BW 037: Finding Rest when You're Overwhelmed - with Alexandra Tanon Olsson

industry interview Jun 27, 2023
 

Watch the video here or on YouTube; listen anywhere podcasts are played (Apple, Spotify, Google…)

The Transcript is below.

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Today on the Brave Widow Show I am so excited to host a personal friend and someone who served as my life coach. She is just a genuinely amazing human being. She's worked with me a lot to understand as best she can, widowhood and grief and what it's like to have that experience.

Alexandra Tanon Olsson (under_thejunipertree) is a mental health coach who helps driven individuals slow down, avoid burnout, and get clear on their goals leading to an intentional present and purpose-filled life.

After navigating through her personal life challenges, Alexandra was sparked with the yearning to help others. She learned that the most sustainable way to gain clarity and reach goals in life is by getting out of your head, slowing down and being present with yourself, avoiding burnout. She was inspired by the slow pace of living in Sweden, her newfound home, which was polar opposite to her fast pace upbringing in Miami. She learned a new, more sustainable way of living, a life of presence, intentionality, and purpose. She hopes to help others gain clarity in their lives so they too may reach their goals and live a life of purpose and intention.

She lives by the motto, maybe the fastest way to get where you wanna be is by simply slowing down.

 

We talk about:

~ Implementing rest

~ Different types of rest

~ Why rest is important for a widow

 

You can find Alexandra at:

Instagram | @under_thejunipertree

Website | Under the Juniper Tree

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The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at bravewidow.com.  

 

Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!

 

FOLLOW me on SOCIAL:

Twitter @brave_widow

Instagram @brave_widow

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bravewidow

YouTube@bravewidow

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Transcription:

Emily Jones: [00:00:00] Hey, hey. Welcome to episode number 37 of The Brave Widow Show. Today I am so excited to host a personal friend and someone who served as my life coach Alexandra to the show today. Alexandra is just a genuinely amazing human being. She's worked with me a lot to understand as best she can, widowhood and grief and what it's like to have that experience. 

Emily Jones: And she's just one of those people that is a good person and someone that I truly enjoy being around. So let me introduce you to her and we'll dive right in. Alexandra Tannin Olsen is a mental health coach who helps driven individuals slow down, avoid burnout, and get clear on their goals leading to an intentional present and purpose-filled life. 

Emily Jones: After navigating through her personal life challenges, Alexandra was sparked with the yearning to help others. She learned that the most sustainable way to gain [00:01:00] clarity and reach goals in life is by getting out of your head, slowing down and being present with yourself, avoiding burnout. She was inspired by the slow pace of living in Sweden. 

Emily Jones: Her newfound home, which was polar opposite to her fast pace upbringing in Miami. She learned a new, more sustainable way of living, a life of presence, intentionality, and purpose. She hopes to help others gain clarity in their lives so they too may reach their goals and live a life of purpose and intention. 

Emily Jones: She lives by the motto, maybe the fastest way to get where you wanna be is by simply slowing down. Please join me in welcoming Alexandra to the show. 

Emily Jones: Hey. Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of The Brave Widow Show. Today I have a very special guest for you. I have miss Alexandra, and the reason why Alexandra is such a special guest is because we were both in a faith-based coaching program together [00:02:00] and as part of our practicum and our coaching hours Alexandra was my personal coach, and I think she has so many amazing insights and pieces of wisdom to share that I'm just super excited to have her on the show today. So Alexandra, welcome.  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Thank you. What a nice introduction.  

Emily Jones: Yes, very genuine. I've enjoyed our time together. I think we spent about six months together several hours each week on video calls in our classes Yes. 

Emily Jones: And coaching. Yeah. Feel like we got to know each other pretty well, but our audience does not know you. So why don't you share a little bit of your background and who you are and what you do.  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: I'm Alexandra. I, like Emily said, I met her on the coaching program and I am a coach as well, and I mainly focus on mental health and rest. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: There's a, I feel like in the society it's a lot of pushing and high achieving and overachieving, and I feel like I've had that problem in my life a [00:03:00] lot, and I found that the more that I pushed towards things and tried to control and just force things, the more, it just, it didn't work out. So I'm here to preach about rest and how important that is, and to find peace and be present in your life basically. 

Emily Jones: Yes. I love that. And I think we are both high achieving people in recovery maybe that were averse to us. And we were just talking earlier about how it's easy for me to feel like I just need to go and get things done and just power through and rest and even my own physical health are usually like the bottom of the totem pole because I'm just so focused on everyone else around me or on all the things that need to happen. 

Emily Jones: And I definitely have had periods of time where, Feeling very driven, very ambitious, doing everything you can [00:04:00] to get things done, but then ultimately end up feeling drained, burnout, irritable and just having that lack of feeling vibrant and full of energy. What you have helped walk a good portion of my healing journey with me as my personal coach and understanding some of the dynamics that are there with grief and losing a spouse. 

Emily Jones: So I feel like a lot of our audience pretty well. But what advice would you give people, or how should someone start even thinking about rest if they're at a point where, All they see is that huge to-do list that's a mile long and they're feeling drained and burned out. How do they even start wrapping their mind around implementing rest as part of their normal routine? 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: So the first thing I would say is to think of rest as a discipline. Like for overachieving people, it's really hard to slow down. It's painful. Because you are seeing this list of to-dos, and it's I have to do that. And I [00:05:00] imagine as a widow, it's I am the only one who can do this. You know there, what do you mean? 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: What are you talking about? Right? But it's a discipline. If we keep pushing and pushing, it's like you're working out of an empty cup. There's, you're draining yourself. You're gonna hit burnout. And then what? There's nothing. But if you find rest, at least I like to just encourage people to rest on Sundays. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Take one day out of the week where you can relax. And in the beginning, I'm sure that it's gonna feel boring and it's okay, I'm gonna try to relax now, and this is not relaxing. And you're just, stuck in your mind. But once you start practicing, it becomes more of a routine. It's like working out or starting a new habit. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: So I would just say think of rest as a discipline and rest is what is gonna sustain all these to-dos that you have to do and not make it feel so forced and Yeah. Not lead to burnout basically.  

Emily Jones: Yeah. And I like how you called it a discipline, cuz that makes me [00:06:00] think that you have to proactively think about, okay when do I get that downtime or that me time or time of just resting? 

Emily Jones: It's not something that's just magically gonna happen Oh, I found an extra hour in my day, now I'm gonna go get some rest. Yeah. You have to think about when you're gonna work that in.  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: And I encourage, Sorry. No, go ahead. I encourage people to put that in your calendar first, prioritize your rest and recreation time, and then you can fill in, okay, what do I have to do after that? 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Because that's what's gonna give you the energy and the will and the excitement even to get the things you have to do done.  

Emily Jones: Yes, totally agree. And yeah. Gives you more, definitely gives you more energy and feels like you're more accomplished than just operating in that constant burnout mode. Yeah. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: So when you have time to rest and you kinda get into that routine, you are gonna see that you have ideas coming at you. You have solutions that you didn't think of before, because when you're [00:07:00] running in this burnout phase, this Forcing things to keep going and going. It's like you have a one track mind and you can't see these new possibilities that can be just around the corner if you just slow down and let yourself be. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: But when you do get to that state, you invite new solutions for your life. Maybe things that you feel like there's no way out, there's no way to figure this out right now, and there's less way of figuring it out when you're on go. And it's, you're not just, you're not giving yourself time to think about it or just not to think about it, to just be. 

Emily Jones: Yeah. And what are your thoughts on rest? So when we say, okay, people should practice, Resting and being in that restful state what does that look like, or what suggestions would you have for people that are having a hard time thinking about just being still?  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: So there's a lot of different types of rest. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: There's rest where you're just alone and everybody's different, right? Everybody's gonna feel rest, fuller at peace, doing different things. Some [00:08:00] people like to just lay down in the sun and do nothing, read a book. Some people like to socialize. That gives them energy. Some people like to be creative and do something fun. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: So there's different ways to find rest. It's just about taking the time to really slow down and see what it is that you need to fill your cup and to find peace within  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: yourself.  

Emily Jones: Yeah, I like that. And I know for people, we may have folks that are extroverted and so they get a lot of energy being around other people, hanging out with their friends, socializing. 

Emily Jones: As an introvert, that drains me, so that would not be my choice for rest. But I enjoy it, but doesn't give me rest at all. Yeah, it's the opposite effect. Yeah. Yeah, mine would look a little different. And one thing that. I did to your point was I started I'm a horrible artist, but I found these tutorials online that would teach you how to draw step-by-step or even do like hand lettering. 

Emily Jones: And it just felt like [00:09:00] this very slow, methodical process of just focusing on that one thing. Yeah. Really helped just free my mind of all the things that are whirling around it. Yeah. For some people that may be gardening, for some people that may be crocheting, but it's, just giving your mind the opportunity to breathe and be present in that moment instead of thinking about all the what ifs and the things that are on our future agenda. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Yes, you definitely nailed it. That's like number one, being mindful and being present in whatever task you're doing. Like gardening or like crocheting or you're fully present and you're mindful and you are just there out of your head. A lot of people like to pick up new hobbies like you said, crocheting or jewelry making or something that you have to focus to be mindful because they're so in their heads that's what they need to rest and just not think of anything else except  

Emily Jones: their task. 

Emily Jones: Yes I'm very guilty of that, [00:10:00] although when I started. Going to yoga many years ago, they were, the instructors are very good throughout the practice of saying, okay, refocus your thoughts, come back to the room, focus on your hands on the mat. And like you said, it was very disciplined. 

Emily Jones: Like it was just this constant reminder of just focus right here, right now. If your thoughts drift, that's okay. Bring them back. To what you're doing and you end up feeling so refreshed and rejuvenated whenever you do that. Absolutely. What. Suggestions, if any. Do you have for, let's say somebody's having a hard time just existing or they're having a hard time just focusing and keeping their mind present. 

Emily Jones: Is there anything, any breathing techniques or anything that you could think of to help people really focus on the here and now and let themselves just rest?  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: I really like to do yoga. That really keeps me focused. I usually put on some [00:11:00] music and I, when I put music on, I get lost in there and then I can do, I can just move my body how it wants to move, and I do yoga and I just dance if I want to. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Another thing that's helpful is going on a mindful walk. Some people really don't like to sit still and meditate and they just can't do that. It's not restful, especially in the beginning. So just going on a walk and being mindful of what's around you, like being fully present, filling your feet, touch the ground, smelling what's in the air, looking at just observing your surroundings helps you stay present in that moment. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: And breathing techniques. There's a bunch of them, but that's a good one too. I like to use essential oils if I'm feeling like anxious or I'm in my head a lot. I love frankincense, so I just take deep breaths and try to ground myself and smell the essential oils and that really helps me. 

Emily Jones: Yeah, I hadn't thought about the essential oils, but I could definitely, they have aromatherapy, so that definitely  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: makes sense. Yeah. Yeah,  

Emily Jones: that's great for [00:12:00] using that oh, that's great. Any other advice or suggestions for people on. How to incorporate rest, or how do they know that they are getting enough rest and that they're giving themselves really the time that they need? 

Emily Jones: Say they can't do a full day during the week, how do they know what the right amount is?  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Starting off with anything is, great. I imagine for a widow in the beginning especially, maybe it's like it's overwhelming to find that time. I'm sure that things add up sometimes and you're just like, where am I gonna put this slot in? 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Especially if you have kids and you just have activities all over the place. But I love to wake up really early in the morning, like five, six in the morning. My daughter helps me cuz she's five months old, so you know, it's time to feed and then I'm awake and then I just have that time for myself too have that stillness, that quiet. I like to read my devotional and just pray and whatever it is that brings me [00:13:00] peace during that time. If I have 10 minutes or 30 minutes, an hour the time doesn't always matter so much. It's maybe it's, it can be 10 minutes every morning that you have just to like breathe, center yourself. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: I like to do gratitude, so a practice of gratitude. So I just say what I'm thankful for. And I pray and I just set my intentions for the day, and that has really helped me. It's not, it doesn't have to be a whole day thing, but just taking a few minutes every day for yourself I think is  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: really important. 

Emily Jones: Yeah, I agree. I notice when I take even a few minutes in the morning to read my Bible, pray and just think about let thoughts come to top of my mind that I feel a lot more focused and not as harried and stressful throughout the day. So I think that definitely helps and For those who are grieving, if you're having trouble sleeping or falling asleep or feeling like that's an issue I started listening to these guided sleep meditation [00:14:00] talk downs on YouTube and That has been super helpful and it does a lot of what Alexandra has mentioned where, you're laying there in a comfortable position, you close your eyes, typically you're focused on one body part at a time. 

Emily Jones: Just relaxing that. And usually I make it about halfway and I'm completely conked out and asleep. That's something that's very helpful with just causing you to implement that discipline of being focused, of relaxing, of resting, and getting rid of a lot of those thoughts that just tend to scurry around in our minds. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Yeah, that's Really helpful. It's body scanning, so it just completely touches you on a meditative state. It's great. It is. Yeah.  

Emily Jones: Another thing I would share that was helpful for me is I remember I'm very much a check the box kind of a person. And after Nathan died, there were so many things that I just kept adding to my list that needed to be done and figure out and all of that. 

Emily Jones: And I was telling my dad like, I'm so frustrated [00:15:00] because for every one thing I'm taking off my to-do list, I'm just adding five more things back on there and it just feels like I'm drowning and I can't get ahead and he was like, only focus on today what has to be done today. Like not everything on your list has to be done right now. 

Emily Jones: And it's not that I didn't know that, but I think hearing somebody reiterate, it just clicked in my mind. And so what I did was use my calendar to time block all of my to-dos. So if I needed to sweep off the porch, if I needed to get the car titles changed over, like I put that on my calendar and I treated it just like it was a meeting or an appointment or something that couldn't be moved and it's very tempting to put in things like rest, so to say, okay, this afternoon's gonna be about me, or I'm gonna go do self-care, or go to a yoga class or take this time to read and to meditate. But that's usually one of the first things that we're quick to book [00:16:00] on top of because we think it's such a low priority. 

Emily Jones: Do you have any suggestions for people of how they can self-regulate or ensure that they're putting in boundaries to protect some of that space and time that's needed to  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: rest? 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Like you said, just time blocking it. Your priorities, okay, what's my intention for this day? What's a priority? What do I need to get done today? And you do that, but then the rest like, do I really need to do this today? Because it's so tempting for overachievers, high-achievers to just keep adding to the list, and then you're just not present in your life and you're missing out on things that you may not wanna miss out on. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: So just practicing, not filling your schedule, and like I said, prioritizing your downtime first. Taking time to really think of your priorities and your whole life and what you wanna put your time towards.  

Emily Jones: That's what I would say.  

Emily Jones: Yeah. Awesome. I love that. And for all you high achievers out there. 

Emily Jones: Stop [00:17:00] underestimating the amount of time it takes to actually do stuff, because I'm also guilty about that. And then I don't have any buffered time for rollover or, oh, I thought this was only gonna take 30 minutes and it took two hours and now,  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Yeah. And that's the thing with rest. It's like when you find, when you have that time for yourself, the things that you have to get, you do it faster because you're energized. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: You filled your cup and sometimes the fastest way to do things is by slowing down. It's true. Yes. At least that's what I've learned.  

Emily Jones: All right, Alexandra. Tell people how they can find you and how you may be able to help them if they wanna work with you in the future.  

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: So you can find me on Instagram under the Juniper tree and my email, I'm sure maybe you can link it. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: It's alexandra olson gmail.com and you can just contact me anytime.  

Emily Jones: Awesome. Yes, and we'll definitely put all the links in the show notes. So for you guys that are listening don't worry about having to write it down or if you're driving or something, please don't do that. [00:18:00] But we'll have all the links available for you in the show notes so that you can learn more about Alexandra and what she does. 

Emily Jones: And she's been a great personal accountability person for me and reminding me that, sometimes we just need to slow down and find rest. And ultimately that helps us be a happier, healthier version of ourselves. So Alexandra, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I was really glad to be  

Emily Jones: able to host you. 

Alexandra Tanon Olsson: Thank you so much, Emily. It was fun being here.  

 

Emily Jones: Hey guys. Thank you so much for listening to the Brave Widow Podcast. I would love to help you take your next step, whether that's healing your heart, finding hope, or achieving your dreams for the future. 

Emily Jones: Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey, [00:19:00] organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions? The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need. 

Emily Jones: Inside you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave widow.com to learn more.​  

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