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Setting Boundaries with Davida Kugelmass

Founder of The Healthy Maven |  San Francisco, CA

Davida Kugelmass spent most of her early life trying to please others. While studying psychology in university, she discovered a passion for healthy eating and exercise, and began to make lifestyle changes that positively affected her physical and mental health. After many people in her life began asking her, “How are you doing it?”, Davida realized she had something to offer the world, and, for the first time ever, did something for herself; begin a blog.


“You have the power to decide what your life looks like.”


About a year later, she decided to leave her job and pursue The Healthy Maven full time, growing her blog into what is now a multi-channel health and wellness platform that helps others “live healthFULLY rather than living for their health.”


Practicing What You Preach

There was a time in Davida’s life where she got too wrapped up in the extreme side of the health world and was not taking care of herself the way she was encouraging others to. “You can get lost in the wellness space,” she explained. “You’re supposed to live your life first, and health practices are supposed to be incorporated into that, not at the center of your universe.” The whole point of working out and eating healthy is to feel good and live a happy life, but if that’s all you’re living for, then you’re missing the point.

The Healthy Maven focuses on encouraging others to live fully, rather than living for their health, so Davida had to make changes. This meant being more mindful and setting boundaries.


Setting Boundaries

Another important element of Davida’s success is being aware of her time and taking breaks. Many people consider blogging to be a lifestyle that’s on-going all the time, but Davida makes a point of working regular, 9-5 hours and reserving evenings and weekends for herself.


“I need that division in order for me to feel like I have a sustainable business.”


Maintaining boundaries allows Davida to separate business and personal life, and make time for herself. “That’s my protected time that I get to do whatever I want with it,” she explained. Whether it’s working out, going for a walk, reading a book, or watching a movie, checking in with yourself and making time to relax is integral to a healthy lifestyle.


“You can be committed to something and also take breaks.”


Really Listening

For Davida, mindfulness is “really listening” to yourself. She often asks herself, “What do I need in this moment?” and gives herself time and space to reflect on what’s happening in her life. Journaling and meditating are a few ways to practice mindfulness, but Davida explained that it looks different depending on what you need in that moment. Sometimes it’s sitting down with her journal to write down her thoughts, sometimes it’s walking her dog or visiting the beach.


“Mindfulness is really taking the time to listen, slow down, and not rush through life.”


Mindful Spaces

City living can make it difficult to be mindful, which is why it’s important to find places where you live, or create spaces at home, that you associate with mindfulness and relaxation. Having rituals like using essential oils or lighting a candle can help create a mindful environment, but it is most important to create a space for relaxation in your mind. “The power of thinking is unbelievable. We can’t control our environment, but we can control the way we perceive things.”


Embracing Change

When we asked Davida what’s next, she shared that she sensed change was on the horizon, but was unsure what it would look like. Rather than fear the unknown, however, she embraces it; something that comes with living a balanced, mindful, healthy life.


I can’t predict what’s next, and I’m okay with that. Good things come from change.”


Davida’s Questions for KYŌ:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • How would you want to spend a Saturday afternoon?
  • What do you need right now?


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