As an avid yogi, Materials Development and Trend Manager Sherry H. knew exactly what she wanted to give her team for Christmas. The ladies in Product Development received one month of unlimited yoga classes as a tool for de-stressing after the rush of the holidays. Since the group already regularly attends a Monday yoga class hosted at Vera Bradley, they were thrilled at the gesture. We sat down at local yoga studio Urban Body Sanctuary, to chat about their go-to gym styles and wellness in the new year.
On the guest list:
Sherry H., Materials Development and Trend Manager
Two Way Tote in Jazzy Blooms | “This style is great as a handbag or over the shoulder when shopping.”
Lily N., Temporary CAD Artist Assistant
Campus Tote in Go Wild | “It fits my yoga clothes and wallet. It’s all I take to the gym!”
Mandy M., Career By Design – Merchandising Associate
Grand Tote in Jazzy Blooms | “It’s one of my favorite prints. I like that it’s versatile and I can take it to the gym or on a trip.”
Judy W., Sr. CAD Artist
Get Carried Away Tote in Go Wild | “I love that print because I usually wear neutral colors and it goes with just about everything. This bag offers plenty of room to take my essentials to the gym.”
Kat K., Colorist & Material Developer
Three-O Tote in Plum Crazy | “Plum Crazy is one of the jewel-tone prints for spring, which I love. And I like this bag because it’s similar to the Tote but has a zip top, which is great on the go.”
Lindsay N., CAD Artist
Small Duffel in Midnight Blues | “I’m a big fan of blue. This style is a great gym bag and holds my clothes and shoes beautifully.”
Rachel F., Trend & Materials Coordinator
Vera in Go Wild | “I love the Vera because I usually go to the gym right after work, so I use the pockets to organize my jewelry and everything.”
What does “wellness” mean to you?
Sherry: I think it’s a lifestyle. It’s not just about looks, but what you eat and how you live your life as well.
Lindsay: It can be hard for me to get motivated to participate in fitness activities, but then I always feel so good after I do. Along with yoga, I take ballet classes. The “after” is usually enough to convince me to go.
Lily: It is; you have so much more energy. And with yoga you feel more flexible.
Judy: I think it’s the ultimate de-stressor. Whatever problems you think you have during the day, you go work out for an hour and have time to completely shift away from it and come out with a different mindset.
Sherry: And yoga has taught me, just during the day, when I get stressed to just take a break and reset my priorities.
Other than yoga, how do you stay fit?
Rachel: I have to have set classes, so I have my Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday classes that I go to every week. And I call that day “Yoga Day” or “Spin Day” or “Bootcamp Day”. I just make them a part of my life. It’s fun!
Lindsay: I know some of us are runners. It’s interesting to me that you get a different perspective of where you live by running or biking, rather than being in a car. You’re able to notice more of your surroundings, which is nice!
Sherry: And Kat, you did a lifestyle change with your pedometer. You’re constantly tracking how many steps you have during the day.
Kat: It does make you think about how much you walk. Especially at work, you’re sitting there for hours and don’t realize how little you move! So it motivates you to get up and go get water or move around.
Judy: Because I have a pedometer, at home, when I’m on the phone, I’m usually walking.
Rachel: I love the idea of exploring my surroundings, discovering a new street or a new side of the park each time I go for a run. Running is really how I started my fitness journey. I was trying to lose weight, so I started jogging, which was the catalyst for it all, and now I’ve realized that there are other activities I enjoy. I became happier and less stressed. I mean, let’s be honest, sometimes working out and challenging yourself can really be the stressor. Running every single day was hard on my body, so finding all the different options was how I achieved balance.
Judy: And I really was the same way, because I started with swimming. I would go for months without missing a day of swimming. And that’s not good for your sinuses! So if the pool was down for maintenance, I would go and explore a class.
What’s your fitness style philosophy?
Rachel: Once you really get into it, it’s all about the outfit. I’m serious! For instance, I love the wicking fabrics.
Lindsay: Oh, see, I just wear some old raggedy T-shirts.
Mandy: I feel like I’m more motivated to work out when I have a cute outfit.
What’s your go-to workout song?
Mandy: I like techno or rap, sometimes. Something that’s high energy.
Sherry: For me, it’s the Black Eyed Peas, everything about them.
Kat: I actually haven’t listened to music while working out for a long time, just because [my husband] and I run together and it’s a good time to chat.
Rachel: My spin class last week was all Michael Jackson, the entire time, and it was awesome! You don’t realize how many Michael Jackson songs you know until you’re like an hour in.
Sherry: PYT was my favorite!
Rachel: Oh yeah, it was in there.
Judy: I do zumba, and then I get those songs stuck in my head.
Lindsay: I don’t ever listen to music when I run because it messes up my breathing, but I was dancing around my bedroom to James Brown last night. It made folding laundry a lot more pleasurable!
When it comes to budgeting time, how do you balance a healthy lifestyle with work?
Mandy: I think it’s just incorporating it into your schedule each week, and making a set date for working out.
Rachel: Definitely. I’ve found that I have to pack my bag, bring it into work, and then carry it out with me. So I’ve mentally committed to working out. In the wintertime, your clothes get cold [in the car] and you definitely don’t want to put on cold gym clothes. And I don’t stop at home. I go straight to the gym, even though I live right next door. If I get home and take my shoes off, that’s it; those gym clothes are not going back on!
Lindsay: It’s nice, too, to have the motivation of your coworker alongside you during a class.
Lily: On Mondays, we all ask each other if we’re going to yoga, which helps.
Sherry: The hardest thing, probably with working at Vera Bradley and staying healthy, is all of the cookies everywhere!
Rachel: It’s called the “Vera 15,” and it’s a real thing.
Sherry: Yeah, I started prepping my meals this year. On Sundays, I dedicate a day to going to the store and getting my food together so later I’m not snacking on candy.
Lily: And looking up recipes before I go grocery shopping so I know all of the healthy ingredients I can buy.
Lindsay: I usually make salads the night before so I don’t scramble in the morning to make some kind of lunch.
What’s your favorite health food?
Lindsay: I hear avocado is a super food!
Lily: Any kind of fruit, I just love fruit.
Kat: I’m the same way with vegetables. I could just sit and eat them! I can eat one of those bags of carrots with no problem.
Rachel: I’ve been on a radish kick.
Sherry: I keep a tub full of veggies. In the past I would come home and snack on chips and pretzels. Now I buy in bulk, and it’s the same thing as having pretzels ready to go.
OK, what’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
All: Cheese! Well, cheese and wine.
Rachel: I have a pastry sweet tooth. I just love macaroons, tarts, maybe a big croissant!
Mandy: Salty. Give me salt and vinegar chips or white cheddar popcorn all day.
Sherry: Mine is cheese, wine and candy.
Rachel: We decorate for birthdays and Sherry’s birthday was all Candy Land. We just had bins and bins of candy all behind her desk. And then she went out of town for a few days and I sit next to her so I was just looking at it.
Did anyone make any new years resolutions or goals for the year?
Lindsay: My boyfriend and I are doing 30-day challenges. Some are health related, like one month we’re going to be vegan, one month we’re cutting out our evening wine (that’s going to be tough!) but then some are also doing something creative every day. You just have to tell yourself, it’s only a month, you can do anything for 30 days.
Judy: And that’s such a good idea! You can develop a habit in a month.
Sherry: I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but over Christmas I read this article about how women take on so much between family, work and everything else, and we get so bogged down at the end of the day with what we didn’t accomplish instead of what we did. So each day I take one positive thing and reflect on something good. I guess that’s kind of a resolution.
Judy: I put something up in my cube that says, “Spend less time being annoyed and more time being grateful.”
Kat: I don’t really have any. I feel like any resolution I make is something I should be doing all year, instead of just in January. So I kind of avoid it.
Rachel: I look as it as a recheck. I don’t make any resolutions, but I use it as an opportunity to rethink my year and reset my focus.
What’s your greatest motivation to stay healthy?
Kat: I have multiple: Cancer runs in my family, multiple forms, and diabetes. Staying healthy is a way to fight those illnesses.
Lily: I think that being healthy and happiness are directly related. So if I’m eating terribly and not taking care of myself, I feel like I’m much less happy than when I’m working out and eating healthy. I just have more energy.
Judy: Yeah, it just makes me feel better, all the way around; mentally, physically, emotionally. And I sleep better, too.
Rachel: If I don’t have a hard workout that day, than I have a harder time falling asleep. Especially if I’ve been doing it for a while, when I take my break, it’s like what did I miss today?
Mandy: My biggest motivation is to stay fit. I recently got engaged, so I’m planning a wedding, and I want to look good and be healthy! That’s number one on my list.
Lindsay: My biggest motivation is if I have to chase one of the dogs when they get away. I need to be fast enough to catch her!
Rachel: I have a big wardrobe so I need to be able to fit in my jeans. If I couldn’t, I’d be so sad!
Lindsay: You do have a nice wardrobe. I will attest to that.
What would you say to someone who’s never tried yoga or spin, for example, to encourage them to try something new?
Judy: Go with a friend.
Sherry: And don’t get caught up on being the best at it the first time. Just enjoy it. That’s the good thing about yoga; it’s not about who’s perfect, its just doing it at your own pace and you’re not going to get judged for it. Yoga moves at its own pace, so it’s a good place to start.
Rachel: I remember being so nervous at trying spin for the first time. They say come in 15 – 20 minutes early to meet the instructor, set up the bike and get some tips. It helped a lot.
Lindsay: There are so many resources online now that you can watch some videos before you go to a class to feel more comfortable before jumping in. In the ballet class that I take, it’s all beginners and really a range of levels, and I don’t think anyone ever feels any judgment.
Lily: And I think telling other people your plans, not just so they can join you, but so they can ask you about it, helps because you know they are going to be inquiring.
Mandy: Just try new things and don’t be afraid. I tried karate a few years ago thinking I wasn’t going to like it and I ended up sticking with it for almost 8 years!
Lindsay: We should have a fitness talent show in our department.
Rachel: We do have a lot of instructors! Three yoga instructors, zumba teachers … now karate and ballet.
Do you have a favorite yoga pose? If so, what is it and why?
Rachel: My favorite to do together is Boat, because we all talk about it when it’s time for class. It’s like, “Yeah, Boat time!”
Lindsay: It’s difficult.
Sherry: I like the Reverse Warrior as a good stretch.
Lily: I like Forward Fold at the end of the day, after you’ve been sitting so long, it’s nice to stretch out your legs. When I start class, I can’t even touch the floor, but by the end I can tell I’m warmed up and more flexible.
Lindsay: I like the Supine Butterfly, too. Although, if you’ve been in the pose for too long, when you try to get out of it, it hurts!