meet eric lagoy
The doctor of physical therapy and personal trainer who believes it’s amazing being a parent, how you can love something so much, but also want to take a break for a second.
How do you wind down and practice self-care?
I’ve always been a reader and I try to read at least a few books over the course of the year. I gravitate towards non-fiction books that are kind of parallel to what I do for work without it being work-related. I like to read things about relationships with other people or behavioral psychology. I find it relaxing.
My life is pretty loud. There’s a lot of noise during my day. So having even 10 minutes to read a book in peace and quiet is something I enjoy doing. I try not to make it stressful. So if I don’t have time to read, I try not to feel guilty about it.
What would you consider a sacred space?
Our bedroom has become our self-proclaimed sanctuary. If we’re going to splurge on something for ourselves, it’s going to be a nice comforter, a new eggshell topper for the bed, or creating an accent wall.
My wife Jamie and I have a similar style when it comes to home decor. It’s a little bit unique and it pulls from both of our upbringings, culturally. Disney, Lion King, Aladdin. Those are things we go back to a lot and we saw that picture of Rafiki and we loved it. It’s really nice at the end of the day to slip into what feels like a sanctuary, essentially.
“Also, as a physical therapist and a trainer, sleep is important.”
I do what a lot of people do at the end of the day, which is debate between going to bed and getting more sleep versus hanging out a little bit longer on the couch. You always hear 8 hours of sleep is what you need and I find 7 is my number. If I start getting into 6, I can function. I feel okay. But if I string too many days together like that, I definitely feel a little bit more mentally foggy, unmotivated, or a little bit moodier.
How do you prioritize yourself?
We’ve got this little one-car garage and when we first moved in, I decided to take a little section and put a couple of dumbbells in there. Now, at this point, we don’t even park in the garage. It’s the gym, which is also my sanctuary.
“Working out is a promise that I’ve made to myself.”
I train for about an hour, 4 times a week. So 4 hours a week is selfishly for me. No matter how busy I am, I try to stick with that. The goals can change, the intensity of it can change, all of that can change, but I hold myself accountable and I’m pretty firm on that.
My workouts are sort of work-related. I feel like I have to practice what I preach to a degree, so that’s partly why I’m probably as strict as I am on myself. As a physical therapist, there are things that I pull into the clinic as well. But it’s still more of a hobby to me than a chore. I don’t always enjoy going to do it, but I never regret it. When I see the hard work pay off, it’s extremely rewarding.
How does being a dad of 2 daughters impact your mental health?
They bring me happiness and they can make you want to pull your hair out. It is amazing being a parent and how much you can love something so much, but also want to take a break for a second.
I’m with them a lot. I work a lot of days and Jamie works a lot of evenings. She probably gets home at 9:30, 10:00 pm, so we’re both riding solo a lot. I got into a pretty good grove with just my oldest. And then when we brought our second one into the equation, I’m outnumbered a lot of the time and it’s hard. So you can’t get comfortable for too long.
Between 5 and 8 pm, I have both girls and I try to be in the moment with them, at least as much as I can. I used to try to double-dip and set them up with something and then multitask. But it’s a lose, lose situation when I do that. So I really try when I can to be with them, especially when it’s just me.
How would you describe your mental health, currently?
In the last few years, I have found myself to be more anxious than I used to be. I’ve always considered myself a pretty type B person. I’m meticulous and organized with some stuff, but for the most part, I’m pretty mellow.
“I haven’t talked to a physician about the anxiety, but I definitely feel it at times.”
I have a primary care physician for routine physicals and I was going to see what the criteria is from having moments to something that needs to be managed or at least thought about a little bit more strategically. I don’t have any depressive-type symptoms. I’m very, very happy and years ago I wouldn’t have thought that an anxious person could always be happy. But I am. I’m very satisfied and proud of where I am in my life.
How does intimacy and relationships impact your mental health?
Because my wife and I don’t see each other a lot during the day and it’s always been that way for us with our schedules, being intimate or sexual, or even really close together on the couch when the kids are asleep is our sacred time. We’ve been married for almost 5 years and together for 8 or 9 and we’re probably more sexually active than most people that have been together that long. I guess separation makes the heart grow fonder. We’re never quite around each other enough to really get sick of each other. But when it comes to expressing love, I would definitely say I’m on the physical side of that.
What’s your take on medication like anti-depressants or supplements?
Any time medication has gone through clinical trials to show its effectiveness, I’m all for that if appropriate for the person. But with supplements, I do think we have to be careful, especially in the fitness realm, you get some really shady supplements. The bottle might read that is has 2 milligrams of something when in fact, it could have 10. Some companies for whatever reason, hold themselves to a higher standard than other companies. You can sometimes tell just by the marketing where they’re coming from.
What makes you stressed or anxious and impacts your mood?
I never feel caught up. I write one person a program, but then the next person needs one. I see patients from 7:00 AM to noon and then as soon as I start one, the next comes in. It’s this constant hamster wheel. I make lists to make sure I get everything done on time and I try to stay organized. But sometimes, it feels like I’m adding things faster than I can cross them off. I know people say I feel like I’m drowning. I don’t necessarily feel like that, but I just want to hop off for a minute. So I continue to find strategies to keep things efficient.
When do you feel most at peace?
When I’m in bed before I fall asleep with my wife, Jamie.
When do you feel your body tense up?
Whenever my kids are in danger.
What gives you serotonin?
What does your body language say about you?
My body language, from what I hear from other people, say I come off relatively confident. That’s something that I get told. I’m confident, but I come off personable and approachable.
When do you speak your mind?
Mostly to my wife. I speak my mind quite a bit at work. Luckily I can do that. My mind doesn’t go to places that I can’t speak it. I don’t find myself biting my tongue too much. I find myself taking what’s in my head and getting more diplomatic about what comes out. I speak my mind. It’s just that I change the words so that they’re appropriate.
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