Women In Wellness: Erena DiGonis and Erena DiGonis On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Women In Wellness: Erena DiGonis and Erena DiGonis On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Prioritizing self-care is crucial to maintaining well-being, but it took me some time to fully appreciate this. Regular self-care practices, whether small or large, are essential for maintaining physical, emotional, and mental health.

Today, more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of societal discussions. From mental health to physical well-being, women are making significant strides in bringing about change, introducing innovative solutions, and setting new standards. Despite facing unique challenges, they break barriers, inspire communities, and are reshaping the very definition of health and wellness. In this series called women in wellness we are talking to women doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness trainers, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness professionals to share their stories and insights. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Erena DiGonis.

Erena DiGonis, LCSW-R is a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Health Coach, and Certified Clinical Anxiety and Trauma Treatment Professional. Erena has twenty-one years of practical and professional experience as an active clinician, teacher, and supervisor. Erena has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Psychology Today, Reader’s Digest, Women’s Health, and MEL magazine. She is also an Advisory Board Member for the CPTSD Foundation.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Iam a first-generation Greek American. I am proud to be the first person on my father’s side to graduate from high school let alone pursue graduate school. There were many barriers along the way each serving a valuable lesson in pushing forward and digging deep.

My most vulnerable backstory is that when I was 12 years old, my sister was born with many life-threatening medical conditions. I was too young to realize what a shift in consciousness this was for me. So I grew up understanding that there is illness and death at every age and that there are families with tremendous emotional needs. I was aware of them, I understood fear, pain, and uncertainty, and I was not afraid to look them in the eye or reach out with my hand and my heart. My sister has been my greatest teacher and inspiration.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

I’ve had my fair share of memorable moments throughout my career, and one that always brings a smile to my face is from my early days. I used to organize wellness workshops in urban and marginalized communities, which I am deeply passionate about. As part of these workshops, I often included fun elements like making smoothies to engage clients.

One day, I encountered a small hiccup that turned into a comical adventure. I couldn’t find a power outlet to plug in my blender, which led me on a humorous quest. Picture me, zigzagging down a city block, desperately searching for a source of electricity. I eventually found myself in an unexpected place, a barbershop, sharing my frantic story for power with the owner.

Sitting on the floor of that barbershop, I continued with my smoothie-making. We all had a good laugh about the absurdity of the situation, and it turned into an enjoyable experience. It was a fun reminder that even in the face of challenges and unexpected twists, we can find humor and connection.

The main lesson I took away from this story is the importance of adaptability and creativity with obstacles. Life and work are full of unexpected moments, and being able to roll with the punches, find creative solutions, and share a laugh along the way.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I reflect on my early experiences, one significant mistake stands out — the belief that I needed to be an expert in every single aspect of my business. This misconception brought about a great deal of stress and unnecessary anxiety. The invaluable lesson I learned from this error is the importance of recognizing one’s strengths and, equally, acknowledging their weaknesses. Instead of attempting to master every aspect of my business, I’ve come to understand that success often involves surrounding oneself with professionals and experts who can complement my skill set. I am a therapist and never pretended to be an accounting expert, what a relief!

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

In the realm of health and wellness, the work I am engaged in aims to make a significant impact on both individuals and the broader community. As the founder of a group psychotherapy practice with a specialization in anxiety and trauma, I’m deeply committed to destigmatizing the profound effects of trauma and promoting a more empathetic, supportive, and informed approach.

One key avenue through which I’m making an impact is by providing continuing education to mental health professionals. By equipping these professionals with the knowledge and skills to understand and address trauma, I am contributing to the creation of a growing community of trauma-informed experts. to shift the conversation surrounding trauma. Rather than asking, “What’s wrong with you?” or “What were you thinking?” the focus is redirected towards the question, “What happened to you?” and “What does support look like?”

My goal is to create a ripple effect of understanding and support.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

There are so many, where to start.

1 . Micro-Moments of Awareness for Stress Management: Shift your mindset from thinking that stress management and self-care require large blocks of time to embracing micro-moments of awareness. It’s in these little pockets of time that you can practice mindfulness, deep breathing, or grounding exercises. For example, take 30 seconds to focus on your breath while waiting for your morning coffee. This small act of self-care can set a positive tone for the day and reduce stress.

2 . Right-Sized Self-Care Practices: It’s important to tailor your self-care practices to your current level of overwhelm. If you’re feeling particularly stressed, you may need to “turn up the volume” on self-care. For instance, if your usual self-care routine consists of a weekly yoga class, consider incorporating shorter practices daily, like a few minutes of stretching or mindful breathing. Adjusting the intensity of your self-care to match your needs can make a significant difference in managing stress.

3 . Prioritize the Basics: Never underestimate the power of the fundamentals. These are the aspects of your life that you have a degree of control over. Are you staying hydrated? What does your diet and overall lifestyle look like? How well are you sleeping? For example, if you’ve been neglecting your hydration, make a conscious effort to drink more water throughout the day.

4 . Practice and Savor Awe and Wonder: Cultivating gratitude can be a game-changer for your well-being. Take a few moments each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as appreciating a beautiful sunset or expressing gratitude for the support of a loved one.

5 . Disconnect from Devices. We need to take time off devices by unplugging and disconnecting from screens. Create a space for mindfulness, reduce digital distractions, and recharge. I like giving myself 1 hour after work to unplug, it allows my nervous system to decompress.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

There are so many things I would love to do. My movement would revolve around trauma-informed emotional awareness. This would encompass the ability to understand, express, and manage one’s emotions. We would learn to flow through big feelings. This movement would emphasize the importance of teaching emotional intelligence, resilience, and coping strategies from an early age in schools, workplaces, and communities.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Embrace Imperfection: I wish someone had emphasized that it’s okay to be imperfect and that the pursuit of perfection can be a major obstacle. In both personal and professional endeavors, I’ve come to realize that growth and learning often occur through mistakes and setbacks. Embracing imperfection allows for greater self-compassion and resilience.

Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Prioritizing self-care is crucial to maintaining well-being, but it took me some time to fully appreciate this. Regular self-care practices, whether small or large, are essential for maintaining physical, emotional, and mental health.

Resilience Is a Skill: Resilience isn’t an innate trait; it’s a skill that can be developed and strengthened over time.

Value of Setting Boundaries: Setting and enforcing boundaries is an essential aspect of maintaining balance in personal and professional relationships. It’s something I wish I had learned earlier. Clear boundaries protect your time, energy, and emotional well-being, ensuring that you can give your best to the people and activities that matter most.

The Power of Community: Building a supportive community of like-minded individuals who share your goals and values is invaluable.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental Health!

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

Linked in:


Training and Continuing Education:


Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

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