Life changes, a sprinter van and doing self care right

Change is inevitable. When this change comes from out of the blue or is not your choice it can impact you in often negative way’s.  

My guest on episode 43 of the Difficult Happens podcast, Stacy Fisher, experienced a drastic life change that transformed the way that she sees the world and resulted in a drastic shift in how she lives her life.

On Independence day 2018, after the end of her marriage, Stacy took off in a Sprinter Van for a cross-country trip that unfolded into a journey of self-discovery resulting in a fulfilling career helping others live a life full of joy.

What does self-care mean to you?

Stacy is the founder of Living Upp, a lifestyle design company that offers unique planning & design tools for people who want to do life differently. Stacy is an author, speaker and lifestyle consultant with 18+ years of experience in the healthcare industry as a registered dietitian, where she’s worked with large companies such as Dell, Boeing, and Nike. Individuals and organizations hire Stacy to teach them how to create customized lifestyle plans using her 8-dimensional framework so they can save money on healthcare, be in greater service others, and experience more joy.

What follows is a transcript of the podcast. To hear the podcast audio click here.

Episode Summary;

  • Stacy has identified 8 dimensions to self-care. They spell out the word self-care. They are;
    • Systemic
    • Emotive
    • Luminescent
    • Financial
    • Cognitive
    • Aptitudinal
    • Relational and
    • Environmental
  • We often excel in some areas and neglect others.
  • Many of them overlap and when focusing on one you can incorporate the others.
  • With a new year comes motivation and pressure to do, be and accomplish more. This can set us up for failure.
  • Life is full of ups and downs, full of change. Both expected and unexpected. Having a solid self-care routine or at the least, an awareness of the different self-care dimensions can help us weather the storms of change.
  • Without self-care, difficult situations can lead us to destructive numbing strategies.
  • Self-care helps build resilience by navigating difficult times with positive coping skills.
  • Having a thoughtful self-care routine helps us to know ourselves better which leads to our expression of our best self.
  • A self-care survival plan will help you during the ‘heavy’ times such as the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a job change.
  • Sometimes shutting down is part of self-care.
  • Self-care is whatever you say it is for you.
  • Healing is a process of coming home to you.
  • You have to “feel the feels” shut down if necessary and then create something to look forward to.
  • There is a Secret Gift in Every Emotion (free series) It is important to feel the feeling and know why it showed up and what we are to learn from it.
  • There is a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy presupposition, an assumption “People may not have caused all of our own problems, but they have to solve them anyway.” (People have to change their own behavioral responses and later their environment for their life to change.)
  • Personal development is necessary for professional development.
  • Assessments are one way that we can grow both personally and professionally. The KOLBE, The DISC, The Enneagram, Strengths-Finder & Fascinate.
  • Many of us fear the unknown.
  • There is power in how we phrase what we want. Phrase it in such a way that you know why you want it and what it will feel like when you have it.


Lara -Stacy Fisher is my special guest today and we’re going to talk about lifestyle, health, and all things self-care. Stacy Fisher is the founder of Living Upp a Lifestyle design company That offers unique planning & design tools for people who want to live life differently. Because Life’s too short to live a sh**y one.

What it comes down to is the healthier we are the more money we save on Healthcare and we can be in greater service to others when we take care of ourselves. Her philosophy is that we all should have and deserve to experience Joy.

Our body keeps the score with every feeling and emotion that we have.  When I don’t feel good emotionally, I don’t feel good physically. Self-care is so important. I have noticed a trend in the medical industry. They know that our emotions impact our physicality and sometimes they will allow for pre-checkups to gain a baseline. I also believe that it’s important to do an internal self-care check. So, Stacy, you mentioned the eight Dimensions of self-care, can you tell us a little more about that, what are the eight dimensions of self-care?

Stacy –

Basically, there are eight key areas of our lives and we probably don’t have enough time to go into each one of them but as you mentioned there is what’s called cognitive, or our mindset, which is part of our overall well-being.

There’s the systemic Dimension which is our physical well-being it is what most of us think about when we think about being healthy, but we forget about the emotive’s, you know the emotional state, our financial well-being, our personal brand, or our inner truth. I describe that as the luminescent dimension.

So, these eight key areas are really important to make us whole in terms of being healthy, and what I find in working with clients is they typically do really, really well in one or two areas, and they are completely neglecting some of these other areas. And these areas end up snowballing into what you described as manifesting in physical illness. So what happens is when we can take a broader look at our overall well-being we can kind of identify pretty quickly where we need to focus our time and energy.

I have an exercise that I do every morning, and I teach to my clients. It is called rate your eight and it helps you identify where you need to invest that time to make sure that it doesn’t go on and on and on and then you end up not being well.

Lara –

Yeah, what you focus on really gets attention I have a lot of friends who do a morning practice, or routine. Everything from doing a little journaling, some meditation, kind of planning out their day. What it all basically comes down to is ‘okay I want to do a self-check. Where am I, what do I need to do, what do I need to focus on.’ Too often we have this unmanageable list in our head of 40 different things and we don’t really take a look at it in its entirety. And when we don’t take care of those 40 things in one day because it’s completely impossible, we start to feel bad about it or negative about it and it can really impact ourselves moving forward. What you focus on gets your attention.

I love that you do a check in on each one of those eight areas that’s a great idea.

I’m so glad you said that because I think we are all in this together in terms of having a list a mile long of all of the things we either think we should do, or we want to do. In fact, I was just having a conversation with a friend about this yesterday and she feels very overwhelmed by all of the things she wants to change in her life and the important thing, and I think what’s helpful with some of the tools that I use, is that you can pick one or two.

Stacy –

Every single day offers you a new opportunity. Just focus in on one area that you need to because you know we can’t do a hundred or a thousand things every day. I mean most of us can’t, I know some people who are pretty efficient with their time.

There are some really fun strategies that we can enlist to help us with this. For example, choosing an activity that supports multiple areas. We can go for a walk with our child after school and we are supporting that relational dimension along with our physical well-being. It just kind of grows from there.

Lara –

I love that.

I know we don’t have time to dive into all of the dimensions of self-care but can you give a brief synopsis?

Stacy –

Sure, one easy way to remember them is that they all spell the word SELF-CARE.

  • Systemic
  • Emotive
  • Luminescent
  • Financial
  • Cognitive
  • Aptitudinal
  • Relational and
  • Environmental


Too often, and like you say there are a couple that jumps out right away like ‘oh that’s backburner stuff for me’ especially when it gets to the financial and environmental, those are kind of huge ones that do fall by the wayside for people.

Lara –

We are in the new year and everyone is motivated, ready to hit it, just go after it, and they’re going to do everything from a morning practice, to their exercise to their working in quarters and outlining their entire year etc.

That is a level of pressure and stress that we put on ourselves and it can set us up for failure.

Can you tell us what brought you to understanding that self-care is so important and to create the systems that you have?

Stacy –

Like many of us we experienced lots of ups and downs in life and sometimes we are more prepared than others. A few years ago, when I discovered that my marriage was failing, I really was not prepared to deal with the emotional fallout that brought. And to be honest, I can see how easily people will fall into destructive kind of behaviors. I mean depression is real, substance abuse is real, these are all numbing strategies that people use to not have to think about or work through some of these really intense, I call them heavy moments that we have to navigate.

What I found is that self-care was an alternative to those numbing strategies and getting to know what I needed to be my best, to be more resilient, to bounce back from difficult things. What I noticed is that now when I experience something that I didn’t expect, or a disappointment, or let’s be honest I don’t really know anyone whose life has gone exactly the way they thought it would, so now I have a plan. Because I know who I am. I know what makes me feel like my strongest self and I have a self-care survival plan which is part of what I help my clients put together.

Not only are there things that we can do to support ourselves every day, but we can also have the ‘survival plan’ so that when one of those heavy unexpected moments hit, the loss of a loved one, a job transition, a divorce, I mean there are so many challenges. How do you deal with that moment? What do we do to put ourselves in a good place so that we can go through the process of rebuilding our life, and that’s kind of how I came to discover, really, the power of self-care.

Lara –

You talked about discovering that your marriage is not going to work out. I know for me, I was married for 25 years, the extinction burst of my marriage really lasted for years. It is an Extinction burst, it escalates, and it recedes, and it escalates and recedes, until, for me personally, I could bear it no longer. I’m sure that if you talk to my ex-husband, he would feel exactly the same way. Because we had had an entire lifetime together it was an emotionally and physically self-devastating time where you don’t know where you’re going. I thought ‘you know I have been with him since I was a teenager’.

So, this brings me to a Listener question (listener) and I were talking and she wanted to know how you help women come out the other side, especially after a devastating loss or a devastating change, without shutting down and being ready to be open. You know that is such a devastating thing and at this time in my life, I don’t know if it’s just my age or my circle, I have friends who are going through divorce everywhere from the age of 20 to 60. There’s a lot more gray divorce in our nation now and that can really be emotionally stunting.

Stacy –

Yes, so the first thing I would say to (listener) is that it’s okay to shut down. I think that’s part of the process of healing. It’s part of a self-care plan. I can tell you as an extreme introvert that I often had to disconnect and do my grieving and mourning and crying. Then I had to reconnect, and so it comes down to knowing what you need to get through it and function at your best, so I think there’s a time and place for feeling all the feelings and not suppressing them because they will come up later as you said I mean it could be years and I mean healing isn’t something that just happens in a week or a month or a year or five years.

Healing is a process of really coming home to you. Knowing who you are, and for a lot of women, it involves rebuilding your sense of self-confidence and who you are. For me, a lot of that came about as I developed or recognized my personal brand and in knowing who I am. I’m just feeling comfortable in that.

Another thing that was really helpful for me is Byron Katie’s work and she has a book called loving what it is and I’ll distill it down to this thing that I often say to myself regularly is “it should have happened because it did”. For some reason, it just takes out some of that negative emotion and it allows us to just see life for what it is. It should have happened because it did, there is nothing I can do to change it. All I can do now is focus on ‘My Future Self’ and create things to look forward too.

Like I say, feel the feels, you got to feel the feels. Shut down if you need to but not forever, just for the length of time that you need. Periodically reconnect and then you have to create something to look forward to.

Lara –

I absolutely agree. In Dialectical Behavior Therapy we have a mantra that we say, “this is not the life you want, this is the life you have, now what.” Because often times we get stuck in a life that, well, ‘this isn’t fair I don’t want this.’

Okay but now what? With DBT it often goes with some of the emotional stuff that you’re trying to get away from. Whether that’s some depression or some post-traumatic stress. It’s effective for every part of your life.

When you understand the purpose of the emotions and I have a series called The Secret Gift In Every Emotion and it’s a free series that’s available on my website it tells you the purpose of the emotions you are having and once you know the purpose of the emotion you can walk through it so much easier.

We just finished up a series all about the different assessments that we have. We did the KOLBE and the Strengths Finder and the Enneagram and the Fascinate and the DISC these are all just different ways for us to know ourselves. I truly believe that professional development cannot be subtracted from personal development. And in order to be a leader and to lead a team and a company or an organization, you have to have that personal development piece in order to grow. We need to be able to understand why we act and react the way we do so that we can choose to act and react in a different way, and so that we can also recognize in the people that we lead where they might be at and how we can help move them along the way.

You mentioned that you are an introvert, and I know that for a lot of us after having gone through – and the Myers-Briggs has been pretty big in my life, and I have an extrovert. I can see how one side of the coin as an introvert it might have been a little more isolating. It was probably freeing to be able to go inward and work on self-care, but it does, you know you do walk that balance of reflection and isolation. As an extrovert I know I had to get out and be around people but sometimes being around people was not what I needed so how you do self-care?

What advice would you give to people who are introverted and how can they deal with self-care without isolation?

Stacy –

Well, I think the most important thing comes back to knowing who you are and what you need and quite honestly tuning-out well-meaning friends and family who thought they knew what I needed was really important. People thought ‘you need to be around people, you need to come over and do these things’ and I didn’t want too.

I was grateful for the invitation, but I also knew that what would best serve me at that moment is that I needed to journal, I needed to cry, I needed to read some inspiring things.

I knew that that would serve me better. And then when I was ready when my mindset was ready to reach out and connect and nurture those relationships, that that was okay.

I’ve been following your blog and I just love your work but I found your trip in your van to be liberating and fascinating in many ways. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about how that came about and what exactly van life and your journey was about?

I’m kind of laughing about this because I still can’t believe that that’s really my reality right now. So for those who have no idea what Living Upp is or who I am, as I mentioned my now ex-husband and I decided to end our marriage and it was quite a turning point for me. I was reevaluating everything about my life and I knew it was going to be a year for redesign and basically, I just decided I didn’t need a bunch of stuff anymore.

I had to really get real with myself on finances, mentally, emotionally and what did I need and what was I capable of in that state of being.

I ultimately decided to buy a Mercedes Sprinter Van and only take with me things that would a bring me joy. Things that I absolutely loved and just were beautiful and would fit in the van. I had to I gave away if I had to guess, 80% of my possessions including mementos that I had saved for over 30 years, yearbooks all of that stuff because it was a heaviness for me. I left Seattle on Independence Day for a pretty long journey. I drove across the country and I’ve been just staying here in Florida. I’m actually on the beach now and I’m staying here for a little while just taking an extended trip this year. I’m calling it “The Healing Journey” so that I get to cross off things on my bucket list and to be honest I mean it’s been a process of letting go of what I thought my life was going to be, and now envisioning what I really want it to be and it’s been amazing.

Lara –

And as a woman doing that solo that’s very empowering and terrifying at the same time. You know I talked with Dr. Laura Gallaher on episode 27 who had worked as an organizational Psychologist for NASA.  She had done some incredible work in Florida, one-year she decided that she was going to sell all of her stuff, I do believe it was after the end of a relationship too but I’m not positive about that, but she decided to sell everything that she owned and work on the road for a year internationally. She went with an organization that pre-plans where you’re going to stay for a week as well as a whole bunch of Adventures and when I interviewed her, she was in Prague. She’s just been to some amazing places. That sounds so liberating and also so focusing when you do something so extreme, it can focus you in where 24 hours a day you are there for you. That’s all about you and how you’re going to grow and what you need to focus on.


Ultimately, I have to laugh because there were so many people, lots of family members who are quite concerned and friends who are concerned and checking in but at the end of the day, I was just kind of like “why not? Why wouldn’t I do this,” I mean I can think of a million supposed reasons that I shouldn’t do it but there were none that really made a lot of sense to me and so I just thought why not and I’m so glad I did because I’m not.

I think a lot of us live in fear of the unknown and certainly, this was a big experience for me. Who knows what’s going to happen, who knows where I’m even going tomorrow? I would wake up and French Press some coffee and just decide on the map ‘I think I’m going to go to Four Corners today.’ Or I think ‘I’m going to go to Lake Tahoe’ it just kind of worked out to be that I just went where I was supposed to be I feel.

There are a lot of people who fear change and who are averse to any big steps. That’s a theme that I see over and over again with the people that I work with, especially if they embrace change and their team does not. There is quite a disconnect with that and it can be difficult to navigate.

Lara –

So as we’re here in the new year what would you suggest for people who this whole “self-care thing” or this “massive change thing” they haven’t heard of before or it’s not in their lexicon, what would be one or two things that people could do to kind of open up this door a little crack to see what they can do for their own self-care?

Stacy –

I do want to make sure that I point out that self-care is whatever you say it is for you. I think it’s a very personal thing and there are a lot of blogs right now out there that are saying that this is what self-care is, and this is what it isn’t, and quite honestly it annoys me a little bit because I think it is such a personal thing. If what you really need is to go to the spa and have a treatment, that’s okay. Just as if you spent an hour journaling or taking a hike in nature. It’s such a personal thing that I guess my first suggestion is;

“Don’t let someone tell you what it is or isn’t, you have to discover that for you, you have to explore and experiment with things to see how they feel. Does it fill you up? Does it really energize you?”

Because if it drains you if it feels like work, if you feel overwhelmed by it, then it’s not self-care it has to fill you to be self-care. To fuel you.

And the second really is going back to this idea of creating something to look forward to. So, if you’re our goal setter, and I am a huge goal setter and a planner, and I have a self-care planner that I use to help my clients actually map out their personal and professional goals.

I think that we have to kind of be careful how we word our goals they have to make us feel excited. If you say your goal is to exercise that’s not as exciting as ‘I want to feel strong or I want to feel sexy’.

How do you want to feel, what do you want to be, what do you want to have? There is some power in how we frame what we want how we phrase what we want.

As the new year sets in and we are working towards these goals, we have to make sure that they excite us and that we just can’t wait to get working on them.

Lara –

You mentioned earlier, and I’ve heard this before, and this is exactly how it feels “does it feel heavy ?” Because sometimes there are things that we have to carry with us, and it feels heavy and sometimes just acknowledging “This is heavy. I need to focus a little more on that.” It can be very freeing.

What do you want for your future as you go on to this new year that we have before us?

Stacy –

Yes I really truly believe that if we can make decisions based on the way that we want to feel and this goes back to a lot of work, this isn’t my own this is Danielle Laporte all the way I love her work and her book, The Desire Map and the Fire Starter Series are amazing, but if we can define how we want to feel, then we can make decisions about the opportunities we have, or a way we can say yes and no to things based on that. So if we want to feel luxurious or feminine, or independent. Think about truly what you want.

I’m a registered dietitian and over the years I’ve worked with a lot of people on weight loss, it’s not really about the weight loss, it is about how do you really want to feel when you lose the weight, what is the weight loss going to bring for you and we need to distill down what we really want, then it just makes life easy and so I guess that’s the answer to your question.

What do I want for my future? I want life to be easy, I want life to be beautiful and I want to experience Joy and I believe that we all deserve that and that’s really what we all want, that’s why we work really hard and sometimes I think we work harder than we have to because I believe that life really is easy if we allow it to be.

Lara –

Beautifully said.

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