I Didn't Take It Seriously

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The spring semester my senior year at USC I took this speech class. 

It was a class taught by an adjunct professor who you could tell had one foot in the door of academia and the other out in the working world.  

I'll be honest - I didn't take the class super seriously. It was second semester. It was senior year. All I wanted was a passing grade and I wanted to move on with my life

And yet, one of the assignments at the end of the class is something I can't get out of my mind. 

The professor said:

You're going to graduate. You're getting to get a job. And you're probably not going to like the first one you get. Most people don't.

So I'm telling you now, to think about how you want to live your life.


Think about how you want to feel. What time do you want to get up? Where do you want to live? What do you want your days to look like?

I think we all collectively rolled our eyes at this "assignment."

We were ready to finish senior year, get a job and move on to the adult phasing of life. Check, check and check, please! 

But I did the assignment anyway. And here's what I wrote: 

"I want to wake up at 8 am and get coffee at Coffee Bean. I want to live in Santa Monica and walk to work. I want to work in an office with people. But not too many. I want to feel relaxed, yet energized and I want to be able to take breaks during the day to regroup. I'll end at 5pm and have a chance to walk outside before the sun goes down." 

Boom. I had a smile on my face as I envisioned this magical life of living in Santa Monica doing work that felt good.

I turned the assignment in and never thought about it again. 

That is until this past year. 

I can't STOP thinking about it. This awesome professor knew what she was talking about. She knew to plant a kernel of truth in our minds for the long-term picture of life. 

Her focus was to get us thinking about how we want to live our lives in a sustainable way - not just in a way of checking off life's boxes. 

And man, I thank her for it now. 

Because I did the assignment again this week. I needed a reset. 

I wrote at the top of my page for my NEW assignment:

"How do you want your life to look and feel?" 


And here's what I came up with:

  • Vacations to warm places

  • More quality time with friends - not just texting

  • Space for creativity 

  • Community with other people - workshops, retreats

  • Time outside in nature with no agenda

  • Boundaries with technology 

  • Belly laughter

  • Asking myself, "Does this feel good?" when I make a decision

  • Playing with my dog more

  • And yes, more Coffee Bean :) 


Ahhhh, it felt so good to even just write this stuff down. 

For me, I had to take a pause and decide what I wanted a little more of in my life. Otherwise, another day rolls around, it's 6pm and I realized I haven't done the stuff I like or value. 

Your life might not look exactly like your "What I Value and Love College Assignment" list 100% of the time - mine certainly doesn't - but you'll have a compass telling you when you need to reset. 

You can add a little walk outside today, sprinkle in a little cozy snuggle with your dog tomorrow or wait until you feel something just feels right - and then add it all in. 

And you don't have to do any of it perfectly. I mean, I didn't necessarily get to all the things on my list. I followed the path that was meant for me at the moment - moved to NYC, went to grad school, etc. 

But, I'm guessing that somewhere it was embedded in my mind, even if I only started consciously thinking about it over 10 years later. 

And as for my updated list? Some days I still rush through the day and think to myself, "I didn't take a break or do anything FUN today." 

You can just slowly take things day by day and infuse more of what you value, whatever it is - hip-hop classes, trips to comedy clubs, long lunches with friends where you belly laugh, trips in nature - whatever YOU'RE craving more of. 

And you can do it in big and small ways: Schedule a yoga retreat in Mexico or take a walk outside without your phone in the middle of the day. 

I wish I could turn my updated assignment into my professor.

She really knew what she was talking about. 

Maybe I'll look her up and send her an email? So much of what she said didn't resonate until now. 

It's never too late to shift your perspective on how you work, live, relate, have fun, vacation or just feel. 

The biggest step might just be asking: 

What do you want your life to look like?

How do you want to feel? 



From my heart to yours, 

Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist


PS You can close your eyes right now and just ask yourself, "What do I want a little more of in my life right now?" See what comes up! You just can't go wrong when you follow your intuition <3 

My 10 Tips For Your Greatest Winter Yet

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How's your winter going? 

I live in NYC and the past couple weeks have been SUPER cold. 

I've found myself having a case of the "Januaries." 

The "Januaries" is a VERY clinical term that describes racing home to be in indoors as much as you can ;) 

You know what I'm talking about if you get in a funk when the days get dark and the temps drop. 

You want to be in bed watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel under a weighted blanket. 

As exemplified as when my friend and I texted each other to bow out of plans this week:

"Let's not do anything. It's cold and dark." 

Yes, it IS cold and dark in NYC right now. 

It can be so hard to want to motivate to *do* things when it's cold. 

This year I'm determined to be more pro-active in taking care of myself during the winter months. 

I find that when I do, I'm a much more centered and energized person. 

Check out my tips for thriving in winter!

Disclaimer - I don't do all of this perfectly 100 % of the time. How boring would that be? :) But I try to do what I can when I can. 

And if you're in a warm climate, you can even use these for the days you're in a funk if it's cloudy or rainy.

Even a subtle drop in temps can affect your system!
 
My 10 Tips For Your Greatest Winter Yet: 


// Dance Around

You can play your favorite song and MOVE the second you get out of bed. Or after coffee. Whatever suits your needs. Just press play and GO.

Sometimes I'll even do Tracy Anderson's "arm dancing" workout for about 10 minutes. 


// Discover Your Ayurveda

Do you get super annoyed when you're hot and sweaty? Or do you tend to run really cold i.e you're freezing when all your friends are fine? You might want to check out your Ayurveda type. 

Take this quiz to discover your dosha. The three doshas - vatta, pitta and kapha are the energies that make-up a person. From there, you can do certain things like dry brush, eat at a certain time of day and avoid certain foods and eat others to feel your best. I highly recommend!


// Check Out A Happy Light

Sometimes the sun doesn't peek out through the clouds until mid-day and it can really affect your mood. Check out his happy light to give yourself a dose of sunshine first thing in the morning. 

Warning - do NOT stare at this thing straight on. Think peripheral vision. I noticed my energy was higher throughout the day. 


// Practice The Power of Now 

I love Eckart Tolle's book The Power of Now. I read it 10 years ago, but I definitely need a refresh because I can get out of the moment really quickly, especially in winter.

The book is all about appreciating what's happening in the present versus thinking about the future.


// Read Your Books 

Winter is a time I like to curl up with lots of books. My most recent favorites are Love Warrior and Many Lives, Many Masters.

I'm also reading Educated which has won a gazillion awards and I love it so far. 


// Connect, Connect, Connect

Even though I wrote about books and staying in, you might also need more connection with family and friends. 

Schedule a call with a friend or get together at each other's homes for a cozy night in of talking and hanging out. 


// Explore A Class

Lately, I've been really into taking classes and workshops around NYC. The Alchemist's Kitchen is awesome and has workshops on crystals, herbs and much more.

You can also explore stuff online like this astrology class. Do something that piques your interest and energizes your soul. 


// Get Seasonal Support

I LOVE this natural cold and flu remedy. It came highly recommended by three different health stores in NYC. It has echinacea and elderberry and it's carried me in good stead for tons of winters. 


// Body Work 

If you can do it, schedule a massage or some sort of bodywork - craniosacral, reiki, acupuncture - whatever works for you! My favorite massage in NYC is at Ohm Spa. 

I've also heard spectacular things about this acupuncturist in Downtown LA. Your body might need more love and TLC during the colder months. 


// Go With It

Ride the wave of winter and ask yourself what you need during this time. It's amazing what posing a simple question can do when it comes to accessing your intuition.

In fact, ask yourself right now:

"What do I need more of in my life?"

It might be weather-related. It might be a relationship, connection or self-care related. 

Your only job is to take a breath, listen and take care of yourself. 

Remember, you don't have to be "perfect" at taking care of yourself, just incorporate what feels good and true when you can!

:) 

Wishing you all my best throughout winter! 



From my heart to yours, 

Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
www.devonmcleod.com


P.S. "Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home."

- Edith Sitwell


P.P.S What are your tips when it's rainy, cold or you're just in a funk? Comment below and let me know! <3 

Love Where You Are

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Hi! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

I just got back to the East Coast after some time in California and Texas. 

Side note - Both CA and TX are ginormous and you can drive for 6 hours and still be deep in the heart of Texas haha.

My holiday was filled with love, laughter, sarcastic comments from my brother, too much chocolate, driving and lots of Mexican food. 

Did my holiday go according to plan 100% of the time? 

Nope! How boring would that be? 

That's the beauty of life right? 

You might have your expectations and then there's reality. And it's all about going with the flow and seeing the beauty in it all. 

I just wanted to throw the idea out there of loving wherever you are. Right now. In this moment. 

I know this time of year can be all about New Year, New You, but sometimes I get overwhelmed.

Maybe it's all the extra pressure this time of year regarding self-improvement? 

And you might have goals for yourself: more Soul Cycle classes, reading more books, spending quality time with friends - and that's awesome. 

I'm ALLL about goals and making positive changes for yourself. The new year can be a fresh time to set intentions and get clear on what you want to experience. 

But you can make these changes while still recognizing how far you've already come and giving a big dose of compassion to YOU. 

You can still have big goals. You can still have big dreams. You can also love yourself BIG time along the way. 

Being nice to yourself with resolutions/goals looks something like this: 

"I know I want to work-out more in 2019 and I'm going to love and accept myself where I am now, too" 

"I want to be more patient, but I'll have compassion for the part of me that's trying my best while I'm on my way." 

The icing on the cake is you'll make more strides and more gains when you come from a place of compassion and love for yourself. 

So if you need the reminder, you're doing beautifully wherever you are. Take a moment to appreciate how far you've come. 

"You, yourself as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." - Sharon Salzberg

Be kind to yourself. Show up with love.

Notice the shift in your body and how it feels to be in acceptance of yourself as you move forward. 

It's so much better when you're nicer to yourself, right?!

Wishing you all the best as you move on to the awesome things you'll do in 2019...with a whole lot of love. 


From my heart to yours,


Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
www.devonmcleod.com



PS In honor of being nice to yourself wherever you are, read this blog I wrote about that time I totally messed something up. Remember if you're ever made a mistake or been less than perfect - you're never alone! 
 


Happy New Year! xoxo 

The #1 Tip For a Blissed Out Holiday

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I'm getting ready to head to California for the holidays in a couple days. 

And I'm SO excited. I love California and 75 degree weather (yes, please!) but I also love the chance to hang with family, slow down and be reminded of traditions. 

My mom always puts out this kinda scary Joker Christmas doll that we love to tease her about. 

And my dad without fail brings out a trash bag the SECOND we start opening up presents. He likes things neat and tidy. 

And my brothers gets me a vanilla scented candle every single year. 

It's the funny, familiar things that can make you pause, laugh and appreciate the people in your life. 

But sometimes, the holidays can bring up a lot of different emotions. You might feel sad at certain points or nervous or stressed. 

You might be working on balancing family time with self-care time. 

You might feel excited one minute and overwhelmed the next. 

And I've been there. I feel like the holidays can bring up a 1,001 different emotions all at once.

That's perhaps what makes them so beautiful - all of our human emotions come up to be seen. There’s just more going on.

My #1 Tip: Practice a TON of self-care around the holidays.

I find that when I don't, I can become a stressed out mess and I wind up not being fully present with the people I love. 

It's a tough lesson at times for me to remember, but when you take care of yourself, you show up with more love and compassion to give everyone. 

It's like Oprah says, "You don't have anything to give, that you don't have. So you have to keep your own self full. That's your job."

Click here to watch her saying it. 

So in case you need a gentle reminder, you're worth the time to take care of yourself in whatever way works best for you. There's no right or wrong way to go about it. 

But when you show up for yourself, you show up with more LOVE to give. 

Here are some of my favorite ways you can take care of yourself during the holidays: 

  • Baths (yesss, with epsom salts, please) 

  • Alone Time if you need it (simple - a walk around your neighborhood)

  • Lay on your floor - spread out and pretend you're making Snow Angels on your carpet. 

  • Netflix comedy specials

  • Meditation - Headspace is awesome

  • Call or text a friend 

  • This breathing exercise - breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale out for eight seconds. 

  • Watch this video of golden retriever puppies 

  • Journal - check in with yourself 

  • Place one hand on your heart and breathe (simple, but so good)


Remember - When you take care of yourself, you show up with more love for everyone else. 

I wish you the best over the rest of the holiday season, however you're celebrating.

You're worth the time. You're worth the self-care. 


From my heart to yours,


Devon McLeod, LCSW



ps Here's some delightfully relaxing piano music to listen to if you need a moment of calm right away. <3 <3 <3 

How To Stay Calm When Traveling

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Do you ever feel SO exhausted after getting off a plane?  

You land, grab your bag, but then you get hit with a wave of "I need to crawl into bed for 12 hours." 

You might need silence. 

You might need alone time. 

You might need an oat milk latte the size of your head. 

Maybe the security lines were long. The person next to you hogged the armrest. 

Or maybe you just weren't in the mood to be around 1,000 people that day and now you're wiped out. 

And I'm not just talking about the logistical stuff you already know about like long lines and delayed flights. 

I'm talking about energy. 

You might get overwhelmed by crowds, loud noises and cramped quarters.

In the case of flying, which includes all these things, it can leave you feeling completely drained.

You might even be a sensitive person or empath - someone who picks up on the energy or vibes of others. 

Let's get one thing straight. Being sensitive is awesome. 

It helps you feel. It helps you empathize. You might even feel like you intuitively just know stuff. 

But without proper support, you can totally feel exhausted by something like travel. 

I know this firsthand because I used to land from flights in LA and wanna crawl into bed with a bucket of Red Vines for like three days. Seriously. I felt so drained and it felt like I’d spend the first part of my trip recovering and feeling “off.”


So after years of "research" aka feeling cranky after I travelled from NYC to LA, I've put together a list of things you can do when you travel to help you feel more calm. 

Here are my favorite travel tips if you're a sensitive person or empath: 


: Take a Minute Before You Go

I used to run out of my apartment on travel days, obsessing over whether I turned off all the lights or forgot my curling iron. 

It was like the Home Alone scene where the parents overslept and have to run around like maniacs.

Remember that one? They're so frazzled they forget their son. 

Now, after my clothes are packed, I do this thing... 

I sit on my couch. 

I sit down on my couch and take a minute before I run out of my apartment and jump in an uber.

Why do I do this? It sets a tone for my day and helps me feel more anchored in my own energy versus frantically running out the door wondering if I forgot my toothbrush. 


: Find Some Airport Alone Time 

Once I get to the airport, I like to find my gate right away. It's just a habit. But after that, I like to wander around and find a location that has less people.

I know this can be hard at times, especially during the holidays when any amount of free space feels like a goldmine.

BUT, I've meditated in a bathroom stall. I've wandered around listening to podcasts. And I've definitely sat at an empty-ish gate that doesn't currently have a scheduled flight.

Sometimes you just need 10 minutes to regroup without tons of people around if you're an empath. A little bit can go a long way. 


: Let Go of The Small Stuff 

I know it's not always easy - delays happen, security takes forever, the person in front of you orders a complicated Starbucks drink and backs up the line.

There are just more people around. And if you're sensitive you can be aware of every little thing that goes down. 

In grad school I learned this technique called the Buddha Half Smile. 

It's exactly how it sounds - you make a half smile on your face.

It's used in a therapy called DBT.

You can try it right now. Make a little half smile on your face. Not a full cheese grin. Not a scowl.

You can use it when you're waiting for your plane to board.

You can use it when someone unknowingly bumps into you in a crowded space. Ouch. 

I was skeptical, but it totally helps me feel a little more calm in a pinch. 


: Take Advantage of Mid-Air Time 

I know most planes have wifi, but I like to unplug for at least a little bit. If you're sensitive, you might relate if you get overwhelmed by too much tech time.  

I'll journal. I'll listen to mantra music. I'l sit with my thoughts. 

Some of my favorite journal prompts are: What do I want more of in my life? What do I want to release?

I also think I do some of my best processing planes? Maybe it's the being between worlds that gives me freedom to explore?


: Prepare With A Feel-Good Kit

I like to joke that when I have travel I have my makeup essentials and I have my empath essentials.

The stuff in my Empath Kit includes:

  • Impatiens, a flower essence that helps with patience. (Yes, please!)

  • Golden Yarrow, a flower essence that helps to strengthen your energy so you don't absorb other people's. 

  • Lavender essential oil is also a staple. 

  • In between journaling - I have movies that are gentle and soothing. No violent stuff. Now's the time when I watch soothing documentaries or one of my favorites, Pit Bulls and Parolees. 


Other fun ideas: 

Eye masks, organic dark chocolate, nature sounds, mantra music, stress balls, scalp massager, noise cancelling headphones, feel-good novels, ear plugs, and book of poems. 

You can throw in anything that makes you feel good and strengthens your own energy and sense of calm. 


Indulge In A Bath 

Once I land, I try to get into water ASAP. 

I use essential oils and epsom salts.

Water is sooooooo amazing for empaths and sensitive people. It cleanses the toxins and vibes from the day.

More than just the physical act, it's psychological, too - I'm washing away any energies and experiences from the day that no longer serve me. 

It's a fresh start for your trip. 

I hope at least one of these tips, hopefully more, is helpful to you or someone you know.

And by the way, I'm SO not perfect at sticking with everything on this list 100% of the time.

I consider it a good travel day when I've stuck to maybe one or two.

But it's all about progress, not perfection, right? And I find I'm constantly making mistakes and learning as I go, which is just part of the process of learning what you need. 

And remember, when you take care of yourself, you'll show up feeling way more calm and fully present for other people. 

What are your tips for staying calm when traveling?

That one thing you do that seems small, but makes a difference in taking your trip from blah to zen? Secret playlists? A juicy novel? Favorite snacks? 

You never know - you might do something that you think is totally natural and obvious, but is actually really creative and strategic when you travel. 

Comment below or email me at devon@devonmcleod.com and let me know! I'd love to hear from you! 


From my heart to yours, 


Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
www.devonmcleod.com



P.S. I love the book Positive Energy by amazing empath expert Dr. Judith Orloff. I highly recommend it if you're a sensitive person or empath. Check it out here.


P.P.S. When in doubt, I’m gonna channel the vibes of these golden retrievers, who are trained to help stressed travelers at the airport. Yessssss :)




Are You Trying To Be Perfect?

Are you ever hard on yourself for making mistakes? Even if they’re really small? Like, so small you know you “shouldn’t” beat yourself up?

I've been there soooo many times. I’m a - I like to say - recovering perfectionist.

Today I'm sharing about something that happened in 2nd grade and how it STILL helps me remember to chill out and take it easy on myself.

Here's the rundown on the video: 

  • I was a type-A perfectionist 8-year old. 

  • I made my parents drill with me spelling words every night. 

  • The first test of third grade I MISSED my FIRST spelling word (GASP!) 

  • And my reaction?! PURE BLISS! Relief. Tension melting release!!!

  • I didn't have to be perfect!!!

  • Moral of the story - live your life and make mistakes because it can be a relief when mistakes happen and everything works out just fine :)

Are you a recovering perfectionist? How do you handle? Leave a comment below or email me privately at devon@devonmcleod.com. Let’s talk about it!

Stuff I'm Lovin'

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I'm obsessed with Top 10 Lists.


I religiously watched David Letterman growing up and his Top 10 list was always my favorite. 


I like things in bite-sized portions and I like knowing what's the best of the best. 


So here's my very own Top 10 list of stuff I'm loving these days. Some of it's informational and some of it's just really fun :) 


I hope you enjoy the round-up!



1) Weather App - Dark Sky 

I'm obsessed with this app. It's made me a weather nerd andI'm NOT complaining. It tells you when it'll rain down to the second. For those of us on the east coast or anywhere where it rains a lot - it's pretty awesome. 


2) Flower Essence - Larch

If there's a flower essenceI've taken the most, it's probably Larch. Larch is for confidence and public speaking.I've taken it before speeches or whenever I'm doubting myself in general. You can buy on amazon or you can check out this cool flower essence and herb shop if you're in NYC. 


3) Debra Silverman - Astrologist 

I fell in love with Debra when I stumbled upon her impersonations of all 12 zodiac signs. The Taurus one is spot-on (I'ma Taurus.) Her new video on the planets is released every few days on Youtube and I find her break-down so relatable and easy to understand. I also just found out Venus is in retrograde, but I'm still trying to figure out what that means (?!) 


4) Moment App 

I spend way too much time on my phone. Anyone else? This app helps you track your screen time (!!).I've noticed a change simply by knowing it's there. 


5) Ozark- Netflix Show 

Even thoughI'man empath and some of the scenes are violent (okay, super violent) I still love this show starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. Some people say that it's like Breaking Bad- same but different? Tip:I close my eyes during some parts. I also just think I would watch about anything with Laura Linney. 


6) Tracy Anderson Method

I love working out at home. I like the convenience of just putting on my sneakers and doing it.I've been doing The Tracy Anderson Method at home for almost year. It brings me back to my dancer roots and it's just fun to do stuff that reminds me of when I was little. 


7) Nutritionist Elissa Goodman

I found her on a random google search two years ago and now she's all over the place in a great way -being interviewed by Maria Menounous and filming her own holistic health and wellness show. I love her instagram feed. If you're in the LA area she also has a delivery soup cleanse. 


8) Hu Kitchen Dark Chocolate

I order this chocolate online or pick it up in person at speciality chocolate stores. It's delicious - organic with no GMOs, dairy or refined sugar. 


9) Sweats And the City - Instagram 

I love these two women (Elizabeth & Dale). I used to teach barre fitness classes and I remember when they were first starting out with their business. They keep it real, but positive and I always get something out of their posts/blogs even if it's not exercise related.I.e. They recently posted about the benefits of phone-free mornings and ways to manage anxiety. 


10) Elder Millennial- Netflix Special 

Iliza Shelesinger's stand-up special is straight-up hilarious. She focuses on the idea of being an "elder millennial" aka she's 35 years old and just on the cut-off. I was hysterically laughing throughout the entire thing and I now follow her dog on instagram.


What are you loving right now? 


Any books? Podcasts? TV shows? 


It's that time of year where I'm feeling myself want to hunker down with a good book and possibly binge watch stuff over the weekends.


Send 'em my way!


Reply to this email and let me know! love hearing from you!


From my heart to yours, 


Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
www.devonmcleod.com


p.s. I couldn't resist sending you this quote I came across from one of my favorite people, Brene Brown: 


"Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love." - Brene Brown. 


I know I can struggle with being hard on myself (recovering perfectionist life!) so let's promise ourselves we'll drop the whole beating ourselves up thing. Or let's at least be aware when it happens - and say something nice to ourselves instead :) 


Have a beautiful week! 

Are You Ready?

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Four years ago I facilitated a workshop at exhale spa in New York City.

It was my first time leading a workshop in front of people. 

I was terrified. 

I didn't know if anyone would show up. 

I was seriously nervous and obsessed about how it was going to go. 

I didn't feel ready to do it at all. 

Isn't there a certificate I should've gotten for leading groups?

What if it goes horribly wrong and people demand their money back? 


What if I freeze and don't know what to say?

I had nightmares. I wanted to back out. 

I didn't feel ready. 

"Ready." 

That's such an interesting word. 

Because half the time for me, I don't feel "ready" before I do something really important. 

Going to grad school; teaching 2nd grade; quitting my full-time job and starting my private practice. 

I don't even think I felt "ready" when I moved across the country from California to NYC. I knew I wanted to do it, but I was super nervous and had moments of "Am I sure this is the right idea?" 

I've never had an opportunity for a big transition and then felt completely, "Yep, I'm totally prepared for this. I feel like it's going to go according to plan. Put me in coach." 

No. 

It's usually, "Ahhhh. This feels like the right move in my gut, but I'm still totally scared." 

Yep, that's more what it sounds like for me. 

So, looking back on my very first workshop. I totally wasn't 'ready.' I think my phone alarm went off during the first 20 minutes (cringe! rookie mistake!) and I believe I may have stumbled over some of my words during the beginning. 

But, I had an absolute blast.

We started out exercising - doing planks and pushups. And then we'd stop and check in about the thoughts that were arising in our minds when we moved i.e. "I can't do this, this is hard, I want out of this plank." You know, the common stuff. 

We talked about body image and struggles and people connected when we worked in pairs and talked about stuff as a group.

The highlight for me was watching people connect with each other. I love witnessing that.  

I think I also sweated through my sweater because I was so nervous. But I loved every minute - even the nerve wracking ones. 

I walked out feeling a rush of adrenaline. And relief. And feeling proud. And relief. 

Could I have done some things differently? Sure, I think I could name a new. 

Was I 100% absolutely "ready" to lead the workshop? Nope!

But, was I prepared? Yes. 

Did I have moments of doubting myself? You bet. 

But did I jump in anyway? Yep!

And I'm so happy I did. 

Is there anything you're thinking of doing that you don't feel 100% ready for, but you want to do it? 

Leave a comment below or email me at devon@devonmcleod.com and let me know!  


From my heart to yours, 


Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist




Love Style

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I, like many women my age, was pretty obsessed with Sex and the City. I watched it at a surprisingly young age - um, 14. And couldn't get enough of Carrie's adventures in Manhattan dating life. 

I had an unquenchable thirst for Carrie's on-again off-again romance with Mr. Big. 

Mr. Big had dreamy eyes, an air of mystery and he kept pulling Carrie into his world over and over again. 

One of the scenes embedded in my memory and let's be honest, I recently watched it because you know, "research" - was when Big told Carrie he was moving to Paris.  

He did it at a point in their relationship when things were heating up and he and Carrie were beginning to form a more solid bond. 

And then BAM...he's off to Paris. 

I remember Carrie throwing her McDonald's french fries at the wall, screaming, "I'm such an idiot!" 

It was the moment when she knew Big wasn't emotionally available. 

Now that I've had my own relationships and have chosen to be a therapist, I look at Big and Carrie with a different perspective than I did in my teenage years. 

I look at their hot and cold on-again, off-again pairing through the perspective of attachment style. 

Now, "attachment style" is one of those psychological terms that sounds strange. When I first heard it I thought, "What? attached to who?"" 

But what it basically means is how we connect and relate to others.

Traditionally speaking, there are four types of attachment styles, or ways of relating to people: 

// Anxious
// Avoidant
// Anxious-Avoidant
// Secure

For example, Carrie was a classic example of "anxious attachment style" when she was dating Big.

She was always questioning his commitment, afraid he'd leave and she always craved "more." 

Big was classically avoidant. He craved space - lots of it - had a harder time committing and as Carrie eloquently said after his Paris reveal, "You had to put an ocean between us!" 

Now, I am SO not about labeling people - personally, it's one of my pet peeves especially when it feels constricting - and also because I don't think people fit into nice little categories 100% of the time.

It's also possible to have different attachment styles to different people in your life.

Matters of the heart can always be fluid, so please keep that mind whether you're in a relationship, looking for one or something in-between :) 

But - sometimes it's nice to know the rules before you can break them, so to speak.

And it can helpful to at least know how you relate to others at any given moment in time. Just know you always have the capacity to change and grow at any given moment. 

As for Carrie - if she had done some deeper digging - she did see that therapist in the episode where she dated Bon Jovi, but she had to quit for um, practical reasons - she might have grown aware of her attachment style and used the info to help her navigate her relationship. 

In fact, she might have benefited from reading one book I highly recommend on the topic. 

The book is Attached by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller

It's an easy read and so helpful in terms of understanding your own personal attachment style in romantic relationships.

I love how the author describes all the different styles in a non-judgmental way. 

And you'll be able to see where you fall on the spectrum and ways you can support yourself in choosing a partner or living more harmoniously with the one you have. 

For example, you might feel immediately nervous if someone doesn't text you back within 10 minutes or you might crave lots of space when you're in a relationship. 

Or you might have a hot little medley of these two types of styles.

I mean, any time we're in engaged in relationships, especially those of the romantic sort, it can inflame all our quirks and personality traits (I'm raising my hand here!)

Personally, it helped me look at my own patterns and natural instincts in relationships, especially the very beginning stages of that can feel less defined. "Are we exclusive? Is he going to call?!" 

It's so easy to have lots of noise in our heads when we're dating or in a long-term relationship. There's a reason relationships are part of our spiritual path in understanding and knowing ourselves. 

But it always starts with us - knowing thyself. 

The more we have a solid understanding and appreciation for who we are - the more we'll be able to be connect with others in an authentic and supportive way. 

Click here to check out the book!

Also, I'd love to hear from you! What are the relationship and self-help books you love? Men Are From Mars? Love Languages? 

Leave a comment below and let me know! Or email me at devon@devonmcleod.com

I love hearing from you and I always love a good book recommendation! :) 

From my heart to yours, 

Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist

Being Gentle With Yourself

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A couple weeks ago, I was completely knocked out with sickness. Nothing serious - just rundown with a cough and overall ickiness. I'll spare you the details, but I didn't even have the energy to walk my precious dog!

I was bed-bound watching episodes of Younger and googling "best hair masks for chemically treated hair." Whenever I'm sick, I like to find things I can control -  like my split ends. 

Even though I intellectually knew my body needed to rest it was super hard for me to let go, listen to my body and rest up. It's like I knew I *should* be okay with sleeping and resting - but it was hard!

My brain had all sorts of objections about my time spent watching questionable reality TV shows in bed, including but not limited to: 

  • You're lazy. 
  • You should be working. 
  • Why aren't you feeling better yet? It's been three days! 
  • I bet *other* people don't rest as much as you.

The voice in my head resembled a gremlin. But a gremlin after it's had food after midnight - not the cute kind. And when my defenses are down when I'm sick, it's much harder for me to tell this little voice to kindly take a seat. 

It's like I was fighting my body's wisdom with my intellectual tenacity: "Must get up...and do things......now!" (cue me falling back into bed and sleeping for three hours).

Alas, by the fifth day, I had gotten the hang of listening to my body and going with the flow. I rested. I drank tea. I drank water. I didn't do too much. I had let go. And I started to feel better. 

And then a surprising thing happened when I finally emerged from my apartment after several days of resting up. 

I stepped outside with my dog. The sun was shining. I felt energy in my body I hadn't felt in days. I was renewed. The image that comes to mind is the opening scene of Beauty And The Beast when Belle gallivants through the village saying hello to every baker and shoppe owner. 

That was pretty much me, but in an urban setting: 

Oh my gosh, look at the coffee shoppe! There's oat milk and a cute sign in the window! Hello, New York City!!

I was enthused to be back in the world. I cheerfully chatted up baristas and smiled at people on the street. It was like I was seeing my neighborhood (and life!) for the first time.

I'm always amazed by the body's ability to heal and do what it needs to do. My body needed to sleep and rest. And not do much of anything else. 

My "stay-in-bed even though I'm restless" time had the hidden gem of helping me recharge. I emerged excited with loads more energy. 
 
And the secret sauce was being gentle with myself. Not forcing things and not rushing the process. Slowing down and listening. 

It can be SO easy to want to move when really you might just need to sleep and rest and recuperate. Being gentle with yourself is so important. 

So the next time you're feeling rundown, tired or achy give yourself permission to truly recharge. You never know what's on the other side of a rest period. Maybe more energy or a fresh perspective? 

And better yet - be gentle with yourself in general! You don't need not feeling well to be a requirement for decadent self-care and tender approach to caring for your well-being. You can come back - even if it's only for 20 minutes - feeling like you have a little extra kick in your step. 

Here's your daily permission (not that you need it from me!) to take it easy and take a moment if you need to recharge. 

Your body is wise - it knows what it needs to do :) 

From my heart to yours,

Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
www.devonmcleod.com

How can you be gentle with yourself? Take a nap? Go to bed earlier? Comment below and let me know! 

 

Do you struggle with being honest and bold?

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I just started watching the reality show Very Cavallari starring none other than Kristin Cavallari from Laguna Beach and The Hills fame. 

If you don't recall, she was portrayed as the super villain of the group back in the early 2000's. 

On her new show, she's opening up a home goods and jewelry store in Nashville. She's married to retired quarterback, Jay Cutler. And she's raising three kids - trying to balance it all. 

She's also speaking her mind. 

She calls out new employees for slacking. 

She tells her husband when he's bugging her when he wanders the house post-football retirement. LOL

She's blunt. 

She's passionate. 

She says what she means and she means what she says. 

Her new show is my latest favorite guilty pleasure. 

Perhaps I'm drawn to the endless salacious drama between the employees? Or whether Kristin's best friend will eventually end up marrying her Canadian suitor? 

Or maybe, I'm drawn to a quality of Kristin's that I try to develop more in myself all the time. 

HONEST AND DIRECT. 

I subscribe to the belief that whatever we admire in someone else is usually something we want MORE of in our own lives, whether it's self-confidence, street smarts, business savvy, awesome career, etc. 

You might find yourself doing this if you're drawn to reading everything under the sun about a certain celebrity. For example, you're obsessed with J.Lo's business empire and dance moves. Or you're immediately drawn to a new co-worker because of the calm energy and confidence she exudes. 

And for the time being, I can't get enough of Kristin. 

She's assertive and she doesn't seem like she's overly preoccupied with whether or not her employees really like her. 

And here's the thing - she's not being mean or cruel or unfair. 

She's direct. She doesn't hold things back. There's no ambiguity in what she wants. 

And she has her eye on the prize - making her store in Nashville as successful as it can possibly be. 

I'm immediately drawn to people oozing authenticity and realness- even if they're super blunt - like a moth to a flame. 

I know where I stand with them. If I make them mad, they'll tell me. If they want to change dinner plans, they'll let me know. No second guessing or passive aggressive stuff. 

I find this quality super admirable. 

Why? Because some days I can still struggle with being clear and direct in my communication. Saying what I mean without second guessing myself, censoring myself or peppering all my comments with, "It's really not a big deal" and "I'm so sorry, but..." 

And by the way, being direct doesn't mean being rude.

And it doesn't mean being edgy or harsh. It means speaking your mind from a grounded place - a place the other person can hear and receive, even if they don't necessarily agree.

It's actually the most LOVING (yes, loving) thing you can do - showing up and being real and clear in your relationships - and encouraging others to do the same. 

Getting the words out in an honest and direct manner.

Kristin's got this down. 

There's always that risk you might feel before you get something off your chest or take the leap and have an uncomfortable conversation. "Am I going to sound mean? Are they going to be mad?" 

But, cultivating realness and directness in your communication and relationships is always worth the initial fear. 

Your relationships will get more real because you're showing up fully as your uncensored self. And you're encouraging others to do the same. 

Remember - not rudeness...directness a la Kristin Cavallari ;) 

What's ONE thing you can do today that will involve honest and bold communication? Sending that email that makes you uncomfortable? Telling your significant other what you think? Asking a question in a meeting you've been afraid to ask? 

Email me at devon@devonmcleod.com or comment below and let me know ONE area where you can be more honest and bold in your communication. You've got this! 

From my heart to yours, 

Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
www.devonmcleod.com

Does It Pay To Be Consistent?

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I know I'm at my best when I do a few key things consistently. 

All the time. 

No matter what. 

Even if I'm super tired.

Even if I want to stay in bed and watch Real Housewives. 

Even when I'm supposed to meditate and my brain is like, "Let's check Instagram stories one more time. I wanna see another puppy video!" 

I LOVE being spontaneous - waking up and seeing where the day takes me.

But if I sprinkle in a little more structure to my life with certain  "must do" tasks - I'm a much more zen person. 

So in an effort to find the middle path, I've committed to doing a few things consistently.

Even if I'd rather mindlessly scour the internet for the perfect highlighter for cheekbones. Side note - please send recs my way - I always end up looking like I have glitter on my face. 

Confession: If I had a list of 20 things I tried to do every day, I'd do absolutely zero of said things because - overwhelm. And I'd likely just shut down and eat ice cream all day. Just kidding.

Maybe.

So I've decided on a small but mighty list of THREE. 

My current do-all-the-time, even if I don't really *feel* like it list includes.....dun, dun, dunnnnn: 

// Meditation: 

Twice a day. I'll simply sit and breathe for 20 minutes. I also like using Headspace

// Working Out: 

I love the Tracy Anderson Method streaming option since I can do it from home. Or simply walking outside to a good playlist. 

// Positive Affirmations

I adore Louise Hay. I'll listen to her affirmations when I'm getting ready in the morning or throughout the day. 

I try to do these three things every day. And I try to do them without surveying my brain to see if they're a "good idea" in the moment. 

Why? Because my brain can come up with SO many reasons why exercising isn't a good idea!

I have to clean.

I need to check email (again).

My dog looked at me so now I have to pet him for 45 minutes or he'll be sad. And I don't want to make my dog sad. 


I try to ACT and then ask questions later. 

Am I consistent 100% of the time every single day? Absolutely not! How boring would that be! ;) But, I try not to beat myself up about not being a perfect human being. What's the good in that? 

It's all about progress, not perfection. 

And when I take a step back, I see the cumulative effects of my consistency.

I'm more balanced, less stressed and more present in my life and relationships. And over time it motivates me to stick with things longer. 

While consistently doing the same things over and over again can feel like the ultimate snooze fest, I've discovered that it actually helps me feel anchored and enjoy my life. 

The more relaxed and balanced I feel, the more I'm free to soak up the moment. 

And that's some consistency I can believe in :) 

____

What's the stuff you TRY to do every day, even if you don't, you know, do it EVERY single day? Drink lots of water? Baths? Yoga? Running? Snuggles with your pet? Spin class? What helps you feel relaxed and grounded? 

Email me at  devon@devonmcleod.com! I love hearing from you!

From my heart to yours, 

Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
 

 

 

"I Want To Remember This Forever."

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"You can actually train your brain to remember important memories. When I got married, I'd put my hands on my temples and would say to myself, 'I want to remember this moment forever.' " 


It was my wedding day. And Jessica, my beautiful hair and makeup artist, offered up this sage piece of wisdom as she did my friend Bree's smokey eye. 


I immediately perked up in my chair. 
 

Almost every person I spoke with at the rehearsal dinner told me to “enjoy every moment.” 


Since my brain can be a tad overactive - major understatement - I knew that it might be little *ahem* challenging.


But, I loved Jessica's down-to-earth, casual wisdom. Why not pause for five seconds throughout the day and say to myself, "I want to remember this moment forever."


The rest of the morning continued. My friends provided the most laid-back vibe I could've hoped for. We sat cross-legged in our chairs, relaxed with good muffins, listened to oldies and laughed. 


I think at one point I thought we were just hanging out instead of doing wedding prep.

 
When the ceremony was about to begin, we headed out of the hotel room and into the hallway. We gathered in a little circle with our bouquet of flowers.


Nicole, the ever laid back Floridian, immediately wanted to run inside to get her phone for another quick picture.


Bree and I started laughing when we both yelled out, "No! Don't leave! We're walking out soon!" 


At any moment we were set to walk down the stairs and into the garden one by one. 


My dad was waiting at the bottom. 


The sun was shining from the door. The carpet in the hallway was one of my favorite colors, a soft coral. 


I heard the guitarist playing Edelweiss outside and the hum of people getting settled. My friends were now lined up in front of me, but they kept turning around to see how I was doing. 


Then the moment came. I thought, "This is it. This is one of those moments." 


I put one hand on my heart and the other on my stomach and said, "I want to remember this moment forever." 


The friendship. The anticipation. The moment "just before," which is sometimes the best moment. 


I closed my eyes. I took five big deep breaths. I wanted to download the sensations, the sounds, the feelings, the vibes - everything. 


I wanted to remember it forever.


As I look back on the day, I remember a ton. Some of the moments feel like a blur, but if I zoom in, I'm flooded with memories.


My dad's speech. Walking down the aisle and locking eyes with my husband. Dancing to Florence and the Machine with my friends. 


A wedding is a "big thing." It's a lot of family, feelings, anticipation and little moments and big moments that can add up to a beautiful blur.  


But I also want to use the "five second" rule for the other seemingly smaller moments in life. I want to choose one moment every day to remember forever. 


It's not always easy for me. I can get caught up in the details and to-do lists of the day. I feel like I have to strive toward something rather than realizing each moment has the capacity to be memorable in its own way. 


But if I pause - I can see that the normal moments are perhaps filled with the same magic and love of the bigger ones. 


Tonight it was driving home from a weekend at the beach. My dog in my lap. My husband driving. The sun setting. And Red Hot Chili Peppers coming on the radio at the perfect time to signal a winding down for the weekend. 


I want to remember that moment forever, too. 


What moments do you want to remember forever? Leave a comment below or email me at devon@devonmcleod.com. I love hearing where you are on your journey. 

 

 

 

Self-Love.

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Last weekend I woke up and needed a dose of something way more positive.

It was like my thoughts were on negative autopilot and I couldn't shake my inner curmudgeon. 

Have you ever had a morning like that? Where no amount of coffee does the trick and you're waiting for your own positive vibes to kick in? 

Lo and behold, I went on itunes and was guided to Louise Hays' audio book How To Love Yourself: Cherishing The Incredible Miracle That You Are. 

Louise Hay is the Queen of Self-love and Affirmations. She's been on Oprah and founded Hay House, which publishes a ton of self-help books. 

One of my favorite quotes from her audiobook is:

"Be kind to yourself for every little thing."  

I love her voice. And I love the way she says the words: Every. Little. Thing. 

It's like she already knows my brain is thinking, "Wait? Every LITTLE thing?" 

It seems so silly. "I'm supposed to be kind to myself for waking up and making it to work?" 

I'm supposed to be kind to myself for filing my taxes on time? 

But, how often do we beat ourselves up for seemingly small things? Our appearance, our jobs, our income, whatever it is. 

Sometimes we don't even notice the thoughts popping up!

They can feel like background music to our lives. 

And if you're under the assumption that we get better at life, relationships and work by criticizing ourselves - I'm here to tell you - that is NOT the case. 

I'm Type-A and I'm all about learning and achieving. I've had to learn the hard way that we can move forward without beating ourselves up for every perceived set-back. 

Hold yourself accountable, but in a soft and encouraging way. In fact, it's much more effective. 

Trust me, I know it's not always easy to be nice to yourself.

Especially when your brain thinks the only way to accomplish goals is to be an inner drill sergeant. 

But, you can start where you are by saying something encouraging to yourself, like: 

"You're doing the best you can." 

Full disclosure, I used to think positive self-talk was super cliche and not particularly effective. "I'll just internally beat myself up and then show up positively for everyone else," I'd say to myself as I kept my thoughts to myself. 

But it just doesn't work. 

You have to tend to yourself and then show up with the same compassion for everyone else. 

If you're looking for something nice to listen to, here's a link to a Youtube video of Louise Hay's positive affirmations.

Remember that self-love looks different for every person. You are unique and you can use your intuition to guide you. There are no wrong ways. 

As Louise Hays says: 

"Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” 

Let's be nice to ourselves and see what happens :) 

From my heart to yours, 

Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
 

 

 

 

Hit The Reset Button

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The past couple weeks, my meditation practice became nonexistent. 

I checked my phone way too much. 

And I stayed up late Googling nonsense. 

The end result? I was more tired and stressed than usual.

The irony was that I was trying to get more things done, but I was running around with scattered energy. 

It always makes me laugh when I think about how the more pressure I bring to my life and situations, the less I actually complete. 

So every so often, it's important to hit the reset button. 

Here's my back to basics plan for creating a sense of calm and grounded energy in my life when it's needed most: 


LOVING BREAKS FROM MY PHONE

I recently spoke with a friend who said she turns her phone off when she notices she's "grabby" with it.

I thought, "Grabby?!" what a great word to describe the knee-jerk reaction I have to grabbing my phone every ten seconds! 

I try to do an occasional phone cleanse to see where I'm at when it comes to being overly attached to my device. 

My latest experiment involved deleting certain apps from my phone and not checking emails after 10pm. I felt way more calm and less crazed almost instantaneously, which was revealing in and of itself.

Perhaps I don't need Instagram on my phone all the time? Or maybe phone-free Sundays? I'm figuring this one out :)


A SPIRITUAL REFRAME

One of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite spiritual teachers is:

"Everything is here to help you." - Matt Kahn

When I'm stressed or stuff isn't going according to plan, I've been working on myself from the inside out. How can I release control? Everything is here to help us receive some sort of lesson. And 9 times out of 10 for me, it's learning to go with the flow. 

This one is super hard for me, but even saying to myself, "Everything is here to help me" helps me to shift my perspective. Suddenly, the so-called inconveniences in my life are part of a bigger picture to teach me patience and letting go. 


BOOKENDING MY DAY

When I was a kid, I loved getting ready for bed, probably because it involved reading books like Sweet Valley High and Babysitter's Club.

As an adult, my "bedtime routine" can be more like throwing on pair of sweats and brushing my teeth five minutes after turning my computer off. 

Long gone are the days of relaxing music and teenage novels.

Studies suggest we need about three hours of dim lights and no technology for our bodies to wind down. I don't even need science on my side, since I know that if I binge watch Real Housewives right before bed, I'm going to stay up longer. 

Low lights, relaxing music and possibly a little journal session sound like a decadent retreat. Why not make it part of my adult bedtime routine every night? 

***
I think it's really important to know the best rhythm for your life.

When you need to take it easy and when you need to hit the reset button. 

I'm definitely not perfect when it comes to establishing routines and healthy boundaries around technology. And I probably never will be and that's okay :) 

But if you have any tips for feeling centered and calm, bed time related or otherwise, please let me know. I'd love your insight! 

Leave a comment below or email me at devon@devonmcleod.com

Have a beautiful day!

 

From my heart to yours, 

Devon McLeod, LCSW

Holistic Psychotherapist

www.devonmcleod.com

Flower Essences for Public Speaking

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I teach group fitness classes every couple months. And yet, it's not always easy for me to get in front of people and be "on stage." 

I wear a microphone when I teach like Britney Spears. It's awesome in many ways, but definitely attention-grabbing.

Depending on my mood, being on stage in this way can be a major hurdle. 

It's like when I'd give presentations in high school and college. I was super nervous right before and VERY relieved when it was over. 

A couple months ago, I was gearing up to teach a fitness class and it had been awhile. Like with anything when you're feeling rusty, I started to doubt myself and get super nervous.

Would I remember everything? What if I messed up? What if people hated the class? 

Major nerves. 

In addition to giving myself an internal pep talk and making sure I was extra caffeinated, I took a couple flower essences that help whenever I have to speak in front of people. 

I put a couple drops in my mouth the hours leading up to teaching. 

And as I walked into the room, I was still a little nervous - but it was less I want to crawl under the covers and hide and more, "Okay, I'm nervous, but let's do this." 

I felt more comfortable in my skin and less distracted. 

And I was WAY more focused on what mattered - showing up for other people and being present. 

I even had fun wearing my microphone ;) 

And if you're wondering - flower essences come in a little bottle and you place two drops under your tongue four times a day. 

Now, if you're asking yourself, "Um, okay what the heck are flower essences?" you're definitely NOT alone. 

My friend Nicole visited me a couple weekends ago and she said she envisioned me placing flower petals on my tongue haha.

I totally get WHY she thought this, but flower essences are so much cooler than that :) 

You can read about how they're made here. You can also watch this video of how you take them

You can buy them directly through Amazon, but there's also an awesome store in NYC called Flower Power Herbs and Roots if you're in the area. 

I invite you to check them out if you ever feel nervous speaking in front of people, being on stage or even taking any sort of risks. 

And while flower essences are awesome, LIFE is definitely the best confidence builder. 

But certain things like flower essences can help :) 

Check out my favorite flower essences for "stage fright" (I'm not sure I like that phrase!) or speaking in public below: 

Larch - I took this right before giving my Maid of Honor speech a couple years ago. The specific purpose of it is for increasing confidence, so it works like a charm. 

Mimulus - This one is for specific fears, like the fear of being on stage. You can also check it out for other fears like flying, heights, etc. 

Golden Yarrow - Golden Yarrow is great for empaths and sensitive people. It helps you NOT absorb the energy of other people so you can stay in your own zone. 

White Chestnut - Ever try to focus on a presentation and just had the thought of, "Don't mess up...don't mess up...don't mess up..."? White Chestnut helps ease racing thoughts so you can perform like the pro that you are. 

I hope you find this round-up of flower essences helpful! 

I want to hear YOUR best tips for speaking in public or being on stage. 

Comment below or email me directly at devon@devonmcleod.com

 

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Bridal Shower Vibes...

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I'm engaged.

And when it comes to thinking about a wedding, a bridal shower and other festivities, I've had one question in mind: 

"Is this going to be awkward?" 

I've scrolled instagram with the best of them and seen tons of photos with brides at showers, opening gifts, surrounded by people and thought...

Wow, that's a lot of attention. 

I even contributed to a Vogue.com article on the topic of introvert brides. 

But what the heck do I know?! I've never had the spotlight on me in this way. 

I had absolutely NO idea how I was going to handle things when it was my turn to be #bridal. 

But, there's definitely one thing I did know: 

I didn't want my wedding festivities to be a recreation of all my "lost birthday parties." 

The "lost birthday parties" were the parties my friends threw for me, where I'd become SO concerned with the mingling of different friend groups - why is this so stressful?! - and whether or not everyone was having a good time.

The party would be over before I knew it. I wasted precious moments worrying about stuff that didn't matter (does everyone like the chicken?!) and not being in the present moment. 

But last Saturday - it was showtime for this introvert bride. 

My two close friends were hosting a bridal shower for me. 

Game on. 

I decided to use all the tools I'd picked up along the way. 

If there are a couple things I've learned in my history of being a sensitive person and empath it's that you HAVE to take your TIME when you're getting ready. 

So, I gave myself LOTS of time to get ready.

I played relaxing music. I drank a lot of water...And I let myself feel the excitement of seeing all my friends in one place. 

I even used The Glam Squad app. POOF - Two hair and makeup ninjas got me ready in my home so I could just sit and chill. 

Instead of being self-conscious about having attention on me I kept telling myself, "Soak it up." 

I felt excited when I thought about catching up with friends. 

And when I thought about people traveling long distances, I felt incredibly touched and humbled. 

By the time I left my apartment, I felt calm and ready. 

It was like Opposite Day for all the times I would show up at my own parties distracted and self-conscious. 

When I arrived at the restaurant and walked into the room my friends had beautifully decorated, I smiled ear to ear. 

As I talked to everyone, I was fully present and engaged in every moment of the conversation. Time stood still as I hugged and laughed with people I hadn't seen in forever. 

I felt super proud of myself. 

Alas, there was a moment when my newfound calm was tested.

If you've attended a bridal shower, you know there comes a time where everyone puts down their forks and watches the bride OPENING HER GIFTS. 

This has always been my version of a personal nightmare: 

All eyes on me as I open cooking supplies I don't know how to use. 

And then it happened. Gift opening. 

As I had the first beautifully wrapped present sitting in my lap, I thought to myself, "Ummm...people are staring at me. This is awkward." 

But I took a breath and focused on what I was experiencing - the opening of the paper, the buzzing energy in the room, and the receiving of the heartfelt gifts from amazing friends. 

I tore open the packages and relished in every detail of the gifts. 

I felt like a kid at Christmas. I mean, I can't remember the last time I opened more than five gifts in a row. It was awesome. 

And when I looked around the room I wasn't thinking about whether everyone was having a good time (I hope they were!) or if they liked the food (I'm pretty sure they did). 

All I thought about was soaking up the joy and gratitude of the moment. 

I stayed present and let LOVE be the center of attention - the love I have for my friends and family and the love they have for me. 

And you know what? I had a blast. Me - the reluctant center of attention bride ;) 

At the end of the party, my friend Nicole, who has known me for thirteen years, said, "Do you need to go home and decompress?" 

Normally, after hanging out with a ton of people I'd be ready for some alone time. Like I said, she knows me well.

But instead, I checked in with my body and said, "Absolutely not. I'm ready to do whatever. Let's go hang out." 

Can you imagine if I'd spent that time with my friends and family in my head worrying about stuff I can't control? 

What a waste.

And frankly, I've done that dance. Next please. 

You can't give if you can't receive. Love is an energy that needs to be circulating - pouring out and pouring in. 

I hope you're able to take a little time for yourself today...and give a little something back to someone in return. 

Fill your cup and then give back to the people you love...even if you're simply giving your undistracted and beautiful presence :) 

How do you soak up love and attention in a mindful way? What keeps you balanced? Leave a comment below and let me know your tricks...I can always use more :) 

From my heart to yours, 

Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist

 




 

My Late Night Google Searches

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I've always been curious about people, places and things. 

When I'm watching a TV show, I get so distracted thinking about the actors and their characters.

I have to stop myself from going on what my brother calls a "Wikipedia Deep Dive." 

A "Wikipedia Deep Dive" is when you're googling every name of every actor on The Sopranos and the next thing you know, you're googling their children. 

And then you start opening up new searches about their spouses - finding out what colleges they attended - all the while accidentally discovering what happens to every-character-on-the-show. 

Does anyone else do this? 

Okay...maybe just me ;)

But I love information. I love getting it and I LOVE sharing it. 

So as my gift to you, I'd love to share some of the information I've received lately.

Some of it was passed along to me and some of it I found on my very own knowledge "deep dive" aka googling well past my bedtime. 

However I received it, I'm thrilled to pass this info and inspiration along to you. 

I hope you enjoy!


1. Turmeric: The Super Supplement

I've been taking B6 and B12 for years, as well as Vitamin D, but Turmeric kept popping up in articles and blog posts I came across. The ancient spice is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can help with digestion and joint pain. I take it in supplement form, but you can also enjoy it in spice form in shakes and soups. 


2. A Cutting Cords Meditation for Letting...Things...Go

If you feel resentful toward someone or something - your boss, your friend, your family member - check out this meditation by Joseph Aldo, PH.d. 

It's perfect when you need to hit *reset* on your brain and let an argument go.

Head over to Dr. Kelly Brogan's website where it's recorded. You'll feel lighter in minutes. 


3. Greenmedinfo's Newsletter

If you're curious about toxins in your environment or which supplements you should be taking, I highly recommend subscribing or visiting Greenmedinfo.com

Greenmedinfo has everything in one place and it's easy to digest. Check out this post: 5 Food Medicines That Could Possibly Save Your Life. 


4. Positive Energy by Judith Orloff, MD. 

Judith Orloff is the Queen of Empaths. In her book, she provides simple and effective solutions for awakening your intuition and feeling more balanced and energized. This book helped me so much when I first moved to NYC. Her tip about checking your pulse when you need to stay in the moment works like a charm.


5. An Inspirational Article about Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron wrote Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. I'd always heard about her humor and witbut this Vanity Fair article reveals another layer of her personality and leadership style. 

Meg Ryan and other actors explain how she was dedicated to creating an on-set environment that felt like a welcoming dinner party. It's inspiring, entertaining and provides a "behind the scenes" glimpse at some of her best films. 


6. Argan Rosemary Cleansing Oil. 

I love this product. I've been using it for years and it keeps your face clean without drying it out. You can use it before or after washing your face or even throughout the day. 


7. Golden Yarrow: A Natural Remedy for Empaths

If you DO identify as an empath or highly sensitive person, I recommend the flower essence Golden Yarrow.

Golden Yarrow helps protect your energy so you don't feel like you're absorbing everyone else's emotions. Take a couple drops under your tongue or mix it with water. 


8. Katie Hess and Her Flower Essence Podcast

I love Katie Hess - she's a flower essence alchemist who leads with love and authenticity. On her most recent podcast, she talks about diet, hormones and the best approach for leading a balanced life - body and soul. You can check out her podcasts here. 


9. Grace Atwood's Instagram Account

Grace Atwood always has the best product and BOOK recommendations. You can follow her instagram here and find her book club info here


10. An "Oprah Reminder" That It's Alllllll Going To Work Out

Every few months, when I think, "Why aren't things working out exactly as I want" I watch this Oprah interview. 

Filmed at Stanford University Business School, Oprah describes the so-called missteps and detours that inevitably led her to what she's meant to be doing in her life.

Watch here. 

It's SO easy to think we have to have things "figured out" all the time, and this video always reminds me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

It's perfect if you need a reminder that you're doing just fine :) 

What's the stuff you're loving at the moment? Any books, people or places you can't stop thinking about? 

Comment below and let me know! 

Have a beautiful weekend!

From my heart to yours, 

Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
www.devonmcleod.com
 

 

 

I can't believe I messed this up...

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Ten years ago, I was a super scared social work intern working at an outpatient clinic in New York City. 

I was trying desperately hard to impress my director, supervisor, anyone around me and oh yeah - myself. 

Every Monday, the staff would gather around the lunch table to rotate people presenting cases.

It was a BIG deal. And I'd never presented.

But, I knew when my time was up, I'd prepare like nobody's business and knock it out of the ballpark. 

Or so I thought. 

One day, I arrived for our weekly meeting and began opening my packed peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Before I could take a bite, the director of the clinic called out my name. 

"Devon," she said, "Devon, it's your turn to present." 

My face went white. 

Why is she calling my name? It can't be my turn to present. Is there another Devon who works here?!

I looked around the room for someone to rescue me.

This can't be happening. I'd NEVER forget something this important.

But, I totally forgot. 

I looked around and gripped my sandwich. 

After what felt like hours (probably two minutes) my supervisor jumped to the rescue and presented something on the fly.

But, the damage was done.

I was an intern and I wanted a job at this place.

I was MORTIFIED.

How the heck could I've been so IRRESPONSIBLE?!

"Irresponsible" was just one of the many words I called myself as I walked out of the room, my young therapist tail between her legs.

I was terrified I'd messed up my chance of being offered a job. I was nervous I'd let my supervisor down.

And above all, I was just really mad at myself. 

I couldn't stop the negative self-talk. It felt like a gremlin had taken over my otherwise benevolent mind. I carried on throughout the day. But right before I fell sleep or when I was letting my mind wander...

I went back to beating myself up big time. 

At the time, it felt like I DESERVED it because I'd definitely made a mistake - no one would argue otherwise. 

But when does being hard on yourself EVER help? 

It simply doesn't. 

It makes you feel ashamed and paralyzed. Case in point, I walked around the clinic like a deer in headlights for the next two weeks.

I made tons of anxious mistakes, as I repeatedly thought, "Don't mess up. Don't mess up. Don't mess up AGAIN." 

It's tough not to beat yourself up when you make mistakes in the real world. You mess up with your family. You forget to do something important. You send that text you really shouldn't have sent. 

The negative thoughts kick in. You run through the blunders you've made in the past - your brain building up a library of information about how you're not good at anything. 

In Buddhist teachings, it's referred to as the "second arrow." The first arrow is the mistake you make and the second arrow is the unnecessary self-blame, anger and resentment you place on top of your yourself. 

The first arrow is part of life - mistakes happen. The second arrow is actually optional. What a thought. 

When I was stuck in my mode of "I'm a worthless intern who deserves no job upon graduation," I could've used some good 'ol fashioned positive self talk.

It sounds cheesy, but it helps. 

"Everyone makes mistakes."

"You messed up and that's okay. This too shall pass." 

If I could go back in time to my scared-intern self, I'd also tell her that this so-called mistake would help her. Yes, actually help her. She may not have been aware of it, but she was collecting data that she (gasp!) didn't have to be perfect. 

Our mistakes are part of a greater design to help us get some much needed life lessons - letting go of perfectionism and accepting the loved ones in our life who are less than perfect, too. 

Cutting yourself and everyone in your life some slack - what a concept. 

So the way I look at it - you may as well start having compassion for yourself this very moment, no matter what the mess-up. 

And that's the biggest self-care tool you can use...guaranteed. 

As far as the internship? I was offered a job at the clinic when my internship was over.

I guess I didn't have to be perfect, after all ;) 


From my heart to yours, 


Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist
www.devonmcleod.com


Do you ever beat yourself up over small (or big!) things? Forgetting an appointment? Missing your friends birthday? Leave a comment below or email devon@devonmcleod.com. I'd love to hear from you! 

 

Trust Your Instincts

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Hopping out of an Uber with my broker, we arrived at the prospective apartment. It was a typical New York City street corner, meaning it was super busy with three ambulances screeching by. 

But more importantly, my chest tightened and I felt the urge to jump back in the Uber and flee to the nearest strand of nature. 

"No, Devon. Let's check this place out. You need a place to live." 

Walking up the stairs of the apartment, aesthetically - everything seemed great. Intellectually speaking, this apartment felt like the ideal place my boyfriend (now fiance) and I were supposed to reside.  

Feeling the mounting sense of "this isn't right" in my body, I quickly started to list all of the reasons the apartment would work for us - close to jobs, great price, allows dogs, roof over our heads, etc. 

But no matter how many reasons I listed, something just wasn't sitting well. 

"Devon, stop being so sensitive. You've gotta be like a normal person and make decisions that are smart, practical and above all - make sense." 

This is the internal dialogue I usually say to myself when my intuition is desperately trying to communicate something with me. 

While I pay attention to the thoughts occurring in my brain (and trust me, there are MANY of them throughout the day) I always thrive when I listen to the part of me that has never led me astray - my intuition. 

It's how I took the leap to move to New York City, apply to grad school super last minute (I'll probably share that story later) and have found the best jobs. 

Flash forward to the next day (NYC real estate moves at lighting speed) the lease was signed. I felt somewhat relieved to have a roof over my head.

But I couldn't shake that feeling....

You know the one? The feeling where you've made a decision - taken a job, booked a vacation, moved cities or started a relationship - and something feels "off." 

You have weird dreams or even nightmares? You feel anxious  even when you think you *should* be happy?

Or you might notice things don't "flow" when you move forward with something that doesn't resonate with every fiber of your being.

Your furniture doesn't arrive on time. The position you took at your company leaves you feeling stressed-out and anxious. 

The Airbnb you booked is "mysteriously" unavailable at the last minute. 

When you ignore your intuition - weird things can happen.

As for the new apartment we moved into? It was by no means a terrible experience, but it never felt like I really lived there - almost like I was a visitor passing through.

And to be honest, things didn't flow. 

We had weird plumbing issues, strange smells and get this - building management told me I wasn't "allowed" to have my name on the mailbox. 

How's that for a sign from the universe?

Whenever I try and force things, rush things or push my intuition aside for the sake of strictly logical arguments, things just don't flow.

I end up in a state of not only kicking myself for not listening to my instincts, but feeling stressed out and like I'm swimming upstream. 

As far as the apartment goes, it wasn't the most ideal experience, but I shockingly look back at my living situation with a healthy dose of nostalgia. It was a time where I couldn't force my way out of a situation.

I had to practice the art of relaxing into something that felt less than ideal. 

Dare I say, that was perhaps the gift I needed all along? 

But going forward, I make sure to check-in with my body before making choices - big and small. 
 

  • Do I want to go to that networking event? Does my body feel relaxed when I envision arriving? 
  • When I think about moving to that new neighborhood...am I excited? Or do I feel a little flutter in my stomach (but not in a good way) thinking about the new locale?
  • Does it feel like I'm forcing something when I rush and try to fit square pegs into round holes? Is there a lack of flow? 


If you believe in God, a higher power, or even the mystery of the Universe, you can ask for guidance to be in alignment with your highest good as you move through decisions...whatever that means for you.

You can even experiment and see how your body feels when you turn down a street, greet a friend or envision vacationing in a certain location.

Signs you're on the right track - You feel relaxed, open, engaged, excited, warm and energized. 

Signs your intuition is telling you to pause - You feel tight, anxious, worried or like you're moving through molasses - like something might be holding you back from following through. 

Feelings don't have to make perfect sense in the moment. Sometimes, it takes days, months or years before we can look back and say, "Oh, that's why that thing didn't work out." 

Be curious. Be open. And don't judge or feel like you have to have all the answers right away. 

You can even make "mistakes" in your life when it comes to decision making.

How's that for a relief?

Remember, this is the year of Bidding Adieu to Perfectionism. In fact, think of "mistakes" as bumpy experiences to guide you, teach you and help you learn how to inevitably trust your intuition with all of your heart. 

You don't have to do it perfectly. You just have to show up....

Trusting yourself, paying attention and moving forward one step at a time. 


From my heart to yours, 


Devon McLeod, LCSW
Holistic Psychotherapist

 

Let me know about a time YOU trusted your gut by commenting below. I'd love to hear what happened when you went with the wisdom of your intuition :)