Radical Acceptance: Can you do it?

No matter how healthy or wise or successful you become, you will never be immune to crappy things happening. You will get cut-off on the highway, have to deal with an inept co-worker, cope with illness, deal with grief, and have bad days. This is life. When you sign up for the good, you also have to deal with the less desirable. And in our lifetime, we will probably still see horror in the world. Maybe you have even experienced some of that horror personally.

Here is the deal: We have to accept this as is for right now. If you have experienced something in the past, there is no way possible that we can erase that. We also cannot solve the world problems over night. And there are times when dealing with a toxic relationship will feel as big as a world problem. It is when we are able to accept it as is, that we can actually move past it. We do not fall victim to it. We do not get wrapped up in the ‘why’ behind it. We say, “This is the problem at hand, and this is how we deal with it.”

I utilize the word radical┬ábecause for many acceptance is such a struggle and with deep struggles we have to take drastic measures. We have to dive right in and get the work done with urgency. If we don’t then we can get so caught up in all of the negative emotions that drown us. But when we can put the emotions, thoughts, and worries aside, we can see that the situation is more manageable.

You might hate your job, wish to be in a relationship, wish to be out of a relationship, buried in debt, or faced with any of life’s struggles, However, you will not be able to change your position if you are unable to accept where you are, check in with yourself (remember the trust we talked about) and then make the best decision for you.

Celebration = Gratitude

101 Healthy Tools for Coping with Stress

Stress, disappointment, and negative emotions are inevitable. Sometimes coping is easy; other times it is more difficult. However, it is our job to cope. Our energy effects others, and it is our responsibility to monitor that energy.
Here are 101 ways to Cope:
  1. Bake cookies
  2. Eat two and give the rest away
  3. Go to a bookstore, read travel books, and fantasize of a faraway vacation
  4. Take a walk
  5. Call a friend that you enjoy talking to but haven’t heard from in awhile
  6. Breathe deeply
  7. Flirt with someone that deserves your attention
  8. Plan something, real or imaginary: a new career, a room in your dream home, your future children’s names
  9. Clean a room or closet in your house
  10. Volunteer your time
  11. Watch the sun rise
  12. Take a moment to smell your coffee before brewing and sipping
  13. Read something entertaining in a comfortable space: outside, a comfy chair, in bed
  14. Watch your favorite comedy
  15. Listen to upbeat music, preferably disco
  16. Write a stream of consciousness
  17. Find something that you are good at and that you enjoy doing. Become better at it.
  18. Play with pets: yours, a friend’s, or a shelter
  19. Look at old pictures, letters, or memorabilia
  20. Exercise mindfully
  21. Go on a date
  22. Shop. Buy something that you feel great in, whether it’s earrings, a stunning dress, or a great pair of yoga pants
  23. Enjoy a good glass of wine
  24. Get a makeover
  25. Play a game with friends
  26. Kiss
  27. Open the windows during a rainstorm
  28. Go to your favorite concert
  29. Surround yourself in snuggly material: your favorite sweats, a down blanket, fuzzy socks
  30. Start a blog
  31. Get a massage. Do it yourself or splurge. Massage your scalp with eucalyptus shampoo, or your feet with lavender creme
  32. Create something artistic
  33. Hit balls at a batting cage
  34. Get dressed up
  35. Drink herbal tea
  36. Try progressive muscle relaxation
  37. Run as hard as you can, even if for only for 30 seconds
  38. Take a scorchingly hot shower
  39. Meditate or pray
  40. Work in a garden
  41. Attend a community event
  42. Drink hot chocolate
  43. Watch videos of laughing babies on Youtube
  44. Take an ice bath
  45. Run as long as you can, even if at a slow jog
  46. Learn something new: a recipe, foreign language, how to knit
  47. Ask yourself how you feel; respond with advice that you would give your best friend
  48. Eat ice cream
  49. Go to a driving range
  50. Make love
  51. Go to a play or performance show
  52. Eat something decadent, slowly. Enjoy each bite.
  53. Do something unexpectedly nice for someone else
  54. Change a room in your home: Paint the walls, rearrange the furniture, refurbish a piece of furniture
  55. Scream loudly in a secluded space
  56. Take a dance class
  57. Go swimming
  58. Find something that makes you feel sexy: music, high heels, lipstick, lingerie
  59. Tell yourself that in this very moment you have everything that you need
  60. Give yourself permission to do something indulgent
  61. Forgive someone
  62. Appreciate something with age and history
  63. Explore new territory
  64. Go to an amusement park
  65. Stretch your body
  66. Sit at an outdoor cafe
  67. Do something that you never thought that you would
  68. Attend a marathon race as a spectator
  69. Hold a baby
  70. Initiate a girls’ night
  71. Sit in the warmth of the sun
  72. Join a group: AA, a book club, a rec league
  73. Consult with a health professional
  74. Read something inspirational
  75. Work on a puzzle
  76. Play like a child
  77. Go for a drive
  78. Attend a cultural event
  79. Gaze at the stars
  80. Remind yourself that you have gotten through worse before
  81. Sit next to a natural body of water: a stream, the ocean, a waterfall; listen mindfully
  82. Work towards a health goal like weight loss, a faster run time, or doing the splits
  83. Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Create a space in your mind that is peaceful and safe. Go there.
  84. Make a list of long and short term goals
  85. Take the first step towards your goals
  86. Pay off debt
  87. Find a non-profit or charity organization with a cause that you are passionate about; get involved
  88. Give your full attention to someone else
  89. Take a quiet bubble bath
  90. Make peace with your stress by finding gratitude for it
  91. Go fishing
  92. Go to a museum
  93. Visit new sites on the internet
  94. Put clean sheets on your bed
  95. Enjoy the smell of fresh cut grass
  96. Yoga
  97. Go on vacation or plan a staycation
  98. Sing your heart out
  99. Buy fresh flowers or a new plant for your home
  100. Go out to dinner
  101. Allow yourself to let go

He’s Not Perfect. You Aren’t Either

More real wellness, like this, to be shared in this month’s Wellness Challenge.


Testimonials of a Wellness Coach

I am so grateful to be able to do what I do. It has taken me several years to get to be at this place in my career and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I always knew that the essential tools and lessons that I was learning through education, experience, and introspection were missing somewhere in life lessons 101.

Here are a few amazing testimonials and feedback that I have received from individual and group wellness coaching in the last couple of weeks.

“I have lost 11 lbs in 5 weeks. This is unreal. Thank you so much.” ~L.S, 32

“I am going to bed every night before 10:30. It was hard at first but now I am sleeping and rested. I haven’t felt this way in years.” ~ J.L, 39

“I stopped my psychotropic meds. I just don’t need them now and I feel great.” ~G*

“This is why everyone needs a coach. Women need to hear that it is ok to stop beating themselves up!” ~H.T, 35

“It is hard to balance your weight loss goals with your goals to go out and meet people, but I am doing it!” ~L.S, 32

“I have started eating breakfast or having a smoothie and am seeing changes in my mood, energy level, and weight.” ~A.B, 28

“Powered through a 4 mile run. It was a challenge but I finished.” ~E.H, 26

*Not recommended without consulting a physician

Motivation for the Unmotivated

** Full Disclosure: This post may be a bit of a rant or vent as I use my blog as a therapeutic outlet for personal/professional life stress.**

Many of you already know that I have worked in community mental health for almost three years. It was my stepping stone immediately after graduate school and now serves as supplemental income while I build my practice and the center. I had never wanted to work in community mental health but saw it like living in a dorm: doing it for a year is good experience and a rite of passage. But just like a dorm, 3 years is too long. I have learned a lot about clinical mental health, the bureaucracies surrounding healthcare, and low income people… heck, people in general. I also don’t think I would have embraced DBT, a very marketable tool, so fully had I not been in community mental health.

However, I’m tired. I am burnt out. It is too stressful to build a career in this field (for me). The work is stressful, yes, but there is also the never-ending gotta-keep-my-lights-on kinda stress. If my clients don’t come to session, I don’t get paid. And there is no penalty to them for not showing up. So I am relying on individuals experiencing inhibited motivation or exaggerated fears (common symptoms of depression, anxiety or the like) to show up in order to get paid. Swell. Now we have to look at the governing body that supplies the money from which I get paid. The government. Double Swell. 15 months ago, Medicaid cut provider reimbursement rates by 8%. Ouch. And news has surfaced that they have just made an additional 3% cut. So, I am relying on people that may or may not be motivated for treatment (through no intentional fault) to attend their sessions (with no penalty if they don’t) in order to get paid less than I was making when I just finished school, and hope that cuts don’t go lower, all with the same eagerness, integrity and optimism.

So, maybe needless to say, I am losing motivation for working in community mental health. Correction: I have lost motivation for work in community mental health. I have many clients whom I love. However, the worries about paperwork, no shows, insurance, unsanitary work environments, and bureaucratic nightmares are worries I am ready to live without. I plan to serve those that may not have the financial resources, but not like this.

But what are my options?

That has become the distressing question of the millennium! I have considered it all. I applied for and got a full-time, cube job as a wellness counselor. Decent pay, good benefits, bad commute, no flexibility… no private practice. Nope. That wouldn’t work. I could go back to personal training as supplemental income. Flexibility, fun environment, lots of time and energy spent building another clientele… Nope. Not a good option when you are already building one business. Get a part-time job working a register. Hmmm… interesting but might make me nauseous when I get a paycheck that is 1/10 of my hourly rate that I have earned through tens of thousands of dollars that I owe on student loans. Keep coping with community mental health. That has seemed to be the best option. I have tons of flexibility in my schedule to jump if I need to sign some papers or check out a potential space for the center. I can continue to build my practice in the meantime which is giving me joy and pride.

So this is how I cope: Blog and vent with other therapists that are frustrated. Take a break from work and plan my wedding. Focus my energy on building the dream. Yoga. Coffee and/or wine hiatus mid/end of day respectively. The most helpful skill is reminding myself that it is temporary. I have gotten through worse. It is almost over. I am SO close to a dream profession. And not just a dream profession but my dream that will accommodate my life as a therapist, wellness junkie, wife, and one-day mom.

So, I will keep on keepin’ on… for now.

The Cost of Mental Healthcare

There are some strong opinions when it comes to mental health treatment. Some people are all for some meds. Others would rather try every option before medication. Some people see therapy as a natural, healthy treatment option. Others believe that talking doesn’t help. The good news is that there are a lot of options when it comes to treating and caring for your mental health.

For most people that are experiencing situational mental health symptoms (meaning that your mental state is to due specific circumstances in your life), medication is not necessary. It is an option, but one that should be monitored carefully for effectiveness and side effects.

No matter what your preferred mode, treatment is not cheap. The bills can really add up. It is not only important to know what your options of treatment are, but also how much they cost and how you would like to divi those costs. The average price of one name brand psychotropic prescription for one month is $150. Let’s see how else we can spend $150 in one month:

  • 1-2 therapy sessions
  • 10 yoga classes
  • 2-3 personal training sessions
  • 2-3 massages or other spa treatments
  • 1 meeting with a homeopathic physician (and probably recommended supplements)
  • Art or cooking classes (prices will vary)
Now get creative and see how you can mix and match services based on your needs and level of stress. This is your mental health. And, just because it is Women’s Health Week, I will help get you started! All health assessments are free this week! And, all health coaching sessions that are purchased over the next three months are 20% off! SO spread the word, and let’s celebrate this health week together!

Is DBT Right for You?

I have mentioned DBT a time or two throughout this blog. But many of you may be asking, “What is DBT?” DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy and was developed for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. Since about 1993, it has demonstrated effectiveness in everything from eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and what I always say was just missing from our 10th grade curriculum. When people talk about DBT, they are usually referring to a skills group, but it has an important individual therapy component as well.

Skills group targets four behaviors to improve: Core Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness.

Core Mindfulness: Targets your judgments of yourself and others, assists in doing one thing in the moment, increased personal awareness, and doing things that will effectively help you achieve the outcome of your life goals.

Distress Tolerance: This is what I call “The Giant Toolbox of Coping Skills.” Distress Tolerance teaches a ton of coping skills, advocating to try different ones in different situations, build more positive experiences in your life, and be in the moment when using the skills.

Emotion Regulation: For those of you that feel that you have no control over your emotions, this section is for you. Emotion regulation teaches how to identify your emotions, value the function of your emotions, and focus on creating more positive emotions. It helps us understand our emotions so that we can understand and control our reaction to those emotions.

Interpersonal Effectiveness. This unit builds skill in relationship building, self-respect, and having your needs met, effectively.

DBT is a validating method of treatment and can be an effective option for those who have tried everything with little results or those that may want to take their treatment to the next level.