Today I stopped behind two cars with their blinkers on. When I was telling my husband this story, he interrupted me. Apparently blinkers are actually called hazard lights; I told him this is exactly why I have a blog.
At first I couldn’t tell what was going on, but then I saw them, 6 fuzzy heads crossing the road ahead of one proud momma goose. She was clearly Canadian and not American as she took her time crossing the street, so much so that I looked at the other drivers’ facial expressions.
They were smiling.
Now I live by a golf course, so wildlife impeding traffic is an event I’ve seen played out many times on my way to work. People are always in a rush, looking annoyed, or even beeping their horns to “speed it up a little”.
But today, after months of stay at home orders, these drivers are enjoying the moment. Grateful to be out of the house, grateful to have a job to go to, grateful that life goes on. In the past, I don’t think I would have...
Are you feeling tired and like “there is no way I should feel this tired” at the same time? Are you having difficulty paying attention on Zoom or getting motivated in the morning? There is a fatigue that comes with living life in 2D. Our brains evolved for human interaction, not for watching screens.
Mindfulness practices may cure COVID-brain, and by yoga I don’t mean twisting like a pretzel, I mean breathing, meditating, and connecting with your body. Even if you don’t see yourself starting a new habit now, think about how you’d like to carry mindfulness forward when life shifts to the new normal.
Here are a few tips to get started even when you can’t leave the house.
Check your thoughts.
Are you your toughest critic? Practicing self-compassion is more important than any pose. One positive about starting your practice during a pandemic is that no one is watching you. There is no comparing your body to others in the class or getting distracted by...
I’ve baked cakes that didn’t taste (or look) like a masterpiece; they’ve been under-baked or a little dry, but I’ve never had a cake turn on me on so many levels. This angel food cake fell apart in my hands like I had shot it!
My husband was looking for healthier desserts online and pulled off this angel food cake recipe. He proudly came home with egg whites “already separated” in that milk carton container. He busts on my cooking all the time; I couldn’t believe I knew something he didn’t!
“Ha ha, you can’t make an angel food cake with that! The pasteurization does something to the proteins, it says so right on the box!” Luckily he bought regular eggs too, but with so many items missing from the store during COVID-19, should we really be wasting a dozen eggs on a cake?
With an entire day off and nowhere to go, I casually waited until afternoon to get started on our make-up cake. I studied the recipe—wait for...
Six weeks of social distancing encourages self-reflection; the pace of life has changed, at least for this moment.
Before COVID-19 (B.C.), we were early into the new year, depleted after the holidays, but with the hope of filling up. In March and April, we got that immediate family time, longer days, and greener grass. Spring is everything we said we wanted--just not the way we wanted.
I'm thankful for lovely writing teachers who encourage me to list intentions or habits I'd like to carry forward when the state reopens after covid (A.C.). What baggage can I leave behind when I'm able to venture out again into the new normal?
B.C.: I was a checklist person who viewed any down time as non-productive. Even yoga was practiced on a schedule and for a specific reason. Watching the news, the loss, the strain on the local economy--my checklists don't seem as important now.
A.C.: I still struggle to view my relaxation time as valuable. Why does all my time need to be...
As a psychiatrist, making spirits bright is my job all year long. I prescribe antidepressant medications, but also help patients prepare to navigate holiday gatherings and family obligations. We can enjoy the holidays when all is calm, but what about when it’s not so bright? Contentment grows from the ability to pause and take notice amid the chaos of the season.
I started practicing meditation, breathing, and the conscious movement of yoga to be more present for the moments that count—but I struggle to stay mindful during the holidays. Last Christmas, I was doing everything right with my yoga practice yet everything still felt wrong, like yoga wasn’t working. If you feel your self-care routine is letting you down, consider these five causes.
Compassion fatigue is common in people who work in helping professions. It often starts with feeling pressed for time and eliminating the very things that would combat stress. We eat lunch over the...
Bulk haul week in my neighborhood means anything that doesn’t fit into a trash bag goes out to the curb. Junk collectors cruise the street two days ahead of waste pickup in search of treasures among tangled Christmas lights and outdated toilets. Fall collection makes room for the holidays, but the season of gifts will fill our homes back up again. Why is it so hard to make space?
We clean our garage twice a year, but our brain is the closet we never quite get to. Before we can organize our minds, we run out of time. We end up shoving more in until we feel stuffed, a door ready to unhinge.
When your mind feels too full to be mindful, you don’t have to kick memories to the curb to make more room, just breathe! When a room feels crowded, we navigate to an opening and take a breath. Do the same when life feels crowded. Conscious breathing prepares us for meditation.
We are meant to breathe from our bellies, not our chest. Relaxing the abdomen allows more room for the...
Kintsugi is a Japanese art where lacquer and gold powder fill in cracks in broken pottery. The piece is considered more valuable as the breakage is part of the object’s history.
Growing up in a broken home, I often blamed myself for other’s distress. I tried to be perfect so everything would be OK, and over time, developed OCD. When I achieved my goal of getting into medical school, this perfectionistic pattern fueled my impostor syndrome. It was only a matter of time until everyone found out I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to be there.
No surprise, I became a child psychiatrist. It never occurred to me that my specialty choice was about understanding my childhood and learning how to ‘fix’ myself. With endless clinical hours helping others heal from trauma, there was little time to process the triggering aspects of the work. I never slowed down to care for myself and continued to give from a place of depletion. Aren’t good doctors supposed...
Singer Kelly Clarkson had her appendix removed only a few hours after hosting the 2019 Billboard music awards. The headline on social media? “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”. I admire Kelly Clarkson and her work ethic, but I wish, “Kelly Clarkson took care of herself today” would get as many retweets!
Our society hasn’t paid much attention to self-care. Now we have record numbers of people being treated for anxiety disorders or burnout. We read about the problem but still value that professional who can do it all.
Last month a journalist who wanted an expert to comment on the definition of self-care contacted me. Her take was that the term is now so prevalent that people may indulge in unhealthy behaviors under the guise of self-care. The example she gave was a spouse getting upset over a partner’s nights out away from the children. Getting together with girlfriends to whine over wine is fun, but is it self-care?
For me, the first...
Bright yellow and black buses flew through my development this morning, the buzz of back-to-school. Smiling children and sleepy teenagers accept their summer is over. The days are shorter, a few leaves turning. These colors and sounds are a reminder of change; actual bees will soon disappear as they prepare to hibernate.
Bees remind me of anxious thoughts buzzing in my head. “Be careful, do it this way.” “Be sure to get it right.” “Be-ware, you’re running out of time!” Maybe this year I’ll put perfectionism to bed for the winter with the bees?
I once said, “If I was a perfectionist, I’d be perfect”. Like most perfectionists, I believed hard work and high expectations made me successful.
Perfectionism and honey bees are sneaky. Honey bees’ stingers are shaped so you don’t feel them entering your skin; the sting comes after the bee finishes. The sting of perfectionism comes when our self-compassion meets the...