Self-Care Matters: Start Today

In honor of May which is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, we are kicking off our online self-care course with recommendations and exercises for establishing a daily/weekly self-care practice. As we say in mindfulness and counseling, lifestyle change is dose-related and the more consistently and frequently you practice, the more benefits accrue, and the stronger your self-care or stress-reducing muscle becomes.

Yesterday when I was at Macy’s Galleria in St. Louis partnering with Clinique Cosmetics in a “healthy lifestyle” event for their #startbetter campaign, from the customers to the other lifestyle experts (Paul Mitchell Salon students were there and did a great job on hair and nails) to the women behind the counter, everyone talked about how stressed and busy they are. A few, had regular mindfulness activities like gardening or walking in nature, but most did not. The problem-too little time.

How many of us tell ourselves that we don’t have time in our day to practice self-care? I know I did until I suffered from walking pneumonia seven years ago when I let myself get run down and didn’t know if I’d get back up. Or the story I heard Ariana Huffington tell last week as part of the Women on the Edge of Evolution online conference, about how her life had been frantic and out of control until she found herself lying face down in a pool of blood one day, passed out from fatigue and emotional exhaustion. Many of us have these stories to tell.

So, here’s this week’s assignment. See if you can carve out five minutes twice a day and do something restorative. Close your eyes and breathe for five minutes-click here for an online exercise; take a shower and dedicate your time to appreciating the sensation of the water or the smell of the soap instead of focussing on your to-do list; spend five minutes before you go to bed and in the morning when you wake up, expressing gratitude for what you have, or whatever self-care looks like for you.

Try it and see how it goes. Then, share your experience with us so we can support and encourage each other. You are “not alone” which is the theme of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and one of my favorite songs from Into The Woods.

Our community is with you. Namaste.

What I Know for Sure

What I Know for Sure

Listening to the Women on the Edge of Evolution conference the past couple of days, helped crystallize this for me. In her new book Thrive Arianna Huffington writes about the Third Metric of success which includes well-being, wisdom and wonder, and talks about how to attain these. Sounds a lot like self-care to me. What I know for sure? Without self-care, people perish heart, mind, soul and often their bodies.

While this concept isn’t new, it finally appears to be reaching a tipping point as women decide that money and power alone aren’t enough to be successful. We want to be fully engaged in life. To make a difference. To live life with meaning. But to do that, we need to keep our energy, health and spirit strong through self-care practice or “thriving” as Huffington calls it.

In honor of May which is Maternal Mental Health Month (when will they just says moms’ health or well-being?), we will be kicking off our online self-care course with recommendations and exercises for establishing a daily/weekly self-care practice. As we say in mindfulness and counseling, lifestyle change is dose-related and the more consistently and frequently you practice, the more benefits accrue, and the stronger your self-care or stress-reducing muscle becomes.

If you live in St. Louis, you can join Dr. Sanford outside Macy’s at the Galleria next Saturday, May 2nd from 10am-5pm for Clinique Cosmetic’s Healthy Lifestyle event designed to help women #StartBetter everyday. Dr. Sanford will be sharing healthy tips about “feeling good from the inside out” and how to create less stress and more ease in your life by learning to let go of self-criticism and worry. She knows firsthand how women can be their own worst critics and has helped many women successfully set this aside.

To your health! Namaste.

PSI Missouri is Blooming

PSI Missouri is Blooming

I am very grateful and happy to announce that PSI Missouri’s first fundraiser, Girls’ Night to Give Back, was a success. It was wonderful to hear that the women who attending had a fabulous (my favorite word) time, and that everyone felt welcome, at ease and glad to be there. We had a lot of fun and raised over $3500 while enjoying ourselves. What could be better!

I would like to officially thank Abby Goldberg for her masterful leadership, Erin Shulan who is a social media maven and marvelous second-in-command, Tricia Brown for her creative contribution, Ashley Nanney of Feed Your Vitality for the most awesome venue and food, Whiskey Raccoons for their great entertainment, and the other vendors, sunflour goodies from Think.Eat.Live, smoothies from OWN, and Ava Anderson cosmetics from Katie Kurz Kollman.

I would also like to thank all the women who attended and those who donated to helping PSI Missouri (PSI MO) achieve it’s mission of providing free phone and group support to any pregnant, postpartum or early parenting mom who is experiencing anxiety, depression, or other emotional health issues. Research shows that 1 in 8 moms will experience postpartum anxiety or depression, and that for women with high-risk pregnancies it may be as high as 1 in 3. Likewise, it is known that pregnancy and the period following childbirth is an emotionally vulnerable time for all women.

In addition to the services they provide, PSI MO is in the process of becoming the first Missouri chapter of its parent organization, Postpartum Support International founded by Jane Honikman in 1987. With some of the funds raised, they plan to purchase the movie “Dark Side of the Full Moon” about women’s experiences of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. It is also their goal to show the movie this May for Maternal Mental Health Month to promote increased awareness and education about this critical health issue affecting women and their families.

Please click here to learn more about PSI MO and their services, volunteer opportunities and making a donation or call Linda Meyer at 314-602-5184.

This week take notice of one or more things you are thankful for each day. Namaste.

Recover from the Holiday Weekend: Attend GN2GB in STL

In need of self-care? Most of us are, much of the time. I did not have a crazy weekend but I’ve been recharging anyway because that’s what I need. As Wayne Dyer says, “We are human beings not human doings.” Periods of energy expenditure must be followed by energy restoring activities. What this means is that all the prep and energy you invested in your family’s Passover or Easter weekend need to be offset by some me-time and self-care. Fortunately, Girls Night to Give Back in STL, is what this doctor prescribes.

GN2GB is a fundraiser on this Thursday, April 9 from 5:30-8:30pm at a cool, new venue Feed Your Vitality, 1821 Cherokee. There will be a fabulous dinner, wine and beer, a dessert buffet, smoothies, tasty treats, live entertainment, giveaways including a 60-minute massage, free yoga classes, wine tasting for two, and beauty products and all to benefit a great cause-PSI Missouri which provides free phone and group support to moms with pregnancy, postpartum and early parenting anxiety, depression and other health issues. Ticket cost is only $3o.

To learn more about this event or register, click here- Make certain to enter the coupon code 10LESS to get $10 off the original ticket price of $40. Please bring any family, friends and colleagues who want to recharge with a fun and relaxing evening.

Now, sit back and listen to the Whiskey Raccoons who will be performing live. Remember, whatever you do this week do something restorative for you. You deserve it.


PSI Missouri Supports Moms: Our Turn to Help

Last week, I found out that my first baby and oldest daughter, Jessica, got into residency in general surgery and following much excitement, it made me think back to when she was born 27 years ago this May 18th. When I had Jess, I was already counseling postpartum moms and still decided not to follow my own good advice and got exhausted, emotionally depleted and mildly depressed. What a combo! I was one of the lucky moms though. After 3 months back at work part-time, my depression lifted and I felt myself again but I will never forget the challenge of those first few months.

Long story short, when my younger daughter Rachel was born almost 4 years later, I made my SELF-CARE A PRIORITY and had a great adjustment to new motherhood the second time. Again, I was fortunate and I’ve been a big believer in LIVING SELF-CARE ever since.

Now, it’s my pleasure to give back and raise funding for PSI Missouri and my friend who runs it, Linda Meyer, through “GIRLS NIGHT TO GIVE BACK.” PSI Missouri provides free phone and group support for any mom may be experiencing pregnancy or postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD and other emotional health conditions.  I only wish they would have been around when I had my babies.

So, we’re looking for women who want to experience a fun, relaxing and tasty evening on Thursday, April 9 from 5:30-8:30 at Feed Your Vitality, a new cool healthy eating venue at 1821 Cherokee. Click here to go to the e-vite invitation. It promises to be a good time for a good cause and if you can’t join us that night, you can still make a donation to this life-saving group online.

To read more about PPD, click here for Carrie Edelstein’s most excellent article which just came out in St. Louis magazine. To read more about PSI Missouri, click here.

Hope to see you there! Namaste


Into The Woods

I’ve been talking a lot this past week about Stephen Sondheim’s most excellent Broadway musical which was made into a movie with Meryl Streep this last year and how meaningful it is. I have been surprised at how few people saw the movie when it was in the theater because of its description as “a musical about several fairytales”. While it is that, the story is about the journey of life and going “into the woods” or as Pema Chodron says “the places that scare us” and discovering what we need to know about ourselves and the world around us in order to journey through life with greater clarity and skill.

There are many valuable life lessons, and Sondheim’s score and lyrics tell beautifully. He reminds us that what we wish for my not turn out to be what we want, that the choices we make always have consequences, and that being nice is not the same as being good. I love this film and it’s it’s made such a big impression on me, that I wanted to share it with you

To hear an excerpt from “Into the Woods,” please click here.

And as always, let us know what you think.


Inspiration for March

I talked about Mary Oliver’s poem “The Journey” several times this past week, so I wanted to provide an online version of it.

March brings renewal and a time to re-dedicate ourselves to taking as good care of ourselves as we do others. I hope you will be as inspired as I am by “The Journey” and the beautiful music and photography which accompany it. Click here to listen.

As always, let us know what you think.