Friday, June 23, 2017

How to Eat Mindfully

This week has flown right by!  But cheers to the weekend yet again!  We are preparing to head out on vacation in the near future, and I'll surely be busy prepping for that.  But don't worry, I won't skip the self care! ;)

Today I want to talk about mindfulness, and specifically what it means to eat mindfully.  I'm a huge fan of mindfulness, and have recently shared some ways you can practice being present. Mindfulness is something we can (and should!) practice in any situation, so mealtime is no exception.  In fact, there are many benefits to practicing mindful eating, including:  weight loss, decreased anxiety, and overall improved physical and mental health.  

So often, we are rushing around, not giving much thought to what we are putting into our bodies, before, during, and after we eat. Mindful eating can help you make healthier food choices, and generally enable you to enjoy your meals more.  I'll eat to that! Here are 4 articles that explain mindful eating, as well as giving you ways to apply the practice to your daily life.  

I hope that helps!  If you're someone who struggles to make healthy food choices or you find yourself frequently using eating as a coping skill, check out my health goals worksheet or send me an email to discuss ways I can help you with a few, focused therapy sessions.  

Have a great weekend, my Besties!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why Vacations are a Necessity, Not a Luxury

Perhaps it's the fact that summer is officially here, or perhaps it's that today was the last day of school...but there's simply no denying it...I've got vacation on the brain!  Anyone else??

I'm a huge fan of the staycation, as you know, but there are so many amazing things that happen when we pack our bags and get outta dodge for a while.  Today, I'm sharing 4 reasons to plan a vacation this summer (it's not too late, I promise!), plus 5 tips to make your getaway as carefree as possible!

First of all, going away on vacation is just plain relaxing.  I know, I know...there's probably a lot of prep work you have to do before you can leave town, but once you're all packed and the mail has been stopped, you can relax in a way that never seems possible at home.  Knowing that you are away from work and the responsibilities of everyday life is like a huge, amazing breath of fresh air for your soul.  Vacation lets you have a break from the daily grind, and that in itself makes it worth the price.

Second, vacations are made for mindfulness.  Especially when you travel somewhere new, vacation mentality is "I want to see everything here, I want to be fully present, I want to drink this all in."  We know that vacations are fleeting and before we realize it, we will probably be back at our 9 to 5, so we go into our vacation with a mindset of enjoying every minute.  That means we are way more likely to put our phones away, leave the emails unanswered, and just BE.  It's a wonderful, beautiful thing.

Vacations also make it ok for you to #treatyoself.  When we find ourselves in a new place (or even a familiar vacation retreat), we are waaaayyy more likely to splurge.  And that's a good thing.  Oh my goodness, life is so short.  How sad would it be if we never had a rum punch while watching a beautiful sunset or a big bucket of boardwalk fries while hearing the laughter of kids playing on the beach nearby?  Vacation is a time when we are more likely to throw caution to the wind, get out of our comfort zone, try new things, and savor every bite and sip.  That, my Besties, is what I call truly living.  

Finally, vacations give you memories that can provide countless hours of self care even after you arrive home.  Being able to go through your pictures, relive memories with your loved ones, and display souvenirs will increase your happiness every time you do so.  You will no doubt bring to mind fun. laughter, joy, and peaceful times each time you retell your vacation stories and compile your photos into albums or scrapbooks.  Vacations are truly the self care that keeps on giving.

I hope by now I have convinced you that vacations are more than a luxury, they are something to budget and plan for throughout the year.  And, as promised, here are 5 tips to make your vacation as carefree as possible!

What are your reasons for going on vacation?  What places are at the top of your bucket list?

Friday, June 16, 2017

How to Practice Being Present

YAY for FRIYAY!  The weekend is finally here and, as you know, I've been ready for it for quite some time.  It's the first weekend in a while when we haven't been booked solid so it will be nice to just relax and recharge a bit!  I hope you all have some self care planned for this weekend, and that you will be taking extra good care of the dads out there this weekend!  Shout out to my fantastic husband...who is seriously the best dad in the biz.  

I wanted to share some ways you can practice being present.  As a therapist, one of the biggest ways I see my clients hindering their growth and success is by letting their thoughts run away with them. Many of them miss out on the joy of a perfectly good present moment  by ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. It's something that most people struggle with to an extent, but often (especially during times of stress or sadness), they let their thoughts take over instead of focusing on the here and now.  

Mindfully staying in the present is not something that comes naturally to most people.  It takes practice and intentional focus to train our brains to stay put.  The good news is, if you are willing to put in the work, you will absolutely see an improvement.  Over time, if you consistently strive to stay present, you will increase your peace and enjoy your life a whole lot more, regardless of your current circumstances.  

1.  Meditate.

3.  Unplug/no screens - give yourself 30 minutes per day for social media if you wish.  Schedule it in and leave your phone alone unless it's your designated time.

5.  Go for a walk outside and notice your surroundings.

6.  Savor your food and drink.  Slooooowwww down.

7.  Look around - drink in this beautiful world, pay attention to everything you see as if this may be the last time you will see it.

9.  Make a playlist for every mood you can think of (sad, happy, excited, angry, etc.) and listen to it when the mood strikes.  Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel.

10. Practice non-judgmental observing and non-attachment.  Notice everything you see, feel, and experience with an "it is what it is" attitude.

Which one might you start to practice today?  If you're looking for a fun way to keep all your fave coping skills in one place, check out this cute worksheet.  Here's to more mindfulness every day, Besties!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

6 Things Your Therapist Wants You To Know Before Your First Session

As a therapist, I seriously think I have the best job in the world.  I get paid to talk to people and help them navigate life when it gets tricky.  A lot of times, when I tell people I'm a psychotherapist, they go, "Ohhh, wooowww, that must be so hard.  Ugh, how do you do that, I could never do that."  And I just smile and say, "Actually, I love my job."  It's true.  Being a therapist rocks.

Sure, there are difficult things about my job, as there are in any other.  But I also happen to love a challenge, and I definitely see each one as an opportunity to grow.  The challenge I face most often?  Every time a new client shows up at my office, I have 45 minutes to an hour to learn as much as I can about them, help them learn as much as they can about me, and determine whether or not we are a good fit to work together.  

As much as I do love this challenge, there are a few things that I wish I could tell every client ahead of our first session to put them more at ease, thereby making that first session a little more comfortable for both of us.  Because let's be real...sharing all your deep life struggles with a perfect stranger can be a bit awkward and intimidating at first.  Here are 6 things I wish all my clients knew before session 1:

You're not is just hard sometimes.  Despite strides that have been made to remove the stigma associated with therapy and psychotropic medication, the fact remains that many people still feel ashamed of utilizing the support of a therapist.  It still feels like something people want to hide.  While it's ok not to shout it from the rooftops that you're in therapy, there's also no need to feel ashamed.  Guys, life is HARD.  Sometimes it hits us like a mack freaking truck when we least expect it.  That's not your fault, it just is what it is.  The sooner you are ok with reaching out and getting some help, the sooner you will start to feel better.  It's a very healthy and wise thing to do when life feels overwhelming.

Therapy can help everyone but not every therapist can help every person. Therapists are people, too.  We all have unique personalities, life circumstances, and experiences that make us who we are.  This means that we will be the right fit for some people, and not for others.  Most of us have client populations that are our "jam," groups of people with certain problems that we specialize with or know a lot about.  Some people want a therapist to have a similar personality or background as them.  Other people don't feel this is important.  The biggest thing is to find someone you feel comfortable sharing with.  If you go to a therapist once or twice and you are cringing before you walk through the door each time, PLEASE go try another therapist.  We won't be offended.  It's the nature of the beast, if you will.  You gotta do you and remember that you will only be wasting your time and money going to a therapist you can't be totally open with.

We're not here to solve your problems - we will empower you to.  I wish I could take all of my client's pain away, and make them happy and peaceful every day.  I probably don't have to tell you that that is not really what we do.  Honestly, our job as therapists is to sit with you in your pain or stress or suffering and validate your experience.  We can offer suggestions and a different viewpoint. We can offer an unbiased opinion, if you ask us to.  We can point out things you maybe hadn't thought of simply because you were too close to the situation.  Our goal is to help YOU accomplish YOUR goals.  And often, with just a little extra therapeutic support, clients do just that.  

Tell us what you think about things, we welcome your feedback and're the boss, not us!  Please, please, please be honest and tell us how we're doing.  We want so much to help you, but we are depending on you completely to tell us whether or not things are improving for you.  We work for you...when you succeed, we succeed, so please give feedback and input as much as possible.  If we need to try a different approach, we are more than happy to do so.

We're not judging you.  A lot of times, people hesitate to share certain secrets, or things they feel ashamed of with their therapist because they have never shared those things with anyone before. Sharing difficult things is hard for everyone.  But please know that we aren't judging your actions, thoughts, or experiences.  In fact, there's a really good chance we've heard it all before.  Please know that your therapist is in your corner, and their #1 job is to treat you with unconditional positive regard...that means no matter what you share with us, we accept and support you.   

We forget about you 5 minutes after you leave.  I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but we seriously stop thinking about you pretty much as soon as you leave our office.  And that's a really good thing.  It means we can handle your stuff.  It also that means you never have to worry that you are burdening us with your troubles. Often, people are hesitant to share their struggles with others because they don't want to bog them down or stress them out.  With a therapist, you never need to worry about that.  We're pretty awesome at leaving work at work.  So go ahead, share away.

I hope these have been helpful to someone out there...if you have been considering therapy for any reason, I would encourage you to go for it.  What have you really got to lose?  If you hate it, you've only wasted an hour of your life.  If you love it, on the other hand, you may have just found an awesome new way to practice self care. Now that's what I call adulting.  And also, winning.

If you're looking for someone to talk to, email me.  I'd be happy to provide counseling via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Weekend Self Care Rituals to Rejuvenate You Completely

I know, I know... it's not even hump day and here I am posting about weekend self care rituals.  Well a girl can dream can't she? Actually, part of the reason I'm writing about weekend self care is that if you don't plan it, it probably won't happen.  Weekends, while known as being a time to relax and recharge for the week ahead, also have a tendency to get away from us.  Errands, cleaning, and endless obligations can take up our entire two days off if we're not diligent about planning a little "me time."  So this is your Self Care Bestie giving you permission to take some time just for you this weekend, no matter how busy your schedule.  

In case you need some fresh ideas for how to make the most of your weekend self care time, I've put together some relaxing activities to inspire you.  These are things that you wouldn't necessarily have time for on a workday - they are a bit more indulgent, a bit more fun, and definitely more rejuvenating.  So sit back, relax, and plan something ahhhhmazing for yourself this weekend.

Ritual #1:  Beach Please - Since June is in full swing, why not spend a day at your nearest beach (or pool if you're landlocked)? Bring something to read, something relaxing to listen to, and a cooler of your fave food and drink.  A note to all the moms out there:  maybe go by yourself for an hour or two.  I love a good beach day with my fam, but making sure no one gets sand in their eyes, and everyone has SPF on every hour kind of takes away the self care vibe we're going for.  

Ritual #2:  Patty Cake - If you love baking but never seem to have time for it, why not spend some time finding a recipe you have been wanting to try and getting messy in the kitchen?  A lot of people find baking and cooking very relaxing.  Up the self care factor by putting on a fun playlist.  Make sure you take time to savor your creation...feel free to share (or not!).

Ritual #3:  Namaste in Bed - The heart of this one is just staying in bed as long as possible.  Because, really...what is better than that?  Put a do not disturb sign on your door and just luxuriate in bed.  Catch up on sleep, read a book or magazine, meditate, and even see if you can get a loved one to bring you coffee and/or breakfast in bed.  It doesn't have to be Mother's Day to get a little TLC at home!  For added namaste, try these yoga poses you can do from the comfort of your bed.

Ritual #4:  Spa Time - Go ahead and book yourself a massage or facial.  Or try a mani-pedi, if that's more your thing.  You can usually find great deals on Groupon or Living Social for all sorts of spa treatments, making them very affordable.  Give yourself some time to be pampered and really try to be mindfully present when you do.  Keep your focus on relaxation and treating yourself right, not your ginormous to-do list.  Not into the spa?  Why not have a rejuvenating bath at home?

Ritual #5:  The Day of YOU -  This ritual might be my actual favorite because it will be self care tailored to each individual. Make a list of 10 things you love - they can be things to do, food or drink you love, people who make you happy, etc.  Once you have your list, find a way to incorporate as many things on it as you can into your day.  Don't worry if you can't fit all 10 into one day...just do what works.  The point is that you are adding pleasurable activities into your day as much as you are able.  Now THAT sounds like my kinda day!

Besties, I know it may be difficult to ask for some of these things...often people feel guilty asking for time off from their usual weekend activities to rest or relax.  If you're worried about what your loved ones will think, please don't.  Instead, think of what they'll say if you don't ever take care of yourself and you turn into a not-very-nice, overly stressed and tired version of the you they once knew.  Self care is NOT selfish.  Asking for what you need is a healthy life skill that adults should practice regularly.  When you prioritize time for yourself, you will have so much more to give to your people.  We can't pour from an empty cup.  So ditch the guilt and get your self care on this weekend!  Which ritual are you most excited to try?

Monday, June 12, 2017

How to Believe the Best of People (and why it matters)

Hello my Besties, and welcome to another week!  I hope you had a great weekend and that you are heading into this week feeling rested and refreshed.  If not, I hope you have scheduled in some self care for the week won't regret it!  

Today I'd like to start off by sharing a Bestie confession with you:  I make judgments about people based on my own insecurities and assumptions.  I don't try just sort of happens.  As I get older (and hopefully wiser!), I'd like to think it happens less and less...but when I catch myself believing the worst of someone, or not giving them the benefit of the doubt, I feel kind of like a jerk.  

The truth is, sometimes people do things that make us mad.  They screw up.  They say something insensitive.  They don't keep their end of a bargain.  They are just plain difficult to love. 

The truth is also this:  I do that stuff sometimes.  So do you.  We all do.  Because of that, I want to be better about thinking well of people, and assuming the best of them  instead of the worst.  And also because there's nothing more embarrassing than assuming the worst about someone only to find out later how wrong you were, am I right?

So lately, I've really been trying to work on believing the best of people.  Trust me, I still have a long way to go.  But in hopes that some of what I have been learning can be helpful to my Besties as well, I would like to share some ways we can practice believing the best of people.

Quickly put yourself in their shoes.  Consider what is making it difficult for this person to do the right thing.  They are probably feeling some measure of what you are feeling...frustrated, insecure, disrespected, sad, angry, etc.  Take a few moments to contemplate the why behind what they are thinking or feeling.  Again, don't assume you know the probably don't.  Just spend a little time thinking about things that could be hindering this person right now.

Actually ASK them what's going on.  Once you have cooled off and considered some possible scenarios other than "this person always does this and they are just trying to make my life difficult!" you can maybe just kindly ask the person what's up.  THIS IS SO SO HARD.  I know that.  It's hard for me also.  It's so much easier to assume and rant and vent and be resentful and bitter.  But really, when I put it that's actually sounding better and better to just kindly and honestly ask a difficult question.  You can say something like:  "Is everything ok?" or "I feel like things are off between us lately." or "How are you feeling about _______?"  Be gentle and be direct.  Seek first to understand and then to be understood.  Give them a chance to respond and just listen.

Focus on the truth.  I don't know how this person who has wronged you is going to respond when you ask them what's going on.  That's why it's scary.  They might totally own up to their mistake and apologize and you can go on from there.  Or they might try to defend themselves or blame you or get really mad.  Either way, we need to focus on the truth.  Here are some truths for us to focus on:  I can't control other people, I can only control me.  Ultimately, God is in control and that's a good thing.  I may not be able to control this person's behavior, but I can control how I respond to it by setting healthy boundaries and changing my behavior going forward.  

Let it go.  Besties, we can't believe the best of people if we are just replaying their faults and our difficult conversations in our mind.  No, we must learn to let things go.  Practicing meditation, prayer, and exercise are what help me do that the most.  Talking it over with one person you trust (not a zillion, which can also be a struggle if we're looking for me, I know) can also be helpful.  Journaling is a good way to "vent" and get your thoughts outside of you; filling out a thought record is also a very, very good idea.  

We can do this, my friends.  Oh yes we can.  It won't be easy, but with practice, we can love each other so well...exactly the way we would want others to love us.  If you need some extra support, feel free to email me for my availability and rates.  I'd be honored to support and encourage you!

"Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something." - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Bestie Finds: Summer Comfort

Bestie Finds:  Summer Comfort

Friday is here again!  I hope you all have a fun weekend planned - I'll be working a bit, hanging with family and adding a whole bunch of new printables to my etsy shop! Woot! 

Today's Bestie Finds is all about summer comfort.  We tend to think of cozy vibes and comfort during the cold winter months, but adding comfy feels to our day is beneficial no matter what the weather.  Here are the self care essentials I'm loving as we head into that glorious season known as summer!  Which is your fave?

4 piece mug set - I'm such a mug lover.  Anyone else?  There's just something fun about drinking my joe from a great mug.  These colors are so lovely (I'm a sucker for anything aqua) and the whole set is only $20!  There's also something fun about a bargain, am I right?

Reed diffuser - If you're feeling less like candles this time of year, why not add a delish scent to your home with a reed diffuser?  Available in 4 yummy scents, you're sure to love one.  My fave is coconut milk mango, which also happens to scream summer.  

Pacifica lip balm with SPF - Protect your kisser from the sun's harmful rays with this tinted lip balm.  Free of any harmful ingredients, it is also water resistant for up to 80 minutes.  

Relaxing bath soak - Don't give up your self care bath just because it's summer! Add this bath soak to your tub for an amazing tub time.  Available in citrus or floral scents.  

Moisturizing body scrub - Rose and bergamot are blended with coconut butters, Atlantic sea salt, and sugar in this moisturizing body scrub that gently exfoliates while leaving skin smooth and hydrated.  Summer is tough on kind to yours this year!

The Little Book of Hygge - By now, you already know I've been obsessed with hygge lately...and for good reason. The daily focus on comfort and togetherness makes hygge #selfcaregoals.  This adorable book is such a fun read, and features gorgeous illustrations.

Bucket list printable - This is the latest fun printable in my etsy shop!  With sections for things you want to accomplish this year and things you'll get to someday, you'll be on pace to do everything your heart desires. 

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to .  All opinions expressed are my own and I never recommend a product unless I truly love it!


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