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Dr. MC's Self-Care Cabaret
44 minutes | Sep 1, 2021
The Power of No
Today’s episode is a conversation with Dr. Jackie Boivin. She is an Assistant Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA. A former elementary school teacher who uses her past experience in the field to contextualize her instruction in teacher preparation. These two dynamic Dr.’s were in the same cohort for their doctoral studies and have been fast friends ever since. Their conversation discusses the critical need for self-care in all areas of life (even when planning a wedding). Movement breaks, hydration, and most importantly, the Power of saying No to toxic people are several tools discussed in this episode. As always we love to hear from our listeners! Reach out to email@example.com with any questions or topics you’d like to hear about on future episodes. Additional Resources: Mindful Self-Care for Earlier Schooling: How Self-Care May Help Students Have the Emotional Competencies to Face Transitions at Younger Age Strategies and Methods for Implementing Trauma-Informed Pedagogy Exploring the Role of the School Principal in Predominantly White Middle Schools: School Leadership to Promote Multicultural Understanding (Routledge Research in Educational Leadership) Dr. MC’s Wedding Blog Post EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Speaker 0 00:00:25 Welcome to another podcast episode of Dr. MCs self care cavalry. I’m Theresa Melito-Conners, a PhD level self-care expert in the greater Boston area with a passion for helping others find their spotlight and recognize the importance of caring for themselves. Today’s episode is a conversation with my PhD partner in crime, Dr. Jackie Bowman, Jackie and I embarked on the PhD journey in 2016 together and developed an unstoppable bond. We supported each other through the dissertation process, which can be quite challenging to navigate, but having each other definitely helped us both. We managed to finish and successfully defend our dissertations during the summer of 2019, since then it has been nonstop for us. We have coauthored one published chapter in an educational handbook and another one in the editing phase. But Jackie has been up to a lot on her own as well. Dr. Jackie Bowman is an assistant professor of elementary and early childhood education at Bridgewater state university. Speaker 0 00:01:33 She is a former elementary school teacher who uses her past experience in the field to contextualize her instruction in teacher preparation, Dr. Bowman’s research specialization is in multicultural education and anti-racist pedagogy. She is the author of the book exploring the role of the school principal in predominantly white middle schools, school leadership to promote multicultural understanding. She teaches a math methods course to elementary teacher candidates at Bridgewater state. She integrates her knowledge of project based place based education to her multidisciplinary approach, to fostering conceptual understanding of mathematics. She also teaches a course titled deconstructing racism, yourself, your world, your schools, in which students explore their unconscious biases and how these impact the world around them contributing to systemic racism like modern day racial segregation of public education. Her largest passion is authentically connecting academics with social justice. I am honored to call Jackie my friend and call me Speaker 1 00:02:54 Jackie. Thanks so much for joining us today on the Dr. MC self care cabaret podcast. I’m delighted to chat with you. And so let’s get started. Question one, will you tell us a little bit about your doctoral research and why you chose that topic Speaker 2 00:03:12 Gladly? Well, it’s a pleasure to be here and getting to talk about my doctoral research is a great way to start because that’s how we met Dr. MC proud alumni of Lesley university. And I mean, I have to say, I really wouldn’t have gotten through the program without your support, your camaraderie team, a hundred percent. You supported me in the topic that I chose and you really pulled out the fact that my topic had value and I could really vent anything and everything to you about it, even if it was like, does this wording make sense? Is this a controversial way to present this? Because my topic within itself can have some little sticky areas, especially as a white person trying to navigate something that I was having my own journey on. So my dissertation research was on the role that principals play, supporting white teachers, teaching race and multiculturalism to white students in rural schools. Speaker 2 00:04:22 And I chose this topic because that’s what I was living day in and day out. I was a white fifth grade teacher in a rural, predominantly white elementary school. And I really did feel unsupported by administration when I was trying to authentically integrate an emphasis on race in my teaching. So when I sought out support, there really wasn’t literature available or resources for this all white situation that I was in. So I saw this gap in the literature, which is kind of like in PhD terms, that’s like your gold. You really need to find that gap. That’s your, you’re striving to fill that gap. And so I chose that as my topic and pursued it. The process was a trying one, but I had my team player throughout it. And, uh, you know, we finished Speaker 1 00:05:15 Drying process, but yet you also supported me though as well. But please go back to talking about your job. Speaker 2 00:05:24 Well, then the topic itself, you know, was one that there was a need for, and after I put that together, I got it published in principal magazine because this is a topic that people are hungry for. And after that, I put together a proposal which was approved to publish a book on it. And the book was published through Rutledge. And what’s unique about the book is yes, it’s based on my dissertation, which is all fine and great, but I really noticed that it was a bit a band-aid approach. And when I say a band-aid approach, I’m referring to the fact that we’re talking about how can white teachers do better with teaching white students? Well, that right there, an all white dynamic, if a population in a school is an issue and my research about like, how can we do better with that? Wasn’t addressing the fact that the situation was presenting itself in the first place, right? So I then implemented what we call critical race theory, which is basically seeing race and everything. And what I did was I looked at my study and said, you know, there’s a lot principals can do to support white teachers or white students. But what we really have to be looking at is we shouldn’t have white teachers only teaching white students, that’s racial segregation in schools. So it needs to be a more of a systemic change, which then boils down to economics, housing, et cetera, which is a much larger issue that needs to be addressed. Speaker 1 00:06:57 Sure, no, it’s fascinating. Cause your topic was very timely. And as we know, my dissertation topic was self-care and renewal for leaders and teachers, which of course I’ve talked about before, but that was also became an incredibly timely topic. As we then shortly after both of us, defended world changed a bit with the COVID pandemic and we had to, I mean, self care and renewal is now, I mean more critical than ever. It was always critical, but even now teachers are really, and people in general are really feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. So I love that. Yes, we definitely did. Did support ourselves each other through that, um, journey for sure. So now we’re going to go back to self care just a bit, and I’d like you to tell me how you like to practice self-care Speaker 2 00:07:50 Well on the PhD journey that wasn’t easy. And so I really had to take some time to get to know myself and what’s going to work for me with a crazy busy schedule. I was teaching full-time. I was, you know, trying to balance a PhD in the background, not to mention I was keeping it under wraps out of fear of not being able to maintain employment, because if they knew I was getting a PhD, then I might lose my position because I then qualified for more pay. So I just kept it on the down wall just because I liked where I was and I wanted to kind of finish up the program with a job. Um, so that process was, was a really interesting one within itself and it was taxing emotionally. So I really had to find ways to decompress. Um, during the PhD, I started doing some Tai Chi, which then I also taught my students and we did that to decompress after we had lunch and recess because I had to get them grounded, turn off the lights, we add calming music. Speaker 2 00:08:54 And we did some Tai for about 10 minutes. So that was a really great outlet, um, that has actually transcended into some yoga practice that I do now. And my husband and I do yoga after work every single day, which is amazing. Like just take 10 minute classes. They’re awesome. Spite them online for free and do just 10 minutes sitting at the computer. It like just releases all the pressure in your shoulders and it gets you slow down because during the Workday, I’m just go, go, go. And that was during my PhD as well. So just doing things to slow myself down because I am kind of like an Energizer bunny and people think that I drink like that a hundred percent. That Speaker 1 00:09:37 Is definitely a great way to describe. I love it. Speaker 2 00:09:43 And then they see how much I do. And they’re like, you don’t sleep. Do you? But here’s the kicker. I sleep a solid eight hours every single night, big stickler about my bedtime. Like to the point of it being, you know, borderline ridiculous. I’ll tell my husband that goes to eight. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be my best self tomorrow. And sometimes I’ll, you know, have some wiggle room, but I really try to stay true to that because I want to function my best every day. So rest, and also I’ve gotten a lot better at drinking water during the day. Hard. That’s really hard. Especially as a teacher, when you don’t get like restroom breaks during the day, that was a challenge for me. Um, so now that I’m no longer in the classroom and I can like, I’m a college professor and can leave and use the restroom, I’m a lot better about staying hydrated. So those are some things that I do to take good care of myself and just having time with my husband, I make a lot of time to just have us together and say, no, I’m not going to go work that late tonight. Speaker 1 00:10:48 That’s awesome. You bring up a couple of really important points that I want to highlight and make sure our listeners are picking up on it also. So you mentioned, you know, 10 minutes, so short, quick, a lot of times people feel like if they don’t have epic amounts of time to spend doing something, you know, typically a yoga class is what, 75, maybe 90 minutes, but that’s okay if you only have 10 minutes do 10 minutes and you feel benefits from this Jackie, right. Speaker 2 00:11:17 So much so that my balance is so much better. I get made fun of by my family. They call me thump Alina, cause I’ll just trip over. All right. So now I’ve been doing yoga. I am so much better on my feet. I’m more balanced. I’ve gotten better 10 minutes a day. I’ve gotten so much better on the moves that I’ve gone from beginner to intermediate, I can say, wow, Speaker 1 00:11:46 Is there a particular, um, instructor or class or you just search 10 minute yoga? Or how are you finding this? Speaker 2 00:11:52 It started free yoga, just like Googling, you know, and finding someone YouTube. But then I wanted something a little bit more structured so I could kind of see progress. So I got a free, like, I don’t know what got like free months from Peloton and you don’t need like a biker or anything. And they had a, they do so much yoga content and they have classes that are longer too. So on the weekends, I can’t go out for like a walk on a Saturday. I’ll do a longer class because it’s like, well, this is something good for my body that I can do here in the living room. Um, so yeah, that’s been a really great one. They also have meditation classes on there and they have different themes to like focus on calming, to focus on positivity. And I’ll do those like in the middle of the day, just to kind of ground myself for the afternoon. For example, if I know I have a lot coming up so that I just feel more ready to go, Speaker 1 00:12:45 Oh, that’s awesome. And never sacrificing sleep. That is so important. And I always say that that is one of the ways I got through the doctoral program because even I did not pull all nighters writing dissertation, chapters, and revisions and whatnot. I couldn’t, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to function and the sleep is so, so important. So I do, although maybe a little less regimented, it sounds then you, although I could be a little more, but I really try to get that minimum eight hours of sleep at night because I just am not going to set myself up for success. If I don’t the next day I feel like junk. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:13:24 It’s so true. I also got a Fitbit that monitors my sleep and it gives me a score. So it’s very cool to see, like, yes, I got an 85. I’ll take a B all right. As a teacher, you’re like, what grade did I get that? And it also yells at me to get up because working remotely, like you just set so much. So it’ll, it’ll like kind of buzz at me. Like you’ve been sitting really long. Maybe just get up and do a lap around the living room. Speaker 1 00:13:51 That’s awesome though. Sometimes we need those little reminders and I think that that’s, um, that’s great. So I love that. So your next, my next question, actually, you may have answered some of this, but so how did you manage to take care of yourself through the PhD program? Working full time, starting a new relationship, and somehow always with a smile. I Speaker 2 00:14:11 Love that you added in always with a smile. I I’ve been known to be a very positive person. I do credit a lot of that to my sleep, but I think that really what got me through my PhD program, I would say the starting a new relationship was probably the thing that got me through. Um, Craig is my now husband, but we started seeing each other, uh, less than a year into the program. I had started as a very young, independent woman. I was 24 when I started the PhD pro my birthday was done. So it was, I was 23, turning 24. So was very young and I just really needed someone to vent to daily, to get to hang out with and give me breaks. And he was that one, um, from having a bad day to coming home to my favorite dinner, waiting for me and having someone to go on adventures with when I needed a break, he was always there. Speaker 2 00:15:11 So I’d say he really took care of me in a lot of ways. And also just having an outlet of focusing on someone else. It’s easy to be working full time and pursuing a PhD and be very tunnel vision on what you’re doing and not be self-centered, but really just be focused on your goals that having someone else to look at and say, how are you doing today? Tell me about your day was really great because it makes you reflect on your own problems and issues when you’re helping someone else. And that I think is really good for your own psyche during that, during a really busy trying time, I would also say that what got me through is the word. No, and that’s a really hard, Speaker 1 00:15:57 No, it’s a complete sentence. So my gosh, no. Perfect. So tell me more about that Speaker 2 00:16:04 During the PhD. I remember at our orientation, they said, there’s going to be times where you’re not going to fold the laundry. You’re gonna say no. And I was thinking to myself, oh my gosh, not folding the laundry. Like what? That’s just going to sit there. No, I’m not okay with that. But I still learned that the power of no meant you need to prioritize your doctoral, work over a lot of different things and you need that people that are going to get that. So it really shows you who’s there for you 120% because you need a group of people around you, friends, family, significant others who understand that. You’re going to say, now I got a paper to write. Nice. I really have to get this discussion board up for this class that I’m in. I’m sorry. And they go, okay. They don’t make you feel bad. Speaker 2 00:16:57 They don’t question it. They just support you and go, I bet you’re going to nail it. And that’s what I found from my father. He has been nothing but a support. He would listen to me, read my papers out loud cue from the day I got in to the day that we got hooded, he has just been at my side, my biggest support. And also my husband, Craig, who undoubtedly has been just my sounding board for everything. My biggest support. When I met him, I met him in a coffee shop, working on my qualifying paper in the PhD program. That Speaker 1 00:17:36 Was our second one was tell folks, so they know that’s the literature review. So this is where we had to like read all the literature on our topic, books Speaker 2 00:17:46 In the world and have no eyeballs. So I’m sitting in a coffee shop working on this and he’s like, so what, what are you working on? I said, oh, it’s for my PhD. I’m going to be a college professor. One day we just met like five minutes into the meeting. I just dropped the bomb. Yup. So I’m going to be a doctor and be a college professor. So I think he didn’t run screaming, didn’t run. And he said, that’s amazing. And then a couple months later, we went to a red Sox game in Boston. I said, I’m going to ride a duck boat one day and it’s going to be my victory parade when I have that PhD. And he said to me, I can’t wait there with you when that happens. And I knew from that moment, wow, this guy it’s like when I have the PhD. Speaker 2 00:18:37 Huh. Okay. Then, but in all seriousness, you know, he understood when I had to say no, I, I had different priorities than a lot of other, um, young women, my age, um, getting a doctorate, trying to get into higher ed and I wasn’t one to want to go out to any bars or anything like that. I said, I really, my preference is being home and making progress toward this. Cause I want to finish in a timely manner. And he was all on board and, and he’s been on board with all of my professional, my professional escapades sense. And uh, I still say no. And you away. I think he started learning to say no to. So I think it’s a great thing we’ve learned. Speaker 1 00:19:22 I love it. I think we’re going to title the episode, the power of, no, I love it. No, it’s important. And I think this is great. And even, you know, for our listeners who maybe are not in doctoral programs, um, you know, it’s still those setting those boundaries and having that support is really important, no matter what you’re trying to achieve, no matter what your goals are. And my husband’s certainly played a huge factor in my success. Also in the doctoral program, I definitely didn’t do laundry. I still don’t, but we will let that go. Um, doing dishes. I mean, he had to, I mean, he chose to support me and, and, you know, help me. And he’s always been super supportive, but especially during that doctoral program was particularly challenging. And I am a little bit older than you. So I like going to bars and like doing typical, like young 20 ish things wasn’t necessarily what I was interested in doing, but I definitely like we bought a house in the midst of it. Speaker 1 00:20:18 And there were times that, you know, I didn’t see my friends for a stretches of time because I couldn’t because I needed to be focusing on that. And of course, um, you know, you mentioned having your dad as a support, my mom had to listen to the same, the same reading papers. Hey, can you look at this? Like between the two of them? That was definitely huge. So I’m so thrilled that you found that support system during that time when you really needed it. And obviously beyond that as well, because Craig’s a great guy and that’s very cool. Speaker 2 00:20:48 That’s a huge part though. B be selective with the people that you welcome into your bubble. That’s important self-care and, and extracting the toxic because there are toxic people. And if someone’s not contributing to your healthiness and your success and who you want to be, then maybe that’s a sign that you need space. Speaker 1 00:21:09 Oh, a hundred percent. And it’s hard. Sometimes those people are the people closest to us and we have to set those boundaries. I mean, I have to do that with a member of my family and kind of put up that boundary because it’s not good for me. Right. To allow that in contributor go. I excellent. So you did mention, um, Craig is your now husband, which is very exciting. And you’re coming up on, is it the first year of man? Wow. This July, right? You were a COVID bribe, Speaker 2 00:21:45 The COVID bride. That was an interesting thing that required self care, that whole process of wedding planning. Right. Speaker 1 00:21:52 So let’s do some wedding tips for self-care tips for brides. What do you think? What would you offer for self? Speaker 2 00:21:57 I would offer cakes some time and just think about, is it a wedding or is it about the marriage? Because I’m all about the marriage and that’s the day after the wedding onward for like till death. Do we part I’m all about that? The wedding, yeah. Super magical. It’s your day. And you want it special, but things are going to go awry and that’s fine. So I think having that mindset really makes a difference and it gets you to, if you accepting, if there’s just a little hiccup here and there, and, uh, I’d also say that as you’re planning your wedding to take good care of yourself, it’s just love who you are and how you look. Because I think there’s a lot of pressure to like lose 10 pounds for the wedding day. Or you need to put on a ton of makeup that day, not even look like yourself, who you are because that day I don’t really wear makeup. Speaker 2 00:22:57 So that day of my wedding, um, I had someone that was at our wedding, who said, I brought my makeup kit in case you wanted me to like, do you up and everything. All of my wedding party said, Jackie, you never wear makeup. Why would you do that today? We want you to look like you. And I had talked to my husband prior to that. I was like, should I like go somewhere and get done up? He says, you’re not going to look like you. I want you to look like you. So that’s what I ended up doing. I went all natural for my wedding photos, um, because I wanted to be me and I was totally good with it. My way stayed the same didn’t budge on anything. And I was me. So I think that’s really what brides should take that pressure off. And they’re marrying who you are right now. Not who you’re going to be months from now in that wedding dress. Speaker 1 00:23:48 I love that. That is really important. And you looked beautiful in all the photos. Of course it being COVID. I was not able to be there with you in person, but I was there with you in spirit. Certainly. Um, Speaker 2 00:23:59 You’re the thing I had to say no to people for the wedding, because I just couldn’t. So that was an instance of saying no, but I knew who I invited. Oh, got it. You know, that they weren’t selected because they love me. So I had been very selective in my, my grouping, the people who I surround myself with are all understanding, awesome people who love me. So that’s another instance of no working out. Speaker 1 00:24:25 I love it. The power of no, the power of that. I really wish I had met you maybe a few years sooner than we did. Um, because preparing for my wedding actually sent me into, um, a very deep eating disorder spiral. I always had kind of dabbled in and I know we’ve talked about this, but, um, I’ve always kind of struggled with weight for many years, but during that time to try to, you know, that mindset, that society tells us how you have to look and be a thin bride and shredding for the wedding. And I don’t even know there was so many stupid hashtags. I was trends and just putting myself through that was not. Yeah. Um, my healthiest, um, time period, unfortunately. Um, however, I did do my own makeup because of that, very reason that I wanted to look like me. And at one point I even, I remember saying to my mother, should I, you know, hire someone to do my makeup. Speaker 1 00:25:25 And she was like, why you do your makeup gorgeous all the time? And you have like, what are they going to do that you can’t do you have stage training? You’ve been doing makeup. Like I had to do makeup. And I was like, yeah, you’re right. And I’m like, of course, like, so I looked like me on the wedding, which was fine and, you know, whatever the weight issues and that was not solved by, you know, stressing myself out and doing some pretty, um, huh. Not healthy things to get, to achieve that weight that I held on to just about through the wedding. And then that was about it as it started, all my methods began to backfire on me, but that’s neither, that could be a different podcast episode. Um, the, just as I love that though, be yourself and love yourself because your partner is marrying you for you and what you look like. And if they’re not, if they’re only marrying you before, because what you can transform yourself into for one special day, then that maybe, I don’t know if that’s going to be a real successful marriage. Speaker 2 00:26:27 Yeah. And then are you looking at those photos? Do you even see yourself? Cause if you want to look like that for one day, is that really you Speaker 1 00:26:35 Tricky? For sure. And definitely like focus on the marriage because that’s, what’s important that one day is amazing, but it goes so fast and it’s so crazy and you have to prioritize like what’s important. Like, is it important to you to have, I know for me, I wanted more people. Like I was looking for a big, like 200 person event. So that’s what I made work. But for somebody else, like if that wasn’t your priority, then of course like don’t do that because somebody else did that. Or you read somewhere that you should do that. Like it can be five people. That’s fine. Well, it’d be two people down at, down at the town hall doing it. Like it matter what’s important is what happens the next day. Speaker 2 00:27:17 It’s your day. That’s it. Speaker 1 00:27:20 So I’m going to ask you kind of a silly question now. So most of my guests thus far have predominantly hailed from north shore, greater Boston area of Massachusetts, but you, my friend and my first guest from Western ness. So I’m wondering if there are any misconceptions you would like to dispel or truths you wish to confirm. Speaker 2 00:27:41 I love this question on so many levels. So I went through Matt’s born and raised and I only recently moved to central mass, but I think a lot is getting closer to Boston, to inching inching. Right? So Wister county, I guess, you know, we’re making our way. Um, but I would say a lot of people from Eastern mass, often Columbus central mass in Western mass, just all one big mammoth JAMA, right? Like over there, over that say that, you know, overall, um, central mass is very much very similar to, um, central mass. Like it’s Western central. There are a lot of similarities. I’ve, I’ve noticed that in the Western part of the state. Yeah. We have a lot of outlets for artsy things. Um, very liberal in north Hampton, which is, um, an area where I went to college. So very, um, very left leaning in a lot of ways. Speaker 2 00:28:42 But what I really loved about living in that area was just the level of acceptance and diversity. I went to Smith college, um, where I got to meet people from all over the world, which was phenomenal. I think one misconception I’d like to dispel is that I’ve heard this before. Is that people in Western mass, they’re all like hippies, drinking, craft beer on their back porch. I can say that you’re not really people like that, but I’m not one of them. We’re not all like that. There is a very much a culture of like sustainability and wanting to eat local, a lot of like farm to table, farm shares, um, CSS, things like that. Um, so there is a, quite an emphasis of that, like go into the co-op to get your organic produce. Lot of people like that in Western mass, like not using plastic bags, we don’t do that. Speaker 2 00:29:36 We only use our reuse bags where I’m from. So, um, and I still do that by the way, when I go out shopping, we do not use it. So just being very like environmentally conscious is as a norm there. Um, but overall I’d say it’s, it’s a very welcoming place. Lot of people like the outdoors. So like a lot of hiking, um, but you can make of it what you want, but it’s a really awesome place. And if you haven’t gotten a chance to go visit Western mass, do it. It’s cool. It’s not as far as you might think it is. Speaker 1 00:30:09 Yeah. Right. That’s awesome. I love it. I definitely I’ve been, I have been to Springfield like once, but I was little and um, I spent a lot of time in my previous position, um, out in, at Marlboro, um, hosting events there, but in the central, not central. No, that doesn’t qualify. All right then. Nevermind. I didn’t spend much time in central. Speaker 2 00:30:37 I feel like is not, not going to give you a Western mass vibe to the extent Speaker 1 00:30:42 It was what I was getting at. I need to go further. I want to go Speaker 2 00:30:46 Unique Springfield. You gotta go up from Springfield. You gotta get into Hampshire county. Yup. Pioneer valley. You need to get to the pioneer valley. Speaker 1 00:30:55 Okay. I need to get out to Western mass, I think is the takeaway here. I have not explored that part of my home state and I should, and I should go hang out with Jackie and do it. So I’ll give you a tour. We’ll schedule that for some time. All right. Last question. You have a lot of experiences. We’ve talked about being a classroom teacher and now a college professor and everything else you’ve done and achieved. So I’m wondering though, do you have any thoughts on self care from a higher ed perspective as opposed to a K-12 focus? So are there any, like any differences you see there or advice maybe for someone who’s a college professor versus a K-12 teacher? Speaker 2 00:31:36 Yeah. They practice what you preach educators at any level. I don’t care if you’re teaching K-12 higher. Ed. If you’re going to talk to your students about eating well, exercising, getting sleep, the whole gambit, you have to be a role model for them because like it or not, you are a role model and they look up to you doesn’t matter how old they are. My college students aren’t even that much younger than I am, but they still look at me as someone who is an educator and puts forth knowledge to others in cultivates future teachers. And I need to show that I’m doing the things I’m recommending to them. And the same went when I was teaching fifth grade, they looked at me as a role model. And I mean, all I would take is like getting a new pair of running shoes by Nike. Speaker 2 00:32:27 And then they’re all getting their Nike shoes and you’re like, wow, okay. They really heard that I got new shoes and they did the same. So with my little mini copycats, it was so flattering. It was so, but in all honesty, that’s what it’s about. Like, you’re, you’re a role model for them. And I think that right now, we’re in a time that self care really needs to be a focus because my close students really hit a wall halfway through the semester. We had no spring break, they were exhausted. They had a lot of work ahead of them. And I had to take a step back and say, am I even giving them a chance to practice self care right now? Because they have a lot of work on top of them right now. So I decided to cut a few things here and there to try to alleviate them a bit more and talk with them, taking the time to say, what are you doing? Speaker 2 00:33:20 Like five, 10 minutes. How are you feeling? What are you doing to take care of yourself? Like, can we just share a little bit? And one girl says I love carbs. So I just made a giant thing of Mac and cheese last night I ate most of it. And everyone was like, and we’re like, do you feel better? She’s like, yeah, like I don’t really need carbs. Now. It just satisfied me. And then another girl says I got a gym membership and I went at midnight last night and it was like midnight. And she’s like, I couldn’t sleep. So it was something to go do. And we’re like, well, did you feel better? And then it was like a round of applause. All right. We all have our things. It looks different on everybody. And a lot of things aren’t going to work for another person, right? Because self-care is like, it’s not one size fits all. It’s ding, ding, ding, ding. It’s not one size fits all the doctor and see, Speaker 1 00:34:15 I love it. So keep going. I cut you off. I just got excited because that was such a, such an important point. Speaker 2 00:34:21 It’s such an important point though, because it does look different for everyone. Every age, every gender at every race, every ethnicity it’s going to look different and we need to be respectful of that and not be lecture-y either like you need to do this. No. I think what we need to say is you need to find what’s going to work for you and how can I support you in that? How can I help you have time to make sure you sneak a quick workout in or get to go to that yoga class? All right. Do you need an extension on that? Because it’s not worth staying up all night. Sometimes I’ll get emails from students at like two in the morning. And then I say to the student the next day, I don’t want to see that again. The next day it’d be a few more hours late. Like that’s just, no, that made me sad. No, Speaker 1 00:35:09 Well that’s cause you’re a great teacher and empathetic to your students’ needs. And I think that’s really important though. You know, and especially in the K-12 environment, there’s so much talk about social, emotional learning, and obviously wellness for our students, wellness for the adults too, and social, emotional learning for the adults. Like they neglect themselves in the process. And I know, you know, we focus on the students and of course there are a number one priority and we want to do all the great things for them. But we also have to take care of ourselves. If you don’t take care of yourself, it will impact your ability to care for others. Self care is other care. Speaker 2 00:35:45 It’s so true. It’s so true in the teaching profession, I think is, is a great example of that. So get that sleep, have the energy for your students, you know, eat well because you need it. You need it to get through the day Speaker 1 00:36:00 A hundred percent. And I think I had someone tell me in one of my presentations that they like the way I present my self-care workshops, because I it’s like a self care buffet. I give them all the different things. You can do all the different domains and so many different tools and tips and tricks in each domain. But ultimately it’s up to the person to pick and choose what’s going to work for them. And then in the heat of the moment, when they’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed and then their day to day, and they’re just going about life, that they know where to pull in those pieces, like now I need to meditate. Now I need to journal. I need to hydrate like, and being able to access that and integrate it into your life. So it’s seamless and it’s just what you do. So you show up in the world is the best you possible. Speaker 2 00:36:44 Yeah. And I think showing up in the world is going to start looking different too. Cause post pandemic, these kiddos are going to be coming to school. And some of the coping mechanisms that they’ve learned aren’t going to work well for them because they may be coming into school, some PTSD from this pandemic. And I think trauma informed instruction is going to be of increasing interest because the pandemic was traumatizing in many ways. And I think it will have a lasting emotional effect on students of all ages. And there’s also inherent fear that things can shut down again. And a student coughing could be enough to trigger, you know, a PTSD reaction and a child who lost maybe a loved one to COVID. So I think there’s, there’s a lot of things that we need to be considering as educators when students are coming back to in-person learning that maybe they didn’t have to think about before and teaching some new self care strategies that are more tailored to a post pandemic world. Speaker 1 00:37:49 Yeah. I think that’s a hundred percent. And I, I also think for the staff too, I mean, colleagues, we don’t know what each other has really experienced over this time, period. I mean, people have experienced tremendous loss. I’m not everyone’s certainly, but I mean, we just don’t know, like you don’t know what somebody else has just gone through me. This COVID impacted every single person in some way, good, bad or indifferent, like something wasn’t impacted. So it will be definitely key moving forward to be mindful of that and maybe give people a little extra bit of kindness and a little extra bit of grace as we, um, as we move forward. Speaker 2 00:38:32 I like the vision of that world. I also think, you know, this is a time of really strong social justice unrest in our nation. And it’s a time to think about how our BiPAP students are practicing self care and ensuring that they, they have what they need to do. So, and I think that this goes for K-12. It goes for higher ed. I just really hope that educators are learning more about what it means to be supportive and caring toward all students in an inclusive way. You know, when the Georgia Florida trial for example, was on TV and the video clip was repeatedly played on BiPAP colleagues of mine express how exhausting it was to watch and how they were struggling with sleep without the verdict decided. This made me really think about how educators need to think about what events, you know, may trigger a need to remind students of self care because they’re consuming media constantly. And just being aware of, of all of these different facets that play into who our students are and how their self-care is going to be tailor made for them. Speaker 1 00:39:39 Absolutely. I think we could do a whole nother podcast episode in the future on that topic we can dive deeper into that Speaker 2 00:39:46 Certainly can unpack a lot more there. Speaker 1 00:39:49 Excellent. So much for all that information you shared with us today and some really great points and excellent takeaways for our listeners. Um, so thank you so much, Dr. Bowman for being here with us. Speaker 2 00:40:05 My pleasure. Thank you for having me Speaker 0 00:40:14 That conversation was packed with lots of ideas about self care and takeaways. Jackie was so open and honest. I love it hen. Yes. I know it is clear that I need to explore Massachusetts a bit more. So let me know where I should go and what are the must do? Must try places. Jackie highlighted the importance and benefits of short, joyful movement with her 10 minute daily yoga practice, staying hydrated and never sacrificing sleep great tips. And I love the idea of setting boundaries and being careful with who you let into your bubble. Very, very important to recognize and important to do. Although depending upon who the toxic person is, I know this can be rather challenging, but placing those limits and saying no is critical to protecting your energy. For me, I am always reprioritizing my tasks and shifting my focus and energy. I don’t have time for things that drain me or for toxic people. Speaker 0 00:41:18 Jackie and I are both blessed to have stellar support systems. And she reminds us of the importance of asking for help. And if I have any newlyweds listening, I would love to know your thoughts on self care for brides. The wedding industry is out of control and the amount of money people spend on one day is crazy. So what advice regarding self care can you offer brides to be for fun? I linked a blog post about my theater themed wedding spectacle in the episode notes. Lastly, Jackie really hit the nail on the head when she said that it is all about staying true to yourself and that self-care is not a one size fits all approach, but you are worth it. So figure out what works for you and do more of that. Thanks for listening to this episode. Remember to subscribe and rate this podcast on your preferred player. The ratings help us grow and share the message of self care. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, please reach out directly by emailing podcast at Dr. MC self care.com that’s D R M C self care.com and come join the cast party at Dr. MCs self care cabaret on Facebook and Instagram at Dr. MC self-care or on my website, Dr. MC self care.com. Be sure to like subscribe and love me across all my social media platforms for the most up-to-date information on self care. See you next time. Stay well. Do good.
48 minutes | Aug 18, 2021
Today’s episode is a conversation with Dr. MC’s amazing cousin, Allison Derrico. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason to listen she joins us with a wealth of experience as an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Yoga & Meditation teacher. As always we love to hear from our listeners! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or topics you’d like to hear about on future episodes. Additional Resources: Allison’s Website on Back Bay Yoga Dr MC blog post on ayurveda Banyan Botanicals Dosha assessment quiz You can learn more about Dr. MC and this podcast on her website: https://drmcselfcare.com/podcast-home/ EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Speaker 0 00:00:27 Well, welcome to another episode of Dr. MCs self care cabaret podcast. I’m Theresa Melito-Conners a PhD level self care expert in the greater Boston area with a passion for helping others recognize the importance of caring for themselves. Today’s guest is a member of my family, my cousin, Alison Derrico. Alison is an ayurvedic health counselor, a yoga and meditation teacher. In addition to being a wife and dog, mom Xtrordinair. The story goes that when my mom and dad went to the hospital and held Alison shortly after she made her appearance into the world, my mom thought to herself, wow, I want one. Well, I was born about nine months later, almost to the day. I will let you connect the dots of what happened when my parents left the hospital that sunny June day. But as a result, I have an older cousin whom I am very close to and have shared many adventures with. I admire Allison’s free spirit and openness to the universe. Speaker 0 00:01:36 I remember when Alison was going to become a yoga teacher. It was not as trendy then. And I was not as familiar with it and its benefits, but we have both been interested in self care and non traditional healing methods for quite some time. Alison has been an entrepreneur for years and she was one of the first people I told when I was launching Dr. MCs self care cabaret. I have to say for those, who’ve taken a workshop with me since COVID, you have likely heard me raving about my cousin and her private yoga classes that she has been hosting for my mother and I, well, this is that cousin, and I’m so excited to have her here with us today. Allison teaches group and private yoga classes and offers our Vedic health consult too. I am delighted to share our plans conversation with you. Let’s get started. So first question, tell me a little bit about how you became a yoga and meditation teacher and, and are you Vedic health counselor? Because that’s fascinating. Speaker 1 00:02:41 All right. So yo, I’ll start with yoga teaching because that came first. Um, I had been practicing yoga probably for about five years at a studio just outside Boston. It no longer exists, but it was Pronto power yoga. It was a Vinyasa, um, style yoga. And so when the teacher training came around, I kind of felt like it was something I always was curious about. Um, so in 2012 I did my 200 hour training at prom and that was in Cambridge. Um, and then from there I kind of dove right in and just started teaching classes and for yoga, for why I was practicing yoga, I guess, to get into that a little bit more. Um, it was something that always felt like it stuck with me. Like there’d be periods where I wasn’t practicing a lot, but then like I always like was learned back in because I just felt so great after the practice. I just felt it was a sense of, I was after college where I would say in college, I wasn’t very connected to my body or any kind of like spiritual sense, um, health. Wasn’t a real big factor of college. So after it’s not for Speaker 0 00:03:56 Most college, unfortunately, maybe we can share a little Speaker 1 00:04:01 The opposite, you know, just a lot of drinking and, you know, not really being too mindful. So yeah, exactly. So the feeling of, um, after the yoga practice was just like, it was new and it was exciting and I just always felt great. And I just wanted to bring that out, like expand and help more people experience yoga. Yeah. So that was in 2012. So what nine years ago I’ve been teaching since then? Um, and you know, with a little bit, this year was a little different, you know, having to learn your skills and how to teach online. But, um, for the most part teaching group classes, um, over the last couple years, I started diving more into one-on-one private classes, working with people. Um, and then I would, it was about six years ago. Um, so I’d say like halfway through my teaching, I heard about IRA Veda. Speaker 1 00:05:03 Um, another teacher was studying it and doing some workshops and I was very much intrigued. It was called yoga’s sister science. Um, so I was like, what, how do I not know about this? Like there’s a sister to yoga. And so with I, or Veda for those who aren’t familiar with the term, um, it focuses a lot on how you’re taking care of yourself daily. So beyond the Asana movement, posture, practice of yoga, um, we’re looking at your lifestyle and you know, all how you find meaning in your life, how you take care of yourself, just it’s like another level. So in one day it was 2015, I think, I don’t know the exact dates, but I don’t know that that matters. Speaker 0 00:05:51 We’ll go with five or six years ago, five Speaker 1 00:05:53 Or six years ago. Um, I enrolled the IRA that program at Kripalu, which was 650 hours. Like a regular yoga teacher training is 200 hours at the baseline. And then you can do another 300 to get your 500 hours. So this was intense, it’s 650 hours onsite at Kapalos. So I was going out there for like nine day stent. So you were like completely immersed and a lot is learning different lifestyle, different diet techniques, and really understanding yourself. So there’s a sense of, we’re all unique, we’re all made up differently. So what works for one person to make them feel their optimal self is not necessarily going to work for someone else. So that’s a little bit on that. I dunno if we’re, if you want Masa right. Anywhere. Speaker 0 00:06:44 Yeah. So I’m going to have you elaborate a little bit more and are you Veda? So, because I do talk about it in some of my trainings I started getting into, are you Veda back in like 2011 ish when kind of around the time when I first realized that I needed to start taking care of myself in the job I was in, or I wasn’t going to be able to sustain it. Um, that was back when I was working at a therapeutic high schools, the guidance director, and working with students significantly impacted with social, emotional issues, trauma, eating disorders, all sorts of challenges. And I needed to figure out how to take care of myself in order to take care of my students and be there for them. So I stumbled upon kind of aryuveda at that point, which is funny that our paths were kind of going along at the, at the same time, but not necessarily, uh, aware that each of us were, were studying these things. Speaker 0 00:07:34 And, um, you know, started studying first, like Deepak Chopra’s work and really got into it and then did some more local, um, stuff with some other, um, experts closer to home. And, um, but really our Javaid his general principle is to strive to connect the mind body and the spirit, which is very different than how we view healing and medicine in this country. And it’s actually, and you may know more about this, but it was, it wasn’t a developed in India like 5,000 years ago. And it’s really the world’s oldest healing system. And it’s very different than how we heal the body in this country. From that, from a very different perspective. You want to elaborate a little more on Speaker 1 00:08:14 That? Yes, I will. Um, so yes, you’re right. It’s approximately 5,000 years old around it’s in the same timeline as yoga. So they did, they do go together. Um, one thing I like to clarify is within the IRA to umbrella, I Aveda sees yoga as like a therapy or a treatment. So like you would tell, you know, you would suggest to someone like, oh, this would be a great yoga practice for you based on your lifestyle and your constitution and this. So, um, that’s something that I like to point out because they all kind of fall in together. And as far as your question about, um, yeah, how I operate is really looking like a lot of holistic systems. Like we’re trying to find the root, like what is causing, um, the imbalance. And, um, I’ll get a little technical on, it looks at the body. Speaker 1 00:09:10 Like we’re looking at the whole picture here. We’re looking at like your physicality, your mental state, your, your, everything, everything that makes you, you like, what are your spiritual practices and, and taking all that into account because just because maybe there’s something going on, um, in your stomach, it might not necessarily only be the stomach having the issue. It could be an emotional thing that is affecting your stomach, or so it’s taking really small baby steps to kind of figure out what all is going on and what could be causing the imbalance. So I wanted to talk about the doses. So, um, I Aveda looks at everything based in a five element theory. So everything is made up of five elements. So if you’re talking about anything, a table, you know, there’s earth, air, ether, water, and fire. So everything is made up of these five elements, but in different ratios. Speaker 1 00:10:16 So if you’re talking about a table, there would be a lot more of an earth element because it is a solid piece. Um, whereas when you’re looking at a human body, you know, again, we are all part of this big world. So we are also made up of these five elements in different ratios. So some people are more watery, some people are more grounded and earthy. Some people are more airy. So looking at a person in that sense and trying to figure out how to balance it. So like equals like, so if someone was extra airy and kind of flitting all over the place, adding more movement to their life, more activities that are kind of jumping from one thing to the next is going to just keep adding on to that. And there’s no sense of being grounded and, and steady. So with those five elements, they break them down into what, um, IRA to cost doses. Speaker 1 00:11:17 So there’s three major doses, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and Vata dosha is air and eat there. So what’s the lightest, it’s the king, it’s the easiest one to get out of balance. Pitta is fire and water. So we’re looking at like these more fiery, um, elements and then Kafa is earth and water. So you think about more like dense, solid foundation, um, with Kafa. So again, the whole body, we all have, we’re all made up of these three dashes, just in different ratios. Um, so looking at how that comes into play with how a person is functioning. Um, so if you have again to use the same example, if you have more budget, if you have more air needs to hear it, like something that’s going to help balance you out is adding more grounding and steadying activities, more grounding and steadying foods to help balance things out. So we’re always looking to find the sense of equilibrium and balance within the body. And it’s, it’s complex, like trying to figure that out. So step one, which I’m sure, you know, when you are studying and looked into it is kind of figuring out and there’s assessments you can take online, um, like where you land on the dosha scale, like what’s, your, everyone has kind of a dominant dosha, and then there’s like a secondary one and that can help just gain some insight into, you know, what practices, what nutrition might be best for you. Speaker 0 00:12:51 Yeah. I love that. And that was definitely a place I started back many years ago and have re assessed as time has gone on. Cause I, I feel like when you’re, when you’re out of balance your doses shift a little bit, and I’m just curious what, um, I think I know, but I’m going to ask you, what is your dosha? Speaker 1 00:13:11 So I know I’m mostly Pitta, I’m the middle. Um, it’s a fiery dosha, I mean, a sneaky way to fi figure out what does a lot of pitches are redheads. Um, we have the tendency to sunburn, um, a little more fiery and feisty and your personality. So it’s all, if you’re going to look at it, like from a physical standpoint, it’s like a medium kind of average, um, build pittas have tend to have strong appetites very much like to be challenged and learning. So it was very, you know, my, I R beta training, I would say 80% was picked up. Like, we’re all just kind of like intensely, like writing our notes. And, and so there’s pros and cons to both like, it’s great. Like there’s a little bit of an intensity, there’s a feistiness there’s, you know? Um, but then like the flip, if it’s out of whack, you know, it can lead to more like thinking of like hot emotions. Speaker 1 00:14:09 It can lead to like irritability, pitches, more prone to like rashes and skin irritations and things of that nature. Like spicy foods. Like when I was doing my, um, initial intake with a practitioner, I couldn’t figure out I was having some digestive issues. Um, and I was like, what’s up? And, um, you know, she’s like, your dosha is pitching, you’re teaching hot yoga. And I, at that point in time, like pepperoni pizza and like hot wings were like my go-to lunch. Um, so yeah, so now it’s like, I looked back and I was like, oh, that’s why I was like, just overheating and like having some issues in the gut. Um, so it’s stuff, I think when you think about it, like logically, like it’s like, oh, like that makes sense. I mean, that was what it was for me. Like, I was like, oh, like this, this lands, well, this, this, I get it. Like, Speaker 0 00:15:10 Yeah, no, I love it. I totally agree. I tend to be actually Pitta Kafa. Those are the two that I kind of, depending upon those are the two that come up the most when I do it. And different times when I’m imbalanced and not, it can sway kind of in, in either direction. Um, but that’s a, generally, I didn’t know that about red heads though, that red heads are typically, um, Pitta, which is just really funny. And I love the idea that, you know, we get to the root of the issue, like what is causing the dis-ease were quick to, you know, treat symptoms. That’s typically how we think of things. Like we want to go to the doctor, we want just give me what I can take to fix it and keep it moving. Then we’re not necessarily interested in doing the work to figure out what is really at the root. And that’s really a more, are you Vedic perspective? And I love that. I think it’s excellent. And I definitely have adopted some of these practices, um, into my life. One of the first ones. And Alison, you probably do this too, but I mean, developed a Dean of Sharia, which is your daily routine. And do you, um, do practice a daily routine? Speaker 1 00:16:17 Yes, I do. Um, my morning routine, I keep it relatively simple. Um, I don’t like to over-complicate things. I tend to be tired when I wake up. So it starts with scraping my tongue with a metal tongue scraper and what that does a, it cleans your tongue, but B besides like oral health, it can indicate kind of what is going on, how you’re digesting your food, like not to get too graphic, but I’m going to typically, you’re going to see like some white sludge on your tongue in the morning, and that’s absolutely normal, but you’ll notice the levels will kind of change daily. If it’s something you do daily and it’s based on like what you’ve been eating. So you can kind of notice if your diet’s been heavier or denser, you know, when you’re not making the most healthiest food choices, there’s probably going to be some excess what we call, um, a or waste on your tongue. Speaker 1 00:17:14 So it’s an indicator. It also, um, they say I radically that it kind of starts your digestive track, like going for the day. It’s like, you’re you scraped over your taste buds. And now like you’re getting your body prep to start your day by eating. Um, so next I feed the dogs. That’s not really, I are Vedic, but it’s my daily, but it is important. It’s important. They come next. Um, they patiently wait for the tongue scraping and the teeth brushing and then, um, warm water. So warm water is another great practice. I know some people cringe whenever I kind of suggest this and they’re like, no coffee first, but the water it’s hydrating and you can add lemon. If you can’t handle the, like the thought of just plain hot water and it is essential that you cook it. Um, when you cook the water, it changes its, its makeup. So it’s easier for your body to digest. It makes a difference than just running the hot water under the, the tap. Um, so, Speaker 0 00:18:16 So do you actually like bring it to a boil or just warm it? Speaker 1 00:18:19 I just warm it. I don’t necessarily bring it all the way up to a boil. I just heat them the kettle, um, and get it like tea warm. Um, if it does happen to get too hot, I tend to just add a little bit of, um, like cold water to the top of it. So little bits like so that I can drink it drinkable. Yeah. So warm water. And then, and then I meditate. I meditate for about 20 minutes in the morning just to clear out my mind oil. Polling’s another thing I’m on and off with it. So if I am oil pulling, that is something that I would do in the morning with like brushing my teeth and that stuff. So now I’m talking about, I probably should bring it back in, but yeah, yeah. I know you’re a big advocate. I, I go through phases with it. Um, so I really like Speaker 0 00:19:06 It. I feel like, and every time I go to the dentist, they’re always impressed with my oral hygiene. And I don’t think I’m a superior toothbrusher by any stretch of the imagination. So I’m always like fascinated. And I usually tell them, well, it’s due to oil pulling. And then they look at me, you know, a little sideways then depending on my mood, I may go into explaining it or I may just kind of let it go. But the idea of a Dean of cherry and your morning routine is that you cleanse the senses to kind of get the day started. So the tongue scraping is awesome. And your body, like Alison said, you release those toxins through your tongue when you sleep, which is a little icky to think about, but kind of cool that we can have this tool to remove it in the morning and start the day off without all that in our malls and the oil pulling. So folks don’t know what that is. Alison, do you want to explain what the act of oil pulling is? Speaker 1 00:19:55 Yeah. So there’s different oils. Like typically it’s either a Sesame oil or like there are some IRA beta products out there. Um, one it’s called daily swish by being in botanical. So you take about a tablespoon of oil. I did like our cat full and pour it in and then you’re swishing it really around in your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes, you start where you can like maybe do five, um, maybe do two to start because it is, you know, it’s not necessarily tasty. Um, but you do after, when you’re doing it, there is this like really clean feeling, um, in your mouth afterwards. And it’s meant to bring more health to your gums, strengthen your gums. Oil is really nourishing. So it even will strengthen like around your teeth and things like that. So that to draw her Speaker 0 00:20:50 Out any, like if you have any stuff hanging around in your gums or anything going on, it helps to kind of draw that out. So your mouth definitely does feel super clean after doing it. Um, one of the other pieces that I do for eyes is spray the rose water. Yep. Oh, well, our listeners can’t see that, but Allison’s holding up. Speaker 2 00:21:10 Cool, cool Speaker 1 00:21:11 Water in your eyes is another. So when you think about your senses, like splashing some cool water on your eyes and then also, or the rose water, you can use that too. That’s really cool. And this is great. And we can probably get into this more after, but like summertime, I just keep one in my car because it helps. Um, I get so hot and aggravated when I’m driving, I like to spray it. Speaker 0 00:21:36 You’ll just spray the rosewater, like on you as like a mist, like a body. Yeah. That’s awesome. Speaker 1 00:21:44 And you can spray it in your face and especially if you’re someone who is staring at the computer all the time, like I definitely would recommend cause it is okay. Like it’s like, I wouldn’t like put it up to your eye and spray it, but like, it’s not going to irritate your eyes so you can spray it like near your eyes and kind of get this fresh. Speaker 0 00:22:00 I do spray it right in my eye. It doesn’t, it doesn’t here date. Of course I would recommend if any listeners want to try that then of course you try it on a less sensitive part of your body first before just spraying it in right in your eyeball. But it definitely takes a little getting used to doing that, but you feel it does have a cooling quality and feel very refreshing. So that’s awesome. And I have written some more blog posts and information, so we can definitely share some resources with the listeners for, uh, who may want to dive a little deeper into your Vader. But I know we could talk all day just about that. So now we’ll move on a little bit. So I’m interested in knowing what you would tell someone who has never done yoga or has never meditated before. Like how would you get them started? Speaker 1 00:22:43 So really it’s a bolt or practices that I think you need to experience, um, like co getting them to start. It’s like, you have to try it to understand it. Like the aftermath is like, that’s the big selling point. I would say, like that feeling that you have after you’ve done a yoga class and you just have like moved your body, you’ve slowed yourself down. You know, you might’ve sweat a little, but after Shavasana where you’ve just kinda like, let yourself settle in. Um, there’s just this ease and calm that I haven’t found another like natural way to get to. Um, so that I would say really and meditation too. Um, you start small and try and do a minute, try and do two minutes. You know, there’s a lot of apps out there that you can give it a whirl. And I think people get hesitant or nervous about it. Cause they think they’re not going to be able do it. Like so many people are like, I’m not flexible. I can’t do yoga. And it’s like, that’s the point? Like, you know, yeah. There are some people that are inherently very flexible. Like I was not one of them. And I really, after, you know, practicing notice like, yeah, there was an increase in how I was able to move and just how things felt in my body. Just feeling like less tension, more ease. Speaker 0 00:24:09 Yeah. It’s awesome. I mean, I practice yoga on and off for, I dunno a while now. Not quite as long as you, I do remember when you started doing yoga, it was not as trendy as it is now. And I remember thinking you were slightly crazy and then now here we are several years later, you’re crazy, but it’s totally different reasons. Just kidding, um, that we know. And you do feel better when you do these things. It’s the same thing about really any self-care practices. And this is why I kind of got into this at this level, because I know what it feels like when you’re not taking care of yourself and we tend to do that. Right. It’s the first thing that goes out the window. When we have a competing priority, it’s like, oh, well, no, I guess we’re not going to yoga today. Speaker 0 00:24:51 Or I’m going to skip my this or that. And all these things that really, we need to shift that. And it has to be you first your needs first, then you help everybody else. I know it’s a cliche, but what do they tell you? When you get on an airplane, you put your oxygen mask on first and then you help everybody else. And it’s just, it’s, it’s very different thinking for us though, because that’s not what we’re programmed really to do. That’s not what we’re taught to do or celebrated for doing. So it feels almost a little like an act of resistance when we put our needs first. Right. Speaker 1 00:25:22 And I mean, that is another layer as to, I think why I was so intrigued. I’m like, this is another way of like, of looking at how we exist and live and take care of ourselves. It’s not, it’s, it’s the opposite. And it, it makes sense. And like making sure that you’re in the best, like head space and physical, physical space for you to show up to your life, um, makes all the difference. And then it affects everyone around you. You know, if I’m pissed off, cause I miss my yoga class, like I’m going to take that out on. Whoever’s closest to me, you know? So it matters. And I think like trying to get people on I’m and it’s, it has come a long way. Like more people are definitely kind of seeing this way of, of being as beneficial. Um, but yeah, myself too, I realized we were just away for a few days and like my meditation practice went out the window. Um, and normally I’ll try it, but I think I was just so excited about like, I’m not home, you know, I didn’t, but then like yesterday I was feeling super anxious and I was like, huh, like I haven’t meditated like, like I normally do in like four days. So you do notice the effects once you get off of the, your regimens, your routines. Speaker 0 00:26:42 Yeah. Fascinating. So I’ve heard people say that they’re hesitant to begin practicing yoga or that their attempts to get started have not been inclusive or friendly for beginners. So what do you recommend for people who feel this way and or what do you do in your classes to prevent that from happening? Speaker 1 00:27:04 Okay, big question. Um, I recommend a lot of studios do offer a beginner series. So I think starting in that type of environment where you are surrounded by all beginners and normally they’re like four to six weeks long and you can keep doing that series. Like I would recommend finding a class specific to beginners. You can start in any class. Like when I started, I didn’t start in a beginner’s class, I just went in and I had absolutely no clue what was going on. And it, you know, I came to learn that I was doing things completely wrong repetitively because I didn’t know what I was doing. Um, so I think starting in a beginner’s class, um, is good, but a lot of teachers also by self included, we try and teach to the beginner. So if you have a class full of people, when the studios are now opening again, and there will be like in studio or outdoor classes and you can, you can navigate and tell who’s a beginner in there. Speaker 1 00:28:09 You teach to that person. Like you make sure that they are feeling stable and feeling secure and maybe give them a little extra attention, um, throughout the class so that you know, that they feel safe and that they’re taken care of. Um, I also recommend just letting your teacher know too, if you show up and it’s your first time, like people tend to do that, but it is helpful just to know if there’s someone that’s never done it, because if it’s a class of people that are coming all the time, you know, you don’t have to be so specific about what you’re saying. Cause you know that their students know. So if I try and just give the newbies like a little extra attention, the other thing is do some privates to find a teacher. Like I teach one-on-one yoga also for this reason. Um, so that you can get a steady foundation of the practice before joining the group class. Speaker 1 00:29:01 And with privates too, you can understand how the poses land on your own body, as far as what, how down dog is gonna feel and, um, finding your own ways to get into the poses that feel best for you. And then you can adapt them into a group class. But I say, just go for it. If you’re curious now it’s, you know, there’s yoga everywhere. So I feel like you also could watch a few videos online to get a sense, but I definitely would recommend finding an actual yoga teacher and go into a class or I’m doing a private. Speaker 0 00:29:40 Yeah. And I think people need to, you know, we have to let go of that idea of perfection and that like for sure that whole just like, oh, you know, those false barriers that we put up for ourselves that like I’m too old. I’m too. I’m not flexible. I’m too. This I’m too, that my body’s too big. Am I bought whatever, like all these things we get in our head and we’re not even willing to try. And I know I always talk about this in my sessions when I’m presenting, but I’m going to share it here as well. Cause we’re interviewing my cousin on this podcast, but back oh, about a year or so ago. Now at this point we started doing virtual yoga lessons with, um, Alison is our instructor and my mom and I, as the students keeping it a family event here. Speaker 0 00:30:23 And it’s my mom’s never done yoga before and she won’t be embarrassed that I tell the story. But at first she was really hesitant. She’s not necessarily someone who would put herself out there and go into a class and risk making a fool of herself or God forbid get down on the ground and oppose and not be able to get back up or just, she just wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that. So by hiring Alison to teach these weekly sessions with us, she’s really gotten to be more comfortable. And you’ve been wonderful with giving modifications with chair poses, lots of standing poses. We do get down on the floor sometimes, although you can also modify that and use a bed, if that’s more comfortable or stay in the chair, we use props and it’s a very obviously safe environment for us, but it has allowed my mom to get a little more comfortable in her body. Speaker 0 00:31:09 And she’s always saying how great it has made her feel. And the good thing is if she does get herself on the ground, now she can get herself back up and she feels more confident about that. So that’s really awesome. And I do obviously credit that to taking the steps, to have that one-on-one sessions with someone trained to do that. And that has been very beneficial and certainly a highlight of the last year or so with COVID, um, which there aren’t a lot of highlights. So we have to look for the look for the bright spots, but that’s excellent. And when we think about meditation too, I always tell folks, I think of it like a muscle. You have to build it. And same thing. Like you’ve got to build these practices. You can’t just expect to run a marathon tomorrow. If you haven’t been training for it, same thing with yoga, you’re going to need to build up that flexibility. And you’re going to need to build up those meditation practices. I’m wondering, you did mention some apps for smartphones that you use. What are your favorite apps for meditation? Speaker 1 00:32:07 Um, for meditation, I use insight timer or which is free. And then I also have the 10% happier app, which I like. That’s like Dan Harris. I don’t know if you’re familiar with him. Um, Speaker 0 00:32:20 I’ve heard of it. I’ve I’ve not listened to it before someone is, to me that Speaker 1 00:32:23 One’s a subscription. It’s not wildly expensive. I feel like it might be 10 or $12 a month, but don’t quote me on that. But he has a lot of like, I mean, they’re all on him. Some of them are on insight timer too. Like you’ll find the same teachers kind of going around like the big names, like Jack cornfield and Joseph Goldstein and um, anyway, a whole slew of, um, meditation teachers on there and they have different. You can have a five minute, you can have a 10 minute, you can have 15 minute and then they have longer ones. Um, so that’s what I really liked because it does make a difference to your point about the muscle, like even taking a minute or two, like, it makes a difference to just stop, like take a breath. What was your eyes, feel your body, and then continue what you’re doing. Speaker 1 00:33:15 So it will be, you become less reactive, you become more patient and then you work your way up to more minutes. And there is that sweet spot. Like I’ve discovered that yeah, you can get a lot out of five to 10 minutes, but once you start diving into the deep end and doing 20, 30, 45 minute meditations, you can get into like a zone, which is pretty cool. And I find that that’s like, once you tip over that 15 minute mark and you make it to like 20, 25, 30 minutes, it feels like more of an experience than just kind of, uh, but that’s just, that’s my experience. And I’m still working towards, um, a regular 30 minute a day practice, Speaker 0 00:33:55 Still a work in progress. Always. It always Speaker 1 00:33:58 Will be meditation was the, one of the hardest things for me to make happen. But now I can probably say I do it pretty much daily unless I’m on vacation. Excellent. Speaker 0 00:34:09 So I know, unfortunately some people have negative things to say about yoga meditation and aryuveda even, they may not understand the benefits of these practices. So I’m wondering if you can share some of the positive impacts you or your students have felt after they’ve worked with you and, and really had this experience. So, Speaker 1 00:34:30 Um, some of the positive impacts, the main one, I would say would be a greater sense of awareness. Being aware of yourself, being aware of your body, being able to comfortably slow yourself down is huge. And I think a lot of people don’t value the benefit of slowing down. Um, especially in this realm of life. It’s like, go, go, go like what’s next, keep achieving, keep doing and not taking those moments to reflect and notice and enjoy it. So taking in how you feel. So I radically like when working with people, I think there’s some aha moments when you start to look at your daily routine and things that are working and things that aren’t working and adjusting and creating the optimum routine for your constitution, um, has made a big impact for people just shifting small little shifts, like little times, like adding the, the tongue scraping, adding the water in the morning, um, eating in a way that’s slow and thoughtful. Speaker 1 00:35:42 That all makes a difference mentally and physically, um, more mental benefits from like yoga practices and meditation is cultivating more self compassion to your point before where you were saying, um, people don’t want to, I’m too old and I have no idea what I’m doing like this, that the other, um, it can help you get through some of those hurdles because you show up and you do it. And then you recognize like it’s yoga philosophy is, you know, it’s a practice. Like we are constantly practicing. There is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Um, it’s like an ongoing process, which can be daunting, but it’s, you know, it’s slow, steady adjustments and improvements and feeling better in your body. So more self-compassion more patients with people like less, like you’re kind of smoothing out your edges, I would say, but not in a way that makes you lame or like have no edge. Speaker 1 00:36:48 Like you’re just meant like it’s, it’s softer and it’s, it’s, uh, a better way. It helps your relationships. And I would say physically, you know, less tension, yoga’s going to help you open up. It’s going to help you build strength. So you’d have more body awareness. Like you’ll notice too. What, just in your day to day, I remember one thing driving. Like I tend to just, oh, I’ll notice if I’m gripping the steering wheel. And that’s just from my yoga practices. I think of instructor being like, don’t grip. I’m like, Ooh, you know, like, or like slumping, like I’m like, oh, I could be sitting up straighter. So these little tweaks that just start to weave their way in Speaker 0 00:37:33 Little tweaks. I think that’s going to be the episode Speaker 3 00:37:35 Title really important. And I Speaker 0 00:37:37 Think sometimes we think, and I talk about this in my trainings too. We think about like the end goal. Like we forget the journey and we forget that you it’s okay to start small and be a beginner. And we all, we want to like go from zero to a million. We don’t want to, we don’t recognize that small shifts and little things, little tweaks and habits that we can build along the way will actually have a great impact. So even if you can only do meditation for five minutes a day, stay there, that’s fine. If that’s all you can do, that’s fine. You will still feel benefits. Even from just a couple of standing yoga poses. I mean, I’ve experienced it myself. Like you will feel better. It doesn’t have to be this epic 90 minute thing that you have to do every single day. And it’s just, we get so crazy in our head with what things have to be, that we’re not even willing to try some time. Speaker 1 00:38:30 Right. And that’s huge that that’s been another like barrier, I think. And I’ve been guilty of this too. But like the pandemic really opened up to yeah, like 30 minutes can be an like, just move, like just get 30 minutes of movement in, or you don’t need to do the, like you said, you don’t need to do the hour. You, you start the practice. So then it becomes a habit like what, whatever it is you’re trying to do. Um, if you’re trying to cook more, just pick one meal, like either a week or a couple meal days a week that you’re going to make dinner. Um, or with your breakfast, maybe it’s you always have a cooked breakfast every day. And then you just add, once there feels to be spaced. Cause like what happens is you add everything on and then it just all falls apart. So yeah, steady and slow and steady. That was in my IRA to training. We had one of the instructors and she always was just slowly, slowly. That’s like, everything is slow. And I know that’s not the most appealing to people. Um, but it’s what works Speaker 0 00:39:38 Well. It’s not how our culture functions. I know we push, we push more and more and more fast, fast, fast, quicker, like it’s crazy. We romanticize being busy and burning the candle at both ends. We were being a workaholic is your badge of honor. Like that’s not a really good way to be when we’re thinking about health and wellness and longevity and how we’re going to live long, happy, successful, productive lives. That’s not the way to get there. Excellent. All right. I have one more question for you. So aside from yoga, as you know, you do yoga and meditation and practice aryuveda what other self-care practices do you incorporate into your daily life? Speaker 1 00:40:19 Okay. So besides my morning routines and I practice, you know, all that, um, I do other exercises. Like I like to walk, um, I have a dog, he brings a lot of like joy and happiness into my world. Um, so, and I live near the beach, which also was important to me. So I go to the beach often I take him down there. I have another, my husband has a dog too, so we have to, um, so spending time with them spending time, like quality time, um, you know, with people is important to me as well, health wise, too. There’s seasonal routines that I like to bring into play. Um, so as the seasons start to change, just shifting things up a little bit. Um, yeah, I can get so in like now we’re entering into like summer, so things are starting to get warmer. Speaker 1 00:41:19 So where that heat element is pretty active in our outside world, it’s reducing that within my internal environment. So cooling off, you know, now it’s time to like have more cool beverages, um, you know, more watermelon, more berries, more refreshing type of foods. And with exercise tending to tone it down, like I still will exercise, but like, I’m not going to go to a hot yoga class in the middle of summer. Maybe I’m going to go to like an outdoor class or, um, an unheated class and, you know, same with any super rigorous exercise. I’d be strategic about where I was going to place that in my day. Not at high noon. Maybe it’s going to be at dusk when things have cooled off a little bit Speaker 0 00:42:04 Fascinating. I feel like that could be a whole nother episode. We could talk more about the seasons and like what you do. And I know certain foods play into that too. And this is a very elevated perspective, but you know, like salads, for example, are more cooling than a bowl of soup. So you’re probably not going to eat a bowl of soup in a hundred degree weather because that’s not going to be the best thing for your body. It’s not going to be cooling. It’s going to have a heating effect, right? Speaker 1 00:42:29 Yep. Yeah. So soup like warm, warm, more warm foods in the warm, in the cold months and more cool foods in the warm months and thinking about that, and it’s a nice way to change things up too. So it’s like once you, you know, you find the things that you like to do, but then you kind of can tweak them to the season, just like your wardrobe, you know, change your eating changed your daily, um, daily routines. Speaker 0 00:42:56 I love that. I never thought about kind of relating it to, or thinking about it from the perspective of we, of course we change our wardrobe. We can’t wear the same clothes, not in Massachusetts. Anyway, you cannot wear the same clothes you’re wearing in December in August. Like that’s just not going to work. Right. Awesome. So thank you, Alison so much. I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind telling us where folks can find you, if they’re interested in following you and learning more and perhaps, um, looking into the services that you provide. Speaker 1 00:43:26 Yes. Um, you can find me on social media on Instagram. My handle is at Alison a L L I S O N underscore Derico D E R R I C O. Um, I also have two websites. So back bay I R veda.com. And you also could find me at Boston massage, associates.com I’m I work out of that space, um, in back bay. And that’s it Speaker 0 00:44:00 Awesome. So you can, and it folks have a real hard time finding you. They can always reach out to me. I know where to find you. And oh, did you want to give your email address? Speaker 1 00:44:09 Oh, sure. Um, Alison dot Derico email@example.com. Speaker 0 00:44:17 Excellent. And we’ll make sure that that’s in the resources for the episode as well. So thank you so much for joining us today. Alison, I enjoyed chatting with you and we’ll hope to see you at the cabaret again soon. Thank you. This is fun. That was so much fun to chat with my cousin, Alison Derico today. If our, your Veda is of interest, I suggest exploring it more. I find it fascinating. I will make sure my blog posts on aryuveda is linked in the episode notes for the ease of my listeners, but look into it more and see if it resonates with you. To me, it makes a lot of sense. We barely scratched the surface in this interview of aryuveda, but as always, you can start small. Maybe the idea of tongue scraping or oil pulling is appealing, or perhaps you’re just curious to find out your dosha and how to feed your body from that perspective. Speaker 0 00:45:08 Alison also really highlighted the importance of slowing down and taking time for ourselves. It is critical. I know that the times I neglect my needs are not. When I am at my best. When I put my needs first and make myself a priority, I feel so much better. I’m more productive and I’m just a better person to be around truthfully and small, tiny habits are so important. Little tweaks over time. I promise these small changes will have a big impact. You can’t do all the things every day and some days five minutes is all you got and that’s okay. Move your body. Journal, meditate, whatever you wish for those five minutes, you’ll notice a difference. Inviting more mindfulness is a great way to get more grounded to Alison mentioned, allowing yourself to feel that intentional pause. I like to promote the stop method S stop what you’re doing. Speaker 0 00:46:05 T take a breath in through your nose and out through your mouth O observe your inner and outer world then P proceed. So we can give ourselves that momentary pause, that intentional breath of mindfulness. And if you want to try yoga, please give it a whirl. Be sure to research and appropriate class, or reach out and ask for recommendations. And don’t be afraid to explore modifications for poses or use props as necessary. I used to feel ashamed using props as if it was some sort of cop-out that was, of course during the time I was deep in my dis-ease with exercise bulemia now I celebrate my body for all that it can do for me, movement is a gift and there is nothing wrong with modifying poses, using props, doing chair, poses, standing, poses, whatever you need for your body. Thanks for listening to this episode. Speaker 0 00:47:01 Remember to subscribe and rate this podcast on your preferred player. The ratings help us grow and share the message of self-care. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, please reach out directly by emailing podcast at Dr. MC self care.com that’s D R M C self care.com and come join the cast party at Dr. MCs self care cabaret on Facebook and Instagram at Dr. MC self care or on my website, Dr. MCs self care.com. Be sure to like subscribe and love me across all my social media platforms for the most up-to-date information on self care. See you next time. Stay well and do good.
30 minutes | Aug 4, 2021
Own Ur Rolls
Today’s episode is with one Karina Beltre. A Wife, Mother, Model, Radio Host of a Rhythm Lifestyle, she and Dr. MC go way back to their days rockin’ the front row of Zumba classes together, and together they discuss their self-care needs, life as married women, and reminiscing on their old “gurl” squad: “the Investments.” As always we love to hear from our listeners! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or topics you’d like to hear about on future episodes. Additional Resources: Dr MC Blog: Guest appearance on Karina’s Radio Show Karina’s website You can learn more about Dr. MC and this podcast on her website: https://drmcselfcare.com/podcast-home/ EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Speaker 0 00:00:27 Well, welcome to another episode of Dr. MCs self-care cabaret podcast. I am Theresa Melito-Conners, a PhD level self-care expert in the greater Boston area who loves to help others take control of their health and wellbeing. Sometimes you meet people in life with whom you just click. Today’s episode is a conversation with just such a person. My friend, Carina bell tree. We met several years ago when we would rock of the front row during Zoomba classes. And we became instant friends. Corrina’s no BS, attitude and style are so refreshing. Although she no longer lives in Massachusetts, we remain in contact despite any geographical or scheduling challenges back in the day when Corina and I were showing up for Zoomba, we bonded with a few other special ladies attending these classes, calling ourselves the investments. I believe Karena herself came up with that name because some people are just worth investing your time and energy into Corina is a wife, mother of two beautiful children, a model. And recently she began hosting her radio show called a rhythm lifestyle. I am thrilled. The Corina was visiting Boston recently, and we were able to see each other and catch up. This is my conversation with her and I hope you win. Speaker 0 00:02:04 So let’s, let’s get started. Okay. Speaker 1 00:02:07 Tell me a little bit about your self-care practices and how you like to practice them. Speaker 2 00:02:12 So for me, self care has a lot of things and it’ll definitely depend on my mood. So self-care could be reading a book, right? Just disconnecting. It could be a Netflix type of day, which doesn’t happen often. Right? Um, I even self-indulgent YouTube makeup videos. Nice. Right? Because you know how I like to do my makeup, right? Your makeup is gorgeous. I will self indulge and make up videos. Um, one of the things I also love to do as I write a letter to God, nice. I write to God a lot. And I have notebooks like lingering in my bedroom everywhere, sticky notes. Because sometimes when I’m feeling, you know, despair stressed, I feel like I have to run it down. So self care there. Now, one of the things that I started doing, and this was a long time ago before I had my gastric bypass, my doctor said, what do you, what do you want to do to make you feel beautiful? Speaker 2 00:03:17 So at the time I didn’t have a lot of money. So I started with skincare, right. Taking care of myself. So what I would do is take my time with my skincare, with my moisturizer and all that stuff. Now it’s a little bougie now I’m going to say so by the time I get up, I think I last more moisturizing than I do in the shower, because it is the only thing that I know if my life is chaotic that day, those 20 minutes are important. So if I can’t do anything else, the moisturizing is my self-care. Speaker 1 00:03:55 It almost sounds like the way you described that they, that the act of preparing your skin and moisturizing your skin. It almost sounds like a meditative practice. Like it’s almost like a meditation. Yeah. And I love how writing letters to God. I mean, that’s your, that’s your spiritual domain. You are, you are well suited in that domain achieving excellence. That’s awesome. And I know you mentioned a little bit about this, but I know you’re a mom and a wife and a model and you work a full-time job. And how do you find time to put your needs first? Speaker 2 00:04:26 So I’ll be honest lately. No. Mm we, me and the hobby actually had a conversation that actually this morning, as a matter of fact about, okay, Corrina, you’re filling your schedule a little way too much. There’s no room for you. Right. Um, but when things were not as busy, you know, with the modeling and all that stuff, one of the things that one of my self-care practices was literally spending time with friends. I miss that about us. I miss that about that. You know, our investments. That’s one of the things about being here is so bittersweet. You know, I left a lot that I love behind, but I do spend a lot of time with friends, uh, when I can. And obviously with COVID things have been more difficult, but as everything opens up now, I need my friends. How Speaker 1 00:05:17 Long have you been in North Carolina? About four years. I know, Speaker 2 00:05:21 Five years. It’ll be six years in September. Can you believe that went fast? It showed did. Yeah. So I got a, you know, a cute little group of, you know, some ladies and stuff, but you know, it’s not the same. No one’s been replaced. You know, it’s just, uh, an add on to investments and you know, to the other friends that I left here behind. So, um, my Bible study fellowship women have saved me because they’re a different group. Right. They’re on the spiritual end and I need them a lot. I do. Speaker 1 00:05:54 And I love that your husband was able to point out you and my husband does this to me too, when I’m not taking care of myself, I’m spread myself a little too thin, which is something I really try not to do anymore. But then he was able to kind of say that to you. You have that open communication. So did you come up with a plan kind of moving forward? Speaker 2 00:06:11 Or so today was since he’s brought this up today, as I was looking at my itinerary because obviously April was insane and here we are in may and it’s looking like that. So I literally started looking at, okay, where can I squeeze some self-care mother’s day is around the corner, it’s this weekend. So I actually, um, do not plan on doing anything, ice. I’m not doing anything, what I actually wanted to do. And I think I’m going to do it. I have an event in Charlotte and I’m not going to drive home right after the event. I’m going to get a hotel room by myself. Speaker 1 00:06:50 Nice. And really give yourself that break, those boundaries, physical boundaries there, and, and a break. And you may have to, as things, move on, like schedule time when you can do that. Speaker 2 00:07:04 I have to now with the schedule being the way it is now I have to pencil in self care, which is not something that I did. Speaker 1 00:07:10 Yeah. Sometimes though, when things get crazy, I have to do that too. It’s like, okay, I haven’t meditated. When can I meditate? Well, how am I going to move my body this week? When can I slot these things in? Because it’s so, you know, it just gets crazy. And these are the things that we let go when other stuff comes up. Right. That’s awesome. So I know we’ve mentioned a little bit about your modeling and you are crushing it modeling. And so I know you’ve struggled because we’ve talked about this in the past and, you know, with body acceptance and really getting comfortable in your body and accepting of your body, and I’ve been noticing on social media, your hashtag own your roles, which I love. So, so tell me a little bit about Speaker 2 00:07:53 This. It was funny story about how, when your roles came to be, so I had a photo shoot in December, um, with, um, Denise, I’m going to name her, didn’t do Taylor, a two, two for you. And it was a Christmas, um, shoot and ended up being a, a Christmas shoot, but also a couple of shoots. Right. I wore this white dress and the dress look nice, but she took a picture of like the back of my dress. And all I saw was my role. Right. And I’m like, oh, Speaker 3 00:08:25 She’s like, no, it looks great. I’m like, no, I’m like, look at all these rules. And then, and then, and I was like, I just wish I can own my roles. It’s just like, that’s a tee shirt. And I’m like, you’re right. That’s a t-shirt photo shoot about that. And Speaker 2 00:08:44 When I tell you that, that literally was like the beginning part, because it is hard to accept your body. And I talk, I would tug a war with it all the Speaker 3 00:08:55 A hundred percent, all the time. There are days Speaker 2 00:08:57 I’m like, okay, I’ve come a long way, had gastric bypass. And I’ve lost a lot of weight, but I have all this extra skin that I don’t love and I’m trying to love it, you know? And, um, you know, and then now that I’m modeling, right? The pressure is even like higher to look better or statically better. So to speak because, you know, I would say most of the real women models, they don’t have all this stuff. They, you know, they’re nice and bold and voluptuous. And I’m like, I wish I could be that, but that’s not my that’s not my body. So trying to own my roles has now been the new journey because I’m, teeter-totter with plastic surgery. And I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m still, you know, I’m still like, but, um, I’m really trying to own the roles because this is this isn’t, uh, you know, this body that I have now is a proof of the battle scars. Sure. And I don’t know if I’m gonna lose my battle scars if I get rid of it. Does that Speaker 1 00:10:00 Mean that does make sense? It does. And it is an internal tug of war. I mean, folks know I’ve shared this before. I’m in recovery for disordered eating and exercise bulemia and atypical anorexia. And I still have those struggles. I had it just recently, my, one of my latest photo shoots. I’m not crushing it quite as much as Corina, but I Speaker 3 00:10:22 Guess you’ll get an itch. It doesn’t stop. So, Speaker 2 00:10:25 All right, well, there you go. Keep going to this I’m Tom. Speaker 1 00:10:28 So, you know, when I first saw the pictures, I really struggled and was like, Ooh, Speaker 3 00:10:34 Who’s that, that, and Speaker 1 00:10:36 Those pictures that ain’t me. And I didn’t like it at all. And I was like, well, that was a giant waste of time. Glad that’s over and was ready to move on the next day. You know, I looked at the pictures again. I’m like, that’s me. Yeah. And I look beautiful in the picture and it doesn’t matter, you know, society tells us how we showed or should it look, or what’s healthy and what’s not healthy and enough like own it hashtag own your roles. I think that might be the episode title. <inaudible> Awesome. I love it. And you also have a background as a fitness instructor. I remember back when we would rock the front row in Zumba. Um, I got my Zoomba certification. I remember you asking me about, and next thing I know you’re signing up. You’re doing all the suit Speaker 3 00:11:22 Was doing the certification. I still have them. Oh, that’s awesome. Speaker 2 00:11:25 Yeah, no, I still have all six. And up until the, my injury for my neck, I was teaching Aquazone before health tracks and I was teaching every Thursday and sometimes I would, um, sit in and do a Zumba class for, you know, like, uh, what’d you call it like, uh, can’t even think right now, but when you know, they were the original teacher wasn’t there. I would be the salvia, that’s it. That’s what I was looking for. Like the sub I would be the sub and it was so much fun. I miss that. So much of my, this neck injury that I have has literally robbed me from some of my joy. Oh, Speaker 1 00:11:59 I’m so sorry to hear that. So how do you, so now we have this injury been this love of movements or how are you managing to, to move your body? Speaker 2 00:12:07 So, so I’ve been doing sorta kind of yoga stuff by myself, right. At the house, but it’s not fun because I’m a studio girl. I love being around people. I love the energy. I love to smile. Or, you know, when you look at the person next to you, like, oh, I’m so hard. And you know, it’s just, you know, it’s you and the other person having the same facial expression. Cause you know, it’s hard or in Zumba in this case, you’re laughing. Yeah. And I love that. I love that human connection, part of exercising for me. Um, and, and I know that, you know, people are doing the zoom and us. I, it’s just, not me. It’s just, it’s not in my heart. Speaker 1 00:12:49 It’s not the same. I mean, I like it. I’m appreciative that we have it as an option and I’m definitely engaged in it because, well, we can’t necessarily go back to how we were pre COVID in terms of, you know, group classes and whatnot. But if you lose, you definitely lose an aspect of that. So you’re still able to, to Zoomba down in North Carolina and a little bit, Speaker 2 00:13:11 So lately my back has been doing a little better and I’m going to think modeling for that. Right. So with modeling, because I call myself a tree trunk, right? I’m so stiff that I cannot move my hips. Um, as much as I used to when I was teaching Zumba, but with modeling, you kind of have to move your hips to, you know, stretch your stuff down the runway or whatever. But even the shoots, the same thing with the shoots, you know, you got to put your body in different angles and all that stuff so that, you know, the pictures look right. So that’s what made me at least do the yoga aspect of it. But, uh, as far as cardio, the walking it’s helped me. The most of my cardio comes from walking and then the stretching is from like the yoga moves that I do myself at home and it’s helped at least with the modeling for me, because since I’m not teaching, but the self with the monitor. So now, you know, my stride is a little better. I’m able to pose a little better for photo shoots and stuff, but I am not a hundred percent. And I, you know, and that’s the part that’s, I’m starting to lose patience. Mm. Speaker 1 00:14:11 Yeah. That’s hard. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about how all this modeling got started because it seemed like, oh yeah, shoot after shoot and magazine. It’s just so cool. Speaker 2 00:14:23 Um, the three, you know, the elevator talk about it. I’ll tell you this. It started with someone from my church. She, you know, she was a, like a stylist and she wanted to do a fashion show for the church. Right. And she was like, Hey, Krishna, do you want to do it? Speaker 3 00:14:37 And I was like, yeah, sure, Nicole I’ll do it. She goes, oh, you know, you got style, you know? Speaker 2 00:14:40 Cause you know, when you dress a church, whatever. Yeah. So she asked me to be part of the show and you know, I obliged had a great time right. Missing people. And then I kept, I think I did maybe I think it was maybe two or three more events with her after about three. And then sometimes I would do events and I wouldn’t be the makeup artist. Right. So I started getting into those little, you know, local fashion show circles and you know what? It was fun, you know? Cause you know, me, I like to meet people. I love makeup. I love fashion. I love beauty. Right. So yeah. So it, it wasn’t, it wasn’t uh, a bad joy to find so to speak. Uh, and I did it when I could, it didn’t ever impeded with my, with my job or you know, my part-time job, but I loved it. Speaker 2 00:15:33 So then one day I was reached by an agency has entertainment and he’s like, Hey, you know, I want to see you. I saw you with the BDU awards at the BBU awards. I was actually an MUA. I was makeup artists backstage. And he had heard down the grapevine that I’ve had done a couple shows and he was like, oh, you’re pretty. Maybe, you know, you know, they give you, I’m going to say, they give you the salesy pitch about how pretty you are and you have some potential and blah, blah, blah type stuff. And you know, me, the positive person that I am, I’m like, what do I got to lose? Nothing. Nothing at all, nothing. So, and that’s a good thing to have an attitude of just, you know, what, if you’re not going to lose anything, why not say, why? Say no, say yes, cause you never know where it’s going to take you. Speaker 2 00:16:17 Right. So I said, yes, I signed the contract and of course, uh, COVID happens. Right. Because that was literally in 2020 when I signed up and I did, um, I think there were two shows that I ended up doing in 2020. Uh, and then as the summer progressed, I did more photo shoots. Right. So I started, I would, I don’t want to say falling in love with it, but I started liking it a little more and it just, that COVID didn’t allow me to enjoy it more than I could. Right. So with this whole thing now, now that everything’s open up, I’ve been doing way more shoots, way more shows and then I’ve been published in, I, it sounds, I hate to say it because I don’t even want to come across narcissistic. I’ve been in 12, 12 magazines. Speaker 1 00:17:06 Yeah. That’s so cool. Speaker 3 00:17:08 It is cool. You know, I, it Speaker 2 00:17:10 It’s, um, it’s weird to say that, you know, I don’t, I don’t say it a lot, but you know, it’s weird. Um, to know that I got published in 12 magazines. I mean, I think it was five in February, this past February alone. Um, but you know, I mean, it’s all part of the journey. I don’t say no. Let’s see where it goes. It’s still being told. Um, but there’s a lot of hard work now because now I’m in more demand now. So that’s where the scheduling is. Speaker 1 00:17:40 I felt very lucky. I was able to squeeze you in, Speaker 3 00:17:44 Listen, you know what I was Speaker 2 00:17:45 Here for. And you know that I wasn’t going to miss it for the world. Speaker 1 00:17:49 I’m just giving you a hard time. I love that though. I mean, you were open enough to receive a new opportunity and be willing to explore it. And sometimes we tend to, you know, wall ourselves off or our own defense mechanisms and our own protection. And not even let ourselves try, like you, like you said, what did you have to lose nothing. So they, you go now you went on this journey, you’re still on it and it’s unfolding and it’s exciting and it’s fun. And you want at the very least doula gorgeous and you have these unbelievable Speaker 3 00:18:21 <inaudible> I love it as it is. I think Speaker 2 00:18:26 That, you know, you know, let’s say for your listeners, just try something new, try something new. Don’t hesitate. Don’t let like, you know, oh, I’ve never done this before. Oh, I just, I won’t be perfect. Who cares? Let it go. Just let it go. You know, just try something new because you don’t know where it’s going to take you. It might be a new passion, a new hobby. You might meet new people. If you’re single, you might meet a significant Speaker 3 00:18:54 Other there, you know, it is, it is just amazing Speaker 2 00:18:58 How, you know, life happens when you walk outside of fear, you know, growth is when you grow. It is, is it’s. It’s when you’re uncomfortable is where you grow. So get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Okay. Because let me tell you I’ve been uncomfortable quite Speaker 3 00:19:20 A few times. It may not show on these uncomfortable in some of them, but some of them, honestly, no, they’re not. Speaker 2 00:19:28 I found I was, I had found really comfortable shoes, but honestly, being uncomfortable at the shoots have not been easy. I just, Speaker 3 00:19:36 Eh, but you know what, who cares? You showed up. Speaker 1 00:19:40 Yeah, you did. Yeah. I love it. So lastly, I want you to tell us a little bit about a rhythm lifestyle, because I want folks to know where they can find you and where they can listen to you. But also if you could just tell me a little bit about how you got started with your radio show. I love it. Speaker 2 00:19:58 Okay. So another long short story, right? Years ago, I was at a bar listening to jazz with a friend self care. And for some reason, a rhythm lifestyle, I was looking at my cosmopolitan on the table and the word over rhythm lifestyle. Literally it was like a voice in my mind. And this was what, 2017. Yeah, it was 2017. I was at a jazz bar and the voice said over the, my style and I didn’t know what that was. Right. Don’t know what that was now with, you know, eventually, like I think COVID had, has a lot to do with it, but of course, a lot of people have had a lot of great things happen to them because of COVID. And you know, for me, it’s been a blessing, right? So here you are, right. You got people that are looking up to you for like fashion, not fashion, but like advice, you know? Speaker 2 00:20:58 And I’m like, well, you know, I don’t mind sharing my story. I don’t mind sharing my journey with people because you know, we’re not alone. We’re not. And I think the more we share our stories, you know, and we stick together, the more we’re able to help one another. Right. Um, without shaming each other, because that’s another thing, you know, we, we’re so quick to shame one another and the more we stay together, I think the more, you know, the more encouraging we are with one another, I think that we, women would be in a far better place and we wouldn’t be beating ourselves up for it. Right. So the rhythm I saw the opportunity was someone had just put my name as like a reference. It’s almost kind of like those people that do those vacation club or like those times, and they won’t be Speaker 3 00:21:44 Calling me and they won’t stop calling you. Right. So somebody gave my Speaker 2 00:21:48 Name to the radio station, to the radio station. Right. And I’m like, who did this? But again, opportunity. Right. I’m like, so we had to drove all the way to Charlotte. And I was like, let’s see what they got to say. Speaker 1 00:22:04 So the radio station reached out to you. Speaker 2 00:22:06 Yes. Because somebody had given him my, you know, had given him my name and my number. So, you know, I mean, I thought it was insane at first, but again, as long as you, all I had to do was go there, hear him out and come back. There was no, yes, no, no, no nothing. I’m just saying that again. You’re you were faced with an opportunity and don’t let fear stop you from it. So I went, heard him out some really good. And for some reason, again, the spiritual voice, whatever people want to call it, it said a rhythm lifestyle was guiding you was God. Yeah. And it came, it came in literally that, you know, that way. And of course I had to have a conversation with God, talk to him. I said, okay, wait God, wait a minute. I might, what radio show, wait, wait, wait, wait, I gotta do this. Wait a minute. I was like, what am I going to say? What do I start? And I literally asked God. I said, okay, if this is an opportunity for me, you need to guide me, which is why I pray every time, because it knows most of the time, the words are not from mine. They’re from him. If that makes sense. Speaker 1 00:23:19 Oh, you’re channeling, you’re channeling that voice to help guide Speaker 2 00:23:22 You. Yeah. To, to have, you know, guide me with the show or I have, you know, now I have listeners that will, you know, ask for suggestions and you know, and sometimes I’m like, whoa, wait, I don’t know. You know, I’ve never experienced this, you know, this particular journey. And I will say, well, I will talk to God and I will ask for discernment and whatever. Um, I, I, I publish, you know, it’ll be, it’ll be from him, you know, then you know, something like that. But the radio show was a surprise. It was not planned. And again, another, it was like literally another gamble at life. Speaker 1 00:23:55 I love it. What did you have to lose? Absolutely. Nothing but no, that’s so beautiful, really in a great reminder for our listeners and for me, because sometimes we forget and we, you know, we, the journey sometimes is we want it. We want it done. We like, we want to, we want to achieve everything. And like, but that, that process and that really finding where you fit and saying yes to some opportunities and maybe saying no to others, but you know, figuring out what’s going to be best for you. But then taking that first step. One of my favorite quotes take the first step in faith. Yup. The staircase will unfold or something like that. I might be butchering that a little bit, but then that’s what we have to do. Just start, you don’t have to know the end journey. Speaker 3 00:24:40 I don’t know people go, oh, Speaker 2 00:24:41 I don’t know. I live in Tampa. I don’t know. Even with the modeling, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m operating in a place of joy. So if it brings me joy, I’m gonna do it right. Speaker 1 00:24:53 The moment it stops, I’m done. Speaker 3 00:24:56 I’m done with it. Yeah. Yeah. But Speaker 1 00:24:58 For now it sounds like these are wonderful, wonderful opportunities. And I’m so happy that you’re getting to experience all of this. And so I’ll definitely make sure that folks know where to find you so they can listen to over the lifestyle. Okay. Speaker 2 00:25:10 So read them lifestyle airs every Saturday morning at 6:00 AM on WDRB media. Uh, but you can also reach out to me via the social media handles. It is Korean about tree. K a R I N a B E L T R E. Both on Facebook and Instagram. And no, I don’t do Twitter. Speaker 1 00:25:29 Um, meaning either I might have to at some point, but not yet. I, you know, people like you should do take talk. Oh, we should be dancing. Speaker 2 00:25:37 Um, I, I don’t know. I haven’t gone to take to I’m trying. Um, but you can also reach out to me, uh, on the Gmail. <inaudible> gmail.com. Speaker 1 00:25:46 Excellent. Well, thank you so much for joining us here today and so exciting and so nice to see you. Nice to see you too. I love you. Love you too. Speaker 0 00:26:01 Wow. That was so much fun. Our conversation really emphasizes the idea that we need to be open and ready to receive new opportunities. You never know where they may lead both Corina’s modeling and her radio show happened because she was brave enough to say yes, as Bernay brown says, you either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness. Corina certainly owns it. And I love watching the journey unfold. What have you got to lose? Say yes to life. Be willing to try something new, get uncomfortable and show up for yourself. I also appreciate how she recognizes that what she needs for care depends on her mood. And she has a lot of practices that she pulls from. It is so important for us to have a bank of self-care practices that we access, but like any bank account, you have to put into it as well. Speaker 0 00:26:55 You cannot just withdraw from it or eventually they will be empty. So try new self-care practices and methods as your deposits. And then you have more to pull from when the time arises to meet your needs. Some days you may just need to stay in bed all day. Others may find solace in a workout and some maybe need to just do some deep breathing. The key is knowing what you need and when, and I love that her skincare routine has become a meditation for her. That’s so wonderful. And I want to shout out to Corina’s hubby too. It is wonderful that she has such a relationship with her husband, where he is super supportive, but can also tell her when she needs to take a break. I always say that open communication is key to a successful relationship. The ongoing tug of war with our bodies is so real. Speaker 0 00:27:47 So many of us struggle with this. I want to encourage my listeners to think about all the wonderful and beautiful things your body does every day for you. Next time you catch yourself being negative about your body. Try to express some appreciation. Instead if you’re the journaling type, try writing a letter of appreciation for your body, oh, and hashtag own your roles. Thanks for listening to this episode. Remember to subscribe and rate this podcast on your preferred player, the ratings help us grow and share the message of self-care. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, please reach out directly by emailing podcast at Dr. MC self care.com that’s D R M C self care.com and come join the cast party at Dr. MCs self care cabaret on Facebook and Instagram at Dr. MC self care or on my website, Dr. MC self care.com. Be sure to like subscribe and love me across all my social media platforms for the most up-to-date information on care. See you next time. Stay well and do good.
47 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
Infinite Need; Finite Resources
Today’s episode is a conversation with Jeffrey Benson. As internally known author (and having worked over forty years as a teacher, mentor, and administrator) he’s had the good fortune of working with wonderful people on school reform, conflict resolution, learning theory, trauma, addiction, advisory programs, math education, staff development, leadership training, and curriculum development. Together, he and Dr. MC discuss their self-care routines, the benefits of rest, the current climate of education in a post-Covid world and so much more! As always we love to hear from our listeners! Reach out to email@example.com with any questions or topics you’d like to hear about on future episodes. Additional Resources: Jeffrey Benson’s website ASCD website Personal Best Article by Atul Gawande You can learn more about Dr. MC and this podcast on her website: https://drmcselfcare.com/podcast-home/ EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Speaker 0 00:00:26 Welcome to another episode of Dr. MCs self care cabaret podcast. I’m Theresa Melito-Conners a PhD level self-care expert in the greater Boston area with a passion for helping others recognize the importance of caring for themselves. Today’s episode is a conversation with Jeffrey Benson. Jeffrey is an internationally known author and has worked for over 40 years as a teacher mentor and administrator. He’s had the good fortune of working with wonderful people on school reform, conflict resolution, learning theory, trauma addiction, advisory programs, math, education, staff development, leadership training, and curriculum development. He now coaches, principals and teachers writes about education, speaks at conferences, all in an effort to upload what he has learned in hopes others can make good use of it. His work focuses on schools being more successful to more students, always rooted in the understanding of how people learn, what should be the starting point for all we do in schools. Speaker 0 00:01:29 I first met Jeffrey back in 2011, fresh out of grad school round one, when I was hired to be the guidance coordinator at a therapeutic high school in Massachusetts folks who have attended my trainings on creating a trauma sensitive school have likely heard me reflect on this experience for many reasons. Jeffrey was the director of education at the school when I was hired. And I learned so much from working with him. Our paths crossed once again, in my next role, as I hired Jeffrey many times to present to a large conference of special education professionals that I used to put together for a statewide trade association in Massachusetts Jeffrey’s workshops, always received rave reviews from his attendees. Jeffrey has so much information to share, and I’m delighted. He’s here with us today. Speaker 0 00:02:21 Thank you so much, Jeffrey for joining us here today on the Dr. MC self care cabaret podcast. We’re going to jump right in here with, um, question one. I know you’ve written on the topic of self care in the past. I believe you’re actually cited in my dissertation as a fun, fun fact for our listeners. Um, so I’m wondering what self care looks like for you? Speaker 2 00:02:45 Well, I’ve, it’s been an important part of my career from the beginning because, um, as some people know, I, my first job was in the basement room next to the janitor’s closet with all the kids in a school, no one. And it was so important to realize that I needed to take care of myself. So I’ll tell you an interesting one. I did. Um, I found, I realized I always needed someone to talk to in my work. I mean, I think that’s the most, like I would start off with that. You have to have someone to talk to because there’s so many issues, so many things go through your head when you work in a school in a given day and you have to kind of sort through them, figure out what’s important, organize your priorities. So even though there might be a hundred things on your list, you know, the top 10 you have to do. Speaker 2 00:03:32 And so I went to the school psychologist at my school who seemed under work, or, you know, you want connection because oftentimes school psychologists are kind of not part of the school staff. You know, there’s kind of these extra people who are kind of trying to make their way in. And I said to him, Charlie, can I have time with you? Like, could we launch together on Fridays? He was like, oh, absolutely. That would be great. So every Friday tri and I met and we had lunch together and his little office and it was an escape island. I could talk to him about anything. He knew all the players involved. Um, so he could confirm some of my concerns about how the school was running. He could challenge me if I hadn’t had enough information. It just was also a place to just do a brain dump also to have him affirm that what I was doing well, because part of working in schools is you just don’t get enough affirmation to have someone just sit with you and listen to you on school, your thoughts and say, that’s really well said, or that was a good move you made, or, wow. Speaker 2 00:04:43 I would’ve never thought that in those small moments of affirmations from somebody else super critical to keep going. So that was one thing, always having someone to talk to. The other thing is that I’m teaching is a physical activity. Um, and one of the things, when you working, particularly with kids who are needy, which has been a lot of part of my career, kids who have particularly more needs than typical students, um, we’re like sponges for their athletes. We’re sponges for their needs. We take it all in. So having routines of exercising of meditating, um, taking care of one’s body, that way is so important. There’s a wonderful book by all my colleagues, Bessel van der Kolk on, uh, trauma called the body, keeps the score. One of my favorites. It’s such a great book. It’s a great book for educators, even if you don’t work with kids with trauma, because it’s just about how the brain works and how we work in concert with our brain. Speaker 2 00:05:41 And you just working all day in a school, you take on so much of the kids’ needs inside your body. You don’t even realize it. Sometimes I used to think why is my work so exhausting? I haven’t been cutting sugar cane. I haven’t been tarring a road in hot sun. It’s because of that physical inhalation of all of the issues in the school. And you have to have a healthy way to deal with it. And so exercise for me always been important. I know there were a couple years in my career where I was able to walk home from school. That was always wonderful. I would take a slow walk home from school. I would walk by a park. I walk to do some chores on the way home. Um, and there was a couple years where I rode my bike to school. That’s awesome. And that was also just, it was my time. I knew that I would get on the school feeling and thinking something. And 20 minutes later I’d be home and my body would have assimilated would have metabolized I feelings and they I’d be different. So those were two biggies for me talking to somebody and having something outlet for my body for all. I am so up from the day. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:06:48 That definitely aligns with what I promote in my workshops too. When we talk about the different domains of self-care, you are, you know, that connection with other people, that’s your relationship domain. And being able to have that connection, that support that respect, um, that sustainability through that relationship is very important. And of course, moving our bodies is so, so important. Um, you know, my mother always says, when you don’t move, that’s the kiss of death Speaker 2 00:07:15 And in slow kiss, you don’t even realize that’s, you know, death has been puckering up to you for a long time, but you get that smack Speaker 0 00:07:24 Important. And it’s, it’s kind of funny. I was just remembering the reason why I actually got into self care was when we worked together in the school and I won’t name the school that we worked at, but it was pretty intense. We had a pretty intense student population and fresh out of grad school, round one for myself, a young wide-eyed, um, you know, guidance counselor coming in actually guidance coordinator. It was my role. And, um, and she said to Speaker 2 00:07:50 The listener, she was terrific, right from the get-go that, that she didn’t have things to learn, but, um, she was ready to, she jumped in. She was great. Teresa was great. Speaker 0 00:07:58 Thank you. Um, definitely did jump right in and I loved it, but I realized very quickly that I was on a fast path to burnout. And I recognize that, you know, learning with the students and learning about their paths, it, it was a lot to take in and to process. And I remember kind of going to the program director at the time and making a comment like, you know, I’m having a hard time like with all of this. And she said, you’re going to need to learn to not take that home with you. And I didn’t a hundred percent understand what she meant. So I took it upon myself to do some research and kind of stumbled upon, um, the world of self care. And at the time, you know, leading voices, being Wayne Dyer, Dr. Dyer, uh, Dr. Deepak Chopra and among others, uh, Louise hay. And so that’s kind of why I gravitated towards their work and really started to just read and listen to anything. I could get my hands on by them. And at the time I thought that the, this was unique to me that I was just experiencing this and that this was not, you know, a much larger issue, um, till I didn’t realize that until a little bit later, but it definitely helped me to kind of start to put my health and wellbeing first. So I could better serve the students because you have to, Speaker 2 00:09:08 Right. I tell you a story. You may not know this from when our offices were just a few feet from each other at one point. So, um, I was one of the directors of the school. So I did have a slightly bigger office than some people, because I have a lot of people came into my office for meetings. I had a little couch and I realized that every teacher in some fashion has, um, prep time. And so I would actually close the door to my office and I get on that couch and I put my feet up and I’d set my timer and I take a 10 minute nap. And I realized that that was for me, prep time, that was not me be ready for the next set of stuff I had to do that I could still turn and look at all my other things that I had to do. Speaker 2 00:09:52 But, um, that was, uh, so I remember once going to one of my bosses and saying, I think other people should know they can do this. And that boss said, no, no, I don’t want anyone doing that. And I’ve felt like, you know, everyone has a different way of taking care of themselves and prep time. Isn’t just to prep your lesson plans, it’s to prep for all you need to do, um, going forward. Um, I have another thing I learned to do for self care. This was a hard one. Um, but really it was helpful. I, as many people do, I have a long to-do list and my job, um, I remember once going to my boss and saying, I want you to look at my to-do list. I have 56 things on it. And I’m worried that somebody is going to say, how come you’re not doing this one here? Speaker 2 00:10:40 And I’m like, well, that’s number 17. I didn’t really know. And that’d be like, maybe it shouldn’t be 17. So one thing I would do is I would go to my supervisor and I’d say, here’s my priorities for the week. Do you agree with, because I wanted someone else to help me support me in the sort of chaotic movement of a school when things shift quickly. So I could say, um, I think this should be number four on the list for this week. And my boss says to, okay, I think I’m going to leave, sit in at number four. Um, and I learned to do that. That was really helpful. And another was to have a very fluid to do lists. So it w it had a column for things to be done by the end of the year, then things to be done at the end of this semester, things to be done at the end of this week, things to be done at the end of today, and things would shift through them. Speaker 2 00:11:38 So I could also say, all right, I know what my priorities are today. If I have time, I feel confident in choosing the three or four things I’m going to put my time to, cause I know everything else is parked somewhere where it won’t get lost. Cause otherwise everything was swirling in my head trying to hold on to everything. So having a really well organized prioritize, do list to do list and having your boss confirm that you’ve got it right. It was really helpful for me focusing and being calm. I think that’s part of the stress of working in many institutions. And I know school the best is the endless number of things to do. They say, schools are at the crossroads. Here’s something for self care problem. Schools are at the crossroads of infinite need and finite resources right there. Isn’t that just a killer for those of us who care about the kids, care about this system, care about the parents to know every day you’re not doing as much as could be done. Speaker 2 00:12:43 You have to learn to live. That’s the part. It’s not that you can’t take that home, but you have to know over time how to pat yourself on the back and said, I did the best I could today with what I had to do. Can I tell you one more story? Yeah, of course. So one time when I was a director of school principal and, um, there was a big crisis that day at this school. And basically I had to abandon my well-prepared to do agenda for the day, took care of the crisis, everything went fine, you know, got through it, got the right people, got the police, got whoever had it to be there. So I remember all the details that ambulance or whatever. And I went to my boss at the end of the day and said, I want to let you know that I just did a hall of fame day as the director of this school. Speaker 2 00:13:32 I managed the school so well, but I have to let you know the person who’s number three on my to-do list that I didn’t get to talk to today thinks I’m a jerk because I never got to him first thing tomorrow. And that’s the other part. Um, okay. I’ll give you one more self care part. Obviously I’m going to keep kind of helping us. One thing leads to another. Um, I made a rule for myself, which I ultimately shared with a lot of people, which is if that you called me or send me an email on our texts on, let’s say Monday I had till the end of the day, Tuesday to get back to you, unless somebody said it was an emergency wise, I had to give myself permission to get through what I felt was the priority today and know that I would get to the person by the end of the next Workday. But I’m that person who’s writing to me calling me, texting me to get their needs met, have no idea what they’re dropping their need into, to the culture and I’m working away. Well, I always had that as I tried to put that out to people as sort of, this is how Jeffery operates. And as long as you know, that, I think that’s a good way to, um, protect yourself from being overwhelmed. Speaker 0 00:14:53 Sure. No, I love that. I think that you hit upon some really important points and I also, I really liked that. So let me make sure I get it right. Infinite need, but finite resources. I think that might be the episode title Speaker 1 00:15:08 And finite resources, because I think globally Speaker 0 00:15:12 People self-care anyway, like there’s, there’s an infinite need to take care of yourself, right? But sometimes people feel really like struggle with the resources in the how to do it. Speaker 2 00:15:20 Right. And also, you know, in schools and I think a lot, the most finite resources time, of course, you know, and that’s why teachers don’t take the time to go to the bathroom during the day or eat or eat or anything like that. Um, what I work in middle schools, one of the things I cause middle schools, they work as teams and it’s, it’s like built in, you know, and it’s a really great resource is to be able to ask your teammate, could you cover for me for five minutes? Cause I wanna, I have a bathroom. I want to let’s build in bathroom breaks and just cover for each other for just five minutes or to ask for help from your peers is another self-care thing. Now, when you’re on a team it’s sort of a mutually supportive situation, right? From the start, we can start scheduling in stuff to take care of each other. Otherwise it’s to find a partner or two in the school who you can say, Hey, on our free times, if you want to, if you want to get to the bathroom, if you want to do something, I’m willing to give up five minutes of my free time. If people aren’t going to take you up on it every day, but it’s nice to know that somebody’s there for you. Great. Speaker 0 00:16:33 I’m going to ask you another question. I know you have so much experience working with adolescents with various mental health needs. And we know as a result of COVID, many educators are concerned with the impact that it has had on, on students and children and their mental health. So I’m wondering what advice you can offer to help educators in dealing with this as we move forward, Speaker 2 00:16:54 That’s your job. So, you know, it’s an interesting thing about, um, living and learning through the pandemic when it first, um, hit. And I was, uh, I coach and consult to principals and school leadership teams and teachers all around and with zoom sort of geographically, even farther reach at this point. And I was feeling a little intimidated at first because I said to people, I actually have no experience of running a school in a pandemic. I can’t tell you, we have to three weeks in the pandemic, you should be at this stage. And looking back, we can see there were some stages, but what I realized was human beings. We’re still a human beings in whatever conditions we’re put in. And so I actually leaned heavily into some of the resiliency research and looking at three protective factors and that’s going to be for kids coming back into school. Speaker 2 00:17:43 So one is relationship building, absolutely critical. Very, very second is opportunities for students and staff to have voice in autonomy because you know what I always say, I’m not a good mind reader. And I don’t want people to count on me reading their minds to ask for what they need. So part of the relationship building is so people feel safe saying to me, Mr. Benson, can I do this? This would help me. Can I do that? I’m wondering about this. They have to feel safe to be vulnerable. So relationship building is primary. Cause then it allows kids and adults have autonomy and voice so they can organize their own worlds a little bit because it’s very scary if the system is so set in stone, that you can’t take care of yourself, even though you might have a good idea. I always love my students who would say Mr. Speaker 2 00:18:40 Baker, can I sit by the window? Mr. B, can I have graph paper? Mr. B, can I use a mocker instead of a pencil? Mr. B, can I sit with Theresa because I would work better with her. Oh, that’s yay. That’s what you want from kids to do. So they need to feel safe. They need to know that to ask. And then you want to praise kids, autonomy and voice. And initially you’re going to have to ask kids, you give them menus of things. What would help you? So I’m going to come to the third thing, but first I want to say this one second one, um, in the school that Theresa and I worked in, and I don’t know if this happens when you were there, but there were a couple of times when we had, there was a crisis either with a kid at the school or in the world, the big event. Speaker 2 00:19:22 And we knew everyone was coming into school with a little more on their emotional ledger. And we realized that what some kids wanted was to just do school. It was the most soothing thing they could possibly do. It was better than all the chaos in their mind, give them a math sheet. That was what they wanted. Some kids wanted to sit one-on-one with a trusted adult. Some kids would like to be in a small group to talk. And so we realized that autonomy and voice was to give kids choice about how to take care of themselves and to, and that’s a really important thing to have a menu of options that they can choose from that they won’t always choose perfectly well, but they’ll learn to. And some of them really do know what’s better because I realized when we decided one time to cancel class and just had groups that made a lot of kids really anxious, not a good idea to give people zero choice when they’re emotionally in turmoil and say, this is the one solution for you. Speaker 2 00:20:24 So autonomy and voice means there’s choice that kids can operate within adults as well. And the third thing is predictable systems of support. So if you need something, how do you get it? What’s their fee in one of the schools I worked in, we had a long list of, if you are feeling anxious, a friend go to, you can go to this person in the school. And it was like a list. If you want to change a class, go talk to Teresa. Did that person, um, if you’re aware, if you’re having concerns with a medication, here’s when you can go see the nurse, but it was a long list of things. If you would like to find a job, if you would like to get ride a ride home regularly, whatever it was that we had a list of places, kids could go where they had, didn’t have to ask because asking the wrong person makes you vulnerable. Speaker 2 00:21:19 I want to know. So we listed out as much as we could. And it was in the student handbook. It was posted in like a lobby area. And it served the purpose also of saying it was okay to have meetings that we all had them. And I remember once in an assembly, we had some of the veterans students talk about who they went to one time when they had a need like that. So you also want to model self-care. It was okay. I went to talk to Teresa when I wanted to change a class and it was great talking to her and, you know, I recommend going to see her. And so hearing it from their peers. So I want to repeat, so it’s relationship building, reaching out to him, that extra stuff, opportunities for autonomy and voice, which means you have to give a choice whenever you can have activities and things. Speaker 2 00:22:07 And the third thing is predictable places to get the support you need. So you don’t have to ask for it, but it’s set up ahead of time for you. All of these things are doable in schools. And I want to say the last one in particular, I wish we did more regularly. We do know what the resources are in the school. How do we make it? That’s how we roll around here. We put resources out, kids use them. We celebrate kids using the resources. Yeah. I that’s why I think coming back from COVID we still lean into those three protective factors. Speaker 0 00:22:37 Yeah. And I think that resilience piece is going to be huge as we move forward and the idea of choice and autonomy also, because we have to remember that these kiddos are coming back from a variety of different experiences over the last 15 years. I mean, not everybody’s 15 months, 50, sorry, 15 months, 15 years. Oh my gosh. Well, Speaker 2 00:23:00 Let’s say 15 years. Definitely. And then the last 15 months it’s sort of exponentially idiosyncratic. Yeah, absolutely. Speaker 0 00:23:06 And um, when we think about that, I mean, not everybody’s COVID experience from one person to the next has certainly been the same. And so we have to be mindful of that and for the staff also coming back and getting going, and, and from a lot of different places. So I love that. That’s that’s great. And I’m wondering, so that, oh, go ahead. Speaker 2 00:23:25 Let me just say one more thing about that. For instance, for some staff, having time set up like a place to go and talk to peers, super-important other staff want nothing more than getting their classroom and just get an organized and set up. And that’s their soothing self care thing. Like, you know, cleaning up an organized, I w I have to, even though I’m not anal, I’m not disorganized either. I love times in my classroom to go in. Like sometimes, you know, as teachers do this, we come in early, really early sometimes, and we just putter around our classroom and we just set things up and we organize it. And there’s something incredibly soothing about having time to do that. So I think Fred administrator to be aware that if you can carve out some time for people to just have optional time and not feel like how can I say this, that the staff will be professional in their decision-making about how to take care of themselves when given optional time. Speaker 2 00:24:23 That’s one of the things we tend to do in schools about kids and staff. If there were a hundred staff, there might be four who use that badly, and we tend to not let the other 96 have that option, because we’re worried about the force. Same with kids. Schools tend to be that we worry so much about the kid who’s going to screw up, that we don’t let all the rest of the kids who are developmentally ready to have autonomy, have their autonomy. And it’s sort of like, we would never say to a class, well, you know, we’re not going to teach algebra, but, or this group cause five kids aren’t going to do it well, but we do a lot of that around behavioral stuff, as opposed to 15 of these kids, I know we’re going to really use this time. Well, I will protect the other five from themselves and from damaging everyone else’s opportunity. So I think there’s a part of giving people time and space to take care of their own needs with some options again, how they want to do that. Yeah, Speaker 0 00:25:20 Well, really important to think about. And so we talked about, you know, kind of the staff and students coming back, and I have been seeing this too in my work, and I’m sure you have as well, you know, the parents are also quite anxious about learning loss and, and lots of, and rightfully so that they have concerns. I’m wondering any tips for parents that we can, um, maybe try to help them ease some of that anxiety as we’re picking up the pieces from COVID. Speaker 2 00:25:47 Well, this is what I’ve heard. Something really interesting the other day about this. And it’s, it’s a complicating factor. What we’re hearing in schools is what the teachers and the kids most want. And again, there’s variation is time to be with each other, that the relationship part in this rebuilding the school culture, which you can do through your academics is really important. And what we’re hearing from parents is lost learning. It’s, it’s like a disconnect because you know what parents see more than anything else out of school is you sort of the academic outcomes, what the kids are doing for homework. And what they don’t see is the primacy of the relationship and the social cauldron of school and how important that is to, um, everyone’s functioning. So there’s a little disconnect there. I think best thing to do with this goes back to a little, um, a structural part is to give parents the roadmap a little. Speaker 2 00:26:50 So they’re not guessing how the school is going to do it, I think is, you know, professionals in the schools where we are, we’re ultimately responsible for what happens in the walls of the school. But I think to say to parents, here’s how we’re going to roll stuff out. We are going to spend the first three days doing more relationship, building culture, building norms, getting to know you, helping kids set up than we usually do. And then here’s how we’re going to roll stuff out after. It’s not like just going to be an endless time on the mats with Graham cracks, you know, to suit their fears around that as well. But I think they need to hear a plan. It’s always good to know what the people who are taking care of your kids have plans and a little information can go a long way. Yeah, Speaker 0 00:27:35 I think so too. And I’m actually reminded, I just had a flashback of when we work together and used to always call it and rightfully identified it as the secondary curriculum. Cause that’s not necessarily the, you know, the academics, which is sometimes easier to see and easier to, to, um, to measure. But that whole, that secondary curriculum piece is really hard, right? Speaker 2 00:27:57 So I do need to make a small plug for my new book, which I don’t know if you did in the opening, um, which is, um, improved every lesson, the way I have to look the real time, improve every lesson plan with SEL, because it’s the notion of that is that you can do the relationship building and the autonomy and choice and the structure part and developing kids’ social and emotional skills and competencies in lesson plans. It’s not like it’s a separate curriculum, so you can do the we’re going to spend two or three days more than we usually do on rebuilding the culture. But we’re going to integrate that as well into how would you lessons? Um, it’s not one or the other and, uh, as you, and I know most good teachers, which are going to say most teachers have always implicitly and somewhat randomly built relationships and social, emotional skills into their lessons, Speaker 0 00:28:49 Even knowing the fancy terminology for it, it just happened. Speaker 2 00:28:53 Right. And so my, in the sense is let’s just make it explicit and planned. So I know when kids come in the room, I know how I’m going to praise them. I know I’m going to prompt them. I know I’m going to model for them as they’re sitting together to do group work. I know I’m going to model for them. I know I’ve got to prompt them as we’re closing up the lesson. I know I’m going to have kids talking to each other about what they experienced during that lesson. We do that, like I said, randomly, we start doing that stuff integrated into the lesson. I think we’re going to be more successful academically and the kids are going to build their resilience. Absolutely. Speaker 0 00:29:31 And I love that kind of shifting that thinking. So we’re, they’re not separate things, but sometimes we tend to think of it as separate, right? Like social emotional, Speaker 2 00:29:41 Right. I’ve done this work. I’ve always been scared. It’s going to be another curriculum imposed on teachers already have too much to do or a book from the shelf. And okay, now lesson one Tuesday, then lesson two, as opposed to, that’s a part of a lifeblood of how we are as a community. We just need to adjust as a big word. That’s why writing the book was give people permission to do it, give people some models to do it and support them in doing it. Speaker 0 00:30:09 Yeah. And since you mentioned the book, I was going to ask you about it, but, um, so where can folks purchase it? Do you want to let us know? Speaker 2 00:30:16 Um, so the best place to go, uh, is afcg.org, a S C g.org, which is the publisher. It is on Amazon. I’d like to go through ASC D that order because they’re the publisher. They get a little more of the bucks. Um, when it goes through that organization to write organization, um, you can also go to my website, Jeffrey benson.org, and there’s links to the ASC D sites, either way into the book. If you go to my site, you can also see other things I’ve written in my articles and write to me and be in touch. And I keep in touch with a lot of educators all over the country because it’s fun. It’s interesting. We need each other. I mean, going back to self care, um, you need people to talk to about the work and I love, you know, it’s for me when people write to me and want to talk about education, I don’t feel like I am being, um, drained. I’m actually, that’s my self-care too talking to other people. I have the same questions that are working on the same area that I’m working at that Speaker 0 00:31:18 Starts to get into actually the spiritual domain of self care, where we can see a larger purpose in our work, and we enjoy helping others giving back. And that we, you know, educators tend to do really well in that domain, just in general, because we can see the impact that our work has on the students. Speaker 2 00:31:35 And that’s been a big part of my work in various ways and it’s sort of implicit and sometimes I, ain’t never gonna make it explicit is, um, I want people to remember why they became teachers and what they love about kids, because really none of us, or almost none of us became teachers because we wanted to give a test on Friday afternoon. It wasn’t for the money either, and we didn’t want it to, because we want it to be taking attendance. That’s not why we, we became teacher for this wonderful it’s spiritual, it’s ethical, it’s existential, it’s life affirming. Um, it’s such a privilege to be able to sit with kids and being asked to and responsible for helping them grow into this world. What a one, that’s why we got into this and the, you know, there’s learning and then there’s schooling and schooling gets in the way of learning. Speaker 2 00:32:30 Schooling is all the institutional bureaucratic stuff that happens when you shove a thousand people into a building and expect everybody to do things at the same time. And we learn how to manage that. But really, you know, the time we spend talking to kids and talking to each other, that’s, that’s that spiritual deep stuff. Um, it’s why, like I love doing my work as well. I love going meeting people while I love my consulting work. I love having people write to me because it does, it connects me to why I do this and why, you know, I have limited time on earth and yet he has, so he has a deep one for me. Um, I’ve been blessed. I’m not religious. I say that by, um, having a handful of amazing mentors in my life. It’s my one super power finding and keeping really good mentors. Speaker 2 00:33:21 And one of my mentors, um, he was traveling and, uh, he, he started having chest pain. He thought he was having a heart attack and he was in like a hotel room and he called and they were going to get medics to, and he looked out the window of his hotel and it looked out over a school yard and there were kids playing in the school yard. And he said, well, this is so deep to me. He said, well, if I die now, I’m really glad I work with kids. Wow. Yeah, really? Right. Well that realization, I mean, it, it Speaker 3 00:33:53 Is it’s can be really powerful. Speaker 2 00:33:58 Yeah. Yeah. And that’s, you know, it’s, it’s what we have to, um, those of us who work in education reform, it’s the head and the heart, you know, you combat this because in the head, I know we can do better, but in the heart, I know how much people want to do more. And the pain we feel, and this goes back to self care because we can’t do as much as we’d like to do. And that goes back to, that’s why you have to exercise. That’s why I have to talk. Right. Because it’s that criss cross of resources and need, um, that impacts the heart as much as, uh, what I want to say is if you’re feeling that those of you listening to this, it means you’re still working at it. And that’s good. It’s when you stop caring, um, are more worried if you’re feeling the pain, I’m sorry, we’re feel the pain, but at least that means we’re in it. You know, that means where we want to do more. We want to do better. And it’s when we start feeling our frustration with the system that I’m most worried about. Absolutely. Speaker 0 00:35:09 I’m going to ask you one last question. Um, so as you know, we’ve talked about this before and my listeners know, but my dissertation study was centered around self care for leaders and teachers. And more specifically that leaders need to practice self care and promote it for themselves, you know, promote, practice it, but promoted also for their staff, you know, to help avoid burnout demoralization and help increase retention rates. And so when your work, where you’re training leaders and principals, and how do you try to instill this idea that self-care is other care and that you must put your oxygen mask on first? Speaker 2 00:35:45 Oh, absolutely. Well, I want to say it just takes me a couple of questions talking to most school administrators, central office and principals for them to admit how isolated they feel. Now, some of them have some support systems, but you know, if you’re a teacher in a school you’re surrounded by many other people who are in your job when you’re an administrator, you might have one or two, three or four, and maybe you get along with them, whatever. Um, so they will know it on some level. So one of the things that I work with administrators on is setting up seminars with administrators to get to talk to each other, but all it’s sort of like, I don’t have to do much. I just have to put them in a room together, give them a little, like a reading to do or something. And it’s like, and they’re telling each other stories and they’re giving each other sort of not advice in like a, um, talking down more. Speaker 2 00:36:41 But yeah, I tried that too. Have you ever tried this? It’s not that even they need solutions, they just need to talk it out. So that’s one part of it. Um, I know one of the, um, and then also is not a group to have a mentor to have a consultant. I always had someone I talked to when I was a principal. I always paid for it through the school, or even on my own time or found a colleague like that guy, Charlie, I found early on, I always had someone to talk to. Um, when I was a principal, I partly felt like I had to role model working harder than everyone and longer because I felt like I was paid more sure, socialists backgrounds, you’re going to pay me more than to work more. I was always a sucker. You know, anyone paid me more. I was going to have to work more, you know, boundlessly more. And, um, I also needed to model for the staff that, you know what, let’s all try to leave early this Friday, me too. Like I’m going to, going to be able to take time off and I want you to take it to, um, it’s really important. Um, when I could, I could tell my staff, yes, I actually take a nap in my office during my prep time. Speaker 2 00:37:58 I want you to do what you need to do. And these are the things you see me do. Um, as you know, I used to take lots of walks with staff, um, when they were going to meet, when they we’d all go, Hey, let’s go take a walk together because I need to get out of the building too. Um, so you want to be transparent about your own process. Um, you don’t have to be a martyr. You don’t have, you’re going to end up working more as an administrator. You just do. Um, but don’t be a mater about it. You know, take your vacation, talk about them. Um, let people know how you’re taking care of yourself. Um, here’s another interesting one. Let people know, and this is a tough one that you have a consultant. There’s a wonderful article by a tool Gawande. He was a wonderful writer, G U w a N D E is his name. Speaker 2 00:38:52 And he wrote an article called personal best. He’s a scholar. I mean a surgeon. And he decided he could be a better surgeon if he got a mentor and he looked around and he found sort of a retired surgeon who he would talk to about his work, excuse me, who would come to his surgery and observe a minute afterwards. Talk about technique. Talk about what he talked about with the other people on the surgical team. So you would just be kind of observing. And the first thing that a tool had to bump up against was all those peers saying, why do you have somebody? Because the assumption was, I must not be very good. And he was like, wait. The greatest tennis players in the world have coaches. The greatest singers in the world have coaches, masterful people in the world continue to learn and have coaches. Speaker 2 00:39:44 And he was like, I realized I wanted to be better. And so he had to overcome his institutional bias against owning that you were still learning on the job. Um, the article ends with a very funny moment where, so he’s, he’s become comfortable with having the surgeon mentor to have a good relationship. And somebody’s getting wheeled into, I think it’s a woman getting reeled into surgery and he’s going through with her, what’s going to happen. And this person’s United sociologist, this person is going to help me is introducing them, which is a lovely thing to do. And she seized his mentor on the side and she says, who’s, who’s that? And he goes, oh, that’s my coach. And the less I article is she didn’t look happy. Speaker 0 00:40:34 I think that’s great though. I mean, I think sometimes there’s, you know, like that stigma, um, as you were talking was reminding me even how people sometimes feel about therapy that like, you know, you shouldn’t need that support or that help, like there’s that, that kind of, you know, feeling from certain people. I mean, I, I work with a therapist. I don’t see a problem with that with anybody where I think it’s, um, really beneficial for people to have that. And it’s almost, you know, think of it similar to like a coach. So somebody, a mentor, like you need those people to kind of help you make sense of the world and help you on this journey. Speaker 2 00:41:06 Correct. And in schools, there’s a little bit of a part of the stigma and I can’t speak to other organizations and institutions. I don’t know them that well is most people who are school, administrators rose up from the ranks. Sure. And so there’s this little bit of, I have to prove that I’m actually smarter, wiser, better, more accomplished than the people who are my peers, because otherwise, why do I have this job? And so being vulnerable, talking about that, you were still on the job feels somehow like I will be diminished in the eyes of my peers, as opposed to your peers would be going. That’s great that you’re trying to get better at your job, but you have to overcome the sort of ego thing, you know, but I highly recommend the article personal best a tool go on date. Cause it talks through all of his internal stuff and institutional stuff that decided he wanted a coach. So he could be better at his work. I Speaker 0 00:42:02 Love that. I’ll definitely look that article up. Maybe we can link it also in the episode notes as well as your contact information. And you’ve already shared your website with folks, um, which is excellent. And, um, that was all the questions I had for today. I think you gave us a lot, which was excellent. Thank you so much for your time. I very much appreciate it. And I consider you one of my mentors, um, as you have definitely, um, helped me throughout the years as we’ve worked together. But then I still recall on lots of the things that I learned during that time period, very fondly. And so I very much appreciate that. Thank you. Good. Speaker 2 00:42:38 Nice talking with you, Teresa. You too. Speaker 0 00:42:47 Jeffrey had so much to share with us and there are many key takeaways from this conversation, even though we were mostly chatting about the education arena, there’s a lot of information and tip shared that a transferable to any industry and to life in general, first relationships, they’re really, really important. We want to ensure that we make time for and spend time with people who are good to us, encourage us, respect us, support us and believe in us. This includes building a trust that you will be respected when you need to advocate for your needs or even say no at times, these are also the people who should listen to you when you become upset, whether it requires an empathetic or sympathetic listening on their part, the bonds you share with family, friends, and colleagues contribute to this domain. If you are listening to this and feel that you do not have people in your life like this, I strongly encourage you to seek the support of a therapist, counselor, or group of like-minded individuals to help foster this domain. Speaker 0 00:43:49 This is a critical aspect of self-care and can be the hardest to come by and sustain. And we absolutely absorb the energy of those around us. So we must be mindful of this and make sure we are setting boundaries and taking care of ourselves in the process. And while I have never taken a nap at my desk, I don’t see the problem with it. Anytime you can take a brain break, a movement break or another self-care practice for just a few minutes, you will actually make yourself more productive. As a result, people tend to think that someone who takes a nap is obviously a slacker or lazy, but that is simply not true and be sure check out Jeffrey’s books, including his latest improve every lesson with SEL or social, emotional learning this book and his previous publications can be purchased by visiting Jeffrey benson.org. Speaker 0 00:44:44 Along with the relationship domain of self care, Jeffrey highlighted the spiritual domain. I think it is important to remember your why and reconnect. Why did you become a teacher or why do you do what you do? And I love the idea of hiring a coach from the a tool Gawande article. Jeffrey mentioned it is so true that there is a stigma around this, but there really shouldn’t be. Thanks for listening to this episode. Remember to subscribe and rate this podcast on your preferred player, the ratings help us grow and share the message of self-care. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, reach out directly by emailing podcast at Dr. MC self care.com that’s D R M C self care and come join the cast party of Dr. MCs self care cabaret on Facebook and Instagram at Dr. MC self care or on my website, Dr. MC self care.com. Be sure to like subscribe and love me across all my social media platforms for the most up-to-date information on self care. See you next time. Stay well and do good.
36 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
Ridin' the Wave of Life
Today’s episode is a conversation with Amber McMahon, a Reiki Master, intuitive energy healer, spiritual guidance Coach, spiritual medium, and licensed therapist. Together she and Dr. MC discuss their self-care routines, the benefits of Reiki, therapy, setting boundaries, and much more! As always we love to hear from our listeners! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or topics you’d like to hear about on future episodes. Additional Resources: Dr. MC blog post on Reiki Amber’s Website You can learn more about Dr. MC and this podcast on her website: https://drmcselfcare.com/podcast-home/ EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Speaker 1 00:00:37 Welcome to another episode of Dr. MCs self care cabaret podcast. I’m your host Theresa Melito-Conners a PhD level self-care expert in the greater Boston area with a passion for helping others recognize the importance. <inaudible>. Speaker 1 00:00:59 Amber is a Reiki master Reiki, master teacher, spiritual energy healer, spiritual, medium intuitive spiritual coach, and licensed therapist in Arlington, Massachusetts. We met about 10 years ago when I was the guidance coordinator at a therapeutic high school. And Amber worked in a similar setting. I set out to create a job alike group for counselors working with similar populations of students. And Amber was part of this endeavor. We clicked immediately. However, we lost touch for a bit after Amber left that position until I was choreographing a production of the musical legally blonde. I was chatting one day with a woman who owned the dog who was cast to play bruiser. She asked me what I did for work, and I told her she remarked that it sounded like the work her niece did. She then told me that I reminded her of her niece. Out of curiosity, I asked, what is your niece’s name? Speaker 1 00:02:01 Never in a million years? Did I think I would know her niece, but guess what I did and it was Amber, I nearly fell over. That was the spark we needed to reconnect, cut to present day where I have been seeing Amber for regular Reiki appointments for about five years. And I love it. I often credit never sacrificing sleep and never skipping my Reiki appointments as one of the ways I got through the doctoral program that, and the support of my husband and mom. But back to Amber, she is such a remarkable woman and someone I am grateful to have in my life, Amber, his passion is supporting, guiding and empowering others to ignite that bright light within their journey of self-awareness self-mastery self discovery and healing. Amber has found that combining all of her healing modalities using Reiki as her foundation has been the most effective approach to healing and wellness. I am so excited for you to hear my conversation with you. <inaudible> Cross that bridge when we’re not recording, but yeah, no, that makes sense. And we can just dive right in. Speaker 2 00:03:21 All right, go. Let’s go. Speaker 1 00:03:24 All right. Welcome Amber to the Dr. MC self care cabaret podcast. Thank you so much for joining me here today. For this episode, I want to get started the first question that I want to ask you and that I’m sure our listeners are wondering about is can you describe for us what Reiki is? Speaker 2 00:03:44 So thanks for having me, um, it’s an honor to be on your podcast. So what is Reiki? Reiki is a holistic ancient form of healing as a holistic wellness modality. And it’s hands-on. So Reiki uses universal life force energy, which is the energy all around us. And that energy works through my hands as the facilitator and it to the individual. Uh, and it ignites the cells within the body to awaken the body’s own natural healing. Uh, it puts the mind in the Delta state where healing happens, the Delta state, the meditative state, where healing takes place. So Reiki eases any symptoms, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and it’s a, um, form of healing that if there’s any dis-ease in the body, it creates ease. So it’s something that can’t hurt and only help. And this is also a modality that can be used at a distance as well. Um, as a Reiki master, there’s three levels. So there’s Reiki, one Reiki, two Reiki, master Reiki, master teacher, and as a Reiki practitioner, Reiki master you’re attuned to different symbols, which then help you connect in the physical form. And then in the, when the person is not right in front of you. So that is how I’m able to send healing to an individual who’s in my office and not in my office at a distance. Speaker 1 00:05:48 Yeah, I love it. I think I’ve been seeing you for regular Reiki appointments now for like five years. It’s been a while and I love it. And I always try to, to folks when I’m giving presentations or people ask me about Reiki, because it is one of the aspects that I credit, you know, being able to get through the doctoral program anyway, through my regular Reiki appointments. And I’m not never sacrificing sleep, but, um, try to explain a little bit like what it was like for an in-person appointment with you, um, you know, similar to you lie down on like a massage type table, and then you would kind of work your body, work your hands, kind of over, um, various body parts, um, with the Reiki energy. And you could really feel it. It’s very cool. And even now, you know, with COVID you and I have still managed to continue doing our Reiki appointments through distance. We haven’t done them in person in over a year, but we’ve still been doing that the distance, which is awesome. So can you tell me a little bit about how you got interested in Reiki and energy healing and all the wonderful things you do? Speaker 2 00:06:51 Oh, geez. So in let’s see. So I was always interested in energy. I could always sense the energy in a room. I mean, as a kid growing up, um, and then through the years, I could always sense the energy in a room, or I was always attuned to individuals and their energy. So it was always interested in energy and that in, um, college, one of our family, friends, Dr. Judy Spross, um, was getting her doctorate in nursing and education. And she, her part of her doctorate was doing, um, a part of the paper was doing pain drains on individuals, on patients, essentially using energy from one person to another, to drain out pain. That’s what got me really interested in this. And then, you know, went through college, went through masters, went through life, always, you know, wanted to do Reiki and, or get certified and just never did. Speaker 2 00:08:11 And in 2014, I had a huge spiritual awakening, a profound moment when my father passed away. So seeing him take his last breath and then having the experience of my daughter’s birth. So seeing life and death, I had this huge aha moment and awakening, and it was in 2015. I decided to do my rookie one and Reiki two. And even before I got certified, I already signed the lease for my first office to do that. So that’s how the energy work in the Reiki, um, got started. I knew I had these gifts, intuitive gifts, and Reiki was just a part of this journey. So I always wanted to use my gifts in a way to facilitate and help others on their journey and healing. Speaker 1 00:09:28 That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t know, timeline wise, kind of where it, where it fits. So I just learned a little bit more about you also, which is like, Speaker 2 00:09:36 I know there’s like a big timeline because I never, in a million years thought I would be having my own healing practice and private practice for therapy. That was never the therapy piece. Yeah. The healing piece never in a million years. Speaker 1 00:09:56 Did I think goes hand in hand though. Really? Well. It makes sense that you would do both. Speaker 2 00:10:03 Absolutely. And then you failure. It was like, oh, this does go together. This does work together. Um, and now I can’t imagine any other way. And there’s a huge benefit to wearing both those hats. Speaker 1 00:10:21 Yeah. So we’ll, then I’m going to ask you a little bit about your therapist hat right now, but you know, so many folks with the COVID crisis continuing have really been struggling with their mental health. What is maybe a little piece of advice you can offer to folks that may be struggling during this time period? Speaker 2 00:10:41 This is, you know, it’s certainly a chaotic time. We are theirs and they’re still we’re through, we’ve made it through this time and we’re getting there, but it’s, it’s a chaotic time. And, you know, with mental health and mental health piece, I look at mental health as my body spirit, I have a holistic approach to treatment. My number one thing is if you feel you need support and guidance to get that now, you know, to go and do it find the therapist. I know it can be difficult right now because a lot of people have that wait list or their book, because it, it has been such a chaotic time, but it’s a reach out for the help. And then B look at this as everyone needs support. Even me as the therapist is the healer. I need support. I have my support teams, but looking at it as having, uh, the mind body spirit approach and to, um, not wait to get the help. Speaker 2 00:12:08 And when people are reaching out to therapists, it’s usually on psychology today, you know, ask the individual, if they don’t have a spot for you, can you refer me? I always have a referral list. I don’t want to leave anyone hanging. So I’ll give them my referral list. But I think, you know, now more than ever is the time to get the support needed, to be able to just ride the waves better, to manage each day, to manage each moment better. You know, there’s no magic wand, there’s no magic wand in any of this, in the Reiki part and the mental health part. So getting the tools that you need to be able to manage each moment better so that you can be successful in whatever it is that wants to do or whatever your goals are. Speaker 1 00:13:06 Yeah. I think that’s really important and really good advice. Thank you. And a lot of folks, we feel like we don’t want to ask for help. We want to be the super hero superwoman, Superman, and we don’t want to ask for help. And there’s no, there’s no shame in asking for help. I work with a therapist. There’s no reason why folks should feel shame around that. Like sometimes you need help, you need support and get it. Um, and, and, you know, take the steps to set yourself up. So you are successful. And I really like that to help us ride the wave of life that may end up being the episode title, right. Speaker 2 00:13:45 There is no magic wand. Speaker 1 00:13:48 No, when there is any, even when it comes to self care, like you have to be willing to do the work, to put yourself, as I like to say on center stage to find your spotlight because you’re worth it. But sometimes we feel like we’re not, we’re too afraid. We’re ashamed. We don’t want to be a week, so we don’t ask for help. So that’s very, very important. Thank you for that, Amber and speaking of self care, tell me a little bit about what you like to do for your own self-care practices. Speaker 2 00:14:15 Oh my gosh. I have my go-to shoes. My month is scheduled and set up through the year for my self-care practices. Um, so, and I have to do it that way because I’m so busy with family, with my businesses that if it’s not scheduled in, it’s one of those things that can be easily looked over. So my self-care practices is, you know, I’m always a big fan of having your support team around you. I have my therapist that I’ve been seeing since, oh my gosh, 2009 before my daughter was born, my first daughter was born. So since 2009, 2010, then I have the energy healer that I see who I’ve been seeing since 2006. And she’s been mentor along the way on my journey. And I see once I got into my, the healing work that I do, and also as a psychotherapist, I started seeing her monthly. So I’ve been seeing her monthly for years now. And that’s something I just, I don’t miss. It keeps me grounded and anchored. Then I have an acupuncturist that I see monthly. And I also have a trainer in Arlington that I see by weekly for a half hour, at a time Speaker 1 00:15:59 Physical that’s for like exercise, like a personal trainer. Speaker 2 00:16:02 And I’ve, I mean, I’ve seen him since 2015. That’s something that’s non-negotiable. So I see him twice a week and then have just recently started moving more and cardio more, which is non-negotiable and that’s probably at least four times four or five times a week. Speaker 1 00:16:30 Wow. Where are you? Is that like a, like a group class you go to, or how are you doing that? Speaker 2 00:16:34 So the training I do is one-on-one and then in the gym outside, but at least like 20 minutes, 20 to 30 minutes. Cause that’s awesome. Each time, because moving helps. It’s a, it’s like a meditation, you know, there’s all forms of meditation. So that keeps me grounded and anchored so that I can be the best I can be. And also having that time with colleagues or friends carved out at least once, if not twice a month. So having that non-negotiable things carved out that I go to each month, each week is huge. I would not be able to do what I do for others or myself, my family, if I didn’t do those things Speaker 1 00:17:30 Right. To maintain your own kind of wellbeing so that you can make those connections and, and hold space for other people would be very important. I love that. Yeah. And it sounds like, you know, you really focus on that relationship domain of self care and the exercise domain, which are both very important. We have to move our body and it’s important to have our support systems and the people that make us feel good, who encourage us, support us and believe in us and make sure that we make time for those people as well. That’s excellent. And I love that. You’re not afraid to ask for help and that you get help. You have your personal trainer and other people that you work with too, to kind of help you. Cause I’m like that also, we just can’t do it all ourselves. We Speaker 2 00:18:13 Tried, I’ve tried try doesn’t work, you know, but you on your journey realize that you need to ask for help from others. And even as the professional, the healer, the therapist, the doc, you know, you it’s essential. So Speaker 1 00:18:31 Yeah, a hundred percent. So tell me a little bit more about this though. I mean, you’re a mom of two beautiful children, a wife, a small business owner, a healer, et cetera. So what do you have to do like special, like to make time for yourself care? So how do you kind of fit all these non-negotiables as you called them? Which I love that. How do you kind of fit all of this? Like what do you have to do? Speaker 2 00:18:53 It’s scheduled out? And my schedule is set as best it can be. And I’m proactive with making these appointments. For example, my training session, it’s the same. It’s been the same day and same time since 2015. And it’s, we don’t leave it up to chance. You know, every Tuesday, every Tuesday, every, or whatever, Monday and Wednesday, I’m in from nine 30 to 10. That’s awesome. Every, uh, month, the second Wednesday of the month I am in was conquered seeing my energy healer from 12 to one. And then acupuncture’s on that same day either before or after. And then they’re happy that’s at least once a month. And if other things are going on, maybe more, but at least once a month, and then they have other go-to supports in my spiritual realm who do the same things that I can go to that I usually do see once a month or more. And my Reiki master, who I forgot will be Barnett, always, you know, you can schedule session or consult with her and that I have done a lot. So that’s scheduled and as needed. It’s been a crazy year. So I’ve added more care. Speaker 1 00:20:29 Well, I love that. And I feel like a lot of people have, but this was definitely a giant wake up call on taking care of ourselves. Certainly. But you know, this is the stuff that goes out to out the window. Usually we get so wrapped up in our careers and our jobs and in our other roles, being a wife, being a mother, whatever it is we’re doing that we forget to care for ourselves and put our needs first. And that’s really important. And it’s, I love hearing that someone with your expertise and what you do for a business use still take care of yourself because you have to, you have Speaker 2 00:20:59 To, you have to, I mean, this is it’s crazy. And having, you know, my healing practices and therapy practice, that’s only one of my jobs. My other jobs is being a mom and then essentially running everyone’s lives to make sure that it goes smoothly and education and all that comes with it. So, yeah, it’s a lot, you know, as my daughters get older, I’ve been actually able to put more self-care, you know, I have to mention meditation. I love meditation. So, you know, I’ve been doing that since 2015, personally, professionally in my practice, but that is a non-negotiable every morning, every night, whether it is five minutes or whether it’s an hour and Speaker 1 00:21:56 I’ll do it times a day, or just either in the morning or at night or morning and night, Speaker 2 00:22:02 The non-negotiable is every morning and self Reiki every morning. But for Reiki master it’s hands-on Reiki on. So when your hands are on anywhere it’s on, but it’s a non-negotiable every morning, if not in the evening as well. So Speaker 1 00:22:24 I love it. And you’re you find that you even feel benefits even if you just meditate for a couple of minutes, maybe five minutes. Speaker 2 00:22:30 Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, it’s not people have this misconception that you need to meditate for an hour or the mind has to be blank. And that the mind is actually like grand central station and it’s bringing these things up so that we can deal, release them and heal. So whether it’s five minutes, 10 minutes an hour, it’s not about a duration. It’s about frequency and consistency. Speaker 1 00:23:03 Right? A hundred percent. I always talk about that in my trainings that like you can start small people think they have to sit on the ground in the traditional meditation pose and think about nothing for 45 minutes. It’s like, no, that’s actually not what you’re doing at all. No, but there’s this there’s this, like you said, it misconception about it. That that’s what it has to be. We have these ideas of perfection. And if we can’t, if we don’t think we can achieve like the perfection of it, we don’t even want to try. We automatically shut it off. And it’s like, Nope, that’s not for me when really 2, 3, 5 minute meditations are awesome. And I prefer personally, I love guided meditations and I’ve done, I don’t know, hundreds of them with you at this point. I feel like some of my favorite meditations have been with you during some of your, um, events and Reiki stuff that we’ve done together have been awesome. But yeah, meditation is a very important practice. I’m glad that you find ways to include that into your routine. Speaker 2 00:23:59 It’s a must and I’m going to go shovel. So Speaker 1 00:24:03 Any other non-negotiables I’m liking these so far are the non-negotiables. Speaker 2 00:24:06 Yeah. So, you know, the non-negotiable spiritual practices, this is something I learned from Katy Boyd way back in the day and the meditation, the Reiki. I also have the practices in my office, which is my sacred space. So rose water insects using Palo Santo, just to clear the energy, making sure I get outside and get grounded either in between clients or after clients. But I try to, you know, if my client is in person, walk out the door with them, so there are just these non negotiables and the movement part has become a non-negotiable. Speaker 1 00:24:57 Yeah. Moving is very, very important. The movement Speaker 2 00:25:01 On my own without being in the training studio that is just trouble. Speaker 1 00:25:07 Yeah. I love that. Awesome. Speaker 2 00:25:10 So, oh my God, boundaries. That’s another non-negotiable for me. And, um, having those boundaries with others, you know, making sure that when you say yes to someone or something that you’re not saying no to your self, that’s a huge, yeah, that’s huge because you’re taking care of yourself. Um, energetically, and you know, in general, if you’re saying yes to everyone, then you are saying no to yourself. So just making sure that keeping up with those boundaries and time, because time is valuable, right. And our schedules are packed and there’s all these different priorities in life and in business. So, you know, just keeping to the boundaries, like I tend to not schedule things to go out or meet colleagues unless it’s the end of the week. And it’s usually, you know, once during the week, at the end of the week, that’s just one of my things. Speaker 2 00:26:28 Um, and again, the whole making sure you say yes to someone, you’re not saying no to yourself. Also, when we talk about boundaries and energetic boundaries, making sure, um, we’re clearing our aura, our energy and sealing it up and protecting it. Because when you go out there, you could be walking by someone and bump into them. Well, not much nowadays because of the six feet apart, but you pick up other people’s energy. So making sure that your maintaining your energy field and that your only allowing who you want into that field, that’s hugely important. When we talk about boundaries, Speaker 1 00:27:20 It is very important. And thank you for making that point. I usually talk a little bit about boundaries to them when I’m giving myself care presentations and stuff. Right. And how do you, so usually what I tell people, and I do this myself too, I’ve had to get much better at setting boundaries. I used to be terrible at this and I would just say yes to everything. Speaker 2 00:27:39 And then Speaker 1 00:27:40 I would be miserable. And my mom would say things to me like you’re burning the candle at both ends. And then I have to take a step back and probably want to do it all right. And other things would suffer as a result. And so I have to be really careful right now. And when I get asked, I get asked to do something and think about like, okay, is this really where I want to spend my energy? Is this really a priority for me right now? And if it is great, go for it. If it’s not. And unfortunately I have to say, no, I always try to do like a gut check to like, how does this feel in my gut making this decision? Yes or no. Like whichever one it is. Speaker 2 00:28:16 Absolutely. And when you check in with your gut, which I call the soul inner knowing, you know, we, I like to say base those decisions and actions off of what your core desired feelings are. So whether it’s, if you want to feel freedom or happiness, plus joy, whatever it is based what you do off of wind, feel that core desired feeling and you’ll know to when something is usually off or not. Right. Because it, it won’t align with that core desired feeling. Right. Speaker 1 00:28:57 So what is it, how do you want to feel, what is it that you want to feel? Right? And if something, you got asked to do X and that’s going to make you feel the things you want to feel, go for it, but chances are, we get asked to do these things and they take us away from our core desire and our core desired feelings and what it is that we really want. And then we get a little off track. So it is very important to set clear boundaries. Right. So that’s another, non-negotiable very important. Speaker 2 00:29:27 Sure. Yeah. We’ve I didn’t bring that one up right away, but Speaker 1 00:29:32 Yeah. Amber, thank you so much for joining us today. That was a lot of fun. You gave us a lot of great tips and things to think about, and I’m sure listeners are even more intrigued now about Reiki and energy healing and all the wonderful things you do. Can you tell us a little bit more about how we can find you and where we can find you? Yeah, sure. Speaker 2 00:29:51 So my business is karma queen raking guidance. Um, if you are looking for, um, therapy, you can find me on psychology today. I ask anyone who’s looking for the therapy piece to go through psychology today. Um, and that’s Amber D. McMahon, M C M a H O N for the energy piece. So I’m a Reiki master Reiki master teacher. I teach one and two. Um, I do the energy healing work. I’m also a spiritual medium, and I also do intuitive guidance coaching as well. Um, and you can find me at my website, which is Amber, the karma queen.com. Um, I’m also on Instagram, Facebook, and, uh, individuals can contact me via email, um, at Amber the karama email@example.com. Um, and the phone number, if you feel it’s like not a lot of people call nowadays, they either, Speaker 1 00:31:06 But we like, you never know we got old school listeners here, so, or Speaker 2 00:31:10 Chats, but it’s 3, 3 9 7 0 7 0 3 4 8 also. Yeah, you can look me up, find me, visit the website. I look forward to hearing from people. Awesome. Speaker 1 00:31:28 And I do highly recommend Ms. Amber and all of her services. So thanks again for joining us here today on Dr. MC self-care cabaret. Woo. I love riding the wave of life. Amber and Reiki have helped me so much on my journey. If you’re curious about Reiki, I will share a blog post in the episode notes. It is so amazing to experience it firsthand. Amber can always tell what is going on with my body, because she feels the energy when she’s performing this practice. For example, she may ask me, is your knee bothering you today? Or how is your stomach? It’s so wild that she can pick up on these things because she feels the energy is stagnant. And I love how Amber framed her self-care routine around her. Non-negotiables that’s how I like to think of it too. It’s so important that we make it work for our health and wellbeing. You must get in touch with your non-negotiables. There was nothing endearing about depriving yourself of your self-care and schedule your self-care. If you to don’t leave it up to chance. We all know what happens when you are not intentional about it. It’s the first thing to go out the window when a competing priority arises. I’m wondering if my listeners have any non-negotiables that they would like to share with me. I would love to hear them Speaker 3 00:32:56 Go for Speaker 1 00:32:58 The holistic approach to mental health. By connecting the mind, body and spirit is so true. You cannot address one without addressing all three. And I second ambers recommendation to seek support. She works with a therapist. I work with a therapist. It is important to have that person in your life. Oh, and boundaries so important. I know it stinks when we have to say no to things or people, we tend to feel bad or guilty about it, but it’s so crucial when it comes to my boundaries. I like to buy myself some time someone asks you something. Don’t just say yes. Immediately say something like, oh, I have to check on that and get back to you. Or I have to check with so-and-so and I’ll get back to you, then do a gut check. How does this decision make you feel? Are you excited on a scale of one to 10? Speaker 1 00:33:48 What do you feel if it’s a 10? Well, then go ahead and say yes. So the request, if it’s a one, well, you know what to do? Tell the person no with grace and love, but also clarity and firmness. Don’t leave an open door. When you need a brick wall, you can even practice running scenarios with a partner or a trusted, loved one. Remember you cannot control how someone else will react. Maybe even journal about the situation afterwards. And remember to check in with yourself. Once the anxiety has subsided, how do you feel? Are you relieved? Your body will always tell you if you’re willing to listen. Thanks for listening to this episode and remember to subscribe and rate the podcast on your preferred player. The ratings help us grow and share the message of self-care. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, please reach out directly by emailing podcast at Dr. MC self care.com that’s D R M C self care and come join the cast party on Facebook and Instagram for Dr. MCs self care cabaret at Dr. MC self care, or even on my website, Dr. MC self care.com. Be sure to like subscribe and love me across all my social media platforms for the most up-to-date information on self care. See you next time. Stay well and do good.
48 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
One Singular Hole
Today’s episode is a conversation with Tristyn Sepersky, a Boston-based performer and personal friend. Together she and Dr. MC discuss their self-care routines, the benefits of having various interests, Michael Sheen and much more! And as always we’d love to hear from you! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or topics you’d like to hear about on future episodes. Additional Resources: Dr. MC blog post on sleep Kate Winslet story on Calm Arnold Schwarzenegger photo You can learn more about Dr. MC and this podcast on her website: https://drmcselfcare.com/podcast-home/ EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Speaker 1 00:00:27 Welcome to the inaugural episode of Dr. <inaudible> self care cabaret podcast. I’m Theresa Melito-Conners a PhD level self care expert in the greater Boston area with a passion for helping others recognize the importance of caring for themselves. This is a brand new podcast where we will dive deep into the true meaning of self-care dismantling the stereotypes and the societal ideals that make us feel that self-care is selfish and a luxury reserved for those who can afford such things. The time is now to stop the cycle of deprivation. Let go of the idea of perfection and step into the world of genuine self care. I will teach you sustainable realistic cost accessible, effective, and efficient ways to attend to your mental, emotional, and physical needs. I am so excited to take this journey with you. Today’s episode is a conversation with Tristen. <inaudible> a Boston-based performer and personal trainer currently working as a patient coordinator for an orthodontics office, but more importantly, a dear friend, Tristan and I met 10 years ago when I was choreographing and award-winning production of the musical hair, where she was a member of the cast. Speaker 1 00:01:49 I immediately recognized her spirit and fearless attitude and asked her to be my dance captain for the show. Typically a dance captain is someone who is not only a skilled dancer, but is able to help others learn the choreography and run dance rehearsals in the choreographers absence, basically the choreographers right-hand man Tristan and I later went on to work on several shows together for both children and adults. I am delighted to chat with her today. She brings a unique perspective to talking about self-care great. So we’re going to go right in, so I’ll wait for you to finish your, putting your hair in a ponytail. She is now ready for her clothes for my voice up welcome Triston to Dr. MC self-care cabaret podcast. Speaker 2 00:02:47 Thank you. Thank you for having me. Speaker 1 00:02:49 So let’s just dive right in. So first question, can you tell me a little bit about your self-care routine? Speaker 2 00:02:57 My self-care can look like a lot of different things depending on my mood. Sometimes it’s like, I need to like flick off my brain and then I’ll play Sudoku for, you know, half an hour or like binge watch a show or something I don’t have to think about, but it engages my brain and just enough to kind of keep autopilot running. Sometimes it means working out. Sometimes it means cleaning my house. Sometimes it means doing laundry. I find repetitive actions to be helpful because I think somehow it like burns off excess energy that I, um, I tend to have an anxious brain. So doing repetitive actions that are also helpful to my environment, I find to be therapeutic. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:03:47 Excellent. It’s interesting that you described several activities that you like to do, and actually some of them, you hit upon the domains of self care because in my presentations and folks will hear me talk about this a lot, but the kind of the 10 different domains of self-care and you already mentioned moving your body. So this, the exercise domain, the environmental domain, making sure that we’re staying organized and our environment is not cluttered and chaotic because that’s hard for us to relax. And those types of spaces, you also mentioned a little bit about maybe some soothing strategies for yourself and having repetitive, um, things to kind of make sure you’re maintaining, um, calmness for yourself. So that’s great. Do, um, specifically, what are some ways that you like to manage your stress? Speaker 2 00:04:37 Um, I find making lists helpful. Hmm. I love a good, I love a list. Um, sometimes I’ll even, this is sort of a cheat, but I will, you know, on my to-do list I’ll do something and then write it on the list after it’s done and cross it out so you can cross it off. All right, cool. I’ve definitely done that. Yeah. It’s helpful to see it crossed out. I’ve gotten better over the years. Like in my time at therapy and in my time kind of figuring out different strategies for myself. Um, I’ve gotten much better than I used to be at recognizing what stressors are actually a problem and which ones aren’t like. For example, my cat is very loud lately because she’s growing up and she’s in heat now. So she’s, she yells a lot and I used to freak out about it a few months ago. Speaker 2 00:05:42 And then I learned that I could just get her out of my bedroom and shut the door and that’s fine. Perfect coping strategy. And I realized that it wasn’t worthwhile to, it was, it was not doing any good for anybody to have her just be in my room and keeping me awake. Sure. So once I realized, uh, I was much better off and, uh, time management I find is quite helpful because then the part of my brain that gets overwhelmed quite easily, um, doesn’t really have a chance to get purchased because I’ll think of all these things I have to do. And, but then I’ll, I’ll figure out when I’m going to do them and make a schedule for myself. And then I realized, oh, it’s just, this thing will take five minutes. Just get it done. Speaker 1 00:06:31 So when it comes to like your to-do lists and stuff, because this is how I like to actually conceptualize my self-care routine. I’m wondering like what types of things go on your to-do list? Do you ever put like any self-care practices or stuff like that on there, like maybe reminders to do stuff like that? Or does that come more naturally? Speaker 2 00:06:49 I don’t ever put self care as like a task, the things on my to-do list. If they, if they do end up being self care, like for example, cleaning, I find more are just executive functional tasks, but then I get them done and it is a therapeutic thing to have that be fit to have it be done. Right. One of my favorite things to do for self care is to read, um, a fan fiction. And like, I like to read good omens fan fiction lately that I find, oh, I would never put that on a to-do list. That’s something I would do. If I’m, if I’m waiting for my laundry to be done, then I’ll open my Kindle and like start reading that or I’ll, or I’ll start binge watching something. Or I don’t know, I’ll play with my cat. I suppose. That’s interesting that I don’t ever, I don’t really think of it as like an assignable verb. It just kind of happens like when it does and I don’t actually make time for it. It just occurs. Speaker 1 00:07:45 Well, that’s good. I mean, typically we don’t want to view our self care is like a chore, right. Or as like a task on our to-do list. But I find for myself, I like to see it like laid out on a calendar. So I will kind of put things in like, I’m going to meditate for 15 minutes today or I’m going to journal. Speaker 2 00:08:03 That’s the thing. I mean, there’s that side of the coin is that it can be viewed as, uh, you know, a task which perhaps might not be the best way to go about it. But then you’re also not assigning it the same weight and significance gravity or importance as the way that you go about it by actually seeing it being a part of your day and making sure it happens Speaker 1 00:08:26 Well, that’s the key, because of course those are the first things that we just brushed to the side. When other things we have competing priorities and other things that come up the self care is the first thing to go out the window. You mentioned a little bit about, um, your kitties interrupting your sleep time, and I’m glad to see that you have come up with a way, uh, a physical barrier. So that doesn’t, that doesn’t happen. So tell me a little bit more about how you ensure that you get adequate rest, because that is another important domain of self care. Speaker 2 00:08:57 I mean, I’d be lying if I said that I always got adequate rest. Well, I mean, not for nothing. She, she wakes me up every day at three in the morning and hopefully that will be curbed soon, but I’m not as diligent as I think I could be when it comes to responsible sleeping. I suppose I could say like, you know, making sure I, I could prioritize my sleep schedule much, much better. Okay. Um, like I could physically make the choice of, okay, it’s 10:00 PM go to go to the bedroom, get in the bed. But I, again, I guess that doesn’t come to the forefront of my brain, which is, I know that it’s so important to get adequate, consistent sleep. And somehow that’s, it’s not something that I ever put a ton of thought into because it, you know, it’s just going to happen. It’s not something that I, you know, put a whole lot of priority into managing as well as I could. Sure. Speaker 1 00:10:05 Do you find, I know for myself, I need a lot of sleep. Do you find that you can function? Like the recommended amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours? Do you find like you’re within that range or more or less? No, Speaker 2 00:10:19 I I’m. I’m lucky if I get six hours because I’ll go to bed probably like right. You know, uh, 1130, maybe midnight. I get up for work at seven 30. So if I slept that whole time, that would be great. But Maggie wakes me up, Maggie, my cat, perhaps you can hear her in the background. She’s mewling I Speaker 1 00:10:44 Think I just heard a little music. She’s new, she’s viewing right over there. Speaker 2 00:10:48 Um, Maggie, the banshee wakes me up at around 3:00 AM and then she’s such a pain that then I’m awake for a few hours and then I’ll go back to sleep and then I have to wake up. So if I slept that whole time, that would be great. But I’m probably functioning on whatever the sleep version of, of being dehydrated is. I’m like chronically sleep dehydrated. Oh no. Which interesting facts. Most adult humans are chronically dehydrated all the time and they just both water and sleep and they just live that way. Yeah, for sure. Speaker 1 00:11:35 Nutrition and hydration is a whole nother domain of self care that I don’t know if we’ll touch upon today, but certainly rest is, um, is very important. And I find, you know, even if I get like eight hours of sleep, sometimes I’m still not refreshed and restored. When I wake up in the morning, Speaker 2 00:11:52 The last time I’m a little grumpy. The last time I got a lot of sleep was when I got my, my second vaccine shot, I slept for 11 hours, three days in a row, which is absurd for me. I’d never do that ever. And it was fantastic. It was a, your body probably needed it. It was amazing. The third day I went into my room. I was so immensely tired and I went into my room and Maggie was just hanging out on the bed. And I went to go schmozzle my face into her bur and I fell asleep face down on the bed, but like the wrong way on the bed, like sideways. And then I woke up like four hours later. Oh my God. And then I got a snack and then I went to bed. Speaker 1 00:12:48 That was good though. You let your body rest. You let the VAX do its thing and let your immune system do what it was designed to do Speaker 2 00:12:56 It. And it was working overtime. For sure. Speaker 1 00:12:59 I wanna touch upon a little bit of, um, an area of expertise that I know you have as a personal trainer and as a performer. And I know that the exercise domain is very important of self care and we have to move our bodies. And a lot of people, you know, have some funny ideas and, and complicated relationships when it comes to movement and exercise. So I’m curious for you to share a little bit about your exercise routine and your thoughts on movement. Well, Speaker 2 00:13:28 First things first, all movement is good. Correct. And I, my exercise routines have changed a lot over the years, kind of a lot, depending on what hobby I was into at the time. Like I did rock climbing for awhile. I did archery. I did like, I forget what it’s called, but Boston like the Boston city softball league, there is one. Cool. Um, so I have, um, a smattering of random <inaudible> from like seven different sports in my house. And the other thing I have seen a lot in the gym is that if you don’t like the thing that you’re trying to do to move, you’re not going to do it. Right. You have to, you can’t view it as a chore because you’re not going to want to do it. So you have to find either find a way to like it or find something you like. Speaker 2 00:14:26 Like I knew someone, I trained, someone wants who he hated, hated lifting weights, but eventually he found this really profound satisfaction in lifting heavier and heavier weights. So he found something in it that he liked. And then he liked it. Well, that’s important, right? It’s extremely, it’s extremely empowering because through work, it’s just like, I have a lot of friends who, um, do obstacle course races and Spartan races and all, a lot of their social media, their Instagram stories and their Facebook profile, their statuses, whatnot. They’ll say like, I hate running sprints. The best reason to do them today. It’s like, no, no. What are you thinking? Do things you like, for example, one of these crazy people, I was talking to them and I hate taking culture. I hate cold water. I hate being cold. I hate being cold and wet. So I hate cold showers. I’m never going to willingly take whenever. And they were like, well, that’s the reason to do it. It’s like, oh no, I don’t think that’s true. I think that’s fake. And they’re like, no, like, no, it’s really good for your brain. And it’s like, actually it makes me, makes my brain want to stop braining. So that’s mine Speaker 1 00:15:50 Not good. I’m always stressing in my workshops, especially when we talk about exercise because people have complicated relationships with how they move their body. I’m always telling people it’s, it’s joyful movement. There’s no sense in doing it. If it doesn’t feel good. Speaker 2 00:16:06 Yeah, no. And it’s such, it can be such a social thing. There is such stigma about size. There’s such stigma about somehow there’s such stigma about, um, laziness and not, uh, hustling 24 7, like not, you know, living your best life. And one of my favorite comedians said once, you know, people are always comparing themselves to people and he says, okay, so you don’t have the body of a, of an Olympic athlete. You’re not an Olympic athlete. You’re Dawn from sales, you wear khakis. And I was just like, yeah, there’s no, whenever I would do a Spartan race, I was never ever, or a tough Mudder or whatever. There’s a million of them, but I’m not fast. I was never a winner. Like I never placed on the podium. I always finished, but I never something to write home about. I would never have a time that I would brag about. Speaker 2 00:17:04 And, um, I’m fine with that. I kind of wish I were a faster runner, but like, it’s fine. And I would always come, I would, I’d get to a point in, in each race where I’d get, you know, I’d be really hungry and I’m tired. And my brain’s not being my friend in that moment. And I would look at these people who were like physically, uh, kind of the body of an Olympic athlete. And I think like, what, why, what am I doing? And then I would, I would be like, they don’t do anything else. Those people do one thing. Right. They, instead of digging many holes where you have areas of interest, they’ve done that they’ve dug themselves one singular hole. Speaker 1 00:17:51 That’s it? That might be the title of this episode. Speaker 2 00:17:57 I think we just nailed it. No, it’s a great metaphor though. And if, even if we think we take that Speaker 1 00:18:02 One step further and think about like celebrities and we see celebrities that are able to morph their bodies for different roles, like Chris Hemsworth is Thor and, and people like that. And it’s like, yeah, that’s Speaker 2 00:18:13 Awesome. Yeah. He gets paid with that at every day. Speaker 1 00:18:17 Right. And there are the top trainers in the world working with him with unlimited resources to achieve that, Speaker 2 00:18:25 Placing his meals in front of him, dictating when to eat what Maggie’s going nuts. He has world-class trainers. Speaker 1 00:18:32 Cause we started talking about thoughts. Speaker 2 00:18:35 He has world-class trainers dictating every single movement that he makes. Like he still has to do it. He’s still doing hard work, but oh, absolutely. Also not working eight hours a day in an office. And then he’s not commuting 45 minutes, both ways. There’s not time enough in the day to be, you know, uh, not celebrity and to look like that. There’s not time in the day, especially if not, if you want to have any friends or like a social life or any hobby. Speaker 1 00:19:01 Absolutely. And for you, like, I know you have lots of, of interests and holes that you’ve dug for yourself, many forming and, um, w uh, you’re singing and dancing and working on shows and taking care of your kitties and working a full-time job and all these different areas that you do. So, yeah. Chances are, you’re not going to place on a podium in a Spartan Speaker 2 00:19:23 Race. And that’s fine. I used to really be upset by that once I made that realization that like these people don’t do anything else, then I started realizing like, oh no, I prefer my way of doing things like the phrase, Jack of all trades master of none people stop it there. And that indicates, oh man, I’m not a master of anything. Oh man. But that whole entire phrase is Jack of all trades master of none is better than being a master of one, which means it’s good to dig many holes. For example, Thomas Kail, who directed Hamilton, the musical, he, I believe has a degree in theater. And he also has a degree in American history. So Hamilton wouldn’t exist, at least not the way it is without him digging at least two holes. That’s very true because you have to, it’s not at all detrimental to have many interests. What if I had dug one big hole and been like the Spartan master and then something happens and then I can’t do it anymore. I break my knees off. What am I supposed to do that? Right. Speaker 1 00:20:42 I think it’s better that we have lots of interests and that we move our bodies in ways that are, that feel good. And we engage in things that feel good. And we abandoned those that don’t like, for me personally, I don’t like going to a gym, nothing personal against personal trainers and people that like going to the gym. But for me, that environment just doesn’t bring me joy. I would much rather either be outside doing something, even swimming, if it’s appropriate for the weather or the season, or just dancing and moving my body in a dance studio, or even a five minute dance party in my house. Like not, it doesn’t have to be for me to feel joy. And I’ve done that extreme aspect as, as you know, and some of my listeners may also know if they’ve been following along on the blog and whatnot that I’m in recovery for exercise bulemia and disordered eating as well as atypical anorexia. So I’ve definitely done the extreme exercise thing. Speaker 2 00:21:35 It’s called orthorexia. Speaker 1 00:21:38 No, orthorexia is, um, the obsession with clean eating. Speaker 2 00:21:43 Oh, you’re right. You’re right. You’re right. You’re right. Speaker 1 00:21:46 Yeah. No atypical anorexia is when you actually are in a larger body, but you still have a meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia, but you don’t meet the physical picture of what we think in a Rexy. It looks like, so it’s atypical anorexia, but around that, you know, I’ve definitely done the extreme thing and it was not Speaker 2 00:22:09 Joyful. No. Well, I remember it was very, it was very, it was very, very, uh, yeah. Like I remember that time it was quite stressful and I feel like there was like a brimming paranoid, like, uh, like an under, like a simmering paranoia of like, I can’t do anything wrong. Oh, Speaker 1 00:22:29 Absolutely. It was, it was an obsession. Like it was even like beyond, Speaker 2 00:22:36 We would spend Friday nights at the gym. Like we would do our like Friday friend group and go to the gym, which I, that wasn’t the worst kind of like, that was a bit fun. Speaker 1 00:22:49 No, I enjoyed that. The problem was all day. I restricted my intake for food. And then I would go to, um, the local boutique fitness studio. I was attending, take a couple of classes, then we would all be at the gym. So there was it wasn’t, it wasn’t that I was just going to the gym on a Friday night, like for, you know, an hour and a half or whatever, with my friends. Like that was probably the most healthy of the, um, activities I was doing. It was the fact that I jam packed a couple of classes, even I would have gotten up early and maybe gone before work worked a full day, did not feed my body from a place of love, but from a place of restriction, squeeze in as many classes as I could, and then went to the gym. Like that was the really, um, disordered piece of Speaker 2 00:23:35 That, that I’ve I tried it and try it and try it. And I just hate it. And I don’t want to do it ever again is yoga. I hate yoga. I hate it so much. I know. Speaker 1 00:23:49 I know. So tell me why, tell me about Speaker 2 00:23:50 That. I’ve ever, I’ve only ever found one yoga class that I enjoyed and it wasn’t even yoga. It was just like a relaxed class. It was like, we were like, we was, it was dark and it was kind of warm in the studio. It wasn’t like hot, but it was like nice and warm. And we all wrapped ourselves in blankets and this British guy led the class and he sounded like David Attenborough sounds great. It was, it was fantastic, but it wasn’t, no guy was just relaxed class. And that was lovely. And forms Speaker 1 00:24:22 Of yoga. Was it like a restorative class or was Speaker 2 00:24:25 It we’re really just in it? We just kind of laid on the floor. It was my breathing class, I guess. And that was nice because he was very soothing to listen to. It was like a sleep story, but every other yoga class I’ve ever been to a is not geared for beginners at all. No, they’re usually not. I find that counterintuitive a and B several of the yoga classes I’ve been to the teacher didn’t even do it. Like they didn’t demo the movement or the movement transitions. And I just had to look at the girl next to me and be like, I hope she’s doing it right. Cause I’m just going to try to do what she’s doing. I just, I’ve never been to a yoga class, like an actual yoga class with, you know, the sun cellular Taishan and et cetera, where I didn’t feel like I was just counting the minutes until it was over. And I don’t know that that was the, like, I, one time had a lovely instructor. That was very nice. And I just hated it. No. So I’ve tried it. Maybe. I don’t know. I think I just hate it. Speaker 1 00:25:38 Okay. I mean, not everybody has to love yoga. It is a tremendous and very helpful, um, practice to engage in, certainly to help us connect our movement to breath in that mind, body connection and increase our flexibility and our stamina and all that good stuff. But it sounds like, you know, a bit of a setup because here you are walking into a class and, and everyone’s Speaker 2 00:26:00 Got their spot in the thing, right. Speaker 1 00:26:03 Everybody understands the Sanskrit cues. And if the teacher wasn’t modeling the, um, the poses, like how are you expected to feel good in that environment and to really be successful? So that’s too bad. And I feel like a lot of folks will get themselves into situations like that unintentionally and to no fault of their own, but that’s not going to be a welcoming, comforting environment to really teach you about yoga and to really let you experience the benefits. So I usually tell folks, you know, especially now with so many online options for virtual classes, you don’t have to make a fool of yourself in a public class. You can do it right in the comfort Speaker 2 00:26:40 Of your own home. And Speaker 1 00:26:42 You know, but also people tend to put up a lot of barriers and feel like, you know, I’m not flexible enough or I’m too old or I’m too, this I’m too that. And we put up these barriers and we’re not even willing to try. And there’s no shame in doing modified poses, maybe even chair poses or just some standing poses or some gentle restorative poses and stuff like that. Or starting small and meeting yourself where you’re at. Well, before you try to advance, I Speaker 2 00:27:11 Saw I’m, I’m not a big fan of, of like inspirational sports posters that are like, I don’t know, it’ll have some dude drinking, a protein shake. And it’s like, you’re only as far as your mind will take you or whatever. Like it’ll say something dumb. But I saw one once that was the best thing I’ve ever seen. It was a picture of Bibi Arnold Schwartzenegger in Austria and he’s maybe 14, 13. He has arms like a noodle and he’s like a baby. He’s not got any facial hair. He’s adorable. But like, he’s a child. And it said, we all start somewhere. And I was like, oh my God, this is brilliant. Like, he’s the, I have a, I have a, I have a, a concept that I call trophy names. And it’s like, whatever. Like the concept is that you’re talking about, there’s a person that you assigned to that thing. Speaker 2 00:28:14 Like you’d call a smart person. Oh no. Okay. Einstein, like, that’s th that’s the trophy name for like smart person pop star for me, Brittany Spears. She’s the trophy. Like I would say, you know, oh, this person is like the Italian Brittany Spears. She’s what I assign is that thing in Arnold Schwartzenegger is, is most people’s trophy name for big strong guy. And I loved that. They were taking this worldwide famous person that is famous for being really huge and strong and heavy and tall and whatever. And it was like prepubescent, noodley, arm, Arnold. I thought that was a brilliant strategy. That’s the only one of those posters that I’ve ever seen that actually worked well. And I Speaker 1 00:29:06 Love that. That’s great because a lot of times, you know, we just want the trophy. You just want to be Brittany Spears or Arnold Schwartzenegger or whoever were idolizing or looking up to, or aspiring to be forgetting that there was a whole journey. And that there was a time when Arnold Schwartzenegger wasn’t the, the person Speaker 2 00:29:26 We know he was a kid, was that noodley kid Speaker 1 00:29:29 That wasn’t all jacked, um, out of his mind and same thing, you know, with other people. That’s a really interesting concept. I, I like that. You’re you’re true. What do you call it? The trophy trophy name, the trophy Speaker 2 00:29:41 Trophy trophy names. Uh, I’m going to see if I can find this picture for you, which will be very exciting for all your listeners. I put an Arnold Schwartzenegger young. Maybe I should put Arnold Schwartzenegger teen, but he has kids. So that might be confusing to the internet anyway, while I’m looking for this. So Speaker 1 00:29:59 When we find this image of Arnold, if we can, we will be sure to include that on the reference information on the podcast episode. I mean, Speaker 2 00:30:10 Albert Einstein didn’t graduate school, he was a weirdo in Germany, and then he just made the journey to be Albert Einstein. Speaker 1 00:30:19 Right. Which is certainly a trophy name. When we think about intelligence and smart people up. And there it is, we got it. I know, I know my listeners can, you’ll see, it can see it, but they will, it will be posted with this episode. Like he Speaker 2 00:30:35 Looks like he could be embraces. Speaker 1 00:30:38 Excellent. All right. So tell me about any particular self-soothing strategies. For example, I mentioned, I enjoy a five minute dance parties. That to me can change my mood in just a very short period of time, put on my favorite song, dance it out and, um, feel better and help soothe myself. So what do you like to do when it comes to that? Like Speaker 2 00:31:04 A, like a, like a quick thing or have to be a quick thing? Well, all right. Well, I like to, this is stupid. I don’t care. No, it works. Um, for me, I like to go on Twitter because Michael sheen is my favorite actor and I follow, um, I don’t know how many people I follow, but I would say 88% of the accounts are like Michael sheen fan accounts. So it’s just a bunch of pictures of him. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It works a treat. It’s so good. It’s instant. It’s an instant. Interesting. Speaker 1 00:31:42 A lot of times people will say another, you made me think of another one that I like to do, and this might seem silly to folks, but it works for me. Like you said, that works for you, but I’m looking at cat photos or watching cat videos. Like, I can’t own a cat because I have allergies and asthma and my mom’s significantly asthmatic, so that wouldn’t work, but I love looking. They just crack me up. They’re awesome. So cute. And Speaker 2 00:32:08 When cats are being dumb, like they’re so elegant and beautiful, and then they’ll like, miss the countertop or something. And it’s so funny. Speaker 1 00:32:21 Oh, it’s awesome. And so I’ll definitely like waste a few minutes here and there. So there’s some websites even have live cams, like nurseries and stuff. There’s a few of those out there that, um, that are awesome. And you can actually watch different animals. Doesn’t have to just be cats. There’s ones for dogs and, and other wildlife. Certainly the, you can watch as a great soothing technique. Speaker 2 00:32:44 What else I like to do? This is kind of, this is quite random, but I like to go on my iPad. So the, with the bigger screen, go on my Google earth and try to find like national landmarks without putting it in. I’ll bring up, uh, France and like in Paris I’ll find Paris. And then I’ll try to find the Eiffel tower. Oh fuck. It’s like a, it’s like a little game for myself that it’s just me playing, Speaker 1 00:33:18 Like, kind of like that in anything. I think that can kind of get us out of our head for a minute. And like, so for you, either scrolling on Twitter and looking at pictures of one of your favorite actors or having a quick dance party, like I like to do, or watching a silly cat video or scrolling through Google earth to look around the world and see what’s there and what we can find. I mean, that gets you out of your head for a few minutes and really just almost grounds you in a way and kind of can bring you back down into the present moment to practice some, some mindfulness. Speaker 2 00:33:52 Well, and in a, in a way it’s like I have adult ADHD. So I find that activities that can occupy like a white noise part of my brain do help executive function and my mood for the day, because otherwise I feel jittery. I feel like I have too much, I got to burn something off. And so things like that that are kind of weird and random and just for me, and like nothing fill that purpose. That’s great. Yeah. Good. Self-awareness well, I realized why I like to have, sorry, my cat Maggie is just running ragged around the house because she’s blooming currently. She’s yes. She’s being quite rambunctious. Um, I’m uncomfortable in like silent rooms and quiet places. I, I I’m very uncomfortable unless I have some kind of stimulus, unless I’m extremely focused in an activity. So if I’m doing something like puttering around the house or whatever, I’ll put on a movie that I’ve seen a million times and just the noise of it fills that fills that part of my brain that needs to on the static. And then I can go do whatever I need to be doing. And I realized that, oh, that’s why I have a, like a movie on all the time. That’s why the TV is always playing something and I’m not even paying attention to it. I just need it to be there. I needed to fill that gap and serve that purpose so I can actually be a functional person and do do my tasks. Sure. Speaker 1 00:35:36 I think that sometimes I’m like that. And sometimes I’m not, sometimes I do really need the silence and then other times I can be productive if there’s just like noise. Even if it’s music that I’m passively paying attention to, or maybe a YouTube movie or something like that, or even a podcast that I have on, in the background or something like that, that I’m, that I’m not trying to focus on. Um, I can do that too. That kind of multitasking, but just letting that, that like white noise, like you said, kind of happened in the background as a way to, Speaker 2 00:36:11 Well, and like, I like listening to stuff to go to sleep. I enjoy those sleep apps. Some of them play noises, some of them are like, one of them has Kate Winslet reading like a bedtime story. And it’s, that’s so good that one’s 10 out of 10 would recommend it’s called. Speaker 1 00:36:32 I think that’s the con that calm. Speaker 2 00:36:35 And they have a thing in calm called sleep stories. And she, Kate Winslet reads this really nice one about Thomas the tank engine at Christmas time. And it’s just so chef’s kiss for, for our listeners, but because I can never go to sleep. However, in grad school, I needed to take a class where we practiced it’s called Alexander technique and it focuses on, um, body alignment and connection to breath. And in this class we had to lay on the ground and practice breathing, just breathing in and then immediately breathing out and then immediately breathing in no vacuum, no stopping, just a continual movement of breath, which I learned at age 28 is the way people are supposed to breathe. The human body is supposed to constantly be either breathing in or breathing out. You’re never supposed to just be doing neither of those things, which is not, I would breathe out and then wait, not on purpose. Speaker 2 00:37:50 I wouldn’t like time myself, but like, I would not breathe in until then I needed to. But in this class it would be breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out slowly. You’re not hyperventilating, but he would constantly have to, the instructor would constantly have to like wake us up because some, we would start to doze. And I was like, why do I get tired in this class? Like, it’s a dark room. Yeah. And it’s, you know, he’s, he’s soothing to listen to, but like, why am I sleepy? And then I realized, that’s how sleeping people breathe. Sleeping. People breathe in out, contained out continuously. There’s no vacuum because you’re not awake. And you don’t have any in your awake breathing to bug you in your sleep. So then I did an experiment where I was like, okay, I’m gonna pretend I’m in class. And like set myself up aligned correctly and whatever. Speaker 2 00:38:52 And now I’m in class and I’m going to breathe like class, but I, you know, I’d be in bed and it worked like a charm. And I realized, you know, I don’t have to like trick my brain into being relaxed. If I breathe like a sleepy person breathes my brain’s going to get tricked into being like, oh, is it, are we sleeping? Oh, okay. My, my bad we’ll put him sleeping now. Okay. It honestly worked like a charm and I’d recommend it any day. Breathe like a sleeping person breathes slowly but continuously. It’s amazing. That’s Speaker 1 00:39:31 Awesome. That is a great tip for our listeners and gentle stretching, deep breathing practices or breathing like Tristan was sharing can definitely help promote better sleep. You should go back to doing that breathing, trusting. Speaker 2 00:39:45 I know I wasn’t breathing that entire time, Speaker 1 00:39:48 But go back to doing it before Ben. Speaker 2 00:39:50 I should just say the remind me of, do you remember in date night when Steve Carell was saying like, are you breathing? I needed to breathe. Are you breathing? And she goes, oh, Speaker 1 00:40:02 I don’t think we actually made it through that movie, which was unfortunate because I like Steve Carell and edit Tina Fey. I find I hold my breath a lot and I’ve been trying to get better at that. But as soon as I’m like, oh yeah, well lifestyle and stress and different things. We’re naturally born nose breathers where we breathe this in and out continuously. Like that’s how babies breathe through their nose. And then like lifestyle and stress and different things. We, we tend to then breathe through my mouth and that’s you, and that’s not as healthy for us. So that, that’s a whole thing we talked about in a later episode. But, um, I tend, I notice like even when I’m in yoga classes, I’ve been doing yoga virtual, um, with my cousin, who’s a yoga instructor all throughout this pandemic. And, um, my mom does it with me and cause sometimes she’ll, she’ll say like, she’ll comment on things. And I’m like, well, where are you breathing? And she’s like, well, no. And I’m like, well, no. And like when I have to constantly like remind myself to breathe, Speaker 2 00:40:59 Well, you know how the thing for if you’re, if you’re freaking out about something is, is okay, okay, breathe, breathe. And if that change in breath makes you calm down or, or you just, or suddenly you decide to like take some deep or you’re angry and you’re just like, I’m like that calms you down. That means that you were not doing that. And that’s everyone. Yep. I’d say probably from gym experience. I would say that I literally would about 85% of working adults do not breathe. You know, I don’t want to say correctly, but like they hold the breath and you can tell if you hold your breath in exercise because you’ll just do it and then your face will turn into the color red. And uh, I’m wondering Speaker 1 00:41:54 For our listeners that are listening to this episode, are you breathing right Speaker 2 00:41:58 Now? I literally wasn’t just then Speaker 1 00:42:02 I’ve been catching myself as we’re talking. Yeah. Am I still breathing? I am breathing. That’s good. No, make sure that you, um, you do that. It is really important. And I always say in my sessions when I’m, when I’m teaching a workshop on self care or something like that, that like a deep breath, two or three deep breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth cleansing, deep breaths, so quick, efficient, and effective and free way to just almost immediately come your nervous system and really promote that sense of calm. So that’s excellent. Thank you for sharing your experience with that. Speaker 2 00:42:36 I enjoy the app called Headspace. Well, that’s another good one. Yeah. The icon is a white square with an orange circle in it and it’s just, uh, it’ll, it’ll go to my watch and my watch will say a minute of deep breathing can, can help you for the rest of the day. And I, one time I was like, okay. And I clicked it. And it like has a thing that kind of goes in and out for when you’re supposed to breathe. It’s it’s right. It’s correct. Speaker 1 00:43:07 That’s a great app for folks to use even to learn to meditate because that one actually starts you off small with, I think like two minutes or three minutes. And then over time you can build up to longer meditation practices. So that’s an excellent one. And I know some of these apps even provide, um, free subscriptions if you are working in education or if you’re a teacher. So there’s any teachers listening, you may be able to score free subscriptions to Headspace and calm, which is pretty cool. Well, that’s awesome. Thank you so much, Tristan, for all of your insight and willingness to share about your experiences and your self care routine. I very, very much appreciate it. Of course. And I S I know that our listeners will appreciate it too, when we launched this episode. So thank you again for joining us. Of course. Thank you so much. Speaker 1 00:44:06 Tristan had so much to share with us and lots of takeaways. First, I enjoy how she described that self-care can look different depending upon your needs across the various domains. That is so true and important to remember. You must get in touch with what you need and want first before you can attend to it. And what works for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. I tend to be type a, and I’m very visual. I need to see things for them to click in my brain or hand up losing focus, a typical Piscean dreamer through and through. So I find that really structuring myself care helps me to be successful. If you find yourself struggling with sleep, you may want to check out an article I was featured in that provides great tips for better sleep, which is linked in the episode notes, and also look into sleep stories on the calm app and the Alexander technique for breathing to promote more restful sleep. Speaker 1 00:45:01 And remember, it’s okay to move your body for fun. And please stop comparing yourself to others. I will say it was a little heartbreaking to hear my friend Tristan talk about my eating disorder days. We’ve really not discussed that too much previously, but she’s a hundred percent correct. It was an obsession. And I was so fearful of gaining weight for very real reasons that it was crippling. It was not until I sought help, that I realized just how sick I was. At some point I can share the gorier details as even those closest to me were not privy to the extent of my destructive behavior, but I also love the idea she talks about with digging multiple holes. Sometimes we get so focused on one thing. We forget that there’s a big world of opportunities out there. If I dug only one hole, I definitely would not be where I am today. Speaker 1 00:45:48 I have so many interests. I also love the concept of the trophy name. We all have these ideas of excellence in our minds, and we forget that there’s people with lives that existed before their fame and that there was an entire journey maybe that we did not see, Arnold did not wake up one day as the Terminator. There was a life and a journey that led to the man we know today. Tristan also highlights the benefits of quick short self-care practices. Like a minute of deep breathing. We tend to brush these off quickly as how could they possibly be helpful, but they are just a minute of deep breathing can make a world of difference. I mean, what have you got to lose? Give it a try. Thanks so much for listening to this episode and remember to subscribe and rate this podcast on your preferred player, the ratings help us grow and share the message of self-care. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, please reach out directly by emailing podcast at Dr. MC self care.com that’s D R M C self care.com and come join the cast party at Dr. MC self care cabaret on Facebook and Instagram at Dr. MC self care or on my website, Dr. MC self care.com. Be sure to like subscribe and love me across all my social media platforms for the most up-to-date information on self care. See you next time. Stay well and do good. Speaker 1 00:47:42 Wow.
3 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
Episode 00: Coming Soon!
A new self-care podcast has entered the scene and we’re so excited to share this with you! This will be a bi-weekly endeavor where Dr. MC will have conversations with guests ranging from the world of education, spiritual healing, nutrition & wellness, as well as friends she’s made along the way! The first 3 episodes will be available on Weds July 21st, and future episodes to be released every other week. When listening to this podcast on your preferred player, it is important to like, rate, and subscribe! Also, we’d love to hear from you! Reach out to email@example.com with any questions or topics you’d like to hear about on a future episode! You can learn more about Dr. MC and this podcast on her website: https://drmcselfcare.com/podcast-home/ EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Speaker 0 00:00:01 Let’s face it. We all Speaker 1 00:00:04 Experienced stress and challenges in our lives. There is no easy fix or miracle cure for this, but I can tell you that by taking care of ourselves and by that, I mean, true, authentic self care. You can manage this in productive ways to take your power back, putting your health and wellbeing on center stage. I’m Theresa Melito-Conners founder of Dr. MCs. Self-care cabaret. I’m a PhD level self-care expert in the greater Boston area with a passion for helping others recognize the importance of caring for themselves. It is time to find your spotlight. This is a brand new podcast. I am starting. That will be our space to talk about health well-being and how to manage what life throws at us. We will examine all aspects of self care and we’ll cover topics such as learning to love your body, making peace with food, exercising in ways that are joyful, fostering, fulfilling relationships, resting, developing more. Self-compassion how to Sue ourselves and be more mindful, attracting abundance intention setting, and so much Speaker 0 00:01:22 More. We will dive deep Speaker 1 00:01:25 Into the true meaning of self-care dismantling the stereotypes and the societal ideals that make us feel that self-care is selfish and a luxury reserved for those who can afford such things. The time is now to stop the cycle of deprivation. Let go of the idea of perfection and step into the world of genuine self care. I will teach you sustainable realistic cost, accessible, effective, and efficient ways to attend to your mental, emotional, and physical needs. We’ll have guests from all walks of life, joining us on this adventure. And of course I want to hear from my cabaret followers as well. What questions do you have pertaining to self care and wellbeing? Self-care is more than a bath bomb and a smile. It is the daily consistent, foundational way you take care of yourself so you can show up as the best you possible. And with that, welcome to Dr. MCs self care cabaret podcast. And we’ll see you soon for bi-weekly episodes with the doc Speaker 2 00:02:36 To help you on this journey. Make time for yourself. Now your future self will. Thank you. Thank you.
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