Kristel Bauer 0:04
I had furthered my education, I had all this, like this knowledge base, I learned all these things. And I felt like I really wanted to do more. I didn’t think I was doing enough or didn’t feel like I was doing enough just with the one on one. I had this like inner drive of like, hey, what’s next kind of thing? What else can I do with this, and that’s when I decided to branch out and start really sharing information on a wider scale.
Adam Baruh 0:40
Welcome to The Change, where we share stories and inspiration from business leaders and people making positive work life changes. I’m your host, Adam Baruh. The idea of a work life balance seems like a relatively young concept. In the older traditional business model, there was an expectation that you start out in your career, and throw yourself at your job with long hours and personal sacrifice in order to get promoted, and eventually reach an executive level that would provide more freedom within your day to day. Yet more and more people today are challenging this model. The old paradigm of work your tail off until you retire doesn’t seem to align with today’s generation that emphasizes enjoying the journey along the way. As the majority of workers shifted to working from home when the pandemic started, the line between work and home blurred. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important to find a way to blend our personal and professional lives in a way that allows us to keep us centered, rather than feeling burned out, isolated or overwhelmed. Our guest today, Crystal Bower is an advocate for building harmony between our work and home life. Through her platform live greatly. She emphasizes the importance of empathetic leadership, mindfulness, resilience and stress management. Crystal, I’m so excited to speak with you today. Welcome to the change.
Kristel Bauer 2:01
Thanks so much for having me. That was a great introduction. Super, super pumped about our conversation today.
Adam Baruh 2:06
Thank you so much. I’m so let’s start at the beginning of your journey. Tell us a bit about yourself, where you grew up, and perhaps you know, part of your early career that informed the work you do today,
Kristel Bauer 2:16
For sure. So I grew up north side of Chicago, and I’m still in Illinois, I live in the Chicagoland area now. And you know, I always knew I wanted to do something that with both the goal of helping people I always wanted to do likely something in the healthcare space was what I was thinking about when I was younger, I never thought I would want to do anything business oriented. I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur and doing what I’m doing now. So when I set out, I was debating between going to pharmacy school, going to become an MD, or I heard about physician’s assistants, which was relatively new when I was in college, and it was just starting to become more popular. And that seemed like it was gonna be a good gig for me because it was a master’s program, which was two years, you could, you know, see patients you worked with the doctor, you could prescribe you could do all that stuff. So I felt like that would give me the flexibility that I wanted to help people and also have a family and do all the other stuff. So that’s the career path that I took. And I got my master’s I practiced as a PA for a while. I did everything from pediatric pulmonary, working with kids with lung problems, to plastic surgery, little bit ends of the spectrum there. Yeah. And then I was a stay at home mom for six years. So took some time away. And to be honest, I didn’t think I was gonna go back, I thought I was gonna just do the stay at home mom thing, volunteer. But then life had other plans. And my mom ended up getting diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. And like, how long ago is this now maybe like, five, six years ago, okay. And at that time that got my mind and everything back into this healthcare space as I tried to help her navigate. And, you know, navigated that journey, it led to a lot of self reflection, and asking myself, like, Am I doing everything that I want to do with my life? You know, are there any areas where I’m holding myself back, or I’m afraid to get out of my comfort zone, you know, it was like a big checkpoint for me of looking at myself, my life. And a lot of personal growth occurred during that time. So I went back to practice and I started working in integrative psychiatry, functional medicine. I furthered my education with Dr. Andrew Weil who I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him, but yeah, I read that. Yeah, so he’s, you know, big into integrative medicine and he has a product rammed through the university, you know, oh, I can’t talk University of Arizona. And so I did that program, I was the only pa in that program most of the MDS, and it was amazing. Loved it. Okay, so that gave me the courage to take it another step. And I left clinical practice on my journey of talking to larger groups, and the mission of my podcast and speaking and all the things I’m doing right now in this educational media platform to help empower people to reclaim their health and their well being and really to find them, find what works for them, you know, and to realign with what’s important to them to hopefully live their best lives. So now I have my show my podcast and speaking and kind of built up a bit of a social media platform, and it’s been a journey for sure. Yeah, that’s good. Yeah.
Adam Baruh 5:55
Yeah, I want to um, you know, we’re gonna talk about work life balance when it comes to working parents, but I’m curious your experience, um, you know, reentering after you were a stay at home mom for six years. And then, you know, with, with children, what what that was like for you, when you decided to go back to school and reenter the workforce? What was that balance like for you?
Kristel Bauer 6:19
Ah, so it was an interesting time for me, because, as I said, I was doing a lot of self reflection. And I wouldn’t, I don’t think I would have been able to do that. Had I not have had that experience of really taking a closer look at my life, which was sparked by my mom’s diagnosis of like, that, that took away a lot of the fear that I had had about the small stuff, you know, perspective for me. So, at that time, I had this kind of, I guess, I don’t know a higher perspective about things of not allowing myself to get caught in the nitty gritty of what if I fail? What if I look stupid, what if you know, all that stuff, I just didn’t really matter. To me that point, it was more about getting out of my comfort zone, and really trying to reach my ultimate potential. So that helped, in a way of just like having aligning with my bigger mission, like I had identified a mission, I had this like, inner purpose and drive, which gave me a lot of courage and confidence. So I think that was the biggest piece is like I was discovering this mission. And that, that got me really excited. And it motivated me, I have this inner motivation, because I felt like I was doing things in alignment with what was really important to me, right. And so that helped everything fall into place, you know, it made it a little easier. That said, it was still intimidating to go back into the workforce, after you’ve been out for a while, and navigating the childcare piece of it, the mom guilt piece of it, you know, and that was my experience as a mom, but you know, dads have that too. So it’s, it’s not just a mom thing. But that was tricky. And it definitely took time to adjust and adapt and to learn to ask for help to learn to like, loosen the reins on some of the control that I had had, as far as like the groceries and like just all that stuff. And it took, it took time. So like I started out working three long days. And then I was like, Oh, I don’t like coming home and having my kids going going to bed. They so then I adjusted it. And I was working shorter days. And then eventually, I ended up working during my kids school hours. And now I found like my personal sweet spot of working for myself, where I just make my own hours based on when my kids are at school what we have going on. And so it was a journey for me to figure out what works for me and for our family.
Adam Baruh 8:52
Yeah, I want to continue exploring this topic, because I totally understand what you’re saying. And I think I’ve kind of experienced a lot of the same aspects where well, the first thing I want to, you know, further explore with you is this idea of emotional courage getting outside of your comfort zone. And I you know, for me, in my early career, I don’t think I was truly happy doing what I was doing. And I I had a hard time getting out of my comfort zone. And it was a challenge and it took emotional and emotional courage. So, you know, what was that like for you before you kind of found that within yourself? What was your experience? Like, in getting out of your comfort zone? Was that something that was hard for you to do?
Kristel Bauer 9:36
Oh, yes, for sure. It was, I think, looking back, and it’s always hard to look back because you’re, you’re looking back as a different person, you know, so it’s like, judging who you were from where you’re at now, which isn’t I don’t Yeah, but that said from where I’m at now reflecting back. I didn’t have The inner motivation to do it because I hadn’t tied, getting out of my comfort zone to anything that seems really important to me. Yeah, it wasn’t like, I was like, Oh, if I, if I do this, then it’s going to be really meaningful. So I think what it came down to, for me was figuring out what really matters to me. And that’s a journey. And I’m still figuring that out. You know, it’s like a lifelong thing, and it changes. But I don’t know if I ever really, truly reflected on that, in the sense of looking at it, and like, I have this certain amount of time, we don’t know how long that’s going to be here in this life. And each day is a gift. And what do I want to do with it? Like, I didn’t have that perspective? Yeah, until I was faced with, you know, my mom’s diagnosis, which was just so hard. So I think that those types of life experiences make us take a step back and look at our lives and look at ourselves and really evaluate if we’re living the life that we want, or that we deserve, or that we, that we really can’t. So it’sa check point.
Adam Baruh 11:13
Yeah, you talked about that, in one of your TED Talks, is checkpoints that you went through in your life. And, I mean, I remember, you know, I’m in my 20s, I think, and maybe early, you know, more maybe in my 30s feeling this entrepreneurial, like energy within me, but I wasn’t, I wasn’t doing that yet. I couldn’t, I didn’t really find it. And I felt a lot of angst, I had a lot of anxiety, because I knew I wasn’t really doing what I wanted to do, I really didn’t feel meaning and purpose with what I was doing. And yeah, I mean, you know, as much as we try to avoid the hardships in life, often they do provide those checkpoints, they do provide that, you know, the catalyst for looking within and really exploring what what truly is important there. Um, so that’s, that’s great that you’re able to talk about that. The other thing that you were talking about, that I wanted to explore a little bit, and I think probably a lot of parents run into this where, you know, you feel like maybe you can’t change so much about what your working life or what you’re, you know, you can’t follow your passions, because the impact that it would have on your spouse, or the impact that it would have on your children, and we forget how resilient children can be right? And so I wrote down as you were speaking, I wrote down the words falling into place. Because that I think, when you follow your purpose, when you follow your passion, you have to trust that things will fall into place. Because there’s the alignment there, when you’re living your, your, your true purpose, you know, you’re living what your higher self wants for you. Things will fall into place, the universe kind of like sets it up that way that, you know, you’ll be enabled in your missions. I mean, was that kind of, you know, it sounds like that was what your journey was, like, you know,
Kristel Bauer 13:11
I think it’s, it’s more, it was more for me about like, trusting that I would figure it out along the way. And I think it is having that trust in yourself, and being ready to ask for help when you need help. But for me, it was about like, Alright, I know, this is something really important. That is meaningful to me. And we’re it we’re gonna have to figure it out, you know, so it’s like, you kind of it was taking the leap before I could talk myself out of it kind of a thing. Yeah, I get that, you know, sometimes like, the more Well, for me personally, like if I give myself time to like, think about every detail, well, then you start to think about, well, this could go wrong, or that could go wrong. And, and sometimes if it’s really important, you just got to take that first step. And trust, hopefully, things will evolve, you’ll learn what you need to learn, like, each step is a process and then whatever your personal faith is, you know, that is really helpful to having faith that you’re supported in this journey. And yeah, reaching out to your loved ones and your family and just really trusting that in yourself that you can do it and that each step is getting you closer to where you want to be.
Adam Baruh 14:22
Yeah, I’m hearing trust I’m hearing asking for help is super important. And the big thing I’m hearing too, is taking the leap of faith. Um, you know, I’ve talked to many people, and I think a lot of people get bogged down with this idea of chasing perfection. Where you know, you you feel like you have to have your vision all figured out. You have to have all the details planned out before taking that step. And at least in my experience, and you know, many people that I’ve spoken to it’s, it’s really the opposite. Sometimes you have to take that first step, which means you are going to stumble along the way I’ve definitely had many stumbles that are, you know, there are checkpoints for me where I check in with myself, you know, what, what am I supposed to be learning in this moment. So, um, you know, I think that’s, that’s definitely something to know when, you know branching out on to something new is you don’t really have to have it all figured out but, but really just take the leap of faith and things will kind of fall in line and it’s, you know, for your children to I’m sure, it was such a great model that you presented for them in following your own purpose and your own dreams. It’s, you know, despite how hard it may have been logistically at times with not seeing them and, you know, for most of the day, and maybe kissing at night before bed, but you are showing them that, you know, hey, it’s important to follow your dreams, it’s important to take that leap of faith maybe when you don’t have everything figured out.
Kristel Bauer 15:47
Yeah, and sometimes that idea that we have to figure it out all at once is what can lead to overwhelm and anxiety. It’s really like, what’s the next step? You know, and for me, it’s interesting, because I didn’t have that business background, and people who do who are traditionally trained in business, and they would have had, I’m sure, a totally different approach, you know, would have been much more planned out and much more like analytical about this step in this step, that business model. But for me, I didn’t have that background. So it was more about the vision. And I needed to figure it out along the way, because I didn’t have all of that knowledge. So I think it’s recognizing where you are at personally respecting yourself in what your talents are, and really navigating it in your own unique way, which is what it’s all about, you know, we all have our own unique experiences. But when it comes down to it, like you need to figure it out on your own, and you got to figure out what works for you for your family with your talents and your mission.
Adam Baruh 16:47
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m hearing a little bit of like imposter syndrome there as well. And I completely can resonate with that, um, you know, I think for the first five years of running my consulting business, and I’ve spoken about this before on this podcast, but, you know, I didn’t really know, I felt uncomfortable in my position as CEO, because it was not a natural position. For me, I also don’t have a business background, I’m kind of more if you want to know my journey in a nutshell, basically graduated from school with an Environmental Studies degree. You know, that was what I was studying in college and then worked on my masters for a year in that field, I ended up going into software, did that for several years, ended up then going into wedding photography doing that. So like 10 years. And anyway, so I felt this imposter syndrome. And I think, you know, if I could give some encouragement to people out there, like, just understand the imposter syndrome, for what it is, it’s it’s that you know, your, your inner anxiety that’s just trying to play out and have a bigger voice than your heart, right? But if you follow your heart, then you don’t, you know, you don’t have to be what other people kind of expect you to be like, as a CEO, he must be trained in business or whatever. Like, if you follow your heart and follow your passion, and you’re doing it with purpose, things will fall into place. Yeah,
Kristel Bauer 18:13
I like that. And I with the imposter syndrome thing, too. I talk a lot a lot about this with people on my show, and in general. And it’s interesting, like how many really, incredibly successful people people that you would never have thought like, Oh, they’ve dealt with that. Right? You have that. And it’s, what I’ve learned is it’s something that everybody experiences depending on your definition, because that can vary when you’re trying something new because there is that feeling of nervousness, sometimes anxiety uncomfortableness when you are in a new environment. And that means that you are trying something new, you’re out of your comfort zone. So I feel like that sometimes it’s what people are referring to with that imposter syndrome. It’s like you’re stuck trying to get up the curve. And I honestly don’t even really like the name imposter syndrome because I feel like it can lead to a sense that we’re like not being truthful or authentic, or someone’s not being truthful or authentic. When it’s more about you know, like wow, like good for you. You have the courage to put yourself out there and try something new. You know.
Adam Baruh 19:21
Yeah, I was producing a podcast so EIQ media media company, we produce How I Made it Through hosted by Kristin Taylor. And it just came up yesterday and the guest, Melissa likes she prefers to use the word imposterism. I think it is rather than imposter syndrome. Because just the word syndrome kind of puts that negative context on it. But yeah, like something is wrong with you. Yeah, yeah, like something’s wrong. But I think like you said, most people deal with that in one form or another. So, um, you know, it’s it’s just it’s just Something that comes up as we get out of our comfort zone, but it’s getting out of our comfort zone. There’s so many great lessons in there when you are able to do that. And I think that’s personally where I’ve seen a lot of my growth. But anyway, I want to move on a little bit. So I’m getting back to the work life thing. So I feel that people today emphasize on you know, people today that emphasize on work life balance and emotional intelligence and, and speak about burnout are people that have in their own careers experienced. Basically, the opposite they’ve, they’ve encountered the opposite of emotional intelligence, and work life balance in their careers. And so through those experiences, they’re, they’re finding themselves to be advocates for a better model that produces more balance in meaning. So was this true for you in your journey? And if so, can you tell us about these earlier experiences that produce a feeling of burnout or otherwise for you?
Kristel Bauer 20:59
I, so my experience kind of came from two sides, because I was practicing as a clinician, so I was seeing people who were experiencing some levels of burnout and mental struggles and physical struggles. So that was really eye opening for me when I was in clinical practice. And I was working in integrated psychiatry and a functional medicine practice. So I was seeing people, all different types of people from stay at home moms to top level executives. And I started to realize that this whole idea of if you achieve these things, if you check these boxes, you’re going to be happy just isn’t true. Right? For the majority of people, you know, like those boxes that society tells us we need to check. A lot of times, they are not going to lead to true true well being and fulfillment, sometimes they might depending what your boxes are. But what I saw firsthand was like there’s really something big missing here. So that got me really interested in trying to help people I guess, find that internal balance, regardless of what was going on around them. So that was one big piece of it, for me was seeing other people’s struggles. And then my own personal experience of really trying to achieve this balance in my life with by doing all the right things, you know, whatever those right things are, and I learned all the different stress management techniques. Through my fellowship, I knew all of those tricks and tools, and I would use them however, life is hard sometimes. And even if you are doing all of those right things, there’s still going to need to be more to that in the sense of you have to figure out where to dedicate your time that’s going to be most meaningful and important to you. And if you’re doing something in your life that is extremely draining, and hard, and it’s not important or necessary, you know, then I it might be time to reevaluate. That said, there’s gonna be times in your life where you’re doing things that are extremely hard and challenging and difficult. And it is really important, and you really need to do it. And then it’s just about kind of having level of acceptance and gaining support for yourself during that time. So I think it’s really an individualized approach when it comes to balance. Yeah, and talking about burnout, you know, burnout was always a problem, but with a pandemic was even, you know, more pronounced. And I think the good thing here is people are more aware of it, companies are more aware of it, organizations are more aware of it, people are more aware of it in general so that hopefully positive changes can occur, to start to give people employees the support that they need to really thrive. And just like a quick little tidbit, you know, with this is my like healthcare background coming in just with you listening, you know, make sure to always talk to your provider about anything that you’re going through, you know, definitely don’t want to give any medical advice here. So just want to make sure everyone knows just my opinion and always talk to your healthcare provider about recommendations specific to you.
Adam Baruh 24:15
Yeah, absolutely. And, um, you know, kind of in line with that is, you know, this idea, and I think we do live in a unique time, probably fueled by the pandemic, but just normalizing the mental health conversation. Um, you know, I, I think more and more of us deal with stuff than we admit to, and so it’s normal. Um, definitely, if you’re feeling struggle, anxiety, burnout, and you feel, you know, kind of at your wits and know that you’re not alone. I mean, there’s, I think all of us deal with one thing or another. And, you know, I think this is a unique time in that. I think it’s starting to become okay to to talk about these things. And I think within businesses, hopefully it will become more normalized. And that’s, you know, kind of what I’m trying to do with this podcast. And I love that you’re kind of on that, on that same angle. So, you know, one of the recurring topics that we that we discussed on the change is this concept of work life balance. You heard me talk about work, life changes in the intro. And so I watched the talk you gave on this on this subject. It was a TEDx talk. And you started by saying, What if I told you that you shouldn’t be striving for work life balance, and that everything we’re thinking about work life balance leading to happiness is wrong. throughout your presentation, you emphasized more of a work life harmony. And you go on to say that work life balance is really just us looking for a feeling, a feeling we’re living meaningful lives a feeling that we’re living in alignment with our personal mission. So tell us about this distinction of balance and harmony, and why understanding the difference is so important.
Kristel Bauer 25:56
Yeah, so balance. What when I think of balance, I picture scales, and I’m thinking about, okay, I need to dedicate this amount of time to this area of my life, and I need to dedicate this amount of time and, or energy to this area of my life. And it leads to a feeling at least for me of like competition, now where it’s stressful, like, It stresses me out, thinking that like, Oh, I’m maybe not in balance here and balance there. And that was something that was on my radar when I was going into work. And you know, obviously now I work at home, and I work for myself, but when I was going into the office, like that was hard for me, it was hard for me to feel like, Oh, am I dedicating enough time to this area, that area. So it was like I had to choose and I didn’t write, and I didn’t, I also never really liked the idea of when you go to work, it’s like all the other stuff needs to be totally separate. Like, you can’t, you know, you can’t do anything related to family or fun or friends, you know, during your work hours. And I think that that is a really stressful way to live. And there’s a better way to do it. So I really, for me, it was about figuring out what are my priorities, what’s important to me, and making sure that those things are included in my life, in my work, in my home life in my life in general. And I’m a very big advocate for taking regular breaks during your work hours to do things other than work. So whether getting together with friends, going for a walk outside meditating, getting you know your workout in whatever that is, but it’s, I don’t think it’s healthy, to just say, I’m going to work for eight hours, and I’m gonna work for eight hours straight, I think that that is setting yourself up for not not having a fulfilling life. I mean, that’s my opinion. But I think there’s a better way to do it. And so I really like the idea of work life harmony, where you are prioritizing what is meaningful to you. And then you’re adjusting your schedule as best you can to make sure you’re fitting those things in. So maybe that means that you take a little break to read your child a book. Now, during your work hours, depending if you’re working remotely. And obviously, that’s going to be easier if you’re working from home. But just little ideas where you can feel at the end of the end of your day, like I really dedicated my time to things that really matter to me. Because it’s those little moments they add up, you know, and if you make those things a priority every day, that’s what it’s all about. It’s like those making your time meaningful.
Adam Baruh 28:38
Absolutely, as you were talking, I’m kind of thinking of, you know, a scale in my mind and you got you know, your work life, you know, on one end of it and your personal life on the other end of it. And all the anxiety that that is within as you try to keep that scale, even right there, right, there can be a lot of anxiety and in and just making sure that there is this idea of balance, right. But I really like how you’re focusing on the meaning the meaningful part of it, right, which, you know, do the things that provide that meaning for you and everything that balance or that harmony will, will follow. I mean, one of the things that I’m I’ve been notorious for in my career on has been, I just work through my lunch, I never have really taken a lunch break, I kind of sit at my desk, and I still work and I I stopped doing that about six, nine months ago. Um, I am really into reading and I have a Kindle. And so I just said, You know what, I have to do it. And so there’s a park not too far from my office here. And so I just started going to the park with my Kindle and I can’t tell you how. At the end of the day when I would go home, I wouldn’t be so stressed out like it did you know in turn Just give me that, that centering that. Yeah, that was helping to curb that burnout feeling that I was having.
Kristel Bauer 30:08
Right. And I, you hear people talk all the time, like, hey, it’s Friday, you know what I get it Weekends are fun, I totally got it. But wouldn’t it be nice if there was also, like that level of excitement certain times during your week to write means no, it’s, it’s like make yourself a priority. And everybody’s going to have a unique situation where you’re going to have to figure out for yourself what that looks like, based on your current career situation. But regardless, like there are ways to fit in all this good stuff into your life into your workday, and I love that you just, you know, you made that one little change. And it doesn’t have to be anything huge. But it totally can change the dynamic of your day, you know, your life by having these more just enjoyable moments at added in and layered in throughout your workday.
Adam Baruh 30:56
Yeah, and it just gets your mind somewhere else. Um, which is, which is fantastic. I think even you know, things like creativity and problem solving are really going to be enhanced when you’re not focusing on kind of the same thing all day long.
Kristel Bauer 31:13
So true. Yeah, productivity as well, I totally agree. That can that can be improved with taking breaks because our brains, they get tired, too, you know, if we’re trying to focus and solve a problem, and we’re like working for four or five hours straight, you know, you may very well just need to take a break, and then you can come back feeling refreshed. And it might be so much simpler, then.
Adam Baruh 31:34
Yeah, I kind of share this I’ve shared this story with with people before, and I’ll share it here. But so I mentioned before I the majority of my career has been in software development. And oftentimes, when you’re writing software code, you know, you’re, you have to kind of like write your code, but then test it like 100 times or so before. It’s actually working properly. Okay. And I remember one time in particular, I think I spent four hours trying to solve why this one part of my code just wasn’t working, I could not figure it out. I spent half a day trying to figure it out. And I remember finally just getting up to use the restroom. And I’m like in the restroom. I’m like, oh, that’s why and I mean like the the knowledge came to me and so I got back to my desk and sure enough Yeah, I figured it out. And so just just that idea of just had give your Give your brain a break on focusing on you know, the one thing it’s gonna help feed you know, your brain have the answers that are in there.
Kristel Bauer 32:37
Yeah, so true.
Adam Baruh 32:58
When we come back Kristel will talk about how to prioritize aspects of our personal and professional lives, so we can carve out the time to recharge ourselves. Stay with us. I’m Adam Baruh. And you’re listening to The Change from EIQ Media.
Check out our newest podcast, How I Made It Through now available from EIQ Media and hosted by Kristin Taylor.
Kristin Taylor 33:31
Have you ever faced something so jarring, so overwhelming, and seemingly so hopeless? That all you thought was? How will I ever get through this? Hi, this is Kristen Taylor post of how I made it through my new podcast that share stories of ordinary people who’ve navigated some not so ordinary circumstances. when life throws heavy flows, we only truly make it through when we are truly willing to go through all of it, feeling it and being transformed by it. The story shared will bra and inspire you. They may even provide the roadmap you’ve been searching for.
Adam Baruh 34:29
Welcome back to The Change. I’m Adam Baruh. We were discussing work life harmony and finding value in meaning in our professional lives.
You talk about this idea of this. I don’t have time struggle that people are feeling more and more and I totally confess it’s something I deal with constantly. I’ve just been mentioning how for my career I haven’t taken lunch breaks Yeah, and it’s, you know, even something as simple as just getting to work out, you know, our health is so important. But it’s like a day to day thing. I’m like, well, now I’ve got like, 12 things I got to do before tomorrow, like, I, I’m gonna have to just blow off working out, right? So, you know, this prioritization issue, it’s really a struggle. So what, what’s some advice that you can give to people that can help them really kind of put that priority in perspective.
Kristel Bauer 35:30
Right. Well, I think the first thing would be, pay attention to where you’re wasting your time. And when I say wasting your time, I mean, it’s giving your time to things that aren’t really important to you. So that could be you’re scrolling on your phone, you’re doing this you’re like, on the internet. And you may be really, really surprised at how often you’re doing that. So you could be saying, Oh, I don’t have time to exercise, or I don’t have time to meditate. But then, you know, throughout your day, maybe you’re like scrolling social media for an hour, and you don’t even realize it. So I think that’s like, try and minimize those things. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is, if there’s a way to get in some of those really high priority things first thing in the morning, I think that can be really effective. Because if you’re able to get in, let’s say, for example, a workout first thing in the morning, you’re going to benefit from it all day long. Because that can improve your mood, it can improve your productivity, and you’re just setting yourself up feeling better. So you’re going to show up with more energy throughout the day. And you’re going to have less excuses. So if you’re like, oh, maybe I’ll get to it, you know, after lunch, well, there’s going to be things that pop up, and you might talk yourself out of it. So prioritize your first time in the morning. And that may look like waking up 20 minutes earlier, you know, and that’s maybe something that makes sense for you to consider doing. So that’s the second thing. And then the third thing would be to really identify what are the important things to you personally, not like what your parents told you should be important, or what your friend tells you should be important, but like what really matters to you. And then you need to figure out how to link those things to your tasks throughout the day. So make those your high priority tasks. So like for you, for example, you’re saying you have a hard time getting that exercising, because you feel like you’re so busy. But maybe if you’re like, Well, if I exercise, I’m going to be more productive, probably going to be more clear headed. So maybe I’ll recognize what things you know, don’t, I actually don’t need to dedicate time to today, I’m going to have more energy, you know, maybe that’ll improve my business, I’ll be able to be healthier for my family, which is really important to me. So those types of things where you can link, what really matters to you to that activity or trying to enhance. So those would be the three things, minimize the distractions, which we all have, but be kind yourself about it, don’t be about it, if you want to stress yourself out, you can go in your phone and look at like your screentime. Because that’s you know, and then that that’s sometimes hard to see, but it’s a wake up call, like, oh my gosh, I was on this app for that long. So that’s one way to really like check yourself and be real with yourself. And then just don’t be hard on yourself about it, you know, and then try and make some progress from there.
Adam Baruh 38:27
Yeah, you just brought to mind something that I’ve spoken about also on this show, um, it was a really interesting experience that I had. So, um, you know, early on, when I was just kind of trying to figure out the type of CEO I wanted to be maybe, you know, implement some changes in my work and my career and, and those sort of things on, I was listening to a podcast by Jessica Reid. And, you know, she was talking about, you know, identifying the things that provide meaning and happiness for you. And, you know, at least the way she was describing it, you know, we’re kind of running around if you think of like, us being in a video game, you can like look at our battery level or our health level above our heads were running around navigating this life. And you know, going throughout your day watching your battery start to drain or your health start to drain, right? And so what are the things that could recharge that battery or your health, right? And so she actually encouraged people to sit down and come up with a list, identifying the things that recharges your battery. And so I I sat down one day to do that. And it was a struggle. I think I had just spent so much of my working life stressed out focused on work what I needed to do all the tasks ahead of me. I kind of forgot that I you know, there was this idea of actually recharging myself or even just the concept of myself. I just kind of fell into this pattern of thinking that I was kind of like a slave to my work, right. And it was a struggle. I mean, I, I sat down trying to make this list for a long time. And finally it came to me and I was like, oh, you know, I actually really enjoy reading. And as much as I feel like I’m an extrovert at times, I do like to be by myself that recharges me. And I mean, that’s where the idea of actually taking a lunch break and taking my Kindle and going to the park and reading, it’s like, that’s gonna be the thing and it and it’s made a huge impact. And so I definitely encourage people to do that exercise, you know, sit down with a notepad and think about what it is that recharges your battery. And it may be difficult to do. I mean, as weird as a, as it may be thinking, Hey, I can’t figure out what makes me happy. Like, you will figure it out. They’re there, the answers are in there.
Kristel Bauer 40:53
Yeah. And sometimes, like if it could be as simple as like, looking at your week, and maybe you’re feeling stressed out. And it could be like, if you look at your your week, like well, it really I didn’t put anything fun in there that I really enjoy doing. You know, it could be that you’re just making the maybe falling into those patterns, just habit. And you’re not including all of those things that really light you up. So I love that idea of like how to recharge my batteries, adding the fun back in and recognizing that you have a choice that you can choose a different path, you can choose to create a healthy habit that supports you.
Adam Baruh 41:29
Yeah, and it just the thing is that it takes initiative, like you just have to, you have to understand that it’s important like that, you know, prioritizing our our work or careers over our own personal needs is is just not going to work out for most people anymore. And it’s totally okay, to prioritize what we need in our personal lives. Yeah, love it. I want to talk about the nervous system. It’s something that in your in your talk that or that you gave or on your website, I think I remember reading about you describing the nervous system and how it’s impacted by burnout and stress and anxiety. So can you tell us a little bit about about that the impact on the nervous system?
Kristel Bauer 42:12
So I, the one thing that’s coming to mind when you’re asking that question is this one study that I actually talked about this in my TEDx talk, and it was a small study done by Microsoft. And what they did is they did a EEG, which measures the brain’s electrical patterns. And they put this EEG on a small group of people, when they had back to back zoom meetings. And what they found over, I believe it was two hours of active zoom meetings is that the changes in their brainwave patterns associated with stress, which is beta waves. And I believe it was like beta waves, I can’t remember the exact study. But they had changes in their brain associated with stress. And then also less engagement when they had these back to back zoom meetings without breaks in between. What was really interesting though, is they took the same group of people, and then they had them take small breaks, after each 30 minute Zoom meeting, and they have the meditate. And what they found is that the stress response stabilized so they were able to bounce back from whatever stress they gathered throughout each meeting, and in the changes in the brain associated with engagement improved. So that’s really interesting to me. And that was just a really small study, and we’re talking about two hours, right? But think about that, like, you don’t necessarily need to carve out like 30 minutes to meditate, or 30 minutes to do some sort of stress reduction activity. It’s, I think, more important to do it in small bits throughout the day. So it’s more about maybe you’re feeling the stress buildup, maybe you’ve had a really stressful call or a really stressful meeting, or something that got you in this heightened state, right, then you need to do something to bring yourself back down. So whether that’s going for a walk, looking out the window, going to the park with your Kindle, you need to figure out what works for you. But it’s really, really important that we make ourselves a priority, and that we don’t let this become like a chronic state. You know, we’re in this like heightened stress state for extended extended periods of time.
Adam Baruh 44:26
Yeah, I something that I’ve I tried to do is, you know, with our TMI, I tried to schedule, like, you know, a meeting that would typically be a one hour meeting, I try to, I’ve started to schedule those for 45 minutes instead, with the idea of giving people you know, because a lot of people have, you know, it’s like on the hour, it’s like a new meeting. So just kind of like giving people that space to Okay, we’re gonna finish 15 minutes early because, you know, perhaps you need to use the restroom. Perhaps you just need to like unwind for a minute and get ready For the next meeting, but this idea of like, Yeah, I’ve been there plenty of times where I’ve had back to back meetings literally from like, 8am to like 1pm. And it’s like, not good,
Kristel Bauer 45:11
exhausted. And then your guide to I don’t know, if you’re doing zoom meetings, but like, that can be straining on your eyes just like staring at a screen all day, like taking eye breaks and having a different perspective of like looking outside or going outside. It’s actually really helpful as well, not just staring at a screen or a device. Yeah.
Adam Baruh 45:31
Alright, so you’re an advocate for practicing mindfulness? And I’d like to know, in your words, what is mindfulness? And how does it help you maintain your own balance in mental health?
Kristel Bauer 45:42
Yeah, it’s a good question. My thoughts on mindfulness is, it’s just bringing your attention back to the present moment, really, really simple. So, you know, we, our minds can be very busy at times, and trying to keep us safe from all of the like potential things that most likely will never happen. But there’s the what if factor, and so trying to not allow yourself to get carried away with the what ifs with those future based fears and thoughts, or the past, you know, the regrets, I think with the past, it’s important to learn from things, but then to move on, you know, so learn from the past, give yourself the grace of forgiveness, and come back to the present moment and do the best you can right here right now. That’s what it comes down to. So if you’re able to bring your attention back to the present moment, that takes a lot of the stress off, because a lot of the things that we freak out about and we stress about are not things that are happening right now. They’re like the what if things so it’s What can I do right here right now. And then that’s like, takes the load off a little bit. So this is like anything else. Like it takes practice. And it’s a, like a muscle that needs to be built up. But the more that you do this, coming back to the present moment, there’s ways you can enhance this through things like meditation and body scans, mindful walking, mindful eating, picking a time during the day, or you’re just really going to engage in your senses there. And that’s one practice is just being in your body, you know, your body is always in the present moment. So bringing your attention to your body, what do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you feel that anchors you back to the present moment? So there’s a lot of ways to develop this. But I think with everything going on in the world, this is such an important skill for everyone to have, you know, and it’s something that we all do have, it’s just sometimes we may have forgotten to, to use it, because we’ve gotten carried away with the past or the future.
Adam Baruh 47:43
Definitely I did, you know, just the more that management in business can prioritize that, you know, kind of recognize that, again, going back to the back to back to back meetings. You know, it’s so easy to kind of get to the the end of those meetings. And it’s almost impossible to have that mindfulness when you’re in a meeting and you’re just focused on you know, the conversation and what’s going on, you lose that connection sometimes to, to your senses. And that’s why it’s important to take those breaks. Because, you know, the more that we can get back to recognizing what’s happening within I think we’ll be able to address and head off those feelings of anxiety and stress and burnout.
Kristel Bauer 48:26
Yeah, and I mean, they are brainwave patterns as well, you’re in those back to back to back meetings, your brainwave patterns are gonna be like very stressed a lot of beta waves very active. So you need to calm that down. And a great way to really reclaim control over that is by actively trying to practice mindfulness. And I love getting outdoors. So if you can do something like mindful walking, where like you’re just walking without the intention of like getting to the destination. It says take, we need to stop taking in all the senses around you because that change of environment can help as well. Like if you’ve been indoors in the room where you’ve been having the Zoom meeting, sometimes leaving, having a new, new things around you new change of environment can be really helpful.
Adam Baruh 49:10
Yeah, you’re definitely encouraging me to get out in the middle of my day here and take a walk around my office here outside. Alright, so one of the concepts that’s near and dear to my heart is this idea of emotional intelligence. To the extent that when I created the media company that produces this podcast, I chose to name it e IQ media e IQ standing for emotional IQ. And I read on your website that emotional intelligence and empathy are keys to having happy employees, customers and teams that feel valued. They’re necessary skills for optimizing communication, and having successful leadership and management teams for optimal problem solving and success. There are also skills that support psychological safety in the workplace. And research has shown that organizations that promote emotional intelligence have higher employee engagement and productivity This translates to a positive correlation between emotional intelligence and sales revenue and customer loyalty resulting in increased profitability. So tell us more about this correlation between emotional intelligence and its impact in business.
Kristel Bauer 50:16
I, you know, when I think about emotional intelligence, I think about really understanding your emotions, and pausing before you react to something. So it’s about like allowing things to come but not having a quick reaction or response to it. So that’s something that really can translate to being a great leader. And if you understand your emotions, and you are able to kind of pause and respond to some of these stressful situations that can happen in business with employees, with wisdom and being grounded, you know, you’re going to have a lot happier, and ultimately, more productive employees. So I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced having a boss who can be short or kind of, doesn’t really think things through before they come at you. And that’s an awful feeling, you know, and that only people not feeling safe, not feeling safe to share their feelings or their opinions about the workplace. So I think another key component here is that when you do have a handle on your emotions, and you’re able to respond in a respectful way, in a thoughtful way to these stressful situations in the office, you’re opening the door for employees to feel safe to feel safe to come to you. And you know, that’s something that’s so incredibly important.
Adam Baruh 51:40
Oh, absolutely. Um, so something I’ve also emphasized on this show is the excitement I have for this younger generation, millennials, Gen Z, I have two older kids who are I guess, Gen Z, they’re 22, and 19. And I think millennials have taken a lot of negative attention from managers, and definitely one to admit that I’ve expressed my own concerns about this group in the past, but I’ve come to realize and learn more and more that I’m actually really inspired by this group. And one of the best lessons I’ve had is, when I started paying attention to what drives this younger generation, they, they don’t seem to have room in their lives. By living in the status quo. They, they challenge outdated ideas, they want to enjoy themselves during their professional and personal jury journeys, rather than deferring this idea of being able to enjoy yourself. Right. So what’s your impression of these younger generations? And what do you think are the factors behind their concepts of career and work life? Harmony, etc?
Kristel Bauer 52:46
Yeah. It’s interesting, because we were having a conversation with our kids the other night about, like, what it was like for us growing up. And they’re like, when did you get cell phones, and I was, like, you know, if I had to do a research project, like I had to go to the library, to look stuff up, I couldn’t just like, put it into the internet, you know, they’re, like, really quiet. so surprising. But in general, I think change could be uncomfortable. So change is not always an easy thing for most people. And I think that’s a big part of what this comes down to is different generation, they have lived through things that that, you know, I or you didn’t live through when we were their age. So while they were developing and growing, like they have exposure to different things, social media, internet brand things are. So I think it’s number one, like accepting that change is a part of that. And I liked what you were saying about something about, like, how they challenged the status quo. And I think thinking outside the box is really valuable. So you know, having a different perspective can be a game changer in a lot of different ways. So I think that that would be one really key component to it.
Adam Baruh 54:06
Yeah, and, you know, something that I try to practice more and more is just giving honor to this generation. I mean, I feel like the stress, and the problems that they’re gonna have to solve are some of the greatest challenges and problems that you know, in many generations have had to deal with. And so I try to understand where they’re coming from a little bit, you know, rather than casting judgment, I try to take a step back and like, you know, what’s driving this person to, you know, operate in a way that may be a little different than how, you know, for me being a 49 year old, like how I navigate the world like there, there’s definitely under a different set of circumstances and I try to give honor to that. And, you know, once you kind of understand what drives them, I’m just really inspired. I love this younger generation what they’re doing, I think I have so much hope in just seeing what I’m seeing. And I think this is a great segue for the next topic I want to speak about, which is this great resignation trend happening in the workforce. And as a CEO of my consulting firm, definitely something I’ve been experiencing quite a bit. We’ve had a lot of attrition, unfortunately, at my, my company over the last nine months, and I feel like we’re doing all the thing while we’re doing a lot of things. So there’s obviously a lot more I could be doing, but you know, I think you leading with empathy, on charity, work life, balance, and harmony. I’m trying to instill all these things and, you know, create this amazing company culture. But, you know, even with that, I’m seeing a lot of attrition. And, you know, with the workforce the way that it is, I think, you know, one of the things that I’m attributing at least with our own attrition is, you know, there’s an opportunity for really amazing compensation out there right now. So, in your TEDx talk on redefining work life balance in a COVID-19 world, you acknowledge the high quit rates for Americans, this last year, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in August 2021. You’ve touched on the various factors influencing this trend, including workers suffering with burnout in the workplace, as well as how the pandemic has left people wanting and needing more happiness, fulfillment and meaning. So, talk to me talk to us a little bit about, you know, what are your perspectives on this great resignation? What are the things that are driving this trend? And what can employers be doing to remain competitive?
Kristel Bauer 56:43
Yeah, this is tricky. And I think there’s so many different components that could be contributing to this. One thing that I see that is so incredibly important, is to make sure that your employees feel valued. And that’s something throughout some of the research that I did when I, I gave a talk about burnout to some students at Northwestern. And so I was like doing digging through like research about like, well, in the health care world, where are some health care providers experiencing less burnout? And what factors play into that, and one thing I came across was that some of these health care workers who felt valued by their employees, they reported lower incidences of their this burnout scale? Right. So what does that look like? You know, I think it’s like talking to your employees and asking them like, what, what do they want? What do they feel like is missing, like opening those lines of communication, and not just assuming, like, assuming all they want this, or they want that, I think having some sort of way to get that feedback, so that you, you know, you can make the necessary adjustments. But that’s like, that’s what came to my mind. First thing is just like having that active communication. And then, you know, seeing what you can implement, maybe you won’t be able to implement all the things that they want, but maybe there’s something simple that you can do that can make a really big difference.
Adam Baruh 58:04
I think that’s so key, the listening. And I, I think there’s always more and more that, as managers we could be challenging ourselves to, to do and really just get that feedback from from the team. Alright, so tell us more about your work with live greatly. So what what motivated you to start this work? And what have you learned along the way?
Kristel Bauer 58:28
Oh, my gosh, what have they not learned? That’s a better question. Well, I really, as I said before, when I was practicing, clinically, I saw a lot of people going through all different types of struggles. And I had furthered my education, I had all this, like this knowledge base, I learned all these things. And I felt like, I really wanted to do more, I didn’t think I was doing enough or didn’t feel like I was doing enough, just with the one on one, I had this like inner drive of like, hey, what’s next kind of thing? What else can I do with this, and that’s when I decided to branch out and start really sharing information on a wider scale. So that got me into the podcasting space into the media space and into the speaking space. So that’s been quite a journey, just with learning all the ins and outs of that, you know, and navigating social media. I mean, I didn’t have any social media accounts, really before I started my business. So I was like, How do I how do I do this and find some great mentors. Just about getting my message out there, you know, and trying to make a positive impact. So I have my show, live greatly. And then keynote speaker and I speak on on some of the topics that we’ve talked about, and you mentioned, and I’m in the process of writing a book. That’s like my fun. Oh, at the moment, too, which is in the works.
Adam Baruh 59:56
Okay. That’s great. All right. So as we To wrap up, I’d love for you to share how people can find out more about you.
Kristel Bauer 1:00:05
Yeah, they can go to my website, it’s www dot live greatly.co. And they can reach out connect there if they’d like. And there’s also a podcasting page there where they can check out my show too.
Adam Baruh 1:00:18
Okay, great. Well, I want to thank you so much for being a guest on the show today, Kristel, it’s been a pleasure to get to know you and learn more about the work that you do. So thank you so much.
Kristel Bauer 1:00:27
Thank you so much for having me. It was a lot of fun.
Adam Baruh 1:00:31
Based in the Chicago area. Kristel Bauer is an integrative medicine fellow physician assistant, adjunct PBL facilitator at Northwestern University, corporate wellness expert and top podcast host. She shares approaches techniques to support optimal well being at work and at home with her experience practicing in integrative psychiatry, and functional medicine. She has a unique perspective into emotional intelligence, empathy, and optimizing mental well being which she shares with her audience as a female motivational speaker. While practicing clinically, Kristel saw many different types of individuals experiencing mental health struggles and burnout from top level executives to stay at home moms, and she realized that there was a strong need to start redefining self care, success and mental wellness at work and at home. Kristel started Live Greatly to empower and motivate others to reclaim their health and well being personally and professionally. You can read more about crystal on our website, www.eiqmediallc.com/the change. Our theme song and sound engineering was provided by Shane Suffriti. You can listen to more of Shane’s music at www.shanesuffriti.com. If you have a story to share about how you manage your work life harmony, or if you want to tell us what you think about our podcast, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all for listening. We’ll see you next time on The Change.
The Change is produced and distributed by EIQ Media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focus on leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship and more.