Hold Space For Your Feelings

By De Elizabeth

I have most of my “serious” conversations over text these days. As a mom of a 2-year-old, I only have a handful of quiet pockets of time each day, most of which are usually spent catching up on work, answering emails, doing laundry (or at least thinking about doing laundry), and some form of self-care, which typically entails lying on the couch and staring into space for as long as possible. Gone are the days when I could spend an hour (or more) on the phone with my best friends, or G-chat into oblivion during a lazy afternoon.

Getting into it over text isn’t ideal, in part because I overthink everything, particularly when I’m talking about something serious — or revealing something raw. A few months ago, I found myself in one of those ~serious~ group texts with my two best friends from college, trying to form words and sentences to articulate thoughts that had only existed, up until that point, in a foggy loop inside my brain. In typical fashion, I followed up a giant blue brick of text with a few emojis and “Sorry to unleash on you guys LOL.”

As customary for true friends, they responded immediately with “Don’t apologize” / “You have nothing to be sorry for.” And then, one of them added: “We’ll always hold space for your feelings. You can talk to us about anything.”

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The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety

By Becky Houdesheldt

While I sat rocking my daughter in her nursery last night, trying yet another position to get her to go back to sleep, I closed my eyes and rested my lips on her head. I tried to remind myself to relish the time with her while she’s small. She turns 5 months tomorrow, and I lost my first two months with her to postpartum anxiety.

My anxiety robbed me of enjoying my first weeks with her. I honestly thought I was on top of my symptoms. I wasn’t. I finally admitted I needed more help after I acknowledged I was experiencing intrusive thoughts, and it took me 5 weeks before I could get in to a postpartum specialist.

I couldn’t call my daughter by her name. I didn’t want to look at her. I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts because I’d lose myself in a whirlwind of fears and anxieties that I knew weren’t rooted in reality, but I couldn’t pull myself out of them. I felt out of control, out of touch, and at a loss. I returned to a new job after 6 weeks at home, and I was a mess.

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The Mantra Helping Me Deal with Anxiety Over Becoming a First-Time Mom

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By Kate Kole

Without ever labeling it, I began struggling with anxiety in college. It was the first time in my life that I was overcome with a desire, which felt more like a need, to be perfect. I hit the gym at 6 am for the perfect body, and I studied like crazy for perfect grades. It became an almost addictive pattern. The more control I felt I had, the more control I craved.

And so, it didn’t stop with graduation. It only intensified. I had all the classic symptoms that came with it: excessive worry, trouble sleeping, stomach issues, and a lot of inexplicable sweaty panic. But I justified my anxiety as a good thing. Because as much as it destroyed me, I’d convinced myself that it simultaneously drove me to be my best. Until it didn’t. Continue reading

When the Holidays Bring More Pain than Joy

By Cece Flores

The holiday season is one that brings images of togetherness, comfort and joy to mind…depending on whose mind you’re examining. For some of us, the seemingly immediate jump from Halloween to Christmas feels like someone stomped on the panic button in our brains. The transition is so quick it can feel subtly violent, like a month of your time has just been erased from your life. Why do we Eternal Sunshine the month of November? Not cool.
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Blowing My Own Cover

Blowing My Own Cover

By Kate Kole

Growing up, I struggled to learn math. From long division in elementary school to algebra in high school, I had to work relentlessly to comprehend equations and formulas. I went in early, met with my teachers during lunchtime, and often stayed late to receive the extra help I needed. Even after getting loads of specialized one-on-one attention, math still felt difficult.

My struggle frustrated me. I spent hours in my bedroom at home, textbook open, tears welling up in my eyes, overcome by the feeling that I was failing. It came so much easier to my classmates, and in comparison, I felt like I was lacking some essential book smart gene. Continue reading

Self-Care Is An Inside Job

Self-Care Is An Inside Job

By Catherine Miele

Nowadays, “self-care” is as ubiquitous as gym selfies and Instagram-worthy slices of avocado toast.

That is to say, self-care is everywhere.

As the wife of a licensed professional counselor and as somebody who lives with my own mental health issues, I believe that practicing self-care is a critical component to living a well-balanced life.

But are we taking the concept of self-care too far? Are we misunderstanding what it means to care for ourselves deeply and compassionately? Continue reading

How Meditation Has Changed My Life

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By Kristina Baltutis

Recently, my partner and I went on a two night camping trip with our dogs. The second morning, I was lying on a picnic table, looking up at the trees, and pondering the irony that this place was a beautiful spot to meditate, but I hadn’t stopped to meditate once. Letting out a wistful sigh, I commented as such to my partner.

You’ve been on vacation relaxing, I think you’ll be fine,” he responded.

Looking back on it now, his response doesn’t seem that absurd. He’s seen me meditating, and since we hadn’t talked about it, how would he know that within my quiet outward appearance, my mind is always a swirling war of distraction. But in the moment, I was very confused because his response didn’t make any sense. To me, relaxation and meditation are barely related. They’re more like distant cousins who occasionally see each other at Thanksgiving dinner. After a few moments of staring at him in confusion, my mind landed on the stunning conclusion: He has no idea why I meditate. Continue reading

5 Simple Ways to Be Kind To Yourself in 2017

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By Christine McLean

Life can be a b*tch. One minute you’re up, the next you’re down. It’s a rollercoaster ride that you never really signed up for. You have two choices: enjoy the ride, or grip on for dear life hoping that the ride will end safely. Let 2017 be the year when you choose to enjoy the ride. You only live once, and life will pass you by if you don’t loosen the grip a bit. Here are five ways to be kinder to yourself in the coming year. Continue reading