What I Learned in 2022
Happy New Year!! I can’t believe 2023 is here. Where has the time gone? The holidays just flew by. I barely had time to blog or post on social media. Besides life stuff, the flu swept through our household. It was nasty too. I was trying to avoid getting sick, while taking care of sick kids. I did pretty good physically. Emotionally I was a wreck! I was stressed, anxious, frustrated, sad, etc. You name it, I felt it. I spent a lot of time watching television and doing puzzles. That is all I had the energy to do, and that is okay.
I thought I would write a post about things I learned in 2022. It was an interesting year with a lot of emotions and growth. As a therapist, my job is to help others with their emotions and growth, however, sometimes I forget about me. In 2022, I was forced to take a good look at who I am and the lessons I needed to learn.
Take a Break from Social Media Anytime
This! Over the years I have had a love/hate relationship with social media. I’m either all in or all out. When I am out, I feel guilty, stressed, discouraged, and not good enough. I had to take a long hard look at this mentality and the way it made me feel. Why was I feeling this way about something I didn’t really have to do? Don’t get me wrong, social media has been great for my business and connecting with friends and family. I had to ask myself “How did people run a business or connect with friends and family before social media?” If you were born prior to 2010, you know the answer. LOL!! We met in-person, emailed or called each other on the phone. We marketed by word of mouth and networked. So why can’t I do that? I learned it is okay to take a break. I can't give my best to my followers and subscribers if I feel terrible. I get to pause, reset and come back feeling better. I have come to terms with not posting when I don't feel good. Not posting is not a reflection of me, it is a reflection of self-love and self-care.
Emotions Are Part of Life
Yes, I should know this right? I constantly tell this to my clients. Why can’t I take my own advice? I had a lot of emotions in 2022. I felt sad, anxious, angry, frustrated, disappointed, confused, and scared. I tried my go-to coping skills such as journaling, exercise, meditation, and breathwork. Sometimes, none of them worked. So, I just sat there and let the feelings flow through me. Sometimes It would take an hour, or two. Other times, it would be an entire day!! A few times I would go to bed early because the feelings were too much. I learned that emotions and feelings are a part of life. They may be uncomfortable, but I can get through them. Emotions let me know I am human. I feel things and that is a beautiful feeling.
Lean on Friends (Really!)
That is what friends are for right? Recently, I had a wonderful dinner with friends. I decided to vent that I had not been doing well emotionally. I text these women daily, but never shared how I was feeling. I kept everything to myself. I suffered in silence. Of course they got on me about not telling them what was going on. We all tell each other that we are there for one another. How come we don’t take each other up on the offer? I had to ask myself “was I scared they would judge me or wouldn’t know what to do for me?” It doesn’t really matter. Looking back, it would have been nice to have friends to lean on. Just to listen. I notice that when I am going through something, I lean back instead of lean in. I go inwards instead of reaching out. It makes it worse. I’ve learned I want to lean on my friends during the good times and bad times.
Be Patient with My Body
I learned my body will cooperate if I am patient. I hired a weight loss coach and lost 15 pounds in 2022. I used to get frustrated with my weight loss journey. I didn’t believe I could lose weight since it had been so long since I had lost weight. Over the past 7 months, I have learned to treat my body with love and respect. I learned to be patient with the journey. When I got frustrated, I learned to get curious instead of judgmental. It paid off!!
Find Something I Enjoy and Keep Doing It
Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. I love puzzles. I wasn’t the biggest fan growing up, but over the past year, I have learned to love them. They have been a wonderful coping skill that I use to calm me down. A few days ago I completed my first 1000 piece puzzle. It was so satisfying. In 2023, I will always have a puzzle on my table because it brings me joy and comfort.
So what about you? What lessons did you learn in 2022? I’d love to hear from you.
Vacation is Self-Love: 4 Ways You Can Love Yourself While You Are Away or At Home
I’m back!! I just got back from a 2-week vacation. And yes girl, I needed it.
It has been a long 2 ½ years. I can say I truly worked my butt off. I took a few
mini vacations here and there, but I was always on. I continued to answer my phone
and answer emails while on vacation. I never shut off. Well this time I totally turned off and it was fabulous. A dear colleague was able to cover my caseload for any urgent matters and I was off to Maui for a week! I really enjoyed my time on the island with my family. It was our first time in Hawaii and it was very relaxing. I learned a few new ways to love myself that I want
to share with you.
I really learned to slow down in Maui. I read that Hawaii had a slower pace of life, so I knew ahead of time I would not be able to rush around the island. The slow pace of life became obvious at the airport when I was waiting in line for the rental car. There were 10 people in line ahead of me and it took about 45 minutes to get my vehicle. Then it took about 30 minutes to leave the parking lot. I am not complaining. I was just not used to it. The slow pace continued with driving around the island, waiting in lines, waiting in restaurants and waiting for excursions. I chose not to care. Instead, I chose to be present. Coming from the mainland, and the San Francisco Bay Area, I was used to a fast paced life. This was so different and it felt good. I had time to check in with myself. It gave me time to calm nerves while being in a place I was not used to.
Self-admittedly I am an impatient person. I want everything NOW!! Being impatient causes me anxiety because I am in a rush and always thinking about the next thing. Thinking about the future produces a lot of anxiety for me. Maui taught me to practice being patient. Even when I wanted traffic to move faster, or the waitress to move quicker, it wasn’t happening. I had to be patient and it felt good.
Face Your Fears
I sure did!! Ziplining and snorkeling. They were not on my bucket list whatsoever. I was too scared to be floating in the air and too scared I would get attacked by a fish. Living through the pandemic has changed a lot of things for me. The pandemic has taught me to live for today. It has taught me to try new experiences because I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. My 12-year-old daughter really wanted to go ziplining. I could have watched her from the sidelines. I decided to reach deep down inside my soul for the courage to sail above the trees and look at the ocean. I’ve overcome so many challenges and struggles in my life. Why couldn’t I face my fear of heights? Why couldn’t I give myself the opportunity to see life from a different perspective? So, I did it! Same with snorkeling. My husband wanted to go. I was more inclined to swim with the fishes because I find them beautiful. I lived for the moment and snorkeled. That experience was also beautiful.
Just “being” on vacation instead of “doing” vacation brought me a greater sense of inner peace. I could hear and feel myself breathe. I took a lot more deep breaths. My mind was not racing. My mind was filled with “open space”. It felt like a white board. I started to think of ideas for my business. I did not think “I can’t”. I began to think “I will”. I watched my children play with other children they met while we were there. I watched couples walk along the beach. I talked to my husband for hours at a time. My mind didn’t wander to the list of things I had to do. I was just there. Feeling at peace.
Let’s face it. For most of us, vacation happens only once, maybe twice a year. I wish I could go to Maui all the time, but I’m not a millionaire. LOL! However, we can take everything I learned and use it here at home too. We get to drive slower in order to get to where we are going. We just need to leave earlier. We can be patient while we are in line at the grocery store. We can face any fears that are stopping us from living the life we want to live. We can feel at peace by just pausing, taking breaks or even setting up our home to feel more peaceful.
Are these tips helpful? Hopefully you can show yourself some love by using them on vacation or at home. Let me know how it goes!!
Uggh. What a day! Today I spent the day watching my daughters play soccer. I love watching them, but I was not feeling well. I took a nice thermos of coffee with me, but I forgot a bottle of water. Sometimes I forget how important it is to drink water. Today was one of those days. I had a headache, felt anxious, tired, moody and my mouth was really dry. I’m sure I was dehydrated. It was not pleasant at all.
So, let’s take a look at some of the physical benefits of drinking water, shall we?
That is a pretty good list if you ask me. Can I have a glass of water please?
As you can see from this list, water is great for your physical health. So what about your emotional health? I really wanted to get to the root of why I was feeling really anxious. I am off for a few days and I have nothing to be anxious about right now. I decided I wanted to do a little research on the benefits of drinking water for emotional health. I really wanted to see if there was a correlation between drinking water and mental health.
Well…there has not been much research on this topic. I found a few studies that tried to answer this question. Some studies had limitations and others did not seem to have enough participants. Some studies were inclusive. The best study I found was an Iranian study published in 2018 in the World Journal of Psychiatry; Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study. The study involved 3,327 Iranian adults. They were assessed for their daily water consumption. They were also assessed using a depression and anxiety questionnaire. The evaluators also examined the participants dietary intake, BMI, physical activity, substance use and digestive system. The study found that when water consumption increases, the risk of depression and anxiety decreases. One reason may be that people who consume more water, have healthy behaviors, are physically active and consume greater amounts of nutrients. Nutrients are essential to the synthesis and regulation of neurotransmitters, which send messages to your brain. Neurotransmitters, such as Norepinephrine, are linked to mood regulation. Drinking less water keeps Norepinephrine levels high, which may lead to depression. The evaluators of this study agreed that more studies are needed on this topic.
As you can see, water has many benefits.. It may even improve your mental health. As soon as I returned home, I drank 3 glasses of water, and felt so much. My anxiety and headache disappeared. I was in a better mood and was able to concentrate enough to write this blog.
So, if you are feeling down and want a pick-me-up, grab yourself a glass of water. If you are feeling anxious and want to calm down, grab a glass of water. Cheers!!
Fahimeh Haghighatdoost, Awat Feizi, Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, Nafiseh Rashidi-Pourfard, Ammar Hassanzadeh Keshteli, Hamid Roohafza, Payman Adibi (2018). Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study.
World Journal of Psychiatry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147771/
“It’s not good enough.”
“What will my audience think of me?”
“What if my email doesn’t make sense?”
“What if I mess up the presentation?”
“What if I make a mistake?”
“I HAVE TO BE PERFECT!”
Do any of these statements sound familiar to you? Especially when you are about to perform a task? Are you a self-proclaimed perfectionist? Well, keep reading!
I always said I had a love/hate relationship with social media and blogging. That wasn’t entirely true. I was a perfectionist. I would stress about corrections I would have to make on my social media posts and blogs. I would spend weeks on blogs and hours on one Instagram post. I would constantly talk down to myself if it was not perfect.
“It’s not good enough.”
“That sounds dumb.”
“What if my audience doesn’t “like” my comments?”
Now reading my past thoughts is exhausting. Can you guess how those thoughts made me feel? Anxious, frustrated, annoyed, and overwhelmed. With those feelings, do you think I wanted to keep up with blogging and social media? Nope. So I stopped. I became sad and depressed that I wasn’t living my passion of inspiring others. I started to doubt myself and become more critical of who I was as a person. I felt unworthy and did not love myself around showing up as a blogger or influencer. I didn’t think I was good enough because I was not perfect. After months of feeling this way, I finally made the decision to figure out how I could move forward. How could I be okay with my blogs and posts and stop being perfect?
What is Perfectionism?
I tried to find the best definition for perfectionism. I really resonated with the definition from the American Psychological Association dictionary.
“the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation.”
For me, this definition fits the way my clients frame their perfectionism. They have “extremely high” expectations of themselves in their work, relationships, and home life. I really appreciated the second part of the definition; “in excess of what is required of the situation.” BAM!!
When I talk to my clients about their perfectionism and what is expected of them from others, they tell me that there are no expectations from others. Their boss, kids, partners and friends don't expect them to be perfect at all. I had to sit with that when I stopped blogging. I finally asked myself, “Does my audience want to be perfect or real?”
What Causes Perfectionism?
Perfectionism can start sometime during the early childhood years. Many times it can be in response to something painful in someone’s life. For example, maybe your parents divorce caused you to start acting perfect in order to keep the peace. Maybe you didn’t want your parents to have to worry about anything because the divorce was so painful. Maybe perfectionism was a response to how you adjusted to living in an abusive home. Perhaps if you strived for perfection in school or at home, it would keep you safe from the wrath of your abusive parent. Maybe you would get kudos and you would feel loved for once. Lastly, maybe you responded to being shamed by a teacher or student at school, by getting perfect grades in school. Or you responded to the bully by trying to be the perfect friend. You did not want to be shamed again. You did not want to feel unsafe again. You learned that in order to feel safe, valued and loved, you needed to be perfect.
How Does Perfectionism Make You Feel About Yourself?
Anxious, depressed, scared, overwhelmed, inadequate, angry and insecure. Does that sound about right? Sleepless nights. Procrastinating because you do not want to feel these emotions, so you don’t do the project at all. Self-doubt, self-criticism, and worst-case scenario, self-loathing. Self-loathing is the opposite of self-love. No, no, no, we can’t have that. This blog is all about self-love.
How Can You Overcome Perfectionism?
1) Recognize the Issue
Do you think you are a perfectionist? Or do you have perfectionist tendencies? Do you find yourself getting emotional when you can’t do something perfectly? Acknowledge it. It is okay. It does not take away from the beautiful person you are.
2) Reflect On What Might Have Caused Your Perfectionism
Get that journal out and start writing. Really dig deep. Try these journal prompts to help you:
“What is my earliest memory of trying to be perfect?”
“Who was I trying to please by being perfect?”
“Did someone tell me I had to be perfect?”
“Did someone tell me I couldn’t or shouldn’t make mistakes?”
“Did I start to be perfect to feel safe, loved or valued?”
3) Acknowledge Thoughts and Feelings That Come Up When You Are Not Perfect
Again, take the time to journal when you have thoughts and feelings because you made a mistake and you were not perfect. Usually these are negative thoughts and feelings. Anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you start to cry because things just aren't perfect. Take some deep breaths and use the positive self-talk tips in the next section.
4) Reframe Perfectionistic Thoughts with Positive Self-Talk
Old Thought - “It’s not good enough.”
New Thought- “It is good enough.”
Old Thought - “What will my audience think of me?”
New Thought- “What do I think of me?”
Old Thought - “What if I mess up the presentation?”
New Thought - “It’s okay if I mess up. Just keep going.”
Old Thought - “What if I make a mistake?”
New Thought - “Everyone makes mistakes. The mistake would be stopping.”
Old Thought - “I HAVE TO BE PERFECT!”
New Thought - “ I GET TO BE HUMAN! NO ONE IS PERFECT!”
5) Get Support
If you continue to struggle with perfectionism and you want to dig deeper, reach out to a licensed mental health professional. Sometimes you can get stuck and perfectionism can negatively impact your life.
Well, I hope this article is helpful to you. No one is perfct. : - )
Let me know what you think of this article. Does it resonate with you? Which tip helped you the most?
Wow, have you ever played an album for the first time and thought “This.” or “O-M-G!”? Well, this is how I felt when I heard Lizzo’s newest album Special. It has been awhile since I’ve been in love with an entire album. I feel like the entire album was written for me.
I didn’t know who Lizzo was until a few years ago. A client was so excited about her concert when she came to the Bay Area. She admired Lizzo for her body positivity and support of the LGBTIA community. I was intrigued, so I decided to do a little research. She sings, she dances, she plays the flute, she wins Grammys. I thought to myself “Wow, this woman is beautiful and talented. And she seems to love herself no matter what!” As a therapist who specializes in self-love and self-esteem, I knew I was a fan and I wanted to learn more.
So how did Lizzo show me how to love myself even more?
Keep Going No Matter What
Over the years I have followed Lizzo, I have watched her get praise and I’ve watched her get flack for things she's done. I’ve seen haters talk about her weight non-stop. I’ve seen her fans get upset with her when she drank a smoothie because she wanted to lose a few pounds. I’ve seen her on Instagram loving herself in a bikini by a pool. I’ve also seen her get really vulnerable talking about all the nasty comments she receives from people regularly. I continue to see Lizzo hold her head up high, not no matter what. She keeps going. She keeps making music. She keeps posting bikini pics. She keeps going, no matter what!!
Try Something New
My appreciation for Lizzo changed when she hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL). She was the first person to host and perform on SNL. I think she did a wonderful job hosting. The reviews online agreed with me. The music performance was phenomenal. She had so much energy. I was also impressed with her acting/improv skills. She had me laughing and I was so excited for her. I really like the way she was able to laugh at herself. She tried something new and knocked it out of the park.
She also developed her own fitness line through Fabletics called Yitty. It is a line for women of all body types. Being 6'1 and 190 pounds, I totally appreciate designers who make clothing for someone my size. Confession, I bought a Yitty outfit. It is too cute. It's a fluorescent pink workout top and bottom short set. Like Lizzo, I am trying something new!!
Love Your Body No Matter What
Lizzo is loving on her body and will show it off in a minute. She gets a lot of flack for it, but she wears what she wants to wear. I remember an outfit she wore to a basketball game and her butt cheeks were hanging out. Gasp. As a 47-year-old mother of two girls, I was shocked and uncomfortable. Of course I felt like a prude. Then I thought to myself “Wow, I wish I would have had that much confidence at her age!!”. I wish I would have loved my body no matter what!
Lift Others Up
Wait, six Emmy nominations for Lizzo’s “Watch Out for the Big Grrls” dance competition show? Is there anything this woman can’t do? Lizzo is not at the top of her game by herself. She is taking the time to uplift other women with her. She is letting the Big Grrls know she sees them and wants them on stage with her. Lizzo wrote on her Instagram “we didn’t do this for awards, we did this for ourselves.” I love that!!
Make Mistakes and Grow From Them
Recently, Lizzo’s song Grrrls received backlash because it contained a derogatory word for someone with a disability. Lizzo admitted her mistake and changed her words to the song. About her decision to change the lyrics, she stated , “This is a result of listening and taking action. As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”
Thank you Lizzo!! I appreciate you and the change you are making in the world.
I hope this post inspires you to love yourself too. Let me know in the comments below.
In case nobody told you today, You're Special!!
I am a therapist who helps loves motivating women to transform their inner voice of self-doubt and self-criticism into a powerful voice of positive self-talk, self-trust and self-love. I help individuals recognize their inner worth, build their self-esteem and speak their truth.