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Life Coach Trish Barillas on Managing Mental Health with Self Care

Life Coach Trish Barillas on Managing Mental Health with Self Care

Trish talks growing up in an immigrant family, her work as a life coach, and how she manages her anxiety and mental health through self care. 

Below the Surface is an ongoing series featuring friends of Motif, who are on their path to greatness doing things they love. We sat down with our friend, Trish Barillas (@tbarillas) — life coach, author, speaker, and mental health advocate. She lives in NYC with her husband, Charlie.

Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you going?

I describe myself as a creator of positive change. That is what I've always been, throughout my whole life, and it's also what I do as my work and my calling.

Aside from being a life coach, I'm an empath. I was born and raised in New York, I am a first generation immigrant, and my parents are Guatemalan, so they came here at very young ages.

I go back and forth all the time, and it's my second home. I’m going wherever my heart leads me. Before the pandemic, people didn't really have a structured understanding of what life would be and how it would unfold, but the pandemic showed us how we don't have control over anything that goes on. Right now, I just kind of lead with what speaks to me and what speaks to my happiness and my heart. 

Trish Barillas childhood memories and pictures

How has being an immigrant affected your work and your identity?

I was very poor and rich at the same time, so it was very confusing because I grew up on the property of somebody else. My parents were the private chef and a landscaper, so they were the caretakers, but it was in a very affluent area in Long Island. I didn't really understand differences until I was much older. I would go to Guatemala and realize that we're immigrants and were super poor. I just didn't understand it as a child, so I never felt different. That was something that was very unique to my situation. I didn't have any other Hispanic friends, but the people that I grew up with never made my sister and I feel different. Growing up in my childhood, more so as I got older, I always scanned the room to see how many people of color are there and I can't stop doing it. Then when I go to my country, I realized I'm not different at all, so I embrace being an immigrant – I embrace being different. As I've gotten older, I've leaned into it more.

You speak about your own personal struggles with anxiety. What is your definition of anxiety? How would someone recognize anxiety if it is something that they experience as well?

Anxiety can come about in so many different ways. Anxiety is when something is popping up in your body, whether it's a thought, or it's a physical symptom, that feels like a threat and there's fear. When something scares you enough, then we start to get anxious, because if we weren't scared of it, it wouldn't exist.

Anxiety to me has always lived in the past and in the future. In the world that we live in with all of this technology and media platforms and distractions, we're so bad at staying present.

For me, what I always try to help people to recognize is how do you respond to it, because it's your response to it that creates the uncomfortableness. There's so much work that you have to do to figure out what your personal grounding is. That is why I love to do what I do, because I help people get there. The world is crazy as it is, so we just have to manage all those days – the good days and the bad days.

NYC life coach Trish Barillas' wedding photos

What does beauty mean to you?

I always feel that someone's beautiful in the way that they are energetically. My mom's never worn makeup. I've never really been around women who really took the time to do their hair or makeup, so I never really identified with any of that. I actually still don't. I always love women in their natural state, and I love myself in a natural state. Beauty can mean so many different things. I think it’s what makes you feel beautiful to yourself. A lot of times, I've seen that women try to be beautiful for others, but why can't we just feel beautiful to ourselves versus the social norms or what the newest fad is. Whether it's feminine or tomboy, I'm all over the map when it comes to that. One day, I might be in a cowboy hat and jeans and boots, and the next day I might go to a gala. It's whatever I feel like that day. To me that is beauty. I do think that in this era, due to the magnifying glass on social media, I do think that it's a lot harder for a younger generation to feel beautiful. I do think that this is concerning.

How do you feel about beauty? Is it overlapping with and/or causing anxiety?

I think people always want to fit into this bucket of “this is what's beautiful now, so I need to be this.” It's just being shown nonstop, like with TikTok and Snapchat, it doesn't end. I think that platforms and technology have pluses and minuses. There's so many great benefits, but then there's it also comes at a cost. I do think that people get anxious if they don't fit this certain stereotype – if they're not this size, or have this type of hair. But then I also see women being celebrated for their differences. It really matters on the people that you choose to follow, what you tell your kids, and how you respond to the women around you. But I definitely see a rise in anxiety, especially in the younger generation. 

What does healing look like? What role do you think brands and companies can play to fuel that healing? 

I think embracing getting old gracefully, and embracing what real skin looks like. I just feel everything is so highly filtered and airbrushed. I just wish that it was a little bit more real with real bodies and real skin with texture. It shouldn't be so pristine. I would love to see more of that from brands, which is exactly what they probably don't want to do. That's what makes marketing so tricky, but me as a consumer, I always gravitate towards brands that show people like me. There wasn't a lot of diversity. We haven't lived in a very diverse world when it comes to marketing. I do see a change, but I don't think there's enough of it yet.

Trish Barillas is a NYC life coach and mental health advocate

What does self care mean to you? 

Self care is really about maintaining my mental well-being. With my self care, I love when I can fully have a bath and really do a mask on my hair. When I have that time to give to myself, that feels really good.

My routine is very minimal, which I love. I always have to clean my face before bed, even if I don't wear makeup every day. My Motif stays in my shower, so I like to use it in the shower, because it's right there and I don't have to think about it. Then I just put an oil on, and that's it. As I've gotten older, my skin's gotten more sensitive. When I was younger, I would never wear SPF. It's about finding what works for you and your skin type. That's why when I used Motif, I was so happy that it was not fragrant. My skin loved it, and it felt very comfortable.

What would be some patterns, or some flow state activities that bring you to that place of peace and calm?

A state of flow for me is having my house in order. That's my mental house and my physical house. I think we are so conditioned to be so busy, and not make the time, and I think that's the problem with self care – people don't really schedule it in. We just aren't prioritizing it. This past long weekend, I chose not to go anywhere because I was just away for a month. My physical house has to be ordered, and then my mental house has to be in order. Just being intentional with time is a really good state of flow for me.

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