Remember This Year-We Are All Connected

Often my posts are inspired by unexpected happenings. This week was one of those. Last Friday, I met a woman, Laverne, who sat next to me while I was waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and began talking about how she’d let her own health go this past year, and how she intended to make herself and her well-being a priority in 2014. She said that she planned to make time for self-care by getting her hair done (which she hadn’t in several months) and following up with exercise and diet (which she hadn’t in several years). She’d realized she was neglecting herself when she looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize herself.

I told her I was a women’s health psychologist with a focus on self-care. Then she mentioned that her mother’s birthday was Dec.22 and I said so was mine. Earlier that week I kept thinking I knew 5 people with my same birthday but it had only been four until now. As we spoke, we discovered that both our moms are 81 and that we each have sisters in town. Purely coincidence? Maybe but I think it was one of those “happy accidents” a phrase a pastor I met on a plane ride to Philly used.

I gave her my card and told her about the new Women’s Self Care Group we’ll be offering at my place in STL, Midwest Mind Body Health Center, and that she’d be welcome. Our meeting, a reminder to me that we are all connected.

“If the world is to be healed by human efforts,                                                                                                                                                      I am convinced it will be by ordinary people,                                                                                                                                                              people whose love for this life                                                                                                                                                                                                is even greater than their fear.                                                                                                                                                                                                     People who can open to the web of life                                                                                                                                                                      that called us into being,                                                                                                                                                                                                       and who can rest in the vitality of that larger body.”    

Joanna Macy

Best to each of you in 2014. Namaste.


Hope and Help for the Holidays

The holidays have arrived 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.  Take time to 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.  Experiment with creating new family traditions that don’t stir up bad memories.  If a situation becomes too negative, leave.

In need of some immediate stress relief? Then click here to view Dr. Sanford’s 5-minute mindful breathing and 15-minute body scan relaxation on YouTube.  After all, peace and love is the true meaning of the season and it starts from within.

Finally, if you’re looking for a gift for a pregnant or new or veteran mom,  preview our books on motherhood and self-care at our revamped site. While you’re there, let us know what you think of our “new look.”

Thanks for belonging to our self-care community. We wish each of you all the best at the holidays and throughout the year!

Happy Birthday Diane!


Beauty comes in many forms–and there is no form more beautiful than you. Just exactly as you are, this minute, right now, without changing a thing…you are beautiful. Beautiful enough to take God’s breath away. – Neale Donald Walsch

Welcome to the Holiday Season!?

Labor Day has come and gone, signaling the commercial commencement of “The Holidays.” Every year, I feel a little nauseous the first time I see Christmas/Hanukkah items displayed in a store in late-August/early-September. It’s sad, really. I remember a time when “holiday time” started after Halloween and consisted more of family gatherings instead of the shop-fest that it has become.

Instead of reiterating a bunch of advice about avoiding holiday stress, let me instead ask how can you make this early Fall more self-focused? The kids are off at school. Things are slowly starting to settle down. Do you find yourself settling down as well or are you immediately jumping ahead to planning Thanksgiving dinner?

One of the first pieces of advice I remember ever giving my daughter was, “Don’t believe everything you see on TV.” The same goes for all of society’s mass outlets – TV, radio, Internet and stores themselves. If the merchants were to have it their way, we’d buy back-to-school clothes, Halloween candy and costumes, huge turkey dinners, Christmas/Hanukkah gifts and holiday dinners, one right after the other. Family? What family?

As you send your kiddos off to school today, I challenge you to avoid the media – avoid the hype. See what a pre-Fall day can be like with just your thoughts about things, not influenced or controlled what you “should be” thinking forward to. Staying in the present moment is a tried-and-true method for reducing anxiety and tension. So, when you look at right now, what do you see? Thanksgiving? Christmas? Or just September 6, 2012, ready to bring you whatever it brings? This is YOUR “holiday season,” whether it’s already started or not – do what’s best for YOU and YOUR family!

Happy September!

The Law of Giving and Receiving

I just got back from a wonderful week of meditation and yoga with Deepak Chopra and the amazing Chopra Center teachers. In it, they talked about how each day corresponds to one of “7 Spiritual Laws of Success,” and ways to practice each law on a given day.

So, here’s my first gift for you-ideas from Deepak Chopra about how to put Monday’s law, the “Law of Giving” into practice.

1. Bring everyone you come in contact with today a gift. For example, a smile, compliment or hug. Be creative. Material gifts count too but research shows that affection, attention and acceptance nourish our souls most.

2.  Be grateful for all life’s gifts like the sun, the flowers and waking up in the morning. Be open to receiving gifts from others whether it’s a material gift, compliment or kind remark. Let it soak in.

3. Keep the ultimate “wealth in life” -love, affection and caring ” circulating through giving and receiving which work in unison to keep the energy of the universe flowing. Send lovingkindness silently to everyone you meet.

My second gift to you is to encourage you to sign up for the Chopra Center’s 21-Day meditation challenge “Free to Love” which starts today. Each day has a guided meditation, inspiration and practical tips about improving your health and well-being. Don’t pressure yourself about this. Be open-minded and take from it what works for you. That’s all.


May 2012 Self-Care Challenge Champions!

Since many of us (Stacey and I included) won’t be celebrating the 4th with fireworks because our dry, hot weather has turned the country into a fire hazard, we wanted to find an alternate way to celebrate. So, we decided to announce the winners of our May Self-Care Challenge!

No, we didn’t forget! But as many moms know, May and June are jam-packed and sometimes life gets in the way of our best intentions. Now that the madness has slowed down, we are excited to announce our winners although any woman who practices self-care is a winner to us.

1. Manicure courtesy of MamaSpace: Sue S.

2. gift card courtesy of Angie L.

3. Books and t-shirt courtesy of Postpartum Support International: Mamingwa

4. Pedicure kit courtesy of Linda Meyer: Julie

Congratulations to each of you, not only for winning a prize, but for living self-care. And in spite of the heat, Happy 4th!


Stacey bravely does her motherly duties at DisneyWorld. Who knew Nemo was such a MAN? 😉

Dads Matter Too!

We pay a lot of attention and respect to moms, why can’t we do the same for dads? Father’s Day is a great way to start.

Father’s Day isn’t just another “Hallmark Holiday.” It’s a time to honor the other
half of the parenting equation. While there are exceptions to that equation – mainly single moms, families with two moms or no parent left at all – dads can and really do play a key role in their children’s lives.

Dads shouldn’t be passed over or forgotten. Unfortunately over the last 10
years, moms have been the primary focus. I think this causes an imbalance in
the parenting “force.” Fathers not only add balance to a child’s life, but they help
prepare them for adulthood, push and challenge their envelopes and yes, even offer a man’s point of view. It all adds up to dads fostering positive development in their kids. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with that.

I don’t claim that all dads are perfect or are as responsible as they should or could be. We have to accept that we don’t live in a perfect world – a world where all parents, moms and dads alike — are amazing or the relationships are spotless.
All relationships take hard work, especially parenting. However, it’s important to
remember that dads are an integral part in raising children, too.

I’d like to add that there are all kinds of families out there. There is no right or
wrong way to be a family. It doesn’t matter if there are two moms, two dads, one
mom, one dad, no mom or dad, or even the grandparents raising the children.
Family, the entity itself is what matters. Family is as family does.

This Father’s Day, take the time to honor those who raised you and if you’re a dad yourself, kudos to you for a job well done!

Today’s author is Mollee Bauer, founder of, the premiere online site for info about health and wellness during pre-conception, pregnancy and motherhood. Please visit her at

Self-Care Challenge Day 5: Interior/Exterior

I never understood – in fact, I always had a problem with – airline instructions of putting on an oxygen mask on yourself first, then on to others … that is not until Saturday when my friend came over. The more she talked, the more apparent it became that she was stretched so thin and was so frazzled in her pursuit of perfection at work and parenting, that she was miserable. Then it clicked; she needed to put her oxygen mask on first. She needed to take care of herself first to be better in other areas of her life…but so do I. May is my month of improvement. I didn’t pick one technique; I chose all and try (and I say try) every day to remind myself that all these things were important – I was putting on my oxygen mask first.

I was so thrilled to be asked to write a guest post as I feel strongly in women’s self care. Since my blog,, expresses my love of interior design, what better place than to start at home? A warm, welcoming retreat has a ripple effect in one’s overall well-being and life. Even animals need their dens and nests. I find the atmosphere in my home the most essential thing to my ability to relax. Chaos in my space unwittingly leads to chaos in my mind. Colors, styles, textures, art and tastes are very personal and each person has a visceral reaction to them. The key is finding what speaks to you so you can be soothed mentally, physically and spiritually.

I’d like to give a visual of what I mean, but without commentary so that you can feel the rooms and see what you respond to:

Surround yourself with what you love
Darker and bolder
Vibrant color
Whitest whites

Pale and soothing


Our guest blogger, Kearney, is the author of A Detailed House, a blog that shares tips and anecdotes about interior design and life with 2 young daughters.