We had the good fortune of connecting with Risa Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Risa, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
A few years ago, I was working a full-time job, two part-time jobs on the side, while commuting two hours a day and raising my kids. I was multi-tasking all the time, doing client sessions, teaching, writing, working, running errands, racing around town, and I felt like I could never find time to relax and de-stress. After feeling this way for awhile, I decided I had to get my balance back and find some relief from stress. I pared down my jobs, started prioritizing tasks each day, and became more clear about what I wanted my life to look like. I discovered that finding balance was essential. Having time to spend with my family, to take care of myself, and to de-stress is now just as important to me as doing work. I’ve learned to schedule things in blocks of time, and to have time scheduled to de-compress in between all the tasks I need to do, so that I can mentally reset myself. Now, I teach these time management skills in the therapy and coaching that I do. It’s so important, now more than ever during these stressful times, to make sure you are taking time to reset yourself mentally and physically. You might also find that you gain more focus and clarity during your rest time. When I set my intention to stay balanced and to focus in more concentrated blocks of time, and when I give myself many breaks in between tasks, I actually wind up accomplishing more overall.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I offer online therapy and online coaching sessions for anxiety and stress reduction, self esteem and confidence issues, and goal setting techniques. I also offer time management coaching sessions for people who struggle with getting things done, for people who are juggling busy careers and schedules, and for people searching for more balance in their lives. I believe that by taking mental micro-steps toward positivity each week, at a pace that is sustainable to you, can create big overall changes in your life. I like to break things down into simple steps when people feel overwhelmed, and to help them set small goals that feel accomplishable. Sometimes, people just need that kind of motivation to get started, plus weekly accountability that feels positive, in order to accomplish their personal and emotional goals, and I enjoy providing that to my clients. I am a university professor with a background in dance and the performing arts, a book author and wellness writer, and a mom of two kids. I am excited to announce that my newest book, an anxiety toolkit workbook, which is full of creative stress reduction tools I use in my own life and with clients, will be published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers! I hope the book can help people navigate the anxiety they are feeling right now and make them feel more empowered to tackle their negative thinking patterns.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The most inspiring places to me in Los Angeles are Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, Descanso Gardens in Glendale (especially over the holidays when they have a special light display), and all of the beautiful beaches. We are so close to the desert, to the beach, to the mountains, it’s great to have options of different terrains to explore all within driving distance. I also think everyone should visit the Getty museum at least once and spend a day sitting on the grass in the garden there, looking at the fantastic view it provides. It’s a great place to de-stress and get perspective on things.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Lately, I have been re-reading the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a buddhist monk/author/teacher who writes books that are easy to read like ‘How to Relax”, which is especially good for navigating stress these days. I also admire Marisa Peer, who is a hypnotherapist who has written many wonderful books, and she provides guided meditation sessions on youtube, which I recommend to my clients. I am also fortunate to know a few authors and educators that I am able to brainstorm my writing ideas with: Ezra Werb, Erica Curtis, Maggie Lynch, and Mike Sonksen – check out all of their positive and inspiring books! Being a therapist and a writer can be challenging – you have to take on a lot emotionally every day. It’s important to find people to connect with who can provide new perspectives, who have a sense of humor under pressure, and who have learned how to have a balanced approach to life.