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Group of friends smiling and taking a selfie
Christy Gualtieri

Confidence of Character

When I was a kid, I loved watching The Monkees on TV.  It aired really early in the morning, like 4:00 a.m. or some other ridiculous time, and since I was a kid before the glory days of DVR, I had to set my alarm to get up to watch it. I’d sneak out of my room and over to the TV, and flip it on to watch before I got back into bed. Davy Jones was my favorite -to me, he was the cutest one – but I loved the whole show: the slapstick, the songs, and all of the jokes. When Jones passed away some years ago, I was so sad; and when another of The Monkees, Peter Tork, passed away recently, I was saddened, too.

Peter was my second favorite on the show, and I was always drawn to him the same way I was drawn to George Harrison from the Beatles and Howie from the Backstreet Boys – these guys who weren’t the stars of the show, but people who contributed just the same. Maybe they stood out to me because their personalities seemed so different than mine, but I really think it’s because they were quieter people who didn’t need the spotlight as much.

You might know people like this in real life: people who know who they are, who are self-assured and confident in themselves. Maybe you’re even one of these people, and if you are, I salute you! I find it difficult for me to have that self-confidence that is content with my life and the way I live it. It’s a funny thing, because it’s the opposite of what you’d think is true: the more self-assured you are, the less you need outside validation – and the more people will probably end up validating you, because they’re drawn to you.

Maybe not right away, though. I think a lot of people, especially these days, get caught up in the flashiness, the glitz and the glamour – the costumes, and not the costume designer, so to speak. But there is a great value in being the one who doesn’t need the world to tell them how to be. They are themselves, uniquely themselves, and it’s a wonderful thing to see because it’s authentic, it’s real, and because there is only one you on the planet, it’s irreplaceable.

So to those of you who are the quiet ones that know who they are and who live that well, keep it up! And for those of you who are quiet and think you’re invisible, you’re not. People see you. By all means, reach out to others if you feel alone, but know that if your personality runs contrary to the people in society who think that you’re nobody if you don’t shout everything all the time, it’s okay to just be yourself. You’re just as needed and as valuable as everyone else.

Until next time, be well!
Christy

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eTalkTherapy - talk with a counselor onlineAbout the author: Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children. Christy also blogs at asinglehour.wordpress.com and tweets @agapeflower117. You can  follow her here on eTalkTherapy for inspirational articles and different perspectives as they relate to good mental health.

young woman in yoga pose
Tara Rayburg

12 Ways to Detox for Spring!

Most of us love this time of year. The days get longer, we start to see more sunshine (hopefully), and it feels like a time of new beginnings. A time where we want to come out of the hibernation of winter with a little “Spring” in our step if you will. We feel like moving again, want to get some weight off with summer around the corner, and generally just want to feel healthy.

It’s kinda like a New Year’s Resolution – we decide it’s time to “Detox,” and perhaps sign up for a quick fix, a cleanse, or a “short-term thing.” Now a well placed, guided-juice cleanse or detox can have its value for sure depending on your health status. But what if there are other ways to detox your body and life that have lasting change?

Here are just some high-level suggestions to try out and get started (don’t get overwhelmed, you can just pick one or two):

  1. Detox some stress from your life. Meditate! Yep that again…Keep it simple. This does not have to be on a Mountain in Tibet. The easiest is to find a meditation app like Calm.  You can select even 5 minutes to begin or end your day. Or check out your local yoga studio, they may offer classes and yoga itself is moving meditation.
  2. Detox your food. This is a BIG one.  Instead of worrying about some cleanse, how about checking that you’re eating real whole foods? Why not challenge yourself to see how you feel if you eat nothing processed for 7 days? Or go crazy and try a whole month! Read labels. The ingredients should be food and NOT something you can’t pronounce or never heard of. This may mean you have to cook and prepare your foods (Don’t panic). Make shopping lists and be strategic. This can truly alter your long-term health in the best way. This sounds like a much less crazier plan than drinking cayenne pepper mixed with honey 🙁
  3. Get rid of the artificial sweeteners. There are lots of natural options these days.
  4. Add celery juice to your morning or another green juice at some point during the day (always on an empty stomach) or a smoothie if you prefer.
  5. Add a salad to one meal a day or an extra veggie
  6. Eat the rainbow! Lots of color in our veggies.
  7. Drink water! If you need flavor try some lemon or lime. Check out that coffee creamer. Long list of ingredients? Ditch it altogether or try a coconut milk or non dairy creamer with as minimal ingredients as possible. Oh and the alcohol? Minimize or try getting rid of that too. Relax! It’s short term, but you would be amazed at how much clearer your mind and even skin could be.
  8. Ditch sugar. Not sugars from fruit, but you know, the kind that sneaks in everywhere else. A few squares of dark chocolate 70% cacao or above are fine.
  9. Suspect food sensitivities? Pick that one thing you know is causing inflammation and cut it out. Just try it. Gluten? Dairy?
  10. Find movement you will actually do! Try yoga, walking, dancing, playing basketball, or a group fitness class.
  11. Practice good sleep habits: cool room, no devices for an hour before, no food or drink right before bed, make the room as dark as possible, and my fav…add some white noise.
  12. Detox from your devices for a couple of hours or even a whole day or weekend!

One, two or all, can certainly be major steps to detoxing things you just don’t need in your life. Stress, foods, and technology cause inflammation in our bodies. Why not pick some things to keep for a lifetime instead of a few days?

You totally got this!
Tara Rayburg
Holistic Nutrition and Wellness Coach

Contact Tara today for a free wellness consultation! Together, we will discuss a program that may be right for you.

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eTalkTherapy - Health and Wellness Holistic Nutrition CoachingAbout the author: Tara Rayburg is a Holistic Nutrition and Integrative Wellness Coach. Her devotion to healing with a healthy lifestyle was born from having to take her health back into her own hands for her own illnesses many years ago. She works with each individual on their unique health needs and supports you on accountability and support with food, improving energy, movement, and stress relief.

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Christy Gualtieri

Setting Yourself Up For Success

by Christy Gualtieri

What’s that you asked? How’s my New Year’s resolution going? Oh! Um…great! Best New Year’s resolution execution ever! 2019 sure seems to be my year!

…I’m just kidding. It’s not that it’s not going super well, it’s that I didn’t set any resolutions for myself this year. As a person who struggles with anxiety, I know myself well enough at this point not to try to add anything to my life that will cause more stress if it doesn’t get done the way I’d like.

But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to become better at things, whether it’s eating more healthfully, cleaning up and organizing my home, or developing skills that can help me in the workplace or with my parenting. And to that end, I’ve been trying to keep in mind an adage that was shared with me years ago, called “Setting Up For Success.”

Before I had kids, I worked at a coffee shop, and my wonderful manager was a big fan of this philosophy. No matter which shift we worked: eye-drooping 5 a.m. openings, middle of the day “princess shifts,” or busy nighttime closings, she made sure that we not only tended to the things we needed to do for ourselves, but kept things running smoothly for the folks coming in after us. “Set them up for success,” she’d remind us daily. It’s something I’m trying to implement more in my life.

But how do we do that, set ourselves up for success? Here are a few tips that seem to be helping me right now, I hope they’ll help you too!

  1. Make a plan. Take some quiet time to ask yourself what you want in life. Don’t downplay it. Do you want to be healthier? You want to be a rockstar? NBA player? Author? Interior designer? And this doesn’t apply to just careers, by the way. Think personality. Do you want to be more loving? More patient? Less gossipy? Friendlier? All of those are laudable goals, too.
  2. Get Educated.  Read as much as you can about what you want to work on the most. If it’s not too much of a temptation to you do be around it, find some good social media sources for inspiration.  Take a class, if you’re so inclined. Utilize your local library and check out apps like Hoopla that you can use to download free content to your mobile devices using your library card.
  3. Set goals. Make them broad as can be, then whittle them down to the itty-bitty.  When writing a to-do list, put “make a to-do list” at the top as the first item so you can feel good when you cross it off. Rockstars don’t just go from the garage to the Hall of Fame. Do your research, break down your steps, and get on your way. If you think it’ll help you, tell others about your goals, so they can help to encourage you.  But if you think they’ll hold you back, there’s no shame in keeping them to yourself for a while!
  4. Work with yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Sure, it looks glamorous when those fitness Instagrammers are saluting the sun at the crack of dawn, but if you’re naturally a night owl, don’t try to squeeze in those early-morning asanas. Work to find time in the afternoon or early evening to get that workout in.
  5. Think ahead. Try to think ahead to the things you’ll need to do each day.  Download organizer apps or buy a paper planner to help keep you on track for all you’ll need to prepare for what’s going on from day to day. That way, you’ll feel less unprepared. And when it’s hard to do the things you need to prepare ahead of time, do what you can to just power through.

Hopefully this little reminder that we can still look towards getting through 2019 more improved than we were when we came into it will help you! I hope that you accomplish everything you set out to do. And if not, no worries. There’s always next year!

Until next time, be well!
Christy

eTalkTherapy - Health and Nutrition Coaching
Tara Rayburg

What is a Health Coach and how can they help improve your life?

This term gets thrown around a lot and there can be a variety of types of Health Coaches with different areas of expertise. However, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition defines a Health Coach as:

A Health Coach is a wellness professional who works with clients one-on-one or in group settings to help them achieve their personal wellness goals including weight loss, boosting energy, or sleeping better.  It doesn’t stop there, though. Health Coaches act as a supportive mentor and guide to help their clients discover which foods and lifestyle makes them feel best. Coaches are accountability partners and even friends who give an unbiased approach to their clients and empower them to live the lives they love.”

That last line says it all, we teach you how to take the power back into your own hands. Too often those of us who struggle with any type of health issue want someone or something to “fix” us. Most of us Health Coaches know that feeling all too well.  We search for that thing outside of us. The truth is…only you can heal your body. Only you can feel what’s right for you. It’s a Health Coaches job to help support you in finding those tools and ultimately connect you with trusting yourself and your body again. To trust that your body is working FOR you, not against you. Health Coaches take a “wholistic” approach to your program and journey.

Does any of this sound familiar?

  1. Perhaps you are at point where managing exercise and nutrition seem out of reach. A Health Coach should meet you where you are and guide you to feel better in your body and life in long term sustainable ways. You don’t have to face this alone or change everything at once to move forward.

  2. You get started on new wellness goals and get stuck on triggers and blocks that prevent you from moving forward. This is usually the time people stop and revert to their old habits. There are actually numerous psychological roadblocks to keeping us stuck. So it’s not really about willpower. A good Health Coach works with you on these and keeps you on track with your goals and accountable as well as adapts to any changes you may need to make.

  3. You struggle with chronic or sometimes overwhelming health conditions. Have you been trying to figure out your options here? Even told there are no solutions or options left or you just have to “live with it”? No matter what you struggle with: chronic disease, widespread inflammation, weight issues, digestive issues or anxiety and depression (just to name a few), Health Coaches strive to help navigate this confusing world and work to find the root of the issues, rather than just treating symptoms. You can start to feel better with even the simplest of changes and of course we work with any other practitioners you work with and their recommendations.

  4. You’re sick of wasting money on ineffective plans or treatments and find it difficult to stay motivated. Most of us have signed up for online diet plans (and how many are there?), started fitness programs or challenges, bought a multitude of expensive supplements, or tried ineffective medications. Only to hit a wall when life happens and we give up on the diet, put those DVDs back on the shelf, quit going to the gym, or search for the next best thing.

  5. Typically the biggest roadblock people face? Time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day as they say. But most of us lead busy, full lives. And sure you absolutely need to prioritize health as number one because in order to be there for others, we want to be our best selves. A Health Coach gives you back some of your time trying to figure out what works for you. We keep up on the latest in health and wellness and we work together to see what works and what doesn’t.

With more people than ever before suffering with burnout, digestive disorders, autoimmune, and just overall inflammation, etc., it’s imperative to have the support to move toward finding that power within. To feel your best self. To thrive, not just survive.

Find that someone who has your back. I’m here to support you.

You’ve got this!
Tara Rayburg
Holistic Nutrition and Wellness Coach

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Mandi C. Dalicandro-Turk

Part 2: Engaging Academically and Socially in College and Grad School

A Comprehensive 2 Part Guide: Eleven Areas to Consider to be Successful throughout College and Graduate School

Part 2: Focusing on the Social Engagement

Part two of this comprehensive guide focuses on the social engagement of academic relationships and the long-term growth experienced throughout.  Take a few moments to check out Part 1: Focusing on the Academics.

  1. Some professors will be more interesting than others. Each has a different personality, temperament, level of structure to the course, and teaching style. Whether s/he is funny, boring, or runs around wearing a cape, understand that they’re human and come with their own weird quirks too. With that being said, if you build a solid relationship with a professor, take them again, and if you don’t, consider that you’re only with this person for one semester and move forward from there.
  1. Ask questions! Use your voice – respectfully. At times, individuals will feel nervous talking with professors or had a difficult experience where it felt like the professor didn’t want bothered. Working through the nervousness and asking questions is extremely important. It will help with your academic success long-term! Many questions and the need for clarifications arise in the years of academia. Go directly to your professor. Most will take the time and want to help you. Plus, this assists with increasing your communication skills.
  1. Personal issues occur from time to time. Most are manageable. However there may be times where balancing personal issues and academics is difficult for students. At times, I will recommend finding ways to focus on academics during difficult times.  Yes, the last thing you want to do. Each semester, I talk with and support students contending with personal issues – many professors do. It’s important to balance your commitments with your goals. For example, the probability of success increases by carving out time in an environment where you feel productive. This may be on campus, in the library, at home, and/or a local coffee shop. Reflect on what works for you when you’re experiencing lower stress levels and do your best to apply this in short to moderate segments. Many times, you’ll feel your motivation return and continue making progress.
  1. Anxiety, whether General Anxiety, Social Anxiety, and/or test anxiety with the associated stress of each are experienced by students each semester. It feels extremely consuming and overwhelming for most. At times, even making small changes such as coming prepared to classes and turning in your work on time help minimize anxiety. In addition, practice deep breathing, and work towards building your confidence as a person and academically. It’s important to allow yourself to tolerate discomfort while learning ways to cope with and minimize anxiety, and to remind yourself that you’re in a safe environment. This is an extensive subject and if this is an area you’re struggling with, you’re welcome to contact eTalkTherapy – our therapists will be able to help you work through your anxiety and learn ways to be successful academically and feel confident in the process.
  1. Find a mentor. Most times, as you go through your academic career preparing for the professional world, you’ll meet professors along the way that you’ll remember and reflect on being genuine, approachable, and taking the extra time. At times, you’ll build a professional relationship; especially, if the degree you’re working towards is under the same department as the professor, you may find yourself in a number of her/his courses. They make great mentors. I would recommend asking in a mindful way and if they’re open to it and scheduling allows for it, then you’ll have a fantastic resource (appreciate it).
  1. Remember to have fun! This is an amazing opportunity to unfold more of your identity as a person, to build confidence, and move towards a genuine and authentic self. Enjoy your classes, meeting new people, developing relationships, and learning and growing as a human throughout the entire process.

Please take a few moments and check out Part 1: Focusing on the Academics

Learn, grow, and enjoy,
Mandi