Pandemic Self-care

Four months into the Covid-19 social distancing, self-isolation lifestyle and we are definitely feeling the impact. The isolation, employment struggles, unknowns about schools and travel are exacting there toll in the form of stress and anxiety. A society esurient for normalcy, we attempt to gain control by developing new habits and adapting to new routines, not all of them good for us.

On this episode of the show, we visit again with health and weight loss coach Elizabeth Sherman to talk about ways to change our troubling behavior for the good and manage the stress and anxiety we are all experiencing.

The Power of Ritual

The symbolic behaviors we perform before, during, and after meaningful events are common across culture and time. Rituals are performed in an array of shapes and forms. At times performed in communal or religious settings; at times involving fixed, repeated sequences of actions, and at other times not.

We use rituals for a variety of reasons, like after experiencing losses or before public speaking, because we believe it increases our confidence and reduces our anxieties.

In the new book The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities Into Soulful Practices, author Casper Ter Kuile explores how we can nourish our souls by transforming common, everyday practices into rituals that can heal what he calls is an “increasing crisis of isolation” and help us feel more connected.

Take a listen to our conversation. If you like the podcast, please consider making a small donation to support the production efforts.







Fathers Day Reflection

My girls Hadiya and Imani

My wife and I have long had a running joke as parents. That is that our main job was to keep our children off of the therapist couch. And if they did find themselves there, it wouldn’t be because of us.

In all seriousness, being a father has been a great joy. There have been up and downs, lessons learned, and hard truths. And despite what the greeting cards say, there are no perfect dads. What’s important is that we recognize the growth opportunities as parents and embrace those opportunities to become better mothers and fathers to our children.

On this episode of the Life in HD podcast, I take the opportunity to have a chat with my daughters about their dad and their experiences being my daughters. I also speak with my own father about his experiences with his father and his retrospective view of having children.

It’s an honest and, sometimes, cringe-worthy exploration of my relationships as a father and son.







Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19

Credit: Shutterstock

It’s human to feel stress, especially when our day-to-day lives don’t look or feel the same as they used to. Sometimes stress can lead us to respond in unhelpful ways, like turning to food or alcohol for comfort.

And with Covid-19, stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand. So how do we manage it all? For starters, everyone needs to look after one’s own basic needs to stay mentally healthy in a stressful time.

While the anxiety many people are feeling about Covid-19 can be magnified in those who are most vulnerable to it (adults over 60 and those with underlying conditions) we are all feeling the impact that policies like shelter-in-place are having on our psyche.

On this episode of the podcast, I speak with Licensed Professional Counselor, author, and life coach Katherine Jansen-Byrkit. Katherine received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington in 1992 and spend over a decade in public health managing violence prevention and teen health programs.

Katherine published her first book, River to Ocean: Living in the Flow of Wakefulness last year. It reflects the human voyage of finding your way to an awakened self. Press play on the media player to listen to the conversation.

Date night included hard shell crabs and Manhattans.

Tips for Self-Care

  1. Eat healthy foods – make sure that you have food options that don’t weigh you down or cause you to gain weight during a period of inactivity.
  2. Stay physically active – build a daily exercise routine. You don’t need a well equipped home gym. Find some routines on the internet.
  3. Get regular sleep. Keep to your regular sleep routine and avoid over sleeping or not getting enough sleep.
  4. Create a sense of structure and routine in daily life while self-quarantining.
  5. Connect socially with friends and family while maintaining physical distance. Create special moments (like date night) to break up the monotony. Or cocktails with friends via video conferencing.

For more information on Katherine and her work, visit Innergy Counseling.

Corona-Conscious Eating

Sea Bass, salad, and soup

You’ve been ordered to shelter in place.  But for how long?  Days?  Weeks?  Months? 

So you’ve followed the herd, bum-rushed the grocery story, gobbled up all the toilet paper, food and snacks that you could get your hands on in preparation for the long haul.  My guess is, you didn’t have time to thoughtfully plan out your meals, right?  Not that the other shoppers in the store left you many options.

The memes and jokes all over social media show American’s concerns with being sedentary for the immediate future, over-eating and mindless munching to help pass the time of day.  So we’re going to offer some tips on how to survive the COVID19 shelter in place dilemma and come out on the other side healthy, happy, and ready to resume your normal life when things finally get back to normal.

On this episode, it’s all about making food choices that are good for you.

My guest today is Sophie Egan,  the Director of Health and Sustainability Leadership for the Strategic Initiatives Group at the Culinary Institute of America…  And author of the book How to be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet.

We had a great conversation on making healthy and conscious choices for building a proper pantry, choosing good processed foods and healthy proteins. We also talk about how our food choices impact the planet and other people around the globe. Take a listen to the conversation by hitting the “play” button on the audio player.

How To Be A Conscious Eater is a great resource for living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.  It cuts through the noise and conflicting information and offers an easy to remember, holistic guide for making smart decisions about food consumption.    No diets, no fads, or hard-fast rules.  Just a straightforward way of eating for you, and good for others and the planet. 

As Sophie reminds us in How To Be A Conscious Eater, keep your eyes on the prize: your general health.  Rather than fixating on specific nutrients or trying out strict diets over the short term, the best bet for a lifetime of healthy eating is to enjoy the flavorful and diverse options included in a dietary pattern with lots of evidence behind its long-term health benefits, such as flexitarian eating.  Remember as a rule of thumb, most of the healthiest foods don’t have food labels.  Keeps this in mind during your next run on the grocery store to stock up on COVID19 survival supplies.

To view Sophie Egan’s town hall presentation, see the YouTube video here.

Weird Love

Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1489155659

Ever been in a relationship that hit a dry patch? Perhaps you are in one now. One that feels routine and mundane. No matter how much you love your partner or how wonderful you think your relationship is, things can often get a little boring. Healthy, happy relationships exist when partners work to bring out the best in each other. Relationships that are based on mutual respect and admiration. And let’s not forget about fun.

On today’s show, guest Boaz Frankel says sometimes you just have to get a little weird…together. The filmmaker, writer, and talk show host, along with his wife Brooke Barker, author of New York Times bestseller Sad Animal Facts, talks about embracing the eccentricities and weirdness of their personalities and relationship in their co-authored book Let’s Be Weird Together.

Let’s Be Weird Together is a fun book with quirky illustrations. It’s a rare relationship book that captures the rituals and micro universes that couples create together, in a sweet, fun package filled with humor and endearing quirkiness. They discovered that not only do they bring out the best in each other, they also bring out the weirdness too. Click the play button on the player to hear more about Let’s Get Weird Together and my conversation with Boaz Frankel. Be sure to follow the podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your audio content.

Be Younger Next Year

Younger Next Year is in its 2nd edition

Happy New Year! Life in HD is back in action with a useful episode designed to get your fitness goals on track!

This episode is all about slowing down the aging process. Can you turn back your biological clock? Chris Crowley, one of the co-authors of the book Younger Next Year, says absolutely you can.

If your new year resolution to lose weight has already hit a snag, try changing the goal of losing weight (a short-term goal) to one where you focus on getting fit and staying fit for the rest of your life.

Chris Crowley, who in his mid 80’s was preparing to take a trip to ski Black Diamond slopes when I spoke with him, says that by taking control of our physical fitness and nutrition, we can prevent 70% of the normal problems associated with aging including weakness, sore joints, and bad balance. By exercising 6 days a week, we can eliminate 50% of serious illness and injury, and become 10% smarter. He and his co-author, Henry S. Lodge, MD, access numerous studies and research data to provide the science of aging and what we can do to live strong, fit, sexy, and smart until we are 80 and beyond.

I spoke with Chris for this episode of Life in HD to go through some tips for getting our fitness on track.

For more information on Younger Next Year, visit here.

Music for today’s show is Ride Out by Audiobinger under Creative Commons Attribution non-commercial license.

If you haven’t already followed the podcast for automatic delivery of new episodes, please do so wherever you get your podcasts. While there, please like and rate the show to help us reach more people.

How Can You Improve Your Parenting?

Practical advice for gifting the love of reading

There are dozens of things that we can do to improve our parenting skills. One thing that we can do is to help our children develop a love of learning and creative, independent thought.

When I reflect on my own experience as a young father helping my kids learn to read, I realize now that I made many mistakes. A lot of those mistakes were made out of shear ignorance. I tried to teach my children by applying pressure to perform well. And I am not a teacher by trade. I didn’t understand the necessary activities and building blocks needed to aid in developing cognitive ability and language skills. I made reading time a tense chore rather than an enjoyable discovery. I wish I had this conversation with New York Times children’s books editor Maria Russo when my kids were young. Sage advice from our conversation includes “Leave the teaching to teachers. Your job as a parent is to help your children discover the joy of reading.”

In their new book, How to Raise a Reader, Pamela Paul (editor of the New York Times Book Review) and Maria Russo (children’s books editor of the New York Times Book Review) divides the subject up into 4 stages of childhood – from babies to teens – and offer practical tips, strategies that work, and inspirational advice on how to help your kids develop a love of reading. Maria Russo was kind enough to chat with me on Life in HD. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

More information on How to Raise a Reader can be found here.

Music bed in this episode is Happy Ending by Scott Holmes under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License.

Don’t let me be the only bad parent out there. Please share your reading horror stories with me here.

Childfree By Choice

Dr Amy Blackstone – photo by Jeff Kirlin

You’d think, in 2019, that the choice to not  have children would be acceptable in our society, but American culture can’t accept the reality of a woman who does not want to be a mother.  Motherhood is sacred and revered.  Not wanting children goes against everything we’ve been taught to think about the concept of family.  Women and girls are portrayed in media and pop culture as individuals driven to get married and have children.  Yet in reality, there are plenty of women who would rather not have the stresses of parenting or the loss of individual identity.  And the pushback against the stigma of not wanting to be a parent has given birth to the childfree movement in America.  

Our conversation today centers on the childfree movement and our guest is Dr Amy Blackstone, author of Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family & Creating a New Age of Independence.  Dr Blackstone is a professor in Sociology  and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine where she studies childlessness and the childfree choice.  And she is no stranger to a wide range of negative responses when she informs people she doesn’t have – nor does she want – kids.

Music in this episode is Pumpkin Spice by Audiobinger under Creative Commons License and Ride Out by Audiobinger under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License.