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Learning to Embrace the Change

Welcome to spring 2020.  While we are supposed to be enjoying the extra daylight and warmer temperatures, worldwide, instead we are muddling through unprecedented times together.  On March 11, 2020 when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, things got real.

At the time of writing, the ‘lucky ones’ are working from home while simultaneously teaching their children. The ‘unlucky ones’ are furloughed or now filing for unemployment and anxiously awaiting their stimulus checks. With all change, comes uncertainty, confusion, pain, and anxiety. Change also brings on, in very real terms, financial burdens, job losses, schedule changes, insomnia, unprocessed trauma, panic attacks, and mental health breakdowns.  

To weather this storm, we are required to be flexible, dependable, adaptable, intelligent, and calm… how’s that going for you? According to the news, my social worker colleagues, my friends, and my social media feed, as a nation and world, we are not doing well with this unwelcome and untimely change.

So, let’s talk about change for a minute.  Change can come into our lives in many ways. It can arrive as a beautiful baby, a diamond engagement ring, or a corner office suite.  Change, of course, can also arrive as a debilitating health diagnosis, the discovery of an extra-martial affair, or passing of a loved one too soon.

Additionally, change can happen at an individual level, across a community or particular subculture or change can impact the entire world. In the case of COVID-19, change is happening at many levels. Because this change moved upon us quickly, and has deadly consequences, you are likely to feel its presence with intensity.

It is key to remember that change, itself, is not inherently bad, it is just different. However, for many millions of people change causes anxiety. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 40 million American adults are already diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  And, now, many of us are feeling anxiety for the very first time or in a very different way given the stats on this virus and changing economy. 

So, why does change bring on anxiety? Because, our brains are wired to protect us and the primal brain interprets change as danger. Thus, we feel anxious when we are thrust into change because it feels dangerous. Add to that our inherent fear of death and we have real recipe for disaster. Whether that proverbial disaster is real or imagined, it feels like the world is ending. However, I am here to offer hope. The purpose of writing this piece is to offer you a different perspective on change, anxiety, and COVID-19.

I am a certified Seasons of Change Coach.  This means I use nature and the seasons to help my clients understand change.  Using the seasons gives us a roadmap for the process of change.  It also allows us to understand exactly where we are in the change cycle. For many clients, just understanding their experience within the framework of the seasons allows them to breathe easier and it instills hope.  Hope comes from understanding where you’ve been, how you got there, where you are today, and where you are going.  

We are all experiencing change right now, and so, we are all entering the season of fall. I wrote a blog giving an in-depth explanation of the Seasons of Change model, which you can read here, but for the purpose of today’s message, I will give you a very brief overview of the model. 

Summer

Think of summer as the season of hope and plenty. You are enjoying the fruits of your labor. It’s the time when everything in life is working well. You are calm, happy, and your thoughts are positive. The feeling of summer often comes with career promotions, a new baby, or an engagement. But, just as in nature, summer cannot last forever. Fall is coming.

Fall

When change enters, we are entering our own season of fall. Just as the leaves change color and the days become darker, so to does this happen in life when we experience major change. At the time of writing, the novel coronavirus is our catalyst for change but the change catalyst could also be: a divorce, retirement, a relapse into alcoholism, relocation, or the death of your pet. In fall, we take our cues from the squirrels and field mice- it’s a time to gather our resources for the winter.  Fall is time for accepting and integrating that change has arrived. Following fall, comes winter.

Winter

Winter is that time when we may feel overwhelmed by grief, lethargic, or depressed. Winter feels like it will never end, but it will. It always does. You will feel tired and you will prefer isolation over socialization. Just as a bear hibernates in winter, so will you. You will know that your season of winter is ending when you have a little more energy or you start reaching out to friends again. Just as in nature, winter is followed by spring.

Spring

Spring has a creative, hopeful, energizing feel to it. You will know you’re embracing spring when you start to cultivate ideas for your new life. You will also start to notice the colorful flower popping through the dark terrain and songbirds outside your windows- maybe they ahve been there a while but you just did not notice them. Your perspective on life is changing- in a good way.  Just remember that whatever caused this change last fall, has changed you forever. This means your new life will look different than it did last fall. Spring is a time for experimenting with your new identity in the new world. 

Summer

And, alas, we are back at summer. You will, once again, feel alive, happy, capable and confident. Things will, again, be steady and harmonious until the next major life change. Remember, change is an ever- moving cycle of life. We cannot and will not stay in one season indefinitely. 

Now that you have a framework for the Seasons of Change model, let’s get back to talking about the season of fall because we are in all fall thanks to COVID-19.  Fall often brings about feelings of anxiety. Remember, we already learned that our brains interpret change as danger so it is normal to feel some level of anxiety when we go through a major life transition. Within the past month all of us have been thrust, unwilling, into this major change. So now what? Now, as we are entering fall, we must adequately prepare ourselves for winter.  Here’s a simple list of dos and don’ts.

DO:

  • Acknowledge that change is happening
  • Feel your feelings; expressing them allows you to release them. Not sure how? Ask me!
  • Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally by reaching out to friends, family and professionals like life coaches and psychotherapists
  • Gather and take stock of your financial resources- review your budget, eliminate waste, and secure your investments as best you can
  • Update your resume, make sure your LinkedIn profile is professional and complete, reach out to old colleagues. Make professional connections in preparation for any unforeseen work changes
  • Review your options, gather information, assess the situation from all angles.
  • Take time for integration of the news, the changes, and your new options
  • Create a safe place for reflection. This may be a physical location in your house where you can light a candle and meditate or it might be a ritual like journaling each morning. Find a system that works for your personal situation.

DO NOT:

  • Deny that change is happening.  Denial will definitely lead you further into trouble.
  • Make a change now, if it’s within your power. Fall is a time for integrating that the change is coming or has already happened. Now is a time to gather resources and assessment, not taking  major actions, if possible.
  • Make hasty changes out of fear. Yes, you are scared and yes you need a job. But to the degree that you can, try not to jump hastily from the ‘pot into the fire’. Ensure your basic needs are met and from there continue to assess your options.
  • Isolate yourself.  This is not a time for going solo on or relying solely on your own perspective. This is a time for building your tribe or seeking wise guidance from trusted sources.

It’s a normal human response to want to restore balance in our lives when something changes.  But, just because it is normal, it does not necessarily mean it is good for us. We may want to jump into a new relationship as soon as our divorce papers are signed or we eagerly want to accept the first job offer after a week of job searching but it does not mean we should. The most important thing to remember about the season of fall is that life is changing and our new life will not look like our old life. When we rush to restore balance or replace our old partner with a new one, we are trying to get our old life back. The seasons only move in one direction and so too does our cycle of change.  Next fall will not be a repeat of last fall. Yes, there will be similarities but they will not be identical because we are changing professionally and personally as we grow from each new experience and each preceding season of life.

When we attach to a fixed mindset, rather than a growth mindset, we miss a huge opportunity for growth, personal development, and abundance.  Yes, we all want the world to return to its pre-coronavirus state, but that is not possible. So, embrace that the change has happened and take time now to integrate what this means for you on a personal, professional, and global level.

It is crucial to remember that change brings about possibilities that you have not yet seen or imagined. Right now, you can only see the bad, ugly, scary side of change but that’s not the whole truth.  The whole truth of this change has yet to be revealed. Now is the time to trust the process of change. Think of a sleeping bear; when he goes into hibernation, he does not worry about sleeping through spring, he knows that in the right time, he will wake up and remerge into activity.  Or, think of caterpillars. They move through the seasons of their lives only to transform into a beautiful, limitless butterflies. Imagine if they resisted change… can you imagine a world without butterflies?

If you are wondering how this current transition could possibly have a silver lining, think about another major life transition you have gone through. What occurred that you did not foresee?  If you lost your job, did you land another new career with even better hours and benefits?  If you went through a divorce, did you discover strength and grit you didn’t know you possessed?  If you suffered an illness that prevented you from hiking and canoeing, did you discover new hobbies like writing and singing?  Yes, you will feel a sense of loss in this time, but you will also discover something new and unseen. This time requires perseverance, agility, a hopeful perspective and maybe even a little faith.  

Carrie Mead, MS
Curiosity Life Coaching
Westminster, MD

If you would like to know more about how to successfully navigate whatever major life transition you are facing, reach out. If something written here resonates with you, reach out. If you want to learn more about how to use the seasons as your guide for change, reach out. I would be happy to guide you through the steps necessary to live a fearlessly abundant life, even in the midst of change. I can teach you how to weather these storms, become stronger and fearless, and how to thrive once again.  Schedule your free consultation today.

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Carrie is a Certified Seasons of Change Coach. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Use Discernment in Your Marriage.

Discernment is defined as the ability to judge well.  This is a beautiful and simple definition of an elegant term. It is clear and precise. It is impossible to be confused about what it means to use discernment with a definition like this. However, when your marriage or partnership is on the rocks, you will feel anything but clear and precise about the unspoken decisions you need to make.

A million questions invade your conscious and subconscious thoughts.  Do I stay and fight for my marriage? Do I walk away and cut my losses? Is she/ he the one? Why did I marry him anyway?   Is this normal?  What if I die alone?  How will I manage on my own?  Can we work this out?  Would counseling help?  Why doesn’t he love me? How did we end up like this?  Am I worthy of more?  Do I deserve this?  Why didn’t anyone tell me this would be so hard?   I could go on and on but you get the point. 

During the day you are exhausted yet, at night, you are unable to sleep.  Concentration is nearly impossible, your thoughts are racing, your head hurts, and you have not eaten well in weeks. Your relationship has taken a very sharp left turn. Maybe you saw it coming or maybe it hit you out of the blue. Either way, it is extremely difficult and painful.  Your heart literally hurts. You now fully understand the term ‘heartache’.

There have been some indicators along the way that you and your partner are heading into difficult terrain.  Perhaps fighting has increased, or worse yet, you stop talking and now rely on the silent treatment.  Perhaps you attempt to spend as much time out of the home as possible to avoid conflict.  Maybe you have started sleeping in separate bedrooms and spending more time at the gym under the false pretense that you need to ‘find yourself’.  Maybe you have started stashing some cash aside ‘just in case’.  

How did we get here?

Preceding these red flags, you have probably noticed that your marriage was more like living with a messy, distant, roommate than a soulmate.  You may have noticed that when you are actually speaking to your spouse, you are only pointing out his flaws. Or, perhaps, she is only fixated on your quirks and annoying habits; those very things that once attracted her to you. Compliments, laughter, gentle touch, and inside jokes are long gone.  You and your spouse barely know each other anymore. And, worse yet, you barely know yourself.

The question still remains. Do I stay or do I go? You will wonder if separation is your only option. Back to discernment; the ability to judge well. How do you make a judgment on such a complex subject?

Discernment calls us to take a step back. It begs us to pause; breathe; reflect.  Discernment is not fast, impulsive, nor greedy. Discernment is slow, thoughtful, and knowing. Discernment requires a deep reflection of self.  To do this, consider some of the questions below. Sit in quiet contemplation. Journal, write, pray. Talk to trusted friends and wise mentors. Read books. Sit some more. Do not react to every emotion.  Be proactive.  Consider these powerful questions for a long while. There is no award for hastiness. Be intentional, curious, and open-minded. This is how you begin to discern if you should stay or go.

  • What are my values?
  • What are my dreams?
  • What do I stand for and what I am willing to sacrifice for my beliefs?
  • Who am I?
  • Am I safe here and what is safety to me?
  • What are my flaws?
  • What are my boundaries and what is totally unacceptable behavior from myself or others?
  • Where am I not seeing clearly?
  • Where am I seeing clearly but ignoring my intuition?
  • What is my contribution to this current predicament? 
  • Where could I extend mercy instead of judgement?
  • What can I do to repair myself and my relationship?
  • Is there an opportunity for me to forgive, make amends, or correct a past wrong? 
  • Am I willing to extend forgiveness to my partner?
  • What am I willing to change for the good of my marriage and family?
  • Does this decision align with my culture, my family, and my faith? Does this matter to me?
  • What will I gain by leaving?
  • What will I gain by staying?
  • Am I showing respect?  Am I respected?
  • How can I see this differently?
  • What will I lose by going? 
  • How is this relationship impacting my physical health, mental health & spiritual life?
  • What am I to learn from this?
  • Am I repeating a pattern of maladaptive behavior?
  • Is fear or love driving my decision?
  • What is love and how I do express and receive it?
  • What can I do today to make a change for the better?
Who Am I?

This is how we use discernment when we are faced with the agonizing decision about divorce. After we aimlessly throw money and worry at the problem; after we have endured countless sleepless nights; after we ruin our credit by spending frivolously; after we chase external happiness, we must lean into this dilemma. This is an internal dilemma which requires the mind, body, heart, and soul to work in unison. When we are finally ready to face our reality and even accept where we are on this journey of life, then, and only then, can we move towards discernment.

It is my hope that you treat this decision with the care and consideration it deserves. While divorce rates are lowering in the US, they are still astonishingly high. Research indicates there are many negative impacts of divorce on our children and our own physical health and mental wellbeing.  But yet, still, we divorce.

This March, make a decision to seek discernment.  Research indicates that January, March, and August are amongst the top months when we seek divorce.  The holidays are over, nothing has improved, and your credit card debt is mounting. Valentine’s Day was a joke and you cannot bear to face another hopeless anniversary. This particular March, March 2020, we are also faced with a failing economy, travel bans, and job losses due to COVID-19. Stress is high. If your partnership was already being tested, this environment could easily push to react hastily.   

Lean into discernment. Hit Pause. Get to know yourself again. This decision can wait until you have a crystal clear, objective, perspective on the situation.  Seek guidance from those you trust. Learn to trust yourself again, too.

As a caveat, I want to directly and very clearly speak to those of you involved in abusive relationships. Abuse can be emotional, physical, or sexual; and it is never okay. Being manipulated, physically struck, restricted in your movements, isolated from friends, threatened (whether carried out or not), and forced into sexual relationships against your deepest desires is abuse. If this resonates with you, I understand that you are scared, alone, and feeling hopeless.  Please reach out to any of the resources listed in the footnotes to get access to the help you need.   When you are involved in an abusive relationship, time is of the essence. While self-reflection and discernment will be part of your healing journey, your safety is the top priority.

If you think this cannot possibly be you, just know that accoring to RAINN, nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime and, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. It could very easily be you. Or someone you know could be suffering in silence.

Carrie Mead, MS
Curiosity Life Coaching

If something written here resonates with you or strikes a deep emotion (negative or positive), you can reach out to me. I would be happy to guide you through the steps necessary to live a value-aligned life, even in the face of a failing marriage. I can teach you how to trust yourself, become more mindful, more peaceful, and more loving in the face of adversity. I can empower you to care for yourself without guilt, shame, or anxiety. Schedule your free consultation today.  

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com

Footnotes and Resources for Intimate Partner Abuse

www.thehotline.org

https://vawnet.org/

http://www.breakthecycle.org/

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Do I need a life coach or a therapist?

As a psychotherapist and life coach, people always ask me the difference between my two roles. People are always curious about what I do. They are also want to know how to discern what they need. Basically, is their problem coachable or therapeutic in nature?

So, with this blog, I want to address frequently asked questions about the differences between psychotherapy and life coaching. It’s not uncommon for people to confuse these two professions and to be sure, similarities do exist. However, these professions are not interchangeable. These waters can become even murkier as many counselors, like me, are practicing as both licensed counselors and life coaches. However, when you hire a coach with a Masters in Counseling, like me, you can rest assured that the foundation of our work together is rooted in my innate understanding of the human psyche.

It’s important to note that as a potential client, you are not expected to know exactly what you need. As a trained professional, I am here to guide you to the right service based on your needs, capabilities, and desires. That is where my expertise comes in. In any event, it’s still important to be an informed consumer so I have laid out these simple bullet points to help guide you through the decision making process.

Differences between counseling and coaching

  • Coaching sessions are focused on the agenda set by the client
  • Coaching is action-oriented and results-driven
  • Coaching takes place in the here and now, not in the past
  • Coaching assumes that you are resilient, strong, capable and healthy
  • Coaching focuses on aligning your strengths with your stated goals
  • Coaching assumes that you are the expert of your own life purpose
  • Coaching is a collaborative process
  • Coaching is credentialed in many different ways by many governing bodies but in reality, no certification or credential is required to call oneself a coach
  • Coaching can take place by phone, video or in-person across the USA or worldwide

VS

  • Therapy is process-oriented
  • Therapy focuses on emotions, behaviors and thoughts and the root of these feelings
  • Therapy helps the client relate current situations to past traumas or learned experiences
  • Therapy assesses for and diagnoses mental health disorders
  • Therapy provides treatment for mental health disorders
  • Therapists are trained at the Masters Level and are required to be licensed by their state in almost every state in the USA. Each state has its own regulation and requirements, all are rigorous to ensure client safety
  • Therapy is often considered “medically necessary” and is covered by health insurance
  • Therapy is a medical model which is governed by the laws of HIPAA
  • Therapy can only take place in person or by secure video; most therapy laws prohibit the use of many technologies
  • The therapist is often considered the expert within the relationship
  • The practice of therapy or counseling is regulated by the state board in each state across the USA. A therapist may only practice or do counseling with a client who is located in the state in which the therapist is licensed.

Similarities between counseling and coaching

  • Both professions require specialized training, certifications, course work, internships, and in-vivo field practice
  • Both professions have the same inherent goal of assisting clients create fulfilling lives
  • Both coaches and therapists are highly trained, empathetic, and intelligent
  • Both professions recognize and honor that each person is different and that there is no ‘one size fits all’ recipe for healing and success
  • Both professions adhere to ethical guidelines which foster safety within the relationship

It’s the job of the coach to help you, the client, understand these differences so that you choose the appropriate service for your needs. As the consumer, you are entitled to understand what coaching is, and is not, so that you can knowledgeably enter the coaching contract. In traditional psychotherapy, we would make this part of the informed consent process. A thorough initial phone call or video call should include: establishing rapport, assessing your readiness for coaching and explaining the limitations of coaching.

It’s my belief that both coaching and therapy are vital and helpful services for many people. There is no ‘better’ or ‘less than’ helping profession. It’s actually this diversity that allows us to have access to the services we need most at a particular time in life.

If you would like to explore the possibility of life coaching or counseling with me, please set up an appointment here. I provide mental health therapy in the state of Maryland only and you can find out more about my counseling philosophy here.

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting http://www.curiositylifecoaching.com

“Just as the boat is guided to shore by careful planning, following the map and visualizing the light house, we too must have these tools to reach our goals. Without preparation, planning and a vision of the future we are just afloat in the sea at the mercy of the winds”

Carrie Mead, MS
Curiosity Life Coaching

Curiosity Life Coaching

Carrie Mead, MS
Transitions Life Coach
Curiosity Life Coaching

As a psychotherapist and life coach, people always ask me the difference between my two roles. People are always curious about what I do. They are also want to know how to discern what they need. Basically, is their problem coachable or therapeutic in nature?

So, with this blog, I want to address frequently asked questions about the differences between psychotherapy and life coaching. It’s not uncommon for people to confuse these two professions and to be sure, similarities do exist. However, these professions are not interchangeable. These waters can become even murkier as many counselors, like me, are practicing as both licensed counselors and life coaches. However, when you a hire a coach with a Masters in Counseling, like me, you can rest assured that the foundation of our work together is rooted in my innate understanding of the…

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Using EFT Tapping to Reduce Stress

I have been wanting to write about Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT Tapping for some time now. Today kicks off the 12th annual Tapping World Summit [1]so it’s finally time. For the next 10 days, thought leaders in the world of psychology, medicine, science, and holistic healing will be coming together to share insights and strategies for reducing stress using Emotional Freedom Technique. Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not paid or rewarded for plugging this event, I just love it and my clients love it too! The summit is free, completely online, packed full of amazing in-vivo tapping experiences, and will be attended by over 600,000 people worldwide. Head over to www.thetappingsolution.com to register. You also watch my quick YouTube tutorial on the EFT basics. Now, let’s talk about tapping.

Let’s start with the basics- what is tapping and why should I use it?  Simply put, tapping is a somatic healing process in which you tap along your own body’s acupressure points while speaking about or recalling a distressing event, thought, or feeling.  In the process of tapping the sequence of 8 pressure points along your body’s meridians (or energy lines), you are sending calming signals to your amygdala. This means that while you are recalling something stressful, traumatic, or disturbing, your body cannot actually become fully distressed.  Should you try to recall a stressful event or feeling without calming your brain simultaneously, you will become flooded or triggered and you will feel worse. I bet that most of us have had this experience before!  So, why use tapping?  It’s simple.  Use tapping to process and release memories, thoughts, and feelings that are no longer serving to you.  Put another way, use Emotional Freedom Technique, to help you feel the way you want to feel.

It is important to understand that the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system, is the ‘flight or fight’ center of the brain. If the amygdala detects danger in any form, it goes into action to protect you and keep you safe. And, our brains have a huge ‘negativity basis’ which makes it much easier and instinctive for us to detect hints of darkness than rays of sunshine.  This part of the brain is ancient (unlike our prefrontal cortex) and it has served us well over the past couple of hundreds of thousands of years!  The amygdala’s response is very important when you are faced with a real danger such as coming face-to-face with a bear while hiking the Appalachian Trail. But, most of our day to day stressors are not, in fact, dangerous. So, when we are having anxiety or panic attacks, our brains are reacting as if we are in danger when we are actually just in discomfort.

It is also important to note that our brains cannot fully distinguish between the recall of a disturbing memory or the actual unfolding event. This is why we feel triggered by reliving past traumas through nightmares, rumination, and flashbacks. The positive side of this reality is that we also gain amazing benefits when recall happy memories.  Again, the brain and body’s somatic response to recalling the happiness you felt as you were surrounded by your family on your wedding day is very similar to your somatic response when you are actually walking down the aisle. Our brains are powerful. We just need to know how to use them to our advantage!   

EFT is an evidence-based treatment model that clinicians and coaches can use with their clients. But what I like best about Emotional Freedom Technique is that once I teach my clients how to use it, they have that tool accessible to them forever more. Unlike other modalities like massage, acupuncture, or EMDR, my clients can use this skill without me.  I love empowering my clients and this is definitely a tool of empowerment. 

One study[2] reported in the prominent medical journal, The Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders & Treatment, concluded that EFT was superior to Exposure Therapy (a traditional therapy modality for anxiety disorders, depression and PTSD) in their study of 60 students with post-traumatic stress disorder in Baghdad City.   There is a growing body of evidence about the link between the mind and body and this is just one such report.  Needless to say, EFT tapping is an effective way to reduce minor, as well as major, stressors.  Are you ready to get started yet?

To tap, you simply need to create some space and time to attend to yourself.  Set aside at least 20 minutes and grab a pen and paper. Consider setting aside 20-30 minutes a day for the next two weeks to dedicate to forming a routine of tapping.  Start by writing down your most predominant distressing feeling and give it a SUDs (Subjective Units of Distress) rating of 1- 10.

We’ll use the following scenario for our example. You and your spouse have just had another blow-up about money. It’s your third fight this month about your spending habits. The pressure is mounting in your relationship. You are scared, sad, anger and worried about the money, your marriage, your future. You rate your anger at 7/ 10 SUDs, worry at 8/10 SUDs, and fear at 5/10 SUDs.  Start with tapping on your anxiety as this is the heaviest feeling. To do this, simply follow the sequence [3] below.

  1. Karate Chop (KC)
  2. Eyebrow (EB)
  3. Side of Eye (SE)
  4. Under Eye (UE)
  5. Chin (CP)
  6. Collarbone (CB)
  7. Under Arm (UA)
  8. Top of Head (TH)

While tapping on the KC point say, aloud, your set-up statement.  Your set-up statement may sound like this:

  • “Even though I have all this anxiety about my relationship, I deeply and completely love and accept myself”
  •  “Even though I am worried about this fight, I fully love and accept myself”
  •  “Even though my marriage is in trouble, I fully accept myself”
  • “Even though our finances are a mess, I deeply love myself”

The point is to find a sentence that works for you and then repeat it 3x while tapping on your KC point (Either hand will do, your meridians are bilateral unless they run through your midline- i.e. chin, top of head,  and under nose points). A good set-up statement has 2 parts; it acknowledges the issue in plain terms and then it states a gesture of self-love.  This can be tough for some people.  You may have difficulty saying that you love yourself or accept yourself with these so-called flaws.  If that’s the case, my best advice is to say it anyway because this will start the process of change you are seeking. You may feel uncomfortable but that’s okay. Do not mistake distress for danger.

Your first round of tapping will have you tapping on each point 5-8 times while repeating a simplified version of your problem. This is called ‘truth tapping’.  You must speak your truth to move through it. You have probably already tried, unsuccessfully, to ‘stay positive’ or ‘find the bright side’ of the situation but you cannot authentically do that until you speak your truth. Do not miss this step!  Following our example of marriage and financial issues, your first round or two of tapping may be as simple as you tapping through the sequence while saying things such as:

  • “All this anxiety”
  • “So much worry about my marriage”
  • “I’m overwhelmed by our finances”
  • “My finances will never get better”
  • “I’m afraid my spouse will leave me”
  • “It’s never going to get better”
  • “I can’t stick to the budget”
  • “We might lose our home”
  • “I can’t do anything right”

Now is the time to speak your truth regarding your current situation, as it pertains to your set-up statement.  Don’t hold back and don’t be afraid to let out some tears. Remember what we already learned.  The process of tapping on your acupressure points is calming down your limbic system. This means that although it’s distressing to acknowledge this pain, you will not be uncontrollably triggered.

Keep tapping like this for a few rounds then pause, check in, and see if anything in your thoughts, feelings, or somatic body has changed.  Has the worry lessened; if so, by how much? Write it down. Has worry been replaced by an overwhelming feeling of anger towards your spouse?  Maybe this situation is reminding you an ex-partner who cheated you out of your life’s savings or maybe you are recalling a turbulent childhood memory centered around lack of money.  Whatever is coming up as you tap is extremely valuable.  Tapping gives you the tools to peel back the layers of your pain and see what’s hiding beneath the surface.  Maybe your heart rate lowered, raised, or fluttered? Maybe you developed a headache or you notice your belly is churning.  Although this may feel uncomfortable, it’s actually a good sign that you are uncovering the root of the problem and therefore, acknowledging and releasing your pain.

Continue tapping through the 8 points- either tap on your worry, or create a new set-up statement if anxiety is no longer where you want to go.  Trust yourself. I cannot stress this enough. The biggest mistake that people make with tapping is not trusting their intuition. You cannot go wrong; whatever is arising needs to be addressed.  So, keep tapping on your truth and keep tapping through the points until you feel the charge of the situation neutralize. After every 3-5 rounds of tapping, pause, check-in, reflect and rate your feelings.  Is the worry still 8/10 SUDs or is it now 6/10 SUDs or maybe worry has been replaced with something else?  Keep a written record because by the end of this, you cannot rely on your memory! You will be encouraged as you look back at your journal of where you started and how far you’ve come.  Please write it down!

Once you feel your body and mind relax as you release the limiting beliefs about this situation, you are ready to shift toward a more hopeful dialogue.  Now you can begin tapping through the 8 points with statements such as:

  • “Maybe I am ready to let go of this anger”
  • “I wonder if I could see this differently”
  • “I am letting go of the pain”
  • “I am releasing the anger”
  • “I am ready to try something new”
  • “I am thankful that my spouse is there for me”
  • “I would like control my budget better”
  • “I am capable and worthy of financial health”
  • “I am worthy of a healthy relationship”
  • “It’s going to be okay”
  • “I trust myself”

Again, you are speaking your truth and you are giving yourself hope for the future. You want to be authentic and hopeful but stay realistic. Authenticity is the key. For Emotional Freedom Technique to work, you must believe what you are saying. Be realistic while remaining hopeful. Give yourself a glimpse of a different future.  When your words shift from “I’ll always be in debt” to “Maybe I can learn fiscal responsibility” to “I am worthy of financial independence” you are allowing yourself to envision a new, different, and improved reality. Tap like this for a few more rounds then pause, check-in, and see how you are feeling. Keep writing your feelings and rating them in your journal.  Continue to peel back the layers of your pain and suffering so that you can release these old patterns of beliefs and past traumas.   When your body is calm and you worry has reduced to a 2/10 SUDs or below, you can take a break.   

Some people experience profound change in a matter of moments; you can read miracle stories all over the internet and I have certainly witnessed them as a EFT practitioner but do not be discouraged if you do not experience a ‘one hit wonder’.   For most of us, tapping is a tool that will be used over and over again to release pain and build a healthy mindset. 

While working through this example, we touched briefly on a few distressing feelings like anxiety, depression, and anger.  But please know that EFT tapping can be used to release pain of any sort.  Tapping is regularly used for:

  • Weight loss
  • Self-esteem
  • Confidence
  • Chronic pain
  • Body Confidence
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Financial independence
  • Smoking cessation
  • Happiness
  • Phobias
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Anger Management
  • Mindset Shifts
  • Inner-child work
  • Trauma/ PTSD/ Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Inner peace during difficult political situations

While some of these topics are more easily addressed alone with yourself, other topics are more commonly addressed with a trained professional. If you are suffering from PTSD or a severe trauma, it would be prudent to seek the help of a skilled therapist or counselor who can create a safety net and support system for you as you work through these experiences. As a therapist and coach, I regularly work with clients in this manner. We often tackle the most daunting issues together in the safety of the session. When the client is comfortable with their tapping skills, then they are free to work independently, if they wish. As with any self-help or self-improvement exercise, no book or webinar can take the place of working with a trained professional. Always use your wisdom and judgment when embarking on a healing journey.  Your safety is of paramount importance!

If you would like to learn more about me and how I might help you use EFT to create peace and reduce stress in your life, I invite you to connect with me.  Head over to my website, www.curiositylifecoaching.com  or email me at curiositylifecoaching@gmail.com . You can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook @curiositylifecoachingandreiki.

Carrie Mead, MS,  EFT Practitioner,
Curiosity Life Coaching
Carrie Mead, MS, LCPC

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life change. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com


[1] https://www.thetappingsolution.com/2020tws/pre-event.php

[2] http://tapping-foundation.s3.amazonaws.com/Research/randomised-controlled-study-comparing-two-psychological-therapies-for-posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-emotional-freedom-techniq-OEbq.pdf

[3] https://www.thetappingsolution.com/tapping-101/

Navigating the Seasons of Life

Using the seasons as a guide when you are in the midst of a major life transition

Carrie Mead, MS
Transitions Coach
Carroll County, MD, USA

At times, life is tough and at times, it is absolutely perfect.  Have you ever noticed the ebb and flow of the seasons of your own life?  There are times the stars align and everything you desire comes into fruition- a pay increase, a new romance, the perfect puppy… all at once.  You sit back and wonder how you got so lucky. You bask in the sunlight and abundance that life has afforded you. You keep working hard and enjoying the ride. You have great work ethic and your friends know that they can count on you.  Life is good. 

As a Seasons of Change coach, we refer to this time as the season of summer. Summer may last for months, or it may be a fleeting moment, but when we are experiencing the joy of summer there is no doubt that we are loved, supported, and capable of great things.  However, no season lasts forever.  Life is fluid and everchanging. You may be blissfully unaware that change is coming while you are enjoying the summer sun. However, if you are a person prone to anxiety, you may miss the joy of summer as you worry about the foreboding change that you just know is lurking around the corner (even though you have no evidence of such change). You may even miss the harvest you created due to these anxious, intrusive thoughts.  Either way, whether you are enjoying your summer or worrying about when it will end, change is coming. It always does.

Change is not inherently bad or scary.  Change can be exciting and wonderful.  Welcoming a new baby into your life, getting married, or finally retiring are often changes that are much anticipated, planned for, and joyful. But what happens when you do not experience the overwhelming happiness with this positive change that you thought you would?  You might be very confused by this counter-intuitive feeling and you may wonder what’s wrong with yourself.  Nothing’s wrong, you are just are just in the midst of a major life transition and your world is changing. No big deal. Right? 

On the other hand, sometimes uninvited change shows up in our life.  Perhaps we receive a life-changing health diagnosis as we are training for our next marathon or our company announces a merger which will involve major lay-offs just after we received an awesome promotion. These types of transitions are thrust upon us, often at warp speed.  Instantly, we are overcome by fear and we try desperately to keep things exactly as they have always been. It seems like only a minute ago we were enjoying our feast and now the crop is gone and we are left unprepared, scared, and alone.  Following the Seasons of Change model, we call this the season of fall.  As you might expect, fall comes into our life when things change.  Just as the summer’s warmth and sunshine is always followed by falling leaves and squirrels collecting nuts, so to in our lives, does this metaphor exist.

When faced with an unexpected or unwelcome change we may rush to restore balance in our life. We may jump at the first new job opportunity after getting laid-off or rush into a new relationship as soon as our divorce papers are signed. We may sell our home and move to a new city to start afresh or we may busy ourselves with our friends’ problems, binge-watching movies, and never-ending happy hours to avoid being alone with our thoughts.   When we throw ourselves into endless activity, we are trying to avoid our feelings about the situation.  We are trying to pass the time until those feelings and thoughts magically disappear.  Of course, this is a fruitless attempt at avoiding pain but it’s an understandable and natural human response.  We are conditioned to work hard, at all costs, and we are certainly not usually encouraged to take time and space away from productivity to ‘find ourselves’. 

The truth is this, as we enter a time of change, there is no going back.  Things will be different as we move forward. Again, different is not bad, it is just different.  If you can make that distinction in your mindset and your internal chatter, you will feel calmer. If you continue to ruminate on how bad things are and how they will never, ever, get better, you certainly will feel worse. Test it out. See what you think! I would advise you to decide how you’d like to feel first (peaceful, calm, confident would be my choices) and then set your internal chatter to create those feelings.

When you come to accept that the season of summer is over, for now, at least for this one aspect of your life, you can also come to accept that fall has arrived. Accepting that that you are in the midst of a change is the first step. Sometimes, just acknowledging and accepting that you are entering a transitionary  phase is enough to move you on to your next season. As you probably guessed, you are heading into winter, whether you like it or not. Change is coming. It always does.

In my experience as a professional life coach, this is the season that most people fear and it tends to be the time when people reach out for my wisdom, guidance, and support.  Many people have tried wintering alone, and feel stuck and hopeless. Others have gone through tough transitions in their life before and they know what they need based on past experience. If you have previously and successfully navigated a winter season, it’s possible that this next season will be milder and shorter than your first winter. However, every transition is different and you, as a person, are evolving and changing too. Perhaps this time around you have more support from your friends and an abundance of financial resources, or, perhaps you have gotten divorced and lost your job in the same year. 

Although life is complicated, there is always a silver lining. Despite the fact that many winters are long and dark, you can grow, develop, and learn so much about yourself in this season… if you do the inner-work.  What that means and how to do it will depend on a number of things. Suffice to say that this is why many clients reach out to professionals, like me, in this dark time.  Remember, winter is not all doom and gloom. Think of the season of winter as a time to rejuvenate, restore, and refocus on yourself. Allow yourself to stay in bed a little longer or say no to social events that seem draining rather than nourishing.  If you have brain-fog, difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, and a desire to stay home in quiet contemplation, you’re most likely in the depths of winter.  That’s okay.  Spring always follows winter so you won’t be here forever. Stay the course, glean insights about yourself, and give yourself what you need in this tender time. Change is coming. It always does.

You will know that spring is near because you will start to feel the wrestling of the desire for increased activity. You might feel slightly more alert and you may even crave more human connection that you did last season.  Think of a hibernating bear; no one knocks on his den door to tell him to wake up. He intuitively knows it’s time to begin moving his limbs. He’s rested well and as he comes back into consciousness, he starts to desire things that he has forgotten about like food and sunshine.  You too, will sense winter morphing into spring. It may take you by surprise or you may have been eagerly awaiting this day. Either way, wake-up slowly and come into the light again… in your own time.  This transformation is not a time for making big decisions nor committing to  a new business venture nor entering a new marriage. It’s a time for testing the waters and experimenting. It’s a time for creativity, fertility, and reemergence.  This is the time when the clouds start lift and hope returns to your life. It’s also the time to look at your progress. How far have you come since your summer turned into fall and your fall into winter?  Reflect on what you have learned in the process of change and marvel at how strong you have become.  Take notice if you even feel like the same person you were last summer?

Whatever transition you went through, you have navigated it well, thus far. The journey is not over yet but you are getting closer to your next season. Life is definitely different than it was last summer. Maybe you are now a single working mother, or maybe you have just moved across the country for you dream job but you had to leave behind friends and family, or maybe you have come to learn how to handle a challenging health condition.  You have made progress and you have nourished yourself to get this far. 

Allow spring to be the time when you intentionally and thoughtfully try out new ideas. Reintroduce yourself to the world.  Plants reintroduce themselves each spring and they are a welcome reminder that spring always comes no matter how dark the winter was.  No one forgets the beauty of the first yellow daffodil against the brown terrain nor do they forget the hypnotic scent of striking purple hyacinth.  Everyone is happy to see their beauty again and your friends and family will be happy to greet you into their community once more.  Don’t get too comfortable here because as you begin show yourself to the world, things are changing. They always do. 

At some point you will realize you feel relaxed, confident, secure again.  Life has a new vibrancy and appeal that has been missing for a long time. You have finally found your groove and you feeling excited to share yourself with others again.  You have a sense that your foundation is strong and you know that you are resourceful enough to navigate any passing storms. You feel grounded in the knowledge that you are stronger than you ever thought and no matter how the world may try to knock you down, you are confident that you will rise again.  You know that you won’t just come back as a spruced-up version of your old- self. You will come back from these challenges alert, empowered, focused and compassionate. You will come back evolved and new.

If nothing else, you have learned to love yourself through each season. You have found a new respect for your abilities and your limitations. Maybe you rediscovered your faith or made a new friend a long the way. Maybe you found out that you are actually quite good at writing poetry or maybe you learned to meditate.  Whatever your learned along the way will serve you well this summer and for next fall.   Whatever happens this summer, don’t forget to celebrate your success. Don’t dismiss the arduous challenges you have overcome and certainly don’t try to move the goal post on yourself as you are about the cross the finish line.  Summer is a season to embrace and celebrate.  Enjoy it because things are changing.  They always do.  

If you are in the process of weathering a storm, anticipating a change, or stuck in long dark winter, reach out to me.  I can act as your guide through the tumultuous times you are facing. Together we will establish a roadmap for your journey. We will calm the inner fires that feel chaotic both internally and externally. We will use the seasons to guide us through these changes and you will emerge through the process with a new sense of purpose and appreciation of yourself and your journey. When you get to your destination, we will celebrate your success.

Set-up a free consultation by clicking here

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support, and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com

Divorce Day

Carrie Mead, MS
Curiosity Life Coaching
Baltimore, MD

If you are currently in a troubled marriage, you may have typed the term “divorce” into your internet browser recently. If so, you are not alone.  According to media outlets like the New York Times [1] and the London Evening Standard [2], search terms such as “how do I get divorced” peak and trend at various points throughout the year.  It is no surprise that early January, or the first Monday back to work in January to be exact, is one of the most popular days to search for answers about the legalities and formalities of getting divorced. Another time this term peaks is March. Most experts surmise that by March, people have gathered their information and made their decisions on whether or not to begin a divorce proceeding. 

As a life coach who specializes in helping people navigate major life transitions, I often encounter people in the depths of despair.  Maybe the couple has just experienced an infidelity or perhaps the kids have finally left home and they are now experiencing the full discord of their rocky marriage, or, maybe one partner has prioritized his or her career over the needs of their spouse. Whatever the reason, people reach out to professionals, like me, in these trying times. Most people navigating a negative life change like divorce, separation, or the ending of a life-partnership need support, guidance, and clarity during this very tumultuous time. 

I approach helping my clients through this by helping them build a roadmap of where they have been and where they are going. I also assist my clients in acknowledging and accepting that the future will be different than the past. That’s not good or bad; it just is.

As a certified Seasons of Change Coach, I use the analogy of four seasons to help guide my clients through this change.  Everyone knows that the season of summer feels abundant, bright, and hopeful. And many people have experienced the despair, pain, and darkness of a long, cold winter.  Most often, however, I encounter people in the season of fall. Fall is when things begin to change.

It’s possible you have planning your separation for a long time and you are entering into this change with open eyes and a carefully planned approach. But for many people, the talk of divorce comes in with an element of surprise and savagery about it.  Although you knew your marriage was troubled, you thought you could work it out. But no number of weekends away together or time huddled around your computer avoiding conversation with your spouse could help. You are here, in this very dark and scary new territory, contemplating yourself as a single working mother or a weekend dad without a plan of how to move forward. You are stuck.  This was not part of your life plan.

I hear you and I understand the grief, anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, and panic that comes along with this major life transition.  Asking for help from friends, family, and a professional are imperative at this time.  Divorce is extremely draining- it drains your energy, your time, your joy, and your finances.  It is a daunting task to undertake emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually.  Not to mention the impact it makes on your children and your pets. You barely have the energy to brush your teeth, let alone help your kids with their math homework or take your dog for a walk.

As your coach, I will guide you through the process and keep you motivated, centered, and calm when the waters become rocky. I will also help you live a value-aligned, purposeful life as you transition and transform into this next phase of life. I will teach you how to navigate the transition from fall to winter, winter to spring, and spring to summer.  Navigating each season fully and in proper order is essential to creating healthy, sustainable change in your life.  As much as we would love to move from fall to spring without ever experiencing the blustery cold winds, dark nights, and black ice of winter, we simply cannot.  We must journey through each season of our life just as we travel the seasons outside.  Preparation, understanding, and acceptance of each season and its purpose is key to coming into the full beauty of summer that awaits you.

Are you curious about coaching? Would you like to know more about my approach? Feel free to set-up a free consultation by clicking here. In this call we will discover if we are good fit for each other. Let’s talk!

One final note. Divorce is really difficult. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or some other significant mental illness due to this event, it’s understandable. Please reach out to a professional mental health counselor or psychotherapist to get the support you need. You can conect to someone in your area by using Psychology Today. You can also also access the Suicide Prevention Hotline or Crisis Text Line 24/7 from the USA.

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support, and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/04/style/january-divorce-month.html

[2] https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/divorce-day-2020-january-split-relationship-marriage-a4327181.html

What is Self-Care and Why is it Important?

Carrie Mead, MS
Professional Life Coach

Self-care is a buzzword that we have all heard but I wonder how many people really know what it means to care for one’s self.  I would wager to say that people talk much more about this topic than actually practice a regular and consistent self-care routine.  Statistics often speak louder than words and on Instagram alone, the hashtag #selfcare has been used more than 21 million times and the combined uses of all the self-care hashtags reach well over 30 million posts! So, it is evident that people are talking a lot about self-care but there’s no evidence that people are putting their words into action. 

To be clear, self-care is a concept, not an action. The concept of self-care is broad and highly individualized. The practice of self-care is unique to each of us. How much alone-time, girl-time, exercise, yoga, meditation, or hiking you need to feel rejuvenated and restored totally depends on you. Your version of self-care today may look completely different than it did a year ago or even one week ago.  And that is okay. You are growing and developing as a person and therefore your needs are changing too.  We all go through different seasons of life and in transition our needs change. The point is, you need to figure out what fills you up, lightens your load, and creates joy and ease in your life.  Only you know.

Today’s self-care could be 15 mins of silent meditation, running a marathon, serving hot meals to the homeless, or playing with your puppy. A year ago, self-care could have looked like a day at the spa, ice-fishing with your buddies, or reading a chapter from your new favorite self-help book. If you are a new parent or a working parent, self-care could just as easily be a long, hot, shower infused with essential oils, a trip to the grocery store alone, or an uninterrupted cup of hot coffee in the morning.  

As you can see, there is no right or wrong way to care for yourself. Ultimately, only you know what you need and only you can make self-care a priority. Your mother may buy you a gift certificate for a massage or your best friend may offer to babysit so that you and your spouse can enjoy a date night but you, and only, can make this happen.  

You have probably been putting your needs on the back-burner for a while. Be honest, how long has this been going on? What’s preventing you from taking better care of yourself? Is it guilt? Is it depression? It is feelings of unworthiness? It is anxiety or negative chatter in your head? Is it an unhealthy perspective on the importance of productivity and achievement?  The truth is that if you are not taking good care of yourself, you absolutely cannot take good care of anyone else. If you have people (or pets!) who depend on you, you owe it to them to take better care of yourself. When are you are feeling refreshed, reenergized, and joyful you are in a much better state to give lovingly to others. 

Take a minute to write down a few ideas for your self-care routine. What would you love to do if you found yourself with 15 minutes extra tomorrow morning? What would you love to do if an entire day opened up or imagine a whole weekend without any plans? Write down some ideas so that next time you find yourself with an unexpected opening in your schedule, you will know exactly what to do!

If you need help discovering who you are and what you need, contact me. Having an objective and wise guide on your path of self-discovery is a great idea. If you have been living on auto-pilot, you may have no idea who you are or what will revive your spirit. If you are transitioning into a new phase of life such as retirement or becoming an empty-nester, you may suddenly find yourself with an abundance of time. It’s too easy to fall into apathy and depression when you are unsure of your purpose in the world. I would love to help you rediscover yourself, your passions, and your God-given purpose. Contact me at: curiositylifecoaching@gmail.com to learn more. You and your loved ones deserve this, so don’t delay!

One final note. And it’s a serious one. If you are feeling like a lazy Sunday with your favorite book or a trip to Starbucks won’t satisify you self-care needs, you are may be suffering from depression, anxiety or some other significant mental illness. Don’t go at it alone. If you need help beyond the simple enery boosts I have provided here, please reach out to a professional mental health counselor. You can conect to someone in your area by using Psychology Today. You can also also access the Suicide Prevention Hotline or Crisis Text Line 24/7 from the USA. Let’s stop the stigma.

Carrie Mead is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com

Raising Robust Employees in Challenging Times

When the days draw-in and sunlight begins to wane (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), you may notice a drop-in your energy levels, motivation and mood. This most often rears its ugly-head in the workplace.  Maybe it is a missed deadline, a skipped meeting, or lack of follow-through on a commitment.  Maybe it is increased anxiety about job security due to your poor performance. However it is showing up for you, it is a problem and you may not be able to solve it on your own. According to the Washington Post [1] depression and anxiety cost the global economy over $1 trillion in lost productivity. In the USA alone that is upwards of 200 million lost work days every year!  With numbers like this, everyone will benefit from workplace wellness initiatives that respect and create a work-life balance.

As an employee with autonomy and self-agency, there are simple ways you can increase your energy, commitment and focus in the workplace and beyond.  Having worked through this topic with so many clients, I would like to offer some tips on this subject. 

Firstly, no matter what, take a lunch break every single day. This is paramount. During your lunch break take a walk outside. No matter the weather conditions or environment, the fresh air, natural light and physical movement will provide you clarity, focus and fresh perspective. During this time, be as present to the moment as possible. Leave your device in your pocket as it will only serve as a distraction. When you are able to stay focused in the present moment, rather fixating on the past (e.g. what went wrong already this morning) or focusing on the future (e.g. what will be requested of you at your next meeting) you allow yourself to feel peace and calm. If your day simply won’t allow for a lunch break, fit in a break somewhere, whether it is mid-morning between conference calls or 30 minutes before you head into your commute home. You deserve it and your productivity will increase; not decrease!

Secondly, set yourself regular working hours and stick to them. In this 24 -hour world, we can easily be persuaded to work around the clock from the car, our bed and even vacation. Being realistic and discerning, prioritize your deadlines and commitments. With this in mind, only respond to urgent matters outside of your working hours. This is called setting healthy boundaries and creating a work-life balance for yourself.  Set expectations with your peers and clients so that they understand your commitment to a healthy work-life balance.  Many professionals have forgotten that not every email, text or call is urgent.  Again, use your discernment, intuition and expertise to determine if you must work outside of your normal business hours and respond accordingly. Keep to your rountine, it’s good for your mental health!

Thirdly, create a practical, achievable and sustainable routine for self-care. This will depend greatly on your areas of interests, passions, and abilities.  Self-care is a huge factor in defending against career burnout.  Some ideas may include: journaling, jogging, attending a pilates class, reading scripture, joining a prayer gathering, free-writing, creative dancing, cooking, investing in musical lessons, walking your dog or volunteering a homeless shelter.  Create a list of accessible activities that you can engage in if you have 10 mins, an hour, or a full-day to dedicate to yourself. Creating this list ahead of time will prevent you from the paralysis you may feel if you find yourself with a precious, but unexpected, unscheduled window of time. Self-care, like all worthy pursuits, takes time and dedication.  If you don’t commit to caring for yourself, you will likely stop prematurely and regress into old, familiar habits.

Fourth, learn to meditate.  Meditation is the simplest and most accessible ways for anyone to create a sense of calm within themselves.  Anyone who can breathe, can meditate! Meditation requires practice and discipline but it’s not about achievement. It’s about being present, calm and open to your experience in the world. Meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time, so there are no excuses. Harvard medical [2] studies confirm that adults can increase gray matter in 4 regions of the brain (including the frontal cortex) and reduce size of the amygdala (aka ‘fight or flight’ command center) after just 8 weeks of 27 mins per day of meditation practice.  If that doesn’t excite you, you can stop reading now!

Below I have provided a simple meditation that can practiced anywhere. To do this brief meditation, you only need to stop where ever you are and use your 5 senses to ground yourself in the moment. By grounding in the present moment, you allow yourself to be open to the experience of life that is unfolding in your very presence. The point is to stay focused on each of your senses as you move through this exercise. This meditation can be done in a just a few moments or stretched out when time allows. The important thing to remember is that you are sending calming signals to your brain’s amygdala as you meditate and therefore you are eliminating anxiety. Repeated practice of such a meditation will allow your mind easier access to its calmer side. 

Five Senses Meditation

Imagine you are sitting in a coffee shop on your lunch break… With your eyes you will take in the colors of the food in the display counter, the patterns of the shirt of the barista and dried-up spilled milk on your table. Stay there a while, observe and notice what you can only using your sight. With your ears you may hear the sounds of the espresso machine brewing, the chatter of the adjacent table or the honking horns of the cars outside. Stay here and take in all the sounds and notice how each feels to you. Close your eyes to deepen the experience. With your nose smell the bold scent of roasting coffee or the sweetness of the fresh baked pastries. Can you smell any specific ingredients like cinnamon, butter or fresh berries?  Maybe the scents are mixed together and you are intrigued by the combination of coffee and sweets.  Stay here, what else do you detect with only your nostrils? With your skin you may detect the heating blowing against your skin, the softness of your cotton shirt or the heat coming off your coffee cup. Stay here. How does each sensation feel and is there anything you can do to make yourself more comfortable with this new knowledge? With your tongue observe the taste of your coffee and how each sip differs from the last- is the coffee hot, cold, strong, mild, bitter? Does the second sip taste as good as the first? Can you taste the cream and sugar? Stay here and notice if there are any lingering tastes in your mouth such as your minty toothpaste or this morning’s everything bagel? Engage in each sense individually until you are fully present in your body and the experience.

As a life coach, I love helping transform and change. I am guided by my clinical training as a psychotherapist, expertise in human relationships and my well-honed intuition. I especially enjoy working with people in major life transitions such career change, retirement, separation, or loss. If you would like to know more about how professional life coaching can benefit you, please reach out.  Set-up a free consultation by clicking here. You can find all of my contact information on my website: www.curiositylifecoaching.com or at https://www.linkedin.com/in/carriecmead/.


[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/brand-studio/kaiser-permanente/the-economics-of-workplace-wellbeing/

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/

Strategic Decision Making Skills

Have you ever had a difficult time making a decision? Perhaps you have rushed into a decision and then regretted it either instantly or months later. Maybe you are so indecisive that decisions simply never get made and you are left feeling stuck in your situation. Maybe you have made decisions that were in direct conflict with your long-term goals or vision for your life. With the countless decisions you have made in your life, have you ever stopped and wondered how these past decisions have impacted the trajectory of your life?

In our busy lives, decisions are made at rapid speed and they are often made without adequate thought and consideration of the consequences. How many times have you made an important decision while multi-tasking or, worse yet, when you were tired, hungry or emotional? I will be writing on more on this topic soon. Suffice to say, I am quite certain that if you have made decisions under these conditions then the results were less than stellar.

On the other hand, your decision-making skills may lean away from impulsive towards indecisive. Wavering minds have a tendency towards uncertainty, anxiety and self-doubt. If you are inclined towards indecisiveness, you probably spend countless hours lost in a barrage of ‘what ‘if’’ thinking that ultimately leaves you feeling anxious, depressed, tired, stuck and hopeless.  

No matter which is your dominant decision-making style, chances are, you have made some good decisions in your life and you have made some poor ones as well.  Have you ever stopped to consider the circumstances that lead to those good decisions or bad decisions? By exploring your past, you have rich and valuable information for your future. 

Below is an exercise that you can use for the purpose of self-discovery. As always, when setting off on a journey, you want to be prepared. This is as true for today’s journey as it would be for setting off on a road trip across the country. Preparation for today’s journey of self-discovery should include setting aside ample time for completing the exercise, being well rested and comfortable in your setting and being prepared to take notes. To get the most of out of this experience, you will also need to set aside time in a few days for reflection on the experience. 

Step 1: Start with free writing. Just jot down all those thoughts swirling around your mind, whatever they are. Those ‘things’ that if left unattended will distract you from being present in this moment. Once that list is complete, put it aside knowing that it will be there for you when you are done. Give thanks for the time are you taking for yourself and quiet your mind.

Step 2: Create two lists. One list will consist of the ‘good’ decisions you have made in recent memory. A good decision may have led a good night’s sleep, an awesome date with your spouse, paying off a debt early or saying no to someone or something unsavory. The other list will consist of all those ‘bad’ decisions you have made. Those decisions which moved you out of alignment with your goals. This list may include decisions which catapulted you further into debt or added 10lbs to your waist line or ended a healthy romantic relationship.

Step 3: Review these lists. What immediately comes to mind as you read and re-read them? Jot these intuitive thoughts down. If they do not make sense now, they might later. Remember, as part of your preparation, you are setting aside time to reflect on this experience later this week. Never dismiss your intuition.  Do you see patterns of behaviors that repeat themselves overtly or covertly as you reflect and review? Whatever your reaction, it’s important to honor and acknowledge it.  

Step 4: Now you are ready to delve into just one experience from each list. Start with whichever list you prefer and remember to take notes! Begin by recalling what was going on at the time you made this particular decision. Were you focused and thoughtful or were you rushed, harried or impulsive? Were you well-rested and clear minded or were you tired and pushed for time? Did you consult with someone you trusted before making this decision or did you trust only yourself? Did you listen to your intuition or did you ignore it? Were there red flags you chose to ignore? Did you consider how this decision aligned with your long and short-term goals? Were you multi-tasking or day dreaming at the time you made your choice or were you fully present in the moment? Carefully consider these questions as they will provide you with personal insight and a chance for transformation and growth.

Step 5: Now that you’ve recalled this experience, reflect on the end result and consequences of your decision. Were you surprised by the results? Did things happen as you planned? Did you get the result you were hoping for or did you miss the target? What advice could you offer your younger-self about this topic knowing all that you do now? What did you do well in this decision-making process? Has the impact of this decision been less or more than you anticipated?  Sometimes the most surprising thing that we learn is that you spend entirely too much time worrying about the wrong thing! Complete this exercise again choosing one event from your other list.

Step 6: Lastly, think about a decision you need to make now or in the near future. How can you apply the information you gleaned from this experience to your current situation? Do you have a new perspective on this situation? Do you have new insight about your decision-making patterns? Do you have a new skill or tool to use that you didn’t before? Is your intuition crying out to be heard or is fear’s voice the loudest? Is there a friend or mentor you can reach out to for advice?  Has anything shifted?

Wherever you are at this moment with your pending decision, take time to care for yourself by delaying your choice until you have slept well. Yes, you heard me, sleep first, decide later. Neuroscience and sleep research make it clear that decisions are best made after a good night’s sleep.  The simple reason is that during sleep the brain eliminates distractions from the day by filtering out the ‘useless’ information and stimuli you received during the day to make room for the important information to emerge. Just think of all the colors, sounds, and images you experience as you scroll through social media for a few minutes. Our brains are constantly processing this information and storing it until we sleep when these stimuli can be filtered, filed or let go. This clearing process, which happens during deep non-REM sleep, allows the important information of the day to come forth. Following a good sleep, you will often have a fresh perspective that biologically could not have existed the previous day. (For more on the importance of quality sleep I highly recommend the movie “Sleepless in America” by National Geographic and the National Institute of Health. The entire movie is available for free on Youtube or DVD from your local library).

One reason why people like you seek the support of a life coach is to learn effective decision-making skills. Poor decision-making skills adds immeasurable stress to your life and ultimately robs you of the peace you deserve. If any of the above scenarios resonate with you, life coaching can help. As your coach, I will come along aside you to offer space, time, fresh perspectives, empowerment trainings, brainstorming exercises and guidance as you determine if your current patterns of thoughts and behaviors are aligning you with your goals or moving you away from your desired outcomes. 

Decision-making skills can be learned and re-learned. They are teachable, adaptable and extremely important in your adult life. As a life coach and mental health therapist, I have borne witness to the impact a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ decision has on the trajectory of one’s life countless times. 

It is my greatest desire to assist you in making conscious, intentional and healthy choices for your life.  Want to know more about the benefits of life coaching, click below. I will be happy to offer you a complimentary first session so that you can experience the power of life coaching first-hand. You can reach me, Carrie C. Mead, by email at: curiositylifecoaching@gmail.com or at LinkedIn.

Carrie C. Mead, MS

Professional Life Coach

Certified Seasons of Change Coach