7 Speedy Self-Care Hacks for Busy People

I loathe the term “self-care”.  I’ve never been a huge fan of it, but now as a mother, I super dislike it.  I support it. In theory.  Taking breaks to rejuvenate and come back to life as a better person? Sign me up. A massage? Sign me up twice. A long hike in a forest? I’ll get my boots! A getaway with my husband?  TELL ME MORE.

The ideal setting for the best self-care ever of all time.

But here’s the thing with self-care.  It doesn’t always look like a massage or pedicure or magical trek through the woods alone with only your (greatly neglected) journal and a Lara Bar to keep you company. And it almost never looks like a relaxing, kid-free trip somewhere else with my husband because it’s expensive and takes many elements of planning and, uh…it’s expensive.  It could happen, but the reality of securing childcare, paying said childcare, going on the trip, taking time off of work, paying for lodging and food and travel?  It’s pricey and time consuming.

The bottom line is this: Self-care can sometimes feel like a privilege instead of a necessity for mental and emotional health.

It doesn’t matter if you are in a committed relationship, a single person, a parent, a single parent, a grandparent, a circus performer, totally bankrupt, rolling in Kanye amounts of cash, worked to the bone, a teenager or college student, whatever.  YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.  Instead of carving out an hour, a day, a weekend, or any other difficult amount of time, focus on small things.  It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or spendy.  Taking care of yourself can be simple, free, and take 30 seconds or less.

  1. Pee first. Whatever you have to do, it can wait 30 seconds while you pee.  Screaming kid?  I get it.  Pee first.  You have to start dinner right this minute? Pee first.  You need to take a call? Send it to voicemail and call right back after you pee first.  Because peeing is important to your well-being.
  2. Slip off your shoes and feel the grass.  When was the last time you slipped off your shoes during your lunch break and stood in the grass?  Never?  Well, start now.   Let your kids play at the park or in your yard and sip your coffee with your shoes off for a minute. Enjoy the way the grass feels between your toes and the soft earth beneath you.
  3. Breathe on purpose.  Just take a deep breath, okay?  Not because you “need” it, but because it feels freaking wonderful to expand those lungs and breathe in deep, then exhale fully. (10 points if you take a deep breath while you pee barefoot. -10 points if you do that in a public restroom.)
  4. Massage your hands. Before bed, when you need a minute to refocus, or just because you like soft hands.  Grab your favorite oil or lotion, and be sure to gently pinch the soft spot between your thumb and pointer finger for extra relaxation.
  5. Add fruit to your water. Your toddler didn’t finish his apple slices?  Toss a few into your water bottle or pitcher.  Slice up a lime or orange while you’re at it and toss those in, too.  If you’re feeling super fancy and have it on hand, add a mint leaf or two.  Stimulating your taste buds can help keep your mind clear and connected to your body.
  6. Quote it. Find a short quote or poem. Read it. Twice. Return to it when you need to fuel your spirit.
  7. Eat a spoonful of peanut butter. Or sunbutter. Or almond butter.  Or Nutella.  You probably need the protein or chocolate fix. Go ahead and do that now.

If all else fails, drink that extra cup of coffee, or turn up your favorite music and dance. Or hide.  Yep, sometimes straight up hiding can be self-care.

Oh, and if anyone has any ideas about how we can abolish the term “self-care” and replace it with something more fantastically fun, go for it.  Let me know.  We will sprinkle that phrase like glitter from a unicorn.

Take good care,



A few weeks ago, we were at the grocery store.  The checker looked at my round belly and said, “When’s your baby due?” I cut her off before she could even get the words out and replied with a dead-inside voice, “I’m not pregnant.”

“You’re not?  REALLY?!”

“Nope.  Not even a little.”

“Wow!  Well, I guess it’s harder for us older moms to lose the baby weight.”

Yep.  Old and fat.  That’s me!

Thanks, lady.

I silently took my groceries and my two-year old son and not-pregnant-but-certainly-looks-it belly and left the store without another word.  I didn’t trust myself to speak to her calmly or kindly.  All of the terrible insults I could hurl back at her were bubbling up and filling my mouth with their unsaid-ness.  Except that’s not entirely true.  My mouth filled up with the unmistakable taste of tears, and a Napoleon Dynamite-esque internal monologue of lame comebacks.

Then I got angry at myself for wanting to cry because crying means I care.  And I really don’t want to care.

This isn’t the first time my squishy belly has been mistaken for a baby belly.  Being frisked at the airport by the TSA agent a few months ago: “You have such a cute bump!” I waited a moment to respond before saying, “Thanks!  Due in September! Super excited” because it was easier than going through all of the embarrassment of denying and the apologies from the offending party, or even worse, the justification.

When I tell you that I have dozens of these not-pregnant-but-people-still-ask-anyway moments, I’m not exaggerating.  I’ve been asked while sipping beer during happy hour on a gorgeous day.  At a baby shower for my BFF from a licensed therapist as I arranged a tray of carrot sticks. Flagged down by a curious neighbor as I walked in from the garden, full of sunshine and good vibes, expecting a hello or request for zucchini and instead getting a “Girl, I had no idea you were pregnant! When are you due?”

I know I’m not alone, Women of the Interwebs.  I know you’ve experienced this, too.  The not-a-baby baby belly mistake also happened before I had my son, so I can’t blame pregnancy.  It’s just my body.  It’s where I carry any extra weight.  I know the babywatching world gets a faux oxytocin high at the mere thought of squishy baby flesh, the newborn head smell and frail Chewbacca cries from miniature, undeveloped lungs.  It’s almost too much for anyone to resist.

But seriously, Babywatchers.  STOP IT.  It’s none of your business.  Commenting on a woman’s body in general without any solicitation from the woman is not only unwanted, it’s inappropriate.  As humans, we’re nosy by nature.  We want to know all the things. I totally understand. However, some things are just none of our business.

So, I put together a little infographic. Here’s how to know when it’s appropriate to ask if a woman is pregnant.  Even if you’re like, 99.9999% certain there’s a baby in that belly, here’s a quick flow chart to help you.


Share this broadly, my friends.

Are you still unclear? No worries!  I went ahead and ate a big Indian food lunch, wore some leggings, a formfitting tank tank top, and skipped showering and make-up to create this little video with my iPhone.  It doesn’t get any more real than this. YOU ARE WELCOME.

Happy to be baby-free,

The Dirty Side of Clean Eating

By now you’ve probably read this article, or something like it.  I’ve been digesting it (hah!) and looking at my own eating habits and drawing my own (unprofessional but informed) opinions.

Here’s my conclusion:

I am not orthorexic.

Whew!  Now let’s get on with the rest of the post.

*Disclaimer – This is the closest you’ll ever get to “before” and “after” photos on this blog.  And you’ll notice I left out my body.  It’s on purpose.  Pay attention to the eyes, because that’s where the story takes place.

Several years ago, I went hardcore paleo.  I made a huge shift in my diet because as it turns out, eating sugar, most grains and processed foods when you have PCOS can be detrimental to your health.

This picture was taken a month before I changed my eating habits.  Turns out, a steady diet of fried chicken and Milky Ways made me feel like sh*t.
This picture was taken a month before I changed my eating habits. Turns out, a steady diet of fried chicken and Milky Ways made me feel like sh*t.

I made a change to help heal my body, balance my hormones and reduce inflammation. I also wanted to lose weight, and possibly boost my fertility. After two years on the paleo diet, I felt amazing.  In fact, I felt better at 32 than I did at 22.  It was a very positive change for me, and I felt committed to continuing the lifestyle.

I felt GREAT here, about two months before I became pregnant.  Having my best girls with me didn't hurt either.
I felt GREAT here, about two months before I became pregnant. Having my best girls with me didn’t hurt either.

When I became pregnant, my body revolted.  Food was torturous.  I was puking 10 times a day and stepping foot in the kitchen caused me to retch uncontrollably.  I agonized over giving up my paleo ways, even though 1/2 a croissant and a few sips of a latte were the only thing I could keep down for several weeks.  A woman who I greatly respected and admired in my professional life saw me eat a bite of croissant one day at work. I was down 17 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight, and struggled to keep even a little food in my stomach.  She scolded me in front of my co-workers and within earshot of clients and impassionately proclaimed, “Your baby doesn’t need carbs!”.  That was it. My wake up call. MY BABY NEEDED CARBS. And so did I if we were going to get through this pregnancy.

After that point, I gave exactly zero f*cks about eating grains.  As it turned out, my body needed grains to make milk for my son and I continued to eat them with abandon and without an ounce of guilt.  I tuned out the women who openly spoke to me about my food choices and weight (both positively and negatively) during pregnancy and after.  Their opinions weren’t helpful to me either way.

Clearly, grains made us both horrendously sick and miserable and dead. OR WE WERE ABSOLUTELY GREAT.
Clearly, grains made us both horrendously sick and miserable and gross. OR WE ARE ABSOLUTELY HAPPY AND COMPLETELY OKAY.

A formerly vegan friend told me a story about when she decided to no longer be a vegan.  She was part of her local herbivore community and found great support there. After five years of vigilant veganism, she broadened her daily menu to include animal protein. She agonized over it, but her body needed more than plants to survive. She told her vegan community.  Some were accepting and wished her well.  Others were not.   Sentiments like, “I’m sorry your body craves the flesh of dead animals” and “How can you sleep at night?” and “Enjoy eating that chicken’s period” were volleyed back at her.


We can all tune into what feels good in our bodies. And what feels good isn’t necessarily what is good, but only you are qualified to make that distinction. I am an advocate of eating whatever food makes you feel good.  Not what other people tell you to eat, or Dr. Oz,  or your grandma, or The Internet, or Big Ag.  And especially not what judgy people with no professional experience tell you to eat.

We eat “clean” at our house.  We eat properly raised animal proteins.  We eat mostly organic produce when we can afford it, and get creative in order to make that possible.  We eat grains in moderation and avoid wheat and refined sugar altogether.  We feel better when we make conscious decisions about what we fuel our bodies with.  We eat junk food occasionally and have seasons where we eat it way too much.  Then we feel terrible and go back to our clean eating because it works for us.  We are nicer, kinder, less stressed, and our bodies function better when we are consistent with our right-for-us food choices.

Orthorexia exists.  I’m certain it is a real disorder that affects people in profound ways, and I’ve seen it in my industry and in my community.  I came (too) close to it.  I struggled with an eating disorder during my teens and early 20’s, so I’m extra vigilant about not making food my religion.

With that said, there’s another side to this story.

Please don’t mistake eating what makes your body feel good with a disorder.  Unless you are a doctor  or licensed mental health professional, you have no business judging people’s food choices.

And for the rest of us?

Eat with awareness.

  • If you feel more energetic after eating something, take notice.
  • If something you eat makes you feel guilty, take notice.
  • If you feel more satisfied when you eat certain foods, take notice.
  • If you are terrified to eat something when you’re not certain of the source, and you don’t have a legit allergy or intolerance, take notice.
  • If you eat a certain way because someone told you to and it doesn’t line up with your values or current needs, take notice.
  • If your body feels inflamed, painful, or achy after eating something, take notice.
  • If you eat in secret, take notice.
  • If you feel shame around food, take notice.
  • If people shame you about what you are eating, take notice. (And tell them to mind their own damn business.)

It’s easy to make a judgment and slap a label on disordered eating.  Tabloids and busybodies do it all the time. It’s also easy to judge people based on physical appearance. And guess what?  Those are acts of emotional brutality.  Unless it is personally causing you harm or bringing serious harm to a minor or elderly person, knock it off.  It’s not your business what somebody looks like or what they eat.  Leave that up to trained professionals.

I’m returning to my paleo ways for a while because it works for me again at this stage in my life.  But we are going to Texas next month and you’d better believe I’m going to murder some chips and queso and maybe a taco or two. I will feel zero guilt about it.

This is me, now. Feeling good and totally loved by this hottie who has only kind words for my body.
This is me, now. Feeling healthy and energetic and totally loved by this hottie who has only kind words for my body.

We are more than our bodies.  We are more than a number on the scale.  We are more than our food.




Healthy Holidays – Breathe

christmas lights
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As Christmas draws near, I find it entirely too easy to make not-important-things of the utmost importance. Every year, it’s the same silly story. I get busy; I over commit; I hurry too much and connect too little. By the time Christmas day rolls around, I feel spent and let down. And it’s all by my own choosing.

This year, I’m doing things differently. I’ve decided to have a peaceful season, which means putting the things that are really important first. Like my family, my spiritual connection to the season and my own well-being, because those get shuffled to the bottom of the list way too easily. Belongings, activities, and the pressure to just keep doing more crowd out all the delicious wonderful magic of these few weeks.  I’m putting my foot down and will not allow that to happen for one more day this season.

So, here we begin. 10 days until Christmas. 10 ways to make this a connected, healthful season. 10 opportunities to enrich my experience by taking good care of this life I’ve been given.  And this life is really great.

So, here we go.


Remember those old Lamaze birthing techniques? My mom certainly used them during labor with my older brother and me. They’re funny to re-enact, but breathing doesn’t get nearly enough credit for keeping our bodies in good shape.

You guys, I FORGET TO BREATHE. I mean, not completely. My reptilian brain won’t let that happen. But the experience of breathing. Pulling air into my body, not just my lungs. Feeling it from my brain all the way through my chest and abdomen then down to my toes. The delightful electricity of oxygen in m blood. I go all day without really connecting to my breath and at the end of it, I’m all wound up and exhausted and worn out. I’ve deprived my brain and body of optimal oxygenation and it shows.

I catch myself literally holding my breath. Survival instinct is driving my brain and body and therefore my decisions. Have you ever tried to make a reasonable, rational decision when you’re being chased by a ravenous mountain lion? Yeah, me either. But this is exactly what happens when we are stuck in our reptilian, disconnected, survival space.  We don’t consciously choose anything when the survival mechanism is engaged…we go with the flow, react, keep our hearts beating and lungs breathing.

We are wired to survive. Great. But survival isn’t enough.

The moment I breathe, and I mean really focus on the act of breathing, my entire outlook changes. The way I move, the way I communicate, the way I make important decisions…it all changes. Within seconds, I reconnect to my spirit, my lovespace, my ability to be present in this moment.  It’s like the autopilot that has been making all of my vital choices gets switched off and I switch on.

One of my favorite breath techniques that I share with most of my clients is the Observational Breath. It’s so simple, and I do it multiple times a day. Here is the technique:

Step One: Close your eyes and breathe.
Step Two: Become an observer of your breath coming in and leaving your body.
Step Three: Allow your body to regulate the air coming in and going out.
Step Four: Continue until you feel calm and connected and then stop.

The simplicity of observational breathing astounds me. Go ahead and try it. I promise to be here when you open your eyes.

The second breath is the Breath Of Joy. I’ve included a YouTube link, because this one is a bit more involved. My dearest friend brought this to me one day. It is invigorating and helps me get moving when I’m feeling the gentle tendrils of mild depression reaching out for me in the morning, or the post-lunch sluggishness knocking on my ass. (Note: If you have high blood pressure, this is not recommended.)

So, before we reach for smartphones or sugary treats or third cup of coffee…breathe first. Feel it in your belly, take it to your toes. Be in the moment and breathe through your instinct to leave it. Then decide what to do, decide what to say, and decide what next step you want to take.  You presence matters.

For more tips on handling stress during the holidays (or any days!) visit our friends over at The Leaky Boob.

Yoga Hands
Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net