S3E11: The Future of Mental Health

S3E11: The Future of Mental Health

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Your World, Your Money’s hosts sit down with Amy Tran of @doodledwellness to discuss new approaches to mental health. We will dive into Amy Tran’s creative approach, and how art & creative methods of communication are creating more safe mental health spaces for all. And, we will ask, can mental health resources really live in the social media sphere in healthy, growth oriented ways? Spoiler alert, they can.  

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ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Amy Tran received her Masters in Clinical Psychology in Ontario, Canada. She is currently in the last year of her Ph.D program in Clinical Psychology.  

 

She has received intensive training to provide therapy, as well as diagnose mental health disorders and Autism in children and adolescents. She has trained in community mental health centres, hospitals, schoolboards, and private practices across Ontario. She is also involved in research that examines how the use of smartphones and tablets by young children and parents may disrupt the healthy development of children. 

 

Before committing to becoming a psychologist, she studied Visual and Creative Arts. Her Instagram account @doodledwellness is where Amy's passion for mental health and art come together. She takes mental health materials and breaks them down into doodles on social media to make mental health resources and information more accessible to everyone.  

 

Amy’s goal is to help you learn about your mental health challenges, combat stigma, share helpful coping skills, help you feel less alone, and brighten your social media feed with a daily pick me up.  

 

She hopes to continue working with youth, integrating mindfulness into mental health treatment, and creating more accessible mental health resources.  

Download the episode's key takeaways here.

This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.

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View Transcript

[00:00:00] Mary: Welcome back to ‘Your World, Your Money,’ listeners. We are so happy to have you back with us, and we hope you're enjoying your holiday season. We hope you're staying safe with your loved ones, no matter where you are or what you're up to.

[00:00:13] Nolan: Today, we are excited to wrap up the season with a final conversation on mental health, accessibility, and the future of what this space looks like, especially for younger generations. We will be chatting with Amy Tran, where you can find her @doodledwellness on Instagram.

[00:00:31] Mary: Do you want to spell that for us? Doo– doodle what?

[00:00:33] Nolan: Doodled— D-O-O-D-L-E-D— wellness.

[00:00:37] Mary: So, let me tell you about Amy. Amy received her Master's in Clinical Psychology in Ontario, Canada, and she's currently in her last year of her PhD program in Clinical Psychology. Before committing to becoming a psychologist, she studied visual and creative arts. Her Instagram account, @doodledwellness, we all know how to spell it now, is where Amy's passion for mental health and art come together. If you haven't checked it out yet, we encourage you to pop over to Insta for a minute and take a look at some of the doodles that we will be chatting about with Amy.

[00:01:09] Mary: She takes mental health materials and breaks them down into doodles on social media to make mental health resources and information more accessible to everyone. Amy's goal is to help you learn about your mental health challenges, combat stigma, share helpful coping skills, help you feel less alone, and brighten your social media feed with a daily pick me up. She hopes to continue working with youth, integrating mindfulness into mental health treatment, and creating more accessible mental health resources.

[00:01:42] Mary, Nolan, Laquita Ann: Hi, I'm Mary. I'm Nolan. I'm Laquita Ann. We are your hosts and this is 'Your World, Your Money.' We will be talking real money, with real people, in a real way. Because everyone deserves the opportunity and tools for freedom, financial or otherwise. 'Your World, Your Money' is brought to you by Hangar Studios, a New York City based recording studio, and Global Thinking Foundation, a global nonprofit working toward financial freedom and equality for all.

[00:02:28] Mary: So, Amy, we're so excited to have you here. Welcome here. Thank you for not leaving the call. We're happy you stuck around. So, get us started and tell us about you— tell us about your journey, who you are, why you're so amazing.

 

[00:02:42] Amy: Well, thank you, I'd love to. So, my name is Amy, I am a PhD candidate in Child's Clinical Psychology, and I am studying at the University of Windsor, which is in Ontario, Canada.

 

[00:02:57] Amy: So, a little bit about my journey, I mean, if I think back to high school, that's kind of where it all started. So, I've always been really interested in both psychology and art. I've taken art classes as a kid, I took it in high school, and I decided that I wanted to pursue it in college as well— visual arts. So, I did one year of visual arts, and then I decided I wanted to pivot into psychology. It was just calling my name. So, I did that, and I really, really committed to that and dropped the creativity piece. So, I did my undergrad in Psych, my M.A. in Clinical Psychology, and now I'm in the last year of the PhD of Psychology.

 

[00:03:43] Amy: And I didn't really have a creative outlet until the pandemic hit. The pandemic hit, we all went into lockdown, and I was like, what do I do with all this time now? So that's when I started to experiment with the tablet and drawing. I put it on Instagram and people enjoyed it, I kept doing it, and now I've grown my Instagram to around 180,000 followers, which I'm so grateful and thankful for. And it's really a fusion of my psychology background and my outlet for being a creative artist.

 

[00:04:25] Nolan: That's incredible that you managed to find a way to combine both those interests. I'm curious to dig a little into what led you to Clinical Psych, would you say. Was there a moment where you realized mental health is kind of an important part of your life, of, of your professional life and what was the inspiration there?

 

[00:04:44] Amy: Yeah, so, I mean, it just goes back to high school again. I guess high school was kind of pivotal for me and it's the class where they put sociology, anthropology and psychology together. And I just remember being so fascinated, like no other topic made me feel the way that psychology made me feel. Just that there was theory or words and explanations that we could give to the way that people thought, felt, and act. I thought that was so incredible and fascinating. And I mean, it's a really bizarre thing, right? Like it's a human studying humans, like, it's just kind of funny.

 

[00:05:27] Amy: But yeah, it was really more from an interest perspective. So, actually, when I first started in undergrad, I wasn't set on Clinical Psychology, I did explore other types of psychology, like Social Psychology, Industrial Organization, but I thought, you know what? I really am passionate about doing something that's emotionally fulfilling, and what's emotionally fulfilling for me is sitting in a room, listening to people's stories, helping them gain insight, make meaning of what they've gone through and help them to become the best version that they can.

 

[00:06:03] Amy: In terms of how I realized why I wanted to pursue mental health, I think it's because we are living in a society that's really dominated by the biomedical model. We talk about our physical health, we talk about exercise, we talk about the food we eat, but I think for the longest time mental health wasn't really touched on. It's starting to become more of a talked about conversation now, but I think that at the time that I was thinking about this, I'm like, this needs to be at the forefront of all the conversations we're having— is how we think, how we feel, how we act, and the beliefs that we have about ourself. They all impact our lives. So that's really why I wanted to it.

 

[00:06:49] Mary: I love that you mentioned the creative side of it versus this biomedical side, and how we've kind of swung the pendulum one way and now we're swinging back the other direction. Hopefully we can, you know, settle in the middle eventually, but that leads me to think about a lot of the things that you create, a lot of the pieces of artwork that you, that you create. Where does a lot of the inspiration for that come from? And I'm sure you, you've alluded to it already, but I'm also thinking about how you take concepts and sometimes break them down into much smaller pieces that feel much more attainable, and a little bit more attainable through that creative lens, through that creative sphere.

 

[00:07:27] Amy: Such a good question. So, a lot of my inspiration actually comes from my own personal life. So, that's one. I have gone through my own journey of dealing with anxiety, of being in a toxic relationship. I've gone to therapy myself and my therapist has said, 'All therapists should have their own therapist. And if they don't, they're suspicious therapists.'

 

[00:07:53] Nolan: I love that.

 

[00:07:54] Amy: 'cause I know some people are like, well, shouldn't you be perfect? And it's like, no therapists are not perfect. They're human and they go through their own stuff, right? So, a lot of the content I make is inspired by myself, and then also my own clients. They teach me so much about mental health. I learned so much from them and if they're going through it, or five people are going through it, then a hundred people are going through it, then a thousand people are going through it, then a hundred thousand people are going through it. So, I get a ton of inspiration from the client work that I do as well.

 

[00:08:30] Nolan: I'm really curious to know what kind of reactions you've gotten since you've started @doodledwellness and what, what have been some of the biggest learnings or surprises for you, just engaging with the community around that?

 

[00:08:42] Amy: Yes, so, one of the biggest surprises I would say, and saying it out loud is interesting because it almost seems like a, no duh, but people want to understand themselves, and they don't. So, I think that a lot of the content that resonates with my audience is content where I'm like, 'Six Signs That You Are Experiencing Anxiety,' or 'Five Red Flags in a Toxic Relationship,' or 'Signs of an Unhealthy Family Dynamic.' And those really resonate with people because they're like, I relate to this. This is me. And I think that's so powerful and important because we can't fix what we don't understand. I always say awareness is the first step towards healing. So, if that's what I can give the community, I think that is so important because people want to know what's going on in order for them to change.

 

[00:09:42] Nolan: I mean, so much about treating mental health is the process of learning, how to put words to these things that we don't always realize are our challenges or troubles in our life. And that's one of the things I really love about what you're creating with @doodledwellness is it's just so— it's so easy to connect with. You don't make it complicated. You're not using like complex research terms to bring it into this. It's, it's a very straightforward and, like, visually engaging way to convey these, what should be simple concepts, but like you said, we don't always have the words for it or to, or to identify it in our own lives, right?

 

[00:10:21] Amy: Yeah, yeah, totally. And I don't want to take all the credit. There's amazing therapists in this digital space, there's tons of content available for people, but yeah, that's exactly it— is that the information is there, the research is there, right? But it's buried in these articles that are so long and have so much jargon. Or you're paying to access therapy, in private practice, for example, which just costs a lot of money, or you're accessing community funded therapy, or assessments, or treatment, but they have long, long wait lists, right? So, I think that it's super important and I'm so grateful to be a part of the community of therapists and mental health professionals that are breaking down psychology content and putting it out there for free.

 

[00:11:13] Mary: You've actually started to touch on something that we're particularly interested in and that we have a, a particular emphasis on when talking about mental health. So, you referenced the different ways that people are going about seeking mental health, and let's get started on the topic of accessibility. Because price accessibility, especially in the States, where me and Nolan are, and where a lot of our listeners are, in the U.S., it's extremely inaccessible at some levels, it's unbelievably costly, and I love that you mentioned the other side of it— whenever people say, oh, here's the other resources, well those resources have long waits and you might not get the person that's right for you. So, let's get started in that space. We've got so many questions, but to bring us in that, bring us, bring us into that space.

 

[00:12:01] Amy: Accessibility. Yes. That is a hot topic in the mental health conversation, because it is underfunded. The public resources in Canada, at least, are underfunded. So, there are community resources, and those resources serve people who are at the most need. So, they're usually kids, or adults too, that have more complex needs. And unfortunately, they have really, really long wait lists. So, the two and two don't really go hand in hand, right? You have people that really need the service, but then you're like, okay wait one to two years to even be seen.

 

[00:12:44] Amy: So, there's the public funded mental health space, and then there's the private space, which is people who have private practices, and you can access them if you have benefits. And if you don't have benefits, then you are asked to pay out of pocket. And the reality is families and people can't really afford that. If you're thinking about a 50-minute session, you're looking at anywhere between, I would say 80 bucks on the low end to 200 dollars on the high end. And if you're looking for an assessment, so, an assessment in psychology is when we administer a bunch of tests and we get your learning profile, your cognitive profile, or your personality profile, and we look at all that information to see if we can provide a diagnosis, and those range from two to three thousand dollars, right? And people just can't afford that. So, it really is an unfortunate situation that mental health resources is not accessible for a lot of people.

 

[00:13:48] Mary: In line with what you're talking about, I think it's really interesting how younger generations are starting to change the accessibility and the pricing and the structure of mental health, and the way that it's quote unquote always been, or we've been doing it. And when I say younger generations, I'm actually thinking about our generation and gen Z and generation after. Like, I'm not even talking young, young kids, I'm talking about ours, we're changing it. So, I'd love to hear, especially from your unique perspective and the amount of art that you and creativity that you bring into it, I'd love to hear from your perspective, how you see that starting to change and how you see it starting to shift because you have touch points in the creative sphere, the social media sphere, but you're still also in this place of institution and structure. So, I'd love to hear from your perspective, how it starting to change? Maybe even your goals for it too.

 

[00:14:43] Amy: Yes. I love this topic. I'm very passionate about it and I just have so much hope, and I think it's because it's becoming more and more acceptable for therapists and mental health professionals to have an online presence. So, the authority is there, right? You're like, this is a person that has gone through the training. This is a person that has gotten the qualifications. This is a person that has been practicing for X amount of years. And now, they're putting out content that people trust and is free. Now I will say that Instagram and TikTok is not therapy. But education is powerful, knowledge is powerful, and awareness is powerful. So, we have people now who are online, and they can just be scrolling on their feed and all of a sudden, they see something and they're like, oh my gosh, this is me. Or, oh, this is what I can do next time I'm feeling anxious, right? And that is so powerful because it puts the power back into the people, right? Before it was like, this information is there. The theories are there. The research is there. But no one can access it because of all the reasons why I said before. But now, it's in your phone and you can access it, right? And the cool thing too is so many of these people are putting out workbooks, workshops, courses, and you can sign up for them, and learn, and be guided through this process.

 

[00:16:14] Amy: Again, it's not a replacement for therapy, but it's A, more accessible, and B, it can be more affordable, right? So, I think that's really cool, and I'm seeing that in my own work as well, when I'm working with, I work primarily with teenagers, right? And they'll come in and be like, I was on TikTok, and I saw this, what do you think of it? So, it's happening. People are out there and if the information is resonating with them, then they want to talk about it, they want to use that information and they want to, you know, be the best person they can be. And I think that is so cool.

 

[00:16:46] Mary: They want to talk about it. I love that you mentioned that. They want to get that conversation started. Sorry, I had to highlight that point because I think it's so important. Go for it, Nolan.

 

[00:16:55] Nolan: I want to ask, I'm curious if you ever feel a certain kind of tension in that it makes sense to deliver this kind of content where people are. And especially for younger people, social media is where they are. But there's certainly a narrative out there that social media as a whole— not great for mental health, especially, disproportionately, young people. And I know you've done a lot of thinking about that. I think some of your research is around this, as well. How do you navigate that? How do you provide the resources where people are, on social media, but still acknowledged sometimes the downsides of the world of social media, especially as it relates to mental health?

 

[00:17:32] Amy: Such a good question. It is an internal conflict that I have, because like you said, I do do research on parents who spend time on their smartphone or tablet and then are missing those cues from their child, right? And you're seeing that with teens, as well. There is research out there, and it's pretty well-known now that if you're passively scrolling on social media, it does increase the risk of anxiety and depression. I'm sure we've all seen something on Instagram and been like, why don't I look like that? Why is my life not like that? And it doesn't make us feel good, right?

 

[00:18:09] Nolan: Totally.

 

[00:18:10] Amy: So, if you're doing that for hours a day, obviously it's going to have an impact on your mental health. So yes, it is an internal tension that I have because one, I am on the space, but at the same time, I also want to encourage people to get out of that space. So, I think that I haven't really addressed it on my platform, but it is a conversation that as a society we need to have— is how do we teach teens, kids, even adults to use their technology and social media with intention? So, we're not passively picking up the phone just because we're bored and need something to do, it's with intention. So, picking up the phone and the intention of, let's say, spending 10 minutes on social media, or the intention of checking my DM's and connecting with people, or it's totally fine if you want to passively scroll, but set boundaries on it, right? And also, the message that if something doesn't make you feel good on social media, unfollow it, or mute it. You can control your newsfeed. And my newsfeed, my personal newsfeed, used to be like random people, celebrities, and I'm like, this doesn't make me feel good. And I was like, wow, if I'm making content, then there's other content that I can consume, right? So, my feed looks completely different nowadays. It's mental health content, photography, psycho-educational, finance. And I think that we can teach people to use and curate their social media so it works for them rather than against them.

 

[00:19:54] Nolan: It makes total sense. And I just want to say that intuitively, I think you need to deliver those messages, like on social media, despite the fact that there might be this catch 22 about it. And I'm, I'm really appreciative that you are providing this resource for people to be intentional about it and think about how social media might be impacting their own mental health. And you're providing like a, a very clear resource of like here's content that can be wholesome and healthy. And it, it it's clearly connecting with people.

 

[00:20:25] Amy: Yeah. And I hope to that with my content that when they're scrolling and the stuff that they're seeing may not have a profound impact on them in terms of learning, maybe they stumble upon my content, they're like, oh, I learned something, oh, maybe this means I can actually use social media in a different way. So that's one of my hopes as well.

 

[00:20:49] Mary: The way that you're creating on social media for mental health is very, very similar to creating accessibility, to understand these really complex topics. And I think about finance in a similar way. It creates anxiety, it creates stress, we don't have access to it, and we get nervous about the question— or the decisions that we make, and I was just wondering if there was a way to broach the topic like that, the way that you broach mental health. It was just a thought, or a question, that came to mind.

 

[00:21:16] Amy: Yes, yes. I mean, I think that short form content, visual content, is how the new generation is going to consume knowledge the best. We don't want a professor or a teacher sitting there lecturing at you pointing their laser pointer at this PowerPoint anymore, right? First of all, it's too long. Second of all, it's just boring, it's not stimulating. So, I think what works for social media and educational content is breaking down complex topics into short tidbits, and then making it inviting. So, we know that reels and TikToks right now are being pushed, and the video content is something that's really easy to digest.

 

[00:22:00] Amy: So, in terms of the financial piece, it's the same thing. So, what happens when people are scared, they shut down, they freeze, right? So, if you're afraid of the content or you're intimidated of the content, your brain will literally freeze and not take in the information. So, I think that some examples that I can think of is, I believe her Instagram tag is @herfirst100k, and there's another one called @myrichbestfriend, and they are funny, they are creative, they do monologues where it's them talking to each other, and it's teaching you about finances, right? And it's, one, you're going to learn something from it, and two, it may actually help you break down that psychological barrier you have, that finances are scary, that finances is something that I don't understand, that I will never understand, because when you watch that content, you learn something from it, you're like, oh, maybe I actually can learn something from this. And they're doing a great job at it, so I think, yeah, short form and creative content is the way to go. And I think that for any, any topic, really, I think that if you can be creative and break it down in a way that is easily accessible for people, then it will empower them and give them something to take away from the content.

 

[00:23:23] Nolan: I think it absolutely makes sense that normalizing conversations is going to have a big impact in terms of how people can engage with the topic and begin to understand how it can impact their own life, and how they can improve. And yeah, there's such clear similarities between just mental health, writ large, and money, in that people are often very hesitant to want to talk about money or, or to be too focused on it, because you know, it might stress them out, or for whatever reason and well—

 

[00:23:51] Mary: For whatever reason— for all the reasons.

 

[00:23:55] Nolan: Very understandable reasons. Um, and yeah, I mean, I think mental health is probably the same way. I think it's, it's very encouraging to me to see that, it seems as time goes on, as, as younger generations are engaging with these topics in new ways, it is becoming so much more normalized. It really seems like mental health is such a, a much bigger part of the conversation for younger generations than it was for, like, my parents and, and gen X and before.

 

[00:24:23] Amy: Totally. Like, some of the things that come out of my client's mouth, like when they say words like gaslighting and boundaries, I'm like, 'oh my God,' like, 'where did you learn that?' like, oh, wow. But yeah, I love that you talk about normalizing, because that's exactly what it is. And I think people want to feel like they're not alone, right? So, I think with finances as well, if we could capitalize on the empathy piece of like, you're intimidated? Yeah, I've been there, you know? You're not alone. Let's do this together. Let's learn together. And I think that can make people feel really seen and heard. So, I think empathy is also something that's really important, so I really like how you touch on normalizing what people are going through.

 

[00:25:06] Nolan: This might be a hard question to answer, but I'm going to throw it your way anyway, which is, do you have a thought or prediction on how these changing norms, generational changes in how people are talking about mental health will lead to like tangible changes in the way we deliver mental health care? Do you think it'll change the industry in, in noticeable ways? What does that look like?

 

[00:25:29] Mary: Nolan was asking that question, and my immediate thought was, I'm really curious what, what you do. Taking content and putting it in artistic form that's easy to consume, and inherently more empathetic, art is more empathetic than reading a textbook, how is that starting to change from what you've seen from your people, how younger generations or older generations are dealing with mental health, just with what you do? And then that kind of leads into what Nolan was asking, around how gen Z is going to change as a whole, how they perceive mental health against older generations?

 

[00:26:02] Amy: Yes. I think one of the first things is that normalizing that therapists are humans, right? So, I think older generations, we have this image of some dude with glasses and a clipboard and a couch, and you're laying there and he's like, 'so how do you feel about that?' Right? And I think that social media and mental health professionals coming on the seat, and social media, is giving therapy, and talking about mental health, a new face. And that face looks like therapists that swear— that happens— therapists that have tattoos, therapists that have different hair colors, therapists that have piercings. And you know what that means? That conveys to the general public that we're human and we're like you. And another thing that I'm seeing too, is therapists being open about some of their own struggles. So, then it normalizes mental health challenges. And it's also cool because it almost, in a way, can balance out the relationship. It's no longer like I'm preaching all of this, and I'm teaching you all of this, it's more like a guide, right? So, I think that's where it's changing. And I think that makes the mental health space less scary. It's not like there's something wrong with me, and I need to go see this person that's just going to take notes on me and dissect my brain. No, it's that I'm going to a place where I can talk to someone who's relatable, who's human, and can hold space for me to explore what I'm going through.

 

[00:27:46] Amy: So, I think that's one thing, is that as a culture, we're starting to give mental health and therapy a new face. And I also think that because of technology it's taking on different forms, right? So, I already talked about social media and the courses, but there's also apps now. And we all have a phone in our pockets. So, if stigma is something that is a barrier for you to access mental health, you can use an app. It's, again, it's not therapy, but it's better than nothing, right? And you can explore those apps. There's tons of them going out, and now there's teletherapy, so I think it's cool. I think that it's becoming less intimidating and it's becoming more accessible all at the same time. And I think because mental health topics are being talked about in a fun and engaging way, people talk about it now in their friends groups, right? Like I said, the clients, they say some things to me and I'm like, wow, where did you learn that? That is cool, at your age, to, you know, be that well-versed in mental health.

 

[00:28:52] Nolan: It does, yeah. And again, I just want to uplift what you're doing because you know, five years ago there wasn't space to share, like, or it wasn't common to share like, oh, in therapy today, my therapist said this, and I can share it with my friends. Like, the stuff you're creating an Instagram is instantly shareable. And so, it's so much easier, just built in, for people to be like, I connect with this, I think others will too, I want to share it. And yeah, it's, it's very cool that you're creating this resource.

 

[00:29:21] Amy: Thank you. And also, the comment section, right? Yeah. So, the common section, you can be a lurker and you could feel really alone. And then you lurk, and maybe you feel less alone, and you're like, oh wow, like, maybe I will kind of take that first step, you know? So, it's just incredible. Even if you don't engage with it, it's just incredible. It's a community. It's, it's, it's a community, yeah.

 

[00:29:49] Mary: One of the things that you were talking about in there was how, because of how mental health is, is shifting, has different faces, and immediately that resonated so strongly with me because I know that the accessibility of communities that never would have had either economic, or just socioeconomic, access to mental health is changing. Now they have access to it, and they're having those conversations like, you know, what is my relationship with money? Money podcast. Hey, here we are. Or, what's my relationship with my parents? This is a parents podcast, there we go. So, I love that you mentioned that specifically, and I want to push it even farther, especially for communities that are very traditionally, or very commonly, marginalized out of mental health, especially for young people, what's next? What other means and resources should be available? Can we create on this podcast? Can we come up with, you know, the next, the next thing that needs to change? Because I want to push it, thinking about those communities. Cause you're right, the different faces have made all of the difference.

 

[00:30:57] Amy: Yeah, such a great question. I think that there are people in the space that serve marginalized populations, and their niche is talking to these populations. And I will admittedly say that I'm pretty general and broad, even though I am a visible minority myself, I haven't really made that a major focus, but there are health professionals out there that are like, @blackgirltherapy, or, you know, like their, their Instagram handle— that's what it says, and that's what they serve. So, I think it's so amazing because it allows people to feel seen, feel heard, feel understood. And if you don't identify with that population, I think it's so important also to still explore that content because we need to educate ourselves. We need to take on a more anti-oppressive lens in everything that we do. And the only way we're going to be able to do that is through education and having a safe space to really learn and share, communicate, and exchange knowledge. And I think that it's a cool place to be able to do that. Anyone can have a platform; it doesn't cost any money to do it. So, people are really stepping up and serving and speaking for their communities, which is amazing.

 

[00:32:19] Nolan: I would love for us to, maybe, put some of this, what we're talking about, into practice. And Amy, if you're okay with it, I'd, I'd love if you're open to giving us some advice, our listeners, some advice. So, this episode will drop right before Christmas. The holidays are generally a stressful time for so many. Sometimes it's the finances involved, sometimes it's the family drama. I'd love your thoughts on, how can people navigate the stress and anxiety that comes around the holidays. How can we be intentional about the types of connection and emotional growth we want during the holiday season? What do you tell people that are worried about this kind of thing?

 

[00:32:57] Amy: Yeah. So, I'll start with finance because, hey, it's a finance podcast. So, what I tend to tell my clients is to set a budget, and that's not only for your gifts, but for your social events too, because I think that we can get caught up in everything that we are doing, obviously contingent upon pandemic and restrictions. But setting a budget for, not only gifts, but also the social events, I think, is important and can ease some of that anxiety.

 

[00:33:34] Amy: And then also having an open communication about that budget, right? So, if you know that you and family members are exchanging presents, if it feels safe to do so, have a conversation of setting a budget or a limit on how much you're going to spend on each other. And even doing things like Secret Santa, where you only buy one or two gifts, not a gift for everyone, right? So, I think having that open communication can be helpful, as well. Do you guys have any tips?

 

[00:34:04] Mary: Yeah, I mean, we've definitely got loads of tips for the finance side of it, and you actually spoke to some of our favorites. I also love it when people come together and buy group gifts because I'd love to get a 50-dollar gift, but I don't want to spend 50 dollars on anybody, except for like, maybe me. For finances, well, we love all of our listeners, you can go back and listen to that podcast. It's a short one. You'll survive. It's fine. And it's funny. Amy, take us through some of the other aspects of holiday and like, what are, what are some advices you can give people that, maybe it's a stressful family situation, or maybe there's just like a trigger involved for somebody about the space or the experiences?

 

[00:34:47] Amy: Yeah, family dynamics are a big one, especially because people do have plans, usually, to see their families. And sometimes those families are not safe spaces for people. So, I tend to tell my clients, you know, to think about the boundaries that you want to set and set those boundaries. So that could be determining beforehand what kind of conversations do you think are off topic? Right? And if it feels safe to do so, can you have a conversation with someone beforehand and say, this is something that I won't really want to talk about because it makes me feel uncomfortable, and I would appreciate if we avoided this topic. And if it doesn't feel safe to have that conversation beforehand, is to prepare some scripts, or some phrases that you can say to set boundaries. Because it can be quite uncomfortable, right? So, whether that's writing it down, or if you have a friend or a partner, where you can even rehearse saying it out loud, thinking through the situations that can come up and preparing beforehand can be helpful.

 

[00:35:49] Amy: And the same thing with triggers is do an audit on your past interactions with the people you're going to see, and think about what kind of situations in the past have made me feel really uncomfortable, anxious, upset? Think about those. And then think about, okay, well, what could I do to cope? Or how could I have handled it differently in the past? Or how can I step away from the situation? So, I think thinking through how to respond, and kind of preparing a mental toolkit can be helpful for people. So that's what I would say for families. And then in terms of anxiety, too, I think that it can be helpful, again, to do a review of your coping skills. I also say, if you go into a new space, just, scan the room and see if there's a safe space that you can go to. It could be, like, a room, even the bathroom, and just mentally in your head, being like, okay, if I need some space or if I get triggered, I'm going to go there and take a couple of deep breaths. Just having that kind of quote unquote 'escape plan' can kind of be comforting for people. So that's what I would say.

 

[00:37:01] Amy: And people with anxiety, we love routines, um, and unfortunately during the holiday season, routines can get disrupted, right? So, some of it's out of your control, but if there are pieces of your routine that you can integrate into your holidays, do that, right? Don't completely let go of the things that you do to take care of your mental health. You still want to prioritize that. So that's what I would say about that piece.

 

[00:37:29] Amy: And then the last thing I'll say, too, is that it's normal to not feel holly jolly during the holiday seasons

 

[00:37:42] Mary: Thank you!

 

00:37:43] Amy: And society doesn't really make it feel like it's okay. Right. We got the music blasting, we got the commercials, we got the lights, and the advertising. So, if you don't feel good right now, it's okay. And I'll tell you what, you're not the only one. You're sure as hell not the only one. Um, so it's okay to not be okay

 

[00:38:05] Mary: Oh, thank you. I'm sorry. I'm over here, like, I just want to sleep. Don't ask me to be happy, I just want to sleep.

 

[00:38:12] Amy: Yeah, and that's valid, right? It's a tough time for a lot of people.

 

[00:38:16] Mary: Is there anything you wished we had asked you, is there anything you wished you had had the opportunity to share?

 

[00:38:23] Amy: When we talk about mental health, there's a lot of focus on our feelings, exploring our feelings, what we're feeling, and then what we're thinking. So, what are your beliefs, the self-critic, those types of things. And those things are really important. But I think a piece that I really want to emphasize, and I think, as a whole, the mental health profession as a whole, I would like to see us emphasize, is the mind and body connection. So, one phrase I love is, 'before you can sooth the mind, you have to soothe your body.' So, I can tell you right now, to challenge your thinking, or to use a coping skill. But if your body and your nervous system is in a state of fight or flight, you're not going to be able to do those things. So, before we jump to those coping skills, and talking about our feelings, and our thoughts, let's take a moment to pause and soothe the body. And what that can look like is deep breathing, focusing on the present so that the chatter in our minds, quiet, it can look like doing yoga, to kind of stretch the body and release some of that tension. So, I think that's really important. We need to actually feel like it's safe to live in our bodies, before we can even explore what's going on in our bodies, in our brains. So, that's what I will say.

 

[00:39:50] Mary: I love that so much.

 

[00:39:53] Nolan: I do, too. So, listeners, if you haven't done it already, take, take a deep breath right now and just, you know, appreciate how your body feels, and then come back to the conversation. And we'll, we'll hear from Amy, if, if there's any final thoughts or, or projects that you're working on, that you'd love for people to know.

 

[00:40:11] Amy: Yeah, sure. So, I am in the process of working on a book, it is coming out in the spring of 2022. So, it will talk about all of the things that we talked about on this podcast today, including the mind body connection, and the way that I've organized the chapters is meant to be like a foundation, where you kind of complete one chapter and that gives you the foundation to move on to the next chapter, and so on, and so forth. So, I talk about the mind body connection, and I encourage you to explore some of the self-limiting beliefs that you may be carrying from your past and trying to figure out if they currently serve you. And if not, how can we let go of those beliefs and form new beliefs about yourself? So that's coming out in spring of 2022, and the book is called 'This Book is a Safe Space.' I've used that word a lot in the podcast, safe space, so it's, uh, shouldn't be a surprise, that that's in the title, as well.

 

[00:41:11] Nolan: This is a safe space. You can use that term as much as you want.

 

[00:41:14] Amy: I love that. Thank you.

 

[00:41:15] Nolan: But that's very exciting. Congrats on the book. Will there be elements of your art and the visuals in it as well?

 

[00:41:20] Amy: Yeah, so it's all illustrated by me, and written by me, um, and it's, uh, colorful, just like my Instagram, so, the pastel colors, and my font in there, as well.

 

[00:41:31] Nolan: That's amazing. Yeah, so, Amy, thank you so much for being on the podcast. It was, it was refreshing and illuminating, and I hope everyone listening can take away some of these learnings and live a happier, healthier mental life.

 

[00:41:43] Amy: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

 

[00:41:47] Nolan: Thank you so much again for joining us this season, and for sticking with us through 2021, it's still a pandemic. It's still been tough and we're still getting through it. So, thanks for hanging in there with us. We're hanging in here, too. It's been a rewarding journey having all of you as on these amazing conversations we've curated throughout this. And we cannot wait to continue bringing you more real money chats and an amazing selection of guests, starting in early 2022. And we can't wait to share it all with you. Thank you so much for listening. We appreciate you.

 

[00:42:20] Nolan: Thank you everyone. Happy holidays. All the merrymaking and we will chat with you soon.

 

[00:42:29] Mary, Nolan, Laquita Ann: You've been listening in with 'Your world, Your Money.' You can find us at ywympodcast.com and stay updated on Instagram at Global Thinking Foundation USA. Be sure to rate and review us and you can reach us with questions or thoughts at hi@ywympodcast.com. Our thanks again to Hangar Studios and Global Thinking Foundation. Thanks friends. Happy moneymaking. We'll see you next time.