Anna Loots talks about the challenges and opportunities of being totally freeDec 11, 2021
I met Anna on zoom in a business-challenge. Anna vibrates joy and it’s a bliss listening to her thoughts, stories and beliefs. Anna is so free and that’s just absolutely totally inspiring. Anna has created a life that suits her from head to toe and JOY is definitely her compass. Whether it’s moving to a new place, buying a van to hit the road with her dog or doing her work, joy is what motivates and inspires Anna and it’s exactly what this episode is about. How to find joy and how to RUN WITH it! I wish you a great time listening to our conversation.
Anna is 36 and works for herself as the Injury Specialist where she fixed people bodies worldwide with her innovative method that teaches people to fix their own injuries and runs “Daily JOY! with Anna” from her instagram account @annaloots which also has podcasts and daily JOY content. She is originally from the Netherlands and based in Portugal when we record this. When you listen she’ll be in the French Alps. Anna answers my question – who she is – with a childhood memory, when she was an exuberant happy little child who would walk on the dunes in the Netherlands in the holidays, run down the hill towards the sea, throw away her shoes and dive into the water.
During these years, Anna has learned a lot, lost a lot, and rebuilt it completely again.
“The most excited thing is that I feel that I’ve finally gotten to the place where I have found that joy inside of me”, Anna states and adds: “My new believe, that I’m deliciously excited about is: I am Joy.”
By this time it’s already evident, that Anna loves to create joy : ) so I’m eager to ask my favourite question: How do you create joy?
“I love creating joy”, Anna
“The focus is always the same, to create joy in people’s lives, to create feelings of empowerment or embodiment. To me joy means that you have a body, you have a mind, you have a life and then you gotta take care of all of those. They all lead to the same thing: Joy”, Anna explains a bit more detailed.
You have to listen to the audio or watch the video to feel the joy when Anna lists the things that bring her joy! It’s delicious. : )
“I love playful things”, Anna
I’ll give you a summary here: Hula hopping, skinny dipping, cold water, good friends - “friends give me so much joy in a warm, fuzzy kind of way” - working with people, her dog - “he’s my psychic” - good sex, magic, people, random encounters…
“Getting into cold water feel so liberating, I always feel so cleansed afterwards”, Anna (check out Anna’s Instagram if you want to see her dip in an ice lake in the French Alps)
I add longboarding pulled by her lovely dog to that list, I’m always so amazed when I see Anna doing that. When Ken was still living in Japan, he had a longboard and we used to pull each other with a bicycle to go out bar hopping in town, that was so much fun!
We talk about Anna’s living situation.
“I have more of a gypsy heart than I would have thought”, Anna
Anna’s moving and living background is very diverse. She used to live in Amsterdam before buying a van and traveling for 13 months with her dog. Looking for a place to settle, Anna picked North Wales. “It’s by the sea and in the mountains, there are lakes, there are rivers, there is sea, beautiful mountain tops…” After deciding that a lonely winter lockdown with rain, wind and darkness in Wales was going to much mentally, Anna bought another van - “normally when I buy a van, life is about to change completely” she says laughing – and travelled to Portugal. From there she went to Switzerland for a ski season and then to Poland to learn kite surfing.
“I came home to Wales and thought I’d be so happy being home but the second I opened the door I knew, no – she’s gone… that’s it, it’s not it anymore. It took me 6 weeks to own up to the fact that it just wasn’t it anymore and that I felt I needed to be in a bigger place. I have more to give than just to be in Wales”, Anna explains. Now she’s back in Portugal working on her kite surfing skills while serving her clients online! When you are listening to this she will be in Morzine in the French Alps.
Anna says that a lot of people ask if she’s moved somewhere because of love, but her answer is: “I always moved because of JOY”.
If we really honor the fact that “I could go and leave everything behind me, but I don’t want to”, then we would feel the freedom of choosing what we have.
Anna adds that often times people envy her and her life with all the freedom that comes with it, but she says that there are two sides to each coin. The first lockdown in 2020 hit her hard and when winter came around with another lockdown in sight, Anna knew that she had to do something.
“Nobody is gonna come and save you. If your mind goes, the only person that can fix that is yourself and it takes a really long time”, Anna
“If I had a family that was connected in the way I wish I’d had a family, if I had the support system that would make me not wanna leave, I would never leave. I’m leaving because I will not be okay here and I will not be looked after here. If I’m gonna be lonely as hell, I might as well do that in a warm country where I can better take care of myself and look after myself”, Anna remarks.
Anna didn’t always feel happy with being so free, seeing the fact that being free to move around also means not having a family that you want to stay for, but she now contently says: “This is the first year that I felt that I am so lucky and I really felt joy”.
That’s exactly why I’m so passionate about my work and the Joy Academy: We don’t need to wait for a bad thing to happen to change things!
“Joy is a skill and an investment, when you put in the time and the effort, it pays off”, Ronja
“People forget that they have a choice”, Anna
“I think one of the most helpful belief systems, that people need to build, is that they can create stuff”, Anna says. That the basic thing that many people lack is the knowledge that they have a choice. It seems easier to forget and feel like a victim.
When people think, that Anna ows her way of life to some magic, this is her answer: “I’m not different, I’m just fucking relentless. It’s not that it came easy for me, but I decide what I want and then I go and make it happen”
The formula is simple: Figure out what you want and then go and make it happen. There is always a way to make it happen.
Speaking about knowing what is important to oneself leads us to talk about the often busy month of December with Christmas and New Year.
I personally loooove Christmas – follow me on Instagram @joyismycompass to check out our lush and traditionally decorated Christmas tree at my parents’ house : ) - to Anna it doesn’t mean a lot, because she never experienced a harmonious Christmas with her own family.
If this time of the year is very stressful and wearing for you and each year you wish to have more time, space and energy, Anna’s advice is straight forward: Don’t try to change anything for this year’s Christmas, because it will be overwhelming, but take note of everything that doesn’t feel good to you. After that you’ll have a whole year practicing self care to have a blast when next Christmas is around the corner!
Anna says that as a Sport & Exercise Psychologist you learn that people need to learn new skills in a training setting, something they can do easily, where the pressure isn’t so high and where you keep training and training until you feel like you’re good enough to have a friendly competition. From there you work your way up.
If the whole year is your training setting, where you create time for yourself, to gain energy, to take good care of your body and your mind, where you find out what you want and where you create clear boundaries, you’ll be ready to face any challenges that come up with Christmas and you won’t feel the need to go to that Christmas party of your second cousin or cook a great dinner when you could also order pizza. Because, why not, right? And of course, please cook a great dinner, if that’s what you love!
That is the clue: Find out what YOU want and then free yourself to go make that happen.
Annas Xmas advice for you:
- let this Xmas be what it is
- pay close attention to what you like & don’t like this year
- and then train yourself the whole year to be able to make the next one easy, happy, amazing!
- learn to cultivate joy every day
- retrain your mind to think kind
- learn what you need to be happy & experience JOY
Anna’s favorite quote is: “Contrast creates desire” and she explains: “This year my best advise would be: Really take note what contrast there is that can help you create the desire to go and change something. Spend the whole year in training and take good care of yourself, so that in 2022 Christmas will be relaxed”.
Anna says that one thing that helps her take good care of herself throughout the year is the monthly planning session in the Joy Academy: “Saying goodbye to one month and saying hi to the next month, I do that with Ronja in the Joy Academy and it’s just so good, I freaking love it”.
“If you want to have a better Christmas next year and take better care of yourself, take note and start making changes”, Anna
There is a story that I love about a woman who always cuts the edges of the Christmas roast. Her husband asks her why she does that and she says: “My mother used to do that too, I can ask her”. Her mother asks her mother and she says: “Oh, that’s because my baking pan was too short!”
See? : ) Sometimes we just do things and we don’t even know why.
“Let’s have an easy Christmas!”, Ronja
“If people do not accept your No, the relationship is off! If they don’t accept it, where is their respect for you?”, Anna
Anna’s message to the whole world
“Make time every day for joy. To deliberately create it. It can be something simple, there are so many types of joy, but in my opinion you have to learn how to take care of yourself, in your mind, in your body, in your life. The better you align those things up, the more joy you experience.
Joy to me is like a slide. It requires you to work hard, make all the little steps to get on top of the slide, it requires you to sit on top of the slide, look back down and be like “uff, yeah, I did all that, that was hard work but I got up to the top of the slide” and then the next thing, the third thing that it requires of you is to know, “I did all these steps, I’m here now” and the only way you can really feel joy is if you dare to slide down. Then you go off, but you can only enjoy going off the slide when you let go and feel - JOY happens in our body, not our mind
Joy for me is like that, you gotta put in the work, you gotta then realize that you’ve put in the work and then you gotta let go, cause then you can enjoy it, then you can feel that joy. Joy is a thing that happens in your body, it’s not a thing in your brain, whatever happens in your brain is aftermath. Joy is something that we experience in our whole body and you can only experience it if you go with a relieved “aaaaahhh” off the slide.
Do your prep, be proud of yourself and then let it happen, that’s my best opinion on joy.
Learn about joy from People that are joyful, like Ronja”.
I really loved this conversation full of energy and joy! Make sure to watch the video, because Anna wears her love sweatshirt and is beaming out of her stunning blue eyes. It’ll make your day. : ) Thank you so much for taking your time and sharing your wisdom with the world!
This is where you can find Anna:
@annaloots on instagram
Spotify: Daily JOY! with Anna
Patreon: Daily JOY! with Anna
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