Jaimi Brooks on Living Intentionally
Jaimi Brooks is a psychotherapist and Women’s Group Leader who specializes in helping people understand themselves better and to ultimately live more intentionally. We chatted with Jaimi about what to do during these times to be more present and less anxious, her personal mantra, and what it’s like being a new mother to twin boys.
You’re a psychotherapist and Women’s Group Leader. Tell us about how you got here and what your practice entails.
My work is essentially helping people to live intentionally by understanding themselves better, healing what needs healing and making choices that serve them. I specialize in women’s issues and see lots of creative entrepreneurs and new mamas who struggle with the hard parts of trying to have it all. I also hold women’s groups...of course all virtually right now...but I have Entrepreneurial Women’s and Motherhood + Identity Groups.
What advice do you have for being present and less anxious during these uncertain times?
It’s such a wild time we’re living through right now with our reality changing so quickly and in such unprecedented ways. It brings up all sorts of complicated feelings...grief, anxiety, loneliness, fear, overwhelm, loss of control and also maybe tenderness, generosity, a newfound strength, or the relief of settling into a slower and more essential version of ourselves. It’s a time of incredible transformation. There’s a lot to take in and process so be gentle and generous with yourself and others right now. Just do your best and let it be okay if your best right now falls short of normal life. You can’t expect to be the best version of yourself right now. This time will pass and you will return to your normal standards of parenting, working, orderliness, and partnership.
We’ll be best served right now to set our intention on building our resiliency and flexibility. None of us are super comfortable when things feel out of control but the less you try to control the uncontrollable, the better you will feel. Make the best choice of what’s directly in front of you. That’s how to stay in the moment and avoid getting swept away in the crazymaking of trying to control the future. Helping others through acts of thoughtfulness and kindness is another amazing way to channel unsettled feelings about being out of control and ground you in the present.
There is undoubtedly a larger cosmic purpose being served right now. Be present to that. Put some time into thinking or writing about what you’re learning about yourself through this crisis. In which ways do you think this will change us all collectively or change you personally? What do you want to be different after this pause? Are there things about your pre-COVID life that you want to leave behind and not take with you into post-quarantine life?
What is a personal mantra or regimen you always use when you are feeling overwhelmed?
It changes for me all the time! Right now, #fromhereican is really helpful to me. Additionally, one thing that’s a constant support to me is connecting to my gratitude when I’m anxious, frustrated, or upset. If I change my focus to list the things I’m thankful for, no matter how big or small, it’s a major reset.
Has your wellness routine changed at all during self-isolation?
I’ve been taking my vitamins and supplements religiously, (I love Super You). Meal planning and cooking our meals, drinking way more water. Actually exercising most days. Journaling every day. These are not groundbreaking things...we all know that these things make us feel better but it’s still so easy to let them go when life is too busy. I’m thankful for the opportunity to reset and reconsider how I want to take care of myself and have the time to do it right now.
You recently gave birth to twin boys. What does your new “normal” look like while working from home?
I did, they’re adorable and motherhood is an adventure! I ended my maternity leave early to do what I can to help people manage their way through this crisis so I’m just recently back to seeing clients. So I’m figuring out what it looks like for me to be a working person and a mother at once while also quarantined. My new reality is that I always feel like I’m missing out on something that’s important while tending to something else that's important. This is a really hard part of being a modern mama. With having the boys, I’ve also had to become comfortable with being less “productive”. A lot of my time in the day is spent with them and it can be easy to forget that this time really counts and to not judge my day rigidly by what I’ve been able to cross of my “to-do” list. You never get the satisfying checkmark next to “parenting” on your to-do list!
How can we use this time at home to practice self-care and mindfulness?
Find a balance between having some structure and routine with having some “flow” in your day where you’re not accountable to expectations, your own, or otherwise.
Reevaluate what’s “essential” in your day. Some things that are essential in normal life might not make much sense to continue out of habit while what may have felt indulgent or unnecessary before is actually essential now. For example, maybe making your bed gets tossed out in order to have time to journal or be outside.
Do something just for the sake of doing it, not because it will be impressive or productive but just because it feels good to do. Dance, paint something, do a puzzle. This feeds the soul and most of us need a lot more of this.
Any favorite resources for those of us looking to ease anxiety or practice being present?
Grounding ourselves in our bodies and in the present moment is what heals and comforts us. I love the Bodha “Ground” incense (I use it in all of my sessions). I can not recommend The 5 Minute Journal and the Productivity Planner from Intelligent Change enough, I have the best days when I use them and they’re amazing for people who are ambivalent about journaling. Plyojam has the most fun dance workouts and it’s free for 30 days or $25/90 days right now for corona times. I also have a free, downloadable version of my Values Deck which is an amazing exercise to do especially now, when your values might be shifting. And if you do it with others, there are such great conversations to be had around it.
Your home is so gorgeous! What are a few quick and simple things someone can do to make their home feel serene?
Thank you! Bring plant life in...maybe to go for a walk and forage some nice greenery to put in a vase. Organizing and cleaning always makes me feel better. Supernatural.com has really lovely and healthy cleaning products that make it more enjoyable to do the task. Composed Living has shared a really great 30 Days to Clutter Free Living Challenge that would be a great quarantine project if you’re not busy homeschooling your kiddos. Opening the windows and getting fresh air while burning something like palo santo, sage, or incense to reset the space feels really good too.
What’s next for you?
I’m trying to stay in the moment too. So what’s next for me is feeding babies, cleaning the kitchen, and hopefully some combo of watching Crip Camp on Netflix, starting Glennon Doyle’s new book Untamed, making these chocolate chip cookies, or trying to talk my husband into doing some #facethefoliage portraits.
I am taking new clients though so for anyone who wants to start therapy or needs some extra support can book a virtual session. I especially want to make therapy widely accessible during self-quarantine so I’m offering “pay-what-you-can” to whoever’s circumstance doesn’t allow a full fee.
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Photography provided by Jaimi Brooks, and Lulu and Georgia