Why ‘Vitamin C’ (Community) is an essential ingredient for our health.

By Brie Backus

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Brie chopping vegetables in the kitchen

When we become new parents, we face a major upheaval in the dynamic of our families. Our priorities shift greatly as we pour ourselves into caring for our new little ones and their constant needs. Throw in a global pandemic, working from home, social, political, and environmental stressors, and it’s no wonder so many of us have put our own health and needs aside for the past year and a half (or more).

I’ve been health coaching since 2018, and the evolution of what I’ve seen and discovered during that time always brings me back to the reason I fell in love with PEPS when I became a mother. We, as humans, crave support and community. We want to be seen, heard, and understood. We appreciate the value of accountability. Collectively, we lift each other up.

When I joined PEPS as a new parent, I was looking forward to meeting other new parents but had no idea what a lifeline it would be for me at the time. The collective community aspect of knowing I wasn’t alone in any of the strange new things I was experiencing meant more to me than I could have imagined. The accountability of having somewhere to show up at a particular time on a particular day each week gave me purpose and a feeling of belonging. It kept me tethered to something so that I wouldn’t get swept away from exhaustion and anxiety.

Health coaching is much the same. Over the years, I’ve noticed that as parents, we so naturally and easily give all of ourselves to our little ones, and in turn, not only do we suffer but ironically, so do they. When we can bring ourselves back to the analogy of the oxygen mask in the airplane (the idea of putting on our own mask before helping others), we can see how it’s not only important but imperative to first care for ourselves, so we can be better equipped to care for others.

“That kind of self-love allows you to give the world the BEST of you, not what’s left of you.”

As a coach, I’ve provided many clients with that accountability and tether. A reminder that the overused term “self-care” is about aligning your priorities; putting yourself at the top of the list where you belong. That kind of self-love allows you to give the world the BEST of you, not what’s left of you. I began my work with individual clients, meeting with them on a regular basis, being their accountability partner, sharing knowledge, and offering the prompts and nudges they needed to do the things they already knew they should be doing. But then I began to feel the urge for a shift. I remembered the incredible value I got from PEPS and the value of going through something at the exact same time with others, having the same shared experience. I shifted to incorporate a group coaching model. I wanted my clients to not only have access to me, my support, knowledge, etc. but more importantly, have access to EACH OTHER. That, in my opinion, is the magic ingredient.

“The little things we can do to bring people together (even virtually) are more critical than ever.”

I began running short-term, seasonal programs comprised of friend groups, families, total strangers, co-workers, and everyone in between. This change turned my coaching practice upside down in the best way possible. With these bite-sized programs, people began to see quick wins. Most of us can wrap our heads around doing anything for a short period of time. When you actually stick to something, it gives you pride in your accomplishments! When we feel accomplished, it drives us to maintain our new habits, and the domino effect continues. The best part is the interactions I’ve witnessed in the group dynamic. People supporting one another, cheering each other on and letting each other know they’re not alone in what they’re experiencing. Observing this energy reminds me of PEPS and the magic behind the model of community. It’s a shared experience. We can easily feel so isolated these days, being in and out of quarantine, traveling less, remaining socially distant, etc. The little things we can do to bring people together (even virtually) are more critical than ever.

My group program is called a 5-Day Reset, and it’s precisely that. It is a healthy, gentle way to hit the reset button on our eating habits, reprioritize, and nourish our bodies with REAL food – the ingredients that support us. It’s not just about food but also about mindfulness, movement, water, rest, and bringing greater awareness to our habits. People experience increased energy, better sleep, improved digestion, greater mental clarity, and many more incredible results.

What brings me the most joy is when a participant enjoys the process so much and sees such excellent results that they not only come back for more but recruit friends and loved ones as well. I run these Resets every few months now because a seasonal tune-up is a great way to support your system and really feel your best. I offer the framework, recipes, guidance, structure, and support, but in my eyes, the most extraordinary piece of the puzzle – the magic ingredient in the journey of our health – is the other ‘Vitamin C’: Community.

Brie Backus
Brie Backus

Brie Backus, INHC, is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and mother of one. The birth of her son Luca brought her to PEPS as a participant in 2014. She gained so much from her experience with PEPS that she has volunteered as a group leader for subsequent newborn groups and served as table co-captain at the annual PEPS fundraisers. When she’s not health coaching, Brie loves to spend time in nature (and east of the mountains) with her son, husband, and sweet little dog. Feel free to reach out to Brie at BrieBackusHealth@gmail.com, or find her at www.BrieBackus.com.

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