State of Your Life – 2020

Are you a fan of New Year’s Resolutions? It seems like they have fallen out of favor in the last few years. Instead, folks seem to be making “life/relationship/parenting/etc goals.” Perhaps that’s the same thing as making a list of resolutions, but sounds better and more do-able? Who knows.

No matter what you call it, it can be useful to slow down this time of year and spend some time thinking about 2019. How did it go? What did you do? What didn’t you do? Like a State of Your Life recap. I’m thinking about things like:

  • How are you using social media?
  • How do you feel about the words and actions you engage in everyday?
  • What’s the state of the relationships in your life?
  • How’s your self confidence? Overall mental health?
  • What do you do with your free time?
  • Are you taking care of your body in the way you’d like to?
  • Is your work life where you’d like it to be?

You get the idea.

Once you think through the State of Your Life, what are you hoping for in 2020? Are there things you’d like to do differently? Try picking one area and start making some small changes. Not sure where to start? Call an expert, read a book, or listen to a podcast for help.

Happy 2020!

Resources for Farm Stress

I was reading an article recently about Farm Stress, and the overall mental health crisis that is going on within our country’s farming communities. The pain and suffering is real, and very upsetting.

While I am not a farmer or rancher, I can try to understand the extreme conditions of the job: It’s physically dangerous, unpredictable because of weather, crop prices, and international relationships. Farmers are also making up a smaller and smaller portion of our population (less than 2%), and tend to be more geographically spread out than in years past. All of these factors – and others – combine to create a pressure-cooker of stress.

People are taking notice, however, and working hard to help those who are suffering. I discovered some wonderful resources through North Dakota State University. Here’s one:

And another:

For more information on farm stress and how to cope, check out this article:

Bullies In The Lunchroom? Helping Your Kids Stand Up For Their Tuna

Teasing can happen anywhere.  And so can it’s meaner, more serious cousin bullying.  As most any kid can tell you, the lunch hour can be a stressful one.  Who to sit with? Buy lunch or bring lunch? How to deal with the mean lunch lady? How to cope when making friends and conversation don’t come easily? What to do when weight and food are struggles? Leave campus or eat in the cafeteria? Ugh. The dilemmas are endless.  Unfortunately so are the possibilities for conflict.

I wrote the following article over at Produce for Kids about how to help your kids when they are being bullied about what is in their lunchbox.  Seem far-fetched and like it never happens? Ask the kids in your life, and I bet they will tell you otherwise.

Dealing with Lunchroom Bullies: Produce for Kids

Dealing with Lunchroom Bullies: Produce for Kids

The Holiday Season & Mental Health Emergencies

As I noted in my last post, the holidays can be tough.  For some of us it can be a season of financial stress, sugar-cookie and waistline anxiety, and family annoyances.  For others of us, this season can be a time of very serious depression.

I was recently in San Francisco and took this picture:

I had never seen anything like it before – a sign for crisis counseling?!? I immediately saw the reason (notice the Golden Gate Bridge in the background), but also started to wonder what it would be like if there were such services available everywhere.  What would the world be like if we were never more than a mile or two from someone who could really help?  A better, less lonely, less isolated world I say.  One where I would like to be.

If you, or someone you know could use an ear this time of year, here are a few places where you can find someone to talk to:

American Psychological Association, Psychologist Locator

The Trevor Lifeline (Specializing in LGBTQ Youth) 866-488-7386

Kristin Brooks Hope Center 800-442-HOPE

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255


If you are a business owner or school leader, consider posting a sign with the above information for those in need this holiday season – and all year ’round!


New York Times: What Brand Is Your Therapist?

This article came out in yesterday’s New York Times.  In it the author, Lori Gottlieb writes about some changes and innovations in the field of psychotherapy.  I was lucky enough to be interviewed for the article and have a quote in the middle of the article.  Check it out here.  I am still working on writing up my thoughts about the ideas presented in the article.  Hint: I’m not sure I agree with Ms. Gottlieb’s conclusions.  Stay tuned!

New York Times: 11/25/2012

Stressed? Take a Hike!

Last spring I was interviewed for this article in the Yuma Sun. I have to be honest, I never would have thought of starting a nature club with my family had the reporter, Chris McDaniel, given me the idea.  After reading the article and the ideas provided, I think it sounds like a lot of fun!  Here’s a quote:

“Sometimes we as parents think that we need to spend lots of money or drive long distances to find things our kids will think are fun. This is rarely the case. Most kids just like to spend time with their parents doing something together. This can be a simple walk around the block, or an exploration trip at the nearest park.”

I gave this quote in the spring, but it seems particularly pertinent this time of year with the holidays – and all the craziness that accompanies them – right around the corner.  Just last night I started to feel a little hint of holiday stress when I caught a glimpse of a kids clothing catalog and started summing up the cash for three coordinating outfits for my kids.  I think I might be taking my own advice today and ditch the expensive things we don’t really need, and head out for a walk in the fall leaves instead.

Yuma Sun April 2012

The Debate, DU, and School Pride

I am going to tell you something I don’t normally divulge – who I was rooting for in last night’s presidential debate.  The University of Denver! I am bursting with pride this morning at the coverage given to, and the job done by my graduate school alma mater.  DU has been prepping for this event for a long time and they did a super job!

When I attended DU, it seemed like few people had heard of it – apart from their awesome Men’s Ice Hockey Team.  My, how things have changed.  Condoleeza Rice is a grad which brought DU’s International Studies program recognition; and Colorado is now center-stage as a “swing state” in this election.  It feels pretty good to be getting noticed for something other than our mountains and snow for once (even though they are pretty great, too).  And while the political rhetoric can be stressful and anxiety-provoking, I feel glad that at least for last night’s election I could focus on something purely positive – pride in my state and my school.  Go Pioneers!

Those were the days…

Psychotherapy: It Works

Full-disclosure: I work closely with the American Psychological Association (APA) as the Public Education Coordinator for Colorado, and in other capacities.  I think they are generally a great organization which does important work for psychologists AND the public.  APA works for mental health treatment, and stands up for the rights of psychologists in the US (and Canada, actually).  As awesome as I think the organization is, it rarely has a sense of humor.  So imagine my delight when I watched this new video.  Funny, a bit irreverent, and right on the money in terms of psychotherapy vs. meds – it is worth a minute of your time.

A Romantic Lunch Date

Most folks who have been in a romantic relationship lasting more than a year or two are looking for ways to keep things exciting, fresh, and romantic.  I had forgotten about this old post of mine until I saw some excerpts pop up on  I think I had some good ideas for squeezing in a quick romantic lunch with your sweetie.  Thanks for sharing my post, rockinmarriage!  And thanks for reminding us that “Having a romantic lunch date can feel much more illicit and adventurous and it also reduces some of the stress of trying to find time and make arrangements for a date night.” on 9/14/12

Do Your Friends Add Up?

Photo by NBC

A friend of mine was recently telling me about a tough time she had been having for the last several months. She told me about her stressors with some health issues, some financial concerns she and her partner were having, and the annoyance she was feeling about her poorly-behaved dog.  After she explained all these ailments, she noted that as bad as those were, her “friends” were even worse.

“You wouldn’t believe how they drain me!” she said.  “I realized that far too many of my friends take and take from me, and I never get anything back!”  She explained that on her journey back towards mental health, she forced herself to take stock of her relationships, assigning each person a point value. Negative values were assigned to those who made her feel bad, unhappy, or poorly about herself.  Positive values were assigned to those who helped her feel more like the person she wanted to be (kind, strong, loving, intelligent).

Now, it may sound a little harsh, scoring your friends on what they add or subtract from your life, but I love her idea.  Too often we hang onto relationships we wish would be better, hope would be closer, or feel desperate to change.  And I’m not just talking about romantic relationships – more often these are friendships with old high school friends, a neighbor, or a parent of a child’s friend.

No relationship is perfect, but one that drains for a long period of time can be downright damaging.  Maybe it’s time to take stock of the people in your life and see how they add up?