Beat the Winter Blues

Like many of you, some of us at the Happy Hour have been on the struggle bus since the clocks fell back. So we decided to pool our team’s best tips for coping with the winter months and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

 

Michelle

 

I’ve been leaning into seasonal and circadian rhythms more in recent years. Instead of dreading or fighting the seasons or times of days I usually struggle with, I’ve chosen to lean into their unique energies and adopt an attitude of flow. For a recovering control freak, ‘flow’ is an ongoing challenge, but accepting that I can’t change the weather is probably a good place to start!  

 

Full disclosure, I LOVE winter, and the shorter days don’t bother me, but maybe that’s because I love the coziness of it all. (Summer and I, however, are still working on our relationship.) My best advice for those struggling with the colder, darker months would be to embrace the magic that is hygge

 

I know my enthusiasm for winter puts me in the minority, so don’t just take it from me. Here are some science-backed tips to beat those winter blues…

 

BRIGHTEN UP YOUR DAY

One of the biggest causes of seasonal affective disorder and the winter blues is the lack of natural light, especially first thing in the morning. Starting your day with light helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, assisting with the timing of various hormonal activities in the body. If you wake up before sunrise, or if it’s a particularly gloomy day, make sure you let as much light into your space as possible, move your desk closer to a window, or turn on the lights. 

 

GET OUTSIDE

Think back to those days in summer when you wanted to take a walk on your lunch break, but didn’t because it was just too hot and humid and you didn’t want to return to the office all sweaty. Now’s your chance! Wrap yourself in a cozy scarf, grab a warm cup of coffee and get your blood pumping and soak up as much daylight as possible.

 

MOVE YOUR BODY

It can be easy to adopt hibernation as your M.O. in winter, but staying active is a great way to keep those feel good hormones flowing. Feeling extra chilly? Hot yoga might become your new favorite winter hobby!

 

NOURISH YOURSELF

Shift your mindset on comfort food – it doesn’t have to be a big greasy pizza and a pint of rocky road. Broth-based soups, stews and tagines are nutrient dense, healthy and really comforting on a cold day. And just because it’s not hot outside, that doesn’t mean you can’t dehydrate – so don’t forget to drink lots of water. If you don’t enjoy cold drinks in winter, try room temperature water with some sugar-free electrolytes, hot water and lemon, or explore some new herbal teas.

 

STAY CONNECTED

Spending time with friends can lift your spirits. Plan dinners at each others’ homes, or look out for some fun workshops to inject a little variety into your social life. Shameless plug: The Happy Hour has some really great events planned for the winter months. Check them out here.

 

Clara

 

This is something I struggle with every year, so much so that when summer ends I begin to dread winter. With two kids under 5 in the house, finding indoor activities can be tough and I really try not to rely too much on the TV (but hey, I’m only human). However, all the moms with kids under two, I am here to tell you it gets better. This is the first year since having kids that I have gained some independence back because at 2 and 4 the kiddos can entertain each other more with a game, blocks, whatever. 

 

So, here’s what I like to do to lean into the dark winter days – cook something new and eat earlier so that I’m fed before the kids go to bed. Putting on a podcast, lighting a candle that I love, and cooking up a meal, (while keeping a distant eye on the kids in the adjoining room) gives me a nice chance to wind down earlier than normal. Once the kids are asleep, I’ll tune into a book or a TV show and go to bed early. Oooh how glorious it is to go to bed early. I’m still easing into the waking up earlier part, but I’m looking forward to shifting my wake up time a little earlier to give myself a little more me-time before the chaos breaks loose.

 

If you’re a mom, and you’re struggling to juggle the snow days, school closures, and the 5,000 other things on your plate, know you’re not alone. Give yourself grace to let some things slide. Experiencing life through the eyes of a mom can feel lonely and overwhelming, so we’ve created 2 new Moms Groups, starting January 27th, to give you some extra support and connection with fellow moms. These groups will be meeting in-person, but you also have the option to join virtually. Save your spot here.

 

Alli

 

I’ve also totally been embracing the hygge! I usually really struggle with daylight savings, but this year I’ve been throwing myself into the holiday festivities early and welcoming the cozy with open arms. It’s been super helpful for me to wake up earlier than normal and make a production out of my breakfast and morning coffee. I always make sure to have a candle lit and some twinkly lights on, and I’ve been indulging in fun things like hot chocolate, face masks, and a new pair of slippers. I think for the first time ever, I may be enjoying the days ending sooner and the relaxation beginning earlier! It doesn’t always have to be go, go, go, and I’m finding that I am kinder to myself when it’s more socially acceptable to stay in and enjoy a good holiday movie or book. 

 

Claire

 

Honestly, I wear black on the first day of fall because I am mourning the end of summer. Winter has many displeasures like dry heat, being way too cold outside and too warm inside, ice, and a general lack of things to do outside. Also, If you work late like me, by the time you get off at 7:30, it feels as though half of your work day has been in the dark. I am here to say that it is ok if you hate winter and you just survive it with dreams of warmer months. The things that get me through the winter are bonfires, facials (dry skin ughhhh), fun holiday drinks and food, and many, many get-togethers with friends. My biggest suggestion is to be more like a bird and fly south! Plan a trip somewhere warm mid-winter and plan to have your toes in the sand and a fruity bevvy in your hand! This little reset will give you the willpower to make it the rest of the way. For those of us who just gotta slog through it, celebrate on Dec. 21st (winter solstice) because it starts getting lighter from that point on!

 


Feel like the blues are venturing into SAD territory?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to show up during the colder months. If you need to talk, our licensed therapists and certified life coaches are here for you. Click here to learn more.

 

Time to Downshift

Resting and resetting. Two simple words that contain a lot of power. However, if you’re like me, finding the space to allow yourself to decompress, relax, reset, and downshift doesn’t come easy. I’ve been asking myself why this is. I often question myself on permitting the downtime, because I have so many other things I “should” be doing. Getting more work done I couldn’t get to, reading the four books on my nightstand, visiting friends and checking out the latest new restaurant, I mean the list can go on and on. 

 

More often than not, I’m not permitting myself the opportunities to just be quiet and relax. The go, go, go our society prides itself on always wins, but then I wonder why I’m so tired, burnt out, overwhelmed, and scattered all the time. The question I pose to you, and myself is: “why?” What are the benefits of running full speed ahead at all times? What feelings come up when you’re debating to give yourself a break or do something? Why aren’t you permitting yourself this time to recuperate from your busy life? Take the opportunity to grab your journal and think through these questions. See what is coming up and what nuggets of information can help enlighten you on your ‘why.’ Allowing yourself rest and relaxation without guilt takes a little bit of practice. There is no shame if you are a little rusty at this. Furthermore, what downshifting  means for you may look different from another person.Here are some tips on how to begin your journey to mindful rest and relaxation.

 

Find what relaxation means to you

Remember that relaxation is not about the activity, but the outcome of that activity. Pay attention to your hobbies, physical activities, self-care practices, and how you feel after doing them. If you feel stable and easy, then it may be something to add to your list as a way to reset..

Be intentional

Ask yourself what you hope to get out of your relaxation time each time you do it. Ask yourself questions such as…Do I need to step back  from stressors at work or home? Do I need to feel refreshed and ready to be present in my life? Do I need to feel soothed and comforted? Once you determine what you need, you can choose the right activity and define the boundaries to put in place in order to make it happen.

Manage emotions and negative self-talk

If your mind isn’t on board with resting, it’s going to be more difficult to downshift. Find skills and tools that can help put you in a mindset to relax. Depending on the emotions – which can range from frustration, sadness, guilt, anxiety  – try leveraging tools such as journaling, self-compassion exercises, meditation, reframing, and/or grounding exercises to help you move through them and put you at ease for downshifting. 

Set clear expectations

We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform in every aspect of our lives, even when resting. Many times we have the notion that if we just relax, we will be magically restored from the stressors of life. Being realistic about resting is understanding that relaxation isn’t the absence of stress but creating moments when you are putting stressors on hold so you can take a break from what’s on your plate.

You deserve rest

Many of us use resting as a reward from accomplishing all our to-dos. Thinking that rest is something to be earned can end up making us feel we don’t deserve it if we don’t complete our tasks. Remember, our bodies and brains need downtime, and rest is a necessity. In fact, those who regularly take mindful rest breaks tend to also be higher achievers than those who allow themselves to burn out.

 

As we head into a season that supports going inward with its shorter light days and colder temperatures, challenge yourself and lean in to finding more moments during the week for resetting and relaxing.

 


 

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

Dating: Here is Your Course Correction

“Maybe I am just bad at dating” — Ever thought this about yourself? I think we all have at one time or another, but I am here to tell you: YOU ARE NOT BAD AT DATING. Ok, maybe if you have never, ever, once been interested in going on a date and you’ve self isolated in the swiss alps, dating might not be your thing, but then you are likely not reading this blog. So if you are still with me, then congrats! You have what it takes.

 

By viewing dating as something we pass or fail at, you aren’t opening yourself up to the reality of how complex and messy human relationships actually are. Are you still grading yourself on dating by how many dates you’ve gone on in the past few months, how attractive or successful the other person was, or by how many matches you have on your dating app? Most of our metrics for dating success exist outside of ourselves. How has that worked out for you?

 

What if you could course correct to finding genuine happiness in yourself, a confidence and sense of contentment that attracts the person that is ready and right for you? (Wouldn’t that be nice?) Well that starts with learning about yourself and loving who that person is. Do you know what your real values are? Do you understand your attachment style and how it shows up in dating and relationships? Can you recognize your blind spots and your patterns? All this matters, because if you don’t understand and know who you are, you are likely to use the other person to fill in the gaps, leading you to abandon yourself, get attached too quickly or find yourself in an unhealthy relationship because you ignored the red flags. Think about it, do you really want to become a Brad Pitt character and start morphing into all the people that you date?

Source: Bored Panda

 

(btw your hair looks great as it is, don’t change it)

 

A relationship shouldn’t be two ‘halves’ coming together to make a ‘whole’. It should be two “wholes” coming together to share happiness.

Nadalie Bardo 

 

And if you look at dating as a chore, or if every first date is the ‘first day of the rest of your lives’ then maybe you could evolve your outlook. Here is how you become rejection proof: change how you approach dating. Dating can be as simple as two strangers who are no longer trying to be strangers anymore. Personally, when I changed my outlook from ‘I need to find my soulmate’ to ‘I’d just like to meet some new people in town, hopefully make some new friends’ then things got SO MUCH EASIER. It was a successful transition for me, could it be for you?

 

Lastly, what avenues are you looking at? Are you only on the online dating scene? What are you interested in? Yes, that matters, because involving yourself in activities and events that you enjoy can have some major payoff. One, you are giving yourself the gift of something that brings you joy, two, it yields more chances for meeting someone with similar interests. It might sound scary to join an intramural sports team, or sign up for a class, or volunteer for an event, but you will never know if you don’t try. I dare even say that maybe taking a break entirely from dating may be the right course for you? 

 

I would like to help you more with this but honestly there is too much to cover in this one blog. But good news, we have 6 sessions dedicated to learning and talking about all this* with your dream team, Amy and I. Listen, I know that signing up for a dating course can seem embarrassing or intimidating, but think about it like this: what you learn in a course like this doesn’t have to just apply to dating. You can apply this information to improving all the relationships in your life. I know that dating can feel like swimming upstream, but I sincerely hope that after this course, it will feel like floating down a lazy river with an umbrella drink in your hand. 

 

*Course is completed – check out our events page to see what else is coming up.

How Energy Work Complements Mental Well-Being

I must admit, I am lifted up by the awareness and open communication around mental well-being that is happening in our world today.  I grew up in a time when talking to a therapist was very ‘hush-hush’ and not at all a topic of conversation that was openly discussed.  As someone who has worked with therapists on and off during my lifetime and loves to figure out my inner workings, this acceptance has been a complete game-changer.  

 

The fact of the matter is our mental health controls a lot of how we view the world.  And it controls how we move through it. It is a complex creature and not something we all together understand. Nevertheless, the simple presence of bringing more awareness to mental wellness bridges the gap between the stigma and the acceptance.  

 

I say all of this because I find it to be important to your overall health. The mental element is the key to unlocking some of your greatest desires. It also can be the key to unlocking some of your set-backs. What I have found to be true is that I am not my thoughts.  This took me a long time to understand and unload.  And I still get caught up in my thoughts daily.  Yet, I now have a better understanding that I CAN’T control my thoughts.  What I can do is recognize when I am thinking and I have the capacity to determine if the thought is in fact true for me or not.  This is my understanding and definition of mindfulness.

 

I had to set the stage so you can understand why I find mental well being so important and why it is at the forefront of the work I do.  Energy work, in simplest terms, is tuning into movement in the body.  Per my previous blog post, all forms of energy are associated with motion, and we are continuously moving.  Take your thoughts, which are also constantly moving. Now I know, there isn’t science to back the claim that thoughts are energy but, if you understand the basic definition of energy, then you can relate it to thinking. 

 

As you have read this blog, you might have found yourself thinking about what you are going to make for dinner tonight, or if you remembered to lock your front door, or when will she get to point.  If you can relate, then the mind was not still, it was moving from one thought to the next. 

 

Energy.

 

How does energy work support mental well-being?  The simplest way is by helping you to relax. I work with the energy moving in your body to tune into your parasympathetic nervous system, which is rest and digest.  Once your nervous system starts to respond, the body and the mind follow suit. The more you tune in and practice relaxation, the more the body remembers and the mind calms. It’s almost like you are training your brain. The muscle memory (so to speak) will help you when stressful and anxiety provoking situations arise. It is simple and powerful.

 

This is why I love the work. It is so subtle and has the capacity to change your life. 

 

xo,

Kim

 


 

If you’re interested in working with Kim, you can book Energy Work 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

 

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.

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 Augustus, 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!

 

*Workshop is completed – check out our events page to see what else is coming up.

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!