Rituals and More
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“Love and kindness are never wasted.
They always make a difference.
They bless the one who receives them,
and they bless you, the giver.”
– Barbara De Angelis

Good morning my dear <<Name>>.  Though I typically write this love note to you on Thursday or Friday, this flowersweek I am writing to you on Saturday morning just after 8 AM.

In all honesty, I began writing this on Wednesday as we were scheduled to go to Chicago for one of the nephew's birthdays. But, like you, all of our plans are needing adjusting on what seems like an hour by hour basis.

Not only did we cancel all our plans, I wanted to ensure that this love note wasn't in any way tone deaf to what is going on in the world.

If you've been around here for long, I've often talked about how my personality type affects the way I react to the world and how I process it. As an ENTJ, I am typically able to stay extremely logical and calm in stressful situations.

But I will admit to you that the last couple of days - especially yesterday - felt tough to maintain my cool and calm self.

And you know what? That's OK. It's ok to feel a little panicked or overwhelmed. 

But as they say, we can't control the world around us, but what we can control is ourselves. Our thoughts and our reactions. We can control the way we speak to and treat others. 

We can also control what we consume. You need to consume GOOD STUFF right now. That means you light in the worldprobably don't want to watch the news. And if you are getting your news online, you probably want to stay away from the comment sections. (Just saying).

One of the ways I get my news is I subscribe to a couple of newsletters that send me the top stories without too much drama. And then I can choose which ones I want to read more of. Or not.  Here are the ones I subscribe to (all of them are free) (Katie Couric’s Weekday Wake-Up Call  |  Cheddar’s Need2Know Email List  |  Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper )

The way we are going to get through this crisis is to manage our minds to the best of our ability.

And, please do your best to stay away from others outside your immediate family. I know this is easier said than done. Some of you may have to go to work. And you may need to get groceries and other necessities during this time. It's all about being cautious.

I know you've already heard this. But I would be remiss if I didn't remind you - lovingly and gently - to wash your hands. 

There's a great article on Medium about what "Social Distancing" that isn't overly dramatic, just practical  and is written by a doctor. (Medium has lifted the paywall on all COVID-19 Essays for those of you who aren't subscribers.)

Also, I want to remind you to be patient and try to stay kind with your family members.

We are all going to be spending more time together than even most of us are used to. And because everyone is feeling a little stressed out, your family members are probably going to get on your nerves at some time. It's human one of my parks nature.

So, try to keep your sense of humor. And watch what you say. Because words can't be taken back.

Do get outside if you can safely do so. Go for a walk or simply sit in the sunshine for a moment. Go for a drive and just sit in a parking lot of the park if it's too cold or rainy to get out and walk around. Just gazing at nature can be helpful - and it will help you feel less housebound.

And if you are able, find a way to spread some hope. Buy the book from that author you follow. Share people's blog posts that feel uplifting. Write a letter to a friend. Make a phone call to someone to know they aren't alone.

Remember that I'm just an email away. Please reach out if you are needing some connection. I love hearing your stories and helping you find the resources you need to create a life you love.

With so much love...........

PS - I am working on a new eBook for subscribers and hope to get that out this next week. AND if you look in my sidebar, I am offering my Home Office Class for just $9 beginning March 23rd. If that's out of your budget, just reach out to me.

From the blog: 24 Techniques to Manage Stress and Anxiety During the COVID-19 Crisis

We are living in challenging times right now, my friend. And if you are already prone to anxiety before the current COVID-19 crisis, it can feel even harder to manage the internal panic when the world seems to be panicking, right? 

It’s so important to manage your stress levels at anytime for your own mental health and happiness. But especially important now since an overload of cortisol (the stress hormone) can lower your immune system.

And besides, having some go-to moves for dealing with stress and anxiety is a path to ensuring that you live a daily life that feels loving, nourishing, and supportive.

That’s why I want to dig into twenty-four of the best techniques I know to manage the way stress and anxiety can feel like it’s tearing you apart.

stay calm

While none of these tips are a one-size-fits all guaranteed to work for everybody, I’m confident that some of these will be helpful to you. So, treat these tips like a Smörgåsbord of techniques to experiment with to see what works best for you.

One – Take a Deep Breath at Times of Transition

I know, I know. People always tell you to BREATHE. Breathing techniques are proven to help with anxiety. But when you’re stuck in that panicky feelings, it’s hard to remember. That’s why I like making it a habit to breathe at transition moments.
See, we have multiple moments of transition during the day: waking up, sitting down to dinner, coming home from work, and beginning our work day. As you transition from one moment to the next, pause for a moment and breathe. Stop, close your eyes, take a big deep breath, and slowly release it.

Two – Wash Your Face

I know we’re washing our hands a lot these days, but now is a good time to really wash your face. This isn’t necessarily just about hygiene, but as an act of self-love.  Earlier this year, my dermatologist prescribed a new medication for sun spots (hello to my fifties!) which started me on a whole new skin care routine.
And you know what I noticed? I felt so much calmer after making washing my face at the end of the day a loving ritual.

Make sure the water is warm, use a cleanser that smells wonderful to you, gently massage it into your skin, and rinse. (I prefer a washcloth). After washing your face, put on some good moisturizer and under eye cream. Look at yourself in the mirror and really gaze into your eyes. You’ve got this!

Three – Slather Yourself with Lotion

We all need human touch and kindness. And with social distancing such an important way to help stop the spread of COVID-19, many of us are not going to be getting the human contact we need. So, as a remedy to the lack of human touch in our lives right now, make putting lotion on as a way to give touch to yourself.
I’m sure with all the hand washing, you’re probably adding hand lotion to your days. But instead of just lotion on your hands, lovingly tend yourself by applying a lotion that smells wonderful to you on your whole body: feet, legs, arms, tummy, breasts, arms, neck, and back! (We already covered your face above).

You’ll be rubbing calmness and anxiety away as you rub the lotion in.

Four – Really Get Dressed

When we’re feeling anxious or even a little depressed, it can feel challenging to put on real clothes. Sure, staying in yoga pants, jammies, or sweat pants can help reduce the anxiety of figuring out what to wear. However, this doesn’t work long term. No, my dear, over time, if you wear sloppy clothes or skip showering for days, it’s eventually going to add to your anxiety.
So, put some decent clothes on. And put on your makeup, too. While it may seem counter productive to stress management at first, you will feel better. And boost your confidence. When you have a boost of confidence, if combats those anxious feelings.

Five – Make a List

Is there anything more satisfying than checking things off your to-do list? When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, having a list can feel helpful and supportive. So, to manage any stress or anxiety, make that to do list. Better yet, make it on paper. Using a pen and writing by hand accesses a different part of the brain than typing does.

Besides, you need a break from screen time with all the novel coronavirus news.
And don’t stop at a to-do list. Make a list of all the things that make you awesome. Or make a list of all your favorite books or movies. And don’t forget about writing down a list of all the reasons you love book. Get where I”m going here? Neat (or messy) little lists about ourselves and our lives is soothing.

Six – Write in a Journal

Each one of us has dozens of thoughts in a single minute. The act of taking those thoughts and writing them down allows us to process them, not just ruminate over them. And the thing is, ruminating can be the root of anxious thoughts. When you begin keeping a journal you’ll discover that writing allows us to process both our thoughts and emotions.

When our thoughts are in front of us, whether as ink on a page or pixels on a screen, it is easier to treat our purely emotional thoughts with logic, and temper our pure logic with emotion. That’s because keeping a journal is a yin-and-yang way to manage thoughts and emotions.And managing our thoughts and emotions can help us better manage our anxious feelings.

Six – Begin a Gratitude Practice

Did you know that gratitude can rewire your brain? See, our thoughts travel on neural pathways in our brains. When we’re stressed and anxious, it’s common for our thoughts to always go to the negative, right? But the creation of a regular gratitude practice allows your brain to create new, positive pathways for your thoughts.

Over time, the old pathways grow over from lack of regular use. In other words, while forming new positive streets for your thoughts to travel on in your brain, your brain fills in all those ditches and ruts previously used by negative thoughts. As your brain becomes used to these new paths for thought, they will become the norm.

This means that when you’re dealing with anxiety or a crisis (like we are now with COVID-19), a gratitude practice allows your thoughts to be more positive. And you’ll also recover more quickly.
If you’re struggling with how to begin, find a gratitude quote you connect with, write it on the page, and see what bubbles up from there.

Seven – Make Your Bed

When you’re struggling with anxiety, sometimes the best medicine is to whip something into control or order. That’s what I loved about making your bed. Not only are you able to control something. You get to whip one of your spaces into tidiness. And, it allows you to feel as if you’ve accomplished something. Win, win!

Never underestimate the value of a beautifully made bed to ease your anxious feelings.

Eight – Declutter Something

Stuff stresses us out. When you are feeling anxious, declutter something. Yes, darling, I mean to tackle that closet of yours now that you’re stuck at home thanks to the Corona Virus. Because, you have more time at home. So you may as well, right?

However, if your whole closet feels overwhelming and feels like it’s adding to your anxiety, then choose a smaller space: a drawer, a shelf, or your kitchen island.

Read more by clicking here: 24 Techniques to Manage Stress and Anxiety During the COVID-19 Crisis
Though I typically share a favorite  recipe here, this week I want to share another way I have kept myself fed Turkey Meatloaf with Cauliflowerwell this year: I started a subscription to Freshly. (that link will save you $40 if you decide to try Freshly, too)

I have been looking at meal kids on and off since they became popular. But the truth is, none of them really appealed to me enough to commit. In part because I'm super picky about the quality of the ingredients I buy. And because I am also too picky, it seems, when it comes to the recipes that were offered on any given week.

When JB travels, though, I really don't cook a lot because I've never really been great at scaling meals down. And honestly don't want to cook every night. And eating out, well, gets excessively expensive and I often leave disappointed with the quality of the meals.

So, with all that in mind, I began looking harder at the meal delivery services that required me to simply warm up a single entree. And, since I'm trying to still eat as gluten-free as possible, that was part of what buffalo chicken with cauliflowerhelped me decide to try Freshly.

In addition to being able to choose Gluten Free options, I was able to sort the meal choices by total carbs to help me with that goal, too. They sub a lot of heavier carbs (like potatoes) with cauliflower dishes as sides - and I loved all of those though I am not always a fan of that "low carb sub".

I honestly liked 90% of the meals I tried - especially their Buffalo chicken, chicken parm, and all their meatball and meatloaf type meals.  (I disliked their BBQ Chicken and Turkey with Grain Free Stuffing). And ordering from them is now my go-to when JB travels and I don't. So, that means I've had 3 different weeks of meals delivered from them so far this year. And have plans for another delivery for his next trip.

So, though that is an "affiliate" link, that's not the reason I'm sharing this now. Rather, I want you to know that you have options for eating well without having to deal with the grocery store or eating out.

Volume 10 
Issue 06

March 14, 2020

Love Notes Published Every-Other-Saturday
Thank you, darling for the precious in-box space! 

See something you'd love to share?  I'd be honored if you forwarded this along to a friend.
Hello from Debra

About Debra

Debra Smouse is a writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle who is on a mission to help people create a daily life that is loving and nourishing.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Connect with her on social media:
Instagram | Facebook Twitter.


“No matter what age or stage we are, sometimes life just isn’t everything we want it to be. This course offers amazing insight into some of the many reasons why.

Deb Smouse has prepared an intensive program to help decipher the ways we can derail our own happiness, and, most importantly, lots of concrete tips and tricks for getting back on course to Finally Love Your Life.”

Becca Rowan, Author

Home Office

Since more of us are needing to work from home - and I know that it's not always easy to do so -  I decided to pull my "Home Office" course out of the vault early. I had it scheduled to only be offered as we move into Fall (beginning August 31st).

However, because I know some folks may need some help with figuring out how to make space in their home to get some work done, I am going to do a round beginning Monday, March 23, 2020.

I created the Home Office Edition to help you clear your physical spaces and create systems that fit your life and business. It's an email course with a lesson delivered each day.

The course is normally $21.

If you use discount code WORK2020 you'll get the course for $9.

Sign UP by Clicking Here 

PS - if that's out of your budget range, please just email me and we'll work something out. I just no from experience that most free courses are never completed. We all need some sort of "skin in the game" to motivate us.


Facing Teeny Cracks of Vulnerability

My working relationship with Deb began a number of years ago through an online course in which we both participated – post-course, we agreed with a few colleagues to an online accountability relationship for positive steps we were all taking in our lives. During that time for me, Deb established her attention to detail and her accountability to both contribute input and to positively listen to each of the persons involved with the group. After that group ended, she and I personally kept in touch loosely over our blogposts and those posts of other online friends.

When Deb posted her “Sex Kitten” course for the first time, I was totally taken with the clever title and provocative content offered for positive and long-reaching advances in one’s personal and in one’s very personal life. I dialed in for a personal conversation about whether or not we were a match regarding present and future ambitions of mine and…….“the rest is history!”

But the rest, the rest being with Deb’s counsel, has been an interesting, innovating, expanding chapter in my life as a woman, a spouse, a creative artist. My spouse and I have always had what I considered an excellent life together – I did not anticipate an even better and the more intimate relationship that we now find ourselves living into every day. I’m no slouch in the confidence category but Deb has helped me face those teeny cracks of vulnerability that I sheltered, having helped me prosper mentally and physically at this stage of my life. My creative aspirations are blooming with no end in sight – LOTS more growth ahead for me.

I highly recommend a course with Deb or what she might call a non-course – that’s the arrangement we have now. Personal coaching on a regular basis – touching base on one’s own hiccups, one’s own dimension of daily life, whether it’s exercise, creative habits and/or reaching the next plateau or higher in all of the newness that still continues to unfold for me. I highly recommend Deb’s methods and courses! You won’t be sorry you signed on with Deb as your super-person sidekick!

Dianna Woolley, Abstract Artist

working from home

Also from the Blog

Because I know working from home isn't always easy or productive, here's some of my best tips for doing so.

Read ==> 14 Productivity Tips When Working At Home Due to the COVID-19 Crisis


Gotten More Courageous 

Finally Love Your Life is an authentic and deep yet practical and fun program all wrapped up into one.  Debra’s extensive knowledge coupled with her emotive writing and ginormous heart provide the tools, support and space to explore and discover, evaluate and play. 

As a result of class, I was able to dig in and shift some major challenges that were keeping me stuck in annoying and frustrating patterns.

I also realized how little time I was devoting to having FUN and making time for simple pleasures.  With these insights and some easy changes, I have grown, gotten more courageous and have way more delight and joy in my life.

Michelle Reinhardt
a year of support

Make 2020
YOUR Year with
a Year of Support

My most popular coaching package as it allows us to spend 12 months together. We build trust and get to know each other intimately.

This allows you go go as wide - or deep - as your stage of life demands.

You choose the number of sessions that fit your lifestyle (and budget) and we’ll create an amazing year together for a life you love.

Learn More  or



I would just like to state for the record that Debra Smouse is a genius and an awesome listener, to boot.

In one phone conversation with her, I was able to verbalize, and thus realize, something that had been on the tip of my brain for weeks.  Her simple way of listening and asking led to a proverbial light bulb moment that has stayed with me for days and has helped open up new, clearer avenues of thought and feeling.

~Brandi Lee, Photographer, Small Business Owner

Love Yourself & Track Your Goals

I believe that if you were to really get to know all the sides of someone, you couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

What if YOU were that person?

Become Besotted. With Yourself. With Your Life.

Become Besotted will assist you in writing your story, a month at a time. An opportunity to get to know all sides of yourself and fall in love.

Become Besotted will also help you explore your dreams and desires. It will serve you in monitoring your victories and shedding what isn’t serving you.

You receive an in-depth questionnaire and 12 months to unfold your story and fall in love...

Purchase here.

Bear the Light Podcast

Bear the Light Podcast

I don’t know about you, but I love listening to Podcasts. Especially when I’m taking a walk or tidying up the house. It’s a great way to learn to things, feel inspired, and finding new voices of wisdom. So, I was super thrilled to be invited by Christianne Squires to be on her “Bear the Light” podcast.

Listening in is also a good way to understand my approach to coaching. And my philosophy about life in general. While I believe the key to having a good life is falling in love with your life and self, in part, it’s also about being able to approach the desire for happiness with solid tools that support you.

(I'm also sharing my favorite quotes on light in this blog post)
Copyright © 2020 Debra Smouse - Create a Life You Love, All rights reserved.

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