“I realized I was not going to go anywhere if I kept putting myself down.” – Frosoula Romano
The confidence and certainty Frosoula Romano’s bright smile conveys was not always as evident as it is now. Hidden inside her was a mass of anxiety, which started in high school. As she moved into adulthood, the feelings grew and after she became a mom, the anxiety completely manifested and started to affect her life.
“After I had my first son, there were some really intense years,” says Frosoula, who internalized any stress. “While I tried to keep it all together on the outside, I would just come home and crumble for a little bit.”
There’s reflection of this behavior in her name. Frosoula* is a diminutive name of Effrosini, which is derived from the Greek word effraino meaning “to bring joy” or “to please.” While bringing joy to the world around her, she lost the joy and pleasure within herself.
“For me, I had to learn a lot of self love. There was a lot of doubt, criticism, patterns of thought that were breaking me down. It was very debilitating at times.”
There were no specific incidents that triggered her anxiety; anything from new social situations to the demands of normal, everyday life became a catalyst for anxiety. As it became more and more overwhelming, she worried her feelings were leading to depression.
The first thing she did was talk with her family doctor. Frosoula tried several medications, none of which worked for her.
“I’m sure medication works for some people, but it just did not work for me, my body, or my spirit. I had to go a different route,” says Frosoula. She had to learn a whole new perspective. On a whim, she hit the gym. The routine of working out seemed to help; it provided a release she did not know she needed.
“I remember looking in the exercise room—I’d never taken a class before—and I saw a bunch of women with barbells. I was like, ‘Whoa, what is this?’” remembers Frosoula before she signed up for her first Les Mills Bodypump class. “It was the group of people that took it to the next level for me, the sense of support and no judgement.” Bodypump is marketed as the original barbell class and is offered as the “ideal workout for anyone looking to get lean, toned and fit—fast.” The program is offered at a number of gyms around the area.
“It gave me the confidence to take other classes, to meet other people, and then start realizing how open all of these people are,” says Frosoula, who recognizes she had, and still has, a great support system with her family. “I wasn’t alone.”
Her anxiety has faded over time and working out became one of her tools. She fed the newfound desire providing her with results and eventually became an instructor of Bodyflow, a Les Mills yoga-based program. She finds the program calming and the workout allows her to find inner peace.
“I needed something to bring it down a notch. I’ve learned to have a meditative state in a lot of stuff. When I get up and instruct a class, I am zoned out and in my own world,” says Frosoula, and one of the biggest things she had to learn was to accept being in the moment. “We are always worrying about the future or worrying about the past. That is not helping.”
She effraino (translate as makes happy) her family and announces being a mom is her full-time job— her 12-and 8-year-old sons are active kids—but beyond teaching at the Hempfield recCenter and for private classes, Frosoula is also a Reiki practitioner and a doTerra essential oils consultant. Reiki is a palm-healing therapy in which a practitioner places their hands lightly on or over a patient’s body to facilitate healing. The alternative healing practice was developed in Japan in 1922 and combines the two words: rei meaning soul or spirit and ki meaning vital energy. doTerra is a brand of essential oils—distilled from plants and other natural ingredients—sold by a multi-level marketing company.
“I would never suggest anyone not take their medication, but all of this helps me,” she says. “It all starts with reflecting on your own thoughts. Our thoughts can make us or break us. We all need to look at our perspective. We really have to start giving ourselves more.”
(*It is also the Greek name day for the 25th of September.)