This is the time of year when many of us start to feel a little down and sad. This can be called the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder if the symptoms meet a certain criteria and have been present for at least 2 years. I’m not a huge fan of diagnoses, so call it what you like. The important thing is to understand how to feel better! And you can use many lifestyle medicine techniques such as sleep, nutrition, activity, light, nature, social connection, your thinking and more to make real changes in how you feel during the winter.Read More
We all know someone who, from the outside, has checked all of the boxes. She seems to have it all. She shows up with freshly baked muffins at the PTA fundraiser, cooks dinner for her family, smiles when she’s with her husband, shuttles her children to and from endless activities, has the cutest pics on Facebook, had the great education that has led to a 6-figure corporate 9 to 5 gig. From the outside.
On the inside, it’s a very different story.Read More
I’ve had several potential clients ask me if they should seek the help of a therapist or a coach. I thought back to the times in my life when I’ve needed help from a therapist (dealing with grief) and a coach (figuring out how to move forward).
I recognize that not all coaches and therapists are the same. Some therapists use coach-like techniques, and some coaches use therapeutic techniques. In general, therapists rely on diagnoses to determine treatment and have training to look at how past issues influence the present and future. In general, coaches work on progressing a person from the present to the future.Read More
Self-care. Here we go again. I know. I preach self-care in most every facet of my interactions with clients, friends, and family. The two reasons that it comes up in most every conversation are: 1) Self-care is vital to healing and mental or physical issues and for preventing mental and physical issues, and 2) I need to hear it on repeat for my own benefit, because if I am not taking care of myself, I can't take care of (or even provide high-vibe information) for others.
Long story kind of short...I flew from my home in Frederick to San Diego for a Mastermind workshop with Christine Hassler….Read More
I’m a skeptic when it comes to products that make big promises for a healthy life.
Most all of my clients...probably most all people!!...could benefit from spending time in the healing parasympathetic state of the nervous system. This state is where healing occurs and is the opposite of the anxious “fight-or-flight” state that most of us live in. Breathing and relaxation exercises, meditation, mindfulness, a whole-foods diet, and loving life all help to get into and stay in that state. In addition, I’ve been using Vibrant Blue Oils Parasympathetic Essential Oil blend with my clients with great success! All of the info on essential oils can be overwhelming. This one-stop essential oil blend is my go-to when we travel, before work events, when my son feels anxious, and before I eat.Read More
Overwhelm. Sometimes we feel it occasionally around the holidays, near work deadlines, etc. Other times it seems to be as omnipresent as summer humidity in the south (I've spent some time in the south this summer and....wowza).
Why do we feel overwhelmed?
The key to answering that question is in the question itself. Go back and take a look? Do you have any guesses? All right...I'll give you a clue...heck, I'll give you the answer….Read More
If you go to the bookstore or the library or more likely, search your trusty Amazon app for books on healthy eating, you'll be overwhelmed with conflicting titles...
"Low Carb Living"
"Low Fat Living"
"Eat Right for Your Blood Type"
"Zero Sugar Diet"
"Eat Fat, Get Thin"
"The Keto Diet"
"The Complete Mediterranean Diet"
I could keep going, but you get the picture. The messages are all over the place with research to support each camp. It's easy to see why SO MANY people throw their hands up in frustration and dive into a bowl of mac and cheese. I get it. Our brain can't deal with so many options, especially while you are working a full time job, being a parent, commuting, volunteering, etc., etc., etc.Read More
I grew up in the middle of nowhere. We got a few tv stations, and I think we had a promotional trial of HBO at some point in my teens. Life-changing!!! So when we found a movie that we liked, we'd record it and watch it over and over and over and over again. One of those movies etched in my brain is The Secret of My Success starring Michael J. Fox. I can still hear the background music, "...bow bow...chi, chi-ca-chi-ca, der, bow bow..." Michael J. Fox was a nobody who REALLY wanted to be a somebody in the corporate world. He knew that he wanted to be an executive, and he didn't take his eyes off the prize, even when slightly pulled away by a beautiful woman....because love will do that to you in the best way possible and makes for a great plot twist. Fox works as a mail clerk while simultaneously creating and executing a plan to make him an instant executive. I won't spoil it for you by giving away the ending, but let's just say that I wouldn't be using this as an example unless...you get the picture.Read More
Before I get into the details, let me say that this post is as much for me as it is for anyone else. I've felt especially emotional lately, and I couldn't figure out what exactly was going on, until I found my eyes welling with tears at the coffee shop this morning. Then, it hit me...change. And lots of it. Involving people who have become family. And change that is out of my control.
It began with my neighbors. The neighbors with whom I have shared a wall of my home for nearly seven years. The neighbors whose same-aged son is the closest thing my son has had to a brother. Those dear neighbors announced that they are moving at the end of the summer. Boom...kick to the gut.Read More
Holistic psychology treats the total person focusing on the relationships among the mind, body, and spirit. The holistic approach is not new. In fact, over 2,500 years ago Hippocrates used the term to describe health and health care. Hippocrates emphasized the importance of looking at all aspects of a person, understanding that various factors all contribute to a person’s health. Holistic therapy educates the individual and draws from cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, breath work, personal growth, relaxation, imagery, and nutrition. Holistic therapy works to enhance a person’s well-being.Read More
The metaphor for self-care. We've all experienced it or at least heard it...as part of the standard pre-flight announcements, the flight attendant instructs that, "if there should be a change in cabin pressure...put your oxygen mask on first before helping others." I get the importance of this if your plane is in free-fall, but it is not a good metaphor for self-care in everyday life. Why? Because that example is an extreme emergency. If we waited for extreme emergencies to start implementing self-care we'd be burnt out, have autoimmune issues, develop cancer, be overweight, be depressed, anxious, and in pain, etc. Oh wait, THAT is actually happening!!Read More
Meaning. We've all likely mused about it or thought about engaging in more pursuits that feel meaningful; however, soccer practice, needing to provide a steady income for the little things like a roof over your head, food on the table, healthcare, etc. sometimes fly in the face of a Mother Teresa-like image of making meaning. The bad news...one of the biggest regrets of the dying is not cultivating meaning and lack of meaning makes folks want to kill themselves. The good news...cultivating meaning can be done in little ways, every day.Read More
How do you, as a therapist, deal with hearing people’s trauma and problems?
That’s a great question. I enjoy working with others and that often does involve listening to others talk about what is troubling them. I feel compassion for what my clients are going through currently and the past struggles they've had; however, I know that it is not my job to "fix" them. In fact, I can't "fix" anyone, even if I wanted to. They are their own best healer. My job is to provide a supportive and judgment-free space for them to share their experiences, worries, and trauma; to teach them strategies and techniques to help them become healthier; and to remind them the ways they can feel most connected to life, to others, and to themselves. When working with others, I focus on the positive and their strengths, and reflect that back to them. All jobs have their stresses, and as a therapist, we are trained in techniques to help others; however, the training for taking care of ourselves was lacking. I’ve taught general self-care techniques for providers. I’ve also pursued resources to help me better manage the stress specific to the job of a therapist. I use specific visualizations and then take care of myself using the same self-care techniques that I teach my clients.
· I meditate daily (even if it is only for 3 minutes).
· I stay active and move my body several times a week with walks or weight-lifting. As a working mom, I focus on activity over trying to maintain a perfect exercise routine.
· I spend time in nature when I can.
· I do my best to practice mindfulness and be present when I am with my family.
· I spend time with friends inside and outside of the field.
· I pursue hobbies that don’t have anything to do with my work.
· I sleep 7-8 hours per night (most nights).
· I say No to things that don’t fulfill me.
This self-care plan has been a work in progress, and it’s definitely not perfect, but that’s okay. It’s a self-care practice which means I’m always working on it.