Four Body Acceptance Techniques – From My Toolbox to Yours

I spent years hating my body. Growing up in a family that celebrated thinness and athleticism, I looked for any possible avenue towards obtaining those traits. At the age of 27, exhausted from living this way, I took a leap, and invested in a coach that helped me finally find food and body freedom. 

 

Through this work, my whole life changed.  

 

My body settled at a size that was larger than the one I had been fighting to keep it at, and you know what? Life got infinitely more delicious. I had the brain space to think about passions that I hadn’t explored in years. I started painting, and writing, and moving in a way that actually felt good. I traveled more and started dating again, and fell in love. 

 

We live in a culture that tells us that only once we are thin, will life become wonderful. Ends up, that’s a huge lie. What I learned is that life is wonderful NOW, once we let go of the idea that we need to look any sort of way other than exactly how we do.

 

Here are four tools that helped me find food and body freedom, and live a beautiful life exactly as I am. 

 

1. Buy clothes that feel good on your body

 

I will never stop shouting this from the rooftops! You deserve to wear clothes that feel good on your body! Yes – YOU! Rather than changing your body to fit certain clothes, change the clothes to suit and celebrate your body. On my own personal body acceptance journey, this was the one tool that helped me the most. Everything from your underwear, to your jeans, to your pajamas should hold and support your body exactly how it is. If you feel nervous about this step, pick just one article of clothing to replace. Maybe you donate those jeans that you’ve been wanting to fit into, and buy a new pair that celebrates your body at this moment! 

 

2. Curate your feed

 

Whether or not we realize it, we are CONSTANTLY consuming messages about what we “should” look like. These messages come at us in both obvious and subtle ways. From the body type of the lead role in that romcom you just watched to the magazines depicting one standard of beauty. One area of media where we do have control is our social media feeds. YOU get to choose who you follow. Spend time identifying and following accounts depicting different bodies. When you open up your Instagram feed, you can have an experience that makes you feel inspired and alive. Some of my favorites to follow on IG: @thebirdspapaya @virgietovar @thebodyisnotanapology @katesturino @uncomfortable_bliss

 

3. Just do it!

 

The name for this one is inspired by the Nike slogan- Just do it! So often we have a list of things that we will do once our body arrives at a certain size or shape – sign up for that dance class, buy a new swimsuit, start dating again, etc., etc. With the “Just do it” technique – we do those things NOW. Although it can feel scary at first, this technique is incredibly liberating. Pick one thing on that list as a place to start. Tell some supportive friends what you are planning to do, and then jump in, baby. Your life is waiting!

 

4. Remember: You don’t have to love your body right now

 

Yep, go ahead and read that last one again. If you are taking the brave journey away from diet culture and body hatred towards body acceptance, body love probably won’t be your very first stop. And that is ok. In fact, thinking that we need to love our bodies instantly can leave us feeling defeated when we don’t meet that goal right away. Instead of forcing yourself to immediately celebrate a body you’ve spent years berating, practice thinking “I’m open to not hating my body today.” You’ll be amazed at the power of this first step.

 

Here are the words that I wish someone would have said to me before I started my body acceptance journey:

 

This is deep and powerful work. In moments, it will feel tough, but it’s more worth it than you could ever possibly imagine. Keep going.

 


 

If you’re interested in working with Amy, you can book private and duo sessions with her here.

 

What is Energy Work?

What is energy work? Okay, bear with me here as I am going to explain it to you.  And I know, I know…there is some stigma around it falling under the “woo-woo” category.  Believe me, I get it.  Yet there is some explanation behind it that can support how it works. 

 

So let’s start with the basics. What is energy? According to Britancia.com (the Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica), energy, in physics, is the capacity for doing work. All forms of energy are associated with motion. And once energy moves it will change from one form to another.  

 

Here’s an example: imagine an apple on a tree.  The apple falls from the tree onto the ground.  The energy from the apple falling from the tree to where it lands is energy moving. Each has an effect on one another. The energy changes from one form to another.  

 

Some well-known forms of transferring energy are solar energy, wind power, nuclear fusion, electromagnetism and energy conversion. Still with me?  

 

One more important thing to note: energy can neither be created nor destroyed but only change from one form to another. 

 

Okay, simple enough to understand. Yes? Very good.

 

Another form of physics is quantum physics, which is the physics to explain how everything works. Breaking that down a little more, explains how atoms work. Atoms are the basic building block of all matter.  And matter is everything.  You, me, your phone, the chair you are sitting on, your lunch, etc. Quantum physics shows how one atom can affect another atom.

 

We are made of matter, right.  And our bodies are constantly changing and moving, even without us doing anything (think of your heart), right.  So then energy work supports the movement of matter in your body. 

 

How does this relate to energy therapy?  The energy in our body might not be functioning properly due to various factors, which can stem from the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.  When I work with you, I work with the energy in your body that is out of balance to help restore it, or at least give it a boost so the body can move more efficiently.  And this can show up in a variety of ways depending on what you and your body may need.  

 

See…not so woo-woo after all!

 

Let me give you a basic idea of how an energy session works.  You and I will have a brief discussion so I can get an understanding of how you are feeling in your body.  We will then set an intention for our time together. You will then move to my massage table, fully clothed, and I will use my hands to administer techniques to help restore the flow of energy in the body through light touch or touch over the body.  It is different from massage because I am not manipulating any tissue. Your job is to relax. Most people will go to a meditative state similar to right before you fall asleep or fall asleep, which is welcomed. I then bring you back, we briefly chat to see if anything has shifted (it usually does), and then I send you on your way.  Easy Peasey. 

 

The beautiful part of this work is that energy is smart and it goes where it is most needed. Starting in October I will be at The Happy Hour on Wednesdays and Saturdays and would love to show you how energy work can be a support for you. 

 

xo,

Kim

 

Book an Energy Work session with Kim

 

Always in Shape for Something

With a background in competitive athletics, the idea of being “out of shape” was one that used to make me cringe with anxiety. On more than one occasion, the fear of going more than a couple of days without working out had me heading to the gym late at night. It felt like my body was created for the mere purpose of competing.

When I started exploring the world of body acceptance, this idea of being “in shape” no longer fit my new mindset. I had to question what that phrase really meant to me. Sure, at one point I had been in peak athletic shape, but at that time I was in no shape to support my mental health, or express my creativity, or learn and grow in new ways. I spent so much energy trying to obtain a certain body, that I neglected so many other aspects of my life.

Our bodies are constantly supporting us. Whether that means supporting our need for rest, helping us power through hours of work, grow a baby, or go for a run. Depending on the season of our life, our body adapts and supports us for new tasks. Physical goals are not the only goals. Perhaps your body is supporting you through your PhD program or late night feeding sessions with a new baby.

My point is, we are always in shape for something. Sometimes we are in shape to perform athletically, and other times we are in shape to give the world’s best hugs.

Love on your body regardless of what you are in shape for during this season of your life. She’s always here supporting you.

 

This blog is re-published with permission from the author, Amy Gartenberg, LPC-MHSP. It was originally published on AmyGartenberg.com

A Journey to Finding Purpose through the Lens of Blue Zones

Have you ever been at a crossroads with life? Stuck knowing your current situation  is no longer working for you, but having no idea where to go or what to do next? If so, you’re like me, or at least me about six years ago. Driving home from work, sitting at a stoplight, it hit me… I’m not happy. My career felt at a standstill, my love life non-existent, and the things that usually brought me fulfillment were just not that interesting anymore. That moment of realizing what wasn’t working felt like a relief and at the same time terrifying, because now it meant I should do something about it. I allowed myself some time to process and ran away… or just took a solo vacation to the mountains where I was able to be in nature, exploring new terrains, and doing the uncomfortable thing at times, being with me and my thoughts.

 

During my solo vacation, I allowed myself to think about what I wanted and what I could control in the moment. With this new insight, I sought out volunteer opportunities that connected me with what I enjoyed and felt was meaningful. I gave myself permission to apply to a new job. My new job was at Blue Zones Project, a well-being improvement initiative around transforming environments to make healthier choices easier. Blue Zones Project is based on the studies of  National Geographic explorer, Dan Buettener, who found where people lived the longest and the healthiest. He found that these five longevity hot spots (Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California) had nine common lifestyle habits. These lifestyle traits (called the Blue Zones Power 9) consisted of: Moving Naturally, Purpose, Downshift, 80% Rule, Plant Slant, Wine at 5, Right Tribe, Loved Ones First, and Belong.

 

As you can imagine, being engrossed in this work is going to rub off on you. All of the Blue Zones Power 9 resonated with me in some capacity and made sense. Of course moving naturally and eating wisely would improve someone’s health and longevity, but it was the other Power 9 that got me thinking. How were these other traits showing up in my life? Is there an opportunity to improve these and bring more fulfillment to my life?

 

I started exploring my relationships and how I connected with my family and friends. I’ve always had strong relationships, not being the perfect daughter, sister, friend, or colleague at times, but doing my best to show up and be present with those I cared most about. I had curated a strong network of people over the years that encouraged, supported, challenged me and had nicely weeded out those who were toxic and not adding value to my life. Take a look at your connections and do an evaluation of those you spend time with. Ask yourself who isn’t on this list that should be? Are they adding value or draining me? What are meaningful ways I can foster those relationships that mean something to me?

 

Next I looked at how I downshifted. We live in a world that is full of distractions, being pulled in multiple directions, one-upping each other with how busy we are. Sometimes it’s exhausting just thinking about how exhausting all of it really is. But is that how life should be? Being acknowledged for how well you deal with stress or manage the chaos that is life? Over the years, I’ve done work to figure out ways to take a step back and be present. It’s ranged from finding peace and healing being in nature, practicing yoga on a regular basis, quieting my mind with meditation, affirmations, the occasional happy hour, and naps, definitely naps! This doesn’t mean I don’t get stressed at times, it just means I’ve found the right tools and resources to cope when life gets hard. Also, the recharge I get when I give myself permission to take a step back, downshift, and relax has been so much more rewarding than getting a gold medal in the stressful life race. If you’re finding yourself unable to give yourself at least five minutes a day to rest and reset then it’s time for you to uncover what downshifting means to you. Pay attention to the moments and circumstances when you feel calm, relaxed, and content. What are you doing? If these moments aren’t as frequent for you to recognize, then try visualizing which activities or techniques would support you in taking those quiet moments and being present in life. Challenge yourself to do these at least once a day until the day when you don’t do them isn’t even an option.

 

The last Power 9, for me, has been the most important on my journey because it’s led me to be writing to you today: purpose. How many times have you asked yourself, “What am I here to be or do”? Purpose seems like such a big word and defining it seemed so overwhelming, yet important. I had an inflection point, sitting on my couch one evening watching a Hallmark movie about a therapist and her love life (I’ll hold off on the love life blog for another day!). Weirdly enough, I had an epiphany watching the therapist work with clients, why couldn’t I do that? I’d always been the person who people came to to talk things out with, ask for advice, or troubleshoot issues and opportunities. Was this thing that always came naturally to me, that I enjoyed and felt passionately about, the answer to my purpose question? It was.

 

After research and reflection, therapy wasn’t my answer but coaching was. I came to understand my gift of connecting with people gave me the opportunity to help them be successful on their life journey, in whatever capacity it may be. Connecting with my purpose has become the motivating force behind what I do and has helped me tap into a source of energy and potential I didn’t know I had. If you struggle to answer the question, “why do I wake up in the morning?,” I encourage you to begin the process of discovering your purpose. Unlocking your purpose may not happen watching a Hallmark movie, or overnight. It may take weeks, months or even years of self-discovery, and that’s okay.

 

Richard Leider, founder of Inventure – The Purpose Company, has spent decades creating tools and resources to support individuals discover their purpose. For everyone on their purpose path, he encourages you to begin spending time to understand yourself by asking questions such as what are my gifts, what are my passions and what are my values. I encourage you to take the time to reflect and journal on these because you never know where your answers may lead you!

 

This was my journey to finding purpose, but we all have our own and there are many paths to take to lead us to the answers we are searching for. Most important thing to remember is there is no right or wrong path, just movement forward!

 


If you’re interested in working with Erin you can book private or duo coaching sessions with her here.

Erin is also leading our latest Professionals Group series, a deep-dive into Confident Communication, starting August 24th.

Books We Love

It’s no secret that at The Happy Hour, we love books. Books can offer enlightenment, challenge and escape– often all at the same time. The quiet time alone with a book allows us to dive deeper in our understanding of self and our understanding of the world around us.

 

We asked our team to share their favorite books, and their recommendations run from fiction, to non-fiction, to memoir, to poetry. Enjoy!

 

Clara

 

The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo (4.10/5 stars on Goodreads.com)

Reading the daily excerpts from this book has become a staple in my spiritual practice. Nepo’s beautifully written accounts of his journey to spiritual awakening through a traumatic childhood, relationships, a divorce, and even cancer help to shift perspective on what truly matters. It has become my favorite way to start the day, as it’s always a reminder to believe that you are on the path that’s meant for you, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. His words are a gift in helping you come back to yourself, leaning into who you are at your core. 

 

I like to pick a random page, trusting that the message for that day is what I’m meant to hear on a given day. Nepo ends each excerpt with a meditation or grounding exercise, which are just the icing on the cake. It’s also the perfect thought starter for a great journal sesh. Not to mention it is an amazing way to squeeze in self care for people who want to read one page a day!

 

Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved my Life by Christie Tate (3.79/5 stars on Goodreads.com)

This is a non-fiction that is filled with so much drama and emotional ups and downs, and quirky laugh-out-loud moments that it reads like fiction. Group follows the mental health and personal growth journey of author Christie Tate, particularly her years she spends finding the support of an unconventional therapist and a circle of strangers who become her lifelines. It is a wild ride of relationships, imposter syndrome and self-discovery wrapped up in one, that contains a lot of gems you might find in a self-help book. 

 

I released a secret, not caring who in my family might abandon me, because I finally understood that keeping the secret was an act of abandoning myself.

 

Michelle

 

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk (3.98/5 stars on Goodreads.com)

Chuck Palahniuk’s writing is an acquired taste and definitely not for the faint of heart (he’s the guy who wrote Fight Club). That being said, I find his books are far less about the shocking, often violent and/or risqué events that take place, and more about the character progression and how those characters make you feel. The shock value and dark humor cuts through the noise like a gut-punch– making you question your beliefs, as well as societal and cultural norms. Without giving too much away, Invisible Monsters is about a newly disfigured beauty queen and how she learns from a transgender friend to reinvent herself. The book follows a disorienting, non-linear storyline exploring the underbelly of society’s obsession with beauty, how trauma can shape our identities or make us run from them, and the power of embracing your shadows and mistakes on your way to authenticity. I can’t say this is necessarily the most enjoyable book I’ve ever read, that title goes to Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (if you haven’t read Crawdads yet, RUN to your nearest bookstore! 4.46/5 stars on Goodreads.com), but Invisible Monsters is by far the most impactful book I’ve ever read.

 

Trigger warning: This book contains descriptions of violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse, strong languauge.

 

If you’re not a fan of dark, shocking stories with a lot of plot twists, this book probably isn’t for you. Instead, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite (paraphrased) quotes from the book:

 

Don’t you see? Because we’re so trained to do life the right way. To not make mistakes. I figure the bigger the mistake looks, the better the chance I’ll have to break out and live a real life. Like Christopher Columbus sailing toward disaster at the edge of the world. Like Fleming and his bread mold. Our real discoveries come from chaos. From going to a place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.

 

Claire

 

Inward by Yung Pueblo (4.30/5 Stars on Goodreads.com)

When my mind is feeling crowded, I turn to this book for both simplicity and beauty. It seems that no matter what page I open up to, the words are right for me at the moment. I have dog-eared this book from start to finish, with poetry that flourishes my understanding of self-love, forgiveness, freedom, and healing the world. I would highly recommend this book as a tool to recalibrate your daily compass. Here is one of my favorites:

 

i held my fear by the hand, honored its existence, and thanked it for teaching me that happiness exists beyond the boundaries it creates

 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (4.03/5 Stars on Goodreads.com)

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.” From the jump, this book draws you in, you simply have to know more. It follows the path of two magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been bound since childhood to compete against each other in a life or death deul, but fall in love despite all circumstances. The switch-back narrative between these two characters gains momentum as the two become more intertwined. Erin Morgenstern’s writing allows for your imagination to drive the experience. Her prose writing builds a world as the story progresses, allowing for the magic of the circus to happen within your mind. Bonus: I think they are trying to make it into a movie!!

 

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (4.48/5 Stars on Goodreads.com)

This has been one of the most impactful books on my understanding and view of the history of the LGBTQ+ community. Never can I remember a read where I was so immersed in the story, invested in the characters, and so deeply challenged with the range of emotions. John Boyne crafted a masterful journey, following the main character, Cyril Avery and the development of Ireland, from 1940 to present day. Within the span of a novel, you travel through a lifetime with Cyril as he comes to know himself, his country, home, and the family he creates. What I love about this book is that it ecompasses the true human experience, and the resiliency of the human spirit. This is my favorite book of all time.

 

Trigger warning: This book contains descriptions of violence against the LGBTQ+ community, sexual content, and language.  

 

Alli

 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle (4.04/5 stars on Goodreads.com)

I read this book almost exactly a year ago, and I still always tell people that it changed my life. It is a memoir of Glennon’s life, and although I didn’t know much about Glennon at the time, she has since become my own personal hero. Glennon recounts her story of infidelity, opens up about her coming out journey, and encourages women to release themselves from the shackles of a patriarchal society and what seems like neverending expectations. She taught me that my voice as a woman matters and that I can push gender norms with something as simple as my style or as complex as my own coming out story. My favorite quote from her book is:

 

This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.

 

After reading Untamed,  I realized that I am in charge of the person I want to become, and no one’s opinion of me has more weight than my own.

 

Nicole

 

Body Kindness by Rebecca Stritchfield, RDN (3.91 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.com)

This is by far one of my favorite books in helping you break away from diet culture and all the things you think you “should” do for health and finally discover what you actually want to do for your health and wellbeing. This book helps you expand beyond the normal narrative of health being a certain size or “look” and shows us that health starts with showing kindness and love to ourselves. We can’t shame our way into changing. Instead we can show ourselves some kindness and continually ask: “Is this helping to create a better, happier, and healthier life for myself?” and begin to take one step at a time. 

 

Beach Read by Emily Henry (4.05 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.com)

This is the perfect summer/vacation read. It’s lighthearted, made me laugh out loud in public multiple times, and all around a breath of fresh air. This book is about two polar opposite, broke writers (January, a bestselling romance author and Augustas, an acclaimed author of literary fiction) becoming neighbors for the summer as they both work through writer’s block. As they spend weeks bantering back and forth they decide to strike a deal that will force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing a happy, loving, romance novel and January will write the next Great American novel. This book involves adventure and the relentless pursuit to *not* fall in love. Highly recommend it!

 

Alaina

 

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (3.92/5 stars on Goodreads.com)

I read this book a few years ago, but whenever I think of my favorite reading experiences, it’s always at the top of my list. Something about the descriptions of the tropical countryside and the exploration of different kinds of love through so many stages of life is so hopeful and also bittersweet.The novel is set around the turn of the 20th century somewhere in South America and follows the lovers Florentino and Fermina through their lives and many loves. 

 

If you’re looking for a beautifully worded escape that will definitely make you tear up by the end, this is a great book for you!

Your Life, Your Way

I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ve been inexplicably tired and just feeling a little ‘off’ lately. I know this because I hear it from friends, co-workers and guests that come through The Happy Hour, and the question I keep hearing is ‘why am I feeling this way?’

 

Well, I have a theory that at the very least explains why I have felt this way, maybe you’ll relate. After a year plus of living an abridged version of “normal” life, a version that forced more time at home and almost no extra-curricular events, I became addicted to rest. I know, duh, humans need rest to live, but I never realized what rest really meant. As someone who had previously been constantly on the go, always checking off an item from the to-do list and adding three more, this whole rest and taking-it-slow thing was really foreign and uncomfortable to me. Until, it wasn’t…until, just the opposite happened and I began to relish in the rest. I learned how to prioritize mindfulness breaks, to nap, and sometimes even began to yearn for boredom (having 2 kids under 3 at the time, navigating a pandemic, and preparing to launch a new business will do that to you). 

 

Fast-forward to May of this year, and we are all THRILLED and relieved that the world is beginning to open back up. But wait, it’s June now, why do I feel so depleted? Well, all that rest and those rituals I once prioritized flew out the window when I broke out of what felt like Covid-jail. I know, I know, I’m a certified holistic coach, but we are only human. 

 

As I began to add back the rituals that so effectively rejuvenated me in the last year, they weren’t having the same impact on me. As I tell my guests all the time, as humans we evolve and go through different seasons, which require different needs and capabilities. If something was working for you before, and isn’t quite getting it done now, get curious. Start asking yourself some questions. What do I want to feel like mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually? When have I felt that way recently? And start to try some new things in your routine that might give you a little extra boost.

 

2020 was an opportunity to reset and take personal inventory, but as I begin to enter into a new world as a new me, I’m going to take this as an opportunity to re-set yet again because growth requires it. You can’t pour from an empty vessel, but sometimes what needs to fill up that vessel changes for your changing seasons. It’s not easy to figure out on your own what that looks like. Which is why I love talking to a life coach, but is also why I loved the book The Habit Trip. I found the book so simple yet transformational, that I HAD to share it with The Happy Hour community by creating a workshop based on the book, led by the author herself! This book is one of the best tools I’ve seen out there to help you reflect on what’s important, what fills you up in all areas of your life, and how to create new habits, and let go of ones that don’t serve you. It’s a mix of impactful, easy-to-follow research and fill-in-the blank frameworks to help you reset and live life your way.

 

Here’s an example of the beginning of a framework in The Habit Trip (p.72), by Sarah Hays Coomer, that was really impactful to me: Download Now!

 

If you are ready to learn to live your life on purpose, check out our upcoming event with Sarah Hays Coomer, Re-Entry: Your Life, Your Way, Post COVID.

Change and Authenticity

“Rip up the maps. Burn them. Let them fly. Give thanks for all the well-meaning advice you’ve been given. Start afresh. Go against what you’ve been taught if you need to. It may feel uncomfortable, but that’s only because it’s new.

— KRIS FRANKEN

 

Laura* walked into my office and immediately broke into tears. “I don’t know what to do! Everything is changing and I feel like I’ve lost myself.” I felt for Laura. She had just been terminated due to COVID restructuring and took a job doing something she wasn’t passionate about. After holding space for her intense emotions, I asked some deeper questions to find out exactly what was triggering her feeling of inauthenticity. Together, we were able to determine a few root issues that were bigger than her unexpected career change.

If you’re like me and Laura, we thrive on a plan. Although I’ve made many strides in trusting myself through my own work, I often feel thrown-off when my ideas of what should happen, don’t. A pandemic certainly wasn’t in anyone’s plan, and we were all forced to pivot. Though we can never control many aspects that lead to life transitions, a strong trust in yourself will make all the difference in how you are able to handle any change.

So, how can you be more authentic? How can you safeguard yourself from extra stress and pain when things don’t go according to plan? What can you do to fully trust yourself?

1. Know what you value and what you believe.

Changes, while difficult, allow us the space to explore what we truly value and want out of life. What expectations do we have for ourselves that are based on society, family, or friend’s values, and not our own? Is the change difficult because there is tension between our values and our reality?

2. What is our inner critic saying?

Our inner voice is a powerful tool that can either help us grow (the coach) or hold us back from our true selves (the critic). The inner critic can instill self-doubt and fear, particularly in times of change. I love to guide my clients in the transition from inner critic to inner coach. We work together to explore what core beliefs and negative thoughts are working against their trust in themselves.

3. Sit with the sh*t. (or alternatively- just feel it.)

Sometimes changes are just painful. I work with clients on accepting the fact that situations can be uncomfortable. Learning to “sit” with discomfort will make it easier to handle change, set boundaries, and have those tough conversations with the people in your life, all of which will lead you to your authentic self.

 

While this list is not exhaustive, exploring your values and your inner voice is a great first step in becoming authentic and growing through change. I believe in the power within each of us to face change and transition with hope. Our joy begins and ends with us.

 

*Laura is a combination of clients I have seen and is not based on one single person.

 

Book a Private or Duo Therapy Session with Amy

Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends

Wanting to make friends as an adult is such a common desire that most of us have, yet no one really talks about it. I think that we place undue pressure on ourselves thinking we should have as many friends and connections as we did in high school or college. But gone are the days when all of your close friends lived nearby, and the responsibilities of adulthood were too far off to be concerned about. Adulting begins, and slowly, either due to work schedules, moving, family or even personal growth, we start to lose touch with most of those people. Yes, we still have those few close friendships that neither time nor distance can diminish, but we find ourselves looking for those day-to-day friends that we can reach out to for support and connection.

 

Friendship is a unique type of connection. Friends bring excitement, fun, and interest into our lives. They broaden our perspectives, teach us new things, and share our interests. Most importantly, genuine friends show up for each other. Studies have shown that having a sense of connectedness to a group can help you to feel happier – and it also acts as a deterrent for both mental and physical health problems (Bolger, Zuckerman & Kessler, 2000.) Especially after COVID, one thing we hear often from the community is that people are looking to meet new people, and forming new friendships. 

 

Making friends as an adult is hard, most of us don’t even know where to get started. We have a few suggestions…

 

  1. Think about when you felt most connected to a group. Was it a sports team back in school, was it a drama club or a science group, maybe it was a political science club or a church group? These insights might help point you in the right direction. 
  2. Think about where you would like to make new connections. Where is your life headed now? What interests do you hold that you would like to share with others? Start small. Start by reaching out to one acquaintance that you would like to get to know more. I know it can seem like you are asking them out on a date, but they might just be looking to make a new friend too.
  3. Think about signing up for a class, joining a club, volunteering for a non-profit, or going to an event. 

 

  • Join a book club. Reading for fun can be fulfilling, but reading and discussing with a group can be more impactful. Why? Because while the words of the book are the same, the way that people relate to it are different. Book clubs bring together people with individual experiences, this creates a rich discussion with unique perspectives. Points brought up by different members of the group will further a deeper understanding of what you have read, allowing for the lessons within the book to stick with you. Those in the book club grow and learn from their shared journey in reading the book. Book clubs can be made fun by making it a potluck, sharing wine or a spritzer, or planning to go out to dinner after. 
  • Sign up for a class. Think about what you are interested in, maybe it’s learning a new language before a trip, maybe it is pottery or calligraphy, maybe you want to learn a new skill. By investing in yourself this way, you are not only putting yourself into a position to meet other people with similar interests as you, but you are giving yourself permission to pursue a passion you might have set aside. No more needing to make a certain grade to pass, you can be present with only the pure pleasure of learning. 
  • Attend an event or a workshop. Similar to signing up for a class, a workshop or an event can be less of a commitment but still give you the opportunity to meet others with similar interests. The events that we are hosting at The Happy Hour can be a chance to meet someone who is also interested in investing in their mental wellness. Maybe you can see if they want to be a buddy that goes to weekly classes with you. 

 

Like with anything, the hardest step is the first one: starting the conversation. We suggest being kind to yourself and switching up your inner narrative. Chances are, others want to reach out too, but just aren’t sure how. Remember, a lot more people are looking for connections than you think!

 

 

Looking to connect with like-minded people? Check out our Events page!

Therapy or Life Coaching? What’s the difference?

Have you ever found yourself trying to make sense of your past, while dreaming of your future? Maybe you’re a planner; filling your to-do list and calendar with endless goals, tasks and events in an effort to grow within a like-minded community? Or maybe the contemplation and anticipation of making sense of your life manifests with a sense of introspection and overwhelm, less movement and a lack of motivation? Regardless of how you approach uncovering your authenticity and direction, you’ve likely run into questions like: Who am I? Where do I want to be? And how do I get here?

Believe it or not, in either case, this is a good place to be. It is at this intersection of life that we begin to search for answers beyond ourselves.  How do we take the puzzle that we are living in and find pieces that will build our picture into the colors and shapes we are looking for?  What is it that will complement our puzzle, allow it to develop and become a signature of growth, hope and belief?

The assistance of a therapist or holistic coach could be just the kind of support to help you find direction, clear your mind, and find peace.  Think of these professionals as people who help you gather your thoughts and strategize your next move. You might be wondering what the difference is between therapy and coaching. Good question! It’s so important to understand which option is best for you and your healing, and for where you are on your personal growth journey.

What is Similar about Therapy and Holistic Life Coaching at The Happy Hour:

  • You’ll talk to a professional who has you and your specific needs in mind. Your specific goals will lead the direction of the session.
  • You will be supported in a safe and confidential space.
  • We operate from the belief that you already have the answers within you, we are here to support you and bring those answers to the surface.
  • Both will take a holistic approach, taking into account your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
  • Both can help in performance boosting.
  • Both can improve self-esteem.
  • Both can improve social and individual functioning.
  • Both help you gain a better understanding of your life and  the world around you.

What is Therapy?

  • Therapy allows you the benefit of exploring your internal emotional world of information as well as your external cues and reactions.
  • Therapy can dive deeply into your past, present and future. (Coaching focuses on the present to future time-frame).
  • It helps in resolving patterns of feelings, beliefs and behaviors that are uncomfortable.
  • It can offer attention to helping physiological responses.
  • It can offer attention to relationship concerns both intimate and interpersonal.
  • It can help with family dynamics.
  • It can help with strengthening resilience in connection with chronic symptomatology
  • It helps you learn new ways to manage the stress that life brings by addressing triggers.
  • It can also help you learn new ways to manage symptoms related to mental health diagnoses.

What is Holistic Life Coaching?

  • Allows laser focus of particular desired achievements.
  • Strengthen focus of the here and now, and looking toward the future. Coaching will not delve into your past.
  • Sparks motivation with clear action plans for a future goal.
  • A supportive resource through the many transitions of life.
  • Offers an alternative option if therapy is not desired.
  • Aids in strengthening career performance and leadership skills.
  • Some personal growth areas you might work on include: mindfulness and self-care, goal-setting & action planning, confidence building, life transitions, finding your purpose, and living authentically.

Can they work together?

Yes, here’s how…

What happens when you feel much better, and may no longer need the detail of a therapist, but you would like to continue working on your personal growth, maintain a connection and have built-in accountability?  The option of a coach as an ongoing support is a great idea. Similarly, what happens if your coach is a great support but you feel like you need a bit more? Maybe you need to dig deeper into a past experience?  A coach having the resources to refer you to a therapist creates that fluid process.

At The Happy Hour, our coaches and therapists work together cohesively, based on our trained best practices and expectations of each others’ roles. These best practices specifically detail and clarify the duties of coaches vs. therapists. The two can support and complement the internal referral process in a way that’s fluid, seamless, and always has the guest’s best interest as the top priority. We are all working towards achieving the best possible outcomes for our guests, in an effort to come together to create a safe space that works, and establish a place to talk it out and feel better.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to mental wellness. Whether you’re working with a therapist, a holistic life coach, or both, it’s important to continuously check in as you grow and evolve, to make sure you’re getting the best kind of support for your changing needs.

If you’re still unsure whether therapy or life coaching is right for you, reach out! We’re happy to help you navigate your mental wellness journey, equipping you with the tools and support for improved wellness and quality of life, one conversation at a time.

What is the 5-minute Journal and How Does it Work?

The 5-minute journal has popularized writing down your intentions. Here is why it can be beneficial and a few ways in which you can start.

Oh, how I love the tool of journaling—It is simple, everyone can do it, it doesn’t cost a dime, and most importantly, it works. The 5-minute journal has popularized the act of journaling. It’s important to note, effective journaling isn’t just putting words on a page. It is a practice that can help you meet goals, organize your thoughts, and enhance your mental health.

Why is journaling so powerful?

Because it helps you to become self-aware. Self-awareness not only helps you understand how you’re feeling and how to honor what you need, but it also helps you to identify negative habits and behaviors, so you can stop them in their tracks.

I teach workshops on intention and often teach clients how to effectively journal. So often we hit the ground running for the day, and don’t take the time to check in with ourselves to see how we’re actually feeling. If we don’t know how we’re feeling, it’s impossible to understand and give ourselves what we need in a particular day — mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Emotions and physical feelings can mask themselves as something else, which is why it’s so effective to commit just a few minutes daily to turn inwards and to figure out what’s really going on.

If you’d like to give your journaling a boost or to just better understand why journaling for five minutes can be so effective in promoting self-awareness, here’s what you need to know … in 5 minutes.

How to journal effectively

— make it your own

First, start with a journal in which you enjoy writing. The page size, look, and feel have to feel good to you. It is helpful to write in a private and personalized space that is free from distractions and to create a consistent schedule for writing. Some people prefer to start their day off with a journal sesh to align with their feelings and set their intentions, whereas others prefer to wrap up their day with a reflection of all that happened. Neither are right nor wrong, what is important is that you figure out a way that feels right to you, so that you can keep this a consistent practice.

Speaking of consistency, it’s important not to use journaling as a quick fix when you’re feeling off. Making this a consistent habit, and taking note of when you’re feeling really great, will help you to identify why and what made you feel so great. Maintaining consistency in your practice will help you identify behaviors and patterns — both positive and negative. If you’re having a particularly stellar day, what did you do that day that you can do more of in your life? What did you let go of on that day that you want to let go of permanently?

How to get started – WRITE

Now that you have your journal, your sacred spot, and a time of day picked out, it’s time to put pen to paper. Here’s a little tool to help you get started:

W – What to write about – Think about what is going on in your life, current thoughts and feelings, goals and things you may want to avoid or change.

– Reflect – Take a minute to calm and focus, as you review what you have written.

I – Investigate – Get curious around your thoughts and feelings through your journaling process. It may feel weird, but it can be helpful to channel your inner detective, and look at your current feeling as a case that you’re trying to solve. Some investigations may look like:

  • “How am I feeling? → How do I want to feel? → Is there anything standing in the way of that? → What can I do to get to that feeling? → When was the last time I felt that feeling?”
  • “Why does this bother me so much? → What is the fear behind this? → How can I choose compassion over fear in this situation?”
  • “I am feeling really happy today. → Which of my values have I held true to today? → How can I hold true to my values in some way tomorrow?”

– Time yourself – Spend at least five minutes (or whatever your desired goal is). If it helps you to be accountable, write down your start and end times.

E – Exit mindfully – End your practice by reading what you’ve written and take a moment to reflect on it. Use a sentence or two to sum up your takeaways. Be sure to use “I” statements. For example, “I am feeling uneasy about ____ and I will address it by doing ____.”

Test out some of these tips above, take with you the ones that work for your practice, and leave the ones that don’t. Like I said before, the most important thing is to make this your own.

Journaling benefits

Where to begin!? Effective journaling can result in so many positive outcomes that help to benefit wellness and quality of life. Journaling assists in our ability to better take control over our lives and put things into perspective. Journaling can:

  • Improve working memory and communication
  • Improve sleep
  • Boost mood and self-confidence
  • Enhance your sense of well-being
  • Improve and strengthen your immune system
  • Decrease the impact of intrusive thoughts and avoidance
  • Improve your quality of life
  • Assist in detecting unhealthy patterns in behavior and thought
  • Help to identify and accept emotions
  • Manage stress and ease symptomatology of mental illness

Fun Fact…

study that involved Jason Moser, Associate Professor of Psychology, and researchers of Michigan State University used college students who were all highlighted to have a form of chronic anxiousness.  The students were split into two groups and asked to complete a “flanker task” in an attempt to measure accuracy and speed.  The first group wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings about the upcoming test for eight minutes before beginning the task.  The second group wrote about what they did the day before.  Speed and accuracy were unremarkable.  However, the expressive writing group showed more efficient results and used fewer brain resources.  Brain activity was measured by using an electroencephalogram (EEG).  The research concluded that expressive writing decreased worry and anxiety in the brain.

Intention Topics

Still not sure where to start? Below is a list of some of my favorite journal prompts. If you think you don’t know the answer, pretend that you do and just write. You might be surprised what you find out about yourself. Here’s a short list of some of my favorite journaling prompts:

  • How am I feeling?
  • What do I need?
  • What is my truth?
  • What is true about this situation? (Especially helpful when feeling anxious about a situation).
  • What kind of change am I looking for?
  • What do I need to make a change?
  • What can I let go of?
  • What am I most proud of today/this week/month?
  • How do I want to show up?/How did I show up today?
  • What is my intention for this day/week/month?
  • What am I most grateful for?
  • Who am I?

This article was originally published at in5minutes.com, a website focused on telling you what to know…in 5 minutes.