Back to school anxiety……sale!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:11-04:00 September 17th, 2017|anger management, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, birds, birds of prey, childhood, children, education, Life, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, Owls, parenthood, parenting, school, shopping, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

No, we aren’t selling anxiety, silly! But we are selling Totems that will help with any anxiety you or your kids might be experiencing as they go back to school. You might be saying “Hey, we’ve been back to school for almost a month, you’re a little late!” Well, all kids are different, and I learned this with my own, especially around back to school time. First day, usually a breeze. First week, pretty much unscathed. Second week, the “I don’t want to go to school dance” begins. My kids, all of them, would be fine for the first couple weeks, and then the s*%t would hit the fan. Sometimes it’s the excitement of a new beginning that helps hide the anxiety that kids might be feeling. Sometimes it’s the realization that this is the new normal that kicks the anxiety in to high gear. Either way, Totem Tamers can help. Anxiety typically leaves people overwhelmed and feeling out of control and powerless, more so for children, who struggle verbalizing these feelings. So, we want to make it easier for you and/or your kids, or anyone you know that might benefit from some simple coping techniques, and we are putting our Totems on sale!

sale

Limited Time Only Sale!

Visit our shop at www.totemtamers.com/shop and choose from Owl, Bear, Shark, or Bulldog and empower yourself to find calm when you need it most. Every Totem comes with a super soft microfiber bag (which doubles as an eyeglass lens cleaner), a handy guide card that gives you simple steps on regaining calm, and a beautiful, weighted Totem that feels great in your hand and not too bulky in your pocket! We have an incredibly illustrated booklet available as well, that can be really helpful for children, who might benefit from visuals when trying to explain how they feel. And, if you’re feeling super generous, we can even add a gorgeous natural wood box if you want to give a Totem as a gift! Get on the road to calm, and get your Totem today!

My kids stash Totems in their backpacks, because knowing it’s there is sometimes all they need to know when they’re feeling anxious.

Stay well.

 

Anx-eye of the storm-ity!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:11-04:00 September 10th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, beach, climate change, earth, forecasting, mind/body, ocean, ocean creatures, Owls, sharks, stress, stress relief, totems, weather|

As a former Floridian, my concerns are with all my friends who stayed in their homes to ride out Hurricane Irma, and with those who have fled for safety. I have been watching the coverage nonstop, which is probably not the best idea, as my own anxiety ratchets up. I can only imagine what the folks hunkered down must be experiencing!

This is Irma!

Totem Tamers was created to help people through incredibly overwhelming situations, and being in a shelter, or in your home without power, while hurricane force winds and storm surge are lapping at your door, is just one of those situations. When I explain to people the simple concept behind the Totem Tamers technique, it sounds like this: When you’re feeling anxious, see the color Red. Take a deep breath and see the color Green. Exhale and see the color Blue. These basic steps will help you either maintain or regain calm. The deep breathing and visualization is vital to keeping calm, and as you take your deep breaths, breathe in and out through your nose, as breathing in and out through your mouth may actually signal to your nervous system that you should be anxious. Here’s an image of the guide card we include in every Totem Tamer purchase, that helps you through the steps:

Simple steps to calm!

Be safe and calm!

Stay well.

It’s NOT a tumor! (Starting off holiday weekend revisiting disco lights of migraines past!)

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:13-04:00 May 27th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, artists, children, coffee, creativity, dining, dinner, gratitude, health, Life, mental health, mind/body, stars, stress, stress relief, totems, Uncategorized|

Update:Today marks my second experience with these super bizarre migraines, but at least now I know what it is! Enjoy the weekend all!

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop, that was the scene running through my mind the other night, when I was convinced I had a brain tumor.

Thankfully, Arnold’s words mirrored the doctor, who also said “It’s not a tumor, it appears to be a migraine.” Good news! So good, I started to cry with relief. Here’s the scene: My boys and I were getting ready to sit down to dinner and I was doing a last check of email on my phone. There was a smudge on the screen that I tried to wipe off, but it wouldn’t go away. Oddly enough when I looked away from the phone screen, the smudge followed me. Too much screen time perhaps? My eyes must be dry!  I put some rewetting drops in and waited, and that’s when the technicolor-disco lights-shimmering prisms started dancing before my eyes. Only on the left side of my periphery, but visible when either eye was closed. I sit down at the table, and we are psyched because we have just started the final season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and I can’t really see the TV with all these lights dancing in my eyes. And there it is, that warm, far-away gurgle, that starts deep in my gut, then buzzes through me with a flash, where for a moment I feel lighter than air. Sounds almost pleasant right? Well, it’s not, it’s the start of a major panic attack because I have just realized that I’m in the middle of some kind of episode involving my brain, and I’m half expecting to drop, right there at the dinner table during Buffy. I get up and head to my room where I can take very slow, deep breaths, in an effort to calm my climbing blood pressure. The visual disturbance meanwhile, is becoming more pronounced. Thankfully my babysitter was still around, as I knew I needed medical attention. I had her do the stroke test with me so I could rule that out, and then I called my mom. By the time my mom came to get me, the disco had pretty much stopped. You’d think I would have been happy about that, but as soon as all the dancing lights faded away, a lovely headache creeped up on the opposite side of my head. Yup, I’m a goner.

There’s an Urgent Care around the corner so we headed there, my stiff upper lip, my headache, and my mommy. One friend had suggested it was a migraine, but I had never really had one before so I was skeptical, but clearly there’s a first time for everything! I experienced what is perfectly described as an ocular migraine with aura! I always knew I had a pretty shimmery aura, but I thought the point was for other people to notice it, not me! I have a sense of humor about it now obviously, but I was terrified, and I have tremendous empathy for everyone I know (and even those I don’t), that suffers from any kind of migraine. I got off easy with this one because I actually was functioning and doing fine considering the dull throb. So fine, that I was able to keep my chaperoning duties with 28 fourth graders for a trip to the Whitney Museum! I saw a piece from the Frank Stella exhibit that reminded me of my disco lights!

Like my migraine, only art!

I’ve read about all the triggers, and of course, most of them are things I thoroughly enjoy (red wine, chocolate, etc.), I might just have to do process of elimination to determine what I can get away with!! It’s scary when something is going on and you feel helpless, I am grateful that Totem Tamers helps to remind me to take deep breaths, because I’m certain those deep breaths kept me from fainting out of fear. I hope I never experience this again, but at least now I know what it is and knowing is half the battle! Would love to hear from all you migraine sufferers, tips, triggers, suggestions!!!

Stay well.

Happy Labor Day from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:24-04:00 September 5th, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, bulldogs, holiday, labor, labor day, labor movement, Life, mind/body, Owls, sharks|

Labor Totems!

Labor Totems!

Labor Day is essentially a day commemorating those who labor. Well, that means that this is a day for EVERYONE!! We all labor in our own way, and we all deserve to be recognized for that labor, even if it’s labor that doesn’t come with a paycheck. The Totems certainly labor. They’re job is to help keep you calm whenever possible, and we all know that sometimes that is a very hard job indeed!

Kick back today, even for just a second, and be grateful for the opportunity to labor and for all those who labor around you.

Stay well.

Textual healing!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:26-04:00 July 20th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, coffee, friends, friendship, gift, gifts, gratitude, inspiration, Life, mental health, mind/body, stories, stress, stress relief|

Don’t you just love a good pun?! I know I do. I also love when a simple texting conversation leads to some inspirational words of wisdom! Not sure the author would want me to call him out, but AC, you are in fact the “Man of the Match”! Thanks for making my morning a brighter one!

Ohhhhhhh, you want me to tell you what the inspirational text was? But of course! I am here to share. AC delivered some chuckle-worthy words via text message this morning. As I sat here almost snorting my coffee, it occurred to me that laughter is vital, and how wonderful it is to begin the day with a good chortle, snicker, guffaw even. I thanked AC for helping me start my day with the gift of laughter and he thanked me with brilliance: “Start as you mean to go on”, he typed back.

Totems!

Small screen, massive inspiration.

Mind blown! Start as you mean to go on! So I should start every day with a cackle, a belly laugh, a har-de-har, or a tehee, and then carry that with me throughout the day? YES!!!! There is so much sadness, hate, ugliness, divisiveness, and more going on in the world today and if we start our day with it, we will take it with us wherever we go. So from now on, I will “start as I mean to go on”, and that’s with laughter! Send your jokes, your one-liners, and your puns to me at julie@totemtamers.com, and I will gladly share them and we can spread good cheer to all!

Ever notice how you feel after a really good laughing fit? Those few minutes where you’re wiping the tears from your eyes because you were laughing so hard you cried? Where you’re slowly getting your breath back and calming down? Yes, I said it, calming down!!! Laughter is a perfect precursor to calm!!! Take a Totem, tell a joke, and feel calm!!! If you don’t have a Totem, get one in our store https://totemtamers.com/shop-2/, then you too can giggle your way to a calmer day!

Stay well. (And start as you mean to go on!)

 

Love welcoming new Totem owners to the Totem Tamers family!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:27-04:00 July 7th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, co-parenting, friends, friendship, Life, mind/body, parenthood, parenting, sharks, single parents, stress, stress relief|

Meeting Shark at eye level!

Meeting Shark at eye level!

Shark has found a new home in Vegas!

Happy kid, Happy Shark!

Happy kid, Happy Shark!

Thank you to our friends in Vegas for sending these great snapshots along. We really enjoy seeing pictures of your Totems in their new homes! Send yours along to me at julie@totemtamers.com, and we can feature you too!

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Totem to help keep you calm, then visit our store at https://totemtamers.com/shop and get one today!

Shopping with Bulldog!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:30-04:00 April 30th, 2016|accessories, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, Design, dogs, gift, gifts, shopping, social media|

Bulldogs at Robert Graham Columbus Circle!

Bulldogs at Robert Graham Columbus Circle!

So many colors which is what brought me into the Robert Graham store in the Shops at Columbus Circle, but it was their bulldog that made me hang out! Bulldog seems happy, too!

Where does your Totem take you? Send me a picture at julie@totemtamers.com, or tag us Instagram @totemtamers.

Stay well.

I am my own Valentine!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:45-04:00 February 14th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, Equality, friendship, Life, love, Owls, relationships, stress, stress relief, totems|

Well, sort of. As a dear friend calls it, this is “love day”! This isn’t a day where you’re supposed to feel sad  if you aren’t in a relationship, for example, this is a day where you find gratitude for being able to love in the first place!! And the best way to find that gratitude is by loving yourself, and then you can make room to love others. I know people who think this day is a crock of you-know-what, others who use this day to lament that they are ever lonely and will never meet the right person, and still others who cherish their loved ones and celebrate them with flowers and chocolates and fancy dinners. Me? Sure I’ve gone through different iterations of this day, but I’m wiser now (fine, older), and I realize it’s not about romance, it’s not about relationship, it’s about finding love in yourself so that you can share it with others. Then it can be shared back with you, and that’s what “love day” is about. I am blessed with three incredible children who fill my heart on a daily basis, so it’s Valentine’s Day every day in my house! So whenever you need a Valentine, start by looking in the mirror, and there you’ll see the best Valentine of all, then offer your love from that reflection, and this day, and every day, will always be special, no matter what!

Totems on valentine's day.

Totem Love!

Stay well.

A Totem is a great Valentine to have because they always keep you company and always keep you calm. Get yours today or even better, get one for you and your Valentine!

 

Ant-xiety with my morning paper!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:48-04:00 January 3rd, 2016|animals, anxiety, Life, mental health, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

There I was, quietly enjoying some me-in-the-morning time, sipping my coffee, and leafing through the as usual too thick NYTimes Sunday edition, when the ants showed up. I had actually managed to make it as far as the Magazine (which I save for last), and was looking forward to the cover story on brain surgery, when the creepy-crawlies appeared. Normally, I might have skipped over the pages covered with the imposing insects, but when I read the first line of the piece, I knew I had to fight through my discomfort! Author Leah Reich, begins her article with the opening question “Have you ever had an anxiety attack?” Considering that the M.O. behind Totem Tamers is helping people who struggle with anxiety, I was eager to see where this would go, and I’m grateful to report that Ms. Reich nailed it! She nailed it, simply for writing the article, but more so because she attempts to describe to those who don’t experience anxiety, what an attack might feel like to them.

Totems and ants!

I don’t particularly care for ants, especially the ones that look menacing and could bite, therefore the anxiety I experienced while reading this article was palpable. As a result, I think that anyone who hasn’t been able to put a finger on what anxiety feels like, perhaps even their own, may get a sense by reading this piece. It’s about the conversation, and I am grateful to Ms. Reich for being front and center in the discussion.

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Totem, and you have anxiety, it might be helpful to get one! Visit our store at https://totemtamers.com/shop and get one today!

Happy You Near!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:48-04:00 December 31st, 2015|animals, anxiety, childhood, family, Life, mental health, parenting, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

You did it!! We did it!! I did it!!! Made it to the end of another year, the beginning of a new one. There are so many sentimental posts floating around about the hard years that were had, looking forward to easier times ahead, and I get it, I really do, if you’ve ever read my blog, you know I know sentimental. Right now, though, that’s not what I’m feeling. I’m feeling motivated, inspired, eager, and excited for every possibility. I don’t want to look back, I was already there! As great as some of it might have been, as awful as some of it might have been, I don’t want to do it again, I want something new and shiny! I want better than it was, for me, for my kids, for my family, for my neighbors, and for goodness sakes, for my country. We can do better, always, and if for some reason you don’t think you can, all you need to do is try! Trying is better than not doing anything at all, so it counts! Go right ahead, wish everyone a happy new year, but keep in mind the wish for a happier YOU near.

Totem reflection!

Totem reflection!

Take a moment to look at YOU and see who YOU are, and don’t walk away until you are committed to YOU! Mirrors serve to remind us that even if we can’t see ourselves, we are reflected in others, so make sure you’re a worthy mirror. Happy and healthy new You, and new year!

Stay well.

 

Gratitude before my eyes.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:50-04:00 December 16th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, beach, creativity, depression, earth, gratitude, inspiration, meditation, mental health, ocean, stress, stress relief, therapy, totems, Uncategorized, weather|

Natural beauty!

Natural beauty!

I took this picture a couple weeks ago and just came across it again. It takes my breath away now, just as it did when I snapped the shot. I remember standing there and feeling so grateful for the picturesque view and in that moment finding peace. Since that picture was taken, there have been plenty of moments that haven’t been peaceful, and I don’t mean the global tragedies that we’ve witnessed recently, but on the smaller more manageable scale of my life. Thankfully nothing terribly dramatic has happened, just the hustle and bustle of the every day that pulls me away from those moments of peace. When the picture popped up on my screen, it gave me pause because the reaction was to actually stop what I was doing (searching for a picture of one of my kids) and take in the view again. What a powerful tool that I didn’t know I had! This picture will find a place on my computer desktop now, so I can be reminded regularly to take a pause and find gratitude. Thankfully there is beauty all around us and in the simplest things, we just have to give ourselves permission to experience it and know that our busy, hectic lives will still be there waiting for us two minutes later. The gift is that we get to come back to the chaos with a renewed energy and appreciation for what we have. It’s the renewed energy that helped motivate me to share this with you! Enjoy the picture, or better yet, look for the beauty around you in this moment and capture it for your own gratitude! If you like, and I know I would, please share it with me at julie@totemtamers.com!

Stay well.

Building blocks of humanity.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:51-04:00 December 11th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, childhood, children, earth, inspiration, Life, meditation, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, motivation, parenthood, parenting, stories, story, storytelling, Uncategorized|

I’m very blessed to be able to walk around New York City, where even in a place brimming with people, I can revel in the solitude that throngs can offer. I was at a holiday party the other night where the view out the window was the scene stealer of the night.

As I stood there during this event, plenty of people around me socializing and being festive, I was captivated with the outside world. With all the tiny little windows before me in this tiny stretch of Manhattan. What was happening inside those homes? What were those people experiencing at this same moment? This “deep thinking” continued the next day during a conversation with my 9 year old as we walked around. He’s at a stage where he is questioning everything, which is wonderful, but can also be a tad overwhelming, at times. He looked at me with his gorgeous brown eyes and asked “What if we are just ants in someone else’s bigger world?” Wow, profundity from the mouths of babes. There are plenty of ways I could have answered this question, but I chose to go with the method that allows for all possibilities, and I simply responded with, “What if?” This spurred the conversation further to considering that maybe we were fish in someone’s fish bowl and natural disasters are a result of someone bumping into the bowl that rests on a table in the living room. I was moved that my son experienced this existential questioning with hope as opposed to fear. We were going deep, I tell you!! Deeper still, as I look into the tiny windows in the buildings that surround me, is the notion that we have no idea what might be going on in someone’s life. We have no idea what happiness, what sorrow, what fear, what excitement might be brimming in someone’s doorway. So even though we might just be ants in someone else’s bigger world, or fish in a fishbowl in some well decorated living room, we are all in it together and the possibilities don’t have to be scary but can be filled with the same hope reflected in my son’s eyes.

Stay well.

Small Business Saturday!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:52-04:00 November 28th, 2015|accessories, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, birds of prey, bulldogs, children, creativity, dogs, friendship, gift, gifts, holiday, labor, Life, mental health, mind/body, Owls, parenting, shopping, stress, stress relief, totems|

Shop a small business like Totem Tamers!

Shop a small business like Totem Tamers!

Today is Small Business Saturday, where you are encouraged to shop at small businesses because they are the foundation of our society! Small business.com is a website that has tons of resources available for anyone who wants to start a business, or who has already started a business and needs support. A small business is exactly how Totem Tamers identifies! Do you know how we got started?  It’s a simple story really, my middle son was experiencing anxiety attacks, and I was struggling with how to help him. I reconnected with my friend (and now business partner) Daniel, who was suffering panic attacks. In the span of a couple emails, Daniel and I realized we wanted, no, we needed to help others who were surely struggling with the same issues. With Daniel’s incredible artistry, and my words, Totem Tamers was created! Pocket-sized bronze animal totems, a beautifully illustrated guidebook, and simple steps that are accessible by all, and a small business is born. We can both attest to how Totems have helped our families, but we have also heard from many others who have been helped as well! Have a look at our original four Totems, and keep checking back as more Totems are added!

Totems

Shopping small businesses should happen every day, not just one day of the year, so shop wherever you see the Shop Small sign, and shop often!

Stay well.