4 Things We Learned from This Inspiring Family of Health Enthusiasts
4 Things We Learned from This Inspiring Family of Health Enthusiasts

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4 Things We Learned from This Inspiring Family of Health Enthusiasts

9 min read

Essential Takeaways

  • For Michele James and Jennifer and Robin McNeill, prioritizing health (and taking their vitamins) is a family affair.
  • In addition to sharing a love of Ritual across generations, all three of these inspiring women are a case study in putting themselves first in the face of very busy lives. But above all else, their story proves that age really is just a number, and our different generations have more in common than you might think.

The greatest tool in a woman’s toolbox isn’t a cosmetic or a brush. It’s self-determination—the daily commitment you make to yourself and your future, and the hard work and rituals that create the foundation for that journey. Make Your Self is a series that spotlights the stories of women who fiercely embody this relentless pursuit.


When we first set out to create a clean, traceable multivitamin, we had a feeling it would introduce us to some pretty cool people. But as Ritual continues to expand and grow, we couldn't have possibly anticipated just how much our community would inspire us on a daily basis—or how rewarding it would be to see our customers share our mission with the people who matter to them. That's why when we learned about a family of Ritual customers in our hometown of Los Angeles, we obviously had to meet—and once we got to know the McNeills, we were even more excited to share their story.

Let's start with Jennifer, a 25-year-old former student athlete who's currently pursuing her Masters in Communication Management at USC. After ordering Essential for Women for herself and realizing that Ritual really aligned with her values (in both health and ethical standards), Jennifer convinced her equally conscientious mom, Robin, to give it a try. It wasn't long until Robin recruited her sister Michele as the family's third Ritual customer.

And the timing couldn't have been more gratuitous: Robin and Michele are both in their sixties, so they're eager to make the switch to Essential for Women 50+. Both sisters describe themselves as busy and engaged as they are health-conscious, so taking a multivitamin designed to help support healthy aging from within is a no-brainer.*

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After all, this trio is up to a lot—and they're not willing to compromise on their agendas. In addition to juggling school, Jennifer is also planning a trip with Robin to Europe in December—the mother-daughter pair travels a lot together. Michelle, meanwhile, is juggling her own business. "I own a small consulting firm and I have clients nationwide," she says. "It can be pretty demanding. But I feel good."

Their secret? All three share the same strategy of prioritizing self-care in their daily lives, and focusing on the little rituals that make them happy—that, and the knowledge that they can lean on and learn from each other. Below, they elaborate on the pros of aging, their cross-generational health advice, and why it's always worth it to go out of your way for your own happiness.

On rejecting the idea of slowing down…

Robin: "I know it's a cliche, but I do think age is just a number. It's how you live your life and how you feel. And even when you don't feel good, I think your mental state has a lot to do with that. So if you have a positive outlook and you try and do the right things, I think it all comes back and helps. So I think staying moving, staying busy, staying engaged… that’s all important. And having balance: It can’t be all work and no play or all play and no work. You’ve got to have some balance in your life."

Michele: "[It's important to me] to incorporate exercise into my life. It's something that I really enjoy when I have an opportunity to do it—I primarily walk and do yoga. But I feel that it all helps in the balance of health. Also, I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat very little meat compared to where I was two to five years ago, I'll say. And I think that has a positive effect on me as well."

Did you know?

We're stronger together. Research shows that when different generations work together in the workplace, they're much more likely to experience positive outcomes (1). Plus, we actually value a lot of the same things (2).

On learning from each other at every age…

Jennifer: "I think they kind of both said it already: I’ve learned to have balance in everything I do. I think all of the women in our family have a healthy balance of always trying to be ethical with our choices, both personally and publicly. I think when we choose to put things in our body, whether it's vitamins or food, we really have a research-based approach with it. I know Michele mentioned that she doesn't eat a lot of meat and that kind of transitioned to all of us not really eating meat. And I think it's the same thing when it comes to work and staying engaged politically and being engaged just in life in general. I think that's something that I've learned from my mom, my aunt, and all of the other women in our family across multiple generations."

Michele: "Jennie was an athlete in college and the whole effort and spirit and mindset that goes into that was something that I observed and in retrospect, it was just quite admirable to see her go through all of that. And I think it inspired other members of the family... the whole work ethic of being an athlete. And she's a smart person. So it's interesting. We're all able to communicate on the same level. We don't feel like anyone is lagging. And that's very stimulating and rewarding. And it is something that I think you can take a long way."

Robin: "You’ve got to be quick to keep up with Jennie because she's very quick-thinking and quick-witted. She keeps me on my toes with all that and she always keeps me... I don't want to say centered in reality, but that I don't take myself too seriously. Keep it light. Live your life. And I appreciate that because it's easy to react to things a certain way, you know? And I think she's good at keeping things in perspective. She kind of keeps me young."

“Stay moving, stay busy, stay engaged.” -Robin

Did you know?

After decades of research on the subject, scientists believe that 50% of happiness is genetically determined, while 10% is circumstantial. That suggests that roughly 40% of our daily happiness is up to us (3). (That's a lot!)

On their favorite ways to Make Themselves…

Jennifer: "I think that it's important to do even the smallest thing if it makes you happy in the moment. And we were just saying this weekend that the three of us are similar because we'll do things, whether it's places to eat, or things to see that might be an extra 20 minutes out of the way, but it's just something I was craving at the moment, or it satisfies some sort of happiness."

Robin: "She’s referring to driving to Santa Barbara on a whim on a Saturday afternoon in traffic just because we like tacos."

Jennifer: "Well, I wanted tacos!"

Robin: "I love to drink coffee and it would be easy for me to go to the drive-thru Starbucks around the corner, but I don't want to go there. I want to go to the coffee shop I like, which is 15 minutes away. They know me there, they know what I want, they know how I want it made. And a lot of times I'll sit and stay there instead of just grabbing it to go. And for me that's a great ritual: to go out of the way for something that I love. It can really be as small as getting a cappuccino at the coffee shop that I like, [interacting] with people who I know and who know me."

Michele: "I think that taking a relaxing bath helps. My job can be very stressful sometimes. Rather than just having two glasses of wine every day, I seek alternatives that can help relax me. Sometimes I practice deep breathing. I think my Saturday ritual, which is going on a hike or a long walk with my walking buddy and then going to yoga, is very beneficial for me. And I turn off the TV when I feel that I'm stressed out by the political climate. Sometimes I just disengage for a couple of days and I try to pay attention to my own body. If I feel like my body is stressed by certain things, then I take the necessary steps to relax myself. And that's where I am at this point in my life."

“It's important to do even the smallest thing if it makes you happy.” —Jennifer

On keeping it in the family with their vitamins…

Robin: "I think it's nice to be able to know that having taken Essential for Women, I feel confident that it will be an easy transition to Essential for Women 50+. I already know that it'll be a positive transition in terms of what I'm getting from the product and the quality."

Michele: "I like the whole cross-generational concept of it... to include all members of the family. I think it's great that we can talk about internally amongst ourselves and then share our experiences with one another."

References

  1. Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers share many workplace preferences and behavior patterns. (n.d.). Retrieved from IBM.
  2. Managing a multi-generational workforce. (n.d.). Retrieved from Hay Group.
  3. Krakovsky, M. (2007, April 1). The Science of Lasting Happiness. Retrieved from Scientific American.

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