Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 1/13/21

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC Executive Director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss New Year’s resolutions.


Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • Best resolution to make may be not to make one
  • Managing your work day to allow for some balance and mindfulness
  • Being mindful at work and home brings balance back to your life

Erin Brinker: I am super excited to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and the past chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life. Dr. Yanez’s career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care, and public health. She joins us once a month to talk about everything related to health and wellness and just living your best life. Dr. Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning. How are you both?

Erin Brinker: Doing great. Doing great. Todd?

Todd: Well, a little bit of a kerfuffle this morning and had issues getting online, so I wasn’t on for the first segment. And then I started this last segment with my mic muted, and so just got to settle down here. Take a deep breath.

Erin Brinker: He’s having one of those days.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That’s okay. Take a breath.

Erin Brinker: So you are-

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Did either of you make any New Year’s resolution?

Erin Brinker: Yes. So I had fallen off the vegan wagon, the plant-based wagon at Thanksgiving. And just-

Todd: You made a choice.

Erin Brinker: What was that?

Todd: You made a choice.

Erin Brinker: Yeah. Well, I fell off the wagon.

Todd: [crosstalk 00:01:17] falling off is… Okay. If that’s how you [inaudible 00:01:20]. You’re perfectly capable of expressing yourself. So I’ll [crosstalk 00:00:01:25].

Erin Brinker: Yeah, I’m not trying to say that it wasn’t my fault. I’m the one who made the decision about what to put in my mouth. I wanted turkey dinner and then I was like, “Ooh, meat tastes pretty good.” So I’m back on the vegan wagon and living healthier. And I’ve given up Diet Coke again, and just trying to just live a more healthful life. So that was a very long answer to your question.

Todd: Yeah. And my answer is no.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Very good. So the only resolution that I’ve ever kept was a resolution to not make a resolution.

Erin Brinker: See, there you go.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: But it’s actually deeper than that. We talk about mindfulness, I have talked with you all about mindfulness for a long time. And it was interesting for me over the holidays, I actually scheduled no calls. Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t have any calls, a few popped up, but I scheduled no work calls and I really just wanted to take some time because it’s been a very hectic year to say the least. And so I had some time with myself to think and to reflect on what’s going well, what do I want to change? And one of the things I think, as the world has transitioned to all of these Zoom calls, my life seems like a revolving door of Zoom calls now. What I found was, you can kind of laugh at it, but I was scheduling all of the zoom calls on the hour and there were some days where I had seven, eight Zoom calls back to back. Yeah.

Erin Brinker: Gosh.

Todd: Sounds like a great day.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I wish my mic had been muted. But what I found was, “Oh my gosh, like I’m having to bring my computer into the kitchen and fix food here and there or bring it into the kitchen while I go grab tea,” And there was just never any downtime. And I just kind of got used to that. I’m like, “That’s not really how I want to live my life. I should have a few moments each hour where I can step away, go to the bathroom, get some tea. Just step away from the computer.”

Erin Brinker: Take a deep breath.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: “Take a deep breath, get outside for five minutes.” All of the things I tell people to do. “Hold on a second, I’m not really doing this so great myself.”

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So just in reflecting, and it just happened to coincide with the New Year, but I said, “Okay, I’m in control of my calendar. I decide what I schedule and when, sometimes. Not everything is fully within my scheduling power, but the meetings that I am in control of, I am going to schedule for 50 minutes. Instead of scheduling them on the hour and feeling like I’m on this hamster wheel, I’m going to schedule meetings for 50 minutes if they’re an hour meeting or 25 minutes if they’re half an hour meeting and give myself a little bit of a buffer in between to do those things. To go check on my son, who’s in homeschool, or go grab some tea and go step away from the computer, and to be mindful.” And so that was my own commitment to walking the talk.

Erin Brinker: And so how are you feeling since you made that change?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I can’t say that it’s perfect because there’s still meetings on my calendar that I’m not in charge of, and sometimes meetings go late and things of that sort. So there are things that are going to be in your control, and then for the things that are not in your control, just learning to roll with it. I will say though in the last week and a half since implementing this, that things feel calmer.

Erin Brinker: Oh, that’s good.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It doesn’t feel like I’m rushing so much from one thing to the next thing to the next thing. And “Oh gosh, what meeting am I supposed to be in now? And I’m still wrapping up the notes from the last one.” And, “I’ve got to type up an email from this one,” and dah, dah, dah. It doesn’t feel like that as much, so I’m hoping that that will continue through the year.

Erin Brinker: Because it’s just not sustainable to be running on that hamster wheel. You hit a wall eventually.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It’s a lot. I’m pretty resilient and I remember from my old practicing and clinic days as a doc, you would just go from one patient room to the next, to the next, to the next. So there kind of conditioning to that I think maybe I was more tolerant of it than other folks might’ve been, but nonetheless, it’s not a healthy way to live. And to be in my own house and know that my bathroom is five paces behind me and I can’t make it there is kind of crazy.

Erin Brinker: So I am trying, I’m not always successful, I am trying to actually schedule where I can 15 to 30 minute breaks between meetings. Because there’s always follow up, and if I don’t do it right away, then often I forget.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Exactly.

Erin Brinker: Or it comes in much later than I told them. I set up the setup for them to believe that it would come. So if I’m supposed to do a follow up email, people think, “Okay, it’s going to come right after the meeting.” Well, if I have back-to-back meetings after that, it doesn’t happen until maybe the next morning. And so I’m doing my best.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: If.

Erin Brinker: If. Right, exactly.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah. So I think it’s just we’re in this new reality and so many of us got thrust into this new world. And mindfulness is just a check-in, how are things going? It could be mindfulness about the vegan diet. “How’s my body feeling on this vegan diet? Did I feel better on meat?” And checking in with yourself. Or, “Do I feel better on this vegan diet?” It’s just a, check-in. I’ve been doing an elimination diet with my son for allergies and the other day we introduced wheat and an hour later he said, “Mommy, I don’t feel so good.”

Erin Brinker: Oh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I said, “Okay. Let’s note that,” and he’s eight so he wasn’t really well able to vocalize what the, “I don’t feel good,” meant.

Erin Brinker: Right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: But it was just like, “Let’s check in from time to time. How is this new work schedule going? Is there something I want to change? How is this new exercise program going? How is this new whatever going, or this old, whatever going?” Mindfulness in life is just being present. It’s paying attention to how things are and recognizing that at least those things that are in your control and power, you have the ability to change.

Erin Brinker: Oh, that’s such an important lesson. And it’s one that we have to commit ourselves to frequently, recommit ourselves to doing it.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah. So my resolution was not to make any more resolutions, but to be mindful and present. And if there’s something that needs to change, I don’t wait until some arbitrary date on a calendar to do it, I do it when I recognize it.

Erin Brinker: Excellent advice for everyone. So I know that you all are always doing incredible things on your website. You have webinars, and other training, and information about naturopathic medical colleges. How do people get to your website and find out all that information?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So we are at aanmc.org. And next month, we’ve got a webinar with a local California doc on living a low toxin lifestyle. So he’s going to talk all about the chemicals in our houses, and our cleaning products, and our toiletries and all of that and how we can limit or lower the chemicals that we’re exposed to on a daily basis.

Erin Brinker: Ooh, that’s good. That’s good stuff. You don’t want to miss that. Dr. JoAnn Yanez, thank you so much for joining us. As always, it’s been a treat.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You bet. Have a great day folks.

Erin Brinker: Thank you. You too.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Todd, I hope your day goes a little better.

Todd: Me too.

Erin Brinker: So with that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd: And I’m Todd Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.


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