Creating Hope

When things around you seem hopeless, focus on where you are now and where you would like to be.

Hope starts with goals. Hope starts from within.

Hope, hopelessness, or hopefulness have been recurring themes lately (thanks in part to 2020).

In positive psychology, the state of hope has been observed and studied. ‘Hope Theory’ was eventually developed based on the idea that hopeful individuals: 1) have established goals, 2) develop ‘pathways thinking’ which is about planning routes on how to obtain those goals and 3) believe in their personal agency. The studies also found that hopeful individuals are generally more happy, optimistic, and have better mental health outcomes.

At its best, personal agency is believing that YOU are the one responsible for your thoughts, feelings and actions –no matter the circumstances that surround you.

For individuals in survival mode or in crisis, it can be difficult to feel hopeful or even think about goals. Even then, simple goals can be set (ex. staying safe, asking for help, determine immediate needs).

The bottom line is that constantly looking outside of yourself for hope can actually make you feel more hopeless!

Hope starts within. Hope is intentional and is something we can all enhance. No matter what occurs around you, an important question is ‘how do I move forward?’. Determining a goal,  having options to obtain your goal and having the belief in your capacity to achieve that goal plants a seed of hope. Over time, our goals help us become hopeful towards our future.

What goal, no matter how big or small, do you look forward to?

Mindfulness: Conditioning for the stressed-out brain.

In recent years there has been increasing discussion revolving mindfulness. Current google search results for ‘mindfulness’ total in the millions. Across various disciplines: health care, medicine, business, neuroscience, organizational psychology, law and more, the positive effects of mindfulness have been researched and documented, which further boosts its popularity. When science + medicine support and lead something, people (and other industries) follow along. It also helps that gurus, celebrities, business brands, and yes, even Oprah have also been vocal in praising mindfulness and meditation.

So what exactly is mindfulness?
Biologist Jon Kabat Zinn (lets call him JKZ) defines mindfulness as,

“paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non judgmentally”

Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhist traditions and JKZ helped popularize it in the West through his research on mindfulness and chronic pain patients at UMass medical center in the late 70’s. Although the mindfulness that is known to mainstream has tenets in Buddhism and Eastern contemplative philosophy, other religions also have some sort of prayer or meditative practice that allows its practitioners to cope with day-to-day stressors or at least helps to manage them, much like mindfulness.

You can also think of mindfulness as being intently “engaged” to the present through your senses, and without prescribing labels to experiences such as “good” or ‘bad” (judgement). The practice of mindfulness is much like exercise training or conditioning for our brain so that we can remember to return to this ‘state of awake/alert’ throughout our experiences.

Ever feel like you are running on auto-pilot? As if you’re emotions take over reason? Ever feel like you don’t really taste your food, you just eat and temporarily fill up? Have you ever arrived to a destination in your car without really noticing your surroundings because you are so caught up in your thoughts or stories in your mind (or phone)? Mindfulness helps us cultivate a focused attention which in turn allows “space” between our thoughts and actions. In this “space” we are able to choose our behaviors more intently, feel more calm, and ultimately live more joyfully in the present moment.

How does Mindfulness help

The success JKZ had on demonstrating the positive effects of mindfulness on chronic pain patients at a hospital eventually led to the development of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a highly recognized evidenced based 8-week educational program with practices that can help with stress, anxiety, depression and pain. Since the development of MBSR, other mindfulness based applications have been created, tailored to help with other issues such as work productivity, enhance focus, money management, improve eating habits and lots more.

Positive effects of mindfulness could be traced to its science proven neurological changes on brain structure and functions. Neuroscience has demonstrated how a daily 20 minute meditation practice can actually alter critical brain structures through a process called ‘neuroplasticity’. The research also shows how not only do brain structures change but neuron circuits, overtime, are “re-wired”. The reward circuit in our brain (which highly influences addiction) and the pain circuits —all part of the limbic system, are some areas of the brain that science has demonstrated to be altered via regular mindfulness practices.

Below is just some ways in which a regular mindfulness practice helps our brain:

Prefrontal-cortex: This is part of the ‘higher order brain functioning’ (part of what makes our brains distinct from animals) which is associated with fear, emotions, awareness, concentration and decision making. Grey matter in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain thickens with regular mindfulness process. As we age, this part of our brain thins, negatively affecting cognitive function. Higher functioning in this part of the brain will improve planning, problem solving and emotional regulation and emotional intelligence— all of which help our performance at work and within personal relationships.

Amygdala: Primal region of our brain responsible for our fight/flight stress response (survival instincts), mood and anxious emotions -and part of our limbic system. Mindfulness decreases volume of grey matter in this brain region. The amygdala is the brain structure responsible for panic and anxiety so restoring balance to the amygdala is essential so we can stay safe without overreacting to minor stressors.

Hippocampus: This structure is also part of the limbic system, and this region rules learning and memory. Stress wears out the hippocampus. A regular mindfulness practice can assist in the retention of information and memory recall, benefiting students (and we’re all life long students anyway right? ;)). Traumatic experiences can significantly stress this part of the brain which is why children with history of trauma may have more difficulty at school (poor concentration, learning issues).

Mindfulness can help reduce the perception of pain by half, not by blocking the experience of pain but disengaging the thought process that makes it painful –ex. telling yourself (or others) how painful something is will exacerbate the pain experience.

Long time, regular practitioners of mindfulness demonstrate a difference in ‘active genes’ which are in charge of helping our body fight diseases and disorders, decreasing susceptibility to illness and boosting immune system function.

Mindfulness enhances our brain’s ability to cope with short term and long term stressful situations.

Its no wonder why meditation and mindfulness are all the buzz as a complementary to treatment of chronic illness, addictions, eating disorders, trauma recovery etc.

Ways to practice Mindfulness

The most effective way to practice mindfulness is through meditation, everyday, for 20-30 minutes -as per traditional MBSR training for optimal brain health. However, its completely normal and common that committing to sitting still for meditation is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of a mindfulness practice. Even then, a 5 minute seated meditation -before sleep, in the morning, at lunch break etc. can go a long way. The more stress-prone a brain is, the more uncomfortable it may be at the beginning of practice and that is okay. Mindfulness can be practiced other ways, for example going out for a mindful walk (remembering to engage all your senses), yoga, mindful eating, cooking, coloring, brushing your teeth–you get the point. You can really ‘practice’ at any time you remember… and with the more practice, the easier to remember.

Start here, now.

Mindfulness can be a simple as just focusing on your breath. To focus on your breath is an opportunity to acknowledge that you are are alive and breathing. Without forced effort, being still enough to just notice the natural rise and fall of your chest, and the shrinking and expanding of your belly as you breathe IS mindfulness. Engage some gratitude thoughts and you have a nice grounding exercise that might provide a soothing feeling, and a switch in perspective, something we could all use nowadays.

Stirred up by Irma: 4 Insights from the Storm

Hurricane Irma stirred up more than just warm Atlantic sea water. Intense emotions continue to whirl around Miami. Just a few days ago it was utter horror, panic and angst thinking about the catastrophe a Category 5 hurricane hit would be for South Florida. This week, emotions are more diverse; frustration and annoyance with power outages, compassion for less fortunate hurricane survivors, gratitude for life (and light), return of chronic boredom, it’s a mixed bag.

Crisis transforms.

Natural disasters are transformative. Not only can they drastically change landscapes, literally in a matter of hours, natural disasters can also transform people. The threat and encounter of a powerful phenomenon can cause individuals to question and fear for safety. Naturally such predicaments can make you gain new insights. Insights are nothing more than deeper understandings of a situation.”Intuitive-like insights” may just well up from an invisible reservoir, especially during challenging life situations. Insight propels change. When you see situations from a different perspective, people are challenged to consider change.

Below are four insights that Hurricane Irma brought up for many. Maybe they will resonate with you, even if you have never encountered weather conditions of a natural disaster. Read on to reflect, if you wish.

Less is more

Storm prepping costs people time, effort and even lots of money. Storm prepping also makes you step into a thought space where you begin to have questions you never had to think about before. Such as: “what essentials do I need to take with me in case of an emergency?”, “which prized possessions do I have to safe guard against damage?”, “how will I recover if I have major losses?”. Having to think about prized material possessions may ultimately lead to concluding that ‘less is really more’. People work hard to earn and own material items and to be proud of such possessions is perfectly fine. To grieve the loss of property or personal belongings is also very normal. Yet at the end of the day most people will agree that the safety of their loved ones will always have greater value than any material possession. This insight, in the context of a looming hurricane may also make individuals become aware of their own “excess”. “How did I accumulate so much stuff?”. Will this insight influence consumer habits? Possibly. Will it be a lasting change? Probably not.

No such things as over preparation

Water shoes and floaters for the kids in case of flood? Check (I swear). Water reserves for days? Check. Cash n’ gas? Check check. There were all sorts of storm-prep rituals and lists going on in South Florida last week. No judgement. There is no such thing as over preparation. Preparation provides us with a sense of control, an imagined extra layering of safety. No one can truly prepare enough for a natural disaster, too many uncertain variables. However, in many cases, thorough storm preparation has saved hundreds of dollars in potential damage and most importantly, kept people relatively safe. Accepting that the nature of a natural disaster will be completely unpredictable and that you will have no control of it, coupled with the peace of mind of “over preparation” is a nice balance.

Anxiety is the real deal and media knows how to exacerbate it

For Miami residents who survived Hurricane Andrew, particularly in the South Dade area, Hurricane Irma washed up intense anxiety and memories. Chest pains, troubled sleep, thoughts of fear, for anyone who has never dealt with anxiety issues, this past week South Florida may have come across very real anxiety-like symptoms. As a clinician, I was reminded that one does not need to meet text book criteria for PTSD for a hurricane threat to trigger traumatic memories and anxiety. Even if Hurricane Irma was someone’s first ‘hurricane experience’, the news forecast was grim and plenty of people were worried. Anxiety and ‘los nervios’ were at an all time high for some. The solution: One deep breath a time, prayer if you are a believer or positive thoughts and minimize your consumption of news media. People with more selective attention of weather news bulletins seemed more composed and calm. Stay informed but don’t saturate your nervous system with all the fear ridden noise from the news media.

Seek the goodness and it will find you

The outpouring of good Samaritans who have sought out to help ‘thy neighbors’ has been astonishing. And beautiful to say the least. My neighborhood was nothing short of Troll Village during the storm aftermath. Everyone collectively joining to clear streets, remove debris etc. People with tools pulling over their cars to assist someone else. Volunteerism. Donation drop off sites in abundance. This wave, best described as a desire to help or serve others, is a great great sign. Did you know that production of “feel good” brain chemicals such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, are stimulated when we help others? Did you know that many chemical addiction recovery programs, in the absence of mind altering toxic substances, encourage fellowship and community service to sustain sobriety? In the wake of a natural disaster, or any crisis, you will often find more people acting good or doing good. Seek that goodness if you can. Its addictive, or at least thats what neuroscience tells us. It’s a good kind of addiction and the insight of knowing that such goodness exists will often lead people to continue seeking other opportunities to serve… way beyond after this Hurricane Irma craze dies down.


I am certain in other moments of your life, these insights, particularly if you have ever dealt with a crisis, have been a similar experience. Normalcy in Miami will take some time. Luckily, Miami was spared the brunt of the storm and for that I am thankful. Please send positive loving thoughts or prayers to the communities severely impacted by Hurricane Irma’s fury. If you are interested in donating goods, money or volunteer time, check out this link by the Sun Sentinel. You can also check out The Miami Foundation’s website for more relief effort opportunities, on this link. Miami’s The New Tropic page also has plenty of useful forthcoming info, check them out here. Keep the good vibes going!

From Brickell to Gables and in between…

Hello from the office spot in South Miami where I will continue to provide therapeutic counseling to old and new clients. I will miss the glimpses of Brickell bay from the former Brickell office but I’ve always loved the wispy greenery feel of South Miami so overall its a pleasant change. I am grateful to have found this space and this space finding me.

Formal Re-introductions

In December 2015 Brickell and I parted ways. It was a bittersweet farewell, mostly sweet. Few months after, I welcomed a new life into my life 🙂 A few more months after that, I became involved with a work contract consisting of leading and providing training to a group of clinicians within a shelter program for children and teens. I continue to be involved with that program, as it has led me to work more closely with issues related to trauma, human trafficking, and immigration–a field that is ever changing, and can elicit various emotions.

Clinical topics aside, working with teenagers and within a non profit organization is always an energizing experience, sometimes chaotic and challenging. Non profits need a lot of support and talent. There are tons all over Miami dedicated to various causes, it was a no-brainer to accept the opportunity when it came up. [Click here to check out the Miami Foundation’s non-profit central website to learn more about the various *amazing* Miami causes and organizations]. Although community work is special, it does make the juggle between my private practice work, family, and my own interests slightly more challenging. Thankfully, I like challenges and even welcome a little bit of chaos into my life from time to time 😉

After leaving Brickell and before returning to community work, I provided online teletherapy counseling services . I continue to offer online teletherapy and continuously seek to be further educated on the latest trends of online therapy which is making the profession of therapy re-think how services are offered. It will be interesting to see if and how insurance companies and legislation will evolve in Florida to meet this new and exciting demand. Also, with a more convenient accessible means to mental health care, will people begin to be less stigmatized about seeking help? Whatever the answers are, I support the trend. If you have any questions about teletherapy feel free to contact me.

As I continue to adapt to personal and professional changes, I am reminded of the ever-present need of self-care. Folks, its 2017, the need to learn ways to care for our relationships, minds, and bodies is essential. We are not only saturated with constant distractions from our phones and technology, but also saturated with information, opinions, news and other sensory overloads. The damage of over consumption of technology, toxic foods, poor sleep, harmful substances, negative relationship cycles, and yes even information– will be evidenced in stress, dis-ease and crisis.

Personal self-care helps buffer against all that. In this day and age, self-care is a social responsibility (as always, non-judging). You are a better colleague, sibling, son, spouse, daughter, employee, partner, boss, employer, servant, parent, individual, citizen, earthling, whatever- when you take care of yourself and develop methods to periodically check in and self-monitor your overall wellness.

“Don’t just look, observe
don’t just swallow, taste
don’t just sleep, dream
don’t just think, feel
don’t just exist, live.”

Mindfulness –the moment to moment awareness of the present moment-non judgmentally and meditation can be incorporated into your self care. It’s a lifelong practice. In the upcoming months I will be announcing future mindfulness based trainings and classes. I invite you to join then!

In the meantime, thank you for staying connected. Enjoy some of my favorite Brickell shots below.

Set a new year goal, but first, what do you believe?

‘Tis that time of year when people begin to reflect on the year that will soon pass or think about their plans for the new year. Even if someone does not believe in making New Year’s resolutions, many will find that the end of the year is an opportunity to project some ideas or goals onto the new year. There’s plenty of information on the ‘net intended to help you make 2017 your best year yet… some more quirky or superstitious than others. Whether you plan to formally make some new year’s resolutions/promises or just want to “wing it” in 2017 is fine. However, I do encourage you make at least 1 goal or intention that will make you feel good. There’s nothing more empowering than taking charge of your happiness vs. allowing external circumstances to rule your mood or life. As simple as booking yourself a doctor appointment you have been putting off or planning an amazing trip—the New Year brings forth a special energy that practically screams: “JUST DO IT!”.

Belief Systems

Listen to any effective leader, successful entrepreneur, or famous athlete and sure enough their success story eventually communicates a crystal clear message: ‘Believe, and anything is possible’. Belief, it seems, is crucial; and its a concept that most of us were introduced to at a young age. What you believe about yourself and the goal you pursue is just as important as setting one.

If you are having trouble with the initiation or completion of a goal, an inventory of your current belief system is a good start. Belief systems are the stories or set of ideas that we cognitively use to make sense of reality. Since it is a perception, it is not always based on truth or knowledge. It can be influenced by culture, religion, sociopolitical factors, personal experiences; and they can change over time. I am certain, there are many things you believed in your past that you no longer believe. I am also certain there are things that you will never stop believing as well.

Some belief systems are pretty ingrained in our psyche and we may not even realize it. Its important to have the self-awareness to know what those belief systems are. Are they self defeating? Limiting? Supportive to your mission?

Below is a partial list of self-exploratory belief statements derived from the “Rational Belief Inventory”. Check them out, determine if they ring true. For each statement that you agree with, ask yourself: Does this statement support or limit my potential to achieve my goal?

  • I need approval from family, friends, and acquaintances.
  • Things that happen to me in the past control who I am.
  • I deal with tough problems by avoiding them.
  • My motto is, “Never volunteer.”
  • I can’t seem to get fearful things off my mind.
  • It is terrible when things don’t go my way.
  • It’s really easier to avoid problems and responsibilities than to face them.
  • I am happiest when I don’t commit.
  • It’s horrible when things in my life are not the way I want them to be.


I am reminded of the importance in “believing in yourself” through the children’s books I read to my preschooler son. There’s the story of a small yet willful train who “thought she could” (belief) and indeed was able to push a larger engine up a steep hill- against all odds. Another favorite, an elephant with large ears who at first “believed” that a magic feather would help him fly then later learns in amazement that he didn’t need the magic feather. He just needed to believe in himself.

The reality is, somewhere between childhood and adulthood many goals, dreams, or ideas become silly, impossible, and/or “too much work”. When people stop “believing” in the possibility of their dreams/goals/ideas, they eventually wither and die. What follows is usually unhappy relationships, unhealthy lifestyle cycles, crappy jobs, unloved homes, unfulfilled creativity etc. you get the point. If not careful, dreams, desires, or goals get cast aside to the shadow parts of our conscious. Too often, a crisis is the only way they are brought to light (and life).

In the New Year, may you be courageous enough to chase your wildest dream and engage in you personal growth to keep faulty belief systems in check.

Happy New Year!

The uncomfortable inconvenience of change

Some changes ought to come with disclaimer notices warning of its nuisances. Change that contributes to growth or progress is typically a worthy sacrifice -especially in hindsight. The process of change… that’s a whole different story. We deal with change in our own unique way.

When you reflect on nature, you’ll notice that the only constant is change. It is inevitable. Yet, our brain is a mighty hardwired organ that likes the comfort of familiarity and can act resistant towards change. Construction projects (basically all over Miami) and the effects it has on traffic patterns is an example of change that occurs in our environment (extrinsic). Then there are self-initiated (intrinsic) changes, such as quitting cigarettes or starting a new job and these are often welcomed challenges since it’s associated with personal self-improvement. Our brain seems to be friendlier towards intrinsic change -perhaps because we perceive to be in control. Even then, change is change and there will be disruptions of some kind.

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction” – C. Occelli

I’m a proponent of change and progress so this post is certainly not meant to discourage anyone. However, below are a few things to know about change that can help you 1) deal with it (especially when you weren’t planning on it) or 2) stick to it once you’ve decided to commit. But first, choose change.

Before sharing some ‘not-so-great’ aspects of change, it is important to understand that personal change is a commitment that requires motivation. If you have difficulty implementing change, explore your expression towards commitment. How much of yourself do you truly invest? There is a huge difference between wanting to do something (or be someone) and committing to it (ex. setting a date to start, paying for a membership, setting goals with deadlines, studying etc). It is also important to note that through the process of change, motivation may fluctuate. What if a tad of effort pushes just enough to get motivation going? And, who or what is responsible for that effort?


“As I change, so do my relationships”. A less known facet of change is that it alters relationships -you may find that personal relationships become more intimate or distant. Not everyone will appreciate, understand, or accept what you are trying to work on or improve. On that same note, when people around us change their behavior, depending on the type of relationship, we might be *forcefully* confronted with our own need to make changes. Another unfortunate aspect of change and relationships? People typically do not evolve at the same time nor at the same pace, and that is okay.

Dealing with it: Accept how you are, where you are. Self acceptance helps the process of change unravel itself at its own pace. Honor where you are today. When you accept yourself as you are, you become less caught up with other people’s perception of you and trying to ‘win over’ individuals (at the expense of your authenticity). Self acceptance also helps us be kinder to ourselves during the change process -and to others.

Sticking to it: Seek individuals that encourage, support, inspire or motivate you! Read stories, google on or offline communities that support your venture, in other words: get out there! Look for ways to stay connected to what you are seeking. What’s nice about technology is that you can find a support community for virtually anything. Focus on maintaining relationships with individuals who will support you.


Change may result in discomfort just like a new pair of shoes. Discomfort pushes our limits, and we can either endure or give up. Discomfort is one of the main reasons we resist personal change or find it difficult to adapt to change around us. There is a learning curve to most change and until you get over that hump, that clever mind of yours will try to thwart your efforts by flooding you with thoughts of doubt, fear, angst, distress, loneliness, frustration, anger… Breakthrough negative-mode mind by choosing confidence-fueled thoughts. Don’t have any? Make some up, preferably in the form of an ‘I’ affirmation state (ex. I am _________). If you are experiencing physical or mental discomfort towards change, seek calming relaxation activities (Buddhify is a handy app you might find helpfu :)).

Dealing with it: Enduring discomfort can make you more resilient. Conquering the challenge of facing change creates an opportunity that your ‘later self’ can reflect on for inspiration. Each boundary you push will instill a little mental mile marker, reminding you of your resilience. It is up to you to set your mental mile markers of achievements, no matter how small or minimal you may think it is.

Sticking to it: Be open. Life and all that comes with it is meant to be experienced fully. Ask any marathon runner if they ever dealt with thoughts about ‘wanting to give up’. Then ask them if they ever listened to any of those thoughts. Yes, change can be difficult and uncomfortable, and make you want to pull out your hair or whine. But when ready, you can always begin. And when necessary, you can always take a pause.


Control is a little powerhouse. You may have realistic expectations and be comfortable with some ‘fails’ -which you will perceive as part of the change process and learning experience. If you take yourself too serious, you will want to be involved in every variable relevant to your change process and may experience some difficulties with handling unpredictability during your plans (especially ‘failure’). The bottom line: Don’t take yourself so serious. Side note: However you felt (if you felt anything) towards the above-referenced word of “fail”, gives you a clue on what side of the ‘control spectrum’ you sit.

Dealing with it: Let go. A core concept in mindfulness. Letting go of the illusion that you must have control of every process will be like a soothing aromatic balm for your mind. “Ahhhh-hhh”. Take inventory of “what you can control” and “what you can’t control” regularly. Push what needs to be pushed and let go.

Sticking to it: People have distinct ways of managing control. Sometimes circumstances can alter our plans, goals, and efforts for change. Priorities can change about what we seek to change. Trust in yourself and that everything is “as it should be”. This is not the same as giving up. The more fun you can have throughout the process the more you should consider yourself a already winner.

Self-care as your personal compass

You know how during airplane travel the flight attendant instructs us to “place your own oxygen mask before assisting others”, in case of any emergency? That little airplane safety spiel holds a gem of life wisdom as it reminds us that before you can take care of others (or handle crisis) you first have to make sure YOU are getting oxygen and essentially caring for yourself.

Self-care is deliberate, self-motivated behavior that benefits your mental and physical health. Self-care involves activities you do that take care of YOU. Self-care can protect you from dis-ease and keep you engaged with your goals. Maybe you already engage in “self care” without realizing it.

Whenever you are feeling down, whenever you find yourself comparing your life to others, whenever stress is overwhelming, whenever you experience feelings of self-loathe, whenever you feel like your goals are far fetched and unattainable, whenever your mood sucks and you’re just irritable and unpleasant to be around, whenever mindless distractions steal your time, whenever envy, worry, regret, and negativity flood your mind, PAUSE and ask yourself the following:

“When did I feel my best?”

Was it when you were eating healthy? Was it when you were creating something? Was it when you would sing or dance more often? Was it when you were involved in a community service project? Was it when you were enrolled in a class you loved? Was it when you were reading inspiring books? Was it when you became devoted to a spiritually nurturing practice? Was it that time you became super involved with fitness?

Lots of questions/possibilities but as you can see, we often feel our best when we take care of ourselves or do things we enjoy but we forget those things because, well, we become overwhelmed with everything else or we erroneously place everything else first.

Let your self-care become your own personal compass to get you back to your better YOU!

It’s different for everyone but usually self-care has a component of healthy behavior such as physical activity or eating nourishing foods but there’s so much more to it. Self-care also involves personal and unique activities that you thoroughly enjoy (without harming your body and mind). When everything else becomes too consuming, your body and mind will desperately send you signals: your weight might fluctuate, your mood changes, your energy level gets zapped…those are just some examples. Or you may notice an increase in the frequency of unhealthy habits…which are usually ways we try to momentarily feel good. One of my biggest clue when I need to step back and care for myself is whenever I become overly reliant on caffeine for energy boosts.

You don’t have to everything resolved to feel like you are moving forward.

Directing your attention to your own needs can be like a breath of fresh air that will help you return to everything else with more clarity and peace.

Over time, you may notice that your consistency towards self-care comes and goes in cycles. That’s fine and realistic. What matters most is to recognize when you’ve gravitated away from self-care or have become too comfortable in an unhealthy cycle. Figure out what nourishes your mind and body and use it as your compass to get you back to YOU. You may experience a surge of motivation or creativity just by getting back to the basics of caring for YOU.


When I was in grad school my professors practically drilled the importance of self-care into our psyche. We were told that the work of counseling others will involve listening to a lot of emotional baggage and if we’re not careful, we can easily become too attached to the work and detached from ourselves. This is a concept that other professions involved with human services or trauma are also familiar with. Yet no matter the line of work, prioritizing your own emotional needs and observing the effects when you don’t, is a necessary life skill. I remember when I became a mom, the distinction between self-indulgence and self-care became blurred (hormones maybe?). Thankfully, those moments were mostly passing thoughts, yet, how often do individuals (especially women), become so caught up with everything else, that they neglect their own needs? And when that happens for too long, what do other relationships begin to look like? Or more importantly, what does health begin to look like?

For me, self-care is a necessity to perform my work and fulfill my other roles such as wife and mother. It’s a never-perfect balance, but the intention and awareness is there (for the most part). Journaling outdoors, running (especially during the morning hours), yoga, personal pampering, a cup of soothing herbs tea, un-rushed hot showers, and even un-doing of anything are some of my favorites go-to remedies that rev me back up when everything else attempts to suck up my “life-juice”.

Although I sometimes help clients find and implement their own self-care habits, what I’ve learned is that most people already have a wealth of experiences (often forgotten) in which they felt better. The question remains, “When did you feel your best?”