High-stress teaching to private practice RDN and using love languages with Maria Terry, MS, RD

This week on The Less Stressed Life Podcast, I am joined by Maria Terry. In this episode, we discuss her transition from teaching to private practice RDN & also how she uses the five love languages to support her clients. 


  • What are the five love languages
  • The benefits of applying love languages to your life & self-care


  • How to use your own love language to love yourself
  • How to use your own love language to help you decompress
  • Where to start when  integrating the five love language concept into your life


Maria Terry is  a registered dietitian in New Orleans, LA.  She is a former English teacher + school admin/instructional coach. She loved teaching, but the education field was a pressure cooker. After 5 years, she took a summer off, changed careers + never looked back.

She grew up bullied by my pediatrician + gym teachers for my weight. She learned my weight doesn't define me. She became an unexpectedly okay CrossFitter, runner, + hiker. If given the chance, yes, she would benchpress my bullies now 💪🏼

She used to buy into A LOT of diet BS. You name it,  she has tried it. Her goal is to help you break through the all-or-nothing approach to nutrition + figure out what works for YOU.



Instagram: @vitamin_ri
Email: [email protected]
Website : https://links.mariaterrynutrition.com/



On Instagram: instagram.com/anti.inflammatory.nutritionist/

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Maria (00:05):
So it's a beautiful balance of knowing your person, knowing how to communicate with them, and also recognizing it's probably not natural to you.

Christa (00:13):
Stress is the inflammation that robs us of life, energy, and happiness. Our typical solutions for gut health and hormone balance have let a lot of us down we're overmedicated and underserved at the less stress life. We are a community of health savvy women exploring solutions outside of our traditional western medicine toolbox and training to raise the bar and change our stories. Each week, our hope is that you leave our sessions inspired to learn, grow, and share these stories to raise the bar in your life and home.

All right, today on the Less Stress Life we have Maria Sylvester. Terry. I just met her. You just met her too. She was literally just on the podcast <laugh> recently accidentally. All of a sudden one morning I'm like, we're all gonna have a little round table. And by the way, I got some feedback on that from other dieticians that were happy that we did that. So it was a fun little two-parter episode that was published September-ish, early September, 2022. So Maria is a registered dietician in New Orleans. She is a former English teacher and school admin and instructional coach. She loved teaching, but I'm just using her words cuz she is a little bit of a wordsmith with a sassy side. So it's very fun. So she loved teaching but the educational field was a pressure cooker, which is so good. After five years she took a summer off, changed careers and never looked back.

She grew up bullied by her pediatrician and gym teachers for her weight and learned that weight doesn't define her. And she says it like this. I'm trying to go from the third person, not very fluently. I became an unexpectedly okay CrossFit runner and Hiker <laugh>. If given the chance, yes, I would bench print my bullies. Now this is her words again. I used to buy into a lot of Diet Bs, you name it, I tried it. And my goal is to help you break through the all or nothing approach to nutrition and figure out what works for you. So welcome Maria.

Maria (02:12):
Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Christa (02:14):
So this is what I heard Maria talking about when we were together on this girls trip in Minnesota at the end of August was we were talking about a lot of random things that have nothing that you would think have nothing to do with nutrition, but they do. We were talking about all the things that we didn't think we would talk to our clients about, but Maria was talking about love languages with her clients. And so we're gonna get into that a little bit later in the interview. But first of all, I just understanding people and I think we are in a phase of life where people are kind of considering what do I wanna be when I grow up? Even if I already have gone to school for something. So tell us about that transition because people ask me about that and I have not been a second year dietician. I was a first career, did I say second year? Second career. I am a first career dietician. And so for some people that's a easy swift fit and for other people it's not as good. So tell us about that for you. It was not so bad because you had an undergrad and tell us about why you became an rd.

Maria (03:07):
Yeah. Yes and no. My undergrad was in English, so <laugh>,

Christa (03:12):
My little little chemistry.

Maria (03:15):
So I was definitely missing a little chemistry. And my psychology was from AP Psych in high school. So there were some elements of going back to school that were just abysmal. Taking community college classes with kids that were, I don't know, almost 10 years younger than me and realizing I'm really starting over. I'm really doing this. And I think what grounded me was knowing that my teaching degree would serve me really well and I had to sort of fake it till I made it on that one. Cause I was like, Oh, I wasted so much money, I wasted so much time. And that's a big issue with career changers is thinking, Ugh, I screwed up the first time you didn't screw up. You get to use all of those skills in a new way. And that transition was beautiful because I realized I'm great at group projects, I am great at presenting.

I love to talk, I love to teach other people metabolic pathways. And that helped me learn. So I was able to come to grips with the fact that I, yes, I did change my path and it is weird to look back and know that I went to school and won awards and did great things as an English teacher and I'm also a great dietician now. And I'm so grateful I did that because it gave back to me mentally and spiritually and also to that little inner child version of me that really struggled with food to know I'm doing her some justice too right now. So it was a beautiful transition. It took about four years including the internship. The internship brought me to New Orleans and I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else to talk about food for

Christa (04:42):
Sure. Where were you from?

Maria (04:43):
Philadelphia. Okay. So I went to school in Maryland. I went to a little tiny school called Mount St. Mary's University. And then I went to North Carolina to teach English and met my husband there. We moved to Philadelphia where I'm from so I could be near my family again. And we were there six years when I matched and I matched to Tulane. It was his top choice, he never told me cuz he never wanted to weigh in on that. But that was his top choice. And yeah, we're here for good.

Christa (05:09):
Cool. Very fun. Yeah, I mean what was the catalyst, I know you said that teaching or being in schools was a pressure cooker. And what year were we in when you made this switch? Why did you decide to become NRD would you say?

Maria (05:20):
Yeah, it was 2016. I had been married maybe three months when I had this sort of real spiral out mentally of just being sick Sunday scaries and then there's Sunday Sick Dear Stomach. And I was in that place of I'm getting sick every Sunday. I must have something wrong with me. I should probably diet. It became more of this. There's something wrong with me, there's something wrong with me. And when I realized the system, I was in a pretty high stakes, no excuses style charter school, if you're a teacher, exactly what I'm talking about. It's a really interesting style of learning and teaching. It kind of wore on me and when I looked back and I thought I've had to take some time away and typically as a school admin, you work all summer long. I didn't work that summer for the first time in a long time.

And I thought, well what is it that I wanna do? I wanna help people. I want them to feel good about themselves. And the school system I was in did not do that. You were in detention for having the wrong socks. It was not a nice environment. And I thought, what are some careers that spoke to me or stood out to me? What are some things that allow me to teach without feeling? I had to bring home grading. <laugh> a big push of working from home, working at home. And I took a bunch of different tests and career quizzes and it always put me in this psychology and nutrition kind of is where I kept landing. And I thought, well there's a reason for that. I could have done the nutrition coach thing cuz that was big. 2016 was like when you could do the online programs or holistic coaching, you kind of go away from the RD credential if you wanted to.

And I knew a couple dieticians I really liked. And the funniest part is I had a couple dieticians, I did not. And I thought it would be nice to put a different style of dietician into this world. And I thought I've been bullied by pediatrician and had not nice things said to me by dieticians as a kid, maybe I could do right by kids cuz I was from that place of pediatrics for a while. Oh, I wanna go and work with kids. Maybe I could do right by them by teaching them about food in a different way. So that's kind of what propelled me. And to be honest, I took two classes in a community college and said, if I don't like it, I'm gonna go back to school, being a school admin, I'll just go to a different school, I'll just go somewhere else. And I loved it. So it really just happened so

Christa (07:39):
Fast. I love people's stories. I think it's amazing because then the listener either sees themself in that story or at least they're inspired because Sure. It's like how do you jump? I mean it is, it's kind of scary to say I'm in a career and then I use four years to do something different. And I had, I'm in a place where I'm touring colleges with my oldest daughter now, which feels really crazy as well. But there was a professor and he said recently time's gonna pass anyway <laugh>, so you might as well do doing something you enjoy. Cause he was talking about having two years between his undergrad post-grad degrees and all of these things. And so he is like, time's gonna pass anyway, so

Maria (08:14):
It's true.

Christa (08:15):
Make a difference in whatever. And I love how you came to this and I also think if we could all have a interest in psychology and nutrition at the same time, because I was very unprepared for how emotional it was. I also the metabolic pathways in teaching and I was just always very interested in the science of it. This is so cool. I can't wait to share this with someone that's kind of mine in a little different way, but a very similar situation. But I bet you got a lot more out of all of those classes, <laugh> after you were already someone who was. And also, I just wonder, did you critique the classes as you went? Everyone critique their classes as

Maria (08:49):
Things? Yes. Oh I definitely did. I definitely did. I felt like, oh wow. The instructional coach in me is glaring <affirmative>. But your nutrition professors don't go to school to learn how to teach. I will just say that they do know a lot though, so buckle up.

Christa (09:02):

Maria (09:02):
Just record the lecture and go if you're in school for it. It really was a situation where I really had to just harness the risk of maybe not liking it and maybe not enjoying it and seeing what could I bring to the field that I do love. And it's been very good to me. I also was in a situation where I was able to save a ton of money and go to school. I had AmeriCorps grants that I could use. We can always talk about that specificity of what it costs to go back. But it was sort of right place, right time. And like you said, the time was gonna move no matter what. So that's how I decided to use

Christa (09:34):
It. Yeah, cool. I didn't know it took four years for you. I thought you had somehow were able to take a master's and then an internship, which still honestly, within three

Maria (09:42):
Years I did. I did. And it was a year prereqs, two years of masters. And then it was the year internship. So

Christa (09:49):
The stuff that you, there

Maria (09:50):
It is, right?

Christa (09:51):
All this stuff, you probably thought it would be a little bit less when you went into it. Maybe it didn't. I don't know. No idea.

Maria (09:56):
It's what it's, yes, I definitely thought so. And I did not think I'd have a pandemic at the end of it either.

Christa (10:01):
<laugh>. Oh yeah. Fun times. And maybe that worked out because I wonder, I think it's like I could do something with this. And how did you decide to, Did you go straight into private practice right after

Maria (10:14):
School? I didn't. No I didn't. Oh, you did? I took a job where I was working in New Orleans in more of a public health nutrition center where I was working with restaurants and I was working with chefs to identify items on their menu that were more on the nutritious side and just kind of served up those healthy nutrients that a lot of folks that struggled chronic disease here really need but aren't not getting those items really advertised on the menu or they're not there. So I got to do a lot of community work, which I adored and I was able to see clients here and there on the side. But it was never quite a private practice. It was a lot of moonlighting. And then one day just kind of felt like I felt that shift in me again, it's do or die, it's time to take that next jump. So that's when the private practice kind of settled

Christa (10:59):
In, which was recently, right?

Maria (11:02):
Yeah. I decided to leave my job in February. So I gave a pretty lengthy notice and I left in April, right around Easter. We had an event that ended around Easter here and everything is by seasons here by Marty Raw and all of that stuff. So I left at the end of Mardi Gras and so it's been, it's pretty a short amount of time. Yeah.

Christa (11:23):
<laugh>. Yeah. Cool. So tell me about some of the talents that you can bring over from teaching and instruc, what did you call it? Instructional coach coaching? I don't know what that is.

Maria (11:34):
Sure. Well I'll be happy to tell you cause it'll help answer the question. <affirmative>. Perfect. Instructional coaches watch teachers and they usually watch teachers within their subject that they're an expert in. So I was the English and writing reading person. I would go and observe reading, writing English teachers on how they were instructing their classes. So it's twofold. Part of it is behavior management. So I can run a group. Let me tell you, there's nothing I love more than talking to maybe 50 people at once or a hundred people at once. Because if you can talk to 60 middle schoolers or run lunch for 400 children, you can talk to anybody <affirmative>. So that was huge. The second piece is that I also help them hone in on what is it they're trying to teach someone? What are you trying to tell them? And you can only really do that by asking the right questions.

So I taught teachers how to ask better questions of how I saw my job. So I get to some really interesting places with my clients now because I think and I pause, I know what they wanna say, I know what they're thinking. How do I want them to learn it? I don't wanna be the one who tells them as a teacher, you don't wanna be a lecturer, you wanna engage students, you want them to think for themselves and come to that answer on their own. I feel the same way with my clients in this facet too, right? Online headphones on thinking, talking together. I never wanna just give it to them. And so I ask really incredible questions and I say that very proud of myself. It's taken me years to hone that crap. I've taken classes on it, I've taken certifications on it, how to ask really good questions.

I also feel like I come with that maternal energy of have you showered today? Have we taken time for ourselves? Have we done our homework? What happened? Rather than you get an F, you failed nutrition today. It's more how did we get here and how can we make it better? Because kids are always learning and I think we get kids benefit of the doubt you're a kid. Don't take things too seriously with adults. It does feel very serious, feels very all or nothing. You can't drink water. You can't drink 64 ounces of water in a day. What's wrong with you? Oh, I don't know. Maybe you're a full-fledged adult living in a really challenging situation or whatever it might be that you're going through. So lots of benefit of the doubt. I love to talk to family, I love to talk to parents. So when it comes to talking about parents, we do that a lot.

I talk to people's spouses and their partners. I was never afraid to call home and talk to parents or to have them call me. So I think there's sort of this, let me be a part of your crew <laugh>, which is also the New Orleans thing too. Let me be a part of your crew. And I think lastly would just be patience. I don't really hold my clients to this heart deadline of this is when you're done, this is when you graduate, this is what it looks like. Really being patient and knowing that they've been through a lot, maybe they've been through things I've never heard of or never seen or never experienced myself. So what compassion can I offer them so that they know I'm on their side? Everybody loves that teacher that's just there, you know, can talk to them about anything. That was always a teacher. I was. And that's sort of the person I still am for my clients today. So definitely that sort sweet compassion I feel like is crucial in my practice.

Christa (14:45):
There's a lot of good stuff there. I'm gonna go back to asking incredible questions because any coach that I've had, I mean that comes up a lot and like you said, you didn't just fall into that. That's like a craft you hone. I volunteer and help kind of teach some middle school and high school and I totally understand that. I often am more nervous about that <laugh>, anything else, They are going to butcher me with their eyes if I do not make this interesting and compelling and in thought it, I really have to overthink. I don't know if that's the right word, but I think about it a lot. <laugh>, I'm gonna phrase things up and make it valuable. So tell me about when we were together, you said, and you just alluded to this a little bit, but you said talking about loving themselves and loving using love languages. First of all, let's give that a little bit of context. If no one's really heard of love languages or they think they've heard of them but they're not even really sure which ones they are, maybe you could briefly tell us a little bit about that and then I wanna hear how that happened in practice for you. Was that just something you were interested in or was that another thing you brought over from teaching where you saw it with kits or something like that?

Maria (15:48):
Yeah. Okay, great questions. So if you're not familiar with five love languages, they are sort, I would say created or identified by Dr. Gary Chapman who is a marriage counselor. So they were really created for helping folks communicate with their partner or their family's love language, meaning we all have a language that we like to receive to receive love, to know that we're loved to trust, that we're loved. And we also have one that we probably talk with. Ultimately they're probably the same. I'll give you an example. Mine is quality time. My husband's his physical touch. I show him love with quality time cuz that's the way I like to receive it. I have to make an extra effort to provide him love and the way he likes to receive it, which might be giving 'em a hug when he walks in the door holding his hand, just grazing by his back.

When I walk past it in the kitchen, those things mean way more to him than they need to me. So it's a beautiful balance of knowing your person, knowing how to communicate with them and also recognizing it's probably not natural to you. So it's gorgeous. I think it's just a beautiful way to communicate with people. And I learned it through marriage counseling. When my husband and I were getting married, we had to go through a training and they talked to us about the five love languages and that was the first time I ever really knew I even had that. And what is that? What are my other levels of love languages. Cause we're not always just one. And that was transformative for the way we talk to each other. And I heard my clients talk about their Enneagram, I heard my clients talk about their personality type, what are they like, What are they not like?

Are they extroverted, introverted? And when it came to love languages, they were really shocked when I asked, Oh well it's your love language. They either didn't know it or they didn't think it made any sense that I was asking them. And there is a pharmacist here who I became friendly with. Her name is Alicia Reed. She's all about self care and she talks a lot about using the five level languages as self care. And I thought that really plays a part in how we take care of ourselves with nutrition. It's huge. So huge nod to Alicia for that. And that has been transformative for me because there's a lot of guilt wrapped up in self care and nutrition of Oh I should do it this way, I should do it that way. I should take a bubble bath, I should get a massage, I should order my groceries cuz that's convenient.

What if your love language is physical touch and you love going to the grocery store and picking up all of the items and holding them and touching them and reading the labels and all that good stuff. That's sort of where I go with my practice of thinking about, well you're feeling low in your tank, you're feeling really down on yourself. How are you showing yourself the love that you need? So what are the five love languages? I kind of missed right over. Let's get started with acts of service. So receiving the action rather than you're a actions speak louder than words type of person. Someone did something kind for me. More tangible than that is receiving gifts. Quality time would be another of just feeling like someone is just giving you undivided attention. Words of affirmation is that attention, but it's specifically, Hey you said this beautifully. I really love the way that you did X, y, or Z thing. And then physical touch would be that fifth one, which isn't just sexy physical touch, it's really about knowing you're there, letting someone feel seen that that touch means that you really care for where they are. Right there in the moment.

Christa (19:03):
I got four down <laugh>. So I got down, got down acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, which one did I miss?

Maria (19:14):
Receiving gifts.

Christa (19:16):
Receiving gifts. Got it. I remember hearing it. I like to type copiously during, I dunno anyone can ever hear it, but I like to attempt to take notes that I will never really look at except for the show notes. So there's five love languages, we just went over those. I have questions about determining this because I kind of speak the Enneagram, which is why I'm so intrigued by how you use this in your practice. My ears lit up <laugh>, they lit up and they were like, I wanna hear about this. And I love what you said there about self care is often related to shame and guilt cuz it looks like one more thing we have to do. That's how I feel about it. It's like I already have the world on my shoulders and it's one more thing I need to do. And that's interesting.

I've been paying a lot of attention lately to shame or the concept of shame and feeling shameful about things because we just kind of retreat and walk away and then don't get any. I think it's like if I am paying attention to, there's education and then there's, when does behavior change and then what are some things that, I mean that's a question, that's something that I think that all kinds of people study. And then there is how do we make sure behavior doesn't change? <laugh>, I think when you have shame you kind of run away whatever that change is that you're trying to do. So I love what you said about the shame and the way you described, hey, physical touch that might be going and picking up the fruits and vegetables and looking at the label. I know you kind of just talked through that a little bit, but what I wanna know is if someone goes and they take the love language quiz, because this is kind of where I'm at. I do the love language quiz and I'm looking for it on my phone right now as I'm talking to and I'm kind of between the two. So in engram really you can be kind of one or the other or be waffling between them, but you go by whatever your greatest desire is and whatever your greatest fear is. And so you said earlier you're not necessarily one all the time. So can you help us clarify how you determine that if you're able?

Maria (21:07):
Yeah, sure. I think that when you take the quiz, it's five level languages.com. There's also an accompanying book if you'd like to read it. You can identify for yourself that you're probably not one or the other. So you'll be given sort of suggestion as to what you were ranked as. So for some people, like my partner, he's mostly a physical touch person. I'm someone who, I'm definitely more in that quality time words, affirmation. I straddle that line a little bit. And what's helpful for me is to realize that there are going to be days where one is more helpful or more meaningful to me than another. And if I can be aware of that in myself, what do I need? A lot of this goes back to need, I ask my clients all the time, okay, what does this say you need? What did this moment share or reveal about a need you have that's unmet.

It could even be food related, but giving yourself the ability to say, I'm probably not all one or the other. And if I am, that's also okay. But there's probably one you are more inclined to. And then there might be some that also speak to you a little bit, which would mean that you don't just have to love yourself or other people with just one way, that there are other ways that you can reach other people. There are multiple ways that people feel love. That's not to say that my husband does not care about where's the affirmation, he adores it. It's just that what is most meaningful to him. So that's kind of how the quiz is written too. It's like is it more meaningful to you to receive a hug or a note? It's like a comment question you'll get. And so asking yourself what do I need and what is most meaningful to me right now in this moment is a great way to toe the line there between the different types if you are one of many.

Christa (22:48):
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I actually want to just integrate this a little bit more before we move on to the last couple of questions. So you gave us an example for physical touch that I remember, which was picking up the things in the grocery store, looking at them. I thought that was a really cool way to think about nutrition and the love languages. Tell me about, for example, receding gifts in that way. Cuz I'm thinking about this and I'm gifts and acts of service. I don't think, I wanna give you an example, and I don't know where this goes, but I like to cook for people, but I only like it if I only really enjoy that if they're appreciative <laugh>, this is happens. Sometimes they have children and they're like, gross <laugh>, <laugh>. So I am sitting here wondering where that fits or whatever. So anyway, you can take this where you want with giving an example of each one. But I'm just trying to wrap my brain around what this can look like sometimes when considering nutrition or how you kind of talk to yourself essentially. So can we go through each one?

Maria (23:47):
Sure. Yeah. So if I was working with someone whose love language was acts of service, I would probably ask them this question, which is, what can you do for future you to feel more prepared or loved or seen or taken care of? And that might mean this is bizarre, but cleaning your bedroom, cleaning your kitchen, ordering your groceries so you don't have to go to the store for them. What is of that thinking? First class room, service level, active service for yourself. It might be an active service for you to get gas the night before. I know that sounds so small, so menial, but you have a stressful day the next day, you know, need to eat breakfast. You're really struggling with making sure you have everything you need before you leave the house. It would be an act of service to yourself to have something taken care of. So I think what does future need or future you need receiving gifts I think is buying yourself that new appliance or gifting yourself with something that you really want just because maybe it's a new outfit that you are so excited to wear. It might be that you take yourself out on a date to get coffee, you buy yourself a treat. You might be someone who needs that sort of reminder, a package in the mail. Oh man, I love that. I did that for myself.

Christa (25:02):
<affirmative>. So receiving gifts, act of service, <affirmative>. And as you talked about act of service, it prompted me of a client who told me one time that she just felt so much better after she got some other things in order and everything was, I mean, I feel like, and I think about her and what she does, and her whole career is an act of service. So I almost feel like, yes, I'm thinking of some very specific people, which always helps you kind of integrate further. So we did access service receiving gifts. You gave us an example for physical touch, but that leaves us with quality time and

Maria (25:32):
Information and words of affirmation. So I'll go with words of affirmation first because I find this one the most difficult, especially when the pesky roommate brain of yours is telling you terrible things about yourself. Telling you awful mean lies that are not serving you. So words of affirmation could look like, journaling could look like following a series of prompts for self care or for positive thinking. It could mean changing the background on your phone to be something really meaningful. You look great today could be a quote that really stands out to you that really affirms what you believe. Thinking about that. If your love language is words of affirmation, that's gonna go so much further than, Oh, I booked myself a massage for the day. <affirmative>, you might not, maybe physical touches the last thing on your radar, but oh, that's what people do when they're stressed.

<affirmative>, when they're going through a hard thing, they just take themselves to a spa. Where what you could really utilize is your own words of affirmation or screenshotting a comment. For any dieticians or health professionals listening, screenshotting a comment or feedback note like, oh that really brings me warmth to have that. And for quality time. I think a little bit about, are you an introvert or an extrovert? So now I'm gonna start really blurring the lines here, but if you're an introvert, maybe it means quality time with yourself, taking yourself on a walk, taking yourself out to go do something that feels good or spending time inside. For an extrovert like myself, I want to sometimes stay home and just term myself. Cause I'm so exhausted, especially if I'm interfacing with clients all day. But what would really serve me is quality time with people that give back to me. I get a lot of my energy from other people and I just love being in the company of others. I have to remind myself of that loving myself of my own love. Language is sometimes a chore, <affirmative> because quality time is just, it's time, it's energy. So knowing that, you know what, I'm exhausted but calling that one friend. I love for dog walks. That's what I'm gonna do tonight cause I know I need that.

Christa (27:26):
This was so helpful for me, <laugh>, which was, oh good. Also, I have my quiz results up. And I wasn't really sure how I felt about them cuz I didn't have any context. Now that I hear you talk through each of them, I'm like, Oh, this context helps know why this might be more enjoyable than this. And it makes perfect sense. And again, that context, you could teach a class about using love language in your practice,

Maria (27:50):
<laugh> sure could.

Christa (27:52):
Tell me about what some of the outcomes that you see with clients when you start to use this.

Maria (27:57):
Ultimately the number one thing is relief. They have been pushing a self-care tool on themselves that really was agonizing. Like, Oh, this is supposed to make me feel better. The bubble bath is supposed to work. And what they had been missing is themselves. They had been missing the actual attunement, if that's the word. They we're not attuned to themselves. So there's this immediate relief of one, I don't have to do it that way. And two, the way I'm doing this now makes me feel better faster, makes me feel better longer. I'm actually feeling like this time is giving something to me, taking myself out for a treat. My clients and I talk about that a lot. Like, Oh, I just went a little treat, I just went out for an hour and I gotta get a treat. For some folks, it's a terrible habit that's not serving the at all.

But for others it actually is this welcome time away from their house. It is a gift to themselves. It's that random spontaneity, the same thing you'd bring to a partner, but you're now giving it to yourself. So definitely relief. I think there's also education about self and the sort of self development to feeling like, oh, I know myself better. And then with that comes confidence. So knowing I'm gonna turn down plans to stay home by myself because my love language, my love tank, if you will, is really low. My self love tank is low. So confidence in making those choices and knowing that maybe it's not spa for you, maybe it's not baking cookies. That would be awful to me. <affirmative>, that is not I, I'm not <affirmative> doing that.

Christa (29:26):
What does baking cookies fall under to you? Cause I feel like look, could go under many things. Oh

Maria (29:30):
My god, it could go under everything. I feel like it really could physical touch, it could be an active service if you're making them for someone else. I kind of see it as for me, if I were to make cookies, it would be an act of service. True. And I just feel like I'm, yeah, I'm not a kitchen cleaner. No, I don't wanna measure everything. And I also think brain wise, that doesn't help me decompress. But for someone who just loves maybe solo quality time and they love that active service to themselves of having those cookies available or something like that, What if you had some treats in the freezer, you just needed them for a day when you're so excited to have them. That's awesome. That's just not something that falls under my low language. And the best part is that I'm so happy for you if that's you. And I'm also so happy for me that I know that that isn't for me

Christa (30:13):
<affirmative>. Yeah, that's super cool. Well if someone was listening to this today and they are so intrigued and they're like, Man, I wish I could just learn so much more from Maria, but or I just wanna indulge in this concept of applying love languages more to my life and more to my own self care and more to myself, <laugh>. How do I use my own language, love language to love myself? Where do you suggest, or maybe is there three steps or is there some place that you would charge people with to start today to integrate that into their own life a little bit more?

Maria (30:45):
Yeah. So first step would be take the five love languages quiz. It's online, five love languages.com. I'm not affiliated with them <laugh>, but it's an easy tool just taking your engram, I think it's even quicker than that. And then I would do two things. I would apply it I think first to your relationships and just see how do I see this making sense with others? Because that sort of paradigm, that schema of like, Oh, this is how I love others, is sometimes easier for us than thinking about, Oh, how do I love myself? It just feels so awkward and uncomfortable for so many of us. I don't have even the time to think about loving myself. So think about somebody you love and say, Oh, I notice that I do receive love that way and I do love other people that way. And that's interesting.

And then consider, how could I apply this to myself? There's a really silly meme that was popular maybe five years ago of tacos as love languages. So spending time with tacos, making tacos, giving tacos to others. And I kind of want you to do that for yourself of how could I transform how I communicate with myself, how I talk to myself, how I take days off from work, get really tangible of how could I love myself in this way? And am I okay with not knowing the outcome yet, right? Cause we always wanna know like, Oh, is it gonna work? I don't know. I don't even know what the definition of work is in this moment. I want you to just sort of investigate and take that risk and see, well, what does happen when I turn down the spa day for a walk in the park? When you live in swamping New Orleans, you might be surprised it's actually more enjoyable if that is in alignment with your love language. <affirmative>, take the quiz, apply it to someone else in your life, like a loved one and then apply it to yourself. And then if you still have questions and we can always have a conversation about it, think that would be

Christa (32:39):
Cool. Yeah. And on that note, where can people find you online?

Maria (32:42):
They can find me on Instagram. You can call me re for short. Vitamin R is my handle. You can always send me an email. I love writing. The English teachers always here. So [email protected] is the best way to get ahold of

Christa (32:54):
Me. And vitamin R is vitamin R I, right?

Maria (32:57):
Yes it is. Thank

Christa (32:58):
You. Good call. Well thank you so much for coming on today.

Maria (33:01):
Thanks for having

Christa (33:02):
Me. My cranks are still turning on this because I think this is such a unique, I think it's a very unique perspective on something that we can all do or something simple we can start to apply that costs nothing <laugh> that helps us understand ourselves better. And that's really the challenge is not understanding yourself. That's where things get really messy and trying to please others. And all of these things is where things get really blurry and we get like ultra confused. So this is just a simple tool or framework that you can make completely your own if you want.

Maria (33:31):
Yeah, absolutely.

Christa (33:33):
So please think about teaching this class.

Maria (33:35):
I will. Thanks for inspiring it.

Christa (33:37):
Yeah. Sharing and reviewing this podcast is the best way to help us succeed with our mission. To help integrate the best of East and West and empower you to raise the bar on your health story, just go to review this podcast.com/less stress life. That's review this podcast.com/less stressed life, and you'll be taken directly to a page where you can insert your review and hit post.

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