Interview with Lillian Zhao, the founder of Further Food.
A few months ago, Further Food reached out to me and asked if I’d like to be part of their affiliate program. I’d never tried collagen, and I was definitely intrigued. I did some research and decided to try it out. So I joined the affiliate program and began using the product, but I still wanted to learn more about collagen. And who better to ask than the company’s founder, Lillian Zhao?
When I emailed the company to request an interview, I honestly didn’t think I’d get a response, just because they are so popular. To my surprise and delight, I received an affirmative reply. So a couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lillian and hearing first hand her passion for her business.
This interview is not sponsored in any way by Further Food (if anything I would pay Lillian to talk to me!), but if you are interested in trying the product, you can use the code primarilyplants10 for 10% off your order.
If you’d like to learn more about Further Food, you can find them:
Like many people, I am a master procrastinator. Overtime, I’ve become much better at checking off the little things- answering emails, doing laundry, etc.- but when I’m faced with a big, stressful project, I often put it off because I’m not ready to deal with the anxiety it causes. Unfortunately, I’ve found that this just creates a snowball effect- as time goes by my nervousness only builds, so when it finally comes time to get to work, I have more anxiety to overcome than I did in the first place. Breaking this habit is definitely a work in progress for me, but I have found many valuable tools that help me combine work with self care.
Combining a stressful project with something that makes me happy mitigates my anxiety and gets me excited to start working. In this post, I share the strategies that I’ve find helpful, but I also encourage you to take this idea and make it your own- find what works best for you!
How to Combine Work with Self Care:
Put on a face mask
I find that taking 5 minutes to put on a face mask before sitting down to do my math homework brings a sense of peace and mindfulness to the experience. Plus, it’s nice to feel like I’m multitasking and clean out my pores while I clear up my to-do list.
I’ve found that it’s impossible for me to be stressed while taking a bath. So when I have a project that I get stressed even thinking about, I’ll take a bath and plan out how to tackle it. Once I’m in a more relaxed, creative mindset, it’s easier to plan out a big project. And if you have one on hand, adding in a fun bath bomb can also help get the creativity flowing.
Work from a coffee shop
This might be a little more self-bribery than self care, but it works well for me. In fact, it’s probably my very favorite tip on this list. Taking myself on coffee dates when I need to work on a challenging project helps me look forwards to hard work instead of dreading it. I find that working in coffee shops is especially effective when I need to really focus on a creative project. And the caffeine from my latte doesn’t hurt either.
You can find some of my favorite spots in SF on this list.
Brew some tea
I love having a variety of teas on hand so I can have one to match every mood. Right now I’m really enjoying lemon ginger tea, but I’d love to hear your recommendations too! Taking a moment to close my eyes and slowly sip my tea in the middle of a work session is so cozy and revitalizing.
Light a candle
For me, the main benefit of lighting a candle is the intention behind it. While the candle itself certainly makes my workspace cozier, just taking a moment to light a candle puts me in a more positive mindset.
Often this is as simple as writing with colorful pens or organizing my notes in an artistic way.
I’m also a big fan of drawing my ideas instead of writing them when I’m feeling stuck. Putting pen to paper and creating concept maps or illustrations helps process my ideas without worrying about making anything perfect.
Listen to a podcast
When I’m doing any sort of boring, automatic work (such as organizing a spreadsheet), I make the task much more enjoyable by listening to my favorite podcasts. Sometimes I even look forwards to tedious work because I know I’ll get to listen to a fun podcast episode.
If you’re looking for new podcasts, here is a list of my favorites!
This is how I combine work with self care, and I hope you find these strategies as helpful as I do! And if you have your own tips for incorporating self care into your school/work life, I would love to hear them either in the comments or on Instagram.
Going to the farmer’s market with my parents on Sunday mornings is one of my favorite parts of the week. It’s such a nice opportunity to spend time with them and catch up without any distractions. Every week we make an effort to try a new fruit or veggie, and sometimes we do, but no matter what we always leave with peaches. Recently, I’ve been buying an extra peach and a tomato, then making this Peach Caprese salad on Sunday evenings.
I’ve already shared this salad on my Instagram, and it’s so simple you barely need a recipe, but I love it so much that I just have to share on the blog.
This salad tastes like the essence of summer, and it is beyond simple to make. That means spending less time in the kitchen and more time with your family/friends/Netflix.
This Peach Caprese Salad is so versatile that I will make some on Sunday evening to have with dinner, then I will eat it again with toast for breakfast the next morning. And as you can see from the below photo of my desk lunch, it’s also delicious as leftovers topped with some chicken (or your protein of choice), which is such a win in my book.
If you try this (and you totally should!) let me know what you think and/or share it with me on Instagram!
If you enjoyed this episode, I would so appreciate it if you would leave a review on iTunes, let me know on Instagram, or tell a friend! And if you have any feedback as far as what you would like to see more of on the show, please let me know!
When I was 12, I went to sleep-away camp for a week. I was there with one of my best friends and my little sister, but I was still incredibly homesick. One night, we had tater-tots with dinner and I started crying at the table because my dad loves tater-tots and eating them reminded me of him. Looking back, I find that pretty funny, but at the time it definitely wasn’t. And now I am able to find the humor in the situation because I’ve developed strategies for overcoming loneliness and homesickness that I didn’t have back then.
I still struggle with homesickness, but these strategies have been incredibly helpful to me, and I hope you find them useful too.
Strategies for overcoming loneliness:
Find “portable homes”
In my life, portable homes are resources that I can take out into the world and turn to when I need to feel comforted and understood. These are some of my favorite portable homes:
Books. These are mine, but any of your childhood favorites will probably work.
Podcasts. I love finding podcasters that are really caring and nurturing people because I can listen to them whenever I’m out in the world and feeling alone.
Blogs. In times of stress, it can be hard for me to connect with my body and know what I need. These blogs provide gentle reminders on living intuitively and taking good care of your body and mind. Plus, all three women’s lovely, hilarious personalities come through in their writing.
This seems a little counterintuitive, but I find that being by myself when I’m feeling homesick or lonely is really helpful. For me, there’s nothing worse than feeling lonely even when I’m with a big group of people, so taking a little time for myself can be so important. Being alone allows me to reconnect with myself, fully experience my emotions, and cry it out if I need to. Then, when I do rejoin the group I feel much more present and connected.
Figure out the root cause
Growing up, I was ashamed that I cried at summer camps and sometimes got homesick on sleepovers. For a long time, I thought that I wasn’t as brave as my friends or that I was just being a “crybaby.” But in recent years, as I’ve learned more about the way my brain works and the ways my anxiety manifests, I’ve found that these feelings were actually the result of separation anxiety.
Knowing this has been so helpful in enabling me to respect my feelings and respond with self care instead of judgement. Obviously, everyone is coming from different places, and my reasons are likely different than yours, but having more knowledge about the origins of our feelings can be really helpful.
I hope you’ll find my strategies for overcoming loneliness useful, and if you have strategies of your own, I’d love to hear about them! Just leave a comment here or connect with me on Instagram, and we can keep the conversation going.