All posts by Tiffany Alvarez

Why You Need a Therapist

When we take on a new client, we often take an initial screening of their mental health to see if some of their “stuckness” might be in part of a mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression. This just helps our coaches understand what other elements the client may be trying to fight, but no matter what the screening tells us, we always recommend therapy with a licensed professional.  

Our team at VFFW is committed to helping people be the best versions of themselves, and we believe therapy can help many people get there. Therapy is like the emotional version of going to the gym. You don’t need to have an diagnosed mental health issue in order to reap the benefits of therapy.  

Life is hard on all of us, and therapy gives the tools to handle some of its ups and downs. Some people could benefit from just a few sessions, while there are other who many need to see someone continuously.  

Going to therapy doesn’t need to be scary, nor does seeing a counselor indicate that something is “wrong” with you. It’s the exact opposite. Therapy helps us better understand ourselves, so we know when we can push ourselves or pull back, allowing us to defeat our fears and go after our dreams.  

We work with a number of licensed professional counselors and licensed social workers, and we can refer you to someone who is experienced and equipped with the skills to meet whatever needs you may have. With the combination of the VFFW coaching and professional therapy, we know that you can do whatever it is your heart most desires. 

A Case Study: Daniel

Daniel came to VFFW after losing his job. He was depressed and unsure if he would ever be able to find work again, let alone a job that he actually enjoyed. We paired Daniel up with VFFW Coach Thomas and the two set out to find work that Daniel would enjoy.  

About a year prior to losing his job, Daniel had earned his master’s degree in engineering, thinking that is what he should be doing because he came from a long family of engineers. But after losing his job, and reflecting on what he liked and didn’t like about his job, Daniel realized he had only been in the job because he didn’t know of any other paths from him. With Thomas’ help, Daniel started exploring other types of jobs, and eventually realized he had a deep passion for photography. Thomas set him up with some classes and mentors who are professional photographers, and today Daniel is a successful photographer. He also spends his free time teaching photography at a local center.  

What Daniel says about his experience with VFFW: “If I hadn’t found Thomas or VFFW, my life would not be nearly as good or fulfilling. I owe everything I have to VFFW because it was what gave me the wonder and excitement I needed to do what I was most excited about.”

Want to be happier? Eat real food.

Our society has made it easier than ever to ingest food. Have 10 minutes and five dollars? Here is an entire meal you can scarf down while in front of your computer. Surprisingly enough, that kind of meal is not good for your, both for in nutrition and well-being.  

Meals are meant to be enjoyed, slowly and with friends and family. However, the pressures of life and advancements of technology have made meal time less of a priority and a quick experience. But, that is leaving us hungrier yet fatter.  

Most of the convenience foods are full of sugar and fat. They load us up on empty calories, so we are reaching for another of whatever 20 minutes later. Because these foods are packaged and shipped, they contain little nutrition but many preservatives.  

However, when we slow down, and look at food as something to enjoy, we find more pleasure if life. Especially, when we make food for other people 

While the business of our lives make it nearly impossible to cook like our grandmothers, we can make a goal to slow down and make time to enjoy one lengthier meal once a week, or even once a day. By slowing down and using real ingredients, we experience the food the way it is meant to be, finding more fulfillment in our everyday lives.  

Learn A New Skill

You know the old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Well, we don’t believe that for a second! No matter how old you are or what you think you know, there is always room to learn a bit more.  

One of the best things you can do to put some oomph into your life is to learn a new skill. Our brains never stop craving education, so even though we may have longed finished school we still need to exercise those mind muscles.  

While it may seem daunting to take on a new projects, in addition to balancing working and family, it doesn’t have to take up huge chunks of time. You can start with a few minutes each day and build up from there. And, this is your chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Always wanted to learn how to play an instrument? Well, you can learn the piano in 21 days! Or, start running a few minutes a day and add until you can do a 5K!  

Learning a new skill is a great way to bring some purpose to your days, and it doesn’t have to be all consuming or overwhelming. Whatever it is that you want to do or learn, you can start small and build your way up!

The Annual VFFW Summit

Every each, the VFFW team hosts our annual summit, and it’s an absolute blast. 

Held in San Diego, the four-day event features a variety of activities that give attendees variety, flavor, fun, and wonder that they can bring home and incorporate into their lives.  

Each morning consists of mediation and yoga sessions that help summit participants center themselves and focus on the very best things in their lives. Then, they will attend sessions on letting go, finding work-life balance, and going after their goals. At night, we introduce the attendees to a new activity, such as fencing, rock climbing, or salsa dancing. A major component of the summit is delicious, organic food, and participants can also attend classes on incorporating healthy, natural foods into their diet to add even more vigor to their lives.  

The VFFW Summit changes people’s lives, and we hope that you consider joining us next year!

A Case Study: Judy

At 62, Judy lost her zest for her life. A recent widow with no children, Judy spent most of her days alone in her house. Her nightly glass of wine with dinner became two, then three, then the whole bottle. One morning, as she was taking the recycling out, the clink-clack of the bottles embarrassed Judy. She wasn’t ready for her life to be over, and she knew she needed to stop living like it.  

Judy started working with VFFW Coach Carrie, and the two focused on what brought Judy the most joy in her life. Judy and her husband used to take long hikes through the mountains near their house, but she stopped going when he passed away because she was afraid to be alone. Carrie connected Judy to a local hiking group, where she met many new friends, including many her own age. She became such great friends with some of the other members of the hiking group that they formed their own group, and they even take trips to trails in other states!  

With Carrie’s help, Judy also started eating better and cut her drinking back. While she still misses her husband, Judy has now found new meaning to her life and is excited about what’s ahead in her future!

Take a Personal Day

Many of our clients come to us stressed and nearing a breakdown. They don’t understand how they got here, but we do. Too much work, not enough play! 

Our society is set up to honor workaholics. We prioritize office time over family time, and those that work longer hours are considered more a part of the team, no matter their quality of work. But, this is a very destructive attitude, and our society is paying for it. We are more stressed, burned out, depressed, and anxious than ever before. But, we promise this is not another thing for you to worry about, because there is an answer – personal days.  

Many Americans have vacation time that they save and stock pile until they no longer have the time or ability to take the time. This is changing with younger generations who are making fun, adventure, and travel a priority, but luckily this is something we can all benefit from.  

You have the personal days, so use them! This can mean finally taking that two-week vacation to Italy, or just taking one personal day to sleep in and read the paper. It doesn’t matter what you do, but this year, we are challenging you to use those personal days.  

The key to taking your vacation days and not feeling guilty about them is scheduling them in advance. Unless you are saving them for one big trip, take a personal day once a month. Put on your calendar, request the leave from your supervisor, and make sure your colleagues no that you will not be in the office that day. Make sure your projects are done and that your out-of-office reply is activated. The key here is – and we mean it – DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR WORK EMAIL. In fact, we recommend shutting off your phone entirely and staying away from social media and email. Just be in the moment and do something that truly relaxes you.  

And, if you can, get a friend or partner to take the day off with you. Vacation days are much more fun when enjoyed with loved ones.  

Maybe you can’t take a personal day every month, and that’s OK, but don’t save them unless you have a specific use for them. By taking your personal days, you will be a better employee and human, and you’ll be happier!

How to Start a Morning Routine

Morning routines offer a great beginning to the day, and they allow us to start the morning refreshed and re-energized. And, the best part, is that they are easy to do! 

Some morning routines can last an hour, and some just five minutes. It’s best to start small and decide what works best for you. No matter how long your routine is, the goal is to avoid the snooze button, which may seem like a great idea in the moment but can be harmful to your entire day

Your morning routine should include a few elements that center and strengthen you. One suggestion is to include a mindfulness element, such as meditating or journaling. This will help you set your intention for the day and give you the right footing to attack whatever may be in store. You can also incorporate a gratitude exercise or mantras.  

Next, include some kind of physical element, like going to the gym, yoga, or light stretching. This gets the blood pumping and is a better wakeup call than any amount of caffeine! It’s also good to wake up at the same time each day, and resist the urge to looking at your phone right away.  

Lastly, ingest the good stuff. While our natural reaction is to reach for the coffee, start with water. Try to drink at least a glass, or two, with lemon to get the senses going. Also, don’t skimp on the breakfast. A meal high in protein will give you the energy and full stomach you need to get the day started right.  

Mornings aren’t for everything, but anyone can make a routine. Try a few different things and see what works best for you. Everyone’s morning routine looks a bit different, but having a set of actions in place will help you jump start your day the right way!