I enjoyed interviewing Julia James, an international speaker and certified life coach who lives in Vancouver, Canada. Through individual coaching, workshops and presentations, Julia helps business professionals align personal and professional goals, get focused and move forward.
Julia’s signature strength is teaching people how to relax and recharge quickly. She is author of the book, The Mini-Retreat Solution, which I had the pleasure of contributing the following testimonial to:
If you’re marching toward anxiety and burnout, Julia James offers some wise advice: Retreat! A sixty-second mini-retreat can spell the difference between stress and success!
Less than a week ago, the Living Now Book Awards presented the gold medal to The Mini-Retreat Solution in the Meditation/Relaxation category.
Click on the audio player below to listen to our twelve-minute interview:
Click here to visit Julia’s website.
TRANSCRIPTION OF MY AUDIO INTERVIEW WITH JULIA JAMES
Julia, tell me about the day your thinking became unstuck and you awakened to the benefits of stress management.
At the time, I was working in a very busy office. Everybody was working long hours and nobody took any breaks, not even for lunch. One day I realized that my very best ideas came to me when I’d just get off my chair, even just on my way to the washroom. Once I realized that, I started taking these Mini-Retreats or short breaks more often. It had a tremendous impact on my overall well-being and effectiveness and productivity. So that’s when the idea of Mini-Retreats was really sparked for me.
You had that insight that day, but did you know how to relax really well at that time? Did you have any relaxation strategies?
Yes, in fact I did. I had been training in martial arts for a number of years and had taken a number of different meditation courses. However, I didn’t know that you could actually integrate these ways of relaxing into your day. So when I realized that my great ideas came to me when I simply got off of my chair for a moment, that’s when I realized how important it is to integrate relaxation into your day versus reserving it for those times when I was training in martial arts or when I was meditating outside of work.
How did you come to write The Mini-Retreat Solution?
In my coaching practice, I realized that many people have great difficulties relaxing quickly in the moment and a lot of people are not necessarily excited about meditation or sitting down for longer time periods and don’t have the time or feel that they don’t have the time. One of the things that I felt was crucially important to help them move forward in their lives and in their careers was to help them relax quickly. So I integrated techniques into my coaching, but I also felt that I wanted to reach a greater audience beyond my one-on-one clients and workshop participants. That’s how I decided to write a book.
Your book coaches the reader through six steps of making Mini-Retreats part of their daily life. Can you give us a brief run-down of those six steps?
Absolutely! My pleasure!
Step 1 is to realize the benefits of Mini-Retreats. Once you know it is good for you, you are more likely to do it.
Step 2 is to choose a Mini-Retreat that’s right for you. And with that I mean a Mini-Retreat that will work well in your circumstances and that you will really want to do. Something that brings you joy.
Step 3 is about overcoming barriers. Most of the time, people feel some kind of guilt or have some mental barriers around actually taking time to relax.
Step 4 is to commit to Mini-Retreats. Once we have a clear commitment that we want to make this shift it is much easier to make it happen.
Step 5 is to create reminder structures and a supportive environment. So this is about really making it easy. Because when you create a new habit you might forget it initially. So if you have these reminder structures in place it is much easier to make it a habit.
Step 6 is to join the Mini-Retreat community. I believe that’s a really important step, because a lot of people feel very isolated in their attempt to make relaxation a day-to-day habit. I believe it is important to connect with other likeminded people who also want to make this shift. So, that’s why I have created the online Mini-Retreat Community.
How does someone join that online community or contact you?
You can go to my website: juliajames.ca
What was your vision for your book? What kind of impact did you want to achieve?
The greatest impact I would like to achieve with this book is that it really becomes a Mini-Retreat revolution. People all over the place are starting to make it a priority in their day to relax and recharge and thereby live happier lives and are more productive and more in connection with each other.
You have an audio CD series with guided Mini-Retreats for busy people. Is that series designed as a companion to the book?
Absolutely. It actually features many of the retreats that are available in the book in writing. For some people it is easier to start the Mini-Retreats when they are guided with my voice, or a voice. That’s why I designed these audio CDs.
How does your book correspond with your work as a Life Coach?
As I mentioned already, I integrate this approach of relaxation into my coaching. I find it is very important for people to relax in order to connect with themselves and make decisions from a place where they really are in connection with themselves. That’s how it corresponds with my coaching. The book is valuable as a standalone as well as in combination with coaching and the CDs.
How soon after your “getting unstuck day” did you begin living a healthier and lower stress lifestyle and how have Mini-Retreats made a difference in your own life?
It was pretty immediate, that shift. Once I realized how crucial it was for my creativity, that was the compelling reason to commit to making this a new habit. My first step was to design a big sign that read “Take more breaks” and I put it above my desk and that was my reminder structure to make this a habit. So even though I was still in that busy office and everybody around me was frenetically working, I was able to make that shift and become more effective, creative and was happier with my life. Three years after that initial realization I went through a transition into creating my business as a life coach. Obviously I don’t work in a frenetic busy office anymore. I am my own boss, I design my own structure and schedule.
It sounds like a key takeaway is that Mini-Retreats don’t take any extra time, just a shift in focus.
What is your own favorite Mini-Retreat?
I have lots of favorites, it is always hard to choose one. One that I’m really enjoying right now is “Eat a Meal in Gratitude.” I find that it is such a simple shift, but it makes such a difference. The food tastes much better.you really get to enjoy the food. I also believe, once I eat more consciously, I don’t need as much and I am more aware when I am full. It creates a shift in healthier eating, better quanitities. So, that’s one of my favorites right now.
I agree for all sorts of reasons. That’s something to be very mindful about. Do you believe anybody can simplify their life?
Yes, I believe so. It’s one step at a time. That’s why I created this book, The Mini-Retreat Solution, because I really believe one Mini-Retreat at a time does make a difference. Whether it’s a deep breath, whether it’s drinking some water, whether it’s to do a random act of kindness for another person, all these tiny, minute Mini-Retreats make a difference in one’s day and one’s life ultimately. In fact, I believe that small shifts are really the only thing that makes a huge difference in the long term.
I like that. It sounds like Mini-Retreats are really about living more mindfully and with more presence and I think we all can benefit from that.
Yes, I agree.
Why don’t you give the URL to your website one more time.
Yes, it’s www.juliajames.ca
Great! Thanks, Julia. I really enjoyed talking to you and I hope this interview will help a few more people get their stressful lives under control.
Yes. Thank you so much, Phil. It was a pleasure talking with you.
Click here to see all the video and audio interviews I’ve conducted.
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier
Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.
Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.
• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders
Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER
Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.
Order it at GodIsLogical.com.
In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?
Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.
Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.