Blog

25 Oct

Trans Rights are Human Rights

LGBT, Life Improvement No Response

The recent memo from the White House about redefining sex and gender has left a lot of people rightfully angry, scared, sad, and confused. No matter where you might lean politically, the idea of making a policy or declaration that erases a whole group of people is hateful and dangerous.

Imagine being told that who you are doesn’t exist and the healthcare and rights you have will disappear.

This is why people are very scared right now. I know a lot of people ( myself included) are feeling very hopeless. I don’t have an answer. But I do know that taking action is a positive way to manage these feelings. Here are some ways you can help:

Donate

Donating to the Trans LifeLine funds volunteers who staff a hotline and also gives monetary support to individuals. You can donate here: https://www.translifeline.org/

If you need support or assistance, you can call them 24/7:
US: 877-565-8860
Canada: 877-330-6366

Reach Out

Be a support to people who might be feeling overwhelmed or scared right now. Contact friends or family members who are transgender, non binary, intersex, or gender diverse to check in on them. See if they need support, send them food, and make genuine offers to help. Listen to them and offer empathy and validation.

Protest

Go to local demonstrations to support your trans community and lend your voice to the cause. Stand with people who are transgender, especially those who are BIPOC, and make sure their voices are heard.

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13 Oct

Date Someone who has Been in Therapy

Dating, Life Improvement, Therapy No Response

As much as mental health professionals try to take the stigma out of seeking therapy, I’ve noticed that people still get concerned about letting new romantic partners know that they have a therapist. Even people who have been helped so tremendously in therapy feel shame when sharing this information with new partners.

I understand this shame and how powerful it is. But my opinion is different. I tell my clients and friends alike to date someone who has been in therapy or who is in therapy. In my personal and professional experience, people who have been in therapy are usually more emotionally open and mature, better communicators, and good listeners!

They know they have issues: Everyone has issues. These issues, when not explored, impact relationships. It does not help a relationship to pretend that these issues don’t exist. When someone is in therapy, they actively know how their issues are impacting their mental health, functioning, and relationships, and are actively working through them.

They have started the hard work: Therapy isn’t easy. It takes commitment, trust, and a honest yearning for change. When you date someone who has done this work, it shows you that they are the kind of person willing to work hard for positive change. Since relationships are also hard work, this commitment shows a potential partner that they take self-improvement seriously.

They’ve learned to communicate: People who engage in therapy learn a lot about themselves. Having a consistent mirror to your own issues can help you learn to communicate your needs, desires, fears, and worries with others. Many people practice communication skills in therapy even if that is not the reason they are seeking counseling. This greatly benefits future partners, as communication might be one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship.

They’ve gained some emotional intelligence: When you meet with a therapist regularly, you are building emotional muscles. You’re learning to name your feelings, work through distressing emotions, and figure out what you need. Being able to translate that information to a partner is so important! I’m sure most people have experienced dating someone with less than ideal emotional intelligence. Imagine what it might be like to date a person with whom you can have a deep emotional connection.

They are less likely to name YOU as the cause of their issues: When someone has not done the hard work of therapy, they are more likely to project their issues, feelings, and frustrations onto you. This can be super confusing and upsetting. I’m sure most people have experienced what this feels like. A person who is in therapy knows the cause of their issues and is less likely to make you the scapegoat.

I hope this exploration makes you:
A) More likely to date someone who has been in therapy
B) More likely to tell a potential partner that you are in therapy

 

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22 Mar

Get Out of Your Head

Motivation, Self Help, Therapy No Response

Ever have a day where you felt really crappy and had a had time getting out of your own way? You know the feeling…lethargic, lazy, sad, annoyed, etc. Everyone has days like this, but it can be really hard when you are working to find your spark and live in a place of authenticity and you feel like crap. I came up with somethings to put in action when you are having one of these days.

Validate Yourself 
Ignoring your feelings only makes them worse. Validate the fact that you are having a day where you feel crappy. Just because you acknowledge your feelings, doesn’t mean that you are accepting them or giving up. Just validate that you’re having one of these days.

Get Physical
One of the best ways to get out of your head is to get physical in a way that feels fun and right for you. Here are some ideas:
* Dance
* Exercise
* Play with Pets
* Take a Walk
* Clean a Room
* Stretch
* Yoga
* Shake it Out

Get Creative
Spending some time in a creative headspace is a great way to get out of a rut. Work on a project that you’ve been procrastinating on, or maybe start something fun or new. Here are some ideas:
* Draw
* Paint
* Journal
* Choreograph a Dance
* Write a Play
* Sing
* Brainstorm New Ideas

Get Social
I know it can be easy to isolate when you’re having one of these days, but connected to someone else is a really great way to get out of your own way.
* Have a Game Night
* Call a Friend
* Use Skype or FaceTime
* Have a Friend Over
* Meet at a Restaurant
* Join a Club or Meetup

Get Comfy
Sometimes staying in is the best form of self-care. Get on some comfy clothes and treat yourself well!
* Take a Bath
* Watch a Movie
* Masturbate
* Cuddle with a Friend or Pet
* Meditate
* Take a Nap

If you’ve gotten through this list, you’ve realized that this is just a really long list of ways to improve your self-care. Sometimes we all just need a little reminder or push to improve our self-care habits. Having a blah day is great information that we can use some more self care.

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31 Dec

Love Languages for Self-Love

Life Improvement, Self Discovery, Self Help No Response

Anyone who has been in therapy with me knows I love Gary Chapman’s “5 Love Languages” and that I reference his book often. If you haven’t heard of it, you can learn more at his website.

The basic premise is that there are at least 5 different ways we show and like to recieve love from others:

Words of Affirmation

  • Compliments
  • Appreciation
  • “I love you.” “You’re incredible.” “I love the way you do ____.”

Acts of Service

  • Taking out the garbage
  • Doing the dishes
  • Taking the dog for a walk

Recieving Gifts

  • Bringing home flowers
  • Putting a lot of effort into birthday gifts
  • Random gifts

Quality Time

  • Hanging out at home for an evening
  • Going for a hike in the woods
  • Laying in bed talking for hours

Physical Touch

  • Massage
  • Sex
  • Holding hands

The revolutionary thing about Chapman’s work is that it explains how there can be a disconnect if you and your partner(s) have different love languages. One partner may feel they are showing love, when the other partner feels love is lacking because they are unaware of love languages.

So this got me thinking…

Besides love languages, there is another topic I talk about often in therapy. I encourage dating yourself.

I don’t care if you are partnered, single, dating, or whatever, I believe it is so important to make time for dating yourself.

While sitting at work I realized, some people may have a hard time knowing what it means to date yourself because self love ( just like healthy relationships) are not taught in school.

They should be.

I thought Chapman’s love languages could be easily translated into self-love languages and this could easily help people learn to date themselves.

What’s Your Self-Love Language?

Words of Affirmation

  • Writing yourself love-notes or affirmations
  • Using post-its to remind yourself how awesome you are
  • Talking to yourself using loving, positive words

Acts of Service

  • Cleaning the house
  • De-cluttering your work-space
  • Volunteering doing something your passionate about

Recieving Gifts

  • Buying yourself flowers
  • Saving money for something you want
  • Buying yourself a gift

Quality Time

  • Taking yourself out for dinner or a picnic
  • Taking a bath
  • Planning a night in where you do things you love

Physical Touch

  • Masturbating
  • Getting a massage or give yourself a massage
  • Petting a dog/cat, pet-sit
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31 Dec

How do you INTEND to grow this year?

Life Improvement, Motivation, Self Discovery, Self Help No Response

It is, no doubt, a cliche to speak about intentions and resolutions this time of year. People get pensive. They become reflective. They reach out to people they have lost connections with. Its a curious thing- this man-made concept of the new year. Different cultures celebrate it at different times and they do so in different ways. The idea of reflection and making changes tends to resonate through these different new beginnings.

I am totally a sucker for reflection and intention. This December 31st 2017, I’m trying something a little different and I’m sharing it with you. I’m making an intention of how I’d like to GROW this year. Not change, but grow.

I intend to grow in creativity, in patience,  and in self-compassion.

What about you?

Will you grow to show yourself the kind of compassion you show others?

Will you grow to give yourself the time and patience to figure things out?

Will you grow to know what you need and desire, and to stop settling for less?

How do you intend to grow this year?

I’m sending my sincere love and hope to everyone that we may all have a beautiful, fruitful, exciting, passionate, wild, and tranformational 2018.

 

 

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13 Dec

Do Something that Terrifies You

Life Improvement, Motivation, Self Help No Response

Most people shy away from doing things that terrify them. The issue with this is that sometimes scary things must be done. And sometimes scary things need to happen in order to grow.

Different things terrify different people. Some folks are scared of public speaking, while others are just mortified by the idea of going on a blind date. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Drama Therapist and Coach, my clients often come to me to talk about the things that frighten them. My job is to help them understand where that fear comes from, and to employ practical ways to combat that anxiety so that my clients can live the fullest life possible.

Whether it’s making a presentation at work, testifying in court, or going on a first date; there are tools available to help you put your best foot forward…even when you are petrified.

Power Pose It Up

Amy Cuddy did an incredible Ted Talk about the amazing potential of power poses. Her research shows that when people position themselves in poses of power (good posture, hands on the hips, wide stance) the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood is lowered as is their anxiety.

Before you are about to do something that makes you feel scared, take a few minutes to adopt a power pose that feels good to you. You can do this in a bathroom stall if needed, or you can even visualize yourself in a pose if you are unable to get away.

Breathe

The first thing I notice in my clients who have anxiety is that they stop breathing deeply. In fact, some people hold their breath. When you stop breathing, you are depriving your brain of oxygen. As a result, your anxiety increases, and your ability to think and reason decreases.

Pick a breathing exercise that you enjoy and keep reminding yourself to breathe. My favorite is an inhale through your nose for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and exhale for 5 seconds. Remember to fill your belly all the way using your diagram.

Pick an affirmation

Pretend that you are your best friend giving you a pep talk about this current situation and use a few of those words with your breath as an affirmation. “You are smart, capable, and confident.” “You are calm and eloquent. You got this.” Pick something that speaks to you and makes you feel better as you say it. Say it in front of the mirror a few times as if you are speaking to your best friend.

Play the Part

As a Drama Therapist, I talk with my clients about the roles that they play in their lives. Sometimes the most transformational role is that which one has yet to become. Visualize yourself doing the scary thing and adopt all of the characteristics of this role. How do they stand? Adopt that into your power pose. How do they speak? Imagine yourself speaking that way or practice speaking in this manner. How do they feel about what they are about to do? Put those thoughts into your head.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not in-authentic or “faking it until you make it.” It’s more like Amy Cuddy says, “Fake it until you become it.” I believe that if you can play the role, those characteristics reside somewhere inside of you. You just need the opportunity to discover it.

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08 Jun

5 Unexpected Things That Happen When you Quit Your Day Job

Entrepreneur, Life Improvement, Motivation No Response

You did it! You are a complete and utter badass. You took the plunge, the leap of faith and left the security of your day job to pursue your own creative and entrepreneurial endeavor. Congratulations.

Here are 5 things that you didn’t know would happen when you quit your day job and ways to remedy any distress:

5. You freak out about being your own boss

If you are anything like me, you’ve fantasized about being your own boss and setting your own rules for years. Finally when you’ve shed your old role of worker, and stepped into the light as a solo entrepreneur, that transition can be more difficult than expected. You are accountable for yourself and that can be anxiety-provoking.

Just because you are the sole leader of your business it doesn’t mean you need to be isolated. Hire a coach, supervisor, or mentor to help guide you through this transition. They can help you with the nitty gritty details, support you emotionally, or give you advice, but the exciting part is that the final decision will always be yours!

5. You don’t know how to handle the flexibility 

Before I left my day job, I was working 70+ hours a week including my commute, my full time job, and my private practice. I couldn’t wait to be in charge of my own schedule and bask in the flexibility. That is, until I quit my day job, and had so much flexible time that I didn’t know what to do with myself. This can be really nerve-wracking. When all of your time is your own, how you get things done?

Set your own structure. You know yourself and the way that you work better than anyone. That’s why you can easily determine the best way to structure your time. I set intentions for my day and a number of small goals with the purpose of fulfilling my intention. Remember to take your personal priorities and needs into account! Love the gym? Schedule time for it! Wish you had more time for your dog? Schedule time in the middle of the day for walks! The time is now yours so use it in the ways that make you feel your best!

4. You have survival’s guilt

This is a tough one. When you are in a job for so long, you make deep connections with your co-workers and it can be really hard to say goodbye especially when they are still doing the 9-5 grind. It may feel hard to enjoy your freedom knowing that people you care for are not enjoying their work.
Forgive yourself for leaving and remember to have compassion for yourself. Your choice to leave was all about you doing the best thing for yourself and is in no way a slight toward your ex-coworkers. Your bravery may even inspire others to do the same. Keep your connections with people who mean a lot to you, but don’t get sucked into feeling bad for making a choice that positively changed your life.

 

3. You might not be able to relate to your friends

Most people don’t work for themselves and are not entrepreneurs. The majority of people work a 9-5 job where they report to a superior and are able to leave their work at the office at the end of the day. As you venture into your own business, you may find that it becomes more difficult to relate to your friends around work. You don’t have a boss to bitch about, a workload that is out of your control, or your days being dictated by another person. You may start feeling like you don’t have enough to contribute when venting at Happy Hour.

It may help to focus on things other than work when connecting with your friends. While work is definitely something that comes up in conversation, try to connect with your friends on deeper levels. When work is the focal point of conversations, sometimes we miss really amazing opportunities to relate with others on topics such as music, philosophy, science, politics etc. Our friendships should be more than just people to vent about work with. Deep connections become even more important when it’s difficult to leave work at the office.
2.Your new life becomes the new normal

Before long, your new schedule, work/life balance, and day-to-day activities will start to feel normal. You may even forget what it felt like to have a long commute, deal with supervisors who didn’t get it, or hustle for money that didn’t go into your pocket. While this new normal can be a great feeling, there may be aspects of your life that you are starting to accept as “normal” even if they don’t make you happy. For instance, you may be working late nights and thinking you are okay with it even though you may not be.

Make sure to keep yourself accountable for your own happiness! Take time to reevaluate how you are spending your time and how you run your business to make sure that you are continuing to make the decisions that are best for you. Stay reflective. Remember that you have the power to make changes in your business and that it’s ok to change your mind.

1.You experience happiness on a new level

The amount of bliss, gratitude, and wonder that you can potentially experience after you decide to leave your day job can be immense and even overwhelming. Some days you might be in such awe that you have the power to change the course of your life and happiness. This feeling is powerful and amazing, but may also be overpowering as well.

Many people have been conditioned to not expect happiness, especially in their work. They were told things growing up such as, “If it was fun, it wouldn’t be called work” or they watched TV shows where the characters all hate their jobs. It might feel a bit uncomfortable to be so happy with your work. If this feels distressing, try to acknowledge what deep-rooted beliefs you may be bumping up against and use your support system to work through them. Stay humble and grateful by engaging in a gratitude practice, giving back by volunteering, or helping others who following down a similar path.

 

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07 Sep

When there is no spark to be found…

Uncategorized No Response

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Everyone has had those days. They are the days when your feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and fear feel overwhelming and its damn near impossible to see past it. Your thinking becomes very black and white. It is hard to focus on the good things because the not-so-good-things take center stage.

In those moments, I want to encourage you to know that this too shall pass. Your light, your special and incredibly unique spark is still there even if you cannot see it. Know that at the end of this incredibly difficult wave that you are riding is a source of light.

On these days, try this:

  • Call a trusted friend or family member
  • Journal
  • Make fun plans for the future
  • Watch music videos from years ago
  • Move (exercise, dance, yoga)
  • Eat something
  • Shower
  • Cuddle with a pet

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19 Aug

Telling your inner critic to Shut the F&^% up!

Life Improvement, Self Help No Response

I can’t go a day without getting really intimate with inner critics. My client’s inner critics, my friend’s inner critics… dare I say, my own inner critic! It usually manifests as really negative self talk that we don’t question and that we take as reality. The inner critic is usually a combination of our own fears about ourselves, societal pressures, and horrible things that have been said to us throughout our lives. But the reality is, your inner critic is lying to you. And it’s not lying to you to be a jerk, but more to protect you. The problem is that the inner critic isn’t really protecting you. It’s keeping you small, it’s keeping you from developing in your confidence, and increasing your anxiety. Luckily, there are ways to not only tell your inner critic to shut up, but also to help use it for your advantage! Join me below as I riff on the Inner Critic and give some tips to tell it to step off.

 

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30 Dec

Do NOT let the New Year come and go without doing this!

Life Improvement, Motivation No Response

I just did a massive review of this past year. It was beautiful. It was messy. It was painful. It was completely necessary. I usually do a kind of review every September during Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, but have never done it before January 1st. Usually my ritual in September revolves around my spiritual growth and what I want to improve on in the coming year. The ritual that I engaged in today was different and I want to share it with you. I encourage you to review your own year in a way that speaks to you.

I started with my personal life

I reviewed what went well this year, what I want to change in the upcoming year, and took the time to really delve into why certain things occurred. I spent time speaking with people I care about and really taking note of what is important to me.

And then I reviewed my business

I looked at each month of the year and reviewed my successes and my failures. And then I started listing all of the amazing things I plan to do this upcoming year.

Do yourself a huge favor and take 10 minutes of your day to review the year:

Take the time to review

  • Start with your successes and write them down. Be proud of them. You’ve earned it all! 
  • You may want to do this in sections. For example: personal, business, relationships, etc.
  • Note the things that didn’t go your way this year and take some time to meditate on those things. What lessons were you supposed to learn? Did you learn them? What lessons can you take to the next year?

Plan for this amazing year

  •  Now brainstorm what you want from 2016 in your life and write it down. It can be anything from taking better care of yourself to launching a new business!
  • Be specific! You need to be specific in order to create a plan of action.
  • Take each goal and write out each step to achieve that goal. If due dates encourage you, use them! If they stress you out, don’t! Using action steps can make a huge project feel more doable.

Hold yourself accountable

Plan monthly check-ins to see how you are doing. I plan mine the last Sunday of the month! Each month you can add new goals, new steps, and adjust things accordingly.

Wishing you and your family a beautiful, happy, and healthy New Year! May this one be the best one yet!

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