Blair Kaplan Venables and Alana Kaplan talk about tools they use to help them with grief, depression and anxiety.
Trigger Warning: The Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult. The listener’s discretion is advised.
About the Guest:
Alana Kaplan is a compassionate mental health professional based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She’s a child and family therapist at a Winnipeg-based community agency, and a yoga teacher. Fueled by advocacy, Alana is known for standing up and speaking out for others. Passionate about de-stigmatizing and normalizing mental health, Alana brings her experience to The Global Resilience Project team, navigating the role one’s mental health plays into telling their story.
Engaging in self-care and growth is what keeps her going and her love for reading, travel, and personal relationships helps foster that. When she’s not working, Alana can often be found on walks, at the yoga studio, or playing with any animal that she comes across.
About the Host:
Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. She brings fifteen years of experience to her clients which include global wellness, entertainment and lifestyle brands. She is the creator of the Social Media Empowerment Pillars, has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards and more.
Blair is listed in USA Today as one of the top 10 conscious female leaders to watch in 2022 and Yahoo! listed Blair as a top ten social media expert to watch in 2021. She has spoken on national stages and her expertise has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, CBC Radio, Entrepreneur and Thrive Global.
Blair is an international bestselling author and has recently published her second book, ‘The Global Resilience Project.’ She is the co-host of the Dissecting Success podcast and in her free time, you can find Blair growing The Global Resilience Project’s online community where users share their stories of overcoming life’s most difficult moments.
Learn more about Blair: https://www.blairkaplan.ca/
Submit your story: https://www.iamresilient.info
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trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I learned Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real. Welcome back to another episode of radical resilience.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I'm Blair Kaplan Venables, and I'm here with my sister, Alanna Kaplan. We've just spent the last 10 minutes laughing our faces off. Because sometimes laughter is the best medicine. And we had a whole nother topic plan. That was it's really important topic. But you know, today's not the day that we're recording it. So you might be laughing alongside with us or not. But today because of our sillies we have the sillies we're actually going to talk about, we're going to talk about ways that we cope, ways that we cope in difficult situations with stress. And this idea came all because we were talking about Well, it started because I started recording or other topic. And I just I said that podcasts name weird, and the lattice started laughing and I started laughing and then we allowed I made a comment about like, I'm gonna just go lie in my bag. And so I was like, Yeah, we should talk about your bag. And so I think this is a really good place to, to note like Alanna, and I have like a pretty dry humor and like, even in like the darkest dark moments, we can find like things that are funny. But we also do our own things to cope. And so this episode is all about how I cope, how Lana copes how we cope together. So sit back and enjoy the ride. Hi, Alana. Hi. I know you kept trying to pipe in there.Alana Kaplan:
I did. But every time I like went to unmute, I just was about to laugh again. Because I've been told I can't control my laughter and actually, this is like a little biggest fear . At my bat mitzvah. That was like my biggest fear was like going up in front of everyone and laughing. And so I couldn't wear my glasses.Blair Kaplan Venables:
What? Yeah, no idea. That's so funny. Yeah, so I've had for 20 years. I'm reallyAlana Kaplan:
good at secret. And so yeah, I'm taking my glasses off. Because if I saw someone and made eye contact with them, I probably would have laughed. How didBlair Kaplan Venables:
you read the Torah? Without glasses?Alana Kaplan:
nearsighted? I can't see far, but I can see near Oh, sorry,Blair Kaplan Venables:
I'm blind. So I'm not blind, but like I can't read or see without my glasses.Alana Kaplan:
Yeah. And that was just like, a reminder that the 13 year old is still in me. Well, yeah, later.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So you mean let's just start with the thing that kind of like triggered this laugh fest. Alanna has been making some huge progress in her grief. She's doing all sorts of things, making all these life changes. And one of those things that she has done that she's added to her life, that she's open to talking about it she's added an infrared sauna bag to her life. Now when she told me about this, I was like, I just picture a sleeping bag and like you're getting like soggy, but she seems to lie in this bag all the time. And we were just talking and kind of laughing and then she just said something about I'm gonna go lie in my Oh, we're talking about a show and the ending and she's like, okay, maybe after this I'll go watchBlair Kaplan Venables:
and lie in my bag. I realized when you when you say lie in your bag, it sounds weird. It's a thing. It's advertised as a blanket. Not a bag. So that's my mistake and to blameBlair Kaplan Venables:
and will be giggled giggles again. So there's silence for a moment that is why but this blankets revolutionary so like last winter I went through this like phase of going to this like sauna studio. Sorry, BlairBlair Kaplan Venables:
just turned her camera off. So the giggles are fully back and that's okay, we're just gonna roll withAlana Kaplan:
it. Anyways, it was expensive. And then I saw this blanket online and it's a miracle. It's like weighted it's an infrared Do you go in and so I watch all my trashy shows, including the one I will watch tonight in the bag. And it is such a good coping skill I sleep so well after. Honestly, in the bag, you just called it a bag. It's a sauna blanket. I don't know why I keep saying bag, but like, maybe it's because I feel like a sack of potatoes in it. I don't know. It's amazing. And the best part is my sleep that night have been fantastic. Like, I'm someone who typically would wake up every couple hours, and I might wake up one tonight. So I am really excited to go into my blanket and watch the show afterBlair Kaplan Venables:
questions. Okay, so, a couple questions for those listening. One. Like, how did you know that this was the specific one you wanted to buy? To? How long do you lie in it? Okay, one and two, and then I'll ask you for three later. Okay,Alana Kaplan:
um, I did research. And that's what had a lot of good reviews. And so that's why I chose it. I didn't want to commit to like getting a sauna for my, like an infrared sauna for my basement, even though it would have fit. I just feel like that just felt excessive at the unit. I'm notBlair Kaplan Venables:
close to the idea. I think Alanna, but like can you watch TV in a stand up sauna?Alana Kaplan:
There actually might be ways like Bluetooth and speakers, but that's beyond my capacity. So if someone wanted to install then maybe, but this is why it's so good. So you line it for. So the one I have has like, nine temperature settings. And you can lie in it for about 4045 minutes, 30 minutes to an hour I do 4045 however long an episode of The Real Housewives is andBlair Kaplan Venables:
tell me and tell meAlana Kaplan:
lies and Tell me lies and winter house survivor gets does not get the blanket it gets like fool me. Because if needs I need to be able to focus and sometimes I like lull in and out in it. Kind of likeBlair Kaplan Venables:
like not not with passing out but going to sleep. Yeah, like,Alana Kaplan:
you know shavasana in yoga where you're kind of like in the underworld, you're not quite asleep, you're not quite awake. That's how I sometimes get when I'm in this blanket.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Good call this a bag.Alana Kaplan:
I was gonna say a bag.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Um, so what are the benefits? So you said with your sauna blanket you you're sleeping better? Like what else? Have you noticed? Like, how has it impacted? Maybe your anxiety or like the grief depression? Like how, what have you noticed? And how long have you actually been like using it for?Alana Kaplan:
I've had it for like a week or two weeks.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I've had it. By the time this airs, it'll be probably like a month or so. Okay, so I've had it for a while. I use it about fourAlana Kaplan:
or five times a week. So benefit aside from sleeping is like I feel calm, like so much calmer. Not even just the day I use it, but the day after, as well. I think there's all these other benefits, like if you have injuries, they help heal. I used it while I'm on my cycle and that helped my stomach. So sometimes I've even gone in it and just like went up to my stomach. So that helps to I think there's some benefit of detoxification. But that's where they kind of lose me. Because I just like don't know the science behind that.Blair Kaplan Venables:
And so the men what I didn't know that Alanna told me was I thought you go in to the sauna blanket naked,Alana Kaplan:
but it hurts if I didn't try naked. But because I think of how close it is it can get really really hot. So they say to go and like loose clothing or I've gone in leggings before. So long sleeve and long pants. I did go in shorts once and I was really distracted by how much I was feeling. So I would not recommend that. But some people I've read online have bought a sleeping bag liners, and then they'll go in that naked. That just seems like too much work.Blair Kaplan Venables:
And that would be a bag inside the blanket. Yeah.Alana Kaplan:
And it's waited. I think I may have said that before. But wait, and this also helps with feeling calm.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I like that. So I think that's a cool tool like, there's much because I was kind of hesitant but Alanna loves it so much. I'm thinking of maybe trying it and I asked her to send me the company like maybe they want to Be one of our sponsors. I don't know well, what are some other tools that you like not like tools as an exercises, but like physical tools that you find that you're using that are is helpful.Alana Kaplan:
Yeah. So the treadmill is a really big one for me. I love walking. And when I lived in Toronto, I walked everywhere in anywhere and Winnipeg just isn't built like that. And so that's how I've moved my energy is through walking and I'll put on a podcast or listen to music or do one of the guided peloton workouts. Another one for me is taking baths as a big tool, I think just like being in the elements, so like water. I don't know what it is. I've always been a bath person. But since everyone died. Sorry, I realized that was very, likeBlair Kaplan Venables:
I talked like that to like, again, our dark humor like since everyone died.Alana Kaplan:
Since everyone died. I've been taking baths multiple times a week, especially in my where I live. Now I have a deep bath. And it's fantastic. So anything with my body, I find also helps my mind more recently. Journaling is something I've been doing even if I don't want to journal I was telling Claire last night that sometimes I just like open my journal and write, I don't really want to write that I'm here.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I actually have a recent journal entry where I was like trying to get into it. And then Shane wouldn't stop talking. So it was like started started and it was like Shane will stop talking. I'll get back to this. Just like yeah,Alana Kaplan:
there's something about Yeah, the stream of consciousness, just kind of like writing like, whatever and getting it out. And I say this to my clients all the time, like stream of consciousness journaling. I don't know what it is. I don't even really go back and read my journal entries. But it really helps whatever it is that I'm doing.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, I think those are really great tools. Like I you know, I was just thinking about what do I do like besides taking Zoloft, and support from CBD and sometimes plant medicine. I have a bath every day, sometimes twice. Like I only shower when it's hair wash time. Or if I need a quick little rinse. I need a little rinse after the hot tub. Oh yeah, I have a hot tub. Like I really also like being in water, being near water on water in water is very calming to me. I really like to start my day off, like I get up and I work out and then I have a candlelit bath and listen to meditation music. And, you know, that's kind of when some of my best ideas come to me. So this morning, I wrote this whole little thing. It's maybe one day will make its way to social media. And maybe by the time you listen to this, it already is on social media about shadows. But I yeah, like I also then after my candlelit bath, I pull an Oracle Card and I journal that's kind of like my morning process like I on the days I don't do that entire process, whether it's like I have an hour to journal or 10 minutes, I just make sure I always get some, some writing in. I feel like it's kind of like you know, when you warm up your engine before you drive your car. I feel like for me, it's great to do that.Alana Kaplan:
So interesting because for you it's a morning practice of revving your engine Engine app. And for me, it's like a at the end of the day I'm in bed, like a dump of whatever is in my mind so I can have a clear mind before bed. SoBlair Kaplan Venables:
I love that. Yeah. ENFJ INFJ Guess who's who so and then yeah, like other things like for me. I you know I get on the bike like I on the days where I wake up and like do yoga or get on the bike are great. I also like walking I don't walk as much as Alanna does, but I'm trying really hard to make sure I get out and walk. For me a lot of the times physical activity is for my mind and for my mental health over my physical health, which is really good. And you know before the miscarriage I was in the best shape of my life. Like I was waking up and hiking to a waterfall every morning at like 6am and it was like I was in the best mental state of my life. It's probably why I got pregnant I was in like the best physical and mental health state and then like the miscarriage and Dave dying and mum dying and dad dying and everything else that happened. I'm having a little trouble getting back to where I need to be but I feel like my mental health is really starting to heal, I could feel it. So I will get back there. But I think like the other things that really do help me is like talking about it talking. I have a podcast, you're listening to it. I show up on social media. I am a writer for me writing not just in my journal but on social media or however else it is maybe writing books that's what really helps me I'm process and I don't know, do I? What other tools do I have?Alana Kaplan:
Well, me, I'm your external brain.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yes, that's true. I don't have a heat bag yet, but Sonam back. Oh, yeah, sauna blanket, sauna blanket yet. Actually, Shane and I would like to get us on it, but I, I don't know. I think, um, you know, I've just and I know it's been a while but like, it's been all close to two years since mums passed and almost a year from dad passing. I mean, I'm rounding up. So like, maybe it's been like, three quarters of a year since dad passed, I don't know. Alana's doing math, but I, regardless, I've just started like, feeling good enough to leave the house. Like I'm talking, I actually went to the store the other day, instead of using Instacart. Why, you know, ran errands a couple times, instead of just doing everything online like I depression and depression, anxiety, depression, anxiety and grief, compound grief, it's all very difficult to navigate, and like leaving the house interacting with humans, I didn't have the energy, the mental bandwidth or like desire, and, you know, I'm just slowly like, I'm like, maybe one foot is out of that pool. Like I'm getting better at it. Like I got really ambitious and made all these plans for the, you know, plans over the weekend. And I probably won't do most of them. But I'm working on it. Because once I'm out and social, it feels really good. So for me also being around other people. And, you know, one of the hard things I find with like being around other people is great. And because I don't really know many people in Kamloops. It's kind of like a fresh start where, like, when I'm somewhere where I know a lot of people I'll, you know, especially people I haven't seen since even before COVID and running into them. It's like, they feel really sad for me. And it's great. But I'm finally in a place where I'm not constantly thinking about everyone who died.Alana Kaplan:
That's interesting. I still because I recently moved back, I guess not so recent anymore. back to Winnipeg, we're back to unpack. YES. I A lot of times when I'm seeing people, it's the first time I'm seeing them since all the death and I like get in that part of the reason I don't go to the grocery store for me, it's not because like I don't want to my worry is running into someone, and then coming up to me and like giving condolences in the grocery store, and I just don't have the capacity for that. I appreciate it. But sometimes I just want to go by pickles.Blair Kaplan Venables:
And lion hurry bag. And like I think that's a fair point. That's like what I was getting at it. You know, when I when I see people I know who I've known throughout this process, like, I really like I really love the support. But sometimes I won't even be thinking about it. Like, I'm thinking about, you know, buying pickles. That's all I'm thinking about in the grocery store and someone comes up to me and like sends our condolences for all of the things and it jolts me out of like the present and puts me back in the past and then the future because I do a lot of like, oh, this is not the life I imagined. I did not think I'd be a 37 year old service that sober bird watcher. I learned a lot about birds on my most recent trip to Hawaii. Lots of really cool birds are there but like that's not the life I imagined I thought by now I'd be a wine drinking soccer mom of two. But I'm not. I you know, and it's it's for me, mourning the loss of everyone who's gone but also mourning the life I thought I was going to have. So there's lots of grief and it's very woven in so often. Like before I just like always was thinking about everything reminded me of someone and we've done a recent episode though, like everything was a grief trigger. And I'm getting to the point where like, not everything is a grief trigger. And it's it's a really nice place to be. But one of those grief triggers sometimes is like if you know I'm at the grocery store, and I'm not thinking about it and someone brings it up. But I guess that's just inevitable and that's people showing their compassion and their empathy at worse empathy. But are they doing it for them? Are they doing it for us?Alana Kaplan:
Okay, question. Probably a bit of both. I had a run in recently with someone who I don't know like too, too well, but they knew Manuel they know our family well. And they hadn't seen me, obviously since everyone died and was trying to have a visit with other people who are around and they wanted to express their condolences and it was so lovely. And I just wanted to visit with the other people So that was like a tricky conversation to navigate.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah. So I mean, I guess, you know, the point of this, this podcast episode was to talk about coping tools and whatnot. You know, there's also books. There's lots of books out there. Other podcasts, there's some really great social media accounts out there for grief. There's some that are like the dark humor. Like I saw one the other day that was like, so inappropriate, but like, kind of funny. AndAlana Kaplan:
to me, yeah,Blair Kaplan Venables:
it was the one where I don't even repeat it on the radio, but it was like we're the one we're the boy was doing his dad's makeup who was in Oh, yeah. Yeah. But you know, I, we all have our own ways to cope. Some of us like want to hermit some of us compartmentalize, some of us pretend everything is fine. Some of us are very, you know, transparent about how we're feeling. There's no wrong way to do any of it. There's no right way to do any of it. You know, and sometimes, if you have plans to have a conversation about a very serious topic, and you and your sister can't stop laughing, you pivot, you pivot, and then you know, so you know, this episode was not it did not go as planned. No, but that's a topic. Yeah. And that's okay. Because Lana said, I don't know why I'm laughing this hard. I haven't laughed this hard and so long. I only laughed this hard usually with her. And we both really needed it like those deep belly soul laughs You know, they'll make a class the only other few times I've had these laughs with her have been around the death of a parent was like true. Yeah, like just funny things that have happened. Like or after a parent dies. And I don't know, this was like, had nothing to do with death. So that's nice that our deep belly laughs are progressing from grief to other serious topics. Yes,Alana Kaplan:
we know that you need to listen. Well, this is a great comet. A great time to talk about or I guess not talk about but bring up the idea of listening to your body. And so Blair and I have become really attuned to listening to our bodies.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I don't know why I feel like I'm giggling again. But because you are you feelingBlair Kaplan Venables:
because I am but we just needed to laugh and we tried we tried five or six times No, I'll tell you after I'll tell you after how many times because I hit record. I recorded a bunch. Okay,Alana Kaplan:
there's a lot of mini recordings out in the universe with lots of giggles in silence.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So yeah, listening to your body lying in a heat bag. Watching or watching your you know TV shows. Being in water find what feels good to you. Like try something out and if it makes you feel better keep doing it keep exploring it if you try something out it makes you feel the same or worse. Don't do it. Everyone is different. Alana is different than me we're different than you. But you know there are tools out there you don't have to stay sitting in a place of extreme sadness and grief you will get through those really hard times to be final words you want to share on this Alana?Alana Kaplan:
No, okay, I'm good.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Well, thank you for tuning in to another episode of radical resilience. I'm Blair Kaplan. Venables Alanna Kaplan was the other voice in your ear.Alana Kaplan:
The grief houseBlair Kaplan Venables:
yeah, we're also doing we're in this isn't the grief you guys episode but we're also known as the grief gals. Yeah, we're also known as the creepy girls but you know what we're coming out of that I don't want to be known known as a grief gal. I just like we also have this stick is our stick and is our stay and it's okay to not be okay. You're gonna get through the hard times. You want to read other stories of resilience. You can buy the book online the global Resilience Project. You know, if you want to submit your story online, you go to I am resilient dot info. You're not alone. We're here with you. you got this?