Diet Culture vs. Nutrition as a Self-Care Practice

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How often do you think about your own diet and the food you eat as a form of self-care? What does that even mean? So much of our understanding of what constitutes a HEALTHY diet is shaped by diet culture and what amount to marketing messages designed to sell products and services. We forget that nourishment is one of the most basic needs our bodies have, and that we’re able to be psychologically impacted in the realm of this basic need, just like we are in so many other areas of our lives.

It’s important to remember that body type, body size, and body image are three distinct terms that cross the mental and physical chasms. With the vast majority of our inputs focusing more on food choices and eliminating “fat” bodies by losing weight, much of the western world experiences some form of disordered eating behaviors and weight stigma. And while health at every size is possible, anti-diet cultures that focus on nutrition and intuitive eating can help to reduce national eating disorders.

Today, we’re speaking with Jessica Begg. She is is a Registered Dietitian and a Registered Clinical Counsellor. Jessica has a private practice based in Vancouver, Canada and has worked in many eating disorders programs in her area for over 10 years. She works now to help people heal from binge and emotional eating and start building a more peaceful relationship with food their body.

We hit on so many important topics in this episode:

  1. The impact of diet culture on our health & wellbeing
  2. The role of our emotion in the way we eat
  3. The impact of all of this on our self-concept and our relationship with our our body
  4. The dangerous link between diet culture and disordered eating
  5. And finally, how to cultivate a healthier relationship with food and our own bodies

This is a topic that impacts each and every one of us on a daily basis, and I’m thrilled to have Jessica here to help us navigate it more peacefully.

Learn more about Jessica and her program at:


How To Avoid Feeling Like a Failure When Your Plate Is Too Full

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Sometimes, the amount of work and responsibilities we have on our plates is just too much. Between work, caring for others, taking care of our homes and physical space, and attempting to squeeze in a little bit of self-care, it can all feel overwhelming. 

But, what if you could approach it with an entirely different philosophy? 

What if you truly understood and believed that your space did not have to look perfectly put together because you are too busy? 

What if you realized that you don’t exist to serve your space and make it look perfect, but rather, your space exists to serve you?  That your mental health and hours of sleep are more important to your long-term health than perfection.

What if you realized that the chores, or better yet, the care tasks, you do around your home are simply functional tasks. Doing them well, or not so well, perfectly, or incompletely, does not say anything about you as a person and your worth or value. 

What if you dropped all the guilt and shame about it and allowed yourself to simply do only what absolutely needed to be done? 

Enter KC Davis. I encountered KC Davis on TikTok, and I was instantly struck by her message of ‘Struggle Care.’ Through her empathetic and engaging content, she teaches us that care tasks are functional, not moral. That shame is the enemy of functioning. That we can allow ourselves a human moment and be absolutely ok with it. This, and so much more. 

Her new book “How to Keep House While Drowning” gives an approachable, tangible, not overwhelming overview of her philosophy of struggle care, and it’s exactly what we all need during a time when we’re juggling too much or battling barriers to getting our care tasks done. 

No matter what, you are valuable, you are worthy, and none of that value and worth is dependent upon what your home looks like. 

Learn more about KC at:  

Click here to learn more about our most recent program, ‘Self Care [by design].’ For just $29, you can design your own effective, customized, guilt-free self-care routine to support you in being your best every day.  


Therapy Is Like KonMari for Your Mind

You might have heard of the best-selling book Tidying Up with Marie Kondo KonMari in which the author, Marie Kondo, outlines her konmari method for getting rid of clutter and maintaining an organized space. 

If you’ve been with us for a bit, you’re probably coming to realize some truths about our minds. Among others:

They’re powerful…

They take shortcuts…

They’re prone to creating habits…

And sometimes those habits aren’t helpful.

Because of the nature of the way our minds work, they easily fall prey to creating shortcuts and habits that aren’t helpful to us. Some of which manifest themselves as what modern society calls mental illness.

Think about that for a second. Simply because they’re doing what they naturally do, our minds can find themselves in unhelpful patterns that negatively impact our lives.

It’s no wonder why 1 in 4 people will experience mental illness at some point in their lives!

Mental Health Awareness Day

Yesterday was Mental Health Awareness Day. Unfortunately, even though so many of us could benefit from therapy, proportionally few of us actually take advantage of it.

A big factor in that underutilization is stigma.

We’re afraid it says something bad about us. We’re afraid it means we’re weak, or that there’s something wrong with us.

In fact, it just means you’re a human with a mind that was doing it’s job, and along the way accidentally created a pattern that wasn’t helpful. 

Let’s look at an analogy…because I LOVE analogies.

A cluttered pantry

Many of us have had the experience of a room or closet in our house slowly morphing into a cluttered, disorganized mess over time. 

It didn’t happen overnight. No one walked in there and threw everything all over the place. It happened slowly.

One day, you didn’t fully put away the groceries and left some cans on the counter. The next day, an opened bag of chips spilled on the floor. The next day, your kids dumped out a box of fruit snacks.

You get the picture.

Over time, you found yourself with a stressful, cluttered mess. 

The same thing happens to our minds. Over time, our minds develop patterns and habits that cause our thoughts to become disorganized, cluttered, messy.

Therapy is like KonMari

When I read Marie Kondo’s book, I instantly thought of my experiences in therapy (I’ve gone for 3 separate issues over my lifetime). It really applies, and it’s life changing magic.

Kondo’s book points out how our minds can easily morph into something that feels like that cluttered, messy pantry. 

No space.

No organization.

Nothing in its place.

Therapy is like having a neutral third party help you reorganize things.

It was like having a tidying expert come into my messy pantry with me, randomly pick up a box, and say, “Where does this go. Don’t worry about everything else. Let’s start here.”

One by one, we sorted through everything. Stacking like objects together. Creating an organizational system. Putting everything back in its place.

Each time I’ve gone, I walked out with a spacious feeling mind. The transformation was amazing. I’m thankful for the Marie Kondo method and the way it has tidied my mind. 

Psychological Strength

Therapy is an incredibly powerful tool, and now more than ever people in the United States should be taking advantage of it. To start, I urge you to tackle your own mental KonMari by reaching out to a licensed therapist in your area, even if you just barely think it might help.

Where does psychological strength come into play, you might ask?

Psychological strength fits into the equation much like preventive care fits into medicine. (I’m mixing analogies, I know! Stay with me!)

Psych strength is the set of skills and tools we proactively develop to make it less likely that our pantry will get messy in the first place and more likely that we’ll be able to keep it organized after a big KonMari session.

Every single person in the world would be better off if they spent intentional time learning how their mind really works and practicing some simple skills to make it more likely to work FOR them, not against them.

This is why we’re so passionate about what we do at Peak Mind and why we’re so thrilled you’re in our community.

In the shadow of this Mental Health Awareness Day, we want to say thank you. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for making your mental health and wellbeing a priority.

“Many people carry this type of negative self-image for years, but it is swept away the instant they experience their own perfectly clean space. This drastic change in self-perception, the belief that you can do anything if you set your mind to it, transforms behavior and lifestyles.”
– Marie Kondo

The World Feels Heavy: Reduce Cognitive Load

There are times in our lives when the weight of the world feels too heavy to bear. 

Things seem to be going wrong…

The world’s problems seem so large…

Right now, in the U.S., we’re moving toward one of the most dramatic and volatile and tense elections in our nation’s recent history.

Across the globe, and in our own homes, we’re facing challenges like the ongoing pandemic, climate change, racial injustice, economic and educational disparity, and so many other big, important challenges.

It can all feel….HEAVY. 

I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that I feel overwhelmed at times. The weight of all of these challenges, coupled with the complexity and responsibility of my normal, day-to-day life can feel so tough to bear.

Today, I want to share a little formula I used just the other day, to help myself re-focus and regain a bit of mental balance in this complicated time.

You can’t focus on it all

Let’s begin with the reason WHY all of this feels so heavy: we are incredible human beings who are constrained by their own biology.

Our minds only have so much capacity.

When we simultaneously try to focus on too many things, solve too many problems, make too many decisions, our minds feel cluttered and overwhelmed.

The scientific term for this is ‘mental or cognitive load.’

We experience cognitive load when we exhaust the amount of working memory our minds have available at any given time.

It’s especially likely to happen when we’re already in a time of stress, when we’re tired, when we’re emotional, or when we’re not biologically taking care of ourselves.

We recently did a podcast episode on this very topic and included some tips for combatting cognitive load in your day-to-day life. You might want to check it out. (Episode 0196 | “How to create a more spacious mind”)

2 Questions

Today, I want to offer you the formula I used in the form of 2 questions that can help you move through complex and heavy times. This really helped me the other day, and it might just help you too.

When things start to feel too heavy to bear, I want you to ask yourself 2 questions:

First, ask yourself, out of everything that’s going on right now, which of it truly matters to me? 

Don’t think about what should matter to you or what matters to other people. If you’re being 100% honest with yourself, which of the challenges truly matter to you?

Second, ask yourself, out of everything that’s going on right now, which of these things are inside of my direct control?

Don’t worry about what you wish you could control. Similarly, don’t worry about what you think you could control if you worked hard to convince someone else to change their behavior.

Focus on what is inside of your direct control.

You basically end up with 4 boxes:

Narrow your focus

Because you are an incredible human being who is constrained by biology (working memory, in this case), the biggest thing you can do to lessen the overwhelm you’re feeling is to narrow your focus to the things that:

Truly matter to you

That you can directly control

If you look at the 4 boxes that result from asking yourself those 2 questions, the bottom 2 boxes are truly wasted energy. If it doesn’t matter to you, regardless of whether it’s under your direct control or not, let’s not waste any more precious energy worrying about it.

Consider this your permission to just let it go.

However, if it’s something that does truly matter to you and is inside of your direct control, here’s where your attention, focus, and effort belongs.

Your limited cognitive and personal effort will go much further if you’re focusing it on the things that fall in that upper-right quadrant.


I’m also going to invite you to ‘let go’ of the things that fall in that upper-left quadrant….but it’s likely to be a challenge.

You see, many of us have that list of things that truly matter to us, but they just aren’t inside of our direct control. 

Outcomes and challenges that are governed by other people’s actions frequently fall into this category.

Sure, we might be able to argue, bargain, and debate with that other person in order to try to influence their behavior, but the ultimate outcome isn’t inside of our direct control.

That’s tough.

In this case, your best bet is to practice acceptance. 

Acceptance means acknowledging the situation for what it is, without trying to fight against it or change it.

It doesn’t mean you agree with it, endorse it, like it, etc. It simply means, you acknowledge it.

On the surface, this seems like the dumbest concept. I know. But, when you unpack it, it really is powerful.

Acceptance is the opposite of avoidance. Acknowledging a situation means staring it right in the eye. Seeing it for what it is. Turning toward it for a moment to face it head-on. 

Psychological research tells us we have better outcomes when we face a situation, rather than avoiding it.

Acceptance also removes our involvement from a situation we can’t control.

Remember that limited amount of capacity each of us has, practicing acceptance helps us save our precious, limited energy for the things we can directly control, rather than wasting it on things we can’t.

Take care of yourself

Do what you can to protect your energy and your capacity. The world needs you, but you can’t solve it all or do it all alone. Self-care, REAL, effective self-care, is needed now more than ever. Self-care [by Design] is designed to help you take care of yourself so that you can be the best, most effective form of YOU, each and every day.

Focus on the areas in that upper-right quadrant. Protect yourself and your capacity by narrowing your focus.


Meeting Human Needs: Creating Conditions to Thrive

It seems like this is another time when lots of folks are hitting walls. The combo of the pandemic + winter + holidays is taking a toll, people are forgetting about their human needs, and I find myself thinking a lot about my aloe plant.

Let me explain.

My Aloe

For years, I lived in downtown Kansas City. I loved my last apartment…but my aloe plant did not. With one window, which was kept closed the majority of the time, and an owner who rarely remembered to water it, my resilient little plant was far from healthy. Pale green mottled with brown, it withered a bit, growing very slowly at an odd angle to soak up the limited light, but it refused to die.

Fast forward 3 or 4 years. This plant now lives in a window with lots of indirect light. It gets watered regularly (thanks to my partner’s green thumb), and it is thriving. It has grown significantly, with new shoots, thick and green, and has more than doubled in size. It still grows at an angle, a reminder of the hardship it’s been through, but it is now a vibrant and healthy plant.

My hearty aloe is a constant reminder of the importance of our human needs. While resilience is crucial – without it my plant would have died – we cannot underestimate the impact that our conditions have on us. For most of us, 2020 has been the equivalent of my downtown apartment.

Unmet Human Needs

Humans have some basic needs that, when unmet, make it quite hard to thrive. Most people know this in relation to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but today we are talking about just three. These are three, often overlooked, needs that seem to have been particularly thwarted lately.

1. Security and safety

Probably the most important human need. It’s hard to grow and to reach your highest potential when the foundation upon which you’re standing isn’t solid. Without a sense of security and safety, we are not able to focus our attention on much of anything besides the impending threat. We are not able to relax, explore, or open up to what life has to offer.

2. Connection

We are inherently social creatures. We need to connect, to belong, to care and be cared for. Our social need is on par with food and water. It is not optional. While we’ve found some creative ways to maintain our relationships in the era of social distancing, zoom just isn’t the same as being able to hug or share a space with someone.

3. Novelty

While routine can be quite beneficial for us, monotony isn’t. I’ve said for years, “I don’t do boredom well,” and I know I’m not the only one. We need some variety in our day-to-day experiences. Without it, life starts to feel dull.  


Creating the Conditions to Thrive

There’s a huge chunk of our current conditions that we can’t really do much about. Even with the promise that a vaccine brings, we’re still smack in the middle of a global pandemic and have to take certain precautions, which limit our daily lives. We can’t forget our human needs. Whether it’s working or learning from home or masking and distancing in public, you’re probably not spending your day in ideal conditions. 

We also can’t control the weather. Winter brings cold temperatures, precipitation that makes it harder to get outside, and darker days. This season tends to drive us inside where we fall into easy habits that, again, may not create ideal conditions for thriving.

Fortunately, as humans, we do have some ability to actively construct our environments and circumstances.

The Challenge

My challenge to you is twofold. First, do not underestimate the impact that our human needs have on us – on how we feel, how we think, and what we do. It is really hard to blossom when you’re not in fertile soil. Compassion – for yourself and for others – is critical right now. It may not be your fault that you’re feeling stressed, ambivalent, or scattered or if you’re not doing things the way you’d like or as well as you used to. Like my poor aloe fighting to grow while starving in a dark apartment, your current experience may simply be a result of the conditions you’re in. Be kind and understanding toward yourself, and show that same care to others.

Second, it’s time to get intentional about creating the conditions you need to thrive. You’re going to have be a creative problem-solver here. Are there things you can do or change that will set you up for success? Sometimes, it’s not about your mindset (though I would argue that’s always important), it’s about the practices, routines, and circumstances we’re in. Some are just more conducive to thriving than others.

Take stock of what your typical day or week looks like now compared to pre-COVID or to another time in your life when you were closer to your best. What are some concrete differences? What can you do to recreate those more ideal conditions?  These tips may help.

For security and safety:

  • Finally learn to wrangle worry (ASCEND has techniques to help or try out a mindfulness app like Headspace, 10% Happier, Waking Up, or Calm)
  • Limit news consumption

For connection:

  • Make a point to reach out to people. Send a text. Send a letter. Bring back the spontaneous phone call. Share something you enjoyed or that made you think of them.
  • Do a random kindness for someone. This is a great time of year to give to someone less fortunate.

For novelty:

  • Bundle up and go for a stroll. Take a different route or go to a different part of your city or town. Just a change in scenery can help.
  • Plan a new experience each week. This is 100% possible, even with the limitations COVID imposes.

If you want more guidance, we created Self-Care [by design] to help you identify the practices you need to do to support you showing up as your best, every single day. In other words, to help you create the conditions you need to thrive.

 Regardless of the conditions you’re in, keep building your psychological strength! It’s what buffers you against adversity and helps you thrive.

“The opposite of happiness isn’t sadness – it’s boredom”
– Tim Ferriss

You Can Be Both a Success AND a Work-in-Progress

Think about how far you’ve come. 

Truly. If you’re in the Peak Mind community (or you’re reading this post), you’re the type of person who believes in intentionally working to better themselves.

Think about all the progress you’ve made since you started your journey. Now think about the work you still have left to do.

What’s so amazing is that these two things can coexist. You can be both a WILD SUCCESS and a work-in-progress at the same time.

Story Time

Ashley and I are very open about the fact that we walk the Peak Mind walk. Every single technique we tell you to try is one that we are using on ourselves. 

I’ve also been very open about the fact that I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety after my first daughter was born. It was BRUTAL.

Now, in my opinion, not enough people open up and talk about PPD/A, but what really doesn’t get any mention at all is that, even after you’re over PPD/A, they can leave nasty side-effects. Scars that morph into open wounds at a moment’s notice. 

Mine came in the form of PTSD. You read that right. I found myself dealing with post-traumatic stress as a result of going through postpartum depression and anxiety. And I am not alone. For many mom’s PPD/A can present with PTSD, and it can feel nearly impossible to manage one, let alone the other. 

Talk about a double-whammy.

I was left with a set of triggers that, when present, would cause a near panic attack. Not only that, but the anxiety I experienced merely at the potential of it happening, ruined my ability to enjoy time alone with my kids. So not only was it tough to be alone, but it was tough to be alone with my kids. This feels like an impossible situation when you are a mother with a husband who has a demanding career. 

You see, my husband is an ER physician, and I am frequently with the kids by myself on the weekend because he is working long shifts.

The mere idea of spending an entire weekend alone with my kids, with a good chance that I’d run into one of the triggers that caused such a painful reaction, brought on negative thoughts and made me so proactively anxious that I couldn’t even enjoy my weekend. 

Now, here’s the really cool part. It didn’t happen this weekend. Zero anxiety about the thought of a weekend with little to no help. 

That is the first time in over 4 years that I could say that, and I have worked so hard to get here. We can’t define success by how we feel one time, but I know that I have the ability to succeed and overcome my PTSD because I am on the right path. Day by day it gets better. 

There’s really no telling why it didn’t happen this weekend, other than it’s something I have been treating and managing since it’s diagnosis. This made me feel really accomplished. Like my efforts meant something. Like my hard work hasn’t been all for nought. I still have work to do, but wow, did I celebrate!

Celebrate Your Progress

If you’re anything like me, you’re so focused on the path forward that as soon as you make progress or accomplish something, you’re already on to the next thing.

There is nothing wrong with continuing to make progress. I firmly believe that self-improvement and psychological strength building is a life-long pursuit. To find true success, begin with the first step and check out ASCEND, our comprehensive psych building program to help you on your journey. This will put you on the path to overcome whatever is holding you back and help you achieve success in life. 

However, please, take one moment today to congratulate yourself. 

The progress you’ve made is worthy of a few moments of reflection and celebration. You can have a vibrantly transformative relationship with yourself once you’re on the path to success. 

Take just a few moments to play around with this question:

What would my life have been like today if I hadn’t started when I did?

Where would you be today? What would life look and feel like? How about your relationships? Your communication skills? Your confidence level? Your resilience? 

Celebrating the little wins is the first key to success. 

It’s amazing, isn’t it?!

Tonight, we celebrate!

So on this Sunday evening, I’m celebrating. I’m celebrating your progress, my progress, and the combined progress of this community. 

“A work of art was once a work in progress.”
– Adele Leon

Time Management: Don’t Make Sacrifices

I’ve got an important question for you. Between the things you want to do and things you have to do, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Many people call this time management. But nobody talks about what do you have to sacrifice?

If you’re like a lot of people, you sacrifice things like sleep, exercise, fun and leisure. Unfortunately, those aren’t luxuries. They’re needs. Adults need fun and leisure just as much as kids do, and sleep and exercise are basic needs required for our biological systems to run smoothly. You can certainly get by without these for a while, but not without a big toll on your health, well-being, and quality of life.

“Great!” you think. “I’m already strapped for time, cramming more than one human being’s worth of stuff into one day, and you’re telling me to add MORE! Exactly how am I supposed to do that?”

I don’t have all the answers, and you may be limited by some very real constraints of your current situation, but the main thing is to get intentional. Time is a non-renewable resource. You only get 24 hours a day, and you have a finite number of days. How do you want to spend this precious commodity? Not how do others want you to spend your time. Not how does your mind want you to spend that time. How do you want to spend your time, based on your priorities and values and taking into account your responsibilities, goals, commitments, and demands?

To help you get intentional and get more life out of your 24 hours, here are a couple strategies to try out:

1. Do a time audit.

Take a few minutes at the end of the day to write down how you spent your time. All of it. Do this for a few days to gather some good data, then look at patterns. Chances are you’ll notice some time drains:

  • Do you lose time scrolling on social media, streaming shows, or other mindless activities?
  • Are you spending more time on certain activities than you realized? Or doing things more often than you realized?
  • Do others hijack your day with requests or demands?
  • Are you putting others’ wants or needs ahead of your own
  • Are you busy with productive procrastination? These are tasks that need to be done at some point but aren’t necessarily the priorities for that day.
  • Do tasks take you longer than anticipated?
  • Are you over-committed?
  • Are you doing things that don’t really matter to you or that don’t add value to your life?

Once you have a sense of how you’re actually spending your time, you’re in a good position to make some adjustments, which brings us to…

2. Plan your day in advance.

Take 5 minutes the evening before or first thing in the morning to plan your day. Then stick to your schedule, barring unexpected out of your control demands that arise. Be sure to quickly reflect on your schedule at the end of the day. Did you follow it? If not, what got in the way?

 Planning your day in advance allows you to consider what’s important to you and to be intentional about how you spend your precious time. Pre-making these decisions protects you against others hijacking your time. Of course, there will be people who need things from you – partners, kids, bosses, etc. –  and you may not always be able (or even want) to say no. With some deliberate planning, though, you may find that you’re putting out fewer fires and feeling more in control throughout the day.

Following a daily schedule also protects you from the sneaky things your mind does that take you off course. When you make decisions in the moment about how to spend your time, you’re more likely to fall victim to the numerous biases and short cuts that all of our minds take. For example, your mind will throw out a million excuses not to do things that take effort or energy (It’s too late to exercise. It’s been a long day, and you deserve a break.). It will prioritize the short-term pay off over the long-term (Scroll on your phone rather than meal prepping. It’s easier.). It will criticize or guilt you into things (You shouldn’t be reading a book. You should be doing XYZ.). And those are just a few of the ways minds try to “help” us out. When you map out your day, you take the decision-making out of the moment, which takes your mind out the equation. Sure, those thoughts may still pipe up, but they’re less likely to sway you.

Following a daily schedule is even more important if you’re at all prone to anxiety or depression, both of which can dictate in-the-moment decisions about what to do and how to spend time, resulting in self-amplifying cycles. Within my psychology practice, I’ve often seen giant reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms simply from creating – and sticking to – a daily schedule!

Tips for scheduling your day

  1. For some people, scheduling based on time works out really well. For example, at 8:00, I will make breakfast, check emails, and get ready for the day. For others, planning out times doesn’t work as well. If that’s you, try listing your daily “Must dos” instead. These are the activities that you must do today in order to feel good about how you spent your time.
  2. Include the big four as often as you can. For humans to be healthy and happy, we regularly need activities that are productive, enjoyable, social, and physical. A daily schedule isn’t about being productive non-stop. Try to carve out time for all of those kinds of activities, and It’s ok to double dip. Maybe going for a walk outside is both enjoyable and physical for you.
  3.  It’s also important to make sure that how you spend your time aligns with what’s important to you. That doesn’t mean that every minute should be fun or that we shouldn’t do things we don’t like. It does mean, however, that if how you spend the bulk of your time isn’t In line with your priorities and values, you’re not going to be as happy or satisfied with life as you could be. 

3. Incorporate Self-care.

Building effective self-care practices into your day can be well-worth the time cost. When you engage in self-care – real self-care, the kind that helps maximize your energy and mindset – you’re showing up at a higher level for the rest of your day. Figure out daily habits that help you get centered and feel strong. Is it exercise? Stretching? Listening to music while you get dressed? Having coffee on the porch? Cleaning the kitchen the night before? Unplugging an hour before bed? Waiting to check email until after you’ve accomplished something meaningful? Reviewing your calendar and goals each morning? Whatever it is, be sure to include it in your schedule. 

Designing an effective self-care routine can be a game-changer. Self-care [by Design] can help you level up your self-care.

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

– Gretchen RubinP.S. I wore “busy” like a badge of honor for YEARS before finding Life Design, which was revolutionary. Life Design is all about creating a life that really works for you, rather than passively following the status quo. Combining Life Design with Psychology has made my life look and feel much differently than it did back in those too busy days. If you’re interested in diving deeper into this kind of work, check out our brand new Ascend program.


When Being Selfish Is HEALTHY

We frequently have conversations with our students and clients about how it is NOT selfish to take care of yourself….but what if it actually IS selfish? What if it is something called healthy selfishness?

I came across this concept in a book I have been reading. The book is called “Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization,” and it is a modern-day revision of Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs. It is FASCINATING if you apply it to self-care

This book distinguishes between UNhealthy selfishness (which is rooted in greed, poverty, and neuroticism) and HEALTHY selfishness (which is rooted in abundance, the motivation to grow and be happy). It’s actually a form of psychological strength and resilience!

Healthy Selfishness = Self-Love

It argues that healthy selfishness is one factor that allows people to self-actualize and that healthy selfishness actually stems from healthy self-love.

Think about that! It all makes sense! When we love someone, we want them to be happy, and we do things to help support that happiness.

If we love ourselves, we should want ourselves to be happy and do things to help support our own happiness! A lot of people feel guilty about feeling good! 

What if, rather than allowing “selfishness” to be the excuse for why we don’t practice self-care, instead, we made it the reason why we NEED TO PRACTICE self-care?! 

What’s your level of healthy selfishness?

They included the items from a healthy selfishness scale, and I want to share them with you so that you can see just how ground-breaking this topic is. (For more detailed results on how you measure up, take the quiz here.)

How well does each of these statements describe you?

  • I have healthy boundaries.
  • I have a lot of self-care.
  • I have a healthy dose of self-respect and don’t let people take advantage of me.
  • I balance my own needs with the needs of others.
  • I advocate for my own needs.
  • I have a healthy form of selfishness (e.g., meditation, eating healthy, exercising, etc.) that does not hurt others.
  • Even though I give a lot to others, I know when to recharge.
  • I give myself permission to enjoy myself, even if it doesn’t necessarily help others.
  • I take good care of myself.
  • I prioritize my own personal projects over the demands of others. 


Healthy Selfishness in Action

Understanding something at a conceptual level and putting it into practice in your life are 2 entirely different things. Before you head off into your week, I want to give you a few tips to think about in order to cultivate your own level of healthy selfishness.

TIP #1: Ask yourself what you need…THEN DO IT

It’s incredible what happens if you take just a moment to stop, scan your body and your mind, and ask yourself what you need. Said another way, what could make you feel even better in this moment? 

Maybe you need a glass of water. Or 5 deep breaths. Or something to eat. Or a quick, brisk walk. Or simply to use the bathroom.

This week, twice per day, I challenge you to intentionally ask yourself what you need. And then go out of your way to fulfill that need.

TIP #2: Allow someone else to take charge

So many of us are the type who is used to taking charge or taking responsibility. We quickly spot issues around us that need to be resolved, and we fix them. Immediately.

This week, at least once, PAUSE. Allow someone else to step in. You’re not in this alone. Allow someone else to take some responsibility, and let yourself relax as they do so.

TIP #3: Say no

Be honest. When someone asks you to do something for them, is your immediate reaction to always say yes? How much free time does that leave you with? Do you ever resent having to follow through on those “yes’s?”

Just once this week, say no to a request or demand from someone else. Not only will this help give you the space you need to prioritize your own personal projects, but it’ll be good practice at setting healthy boundaries.

Need some help? We recently did an entire podcast episode on boundaries. Give it a listen to help give you the tools and confidence you need to say no this week. 

Go love yourself!

Self-care is a necessity. It supports you as the asset you are. You deserve to be loved and taken care of, just like everyone else around you. Love on yourself and take care of yourself this week! 

For help creating a stellar self-care routine, tailor-made just for you, check out our Self-care [by Design] mini-course.

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.”
– Paolo Coelho

Permission to Take Care of Yourself

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If you’re like me, you’re a “doer.” When something needs to be done, you do it. When someone needs help, you’re there. When you see something that can be improved, you’re on it. We need to prioritize self-care the same way.

There’s a shadow side to all that “doing.” 

Many times, we take on more and more at our own expense. We feel obligated to tend to others’ needs at the expense of our own. We try to control and manage things that are in actuality, not ours to control and manage.  

This is called “over-functioning,” and it’s one of the key topics we’re talking about in today’s episode. 

Today, we’re speaking with Mandy Barbee. Mandy is a hypnotherapist, the founder of Palladium Mind, and perhaps more importantly, a recovered over-functioner.  

Mandy brings her personal transformation and her expertise to this episode to talk about a number of important topics that are likely influencing us right now: 

  • We talk about the committee of voices we all have in our mind that drives us to over-function 
  • We talk about self-sabotage. What causes it and how we can use it as input to move forward toward what we really want. 
  • We go in depth on the real role of self-care. It’s more than bubble baths and manicures 
  • And, finally, Mandy shares a free resource she’s put together just for us, which you can access here

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stretched thin, this is the episode for you. 

Focusing on emotional self-care includes spending time for yourself in a guilt-free environment. Those who utilize some form of self-care in their daily life find long-term benefits not only to their emotional health, but also with their physical health. Medical reviewers found those with an emotional self care plan, were able to better cope with illness, exhibited a stronger immune system.

Physical self-care may mean eating healthy and being active to feel better and live longer but when we emotionally self-care, research shows lower levels of anxiety and depression and a greater ability to manage stress. For those looking to maintain healthful habits, consider any number of practices of self-care listed in this podcast.


Are You Living Life by Design or by Default? 

29 years ago today, my dad died from colon cancer.

That experience was one of the most impactful experiences of my life, but for more reasons than the obvious.

One of the biggest things I learned from that experience is the importance of TIME and HOW WE CHOOSE TO SPEND IT. 

At some point, our time will run out. This is the one certainty we can count on in life.

And how we choose to spend our time between now and then is of critical importance. Whether thats your career path, or even small parts of your life, be sure it is all by your own life design. 

I want you to keep that in mind as you read on.

Where we are now.

We thought we were in volatile, uncertain times before, but if you’re anything like me, you’re noticing an up-tick in volatility these days as…

Some states begin to reopen…

Other states remain on lock-down…

Small businesses announce their closures…

Unemployment payments are sporadically given out…

Friends and family members hold differing opinions about all of that.

It can begin to feel like everything is out of control.

But here’s the thing: Much of that is out of our control, and unfortunately, those are the things we tend to focus on. 

However, there is so much that is inside our control, yet that’s not where we put our focus. We have so much control over how we experience our days, and that, my friends, is where Life Design comes in.

What is Life Design?

Life Design is an approach that helps us live intentionally by designing our life experience using the ‘human-centered design’ process.

Human-centered design is the approach that businesses use to create products that we LOVE. 

The Instant Pot. The iPhone. And so many more.

The process begins by getting to know the people at the center of the design project. Once we know them (their values, needs, goals, barriers, etc), we can design specifically for them.

Life Design takes this very same approach and applies it to YOUR LIFE!

We get to know you at an intimate level, and using that depth of knowledge, we begin to apply it to different facets of your life.

The result is a life that feels custom-tailored for YOU. Because it was!

It sounds powerful because it is. This is why it’s such a big component of our core psych strength program, ASCEND. We know first-hand the power of Life Design and are weaving it into everything we do at Peak Mind.

The Opportunity is NOW.

Believe it or not, we have an amazing opportunity to practice Life Design right now.

As many of us move into the next chapter of our lives, we have the ability to question the aspects of our ‘old lives’ that weren’t quite right for us. 

We can also design new elements of our lives that are better aligned to who we truly are.

Now is the time to be doing this work.

It’s time to get honest about what was, and WASN’T, working for us and how we want our next chapter to be different.

It’s time to think through what these changes should optimally look like, identify likely barriers to these changes happening, and establish support systems to help make them a reality.

It’s time to start living by design, instead of living by default. 

“Many of the things in our lives are a direct result of choices we have made. Active or passive, they’re choices none the same. If you want a different result, it’s time to start making a different choice.”