Almost every single one of us has already faced a period in life in which we were completely stressed out, whether it was due to exams we were about to take, personal life issues, or even the combination of these two. Dealing with all this can, and certainly will be challenging. Today’s guest, however, provides the best approaches to weather the storms of life.
Dr. Laura Jaget is a retired chiropractor that has a 28-year of experience under the belt who created the How To Life brand, a podcast and Youtube channel geared toward helping, guiding, and encouraging younger, newer adults to maneuver through adulthood more easily. Or, since the term has already caught on, it helps to take the fear out of “adulting”!
Dr. LJ has been a nationally ranked NCAA Division I tennis player, a chiropractor, a business owner, a wife, a mother of four children, a healer, a teacher, has dabbled in boxing, marksmanship, ballroom dancing, and most recently, playing senior pro pickleball. How to Life provides people with the approaches they can use to combine all these aspects of life without getting stressed out. By laying out some techniques we can use to “reset” while preparing and taking an exam, uncovering the myth of energy drinks to boost productivity, and explaining the importance of Power Naps, as she calls them, Dr. LJ gives insights that will help everyone with all different aspects of life.
Dr. Laura Jaget Email / LinkedIn – [email protected] / https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-laura-jaget-161034b
How To Life Website / Youtube Channel / Instagram – https://howtolife.com / https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfaJzijdFNDLS-Fp9WBirYQ / @howtolifenow
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Transcript of Show
You can download our show notes summary here or get our transcript of the show below!
Isaac Oakeson: All right. Welcome, Dr. Laura. How's it going?
Laura Jaget: I'm well. Thanks Isaac for having me. Excited to be here.
Isaac Oakeson: I'm excited you're here too. I appreciate you jumping on the podcast. This is always fun to do. I know we connected a little bit over podcasting, but -- And I will actually read a little bit about your bio, you know, as we begin this episode. But I thought it'd be fun to have you talk about how you got into this How To Life website and YouTube channel that you have. Tell us a little bit about that.
Laura Jaget: So How To Life is a brand that is geared towards the younger, newer adults. And my goal is to teach, instruct and soothe the fears about life skills or, as the term is commonly called these days, "adulting fears". I help take the fear out of adulting.
Isaac Oakeson: That's awesome. Well, I thought everything that you had in your bio could really translate to my audience, which is civil engineers because they are always trying to manage, you know, exams and work-life balance, and everything else going on in their lives. So, I was just curious, how do you feel like your background has helped you teach about how to life and how to manage kind of stress?
Laura Jaget: Well, before I was doing this, I was a chiropractor for 28 years and I'm the mother of four children. So while I was starting my business, my practice, I also had small children. And I was a wife and a mother, and a business owner, and a doctor, and having to compete -- You know, people wanted my attention, my children, my husband, my patients. All wanted my attention. So to manage that and deal with the stress and the pressures was challenging. It was a long time before I realized that I had to take care of myself first, so that I could have enough energy to give to other people. And I think that is something that's common in all high-stress professions or aspects of people's lives.
Isaac Oakeson: What do you think in your life has been the most stressful, I guess, event? Was it trying to become a doctor? Was it dealing with tennis? You know, tennis tournament. What do you think?
Laura Jaget: I was a tennis player also on a full scholarship. So I had to put in the work there in order to -- You know, in exchange for my scholarship. I would say now, looking back on it all, that it was stressful. There was a lot of stress. But mostly it was the way I approached it. I was always fearful that someone was going to be disappointed in me. I was always fearful that I wouldn't get the best grades, or do the best for my team, or be the best doctor, or somehow fail my children. And I think that unnecessary pressure is probably what was most stressful in all of those cases.
Isaac Oakeson: That makes sense. You know, everyone's got different experiences in life, so it's always kind of, you know, fun to kind of hear what those events are that might be more stressful. Because what I want to transition to a little bit is how can -- I guess, in your opinion, how do you think stress can affect civil engineers, as we are preparing for these exams. We have to pass a six-hour FE exam in college to just graduate. And then later after we gain experience, we have to pass an eight-hour exam, called the PE exam. In addition to like working and people that have families and all that jazz. So, what are any thoughts around?
Laura Jaget: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, as a chiropractor, I had to pass exams, written and oral and practical exams. It's very nerve wracking. And you know, you have to do it when you have other aspects of your life as well. So I think that the main thing in dealing with stress is to give to yourself, to recognize it, to not push through. There comes a point where you just have mental fatigue, emotional fatigue, as well as physical fatigue. If you can tune into yourself and recognize that the pushing through is really not benefiting you -- If it's not benefiting you at that time, take a break. You have to give yourself little breaks, little redirections. Change the environment, give your mind a chance to reset. And there are a lot of techniques that you can do and it's personal for everybody. But I could offer some things that worked for me if you'd like.
Isaac Oakeson: Well, yeah. I'm curious, you know, maybe if there's something that people could dolike, quickly. Let's say they're in the exam and they're finding out that they're stressed. What are some things they could do when they're in the exam? And maybe what are some things maybe they could do outside of that that maybe take a little longer or they could do more often. Something like that.
Laura Jaget: Well, everyone is different. And when you're taking an exam, it's no different than if you're an athlete in a game, you know? If the match isn't going the way you want it, what can you do to change the momentum? Sometimes you have to just stop the momentum. So, if you are somebody that thrives on the stress, let's say, or you thrive on the pressure. Because there are people that do that, that enjoy that. Then ride it through. Use that momentum to carry you through. But if you start to feel like you are panicking or freezing, I think, let's say if you arein an oral exam, you could say to the testers, "I need 15 seconds to reset". They will understand that. I've had that experience where I was asked a question and I froze. They could see that I froze. And for some reason at that time, I was young at that time, but I had the wits about me to say, "May I have 15 seconds please?". And they gave it to me. I was able to take a breath. I just took a breath, took a sip of water, I think. Just something to kind of change your nervous system a little bit. Andthen I continued on. I restated the question as I heard it, I saw that they acknowledged it, and I continued on. And just that little reset was enough to help me carry through. I think that can work for some people.
Isaac Oakeson: That's great. So, from what I'm hearing, if somebody is in the middle of the exam and maybe they're stressed out about a problem that they're solving, they can just take a quick minute, try to reset. I mean, in their mind, they're thinking "This thing is timed and I know I only have so many minutes to solve this". But if you can reset and, you know, take some deep breaths, I think that'll go a long way.
Laura Jaget: The reset is very important. If you're in the written exam and you come to a problem that you don't know, and everyone will tell you it, skip that one. Like, work on it, and if you just find yourself digging a hole, just skip it. Move to the next one and continue on. You can always go back. That way you don't lose time.
Isaac Oakeson: Good advice. I like that. You know, I actually go to a chiropractor that's a cousin of mine. And I have found that seeing a chiropractor, getting adjustment actually, has been very relaxing too, like resetting as well. I mean, since that's a lot of your experience, what can you share about that?
Laura Jaget: Well, chiropractic is the study -- It's the practice of aligning the body. If you think of your spine and the nerves that run through the spinal cord runs through the vertebra. And it is like a hose, like when you have the hose on full blast and there's no kinks in that hose, the water is coming out. But if you have misalignments, if there's something obstructing something, you're -- You know, you twist your hose, the water pressure is going to be lower. So you want to keep everything aligned, and flowing, and stretched, and loose, and non-resistant. Chiropractic is great for that. Just taking care of your body and being aware of your body in general is going to help you out in all aspects of your life. You know, not just test taking.
Isaac Oakeson: Yeah. That's for sure. And I like that. You know, go get a littlean adjustment.
Laura Jaget: But I would say more than that, is be in tune with your body. Follow its cues. It gives you big signs, okay? Talking about stress. When you're burning the candle and it's like, you're burning the midnight oil and your eyes are heavy. There's no point in pushing through on that. You lose accuracy. If it's time to go to sleep, go to sleep. If you just have 10 minutes to take a power nap, or at least close your eyes and meditate, do that. Because the brain needs that time to reset. And really 10 minutes is all you need. If you can just shut down -- If you can fall asleep, that'd be great. It takes a little practice to do that. I can do that, but I've been doing it for years. I call it the Power Nap. If you can do that, when you wake up, it's like you have stopped that sort of stressful momentum, and then you can start again.
Isaac Oakeson: That's perfect. Well, I guess while we're on that topic, I think there's a lot of engineers that probably take high energy drinks and things of that nature. And they probably are -- You know, if they're studying or even if they're at their workplace and trying to do stuff, they're taking some high energy drinks. What are your thoughts around those? Is it a natural thing. Probably a better option there?
Laura Jaget: I'm not a fan. I'm not a fan of the high energy drink or really any stimulant. Your body gives you clues for a reason. And when we override those, it's to our detriment. So with the energy drinks, it's hard on the kidneys. There are a lot of, not just caffeine, but sodium and just all kinds of stuff in there that, you know, your kidneys and your liver eventually have to filter out. And you're just making it harder for the body to have to process that. So you're taking energy away from, let's say, your brain because it's trying to process the energy drink. So although it will give you a boost for a little bit, I think the fallout from it is not good at all. So rather than push through and take the energy drink and be jittery -- And again, even when you're jittery, your attention isn't really that focused. You're just kind of hyper. It's better to just, I think, focus on what you're working on naturally. And if you need to take a break, just take that seven- to 10-minute break,. Let your bodyuse all its energy on your brain.
Isaac Oakeson: That's a good idea. I think thatif you can have good nutrition coupled with listening to your body, with sleep, and all those other things, I think that gives you the best possible.
Laura Jaget: Yes! Feed your body. Feed your brain with, with sleep and rest. Feed your soul with -- You know, you have to take some things that you take pleasure. It's a multi-dimensional, multi-faceted thing. It's not any one thing. But really, you have to take care of yourself as if you would take care of your child, or your spouse, or somebody that you care about. If you saw your child just pushing through and crying and you see it's not going anywhere. It's like, "That's it". I've done that with my kids. I said "You're going to bed". And I got, "I can't go to bed because I won't get this done". And I'm like, I will write a note. I'll take responsibility. I'll write a note and say -- And I've done that. I wrote a note. I said, "Listen, she didn't get this done because it was one in the morning. She couldn't keep her eyes open and I sent her to bed. So I'd appreciate if you would (...)". You know, you can't really do this on a test, but that's what I did. And it worked out just fine. So really, you do not have to kill yourself to impress others, you know? Just impress yourself, take care of yourself, and you will do just fine.
Isaac Oakeson: Good. There's a scenario I want to talk about, I guess, a little bit with you, but I've noticed many times thatpeople that take these exams, the FE or the PE exam, many times they are multiple test takers. Like, they've taken it four, five, six times. And when they go back to take it again, I feel like they feel defeated, you know? Mentally. Would you have any thoughts surrounding maybe the mindset of trying again? Like what would be some good encouraging words for someone that's taken this multiple times and just feels defeated about taking it?
Laura Jaget: Wow. We could do several podcasts on that. You know, it's a mindset. And I think go into an exam for the third, or the fourth, or the fifth time, and you're taking it that many times, there may be a self-worth component there, you know? Are you feeling bad because you think that your self worth is equal to whether you pass this exam or not? And when you do have those feelings of fear or worthlessness, you already put yourself at a disadvantage to take the test again. Now I know it's important. I know this is something that, you know, you may want to acquire because you have plans for it to help you further along in your career. And I really believe that if you really, really want it, you will get there eventually. So if you can be a little bit softer, not make it the end of the world if you don't pass it the first time, or the second time, or the third time, you're going to get there. But sometimes -- And this happened to me once. I am licensed in Nevada and I moved to Oregon for a year, and half-heartedly I thought "Maybe I'll take the exam there". And you know, to open practice there. But my heart wasn't really in it. So I ended up taking this test three times. The last two times, I missed passing by one point. And I decided "I'm just not going to practice in Oregon". And actually, I ended up moving back to Nevada the year later, so it was for the best. But my heart wasn't really in it. I did not beat up on myself that I didn't pass it. I kind of looked at it as "Well. It's not something I really wanted", and my result kind of reflected my desire. And I didn't beat up on myself. And it ended up working out for the best for me anyway.
Isaac Oakeson: That's great advice. Yeah. I definitely can see that with people. They you know, if they're repeat takers, they just really beat up on their own personality.
Laura Jaget: You really have to not do that. If you don't pass it, you know, you look and say "What?" Really analyze. "How Was I feeling in that test? Was I just a ball of nerves? Did I clog my brain up with stress and anxiety?" If the answer is yes, that's all it is. You just threw some resistance on your path. So next time say "I really want to pass this test. And I remember what I did last time, and I am going to take steps and make a decision to go in a little bit calmer". Perhaps I'll watch a funny movie the night before, you know? Just get a good night's sleep, hang out with people. You know, usually the ones that are studying, like right up until they walk in the door, there's some anxiety there. Try to be a little bit softer about it. You've studied. You know the material. This is your passion. It's where you want to go. You will get there. Just soften up a little bit more.
Isaac Oakeson: And don't tie your self worth to the exam.
Laura Jaget: It's a hard test.
Isaac Oakeson: You can still be a good engineer even if you didn't pass, you know? Don't tie yourself worth to that. I like that.
Laura Jaget: Like I said, if you really, really, really want this, and it's so important to you, you will get there eventually.
Isaac Oakeson: Yeah. I love that. You talked about how your heart wasn't in it when you're trying to go to Oregon.
Laura Jaget: Well, I look back on it and it wasn't. My heart wasn't in it. I thought it's something I should do. It was the logical thing to do. It made financial sense. But I ended up retiring two years later. So there we go.
Isaac Oakeson: Well, these are all great tips. I mean, is there any other good relaxation tips you could think of for engineers?
Laura Jaget: Well, for anybody. Meditating daily, I have found, is extremely important. And not only to sort of stop momentum, but to set the intention of your day, you know? I try to do it when I wake up in the morning before anything happens. Before I open my email, or there's something that throws you off into the bushes, I'm like, "Okay. Who am I at my best?" And you know, meditation is 15, 20 minutes. It's so wonderful. And it's a practice. But to be able to deliberately calm your breathing, clear your mind, focus on -- You're not even thinking about anything. You're just kind of focusing on your breathing. Or if you want to think about something, setting an intention, "Who am I when I'm at my best? How do I want to approach this day?" If you have a situation, a test that's coming up, "Who do I want to be when I walk into this test? How do I want to present myself? How do I want to feel?" And you visualize it. They do this in sports also. You visualize what you're about to go into, and you practice seeing yourself in that situation before you actually, in reality, go into the situation. So setting that intention is one of the best things, I think, that you can do. Not only for a test, but even just, you know, for day to day activities.
Isaac Oakeson: Yeah. That's awesome. I guess, how long are you meditating in the morning? Just a question I have.
Laura Jaget: 15 minutes. Like 15 minutes. Really. If there's nothing major, like, just 15 minutes is great. I try to do it in the morning. I try to do it before I go to bed, you know? And then you can kind of do little mini meditations. If something happens during the day where you kind of see yourself downward spiral, spiraling out of control, say, "Okay, I need to stop this in its tracks. Let me just go and meditate for 15 minutes or listen to a music. By the way, there are people that say "I can't meditate". Well, I would say "You just haven't tried". But perhaps there's something else you'd like to watch. Maybe you want to listen to a podcast, or meet with friends, or people go on gaming. Just to sort of change what their focus was at that time. You just want to stop whatever you were doing and reset. That's the word for today. The reset.
Isaac Oakeson: That's perfect. Well, I like that. Well Dr. Laura, I appreciate everything you've shared. I think your tips have helped really anybody, whether it's in your career or whether you're trying to prepare for exams. I think there's a lot of things you've shared with us that we can walk away with.
Laura Jaget: I was happy to help out. And I hope thatthis helps some people. And I hope it helps you in your tests. And let me just tell you, you guys are smart. You're taking these tests, you're engineers. You're smart. You're valuable. You're worthy. You can do it.
Isaac Oakeson: Thank you very much. Dr. Laura, how can people get ahold of you or learn more about what you've got going on?
Laura Jaget: All right. Well, these days you can find me on my website, which is howtolife.com, where I havemy YouTube videos, which I call "mominars", and my podcast episodes, which cover things like what we talked about, geared towards the younger adult to help them kind of master these basic life skills. But there's stuff on there for everybody. All ages.
Isaac Oakeson: Perfect. howtolife.com. Okay! Thanks again for joining me today. I really do appreciate it. Andmaybe we'll do something in the future. Thank you.
New Speaker: Thank you, Isaac.
New Speaker: All right. See ya.
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