The self-care movement of our generation is here. In a capitalist culture of going, going, going until you’re gone, people have stood up in protest against too much hard work by taking care of themselves. I’m especially into self-care as a means of life-quality improvement. Essential oil baths, shopping sessions, midday naps — you name the feel-good act of me-time, and it’s likely I’ve indulged in it.
But what if we all delved deeper into self-care, beyond the scented candles and Netflix binging? Without a doubt, the practices satisfy for a little while and result in real physical and emotional health benefits. Yet, the benefits only last a short amount of time. Once they wear off, you’re left craving more of the same.
According to self-care mentor Grace Obuchowicz, “Self-care alone is not enough. You need to have self-awareness too.” So, where do you get self-awareness? Fear not — all of the answers are on the social media pages of Dr. Nicole LePera.
You might have already heard of LePera — she’s better known on Instagram and YouTube as the Holistic Psychologist. LePera, however, didn’t begin her path with psychology at the level of well-roundedness she has currently achieved. In an interview from the health podcast “Causes or Cures,” she shares her experience and journey as a psychologist.
Before she became the Holistic Psychologist, she studied traditional methods of psychology and psychotherapy at top institutions like Cornell University and The New School. But as her practice grew and as she saw more clients, she noticed little change or improvement in their problems. LePera even began to experience adverse health symptoms of her own.
She realized that the conventional approaches of therapy and psychology left her in “an endless cycle of stopping and starting.” It took LePera’s own struggle with the physical symptoms of anxiety to turn her life around and develop self-healing practices. Today, LePera broadcasts her message to the world on her social media pages.
All her tactics she provides to clients are the same readily available tools found on her Instagram and YouTube accounts. Her online persona “the Holistic Psychologist” attests to her message. Because humans are composed of both a mind and a body, the journey to healing includes incorporating both through the route of self-healing. On her website, LePera lets you know, “With the right tools everyone has the power to be their own healer.”
As one of the Holistic Psychologist’s faithful followers, I regularly discover new insights applicable to myself and the people around me. Through her Instagram and YouTube accounts, I’ve discovered three overarching themes that LePera emphasizes.
All of LePera’s teachings fall under the umbrella of her biggest theme: self-healing. This practice enforces the belief that a healer’s duty is not necessarily to do all the work for their clients. Instead, a healer provides resources that give you power to heal yourself.
Real healing and changes begin by connecting your physical body with your subconscious mind. Two vital keys to this mind-body connection? Daily meditation and simple breathwork. “In order to heal,” LePera writes. “We need to address the body, bringing it back to homeostasis.”
One of her newest Instagram posts elaborates on the self-healing journey. LePera shares that, in reality, our behaviors and patterns are forms of conditioning that taught to us and that we take into adulthood. We learned our core beliefs and coping mechanisms.
Just as we learned them, though, we can unlearn them — it only takes work. Ways to start self-healing include keeping one small promise to yourself, being mindful of the content and ideas you consume and continuing to show up for yourself even when your mind wants to resist the changes.
Another big step to self-healing is by practicing future-self journaling. It’s a myth that you don’t have choice over your thoughts and actions. The truth is, it just takes a whole lot of active awareness. To enhance your awareness of the choice you truly have, LePera developed the practice of future-self journaling, or FSJ. This tool involves journaling for just 10 minutes each day, focusing on a behavior or pattern that you’d like to change. Initially, journaling may feel unnatural or difficult.
Don’t get discouraged; any mix up in your routine disrupts your brain and causes new emotions to come up. It’s vital to do your FSJ consistently to see real results. The more you journal and the more you see the changes in yourself that you desire, the more you’ll want to do it. To access LePera’s full explanation of FSJ, subscribe to her email list and she’ll send it your way.
While every parent did the best they could with the resources that they had to raise their children, our own parents are only human. Humans, even at their greatest, still contain deep-rooted flaws, so anyone can hurt loved ones without even realizing it. LePera encourages you to evaluate your childhood and the mistakes your parents made while raising you with a forgiving set of eyes and a perspective of understanding. She calls the need to make corrections of your upbringing as an adult “re-parenting.”
As children, many of us had basic needs that went unmet. But as adults, we now have the power to give ourselves what we lacked. How do you know if you really need to re-parent yourself? LePera says if you have difficulty setting boundaries, co-depend on others or experience low self-worth, you may find the practice helpful.
Re-parenting involves speaking kindly to yourself and saying what you needed to hear but never did to your inner child. In a YouTube video, she fully breaks down the four steps to re-parenting: healthy self-care, loving discipline, finding joy and regulating emotions.
Taking the time to self-heal sounds like a lot to ask of yourself. But as I venture on this journey right alongside the Holistic Psychologist’s followers, I think about all the work I’m willing to put into my education, into my jobs and into my relationships. Considering the energy we spend on everyone and everything else, isn’t it time we put the same energy into ourselves, too?
From self-healing, you can experience a rich, authentic life, free from former toxic cycles. You can have healthy relationships, you can forgive yourself and those around you. Your response to life changes in a real way, and, ultimately, you become your greatest ally and friend, able to live with illuminating intentionality.