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Structure and Routine: The Transition from Summer to School-Time

By Lori Jackson

In the art of being a true parent, it’s always a bittersweet moment when summer winds down and the school year forges ahead. I look at my kids and think, wow, another year…just gone. I often wonder how parents capture it all, and yet long so strongly for the structure and routine of the school year. While our summer was filled with camps, trips, getaways, hiking, swimming, and lots of family time, I long for a bit of routine again.

I often have parents come into our practice with little ones who are highly anxious, who struggle with any disruption to their routine and structure, and who are at their wits end with trying to get their child to be calm and collected. I, too, struggle with this in our lives at home, and yet the answer always comes back to the beautiful word of predictability.

Imagine going to a job on your first day and not having a job description. You were hired to do the books, but instead they say, “Find something to do. I think the trash needs taken out.” What? What would you do? I think I would first cry, then get mad, then walk out. But, I am a bit of an emotional reactor. So, I use this example to emphasize the meaning of predictability and routine. We long to know what’s ahead, what’s coming and what is expected of us, and I promise, this doesn’t change with age. One thing parents often miss is the structure and routine of letting their children know what is coming and how it will look. Children, just like adults, have minds that create and assign meaning to things, so when their little minds do just this, it can lead to some rather intense beliefs and thoughts, which can often lead to stress and anxiety.

School years offer some reprieve from this feeling. We can find ourselves breathing easy when the alarm goes off and we must get up, get dressed, brush all of the necessaries, eat a good breakfast, head to school by 8, then off to work, only to turn around at 3:15 for pick up, home for homework, off to guitar and gymnastics, then home for dinner, maybe a game, baths, story time, and sleep. Wake, and repeat…Whew! What a system. It can feel a bit confining and boring, yet affords us ease and comfort when there is consistency in our daily routine.

I often wonder how a teacher, one individual (often too young to be a parent themselves), can manage a group of 28-30 little humans, when I have a difficult time containing my three. Yikes! But all in all, it’s the routine, the structure, and the predictability of what is coming that offers ease and consistency for the entire lot of them. So… without going overboard and writing the play by play, take a moment and jot down your household routine, make it pretty, fun, and be sure to put free time (or playtime) on it, because we all know too well that it flies by, and without a little fun, what are we doing? And… we all do better knowing what’s on the way, so let’s get on the same page. Here’s an image of ours at home. Feel free to copy.

Goodbye summer, hello structure. A beautiful combination of fun and ease.


XX Lori

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Why Workout at a Small Gym???

At Denver Counseling Options, we understand that being healthy means taking care of your mind and body. With the seemingly endless number of physical fitness options out there, we know it can be confusing to pick one that’s right for you. This month, we sat down with Delisa Novak, Owner and Personal Trainer at 212°Fitness to learn how her work can help you achieve your fitness goals.
We all know how important physical fitness is. What types of fitness programs do you offer?
We offer small group classes: Boot Camps, Kickboxing, Gentle Yoga, and SurfSET sessions. We also provide personal training.
What’s different about your gym than going to a large chain or a rec center?
We offer a very personalized approach to our clients to help them meet their goals. We sit down with each member to learn about their past fitness experience, health history, and health/fitness goals, and provide nutritional coaching based on their fitness goals. We get to know our members so we can work with them at their fitness level. For example, if we need to offer modifications for a client who has knee issues, we will do so. Sometimes we need to challenge our clients who have been with us for awhile in order to help them reach their goals. We communicate with our members so we know how to best motivate them and we will reach out to anyone we have not seen or heard from in a week or two. You will not get that from a big box gym.
How do you motivate people to get and stay involved in physical fitness?
My trainers do an excellent job of creating fun, beneficial workouts that are never the same. This helps to ward off burnout, helps our members to keep seeing results, and makes for a fun atmosphere. And, by communicating with any members I have not seen in a week or two, we can approach possible burnout before it goes on for too long. We have such an incredible community of supportive, motivating people who are always checking in on one another. Having your peers support and gently push you is a very powerful thing.
How would someone find you and seek your services?
Our website www.212degreefitness.com or Facebook are great ways to find us; we have a strong online presence. We can also be contacted via phone at 303-948-4586.
On a more personal note, if you could choose your age forever, what age would you choose and why? 
This is a tough one! Probably 7 years old because my grandma and grandpa were both still alive and my family and friends were together all the time. Such wonderful memories! My second choice would be my age now, 42. I finally have a career I love and feel very grounded. This is the most confident I have ever been in my life. It feels good!
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Ten Ways to Live Your Best YOU

By Lori Jackson

  1. Be honest. Nobody will know you if you pretend to be someone else; be you and let them love you from the get go.
  2. Sincerity goes a long way; the more sincere you are, the more likely it is that people will trust and believe in you. Sincerity is an attribute most of us aspire to achieve.
  3. Love without fear by learning your worst case scenario. Determine the worst outcome in any given situation, and then look at the reality of what would happen to you if it came true. Would you still survive? Would it still hurt? Sure! But you would/will/are going to be okay, no matter what happens, so go for it, and live it.
  4. Make a point as often as you can (I recommend daily) to do something that makes you laugh. It’s contagious and increases the body’s natural endorphins.
  5. Embrace yourself wherever you are. We all want something more, we all have internal goals we are trying to achieve, but just love what you have now, for it was something you once hoped for.
  6. Surround yourself with goodness. It is no mistake that when we go on vacation, we go somewhere that makes us feel good. Why not live this regularly? If you have people around who are preventing this, create a space where they can live, and allow yourself to fill their space with others who are good. YOU deserve goodness.
  7. Be kind to yourself, your neighbors, your friends, and the grouchy person next to you on the train. Be kind…it’s contagious!
  8. Remember your dreams. They provide hope, and hope is a powerful phenomenon. You CAN achieve anything you want to, because you want to; let yourself dream and it may just come true.
  9. Be rich in love…with YOU. The more you love you, the more the world will love you. We love to love those who love. So give yourself a little hug, show yourself you are worth it, and “they” will follow.
  10. Smile! There is nothing in the world that creates a better reflection than our smile. The world is your mirror: frown at it, and you will be frowned at, smile at it, and it will say CHEESE!
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Demystifying Massage and Energetic Bodywork

At Denver Counseling Options, we understand that being healthy means taking care of your mind and body. Wondering how massage or energetic bodywork might help do just that? This month, we sat down with Ginny Anthony with The Mindful Body Integrative Therapeutic Massage and Energetic Bodywork to learn how her work can help alleviate stress, chronic pain, structural imbalances, degenerative conditions, and more.

We all know getting a massage is relaxing, but are there other physical and emotional benefits?

Experts estimate upwards of 90% of disease is stress related. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can help manage stress, which translates into decreased anxiety, enhanced sleep quality, greater energy, improved concentration, increased circulation, and reduced fatigue. Clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage.

What types of massage and energetic bodywork do you provide and how do I distinguish between them?

My work is extremely eclectic and dependent upon the needs of each individual. Massage involves direct contact with and manipulation of body tissue while energetic work involves an approach that is 90% hands-off, manipulating and healing the electromagnetic body.

I work within four specific Massage Modalities:

  • Applied Kinesiology – evaluates and treats an individual’s structural, chemical, and mental aspects
  • Deep Tissue – helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation related pain caused by arthritis and tendonitis
  • Myofascial Release – relieves cervical pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction of motion, chronic pain, and headaches
  • Neuromuscular – locates and releases spasms and hypercontraction in the tissue, eliminates trigger points that cause referred pain, rebuilds the strength of injured tissues, assists with venous and lymphatic flow, and restores postural alignment, proper biomechanics, and flexibility to the tissues

And, I work within four specific Energetic Modalities:

  • Aromatherapy – uses essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, woods, and roots in body and skincare treatments
  • Bach Flower Remedies – integrates a system of 38 flower essences used with herbs, homeopathy, and medications to correct emotional imbalances by working on the subtle rather than the physical body
  • Barbara Brennan Healing Science – focuses on clearing blocked energy and balancing the body’s energy field through hands-on work and deep healing techniques
  • Esoteric Healing – heals through the energy field, which flows through and around us and chakras, or centers of energy, which vitalize their related endocrine glands

Tell us about you. How do you take care of yourself and own a business?

I maintain focus on 4 primary areas: nutrition, sleep, exercise, and a spiritual practice.

How would someone learn more about your work and the benefits of massage and energetic bodywork?

The best way to contact me is to call 970.497.0696, and I am happy to answer any questions about my work. I have practiced for 20 years strictly on a word-of-mouth basis.

On a more personal note, what do you think the secret to a good life is?

I think a life well-lived is all about balance – inner peace achieved through mental and physical balance as well as emotional and spiritual balance.

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Emotional Eating

By Lori Jackson

It’s that moment when you think, “Ugh, I just want xyz and a blanket on the couch.” It’s those times when you stand in front of your refrigerator and question, “What am I doing here? Is the answer in my fridge?” It’s those times where you grab a snack at the store, gas station, or drive through and have to eat it before you get home and anyone “catches you.”


It’s in these moments that we feel the most shamed, judged, and embarrassed, yet there is no one there with us judging, shaming, or making fun of us. It is us, within ourselves, it is us in our loneliness, it is us struggling with emotional eating.


Emotional eating is a process where your body and your mind are in two different spheres, you are often unable to listen to your needs, and you believe that the comfort of food will fulfill them.  Without dieting, without hurting or cutting into ourselves, without withholding, we can learn skills and tools for ending emotional eating and living wholeheartedly and freely with food in our lives (and I mean any food we want).


Emotional eating is not just for the overweight, or those with eating disorders; many people turn to food in order to soothe their emotions. It becomes a problem when food is the primary comfort for that person. Listen to your heart, gut, mind, what-have-you. Are you struggling with emotional eating? If so, know that there are many ways to live a full life without turning to food for comfort.


Loving ourselves without punishment, affirming our own self worth, listening when we speak up, and knowing that we, too, are human, are just a few.  Let go of your hurt, embrace yourself, and please, please, stop being so mean to you; the world likes you in it.

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Why should I go to therapy?

By Lori Jackson


A client and I are in a session together. They begin to whisper when the conversation turns to how they explain to others why they come to therapy. Often times their voice becomes even softer, they look at me with lost eyes, and then begin almost desperately trying to justify every reason why they are sitting in front of me.  It often feels like a mixture of fear, confusion, and desperation: fear of judgment or having made the wrong choice, confusion because they are better now than when they started coming (but wonder if that is just because they are not as upset about “that thing” anymore), and desperation because they want me to tell them they are here for the right reasons and validate their choice.


Believe you me, a few years ago, and sometimes even today, I hear the above conversation, and a little voice in my head begins to panic, creating a cocktail that looks similar to the above remedy. I too, doubt myself, my choices, my work, my actions, all…. At…. Times… Why? Because I am a warm blooded human who is scared like everyone else, who wants to be sure that it makes sense, and that “they” won’t say xy or z about little old ME.


Well, here’s the honest to God truth. There is no such thing as “they.” “They” are YOU, ME, our NEIGHBORS, and our FRIENDS. “They” are the next person who is scared, confused, and desperate. So, here’s why I periodically go to therapy: because when I go see Mark, I leave feeling like I could just be me for the last hour, I could talk about myself and how I felt, I could have him lovingly help me to see how what I am thinking or feeling or doing is or isn’t helping me and my relationships. When I do go to therapy, I feel heard, valued, insightful, open, willing, dedicated, determined, loving, happy, accepting, joy filled, honored, excited, hopeful, eager, and most importantly, just BETTER. I often find that the people who judge or ask me why I pay to go or give me their opinion as to why it’s not a good thing to do so, “they”, those people, are often times the ones that need the most love and support, and yep, I’m gonna say it: THERAPY.


Do what you do for you and the world will be so rad!

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Crazy Thoughts

By Lori Jackson

So here’s how it rolls out in my mind: I am downtown with my husband and friends and we go to get on the mall bus. My husband enters the bus two doors up from my friends and I because the bus is really crowded. “Ok, strange, he didn’t stay by me. No big deal.” Then the bus clears a bit, around 20 or so people leave, he is easily within sight of me, but still doesn’t come to me. “Hmmm, that’s rude.” Now I start to get upset, now I feel rejected, lonely, and now my mind is racing a mile a minute. I am reviewing all of the things that are wrong in my marriage and why my husband can’t be the “man” I want him to be. “What’s wrong with me that would prompt him to leave me like this and not come to me? He doesn’t love me. I am not worthy of his love. Someone out there has to love me. Look at our friends: he is standing by her, holding her. Why can’t my husband do that? It must be because my girlfriend is shy, quiet, sweet, quaint, perfect, humble, funny, silly, forgiving, worthy, capable, able, loving; all of the things that I am not.”

And off I go… Deep water look out, I’m coming in. What is WRONG with me? I am a professional. I HELP people with crazy thoughts like this. I am so NOT all of the things my mind is telling me right now. Why oh why am I losing myself in this moment of fear?

That’s it!

I am scared. I am scared to need. I am scared to ask for love. I am scared to go over to my husband and say to him, “Hey! I want you right now. I want you to stand by me and be proud of me.” I am scared to just simply be.

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Wondering How to Simplify Good Nutrition???

At Denver Counseling Options, we understand that life often gets in the way of good intentions to live and eat healthily.  Shopping, washing, chopping, and preparing adequate fresh fruits and vegetables can be a daunting task. This month, we sat down with Meg Smit with Juice Plus to learn about a solution to this challenge. Read on to learn about how a whole food supplement can help you meet your nutrition and health goals.
We are all about helping people feel informed and connected with their bodies. How does Juice Plus do this?
Juice Plus+ whole food products offer a wide range of health benefits.  When I began taking the whole food supplement capsules, I immediately noticed a higher level of immunity to the bugs my preschooler brings home, my hair became thicker (a postpartum issue for me), and my energy level increased.  These are typical results, and many people also experience improvements in fertility, decreases in blood pressure and cholesterol, and cardiovascular benefits.  But, don’t take my word for it! There are many gold standard research studies on various benefits of whole food supplementation which can be found here.
What is the difference between buying fresh fruits and veggies and using Juice Plus?
Juice Plus+ supplements (available in capsule or chewable form) are a blend of 28 pesticide/herbicide free fruits and vegetables and 2 gluten free grains specifically chosen for their health benefits.  At $2.38/day, consuming these blends is much more cost effective and time-saving than purchasing and juicing, chopping and/or cooking all 30 of the included organic varieties.  Lots of people want to understand why a whole food supplement is different than a vitamin.  I like to use a car as an analogy.  A vitamin contains select nutrients, which can be likened to having the steering wheel, backseat, and bumper.  All very useful, but won’t take you where you need to go.  However, whole food supplements are more bioavailable because they are food, which is like having the whole car:  our bodies know what to do with the thousands of phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables.  Our bodies do not recognize everything in vitamins and therefore expel it due to the lack of bioavailability, which is why we see a change in the color of our urine.  My husband is a pharmacist, and he likes to quote his favorite professor who used to say, “Vitamins are expensive urine.”  Not so with whole food supplements!
Tell us about you. How do you take care of yourself and own a business? 
In addition to taking Juice Plus+ capsules on a daily basis, I exercise 3-4 times per week while teaching Stroller Strides classes, drink water equal to half of my weight in ounces, and grow greens and veggies here at home in my Tower Gardens.  I chop and add these greens and veggies to a lot of family meals.  Because it’s hard to find time to cook with two children under 3, I mostly prepare make-ahead freezer and muffin pan meals.  I also try to get enough sleep, but that’s often a futile effort with a still-nursing 8-month old. 😉  Check back with me in 6 months on that one!
How would someone learn more about your work and the benefits of Juice Plus? 
My website has a lot of information, but I’d also love to answer questions personally, and can be reached at 407-748-1607 or juiceplustransforms@gmail.com.
Now, let us invade your personal side a moment. What is the wildest and most fun thing you’ve ever done, and why? 
I am a huge concert-goer; my most fun times prior to the epic enjoyment I get from my kiddos would definitely be traveling to see my favorite bands.  I’ve been to countless concerts and my absolute favorites have been the Bouncing Souls, Flogging Molly, Green Day and FooFighters.  I’m looking forward to seeing Flogging Molly in August at Red Rocks and can’t wait!!!


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Thinking About Navigating the Mortgage Maze???

At Denver Counseling Options, we work with individuals, couples, and families who are experiencing life and all of its struggles and wild adventures. Springtime often typifies the wild experience of our ever growing housing market here in Colorado. We thought that this month we would help our readers by giving them some guidance from the experts themselves. Nick Stewart with Liberty Home Loans has demonstrated a gift for understanding the financial side of the industry and we trust his judgment. Take a peek at a few key questions and suggestions he has on the topic below.

How do I get started with the mortgage or refinancing process?

Very simply, call me on my cell phone. I usually spend about ten minutes on the phone with new clientsto ascertain what they are trying to accomplish with a purchase or refinance, and then outline several suggestions for different loan programs. These are low key conversations as opposed to formal interviews, which in my experience make clients uncomfortable. After our initial conversation, I meet my clients in person to establish a trust and comfort level between us all.

I know buying and refinancing homes can place an emotional hardship on families. How important is it to find the right lender for the process?

Every mortgage file is different; each has its strengths and weaknesses. My job is to find the right lender with whom I can successfully negotiate any obstacles. Since it is largely about getting the best lender pricing for each client, I try to match each client with a specific lender.

How could using Liberty Home Loans’ services now prevent emotional stress after a house is purchased or refinanced?

Great question! Basically, here’s how I think of it: my job is to take the stress OFF of the client. A good portion of my job involves solving issues that arise with virtually every loan in such a way that my client never knows there was an issue. I tell my clients, “I’ll keep you in the loop, but honestly, you’re paying ME to stress, not YOU.” The mortgage process boils down to calm communication between us and a disciplined approach on my part to make sure each file keeps moving toward its conclusion.

How would someone find you and seek your services?

The easiest way to get ahold of me is by calling my cell phone at 303.917.3162. You can also reach me via e-mail (nicks@libertyhomeloans.com) or check us out on our website (www.libertyhomeloans.com). A majority of my business is from repeat customers and referrals. My clients having a good experience is my number one goal.

On a more personal note, what is your favorite material object that you already own and why?

Another good question, and one that speaks to the heart of who I am. I love the outdoors, and especially the mountains. In the winter, my favorite activity is skiing, whereas in spring and summer, I love to golf. I also go fishing with friends in some of the state’s high altitude (and hard to get to) locations. In the fall, I head to the mountains to see the changing colors and try and spot whatever wildlife I can. So, I guess my favorite objects are the equipment I need for each of these activities: skis, golf clubs, fishing pole, and high power binoculars.The key for me is being outside and enjoying Colorado!

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Taking care of life by breaking old habits

By Ara O’Hayre

This week I can say habits have been on my mind. It was this week that my life’s habits came center stage as I went through a life altering event when my job was eliminated. As you know if you are reading this blog, I’m an intern with DCO and my internship is wonderful and remains so. The job, or rather the career, I’m talking about in this blog, is the one I had for 15 years that ended last week. While there are many aspects of losing a 15 year career I could go into, I want to highlight how the loss of my career brought to my awareness the power of habit.

As I transitioned out of my career this week, I became aware that the nagging habits I kept engaging in, even when I knew better, were things I did because I needed comfort. I also became aware of habits I didn’t even know I had, that I had hidden from my own self. Most importantly, because I see behaviors as actions that are informed by our interactional environment, I became aware of interactional habits I pursued. All in all, I became aware of habits that were comforting, hidden, and embedded in relationship.

People that know me know I am not a morning person and have not been since I was a baby. My mom tells me I’d wake up at 9 or 10am, even when I was little. As far as I’m concerned, the early bird can get the worm. My job, though, insisted on me being a morning person. For 15 years I had to get up between 5:30 and 6am, and that was pushing it. I’d sleep as long as possible and hit the snooze button three or four times before I finally dragged myself out of bed. As you can imagine, there are a few morning habits I formed because I had to work so early. One of these was drinking coffee, which I actually did not start until I had to work consistently. The taste of coffee was something I had to acquire, but as the years went on, coffee became my morning habit. I looked forward to it, learned about all of the different roasts, and flavors galore. It became my morning cup of warm blissful comfort. It let me close my eyes and breathe as I cupped my hands around a warm, creatively decorated mug and took a sip. Ahhhhh. The day could begin.

Ok, so how many of us out there don’t have a coffee habit? I mean, really, there’s a Starbucks on nearly every corner. Let’s be real, coffee could even be elevated to a cultural habit that many of us share. My point in sharing this anecdote is not that drinking coffee makes us bad or wrong. My point simply is that it wasn’t the coffee I really needed; it was the comfort. If nothing else, we can begin to see some of our habits as things that provide a warm safe place for us. We can begin to understand the real value of our habits, many times, is comfort. Rather than seek the habit, perhaps we can learn to seek the comfort instead.

So a coffee habit is one thing, but what about habits that exist in our lives that are incognito? Do you have any of these? It might be worth taking a look. For me, the incognito habit was reverting to my introversion. I’m an introvert. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to socialize, because I do. Rather, it means I gain energy from taking time for myself, and expend energy when socializing. The reason this habit was incognito to me is because I disguised it well. I made plans with friends, but always needed to cancel and reschedule. I had lots of thoughts of getting out and being active, but didn’t ever really get moving when the opportunity would arise. I convinced myself I was living and doing all the things I wanted to do, but the reality was when I had time away from work, I did not do these things nearly as much as I would like to think I did. I didn’t want to admit to myself I was spent. I didn’t want to admit I was emotionally exhausted, and was losing my verve for life. So the habit persisted, helping me cope and survive.

Sometimes habits are things we do that we don’t like about ourselves. We don’t like them so much that we disguise them, making them invisible to our conscious awareness, because the thing they comfort is something we can’t or don’t know how to change.

What can you not escape or change? How are you coping? Therein may be a habit. Be brave enough to look. There is no shame in having an incognito habit, as the habit is the symptom of something inside you that is asking for relief.

Coffee and introversion were habits I pursued individually. What was most interesting to me, though, was realizing there were certain patterns of interaction I was participating in that had become habitual; quite frankly these patterns had become hurtful to me. I had spent many years working hard to prove I was useful, only to find out in the end that I was no longer useful to important people in my life. Because I was scared of rejection, I had participated in a cycle of interaction habitually that really didn’t uphold my value. I’m sure many of you can relate to this experience.

The truth is that the cycles of interaction we participate in protect us from what we fear most. My behavior to prove my worth was trying to protect me from my fear of rejection. What cycles of interaction are you habitually participating in? What behaviors are you pursuing over and over to protect yourself from what you are afraid might happen?

In session, I’m perpetually asking clients to consider these patterns of interaction. I’m always challenging clients to see the habit, or repeated pattern, of their cycles of interaction with others. The emotional fears that support our cycles of interaction are the things we have to be brave enough to see and know. In the beginning, our behaviors which are informed by our emotional fears serve us well and protect us. After some time passes, though, these emotional fears support cycles that can become hurtful. Breaking such painful emotional cycles is the work of therapy. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest reasons we end up coming to therapy.

Habits are comforting, they provide relief from things we don’t know how to escape, and they attempt to protect us from rejection, abandonment, and many other types of relational trauma. The problem is that oftentimes habits have a related cost. They are not free. They take our health, take our spirit, and they take our personal empowerment. I’m not saying breaking habits is easy, it certainly is not. I am merely suggesting that sometimes habits get old, and sometimes life provides an opening where these old habits can be seen. When that happens, it just might be time to tell these old habits good-bye.


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