When we first connected with Franziska, founder of The Well Space, it was over this past summer in Western, NC. We were in the frenzy of applying for our application to grow industrial hemp about 40 minutes from Asheville, NC. Somehow our paths crossed (we can’t remember exactly how, but it did involve a ‘we should be friends’ email sent her way) and her words of encouragement in getting into the agriculture side of this industry has taken us to new goals and even brighter endeavors. She’s been a glowing spirit in our community with a serious knack for helping women reach their health and wellness goals. She’s also one of those badass spiritual mentors you’re grateful to have (and who knows a ton of magical people you need to know too but don’t- yet). As the Universe had it, we had a chance to meet in-person when her family had to evacuate for hurricane Irma in Miami, finding refuge in New Orleans.
While an unfortunate circumstance for meeting over wine and dinner at Josephine Estelle, we couldn’t help but notice her genuine love of life and her seemingly endless good nature towards building women up. We’re all about building a community here at SA, and if you don’t know Franziska, we highly recommend you change that fact and maybe even send her a ‘we should be friends’ email, too.
You have such an interesting background that led you to launch your company, so clearly health and wellness is something very important to you. What was the ‘aha moment’ that led you to create and launch The Well Space?
5 years ago I was working a high-velocity job in an international consulting firm in London, which involved regular travels, 60+ hours workweeks and a “work hard – play hard” way of life. And though I enjoyed the professional challenge tremendously, it also left me physically and mentally drained. I suffered from IBS, my skin was breaking out, I couldn’t sleep and lacked energy – something I had never experienced in my life. I knew it had something to do with what I ate and how I took care of myself.
I embarked on a quest of figuring out how to get back to my usual high-energy + well self and how to break the vicious cycle of lack of sleep, exercise, nutritious food and balance, which caused me to compensate with high-sugar food and caffeine. To cut a long story short, I healed myself by changing my diet first. I started eating clean, which means I cut out processed food, sugar, Gluten and stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol. This helped me sleep better and revived my energy so I could start exercising again. I also started a mindfulness practice and after a few months I felt powerful again. This then triggered a whole thought process about my priorities in life which eventually made me change career, home location (I moved to Miami, FL) and pursue my passion for helping professional women claim back control over their eating and self-care practice, and succeed in healthy conscious living. I got certified in Raw Nutrition and Holistic Health Coaching and now offer my services to individual women as well as to responsible, forward-thinking companies that seek to improve the health and well-being of their teams.
Can you walk us through your daily wellness ritual routine?
I have three wonderful active boys under 3 years, so I wish I had some kind of routine, but in reality, each day usually turns out differently than I plan it (as someone with a Type A personality, the acceptance of impermanence has helped me tremendously with my initial anxiety around this). However, I have certain constants for each day.
I start every morning with hot water with lemon to awaken my appetite, alkalize my body and give my body a boost of antioxidants. I also do a brief journaling exercise before I start work, and a 10-minute guided meditation, usually after the kids are in bed. And I always have breakfast. There is a huge misconception around self-care in a sense that it’s about pampering yourself with massages or mani-/ pedis. And it is. But more importantly, self-care is about taking care of your basic bodily needs for sleep, water, nutrients, rest and love. And only by fulfilling these needs, we’re setting our wonderful bodies up for success and optimal performance. So, breakfast for me is an absolute non-negotiable and I’m teaching my clients to prioritize it too.
Your favorite natural way to relax after a long and stressful day?
It sounds cliché, but: a bubble bath with some essential lavender oil and soft music. Or my favorite yoga class, which ALWAYS gets me either relaxed or energized, depending on what intention I set for it.
Miami is a mecca, in our mind, of really embracing how you’re taking care of yourself (read: limitless green juice fountains sprawled about in our mind). What’s your favorite part of being a part of such a wellness-focused city?
When I moved to Miami, I had the same vision of Miami offering lots of options for healthy, natural eating, fun exercise and, due to its proximity to the beach and the warm climate, a more mindful lifestyle. And you can definitely find all of this here. However, it’s not as common as you might think. Just as in every larger city, you get the usual work-hard, play-hard folks. However, I’ve found my tribe of people who get it and are working on making the city an enjoyable, healthful place to live. But wellness starts with any of us making the decision to be well – and it doesn’t matter if we’re part of a big corporate, or living a busy entrepreneurial lifestyle, it’s up to every one of us to prioritize our wellbeing and spread the message that “working smart” involves being unapologetic about what you need to perform at your best and finding innovative ways to add more self-care into your day because that’s what pays off in the long run.
What do you wish would emerge out of the relationship between self-care and the workplace?
I’m the number 1 advocate for breaking work-related stigmas, such as we need to sleep as little as possible to get more done in our workday – the opposite is true! Or that activities such as ordering pizza in late-night meetings, or networking over cocktails three times a week are necessary to build strong teams. I encourage and empower my clients to take control of their health & well-being and try to change the status quo at work. Team leaders are usually very receptive to thought-through proposals for better ways that allow work-life balance, or suggestions for healthier team activities.
More people need to understand that investing in their health and well-being is the best investment they can make. And that every dollar they spend on great, wholesome food, and every hour they spend on taking care of their bodies while sleeping, exercising or meditating pays back manifold.
You’re originally from Germany and have lived all over the world. How do you think plant-based remedies and medicines will continue to shape the future of the wellness industry here in the U.S.?
As far as “alternative” rituals from other countries I’ve come to grow up in a culture that’s very comfortable with using plant-based remedies to complement traditional Western medicine, which is used only by a small part of the population here in the US. I believe that with the rise of non-traditional ways of working – as spearheaded by Millennials, non-traditional ways of self-care and health promotion will find a foothold at least with a larger group of people than now. Plant-based superfoods and remedies can be powerful allies in a healthful conscious life and I hope that more people will educate themselves as they seek less invasive and/ or more integrative ways of enhancing their health and well-being.
One product, and one ingredient, you can’t live without?
Raw chocolate – my current favorite: Loving Earth – it’s delicious and supports rural communities. My favorite ingredient is lemon – I add it to everything to get the extra antioxidant and kick of energy.
We love the community you’re continuing to build at The Well Space. How can we join in?
I offer free strategy session with me in which we’re going to discuss your personal health goals, and I give you 2-3 tips that get you closer to reaching them. No cookie-cutter, no BS and tailored to busy schedules. You can book your session *here*
And if you don’t feel ready yet, download my 20 best strategies for tweaks to your routine that will make you feel + look better quickly *here*