Let’s talk about this – As a community

It’s Saturday morning, day 50+ of quarantine and the distant sun is shining through my bedroom windows while I sip on a freshly brewed cup of medium-roast coffee with a dash of coconut milk. I’m sitting comfortably in our wasabi green arm chair posted up in the back right corner of the bedroom, hair up in a messy bun, Drunk Elephant face mask glued to my face when my phone rings. It’s my lovely friend, Amandi. We start talking about our weekend plans, how our mom’s are doing, and healthy snacks we’ve been eating lately.

Which got me thinking. Quarantine is a roller coaster of emotions.

This is a situation and experience we’re collectively riding in across the world. This ride we’re on is a first of its kind and it’s called “Quaracoaster”. This ride of uncertainty and newness takes us all from a moment of feeling hopeful about the future to desperate for return to normalcy to sad and anxious that we can’t see our friends and family then back to feeling hopeful again. We’re all on the same ride, anticipating the next hill, the next loop that will send our stomachs to an uncomfortable place that we’re not familiar with feeling.

And since we’re not familiar and comfortable with this unfamiliar feeling, we doubt ourselves. We doubt the validity of the feeling. We don’t talk about it with others on the ride because we think “Maybe I’m the only one feeling this way”. So we suppress the feeling for part of the ride, but sooner rather than later there will be another loop and another loop and another loop.

And guess what?

Everyone on the ride will experience that next loop. The people in the front holding on will experience it first and the people in the last cart will experience it last. But we’re all in this Quaracoaster so let’s talk about it. Let’s share those uncomfortable and raw feelings because if you’re in the first cart you’re not only immensely helping yourself by vocalizing your emotions, but you’re opening a safe space for those to come.

Feelings are complicated, messy, unclear, and scary. They’re not packaged in little pink boxes with oversized red bows. But we have them and we have to recognize (and not ignore) the extremely challenging ones such as sadness, anger, hopelessness, and fear in order to truly feel the good ones such as contentment, joy, love, motivation, and playfulness.

The first step is to recognize what we’re feeling. The second step is to understand what we’ve discovered—what we’re feeling and why. The next step is to properly label our emotions, meaning not just to call ourselves “happy” or “sad” but to dig deeper and identify the nuances and intricacies of what we feel. The fourth step is to express our feelings, to ourselves first and then, when right, to others. The final step is to regulate—as we’ve said, not to suppress or ignore our emotions but to use them wisely to achieve desired goals” (Marc Brackett PhD, Permission to Feel).

Your Mental Health Matters.

Quickly de-clutter your life with these 4 starting points

When you de-clutter your life your confidence and self-efficacy improves. Here are four simple ways to clear out some clutter. And if I can do it, you sure as heck can!

Quickly de-clutter your life with these 4 starting points

If your house is cluttered, your mind has a higher likelihood of being cluttered. If your mind is cluttered (or crowded), you’re more likely to experience feelings of imbalance. And feeling imbalanced doesn’t feel good, it feels disorienting. Clutter can be a literal manifestation of mental health issues such as stress, confusion, and depression. Why? Because when there’s too much junk and clutter in our lives we feel suffocated. At times, stress can make you feel like you can’t breath. See the correlation?

So let’s get some clutter out of our lives so we can leave more room for mental wellness.

1. CLOTHES EVERYWHERE

Clothes are one of the top 3 things I think of when I hear the word “clutter”. Clothes crowd our closets, our floors, our laundry room, and our BRAINS! When there are clothes all over the house we feel stressed and disorganized. Then we start thinking about the fact that we have all these clothes that we spent heaps of money on, but rarely wear them and the stress/aggravation starts to heat up even more.

If you’re someone who loves trying new clothes, I highly recommend you look into subscription services such as Nuuly and Rent the Runway. It’s the same price every month so you can budget for it and the clothes don’t pile up!

Fact: The average person spends $161/month on clothes, yet most women only wear a shirt a few times and get sick of it or it’s out of style the next season.

2. HOUSE DECOR

You see something cute at Target like a wood bowl for your rings and BAM, next thing you know it’s on your nightstand. One month later it’s in your nightstand because you’ve replaced it with another trinket that you’ll be tired of soon.

Be mindful when you’re wandering the endless aisles of Target or HomeGoods. Do you really need another blanket? Will it bring you joy in a month? (Marie Kondo plug) Or will you look at this plaid wintery blanket in a month and not know where to put it so it gets moved under the couch? Moving something into a nightstand or under the couch might sound insignificant, but I promise this stuff adds up and turns into clutter.

3. CLEANING SUPPLIES

Again with the Target example– Target has incredible branding. You spontaneously buy a plant-based deodorant or a chic window cleaner, but you already have 3 bottles of Windex under your sink! Many cleaning supplies are multi-purpose so you don’t need to clutter your sink with 15 different cleaners. Get rid of what you don’t need (don’t think $$ here, it’s already a sunk cost) and get comfortable with having some white space. Your brain will thank you.

4. YOUR CALENDAR

Saying yes to everything = clutter. Your time is extremely valuable and you have no obligation to say yes to everyones asks. When you look at your calendar do you feel stressed? If so, what specific events on it are causing you stress? Why do they seem stressful?

When you de-clutter your calendar you de-clutter your mind. When you de-clutter your life your confidence and self-efficacy improves.


So let’s get going! De-cluttering and cleaning is actually energizing. Play some loud music through your soundbar and see how you feel when you act on one of the four suggestions above.

Don’t give up on finding a therapist. Here’s how I found one

You will hit roadblocks along the way in this process. But you will find a therapist that will help you improve your self-esteem. You will find a therapist that will teach you techniques to overcome an unanticipated loss. You will find a therapist that you can work through your anger with.

If you’ve ever began the process of trying to find a therapist, then you know first-hand how truly difficult it can be. You’ve experienced starting and stopping around 50-100 times because each time you get a little closer to finding a potential match, there’s another roadblock. You think to yourself, “Okay, this lady looks great. She specializes in eating disorders and anxiety”. You start to look for her contact information and ROADBLOCK— She doesn’t accept your insurance.
So then you wait a few days and after your afternoon run the adrenaline and endorphins are flowing so you think to yourself, “Okay, let’s give this another try, there has to be someone out there”. So you type in a variety of search terms of what you’re looking for:

Female, PTSD, Aetna, within 5 miles, and stress.

Next, you click on a licensed professional counselor (LPC) that matches all 5 criteria objectives you typed in. You email her along with two others that could potentially work. ROADBLOCK— None of the three potential therapists are accepting new patients right now.

So you try again in a week. More and more roadblocks continue to pop-up and you’ve pretty much lost all hope in finding a therapist at this point.

There are an innumerable amount of barriers when it comes to finding a professional to talk to. It’s easy to find a dentist or a nail salon, but it can feel like it’s close to impossible to find a licensed therapist that’s right for you. What was specifically challenging for me is when I was finally ready to look into options, I quickly became defeated. Each time I tried searching on a variety of websites I hit a new roadblock– Not accepting new patients, too far from my house, hours that weren’t compatible with my work schedule, out of network providers, etc. After my brother died, I searched for someone to work through my trauma with on and off for over a year. You’d think that in NYC you’d be able to find what you’re looking for in 10 minutes, but that’s just not the case. Eventually I moved to Denver and after living here for two months I started the search again. With persistence and commitment to figuring this out, I finally had a great phone consultation that led to an appointment that was booked for the following week. These are the steps I took:

7 Steps to Finding a Therapist

  1. I used Psychology Today
    • I applied the following filters:
      • Zip code
      • Widened the search to 5 miles
      • Clicked “Cigna” as my insurance
      • “Show Only Women”
      • Selected Grief, Trauma & PTSD, & Anxiety

  2. Next, I opened a few profiles that looked interesting to me

  3. Then, I emailed them directly through psychologytoday.com
    • Here you provide basic information: Why you’re reaching out, your phone #, email, and name. I also wrote the name of my insurance provider in the message as well

  4. Now the ball is in the therapists court and you wait to hear back. I also recommend giving them a call at the number listed on their profile

  5. When your potential therapist gets back to you, set up a 15-30 minute initial phone consultation
    • The free consultation is very important.I cannot stress this enough. During this call, the therapist will ask you questions and you can ask them questions. Be transparent and open about why you’re looking for a therapist. This will give you a good gauge if this could be a good fit for you.
    • Examples of questions to ask:
      • Do you specialize in ___(anxiety, trauma, self esteem, relationship issues, bipolar)__
      • What does your availability and hours look like?
      • Do you accept my insurance? **This is very important because out-of-network costs can be through the roof. If the provider you’re looking at setting up an appointment with is in-network for you, then you will pay a co-pay (mine is $40 per session). You and the therapist should both call your insurance provider to confirm your benefits.
      • How long are your sessions?
      • How do we set up counseling goals specific to me?
    • I’m very sensitive to people’s voices and tone, which is another reason why an initial call is extremely beneficial.

  6. If the initial consultation goes well and you’re interested in setting up the first appointment, the therapist will likely have you send over three things via email:
    1. A picture of your insurance card (front + back)
    2. Your date of birth
    3. Your current address

  7. Lastly, confirm your appointment time and go.
    I highlight go because setting up an appointment can seem like a good idea now, but then the day comes and we make excuses for why we can’t go. Excuses like, “I haven’t seen this friend in a year and we should get dinner”. Response: You’ll be a better friend if you prioritize your health and wellbeing. Or this excuse: “I have to work late”. Response: Keep your commitments, you’ll be better at work if you prioritize your health and wellbeing.

    If this first appointment goes well, set-up a second appointment while you are in the office. If you’re on the fence as to whether this is the therapist for you, go to 1-3 more sessions and then make a decision to start looking again.

You may have to repeat this process several times until you find the therapist that fits your needs and wants. I did. You will hit roadblocks along the way. But you will find a therapist that will help you improve your self-esteem. You will find a therapist that will teach you techniques to overcome an unanticipated loss. You will find a therapist that you can work through your anger with. You will find a therapist that uses EMDR as a therapy method. You will find a therapist that is in-network that you can afford. You will find a therapist for you. Start by taking the first step. You’ll be even stronger than you already are afterwards.

When we talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.

-Fred Rogers

Need a pair of sexy dog walking shoes?

Even Riley gets so excited when I slip these bad boys on he can barely control himself. Click the pic to read more!

If you’re anything like me, you love a pair of shoes that are easy to slip on and ready to go when you need them most, like taking the dog on a quick walk.

When you’re juggling a leash, poop bags, your phone, and a coffee, the last thing you can do is take 45 seconds to tie up tennis shoes. OH hell no. What you’ve been looking for are:

Crocs

Specifically fur-lined cheetah crocs that go with every outfit you own. One of my best friends in college, Grant, bought me my cheetah crocs in college. They’ve made the move to different apartments in Missouri, to Minnesota, to New York City, and now they’re in Denver. They’ll be on my feet in my wedding. But really, these shoes are comfortable, stylish, and sexy.

Riley gets so excited when I slip these bad boys on he can barely control himself. He sees the cheetah print and his tail goes wild. Hitting every wall and water bowl in sight. It’s unbelievable the effect these shoes have on dogs and people and I just want to be a dog pleaser.

When I walk down the street in LoDo I can sense that everyone wants a pair. They’re gorgeous.

Next time you’re online shopping, check out the greatest dog walking shoes of all time: Crocs. They never go out of style.