Welcome to Real Women Wednesday
It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s your weekly dose of RWW! I created this series to empower, inspire and connect women. Every Wednesday, I share an interview with a woman who I’ve connected with or admire.
I want this series to showcase the empathic, soft and powerful sides that every woman has. I want us to push the comparison, jealousy and girl hate to the side and just listen to these vulnerable words.
This week my Real Women Wednesday is Lauren Tomkins.
I met Lauren after holding the Igniting The Kelowna Sisterhood event. She and I connected over coffee after and we started to talk about social media, networking, and life in Kelowna. I knew instantly she got me & I got her. She understood the push and pull of social media and the hardships of meeting female friends in this city. Since that coffee, I’ve had the pleasure of forming a friendship with Lauren.
I wanted Lauren to take part in Real Women Wednesday because she’s incredibly inspiring. She opened up her own integrative health centre in West Kelowna and her purpose is connecting people with the best life they can possibly live.
Lauren has an infectious smile and laugh. You can’t be in a bad mood around Lauren!
Meet Lauren 🙂
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Passionate, caring, adventurous
What’s one thing that’s happened to you that has made you a stronger person?
One thing more recently was taking care of a family member with terminal cancer. As I’m sure anyone who has been affected by cancer knows – the mental, emotional, and physical toll not only on the patient, but the caretaker(s) is huge. Appointments, treatments, sick days, good days, bad news, good news, the waiting game.
The rollercoaster ride is unimaginable. Feeling helpless in a situation is hard, but it made me realize that the most important thing I could do was be loving, be patient, and most of all, be present. The intimate process of supporting someone through their last weeks, days, and breaths was something that I will never forget, and I was honoured to do. It made me take a step back and re-evaluate my life in ways I didn’t predict. And for that, I’m forever grateful.
Where do you like to escape to?
I love being anywhere I can see the stars. Anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed or upset with the state of the world, I like to curl up outside and just look up. I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan – aka the land of the living skies – and spent many nights on my trampoline watching the meteor showers or driving up the valley to see the northern lights. It always puts things in perspective and reconnects me with the world. What an amazing universe we live in.
We live in a culture that measures ourselves on the number of likes and followers we have. How do we stop believing we’re never good enough, rich enough, fast enough, pretty enough, slim enough?
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I find it ironic that the tool, which was created to connect us, seems to be disconnecting us in more ways than one. I love it for the people I’ve met, gaining inspiration from others, being able to express a part of myself, and using it as a platform to educate people.
However, I also struggle with the comparison, the anxiety, and the constant feeling of needing to ‘keep up’. It can be really overwhelming. I think it’s important to take a step back, disconnect, and unplug – turning off my phone, closing my computer, and logging out of my many social media profiles. Whether it’s a couple times a week, or a few hours a day, it helps keep me grounded and present in the moment.
Lately, I’ve been focusing on calling family and friends to chat instead of always sending them a text, meeting up for a hike or coffee instead of spending hours scrolling through profiles, stopping in at local businesses to say hi and support their shop instead of just liking their photo. Like many things in life, it’s important to find a balance.
What’s your wildest craziest dream?
Own a tropical island full of rescue dogs, goats, and pigs. Live off grid and spend my days at the beach. However, in this moment I feel like I’m living my wildest craziest dream opening and running an integrative health clinic…every day is a new adventure!
What are you doing to work towards it?
Trying to pay off my student loans 😉
When you hear the word “woman” what comes to your mind?
Strength. I’m in awe of the many strong and powerful women I’m surrounded by. Each and every single of one of them having an impact on my life.
I’m inspired on a daily basis and think it’s important that we support each other and build each other up. I work with a lot of women in my practice, and I see many facing the same struggles – from anxiety, fatigue and burnout, stress and insomnia, to feelings of overwhelm and self doubt, and pressure of keeping up while juggling the many hats of motherhood, work, and life.
I think it’s important for women to dedicate time to take care of themselves. And I strive to help empower them to do so.
How do you practice self-care?
For me, self-care is about learning how to listen to myself – quieting the noise around me and actually listening to my body. Figuring out what I need in a given time and moment. And doing exactly that.
It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. And it’s taken a long time to really listen and appreciate my intuition, instead of focusing on what I “should” or “need” to be doing. Self-care takes work and I try to incorporate it into my daily life.
It continually evolves on a daily basis – from trying a new workout class, cooking a new recipe, going to yoga or floating, to having a nap, exploring new hikes, catching up with friends, or pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to meet new ones. And I love Sundays…I try to make Sundays packed full of self-care goodness.
What are your passion and your purpose in life?
Connection, communication, education, and empowerment. I’m passionate about connecting with people and helping them make positive changes and choices in their life. I do that through naturopathic medicine and the care that I provide my patients.
While a big part of my job is assessing, diagnosing, and creating individualized treatment plans – I spend the majority of my time listening, holding space, and connecting with patients to fully understand their journey. One of the six principles of naturopathic medicine, “Docere – Doctor as Teacher” – plays a huge role in my work – I believe if we can connect, communicate, and educate – then we can empower each other to live our best life.
What has the ability to make you vulnerable? Do you allow yourself to stay vulnerable in that moment?
I’ve never been one to wear my heart on my sleeve. But I’ve always admired those who do. I used to shy away from being vulnerable, but now I try and embrace it. It’s important to have a level of trust and comfort in order for me to open up. I’ve learnt through vulnerability, I can connect with people on a deeper level and allow myself to grow.
Share a quote or passage that’s always held a deeper meaning for you.
The Dream of Life – Allan Watts
Wow, what a video! I’ve bookmarked it and have listened to it several times and it’s truly inspiring.
I want to say thank you to Lauren for being a part of this series.I know you’re busy with multiple jobs, dogs and a partner. It means a lot to me that you took the time and showed your heart through this Q&A.
To follow Lauren online, check out her business, West Kelowna Integrative Health Centre. Lauren also has an amazing Instagram account where she talks about a handful of different topics. My favourite is her “Ask Doctor Lauren” Friday posts. Check out her Instagram!
Are you wanting to read previous RWW posts? Catch up here.
If you’d like to be featured on Real Women Wednesday, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me on social media. My handle is @thebookofmolly.