Dr. JoAnn Yanez, Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (right), joins KCAAs “On the Brink” host, Erin Brinker (left) and Tobin Brinker (middle) to discuss holiday stress and what you can do to limit yours so you can enjoy your holidays to the fullest.
Full Transcript of Interview Below.
Topics includeNatural Stress Management Techniques
- Being present in the moment and letting go of expectations
- Self-control over the holiday food experience
- Current happenings at AANMC
Erin Brinker: Welcome back, I’m Erin Brinker.
Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we are “On the Brink,” the morning show here on KCAA AM 1050 FM 106.5 and FM 102.3. We are the trifecta of talk, the station that leaves no listener behind (laughs). Alright, so I’ve got the name of an organization, correct, we’re gonna be talking right now to Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She’s a regular guest here, contributor here on the “On the Brink” morning show and she is the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. Dr. Yanez, welcome back.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning Erin. I know it can be a mouthful. Thanks for trying.
Erin Brinker: I really messed it up the first time around, but I made up for it. (Laughs)
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That’s okay.
Erin Brinker: So, are you done with your Christmas shopping?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, I think we’re done with our holiday shopping as best as possible.
Erin Brinker: Awesome. We’re not, so, that’s why I asked. (laughs)
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I am a big fan of the online shopping. I don’t think I’ve set foot into a store.
Tobin Brinker: That’s Erin.
Erin Brinker: That’s me.
Tobin Brinker: Yeah.
Erin Brinker: Yeah, I don’t do stores… I just don’t like the finding a parking space and then pushing through the crowds, and waiting in line, and all that’s just not me. Some people get energy from that. I’m not in that boat.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well as a mom of a young child, it’s all about keeping it easy and I know today’s topic was talking about holiday stress and so I totally embrace the online shopping world because it cuts down on stress mentally for me personally.
Erin Brinker: You know it’s interesting talking about stress, there’s a workplace dynamic where part of the people that you work with are checking out and the other part of the other half are feeling like, “oh my gosh, I’ve gotta get everything done before the holiday.” And so, there’s this push to get things done so that you’re set up for the new year, and it creates a dynamic where it’s a lot of hurry up and wait. It’s a lot of short deadlines and you know, that’s… that can be very stressful.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, you know even in my organization we’re experiencing that right now. Actually, I’m gonna get on a plane in about two hours for my last work travel meeting for the year and, you know, I think that there’s a lot of that trying to squeeze in the last little bits. You know, budgets, oh we’ve got a little bit of extra money to spend, let’s get it spent in the end of the year. You know, let’s do this, let’s do our year-end reports… It can definitely catch up to you and like you said, you also have that interesting dynamic of folks that are you know, just taking vacations, or they’ve kind of already checked out mentally like you said and they’re ready to go have their holiday parties so I think it’s really a balance.
And, you know, whenever I think about stress, it’s all about staying present and it’s checking into yourself. And where are you at in all of this? And what can you do to be proactive in your own personal stress? So, if you know you work in an organization like mine, where we’re gonna be running a lot of stuff right before year end, I’ve been working for the last month to set these things up so that, you know, as best as possible when I know, I can prepare ahead of time and get some things done before the big bump of stress happens. And so, I think that, you know, as much as folks can, to prevent and prepare, you know, for those times that are going to be coming up.
Erin Brinker: So, that makes total sense to me. You certainly don’t wanna be caught off guard. What do you do about, in some organizations, large organizations, maybe where there’s a fast pace, they get towards the end of the year, and some of the employees just wanna slow down. And they get-they’re just not-how do you keep people motivated this time of year?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, you know, that’s a really good question. I think you know, motivation is so personal, and you have to know what motivates each person, individual, as an employee, and as a manager of folks, I’m always trying to find that balance. You know, I think it’s an interesting mix. You’ve got some folks who are internally motivated and they are just gonna get the job done. You’ve got other folks that are motivated by things like, oh, year-end bonuses.
Erin Brinker: Yes.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, Christmas bonuses or holiday bonuses. And so those can definitely be incentivizing for some people I think that maybe need the extra kick in the pants to get themselves through this holiday time. There are other ways of doing types of incentives that aren’t monetary. But I think that, you know, if folks have a goal, a deliverable and clear expectation it’s a lot easier to hold them accountable and say, “hey, I know it’s the holidays but listen, we still have these things that have to get met. Help me help you. What do you need to get your job done?”
Erin Brinker: Where do expectations fall in creating stress during this time of year?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh gosh. You know, I think expectations are probably one of those high points. And I think in life, honestly. Because when you have expectations, be them unrealistic or realistic, you know it’s setting you up for disappointment if things don’t go exactly that way… “Oh gosh, I didn’t do something right,” or, “what should I have done differently?” And I think there is a lot to stress management in just being really present in the moment. Being aware of your situation, and expectations are part of that. Your moods. Your emotions. What’s going on around you. And really being solidly present in that.
As anybody who’s gone through a child birth experience, and I don’t mean to leave half of the folks out of this discussion, but, anybody who’s gone through labor and delivery you know you’ve gotta let go of expectations. ‘Cause stuff’s just gonna happen the way it’s gonna happen.
Erin Brinker: Oh my gosh, that’s so true! (laughs)
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, as much planning as you do… “I’m gonna have the perfect birth and I’m gonna this and I’m gonna that.” Let that go. It’s all going to go however it’s supposed to go, and I think you know, at holidays, you know, last minute things happen, last minute parties…you know… I’ve always tried to have like a few extra bottles of wine for like that last- in the house for that last-minute party that we get invited to. Or, “Hey! So, and so’s having folks over.” Oh. “We need a gift.” “What!?” (Laughs)
Erin Brinker: Oh no! I don’t have time!
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, you know, I think at the end of the day, let go of perfectionism, you just have to roll with it. You know, if you don’t have the perfect gift for the party, so be it. Life’s gonna go on. Nobody’s gonna, you know, fall dead (laughs)… Because you didn’t have the perfect gift for that last-minute party. I think that really, it’s the letting go of the expectations that helps you go to sleep a little bit better at night.
Erin Brinker: So, one of the things we talk about, one of the things that’s most important about- for your health, your overall health in general, is what you put into your mouth and this time of year there are plates of cookies sitting around. People have, you know, they bring gift baskets full of all kinds of wonderful, delectable food. People are drinking- probably drinking way more alcohol than they’re used to, that sort of thing. And that affects your mental health, that affects your productivity, that affects your wellbeing. So how do you balance all of that?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh boy. That is really, probably, I think the classic thing for folks during the holiday season is the self-control over the holiday food experience, because it can be overwhelming and especially you know, again, I think it boils down to knowing yourself. Knowing what makes you feel good, what makes you not feel good and sticking to that as best as you can. If you fall off the wagon a little bit, you know, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just make a pledge that tomorrow will be a better day, but think in general, I know with myself, I can get away with one of two things. I can get away with less sleep than normal, or, I can get away with not eating so great. I can’t get away with both at the same time, because if I do, I get sick.
Erin Brinker: Ahhh. As somebody who’s had a cold since before Thanksgiving, I totally get that. (Laughs)
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, and so, I think it boils down to knowing yourself. Knowing your own parameters and limitations. Not pushing the envelope more than you should for your own self, and that’s stress, that’s sleep, that’s food, that’s your schedule. Knowing how to say no. Knowing how to say no to the extra events. Knowing how to say no to the extra plate of cookies on the table. All of that’s part of it, and I think that’s the hard part of adulting. (laughs)
Erin Brinker: I don’t wanna. I wanna eat what I wanna eat, right? (laughs)
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I wanna go, I wanna eat… You wanna turn back into the four-year-old who is just gonna eat the entire plate of cookies because it’s there, but the adult you know that you’re going to be sick and not feeling well, or you’re gonna get sick as a result of that. I think that that’s the hard part of being a grown up that none of us really like. You know, at the end of the day, our choices impact our health and so, you know, I think as long as you’re realistic about the choices you’re making and how they impact your health and your vitality. You know, I think we all can get through this into a happier 2017.
Erin Brinker: So, tell us in the last couple minutes here of the discussion, tell us about the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. Kind of what you are doing at the moment and how people might get more information about becoming a naturopathic physician.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. Well, like I said, we’re wrapping up the year, our schools are all either in final exams…I think my school in Portland right now is bracing for a snowstorm and they were trying to figure out how to manage-
Erin Brinker: Oh!
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah…A whole situation of finals and possible school closures at the same time. You wanna talk stress? That’s kind of stressful.
Erin Brinker: Yeah, I can imagine.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: But we’re doing well. I’m going to DC today for my last work trip of the year to talk with the leaders of all of the health professions and the central applications systems. Ours is called NDCAS. And that’s a way that folks can apply to four of the naturopathic colleges all at once. You can also apply to ND schools individually. And so, I’m heading off on a jet plane today, on a meeting to talk with eighteen other health professions about the best practices in admissions, and so-
Erin Brinker: Wow.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: -it’s exciting, there’s a lot going on. Even year-end. I think that it’s all so exciting and the growth of naturopathic medicine. I’ve been talking with current students and prospective students…And, you know, the one thing, Erin, I can always say that inspires me is the passion that I see from the folks that are interested in naturopathic medicine and their stories. Their stories of personal healing, illness that wasn’t responding to anything else, but they found this naturopathic doctor and totally turned things around for them. Things from chronic skin diseases and diabetes and heart disease and, all sorts of illnesses and allergies and chronic GI stuff that went untreated for years and sometimes decades and they see an ND and it turns around. These folks are the most passionate advocates for naturopathic medicine because they’ve seen it personally, and they’ve seen the impact that it has on their life and they want to make that same impact on their patients. It’s just so inspiring for me, and that’s what keeps me going and keeps me motivated throughout the holidays.
Erin Brinker: Well that’s wonderful, so thank you for all the hard work you do on behalf of naturopathic medical colleges and I’m looking forward to having you back on in January. And also, we’re gonna be starting a new segment with you starting in January. It’s a human rights watch, and more information about that will be coming. I think it is a time when we not only need to take care of our bodies but, we need to take care of each other during this time of a lot of political and worldwide upheaval.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. Well, thank you Erin and Tobin for having me on today. I appreciate the opportunity always.
Erin Brinker: Thank you so much Dr. JoAnn Yanez. Happy, happy, holidays.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Same to you, and I’ll see you next year!
Erin Brinker: See ya next year! Alright, I’m Erin Brinker… Gotta turn your mic back on.
Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we are “On the Brink,” the morning show at KCAA AM 1050 FM 106.5 and FM 102.3, we’ll be right back.