Mara Glatzel is a self-love coach + clinical social worker, and she works with women who are ready to create the lives they want — and deserve. She’s also a writer, and her blog — Medicinal Marzipan — has inspired thousands of women to heal their relationships with their bodies, and treat themselves with relentless compassion.
Q1. What does wellness and health mean to you?
I believe that wellness and health are highly individualized intuitive structures determined by what YOU need to feel good on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Our bodies are their own experts, and learning to listen to what they are saying can be difficult at first but crucial. Often, we are running around blindly, hoping that someone or something will be able to tell us the right thing to do to take care of ourselves.
Though there are many sources that can point us in the direction of generally good things to do, I believe that we are the only people who can intuitively discern if something is best for us. Generally speaking, my wellness looks likes this: enough sleep, plenty of water, joyful movement, and food that is nutritious and delightful. Broad, right? Only you will be able to know the right amount of each of these elements looks like for your own life.
Q2. What is the #1 wellness practice you live by?
I absolutely, no matter where on the planet I am, start my day off with at least 16 ounces of water. I drink this when I first wake up, and delay coffee and breakfast until I’ve had opportunity to gulp down at least a glass. I also use this water ritual as an opportunity to center myself before embarking on the rest of my day – taking a moment to look out in my yard first thing, and thinking about all of the things I hope and dream will become a reality that day. I’ve found that beginning the day like this reduces my panic around not having done enough or feeling stressed by my impending to do list. I take that moment to think about and pay tribute to the larger picture.
Q3. Thinking back, what were your earliest influences regarding living a healthy and balanced life?
I come from a pretty healthy family. When I was a kid, no matter how much or little money my family had, they placed a high priority on feeding us food that was nutritious and good for us. In thinking back, I’m grateful, because it hasn’t been a huge struggle for me to cultivate a taste for that type of food. However, we also have a familial history of other sorts of imbalance, such as all-or-nothing behaviors around money. Finding a way to strike even ground here, creating a life that feels both abundant AND stable, has been something that I’ve been working on for much of my adult life.
Q4. What has your journey been like over the last couple of years to get you where you are today?
I started Medicinal Marzipan in 2008, and, at the time, I was just looking to have an outlet for all of the thoughts in my head. I didn’t understand what it meant to create a community, find your tribe, or participate in a more dynamic, global conversation. For the first two years or so, I was pretty much the only person who ever read the site. When I began participating more vocally on social media and guest posting on other, larger sites, my audience began to grow.
Two years ago I decided to go back to school to get my masters at Simmons School of Social Work, and in doing so, took a huge step towards positioning myself as professional helper, teacher, and coach. Ultimately, however, I graduated feeling very much ready to step out on my own, instead of hopping into the job search like many of my classmates. Instead, I opened a coaching practice, began creating products, and seeking out speaking engagements. Making the decision to work for myself has been one of the hardest, and most liberating, experiences of my life.
Q5. Looking back what was the most challenging aspect of your journey and what did you learn from it?
The most challenging aspect was squelching feelings of competition and fear around my online work as I was starting out. The internet is a powerful vehicle for community building, but it also allows the space for late-night website comparison and feelings of why didn’t I think of that?! Everyone has already done everything that I want to do.
It is extremely important to remain focused on the fact that no one in the entire world can do what you’re doing, exactly how you’re doing it. Remain true to yourself and your vision. Remember this: there are enough clients, opportunities, and dollar bills in the world for every single one of us. There is no need to compete.
Q6. What is the #1 healthy food you love? The #1 indulgence you give into once in a while?
Being in recovery from a lifetime as a compulsive eater, it has been really important for me to not think about food in terms of indulgence and treats, but instead focus on what I’m hungry for, in that moment, without assigning a good or bad characteristic to it. However, I’d probably say that the #1 healthy food that I love would be kale. I’m kale obsessed – a vestige from a childhood as a really anemic kid who got iron wherever she could. Above all else, I love to make a raw massaged kale salad with avocado, cranberries, sunflower seeds, feta, and quinoa. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I love a good ice cream sundae made up of chocolate and vanilla soft serve twist with hot fudge, whipped cream and Reese’s pieces. DELICIOUS.
Q7. To get you through challenging moments in life, what is the one mantra or quote that you live by?
Once upon a time, my mother told me, “Life’s rejection is God’s protection,” and this is a quote that both applies to pretty much every situation and immediately makes me feel better about whatever perceived rejection I’m facing.
Q8. You’ve accomplished so much so far, what’s something you are most proud of?
Of the things that I’ve worked really hard for over the course of my life, I’m most proud of my relationship with my sweetheart, Cookie. We’ve been together for four years, and were recently married on June 9th. Over the course of our relationship, I have learned on a very personal and heartfelt level what it feels like to be loved and accepted for exactly who you are. Our relationship, of course, is not without its difficulties, but I am extremely proud of our combined ability to approach our life together with the diligence and deference of nurturing something worth protecting – the love and profound intimacy that comes from allowing another person to see you, strengths and flaws. It’s because of the solid base of this relationship that I am able to do the work that I do, and for that I’m very grateful.
Q9. What’s your advice to those struggling with finding their own path to health and happiness?
Refuse to be anyone other than yourself.
It is easy to get lost in the many, many roads that lead to health and happiness. We live in a world of limitless options, and it can be difficult to settle on one idea and get to work. However, it is also tempting to believe that the one thing that we gravitate towards will be our only purpose – perpetuating the anxiety and need around trying out everything before you settle. We will all have many different purposes over the course of our lives. Choose those that make you feel the best inside, make things that make you feel good to make, and reserve the right to change your mind along the way.
Q10. Finally, what are your plans for 2012?
2012 has been a really exciting year for me – graduating from graduate school, getting married, and starting a business. I’m planning on taking some time for a proper honeymoon and a heady dose of relaxation come Fall when things start to settle down.