You Are Complex: Meet Author, Motivational Speaker & Wellbeing Coach Jennifer Gulbrand
Here at Vibrant Health, we believe health is an inside job, unique to you. After all, you’re one-of-a-kind and your needs are complex – that’s why your supplements should be too.
To celebrate all of the beautiful complexities of our lives, each month we’ve been highlighting individuals in our community – taking a peek into the behind-the-scenes of their work life, wellness routines and all the wonderful things that make them who they are.
In honor of Professional Wellness Month, this June on the Vibrant Health blog we got to chat with Jennifer Gulbrand, a multi-talented woman who truly lives and breathes wellness every day (in her personal life and work life while operating a wellness center). As an Author, Wellbeing Coach, Holistic Healer, and Somatics Therapy Practitioner, she empowers people to live in better alignment through modalities such as positive psychology, mindfulness, meditation, breath work and movement.
In this insightful interview, we got to chat with Jenn about the importance of resilience in the workplace, tools for minimizing stress and burnout, and how she’s built heart-centered communities through SheBreathes Balance Women’s Collaborative and the WeBreathe Wellness Center. We hope you enjoy our series…and remember, keep being you!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Courageous, Compassionate, Community-Minded
Tell us about how you started your journey in the wellness space!
Hello Beautiful Souls…Corporate Dropout gone Goddess here! I spent 21 years owning and operating a sales training business in the life science industry and found tremendous value serving in a leadership role, building and supporting a team’s professional development, and providing best-in-class customer service to our clients. I was genuinely grateful for our success however, 15 years into the role, I began to feel as though something was missing. The business mission was worthy, it fed my family and supported my employee’s families, but the role was not feeding my soul and I was BURNT OUT! I knew I was being called to refocus my energy on a more holistic approach to living.
For years, I ignored that inner voice telling me I was meant for more. I fell victim to negative self-talk and allowed those limiting beliefs to prevent me from moving forward. And then a very close friend was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and everything changed. Suddenly the world looked very different to me and I was reminded that we really only have today. I knew I had to find a way to recalibrate and get back on course with the life I was designed to be living.
In 2016, I bravely stepped out of my comfort zone and created SheBreathes Balance & Wellness Studio with the intention to create and hold space for women to practice self-care, experience sisterhood and be supported by a tribe of like-minded women. It was in that moment that I began vibrating on a higher frequency, because I was living in alignment and helping to change lives for the better
Three years later, I put fear aside again and took another leap of faith. Two weeks before the global COVID pandemic hit, I signed a lease to expand our physical space to create WeBreathe Wellness, an inclusive retreat center for men and women to experience growth and healing. My timing may not have been ideal on the expansion but I stayed the course.
My spiritual awakening was painful at times but I know now that Source was driving me to take actions that were for my highest good so I could be of service to others. I put faith over fear and followed my soul’s calling to help heal the human heart and raise the collective vibration.
As the founder of both SheBreathes Women’s Collaborative and the WeBreathe Wellness Center in Walpole, Massachusetts, speak to the importance of being part of a community.
Long before the over-scheduled work week and the isolating days of social media, people lived in cultures where they supported one another in all aspects of life. Together they raised and protected children, foraged for food, and helped each other through life’s daily challenges. As humans and technology evolved, people became more independent, and the time previously dedicated to togetherness became less important—or so it seemed. Sadly, we are socialized to compare ourselves with another and to compete, yet our true nature is one of collectivism.
Studies show that we are designed to connect with each other. In times of stress or need, we release oxytocin, a hormone that compels one to nurture and bond. These bonds result in positive mental, physical, and emotional well-being and restore us to our true nature.
I know from personal and professional experience that, when we come together with a shared intention, amazing things happen. When we create a supportive environment to laugh, explore, and share genuine experiences, we strengthen our community and raise the collective vibration of our world.
June is Professional Wellness Month, shining a light on creating healthy, holistic environments for employees. What's something you wish more companies focused on when it comes to wellness in the workplace?
The people in any company are the organization's most important asset. Yet how can anyone be a productive contributor or resource to their company, their coworkers, or their employees when they are not appropriately caring for themselves?
Everyone is talking about this idea of resilience, but what does it really mean? Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficult situations and circumstances. But the truth is that a large aspect of one’s resilience, and therefore overall wellbeing, is determined by how one can learn to recharge, not by how much is being endured.
We need to start changing the conversation from “what we can endure” to how we can proactively boost our resilience and overall wellbeing — and provide real life, practical examples of tools and practices to help people to recharge, manage stress, and improve their whole-body, mind and soul’s health and well-being.
We need to be teaching people how to breathe, what it means to be mindful, how to meditate, the importance of nourishing and moving their bodies every single day! We need to learn to drop from our busy monkey minds into our hearts and into our physical bodies to stop and listen and learn from all the wisdom that resides within all of us.
What does a "healthy" work environment look like to you?
I think of a healthy work environment as a safe space where people’s wellbeing is the #1 priority. In a healthy work environment, the leadership team fosters values based on trust, cooperation, support, and accountability. The team is striving for a shared purpose and working collaboratively to promote positive communications and interactions.
Do you have any go-to tips for combatting stress and burnout?
It’s important to check in with yourself and ask yourself daily “on a scale of 1 to 10, how am I feeling inside my body?” If you’re feeling out of sync, you’re probably in a fight or flight state of unrest.
Recognize Your Warning Signs – What are you Experiencing?
- Mood swings/irritability
- Change in appetite
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Change in sleep patterns
- Decrease in productivity
- Easily distracted
- Lack of motivation or reduced energy levels
Then Identify What Boosts Your Mental Health and DO MORE OF THAT!
- Take Breaks Away from the Computer/Workstation
- Mindful Breathwork and Meditation Breaks
- Get Outside to Move Your Body
- Make Healthy Food Choices to Nourish Your Body
- Surround Yourself with Positive People
- Work with a Coach/Mentor
- Prioritize and Set/Maintain Healthy Boundaries
What are your favorite healthy snacks or meals to fuel a busy workday?
Hmmm, for snacks, I love a green juice or smoothie, avocado toast, nuts or an apple with almond butter. I like to bring a colorful salad in a jar to work for lunch. I drink water all day long!
Do you have any go-to self-care rituals you want to share with our readers? Anything in particular that's helpful when you're at work?
Establishing a regular morning routine is KEY! I own and operate a wellness center so I carve out time every morning for a quiet practice that typically consists of breathwork, meditation, journaling, and yoga/gentle stretching (in that order). I follow that up with organic celery juice and finally my one cup of coffee. Having a morning practice helps me to reduce stress, improve my focus, and keeps me feeling more grounded and connected.
Having a consistent gratitude practice is also very important to me and helps me pull myself back into a higher frequency when I feel myself slipping into a lack mentality.
What does wellness look like for you?
We often think about wellness in terms of physical health — nutrition, exercise, weight management, etc.
To me, wellness is more of a holistic integration of body, mind and spirit wellbeing…it’s about fueling the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit. It’s a whole soul way of living.