Ep. 24: Creating and Maintaining Meaningful Relationships with Bernadette Wagner

The power of relationships is one of the most important resources that we have on this planet. Today on The Gutsy Podcast, we have a fabulous guest and we’re going to really just dig down into the depths of not only connecting and creating meaningful relationships but how that helps you live life to the fullest. We’ll also hit on the health benefits this comes with as well.

Today’s Guest

Today I’m basically talking to a real-life wonder woman, Bernadette Wagner. She’s a speech pathologist, a two-term elected member of the Washington County Board of Education, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Volunteer Washington County, community outreach coordinator of Hospice of Washington County, and, most recently, TV host of Appealing Hope and Health—and let’s not forget, she’s also a wife and a mother of five! This Jack, well, should we say this Jill of many trades is now adding entrepreneur to her list with her Prime Time for Women initiatives.

What is Prime Time for Women?

“The mission is to celebrate, connect, and empower women from diverse backgrounds as they explore new possibilities in their second half of life.” When it comes getting older (or reaching a “higher level”), Bernadette takes a refreshing look at what this both could and should mean for women. It provides the opportunity to explore new possibilities and celebrate the past—all whilst living life to its fullest.

What drove you to choose the entrepreneur life?

Bernadette has always been interested in not only the health of herself—but of our community’s and how that impacts each individual person. After reading several awesome books and enduring a loss (tune in for the specifics!), her passion for embracing each age began to flourish; leading her to attend Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts in NYC where she and hundreds of other women met to empower their lives.

“It was really fun. I finished the course in June. I gave notice to my employer in July and started doing this full time . . . And we did our first show in February. And, um, that’s sort of what started it. This real belief that women can make a difference in each other’s lives.”

Why connecting with people is crucial

“People who have strong social connections, they are at less risk for diabetes, dementia, depression, certain kinds of cancer, and women who are isolated or lonely, they carry the same health risk as somebody who smokes 15 cigarettes a day.” 

Talk about WOWZA. Throughout the episode, Bernadette hits on several key health benefits of having people to connect and interact with on a daily basis—even if it’s simply the person handing you your coffee in the morning! As humans, it is our natural instinct to crave connections. When it comes to technology, the ability or need to do so almost fades. But she reminds us of just how important putting down the phone or calling that person (rather than texting) can actually be for our health.

“We are each other’s best medicine if we allow ourselves to be present and in contact.”

Keeping an open-mind

When we think of open-mindedness, it’s easy to realize how important that may be for getting along and not being that “my way or the highway” kinda person. But allowing space for perspectives that differ from your own is actually SUPER beneficial for your brain, too.

Bernadette says,

“Part of our mission is to bring people together from diverse backgrounds . . . because when you bring together people from different socioeconomic levels, different educational levels, different political parties, different religious traditions—all of those things expose you to another way of looking at the world . . .

If you can be open to holding onto your views and allowing another person’s view to enter your brain at the same time, your brain does this weird little thing where it’s like, oh my God, it’s holding two ideas in sync at the same time. So what the brain does to compensate is it makes new neuronal connections between the two ideas that are now in its head. And so it creates new neuronal connections, which actually helps stave off Alzheimer’s disease, expands your perspective of the world, and releases neurochemicals that are health protective for you.”

What you can do

When it comes to the hustle-bustle life of an entrepreneur, I toootally get how difficult it can be to get out and find those healthy interactions and relationships. So what does Bernadette suggest?

“I would say volunteering is huge . . . there is lots of research about the positive aspects of volunteering . . . but I also think, go join a book club . . . go to a concert, especially free concerts. You know, people say, ‘Oh, I don’t have the money to do these things.’ I don’t care! There are free concerts. You can go to your library and go talk. You can go to the 4th of July fireworks and start up a conversation.”

When it comes to finding that connection and interacting with people, there will always be and excuse and a way to NOT to do. But next time you’re ordering that food online + for delivery just so you don’t have to speak to a human or leave the house (we’re allll guilty there!), try to evaluate how in need you might actually be of some good ole fashioned human interaction. Some days are great for hermitting—but not every day.

More juice

Tune into the full episode above to hear more helpful insight on maintaining meaningful relationships along with some of the benefits in doing so! Plus, hear more on Bernadette’s Prime Time for Women initiatives (maybe even attend or be on one of her shows?) or check out her website at primetime4women.com. Empowering women to empower women is what it’s allll about, ladies.

Until then, follow The Gutsy Podcast on Facebook and Instagram or for more business insights, follow me on Instagram @thatlauraaura. See ya next time!

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