Episode #79: Interview with Jen Schappel


What are some mythperceptions we all hold about what self-care, wellness and wellbeing "look like" vs. what they actually can mean for us? Are movement and exercise the same thing and can exercise be bad for you? What if listening to your body could save your life? What would it look like if you learned to be kind to your body instead of punishing it for its faults and failures? And what if we cheered each other on more because we are all, overwhelmingly, doing the best with can with what is in front of us each day? Tune into my conversation with Jen Schappel, Founder of KindBody Movement as we explore these questions and more.


[00:00:00] Booth: Welcome to the Freedom from Empty podcast, building strong, effective resilient leaders, entrepreneurs, and humans. I am very excited to have Jen Shappel joining me for today's episode. Jen is a licensed massage therapist, movement educator, and the creator of KindBody Movement. Through her virtual wellness studio, massage therapy services and one-on-one movement consults, Jen helps her clients move more and move better to manage stress, make change and feel more at home in their bodies. She lives in Knoxville with her husband and two kids where she enjoys gardening, hiking, and 30 second dance parties. Welcome to the podcast Jen.

[00:00:58] Jen: Thanks so much for having me Booth.

[00:01:00] Booth: I'm so excited to have you here.

I think we are kindred spirits in a number of ways, at least particularly in the work that we do with folks. And we'll get into that in a little bit more, but just to get us started, would you tell us a little bit of your story?

[00:01:20] Jen: Yeah, I guess I should start back a long time ago when I started getting interested in bodies and how bodies move and my body and how it moved.

So, all throughout my life, I've been an active person. I've enjoyed dance, soccer, there was a brief stint of gymnastics, show choir, musical theater, all the things. And then as I got into college, I kind of was like, recalibrating, what kind of movements I did because some of the activities that I was in, in high school weren't available in college, or there were like new activities available in college.

And I got a Yoga for Dummies VHS tape, um, a relic, a blast from the past. So I started doing that and it was nice. But I didn't really think too much about it. One thing that has stuck with me a lot throughout my life is I carry a lot of my tension in my neck and shoulders. And I remember being a child and being in pain in my neck and shoulders, and that carried through high school through college.

And then into my adult life when I finally got my first air quotes, big girl job, at an office working nine to five, I was in pain again and my neck and shoulders. And because I finally had this steady job and this predictable, steady income, as opposed to being a server or a barista or whatever people with Bachelor's degrees do these days, I decided I was going to start taking yoga because I had enjoyed doing that VHS tape all those years ago.

So I started going to The Glowing Body and the first yoga class that I actually went to there had a sub and it was a totally different modality or style of yoga than the one that I thought that I was going to. It was a Kundalini class. And if you know anything about yoga, Kundalini, It's very different than like the yoga that we think of when somebody says, oh, I'm going to yoga class and I'm going to down dog chaturanga up dog, you know, all of those things.

So I was a little freaked out by that style, but once the regular teacher was back, I went back and I got really into it. I liked it. I'm a naturally flexible person. So I was air quotes, good at yoga. And then very quickly I decided that I wanted to do the yoga teacher training program there to learn more about yoga and how to really adapt it for me in my life. And so I did the yoga teacher training and that was a period of intense, personal development and growth for me. While, everything wasn't perfect with it. And I, I wasn't aware yet, but I learned some of the more toxic parts of wellness culture while I was in my yoga teacher training.

I still don't think I would go back in time and change it. I'm still thankful for that period of time, because it really helped me step into who I am. Um, and it was while I was in yoga teacher training that I decided that I wanted to become a massage therapist because I enjoyed the connection of physical touch and helping people to just feel good and feel relaxed.

But massage school costs money, and I didn't have the funds for quite some time. It wasn't until we had the big hailstorm in Knoxville, maybe it was like 2012. Do you remember Booth?

[00:05:21] Booth: I don't remember what year it was, but I do remember the hailstorm.

[00:05:25] Jen: Okay. Well, the hailstorm happened and it totaled my car. So I took the insurance payment, but my car was still drivable.

So I just took the insurance payment and I kept driving the car and the insurance payment was nearly the exact same price as massage school. So I told my husband

[00:05:45] Booth: Talk about, uh, the gifts that come in strange packages, which is something I talked about in the episode of the podcast that just released today as we are recording.

[00:05:54] Jen: Yeah, it's bizarre how it lines up.

So I told my husband, "Hey, I'm quitting my job and I am going to go to massage school." And he was like, whoa. You know, we worked that out, but I went and it was an accelerated program. I finished and got my license in November of 2012. And I started my massage practice at Glowing Body. And so I did massage and I taught yoga there for many years, but when I got pregnant with my first child, yoga stopped feeling so good.

As I mentioned, I am kind of a naturally flexible person. And then add to that all of the hormonal cocktail of pregnancy that results in sometimes looser joints and the things that grease your system to help the baby come out easier were not pairing well with my body and yoga. I needed something that was gonna help me to strengthen and stabilize more.

And you certainly can do that with yoga, but I, at that time, I wasn't finding the connect there in that practice. So I started looking for other movement modalities and eventually over the course of the, my childbearing years, I got into some natural movement, some functional movement. And I, at some point along the way, realized that I had gotten what I needed from yoga.

I had gotten an intense awareness of my body. I had gotten the mindful awareness that I gained from meditation to do that moment to moment self care of noticing how your nervous system is tracking with everything. I got a lot of self care tools and I got plugged into a beautiful community. And that, that was what I needed from yoga.

And so I kept that and I said, I don't really want all of the other trappings of yoga. All of the other things, I don't really need that. And I just started calling what I was doing movement in general, which felt a lot freer to me. At the same time, some people will find it a little bit vague, which is understandable.

And so in 2019, I had already had my babies. I'd become a mother. I'd become a massage therapist. I'd become a business owner at The Glowing Body. The Glowing Body, I feel like birthed me almost, or at least gestated me for awhile. And in 2019, I felt like it was time to move on, especially in light of the fact that I wasn't really doing yoga anymore.

So I moved my massage practice to a place in Bearden. And I was there for two years through COVID, which was super scary as a massage therapist, as somebody who is touching people, there's no way that you can do that from six feet away. So I'm thankful for the place that I was the office space that I was in during those first two years of the pandemic, because it gave me some flexibility.

And then at the end of last year, I moved out of there and into my own office here, still in Bearden, but a different building. And I am so happy to have my own space. It feels like an arrival for my ninth year of being a massage therapist.

[00:09:42] Booth: That's amazing. So in your work with clients, what are some of what I have now coined the "mythperceptions" that you run into about what wellbeing or wellness means and what it doesn't mean?

[00:10:04] Jen: Yeah. So first of all, let me say that I have the body of a thin, white woman, a cis white woman. And, I realize that I have so much privilege, thin privilege, white privilege, cis privilege. And so it is kind of tricky for me. I still feel conflicted talking about some of this because I'm talking from a place of privilege, but I do think that it's important to say what I'm thinking about this, because, maybe there's somebody else out there who's living with the same privilege that I am that can hear what I'm saying and make a change or a mindset shift. So with that disclaimer, out of the way, I think that many of my clients have the idea that thin is well, fat is unwell. Thin is healthy. Fat is unhealthy.

So many people think that yoga is always good for you. That every kind of exercise is always good for you without necessarily thinking about the dosage or the frequency. And I would say as far as like general wellbeing, I feel like those are the things that come up the most with my clients.

[00:11:34] Booth: So how do you work with clients perhaps counter or advance their understanding of what is actually wellness for them. And I think it's important to point right here, like wellbeing and wellness for one individual is not the same wellbeing and wellness for another individual in terms of what practices, what types of movement, what types of exercise, what types of nutrition, all of the things, what type of inputs ultimately result in wellness or wellbeing while there are quote unquote proven methods that are good for the body, good for the nervous system, how those things are applied to an individual and how an individual responds is going to be a function of both history and current condition and surroundings and capacity and bandwidth and all the things. How do you work with your clients to perhaps write a different story about what wellness and wellbeing can mean?

[00:12:39] Jen: Yes. It can be really challenging to do that because first we both have to get uncomfortable. There's like a point of discomfort. When I encountered their mythperceptions, it usually makes me feel uncomfortable. And then when I choose to gently challenge them, they might become uncomfortable as well. So one thing that I try to do upfront is to be very clear.

I've had folks come to me and want to work with me one-on-one for movement coaching and they want to bring weight loss into the program. And I have to be very upfront that I don't have any training in weight loss or nutrition. That's outside of my scope of practice. 100% outside of my scope of practice. I know what foods I need to eat to feel well, but I don't, like you said, I don't know what foods are going to create health for another body. So when somebody comes to me and says, I want to work with you, but I also want to lose weight. Well, then I say, I really can't help you with losing weight. My goal is to help you feel better and move better with the body that you have right now. And your body size is none of my business.

For example, if someone is experiencing joint pain, there's a common thought that, oh, if you lose weight, it helps with joint pain and maybe that's empirically true. I'm not sure. As I said, weight loss, isn't in my scope of practice. So that's not really something that I keep up on, but I know some things that I can do to help you grease up your joints and feel like your joints can move better.

And with more freedom, no matter what your weight is. So that's a big one that I run into is my clients or potential clients. And, you know, it's funny because. That's me turning clients away. A lot of the time. I really can't tell you how many times I've turned somebody away or they've turned away after they have heard what I'm willing to help them with.

So the other thing would be like the no pain, no gain mentality. And so I know that you love CrossFit and CrossFit has this reputation. But, as we said, CrossFit might help to create health in your body. I really don't feel like it would help to create health or boost my wellbeing with the body that I have.

[00:15:34] Booth: Well, that's an interesting point because the way that I CrossFit is not the traditional understanding of CrossFit at this point, because of my body, and because of some of the damage that has happened in my body over years of not listening. I do no impact movements. I don't run. I don't jump. I don't jump on boxes. There was a time that I did. I don't jump rope. So that is one thing that in terms of my, I love lifting. I love weightlifting. I love being grounded and fully present.

We had deadlifts this morning and when I put my feet in the ground and pick up a heavy barbell that is as connected to the earth as I can be. And that is what I love about lifting. I also, after having run myself into the wall repeatedly over many, many years, both through work, but also through physical activity, I do not come anywhere near approaching the red line. And for me, the red line is when you've pushed your body to the point that, you know, you want to black out or throw up, or, or do you know where your body has an extreme reaction to what is happening?

And every new coach who comes in the doors at South Landing Fitness, I tell them I am the tortoise. I will always be the tortoise. I have a PhD in pacing so that I push my body, but I do not push it to a point, because there was a time for me--and this was not CrossFit caused, this was cumulative as part of my burnout journey--when I could not stay in the gym and stay well for about five years. If I went to the gym and worked out three times in a week, I would inevitably get sick or get injured.

And that was less a function of the type of movement I was doing, although I'm sure that contributed, but more a function of my body's capacity. What a lot of people don't realize, and one of the things that I've learned on my own journey is that the body perceives all stress as stress. It doesn't know--just because you think it's good for you or even that there's empirical data, that it's good for you--your body has a certain cumulative stress capacity. And if you push it beyond its cumulative stress capacity, either through a short period of exertion or over, over a period of time, your body's going to have a negative reaction to that.

It can absorb so much and then it reaches its capacity. And so for some people. You know, I used to be one of those people who wanted to come into the gym--I can be very intense and very focused and just crush myself every time I was in there and frankly had been conditioned to believe that it didn't count if I wasn't pushing that hard--but I have learned the hard way in many respects that that is not of service to my body and it's not of service to my wellbeing.

And so, what I do love about the gym, where I am is that when I ask for a modification, there is no shame there. They want me to do well. They want me to be able to come back and they want all of their clients to be able to come back tomorrow and fitness another day. And they support me in showing up in whatever shape I'm in that day and adjusting my effort and my exertion level and the weights and whatever it is based on how I'm feeling in that day. And they encourage all of us to check in and say, okay, what is it, a level eight out of 10 exertion for you today may be different than it was two days ago, because maybe you didn't sleep through the night or maybe you're not feeling well, or maybe you're just life is, is heavy and hard right now.

And so, those are some of the many lessons I have learned around movement that is actually beneficial versus movement that can be not beneficial. And in customizing my movement and my exertion level to where I am on any given day.

[00:19:45] Jen: I love that. I am excited by some things that I see on social media about people redefining fitness and this intuitive exercise movement.

That really recognizes that just because you ran five miles yesterday, doesn't mean that you should expect yourself to be able to run five miles the following day or the following week or the following year. We are, I think, especially people who menstruate, we cannot expect ourselves to be linear and the same, every single day, things are literally changing and fluctuating in our body, like every two weeks.

So to say that or to have that expectation that it has to be hard. It has to be no fun. And it has to be consistent in intensity is something that I think is really holding a lot of people back. And I see that on the massage table too. I get a lot of people who come to me, because I do deep tissue massage, who think no pain, no gain on the massage table as well.

Like it has to hurt to be beneficial or therapeutic. And so that's a place where I am doing a lot of re-education with my clients. Well, actually, if it hurts, when I'm putting pressure on your body, your body is going to say, oh, that's a stressor. And you're gonna, your nervous system is going to flip into fight flight or freeze.

And I don't want to knock, fight, flight or freeze because I think it's our body's primally, programmed self care system.

[00:21:27] Booth: Absolutely.

[00:21:28] Jen: But, you know, that's part of the . . .

[00:21:30] Booth: And we then have to mitigate the physiological impact of that fight, flight, or freeze hormone and sympathetic nervous system response after it happens. But that's the piece we miss so often.

[00:21:42] Jen: We have to think we have to be, we have to have this awareness of when we start feeling like we want to fight back. And on the massage table, that can be tensing. When we want to run away. On the massage table that can present as like, just getting like general restlessness. Or when we want to freeze. And on a massage table that can be like holding your breath, disassociating, you know, anything like that.

So when we feel those, one of those three responses happening in our bodies, we have to say, okay, what is the actual threat here? And what is the level of threat. Is it a saber tooth tiger that's chasing me like it was doing to my ancestors thousands of years ago, or is somebody just pushing on my shoulder a little too hard?

[00:22:31] Booth: And by the way, your nervous system cannot tell the difference, just so you know.

[00:22:34] Jen: Right! Or am I in a traffic jam? Am I dealing with an overfull calendar? The modern stressors, our body, like you said, our body can't tell the difference. Our body is so intelligent and it wants to keep us safe.

So on the massage table, if somebody is not receiving the pressure as a loving, therapeutic touch, if they're receiving it as pain, I have to tell them, when you get into fight, flight or freeze, the hormonal cocktail that's running around in your body, it makes your muscle tissues harder.

[00:23:13] Booth: And interrupts the healing . . .

[00:23:15] Jen: It really actually interrupts the healing. It puts pause on healing because it's not as important as running away from the saber tooth tiger. So I have to tell them, please, like, if you are tensing up or holding your breath, please let me know. Please speak up because it's not going to help. We need to work slowly. We need to make sure that your body feels safe. And that's when folks tissues start to just melt and open up and slide over one another. And, and that in turn creates more efficient movement that feels better in the body.

[00:24:02] Booth: And release of, of buildup of all the things. So I have some, I have a no pain, no gain story. My high school cross country coach was a no pain, no gain coach, which resulted in me having a stress fractured pelvis at 15 years old from overuse. I have multiple overuse injuries on my right leg because of that long-term approach.

Long before I learned the lessons that I now understand about actually listening to the messages that my body is sending me, which kind of brings me back to when you told your story, you just talked about being present in your body and, and, and becoming so aware of being in your body, listening to your body. Why is that so important?

[00:24:52] Jen: Why is listening to my body and being aware of my body so important? I think it's important because my body is my vehicle for life. My body is the thing that's in the present moment. We haven't, you know, learned how to time travel bodies yet, but our minds can time travel. So it's important for me to have that awareness of my body first, because I use my body for work.

Being a massage therapist is a demanding physical job and I practice self-care while I'm caring for my clients when I'm paying attention to my body mechanics, because if I'm moving in a way that feels weird or off, or creates pain in my body, then I'm actually not giving the best service that I can to my client either. That's going to affect the way that they experienced the touch.

They might not realize that they're experiencing it differently or that I could change my body mechanic. But like, if you, if you receive a massage, or a pressure, a touch from somebody who is like shoulders up to their ears, all scrunched up, twisted in a weird way, you know, and then you receive a touch from someone who is grounded and centered and calm in their body and in their mind, It's a different touch experience.

It's going to help you to feel more calm and centered and grounded. So I try to have that awareness of my own body so that I can show up for my clients and take care of myself at the same time. And then, because I'm a parent of two wild children, a seven year old and a four and a half year old, being able to tune into my body and how it responds helps me to just regulate my body and to take care of my kids and to show up for my kids and, and be the mom that I want to be and be the wife that I want to be. So that's why that awareness is, is so important to me.

[00:27:04] Booth: One of the most powerful lessons I've learned over the last many years, sixish to ten, I guess, is that our bodies are sending us messages all of the time and it's information. And we have a choice what we do with that information. But if we continue to ignore the whispers of our body, the whispers become screams. And if we ignore the screams, then our body will eventually start to shut itself down. Which is essentially what happened to me over a multi-year period of time, because I kept pushing and kept pushing and kept pushing and was so disconnected and disassociated from my physical experience that there were times that I didn't, that I had even become no longer aware of pain that I was in all day, every day.

It's like, I couldn't even, it's like, I didn't realize I was in pain, but I was, and so many of us have been conditioned to believe that we cannot trust and should not listen to the messages that our bodies are sending us. That if we stop it's a weakness or failure, or that we're lazy, or we just need more motivation and more discipline and, and just keep going.

And that is a destructive way to live. Ultimately. So let's talk a little bit, because one of the other things I've learned over the last decade, when I ultimately hit kind of my breaking point and my bottoming out, I would have loved nothing more than someone to literally hand me a magic wand or a checklist.

And just say, these are all the things that you need to do in order to get better and go back and live your hyperperformance perfectionistic life. And the sooner you get them done the better. But what I love about the approach to KindBody Movement--and I'd love to hear more about kind of your theory and why behind your approach there--is that it, what I see and what I've learned about wellbeing is it's really, it's a thousand mini decisions that we make in a lifetime in a day, in a week, in a year about stepping toward what our body is telling us and be responsive to that knowledge and message or stepping away--and what I see in, in your KindBody content is making movement accessible in a way that makes it yeah. Just accessible, right? Because it's so easy for us when we are overwhelmed, particularly to think I don't have time. I don't have time to move my body. I don't have the money to move my body. I don't have the energy to move.

I mean, all of the things. Right. And so what I see through my lens is you making movement accessible and body connection accessible in a unique way. Do you want to talk a little bit about why KindBody and how, what your approach is to movement?

[00:30:06] Jen: Yeah. I always like to hear. What people take away from what I'm putting out in the world. So thank you. And I also am realizing that I should to go back to the previous question, share about a time when I listened to my body and it probably saved my life. So I'm going to talk about that and then that's going to kind of segue into KindBody.

[00:30:33] Booth: Yeah. Perfect.

[00:30:34] Jen: So in September of 2020, I woke up in the middle of the night with the worst headache of my life.

I thought I was going to die. I thought my head was gonna explode. I think I was a little disoriented. I got up to go to the bathroom and I just, I went back to bed and then I woke up the next morning and my head was still pounding. And my husband was like, you know, I guess you have a migraine. And I was like, yeah, I mean, I've never had a migraine before, but my mom gets migraines. She has her whole life, I guess this is my DNA like finally kicking in with regards to these migraines. And it was at like a part of my cycle. I was like PMS. So I thought this is probably like maybe partially hormonal or, you know, whatever. So I just stayed in bed for like three days, because I had heard that maybe a migraine can last up to 72 hours.

But then after the third day, my head still hurt. Definitely not as bad. And over the next several days, the headache just kept like decreasing. But I had other symptoms like lightheadedness when I changed level, like standing up or squatting down and I had floaters in my eyes and I was like, this is really weird.

Like, I don't think migraines do this. And I don't think they last this long. And my husband and my mother-in-law were both like, no, I think you're right. And it felt to me that something had fundamentally shifted in my body that something had fundamentally changed in a way that, you know, you don't really feel that after you have a headache.

So I made an appointment with my doctor and she was like, you know, it probably was just a hormonal migraine, but let's get an MRI just in case. So I finally got in to get an MRI. It was October 30th and I got home from getting the MRI and then my in-laws were dropping my kids off and they were going crazy running around the yard and my phone rang and it was my doctor.

Um, and I was like, okay, I just got back from the MRI. And they were like, yeah, it's not good news.

[00:32:54] Booth: You never get results that quickly.

[00:32:57] Jen: No, they told me and I wrote it down because I was like, I have no idea what you're saying. It was, uh, a right internal carotid artery dissection with 75% occlusion. So basically what had happened was the walls of my carotid artery separated. There's like layers, like an onion kind of in the walls. So two of the layer separated and it was a tear. And so then my body tried to heal it by clotting. So that space in between those two walls filled up with a blood clot, which made the opening of the artery even smaller. So I was at risk for a stroke.

So I went to the ER and they really, I learned, they really just sent me to the ER so that I would get on medication immediately. It Really in that moment, maybe wasn't life-threatening because the people in the ER were like "Why are you here?" Which was really disconcerting to me at the time, but they weren't bothered.

So it was kind of like, oh, maybe that's a good sign. So I got on blood thinners and I was given movement restrictions. I was told that there were movements that I could do and movements that I couldn't do. And that was the first time in my life that I've ever been told how to move.

I wasn't allowed to get my heart rate up. I wasn't allowed to strain or lift anything, including my children, because they just didn't know how stable the injury was at the time. So this also coincided with when I was beginning to record videos for my virtual wellness studio. And here I am being told that I can only move in certain ways. So that was a challenge.

And I knew that I needed to take care of myself, but I also had this vision that I wanted to put out. I wanted to do this, this virtual studio full of movement classes, and self massage classes. So I used that time when I had those movement restrictions to record gentler classes, classes that were intentionally relaxing or self massage classes for recovery, things like that.

Then eventually, once they realized that the injury was stable. I was allowed to get my heart rate up more, but I still have a lifting restriction. So to get back to your question about how I make movement accessible, one way is through my virtual studio. I have some free classes on there. I have a long, free 30 day trial period, because I know it can take people a long time to actually make it to their free trial.

And then I have lots of different levels of classes or classes for all levels and within each class I'm consistently offering ways that you can modify the movement that we're doing to fit with your body better. And then on a bigger level. As far as making movement accessible apart from the virtual studio is helping people to understand that movement and exercise aren't necessarily the same thing.

If you imagine a large dinner plate that is movement, and then you set a small saucer inside of it, that is exercise. So movement happens all the time. Even when we're still because we blink, we breathe. Movement is any change in shape of your body.

And then the next step up from movement is physical activity. And that's any movement that causes you to expend calories. So raking the leaves would be considered physical activity. My job, giving a massage, that would be physical activity.

But then exercise, is physical activity that is done for a prescribed amount of time. Usually it's repetitive in nature and you probably have like a specific outcome that you're trying to get.

So when people think a lot of people have it in their mind that exercise is movement is physical activity. And while that's true, physical activity and movement are way bigger than exercise and can happen anywhere, anytime. So showing people how they can program their lives, like set it and forget it to move more whether or not they're wearing yoga pants or, or a track suit or whatever it might be. I think that's probably the biggest way that I make movement accessible to people is to show them how to organically embed it into their everyday lives.

[00:38:03] Booth: I love that. So. Your reels make me happy. And I cannot say that about a lot of them. So just

[00:38:16] Jen: What you like about them?

[00:38:17] Booth: I don't know if it's the pureness of heart that comes behind them. And the there's part of your, your reels, I feel like embracing our inner child is just part of the formula. I don't know. They make me happy. So if you don't follow Jen yet, you can follow her on Instagram @thekindbodymovement.

And also you can find her on Facebook @kindbodymovement and on the web at kindbodymovement.com. But can you, so I heard you give a talk at the Maker City Summit in September, and you talked about "proudayou."

Can you talk about that a little bit? Because that also makes me happy.

[00:39:00] Jen: Yeah. Proudayou. So that actually came from a friend. I didn't come up with that. A fellow massage therapist, Whitney Bennet, shout out to Whitney. She's a lovely person and a super kind person and not a judgy person at all.

And she would always say, so I would, I would, we would be at The Glowing Body, like in between clients chatting. And I would say something like, well, I'm thinking about, like, I think I'm going to get a cookie later or like, oh, I'm thinking, I feel like I need to take a nap or like, oh, I think I just want to go home and watch TV, you know, like whatever it was or like, oh, I'm going to have a glass of wine when I get home. Whatever it was, she would say, "proudayou," because those are things that we, as a society don't necessarily think like create wellbeing, you know, like people hate on cookies all the time and think that they're morally inferior to broccoli, which is false.

So just like this idea of the vast majority of us are doing the best that we can with what we've got. And so when we say, when we communicate that we're going to do this thing, whatever it is, XYZ, whether or not it involves things that our culture thinks are healthy like exercise, green smoothies, you know, being, being skinny, living an austere lifestyle, any of that stuff, when you consider what you want and you go for it. I think we should be proud of that.

And we should support one another because like I said, we really are trying that's that we can. And when you say that health is organic food, supplements a personal trainer or an expensive, monthly pass to a gym or something like that, you're restricting access to health, to people that don't have those resources.

Sometimes health is eating a fucking cookie.

[00:41:23] Booth: Well, and one of the most important aspects and elements of my wellbeing journey has been learning to be kind and practice compassion for myself. Like being kind, which is why I love the name of your wellness studio, being kind to my body, being kind to my heart, being kind to that human being, who's doing the very best she can with what she got presented with today.

And I think maybe that's one of the reasons why I resonate with it so much because that turning a compassionate and kind eye back toward ourselves, at least for me, has been an incredibly important component of learning to tend to and care for my body in a way that allowed it to heal after frankly, decades of abuse.

[00:42:14] Jen: Yeah. When I was coming up with the name KindBody, I was in the wake of the carotid dissection, and also we were in the midst of year one of the global pandemic and, just, people were and still are, but I feel like maybe the volumes like turned down a little bit on it because we're, we've been in it for so long and everybody's tired and kind of used to it.

But in the beginning, people were so mean, so mean, and not just surrounding the pandemic, but with politics and all of the stuff that was going on. And I just really thought, I came to a point where I realized that self care, self care and movement were the ways that I could both take care of myself and my family,, make my living and work to create the world that I want to see in the world that I believe that we need and the world needs more kindness.

So we need to be kind to ourselves. So the KindBody is first being kind to you, but then. When you are being kind to yourself, then you're going to turn around and you're going to be a kind body to somebody else. And not only are you going to be a kind body to somebody else, but you're going to be kind to their body also, because that's the thing that's in front of us is a body.

And so for me, like self care and movement, they allow me to obviously take care of myself, to take care of my family, to be a good mom, to be a good wife, to be a present friend. But they also, for me, it has a social and environmental ethos as well of it's a way for me to examine my biases. I've learned so much in the past two years about fatphobia and anti-fat bias. And then, of course the ongoing, it's all ongoing, but the social justice movement, how it got reignited or more up-front in white folks faces in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

Those things, we all deserve self-care whether or not we have a body that is valued by commercial capitalist America. And then the environmental piece is that when I can take responsibility for my body's movements, then I'm not putting as much strain on the earth. So things like, if I walk, when I can, instead of driving, that's a really simple thing which can be hard to do here in Knoxville, but then even things just like the way that I prepare my dinner.

We have so many convenience foods, which are great for people who need them. Sometimes I need them, but sometimes a lot of the time I don't, I can get a block of cheese and shred it myself. I can get a bag of carrots and cut them myself. I can cut my own fruits and vegetables so I can get them without the plastic packaging.

I can take them home and do that myself and reduce the amount of waste that I have. I can cook. So I'm. I can reduce packaging that way and I can walk around the farmer's market. So I shop local, you know, so it's, it seems small and it might seem like, well, that's a stretch, Jen, but that's how I show up for myself and my community and the earth. And that's what I want to communicate to my kids and my clients as well.

[00:45:58] Booth: And what I love about that also is. Yeah. I remember when I realized that mindfulness could be brushing my teeth with awareness that I was brushing my teeth or washing the dishes with awareness that I'm washing the dishes, just being present to what I'm doing, as opposed to my head being somewhere that I'm not.

And I remember when I realized that working out for me, some of the types of working out that I do is very meditative. I'm fully present. I'm fully grounded. I feel that same way in the pool, you know, swimming laps. And again, just, you know, I think because there is so much media around what health and wellbeing and self care quote, unquote are supposed to look like it can make all of those things--and this has come up several times in this conversation--it can make all of those things feel very far away and very inaccessible and very much like I can't do that for lots of really good reasons.

And so, you know, when you think about movement as shredding your own block of cheese if you have a grater, or cutting your own carrots and recognizing that, that counts that that is that's movement! And it's making a choice to move in a way that you might not have otherwise, if you had the precut carrots or the pre shredded cheese and with the wellbeing work that I do with folks it's really about, and trying to encourage people to understand that it is, what seemingly small decisions that we make, that when you make them repeatedly over a period of time can have an incredibly transformative effect on your life, and your family, and your community and the world around you. It doesn't have to be a magic bullet. It's really about making little decisions every day.

Again, moving toward moving toward your body, moving toward your wellbeing, as opposed to moving away from it. And recognizing that some days we're going to move away from it. And some days we're going to be in neutral and that is okay too. And that the cumulative goal over time is building in those small habits that are frankly integrated in response to whatever messages our bodies are sending us at the time, which also will evolve as we progress through our journey.

So is there anything about self care or wellbeing or movement or bodies that I haven't asked that you want to make sure we capture.

[00:48:36] Jen: I could talk about bodies all day and nervous systems all day. But one thing that does come to mind since we both work in the self-care and self-development realms, I think it's important to point out that we need to approach self care and self development with the mindset of even if I don't do anything differently, even if I stay the same as I am today, I am worthy of love and belonging and care

[00:49:07] Booth: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. This is not about earning anything. This is not about being more lovable or more worthy. If you, as Jen said earlier, live an austere lifestyle and do it all perfectly.

This is about. The power of acknowledging your worth and value inherent and separate from anything that you do or don't do or perform or don't perform. And because you realize that you are worthy of tender, loving care, you start turning that tender, loving care toward yourself as needed when needed. So I love that.

Jen, thank you so much for joining me today. And if you missed it before, you can find Jen on Instagram @kindbodymovement on Facebook @kindbodymovement and on the web at kindbodymovement.com. Thank you for listening today. And if you haven't already please hit subscribe or follow and remember to rate this podcast because when you take those simple steps, you make it easier for other people to find this content. I look forward to being back with you next time.