What a therapist / life coach does when the shit hits the fan.


We decided to sell our house this month. We want a smaller home that better suits us. And we really want to be debt-free.

We put in an offer on another house that is contingent upon us selling our current home in 45 days.

We had to get our home ready to list is less than 10 days from the time we put in our offer on the other house.

We had to find someone to paint the trim and siding of our home in less than three days.

We had to get a new furnace. Didn’t plan on that one…

My mother-in-law went into the hospital and needed us to help her find rehabilitative care thereafter.

My husband got news about our family business that will potentially change the trajectory of our lives.

Our kids started school. My little boy actually started kindergarten at a new school– and was up throughout the early morning hours dry-heaving from anxiety he didn’t even know he had.

Holy shit. It’s a lot. I haven’t really put it all in words until now.

This is life, people. My version of it, at least. This is stuff that happens — chosen or not. I created some of this, and some of it — well, they’re just circumstances that occurred that I had to deal with.

It has been one of the top 5 challenging weeks of my life — physically and emotionally. I’ve questioned my choices. I’ve cried. I’ve eaten (with my husband) two containers of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups and cereal in bed, half awake and a-lot-anxious at 11:45 p.m. I’ve eaten a lot of other stuff I wasn’t hungry for, but vacuumed up, nevertheless.

I’ve fussed at my husband and kids — my voice raised at an ugly pitch and my arguments irrational. I’ve beaten myself up for not being how I want to be in the world when all of this stuff was going on.

Those of us who work in the fields of helping other people feel better and be happier in their lives are often thought to have a path to serenity, rationality and centeredness that others aren’t privy to (that’s why you pay us the big bucks, right? to teach and guide you for how to get “there”).

I’m here to tell you that as a human being living her life, it gets heavy, stupid and confusing for me, too. What I can also tell you is that I definitely grew up some more this month — not because of the trials, but because I grew into an awareness as I was walking through them. I found out even more that I know how to take care of me.

When I was plowing through peanut butter cups and freaking out about a $7000 HVAC unit — I still knew how to take care of me. I tried all kinds of ways to tell myself I was losing my shit and abandoning my practice, but I just became more relentless in not giving up on myself.

  • I cooked dinner — protein, starch, veg, brown bread and butter — just like I always do.
  • I showed up at the gym. I needed it like water.
  • I drank water.
  • I hugged my kids and laughed with them.
  • I said I was sorry if I was being an asshole.
  • I connected with my clients and walked with them through their challenges and realizations.
  • I slept. In bed. In a chair sitting up sometimes.
  • I listened to music and read.

It’s called self-love — which isn’t an action, but a form of regard you hold for yourself. Self-care — those are the actions. Self-care isn’t necessarily about pedicures or massages (those are nice, though – I did get a pedicure in a window of time I claimed last week); it’s about the attention you give to yourself. It’s really about giving attention to what’s going on in your mind and where you decide to spend your time and energy.

I haven’t been taking care of myself the way I wanted to these past couple of weeks, and that’s okay. The recent days weren’t a perfect reflection of what I wanted to be doing, but I’m always standing in awareness of my quest for perfectionism and have to get off my own ass and see I was doing the best I could.

It all comes down to priorities. I got up early this morning and started thinking about this and got so damn excited.

I spent this weekend thinking that I reacted to my life circumstances in a way that was out of whack with my priorities; and when I looked at my priorities and what’s been happening, I found out there really was alignment.

There have been some days that have kicked my ass, but I never lost sight of living congruently with my priorities:

  1. My health: It’s everything. Everything. I struggled some, but took action to show up for myself. I have to continue to grow into trusting myself that I really do know it’s non-negotiable.
  2. My family: We love each other. We take care of each other. We value our children’s education. We want to save more and live debt-free.
  3. My work: I was there for my people — present and focused. This move to a smaller home can mean more freedom to create and play in my work versus questioning myself. I know who I am and what I’m doing. I’m not confused.
  4. Our home: We are moving to a new home that is more functional and suited to the way we want to live. And while we may have made our current space clean and shiny for others to buy, it’s beautiful for us now. And should we need to remain there, we’re not living in a mindset of making it better “someday.” We took action.

So, this therapist / life coach asks you this: What are your priorities? Write them down. A lot of times we think we have a vague idea of what they are, but the rubber meets the road when you write it down.

A lot of times when I have people do this work, they ask me if they should list their priorities as they are or what they wish they were. Ah — good question. Here’s some homework for you:

  • Write down what your priorities are right now — not what what you wish they were. List what is important to you right now.
  • Time journal: My weight loss clients see much more success when they keep a food journal and a time journal is the same idea. All you’re doing for a day is taking note of how you are spending your time. Working. Sleeping. Playing. Facebooking. Eating. Having sex. TV viewing. Exercising. Preparing meals. Eating in your car. Just note it without judgment.
  • Take a look at that time journal and ask yourself this: Does my day really reflect what I want to be doing? Does my day reflect my priorities? What would I change? What would I want to remain the same? How can I make changes to reflect my priorities? Big changes and small changes?

And I hope you’ll find what I did — that in times where grit, determination and resilience are called upon — you may waver, flounder and cuss, but you can right yourself and persevere when you check in with your priorities.

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10 thoughts on “What a therapist / life coach does when the shit hits the fan.

  1. Great post! We all have time where the shit hits the fan. We’re not immune to it. We grit our teeth and do the best we can with what we have. LOVE the idea of the time journal. Going to share that one! : )

    Good luck with your home, Laura!

    1. Thanks, Ami!

  2. Love this post! Showing your vulnerability as a real person is what being a coach is all about. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Betsy — vulnerability is where it’s at, girl! The stuff of life.

  3. Love this Laura. I have had a couple of weeks like this myself. So glad you can look in the mirror and recognize all that you are doing that is right on track- and completely aligned with you being your best self. And the peanut butter cups – every now and then it’s just part of life!

    1. Thank you, Nancy — those peanut butter cups were special – lol! Again, thank you for your kind words.

  4. Thank you for making Facebook a place to still find some wisdom. And thank you for this post that reminds us what being human is, what life is, and that none of us are alone in our journey. Carry on!!!

    1. Aw, Sherry — thank you for this. I think we find connection through our stories — our authentic and vulnerable stories. I’m glad I could share this with you and it meant something.

  5. Great post. Raw and Real– just like self love and self care. growing with our lives takes practice… and includes doses of peanut butter choco ice cream! 🙂 I appreciate your writing style! xx

    1. Peanut butter seems to be a running theme, Kirsten! Thanks for your kind words. ox