Inside Her Regimen with Janine Higbie
(photo by Diana Davis Creative)
"I wanted to help people sift through all of the fads and fiction and find an individualized approach to health that is based on an understanding of underlying biochemical processes and mechanisms."
As a mother of a 1-year old son and entrepreneur of a newly launched wellness business, Janine can definitely resonate with the challenges of finding balance that many of us might go through. Janine always grew up with wellness engrained in her lifestyle, but it was through her career in the medical sales field that inspired her to start coaching and helping others in their wellness journeys. Before she started coaching others, Janine first went to school to pursue a masters in Integrative and Functional Nutrition. Now that she's started her business, Janine is dedicated to helping others understand their bodies from a holistic perspective to make the best decisions for their health. Read on to find out more about Janine's story and how she incorporates wellness into her daily routine.
How does your day get started?
I wake up at least 20 minutes before my one-year-old so I have time to complete my morning routine at a relaxed pace. Once he’s up, it’s non-stop! If I wait for him to be my alarm clock, the morning is frenzied and rushed - not a great tone to set for the day. My routine is simple - I get dressed, wash my face with cool water, brush my teeth, and heat up my electric kettle. I pour a cup of hot water with lemon to sip on while I wait for my coffee to steep in my single-serving French press. On most weekday mornings, I work out around 8:30AM and eat afterwards.
What does wellness mean to you?
Feeling and functioning at your very best, both physically and mentally, and also laying the foundation for long-term health as you age. It’s the art and science of optimizing your health.
How do you incorporate wellness throughout the rest of your day?
The greatest opportunities for incorporating wellness throughout your day are through nutrition, stress-reduction and finding joy in our day. My diet isn’t perfect, nor would I want it to be, but I do put a high importance on my food choices. I’m fuelling my body with the foods I choose and they will greatly influence how I feel and function. It’s shifting perspective from deprivation to empowerment. For stress reduction, I work out, take mini breaks, and do deep belly breathing, exhaling for longer than I inhale to engage my parasympathetic nervous system when I feel anxiety or stress during the workday. I find joy in my husband, my son, the city of New York and helping my clients of JH Wellness achieve their goals.
Can you share with us a bit about how your wellness journey started?
It feels like I’ve had a focus on health and wellness my whole life. I grew up dancing and playing sports so the value of staying active and fit was engrained in my childhood. Unfortunately, my focus took on a more superficial tone in my teens and early 20s and I put too much emphasis on weight in place of optimal health. Through my prior career in the medical field, I was exposed to the devastating consequences of a lack of understanding about how our bodies function and how to best fuel them. This opened my eyes to the power of nutrition and how it could be used to heal or prevent chronic disease. This sparked my own interest in learning about what was best for me and for my little family-to-be. I wanted to optimize my health before I tried to get pregnant, and that’s exactly what I did! My journey led me back to school for my Masters in Integrative and Functional Nutrition and finally to launching JH Wellness earlier this year.
When did you know you had a message you wanted to share?
It was when I realized how confusing it is for many people to figure out what healthy means for them, particularly in the internet and social media age where we are inundated with information and opinions. I wanted to help people sift through all of the fads and fiction and find an individualized approach to health that is based on an understanding of underlying biochemical processes and mechanisms.
How do you make time for balance and self care?
It’s easier for me to find balance and prioritize self-care now, after becoming a mom, than ever before. I think during my pregnancy, I was more in tune with my body and respected its limitations in an effort to maintain a healthy and low-stress environment for my baby. It was a lesson in slowing down and saying no to things. Now with my son and launching my business, I really value my “me time” and prioritize it.
We all have stress, we're curious- what do you do to manage it, and how has your outlook on stress changed?
Stress management is a work in progress for me. The first step is recognizing it and reminding myself that it is not serving me. When stressed, I feel my heart race, my blood pressure rise and my breathing gets shallow. I try to pause and practice deep, slow, rhythmic breaths. I identify what’s causing my stress and then compartmentalize my to-do list so I can focus on the immediate priority and try not to worry about the rest until I can address it. My entire outlook on stress has changed after I understood it’s a biochemical process taking place in your body. So even if you’re “managing it” and pat yourself on the back for doing it all, you are likely suffering at a cellular level, and that will catch up with you. It creates low-grade systemic inflammation which, over the long-term, is correlated with nearly every chronic disease.
What is your go-to snack for a pick me up in the daytime?
I try to rely on whole foods like raw nuts or fresh fruit. If I’m home it may just be a smaller portion of leftovers from the fridge. If I’m on the go, I turn to a Bulletproof bar or a Kind Nut & Spice bar because they’re lower in sugar than the other varieties.
(photo by Diana Davis Creative)
Of the following 7 pillars- (nutrition, sleep, cognition, mood, cycle, fitness, and beauty) - which are the highest priority for you, and why?
It’s hard for me to separate these because they really are so interrelated (that’s why I practice holistic nutrition!). But I see nutrition and sleep as the highest priorities; they’re so foundational and if you can take care of yourself in these pillars, the rest will likely fall in line.
How do you define innovation?
The intersection of creativity and change.
What are your favourite skincare tricks & products?
My tricks are the oldies but goodies: water and sleep! I also get facials regularly because I notice such a difference in my skin. I love microcurrent, dermaplaning, IPL, chemical peels, microdermabraision, and anything hydrating. I’ve really tried to shift my products to more natural, non-toxic brands. Some of my current favorites: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, Goop Replenishing Night Cream, Osea Hyaluronic Sea Serum, and Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel. I am a product junkie!
How do you and your inner network support each other in living your best life?
We are all busy leading separate lives in separate cities across the world, but we make time for each other and we listen. We’re good about communicating when things are important or difficult and inevitably, everyone steps up to be there either in person or emotionally.
What are your favourite wellness trends?
The general concept of self-care is my favorite wellness trend. It’s so beneficial for people to identify what makes brings them peace and happiness, and to be encouraged to make time for those things.
And, your least-favourite?
The pressure to do everything healthy all the time. We follow bloggers, experts and trends and we are inundated with things we must do to be the best versions of ourselves. It can create a pressure and stress around wellness. It’s a lot to fit your celery juice, charcoal water, oat milk matcha latte, smoothie, infrared sauna, cryotherapy, HIIT workout, meditation and your life all in one day!
Do you have any advice for our audience on how to stay positive, and maintain a good outlook?
The best thing you can do is surround yourself with people who are positive, supportive and loving. They will pick you up when you’re down and amplify your joy. Find time to relax and laugh. Nothing better than a good belly laugh.
What advice do you have for someone who's ready to start sharing their message?
Just start! Fear, nerves and perfectionism can be your biggest impediments. I struggled with wanting to do things perfectly before putting myself out there, but that just slows you down on your path to your goals. If you’re knowledgeable and passionate about what you do, that will come through, and there’s no reason to delay.
When in the grocery store, what's are the first things you would pick up?
My favourites are avocados, brussels sprouts, asparagus, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, all berries, pears, bananas, eggs, bone broth, cauliflower pizza crust and some sort of seafood or clean animal protein.
At the end of the day, how do you complete your regimen?
I like to dim the lights in my apartment as the sun sets as a gentle signal to my mind and body it’s time to wind down. I put on blue light blocking glasses if I’m going to watch TV or work on my computer. Otherwise it’s just quality time with my husband. He always falls asleep before me so I’ll pop in my headphones to listen to an Audible book in bed with the lights out for a bit before I go to sleep.
A big thank you to Janine for taking the time to chat with us! We're so inspired with her ambitions to start her own business and pursue her passion for helping others optimize their health. You can find her on Instagram: @jhwellnessco