come alive Archives - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

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Marie Phillips talks creating your own midlife crisis.

Ever interviewed the author of a choose-your-own-adventure book? Turns out, IT’S REALLY FUN.

Marie Phillips is a writer whose latest book is called Create Your Own Midlife Crisis: The Best Way to Make the Worst Decisions.

You might take her book for a spin and end up texting photos of your boobs to Hot Russell (like I did), or you could end up buying a motorcycle before running away to Brazil. (If those don’t suit, maybe having a baby with your estranged husband will save the marriage?)

By turns funny, depressing, ridiculous, and truthful — Create Your Own Midlife Crisis takes an unprecedented approach to middle age.

In this interview, we talk about ALL THE THINGS. The joys of midlife, the pain of having made exactly the wrong decisions many years ago, the downside of meteoric success (having your first novel turned into a feature-length film starring Sharon Stone, anyone?), the upside of going through a midlife crisis early (and in Dutch!), and the ridiculous shit we encounter every step of the way. (Marie hates slugs, and she’ll tell you more in her spiffy, hilarious newsletter.)

Midlife is about “coming to terms with the fact that you cannot make your life perfect.” – Marie Phillips

Listen in, then take Create Your Own Midlife Crisis for a spin and see where you end up!  Buy Create Your Own Midlife Crisis here.

P.S. Want to hear another interview with a rad author you’ll love?  Beth Pickens talks Time, Fear, and Asking for artists.

Time is your friend.


As we re-enter the world in some fashion after being locked down or nearly locked down for more than a year, I wanted to talk about some of our most-basic-but-important relationships as humans.

Like it or not, you’ve got a relationship with time, with money, and with energy. We’re going to address each of those relationships with an eye toward improving each one in a tiny series of coaching podcasts, starting with time. Truth be told…

Time is your friend.

My saying ‘time is your friend’ might feel like a bunch of bullshit. Because you have 3 meetings, 4 car rides, and 72 emails to conquer today, and that even doesn’t include your ‘real’ work. You might feel as if time is scarce or as if time is your most hated enemy. You might feel as if you don’t have enough time, no matter what you do or how hard you try to find time for yourself and your interests. You might have experienced so MUCH time in pandemic that you’d like to skip a year or two in response. You might feel bored by time, stressed by time, or just plain pissed off that time is not within your control.

Let’s talk about simple ways to to help you feel less like you’re free falling through your days.

This podcast episode will help you enjoy the time you’ve got by being fully present with what is, rather than stressing about the 84 tasks you haven’t done and the fact that you haven’t yet watched Ted Lasso. (Spoiler alert: THAT SHOW IS AMAZING.)

When befriending time, remember: structure is not the enemy.  Unstructured free falls through time are the enemy.

If you’re anything like me, I know how hard you fight structure of ANY kind. I know you don’t want to do any activity every single day, let alone something USEFUL OR HELPFUL FOR YOUR LIFE every day.

You know that having a precise calendar with scheduled work tasks and clear boundaries around your work time would be useful. But you can’t seem to change your days. You wake up, get to your desk at some point, and then wonder what to do…so you check your email, get overwhelmed by the amount of communication ahead of you…and start scrolling. Or reading emails without answering. Or bouncing from tab to tab, vaguely ‘working’ but without any real sense of direction.

Another day lost to overwhelm.

For the full monty on time and structure, I’ve got you covered. The Structure That Doesn’t Suck podcast series will help you create structure from the ground up in your life, whether you hate structure with the fire of a thousand suns or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, know exactly what you’ll be doing at 3pm on Tuesday six months from now.

Part One helps you figure out which of two time types you fall into and recognize your most basic patterns.  Part Two helps you sort your priorities and get shit DONE.  Part Three loads you up with tips to help maximize your time, while in Part Four you’ll dream big and nail down some concrete plans to help you move forward with structure AND priorities in place. Part Five wraps up with making parameters for your Next Big Thing to unfold, this time with structure in place from the beginning!

Not ready for the five part undertaking of Structure That Doesn’t Suck?

Here are three ways to befriend time right this instant.

TIME HABIT OF MAGNIFICENCE #1: Schedule hard tasks of all kinds.

Much of what doesn’t get done by peeps who own their own businesses is truly boring shit.

For my coaching peeps, those hard tasks tend to be accounting, bookkeeping, invoicing, and most anything related to money. (Sales, marketing, and pricing can also fall into this category!) Because they avoid the tasks, each one grows in size, making them EVEN MORE FANTASTIC TO AVOID.

If you hate bookkeeping and you’re a month behind, it’s a task you dread. Make that six months of no bookkeeping and FUCK IT I’LL START A NEW BUSINESS INSTEAD OF DOING THIS WORK.

You can avoid that FUCK IT I HATE THIS reaction by scheduling regular time to do any and every dreaded business task.

Schedule regularly designated days or times each month to do hard things.

In KK on Tap, we have Get Shit Done Days to help with this! We meet at 10am to tell each other what we’ll be working on, then go at the bullshit tasks we’d rather not do until 2pm, when we meet again to talk about what we’ve accomplished. (And fling confetti. Obviously.)

The ‘we’re in this together’ momentum makes even the most mundane of tasks celebration worthy: we didn’t want to do things! We rallied and did them anyway! Hooray! (To be clear: we clear *four* hours to work. *Four.* So much of what we dread doing as business owners takes up headspace for months, but takes minutes to complete!)

Schedule recurring hard tasks so you don’t have to think about ’em.

Rather than running out of time to work on your social media posts and doing them in front of the TV on Wednesday nights, set up a recurring event that gives you time to do your marketing during regular work hours. Same goes for writing your newsletter, holding a sale, or meeting with your accountant!

Schedule it, schedule it, schedule it.

The more willing you are to schedule at least some of your work time, the freer you become to enjoy the rest of your work life!

No more dread and freaking out about all that shit you’re not doing.
No more guilt about avoiding your accountant.
No more vague sense of nausea about the paperwork you haven’t filled out.
No more wondering whether your clients are mad at you because you haven’t done what you promised.

Put it on the calendar, then do the work when the time comes. You got this.

Need help with this topic? Check out That’s What She Said episode 204, The Quietly Subversive Three-Hour Work Day.

Next up: the constant hustle. One of the traps of owning your own business is getting to a point where you’re working ALL THE TIME. You’re always working or thinking about working. When you do have time off, it tends to focus around holidays, other peoples’ needs, or both. In the interest of breaking that pattern, let’s talk about our second habit…

TIME HABIT OF MAGNIFICENCE #2: Schedule things to look forward to all over the place.

Begin by taking days off for no good reason.

Of course you’ll be at the family Christmas this year, complete with the gift buying and cooking and prepping and cleaning that entails! But what about taking off a random Thursday in October for no good reason?

We often think we have to have a Very Good Reason for taking time off, when in actuality we can enjoy days off without any ‘real’ reason at any time.

We’re adults, aren’t we?

To schedule random days off, simply take a look at your calendar of choice and mark three full work days in the coming six months as OFF. Then honor them. I did this by sprinkling some Wednesdays and Thursdays OFF in the next six months, and I can guarantee that Future Me will be happy AF. (Also: if you haven’t yet watched Ted Lasso, this is a perfect place to binge watch! FOR NO GOOD REASON!)

You’ll be tempted to take the days back, to make them super productive or project-oriented, or to schedule work tasks *only in the morning* because you feel guilty about having time off.

Please don’t do those things.

Give yourself the gift of a full, glorious, 100% responsibility-free day off.  JUST BECAUSE.

TIME HABIT OF MAGNIFICENCE #3: Turn your goddamn phone off.

Your phone does not love you. It cannot hold you and will not attend your funeral. It is a machine that stimulates our brains but severs us from our bodies — to our detriment.

Turning your phone off during the work day can help you focus. Turning it off when you’re not working can help you be present with all that is happening in your life. Either way, turning your phone off for sixty minutes a day will create freedom from the constant checking-picking-up-replying-scrolling patterns we’ve made during pandemic!

👉🏻If you’d like to cut your phone usage by 50% or more each day, check out Space. Space is a 21-day email class that will help you take back your time and attention with small, action-oriented daily activities.

A recent student of Space, Laura, said: “The internal space is DEEP AND WIDE! I feel like a huge, sprawling, muddy energy disease has been removed from my system. There is so much more space to feel potential and to take action. I have space to have slow mornings, take naps, play some video games, sit outside and enjoy the sun and flowers and STILL GET MORE WORK DONE than I ever did before because I’m not on my phone.”

If the thought of having random days off, time without your phone for an hour each day, and scheduling tasks can’t even BEGIN to touch the time issues you’ve got going on in your business, please consider working with me through KK on Tap biz coaching.

I’m actually what they call time affluent — meaning that I don’t view time as a scarce beast coming to eat my life and soul. When we work together, I can help you find, create, and enjoy time in ways you can’t even imagine at this very moment.

Join the waitlist for coaching here — or shoot me an email and I’ll add you to the waitlist.


🔥Schedule time to complete at least 3 tasks you’ve been avoiding.
🔥Schedule 3 random, you didn’t earn them days off in the next six months.
🔥Turn your phone off for an hour as often as possible.
🔥Check out Space if you’d like to cut your phone time by 50% or more.  (The average person gets back FOURTEEN hours per week!)
🔥Listen to the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series if you’d like to go deeper into befriending time!



P.S.  Ever feel like you’re doing it wrong, where it = everything?  Read this next.

Interrupt the pattern.

Interrupt the pattern

Psst!  This is episode #225 of That’s What She Said, my podcast! Listen in below, or read on for a transcript-ish version of the goods. (The actual podcast involves raptors and fences and far more swearing and laughter!)

Like bajillions of people around the globe, I picked up a yoga practice during the pandemic.  I started practicing yoga with Jessamyn Stanley over at Underbelly Yoga, and WOW is she amazing.

Why is she so amazing? She’s good at teaching because she had to learn every part of each sequence in her body, and it wasn’t easy. She didn’t wake up in a teeny tiny, ultra-athletic body, good at every sport imaginable. In class, she talks about how for the first year of doing the pose she’s now modeling, she fell down. She makes no issue of needing to rest, of needing support, of needing modifications, or of otherwise listening to your body, because the whole point of class is to learn to listen to your body and push it to its own edges.

Here’s the great thing about having been chronically depressed (i.e. mentally ill) for most of my adult life: I CAN TEACH YOU SO MUCH ABOUT MANAGING YOUR BRAIN WHEN BULLSHIT NONSENSE FROM YOUR OWN INTERIORS TRIES TO TAKE YOU OUT OF LIFE ITSELF. 

Because I had to learn it.  Every bit of it.  I fell down, I got rest, I got supported, I learned stuff, and it was absolutely fucking miserable…until it wasn’t. Until I learned.  If I can save you even three minutes of the nonsense my brain has thrown at me for the past two decades, I’ll count it as time. well. spent.  For both of us.

Here’s the first tool: interrupt the pattern.

Your brain is an asshole, as we’ve talked about and talked about. But you might not know that yet, or you’ve forgotten after being locked down for months on end.  You might believe everything your brain has to say, and that’s precisely the place where we begin.

Interrupting the pattern means that you catch your asshole brain in action without believing a word it says.

This is step zero — as in, before step one, there’s step zero.  That means this tool isn’t particularly exciting and will feel completely inadequate. (A little like learning to do down dog properly in your late 30’s, and WOW you’ve been doing it wrong for 20 years.)

When your brain is being an asshole, it’s generally following a well-trodden road. That road is littered with phrases like, ‘Who are you to _____?’ and ‘You can’t possibly ______,’ and the old standards, ‘You’re TOO MUCH’ and ‘You’re NOT ENOUGH.’ Both/and, at the same time, because brains are awesome like that.

Again: interrupting the pattern means that you catch your asshole brain in action without believing a word it says.

That simple activity — catching your asshole brain in action — will start to remove its power over you. Your inner bully likes to run around, given free range inside your head, and when you stop it from moving about as it chooses, you begin to regain control over your mental health.

It’s not going to go down without a fight, though.

Asshole brain will kick up reminders of all the times you’ve failed to listen to your intuition in the past, reminding you that you’re a horrible degenerate fuck-up who won’t ever learn.

You’re not capable of changing. You’re useless. You’ll never learn. You should give up. Remember that time you were warned and did that stupid thing anyway??????

Asshole brain will present you with tremendously helpful stories of the past, like cataloging your failures one by one, over and over, while also providing endless reasons to give up in the present.

You’ve never done this before, why start now? You should be further along by now. You’re not qualified to do this. You’re not ready. You’re going to lose everything you love if you keep going.

Most commonly, asshole brain will take the worst case scenario all the way to its (illogical) end: you’re going to end up homeless, loveless, and penniless if you _______ [insert incredibly small task here].

Examples of that small task include: sending that email, talking to that person, failing to talk to that person, or asking for help.

Asshole brain also has a catalog of stories about what other people think of you or will think of you.

She’s jealous. He’s going to leave you. They’re spearheading a campaign against you. She’ll think you’re weak. He’ll think you’re too cocky. They’ll send you hate mail and you’ll never recover. You’ll die via mail bomb because your work is so controversial. Most recently: THE KARENS ARE COMING!!!!

Asshole brain is also really, really into asking you Uninteresting Questions.

‘What do they think of me?’ or ‘How do I compare to them?’ won’t take you anywhere interesting. ‘What’s wrong with this?’ will yield 3,427 unhelpful responses. ‘Why even try to [insert task here] during a pandemic…’ will only help you find all the ways you are useless, inept, inadequate, and otherwise unable to help at this moment.

What does asshole brain repeat to you, over and over again?
Where does it trip you up or convince you that you’re utterly broken?

Record the most common phrases your asshole brain uses so you can interrupt the pattern in the coming months.

When you can call out asshole brain — OH THERE YOU ARE I SEE YOU — you are then free to reorient your brain to a new pattern.

That pattern might be taking a few deep breaths
or refusing to believe that you are a useless piece of shit
or putting your phone away
or even, possibly, at some point…believing in your own abilities and power.

But first, it will be unpleasant bullshit that you hate doing, and you’ll see no point in it, because it’s easier to sink into the mud of nihilism and despair than to keep your soul alive. Particularly at this moment. Particularly when you can spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, tuned into the headlines, and the headlines are 1% good news and 99% END TIMES DEATH DOOM GIVE UP WHY EVEN BOTHER.

When you interrupt the pattern, you’re making progress. Even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Please go and practice interrupting the pattern.

When you are spiraling, when you are endlessly scrolling, when you are completely overwhelmed, when you are freaked the fuck out and sure you’re completely ineffective as a human because you haven’t managed to single-handedly stop rampant police brutality, systemic racism, and Covid-19…interrupt the pattern.


You don’t have to believe everything your asshole brain says.

And you can be of far greater service to the world when you learn to tame the beast within your own mind.

P.S. My business exists because of supporters and coaching clients.  If you benefit from my work and want to help me have exist in the world, you can become a supporter here.

If you’d like to learn more about year-long business coaching with me, email me — — and we’ll talk!

The fine art of saying No.

I spend most of my time working with people who identify as female, so the fine art of saying “no” is a big deal. It’s one of the things we tackle early on in business coaching (waitlist for January is here), since building boundaries and defining what you will and will NOT tolerate will always bring you closer to your higher self and your truest work.

Let’s find some places where you can push things off your plate by saying “no,” and therefore make room for your most important work to come to light.

As always, these points are not about judging you or making you feel small, but about pointing a flashlight to areas of your own interiors that you might not have considered in a while. (Also as always, I only know about these because I’ve been there and unboxed shit-tons of gross debris while getting clear of each one.)

Psst!  This is an episode of That’s What She Said, my weekly podcast!  You can listen in below, catch up on all the episodes here, or keep reading for a transcript(ish).

Let’s start with 15 things to quit that you might not have considered:

+ e-mail lists you ‘should’ like or care about
+ perfection porn across all social media platforms (think flat lays, styled shoots, and product + photography so good that you want to buy $400 artisanal butter knives RIGHT NOW)
+ that one person you’re insanely jealous of and want to BE
+ Facebook, Twitter, or any social media platform that steals your life force
+ any committees, boards, groups, or clubs that give you a sense of dread or loathing when you think about them
+ any client who causes your solar plexus to contract when you see an e-mail from ’em in your inbox
+ unrealistic challenges that set you up for failure (i.e. 90 days of P90X in a row, what happens on day 91?)
+ the safety of doing the thing you’ve always done
+ going it alone
+ those services you bought but no longer use and now they just take $9.99 a month, every month
+ the news in forms that cause harm (video and text are VERY different animals)
+ sports
+ fashion
+ your bathroom scale (Related: I weigh 198+ pounds and 0% care.)

Further out, you can unfollow, unsubscribe, ignore, quit, and give up.

I’ve quit: following a mentor I paid $20k to work with; paying attention to a person I want to BE; Facebook; trying to buy clothes online; gluten, dairy, sugar, and garbage food in general at certain points when my health desperately needed attention. I’ve quit the Catholic church, and Christianity in general (related: coming out of the spiritual closet). I’ve even quit trying to explain my job to my mom.

I need to unfollow these people:


I need to unsubscribe from these people:


I don’t have to listen to this voice in my head any longer:


It’s okay to quit paying attention to:

With quitting, you’ll naturally come up against making sure that you reaaaaaaaally need to quit. I’ve tried buying clothes online again recently, and failed. That means I’ve returned hundreds of dollars’ worth of clothing in the past few weeks because sometimes, we need to be sure the rules we’ve made are still true. This is a normal and healthy part of human behavior, not a reason to flog yourself for any reason. (Related: your shame is not interesting.)

Give up. On purpose.

I’ve given up on having an empire, building a team, making 7 figures, being on Oprah’s radar, doing more than 2 speaking gigs a year, creating big huge expensive scalable programs, and trying to connect with the masses instead of 1-on-1, which is my unique area of bliss and expertise.

Mostly I learned about what I needed to give up on by trying to do each of those things and then wondering why I resented my work so much at every turn.

Seething resentment is generally a sign that you’re on the wrong path.

Your turn! I need to give up on:


No more ____________ is a way of saying no.

We all have habits and patterns that repeat, usually unconsciously, until we bring them to light. Let’s drag some of those patterns into the open so you can choose to keep them — or not.

+ No more downloading freebies you never read.
+ No more signing up for services you ‘should’ use.
+ No more trying to make your dreams bigger or smaller in order to fit in.
+ No more toning it down to please _________ (whether that’s a real person or a voice in your head, still applies).
+ No more censoring yourself to avoid being not-liked.
+ No more sticking to rules you’ve had since you were small that no longer make sense or serve you.
+ No more reading books all the way to the end just because you started them.
+ No more numbing out with food/alcohol/drugs/reality TV/other. (Related: is it nourishing or numbing?)
+ No more pretending ________ doesn’t matter, because it does. (In most business-related things, your SOUL is the thing you’re pretending doesn’t matter, which is particularly painful.)
+ No more doing things the way you’ve been doing them because that’s the way they’ve always been done.

Your turn!  I’m declaring NO MORE to:

Finally, there’s the big one. The one person, place, or thing that comes to mind when I say there’s a thing you need to quit, stop doing, or start saying no to.

You don’t have to tell me or anyone else, for that matter, but it is helpful to admit it to yourself.

The big thing I need to admit is:

May you give up, quit, unfollow, unsubscribe, and cancel whatever no longer serves you.
May you find ways to bring your truest work to light.
And may you master the fine art of saying “no,” starting right now.

P.S. Reclaim your energy, become a quitter.

How many lights on your dashboard are blinking?

If your business magically morphed into some sort of top secret aviation operation — you’re flying a solo mission of the utmost importance tonight, and the fate of the free world rests in your hands — do you even have enough fuel to get there? Or do you crash and burn?

How many lights on your dashboard are blinking?

In practical terms, this means taking stock of everything that’s going on in your life at the moment. We can’t pretend your business doesn’t affect your personal life, or vice versa.

These questions will help you sort out exactly where you stand.

If the answer is anything but a smug ‘HANDLED,’ it’s a blinking light. (You know whether it’s a problem or not.)

How many times in the last week have you said you’re “busy?”
Do you feel overwhelmed, out of control, freaked out, or stressed the majority of the time? (See: nourishing or numbing?)
Do you feel depressed, lethargic, or like you just don’t give a shit the majority of the time? (See: the depression chronicles.)
Do you consistently follow up with clients when they inquire about your products or services? (See: sales, selling, and making bank.)
Do you have a client you’d like to get rid of, but you haven’t disentangled yourself yet? (See: nice and kind are not the same.)
When’s the last time you achieved Inbox Zero?
How many things have you been “meaning to” outsource, but you haven’t got around to it yet?
How many programs or products are sitting on your hard drive, waiting for your attention?
Do you make time to advance and progress your business, or are you treading water?
Do you have any projects, pieces, or kits at home that you haven’t yet installed, crafted, put together, or paid someone else to handle?  (See: Konmari for business.)
Is your relationship with your partner strained, stressed, or being swept under the rug because you’re too busy to handle it? (See: the sex episode.) How about your kids? Other important folks in your life?

If it’s been more than 6 months since you did these, you get a point:

When’s the last time you hung out with friends or family members because you wanted to, not because you had to?  (See: it doesn’t count if you don’t enjoy it.)
When did you last spend 24 hours without your phone? (See: Space.)
When did you last have a date with your partner(s)?
When did you last spend a day NOT achieving — on purpose?

How many lights are blinking? Ideally, it’s 5 or less.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, this isn’t meant to be an exercise in despair.

Just like when you go to a personal trainer and they measure all your bits and bobs, including pinching your fat and putting you on the scale, this is meant to be a starting point.

You’re only going to improve from here.

Before you think I’m being a smug asshole, let’s hop in our Delorean and take a trip back in time. In July 2012, life looked a little different. SO MANY LIGHTS WERE BLINKING.

In Spring 2012:

• I hadn’t had a dental cleaning in six years.
• Moving my body in any capacity was in my perpetual “start tomorrow” plan.
• The “start tomorrow” plan also included taking care of my physical well being with the help of others: doctor’s appointments, acupuncture, chiropractic appointments, and massages.
• I couldn’t move my neck very far to the right or left because my muscles were so tight.
• I bought new clothes at Target or on the cheap because I didn’t want to “waste money” — I was going to lose weight — so soon, the new clothes wouldn’t fit anyway.
• I didn’t have regular haircuts, just one every three to six(ish) months, whenever a major event was coming up.
• I ate dairy daily, even though it caused painful stomach issues and major acne.
• I didn’t go outside every day. Or even every other day. I stayed in the house and wrote and hung out and watched TV.
• I literally could not ask for help from anyone. For anything. I wanted to do everything myself.

Self care is one of the hardest things on the planet for me to do. My sense is that it’s hard for most everyone, but especially for empaths. It takes energy above and beyond the typical or usual amounts. I mean, taking a bath is one thing, but leaving the house to get a massage? Or scheduling time at a hotel just to reconnect with your partner? ::pishaw::

If you’re anything like me,  self care is a struggle.

It gets better, but it takes consistent attention.  Right here, right now, let’s take a single step toward taking a better you by scheduling your self care.  It’s time to put taking care of yourself on the calendar.  (For realsies.  Totes. #othertrendywords.)

Schedule 1 activity per week for the next 4 weeks, and you’ll be well on your way to a more patient, loving, and revitalized self.

• Call the doctor or service provider and schedule the appointment.
• Go outside for ten minutes without your iPhone, iPod, iBook, or iLife. Be device-free in the outdoors.
• Have some deeply nutritious food instead of that thing you know isn’t good for you but you shove down your throat because you “don’t have time” for nutrients. Try it, just once.
• Schedule an appointment to help with any chronic pain you experience. That crick in your neck or back pain or weird elbow thing isn’t “normal,” nor is it “just part of getting older.”
• Light a candle and quiet your mind as best you can and just sit for at least ten minutes.
• Play with your kids or your partner or your dog instead of watching them play while you cook dinner or do housework or keep busy doing “important” things.  (It doesn’t count if you don’t enjoy it.)
Ask for help with something you’ve been struggling with — whether it’s accounting or working out or cooking or cleaning or just getting the kids to bed on time — your loved ones are not mind readers. Ask.

Yah, I know you read that list and scoffed.

Re-read it, please, this time thinking about whether the person you love most in your life would agree with me or with you when we ask ’em if you need a bit of help in this department.  ::gives you meaningful but loving glare::

Right, so.  Small steps are all I’m asking — ten minutes in the next week is no big deal, right!? — and you’ll find those caring-for-yourself results push you to bigger and deeper levels of caring about yourself and your own needs.

Ironically, the better you take care of yourself, the more time and energy you have for taking care of those around you.

And your friends, family, and clients deserve better care, right?



P.S.  Self care is even much more crucial if you’re an empath.  (Are you?)