How I Thrive: Cornerstone Naturopathic Co-Founder Dr. Ashley Margeson

How I Thrive: Cornerstone Naturopathic Co-Founder Dr. Ashley Margeson

How I Thrive takes an inside look at founders, entrepreneurs and leaders and the behind-the-scenes self-care work they do to in order to live balanced, happy lives. Today's edition is with Cornerstone Naturopathic Co-founder Dr. Ashley Margeson, who loves a lazy morning (complete with coffee in bed) and love a 10 a.m. bath.

Name: Ashley Margeson

City: Halifax, Nova Scotia 

Company: Cornerstone Naturopathic, a company that helps high-functioning women put the "life" back into their lifestyle.

Role: Chief of Operations at Cornerstone Naturopathic, Founder of the Superwoman Code, Co-Creator of the Burnout Blueprint

Beyond the role:  When I’m not helping women turn their hormones into their superpowers or helping busy female entrepreneurs recover from and prevent burnout, I am a loving partner and full-time step-mom to two incredible children or as I like to call them—my “littles.” My personal life is kept very close to my chest, and although I’ll stand up and scream for women’s rights, I’m more comfortable working behind the scenes to help all women stand on equal footing. I’m not afraid to say that I’m a Superwoman because I believe all women are super in their own ways. I am a painter, a decorator, and a baker who just so happens to be hella good at baking gluten-free, but I definitely make a mean creme brulee. I’m a voracious reader and usually demolish two to three books a week. Lastly, I consider myself a wannabe pantsuit aficionado. It’s my dream to one day own as many pantsuits as Hillary Clinton.

Morning routine:

Truthfully, I love a lazy morning and my morning is my time. I don’t check my phone, which means I’m not peeking at emails or responding to texts. Energy conservation is important to me and I recognize that the morning is not my best time of day. I do my best work between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm, that is my prime energy time, so I have designed my morning routine to allow me to purposefully move slower to conserve my energy for later. I wake up to the sun and never set an alarm.

My husband brings me a coffee before I get out of bed in the morning and I enjoy that coffee as I sit in bed and think about my top three priorities for the day. I’m usually up and out of bed five to 10 minutes later, and I head downstairs to enjoy my coffee and spend time with my family. At this point, I’m still not checking my phone and often won’t check it until I get to the office. My days are set based on where I am in my cycle. If I’m in my follicular phase, I tend to run on higher energy, if I’m pre-period, I know I’m going to need more rest. So I’ll plan my food, lunch, and movement around that.

During the first half of my cycle, I’ll jump on my water-rower for 15 minutes or so but during the second half of my cycle, I’ll stretch instead. When I’m on my period, I get notoriously painful cramps. Thankfully, they are much better than they were in my early twenties (I do try to practice what I preach) but even in my thirties, there’s a good chance I haven’t slept well the night before if I’m on my period. Those mornings, I’m sipping a protein coffee, wearing leggings, and off to work. I’m always adjusting my days according to where I’m at in my cycle. Breakfast is always enjoyed together as a family and on most days, I will eat an egg, some toast, some sort of sprouts, and a little bit of cheese. This is my fuel for the day: one fat, one protein, one fiber, and one green. Three days a week, I’ll add a green smoothie to the mix.

My protein coffees are for quick days with a coffee, one scoop of unflavored whey protein, and 1 tbsp of coconut oil blended together. Typically, I’m out the door about one hour and forty-five minutes after I get out of bed in the morning. Once I get to the office, I start my day by running through my top three priorities. I won’t check my emails until after those are completed. Generally, I’m responding to emails between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the afternoon. 

The first thing I do after work:  

My workday at the clinic typically ends around 5 p.m. after I’ve seen all of my patients for the day. I have a short commute and I’m home by 5:15 pm. Generally, I will still check some emails and finish a few things up later in the evening after the kids go to bed. The minute I get home from the clinic, I take my shoes off and I stretch. It doesn’t matter if I’m still dressed in work clothes, taking a moment to stretch through my feet, ankles, and hips is so incredibly important.

Dinner ritual: 

I’ll be the first to say that my husband is a much better cook than I am, but we do enjoy making dinner together. And of course, our kids help out too. From the moment everyone gets home until we sit down to eat, everyone is in the kitchen together and we help each other prepare an amazing dinner. We set the table with placemats and candles. We make it special, every night.
It’s a rhythm we’ve built as a family, and it means that we’re forging connection purposely. And when supper is ready, we all sit down and eat together. It’s an important family time for us and we have a no phones, no interruptions policy. If something rings, we don’t worry about it. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message. Our family is big on talking and communication, so we have this little jar with a hundred different questions or conversation starters in it that we each take turns pulling from and answering.
Questions like, “What are you grateful for today?” “What was the best part of your day?” “If you could go to space right now, where would you go?” “Make up an imaginary color that makes you laugh.” This time with my family is the best part of my day as it grounds me for the work I do.

Nighttime routine:  

My nighttime ritual is quite consistent. I’m an early-to-bed type of person and my husband and I are usually in bed by 8:30 or 9 p.m. Of course, this always depends on where I’m at in my cycle. I try to listen to what my body needs and hormones need deep sleep to be supported! High hormonal fluctuation points (ovulation, pre-period, and period) are times when I know I need more sleep or I’ll be looking for a coffee in the afternoon the next day. So sometimes I’ll even be in bed at 7:30 p.m. This lets me gently relax, as opposed to scrambling to turn off my brain.
All screens are off by 7:30 p.m.-7:45 p.m., unless there’s tennis on, in which case, we’ll be tuning in! Two nights a week, we’ll watch a movie or show. I love reading, so our nighttime ritual will see both of us in bed with a book before we fall asleep. Each week, we have one book that we read together and one book that is our own that we’re reading. I’m a much faster reader, so some nights I’m reading two books at the same time while my husband catches up on our mutual book! My husband and I work together and live together, so reading gives us something to talk about together that’s not associated with work.

Self-care guilty pleasure:

A really great bath! I am notoriously known for taking a bath at 10 a.m. if I’m working from home that day. If it’s the week before my period or I’m on my period, I’ll add some Epsom salts to the water. And of course, I’ll usually light a candle and put a mask on.

Workday self-care hack:

I ask one of my team members to bring me lunch every day. It might seem trivial, but it makes such an impact on my day and it’s something that I’ve had to do to ensure that I eat lunch and don’t work right through it. If I don’t stop to eat lunch, I’ll be really cranky in the afternoon. So by having someone make sure that I eat my lunch, I’ll be a better person at the end of the day. This means I’m a better person for my husband and my kids, too.
Asking for help is the biggest self-care tip I strive to practice. My second daily self-care hack at work? I don’t check my phone. It’s on silent all day long and most days, I don’t even have it in the office with me. This helps me focus. I spend my days helping women harness their hormones to avoid burnout, so if I’m going to practice what I preach I need to know where I’m at in my cycle. This means eliminating distractions that could cause me to think about things other than the person in front of me. No one wants their doctor spacing out!

How do you define self-care?

I define self-care as something that feeds your soul and makes you feel calm. If it doesn’t, it’s not self-care, so why are you doing it? Self-care is also something that your body will thank you for later.

Favorite childhood toy or hobby:

My favorite childhood hobby was arts and crafts. It was back then and it continues to be today. When I was little, we had a craft closet in our home filled with buckets of supplies. You can take whatever you wanted and make anything. The only rule was to put everything back when you were done.

Today, I have the same craft closet for my kids, except that the top shelf is for me. It’s where I keep all of my painting and art supplies. The lower shelf is for the kids and I love watching them create! Creativity is so important to me. It’s a form of self-care. If I don’t have time to be creative, I’m not a happy person. I need something that brings me joy and art brings me great joy.

State of your (email) inbox: 

I’m a zero inbox kind of person. I carefully go through everything and leave anything unread as something that I still have left to do. I hate having notifications on my computer, so I make sure that the notifications are turned off on my computer otherwise I’ll want to get my whole inbox zeroed down even if it’s not a priority. When it comes to my task list, I’m all about the old-school planner. Email is just the first touchpoint.
From there, I’ll prioritize my three important tasks at the end of the day that will be worked on first thing the following day. These are all written down in my planner. My planner is my life — it has scribbles, post-it notes, and reminders for where I’m at hormonally. I track my focus with my planner and prioritize long-term tasks based on where I’m at in my cycle. Doing this ahead of time means I’m focused on my overall energy, not just the day-to-day energy. I even tape my watercolor prints into my planner.

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1 comment

You are very organized. Very together. This blog Gives me something to strive for. I love that you leave your phone alone most of the time. Again, something for me to strive for

Vicci Botich

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