We’re back with more of our For the Love of Funny series, and this week we’re asking the question; is it possible to find humor not only in our lighter moments, but also in our vulnerable and difficult times? Our guest this week specializes in wit through the written word–and he has found that it is possible to find joy, while being heartfelt and hilarious at the same time. We’re welcoming R. Eric Thomas, back to the show! Whether he’s writing about politics, pop culture, or celebrity craziness–Eric has a refreshing and hilarious perspective–which really helps when regular reporting on politics and news might send us spiraling into the darkness. Eric is also a television writer (Dickinson on AppleTV+, Better Things on FX), a playwright, and a bestselling author of several books, including Here For It: Or How To Save Your Soul in Americaand his newest work, a collection of hilarious essays called Congratulations The Best Is Over.Eric brings that laugh we need when the world seems bonkers, and helps remind us that we can find something to laugh at in almost every situation–we just have to be open to it.
We’re looking for laughs and we found them in all the right places, and we’re sharing the hilarity with a brand new series called For the Love Of Funny. If you’ve hung out with us for any amount of time, you know that Jen is an avid devotee of all things funny. So we’ve rounded up some of her favorite funny people to not only bring us laughs, but to unpack the art and science of making people laugh. And for our very first episode, we couldn’t be more delighted to welcome “The Tennessee Kid” himself–Nate Bargatze! Nate’s known for his down-to-earth humor and deadpan comedy delivery, his highly viewed Netflix specials, and his favored status as a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: (10+ times!). Surprise guest interviewer Tyler Merritt joins Jen as they pull back the curtain on Nate’s comedy journey. Often referred to as the “nicest man in standup,” Nate talks about growing up in a performance forward home (his dad was a Christian magician), the origins of some of his funniest jokes (Yelled at By a Clown, anyone?) and the side of fame that isn’t so pretty–like his sister’s incredulity that anyone would want to take a selfie with him.
If you or anyone you know and love has ever had issues with their mental health, you know how painful it can be. As we conclude our “For the Love of Being Seen and Heard” series, we just want to remind you that there’s no shame in admitting that you might need a little help. Maybe you’re feeling low, or more anxious than usual, or sad, scared, or just off—anything that feels different or keeps you from flourishing. Our guest today is here to encourage you to take agency over your mental health, and as a therapist herself, she’s here to help us shed those stigmas around seeking help from a therapist or counselor. Lori Gottlieb is a renowned psychotherapist, a bestselling author, and a leading voice in the mental health space. Her latest book Maybe You Should Talk To Someone leads us into her own experiences with the transformative power of therapy and gives answers to those who might have hesitations about beginning this process. Lori and Jen talk about:
Identifying the stereotypes about therapy and debunking them, plus what to expect so that you can a get the most out of your time with a therapist
Developing an attitude that mental health is just as important as physical help and that seeking a therapist is on the same level as getting a check up with a medical doctor toward whole body health
Jen’s personal experiences with therapy – and how she processed pain and betrayal, plus what it looks like to be in active recovery
Becoming aware of and taking responsibility for our own patterns, actions and responses to life events as it pertains to our mental state and interactions with others
As Lori says, “one thing that therapy will teach you is how to be your real, messy, imperfect, fallible self, but also still love who you are.”
We’re back with maybe the most foundational episode in our Being Seen and Heard series–and it’s all about how we see ourselves. Were you taught how to love yourself when you were growing up? Many of us never grew up hearing anything about embodiment, and maybe we’ve treated our bodies as “the enemy” for most of our years. Maybe you grew up in a time where you didn’t see people that looked like you, or had your body type represented in magazines, on TV or in movies. Perhaps you even had shame about your body (or still do), and you bought into diet culture and were constantly worried about your size and the number on the scale. It’s hard to see ourselves as beautiful when we’re looking outside ourselves for what that standard of beauty is. Our guest today is doing the good work of helping people see themselves differently, and it’s giving them freedom to love themselves for who they are today. Jessamyn Stanley has become a powerful voice for wellness and body acceptance (she also dubs herself the “Beyonce’ of yoga” – I mean who can’t get behind that?). After attending yoga classes with a friend, Jessamyn fell in love with it, but she noticed that she didn’t see anyone who looked like her or had a body like hers–and when she moved to a different city and wasn’t attending yoga classes anymore—she craved a community to share her practice–except she wanted all kinds of people and body types to be a part of it. She began sharing her yoga practice on Instagram back in 2012 and was amazed by the overwhelming response from many who had never done yoga before because they had felt just like Jessamyn had–that maybe it wasn’t for “people like them.” Her fledgling Insta-yoga classes grew into an organization called The Underbelly, a unique and inclusive digital wellness experience that now draws thousands of people into its safe and accepting space.
Jen and Jessamyn touch on these topics:
• Jessamyn’s experience with being ashamed of her body as a middle schooler and also being bullied for being different, and how she looks at those years of bullying as a revelation that everyone is self conscious about their bodies–bullies included
• The realization we all have at the end of the day; all we have is ourselves–and if we can accept ourselves as we are right now–not who we thought we should be, or who we might be–we’ll enjoy the ability to be fully present and authentic in all of our encounters
• Debunking the long held notion that many people have about black women (and also that black women have been taught to believe)–that they are “stronger” and “superwomen,” and what it means to allow themselves moments of rest and self-care
• Key changes that could be made to empower everyone to have their own agency toward self care, by making it possible for anyone–no matter how much money you make, or where you live–to participate in wellness practices like yoga
If we can face the truth about ourselves, and not turn away from the fullness of who we are–including the ugly and complex things, we can begin a journey to a shame-free life that will change the fabric of who we are and what we bring to the world.
Are you smack dab in the middle of the Sandwich Years? That precarious time where you’re squeezed between the demands of caring for aging parents and still supporting children? We’re here for you, and we’ve got a friend to the show who is living it out in real time, sharing how she’s getting through it all. Jenny Hutt was the host of the Just Jenny Show on Sirius XM and is now hosting her own daily podcast–all while dealing with the long-term care of her father (and his recent death) and the launching of her adult children out into the world. Jenny and Jen discuss unique issues relevant to the Sandwich Generation:
Learning to re-calibrate your role as a parent in the lives of your newly “launched into the world” kids
Dealing with unresolved parent/child issues that sometimes arise with the death of a parent
Recognizing generational anxiety and equipping ourselves and our children with the tools to handle it
The importance of relying on a strong network of family and friends to draw from during this time (not being afraid to ask for help).
Having the hard conversations with your parents about being prepared for their passing (and also making sure you’re taking care of that for your children too)
So whether you’re managing being part of the sandwich generation right now, or you’re mentally preparing yourself for it, or you know someone who is facing it head on, there’s something for all of us to take away from this candid and vulnerable convo with Jen and Jenny.
In this episode of our For the Love of the Middle series, renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Shefali returns to the show to discuss her concept of conscious parenting. Those of us in the middle of life who may still be parenting kids at home, or adjusting to parenting adult children who have just launched out into the world–or in any season of the parenting journey, really–will find much to learn as we look back (and forward) at our parenting patterns. Dr. Shefali provides a step-by-step roadmap to help free parents and their children from toxic patterns and expectations, while building a lasting meaningful bond with them. Using her book as a guide, she will introduce us to the five patterns of ego, show us some varying parenting styles (including helping Jen unpack her own parenting style), develop a mindful focus on self-control, and tips on how we can encourage our adult children to parent themselves. Jen and the good doctor will hit some big topics that will inform not only parents, but those of us who wish to discover how we were parented, and how it impacts us now; including:
Walking through the definition of conscious parenting and the three stages of the parenting map
Debunking the notion that as parents we are supposed to create happy, perfect superhumans by following traditional parenting rules
Dismissing the notion that there are good kids and bad kids—and how to avoid using these labels
Revealing the five ego patterns parents that parents might not even realize inform their quest to raise amazing children
The three reasons why children act out or misbehave and how you can learn not to shame them for it
The results of over-parenting and how it shows up in your adult children
It’s never too late to become a mindful parent and set an intention to allow your children to become centerstage in their own lives.
Continuing in our For the Love of the Middle series, we’re having a conversation about something that may impact us as we hit those middle years (or sooner)–caring for our aging parents. With us to be our guide through this sometimes difficult journey is Michelle Boyaner, the director of the documentary film “It’s Not a Burden: The Humor and Heartache of Raising Elderly Parents.” As a storyteller, Michelle felt compelled to talk about this particular stage of life, and decided to film her own journey through it with her mother to help others embrace this unique time in a family’s evolution. Jen and Michelle explore the highs and the lows of caregiving for aging parents and how to stay sane and open hearted during the process.
Michelle Boyaner is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and educator who founded production company Greenie Films with her wife, Barbara Greene. Together they have written, directed and produced a variety of short and feature films that tell stories of caring for aging parents, living with HIV and the challenges of mental illness–all told with their signature humor and deep capacity for compassion.
Join Jen and Michelle as they discuss:
How to know when it’s time to step in with your aging parents
Honoring and managing your parents feelings of not wanting to be a burden
Finding humor in the challenging moments
Why caregivers feel so lonely, even when there are so many in the U.S.
Moving from anger and frustration with difficult parental relationships to forgiveness
We hope you’ll feel less alone on your caregiving journey as Michelle provides practical advice and encouragement as well as some tough love for those in the middle of this common but not often discussed major life experience.
We’re back in the middle of life with another installment of our “For the Love of the Middle” series. This episode marks the return of the amazing Dr. Jim Burns to the show. He is an author and founder of HomeWord, a non-profit organization aimed at helping families and individuals strengthen their relationships. Dr. Burns has over three decades of experience as a speaker and is the author of books such as “Life With Your Adult Children” and “Finding Joy in the Empty Nest”.
With his typical humor and self-awareness, Dr. Burns draws from his own experiences as a father in the middle of life–and also shares insights from his vast experience working with families and individuals. In this interview he touches on topics like loneliness in older adults, coping with post-divorce friendships, and enabling versus helping your adult children.
Join Jen and Dr. Jim Burns as they discuss:
Navigating the loneliness felt by those 50 and older and how to prepare for that early on.
Finding meaningful friendships as a single person in a coupled world.
Giving advice to adult children without sounding critical.
When helping becomes enabling with adult children.
Easing the burden of the Empty Nest by investing in hobbies and community.
Jen and Dr. Burns offer practical advice for maintaining and cultivating adult friendships and how to move through the challenges of parenting adult children with grace.
It’s here! Our next series, “For the Love of the Middle” kicks off this week. Many of us are at that middle stage of life, and if we aren’t, we’re going to get there eventually. This series brings life, hope and humor to a period of life which can at times be surprising, confusing, but ultimately, steeped in the wisdom of years lived and the harder work of our 20’s and 30’s behind us. We’re ringing in the start of this series with an amazing first guest; Mary Pipher, a clinical psychologist, anthropologist, and author. In her full scope of work, Mary has pioneered important conversations around motherhood and raising girls.
Mary was the first to bring the effects of culture on mental health to the mainstream, especially for women and girls. She has a deep understanding of how culture can shape our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Her most recent work has focused on aging intentionally, peppered with her own experience and her work has inspired many people to rethink the way we approach mental health and aging within our society.
Join Mary and Jen as they discuss:
Pipher’s background in psychology and how she became engaged in the cultural conversations about girlhood.
The importance of cultivating personal resilience and adaptability in aging.
How society impacts the mental health of girls and women at different stages of life.
The cultural scripts that influence girls’ body image and sexuality, and how they differ from reality.
The role of caregivers and the challenges they face in taking care of aging family members.
Mary Pipher’s work is groundbreaking in exploring the connections between culture, mental health, and their impacts on aging. Her insights are instrumental in shaping the way we approach mental health issues and caregiving, and her activism and writing continue to help women all over the world.
This episode of our What If Series asks; what if we looked inward to discover what makes us tick, who are the voices shaping us, and why are we choosing them? We also consider the question; who’s the most important person in your life? The answers most people give are what you’d expect, but our guest this week proposes that we dig deeper to find a different answer that will ultimately change how we approach life.
Our guest, Dr. Corey Yeager, is a psychotherapist for the Detroit Pistons, a life coach, and an author. He appeared in the documentary, The Me You Can’t See, by Oprah and Prince Harry, and recently released a book that poses 40 questions we should be asking ourselves as we create a roadmap to discover our purpose and explore who we want to become.
In this episode Dr. Corey and Jen discuss:
Becoming a psychotherapist for NBA players
How self talk affects our outlook
Why asking intentional big questions can reframe our life
How the timing is now for a love affair with yourself
The most important conversation you can have is the one with yourself. Dr. Corey gives us the guidance and encouragement to do just that. Join Jen and Dr. Corey in an insightful discussion of self love, self talk, and staying curious.
Take a peek around
If you’re not sure where to begin, I got you, friend. I’m always bringing you something new to enjoy.