We had the good fortune of connecting with Marie Fernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marie, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I used to visualize work – life balance as a weighing scale with a perfect teetering point. When you sincerely love what you do, there will be a point when you realize it isn’t about the balance but living a fulfilling lifestyle.
On the topic of Work-Life Balance, I can go into this extended metaphor about “finding the balance” with credibility as a certified yoga instructor then finesse an intricate biomechanical analysis about scientifically who we (literally) are with anatomy as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. However, I’m going to save the jargon because this interview isn’t about me flexing the letters behind my name, but rather, communicate this point:
We have the tendency to make simple things complicated.
I fostered that “work hard, play hard” mentality though out college and well into my Doctorate. I had a lot of great nights without sleep, fun memories, and light bulb moments but now that’s progressed to me being mindful of my own energy instead of constantly trying to fight extremes.
Most recently, this is what I’ve been balancing: working full time establishing myself as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, building a small business hosting Bodywork Sessions with cupping therapy/ IASTM blading / private yoga, while simultaneously documenting everything as a Content Creator formally for companies like lululemon, TikTok, Amazon to continually build my own brand and advocate for Physical Therapy. Alluding back to the original question, I found the balance by staying authentic and letting my work speak for me.
However, as a recovering work-a-holic, I want to clarify that work shouldn’t be your life. Are you living to hustle or hustling to make a living? Ideally the answer should be neither.
The real secret to work life balance is a healthy mindset and constant reflection:
What are your goals professionally and personally, why are you working towards them, how do you recharge to freshen your perspective?
Be honest with yourself because remember, we often make simple things very complicated. Work – Life shouldn’t be a balancing act but a voyage towards a fulfilling lifestyle.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy and it is literally my job to empower patients to overcome pain, move towards their goals, and get back to activities they love.
I work in outpatient orthopedics and the bulk of my patients are recovering from surgery. I see a large variety of people currently from 13 to 98 years old and provide patient-centered care. Meaning, goals we work toward can be as diverse as helping a grandma overcome her fear of falling again after breaking her hip, empowering a trans person to build a better sense of trust to overcome “white coat syndrome” and Sciatica, and even helping a high school athlete recover from knee surgery to keep her scholarship for college. My job is so fulfilling because I see my patients regularly for about twice a week for 6 weeks and develop a relationship where it feels like I’m helping my friends or family get back into activities they love.
Getting to this point wasn’t easy. For me, it took 25 consecutive years of schooling, an endless supply of coffee, and the classic phrase, “sorry I can’t hangout I need to study.”
There are opportunities everywhere, especially when situations feel bleak. For example, the latter half of my schooling was during COVID during the lockdown and you can imagine how challenging how hard it is to learn “physical” therapy through WiFi. With VoyageLA, I previously did an interview if you would like to learn more about that story because it is definitely a good read about who obstacles become an opportunity!
Something that makes me unique is I built a business fusing all elements of my toolbox while simultaneously pursuing my Doctorate. I worked through active credentials as a 200-hr certified yoga instructor, MFDc preferred provider to do cupping therapy, Functional Movement Technique certification though Rocktape to do activities like IASTM blading. For me, establishing my business was so fulfilling because it showed me what true quality care looked like. Everything happened so organically and showcasing my life on social media helped me get partnerships.
I never considered myself to be an Influencer, I just document my life and trust the right people will connect. I am thankful for my partnerships because they encourage me to be myself while also giving me the tools on understanding the business world and marketing. Although my formal full-time job is as a therapist, being a content creator gives me a huge platform to represent my profession and advocate for health and wellness!
To answer the last question, I want ensure readers that passion does pay the bills when you invest in yourself, reflect, and place hard work in the right direction.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There’s nothing like quality time and immaculate vibes when touring friends to my city! It’s really convenient working near the SNA airport in Orange County to pick up a friend and give a tour of my favorite local spots.
Day 1 OC Itinerary:
Milk and Honey | Cafe – The best catchups happen over a cup of coffee and they have an outdoor patio surrounded by greenery where it feels like you’re in a hidden cave. I love coffee shops that look low-key and are chill so conversations don’t happen over yelling over loud music!
The Camp | Plaza – I love plazas that support small businesses and have fresh ambiance ideal for exploring.
Infinite Training Systems | Gym – Not to be bias as someone who’s built her small business here, but I honestly believe Infinite takes the top of the private gyms. I’m always so proud to tour my clients and friends around the gym! The aesthetics are so clean and the environment is filled with a lot of entrepreneurs who inspire you to hustle.
‘Ai Pono Cafe | Hawaiian Food – Realistically if I was touring a friend back in town, I’d likely make my way towards the beach for a picnic! ‘Ai Pono is a small business with Hawaiian fusion food — that I will stand by — taste better than the food in Oahu.
Sidecar Donuts | The best fresh donuts – Continuing towards the beach, this spot is across the street from ‘Ai Pono. As you can probably tell being a SoCal Native foodie culture is very real. The donuts here are so fresh and fit every palate! My favorite is the cinnamon Saigon crumb donut along with the Pecan donut but it’s a seasonal flavor.
Newport Beach – I’ve made some big life decisions on this beach. If I have a friend visiting SoCal, I have to take them to the beach to really show them what home is to me.
Seaside Bakery – If you’re at Newport Beach, I’d suggest walking to Seaside Bakery and picking up a croissant. This is a 24 hour bakery that’s been the heart of small business since college for me!
That’s a rough itinerary in OC, if I was hosting someone for a week it definitely would include a lot of great food, entertainment, and quality time in the LA / OC area. Below is a list of other great places I’d recommend!
Lock & Key
Health & Wellness:
Embody Pole Fitness
Kang Ho Dong Baekjong
Blk Dot Coffee
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d love to shoutout @ThisPTLife ! She’s a physical therapist sponsored by FIGS and is a great role model who is transparent about her experiences as an undocumented Filipina.
Another great person I’d like to shoutout is Gregga LA, a woman owned hair salon specializing in effortless style and creative looks! The owner is so inspirational and opened her salon during the pandemic.
Other: TikTok: @MariesMovement lululemon collective storefront: https://shop.lululemon.com/?CID=PHG_inf&clickref=1100ljkgmiXB Amazon Influencer Storefront: https://www.amazon.com/shop/influencer-ebc5d78a