Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss the importance of self-care and finding outlets to channel your stress.
Full Transcript of Interview Below.
- The importance of self-care
- Giving yourself a break from productivity
- Creative outlets and/or hobbies to channel stress
Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.
Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we are On The Brink, the morning show on KCAA, AM 1050. Pardon me, FM 106.5 and FM 102.3. Sorry, a little allergy issue. I am super excited to welcome back to the show, Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the Executive Director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. She joins us once a month to talk about health and wellness from a holistic naturopathic point of view. Dr. JoAnn Yanez, welcome to the show.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you so much. Happy belated birthday, and-
Todd Brinker: Thank you.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think today marks four years that I’ve been coming to your show.
Erin Brinker: Holy smokes. Has it been that long?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.
Erin Brinker: Wow. How time flies. Crazy, crazy. They’re wonderful segments and I know that people listen, and I know that our audience wants to hear what you have to say, because it’s always informative and interesting. So, thank you for being a part of the show for four years.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, thank you for having me.
Todd Brinker: Happy anniversary.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I know we had on the docket … Oh, I’m sorry. Go ahead, Todd.
Todd Brinker: Oh, I was just saying happy anniversary with the show.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you. I hope you had a good birthday.
Todd Brinker: I did. Lovely time.
Erin Brinker: So, we had on the docket to talk about health and wellness and self-care today.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We did. So, next week in the spirit of all of the weird days and weeks and things that we have, next week is National Therapeutic Recreation Week.
Erin Brinker: Oh. Okay, what is therapeutic … I mean, recreation is by definition therapeutic, isn’t it?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I guess so. I guess we need a week to remind ourselves to take care of ourselves, especially in this pandemic right now. Self-care is so important. How are you taking care of yourselves?
Erin Brinker: Yeah, I’m not.
Todd Brinker: I was just going to say, is sitting on a beach, sipping an adult beverage, recreation?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Sure.
Todd Brinker: Of course, I’m not sitting on a beach because I don’t live in a beach. I live in Corona, but yeah. So, I guess that’s not necessarily therapeutic then.
Erin Brinker: Yeah.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think ultimately, it’s how do we refill our cup, how do we take care of ourselves.
Todd Brinker: Yeah, and Erin, you did walk 50 miles.
Erin Brinker: I did walk 50 miles.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Wow. Good for you.
Erin Brinker: It was over a course of several weeks. So, it was a little bit at a time. The longest single walk that I had was 6.4 miles. So little over a 10K.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, you know that’s a lot more than I did yesterday. I can tell you that. So a while ago, we put out an infographic and I thought it was fun and funny, and it was titled Self-Care Bingo. And so, it’s like your typical bingo card that you have that you would normally play, except instead of the numbers and letters it’s, did I feed myself? Did I exercise? Do a hobby, practice gratitude, take a nap. Did I brush my teeth? And one thing that I think, honestly, I’ve always been guilty of not doing, is doing nothing. Sometimes just giving yourself permission to not be productive, that’s actually a good thing.
Erin Brinker: Ah, yes. No, I do that. Usually, it’s Saturdays and on Sundays, I generally do church, which is online and then I’m usually productive. But Saturdays, I don’t do a thing, if I can help it because even God rested on the seventh day. So, I do nothing, and it does help actually to unplug or just to do nothing.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. I think I definitely struggle with the doing nothing part because I’m one of those who I always feel like my hands need to be doing something. Like I need to be active, or picking up or doing something. This sitting still is tough, and so-
Todd Brinker: That’s mom syndrome.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That is one … It’s mom’s syndrome. You’ve successfully diagnosed me this morning.
Todd Brinker: It’s like that doesn’t go there.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It’s because there’s always something to pick up. There’s always something to pick up. So, resisting that temptation and just allowing time to just be, and lay in the bed a little bit longer or take a nap in the afternoon. So, I think, I pull this card out every once in a while. I’m like, “Okay, how many of these bingos am I checking off for myself? And has it been awhile since I’ve done X, Y, or Z? And do I need to check back in?”
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So, a lot of it is self-awareness, especially in light of this pandemic. I was just on … And I know it’s early and I know you guys work early. I was just on a conference call for work with some East coast folks, and somebody started out the call kind of joking, “How are we in July? Where did June go?”
Erin Brinker: Right? Yeah. Where did spring go?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Really, yes.
Erin Brinker: We are three and a half months of lockdown.
Todd Brinker: Yeah.
Erin Brinker: So, a full quarter has come and gone.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And no, go ahead Todd.
Todd Brinker: Oh, I was just going to say, it’s the apps that reminds you to get up and move and stuff. So many of them are based on putting a string of things together. And so, you feel like you can’t take a day off to take a break, because you don’t want to break your streak that you’ve got going. And it’s really frustrating for me because it’s like, I like being able to use that as motivation, but I don’t feel like I can take that rest day because I’ll lose my streak and I really want …
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah.
Todd Brinker: It’s like they should build in, if you get six days in a row, you get a day off and you don’t mess up your streak. The apps need to be fixed.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I agree.
Erin Brinker: You need to tell Apple.
Todd Brinker: Yeah. Yeah, well Apple, are you listening? Come on.
Erin Brinker: So, I’m wondering JoAnn, if you have … Some people who want to stay busy … When I say do nothing, I’m doing things, but they want to stay busy, maybe they have a hobby. Maybe they’re sewing or knitting or scrapbooking or writing a book or whatever. Do you do those kinds of things?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I used to.
Erin Brinker: Now you’re a mom.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That’s my hobby. I think it is important to remember that, and yes, I joined the book club about a year ago with some neighbors. And so the book club has been paused since COVID, but I found myself starting to Google, “Okay, what’s going to be the next book that I’m going to pick up, just for me for fun?”
I actually do have a hobby that I have kept consistent with throughout the course of this, and it’s been piano. I started, I took piano when I was like eight years old and I quit. I had one of those old school, Eastern European piano teachers who was just way, way strict, and it wasn’t fun, and rather than maybe finding a different teacher and what have you, I just quit.
I don’t like to live life with regrets, but it was one of those things that I wish I had stuck with. So, my son started taking piano lessons about a year ago and I said, “You know what? Why are you going to be the only one taking piano lessons? I’m going to take them along with you.”
Todd Brinker: Cool.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So, I dedicate, it might be five minutes one day and it might be a half an hour in the next. So. I don’t put any like specific restraints other than, “You’re going to sit down at the piano once a day for however long you want to sit down.” And sometimes it’s a little bit, and I actually started coming up with melodies and-
Erin Brinker: Oh fun.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: … Writing little songs in my head. Yes, and it is fun, but it’s got to be fun for you. So, I always tell folks, whatever the thing is, and I told this to the piano teacher too. I said, “Listen, this is a stress reliever for me. The moment it starts to become not a stress reliever, it’s not happening.” So, I gave him very clear boundaries on, “I’m not going to be a concert pianist here. This is just for fun.” Just for fun, so just to kind of keep his expectations in line. So yes, I think whatever it is that you pick up, needs to be something that fills your cup.
Erin Brinker: So how did you find your piano teacher?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Actually, through a friend from school, for my son’s school. She had a piano teacher that she recommended and just word of mouth. I know there are lots of ways of finding folks, and like with any sport, there are different approaches, there are different types of teachers. So, if you don’t find the right fit, find someone else.
Erin Brinker: Awesome. Yeah, my kids when they were little, one of them wanted to learn the violin and the other wanted to learn the guitar. And my daughter, she was only six at the time, we bought her this cute little violin and she had one of those Eastern European instructors. And we made her stick to it for a year because I know a year seems like a long time for six-year-old, but we wanted her to learn the discipline. Then after the year, she was a trooper. After the year, we let her quit, and then we donated her violin to the San Bernardino Symphony.
My son, after a year on the guitar, was able to really do some things and he stuck with it for 10 years and he can really pick now, and he’s written stuff and having … He’s not going to be a rock and roller or picking the guitar with a bluegrass band, but it is a great stress reliever for him now, and it’s a real creative outlet and he loves it.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, and that’s exactly … That’s the whole thing. With your daughter … I started seeing, especially with COVID with my son, the piano lessons have moved virtual and the interaction on the virtual format was just stressing him out honestly. So, I said, “All right, let’s take a break from piano lessons. You still need to sit down and do your piano and practice, but I’m not going to force you to sit with the half an hour for the teacher on the Zoom calls.” And he’s actually now going and sitting down on his own and kind of playing around and he enjoys it. So, I just had to remind myself, I’m like, “Okay, let’s not do to your son, what was done to you at eight. Let’s keep this an enjoyable thing.”
I am not expecting him to be a concert pianist, but let’s remember that this should be a fun outlet and something that is a stress reliever and it’s a good … I was born of musical folks and I sing and I see music as a stress reliever, so it very much can be outlet, but again, is it gardening? Is it knitting? Is it … whatever it is, find something that you can do and dedicate a couple minutes a day to it. Maybe it’s prayer, maybe it’s opening up your Bible or meditating or yoga or whatever, but find something that fills you back up.
Especially right now with so many stressors, social injustice, the coronavirus is starting to peak in our area now, and it is peaking, and I see some naysayers saying, “Oh no, it’s not.” I’m married to a hospital administrator. It is. So, there are stressors right now that we’re facing. I know Erin, you’re married to a teacher.
Erin Brinker: Yes.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We don’t know what’s going to happen in schools-
Erin Brinker: No.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: In the fall and the upcoming year. That’s very stressful on families, and workers and employers and all of that. So, I think, there’s so many stresses being thrown at us right now that it’s incumbent upon our mental health and sanity to make sure that we’re taking care and taking time for ourselves.
Erin Brinker: That is the best advice anyone can give. Thank you so much for joining us today. How can people find and follow you on the web or on social media, and find more information on the AANMC?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, we just redid our website. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, please do. It’s AANMC.org. We also have Instagram and Facebook and Twitter channels and all of that. So, feel free to check us out online. We have a YouTube channel with lots of archived videos as well from all of the events, the free events that we do every month. So please check out our events and our website and lots of good resources. We also have a channel on our website called The Naturopathic Kitchen, which is full of recipes and different tools and things for folks in their kitchen. So, feel free to check all of those resources out.
Erin Brinker: That is awesome. Well, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, thank you so much for joining us today. As always, it was a treat.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You’re welcome. Thank you, and have a great weekend.
Erin Brinker: Thank you, you too. Happy 4th of July.
Todd Brinker: Thank you.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Same.
Erin Brinker: So, with that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.
Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we are On The Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We will be right back.