We had the good fortune of connecting with Shannon Truax and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shannon, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work/life balance is the most sought after, yet rarely achieved goal in this modern society. As a nurse whose career was more of a passion or calling- it was hard to separate work from the rest of my life. There were many drives home after work replaying the incidents of the shift in my head. Showers spent thinking about the family members you had to give bad news to and needing a beer or a glass of wine was just how it was sometimes. Lying in bed awake at night thinking about the next shift and how you need to go to sleep but you are just too “tired but wired” was also a common ritual. There’s a healthy numbness you eventually obtain as a healthcare professional that protects your heart and mind from bringing everything home. We also develop a rather sick sense of humor that only others in the field understand. Also, how do you separate work and life when your co workers become like family? Hanging out for after work drinks, celebrating life events, and dinners spent together becomes the norm. Not to mention the fact that even on your days off- you are still a nurse! Someone gets hurt at the family BBQ or a friend has a little too much to drink and you flip back into “nurse mode”. Eventually, you figure out that your days off for the most part need to be your days off. How you care for yourself on those days will make a huge difference for how you feel for your days on. So how did this balance transfer into the business world? Well to be honest- it wasn’t a smooth transition. Once you start a business it seems as if there are no days off. A new business is like a newborn baby that needs 24/7 attention. You are the sales team, the marketing team, the creative idea person, the promoter, the star of the show, and all the supporting cast. Eventually, you realize that a “one man show” isn’t very balanced or fun. Finding balance in the business world had to come from learning to set business hours, having collaborations and team work with others, and learning to say “no” to opportunities. When you are starting out, you tend to take on all the projects that come your way. For me, my business was still health related so saying no to events and opportunities was hard to do. I still had the passion to help others, even if it meant I was not balanced myself. Setting business hours when I was already used to working 12 hour shifts was hard as well. I got into the mode of I can do this! I thought true entrepreneurs work their ass off until the work is done. But the truth is, there has to be down time. You need to rest and reset. Humans are not meant to be on all the time. If I was going to teach others about finding balance, reducing stress, and self care- I had to do it too. The crazy part is- I knew what not having balance was doing to my body and health. I knew the effects of stress and not getting adequate sleep. I taught this very stuff on stages, for corporations, and to my clients. Healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs are sometimes the worst at finding balance! But it is also our passion and drive that keep us doing what we do. The balance comes from prioritizing the VIP. In life, the VIP of businesses, celebrity life, and in the club/bar scene is the person who gets the most rewards, benefits, and attention. Guess who is the VIP of your own life? You are! Scheduling in that VIP time in the calendar first and working the rest of the schedule around that is one way to find some balance. You wouldn’t cancel on the VIP in other situations so canceling on yourself isn’t an option either. Setting healthy boundaries is another way of bringing balance to your life. When we care about others, there can be this guilt we carry when we can’t be everything for everyone. It can be as simple as not answering calls or texts from clients or business partners after a certain time of the day. Finding balance in the day can be challenging much less finding it in the week or even as a lifestyle. This is true especially if you are a motivated, giving type. Finding balance prevents burnout. Burnout doesn’t help you accomplish anything! It is best to avoid it by making yourself a priority and doing the things you need to do to relax and get centered. It will always be a work in progress to keep the work/life balance flow, but it is an essential part of being successful for both work and the rest of life.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
You Heart Life is the business I created for helping others with a more integrative approach to health. I took my background as a cardiac ICU nurse and wanted to help people to better take care of themselves as a more preventative application to health. You Heart Life is unique in that it offers 1:1 health coaching, group coaching, and wellness events mostly available online making it accessible to everyone. The key is making the health knowledge I know easy to apply to my clients lives and the education shared in a way that is relatable. I also help get other healthcare professionals healthy and bring integrative care into private practices in order to help more people on a larger scale. The goal is to get the workers of the healthcare system healthier and that will then translate to the care they give their patients. I do speaking engagements many times focused on understanding and managing stress and finding healthy lifestyles through small changes to daily routines which I have done at Sharp Healthcare and for Aya Healthcare based in San Diego. I was asked to be one of the key note speakers for Sharps Annual Integrative Health Forum last year and was so happy I could talk to fellow healthcare workers on how to prevent burnout. It has been a challenging journey figuring out the business side of things as medical professionals tend to want to help and give discounts left and right. Eventually you figure out how to own the value of the products and services you offer and have open discussions with clients about their care and payments. You Heart Life is focused on helping others find health and wellness so they can live their life without the burdens of illness, heart disease, or stress.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego is such a gorgeous city with almost perfect weather year round, so it isn’t surprising that most of us love to be outdoors. It is also a very active city so the list of things to do is endless. With the Mexican boarder as our neighbor- a day trip to the wineries of Mexico stopping to get delicious lobster on the way back is a great, easy get away. Exploring the farmer’s market and hanging at a less populated beach in IB is a fun Friday afternoon event. Biking or rollerblading along the Silver Strand on the way back from IB heading into Coranado is a fun time too. McP’s Irish Pub is fun for grabbing a beer and listening to live music. Crusing over the Coranado Bridge back into downtown can lead to exploring the Gaslamp District, doing a walk through Seaport, having some Gelato in Little Italy or going to the Shout House for some fun night time entertainment with dueling pianos. Balboa Park is great for exploring museums and sitting outside reading a book. For great people watching- head over to Ocean Beach or walk the boardwalk in Pacific Beach. A great hiking trail with ocean views is the Torrey Pine State Park where you can hike up for great views and then back down to the ocean. Any of the beaches or harbors are great for paddle boarding. There are so many great outdoor seating restaurants all over San Diego. It really is a great city for being outside!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to all the nurses and doctors who have made me the nurse I am today. My ICU family are awesome! Also, many thanks to Jane Chen, Sara Tugender, Dr. Dedra Mason, and Brandi Murphy for all their help in teaching me how to get functional medicine and wellness into private practices and sharing their wealth of knowledge on business skills and health info. Thanks to the Institute of Functional Medicine, the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and Nutrametrix for everything I’ve learned from them!
Instagram: @youheartlife @shannontruax