Karese LaGuerre is the author of “Accomplished: How to Sleep Better, Eliminate Burnout and Execute Goals.” She’s a Registered Dental Hygienist and Myofunctional Therapist. She founded The Myo Spot, a practice aimed at amplifying oral wellness to whole body wellness. In this episode Karese and I talk about her work, the little things regarding sleep we don’t think about and how the Black community gets left behind in the conversation.
Power elevation experience registration is coming up. It starts on March 24th and it ends on March 31st. What’s the power elevation experience. It’s about music, movement, education, and action. We’re talking diversity, equity and inclusion by learning, and then taking action in different ways in our everyday lives. What we’re doing with the music is getting empowered and we’re moving our bodies so that our minds are ready to receive the information. If you want to learn more, the link will be down in the show notes. In this episode, we’ll be talking to Karese LaGuerre, welcome to diversity dish, where we’re dishing on everything. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice related. My name is Sedruola Maruska, and we’re bridging the gap between what needs to be said and what needs to be heard. Those individual experiences that are often ignored or simply dismissed. Sometimes I’m dining alone. Sometimes I’m dining with friends and sometimes I’m dining a-la-cart, no matter how I’m dining, it promises to be delicious. Let’s dig in
Karese LaGuerre is a registered dental hygienist and myofunctional therapist. She founded the Myo spot practice aimed at amplifying oral wellness to whole body wellness through teletherapy. She helps clients of all ages overcome tongue ties, TMJ disorders, sleep apnea, grinding anxiety, and various breathing and oral facial dysfunction, passionate about education. And self-help she published, accomplished how to sleep better, eliminate burnout and execute goals. When she’s not working with clients globally, she spends time with her husband and four kids.
Hey Karese, thank you so much for being here. It is such a pleasure to meet you. I am so happy to be here. Thank you for having me. Absolutely. It’s my pleasure. So as we get into our discussion, I like to start off just a little light and personal before we get into the deep information that we will get into. But I would like to know what is it that you’re passionate about right now? I am super passionate about awareness of the importance of sleep and even more so the importance of good breathing to help impact that sleep and make it more purposeful where need that sleep to re-energize, you know, get ourselves back to full a hundred percent. We’re charging up at night that way, the next day we’re good to go. So I am a hundred percent passionate about that sleep and are essential.
How many times have you said or heard someone else say say ‘I’m so stressed’?
We use the word ‘stress’ loosely. Many times what we describe as stress is a bad day, and really all we want is to chill. Basically, ‘stress’ is just another word for ‘annoyed’ or ‘hassle’.
But more and more ‘stress’ isn’t just an alternate word, it’s something we face every day. It’s a constant in our lives that keeps us awake at night, on edge through the day, and fills us with tension and fear.
In small amounts, stress is necessary. Lots of things cause short-term stress, even things we enjoy, like board games, challenging tasks, a DIY home project, or video games. These situations cause fun ‘stress’ that leads to a feeling of satisfaction, a challenge overcome, a job well done, or a game well played.
Stress can sometimes be good for us. For example, if we’re finding it hard to pay the bills, we might respond by asking for a raise – or finding a better job!
The problem comes when we’re stressed most or all of the time – especially at work.
If the trend continues, most adults will be suffering from high blood pressure in a few years because of coping mechanisms such as drinking, overeating or not getting enough sleep.
Because when stress continues, it doesn’t only take a psychological toll – damaged relationships, problems at work, and poorer quality of life. It also takes a physical toll that can lead to serious conditions like coronary heart disease.
What is Stress?
Doesn’t it seems strange that something as intangible as stress can have such a dramatic effect on our health, our lives, and society as a whole? But it can, and it does, which is why we need to understand it and learn how to deal with it.
There’s more than one way of defining stress, but here are two of the most useful.
Stress is what happens when we feel that demands we have to meet are bigger than our ability to deal with them, so we feel ‘out of our depth’ or ‘at the end of our rope.’
Stress is an adverse reaction we have to a lot of pressure or other demands placed on us.
In other words, stress is based on the way we look at our lives. If we think we can cope with pressures, demands on our time, our abilities and our money then there’s no problem. If we can’t, we feel stressed.
Years ago, when we were less ‘sophisticated’ than we are now, If we were confronted with something threatening, we had two possible responses. To stay, and fight – or to turn and run. Fight or flight.
Although we’ve evolved, we still have those same fight or flight instincts. That’s good except for the fact that our systems can’t tell the difference between a real threat and an imagined one. So even if the threat is something we’ve been thinking about our response is the same – fight or flight.
And the results are physical!
Your heart starts to beat faster, carrying oxygen and nutrients, clearing away waste products so your muscles will have the blood supply they need for intense physical effort
As your heart beats faster, your blood pressure rises
Adrenaline and other hormones are released, to give you the energy you’ll need, raising your awareness, and sharpening your response
Your pupils dilate to let in more light, so you can see more clearly
All your senses become sharper and more efficient
Your muscles tense, ready for action
Blood flow to your hands and feet is restricted, so they stay cool
Your body gets hotter as your blood pressure rises, and you start to sweat in an effort to cool off
And yet nothing physical has happened. You’ve simply imagined, remembered, or anticipated something your subconscious sees as a threat!
You’ve also started to program yourself with this response to a particular stimulus. Which means that the next time you have the same thought, you’ll respond in the same way – faster, and more intensely.
You may even start to worry about the response – which increases your stress levels even more. The result: unpleasant physical symptoms. Palpitations. Muscle tension pain. Insomnia. Breathlessness. Numbness. Tingling. Dizziness. Sickness. Fainting. Headaches. Indigestion. Diarrhea. Fatigue. Chest pains. Blurred vision. Nausea. Shaking and more.
The good news is that once you understand stress, and recognise it, you can easily manage it.
Stress comes from a particular set of behaviors we learn and repeat. Fighting back means learning – and repeating – a different set of behaviors that will reduce stress and restore calm.
Here are some first steps to help you manage stress:
Learn relaxation techniques! Relaxation is the opposite of ‘fight or flight’. Meditation, progressive muscular relaxation, deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, or even dancing can help you to relax
Learn about your stress ‘triggers’. Keep a journal where you write down things that make you tense up or start to worry, and the things that make you feel relaxed and happy.
Take stock of your lifestyle. Are you eating and drinking sensibly? Do you exercise enough? Vigorous exercise is a great way to get rid of tension that builds up when you’re stressed!
Develop strategies. Think about what you do now to stay calm. What could you do better? What strategies could you add to your arsenal?
Managing stress starts with knowing what’s stressful to you. We all have different triggers and ways of managing our stress.
Sometimes, when I’m working, I realize that my shoulders are incredibly tense. Unconsciously I’m raising them toward my ears, so that when I’m finally realizing this, my body is in a truly awkward position. I’ve realized that it happens when I’m unsure of or feeling stressed about a project.
What I do is take a deep breath, hold it for three seconds, then as I release my breath I relax my shoulders. That simple act gets me back to neutral, relaxes my body and helps clear my mind so I can keep working. without causing myself harm.
I encourage you to keep a journal and become more aware of how you’re dealing with stress. You’ll be happy, in many ways, that you took the time.
It’s 2016, I’m 47. I’m twenty years removed from my angel’s passing. My son’s ten and my daughter’s five. But there’s a stirring in my gut that won’t leave me alone. I feel a shift I can’t explain. Nothing feels right but I can’t pin it down.
I’m prepping to go to my son’s soccer game and right before rushing out the door I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. “Who is that? It can’t be me, I don’t dress or look like THAT!”
I quickly change my clothes to something more “me” appropriate and keep it moving.
We’re sitting in the surgeon’s office, it’s December 13, 2017, and my husband and I are waiting to hear the results from the two biopsies I had the week before.
The first and only words I hear are “You have Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, breast cancer.” As I sit there absorbing this information, my overwhelming thoughts are:
What about my kids?
What am I doing with my life?
So, for the first 8 months of 2018, beginning on January 2nd, I go through active treatments to fight cancer. In that time I realize there are things I want to be, do and have yet nothing’s leading me to them.
Now’s the time.
The Universe responds by laying me off from my job. It’s October 2018 and I’m at a crossroads. Recovering from cancer treatments, looking for a job and feeling completely transformed in a way I’m unable to explain to myself, let alone anyone else.
At the same time, my daughter’s in the second grade and bored, I’m frustrated because she’s full of brilliance and loves learning, but she feels she’s not learning anything. So, I say “if Mommy can find a way to stay home, we’ll do home school.”
Around that time, I decide to drive for Uber until I can “figure things out”. I enjoy driving so much I decide to stop my job search, drive full time and home school my daughter and build my dream career of coaching, speaking and making a real difference in other’s lives.
We don’t always know what events in our lives mean until we look back at how they’ve unfolded. Cancer re-ignited the brilliance of my soul in a way that’s hard to explain.
When I lost my first baby that brilliance was dulled to almost imperceptible. Cancer allowed me to see that I’ve been living in default for over twenty years. Instead of being the leader I was in high school, I shrunk myself to fit in and not make waves. Instead of taking huge chances and making big bets, I stayed at the slot machines and hoped. There’s no honor in being dull.
Now I’m aware. There’s no turning back because I get to choose how my story ends. Mine isn’t a story of defeat, it’s a story of triumph. It’s a story of realization and growth. It’s a story of knowing myself, honoring myself and allowing myself to continue becoming.
I’m no longer worried about being worthy, I know I am. I no longer care to carry shame, I care more that my gifts be shared. That my brilliance serve as a beacon for others, lighting their path and their motivation.
So, maybe by listening to my soul’s cry to do more for others, my cancer can be what helps others find their own brilliance.
I’m living forward, pushing through whatever comes so the next time I look back, I’m overwhelmed and humbled by what I see.
From this moment on I’m no longer in default. I’m intentional.