By: Tess Brigham
You feel hopeless, anxious, lost, and alone and have finally made the decision to go to therapy. You open your laptop, google “therapist” and your zip code and wait for the results to pop up. As you scan the websites and directories for therapists in your area, the pit in your stomach starts to tighten again and your anxiety begins to rise. You think to yourself, “How do I figure out the right therapist for me…I can’t even figure out my own problems!” There are hundreds of therapists to choose from and now you feel more lost than when you started this process!
I’m a licensed therapist and I know that looking for a therapist can be an overwhelming process for anyone. There are so many things to think about when choosing the right therapist for you. Below are the most frequently asked questions I hear from potential clients:
What should I be looking for in a therapist? Why should therapy be thought of differently than looking for any other doctor?
Finding the right therapist is similar to finding the right real estate agent, drycleaner, dentist, etc. with a twist. Just like when you’re looking for a dentist or drycleaner, you need to know they’re competent and able to do their job. The “twist” is you don’t have to feel connected, heard, understood by the person cleaning your clothes – you just need to know they can get a red wine stain out of your favorite shirt. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your therapist than any other and you’ll be sharing intimate details of your life and you must feel like they understand you and truly hear what you are trying to say.
When you’re talking to a potential therapist over the phone or reading their website, see what kind of feeling you get from them. Are they someone you would chat with at a cocktail party? If they worked in your office, would you want to go to lunch with them? If you were in college together, would you invite this person to be in your study group? Therapy only works when you feel connected and comfortable with that person. As a unique individual, what’s right for your best friend may or may not be right for you. Trust your instincts and if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t the right match.
I have found a few therapists that I like, now what?
All therapists are willing to spend at least 15-30 minutes on the phone to learn more about you and what you need help with. If they’re unwilling to have any kind of conversation with you over the phone ahead of time – move on to the next therapist. During the phone call, continue to listen to your gut and ask yourself, “How is this person making me feel right now? Hopeful? Energized? Or confused and sad?” If things feel forced or uncomfortable - move onto the next name on your list.
Feel free to call more than one therapist. Ask each therapist the same set of questions and see how their responses vary. This relationship is an important one, so take your time. If you talk to a potential therapist over the phone and you connect with them and like what they have to say, make an appointment. Worst case scenario, if you meet this therapist and it doesn’t feel right, just don’t make another appointment. You’ll be out the session fee but nothing is a complete waste of time, you’ve just gained some information about what doesn’t work for you and now you can ask better, more informed questions with the next therapist on your list.
How does insurance work?
Before I became a therapist, I had no idea how insurance worked and, to be honest, there are times it still confuses me. Some therapists accept insurance and some don’t. Therapists have to apply to be on insurance panels. So, if a therapist says they take insurance, you have to make sure that they’re on your health insurance panel. For example, if you have Aetna Insurance, you want to find a therapist that’s on that panel.
When you call a potential therapist, tell them you want to use your insurance. If they take that insurance (aka they are on that insurance panel) they’ll ask you for your date of birth, insurance number, maybe group number in order to verify that you’re eligible to receive services. The therapist should then get back to you on what your co-pay is, if you have a set number of sessions and anything else that seems pertinent.
Why doesn’t this therapist take insurance?
There are amazing therapists on insurance panels and there are amazing therapists that don’t take insurance. Whether a therapist takes insurance or not isn’t a factor of their value or worth as a therapist. All therapists in private practice decide whether or not they’re willing to take insurance. If you’re curious why a particular therapist doesn’t take insurance, ask them.
In my practice, I don’t take insurance for various reasons. I found dealing with insurance companies and their ever-changing policies difficult and anxiety-provoking. I realized I couldn’t be a good therapist while I was worried I wouldn’t be paid because I filled a form out incorrectly or thought someone was covered when they weren’t. In addition, I had to spend a lot of time on the phone with insurance companies and had less time to focus on keeping up to date on articles and books that pertained to my specialty. Do I lose out on working with some great clients because I don’t take insurance? Absolutely! I don’t begrudge a potential client deciding to go with a different therapist because they take insurance and I don’t. Which leads me to my next question…
Should I use my insurance or not?
This is a very personal decision only you can make but here are some things to think about: Can you afford to pay out of pocket or do you absolutely have to use your insurance? Everyone has different financial concerns, so if you need to use your insurance, search only for therapists that take your insurance. If you have insurance but could possibly afford to pay out of pocket, I recommend looking at both therapists that take your insurance and those who don’t. This goes back to finding the right therapist for you.
Therapy works best when you feel understood and comfortable with your therapist. If you have the choice, then I would recommend not picking someone based solely on cost. If you really click with someone, the therapy will be more effective and you will get to your goals faster. Look at it this way, it’s better to have 6 sessions with a therapist that you really connect with and pay $150 per session vs. choosing a therapist you “kinda” like, paying a $20 co-pay and finding that after 20 or so sessions you’ve gotten nowhere. The other thing to remember with insurance companies is that they’ll not pay for individual therapy forever. Some will pay for only 20 sessions a year, some more, some less. Don’t waste your precious sessions on a therapist that doesn’t “get” you.
Also an insider tip: if you are seeing a licensed therapist, and have insurance, you could possibly be reimbursed by your insurance company. What!? Here’s how it works: you see your therapist and pay at the end of your session; your therapist then creates a “superbill” or invoice which contains various codes which is needed by the insurance company. You can then submit this invoice to your insurance company for reimbursement. How much you’ll get back is determined by your plan.
One important note for this, however: for an insurance company to reimburse you for services of any kind, they want a diagnosis. This means if you want me to provide you with a “superbill,” I have to give you a diagnosis. Our world is ever-changing and I think to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression is no longer the stigma it once was but you may feel differently.
Why is therapy so expensive?
When you think about that hour of therapy, don’t think about it in terms of minutes, (i.e. “I’m paying $2.50 a minute for this person to listen to me talk about my mother!”). While you’re talking, we’re listening intently. We’re watching your body language, we’re listening to your tone and inflection, and we’re reflecting upon what you’re saying and how it relates to what we talked about during our last session.
Typical I can only really see 4-5 clients a day. Prior to each session, therapists are re-reading our notes from the last session and what the focus should be for today’s session. Or after your session, we’re researching articles/books we want to recommend. Many times, I’m reading books or meeting with colleagues so I can make good referrals. You only spend one hour with us but that’s not the only time we’re “working” with you.
How long will I be in therapy?
This is always a tough question because it really depends on you. Let’s say you sign up to meet with a personal trainer at your gym once a week for an hour. If that’s all you do, you probably won’t see any results. You might lose a pound or two and you may be a little more toned but you probably won’t look like Kate Hudson in yoga pants. Now let’s say you sign up with that personal trainer, go to the gym and workout on your own 3-4 days a week and change your diet then you’ll see changes. Therapy works the same way.
If you do not practice the tools and techniques your therapist gives you, if you do not change any of your negative behaviors, and you don’t read any of the books suggested, then your own personal growth will move very slowly and you may be in therapy a lot longer than you planned.
Am I crazy?
This is always a loaded question but the answer I always give is: no. One thing about being a therapist is I meet and talk to a lot of people and I’ve learned a lot about people’s hopes and fears, what makes them cry, what makes them laugh, and what keeps them up at night.
Here’s a secret: we are all the same. We all get sad, we all get anxious, and we all have fears. Going to a therapist doesn’t mean you’re crazy or too weak to handle your problems. It takes tremendous courage to say “I need help” and it takes guts to be vulnerable. It’s crazy to suffer in silence and to remain miserable, especially if there is a way out. If you need help…go get it.
There will always be people who see therapy as a ridiculous waste of time and money. That’s their opinion. I’ve been working with clients for 15 years and I can’t tell you the changes I’ve witnessed. I’ve seen marriages get stronger, I’ve seen people work through their grief, I’ve seen people get sober after years of trying, I’ve seen people pull themselves out of their depression and find their “happy.”
If you need help, please don’t let someone else’s viewpoint change or influence your decision. We all deserve to be happy, to find love, to find a meaningful career, to be healthy and to be whatever it is we want to be in this world. I hope you find the perfect therapist for you and that the process of therapy gives you the relief and hope you are looking for.
Tired of not having a significant other in your life to just have fun with and binge Netflix with? Join Tess's Love Life Course and start dating with intentions today.
By: Julia Bellotti
Every winter, I find myself with extra time to dedicate to learning something new. In the fall, I’ll pick out one professional development skill and one fun skill to learn. In 2018, for example, I took a course on Tableau (a data visualization software) as well as learned how to etch glass. In past years, I’ve attended a User Experience Design Bootcamp, taken a Python course, as well as learned how to make drink coasters and use a wood-burning tool.
The first step to learning outside of a school environment is to know what type of learner you are. Can you follow an online class with no set schedule? Do you need to attend a course in person? Would a virtual class with peer tutors be sufficient?
Next, pick what you want to learn! Is there something you’ve wanted to try? Is there a skill your company recommends you learn? The sky is the limit. If you want to learn it, I guarantee you someone has put together a tutorial or course on it.
Based on those two answers, you’ll then need to narrow to something that fits your time and budget. Your options:
Types of Classes
There are many types of classes to choose from and you should pick whichever one best fits your learning style and daily life. There are MOOCs, which are massive open online courses. Online resources like Coursera and EdX host thousands of MOOCs. Your course could have over 1,000 students from many countries in the same session. Courses can be self-paced, or follow a strict weekly schedule, the length of which will vary depending on the course. Courses will typically include a series of videos with accompanying transcripts, follow-along-with-the-instructor “class” work, homework, and quizzes. Some courses will set up Facebook and/or Slack groups for students to talk with each other and for peer tutors to assist if you’re stuck.
If a MOOC doesn’t sound like it’s the right fit for you, you may want to try an online workshop, tutorial, or self-paced course, such as the courses you’ll find on Lynda or Codeacademy. Lynda features courses on tech development, business, design, web, photography, and marketing, and Codecademy focuses on, you guessed it, coding. Lynda’s videos and follow-alongs can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 128 hours, with many falling in the 1-8 hour range, while Codecademy’s courses run at your own pace. There may be forums for help, but you won’t have an instructor or peer tutors or feedback loops like you might during a MOOC.
Finally, there are in-person classes. These might be one-off classes, such as Home Depot’s class on making a nightstand, or they may be 8-week long (or more) courses such as a language class. Many more “hands on” activities can be found as in-person classes, such as woodworking, flower arranging, sign language, cooking, fitness, or sewing.
How to Pick the Right Course
Ultimately, you have to figure out what will motivate you to complete your learning. Is your company paying for it? Is this a skill you really want to learn? Many of the MOOCs offer a paid option for the course where you’ll get a certificate of completion afterward provided you passed or reached a certain grade. When I signed up for my first MOOC, I purposefully chose to pay $49 and get a certificate at the end instead of just completing the course for free. I knew that putting money toward it would motivate me to complete it (and it did). You need to figure out what motivates you and choose an option for your class that best fits YOU.
If you don’t know where to start, I recommend checking out Class Central, which is a repository for almost all MOOCs. You can search and sort by starting date, class rating, or browse trending and popular courses. A simple chart breaking down popular online resources is below:
Home Care, Crafts, and Daily Life (In-person):
If you’re looking to learn a home care, craft, or daily life skill, I highly recommend checking your library and local adult education center first.
Your local library is a resource that any people forget about. My library offers everything from sign language to Python to Zumba to financial planning and more, and they’re all free. Check out what your local library network offers; it’s a great way to attend a free in-person class for a variety of topics. Many cities and counties also offer continuing adult education classes. These could be a cooking class focused on knife skills, floral arrangements, a foreign language, or taxes just to name a few. Registration typically opens up once or twice each season. While these classes typically cost a nominal fee, it can be a great way to learn in person and meet other members in your community interested in the same topics.
The following nationwide stores also offer classes for their local communities. Clicking on each of the links will bring you to the store’s event page:
Learning a new skill, professional or not, is immensely satisfying. Technical skills or professional classes can be added to your LinkedIn profile and resume. Daily life skills will likely save you money and time whether you’ve learned how to do your taxes, arrange flowers for an upcoming wedding, or cook more efficiently and creatively. Have fun! Let us know what skills you intend on learning next, or what classes you’ve completed recently!
By: Maegan Lovell
The end of the year is coming up and New Years’ resolutions are looming. Pressure is starting to build and expectations will be set at unachievable levels. Before you set your sights on the bikini or Speedo you promised yourself you’d fit into for #SpringBreak2019, let’s focus on some realities of nutrition and coming to terms with the body you live in.
Crash Dieting Does NOT Work
Read that and then read it again. If you deprive your body of the fuel it needs to function, you are going to lower your blood sugar and you are going to binge, and likely it will be something bad for you. You will then feel terrible and thus the cycle repeats. Think of food as fuel for the beautiful machine you get to live in and put all of the necessary components into it (yes that means carbs AND fats). That means eat less CRAP and eat more FOOD.
Exercise to CELEBRATE Your Body, Not Punish It
This is a lot easier said than done. So much of nutrition involves using the fuel you’ve put in your body to celebrate the gift that is your body with movement! Dragging ourselves to the gym and running on the treadmill when we hate it is not sustainable. If an exercise is boring, don’t do it just because you feel like you should! Find something that fills you with joy and do that. Love tennis? Grab a friend and head to your local park; it doesn’t have to be professional and you certainly don’t need fancy equipment (Ahem, Goodwill anyone?). Something as simple as a 15 minute cell-phone free walk in the morning WILL change your entire day.
Eat To Fuel Your Body, NOT Your Emotions
Hi, Emotional Eater here, telling you we are NOT dogs who deserve food as a reward for training. We are human beings who go through a whirlwind of emotions every day. At the end of the day, we will feel 100% better if we are eating sustainable, balanced meals instead of snacking on junk food that doesn’t satisfy us or our bodies.
Be Aware Of How You Talk To Your Body
Think about what it would be like if you talked to yourself the way you would talk to a small child. Would you still say or think some of the things you do now? If the answer is no, reevaluate the thoughts you allow yourself to have. Our inner monologue becomes what we believe, and when we think positively and celebrate all that our bodies do for us rather than criticize little imperfections, we are creating a breeding ground for more positivity.
The Only Person Responsible For Taking Care of You is YOU
No more excuses. If you take the steps to care for your body, you will immediately notice the effects. Put good in, get good out is applicable in nutrition, the thoughts you have about your body, and the exercises you do (or don’t do) every day. Stop finding excuses and show up for yourself every single day.
Using the New Year as a starting point isn’t necessary - you have the tools to start right now and you are worth making the changes. The fact of the matter is that we have to spend the rest of our lives living in these bodies. This is the body you get. Care for it, celebrate it, and love it well, and I promise it will reciprocate.
By: Ann Davis-Rowe
If you’re a regular reader of The Adult Dish, you know that reducing our negative impact on the environment is a huge deal. (And if not, read this.) One easy way to do this is to go paperless on as many statement-printing accounts as you can: your bank or credit union, credit cards, student loans, investment accounts [like your 401(k)], etc. Besides saving trees, it’s also easy to look up details and pay bills online. AND you don’t have to store all that paper.
But, sometimes, going paperless isn’t an option. So what do you do with all that… stuff? And how long do you have to keep it anyway?
Here are few general rules:
As with all tax-related discussions, there are always exceptions. For details on tax oddities (like if you filed a fraudulent return – they really do cover everything), see here. It’s specific to small businesses, but good rules of thumb nonetheless.
So now that you know you have a whole bunch of stuff you can get rid of – what do you do with it? First of all, do not toss it in with the rest of your recycling. This isn’t just paranoia given what a pain in the neck identify theft can be. Home shredders can be purchased fairly inexpensively on Amazon or at your favorite office supply store. If you don’t want to make that purchase, your bank may have regular shredding services for its customers. Also, many churches or other non-profits often offer shredding days for a small donation per box – check the bulletin board at your favorite coffee shop; such things are often posted there.
But what to do with what you can’t get rid of?
One option would be to scan everything and keep it on an external hard drive with cloud back up. Dropbox and GoogleDrive are options to start with if you wish to go that route, but for more secure storage, you may want to consider a service like Carbonite or Zoolz.
If you don’t have a scanner or don't want to go through the hassle, there is nothing wrong with a classic set of manila folders. Personally, in our house we have an old school filing cabinet that my husband inherited a million years ago, and one Saturday I bought a box of folders and a Sharpie and created files for everything we need to keep: tax returns from before we were married, combined tax returns, 401(k) and Roth records, medical records, and pet vaccinations. It’s been super easy to update this basic system for our new house – mortgage docs, deed, appliances, etc. This method works for us because a classic tan filing cabinet fits with our eclectic design aesthetic. It used to hold up one end of a desk made of an old door, and now it’s a funky side table covered in our spare room.
If you’re not into that 1980s office look, there is a whole range of other options, from decorative folders to hidden storage, and they’re findable from small stationery stores to big boxes. The important thing is to find what works for you and just do it. Take a Saturday, put on some energizing tunes, pour a cup of coffee (or a mimosa), and start working through it. Once you have your system down, it will be super easy to add and remove things as necessary and you won’t have to think twice about it. Easy adulting is the best adulting.
By: Alyssa Kapaona
Your office supply of Halloween candy isn’t even gone yet, but suddenly there are signs everywhere that the holidays are upon us. Red bows and twinkly lights downtown. Your mom sends out a family group text about coordinating the festivities for this year. And your favorite store has already mailed you their gift giving guide.
Most people agree that the holidays can be a particularly stressful time of year. While the anxiety might be starting to bubble up, keep your cool with these five tips:
BY: Charla Puccino
Something that's often learned quickly after leaving the proverbial nest is that life can suddenly feel rather chaotic. Because of this, it can be easy to feel bogged down with everything you have to do on a daily basis, especially when you become a full-time employee. Some of us therefore may have the tendency to forget that we have other responsibilities outside of the office, including but not limited to the relationships we maintain. However, it's incredibly essential to learn to find a balance between work and and your relationships if you hope the relationship lasts for the long run.
Let’s face it: no relationship, or marriage, is perfect all of the time, but here are some great ideas on how to help get yours as close to perfect as possible.
Leave work at work:
Try your best not to bring your work home with you. According to fulfillingyourvows.com “While you may talk about how your day went, bringing work home to complete after a full day away from each other is an energy drainer,” and total mood killer. Tomorrow is another day, so don’t stress if you have unfinished work; it shouldn’t take priority over time that could be spent with your spouse.
Turn off your phone:
Getting into the habit of turning your cell phone off when you get home is a fool-proof way to make you more available and attentive to your partner. If you’re worried about family and friends trying to reach you, you can leave your phone on, but at least put it down out of sight. Nowadays email, texts, calls, and social media are all easily and immediately accessed through our phones which causes them to be a distraction. We have to ask ourselves what is more important: intimacy, or Instagram?
Go on dates:
Going out to dinner, traveling, and trying new things seems like the norm until you’re married. A few years down the road, date nights literally become just Netflix and chill. Rather than enjoying a night out, you’re both struggling to stay awake past 10 p.m.
Want to avoid this? Make a habit of having date nights. Set aside a day and time to go on a date so the relationship doesn’t become dull. We’re all tired after a long week of work, and yes finding a reliable babysitter can be a bitch, but we have to schedule some time for fun and romance. If you're married, consider all of the time, energy, and money that went into planning your wedding; a small fraction of that should be invested into the relationship on a regular basis.
Be flexible and communicate
Understand that maintaining balance between work and the relationship is likely new to both of you. Living together and sharing a space with someone can be exhilarating, but also overbearing. Communicate with each other. If you need time to decompress before diving into a lengthy conversation, vocalize those needs.
Intimacy means you and your partner know each other incredibly well, and it isn’t always pretty. Living with someone 24/7 means you’ve been stripped of the perfect personas you share with most everyone else on social media.
Life is an ever-changing balancing act, compact with both wonderful times and hard times. The easiest way to get through everything life throws at us is to do it with the people we care about most. The best way to balance work and life is to prioritize, communicate, and schedule time to focus on ourselves, and our relationships.
by: Alyssa Kapaona
You’ve created life, and no matter what your experience (joyful, emotional, overwhelming, or all of the above) you are most likely dealing with transition. No doubt, one of the biggest transitions for moms is going back to work. I’ve completed this journey two times myself. It was different both times and never easy. I also spoke with two close friends, Jenny (mother of three) and Kehau (first time mom), about their recent transitions back to the office.
While there is definitely something systematically wrong with parental leave and affordable childcare in our country (an article for another time), hopefully these tips can help get you through what can be a challenging, yet rewarding journey.
Know your rights.
Knowing your workplace policies about parental leave is definitely important before your baby is born. The United States is the only first world country without paid maternity leave (again, another article for another time), so be sure to know your rights regarding what kind of leave you are eligible for in your place of employment. Leave availability depends on one’s employer, so sit down with your Human Resources representative, your boss, etc. Basically talk to anyone and everyone who might have authority over your leave to make sure everyone is on the same page. And don’t forget to get everything in writing, just in case.
Also use this time to have open and honest conversations with your supervisor. Let them know your expectations and listen to theirs. Try to clarify any vague language that may come up. With my second daughter, my boss told me that when I came back I needed to “hit the ground running.” That was a little intimidating to me, but once I asked more questions, I realized we were on the same page with our expectations.
This would also be a good time to investigate your rights for nursing breaks if you plan on breastfeeding. In the U.S., employers of a certain size are supposed to allow time and space for nursing mothers for up to a year after the child’s birth. Knowing this information ahead of time will make your journey back to work a lot smoother.
Didn’t figure any of this out before baby was born? Don’t stress, but get some answers ASAP. There is no time like the present!
Getting organized is another tip that can be worked on prior to going back to work, but will ultimately help with the overall transition when that time comes. Most moms I asked agreed that the most important thing to have figured out when going back to work is childcare. Ensure that you have done your due diligence on selecting a childcare provider but also have qualified back ups. When my youngest daughter was 4 months old, her babysitter got into a serious car accident. Not only was our sitter injured (she is 100% recovered now, thank goodness!) but we also had to find someone for over 6 months while she recovered. It was not easy and a humbling reminder of how much you will rely on your childcare provider.
Routines are another thing you want to try to organize as best a possible. For example, what will your mornings be like? Make a reasonable schedule that has about 20-30 minutes of “wiggle room” in case there is an explosive diaper, or two…. I would also recommend practicing the routine a week before you start work to see if you need to make any adjustments. It’s really helpful to know how long things take you. For example, morning makeup routine takes 10 minutes, feeding the baby in the morning usually takes 20 minutes, etc.
See Figure 1 (below) for a sample schedule. Of course this will look different for everyone, and it might look different depending on the day of the week and depending on the kind of day you and/or baby is having. While the routine helps, try not to get stuck in it. Being flexible and adjusting will definitely become part of the routine. Also, please note this sample schedule is set up for one person; I would recommend you delegate any tasks that you can to a partner, friend, or family member. For example, when people ask if you need anything, don’t be shy to take them up on their request. The easiest one for me was to take people up on bringing dinner over or doing dishes. Find the things in your routine that you can let go of and delegate, and then do it. As they say, “It takes a village.”
Finally, I would encourage you to write out your schedule with as much detail as possible, including what you will have in your various bags to help you remember what to bring. And trust me, you will have plenty of bags. As a sleep deprived mommy, you will need all the reminders you can get. This will help you, your partner, and/or other people involved with your childcare to ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction.
Figure 1: Sample Schedule
For the ladies who are nursing, this is hands down one of the trickiest adjustments when going back to work. “Honestly, pumping was the hardest thing for me,” Kehau, a close friend and first time mother shared with me. “Due to my schedule and job, I often have to pump in the car which is not ideal.” To make things easier on yourself, make sure first and foremost, that you have good equipment. Hands-free pumps and/or pumping bras are highly recommended. It is worth the investment. Then, as previously mentioned, make sure you have a good place to pump (although sometimes due to your circumstances, you might not have a choice and you just go into survival mode and do what you need to do).
Also get ready to create, you guessed it, another routine! Making your pumping experience standard will help you to not forget things, and also make it easier for your workplace and coworkers. For example, try not to deviate from your pumping timeline too much. This is beneficial for everyone involved and eliminates confusion around your schedule. Also, save 5-10 minutes for cleanup and milk storage. If you have access to a fridge, you can store your pumping parts in a clean freezer bag and reuse them. If that creeps you out, steamer bags or special pumping wipes that clean your pumping parts are also convenient.
If you’re up for it, make pumping a bonding time for you and your baby. With my second baby, I used my pumping time to look at her pictures and write notes about what she was doing (milestones, funny stories, etc.). However, listen to your body and do what is best for you. With my first baby, I was more emotional and looking at her pictures made me teary. I actually ended up spending more pumping time checking my Fantasy Football roster, which became a nice break for me. I even wound up winning that year! Regardless of what you do, take that time to relax and take a breath. You definitely deserve it!
Get ready for anything, including all the emotions.
“When I dropped off my baby for the first time at the sitter, I got more emotional than I thought,” Kehau shared. “I couldn’t stop thinking about him the whole day.” Many moms will feel like this. It is good to take stock of your feelings, but also have faith that you did all you could do to provide the best care for your little one.
Babies are a blessing, but sometimes there are also unexpected circumstances that come up where pregnancies and births don’t go as planned. My best friend Jenny is an amazing mother of three, who just gave birth to a son. In the middle of the pregnancy, Jenny found out her baby had a rare heart condition and would need specific care in California. She had to fly from Hawaiʻi to California to give birth and stay five months after the birth to get her newborn the proper medical care that wasn’t available to him in Hawaiʻi.
Needless to say, her plans for going back to work drastically changed. However, it was an inspiration to watch Jenny because everything she did and all the sacrifices she made put her baby and family first. It is definitely in times like these where you see what is really important in life and usually work becomes a distant second to your new baby. If you are experiencing a high risk pregnancy, definitely take all the time you need for your family. In my experience, it is something you will not regret.
Finally, if you are feeling extra blue (teary all the time, extra worried/anxious, signs of depression, etc.) then seek out professional help. There is no shame in taking care of your own mental health because that will also help provide your baby the best care possible. A happy, healthy mom will lead to a happy, healthy baby!
Stay calm and self care.
At the end of the day, there is only so much you can do to be organized and only so much you can control. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do things the “right” way, just find the right way for you. When I first went back to work with my first born, I felt pressure to make dinner for our family every night. I loved doing that before I had the baby and it was a sense of normalcy for me. However, I realized my life was so much easier when I utilized ready prepared meals or take out, that I gave in and just embraced that change for awhile. I got back to cooking when she was older. Letting go of that expectation gave me more time to snuggle my baby, sleep, and relax. It truly made all the difference in the world and I’m glad I took the time to soak her up, because the cliche is true, they grow so fast!
I also used a little mantra that helped: “Take care of yourself, then take care of baby.” There were so many times, when I would hear my baby cry, but I know I needed to do something small first (like pee, take a sip of water, or a bite of food). I used this mantra to remind myself to take care of that small thing I needed to do. Use your best judgment, but as long as baby was in a safe place, I did what I needed to do and then came right back to feed/soothe/change a diaper as soon as I was done. We would both feel better in the end because I wasn’t stressed when I was tending to her.
It may be a long, hard road, but with great reward! You got this. Be purposeful with how you make your transition back to work and enjoy the ride, mama!
by: Taylor Armstead
In this day and age, drinking beer has become a huge part of American culture. Craft breweries are popping up in just about every town, and Friday happy hours often include a dose or two of hops and lagers. But what do we really know about beer? It actually has a history that goes all of the way back to ancient times.
The first known brewers of beer were the Egyptians, who documented their recipes on papyrus scrolls around 5,000 B.C. However it is believed that women in Mesopotamia were actually the first to brew beer: not only were chemical traces of beer from the 4th century were discovered in a Sumerian settlement, but also a tablet with the Hymn to Ninkasi describes an ancient recipe for brewing. This song of praise, written to the Sumerian Goddess of Beer, was recorded in 1800 B.C., but it's believed to be much older and passed down in oral form until its recording. In the middle ages, monks began brewing beer and are credited with ideas such as using hops and lagering beer. In many places (especially in areas where water contamination was prevalent) beer was actually considered a safer alternative to water prior to the invention of water filtering technology.
The craft beer industry in the United States has a more recent (yet no less interesting history) as well. In the late 1800’s, beer production in the United States was highly varied due to many different nationalities of immigrants bringing their traditions and recipes with them - lagers and ales alike were abundant in a variety of styles. In 1873, there were a recorded 4,131 breweries (not including home breweries). This number of distinct breweries was not surpassed until 2015, despite modern population being roughly 8 times the size. The 18th Amendment put a stop to many breweries, however, although some survived by making malt extracts, ice cream, and sodas. When the 18th amendment was repealed in 1933, 756 breweries opened in the year that followed. The mid-1900’s brought a slew of innovations such as the cone top can (Schlitz, 1935), the aluminium can (Coors of Golden, Colorado, 1961), and associations like the United Brewers Industrial Foundation (1936) and the United States Brewers’ Association (1941). In 1943, due to World War II, breweries were temporarily required to allocate 15% of their production to the military. Many of the breweries that opened post-prohibition were pushed out of business by the larger breweries, so that in 1961, only 230 breweries remained in the United States, with 140 of them being independently owned.
In 1965, Fritz Maytag bought the struggling Anchor Brewing from Joe Allen and Lawrence Steese (the former having opened the brewery post-Prohibition along with Joseph Kraus). Maytag is known as the father of the modern craft beer revolution: with the help of Joseph Owades, Maytag revived the brewery’s unique, signature steam beer, which uses a lager yeast but is fermented in warmer temperatures. Despite struggling for many years, the brewery eventually achieved success and ushered in a revolution of small craft breweries.
Traditionally, beer contains 4 ingredients: water, malts, hops, and yeast. The first step of the brewing process is called the mash. Grains are added to hot water, which extracts the malt (sugars in the grain), color, and flavor. Next, hot water is poured over the grains to extract all of the sugar made during the mash – this step is known as the sparge. During the boil phase, the liquid extracted from the previous step, known as the wort, is kept at a rolling boil for a period of time while hops, spices, and other flavors are added. Heartier or bittering ingredients are typically added first, and the more delicate and aromatic ingredients are added toward the end. The last step is fermentation, where the beer starts to become alcoholic. The yeast is pitched into the cooled wort and left to sit for a period of time until the bottling process. Beer carbonates naturally with some sugar, but most brewing processes involve adding additional carbon dioxide during bottling. Some processes also bottle condition, where yeast and sugar are added a second time to produce carbon dioxide. Bottle-conditioned beer, similar to fine wines, will continue to mature as it ages. The ABV (alcohol by volume) of most beers ranges between 3.0-13.0%.
Beer can be divided into two main categories: lagers and ales. The overall difference between these two categories is that lagers traditionally take a longer time to ferment at a cooler temperature and produce a crisper beer. Lagers are frequently described as being “crisp”. Their name is derived from the fermentation method, which involved storing the beer in caves around the forty-degree Fahrenheit range. Lagers were first brewed in the 15th to early 16th century, making them much younger than ales. Some of the more common style lagers include pilsners, bocks, and dunkels. Ales, on the other hand, take a shorter time to ferment, and require a higher fermentation temperature (ranging between about 60-75°F). Ales are known to be fruiter and/or spicier than lagers as well as having more of a “full-bodied”, robust, and complex mix of flavors. Some of the most common types of ales include India Pale Ales (commonly known as IPAs), brown ale, porters, stouts, and amber ales.
The variety and types of beers found in breweries, grocery stores, and anywhere else craft beer can be purchased will differ depending on the season. During the hottest months of the year, such as now, lagers, IPAs, sours, and other lighter, crisper beers can be found more readily. In the winter months, porters and stouts become more popular for drinkers who enjoy heavier beers. In the fall, many people flock to the Märzen beer style (a lager), more popularly known as the traditional beer served at Oktoberfest.
Today, with the increasing number of breweries, brewers work to distinguish their beers with marketing and many complex flavor profiles and styles. Some breweries have gone back in time to peruse recipes that date to ancient times: Dogfish Head’s beer Midas Touch is derived from an ancient recipe from 700 B.C. found in King Midas’ tomb. Other breweries seek to distinguish themselves by brewing as earth-consciously as possible. New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), Brewery Vivant (Grand Rapids, MI), and Brooklyn Brewing (Brooklyn, NY) are three breweries known for leading the charge on more sustainable innovations in brewing. For those with a more adventurous palate, there are options such as the spicy Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin, or Short's Brewing OMGWTFBBQ which features smoked hops and actual barbecue sauce. Whether you are new to beer or a seasoned drinker, there are many new beers emerging daily to discover.
Cheers (and drink responsibly)!
By: Alyssa Kapaona
Moving between states can be a tricky minefield that requires the agility and footwork of a pro athlete. This isn’t just your average pack up the house and move to the next town kind of move; this is next level moving. To get you the best information, I interviewed three savvy ladies: Sarah, a 23 year old graduate student who recently moved from Indiana to Arizona; Kelly, a thirty something who has moved to 4 different states over the past 10 years; and Meghan, a thirty something who has moved to 5 different states over the past 12 years. And yours truly, another thirty something who has moved from Hawai’i to Nevada back to Hawai’i in the past 10 years. Here are 5 things to consider as you make your move to another state:
Before you start the physical process of moving (i.e. calling moving companies and or packing up your belongings), take a second to pause and reflect. Ask yourself, what kind of move are you making and why? Are you moving for a job? Moving to be closer to your significant other? Are you coming packed with plenty of baggage (a family or a partner)? Or is this an “Under the Tuscan Sun” moment where you need a fresh start and a new lease on life? Whatever the reason, just take a moment to be at peace and aware of your decision so you can move forward accordingly with your best interests at heart.
Budget and Plan Ahead
All the ladies I spoke with shared that moving can be expensive. To make sure you are not living outside of your means, begin with the amount that you want to spend on this move and work backwards from there. It will help you to decide things like if you need to hire movers or whether to ship furniture vs. buy new. After she compared shipping cost with buying new, Sarah decided to start fresh since it would have been more expensive to ship her stuff. Kelly also shares, “Keep in mind any storage costs that might come up. I was in a situation where my house wasn’t ready when I moved. I not only had to ship furniture, I had to store it for a longer period of time than I thought I would. When all was said and done, it would have been more economical to buy all new furniture than the route I took.”
In your budget, do not forget to add in expenses for after your move. Sarah was surprised to find out how much it would be to restock a new home with all the essentials: cleaning supplies, toiletries, pantry items, etc. Most people are used to buying these items gradually, so buying them all at once can be a bit of a shock.
Finally, plan ahead for all those nitty gritty logistics. If you are a professional who has a state license (doctor, nurse, teacher, cosmetologist, etc.) make sure you know how to transfer your license from state to state. Have a car? Make sure you are correctly registering your car in your new state and that you’re knowledgeable about getting a driver’s license as well. True story, when I came back home to Hawai’i, I had to retake a written permit test like a damn teenager. I passed, but if I didn’t know the test going in, it might have been a more nerve wracking experience.
KonMari that Sh*t
KonMari is the trendy Japanese practice of paring down your belongings to only own the things that spark joy in your life. While you might not have time to get cozy with the KonMari method (although it’s highly recommended), all the ladies I spoke with did wistfully wish they decluttered and donated more before their moves. “Hanging on to things just makes the move harder. I wish I ripped off the Band-Aid and got rid of things I didn’t really care about a long time ago,” Sarah said.
One easy method of decluttering is ask yourself: “Have I used this in the past year?” If the answer is no, it is probably OK to go in the donation bin. Also ask yourself if you really love the item. Sometimes we hold onto things because of guilt or nostalgia, but at the end of the day, we’d really be fine without said item.
After you have gotten rid of the excess, let the packing commence! If you can, make it fun. Promise some helpful friends pizza and wine in exchange for their moving muscles. However, this is not recommended if you are packing on a strict timeline; sometimes it is just easier to get things done solo. Also, only invite friends over after you have decluttered. Friends are most efficient when instructions are simple (i.e. “Please put these items in this box and tape it shut.”). It will get too complicated if they are helping you to decide which clothes to keep and which to ditch ala Carrie and the girls in the Sex and the City movie.
I can be a little overly-organized (fresh school supplies and neat rows definitely get me excited), but I found my system where I labeled boxes and their contents to be extremely helpful. Use a note app or Google Drive, that way you can have your list with you at all times on your phone or tablet. Label all your boxes (I used letters) and briefly write the contents of the boxes (i.e. Box A- textbooks and towels). The inventory definitely helped me when I was looking for something after the move and also ensured that I did not forget to pack anything. Pro tip: Write your label on all sides of your box so no matter how it gets to your new location, you can see it clearly without having to move tons of boxes to get see which box is which.
Meghan also shared a genius packing hack: “I used clothes in my boxes with breakables. Instead of paying for bubble wrap and extra paper, I would pad everything with towels, clothes, blankets. It made everything way easier and took up less boxes.”
I’m here, now what?
Now that you are in your new state of residence, it’s time to transition. All of the ladies recommended spending some initial time exploring. Sarah found it best exploring her new city with her boyfriend and her parents who helped her settle in. Their support during an uncertain time helped things go smoothly. Kelly enjoyed taking walks and jogs in her new neighborhood to get a lay of the land. Everyone recommended going out to eat at new places (you might want to add that into your budget if you’re used to cooking at home). Pro tip: talk it up with your waiters/waitresses. Kelly said, “When I would go out to eat in my new state, if the wait staff was willing to share, I would always keep my ears open to their insider knowledge about things to do in the area.”
Part of the transition is dealing with nitty gritty logistics. For example, who is going to be your new dentist, doctor, OB, salon, etc.? To get started, Yelp and the good old fashioned internet search are always great tools. Don’t be afraid to shop around. For a more personal touch, ask people you admire and don’t be shy! Does your new officemate have a killer smile? Ask him for a dentist referral. Does that fellow mom at the school pick up line always have beautiful, bouncy hair? See if she will let you in on her secret. Most people are flattered and open to sharing their contacts.
Finally, be ready for the mixed emotions that come with big change. Kelly was excited and wanted to move from Hawai’i to Austin, Texas, but she shared, “I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of missing my friends and family so much in a new place. While I eventually adjusted, I did feel the absence of my social group from back home.”
And while you might need to take time to get used to your new normal, don’t forget to take some risks with the new move. When I moved to Las Vegas from Honolulu, I let a friend from back home introduce me to her friend. We met up on a “blind date” and there was an instant connection. She quickly became the core of my social group in my new city and is still one of my closest friends 6 years after I moved back home. You already had the guts to move, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and live large in your new home town.
By: Tess Brigham
Sandy has had the worst day! She had back-to-back meetings that took up most of her day, and her boss yelled at her for something she didn’t even do. On top of that, she skipped lunch and the quick 5 minutes she had to herself were spent reading nasty texts from her roommate.
By 6:00 pm Sandy was more than burned out. She was still angry with her boss, she hated that all of her friends had boyfriends now, she got no sleep last night, and she was starving. Her breakfast and lunch were just protein bars and coffee once again. On top of it all, the last thing she wanted to do was go home, because she knew her roommate would be there and she doesn’t have it in her for yet another argument.
That’s when one of her co-workers swooped in to save her like a knight in shining armor: “Hey Sandy…you coming to happy hour tonight?” Just like that, Sandy knew she could go forget the day she had.
Can you relate to Sandy? I know I can.
When I was in my twenties, drinks after work were a regular part of my life. After a day of being overworked, underpaid, and incredibly unappreciated, it was the only way I knew how to deal with my feelings. It seemed like the only answer at the time. I was surrounded by friends having a good time, and the drinks would numb the feelings of unhappiness and frustration from the day/week.
Dinner was usually a slice of (okay maybe even an entire) pizza on the way home. The rest of the night would be a blur. All of the things I needed to do at home (laundry, pay bills, clean my room, etc.) were forgotten as I collapsed into bed.
The next day, my alarm would go off and rinse, set, repeat.
Now this wasn’t every day for an entire decade. I did manage to hit the gym at times, pay my bills, have clean clothes, call my mother. Yet, at the same time, these innocent happy hours and nights out partying with friends and colleagues were unconsciously reinforcing a bad and destructive pattern of thinking. It went like this…
When life gets hard and when I feel exhausted, lonely, and lost, a good way to cope is to party my feelings away...
I was very lucky because I never struggled with a substance abuse issue.* In reality, my problem wasn’t actually alcohol or drugs, it was simply my reliance on drinking and partying to manage my emotions and solve my problems.
You may have heard that expression, “Alcohol is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.” When you’ve had a rough day or you feel pretty rotten about your relationship status and the first thing you want to do is have a couple of drinks, that’s not the end of the world. Most of us have done this before, more than once. When you're having these problems in life, it's not easy to stop and look inside yourself and ask uncomfortable questions. Questions like, “Is this really the job for me?” “Why do I continue to get into relationships with people that don’t treat me very well?” “Why isn’t my life turning out the way I had planned?” The thing is, alcohol and drugs don’t move you forward. They keep you stuck, or even worse, they bring you down. Unlike other ways of coping with our problems (i.e. exercise, meditation, journaling, therapy, etc.) this “solution” numbs the pain, it doesn’t “solve” the pain.
If this sounds like you, then it’s time to stop using drinking and partying as your Band-Aid to the gushing wound that is your life. Alright…I know that sounds a little dramatic…but I had to get your attention.
This is what I challenge you to start doing, each and every time you feel the pull to go to happy hour or to spend your weekends going from bar to club to party and back to the bar. I want you to ask yourself these 3 (three) questions:
1) “What am I thinking and feeling right now?”
Take a minute and check in with your mind and body. Ask yourself, “What am I thinking about? What am I feeling right now? How does my body feel?”
Don’t just stop and immediately think, “Yeah I’m good.” That’s not the point. You want to take some time to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. We tend to live in the past or in the future, thinking, worrying, wondering about how we were wronged in the past and/or what we fear may or may not happen in the future.
Most of us make the majority of our decisions not based on what feels right for us today, but on what we fear or what we regret. When we make decisions and choices based on fear or regret – it never turns out very well.
What is going on with you right here, right now.
2) “Is alcohol or drugs what I really need right now?”
Now that you’ve got a good idea of how you’re feeling, it’s time to ask yourself, “Should I be drinking or using drugs?”
Think about it this way. Everything our parents did for us as kids, we need to do for ourselves now that we’re adults. Just like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising, the choices we make on a daily basis affects every other aspect of our lives. Do you really want the choices you make on a Friday night to negatively affect the rest of your weekend? How nice would it be to instead have a Saturday morning where you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day?
3) “Is there something else I could use more than a cocktail?”
If you’re like Sandy (tired, unhappy, drained, and hungry) then you need to figure out what it is that you really need (hint: it’s not beer).
There’s a simple tool you can use to help you figure out what you need. It’s something that’s used with people who are early in their recovery – the acronym HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired).
Ask yourself, “Am I hungry? When did I eat last?” “Am I angry with myself or someone else?” “Am I just feeling lonely and need more connection and going out and partying seems like the only way to be around people?” “Am I tired? Would I feel better if I just got some sleep and started over tomorrow?”
When you ask yourself these questions, you may realize that what your body needs is something more productive than alcohol or drugs. Eat a well-balanced meal for dinner. Write down your thoughts and frustrations in your journal. Ask a friend out for coffee the next morning. Go to sleep, and sleep in.
My hope is you don’t feel like I’ve spent the last ten minutes of your life lecturing you about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. When you’re young and everyone is out partying and having fun, it’s hard to say “no” and head home. I feel you…I’ve been there. My hope instead is you take my words of wisdom and years of experience and make better and more mindful choices so you can live the life you truly deserve.
*If you’re questioning your use, you can take a test today to determine if you meet the diagnostic criteria for Alcohol Abuse or Dependence: https://www.ncadd.org/get-help/take-the-test/am-i-alcoholic-self-test If you’re concerned about your drug and/or alcohol use, please reach out for help.