About Debra

What the heck does “stress management” mean,
why do I need it, and how can you help me
become the person I’ve always dreamed of becoming?

Stress management is something you are already doing…we all have stressful situations in our lives, right? But it’s HOW you manage your stress that will determine the kind of life you live:

  • Do you run to things such as alcohol, drugs, or shopping in order to “numb” the stress?
  • Do you become anxious and lash out at those around you?
  • Do you retreat from stress altogether by sleeping too much, avoiding tasks that seem daunting, and/or becoming depressed?
  • Do you overeat and/or make poor choices about what you’re eating when you feel stressed?

debra-imageWhat I do is help people manage stress in productive ways, ways that don’t compromise your character, ruin your relationships with others, or make you feel anxious, depressed, or angry.

Now, please don’t think I am this ethereal, stress-free, eternally calm person. Those who know me would laugh at me trying to portray that kind of image! I can be loud and boisterous, talk a mile a minute (good luck trying to get a word in edgewise if I’m excited about something!), and I have moments when I feel ready to pull my hair out, just like you! But, I have tools…tools that I can teach you, so that you can feel more peaceful, have better relationships, make more money, sleep better at night…the list of benefits is a long one!

You know that saying “If you want to learn something, teach it”? Well, there’s a reason I teach stress management…I have experienced some pretty darn stressful situations in my life! I am a 3-time cancer survivor, but I don’t let the word “cancer” define me…I let the word “survivor” define me.

The first time I experienced stress that I felt was unmanageable was after I was the victim of a violent crime when I was in my mid-20’s. Having grown up in such a way in which I felt that expressing my emotions showed weakness, I repressed what had happened, and developed unhealthy ways to cope. Later, I was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and received the proper care I needed to cope in healthy ways.

As luck would have it (or fate, or God, or whatever you might call it), it was around that same time that I started to teach yoga, and I knew in my heart that my calling was to help others learn to cope with stress, and to help them feel the best they possibly could (“A-ha!” I thought, “What a great name for a business…Feel Your Best!” J). I have been educating people in various aspects of stress management, writing about it in magazines, on blogs, and beginning to write a book…and living it myself ever since.

So, what qualifies me to teach stress management? My education is in psychology and neuroscience, with an emphasis in psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)…a fancy way to explain the connection between the brain, body, and our internal healing capacities. As well, I have logged over 6000 hours of training and experience (ever since my business was founded in 1995) in the fields of yoga therapy, yoga, Pilates, stress management, and psychotherapy.

As the owner of two wellness studios in Wisconsin, I developed and taught (along with a faculty of 25) 3 teacher training programs, in which people learn to become instructors of yoga and Pilates, as well as yoga therapists. The 4th program is a stress management program, which is both experiential (learning to manage ones’ own stress) as well as having an optional teacher training component (should you choose to want to learn how to teach others stress management techniques that help you!). To date, over 500 people have graduated from the Feel Your Best (FYB) Teacher Training School, from 6 different countries and all walks of life.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does Feel Your Best (FYB) differ from other stress management programs and resources?

    Here, you will learn MANY techniques to manage your stress…but more than that! It is my belief that it is of utmost importance to understand the how’s and why’s of your stress…in other words, why do I let certain things “get to me”, and how in the world do I prevent myself from getting so stressed out and crazy-feeling in the future?! I will teach you PREVENTATIVE measures from a holistic (whole person) perspective. I like to say it’s like “re-wiring” the brain to create better connections and more harmony between mind and body.

  • Stress management sounds like such a “dry” topic. Is this something I will really enjoy doing, or will it seem like another stressful task I’m adding to my life?!

    That’s a common concern I hear…and I can assure you that my teaching is anything but dry! I inject humor into nearly everything I do, including this…you will laugh and have fun while you learn, get to know more about yourself, and I can practically guarantee that even the “tasks” you might do will be something you look forward to doing.

  • You mentioned that you have a background in yoga. Do I have to practice yoga as part of this program? Do I have to be physically fit?

    You do NOT have to be a yoga practitioner to participate in any practice sessions I suggest, though you will learn some techniques that are similar to those from yoga traditions. My vast experience in yoga allows you to go deeper than most “surface” relaxation techniques.  No matter what your beliefs about yoga, I assure you that you won’t think of what you’re learning as “weird”, “new age-y”, or what I like to call “woojy woojy”! :-)  You won’t be asked to chant, replace your wardrobe with clothing made from recycled plastic bottles, or retreat into the Himalayas! In other words, you won’t be asked to do ANYTHING you are not comfortable with…but if recycled Coke clothing is comfortable to you, by all means, wear it!

    Physical fitness, in my opinion, is important to managing stress…however, during the practice sessions that focus on this area, modifications will ALWAYS be not only given, but encouraged. Having experienced illness, and many injuries over the years, no one understands the need for gentle fitness more than me. And if you already have an active lifestyle, what I teach you may very well be the perfect balance to what you are already doing!

  • Is there anyone who is not suited for FYB?

    Yes, there is. As someone who has likely been in your shoes (or a similar situation), I can assure you that the work you do will be worth it. However, if you are looking for a “quick fix” or “magic bullet”, without putting any effort or thought into it, then this is not for you. Also, if you are someone who wants to place blame elsewhere, and focus on excuses for how you got to the place where you are now, then this is not for you. Some of what you discover about yourself may be hard to swallow…and at times, you may feel as if what you’re learning doesn’t come easily. But I promise you…with practice, patience, and determination, you WILL see results, and your life will improve dramatically.

  • How might I change as a result of what I learn from you?

    Well, hold onto your hat, because what you will learn can change virtually EVERY part of your life, from the quality of your sleep to your relationship with your partner/spouse to your stress levels at work…even your bank account! And we’ll start with your attitudes and beliefs about stress, which affect everything else, like a house; without a strong foundation, nothing can stand upon it, and you cannot grow upward into the person you have always dreamed of becoming!

 






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