In the spirit of new beginnings, we shined this month’s Glowdown spotlight on life coach Victoria Albina. She’s also trained as a Nurse Practitioner, has a Masters Degree in Public Health, and is a certified Breathwork Healing Facilitator. But one might say that her biggest learning experiences have been through facing her own struggles. Now her passion is to help women live with radical, unapologetic, empowered self-love. Learn more about Victoria’s path and how to use her advice to set your own goals for 2020!

Why are you so passionate about health and wellness?

I come to health and wellness having been sick most of my life. I went to every doctor and therapist under the sun to try to find an answer, and came to understand, by healing my IBS, gastritis, depression, and anxiety myself, that our current systems of care just don’t have the answers we need.

Functional and holistic medicine helped me find and kill off the parasite, and thoughtful nutrition helped me heal my leaky gut. But the truest, deepest answer to my 30 years of illness came through healing my nervous system and through life coaching – learning to manage my mind. 

Your nervous system is always on alert for danger. When it senses danger through a negative-feeling tone of voice, an upsetting look from a stranger or loved one or through your own negative self-talk, your digestion and cognition stop. Literally. The science is clear on this. When you’re freaking out because of a text from your partner, worrying about the next meeting with your boss or are telling a story about how you’re a constant eff up or aren’t good at life, your loving body responds by slowing your metabolism, thyroid and adrenal function, leaving you fatigued, sluggish, stressed, anxious and depressed. The way to heal your digestion, mental health and energy for good, and the way I healed mine and help my clients heal theirs, lies in learning to manage your mind and healing your nervous system responses. 

How do you approach the start of a New Year? Do you find yourself seeing more people taking advantage of a new year for a new start?

I set goals and commitments for my life every day and every week, so the start of the new year isn’t that different for me. I believe that to live an intentional life, one where I’m in the driver's seat, requires constant living evaluation of where I am, where I want to be, and what I’m actively and courageously doing to get myself there. 

What are some of the most common goals people set and how can people create attainable goals?

My clients come to me with lofty goals, like healing their relationships with themselves and their loved ones, being less reactive, meditating and exercising daily, overhauling their nutrition and weight… and the work I help them do is to get specific and to think small: brains don’t like massive, vague goals. They’re not something you can work on in a realistic way. So we break them down and reframe them as activities with a measurable outcome. “Work on website” isn’t a goal your brain can wrap itself around, while “About me page done by Wednesday at 5pm” is something concrete and thus, a tangible goal you can accomplish. 

You also need to get clear on your “Why.”  Why do you want to achieve this goal? Is it truly in service of your own wellness or to attempt to please someone else? Do you want to exercise to feel healthy or to lose weight because you think it’ll make you more attractive to others? The former will keep you motivated, the latter will leave you exhausted and unsatisfied. 

What are some ways people can get more specific with their goals?

People abandon their goals for so many reasons, one of which is the story that they’re overwhelmed, which comes from not having a clear “Why” and then scrambling to find the “How.” Start by listing out the end result you want, and working backward. List out each step and put it on your calendar. 

What can people do to develop their understanding of their own behavior and choices?

It all starts with awareness and being your own watcher. Meditation, particularly the Breathwork Journey Meditation I teach, is an amazing way to connect in with yourself and to raise your awareness, which is why I offer in-person and virtual classes, so everyone can do breathwork with me, regardless of where they live. Once you are connected with your breath, you have access to so much information in your body. 

Journaling is also a super useful tool, and I teach all about Future Self Planning on my podcast – check out that episode for some great tips, along with the episode all about being your own Watcher. 

How do you unwind and how does that help you recharge?

Breathwork Journey Meditation is my number one way – it’s such a transformational practice and leaves me feeling centered, grounded, relaxed, and happy. I can’t recommend it more! And leading Breathwork circles is a beautiful way for me to recharge, by sharing one of my most favorite experiences with others. 

And the daily Thought Work I do helps me to not need to unwind because I’m not continuing to think thoughts that leave me feeling stressed! 

Walk us through your typical weekday skincare routine.

I’m a minimalist on that front! I do coconut oil cleansing and make my own renewing face oil using organic jojoba and comfrey oils and essential oils like lavender, helichrysum, wild carrot seed, rosemary, lemon, and the like. 

What’s your go-to Erno Laszlo product and why?

I love your cleansing bars! So yummy.

Who is your #1 beauty icon?

I see beauty in everyone, so it’s hard to pick just one person. I think the most beautiful people are those who radiate love – for themselves and the world. It’s not about some perfect look for me, it’s about kindness and generosity, and that shines through!

What’s one thing that you love about yourself and why?

I’m a creature full of love. Always have been since I was small. It’s so easy for me to feel full-up with love and wonder – my inner child is easy to access and keeps me enchanted with the world!