actually have an episode called rest. So there’s more about resting on there. And also examples of coaching with me.
And if you want to coach with me, then we can chat. I do individual coaching and group coaching, and I would love to talk about that and see if it’s a fit.
Cristin: Excellent. So that’s Valeriefriedlander.com. The podcast is Unlimited. You are on all platforms, I believe. Excellent. And so I appreciate you taking the time to talk about this topic. I think it’s always important, but especially important right now. So I really appreciate it, and I hope that you have the most beautiful day.
Valerie: Thank you. You too.
[00:41:00] Cristin: Thank you.