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Meet Valerie Moses

Today we’d like to introduce you to Valerie Moses.

Hi Valerie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
After growing up in South Florida, I moved to Orlando in 2009 to attend UCF. Ever since I could hold a pen, I have been a writer and storyteller, and I knew that writing would play a role in my life and career. During my freshman year at UCF, I started a blog, where I hoped to share my thoughts and stories for anyone who would listen. That blog, which was called “So It Must Be True,” primarily focused on college advice and pop culture and was such a fun way to get to know others in the area and build out my writing portfolio.

I graduated from UCF in 2013 with my bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations and started working in community engagement for Addition Financial Credit Union (where I still work to this day!). After returning to UCF for my MBA a few years later, my health really began to struggle as I tried to balance full-time work, school, community involvement, and social life. When I turned to health and wellness blogs out there for advice, I couldn’t find anything that I could apply to my lifestyle. At that point, I decided to create the exact resource that I was looking for – a blog that helped busy professionals juggle a 9-5 and make positive steps toward a healthier lifestyle. During that time, my blog content was already transitioning toward more self-care, wellness, and travel, so the site rebranded to “Wellness and Wanderlust.” In 2020, I launched the Wellness and Wanderlust Podcast, where I interview inspiring people in the health and wellness space who share their tips for living your best life.

The “wanderlust” side of Wellness and Wanderlust focuses heavily on Central Florida travel. During the 12 years that I have lived here, I have fallen in love with the eclectic neighborhoods, businesses, and landmarks that make up our region. The theme parks are a blast to visit, but there are so many hidden gems off the beaten path that many locals aren’t aware of, so I love to uncover those and inspire others to fall in love with Central Florida, too!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
One of the struggles of being a wellness blogger and podcaster is dealing with my own health challenges. Autoimmune diseases can be tricky to diagnose, and the healing process is not always a linear one for so many of us. When I don’t physically feel my best, it’s easy to feel discouraged and even fall into the trap of imposter syndrome.

Another struggle I’ve faced is taking on too much at once and not knowing when to say no. I love testing the waters and exploring new opportunities, so over the years, I’ve gotten involved in several community organizations outside of my full-time job, and it can be difficult to strike a balance. More recently, I’m trying to focus on prioritizing what matters most to me and making sure I still take time for self-care outside of my work and side hustles. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and this is something I have to regularly remind myself, but it is so important to say no when you need to so that you can be fully present for the things that matter most to you.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
Professionally, I work in community engagement and public relations for Addition Financial Credit Union, where I’ve been for the past eight years. In this role, my job is to elevate the credit union’s brand throughout Central Florida through media relations, community partnerships and brand activation, thought leadership, and more. I serve as a media spokesperson, lead corporate communications efforts, and even teach financial education workshops for audiences of all ages. Outside of the office, I serve on the boards of the Florida Public Relations Association (Orlando Area Chapter), UCF College of Sciences Alumni Chapter, and Harbor House of Central Florida’s Young Professionals Board, and I mentor a high school student through the Horizon Scholars Take Stock in Children Program. I am especially proud of these non-profit organizations I serve, and I hope that my work will someday make a difference in our community!

Creatively, I run my blog and podcast, Wellness & Wanderlust, where our focus is to help readers/listeners live their best lives through small, incremental changes. My goal is to approach wellness from a place of love and curiosity, so I love to interview guests from all different modalities and help demystify some of the wellness trends out there! We focus on the traditional (like nutrition, fitness, and habit formation) and the not-so-traditional (like sound bath meditation, energy healing, and spirituality). I also write about the incredible hidden gems of Central Florida to help readers discover something new right in their own backyards.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
COVID-19 has changed so much about the way we see the world! As someone who lived a very go-go-go lifestyle prior to the pandemic, I learned about the value of slowing down and being intentional about the ways I spend my time. There were things that I really missed during that time (and can’t wait to bring back into my life as things start to reopen), and other things that I have no intention of bringing back in post-pandemic because I realize they no longer serve me.

COVID-19 taught me not to take relationships for granted. No matter how introverted you are, human connection is crucial to living a happy and healthy life. Being mostly quarantined for the past year made me realize just how important it is to reach out to others and to nurture our friendships as much as we can. Getting back into a slightly more “normal” rhythm has had such a positive effect on both my mental and physical health. Humans are not meant to live in isolation, and most of us have struggled throughout this time, so COVID-19 really instilled in me the importance of reaching out to the people in your life just to check in and let them know you care. It can truly make all the difference.

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