Smell the Roses

On Friday, I went to see my breast surgeon and get my annual mammogram. Although I thought everything would be okay, I was ecstatic when I left her office with the news that I am still cancer free. These experiences always make me think about how grateful I am to wake up each day and be in good health-body, mind and spirit.

As a psychologist, I see so many people struggle with living in the wreckage of the future or regretting the past when all we have is this moment and making it the best we can. As a breast cancer survivor of two and one-half years, I know what it’s like to be faced with the reality of losing your life. Even on my worst days, I try to remain mindful of the gift that I am still alive and it gives me hope and calm.

If you live in the St. Louis area, I’ll be offering a workshop at The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves about “Women, Mindfulness and Mood” where I’ll be sharing my professional guidance and personal insights about this. Here’s the link and info below if you want to register.

Register here!

Women, Mindfulness, & Mood: Workshop with Dr. Diane Sanford

March 21 @ 6:30 pm8:00 pm

$25.00

“Join us for another of Dr. Sanford’s amazing workshops – these sell out quickly and space is very limited.

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Because as women our minds, hormones and lives are constantly changing, we need to learn a set of coping skills that will help us weather life’s storms. Mindfulness practice that teaches us to calm our mind and re-inhabit our body is a time-proven skillset for easing stress, anxiety and worry. Join Dr. Sanford for this introductory session to her Stress Less Live Better mindfulness-based program that instructs you on how to do this.”

 

This week, keep track of one thing you’re grateful for each day and see how you feel when you do. Until next time, all the best. Namaste.

 

 

Meal Prep Mastery for Moms: Free Online Series

Hello. Dr. Diane here. Hope your week is off to a good start. I met this fabulous mom who loves food and feeding her family without it becoming overwhelming and stressful. When she asked me to introduce her new mealprepmasteryformoms.com and participate in her expert summit to kick off her series, of course, I said yes.

As moms, we pretty much run the household, right? From laundry to dishes to bandaging scraped elbows, we often feel like we’re all things to all people … which is why, when it comes to cooking, so many of us feel burned out, tired, and maybe even resentful. We want to feed our kids healthy meals, but by the time it’s time to cook dinner, the kitchen is the last place we want to be.

Good news: it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right tools, information, and advice, you can learn to love the kitchen (and cooking in it) again—while you make quick, healthy meals your family will actually eat without complaining!

My friend Nichole Teering, nutritionist, is offering a complimentary interview series starting February 12 to show you how. It’s called Meal Prep Mastery for Moms, and it brings together more than 20 experts in cooking and nutrition, including me, to give you our expert advice on feeding your family well—without hating the process.

Grab your spot here, at no cost: mealprepmasteryformoms.com for tips and helpful hints to regain your Health AND Your Sanity-while feeding your family well.

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Remember, that mindful eating and food prep is a great way to ease stress and redirect your attention. For Nichole’s interview with me about my new program Stress Less Live Better and how to make self-care and mindfulness part of your daily routine, click on the following link: https://mealprepmasteryformoms.com/drdianesanford. Namaste.

 

Quick Sale on my new book!

stress less live better
From now until February 14th you can get $5.00 off my new book, Stress Less Live Better: 5 Simple Steps to Ease Anxiety, Worry and Self-Criticism, with the code StressLess at checkout on the Praeclarus Press website! Don’t miss out!

Register Now for Mindfulness in Everyday Life Workshop!

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Spots are filling up quickly for Dr. Sanford’s Mindfulness in Everyday Life Workshop, so visit novel neighbor.com or call (314) 738-9384 to reserve your spot! Admission is $20 dollars and includes a copy of Dr. Sanford’s new book, Stress Less Live Better, a healthy snack and 90-minutes of mindfulness practice. Don’t miss out!

Stress Less Live Better in 2018

New Year’s is often the time for people making changes in their lives. While we start the year with good intentions to exercise more or eat healthier, by the end of January or February many of us are discouraged, give up and resume our unhealthy habits.

My intention for you and myself this year is to offer small bite-size changes you can make in your life to help you stress less and live better in 2018. When I was in my early adulthood, there was a movie What About Bob? in which Bill Murray played a man with severe anxiety determined to overcome it. He did this by taking “baby steps” to achieve his goals like getting on the bus or going sailing. By the end of the movie, he was anxiety-free and in love with his life.

Although in real life we don’t change so much so soon, Murray’s taking “baby steps” is a good example for us to follow. So, here’s where you can begin. This week when you start worrying or feeling stressed, stop, close your eyes, take 3 deep breaths and give your mind and body a chance to reset. Its’ that simple. You can also practice when you’re stopped at a stoplight or waiting for your kids in carpool line. If 3 breaths isn’t enough, you can go for 10 deep breaths but don’t exceed that.

Remember, to stress less and live better we have to commit ourselves to consistent attainable goals. As they say “The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.”

If you want to take the deep breathing one step further, click here for the link to my professionally guided Comfort Stone exercise. To order a copy of my newest book, Stress Less Live Better: Five Simple Steps to Ease Anxiety, Worry and Self-Criticism, click here.

After Christmas Prescription: Rest and Restore + Upcoming Talk at Novel Neighbor

I was visiting with my cousin at my mother’s annual holiday party when he commented to me he was glad to have “endured” Christmas. I told him that once his children were older, like mine who are now 29 and 25, he would enjoy the holiday more. I recalled how I felt after decorating, shopping, wrapping, and celebrating with the girls in tow, and how my joy was tempered by exhaustion.

Our self-care tip this post-holiday week is to rest and recharge your battery.  Don’t put pressure on yourself for playdates, taking the children out or visiting friends and family unless that’s easier for you. Resist preparing  gourmet meals, downloading holiday pictures or catching up on errands. You have the entire  year ahead.

What to do instead? Rest. Restore. Recharge. No child has ever died from a diet of hot dogs and macaroni. In fact, many of them prefer it. They will gladly wear the same clothes and don’t care if their rooms are a mess. Also, let them entertain themselves.  What about the new toys they took seconds to unwrap? They can play with them!

For a healthy and happy new year, you need to have the energy to enjoy it. As Ann and I always say, you must keep your pitcher filled to take care of yourself and those you love.  Don’t run yourself ragged like little Spudgy and miss out on the fun. Give yourself a break this week. You deserve it. And get some sleep.

If you’re looking for another way to rest and recharge after the holidays, come to my Mindfulness in Everyday Life Workshop at The Novel Neighbor! Here’s more information:

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Three Steps to Teachable Holiday Moments + New podcast

The holidays often suck us into the gimmes, just like our kids, as we make the holidays happen. We easily lose track of the underlying message of the season for our kids. Consider these focused activities to reconnect with the holiday lessons:

1) CHOOSE actively, in line with your values. Stop and consider what you want to teach about the holiday season. You might want to say no if an event is too commercial, or detracts from planned family time. It’s fine to focus on fun–and opt out if an event is more drudgery or duty than pleasure. This is your holiday, too, and you have the right to celebrate it in a way that is meaningful and enjoyable for you. What a good example for your children!

2) INVOLVE everyone in the process of giving, helping small children pick out toys for the holiday toy drive, donate from their piggy banks to the bell ringer at the grocery, or make macaroni necklaces for favorite aunts or sitters. Older children might perform a chore, or sing/perform on an instrument for neighbors, visiting family, or residents of a senior living community.

3) READ one book about your spiritual perspective and traditions nightly. Every library has a children’s librarian eager to suggest new (or old favorite) titles. On the subject of reading, consider a classic book as a gift each year. Building a personal library for a child fosters a lifelong love of reading, one value to focus on that continues throughout the year.

Here’s a holiday gift to you! New podcast on Mindful Perinatal Coping

How to Stress Less and Live Better During the Holidays

The holidays are here with fun-filled and stress-filled times sandwiched together, not unlike raising children, work, marriage and other life pursuits. So, here are some recommendations to make the holidays calmer and happier.

First, have realistic expectations of yourself.  Many of us feel disappointed because our “fairytale images” don’t materialize. Instead, focus on feeling good from the inside out.  Build a fire and roast marshmallows, shop with a friend, or take a long walk in the woods.  Meditate, workout, read, or  listen to music.  Feed your soul.

Second, have realistic expectations of others.  No one’s family or friends are perfect, and the holidays won’t change this.  Since we can’t change them, we need to rely on ourselves to gather what’s positive and let go of the negative.  Create new family traditions so they don’t stir up bad memories.  If a situation becomes too negative, leave.

Likewise, don’t take relationship stress too personally. If your partner snaps about household clutter because they’re stringing Christmas lights while baking cookies, understand it’s their problem.  Don’t let them take their bad mood out on you but don’t react poorly either.  After all, love is the true intention of the season and it starts with you. Don’t take things personally and you’re more likely to remain kind.

To read more about how you can Stress Less and Live Better all year, check out my new book for guided exercises and questions for reflection. Follow me at Twitter and Facebook for conversation and support.