The Unexpected Path of Christina Disler, Founder of Werklab
One of the most pleasant things about this quarantine is that I can easily take a pause from working, walk five steps into the other room and do a 30 minute yoga practice (on my lunch break, of course) if I feel like I need it. But while we’re all crushing the whole WFH game right now, eventually we’re going to have to get back to working from a place other than the living room, and taking a break in order to attend to our own wellness is going to go back to being more of a challenge.
Unless you’re familiar with Christina Disler’s Werklab, that is.
Werklab is a holistic wellness co-working space in Vancouver, founded by Christina in 2016. Along with desk spaces, meeting rooms, board rooms and private offices for rent, Werklab also offers rental studio spaces for members to practice yoga, meditate, enjoy aromatherapy sessions and many other wellness-based experiences.
Don’t worry, this isn’t about to become an article about how tapping your chakras six times a day is going to turn you into the second coming of Buddha. It is, however, intended to let you know that if that’s what helps you feel happy, motivated and confident, then you go tap those babies six ways to Sunday.
A self-described connector and empath, Christina has grown Werklab out of the personal experiences she’s had with anxiety, anorexia and challenges with mental health. Like all of you, she’s an overachiever. When she was younger she was a competitive ski racer who felt her identity was tied to the sport and the successes that she gained through it. When an injury forced her to take time off from competing, she went through her first major identity crisis. Her anxiety and anorexia were severe and many of her challenges stemmed from the fact that she sought validation from external places - skiing, school, grades, you name it.
What helped her begin to heal was an introduction to mindfulness. Now listen, I’m the last person to whip out a journal at the end of the day and reflect on my thoughts and emotions - I much prefer to literally just talk to myself all day everyday (living alone during quarantine makes this an absolute necessity). But the experiences that Christina shares are real life and more importantly, they’re very common among people like us. As future CEOs, founders and leaders in our communities, we’re going to need to figure out how we’re going to give ourselves the grace and self-care that society often doesn’t.
“If you have leaders that aren't in an internally aligned place on a personal individualistic level, guess what? You are leading from ego, you are looking outward, you are making business decisions from a very unbalanced place,” explains Christina.
Still in her 20s and exploring who she was and what she wanted to do, Christina left university and started working for her family’s business - a move that she remembers as empowering, liberating and “like having an MBA by 25”. Which tbh, if that decision is what’s right for you, it sounds freaking amazing.
“Saying ‘I’m going to do life on my own terms’ was when I found my own voice”, she says.
Her combination of experience in real estate and human relations gave her the idea for Werklab. She wanted to create a work environment that felt like home and focused on betterment from a lens other than just the corporate one.
Werklab provides members the opportunity to fully integrate their work and their self-care time because, as Christina says, there really isn't any such thing as ‘work-life balance’ when really we’re just living one life.
She also explains that her journey to self-love and understanding is not over and it never will be. Again, unless you are the literal Buddha, you don’t just reach supreme enlightenment and then POOF, you’re done. All people need to take time to check in with themselves; it allows us to make better decisions and offer our skills and expertise to the world in a more productive way.
“The ones that are going to create the massive shift and change that this world is in need of is the young females.”
So use this q-tine time to go meditate, yell out your affirmations, journal, or whatever you need to stay in touch with your internal self. Before we know it, we’re going to be back in dimly-lit offices and wearing uncomfortable shoes for eight hours a day. Personally, I’m going to look into how I can train my brain to transform the sound of photocopies being made into sound wave therapy. Wish me luck!!
Written By: Hannah Geiser