Dina Strada is an LA-based Event Planner, Author, and Relationship Coach who specializes in healing, empowerment and teaching people how to break unhealthy relationship patterns. She was most recently featured as a Contributing Author in the powerful new book, “Simply Women: Stories from 30 Magnificent Women Who Have Risen Against the Odds.”
Dina walks her talk and inspires others through her willingness to be vulnerable, raw and real. A former featured author and top writer for elephant journal, her work has also appeared in multiple online publications including Huff Post, Thought Catalogue, Elite Daily, The Good Men Project, Chopra, Simply Women, Rebelle Society, Medium, Tiny Buddha and Thrive Global. Connect with Dina on her website or follow her daily inspirational posts on Facebook and Instagram.
Sophie: Please tell us about your work as an intrinsic health coach with the M Clinic. What is intrinsic health coaching?
Dina: I love working for this program! The Intrinsic Health Program is an integrative health program where the participants and practitioners collaborate to develop life practices that help them build a foundation for physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Dr. Zach Bush, who developed the program, is a triple board-certified physician with expertise in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Hospice/Palliative care. Over the course of 8 weeks, he leads 4 webinars teaching people how to obtain optimal health and wellness and the Coaches are an integral part of their journey. I work with people to help them sharpen their own intuition and self-awareness around their bodies. Really the core of the program and what I work on with clients is that our own health comes from within… we need to listen to ourselves and our own bodies to heal it.
Sophie: You’re also a relationship coach. Could you talk about the link between having healthy (or unhealthy relationships) and the rest of our health?
Dina: Absolutely. The quality of our health directly correlates to the quality of our relationships. When we’re feeling stressed, anxious, run-down or are prone to getting sick, it’s usually because there’s stress or resentment inside a relationship, unexpressed emotions or the feeling that we’re “sick of” someone’s behavior but still tolerating it. It’s no secret that happily married couples and people who have loving, supportive and fulfilling relationships with friends, family and other people in their communities live longer. It’s because those kinds of relationships bring us joy and fuel our life force energy. Positive energy flow = healthy immune systems and robust health. This is why I tell people I work with how important it is to be honest and authentic inside their relationships. If their needs aren’t getting met, they shouldn’t be holding onto someone out of fear. Eventually, that unhealthy relationship they’re tightly holding onto will start manifesting into physical problems… headaches, chronic pain, weight gain or loss, insomnia, fatigue. Our bodies are deeply intuitive and talk to us on a daily basis about what’s really going on. Our job is to listen.
Sophie: What are the most common ailments your clients come to you with for both practices and how do you address them?
Dina: The most universal problems people come to me with in both practices are fear and doubt. They’re afraid to trust themselves and their own inner knowing. It can be anything from “I’m in this job I hate and I don’t know how to change it,” to “I’m in this relationship but I’m not happy.”
Ultimately, what they’re coming to me for is help figuring out what the next right step is. The truth is that most people already know what the next right step is but 1) they don’t trust themselves so they look to me for validation that they’re doing the right thing or 2) they trust themselves but are scared to death to do what they know they should do. Most of the time, it’s to leave the job or the relationship or make some other huge change that’s going to be profoundly uncomfortable for them. As a coach, my role is to hold space for their process. It’s not to give advice or tell them what to do. Although if they ask me to do that, I’ll offer my opinion. It’s really to listen intently to what’s being said and what’s not being said and then to ask them the right questions which lead them to their own answers. This way, any decision they come to is solely theirs and one they’ve come to on their own. I just facilitate the process.
Sophie: I think we often feel and know when a relationship is not adding positivity to our lives but don’t always know how to best address it. Can you share some tips for moving through this process and letting go of the relationship if necessary?
Dina: As a writer, I’ve written a lot about this very thing. There are some really clear signs that let us know when it’s time to let a relationship go. The first thing I will say is that we can’t and shouldn’t do anything until we’re 100% ready. Even when we know a relationship isn’t working, most people will stick it out much longer than they should because they need to feel that they’ve tried everything to salvage it before giving up on it, especially in marriages. When we take vows, it’s important to honor those. Nobody should walk away until they feel they’ve done whatever they can to save the relationship unless, of course, there’s abuse.
I tell people that when a person is no longer bringing out the best in you, when you’ve lost who you are in the relationship and can’t authentically be who you are, or when it’s clear the 2 of you don’t want the same things anymore… it’s time to let it go. It doesn’t mean the relationship failed. Every relationship is a success. We learn from each other, we grow as people and when the relationship has served it purpose, it has its natural ending. It may be incredibly painful but we have to trust that, in order to make space for something new to come in that might make us much happier, we have to let go of the one that’s no longer serving us.
For anyone struggling to figure out whether they’ve reached that point, I wrote an article for elephant journal that might be helpful: Clues That It’s Time to Let the One You Love Go.
Sophie: Congratulations on your success getting published in the book “Simply Woman” and in many publications including Huff Post and Thrive Global. How did you accomplish this?
Dina: Thank you! I get asked this question all the time and the answer is actually pretty simple. I just went for it! I’ve always been a writer and, like most people, never imagined my work would ever be published. It was obviously always a dream of mine but I was on a different career track and I didn’t have a ton of time to research how to submit my work. It wasn’t until I was going through a divorce that I began to write more regularly and found myself reading tons of articles online in the publications I eventually began writing for. I have always had a deep passion for helping people and, as I read articles written by other people that deeply resonated with me as I went through my own healing process, I realized that I had wisdom of my own to share that might benefit someone else who was also struggling and needed to hear a voice that understood what they were going through.
My first article was published in Huff Post and after writing for them for a few months, I started looking at the Submission guidelines for other websites that I connected with. And honestly… I was just fearless. I had no fear of rejection. I just wrote about the things I was passionate about or the issues my clients were struggling with every week. I felt that if we were all struggling with the same things, there was a need for someone to write about it!
Sophie: Do you have any advice for readers in the health and wellness space who would similarly like to publish in online or written media?
Dina: Subscribe to the online publications you like and follow them for a while so you get a sense for the kind of content they publish. You’ll begin to get a feel for their tone and style, the types of articles they feature and how your own voice fits in. Then go for it! Submit your writing for consideration. The very worst thing you’re going to hear is “Thanks for your submission but it’s not a fit for us.” Just keep submitting to different online publications until you find one that’s a match with your area of expertise and writing style.
Sophie: How do you take care of yourself? Do you have any self-care rituals?
Dina: I’m one of the people who needs a lot of alone time. My way of recharging my batteries is through solitude. Setting aside nights where I don’t make any plans and then curl up in bed with a good book, a cup of tea and some chill music is my version of heaven. I also do a lot of prayer and meditation just to ground and connect with myself at least once a day.
In terms of my body, I want to feel the best I can every day so I try to treat it really well. I follow a mainly plant-based diet — lots of healthy unprocessed foods, tons of vegetables and green juices and no alcohol or sugar except on special occasions. Working out regularly has always been a huge priority for me. I work out at home and do mainly interval training, weights and core work combined with stretching and yoga. I also drink a ton of water and try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. I’m sure I sound super boring, right? HA!
Sophie: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Dina: Don’t quit. Pick yourself up after every setback and just keep going. When God closes one door, he opens another. That advice was from my parents. They didn’t just give the advice; they modeled it for me. It’s honestly the thing that’s gotten me through everything I’ve gone through in life because I’ve had to pick myself up a lot!
Sophie: Any last parting words or advice?
Dina: Just love yourself for who you are. You aren’t broken. There isn’t anything you need to fix. The best thing you can do for yourself is to understand who you are at your core and honor that. Every choice you make for yourself just needs to be in alignment with who you authentically are in every moment. If you do that, you’ll find much more joy and happiness in your daily life.
Want more advice and support from Dina? Download her free “Breaking Unhealthy Relationship Patterns Guide” for practical tips and advice that will help you let go of toxic relationships with grace and confidence.
About the author:
Anne-Sophie Bousset ("Sophie" to English-speaking friends), is a freelance marketer and community builder. She helps companies build their brand, attract clients, and build a community around their product. Her favorite things include sunshine, yoga, reading, and lazy Sundays in with her cat, Phelps. She can be found on Twitter @Sophie_Bousset.