Episode 4 - Finding calm during stressful times - Brigitte Factor Episode 4 - Finding calm during stressful times - Brigitte Factor

This episode is full of wisdom and hope for all of us during this season. Brigitte has a wonderful conversation with Denise Bischof, a professional life coach, and relaxation specialist.  Listen as Denise shares some valuable tools that can help us find calm and happiness during stressful times. Hear a story of transformation that will give you goosebumps and leave you feeling inspired.

Download Denise's 5 Simple Strategies for a Calmer, Happier You for FREE:  https://www.liveinspiredcoaching.com/happier/

Schedule a Free Discovery Session with Denise: https://www.liveinspiredcoaching.com/discover/

Connect with Brigitte on Instagram @BrigitteFactor
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Episode 4 Transcript

Brigitte Factor 0:13 Hello and welcome to the hungry for truth podcast. I'm your host, Brigitte Factor, a truth seeker, researcher, scientist, nutritionist, teacher in truth teller, and awakening is coming. Get ready for it.

Brigitte Factor 0:46 Welcome back to the hungry for truth podcast, I have a special guest for today's episode. Last week I talked about the stress many of us are feeling right now and how to deal with burnout from a hormonal perspective and what's happening inside the body. I wanted to talk with someone who could provide some insights and tools that could help us deal with stress from the perspective of what's happening inside the mind. And today I have with me Denise Bischof. Denise Bischof is a professional life coach who has made it her mission to help women get the clarity, confidence and courage they need to live meaningful and happy lives. Her inspiration comes from her own journey in 2012, when her busy life, left her stuck in a cycle of overwhelm and self doubt. It was affecting her health work and relationships. So she knew she needed to make a change. with dedication to self care and the healing practices of yoga, meditation, prayer, and forgiveness and life coaching. She felt empowered to share what she's learned with others. Now through her Live Inspired Coaching programs, Denise compassionately and intuitively guides her clients to rewrite the plot of their life story and find their way back to peace, purpose and joy. Welcome, Denise, your work sounds amazing.

Denise Bischof 2:12 Thank you. Yeah, it is. It's a joy to be here. So thank you. I think that work I do is amazing, too. I feel really blessed to be able to share it with others.

Brigitte Factor 2:23 Yeah. And that's what we're gonna talk about today is talk about the work you do. So my first question for those that may be unfamiliar is what is a life coach?

Denise Bischof 2:34 Oh, that's a good question. So a life coach is someone who walk society beside you on your journey of healing and self discovery. So I like to think of a life coach, as someone who is really focused on taking you from where you are now, to where you want to be. And so they help you kind of bridge that gap, you kind of have these goals in mind. Or you maybe you just know, you don't want to be where you are now. They can help you figure out where you want to be, and then help you get there. Take the steps to get there.

Brigitte Factor 3:20 Yeah, I think that's great. Um, so in your own story, you talked about coming to that place where you're stuck and needing to move past it. So can you tell us a little bit about what you brought brought you to this work that you do and why your love life coaching?

Denise Bischof 3:40 Yeah, so I was a nonprofit leader. And it was a real small grassroots nonprofit organization. And when you're for those of you who are familiar with nonprofits, when you're working in the nonprofit world, funding is always kind of scarce. And so you tend to wear many hats. So I had to kind of be a jack of all trades. In terms of programming, finance, fundraising, grant writing, you name it, learning to manage the board of directors or work with the board of directors. And so I did that for nine years. And until I kind of hit the wall, and for me, hitting the wall showed up as I was unable to sleep. I was starting to have lots of aches and pains in my body and So really emotionally unstable. So just really unable to handle the stressors that were coming my way. So basically, my resilience was completely depleted. And so and I was just, you know, unhappy. So I realized that I needed to make a change, I couldn't go on like this, like I said, it was affecting my relationship, as well as my health. And so I took the courageous step of moving away from and leaving the organization to heal myself, and figure out what I wanted to do next.

Brigitte Factor 5:52 Yeah, I can relate to coming to a place of, you know, hitting a wall as well, I think a lot of women can, you know, they're juggling, many things are juggling work, they're juggling family life, and maybe their community service and their church or whatever they're dedicated to. And it can be really challenging to take a step back and, you know, ask ourselves, what's what's most important to us? And, or even just becoming aware that, you know, we're probably doing too much for where we're at. And so how did you come to that awareness? And what steps did you take first, to move past that and start seeking change?

Denise Bischof 6:41 Yeah, I think that awareness, that is really key, you really hit on a really great topic. Because we get so caught up in the cycle of overwhelm, and worry that we don't even know that we're in it, usually until something happened. So again, whether that's something that happens with your health, or it affects your relationship in a negative way. Sometimes we don't even know that we're in it. So for me, again, it was really that deep unhappiness, I just felt unhappy and unsettled. And it didn't make any sense to me, because I was doing great work. And I was doing the work that that I loved at one point in time. So I couldn't figure out I kept trying to make it, like, there's something wrong with me. I should be able to handle this. And just not realizing that these stressors in my life, were just building and building and building, and I was not releasing them. And so as they built and built and built again, I just hit the wall, literally could not continue doing what I was doing. And be well.

Brigitte Factor 8:26 Yeah. You mentioned, you know, that, what's wrong with me, you know, that thought that many of us, you know, have pop in our head, and we can let that control our thinking for sure. And so what tools, or what is a tool that you use, that can help kind of get past that? Denise Bischof 8:50 Yeah, so I think, first of all, as you said, it's that awareness. accepting what is accepting that there is a problem and accepting that it might not be you. And so really being open to Hey, you know, this, this ain't working. And it you know, there's nothing I can do to fix this. Like, I can't keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So that awareness is the first step. And then secondly, is really being willing to make yourself a priority. So being willing to set aside time for you and let go of the guilt. And the, the mindset that trips us up, that again, there's something wrong with me or I should be able to the hand looks like we have to put that aside. And we have to realize that we are human. And we are worthy of self care. And we are worthy of really making ourselves a priority, it doesn't always have to be taking care of everyone else first. So I liken it to, we have to put on our oxygen mask, before we can help anybody else. So as women, we are, you know, trained in our culture, to care for everyone to take care of everyone else's needs before. And when we get caught up in that trap, we start to sacrifice ourselves, we sacrifice our dreams, we sacrifice our health. And none of that I don't believe is what God intended for us. I believe that, you know, we were made in God's image, and that we are meant to be happy. And so in order to be happy, we have to make ourselves a priority. So that's step number two. So awareness, making ourselves a priority. And then there are so many ways that we can start to kind of do that self introspection. But I think it's really important first, to kind of set that strong foundation, or as I like to say, really grow strong roots. So that we can weather life storms, create that strong foundation for change. And in order to do that, we have to first help ourselves moves through that stress cycle, we have to learn how to release stress, be still and listen to those inspirations placed on our hearts. And so, for me, that was, again, that self care looked like, as I mentioned, restorative yoga, which I now teach. And that's really moving the body, releasing muscle tension in the body, putting the body in positions of comfort and ease. So that, again, we can really open to receive God's grace. And then breathing is another way to do that. It's a great tool. But actually taking the time, obviously, we breathe every day, but taking the time to be intentional with our breathing. And, again, that's a really powerful tool to help us release stress.

Denise Bischof 13:22 And we want to kind of, I love the work that Dr. Elizabeth Stanley talks about widening the window, to widening our resilience window. We want to widen that window. So that when life's storms come and they will because you know, life is life happens. stressors happen, we want to widen that resiliency window so that we're able to handle those stressors. So when you feel like you can't handle one more thing, that's one of your clues that you need to get off the hamster wheel and start taking care of yourself. When you have when you're really short with the people that you love when you are just be I know for me, even the summer as we were dealing with COVID I was experiencing some of this again. I just everybody irritated me. Everything irritated me, you know, just that short view. And so just being able to kind of recognize that but we got to build that resiliency back then. And only then can we kind of move through change with more ease and grace. If we try and make big changes in our life without doing that work first. And evidently, we may crash and fall again. So it's kind of like, you know, just feeding the fire. If we know we want to make a change, we want to get from point A to point B. But if we don't do that resiliency work building that strong foundation first. We might not ever get there.

Brigitte Factor 15:21 Yeah.

Denise Bischof 15:22 So doing that work was really important.

Brigitte Factor 15:27 Yeah, that's awesome. You could you just unloaded a lot of really great wisdom there. And I want to kind of unpack that. First, you know, you mentioned how, as women, we sacrifice ourselves for the care of others, because we feel that that's what has been placed on us. And I can totally relate to that. And when we get to that point of, I can't handle one more thing, or I'm feeling overwhelmed. That is a clue for us to check in and say, okay, what's going on? What do I need to change? What am I aware of? So it's, it's like a light that goes on in the awareness that happens. And you also mentioned that setting that foundation is important, before we can make steps to have lasting change. So what is it that helps us have lasting change? Like, you know, a lot of people try things, and then they, it doesn't work, or it works for a little bit, and then they quit, and they try something else, you know? How can people have that lasting change?

Denise Bischof 16:43 Wow, that's a that's a million dollar question. Though, that lasting change is it is it is, you know, we do want to make changes in our life that are going to bring more fulfillment, more happiness, like, you know, that's kind of our goal, we want a meaningful life. And I think it's important when we look at making lasting change that we realized there's no quick fix. So if we are willing to look at taking small steps to big change, rather than feeling like it's all or nothing, if we're willing to kind of let go of that all or nothing mindset. And really just allow ourselves to slowly begin to introduce those things that we want in our life, we're going to be much more successful down the road. So for example, one thing when we're looking at, let's say, weight loss, that something that many of us can easily relate to. So often we jump in, you know, we dive in headfirst following a plan or thinking that we have to totally restrict what we're eating. And when we do that, if we run into a roadblock, which invariably we will, you know, an obstacle, let's say, we decide to have a cupcake rather than an apple to celebrate our daughter's birthday, then we just give it all up real like, Well, okay, I totally failed, had that cupcake, you know, gotta throw in the towel. So, rather than doing that, if we just are able to let it go, and continue on our journey, in a way that is really compassionate and kind and loving to ourselves, rather than beating ourselves up beating ourselves over the head. I think that that really helped continue on the journey.

Denise Bischof 19:31 So one other thing I want to mention is not only, you know, being willing to be kind and compassionate, loving to ourselves, and just continuing on the journey, even though we may have fallen off track. Another way to really help us continue on the journey to lasting change is to focus on what's going well, rather than what's not going well. So similarly to what I was just saying, rather than focusing on that cupcake, focus on the fact that for five days before that you did have that Apple. But you know, really take the time each day to look at what successes you've had big or small throughout your day. And really take the time to celebrate those, not just notice them, and just kind of well blow him off like, well, I should have done that, right. But really take the time to connect with and celebrate those successes, that creates this energy of moving forwards that create the energy of if you've heard of what you focus on expands. And so when we're able to focus on that energy, it's going to help us build that momentum to continue to move forward.

Brigitte Factor 21:01 Yes, I think that's beautifully said, you know, I'm thinking of the inner critic that pops up in a lot of us that when we mess up, we focus on that mistake that we made. And we start to tell ourselves a story that keeps us stuck. And so I think, like what you said, to reframe that, and shift that from a place of grace and understanding and removing the guilt from it can't and then focusing on the things that are going well, and that we are doing to have that forward momentum to keep moving. because like you said before, it's not a quick fix. It's not something, it's a work of practice, that's going to take time, and you want to have that momentum to keep stepping and keep making those steps and celebrate celebrating each time that you're moving forward. So I think that's all really good information. So I want to go back to talking about some of the tools that you use, like breathing and restorative yoga, and kind of talk about how those can help on this path.

Denise Bischof 22:18 Yeah, so in addition to, you know, breathing and restorative yoga, again, those practices are so profound for our mind body connection. So you mentioned that inner critic, and our brains are hardwired, for the negative. So we have a negativity bias. And so knowing that, we need to be very intentional about doing the work, to bring that positivity back into our lives. Again, celebrating our successes is one thing. But that work of breathing and moving the body. And, and really, you've talked a lot in your work about the stress response and the nervous system, Brigitte. But we have to understand how that mind and body works. So that we can introduce those practices that help us trigger the relaxation response. We get caught and stuck in that chronic stress, fight or flight. And so the practices of restorative yoga, breathing movements, all help to trigger the relaxation response. And so I like to think of it as when we're stuck in that stress response. And negativity kind of feeds that stress response. When we're stuck in that it's like having our lights on all the time. And so these practices, physical movement of the body breathing, doing meditation, guided meditation, I think is a great way to start introducing meditation into your life moving into stillness, those are all ways that we start to dim our light. And we want to be able to turn the lights on and then turn the lights off. We don't want to be stuck with the lights on all the time. So those practices, again, I think are really powerful for that mind body connection, and creating that strong foundation.

Brigitte Factor 24:52 So I know that you've created a toolkit that has some of these things in it that is available for people can you tell us A little bit more about your toolkit.

Denise Bischof 25:03 Yeah, so I created a toolkit that's available on my website, Liveinspiredcoaching.com. And it's called five simple strategies for a calmer, happier you. So I put together this toolkit, again, kind of based on my own experience of moving through burnout, and exhaustion and getting to the other side. And also based on my experience of working with clients, who are trying to make a change in their life. And so the strategies, again, include some of the things we've already talked about, like setting aside time for you, that has to be a number one, learning to be still and breed. So introducing that into our life. We talked a little bit about self-compassion, it is so important to be focused on how we talk to ourselves. And then the practices of gratitude, and celebrating successes. So really, most of the things that we've already covered today. And so this toolkit goes into more depth, and actually gives you a journal that you can utilize to begin bringing these practices into your life. And I want to point now one other thing. So we talked about, we talked about that all or nothing mindset, mindset is a huge factor in being able to move forward, being able to create that life that we want that life that we know that we're meant to live. And so happiness is actually a mindset. So happiness is a choice. And this, these practices can help teach you how to shift out of those mindsets. So what we call limiting mindsets, or limiting beliefs. So that you can start to see the world through a new lens. So those beliefs that we've taken on as truth in our lives, really become the lens through which we see the world. And once we realize that, and once we can see those, those beliefs of mindset, those stories, those fears, that we're telling ourselves that are not true, then we can really move forward in creating that new life for ourselves. So So this tool was meant to be kind of a primer, to help you get off of that hamster wheel, and start making some really, I call them simple strategies doesn't necessarily mean easy. But simple strategies that you can start to introduce into your life to really make the changes that you want.

Brigitte Factor 28:22 Yeah, I've downloaded it. And it's a beautiful toolkit. And it's, I think, if you're listening, you should go check it out and, and try out some of the things that she's provided. Where can they find this toolkit? Denise Bischof 28:38 So they can go to Liveinspiredcoaching.com/happier, Liveinspiredcoaching.com/happier or just Google Live Inspired Coaching. And they'll be able to find it.

Brigitte Factor 28:52 Oh, that sounds great. We'll also include a link in the show notes. So if you're listening, you can check that out as well. One thing that you mentioned that stuck out was happiness is a choice. Now, I've had my own journey with depression, and I can remember being in that place and hearing, you know, something like that and getting defensive about it. You know, when you're in that negative mindset, and you feel like you don't have control, but so how could you or what can you say compassionately to someone that's in that place, that is feeling like they don't have control and but there is a way to get back to a better place and and have that different mindset. There is a way to get there.

Denise Bischof 29:47 Yeah, that thank you for bringing that up. I too have been there. I've been at that place of depression and hopelessness. It is something that runs in my family and something that I've experienced personally. So we don't want to be flippant about that we want we don't want to be flippant about saying, well, happiness is a choice to buck up, right? Yeah. I think the power in it, though, is to know that it is possible. So we want to realize that there's hope. So it's not about beating somebody up who's not feeling happy, but is about saying, you know, what, this is possible for you, this is an option for you. Sometimes, and well, I believe, I believe wholeheartedly, all of the time, we can't do this alone. We need help. So whether that be working with a mental health professional counselor, whether that be working with a coach, if you feel like that's a good fit for you, it's really important that we realize that we are made for community. And we do not have to do this alone. So I hope that seeing that happiness as a choice is not seen as a negative, but a positive that, yes, I can get there. And kind of laying that groundwork for possibility and for hope.

Brigitte Factor 31:40 Yeah, I think that's beautifully said that, that holding on to that hope and having that possibility. And again, it goes back to really seeing the guilt that can keep us stuck. And, you know, focusing on what we can do, and we're all at a different place, we all go up and down, mentally, you know, have fluctuations. This year's been hard for many of us with the extra challenges that we faced. But there are things that we can do to help us shift out of that perspective, that negative mindset and start to build a better foundation for us. So I would like to know, from your perspective, what are some big aha, or big transformations? Or even small transformations that you've seen in the clients that you work with that have inspired you?

Denise Bischof 32:41 That's a beautiful question. Wow. So it's always, so it just fills me up when the light bulb goes off. And someone realizes that they are not victims of their circumstances. But they are powerful. They are powerful human beings. And when we realize that, in when we partner with God, and really acknowledge that there's a greater power, and that's in charge of everything that's going on, it can be so empowering, we can again, move away from feeling like feeling like we don't have control now. Now, I want to be really careful here. This is something I spend a lot of time teaching my clients about. Because guess what, we don't have control over everything that happens in our lives. So that's not what it's about. It's not about having control over those circumstances about of life, right? You don't have control over those stressors, necessarily. Sometimes we have choices we can make. But where we have control is inner. So we have control over how we respond to those circumstances of life. We have control over how we respond to those stressors. But we only have control if we're willing to do the work. It's again the self exploration and then the healing that is needed for us to build up that strong foundation, that resilience, that we can really begin to see the world from a new point of view. Brigitte Factor 34:45 Yeah, I that is some profound wisdom that you just shared about. We don't have control over the external, but we have control or can develop the control to The our internal responses and how we handle that. So I think that's beautiful. How do you see this type of mindset work showing up for your clients.

Denise Bischof 35:12 I've had a really great example from just this week. So my client, Sally, who runs her own business, and she has for the past 20 years, came to me because she's really lost her passion for her work and for life. And so she was definitely stuck in a cycle of overwhelm, and self doubt. And she needed help getting out. So one area, she was really stuck on with weight loss. And it kept coming up every time we met. So this was really a hot button topic for her because it's something she's struggled with her whole life. She's lost weight before, but no matter how hard she tried, this time, she just couldn't get started in she couldn't figure out why. So I asked her to think about the reason that she wanted to lose the weight. And she said it was because when she lost the weight, then she would be more confident, she would wear fun clothes, and she finally be able to enjoy her life. And so it was really interesting that while she was sharing this with me, it dawned on her that for the past several months, she had only been wearing dark baggy clothes, trying to hide herself. So we decided to do this really great process to figure out what was keeping her stuck. And during this process, she came up with two things. So the first thing was that she had a strong belief that she had to work hard and struggle in order to be successful, or, as she described it, in order to play with the big dog. And this made total sense, because she was running a business in a male dominated field. So she was always trying to prove herself.

Denise Bischof 37:19 The second thing she came up with, which I can totally relate to, and I know many of us can relate to was that she believed she had to wait until she checked off all the boxes, when things were perfect, in order to have the life she wanted. And what she wanted was to be confident to have fun, and to live life on her own term. So it was truly a lightbulb moment when she realized that these ways of looking at the world didn't help her to feel confident, or have fun or live life on her own terms. They were doing exactly the opposite. So she had a choice to make. Did she want to keep the mindsets that were no longer serving her? Or did she want to let them go. So of course, she chose to let them go. But when we let something go, we need to replace it with something new. So she decided on a really empowering mindset. And that was I am enough exactly as I am right now. So moving forward with I am enough exactly as I am right now. So she left our meeting feeling super excited and ready to go. And two days later, she sent me this really awesome email with the subject line that red confident Sally. And the email had this photo of Sally wearing a bright red sweater, high heeled boots. She had a new hairstyle. And she was wearing all this jewelry that she said had been collecting dust in her drawers. She had her hand on her hip, and a huge smile on her face that exuded confidence and told everyone that she lives life on her own terms. So clearly, she was no longer hiding. And all because she decided to adopt this new beliefs, this new mindset, this new way of seeing the world that was so much more empowering and the crazy thing is wealth. I thought her weight was the big hurdle she needed to get over in order to feel good about ourselves. And in order to be successful, it was really her mindset. So this shift is already helping her to lighten up, and to feel confident in her ability to lose weight. Last week, she already lost two pounds. And another beautiful thing is she no longer feels the need to beat herself up in order to achieve her goals. So she's using the strategy, we kind of talked before about celebrating your successes, and really focusing on what's going well. So she's using that strategy, really focusing on each small step forward and celebrating each small step forward, to really feel good about herself and to motivate her to continue on the journey. That Wow, absolutely love that.

Brigitte Factor 41:04 Yes, that story is so amazing. I have goosebumps listening to, you know, her transformation and her realization of that. And it just goes to show how powerful having that coach in your corner, or someone that can speak to you from a loving, honest perspective, can help you sort through those things, and identify those things and give you options to, you know, other beliefs that we can latch on to. I love that I think that's a beautiful, beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I hope that inspires those that are listening, that that we can adopt different mindsets, and that we can shift our focus to a much better place. So if there's listeners that would like to contact you and talk to you about your work, what's the best way for them to do that.

Denise Bischof 42:01 The best way for people to get in touch with me again, is through my website, and that Live Inspired coaching calm. And I offer a free 45 minute discovery sessions. And I do 45 minutes because I want to give people time to really express what's happening in their life. And visit with them about that. And see is working with me as a coach is going to really move them into creating the life that they want. And so they can schedule a discovery session on directly on my website, they can go to Liveinspiredcoaching.com/discover. And Yep, that's probably the best way.

Brigitte Factor 42:51 Okay, that sounds great. I'll put that link in the show notes as well. So this has been a fabulous conversation, and you've really shared some amazing information. Is there anything else you would like to share any last thoughts?

Denise Bischof 43:09 So I guess that the thought I would like to share is, you are not alone. And we as human beings are incredibly adaptive and creative. So I encourage you to reach out for help. If you need help navigating this crazy world. Or if you need help making a change, or even moving through a life transition, I encourage you to reach out for help. So you are not alone.

Brigitte Factor 43:49 Yeah, that's, that's beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. Well. Thank you so much for your time. Denise. It's been wonderful to have you on the show. And again, we I will put those resources that we've mentioned the toolkit and the discovery call link in the show notes. And so I want to thank everyone for listening. I hope you have enjoyed the show. If you've benefited from this, please leave a review and let us know. And as we move forward and until next time, embrace your awakening and grace and peace.

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