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Steph and Dr. Elana recap the episode with Dr. Samantha Brody, naturopathic doctor and author of the book Overcoming Overwhelm: Dismantle Your Stress from the Inside Out. They highlight important points from the episode and discuss further how diet can impact stress, how to identify stressors, and how to communicate effectively with your support system to get the support you need.
Stephanie Greunke 0:04
It’s not about reducing the stress as much as it is just making sure that we have some space to handle all the stress and some tools to navigate the stress, because even when one stress is gone, there’s going to be new ones down the road. I mean, it’s just life. And so I love the word overwhelm, and just kind of figuring out how we can navigate this overwhelm versus stress.
Welcome back to Whole Mama’s podcast. We’re here to give you tools, resources and evidence based information so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Whether you’re trying to conceive, or navigating life with a toddler or a teenager, we’ve got you covered. I’m Stephanie Greunke, registered dietitian and Program Director for Whole30’s Whole Mamas Club and the co-creator of Whole30’s pregnancy program.
Elana Roumell 0:52
And I’m Dr. Elana Roumell, pediatric naturopathic doctor and founder of Nourish Medical Center.
Stephanie Greunke 0:58
Today we’re going to recap the episode we did with Dr. Samantha Brody about overcoming overwhelm. We want to call out some important points from the episode and share our take on handling the stresses of everyday life. But before we begin, we want to thank this week’s podcast partner Rethink Water. You can think of Rethink Water as a healthier alternative to the traditional juice box. Rethink Water saw a need to offer naturally flavored water in cute 100% recyclable juice boxes, so kids have a fun drink option without tons of added sugar. The original Rethink Waters have zero sugar and are flavored with USDA certified organic fruit essence. What this means is their natural flavors are actually pulled from the fruit. What Rethink found is that younger kids that hadn’t been exposed to sweetened beverages at school or at birthday parties seem to enjoy the flavored water. But kids who have been exposed to sugar or have a different palate, maybe a little bit more picky when it comes to juice boxes. They expect a level of sweetness and their solution to this without compromising their mission of offering kids lower sugar options, was to add a touch of fruit juice and monk fruit to make their juice boxes resemble a traditional juice box. So their new Splash juice box has one gram of sugar compared to some of the other juice boxes that contain 10 or more grams of sugar. Now, please understand that this isn’t about shaming juice boxes, we know how hard it is to change habits especially if your little ones have been drinking juice boxes for a while. But we are simply letting you know that this is an option that’s out there. If you’ve been looking for something with lower amounts of sugar, or you want to have a fun option for your kids lunch box, birthday party or summer event.
Elana Roumell 2:38
You can find Rethink Water at Target, Kroger, Fresh Time, Gelson’s, Walmart and now even on Amazon. They’re worth trying out with your little ones. Now if you haven’t seen them in your local grocery store, just head over to their website: drinkrethinkwater.com/findus to find a location that sells them near you or you can even use our coupon from us: wholemamas20 to purchase Rethink Water directly from their website and get 20% off your order. And just so you’re aware, the new Splash juice boxes, which is the one that contains the fruit juice, and that monk fruit that resembles a little bit more of the traditional juice boxes, will be available at Kroger and Walmart first, and then it’ll launch in Target later this year, so check them out. I think it’ll be nice to give your child a variety of flavors. You can start with the originals first and then see, if if they’re just not a huge fan of that, you may want to move on to the Splash juice. So really give them a try. They have so many flavors and surely one of the flavors your little one would like.
All right now let’s go ahead into our Nourish Yourself segment. Steph, what did you do today or this week to nourish yourself.
Stephanie Greunke 3:44
So we are recording this on a Monday. And so this weekend, we actually did something and I wanted to bring this up because it may seem it seems really obvious to me now, but I know as a new mom and even just with the different changes that happens with kids, it may not occur to you. So I wanted to talk about what I’ve been doing to reduce some of the overwhelm as a mom of two really active boys. I love the idea of taking them to places like the farmers market or to museums or to places where they kind of have to act like little adults, you know, they have to be on their manners. I love that idea. I mean, I see myself taking my kids to the farmers market. But what tends to happen with a two and a half and a four and a half year old boy that are really active, is that they want to run around and do their own thing and they don’t really understand social conventions, rightly so they’re little kids. So it has a lot of stress to the event. Some people may be fine with it, but for me, it just causes additional stress that is unnecessary and for them, it’s not fun because they want to be kids and they have to kind of act a different way in those environments. They can’t just go over and randomly pick a strawberry from a vendor and run away,it’s a little bit more organized. So what I’ve been doing with them is taking them to places where they can be kid. They can run around, they can get their energy out, I don’t have to worry about them behaving in a certain way, they have a lot more fun, I have a lot more fun. What that looks like for us is taking them to parks, or taking them on hikes, or taking them to the beach, where they can roam around freely in a safe contained or somewhat contained environment, and interact with other kids at the beach and just get their energy out. So the rest of the day is easier, the rest of the weekend is easier. And I know that sounds so obvious, you know, but I think we can just add extra stresses on our self and our kids if we try to take them to too many places or like you know, beat ourselves up that they’re not acting a certain way. I beat myself up for them not acting like perfect little angels of the farmers market and there’s no need for that. They they can do their own thing and be kids. And that is what we’ve done. That’s what I’ve done to nurture myself.
Elana Roumell 6:12
I think that’s wonderful. And I love that because inevitably you want to get out and you want to take them around. This is just making me think of this funny thing that I bought this like last week. I haven’t even used it yet, but I think it could be funny with Leo and Otto. I found a backpack that has a leash and I thought it was brilliant.
Stephanie Greunke 6:29
Elana, that’s what I use, at the airport.
Elana Roumell 6:32
Stephanie Greunke 6:33
At the airport. The monkey one?
Elana Roumell 6:34
Yeah, it’s brilliant!
Stephanie Greunke 6:36
Oh my gosh, it works amazingly well. That’s so funny that you mentioned that – that’s what we used when we went to Wisconsin and I posted about it on my Instagram stories, that I bought it. Yeah, that I was gonna buy it and I was like, All right, let the judgment begin. Because I thought for sure I would have people at the airport like rolling their eyes are like, you know, like, “Oh, look at her. She’s got a leash on her kid.” And I had a couple of moms that follow me on Instagram that like sent me a message saying, “Hey, I use this with my kids. And it worked really well. And people didn’t really judge me.” You know, being a second time Mom, I don’t really care what people think I think, I would have been a little bit more vulnerable to that with my first kid. But they gave me this advice, and I thought this was really smart: have them put it on before you are going to take them to somewhere like an airport or take them to a museum or wherever you’re going to go where they need to be close to you. Because what can happen is if they don’t realize that they’re attached to you, they can go for it and fall flat on their face, right? Or they might hate it. And so kind of have them walk around with it when you’re at home and make it fun by putting like snacks in there and have them associate it with like a fun thing and understand that they’re going to get pulled. And yeah, so it worked really well for us. So I highly recommend that product, especially if you’re traveling.
Elana Roumell 8:00
Yes. So I think it’s wonderful. In fact, I think we did that at home just for fun and Aviva in this stage where she likes to walk Murray and so she sees that you’re walking the dog with the leash. She thinks it’s like the coolest thing ever, because we’re like walking her or she just walks in front of us. We actually haven’t like taken it out in public. But the reason why I bought is because I have memories of my own childhood at Disneyland. I had, there was four of us siblings, and my mom put us all on a leash. And it wasn’t like a backpack. Back in the day, it was just long – a long, just leash and we all just had our wrist on it. And I thought it was awesome. I didn’t have any judgment around it. I just it was such a crowded place. It was so easy for us to all get lost. So I just think they’re great ideas and especially someone like an airport or a farmers market or a museum. You know, all of these are good potential ideas if you just want to keep them close, and I think that there’s nothing wrong with it. And, you know, actually what I wanted to share for my Nourish Yourself segment has a lot to also do with kind of judgments and feeling like I should do something. And I think that as moms, we’re oftentimes feeling that state and I just want to really help empower moms to just get rid of that. I mean, who cares if someone is thinking that the leash or whatever it is, is ridiculous. So that’s on them, you know? I don’t know, I’m so…I think it’s such a wasted bit of energy that we all do so often, it’s a very natural thing, because we want people to like us. And so it’s a natural thing that happens. And I think it’s a very inefficient way of utilizing our time and thoughts.
I wanted to share to nourish myself, as I did something that I didn’t think I would do. And so when I was coming up with my birth team for the second pregnancy, I did realize I wanted to do another home birth, that was very clear to Anthony and I. And so as I was like exploring my birth team, I was like, Do I want the exact same birth team? Do I want a different birth team and I just kept on having this like gut feel that I wanted to have a different midwife team. And it was actually making me sad because I loved my first midwife team. There was nothing wrong with them. I had zero complaints. I had a great experience with them. And I still wanted a new midwife team. And I just kept on thinking to myself “Elana, this is going to hurt their feelings. Why would you do this if you already knew it was a good experience?” And what kept on coming up for me were three things. The first one was that I just wanted a new experience. I don’t know I couldn’t explain it anymore. This is a new pregnancy. You know, I’m already feeling like this is a different pregnancy. I swear, like it feels just so different to me and I’m interested in a new experience and I can’t control it, that but that’s how I feel. The second thing is, is that I just find midwives to be exceptional human beings. I’ve never met a midwife that I just didn’t resonate with. And I love relationships. You know, I love forming new connections. And I just thought that having an opportunity to have a different midwife team to go through my whole prenatal experience, to share my birth with and my postpartum time, is an opportunity to just bond with new human beings. And I was very attracted to that idea. I’ve already had amazing bonds with these other midwife team and why not expand to some new women in my life. And then the third part of it was that I’m all about resources. And I love connecting my patients here in San Diego with other midwives in the area so that they can interview to choose a birth team for themselves, because we all resonate differently with different people. And I felt like if I had experiences with various midwife teams, then I could just expand my resources to then also helped my patients. And so after really getting clear with those three goals of mine, I just knew like, Elana just do it, you know. And so I did, I decided to interview some other midwives. I’ve chosen now the team that really I’m so excited to work with. And I just emailed my original birth team or my my midwife team, just letting them know, “Hey, you know, we’re so excited. We have a baby. And I wanted to let you know, this was a really difficult choice for me. I was so surprised that I wanted to work with a new midwife team. But I want to let you know, there was nothing wrong with you guys. I had a great experience with you guys. I have zero complaints. And I continually refer people to your practice and I will continue to do that. And I wanted to share with you that we’ve decided to use another midwife team for the reasons that I explained.” And their response was so beautiful and touching. I mean, they were so excited for us, for bringing another soul into the world. They were so encouraging of whatever works for us, is, you know, they support. They asked us to just keep in touch with them after the baby’s born, just so we can share this, the excitement. And it was just such a heartwarming email from them. And so I just wanted to share that with the listeners because it was really nourishing to me to go with my gut. I feel like if I were just to say, Well, I should just go with the original birth team, I’m going to hurt their feelings. I think in the back of my mind, I’ll always kind of have these feelings of “Gosh, I wish I had this other experience. I wish I…” and there should be none of that in the space of your of your pregnancy and that journey and something so sacred as your labor and delivery. And so I’m so glad I did that. I loved their reply. And now I’m so excited just to build my network and to continue to bond with some new really powerful midwives and ladies in my community. And so that’s where I’m at and that was really nourishing to me and in all aspects.
Stephanie Greunke 13:45
Oh I’m so proud of you for doing that! That’s great! I love that they were accepting of the change and really encouraging you and they still wanted to be connected. I mean, you’re so right midwives and I feel like naturopathic doctors too are just, they they’re in a job where they want to be of service, and they want to support people’s decisions, and so there’s, there was no doubt in my mind that they wouldn’t be willing for you to change your mind and not take offense to it at all. And you just have a great way of explaining, you know, it’s not you, it’s just something that I want to do personally. So I love that. And, you know, I actually had two different midwife teams too. I probably would have gone with the same midwife team for my second because I really liked them, but we moved. So I kind of had to do a different midwife team. And, yeah, it’s it is a totally different experience, because you have different personalities, and they have different ways of going about assisting with birth, you know, maybe some use more alternative or natural remedies and others, you know, maybe they’re experienced with homeopathy, or maybe they’re experienced with different natural pain remedies than others, and so you’re going to get different experience, even outside of the personalities.
One thing that we did, I don’t know if this something that was talked about, but when you give birth, there is paperwork that goes along with it. And in the case of my first birth, that there was pretty much like by the minute what was going on, like, you know, the level of intensity of the contractions and what I was saying and the things that I was doing and what happened when the baby came out what position the baby came out. I mean, it was elaborate the notes that the midwives were taking during the birth, and that may not be I mean, that is going to be close. It’s going to be different in the hospital, right? They’re going to be tracking different things. Whereas I didn’t have a ton of things hooked up to me with a natural birth at home. There may be more numbers and objective information in a hospital birth, but they I was able to get that record, and then give it to my next birth team so they could see what that first birth looked like. And then they could take into consideration what happened with my first for my second so that would be something if you haven’t done it already is like getting the records from your first birth and giving that to your team so they can see if there’s anything that they want to be on the lookout for whether that was you know, tearing or something like that.
Elana Roumell 16:06
It’s actually great advice. And part of the email, of the beautiful email that was a reply to me, actually offered that already. She was like, Whatever you need, if you know they need charts, whatever we could do to support you were here for you. And you’re just like, oh my god, I pretty much just told you, you don’t have my business. And you still like love me. I love you. You know? That’s the thing because these people care. It’s not necessarily about business for them. And yes, of course, they need the money. This is their business and livelihood. They just truly care about the people, the bonds you make with them, you know, they’re just so excited. They want to just keep on with your journey. And they really just want what’s best for you. And if you’ve already chosen what’s best for you, then they’re on board because that’s what’s best. So yes, thank you for that. I will get my record so that the next team has kind of an idea of what at least my first birth was like. And I think that that is it’s a great I mean, I’m just so excited. And I just I’m hoping that this story is helping any mom out there who may be on their second or third, or even maybe fourth, if they just want a new experience, whether that’s even going from a hospital to a home birth, or if that’s even going from a home birth to a hospital. There’s just no wrong or right thought that you may have as a mom. You have such a strong gut intuition, just go with it. That’s what’s going to be most nourishing to you and your baby. You get to choose. And even if you’re 37 weeks and you want to make the change, you still can. It gets a little tricky, but you can do it. So at any time, Mom, you just go with your gut, and your team will be supportive. And if they’re not supportive, then they’re definitely not the right fit for you.
Stephanie Greunke 17:44
Yeah, you made a good choice then. Love it. Okay, well, let’s get on to the recap this week. Thank you so much for sharing that. So we interviewed Dr. Samantha Brody. I loved her book Overcoming Overwhelm because who isn’t feeling a little bit overwhelmed in today’s world, if you are a mom, if you’re a mama to be, if you are working, if you have access to social media and the internet, I mean, there are a million things that can make us feel overwhelmed. So I think her tools and tips were absolutely brilliant and so needed today, and I enjoyed reading her book, and I think I’m going to read it again, just because I’m sure there are tips that I missed the first time around.
But one of the things that Dr. Brody discuss was that in Western medicine we don’t often hear about, we don’t talk about stress. And so, if you’re going to your doctor, unless you’re going to an naturopathic doctor or a functional medicine doctor or really open minded doctor, they’re probably not going to ask how stressed out you are. But what we know is that virtually all health conditions have a stress component. And stress can affect any organ, meaning that it the stress could present as a sign rash or hives, it could present as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, even depression and anxiety have a stress component or could be something that may be a little bit more obvious like stomach discomfort. You know, before a speech or before a big presentation, you may have made that connection between your nerves and your gut. So this isn’t to say that stress is only cause of health conditions, but it is a cause that is often overlooked. So I wanted to bring it up. And you know, we it’s not just big stressors that we are experiencing in our day to day life, like maybe a death in the family are moving or a new baby, but it’s the accumulation of stressors like when you’re caught in traffic on the way to work, or you aren’t sleeping very well, or maybe it is work, or a food intolerance, or working out too much, or just exposure to everyday toxins. There’s just a lot of little things that can add up. So I’m curious when you are working with clients as a naturopathic doctor, how are you addressing stress?
Elana Roumell 20:01
Okay, these are for I agree, she did such a great job explaining this. And I love how you just gave a little bit of background about this. You know what I loved about Dr. Brody’s book and her philosophy is she does talk about how it’s not necessarily the stress that is causing all of these diseases. It’s the accumulation of all of these micro stresses that then lead to the overwhelm that then can lead to these chronic diseases. And so I do think that was a really interesting perspective that I never really heard or learned before. You just kind of categorize stress, disease. But it’s not necessarily the case, because we can handle a lot of these like what they call micro events or micro stresses. But it’s just like, man, they just like accumulate and accumulate and accumulate and all of a sudden you’re like, overwhelmed and burdened with now something that can really affect your health.
And so what I’m looking for in my patients is, I first go to the physical stresses. Those are things that we may not be able to hear from the patient, but we can see on labs. You brought up one that could be a food intolerance. And so I could do a food intolerance test an IGG food panel to see what could be foods that they’re eating on a daily basis that could be causing some physical stress on the body. I could be testing some nutrient levels or some adrenal markers or thyroid hormones. I mean, there’s a lot of different physical markers that as naturopathic doctors we look at. And we can see however many things that are out of balance, you can see our stresses on the body to try to compensate to work on finding the balance. And so obviously, we’re very mindful of looking at how can we get all these markers on lab testings to be as close to normal so that there’s not that many stressors on the body.
And then the next thing is, of course, we’re always listening to people’s stories. One of the advantages we have as naturopathic doctors is clearly the amount of time we spend with patients. You know, I think one of the biggest drawbacks of ]standard healthcare is the average visit for primary care doctor is five minutes. That is an incredibly short amount of time. I mean, Stephanie, we can’t even do our Nourish Yourself segment in five minutes, right? Like, we can’t even tell the story, you know. And so to really hear people and to, like, really listen, because oftentimes, some people don’t even recognize that there’s a stress until they start talking about it. And I think as naturopathic doctors, we’re trained to listen in a way that we’re constantly looking for causes of suffering, right? That’s what we’re there, we’re there to help people feel better. And so people can tell us a story. And we are like these detectives to really listen between the lines and ask certain questions so that we can understand what some of these triggers are. And that may be relationship questions, that could be, you know, day to day scheduling questions or that can also just be symptomatic questions like, you know, tell us more about this stomach ache or, you know, oh, what kind of bowel movements do you have, and they don’t realize that not going poop every three days is normal or not normal, right? So, you know, we’re just looking for all of that stuff and listening. And so these are different ways that we can uncover different stresses. And I think because naturopathic doctors, we’re so inclined to help patient’s bodies naturally adapt to life and life stressors, we’re looking for optimal health no matter what. So it’s not that we’re only focusing on a patient’s chief concerns. We’re looking at it from a holistic perspective, because we know that their stomach pain is always going to be connected to their brain health and to their immune system and to a lot of other systems in the body. So we’re constantly looking at just all different systems in order to really help this person get to optimal health so that their resiliency increases so that they can adapt to these micro stresses, so that the feeling of overwhelm isn’t always there for them, right? And how do we clear out those stresses so that they can be they can compensate better? I hope that that’s clear. I mean, I can probably talk about that for an hour in and of itself.
Stephanie Greunke 24:07
Oh, yeah, absolutely. And you’re right, it comes down to the amount of time that you can spend with somebody and five minutes is not enough to go over their treatment, let alone how they’re feeling and what they’re they’re stressed out about. And, and sometimes it can even take a while to identify that there is some stress that’s happening. I know I asked this question too to my clients and a lot of times I ask them to rate their stress on a scale of zero to 10. And that’s kind of like the introduction to that topic is like, okay, where do you think you’re at? And oftentimes, it’s much lower than what we find out when we dig a little bit deeper, like, Oh, yeah, you know, I did have a breakup recently. Oh, yeah, my kids did they were sick from school for a month so I had to take off a work for that long and that was a big stressor. They start to see these stresses that they have been living with or navigating. And they don’t identify them as a stress, just because it’s something that they’ve had to power through or they think that that it’s a normal level of stress, or they may not think it’s a big deal. But it is affecting how they’re feeling throughout their body physically, mentally and emotionally. So, no, I love everything that you just said there. And there’s a lot that we can do to address the health consequences that can come from stress. And Elana, one of the things I also loved about what what she was discussing was, she didn’t, you know, sometimes the word “stress” is something we just brush past because we’re sick of talking about stress. We’re all navigating it, were we, I mean, there’s almost inevitable stress. And she talked about this too. It’s like, it’s not about reducing the stress as much as it is just making sure that we have some space to handle the stress and some tools and navigate the stress because even when, when one stress is gone, there’s going to be new ones down the road. I mean, it’s just life and so I love the word overwhelm, and just kind of figuring out how we can navigate this overwhelm versus stress.
Elana Roumell 26:05
Yes, I completely agree. And I liked it, because it was very practical. I think people will shut down and you’re like, well, you’re telling me not to stress out, so sorry, you know. So I do I agree. Another thing you mentioned about when you ask your clients, if you can rate your stress from 1 to 10. So that’s a great question. It’s a question we just have automatically in our intake form. So I read that prior to the visit starting, but another thing that I mindfully added to our intake form, and this is mostly for adults, although even in a young child’s life, even though they’re not very old, there could this could still be a good question is: What are some past traumas that, you know, dated back even from the time you were younger that have been big events in your life? And this could be death. This could be divorces. Like what are some real big events in your life that you could just chronologically list, just so I can get a little snapshot into their past. And that uncovers a lot, because one of my questions could be, what was your process in grieving that? Can we even evaluate if you’ve truly grieved and completed that for yourself? Or 10 years ago, when you had one of your best friends commit suicide – are you still holding on to that? Because that can easily, you know, it was Alexandra Sturges that you interviewed a few episodes ago, and I love she said, “People can be stuck in their trauma.” I loved how she said that. And if you’re not processing that, you’re carrying it with you year after year after year, and now 20 plus years later, it’s still with you. This does a lot on the body. You know, this does a lot on the mind and the soul and the body. And so, you know, as naturopathic doctors, we look into that and so that’s why I like to have that question on my intake, is it gives you a lot of insight into where you can start asking some questions.
Stephanie Greunke 27:54
Yeah, that’s so important in in all aspects of health and life, but particularly for our population as it applies to pregnancy and birth. I mean, talking about hard things like sexual abuse that happened or maybe even rape, when it comes to the labor and delivery process, like these are really tough things but they have an impact in how you how you kind of go through and walk through those experiences. And if if they’re not addressed prior to that time, it can be really tough or even, you know, going into second pregnancies if you had hyperemesis, or if you had a really tough labor, or if you felt like you weren’t heard during labor and delivery, or if you had postpartum depression, like these things really do matter that you get them resolved with a professional.
Elana Roumell 28:43
Absolutely, absolutely. Alright, so now a question for you, Steph. She, Dr. Brody mentioned this bucket analogy or bucket theory. And I thought this was really neat. And just to remind the listeners, it’s essentially this idea that we have a lot of different kinds of stress that just get full right, so our bucket just gets more and more and more full until it essentially overflows. And that would be then considered the overwhelm, right? So I like how she said that different kinds of stress fall into different types of categories. There’s things that we can change, there’s things that you cannot change. And then there are things you choose not to change, which I think is just a really interesting perspective in and of itself. Again, we can have a whole episode on that. But one of the things she did say, she brought up how nutritional considerations are something that we can change, right, we have control over and how that can really play a role in our health. And so because you’re the expert, and you have such great things to say about this, can you maybe elaborate a little bit on that point?
Stephanie Greunke 29:43
Yeah, no, I thought that was great that she brought it up. I mean, yes, diet is something that we can change. It’s it’s also something that we can choose not to change. You know, there may be things that we identify that we could be doing a little bit better on whether that’s drinking more water or eating more vegetables or reducing the amount of sugar in our diet, but we know that and we’re choosing not to and, and that that’s okay. It’s just kind of understanding where we’re at. But you know, outside of that there’s there’s two things that I was thinking about when it came to this topic. Yes, you identify if there’s a food intolerance that you aren’t sure of but you’re still eating that food, right? Let’s say you are intolerant to eggs and you’re eating them every day. That is a stress on the body. So that’s one component. There’s also the component of blood sugar regulation. So if you’re eating meals that have maybe a little bit more carbohydrate or refined carbohydrate, and they’re not balanced with protein and fat, maybe you’re having like a big bowl of oatmeal with banana on it and no protein or fat with that, that’s going to spike your blood sugar and then it’s going to crash and that is a stress on your body.
But there’s also a component that I wanted to talk about to, which is the fact that sometimes we are a little bit too neurotic when it comes to food, right? And the stress of having to have a perfect meal or the stress of, you know, avoiding something at all costs, even if you don’t have a food intolerance or the stress of worrying about your calories or the stress of trying to manipulate your body in a way with food, like that can be a stress too. And I think that’s something that can often be overlooked outside of the physical aspects of nutrition and, and stress.
Elana Roumell 31:25
Great, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have nothing more to say, which is rare, but no, this is great. I agree.
Stephanie Greunke 31:33
Okay. So you are the expert in communication, I wanted to ask you this. She mentioned she mentioned the importance of communicating your needs and understanding your values. And you brought up the example of somebody that felt like they weren’t worthy enough to engage in self care. And I do hear that a lot. I was with you the day that that was brought up as well. And you know, this could present as you don’t feel worthy enough to get your nails done or you don’t, you don’t feel worthy enough to travel like she mentioned, or go out to dinner with friends or you feel like maybe there, you can’t do it because you should be with your kids, or you should be with your partner, or you shouldn’t be spending money. We have all these “shoulds” in our head that are just not helpful. But what we can do is we can let our partner know that these are our values and figure out a way to make it work for both parties so that both parties are getting to do the things that they they enjoy and kind of taking away this need to feel like we’re worthy because you are worthy. Like there’s no doubt about that. And you’re kind of explaining this process, but I wanted to dig a little bit deeper into how we can effectively ask for what we want. And this is something that you and I both went to a training. There’s something called the PAX training and we can put a link in the show notes to it. If you Google Alison Armstrong, you’ll find it. But she has this practice called The Great Ask, which I love that name. And basically, The Great Ask is where you’re working with your partner to find resolution to a problem that leaves both of you feeling heard and empowered. And I know you geek out over this. So can you go over in a little bit more detail? how to go about doing a great ask if you’re feeling a little bit nervous about asking your partner or you’ve never really, you know, kind of spoken out for yourself to get what you need?
Elana Roumell 33:35
Great. Okay. Yes. And I again, this could be a whole nother show in and of itself. So I’ll try to keep it concise because I do think this is such important information. And I see this in my practice over and over where these moms really have a struggle to even ask their husband for two hours on the weekend so they can go to the gym and work out while their husband’s watching the child. And so then they really compromise their own need for working out, you know, and I and I just I see this is it’s really a struggle for them. And so I take them through The Great Ask. And so I would love to kind of share that with the listeners. So let’s take this example of needing the two hours on the weekend. The first thing that I tell these moms is that when you have a conversation with your husband, there needs to be a time and a space that they’re available. And it’s very often and I do this, and we all do this, and we make the mistake is that your husband comes home from work, everyone’s tired. And now you just like ask them something important. They say something, and then a day or two later, you’re like, why didn’t you do it? And they’re like, What do you mean, you never told me? And you’re like, I absolutely told you don’t you remember two days ago? And they’re like, I literally didn’t even hear what you said. And you’re like, but you responded and you’re like, I’m so sorry. I totally didn’t even hear what you said, right? We’ve all been there. And it’s simply because our husbands are just not available to even hear us. So one of the big things with the great ask is that we have to be very clear with our partners, and ask them, are you available to talk? If not, right now, when will you be available? I need your full attention. And we have to be okay with that answer, right? It could be in five minutes, it could be the next day, or it could be right now, but you’re at least asking them to shut down whatever they’re doing and fully focus on you. Because in PAX we’re taught that men truly can only focus on one thing at a time. Unlike us, women who can focus on multiple things all at once, we just they just don’t have that same capacity. And so if you really want them to hear you, they have to be fully attentive. And so that’s the first thing to do is make sure they’re attentive.
The second part of this is that most of the times we come at it being nervous or fearful or feeling like we don’t deserve it. And so the first thing that can come out of your mouth is something called transparency. And it’s interesting I do this with patients I do this with my husband, often I do this with my friends. If I’m uncomfortable about something, I say it right away. The freedom of saying it right away gives you so much access into all of a sudden, having your guard down, and you’re able to communicate in a much more powerful way. You’re not nervous anymore, you’re not sweating, your heart isn’t beating so much. The first thing you could say is, “Hey, this is really hard for me to say. I’m nervous about it, I don’t know how you’re going to take it, and in all honesty, I don’t even want to have this conversation. And it’s important to me.” So just practicing saying that much, I promise you will give you so much freedom and whatever the next thing is you have to say. I do recommend patients doing that, and they they always come back to me saying that it does really help them a lot.
Now, then the next thing is, you’re going to have to say what you need. And this is something that may be challenging, because in all honesty, you may not even know what you need. And this is where I help a lot of patients explore this, you can you know, talk to friends about this, you can talk to a therapist about this. But oftentimes, you have an idea of what you need, but you really won’t know if you need until you do it. And you feel better after it. And so that can also be part of the transparent conversation is, “I know that I’m not getting something that I need, and I’m actually not exactly sure what it is. But I have an idea of something that I can we can try. And this is what I’m asking. I’ll know in about a week or two if this is going to work or not. And if not, then I may ask you something different,” again, part of the transparency conversation. So then the next step is telling them what you need. But it’s very, very important that you’re specific with them, that you either give them dates or timeframes or whatever you can to set them up to win. So for example, maybe the two hours on a weekend to work out, it’s very specific that it’s Saturday from two to four o’clock, I would love to be able to work out. Now that may not work for them, that may work for you. But that’s part of the discussion, you’re just giving them exact details that every week, not just this one Saturday, for two hours, this is what you’re going to need. But it’s very important that you end it with what does for you, like what the difference it makes for you when you get that need. And it goes something like, “If I get to work out for the two hours on the weekend, I will just feel better about myself. I just feel more energized. I feel like I don’t fall into a depression as quickly, like my mind is just clear. And that makes me feel like I’m going to be a better version of a wife for you and a better mother for our child. Do you think this is something you could do to support me? And is there anything that you need to support me to make this workable. Do you need some time maybe on a Sunday so that you can have a break because you’re going to take the lead on Saturday?” or have them come up with whatever it is.
So let me go ahead and reiterate because that’s a lot of different steps for The Great Ask but one is: is your husband available, make sure that that’s the case. Number two: be transparent right at the front, you know, it’s hard for you, it’s scary, that’s great. Share that with your your partner. Number three: share what the need is, be specific. Number four: share with them what it provides you so that they’re very clear on if you get this, this is what will happen. And then the fifth step and the final step is: ask your partner for how you can support them in helping them provide you with what you need. So I actually this is just this all came from my head I didn’t even write down my notes. I’m really hoping that I summed that up properly. I think I’ve memorized this, because I use this so frequently, it’s something that has become incredibly effective in my household. It’s something that I see my patients who follow it, they really do get what they need. And it’s not even just about them getting what they need, but their husbands are so happy to help them feel whatever those impacts are. The happiness, the less depression, the feeling better, whatever that is, they want to help you, they want to help us, and to get clear on what they can do. Like if you’re crystal clear them with, if you just give me this, this and this, they know about exactly what to do, you’ve now equipped them with winning in this right? They feel so good that they were able to accomplish what you needed. They love the clarity. They love you being very direct. And they also really love appreciation. So if it’s working for you, you show them appreciation, and you’ll be able to do it time and time again. All right, I’m going to stop talking.
Stephanie Greunke 40:20
No, you summed it up so well! I mean, I couldn’t have done justice to that. So I’m glad you were able to tackle that and I know you use it all the time and so you would be able to just spit it out, no big deal. A couple of things I want to add to that. So one of the things that I heard that has stuck with me, in addition to The Great Ask, I absolutely love this approach, is the premise of how you start a conversation is how you’ll end the conversation. And this applies to The Great Ask very well, because if you are feeling triggered by something, let’s say you haven’t gotten your needs, not for a really long time, and then you just lash out at somebody, like well just do this, or let me do this, or I want to do this, that conversation is probably not going to end very productive, right? But if you set a time that works for both of you, and you come at it with that vulnerability with that “this is hard for me, and how can we make both parties really benefit from this,” that is going to turn out much better and be more effective. And you mentioned that this is something that you can do with your husband. But really, this is something that you can do with anybody, it could be something that you have a hard conversation with your boss about, or your sister, or your mom, or you’re setting limits in you’re postpartum with who’s going to help and what they’re going to help out with. So, I absolutely love this template for a lot of things. And then the final thing I just wanted to say was that this, Elana has it memorized. But when we when we learned about it, we actually had a worksheet and we would use that worksheet and figure out how we are going to have this conversation ahead of time. And the presenter actually recommended that you bring that worksheet into the conversation, because you’re going to feel very nervous to have it if you haven’t had a conversation like this before, you’re going to show up and be like, “Oh….” you might forget the steps right away. And you know, if somebody came up to you with a sheet of paper, and they were talking to you in this manner, you couldn’t help but give them the opportunity to share and really want them to win as well. And so those are kind of just the things that I wanted to share with this.
Elana Roumell 42:33
Great and I love them, so glad you brought that up. Because it’s true, this is with anyone This is with your best friend, this is with your boss, this is with whoever. And I just want to keep on recognizing that we’re talking about people who you have a relationship with. That means that there’s two people that relate to one another that care about one another. And so if we can really realize that our friends, or our partner, our spouses, they’re our teammate, right, they want you to be happy. And they want you to practice your communication. They don’t want to see you struggling through this, they don’t want you to be nervous to ask them something, they really want to provide a space for you to share. And so it does get easier and easier over time, especially when you practice it. And at first it kind of felt like really scripted, or it’s like that’s weird, like I need all these steps? And I remember when I practiced, I would I would skip a step. I’m like, “Oh, I don’t need that step.” But then my outcome actually wasn’t anywhere as powerful. So I do believe in these steps. I think it was a brilliant lesson Alison Armstrong came up with to teach us and so we’re really hoping that you guys can really feel empowered to do this moving forward in any regard. And that to know you are absolutely worthy of everything that you need. Nothing is too big or small, nothing is ridiculous. There is no such thing as asking for something that is just too great. Because if it truly benefits you, it’s going to benefit everyone around you. And it’s always a win win. If you can see how it’s going to benefit them after you get it, and they’re clear about that, they’re always going to be a yes. And if they can’t be an exact yes to exactly what you need, you continue the conversation to figure out, well, if this doesn’t work for you, then what could? Then you guys are a team. So you keep on going back and forth to figure out, well, what can we do that may be close to this and then try it on. And if it works, great. If it doesn’t work, then you have a conversation again, and you guys keep on trying on what possibilities may work so that both of you guys can win in the end.
Stephanie Greunke 44:42
All right, I love all of that. I can tell your passion for it, because you know that it works, and you’ve done it so many times where you’ve seen it pan out for you. It’s just a really beautiful tool to have in your arsenal. So I hope you guys enjoyed that. Let us know what you think we’d love to hear if you do start adding it into your conversations and how that works for you. We’re getting close to an hour here. So before we end, I just kind of want to hear if you had any takeaways from the interview that we haven’t gone over anything that you wanted to highlight.
Elana Roumell 45:14
You know, there are so many other points. But because of time, I do want to end because again, I could talk about this so much. But I think Steph, we should make a note at some point, maybe we could do a show on values. You know, she spoke a lot about values. And I think it may be really worth our time to talk a little bit about how we are driven by values in our lives, and how that helps us make choices that really, ultimately, help us design the life that we love and we’re passionate about. So let’s try to make a note because I love how she touched on this. And I kind of shared a little bit about my values just as a mom. So I’m hoping maybe in the next few episodes, we can do something like that or share that with you just so we can wrap up. But I think for now we already gave we gave you so much great information. And we really hope that you really enjoyed that episode. So if that’s okay with you Steph, we want to go ahead and wrap up you feel good? Or is there anything else you wanted to share?
Stephanie Greunke 46:06
I mean, we could totally do a 2 hour recap on this one, so I will close it out. And I think that we can definitely do an episode about values, just let us know, send us a message on Instagram or send us an email and let us know if you’re interested in that kind of interview. We like to bring you some more evidence base episodes and bring you experts, but we also like to keep it real and kind of share what’s going on with us and how we approach day to day life. So if you’re interested in more of that kind of interview, or podcast episode, let us know and we’re happy to do more of the Elana and Steph type of shows. So, we’ll wrap it up then.
Elana Roumell 46:48
Awesome. Well, we hope you enjoyed today’s episode. We want to just thank our partner today again, Rethink Water. If you try Rethink Water make sure to tag @wholemamasclub and @rethinkwater on Instagram, to show us how you’re using them with your littles and what you think. And don’t forget to use wholemamas20 at checkout to get 20% off your order. Or if you have the patience to order with them online and you can wait for your delivery, you can get that 20% off. Otherwise you can grab a box or two at the next time you’re at Target or Walmart, that’s always convenience. Now if you’ve enjoyed this episode, please help us out by sharing our podcast with your mama friends and write a review on iTunes. Let us know what you enjoyed about this episode and help us grow our village. You can also visit our website at wholemamasclub.com/podcasts to review show notes, find past episodes and leave comments and questions for future shows. Please remember that the views on this podcast are not meant to be substituted for medical advice, shouldn’t be used to diagnose, treat or cure any conditions and are intended for general information purposes only. Now go on, have a good day and nourish and nurture yourself and your family.
- Beyond reducing stress; creating space to handle the stress
- Different kinds of stressors and which you can change
- Identifying subtle stressors
- How your diet can affect stress
- How to communicate your needs to your loved ones
- The “great ask”–how to effectively ask for what you want
- Overcoming Overwhelm: Dismantle Your Stress from the Inside Out
- Values Exercise from Overcoming Overwhelm
Sample Chapter from Overcoming Overwhelm
- Contact Dr. Samantha
- PAX Understanding Men by Allison Armstrong
- The Four Agreements
- The HMHB Weekly Email Series
- Healthy Mama, Happy Baby Virtual Pregnancy Program
- Nourish Kids Medicine Kit and Ebook
- Dr. Elana’s Medical Center: Nourish Medical Center
- Follow Steph and Elana on Instagram
- Whole Mamas Podcast Archive
This episode's guest
The Whole Mamas podcast is led by Stephanie Greunke, a registered dietitian, and Dr. Elana Roumell, a naturopathic doctor, both trained in functional medicine and passionate about pregnancy, postpartum, and pediatrics. They invite experts on the show, answer burning questions, highlight key points, and make sure you feel empowered to take action. Find Whole Mamas and the Whole Mamas hosts on Instagram @wholemamasclub, @stephgreunke, @drelanaroumell, and at www.wholemamasclub.com.