We are just brimming over with appreciation that you’re still here tuning into our current season of The SunDaze Journey Podcast! (And as per usual, cue our friendly neighborhood reminder to please subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.)
In our latest episode, we are so thrilled for you to meet Victoria Hasselbring, the volunteer coordinator at All Faiths Food Bank, a nonprofit organization located in Southwest Florida. Oh…and she also happens to be the identical twin sister of one of The SunDaze Journey hosts, Mary-Beth Meagher. So there’s some fun trivia for you too!
In addition to our informative chat on the podcast, we also asked Victoria to get real and vulnerable with us for this Spotlight Q&A series—and she was quick to deliver. So read on for truth zingers and motivational insights from this jewel of a human.
The SunDaze Journey: These last couple of years have been stressful to say the least. What are a few practices that you’ve found to be restorative and beneficial for your own mental, emotional and physical well-being in the midst of these circumstances?
Victoria Hasselbring: I am a huge proponent of self-care. I love to indulge in rituals that help me unwind and put aside the stressors of a given day. My personal favorite form of restoration is taking a bath. In my opinion, there is nothing quite as pleasant as pouring a glass of wine, lighting some candles, grabbing a book, and settling in for a hot soak in the tub after a long work day. It does wonders for improving my overall mood and outlook.
TSJ: What is the single most powerful and influential piece of advice that has ever been shared with you, either personally or professionally? Who did this advice come from, and how has it changed or impacted your life?
VH: My mom is constantly reminding me that joy cannot be found in external circumstances. If you expect to be satisfied by a career, a relationship, a material item, or whatever the case might be, you will always find yourself chasing the next high and never experiencing true fulfillment. It’s important to learn how to be content in whatever season of life you are currently in and allow yourself to be open and receptive to any lessons or experiences you need to learn before moving onto your next chapter.
TSJ: Based on your own lived experience, what is one particular lesson or insight that you would pass on to someone who is coming up behind you?
VH: I believe that a healthy work-life balance is an essential skill to develop. Work will always be there, but memories and experiences with friends and family can be fleeting, thus should be cherished and prioritized over success in the professional sphere. Time spent with loved ones is what you will remember most when reflecting on your life, not promotions or monetary raises. So don’t squander these moments—you can’t get them back.
TSJ: What is the most rewarding aspect of your role as a frontline nonprofit worker? What challenges you most in this position and how do you confront each obstacle?
VH: Working primarily with volunteers in my role, I find it so inspiring to interact with people, who are truly passionate about making a positive impact in their community, and don’t ask for recognition, but simply do it because they are motivated to make the world a better place. However, just like in any job, when I feel stressed and overwhelmed, it can be easy to lose sight of the larger mission. Burnout is a real struggle in the nonprofit world, so it’s necessary to take time for yourself to recharge and refocus, so you can be the best version of yourself. If you do not care for your own needs, you cannot help others effectively either.
TSJ: Are there any books you’re reading, podcasts you’re listening to, or leaders you’re following that are instrumental in your personal growth at the moment?
VH: I’m honestly not the type of person who reads or listens to podcasts as a learning opportunity. These pursuits are more entertainment based for me. I love historical fiction novels, and I have recommendations for days. I’m reading the Outlander series currently, which also has a corresponding TV series on Showtime. My favorite podcast right now is called Drama Queens, featuring the female leads from One Tree Hill: Hilarie Burton Morgan, Sophia Bush, and Bethany Joy Lenz. As a fan of the original TV show, it’s so sentimental, and just listening to how they supported each other on set and have remained close friends over the years is extremely heartwarming. It’s super fun, humorous, and all about girl power!
TSJ: Do you find it necessary to unplug or decompress in the evening after a full, active day on the job? And if so, what’s your preferred technique for doing so?
VH: My meditation app, Insight Timer, is a fantastic way to decompress in the evening and put myself in a relaxed mindset for sleep. As a Christian, I try not to dabble in anything too New Agey or mystical, but this app does offer guided meditations that are more spiritual based, which is what I primarily focus on. I got my husband into this as well, so we sometimes listen to them together before we fall asleep. I enjoy breathing exercises too—it’s a practice that seems small and insignificant, but it’s soothing and helps to release both stress and tension.
TSJ: If you could travel anywhere on earth (taking COVID safety measures into account, of course!), where would you choose to visit and why? Or if you’ve been to this place already, what made it such a meaningful destination?
VH: My sister and I have a lifelong dream to travel to Russia together because we both grew up obsessed with Russian history and the Russian royal family (yes…we are weird and nerdy like that). I truly believe we will make this happen someday, and I look forward to sharing it with the only other person who will appreciate it the same way I do.
TSJ: Do you have a single proudest milestone or achievement that sticks out in your career? Can you tell us about this moment, and what it taught you in the process?
VH: This is less about career-oriented success, but I am proud of the fact that I have established close relationships at work with colleagues I can trust, which transcend the office environment. This is rare for me, so it means a lot to have people I work with, who not only are important to me on a professional level, but are also genuine friends whom I have invited into my personal life. I think success looks different for everyone, and for me, I have realized it’s less about climbing the ladder and more about discovering a purpose, feeling mentally stimulated, and challenged, and surrounding myself with people who push me and help me grow. As long as I can comfortably provide for mine and my family’s needs, I don’t feel the pressure to rise through the ranks. Of course it’s gratifying to be noticed and appreciated for my professional accomplishments, but this does not define me.
TSJ: We’re all about celebrating new steps in the journey here on this platform. So is there any major milestone, career development or passion project you have in the works that you’re excited about and want to share?
VH: To be honest, I’m just mentally and emotionally preparing myself to be open to starting a family and exploring what the adventure of parenthood will look like for me. It scares me, but I’m also excited about the prospect, and I am doing a lot of internal work to feel more ready when the time is right to move forward.
TSJ: Finally, what are three adjectives that you would use to describe yourself and the path you have walked to become who you are right now?
VH: Patient, flexible, open to new possibilities.
Connect with Victoria Hasselbring’s work to combat food insecurity at AllFaithsFoodBank.org, where you can learn more about how to contribute and help make a difference in the lives of those who experience hunger. You can also follow along with this mission on social media via Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
*Some answers were edited for length or clarity.*