Wednesday, October 18, 2017

5 Amazing Smoothie Bowl Recipes




Hello my Besties!  I hope you are all having a fantastic week so far! Mine has been spent unboxing all our stuff and finding a new place for it!  Thankfully, we had some amazing helpers on moving day and we are already starting to feel at home.

Because of how busy we've been, I must admit my eating habits have been less than stellar.  Stress eating is real.  And while I'm all about giving myself grace when I find myself indulging a bit too much, there comes a time when I have to get it together and start re-introducing fruits and veggies into my diet  getting back on track.  

That time is now.  I'm planning a big trip to the store tonight to stock up on alll the healthy foods.  And maybe a few treats also, because  balance.  

One way I'm planning to use all those delish healthy foods is to whip up some smoothie bowls for breakfast.  If you, like me have been wanting to try making these good-for-you creations at home, or if you're a longtime fan, I'm sharing 5 amazing recipes to help you show kindness to your bod first thing in the morning...and to prove that eating right doesn't have to be boring!








What about you?  Do you have a fave smoothie bowl recipe?  Feel free to share with your Besties in the comments!



Monday, October 9, 2017

Why I love Solution-Focused Therapy


Sorry for the long hiatus, my friends!  As I mentioned here, we are in the process of moving, and it has taken up every last bit of my free time.  The good news is, we are going to be all the way moved in this weekend!  Woot! I'm super pumped to be posting today about the most effective technique I use with my clients to get them feeling better immediately.  Because let's be real...that's what most people want!

Ever since I first heard the term "solution-focused brief therapy" back in grad school, I knew it was for me.  Obviously, we were taught about all different treatment modalities, and while I believe there is something beneficial in just about all of them, solution-focused therapy has always resonated with me in a way other therapies haven't.

So what is solution-focused brief therapy?  Well, just as the name implies, it is focused on solving problems in a short period of time. Therapists use solution-focused interventions to quickly identify a client's presenting problem, and, working together with the client, formulate workable goals to address said problem.  

In other words, solution-focused therapy is not:

Therapy that continues for many months or years.

Therapy in which a client vents for the entire session.

Therapy that produces no visible change or result.

Solution-focused therapy begins with the end in mind.  Beginning in the first session, I ask clients questions like:

"On a scale from 1-10,  how much is this problem is affecting you?"

"What would your life look like if you weren't struggling with this problem at all anymore?"

"If you could have anything in the entire world, possible or impossible, big or small, what would you wish for?"

These types of questions help me get to the heart of the matter relatively quickly.  Why is that important?  Let me count the ways.

1.  Therapy is expensive.  Believe me, I get it.  I charge $150 per hour because that's the going rate for a great therapist in my neck of the woods.  That's a serious investment, I know.  So if I'm asking people to shell out that kind of cash, I sure as heck better be able to make them feel better/allow them to begin solving their problems relatively quickly.  The good news is, I can and do.  Most of my clients feel more confident in their ability to handle their problems in 1-3 sessions, and all of my clients report feeling more at peace and more hopeful after the first session.  

2.  Therapy is a time commitment.  Therapists who don't practice solution-focused therapy can see the same client for many months or even years before a client is ready stop seeing them.  Don't get me wrong, I have several clients who have been through traumatic experiences that benefit more from a longer-term therapeutic relationship.  But for most people, 1-3 initial sessions is sufficient to begin solving problems and feeling better.  And for most people, that is music to their ears.

3.  Therapy still has a stigma attached to it.  This makes me cringe, for obvious reasons, but nevertheless, many people report not wanting to set foot in a therapist's office because they are embarrassed or worried someone will find out.  Solution-focused therapy helps people get in, and get out, for lack of a better term. And by the way, there is NOTHING wrong with going to therapy. Going to a therapist doesn't mean you are crazy...it means you are healthy and utilizing good coping.  IMHO, people who go to therapy should be celebrated as people who know how to cope with life in healthy ways!  Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now.  

Hopefully, by now I've convinced you that therapy is great, and solution-focused therapy is the bomb.com.  If you've been considering seeing a therapist for any reason, I'd love to partner with you.  Within 1-3 sessions, I'm confident I can help you learn healthy ways to cope with your problems and regain your peace.  If you are interested in scheduling a session via FaceTime, Skype, or phone, you can reach me here.  



Sunday, September 24, 2017

The # 1 Reason People Don't Practice Self Care (And Why It's Still a Bad One)




Whenever a client comes into my office for the first time, I listen carefully to everything they say.  I assess their situation and try to determine if there is any unhealthy coping going on.  Then, the conversation usually goes something like this:

Me:  Wow, you've really got a lot going on.  So let me ask you...what are you doing to cope with all of this?  How are you taking care of yourself?

Client:  (blank stare).  What?

Me:  You know, what are you doing that's good for you?  What do you like to do that's healthy for you? 

Client:  Oh...well....I mean...I like to read.

Me:  Ok, good.  Reading is great.  So how often are you able to relax and read a bit?

Client:  Well...sometimes on the weekends.  But not very much. I'm just so busy, I honestly don't have time for anything like that.

This is not an exaggeration.  It doesn't matter if the client is in their early teens or are well into mid-life...literally all of my clients come to me without a regular plan for taking care of themselves.  And then when I suggest it, they inevitably say the four words that make me cringe the absolute most:  "I don't have time."

Um...yes, you do.  We all do.  We all can and must make time for self care.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me start by validating this feeling. I truly do get it, as I used to be there myself.  A few years ago when I was in the throes of mothering toddlers and babies, I definitely felt like I didn't have time to do anything good just for me.  Despite the fact that my husband was a super hands-on dad and was home for dinner and bedtime each night, I still felt like my daily life was all about meeting the needs of everyone else.  If someone would have asked me what I was doing to take care of myself, on most days I would laughed and said, "Well...I took a shower today!"

So please understand I am in no way judging you if you feel like you don't have time for self care.  I promise that's not the case. And I also want to say that there are certainly seasons in life where we have more or less time for ourselves.  One of my precious Besties just had a baby and she may be reading this at 3 am one night, wanting to reach through the computer screen and punch me for suggesting she has time for self care.  Believe me, I get it!  I just wish I would have known years ago what I know now...that no matter how crazy life seems, everyone around me seems to be happier when I am.  My mama always said, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"  

As I said before, the main reason people give for not being able to practice self care is that they don't have time.  But in my experience (both personally and professionally), I think the real problem is we somehow get to a place where we are thriving on our chaos.  By that I mean, our frantic lifestyle somehow becomes this warped badge of honor.  The badge itself weighs a ton and is almost certainly toxic to our well-being, and yet we tend to flaunt it like it's doing just the opposite.  We want people to see that even though we are existing in chaos most of the time, it's ours...and look, I'm still here!  I can do it!  All by myself!  We become too prideful to ask for help or delegate tasks or accept that we aren't actually perfect.  

Besties, I beg you...please please please make time for yourselves. Do what you need to do to make sure this happens on a regular basis.  Find ways to fit small bits of self care into your day.  Find ways to plan for a lengthier self care practice occasionally. Subscribe via email (in the sidebar!) to get your FREE weekly self care planner...because we all know, if we don't plan for it, it most likely ain't gonna happen!

Who can you ask for help so you can find some extra time in your day just for you?  What task can you delegate so you feel freer to have some "me time?"  Where can you accept a standard lower than perfection so you can enjoy life a bit more?  By simply taking a few focused minutes to consider these things, you will reap the benefits of taking care of you...and so will everyone else in your life.  If you're anything like me, you're much better equipped to love and serve others when you are rested and refreshed.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Power of "Maybe"





My family is gearing up for our big move next month, and although we are excited, the whole prospect is also a bit nerve-wracking.  Even though we are only moving a few minutes away from our current house, my boys are still feeling all the feels, and I don't blame them.  Transitions can be rough - especially transitions that we don't see coming.  

Change can be scary, for sure.  I think the scariest thing for most people is not knowing how things will turn out.  When life throws us a curve ball, our thoughts can quickly become riddled with anxiety.  What if this is a huge mistake?  What if we're not ok?  What if I can't make this work?" 

These thoughts and anxieties are quite common, especially when our lives take an unexpected twist or two.  However, although they are normal, they are not always helpful.  Dwelling too long on "what if..." is a bad idea. 

A while back, I stumbled upon a story entitled "Maybe."  The story begins with an old farmer's horse running away from his farm.  The farmer's friends feel sorry for him, and comment  on what bad luck this is.  The farmer simply replies, "maybe."  The next day, the horse returns to the farm, followed by 3 wild horses.  The farmer's friends then say how fortunate he is that he acquired 3 new horses for free.  The farmer simply replies, "maybe."  The following day, the farmer's son tried to ride one of the horses and fell down, breaking his leg.  His friends pitied him and said what a misfortune had befallen him.  The farmer said (you guessed it), "maybe."  The next day, the army comes through to draft every young man into the military; since the farmer's son had a broken leg, they didn't draft him.  The farmer's friends once again congratulated the man and told him how blessed he was.  "Maybe," was the farmer's only reply.

A couple of things struck me about this story, upon hearing it. First, how does this farmer have so many friends when all he ever says is "maybe?"  But once I got over his lack of social skills, I did have to hand it to him...he knew a thing or two about how to deal with life's curve balls.  

Instead of dwelling on "what if," the farmer learned to say "maybe."  There's a big difference.  "What if..." is the place where anxieties multiply and troubles tend to double.  Assuming what we don't know, ruminating on the things that could happen is the opposite of helpful.  It merely steals your potential for joy in the present moment.  Also, people don't usually think things like "what if I win the lottery tomorrow?" Usually, people's "what ifs" are a Shakespearean-level tragedy, written as non-fiction in their mind.

"Maybe," on the other hand, is a much wiser thing to say. "Maybe" assumes nothing; it is the essence of mindfulness and non-attachment.  "Maybe" understands that we have no way of knowing how things will work out.  Saying "maybe" helps us hold life with a loose grip and maintain a sense of calm despite life's ups and downs.  

Maybe the tough time you're going through right now will actually work out for your good.  Maybe the transition that is stressing you out will make you a stronger person and prepare you for the next great thing coming your way.  Maybe there's a reason you didn't get that job, your relationship ended, or you are being forced to relocate.  Maybe if you could tell the future, you would actually be thankful for this stressful circumstance.

We really don't know what's coming next, my friends.  And that's ok.  Really, it is. The next time you're going through something difficult, try to steer clear of those pesky "what ifs."  Instead, practice saying "maybe" and notice how much more peaceful you feel.  

Was there ever a time something seemingly "bad" happened to you that actually worked out for your good?  Let us know in the comments!


Monday, September 18, 2017

Goal Setting Made Easy




Happy Monday, my Besties!  I hope you had a great weekend and that you were able to do something just for you.  I wish I could say I did, but I had the opportunity to serve at a Young Life camp for the weekend and it was pretty exhausting!  However, being a leader to high school kids is one of the great privileges of my life and so my cup still managed to run over despite the sleep-deprivation!

Today I want to share a simple goal-setting system you can use anytime, for any type of change you want to make in your life.  It's a little #mondaymotivation by the name of the Stop/Start/Continue method.  We therapists like to call it the SSC.  Just kidding...I've actually never heard anyone call it that, but for a minute there I sounded really official and authoritative, right? ;)

In keeping with the theme of full disclosure, I did not create the Stop/Start/Continue method, but I first read about it in this book. Amy McCready, the author, also did not invent the SSC (see, it works!).  I'm not sure who did.  But I do know this:  businesses use it, teachers use it, parenting experts use it, and yes, even we therapists use it.  Why is the SSC so amazing, you might be thinking?  Because it makes setting goals easy.  Allow me to explain. 

When I ask my clients what goals they want to work on in therapy, about 5% can answer that question directly, in just a few sentences. The remaining 95% stare at me like a deer in headlights and mutter a few things about school or work or relationships.  In essence, I'm asking them, "What do you wish was different about your life? What changes to your life would make things easier and a lot better for you?"  But I totally get it.  Those are some BIG questions.  It's kind of like asking "what is the meaning of life?" and expecting someone to give you a polished, succinct answer in 2 minutes or less.  Not many people are wired that way (including me!) and that's ok.

So instead of asking those big, overwhelming questions, I break it down for my clients using the SSC.  After I ask them what brings them to my office, after hearing about their life for a bit, I ask them three simple questions:

1.  What is something you currently do that you would like to stop doing?

2.  What is something you don't currently do that you would like to start doing?

3.  What is something you are doing currently that you would like to continue doing?

And you know what's amazing?  About 95% of people can answer those questions quite easily.  The other 5% are usually kids under 10 so the method I use for them is:  PLOTF:  Playing Legos On The Floor.  Works every time.  

Once you have your S, S, and C, make a quick plan for how you will accomplish them.  Do you need to choose a different route home from work so you don't stop at the liquor store? Do you need to put sticky notes all over your house to remind you to use a calm voice with your kids?  Do you need accountability from a workout buddy to continue your daily sweat sessions?  Whatever it is, plan exactly what you will do to achieve your new goals.  Without a plan, you'll basically just be hoping for progress.  

Maybe by now you're already thinking of some things you would like to stop, start, and continue.  I hope so!  Because goal setting isn't just for my clients...it's for everyone.  As our lives change (and they tend to do that on the regular), we are constantly needing to adjust our mindset and behaviors to keep things running smoothly. I recommend choosing your stop, start, continue and then checking in with yourself about once a month to see what's working and what's not.  You will likely find the need to change your goals over time, and that's a good thing!  Your "starts" may become your "continues" and your "continues" may eventually not make the list anymore because they have just become a habit.  Or you may find a "start" isn't really helping you as much as you hoped and it becomes a "stop."  That's perfectly fine...just reevaluate and choose something else.

I hope this encourages you to give some thought to simple changes you can make to make your life better.  Once you do, you'll be amazed at how much better you feel and how your self-esteem improves because you are just slaying your goals left and right.  

Let us know what you want to stop, start, or continue in the comments!



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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Minimalism At Its Finest: The Capsule Wardrobe



If you follow me on Instagram, you already heard the big news:  we're moving!  Exactly one month from today, we are packing up our lives and moving...five minutes away from where we currently live.  It's a loooong story (and pretty boring really) so I'll spare you the details, but all you really need to know is a) we are moving and b) this was not something we saw coming.

After my initial shock wore off, my husband and I got pretty pumped because we're moving to a bigger house (one more bedroom and one and a half more baths!  PRAISE!) and we are staying in the same school district.  MAJOR PRAISE.  It seems this is the perfect house for us...for now.  If there's one thing I'm learning more and more in this life, it's don't get comfortable.  But, as I've already mentioned, staying comfortable isn't really what it's all about.  

I have to be honest that although my first feeling was extreme gratitude (once we found a great house), my close second was:  ohhh my goodness, I'm going to have to put everything I own into boxes.  And my third thought was:  wahhh, we have so much stuff!

It's incredible how stuff can accumulate, is it not?  I mean, we only moved into our current house a little over 2 years ago and I did a major stuff purge then.  So how in the world do we have so much stuff again?  I'm blaming it on the kids.  But still.  

I've long been a fan of the idea of minimalism, probably because it seems like the most obvious form of self care.  If you have less stuff, you have less stress.  I believe it!  So I feel now may be the perfect time for me to put my lofty goals into practice and put my money where my mouth is.  Where will I start?  The most fun place, of course:  my wardrobe.

I have been intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe for a year and a half or so.  I never took the plunge because...I don't know, I guess why nobody does.  The "what ifs" set in.  What if I need this shirt later for something really important?  What if I can fit into those pre-baby jeans again someday?  What if the 90's really do come back?  #doh  And also:  you don't know me, Marie Kondo.  

Well I'm shaking off those "what ifs" and making a public declaration that I'm finally doing the capsule wardrobe thing.  I'm gonna pare it alllllll the way down.  And God willing, I will keep it that way.  In case any of you are also thinking of doing the same, here are my best loved resources for all things capsule wardrobe.  

Everyday Savvy - This site is probably my favorite capsule wardrobe inspiration.  Every season, there are several capsule wardrobes composed of clothes from different stores I like to shop at like Loft, Old Navy, and Gap.  I love how the guess work is done for you and if you glace back at the older posts, you can see how much/what types of clothes you will realistically need for a capsule wardrobe to work all year long.  

Babely - This site is awesome, inspirational and super-informative. If you are looking for the how/why behind the capsule wardrobe, it's all explained here.  PLUS, you can get a free ebook all about capsule wardrobes.  

Style Your Senses - This site is also great if you're looking for actual items styled/paired together.  With just 24 pieces (including shoes and accessories!) you can have a look for any occasion.  

Classy Yet Trendy - This link takes you to the top 5 posts about capsule wardrobes from a blog all about, you guessed it...capsule wardrobes.  

Stitch Fix - For real, I can't say enough good things about Stitch Fix.  I love how it takes the guesswork out of shopping for clothes! My stylist, Sabrina is the bomb.com!  If you want to make creating your capsule wardrobe as easy as possible, schedule a Fix!  Fill out the quick and easy style profile with your preferences, and tell your stylist in the note that you want pieces for a capsule wardrobe. Then, in about 10 days, 5 amazing pieces will be delivered to your door and you can try them on in the comfort of home.  It doesn't get much better than that!

So what about you?  Do you have any fave capsule wardrobe sites? Are you joining me in my minimalist journey?  




* This post may contain affiliate links.  For my full disclosure policy, please visit my Advertise page.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

5 Reasons You're Not Crazy, Even If You Feel Like You Might Be



If you've been reading my lil blog for any length of time, you know I love movies, and especially quoting movies.  The movies I quote the most are definitely my favorite movies, including, but not limited to:  The Princess Bride, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Coming to America.  Yet my most oft quoted line doesn't actually come from these gems, but from another amazing flick -  Zoolander.  While there are many quotable lines from that movie, the one that most resonates with me is when a frustrated Mugatu exclaims:
"I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

You, yourself may have had moments in your life where this exclamation, fraught with emotion could well have escaped your lips.  Perhaps your kids have been on your last nerve allllll day. Perhaps you and your significant other are having the same fight for the one millionth time.  Perhaps your boss is, like, thisclose to causing your 19th nervous breakdown.  Whatever the cause, most of us have been there at some point.  And, after completely losing alll our stuff, we have time to cool off and, inevitably begin to have thoughts such as: "Did I seriously just throw a legitimate tantrum?  What's wrong with me??" 

It's times like these when you may truly wonder if you have actually gone crazy.

Well, as a therapist, I must be real with you...you're not.  I don't really love the word "crazy," but I'm using it in today's tongue-in-cheek post because a) Mugatu did it first and b) For the purposes of this post "crazy" works a lot better than "someone who's really going through a lot right now and life just feels really hard for them."  

So, fear not, my Besties, here are are 5 reasons you're not crazy, even if you feel like you might be.

1.  If you are thinking to yourself "Am I crazy?"  You're not.  The same rule generally applies to "Am I a bad ________ (mom, wife, friend, person, boss, employee, etc.)?  If you are genuinely concerned that you might be doing a terrible job or that you may have lost all your marbles, that's a good sign that you aren't and you haven't.  I don't know the exact science behind it, but I can tell you that every person I've sat across from in my personal and professional life who has pondered these questions, the answer has always been a resounding "no.  Nope, you're not crazy at all."  

2.  If you feel crazy in a certain situation, one of your Besties would probably feel the same way.  Go ahead and check in with them just to be sure.  If you can find even one person to validate your tantrum feelings, you're good.  Not crazy.  

3.  Generally speaking, there are so many people out there crazier than you at any given time.  Don't believe me?  Pick up a newspaper or peruse cnn.com for a hot second.  See?  Unless you are looking at your own photo up in that newspaper, you're cool. Not crazy.  Or at least not nearly as crazy as those guys.  In most cases, I agree with Teddy Roosevelt when he said "comparison is the thief of joy."  But sometimes, comparison is really helpful in making you not feel cray.

4.  It's not you, it's them.  Seriously.  My therapist friends and I joke all the time that it's not our clients who really need the therapy...it's all the people in their life who are making things so dang difficult for them all the time.  If you feel crazy, take a look around...chances are good the people making you feel that way could use a little guidance themselves.  

5.  If you're reading this post, you're not crazy.  Real talk:  if you're reading this post, chances are you care enough about self care and mental health to spend some time reading a blog about it. Either that, or you were just drawn to the Mugatu photo and figured you'd see what this post was all about.  Regardless, you're still not crazy because you obviously feel, as I do, that Zoolander is one of the best movies ever made.  #solidarity



 

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