Finding Balance: Personal and Professional Challenges in the Skincare Industry

"Finishing what you started is worth it" is possibly the main moral of the story in the season 2 premiere episode of our official podcast, The Skin Wellness Pro Show. In this episode, the conversation between NAA President, Rachael Pontillo and Education Specialist, Tara Swagger, revolves around the experiences of students who enrolled in the Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner Training Program, but faced obstacles that hindered their progress. Despite setbacks such as the shut-down, challenges with work-life balance, and distractions, these students expressed their desire to continue and complete the course.

Watch the episode here:

Download and listen to the episode here:

The episode highlights the importance of perseverance and resilience in achieving personal and professional goals. It acknowledges that life can throw unexpected curveballs that disrupt our plans, but it emphasizes the significance of not giving up. The students who decided to re-engage with the course after a prolonged absence exemplify the determination to finish what they started and honor their commitment to their education and professional development--even if it takes longer than anticipated.

The conversation also touches on the impact of the shut-down on individuals' mindsets and the necessity of adapting to unforeseen circumstances. It forced many people, including those in the aesthetics industry, to reassess their priorities and make necessary adjustments. Rachael and Tara acknowledge the stress and difficulties associated with such situations but emphasize the importance of taking a step back, re-envisioning, and finding a way forward.

Work-life balance isn't always balanced.

Ultimately, this episode conveys that finishing what you started is worth it, regardless of the obstacles encountered along the way. Persevere, even when life gets challenging, and recognize that setbacks do not define your ability to achieve your goals.

The stories of students who returned to the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance after a hiatus serve as reminders that the satisfaction of completing a goal outweighs the challenges faced along the way. We encourage you to embrace the mindset of persisting despite setbacks and to recognize the worthiness of your efforts in pursuing your dreams.

Would you like to learn more about our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program?

Learn more and get started here!


[00:01:09] New school year begins.

[00:04:11] Persistence and Overcoming Adversity.

[00:08:11] Shifting priorities amidst challenges.

[00:14:24] Feeling like a failure.

[00:19:41] Interesting topic.

[00:24:39] Self-care and its importance.

[00:26:10] Prioritizing self-care and wellness.

[00:30:12] The value of facial massage.

[00:33:36] I'm a lady who lunches.

[00:37:48] Cooking adventures with children.


Reflections, Revelations, and Revitalizing the Future of Nutritional Aesthetics®

In our latest episode of The Skin Wellness Pro Show, we took the time to reflect on the incredible journey we've had so far. Can you believe we've already completed 10 episodes? It's been an amazing experience, and we want to express our gratitude for your continued support and engagement. During the episode, Tara and Rachael discuss their plans for the upcoming second season of the podcast, and what they're excited about this fall. They also shared some personal insights from their very busy summers, and shared perspectives on what a truly integrative practice can look like.

Watch Episode 1.10, Reflections, Revelations, and Revitalizing the Future of Nutritional Aesthetics® below:

Download and listen to the episode here:

What is an integrative practice?

As discussed in the podcast, integrative practice refers to the combination of medical and holistic approaches in the beauty industry. By incorporating both practices, we believe practitioners can enhance their value and provide better client results. Now is the perfect time to adopt an integrative approach, as people increasingly seek deeper perspectives on improving their skin and health.

Regardless of one's job in the beauty or wellness industries, integrating holistic practices can benefit both the practitioner and the client. By offering consultations and providing clients with options to improve their overall well-being, practitioners can increase their value in the eyes of their clients.

One of the main advantages of teaching your clients an integrative approach to healthy skin, is that it focuses on providing information and guidance to clients, suggesting simple changes or swaps that can have a significant impact on their health and well-being. These small changes can lead to big transformations in people's lives, making them more likely to become long-term clients.

By focusing on foundational changes such as nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset, practitioners can build a stronger foundation for their clients' skin cells. This, in turn, leads to better results from products, treatments, and procedures offered at salons or spas. What that means is that the results will last longer and come faster, ultimately leading to happier clients who will return more frequently.

Furthermore, we cannot ignore the crucial role of integrative practice in addressing underlying health issues. For example, if a client is experiencing hair loss or thinning, practitioners can suggest that they see a doctor for hormone panels. This holistic approach allows practitioners to assist clients in finding the root cause of their issues rather than simply treating the symptoms with topicals or conditioners. By addressing these deeper imbalances, practitioners can provide more effective solutions and help clients achieve long-lasting results.

Beauty is not just about external appearances.

Our skin, hair, and nails are all influenced by the overall health of our bodies. Integrative practice recognizes this connection and promotes practices that improve overall well-being. By adopting lifestyle practices that support health, clients can experience external improvements and feel better overall.

In conclusion, Nutritional Aesthetics® promotes integrating medical and holistic practices in the beauty industry. It encourages practitioners to consider the whole person and offer various options and pathways to beauty and wellness. By adopting a holistic approach, practitioners can better support their clients in achieving their desired outcomes and feeling their best. There is also a growing interest among medical professionals in incorporating holistic practices into their work.

Overall, the Nutritional Aesthetics® approach emphasizes the importance of being open-minded, inclusive, and supportive of individuals navigating the societal expectations and pressures of aging.

Would you like to learn how to bring our integrative approach to healthy skin to your clients?

You can start your journey today by enrolling in our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program. Click HERE to learn more and enroll. 

woman with healthy skin

Are Amino Acids the Secret to Youthful Skin?

Imagine a bustling construction site where diligent workers are busily assembling the framework for a magnificent skyscraper. Now, envision that each worker is an amino acid, tirelessly operating as the "building blocks" of proteins in our bodies. These dynamic components don't just clock in and clock out - they're involved in a multitude of metabolic processes, meticulously crafting cell structures and functions. Their pièce de résistance? The radiant, resilient skin they help to create. Such is the power and significance of amino acids in our pursuit of optimal skin health.

When we think about proteins associated with youthful, clear, vibrant skin, we often first think of keratin, or corneocytes--the "dead" flattened keratinocytes that are ready to slough off, or the dermal proteins associated with youth, collagen, and elastin. What if we told you that if you want all THOSE proteins to function their best, you need to start with the more basic building blocks of protein? It's true--for optimal proliferation and function of these proteins, the focus needs to be on amino acids more than those end-proteins themselves. Let's break that down!


Woman using amino acid oil on healthy skin

The role of amino acids in skin health

Amino acids all directly nourish the human body, nails, hair, and skin. These organic compounds offer numerous benefits for skin health, including:

1. Collagen production: Amino acids like glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline are critical for collagen production. Collagen, a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin, relies heavily on these amino acids. As we age, our collagen production slows down, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. We can support our body's natural collagen synthesis by ensuring a sufficient intake of these specific amino acids.

2. Maintaining a healthy pH balance: Amino acids help maintain the skin's pH balance, which is crucial for a healthy skin barrier. This balance helps the skin stay hydrated and defends against external irritants and pathogens.

3. Combating the effects of aging: Some amino acids function as antioxidants, fighting off free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and premature aging in the skin. For example, methionine, an essential amino acid, has antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from damage.

4. Promoting healthy skin and nail growth: Amino acids are vital for producing keratin, a protein that promotes healthy skin and nail growth. Our bodies cannot produce enough keratin without adequate amino acids, leading to dry, brittle nails and dull skin.


foods rich in amino acids

Sources of amino acids

The human body requires 20 different amino acids, divided into two categories: non-essential and essential.

Non-Essential Amino Acids: These are synthesized by our bodies and, therefore, do not need to be obtained from our diet. They include alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid, among others.

Essential Amino Acids: These cannot be produced by our bodies and must be obtained through our diet or supplements. They include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Incorporating a variety of foods rich in both essential and non-essential amino acids is key for optimal skin health. These include lean meats, dairy products, eggs, soy, quinoa, and beans.


foods rich in collagen

In the grand scheme of skin health, it's easy to get dazzled by the spotlight shining on popular proteins like keratin, collagen, and elastin.

We admire their roles in maintaining youthful, vibrant skin and often focus our efforts on boosting these specific proteins. But what if the secret to truly radiant skin lies not in these well-known stars, but in the diligent, behind-the-scenes crew? Yes, we're talking about amino acids - the unsung heroes of protein synthesis.

Just as a magnificent skyscraper rests on the strength of its foundation, the efficacy of our skin's proteins relies on the robustness of these basic building blocks. By shifting our focus to amino acids, we're investing in the core of our skin's health. It's a game-changing perspective that could redefine your skincare strategy.

So, let's lift the curtain and give these tireless workers the recognition they deserve. Remember, a well-nourished construction site thrives - and so does your skin. Here's to celebrating the power of amino acids and unlocking the potential for truly optimal skin health!

Do you want to learn more about what micronutrients are needed for healthy, youthful skin?

We teach this extensively in our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program! Learn more and enroll here.

Skin Rash Clients: When (and How) to Refer with Rachael Pontillo, Tara Swagger, and Jennifer Fugo

Skin Rash Clients: When (and How) to Refer with Jennifer Fugo

What do you do when you get a client who comes to you with an itchy, painful, and even embarrassing chronic skin rash--like eczema, psoriasis, or even a severe case of rosacea, and asks what you should do? The client has already been to a dermatologist and regular doctor, and has not had good results from the medications prescribed. As an aesthetician, health coach, or Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner®, you want to help. You know you have some topicals that can help cool and soothe angry, rashed skin. But you also know that the client's skin condition probably has a root cause that hasn't been discovered yet; and while you can help with a lot of foundational healthy skin lifestyle recommendations, you know that functional testing is probably what's needed to really see what's going on. Who do you refer that client to? How do you know it's the right referral?

In this episode of The Skin Wellness Pro Show, we had the pleasure of hosting NAA Advisory Board member, Jennifer Fugo, a clinical nutritionist and the host of the wildly popular "The Healthy Skin Show" podcast. Jennifer shared her expertise on empowering adults who have been failed by conventional medicine to beat chronic skin and gut challenges.

Watch Episode 1.09, "Skin Rash Clients: When (and How) to Refer with Jennifer Fugo" here:

Listen to (or download) the episode here:

Here are three key takeaways from this episode:

1️⃣ The importance of a holistic approach: Jennifer emphasized the need for a holistic approach when addressing chronic skin and gut challenges. She highlighted that medications may provide temporary relief, but they don't always address the root cause of the issue. By taking a holistic approach that considers nutrition, lifestyle, and other factors, practitioners can better support their clients in achieving long-term skin wellness.

2️⃣ The power of collaboration: We discussed the value of collaboration and building a toolbox of resources for clients. Jennifer emphasized that she is not the right fit for everyone, and that's okay. By having a network of trusted colleagues and resources, practitioners can refer clients to other experts who may better fit their specific needs. This collaborative approach ensures clients receive the best care and support on their skin wellness journey.

3️⃣ Empowering clients through education: Jennifer highlighted the importance of empowering clients through education. Instead of undermining what clients may have been told in the past, practitioners can provide them with resources, articles, and interviews to expand their knowledge and encourage them to explore different approaches. By allowing clients to digest information and make informed decisions, practitioners can empower them to take an active role in their skin wellness.

About Jennifer Fugo:

Clinical Nutritionist and skin rash expert, Jennifer FugoJennifer Fugo, MS, LDN, CNS is a clinical nutritionist empowering adults who’ve been failed by conventional medicine to beat chronic skin and unending gut challenges. She has experience working with conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dandruff + hives — with clientele ranging from regular folks to celebrities + professional athletes.

Jennifer also founded her own line of skincare + supplements available at specifically for people struggling with these chronic skin issues. 

She holds a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport and is a Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist. Her work has been featured on Dr. Oz, Reuters, Yahoo!, CNN, and many podcasts and summits. Jennifer is a faculty member of the LearnSkin platform, an Amazon best-selling author, and the host of the Healthy Skin Show.

Connect with Jennifer:

Healthy Skin Show Podcast: 

Quell Shop: 








Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We'd love to hear from you!

Have you ever experienced a scenario like this--where you've had a client, struggling with a stubborn skin issue, who didn't get the support he or she needed from their doctor? A client who you wanted to help, but you also wanted to be mindful of your scope of practice? How did you handle it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Woman holding hands over stomach

The Intricate Connection Between Digestive Health and Skin Conditions

The ancient adage "beauty comes from within" holds more truth than one might realize. The state of our internal health, particularly our digestive health, significantly impacts our skin's appearance and condition. Poor gut health can set off a domino effect leading to a plethora of skin issues and inflammation. Let's delve into the fascinating science behind this intricate connection.


Woman doing yoga on the beach

What goes in must come out...regularly.

Our body operates like a well-oiled machine with various systems working harmoniously to maintain optimal health. The excretory system, which includes the skin, kidneys, and intestines, plays a pivotal role in eliminating toxins from the body.

The skin's role in detoxification is critical for overall health and well-being. By eliminating waste products and toxins, the skin helps prevent these harmful substances from building up in the body. This function is particularly crucial when the liver or kidneys, the body's primary detox organs, are overloaded or not functioning optimally. Regular sweating, either through exercise or sauna use, can help support the skin's detoxification process.

Before toxins can be eliminated through the skin, they must first be processed by the liver and kidneys. These organs break down toxins into less harmful substances that can be safely excreted. Once broken down, these waste products are released into the bloodstream and eventually make their way to the sweat (sudoriferous) and oil (sebaceous) glands, where they can be eliminated through the skin.


Woman scratching her skin

External symptoms of internal inflammation

When your gut is unhappy, your skin often shows it. Symptoms of inflammation and immune response set off by poor gut function can manifest topically in several ways. Here are just a few:

Cystic Acne: This severe form of acne occurs when bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells become trapped deep within your hair follicles. While hormones and genetics play a role in its development, emerging research indicates that gut health may also contribute. An unhealthy gut can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast, stimulating inflammation and potentially worsening cystic acne.

Rosacea: Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels, primarily in your face. It can also produce small, red, pus-filled bumps. Recent research suggests a connection between rosacea and gut health. For instance, many individuals with rosacea have been found to have an overgrowth of the gut bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which could stimulate an inflammatory response.

Eczema: Also known as dermatitis, eczema is a condition that makes your skin red, rashy, and itchy. It's common in children but can occur at any age. Eczema may be linked to an overactive immune system responding to an irritant--intrinsically or extrinsically. As the gut plays a significant role in immune function, an imbalanced gut microbiome could potentially exacerbate this skin condition.

Hives: Hives (also known as urticaria) are a rash of red bumps that develop on the skin in response to an allergic reaction. Various substances or situations, such as exposure to certain foods or stress, can trigger them. Since the gut plays a crucial role in regulating immune responses, including allergies, an unhealthy gut might make individuals more susceptible to conditions like hives.

These conditions are usually not isolated issues but signs that your bodily systems aren't functioning optimally.


Woman with healthy gut microbiome

Significance of a healthy microbiome

Our gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the microbiome. This complex ecosystem is essential to proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function.

However, factors such as a diet high in processed foods, exposure to environmental toxins, heavy antibiotic use, and undiagnosed food sensitivities can disrupt this delicate balance. An imbalanced gut microbiome can damage the intestines, allowing toxins to leak into the bloodstream, a condition known as 'leaky gut.' This can trigger systemic inflammation, reflecting on your skin's health.


Healthy food ingredients

Practical advice for digestive health and radiant skin

  1. Eat a nutritious diet: A diet rich in fiber, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fermented foods can promote a healthy gut microbiome. Include fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, probiotic-rich yogurt, and kefir in your diet. Eat organic and local if possible.
  2. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water, and eat hydrating foods like watermelon, cucumber, and homemade soups and broths to help flush out toxins from your body and keep your skin hydrated.
  3. Limit Processed Foods: Highly processed foods (these are the foods you find when you eat out, get take-out, eat foods that come in boxes in the center aisles of the grocery store, find in vending machines, etc.) often contain additives that can disrupt the gut microbiome. Opt for fresh, whole foods whenever possible.
  4. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your gut health. Practice stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
  5. Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity can enhance your digestive health and boost your overall wellbeing, leading to healthier skin.

woman with beautiful skin

Good digestive health is a non-negotiable for beautiful skin

In the quest for radiant skin, you must look beyond the surface. By prioritizing your digestive health and maintaining a balanced gut microbiome, you can pave the way to improved skin health and enhanced overall wellbeing. Remember, beautiful skin begins with a happy gut!


Woman learning about digestion on laptop by a window

Do you want to learn how to help your clients improve their digestive health, so they can get faster skin results?

We dedicate several Pillars of curriculum to topics such as gut health and digestion, the microbiome, and proper nutrition in our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® (CNAP) Training Program. When you become a Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner®, you will be able to explain these topics to your clients in a way that's easy for them to understand and implement into their busy lifestyles. Once that happens, they will become your biggest fan, because they won't believe how quickly their skin improves!

Click HERE to learn more about our CNAP Training Program, and start earning your certification today.

Estrogen Dominance and Its Impact on Skin

Estrogen dominance, a hormonal imbalance that occurs when the body has too much estrogen relative to progesterone, is an increasingly common issue women face today. This imbalance can lead to various physical and emotional symptoms that impact a woman's quality of life. But have you ever wondered how estrogen dominance affects your skin? In this blog post, we'll explore the connection between estrogen dominance and skin health. We'll also explain the potential causes and give practical tips on reducing its effects and achieving a radiant complexion.

What is estrogen?

Estrogen is a group of steroid hormones primarily responsible for developing and regulating the female reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics. It plays a crucial role in women's health, including menstrual cycle regulation, breast development, and bone health. Although estrogen is predominantly found in females, it is also present in males in smaller amounts, where it helps regulate libido, sperm production, and bone health.

There are three main types of estrogen: estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Estradiol is the most potent and prevalent form of estrogen in women of reproductive age, while estriol is mainly produced during pregnancy, and estrone is the primary form of estrogen in postmenopausal women. Estrogen is primarily produced in the ovaries but is also synthesized in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands, fat tissue, and the placenta during pregnancy.

How does estrogen dominance affect the skin?

estrogen dominance leads to hyperpigmentation

Estrogen is crucial in maintaining healthy skin by promoting collagen production, hydration, and elasticity. However, when estrogen levels are too high compared to progesterone, it can lead to several skin-related issues:

  1. Acne: Estrogen dominance can trigger an overproduction of oil in the skin, leading to clogged pores, inflammation, and acne breakouts.
  2. Premature aging: Excess estrogen can accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
  3. Hyperpigmentation: Hormonal fluctuations caused by estrogen dominance can lead to an overproduction of melanin, causing dark spots and uneven skin tone.
  4. Dryness and sensitivity: An imbalance of hormones can disrupt the skin's natural barrier function, making it more prone to dryness, irritation, and inflammation.

For more information, check out NAA Advisory Board member, Jennifer Fugo's Healthy Skin Show podcast episode about how estrogen dominance affects the skin.

What causes estrogen dominance?

It can be caused by a variety of factors, including anovulatory cycles, peri-menopause, PCOS, stress, inflammation, and other hormonal imbalances.

Other factors, including unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices, can also contribute to estrogen dominance--the good news is that many of these can be changed. Eating an unbalanced diet that is high in processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats can lead to elevated estrogen levels. Additionally, consuming high amounts of alcohol and caffeine can also contribute to estrogen dominance.

Certain lifestyle choices can also increase the risk of estrogen dominance. For example, not getting enough sleep or exercise can disrupt hormone balance in the body and cause an excess of estrogen. Stress is another factor that can increase estrogen levels in the body due to its effect on cortisol production.

Making healthy lifestyle choices is essential to reduce your risk of developing estrogen dominance. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress are all important steps you can take to maintain a healthy hormone balance in your body.

How to address estrogen dominance holistically

Estrogen dominance can lead to a variety of internal health symptoms as well, including bloating, rapid weight gain, breast tenderness, mood swings, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Fortunately, there are several ways to address estrogen dominance holistically.

cruciferous vegetables help lower estrogen levels naturally

The first step is to avoid environmental estrogens (or xenoestrogens) as much as possible. These chemicals mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and can contribute to an imbalance. Examples include certain plastics, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and certain preservatives in skincare and personal care products.

In addition, certain supplements may help reduce estrogen levels in the body. Diindolylmethane (DIM), sulforaphane, and calcium-D-glucarate are all popular options for those looking to address estrogen dominance naturally. Herbal treatments such as milk thistle, dandelion root, and burdock may help heal from estrogen dominance naturally. Make sure you consult with a qualified healthcare or nutrition professional for dosing advice before starting herbs or dietary supplements.

Having an active lifestyle and exercising regularly can also be beneficial for reducing body fat percentage and helping balance hormones naturally. Eating more fiber is another great way to support your liver’s breakdown of estrogen. Nuts and seeds make great snacks that provide both fiber and healthy fats. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts have been shown to help naturally reduce elevated estrogen levels in studies.

Overall, it’s important to take a holistic approach when addressing estrogen dominance by avoiding environmental estrogens, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber-rich foods, exercising regularly, and considering natural supplements or herbal treatments if needed.

Estrogen dominance can significantly impact your skin's health and appearance, but there are steps you can take to mitigate its effects.

happy women with fresh vegetables

By eating organic food whenever possible, limiting animal product consumption, exercising regularly, and supplementing with herbs and micronutrients, you can help balance your hormones and improve your skin and overall health. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or lifestyle. By taking proactive measures to address estrogen dominance, you'll be well on your way to achieving healthy, glowing skin.

Do you want to learn more about hormones and skin health, so you can better support your clients?

Check out our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner Training Program. Click HERE to learn more, download our syllabus, or begin your path toward certification today!

Skin Hacks: Great Skin is Easier Than You Think!

In this episode of the Skin Wellness Pro Show, co-hosts Rachael Pontillo and Tara Swagger discuss skin hacks for healthy and youthful-looking skin. They emphasize the importance of integrating healthy practices and lifestyle choices into one's skincare routine, as what we eat and our environment directly affect our skin. They also share their own personal nighttime skincare routines, plus their own tried-and-true skin hacks, which include things like staying hydrated, using a humidifier, and practicing stress-reducing activities. This episode offers practical tips for anyone looking to improve their skin health.

Watch "Skin Hacks: Great Skin is Easier Than You Think!" here:

Listen to (or download) the audio here:

Read the show notes here:

In this episode, Rachael and Tara also discuss the diverse approaches to Nutritional Aesthetics® and emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. They acknowledge that people come from different backgrounds and ideologies regarding skincare and aesthetics, and that our programs welcome everyone. They have students who identify as hardcore medical aestheticians, as well as those who are as crunchy and granola holistic as you can possibly imagine. They believe that whatever your ideology is regarding skincare or aesthetics, there is always more to learn!

The Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance offers a range of resources and classes on their website at They have NCEA CE classes and a comprehensive Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner Training Program. They welcome everyone with different ideologies regarding skincare or aesthetics and aim to provide good inspiration through their podcast and website resources.

Rachael and Tara also discuss the importance of considering both internal and external factors that affect skin health when discussing health hacks and skin hacks. As Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioners, their skin hacks are very similar to their health hacks, as what you eat and your environment have a direct effect on your skin.

In this episode they also discuss how conventional aesthetics can undo the work of building healthy, glowing skin from within, and how science has shown that keeping the stratum corneum and skin microbiome intact and balanced is essential for skin health. This is best achieved by eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, and using nourishing products on the skin to age naturally and look one's best. They also mention the resurgence of ancient remedies from all over the world in the beauty industry. Overall, the episode highlights the interconnectedness of internal and external factors in achieving healthy, glowing skin.


[00:03:23] Sleep as a Skin Health Hack.

[00:04:06] Importance of sleep for skin.

[00:08:26] Facial Manipulation with Oil.

[00:12:49] Facial manipulations for healthy skin.

[00:16:24] Water in Oil Emulsion.

[00:20:49] Frownies for preventing frowning.

[00:24:26] Aging and beauty.

[00:28:26] Natural skin care hacks.

[00:33:06] Skincare industry truth.

[00:37:04] Animal-based skincare resurgence.

[00:41:44] Natural remedies outshine conventional medicine.

[00:44:33] Skin health and nourishment.

[00:48:28] Harsh skincare practices.


It is clear that developing a healthy skincare routine means far more than just using the right products. Our lifestyle choices are critical for skin health and have a big impact on how our skin looks and feels.

Fortunately, taking care of our skin doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. There are simple steps like hydration, relaxation and protecting against environmental factors like pollution, that we can integrate into our routines for an effortless path to vibrant-at-any-age skin.

Now go forth to apply any of these hacks in your own routine to see the fantastic results! And if you need help helping your even your most stubborn clients implement skin-healthy routines into their lifestyles, check out our CNAP Training Program for comprehensive integrative skin wellness education, specifically designed for aestheticians, nutritionists, and health coaches. Start your path towards CNAP certification today!

Health Hacks: Daily Habits for Optimal Wellness

In this episode of the Skin Wellness Pro Show, NAA President, Rachael Pontillo, and Education Specialist, Tara Swagger, sit down and discuss health hacks they incorporate into their daily lives to optimize their energy, creativity, and ability to be present in different areas of their lives. They share personal experiences and tips on how to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the long list of "shoulds" associated with being healthy--and get real with the ups and downs that often accompany this journey.

Watch the Health Hacks to Help You Look and Feel Your Best episode here:

Listen to the audio here:

Read the show notes here:

In this episode, co-hosts Rachael and Tara discuss their favorite health hacks in the three key areas of food, movement, and mindset that are crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They encourage listeners to focus on making small changes by reducing one negative thing and adding one positive thing in each area.

The hosts emphasize the importance of organizing one's mindset and taking time to breathe in nature to achieve a healthy lifestyle. They suggest that implementing some of these practices to some degree is necessary to stay healthy. The hosts also recommend starting with one thing, adding one thing, subtracting one thing, and trying that for a week before checking in with oneself to see how they feel and what has shifted. They encourage listeners to be honest with themselves, eliminate what's not serving them, and keep what's serving them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Rachael and Tara also discuss the importance of focusing on what works for each individual person when it comes to health and wellness. They acknowledge that there are many "shoulds" in the wellness industry, but that these can often be overwhelming and discouraging. Instead, they suggest that people experiment with different approaches and find what works best for them.

This might involve trying different types of exercise or eating patterns and paying attention to how their body responds. They also emphasize the importance of consistency, suggesting that even short bouts of movement done consistently can be more effective than sporadic, intense workouts. The message is that all health hacks should prioritize individual preferences and needs over external expectations or pressures.

Rachael and Tara also discuss the importance of recognizing that life is constantly changing, embracing this organic flux, and adapting accordingly. They acknowledge that as we age, our bodies change, and unexpected shifts can occur in our health and family dynamics. The speakers emphasize the importance of self-reflection and being open to new experiences and knowledge. They also discuss the importance of being malleable in our health ideologies and not being too rigid in our choices.

The speakers suggest that mindfulness practices and spending time in nature can help us stay grounded and adaptable in the face of change. Overall, the message is to embrace change and be open to new experiences and knowledge, recognizing that life constantly evolves.


[00:00:38] Daily habits for optimal wellness.

[00:04:52] Removing items for new beginnings.

[00:09:47] Food as a journey.

[00:12:40] Holistic nutrition and health coaching.

[00:19:47] Home-cooked meals and compromise.

[00:21:21] Chicken broth and wellness balance.

[00:25:28] Detriments of high vegetable intake.

[00:28:50] Simple meal prep.

[00:34:56] Movement and exercise.

[00:36:19] Exercising in nature.

[00:40:06] Walking and enjoying nature.

[00:45:48] Importance of strength training.

[00:48:14] Aging and Movement.

[00:53:27] Removing negativity from your life.

[00:56:59] Eliminating TV for mindset.

[01:00:38] Feng shui for your life.

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We'd love to hear about your favorite health hacks!

What health hacks or daily habits have worked well to help you show up at your best in different aspects of your life? Please share with us in the comments below!

Want more easy-to-implement skin-health hacks?

Download this season's complimentary Integrative Guide to Healthy Skin HERE!

Balancing parenthood with running a skincare business

Balancing Parenting with Running Your Skincare Business

The latest episode of The Skin Wellness Pro Show features a very special guest, our wonderful Advisory Board member, Jackie Johnson! Jackie is not only a Holistic Brand Strategist, but is also an advocate for spreading love, positivity, and encouragement to all those around her. Rachael and Tara were thrilled to have Jackie on the show to discuss a topic that affects so many of us - balancing motherhood with entrepreneurship. In this episode, Jackie shares her wisdom on the importance of setting boundaries, the art of saying no, and taking time for yourself. The conversation is filled with genuine insights and moments of laughter and understanding. Join us on the podcast as we delve into the complexities of balancing parenting with running your skincare business, and learn from Jackie's experiences.

Watch Balancing Parenting with Running Your Skincare Business below:

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Read the edited transcript below:

Rachael Pontillo:

Today, we have a topic that a lot of people will be able to relate to, because many of our audience members are aestheticians, health and wellness coaches, and people who are supporting other people who have skin issues; and I think many of them wear a lot of hats in life. And I know the three of us all wear a lot of hats in our lives. So we're going talk about work-life balance. Is that even a thing? What does that look like, and what does that look like for each of us? I just want to have a very real conversation and get down to the nitty-gritty of how we each manage that in our lives so that hopefully those of you who are listening can relate to that and feel seen, heard, and supported.

Before we dive right in, Jackie, I would love it if you would give a quick introduction to our audience, just so that they can get a better sense of who you are and how you got involved with us here at the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance. And what are your thoughts on this topic?

Jackie Johnson:

Oh yeah, I love loaded questions like that. I'm Jackie Johnson. I am the owner and founder of Wildling Botanicals, Wildling Herbs, and Wildling Dreams Consulting. You're probably like, man, you do a lot! But that's a multifaceted part of who I am. Wildling Botanicals is my skin and haircare line that sprung off from my wellness journey of my hair falling out--70% of my hair--and having a head-to-toe rash. Wildling Herbs is the herbal supplements--that kind of ethnobotanist side of me, the apothecary side. That's how I formulate and get to know plants and how their synergy works. And the consulting for Wildling Dreams happened because other brands and people in the holistic field, needed support. So those are just my brands, but I've worked in various backgrounds from retail to hospitality, and martial arts.

I also work with nonprofits, so I have had all of that backing in my career. And I feel like those places have prepared me for understanding products and services. Ultimately being a mom, I feel like I pull from every well of every experience on how to treat people, how to guide them, what products I want my kids to have, and which ones I do not want them to have. And then, ultimately, serving others is just every being of what I do. I tried to be quick because this is a great topic of balance. Since I just rattled off the array of things that I did and all the array of things in my businesses and background, you can see that I have to have some level of balance or some level of awareness of what my capacities are.

This is a really sensitive topic for me because I think I, as a mom or a solo parent, I'm always trying to figure out where I'm going to be and where my kids are going to be. What do I need to do with them? How can I be the best for my clients? What can I grow and formulate? I'm always trying to do that juggle, and I've landed on trying to be the best version of myself for all of the things that I do. I have to pause, and I have to be very mindful and aware. So pause, mindful, and aware is really how I view work-life balance.

Rachael Pontillo:

I love that. Pause. Mindful. Aware. That's a great little mantra to help us see what that looks like. So one thing, Jackie, that I also know you do--you farm. You have an organic farm.

Jackie Johnson:


Rachael Pontillo:

More to do, right? More to add to the plate.

Jackie Johnson:

Yeah. And then even with that, I've scaled back on certain things I produce because it's a family farm, and if I'm not able to put the right compost, and then have the right pH, and have everything be the hundred percent productivity I want and quality, I won't grow it. Other people say, oh, I'll grow it, or I'll just kind of scrimp or pull things off. No, if it's not the high quality I would put on my five-year-old daughter's face, then I'm not putting it on anyone's face. So with the farming stuff, I've had to say, "Nope, I'm not doing that product," or it may be a seasonal thing, or I may never do it again because I'm not going to push for quantity and lose quality. And that affects your bottom line, right? Taking products that people like off the shelves? But that's part of the balance. I don't want to put out things that aren't good quality.

Rachael Pontillo:

So I'm hearing that part of how you are finding balance is by really focusing on your top priorities and what you won't compromise on. And being clear on that.

Jackie Johnson:

Oh, we have to be clear. It's a day-to-day struggle or a conversation I have with myself. I don't touch products and services if I'm not in the right mindset. Because I do believe in the energy that's transferred. If I have love, light, and kindness coming out, I know that that will be the best energetic properties of anything I do. I won't do it if I don't have that to give. I've rescheduled consulting calls, or things with my kids, because if I can't put that best self in, then I don't want to do it at all. And I guess that's something I struggled with in the past, but I've seen my best work happen when I am more aware of that.

Tara Swagger:

Jackie, what I'm noticing with your conversation and just talking about all the things you do, is that it resonates a lot with me because I have a lot of things on my plate. I'm sure it's resonating with Rachael a lot too. But one of the things that I'm noticing is that--and I can see this from you-- it's easy, I think, in many ways, for people like us. We're driven because we love it. And so this is a very interesting part because I think many people look at people like us and wonder how we do all these things. And I think a piece of this comes in where when you love what you do, it's not a job, right?

Right. So you're a mother, have a farm, do all these different things with business, and have this array of things in your background. People have told me, "Oh man, you've done all these things." I did them because was really excited about them, because I like them, and because my focus was on fueling myself. And I can see that in you--that as you have fueled yourself, it cultivates a lot of stuff. But I'm certain you've had the experience where maybe you get overloaded. Even though you love all those things, you get overloaded. And then that's how you learn more about reeling back and being like, "Okay, well, I love all these things, and I can still love them, but I can direct my energy differently."

I think that that only comes with the experience obviously that you've had. And once you have children, that changes the perspective differently. I think it's great when you say that you don't want to do something because you're not able to do it at a hundred percent. A unique thing that I think pertains to this topic is that when you decide what you want to do and how you want to do it, it helps cultivate balance. Because you're saying, "I only want it this way." And so I think directing that energy back to yourself and your personal choices is the most powerful thing. I think people in general, but women more often, outsource many of these things without realizing that they can do it because they choose to. It can be about them.

We oftentimes get pulled apart, like, we have to do for this and this and this and this. But when the focus comes back to "What do I want to produce," while that seems and sounds kind of selfish sometimes, it's really like putting the oxygen mask on yourself. That's what it sounds like!

I think that's a great piece to share about how the work-life balance works. Because like, it's not always in balance, and we know that, and that's unrealistic. But if we're doing that oxygen mask for ourselves and focusing on what we choose, then it makes it easier. It sounds like you seem to have found that as being a key element there.

Jackie Johnson:

Oh, I completely agree. If I am pulling from my well and my water jug, you can't pour something that's not in there. You just can't. There's nothing in there. So if I don't pause and I'm not mindful, and I'm not aware, then there's nothing in there. I also don't expect other people or my kids, out there trying to hustle and bustle and deplete themselves. That's just not constructive. We saw it during COVID. We had our go time, and we really hit it hard, but we hit hard in a whole new way. And we had to scale back. The people that didn't scale back got burnt out. A lot of them closed their businesses or ended up selling to conglomerates, and now they regret it because they realized that if they would've just paused and pulled back, they would still have their business, and their brand would still have its integrity.

But when you push so hard, and there's nothing there, you lose your mind, your emotions, and your business. And clients see it too. People can tell when your product is not the same. We knew that brands changed ownership by using the products. We knew the ingredient list when we used it before. It isn't the same consistency now. This fragrance isn't the same. Why does this package look smaller? We're smart individuals. Rachael knows as a formulator that people notice if you change the formula. That's why you need all the special ingredients. Time, attention, education, and coaching.

If you take one of those ingredients out, it's not going to work. People are going to notice and then that discredits your brand. If I'm always talking about loving kindness, and I'm depleted, snapping at people, and being rude to clients, they're going to notice, right? So think about all those examples I just put out there for clients, your kids, and your resources.

If we don't fill our water jug with love and kindness, reading, being mindful, walking, yoga, and doing our own self-care--if we don't fill it up, then there is nothing to give. And that'll affect every facet of your life, and every facet of your products and services. When you're in board meetings, you'll be snapping on podcasts; you're going to have big bags under your eyes. You'll look like you're barely there when people see you. None of that's worth it.

This is real stuff. I've seen people I love with the best brands, and I've seen them on lives, and I'm like, "Girl, you look like you need some sleep!"

And then they'll say, "Yeah, I've been doing all these podcasts, and I'm just trying to do all these lives."

And I said, "Girl, you need some sleep. You look terrible. You talk about self-care. You talk about self-love. You talk about self-awareness, and you're depleted. And I could see that, and I love you so much, I don't want to see you be depleted."

I don't expect anyone to do something that I wouldn't do. I love myself. I'm going to put it in my awareness. I'm going to pause, be mindful, and aware, and I want everyone around me to do the same. I encourage that. And if that means you have to tell me no, or not right now, then great. That means you're saying no, not never, and that's great because I'm going to celebrate you. And I would hope that they would celebrate me in the same way.

Tara Swagger:

A lot of the things you're talking about is about the energetic process too, because I think that's what I notice most when I work with clients. This is a piece that no one is really addressing. And everything you said, like being mindful, yoga, taking the pause, all of these things aren't holdable things. It's the energetic value. It's interesting you brought up the COVID part because I think up until COVID, the energy discussion was not even on the table. We know because we're in this business, and I think when you're a woman too, we're more connected to energy a little bit easier than, you know, other people can be.

When I talk with clients, now I'm addressing the energetic value more so than I ever did before. Because, like you said, all the things you listed for your balance; it wasn't like, "Oh, I need to have a few fewer hours of work or maybe be on fewer podcasts." Energetically when you shift--and it sounds like that's at the forefront of how you're keeping that balance--it's different. Everything changes, like how you say yes and how you say no, and how you can protect yourself is completely different. But it's all coming from this energetic perspective. And I think that's probably what people aren't paying attention to enough when it comes to the work-life balance. And so I think those are very good points for people to pay attention to.

Rachael Pontillo:

Yeah. And I think that what's really interesting is this being really mindful and aware of what the priorities are. What are the non-negotiables, what are the things that we love to do the most so that when we're doing them, it's not work. And then when we think about all of the other stuff that has to fall into place in order for us to be able to do that, that's where that connection happens. Sometimes to be able to do some of the stuff takes us away from our families, or takes us away from something else that we have to do for our business to keep the wheels turning. It can be hard to prioritize. What do you say yes to and what can you say no to? Because sometimes there are points in your business where it might be a slower time of year. And the idea of slowing down means that you might not be making the money that you need to make during that time of year.

So I'm curious what you guys think about that. When it's a slow time, when it's maybe a lower point, and the dollars are not coming in as regularly as maybe they do during busier times of year, and we're still feeling drained or tired. And maybe we start to worry about, "Oh my goodness, it's really slow and I'm really trying the best I can, but the numbers are just not coming in. I don't feel like I can slow down even though my body is telling me that it needs to." How do you navigate times like that?

Jackie Johnson:

Oh, so that is the time when I know that my values are faith, family, and service. That's what I live in service. Everything around my service of life. Just faith, faith, family, and service. And when those low times come, I build myself up spiritually. I start pulling from every resource that I can. I start sharpening my craft. I start pulling it in. I start reading old notes and formulations. I read client testimonials.

That's how I recharge myself spiritually. I really get more into that, more intentional with my reading and honing in my craft. I schedule days to actually just rest, which was the hardest thing for me because I'm like, go, go, go. I'm like, nope, I'm going to push hard, and then I'm gonna schedule time to rest so I can let everything soak in. Like everything I learned, every mantra, I always let them soak in on those days. But yeah, if anyone's saying that they're making the same level of money all the time, and it's just increasing all year, they're lying. That's not true.

Rachael Pontillo:

Especially in a business like ours where certain times of the year it slows down. Like when people go on summer vacation or after the "new year, new you" rush, and February, March it's like, okay, who's coming in for facials? Who's booking coaching sessions? Who's buying the new skincare? The summer phase hasn't come yet. So I I'm glad you're calling it out like that.

Jackie Johnson:

It's just a lie. I worked at Walgreens, CVS, I worked P and L reports, I was training in stores, and training people. No industry is on this high rise and doesn't have downtimes. So if you're saying that, or a coach or a consultant is telling you that, they are lying. I'm just going to put that out there because I think, as entrepreneurs, we judge ourselves way too hard on stuff that is fake and false and phony. You'll look at a business and think they're doing so good, but they're actually laying off people. So stop judging yourself on what you think is happening in someone else's business. I consult people all the time and I look at their papers and sometimes it's mortifying with how much money they poured out when they didn't have anything coming in, and they are sustained on actual loans.

And I'm not talking about loans of $20,000. I'm talking about $250,000 and $300,000 loans, to push product lines that they never should have launched to begin with. This is real. We have to recharge or we're not going to survive in our businesses. We're going to get burnt out on our love, our passion, and our purpose. And we aren't designed for this. That's why, if we don't have anything in our jug, it doesn't make sense. I'm calling out liars. I don't think I've ever said that on a podcast!

Rachael Pontillo:

I'm here for it!

Jackie Johnson:

But it's true. Someone needs to debunk that baloney, and the coaches and consultants that are saying this baloney need to stop because it actually messes with women's self-esteem. It messes with their passion. And it makes them feel like they cannot pause because they're like, "If I don't do this, I'm going to have all these bad things happen."

So we have to be listening to podcasts like this, listening to people like Tara and Rachel, people who have lived it, and people in the industry. They're telling us real things. If someone's on telling you all the good things you want to hear, they're probably not telling you the truth, because there are ups and downs in business.

If you don't pause, you'll get burnout. You have to. And yes, it'll be hard. The money isn't going to be there, but think about the money's not gonna be there either if you're sick. The money's not gonna be there either if you're depleted because you're not going to be able to say yes to the great opportunities because you're going to be burned out. You're going to look terrible like my friend that I was like, "Girl, stop." And she did stop by the way! She did stop. She took like two weeks off. She said "You told me I looked terrible and you've never said those kinds of words to me."

And I said, "I'm in a different season of life. I'm going to add some truth with some love and I love you so much and I don't want to see you get sick." Because that's what happens to women. Our hormones dip, our health definitely dips, and our families will suffer if we don't say no. We have to.

Tara Swagger:

I love that you are being honest like that too because I think everybody can fall into these traps, but taking that downtime to recharge is the energy. The more we remind people that that needs to be in the front. You focus on spirituality, you focus on your faith, and your family. It's so refreshing to hear that because we just did a podcast we were talking about Instagram and how the influencers are really marketing this idealistic look. You know, "I'm an aesthetician, but I'm in the hot tub with my boyfriend in Puerto Rico."  We look at it that we're like, "Well that's wonderful," but when you see that over and over again, there's some kind of idea that you have to work so hard and so fast so you can get there.

And it's not real. It's part of that marketing scam where people are pushing this idea on women and entrepreneurs that it's not natural, and those people aren't showing the real part, which is how do you recharge? Maybe you're recharging because you're on vacation and that's great, but with a lot of these people, that's all you see. I'm like, "Are any of these girls doing facials? I mean what are they doing?" I'm glad you brought that up because that's kind of what we're talking about. I think people are really distracted by those posts and worry that they won't be successful because they're not at a place where they can go on vacation whenever they want.

They become very stressed out and then they're probably depleting themselves even more. And so I love that you just said when it's slow that you focus on those other things because I think that's a really beautiful message for people to hear. That's the number one thing we're not hearing--people in our industry and women, in general. Even if you don't have a business and you're a stay-at-home mom, there are times when things aren't as busy. So what are you doing with that time? Are you using it to really refill yourself, bring your frequency back up, and make sure that you feel energetically rejuvenated so that when it does get busy you can sustain that? I'm glad you shared that. And then I'm glad you, of course, you called out the people that are "perfect," telling people the wrong things.

Jackie Johnson:

It's really rubbing me badly. If you look at my photos on Instagram, when I post about my kids a lot of times, it looks like they don't have lotion on. That's because we've been in the river. Like I'm not going to say, "Oh, mommy's taking an Instagram photo so you need to go and put some lotion and some oil, and I need to make sure like Jayla won't have twigs in her hair!"

I just posted one a few days ago from our vacation. I said, "This is what the picture looks before you get the picture you want." And I'm pulling her arm and my son, I'm pulling both of their arms, and we're at the beach, and we looked ridiculous, and my daughter is laughing. My son's all like, what? Three days later I posted what I actually got from the photo. But I think we are so to the point that everything has to be Instagram ready, Facebook ready, LinkedIn ready, that we're, that's not life.

Tara Swagger:

No, it's not.

Jackie Johnson:

And then you've got kids scared to get their clothes dirty because "Mom's gonna do a Facebook Live or a webinar, and if I'm in the camera and I don't look picture perfect, I'll get in trouble." No one's kid looks like that all the time.

I think just even with our own lives, if you are looking at someone's social media, and you only see someone wine and dine a hundred percent all the time, they are putting that on to display. That is not reality. Not everybody feels amazing every day.

Tara Swagger:

And it's common in the beauty industry. I think the people that are victimized by that more are women in the beauty industry. We're the ones we're often doing careers and being moms, a lot of us are motivated to have our own businesses. I also am a master gardener. I have a very large garden and I know what you mean about growing. Now I don't utilize mine for products, but I know how many hours it takes to cultivate something. You don't just wanna throw a bunch of stuff in there and then, you know, then it just goes to hell in a handbasket. I get that. My husband now works from home and he's like, "Oh, I wanna help in the garden."

I'm like, "Okay look, we can't plant all this stuff becaues we don't have the time."  I think all of that messaging is really important because the reality is, we don't always have the time, and then sometimes we do. But if we don't have time, we can say "Ot's okay. We don't have the time."

The beauty industry is really struggling, I think, and that's something that's bothering me, just like you said about the falsehoods that you're getting through marketing and through consultants. I feel that way about the beauty industry because I think it's such a false message that people just don't think they can live up to this standard that doesn't really exist. It's not real.

When you own your own business--we all know this--it is a ton of blood, sweat, and tears. It's a ton of lack of money, more so in the beginning, but it can happen throughout your career. That's rough stuff to live through. Sometimes you look at these things on Instagram and all it does is look like people are on vacation. I'm like, wait a minute.

I'm older now. I've learned to take those vacations. I carve out that time. I've learned to hone my energy. I think it's the most important thing. But I look at some of young people on Instagram, and it seems like they're all on vacation all the time. I don't know how real that is or not. If they're all lucky enough to be able to do that, I guess I might have missed something about how how to do things differently in the beginning!

Jackie Johnson:

Nobody's doing that!

Tara Swagger:

But ultimately I just don't think that's the 99% of everybody else. It's hard because they're taking over social media and that's all you see, and it does seem like that's the majority. But it's definitely not.

Jackie Johnson:

That's why it's important to talk about these things. We know it's not realistic. I see people all the time with the nonprofit I work with right now--I have to take meetings there--and I see people coming in to take pictures for their social media. I see them outside. I'm like, "Girl, you didn't even come inside." I see people all the time taking 15, 20, 50 pictures, and I have friends that talk about it. They ask me, "Why don't you do all these social media posts when you're gardening?"

Tara Swagger:

It's because you don't have time! Because you're working!

That's what I keep saying. I'm like, how do these people get every single client to let them photograph them on the table? When I see my clients, that's not in my mind. I'm there to serve them. I'm there to treat them. I'm there to give them my best service. So I never really think to ask, "Hey, can I take photos of you during your service today?" So same thing, I always feel like, how are these people working if they have so much time to create all of this picture content with different people?

Jackie Johnson:

The realistic side is, I have clients that you'll never know that I create products for, because of where they are in the industry. So when people ask me, "Why don't you have a bunch of testimonials?" I'm like, "If you knew the people I was formulating for...."

Rachael Pontillo:

Well and you sign an NDA, you can't say who you're formulating for.

Jackie Johnson:

Right. My clients usually hire me because they had an issue and they need me to correct it. They're not trying to broadcast to the industry that they have an issue and they need it corrected. So when I see stuff like that, it is weird to me because high-level clients are hiring consultants for you to be discree and confidential.

So that's another thing like on balance; just because you don't see something on my social media doesn't mean it's not happening. Just because someone is fake-posting on social media, that doesn't mean it is happening, either. So, just be genuine! It's okay not to post every single matcha tea that you're having, and every time you make a latte. It's okay that your kid has twigs in their hair. It's okay if your shoe is scuffed that day. No, I'm not going to set up a tripod to take an extra 20 minutes to make sure that I'm gardening with the best light and angle so you can see it. That is not a good use of my time. It actually takes away from the quality of the products.

Rachael Pontillo:

And it takes so much longer when you're trying to document the process. When I make a big batch of skincare for gifts or if I'm doing swag bags, or something like that, and "I'm like, ooh, I'm actually making product. This is a great time to create content for social media!" It takes me three times as long to make the batch right and bottle it because I'm trying to like, "Ooh, is this Instagram worthy? Is this the right angle?" And if I'm pouring it if I have to get it at the right moment and I grab one of my kids to hold the camera. It's this whole production, and for what? How many people actually see it, and do they really care?

So, as I'm listening to this conversation, a couple of things are coming to mind for me that might sound controversial. Since we're calling stuff out, I do feel the need to call out some of these themes in entrepreneurship that are inherently sexist.

And the first thing is a quote that I'm sure you guys have heard a million times, and I've probably even repeated it. And that is the quote that says that "Entrepreneurs work harder than most people are willing to so that they can live the way most people can't."

Let's think about this, let's break this down a little bit. It was probably some dude, some "bro-marketer" or "bro-entrepreneur" who coined that. I don't know who originally coined that. So, if the person who originally said that is listening to this episode and they're not some bro marketer dude, then my apologies. But I'm guessing that it was probably by one of these male entrepreneurs over the years.

You know, men can put in all this work, and all these hours, and you know, go on trips and do the stuff--if they have a wife at home taking care of the kids. But what happens when the wife wants to have her own business and wants to put in hours to grow something really special, but her husband has a full-time job, or maybe she's a single mom with kids? That's where there's a discrepancy, and where we start to have a double standard because we can't expect that we're all going to be able to grow a business at the same rate, or that we're all going to be able to put in as many hours as is necessary to grow something if we don't all have the same level of support at home, whether that's through a spouse, or through family, or neighbors, or anybody who's helping you with your family.

I realize that I am speaking specifically about women who have families. I think a lot of our audience falls into that category. But people who don't have families also have other obligations. They might have family members who need to be taken care of because maybe they're elderly or because something is going on. So this really applies not just to moms who have kids and are trying to have a business, but it also applies to just anyone who does not have a full 24 hours a day to devote to growing a business.

I mean, nobody should be devoting 24 hours a day to the business, as we've talked about. But we're so focused on this destination, this journey of, "Oh, if I do all this right, if I stay on this hamster wheel and I keep going, I keep going, I keep burning the candle at both ends, then finally I'm going to be able to be on that Caribbean vacation anytime I want. I'm gonna be able to take a river cruise in Europe. I'm gonna be able to go to Hawaii and take pictures and show everybody how successful I am once I get there."

Okay. But think about it, how realistic is it that you're actually going to get there if you are suffering? Because you're not taking that time, you're not taking those pauses, you're not moving things to the back burner temporarily if you need to. You're not being, what was it Jackie? Mindful...

Jackie Johnson:

And aware.

Rachael Pontillo:

Aware. And being really honest with yourself about how you're feeling and what demands there are on you at that time. And as I said, I will call it out that it is mostly women that struggle with this because in most families, it is usually the woman that is taking care of the house and the kids and probably also is working. I'm not here to bash men or anything like that, but, but we have to support our women.

Jackie Johnson:

We do. We need to. Not everybody has that support in their household. I hear it on the calls now. "I need to check with my husband. We have the money, but I'm not sure he is going to let me use it," or "I made the money, but I'm not sure he is going to let me pull that out."

A lot of the big beauty brands are run by men. Small-scale skincare entrepreneurs tend to be more women. It depends on the side of the size of the brand. So I hear these conversations. So Rachael, I don't think you're being controversial. I mean women need real support. Some people are taking care of elderly people, family members, and they're like, "Well I need to pause or stop on something because my mom is now sick."

I've mapped out on a vision board what I want my life to look like. So when people are like, "Well you're not doing all that, but I'm like, I vacation and go on about 12 to 15 trips a year. That's a lot of trips. Now are you going to see it on Instagram? But some of it is three hours away with my kids because we're going on a hike. Some of it is we just stayed out there instead of staying at our house on our acreage, we went to the river and we did stuff there. Or it's going to see my pastor, whatever it is.

I think every journey is individualized and we need to stop reaching for this fantasy and reality tv. People say, why isn't your brand bigger, Jackie? I'm like, because I don't want it that big. I don't want to give out my distribution. Yeah. I don't want to give out my manufacturing. I want to know that every flower, from seed to flower, to the product--that it is up to my standard. And I do not believe someone will do it better than me. And if you can, contact me, I'll hire you. Because I need some help over here!

In the meantime, I'm not going to do that. So these journeys and this fakeness, we have to stop. It just, it ruins us.

Tara Swagger:

That's a great point too. When you say about how individualized it is. I think one of the greatest things about our industry is that there is no end game. Unless you've created this space where you say, "I want to make a million dollars, then I'm gonna walk away." But when we're passionate about what we do, this is never going away. We're always going to be in some way, shape, or form creating and making, and it's going to look different in different parts of our lives, which is why it's individual.  And then the idea that you don't want to expand is so fun to hear because I think people really create this idea that success comes from some big splashy thing.

What it sounds like to me, from what you just said, is 12 to 15 trips a year--that is a success. Success is where you can take your kids to the river. Success is when you have the things that you, as an individual want. So if those are the things you want, it sounds like you've created success in there. Whereas other people are creating these plans or putting these ideas in their minds of what success is, and it actually isn't what they want, it's what they think they're supposed to have.

So we can keep doing all the things that we love and cultivate the life that we want, and it doesn't necessarily look like we're having this huge company that's making a million dollars a year. People don't realize what all of that comes with.

That doesn't look like a lot of time with your kids. So if you're okay with that, then that's okay. But I don't think most people want that really in their minds. They shoot for it, but what they really want is that time with their kids, even for small trips or time with them. I am exactly the same way. I don't care about fancy cars in a big house. I love being an entrepreneur in my business because it gives me the ability to say no and choose my time. It gives me the ability to be with my family when we want to do a weekend away, I mark it off of my calendar, and I have control.

My husband has to take the time out of his job. He has to ask permission. I don't want to ask permission from anybody to do what I want. So that's the beauty. And to me, no one's going to pay me enough. People have asked me over the years, "Why don't you hire more aestheticians?" And I'm like, "I don't want all of that amount of work." I've grown my business, I've shrunk my business, I've grown it again. Now I own two businesses. So, it's a lot like you, Jackie, where you ebb and flow. I know Rachael's done the same thing based on what you want or what's being offered to you at the time.

But all of it really comes down to this idea that success is really about what is fueling you and what's making you feel good. You're getting your why, and that's really providing you with the success you want. I think people undervalue and underestimate what that really looks like and feels like. But it's such a great point because scaling up isn't always what you think it's going to be.

Jackie Johnson:

I scaled back. With my wholesale orders, I crop it and package it, and it's already sold. It's sold before the seed hits the ground because I already know who's going to buy it. That is a great security that I know in this quarter, this is who's buying. They've already paid. Wholesaling; that's my business model. I know who's going to buy it before I even plant it, and it's already paid for. And that's great. That gives me that flexibility to be with my kids when they need me. I will drive 12 hours to go tell my daughter I love her. Their dad and I are divorced. My daughter's like, "I want to see you." So I got in my truck, and I got there. No one stopped me. I can do that for my daughter. I can do that for my son. She's five. My son is 10.

I got into this game because I like to serve, but my family came before that, and I will serve my family first. Why would it matter if I have the money, but I still don't have the time with the people that I was doing it for?

Think about that, ladies. I mean, if you're doing it for time and you're spending all your time on your business, why did you start the business, to begin with? Instead of you working your business, your business is working you. So stop being over-worked by your business.

Tara Swagger:


In my little world, it's all interconnected because all these bits and pieces are not a linear situation. They're not in compartments. It all exists at the same time, which makes it really difficult for most because it's a lot to organize when it's all one big thing. And I think certainly experience helps with that time, helps with that age helps with that. I think becoming a parent helps with that because when you're driven by what you're passionate about, and have children, you're like, "Well, I want both of these things in my life." I was married for 10 years and owned a business for a little bit longer than that. And then I had my kids, and there was no way I was giving up my business because I loved it.

But I knew I wanted to be with my kids, and I homeschooled. So like all of those things were very important to me. You have to create what the package looks like. And I think we're lucky because when women get involved in this industry, whether it's beauty or formulation or anything like that, or any small business or, idea that they want to grow, the beauty of it is that we can make the package look the way that we want. So That's great.

Rachael Pontillo:

I love it. I think that we have just to remember when we're thinking about work-life balance, it's a good practice to take a glimpse into the future. Close your eyes and think about it.  Where do you want to be in 10 years, 15 years, 20 years? And when you're looking back at your life, what do you want to remember? What moments do you want to stand out to you? Do you want to remember the hustle and the hamster wheel and the Instagram and trying to keep up with everything, and managing all of the pieces, and keeping the plates spinning?

Or do you want to think back at the things that you were able to do with the people that you love, the things that you were able to do that you were truly passionate about, the things that you were able to create because it came from that spirit inside of you that was your calling to create something to put out into the world as your gift to the world. And if we're focusing on the hamster wheel because we're just like, "I have to keep going, keep going so I can get to the place and get to the thing and get to the goal and get to the six figures and the seven figures..." then we lose those moments.

Tara Swagger:


Rachael Pontillo:

And life's too short. Totally. We don't know how long any of us have. Not to sound dramatic, but it's true. So yes, there are going to be times when you have a business, that it is going to feel like the hamster wheel. And there are going to be times where you're at the top of the roller coaster, and then there's going to be times when you're at the bottom, slowly trying to climb your way back up.

I'm not here to say that it's neat, pretty, predictable, and clean. Like yes, there are some things that once we get in a groove and we've maybe launched a product or a service, a few times; that we can predict what kind of revenue might come in from it. Sure. But if we only focus on the input with the goal of one output based on somebody else's fantasy, that's when I think we lose ourselves. And when we lose ourselves, then we can't do anything well, and that's not how you achieve the happiness that you're trying to achieve by having a business in the first place.

Jackie Johnson:

I thank you guys for this, Rachael and Tara, for giving the platform to talk about real things and real issues. Most people are not this candid. So I really just thank you guys for pouring out your hearts and just really sharing and allowing me to share just so other women and women entrepreneurs don't go down that road. They know that it's just a trap, and I appreciate it.

Rachael Pontillo:

Well thank you so much for being here, Jackie. And where can people find you online if they want to connect with you and learn more from you?

Jackie Johnson:

I'm everywhere. I'm on all social media. Well, not TikTok, so I sure can't say everywhere.

Rachael Pontillo:

That's where I draw the line too.

Jackie Johnson

Yeah, I'm not dancing and pointing. I'm not that talented. The best way to find me be Wildling Botanicals on Facebook, Instagram, and on LinkedIn. So that's more when I talk about more about that pausing, that mindfulness and awareness. So if you're dealing with that on your journey, connect with me on Wildling Botanicals. I do all my personal correspondence, so you are talking to me directly.

Rachael Pontillo:

Awesome. Awesome. Jackie Johnson, thank you so much for being here with us. And Tara, thank you always for being my partner in crime here, at the Skin Wellness Pro Show. And thanks to everyone who joined us and listened or watched. And while you happen to be wherever you are, whether you're on YouTube or iTunes, apple Podcasts, Spotify, we would so appreciate it if you would give us five-star rating, like us, share us, do all the things so that we can keep making more content like this for you.

We'd love to hear from you!

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!Thank you for joining us on this special episode of The Skin Wellness Pro Show with guest Jackie Johnson! We hope that our conversation has left you feeling informed, inspired, and connected. Our intention is to provide tools necessary to help you own your health and beauty business journey. While balancing motherhood with entrepreneurship may be difficult, it is possible when you take the time to set boundaries, understand yourself better, and believe in yourself. It may also be helpful to get support from family members or professionals when needed. After all, taking the time to nourish both relationships and ourselves is essential for a fulfilled life. Having talked about this incredible topic with Jackie - we urge you to use her advice and give yourself permission to prioritize self-care.

What are your thoughts on this episode? We'd love to read your comments below.

Finally, if you would like further support for your clients looking for guidance regarding their skin wellness and lifestyle issues; don’t forget to check out our CNAP Training Program!


Setting Boundaries to Prevent Burnout

Setting Boundaries to Prevent Burnout

Are you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and overworked? Do you feel like your professional obligations keep piling up - to the point where it threatens your sanity and overall well-being? If so, then it sounds like you need a boundary reset. That's right; creating healthy boundaries can help you effectively maintain balance while managing a busy workload without burning out. In today's episode of the Skin Wellness Pro Show, Rachael and Tara share their strategies for aestheticians, bodyworkers, health coaches, and wellness pros to set boundaries to prevent burnout and avoid the pitfalls of taking on too much work or responsibility!

Watch "Setting Boundaries to Prevent Burnout" below:

Listen to the episode here:

Read the edited transcript below:

Rachael Pontillo:

Today's topic is one that I think many of you will be able to relate to. It's not a topic that we initially were going to bring up today, but Tara, you had a massage last night, which got you thinking about what we're going to discuss today. So why don't you tell our listeners what happened? 

Tara Swagger:

So, I went and had my massage last night, and the conversation between my therapist and me was about burnout. So many of us are working hard in our businesses, and we might also be juggling families. We're wearing all the hats. And my therapist was talking about how she's been in business long enough to know how important it is to set boundaries and carve out time for leisure or self-care, but sometimes it gets away from you. 

And that got me thinking about why that happens. Number one, I think it happens because we're excited about our businesses. We love what we do, and we're in the position of pleasing people whether it's through our coaching businesses or working in the beauty industry and offering facial treatments or massage--we're passionate about delivering those services. So it sometimes can be hard to reel ourselves back in and take the time we need for ourselves. I think it's true that no one is hidden from this issue of burnout. I've certainly ebbed and flowed through it, and you mentioned right before we started that you're maybe dealing with that right now.

Rachael Pontillo:

Ultimately I know what balance looks like on paper, but with what's going on in my life right now, like my personal life, it's just not happening right now. 

Tara Swagger:

Well, isn't that the thing though? There's this idea that there IS a balance. And I think that that's sort of not real because I think balance is more about a seesaw. You know, it can go back and forth, and back and forth. And I think the problem that most people have in our industry is that they keep hearing the advice to find work-life balance. I think that that's sort of not a real concept, because even if you could put it on paper--let's face it--that paper doesn't necessarily translate to reality. You have to create space where there's nothing going on. Because if you don't, eventually, as you energetically move through working with clients, that will deplete you and you won't have much left. 

When you're in the stage where you're building your business, the energy of that is not necessarily conducive to creating enough space for downtime and relaxation. And then once you've got your business into a good flow, more time opens up where you can step back. And then it ebbs and flows again. I think that this conversation is really about giving everybody that space and permission to say it's okay in this portion of time to maybe not have that space that you're looking for. 

We also have to factor in important things in our personal lives. For instance, my son just started baseball again, so all our weekends will be baseball. All the nights have practices, and that's a healthy, wonderful thing. So we shouldn't necessarily just stare down that busy season and say, "Oh my God, I'm not gonna have any balance." The balance comes when there's space it. Sometimes we don't give ourselves permission, or it gets out of hand, and then we can't even see that we've become so defunct from carving out the space that we need to replenish ourselves. 

Rachael Pontillo:

For me, it starts with too much multitasking. Right now, I'm coming off of a few--I was gonna say a few weeks, but it's actually been a few months--of absolutely burning the candle at both ends, with frequent launches in both my businesses. Then in my personal life, both my daughters are dancers. We've had competitions, we've had performances, they've had rehearsals till 8:30, 9 o'clock at night, six days a week. It's been ridiculous. And then at the same time, my older daughter is a senior, so we are finally winding down the college application, admissions, and financial aid process.

We have a college visit trip tomorrow, and I had to reschedule my calls and a class I would teach. But I figured, this is a decision that will impact my daughter's life for long term, so it's kind of important! So we have to get up at like five in the morning to be at this event that starts at 8:00am, so that she can attend classes with students and shadow students for the day, and really get a sense of what that's like. And of course, in the back of my mind, I'm stressing because I'm missing an office hours call with my Facebook ads coach. I had to make sure that I scheduled an email to go out at a certain time, since I wasn't going to be there to send it manually. It will be challenging being able to be present at that event while still thinking about the 10 things that I should be doing at the same time, even though, I know I don't have to do it all at that moment.

But this is what we do. And then, how many times when we're focused on work do we think, "I wish I could be doing this with my family or with my spouse, or go on this vacation, and not have to work so much." So I think the multitasking and just reminding ourselves to be present on whatever it is that we're supposed to be focusing on for that time, that's something that I've really been trying to work on, albeit not too successfully, over the past few months. That's something that's come into my consciousness as one thing that I can do to help me avoid that burnout. Because for me, burnout is definitely a mental and emotional thing. It's not about the physical amount of tasks. It's not about how many things I have to check off my list, because usually when I'm lamenting about something that I'm putting off, when I actually sit down and do it, it only takes me 15 minutes.

Isn't that how it always goes, with time and energy? You spend time avoiding or worrying about a thing, and then you do the thing and it's done, and you wonder how much energy did you just expend putting that off? So giving myself permission to just not think about work, and focus on this school and whether or not it's right for my kid is huge. And then the following day, I'm back to client calls and teaching classes, and I can focus on those, and not worry about what might be going on in the background with my daughter's college process. Having that ability to separate the compartments, if you will, and be present on the one thing and not feel guilty because you're not doing the other thing too. 

Tara Swagger:

I recently to somebody that I , personally at 43, just started to learn about boundaries about three or four years ago. There has to be boundaries. And I think like for you, compartmentalizing is a way of setting boundaries. It's saying, "Tomorrow I'm gonna be with my child and that is gonna be my focus. That's where my energy's gonna lie. Nothing else needs to happen." So that's the boundary.

I create boundaries around my client schedule. I see lots of people in our industry who say that they work four days a week, but then, "So and so really needed to come in on Saturday, so I'm gonna go in on my Saturday off." That's not a hard boundary. If you're in the beginning of your business, you've probably got the energy for things like that, right? It's a very different space and time where you might be doing that because you're building something, and trying to get your name out there. I think we've all done that. But what I'm talking about is this sense where you are allowing everybody else to pull you out of what your focus is, right? We talked about in the last podcast, finding your focus, and this is a little bit part of that too, because the boundaries that you make are saying, "These are my hours, and this is what I can do." And if that doesn't fit in there, then there's an emotional space that people have to find themselves in where they can accept that that client may not be your client because they can't come during the hours that you work. And that's OK!

People just don't give themselves permission. You feel that you have to give yourself permission to enjoy your day tomorrow. I think most of the time people really fall victim when they open up those spaces and allow their boundaries to be crossed. Once you create those boundaries, if you stay within them, that can be one of the biggest ways to cultivate a space where you don't have burnout, because you know when you're working, and it's not impeding on the rest of your life that you want to have outside of that. Cultivating those really clear work hours is a good start, whatever that looks like. 

At the end of the day, if the clients can't understand your boundaries and they're kind of pushy or aggressive about it, then that might not be the energetic person that you want on your schedule, right? It's OK to not accommodate everyone. This is the ebb and flow of your career, and your life, and your business. 

Another way people allow their boundaries to get crossed is by holding on to services they no longer want to do, or clients they really don't wanna see because they are draining. And this is where the burnout comes from, right? Because we're not creating boundaries, determining what our time really is, and how we would like to spend it. We're not making sure that we have space to rejuvenate.

I just got back from Florida, and, I had so many things leading up to that, that I drooling to get to Florida to re-energize. But during that timeframe before the trip, I was probably overworking myself, but it felt okay because I knew I there was a light at the end of the tunnel, right? I like to get all the things done ahead of time, so when I go, I can really unwind. 

I think something people are missing is that it's OK to be over-busy or overbooked or maybe working too hard for a little while, but we have to have the boundaries of knowing when is the stopping point. When are you going to rejuvenate? When will you make sure that your you-time is carved out, whether it's on the weekends or a couple of days during the week?

You have to prioritize self-care and schedule around that. I make sure I get my massage every month. This is not a frivolous thing. This is about making sure that my body feels good, that I'm getting good blood flow, that I'm managing my tissue. I don't miss it.

Rachael Pontillo:

I like what you said about being really realistic with your time and understanding that if there is a timeframe--whether it's a few weeks or maybe even over a month that things are gonna be busy--whether it's in the business or in personal life or both together, that you carve out enough time deliberately after that is over with to recuperate from that.

For me, an example is when I created a new program called the Design Your Star Product Workshop last fall. I was working with a new business coach, and we did this whole new launch strategy and funnel. It involved new technology, new everything for me. I don't think I have ever worked that many hours for that period of time. It was from August to November, that I was just  go, go, go every single day. 

I remember having conversations with family members, saying things like "Don't ask me for anything until after Thanksgiving. Don't ask me for anything until December after that my brain is free." And Tara, I think I probably said that to you when we were planning this podcast! I was like, "I can't even think. Wait until my brain is available," because I knew that come December and even early January, I would have less on my forward-facing plate that I had to actively put in those hours.

And then I was able to just focus more on being in receiving mode, and delivering to my clients and students what I had promised during that launch. Launching is definitely a tiring experience between the momentum that you have to gather and the high energy that you have to produce during whatever the launch event is. But behind the scenes, it's an exorbitant amount of tasks, technologies, and people helping you, which is great. But,I realize that for every launch, I usually need a good solid week after that, so that I don't have to use my brain. 

Tara Swagger:

So that's the boundaries, that's the plan. Right. So while you were going through that, I was opening a second business. When I opened the store and I was working seven days a week, it was the same thing in my mind. I knew I was going to get a break afterward.

When we talked last about finding your focus, I mentioned the importance of having a yearly business plan. You could also do it every quarter. And that's really something that comes back into this topic of burnout too, because if you look at your year when you know where your busiest times are, then you can mentally prepare for the fact that you don't want to take on any other mental challenges at that time. For example, you don't want to take on redesigning your website during your busiest time of the year, the holiday season. I know January to May is my best time to do admin and behind-the-scenes stuff like that. It's not because I'm not busy at work, it's because I'm not in the marketing flows of the holiday, or the back-to-school season. Because when summer comes, I still work, but don't want my extra time inundated with things on my brain because I want to spend it with my kids. So, this is setting boundaries. We make these determinations about what exactly it can look like. 

I've always been really good about scheduling my monthly massage, and I book that ahead of time, because I'm a hyper-scheduled person. I know you are too.

I was talking to you earlier about the circadian rhythm. So, besides planning months ahead and scheduling your massage way in advance, you also have to ask yourself what are you doing daily too, to create the recharge? Because the small pieces of your daily activity that can help you recharge and rebalance can be just as valuable as those long-term investments. I always recommend them as a coach to my clients because it's usually the most palatable place to start. 

Ask yourself, what does your morning look like? If you can create a space or a ritual every morning that is nourishing to you, that adds up every day. It's like saving a dollar a day, right? It doesn't sound like much, but let's face it, in six months, you know, you're gonna have a little bit of pocket cash. If you do that little bit every day for your rejuvenation, it does the same thing.

I am very organized in how I keep my circadian rhythm working and primed. For me, that comes with morning sunlight a walk every day. You do have to carve out the time, but once you carve that small bit of time, whatever it looks like, then it's a daily routine. My husband and I will walk for an hour at sunrise. You don't have to do an hour, just do 10 minutes. It can be that small. But when you're focused on those little, small daily habits, what ends up happening is you start to get all of these health benefits that start to align, and then no matter how busy you are, your health is intact enough so that you can sustain those more prolonged stressful timeframes. 

That all leads back down to sleep. If your circadian rhythm is intact, that sleep is so much better for you when you're sleeping at night. When that happens, you have more energy for all of that taxing stuff feels overbearing. So it comes in two forms: long-term planning and daily activity, which is just as important.

Sometimes people will say, "I don't have time or the extra funds to go do the massage or a treatment like that." It's free to take a walk. The sunrise is free. So balancing your circadian rhythm is actually a free thing that you can do.  Utilizing nature is free, and I think it's undervalued, but the science of this is strong. We're working on a new masterclass to help practitioners integrate practices like this, because it's hard to be a burnt-out practitioner, and your clients are coming in burnt out too, right? Because they're counting on you to help them feel less burnt out. And I know that I have clients that I'm the person that they come to, and they're getting that whole package when they come to see me.

When my clients find some of that success in their daily practices, they are amazed at how easy it is, and how good they feel. This all leads to better health, better skin, healthier aging--all the things people want, without all the cost, or the really big time investments.

Rachael Pontillo:

Absolutely. And to find out when that masterclass and other future events that we have coming up are--free events, paid masterclasses, or our main practitioner training program--sign up for our newsletter by downloading our seasonal integrative guide to healthy skin.

I brought up "seasonal" for a reason, because we're going to bring seasonality into our discussion about burnout in a moment. Before we started recording today, I was talking about how it's warm out today here in the Philadelphia area. I carved out a little self-care time, and enjoyed coffee with a friend. In this instance, self-care came in the form of socialization at this lovely little French cafe in Philadelphia. It was like 78 degrees when I got out of there and I was like, "Oh my God, the sun!" It felt so good because this is the first day that it's been actually warm since October. It just instantly puts you in a better mood, just feeling that sunlight. When I was walking from my car to the cafe, I was breathing in the fresh-cut grass, and I just walked in there with a smile on my face.

Whereas yesterday it was cold and gloomy and gray and I had kind of a down day yesterday. I was not in the greatest place. And it is amazing how just a change of weather and a little sunlight, fresh air, and warmth can shift your emotional state. I realized that burnout seems to be so much worse for me, and I find it so much harder to dig myself out of it when it is wintertime or gray, dank, damp, chilly, cold, cold, unpleasant weather.

Tara Swagger:

Well, this is the most underestimated issue that we have if you're in the northern latitude. I'm in Connecticut, and it's not warm here today. But the great thing is that the sun is out, and that can make all the difference, even if it's cold. But if you're in the northern latitude, the winter can be long.

The truth is, that this actually has a very dark biological effect on the body. And while some people, you'll notice, and you'll notice this in your clients, are gonna be affected by it easier and quicker than other people. But mostly everybody will be affected by it. Some people just aren't in tune enough with themselves to really notice it, but certainly it is going on and there's a reason for that.

Your electrons and protons are not in the same excitation as they are when the sunlight is out. And one of the things that happens, depending on your haplotype (which is a longer conversation), but everybody's nationality can play a part in whether or not you need to be in the sun more than other people. This is a genetic predisposition that most people are completely unaware of.

You don't have to even dig too deep to know, but essentially, darker skin type people belong more south because their light absorption is very different from lighter skin type people. This is why there are higher rates of chronic illnesses in darker skin types in the northern latitude. Their genetics are meant to be in the sunlight. You know, for thousands of years we lived with no indoor lighting. So our DNA is coded already for a process by which the sun comes up and the sun goes down, the sun comes up and the sun goes down. And we've really distorted that in our modern-day conveniences. So this is another part of that. For example, you don't think as clearly during the wintertime, the longer it goes on, the more your biology is suppressed by the lack of sunlight, and the exposure to unnatural indoor light.

I find that my clients start to get really scratchy at the like end of February or the beginning of March. This is when everyone starts to have a real impairment in how they're able to handle stuff. Most of it just really has to do with the fact that we're just in these different latitudes, and I think that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is probably the most underrated issue that we have in these northern latitudes. And people aren't paying attention to it.

I often recommend my clients get their vitamin D levels checked because vitamin D levels in our region are so incredibly low, but vitamin D is a hormone and it affects our personalities. It's not just important for our immune system. It plays a really large role in regulatory processes in the body, which also has to do with how our neurological functioning is happening. So, as that lack goes on and on, and your vitamin D levels are dropping, dropping, dropping, and we're getting to March--if people aren't aware of that and they're not paying attention to that, then that's making it worse. All of these things are going to contribute to high-stress scenarios during the times when maybe your, your schedule is out of whack, or you are experiencing a little more burnout. There are things you can do with your health, and then there are also things you can physically do with your schedule, and they all encompass a little bit of something having to do with long-term planning, and short-term every day planning.

This is where organizing your quantum health and your circadian rhythms really make the biggest difference in every single way, because you can tackle that in a small portion of your day every single day. You know, once I started studying quantum health, and balancing my circadian rhythm, it's been incredible. I mean, I've worked through these timeframes where I was working seven days a week for a few months when I was opening the new store, and I did not feel burnt out. And that's remarkable. I should have. It was during the fall and winter, and going into the holiday season is always a crazy time.

Obviously that's not a long-term situation. You don't wanna be doing that if you can help it. But I believe that my attention to my health and these practices truly kept my biology functioning well enough to manage through that time. So, you know, as coaches, we really want to learn these aspects of how we can help our clients every day find ways to stay healthy enough with small changes, incrementally, so that their minds are intact to create those long-term goals for the year for their business or household.

Rachael Pontillo:

I just think that this time of year is such a great time to discuss this because we're just in the midst of this transition from cold into warmth.

Tara Swagger:

Well, the other missing piece is daylight savings. We forget that these things are playing a part because they're all part of this culture that we're in. And then we get lost in the mix and we're like, why are we so messed up? And so I mentally prepare myself for daylight savings because I find that to be like jet lag for me. I'm used to getting up for sunrise when the hour changes, and it takes me a couple of weeks to recalibrate.

Rachael Pontillo:

It's because we don't have a choice if we're on a schedule that we can't control, like you have to go into work, or your child has to go into school at the same time every day. And that schedule doesn't care that it's not natural. I've seen so many articles over the past couple of years about how people in different countries are looking at a workday to start at 10:00 AM instead of 8:00 AM or a school day to start at 10:00 AM instead of 8:00 AM because it's so much better for most people. But it's just not happening here. , 

Tara Swagger:

Even the 9 to 5 is not normal for most people. The data for health disorders shows that daylight savings really wreaks havoc on people's health. It's incredible how strong a role the rise and fall of the sun plays on your day-to-day health; that when daylight savings happens, we see these major increases in heart attacks and other issues. It's really interesting to me that these changes happen quickly, and are due to changing just one hour. You wouldn't think that. The more you become aware and you can create pathways to keeping yourself together, the more you can sustain those shifts and changes. 

Rachael Pontillo:

Yeah. So other than your morning routine, what are some non-negotiables you have to avoid burnout? 

Tara Swagger:

Well, it's never negotiable for me when it comes to taking care of myself, like I said, with massage. I also do other things that are really important to me. For instance, about 3.5 years ago, I reduced my usage of social media and television. That is a big non-negotiable for me because, when you stream negative things into your daily life, it adds a layer that you don't realize is happening. And I think that's going on for so many people. They're inundated. They're on their social media. They've got the TV on every single day with the news, and all that media. We don't have the TV on in my house during the week. My kids homeschool, so if they want to watch a little tv, they'll watch a documentary, but that's pretty rare nowadays. I don't put the news on in my house. It's negative. And I think that people underestimate the frequency of what's going on when they have all these things on. Even if it's in the background, the frequency of those messages is still playing a part in your cellular wellbeing. And I think that that's something that people aren't realizing. But that's not negotiable for me because I have things that are of value that I want my energy to be available for. Aside from that, I stay on top of my self-care. I have that scheduled out regularly. So I'm never feel really tired, or scrambling to book my massage. No, it's in there every month.

Sunlight in the morning is a non-negotiable because what happens in your brain when you are exposed to that morning light is incredible. I'm really big on my morning ritual. I'm big on meditation. I do a little bit of meditation almost every single day. When you take the TV and social media out, it gives you a little bit more time for those things. It does. And that's going to look different for different people.

When I talk to clients, I always ask them what they're into and what they like. I always try to get them to go out for some morning sunlight. People who have adopted that practice feel like it's changed their lives. Pet owners are always the easiest sell on that because their pets have to go out. Right? So I'm like, "Ooh, you have a dog, so why don't you make the time to go out at sunrise?" They have an easier time implementing that. I think it's good if you can go out for an hour, but if you're even getting out for five or 10 minutes to see that sun, and breathe in that fresh air wherever you are, you gain such a vitality from the ions in the air when you're in nature. And there's so much science for this! It's so undervalued in our society.

When people start to reintroduce some of these daily practices, and their stress levels go down, they just can't believe how simple it was. And that helps you sustain those crazy periods of time when your kids are, doing all their activities, or when your business is crazy. And it's those basic things that really help you sustain comfortability to get through.

Rachael Pontillo:

It's important that we find one thing, at the minimum, that is our self-care thing every day. As for me, I love my nighttime skin routine and my shower and all of that. I feel like I can't go to bed without it. I haven't put the day away until I've done my nighttime routine. And it doesn't take very long. It's not very elaborate. I'm not one of these people who uses like seven skincare products. I use literally three products, except for on days that I'm doing a mask or something like that. I have this visualization that I do while I'm in the shower, and it helps me to wash the day away. And then I do my skincare, and I put my Frownies® on, and I have my sleep mask, because my husband insists on having his phone in the room, and, even that tiny bit of light from the phone distracts me.

If I don't do that routine, then I don't feel right. My mind is racing. I keep repeating conversations that I had during the day, or thinking about how I might have done something differently. My brain just won't shut off. But when I do that routine, it really helps me just put the day away. And then when I wake up, I don't wake up thinking of stuff I hadn't finished processing the day before. So that's one thing that I do.

Another thing that I wanted to share that I do to help with establishing those boundaries--and I know we touched on this a little earlier with scheduling and planning and knowing your hours--is that when you have your own business, and it's not a physical practice that has specific hours; if you work from home it's very easy for the entire day, night, and weekend to become available work hours. 

We have to actually carve out what our daily work hours are, and that can look different from day to day. So there might be days that you have an obligation during the day that is non-negotiable. I used to have this morning dance fitness class that I would schedule around because I got so much from going to that class. On other days you might have more time in the evening because maybe your kids are occupied, so it doesn't have to look the same every day. But I do think it's really helpful to plot out on a week weekly planner, whether it's a Google calendar or a paper planner or calendar if you're a pen and paper person. 

On a Sunday afternoon, just look at the next week and start by scheduling your non-negotiables either for work, for your family, or for yourself. Every day you X out those non-negotiables, and nothing else gets scheduled in that time slot. If your Google calendar is linked to your online scheduling system, mark those as unavailable so that nobody can book that space at the last minute. And then, once you're closed for the day, that's it. You put the work away; you're done. You don't think about it. And then, other than just knowing what your daily work hours are for that week, I recommend deliberately scheduling in flex time or wild card time, because who has had a perfect week where everything goes exactly as you planned? It doesn't usually happen. There's always something that changes. 

Maybe one day you get backed up with a client who came in late, or maybe you had a doctor's appointment come up, or just something where one activity or appointment cut into something else. And then you freak out, and you're like, "Oh crap. Now I'm not going to get that done this week!" Well, if you have scheduled flex time--I usually recommend to my students and clients like one or two hours a week--then that is your dedicated overflow time. So if you didn't get to something on Monday or Tuesday, you would plan to do it during that hour on Wednesday. And then if you don't finish something the rest of the day on Wednesday and Thursday, you may have some flex time built in to catch up on Friday. And I always say that if there is nothing that needs to go into the flex time because the week went well, well then you get to take that as an extra hour of downtime or self-care time. But the rule is that you don't fill flex time with scheduled work. It's supposed to be either overflow or self-care.

Tara Swagger:

That's great advice. We do that with our kids because we homeschool, and so every week we do the paper and pen schedule. We do our schedules every week, and we do the same thing. You know, we always keep our overflow; we try to accomplish all of the work Monday through Thursday, and then whatever doesn't get finished, we do it on Friday morning. So we do the same thing. And it's great advice because I think it's easy to overbook. I mean, my book is always full!

My book is always full, but I always reserve those pockets for if something does come up or something has to move. I think that's another thing that people, some people are not doing, and I think it's causing them a lot of disarray in their personal life. They might have their schedule for their clients, but then everything else isn't organized enough. I always say, whatever you want to do on the regular, book it out. If you don't have it scheduled, and it's not in your mind's eye, then what happens is, you forget all about it, and six months go by, and you haven't done the yoga class, or date night, or whatever it might look like in terms of the downtime that you need. Because if it's not on the schedule, then it's not going to happen. It's like goals. If you want to achieve goals, you write them down.

Rachael Pontillo:

I think the first time I heard it specifically like this was from Marie Forleo years ago, when she said something like, "If it isn't scheduled, then it isn't real." How true is that? We have so many things on our minds. How many times do you think, "Oh, I'm going to remember that. I'm not gonna write it down." And then you can't even remember what you said you would remember.

When I'm talking to my skincare formulation students, I tell them, "Anytime you're just messing around in the kitchen, mixing ingredients, write everything down, because so many times you will come up with this brilliant formula that you think you'll remember and then you don't, because you didn't note it."

Tara Swagger:

There are way too many things going on in the world and in our minds. You know, our ancestors were not inundated with all of this stuff. This is why our ancestors spent a lot of time in rituals, in community--taking care of the members of their community, very differently than we do today. It's because they didn't have to have a schedule. They lived different lives, whereas this modern society is so hyper. If you're a person that doesn't subscribe to all that and you've, you're leading a much simpler life then that is amazing. I applaud that because that's amazing. I think that's a wonderful thing. I'd like to think of myself as someone who craves that. 

I think I do to a certain extent, but I'm also very type A--I like to get my hands into stuff. I like to work on projects. So, there's a lot of fuel in that for me. So having that schedule will keep that balance enough so that you're not burning out, and that you're still tracking along with the things that are needed in your home, or needed for you, or for your business.

When you create a plan, and you want it to actually execute, you need to write all the pieces down. What do you want to be in this world? What do you want to be in your life? What do you want your future? Write it down. Whatever it is, write it down. That's the power of the frequency. You think it, then you say it, and then you write it.

Rachael Pontillo:

And you're assigning it a value. Like, that's your reward for a job well done. My accountant does this really well. Right now, accountants and bookkeepers, they're all at the end of tax season. And at the end of tax season, my accountant emails all her clients, and says something to the effect of "I'm going to be deeply unavailable for the next two weeks."

Tara Swagger:

Yeah. Well, I mean, that's the thing, right? So, you know, we just got back from Florida, and we don't have something else booked, but I said to my husband,"We've got about 24 hours until we get something on the schedule and something booked," because it's fuel. For this many weeks, I'm going to drive a little bit hard to get things accomplished, and then I'm going to have my reward. And it doesn't have to be a vacation. If it's a day off and it's a day that you're going to drive to the beach or you're going to go to the mountains--whatever it is, all of those things refuel you enough that you can continue to have that busy life. But again, you have to put it on the schedule. That makes such a difference in actually accomplishing that goal. 

Rachael Pontillo:

And for me, especially when it's the cold, dark months, I feel like I have to schedule those little stopping points even more frequently. You can think "I just have to get through day by day, and then I get to go to the theater," or something like that. When it's warm out, it's not that I don't still schedule fun things as rewards for my hard work, but I feel like I don't have to do so as much. Because just being able to go outside and soak in the warmth is sometimes enough reward for buckling down and focusing for a few solid hours every workday. 

Tara Swagger:

Yeah. If you're in the northern latitude, everybody is so different during the spring and summer. It's unbelievable. I know a lot of people will say New Englanders are harsh, and I think that might be true. I was just in Florida, and found that people are so nice--like cashiers and grocery store attendants--everyone. And my husband just keeps saying it's because they're in the sunshine all the time. And then you come up here and people are really scratchy and cranky. They get cranky because they're not feeling that excitation, that fulfillment, that balance, or that comfort. They're feeling the darkness. They're feeling that low mood and low energy, and then that frequency imparts itself onto everybody else in the room.

If you are in a northern latitude and you're able to create a pathway to balance yourself a little bit better, your frequency will impart itself on your family and the people around you in a more positive way. As you start to dive into some of these things with quantum health and arranging your circadian rhythm a little bit better, and your frequency starts to shift, then you'll sustain those winters a little bit better--because I know I do. I mean, that doesn't mean I couldn't wait to get to Florida, I was so excited to get into the sunlight! But I definitely think that patterning in my biology has made it a lot different. And I know this for sure with my clients that have created that pathway too.

Rachael Pontillo:

Yeah. Well, I, for one, am very excited about your next masterclass about this because just listening to you now, I'm like, yeah, I don't do that, and maybe it would help me if I did.  

Tara Swagger:

Well, the thing is, it's never going to be perfect all the time.

Rachael Pontillo:

I think that there are so many things that people could be doing that they just don't think of. 

Tara Swagger:

It's true. When I explain this and teach people about this topic, I'm attaching the science so that they can understand what is actually biologically happening, and why it's a thing. It's not just that people just feel good in the sun. You feel good in the sun because there is a chemical component to what's biologically shifting in your brain. And that makes a big difference. The way that I'll be teaching this masterclass isn't so much about how you impart this to your clients. It's a little bit of both, but most of it is just teaching the basics of what you want to know. Because as a practitioner or a wellness coach, you want to learn it and incorporate it for yourself. And when that starts to happen, you'll start to see how it benefits you in such a deep way. 

And then you're going to wanna teach it to your clients because a lot of them are struggling. They may or may not be on a lot of different medications. They may or may not have their diet aligned. Some of that might be really tough for them to do. These are the kinds of things that you can help them do that cost no money, but also have a great impact on their overall health. So it'll be a great class. I'm getting excited about sharing it with everybody.

Rachael Pontillo:

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!Very cool. Well, hopefully, what we shared today about burnout and some of how we each deal with that was helpful. Hopefully, those of you who are watching and listening are able to find one little tidbit that you're able to implement that hopefully can help you either avoid burnout in the first place or snap out of it if you're already there. So we would love to hear what you think about this topic. If you have any strategies of your own that have worked for you to avoid burnout or to prevent it from happening in the first place, please tell us in the comments below.

When it comes to our professional journey, having healthy boundaries can be the difference between success and burnout.

It's essential to take care of ourselves in this demanding world of work and taking some time to reset those boundaries is a crucial part of the process. When done correctly, setting boundaries to prevent burnout can lead to improved mental health, clarity, and peace of mind, which would then give you much more room for success professionally and personally. Let’s leave today with the knowledge that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Skin Wellness Pro Show!

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