check out my interview on the HeartSpace podcast!

A little while back, I got to have a juicy conversation with the sweet, smart, and multi-talented Corinne Dobbas (a dietitian + dating coach) on her podcast, HeartSpace.

The episode with my interview went live today, and it was fun to listen back and remember all the good stuff we got into! We cover a broad range of stuff, from Buffy (yuuuup) to trauma to body+self acceptance. 

Head over to your favorite podcast app and check it out! <3

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Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin, LMSW, is a Primary Therapist at The Ranch residential treatment center, where she works with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, and co-occurring mental health issues. Valerie focuses on a holistic treatment approach of mind + body integration, using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), somatic and bioenergetic therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), psychodrama, 12-step, and shame resilience. She is also a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT) Candidate. Valerie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Master of Science degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin. She is an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville, and emphasizes spiritual exploration in her work with clients.

the lasting impact of childhood emotional neglect

the lasting impact of childhood emotional neglect

At this point, hopefully most of us are on the same page that physical or sexual abuse of a child is wrong (read: as morally repugnant as it gets) and incredibly harmful to them long-term. If you're not yet familiar with the term "Adverse Childhood Experiences" (ACEs) or the landmark ACEs study done by CDC and Kaiser, taking a few minutes to explore these will help you understand the link between early childhood trauma and the majority of our societal and public health issues — like substance abuse, depression, and the cycles of poverty and violent crime, to name just a few.

While some people who enter into therapy know they have endured traumatic experiences (and might also know that these experiences are at the root of the other things they struggle with, like anxiety, an eating disorder, or relationship issues), many others have minimized their childhood experiences to an extent that they are not "connecting the dots" with how they are still being impacted by the things that happened (or should have happened and didn't) in their early years of life. 

The Risk of Overlooking Covert Trauma

Emotional abuse tends to be a particularly slippery issue. For instance, if someone is physically or sexually abused during childhood and doesn't know at the time that this was wrong and not "normal," often they learn this fairly early in adulthood. (Though due to the internalized shame of abuse, sometimes it takes increasing pain from dysfunctional coping behaviors before a person is ready to enter therapy for help.) Hopefully with this recognition, and the support of a skilled trauma therapist, the wounds they need to heal are fairly evident, and the path for healing, though not easy, is clear.

With emotional abuse and neglect, however, the experience is often more covert, and thus harder to identify as the root cause of whatever present-day issues someone is struggling with. Sure, some types of emotional abuse are more overt; but again, hopefully in these cases the person is aware that what was happening was not okay, and then has the opportunity to heal. But many times, the impact of more subtle forms of emotional abuse or neglect are like a rust that erodes a person's sense of self (healthy ego development) over time, until she takes on a world view that she is inadequate, does not matter, cannot trust others, will not be loved if others find out who she really is, and basically, better be able to figure things out on her own. She may not make the connection that the impact of a highly critical grandfather and workaholic mother is still impacting her beliefs about herself 25 years later. (And if no one ever helps her to make that connection and do the healing work, she will likely struggle with feeling like no amount of affirmations, anti-depressants, and cognitive behavioral therapy ever seems to help, so she must be right about herself that she's just fundamentally flawed.) 

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step-by-step guide for when you're feeling overwhelmed

step-by-step guide for when you're feeling overwhelmed

There are a lot of things that can and need to be done to prevent the dreaded state of #overwhelmed. To name just a few —

  • Setting boundaries (and saying "no" in general),
  • Sticking with a routine,
  • Staying organized,
  • Having good systems for task management,
  • Getting enough sleep

Some of those necessities are pretty lame (I love getting lots of sleep, but I don't love early bedtime), and others are kind of fun and interesting if you're a productivity and personal development dork like me.

But even when we have good practices in place, the truth is that there is no magic bullet of "if you do this, you'll never feel overwhelmed again!" 

Whether it's a new baby, a nasty virus, a family emergency, a nightmare co-worker, second trimester morning sickness, a big work deadline, or any other kind of unexpected curveball — shit happens that makes even the best laid Overwhelm Prevention Plans go to hell in a hand basket.

So if you're already in the thick of it, what do you do?

Of course, again there is no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all advice, but below are a few important tips and reminders when you find yourself feeling like you're in the weeds on a Saturday night in your first waitressing gig.

1. Take 5...

...breaths, that is. Before anything else, you need to get the oxygen flowing with 5 deep, slow breaths. Make sure to breathe into your belly, not just high up ion your chest, and try to match the length of your inhale with the length of the exhale, pausing briefly before each exhale. This will start to immediately regulate your nervous system so you can think more clearly about the next steps to take.

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WholeYou Podcast #10: Fifth Chakra (Vissudha)

WholeYou Podcast #10: Fifth Chakra (Vissudha)

Feeling creatively drained or struggling with clear communication? Take a listen to our WholeYou throat chakra episode. 

Episode 10 of the WholeYou podcast is here!  See below for the show notes, listen to the show (stream or download) on the embedded SoundCloud box below (on the full post - click "read more" at bottom), or find it on iTunes of your favorite podcast app. Thanks for listening! 

Fifth Chakra At-a-Glance:

  • Sanskrit Name: Vissudha
  • Location: Throat area
  • Element: Sound
  • Color: Blue
  • Issues: Communication, creativity, listening, resonance, finding one's own voice, purification, refinement
  • Basic Rights: To speak and be heard

What we Discuss in Episode #10:

  • How to know if your fifth chakra is out of balance
  • Signs of a deficient and excessive fourth fifth
  • Finding your voice and creativity
  • Blocks to creativity and how to bring more creativity into your life
  • Yoga poses, meditations, and pranayama to balance your fifth chakra
  • What resonance means and why it's important with the throat chakra
  • Fifth chakra affirmations

Lauren and I are really appreciate you taking the time to listen and share your comments. If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and please take 1 minute to leave us a review on iTunes  — it helps us to reach more people, and we'd be so grateful! 

 

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Self-Care for Activists: Stand Up for What Matters — Including Yourself

Self-Care for Activists: Stand Up for What Matters — Including Yourself

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

Let me begin with this: I want you to know that, whatever your political stances, whoever you may cast your ballot or show support for, I respect you.

I respect you simply because I respect anyone who is trying to follow their heart and do what they think is right. With that said, our present reality is indisputably one of the most divisive moments in recent decades, both within and outside the United States. And it has become a time when more people than any other moment in my lifetime are getting off their couches and becoming activists in their own right. 

Even if you don’t identify as an activist regarding the political climate in the U.S., you may be an activist in other ways — whether it’s being a champion for the environment, animals, or kids, taking a stand against fat shaming, or any number of important causes. 

Standing Up for What Matters

It is my belief that part of living a fully engaged life includes standing up for what matters to you, whatever that might be. When you’re in an active eating disorder or other addiction, you could be the most compassionate person on the planet, but 50-90% of your headspace and energy may go toward supporting your ED/addiction — leaving little time and energy left to split between living your life and standing up for what matters most to you. 

This does not make you a bad person at all — it makes you a person with a mental illness who needs appropriate treatment. You simply cannot give if you are depleted. 

The words at the beginning of this post are by Audre Lorde (1934-1992), self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” and a well-known feminist and civil rights activist. As she so wisely described, taking care of ourselves is not self-indulgent, but rather, a necessary component of our activism. And they go hand-in-hand: self-care is an important part of your activism, and activism is an important part of your self-care. 

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