Talking Shop with Mental Wellness Coach Victoria Janka

Guys. I cannot WAIT for you to meet Victoria. She was my friend in high school, my pen pal in college, and I love her. She is kind, beautiful, wise, and talented, and I am so inspired by the work that she does. In talking with her, I’ve learned more about her awe-inspiring journey, the purpose of discomfort in growth, and the vital importance of mental wellness to our overall health. Meet Victoria!

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Victoria Janka, I live in Los Angeles with my husband, Charlie. I’m a Mental Wellness Coach, which basically means I just want to help people to be happy and healthy. I like to compare what I do to occupational therapy: I teach tools and offer support for people coming out of depression or anxiety to help them discover direction and create more peace and joy in their lives.

What inspired you to go into coaching?

I diagnosed with depression, anxiety, bipolar, and Lyme disease between the ages of 11 and 17. Having depression at such a young age really deprived me of “finding myself.” High school was such a struggle and college wasn’t much better. I felt lost and without purpose. It was about a ten year journey to figure out who I really am and what I can offer the world. I began to realize how common mental illness is, especially amongst millennials, and it gave me so much purpose and direction when I realized my journey to wellness could help others.

What is self-care, to you?

Ultimately, self-care is whatever lights your soul up and gets you back in alignment with who you were created to be. In a world that demands so much from us, we’re not taught to check in with ourselves and be aware of what our needs and wants truly are. Self-care can look so different for everyone. For a busy mom, self-care might look like setting an hour aside for a massage to rest and recharge alone. Whereas for a football player self-care might be taking a pottery class. It’s figuring out what you need personally to be the best version of yourself and making the time for that.

What do you wish you could tell your 17-year-old self?

Learn to listen to divine nudges. I’m such a firm believe that God/the Universe is always guiding us into “just the right time.” I can be so impatient and wanting exactly what I want now, and I’m still learning the art of quieting myself enough to be moved towards where I’m supposed to be. We really can’t rush authentic healing, surrender, and love. We just have to listen for direction and trust all our needs will be met.

What was the best advice you’ve ever received?

It was something along the lines of “you’re going to feel discomfort anyway, so why not feel it because you’re growing?” This idea of, in wanting to become your best self you’ll always have to deal with discomfort. Want to lose weight? The gym is uncomfortable. Want to be in a healthy relationship? Always uncomfortable things to deal with there. Want to start a business? Lots of uncomfortable things in that. There are so many discomforts in life, and if we live to avoid them we’ll never progress as individuals or as mankind.

What is the worst?

When Charlie and I were dating, he moved out to LA and went through some challenges as he was adjusting to being on his own for the first time. Almost all of my friends and family kept telling me I should break up with him. I remember thinking, if I’m going to marry this man we can’t just bail on each other because the other person is having a rough time. I’m so grateful I listened to my gut (and my therapist) and stayed with him. I look back on those long-distance days and they give me so much gratitude for how far we’ve come as individuals and a couple.

What activity helps you feel most like yourself?

Ballet. Even if it’s just at the barre, it makes me feel like the most beautiful version of myself. It makes me feel strong and magical and unstoppable. I think it’s probably how Liquid Luck makes you feel.

What advice would you give to someone who is beginning their happiness and wellness journey?

Get support. Healing is something that needs a lot of community and encouragement. One of the most damaging things on the road to healing is feeling like you’re not making the “right” amount of progress or that you’re doing something “wrong” when you face discouragement. Having support gives you the space to share those kinds of self-sabotaging thoughts and have someone to remind you that if you’re trying, then you’re doing great.

How do you get out of a funk?

Taking a long shower. Sometimes a good cry will do it too. Taking an hour to pray through whatever is on my mind can help a lot too. I still tend to have depressive days every so often, so I try to be super aware of my feelings and take a more preventative approach. Exercising, writing down 5 things a day that I’m grateful for, trying to cook dinner, getting eight hours of sleep—all those small, daily things help me avoid going to a weird place.

The Fun Qs:

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Honestly…a burger and fries.

What song is stuck in your head right now?

Light Years by The National. I’m also super stoked about Vampire Weekend’s new album. Like, way to cram it full of hits. Way to go, guys.

If you could eat dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Jesus; I’ve always wondered what he was actually like in person.

What is the last movie you saw in theaters?

I wish I had a different answer, but it was that Pokemon movie and it was a serious bummer.

One spot people should visit in LA?

Oh man, so many spots! Most beautiful museum: The Getty Villa. Chillest hike: Eaton Canyon. Best burger: Everson Royce Bar. Favorite brunch: Republique. But my go-to place is this coffee shop called Highly Likely in West Adams. It’s a super bright, open space with great music and I always meet such kind people there.  

The last great book you read?

I pretty much exclusively read non-fiction—mostly self-development/psychology books. Right now I’m reading Self-Coaching 101 by Brooke Castillo and it’s been incredibly helpful. She breaks down her model for understanding how thoughts create our reality and it’s been enlightening to see how her brain works.

Curious about how coaching can help you heal your past and create a life of love, gratitude, and peace? Let Victoria guide your journey into mental wellness. Contact her here to set up a coaching session.

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