We all just want to be seen. Because everyone's story matters.
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“ Without experimentation,
a willingness to ask questions
and try new things,
we shall surely become
static, repetitive, and moribund.”

– Anthony Bourdain

When I sat down to write to you this week, dear <<Name>>, I honestly wasn't quite sure what to say.

Rarely do I comment on current news. My goal in each love note I write is to stay grounded and politic free. (You see enough of that everywhere else.) I want to land in your in box and be a spot of love and gratitude. To come from a space of openness and faith in the human spirit.

Frankly, though, I'm a little disheartened over losses...

A dear friend of mine passed away right before Memorial Day. She was one of my first internet friend; we met in 1998 on a Trixie Belden message board. We talked on the phone, visited each other, and sent cards on birthdays. She was a wonderful lady, a high school guidance counselor, and had such faith in both God and others. She passed away while waiting for a liver transplant, so full of love and light. Wanting to share more days with her family, students, and friends.

I hadn't planned on mentioning that here, but other more famous deaths are making news...and before I could write about strangers that I "knew", I wanted to share that loss and grief means we may each need a little extra love and support.

About those famous deaths: two high-profile suicides. Designer Kate Spade and Chef/Writer Anthony Bourdain. Both creative, passionate individuals who put their mark on the world by sharing their gifts. So sad, and I cannot imagine living with such pain and such despair that suicide seems like the only option out.

It's a stark reminder that being successful, being famous, and having money aren't the answers to life's struggles. Because, of course, from the outside, both Spade and Bourdain "had it all".

One of the things that strikes me dead center is that everyone has a story, everyone matters, and everyone just needs to be SEEN. It has never been a specialty of mine to work with folks who are having thoughts of hurting themselves, but I can't lie and tell you that I haven't referred clients to psychiatrists or their physicians to get additional help and support.

I have never personally thought about suicide as a solution, but I have known folks that have. I have taken a loved one to the ER and then to regular psychiatrist and therapy appointments. I have ensured that prescriptions for  depression, anxiety, and ADHD have been filled and ensured that a person I loved was "med compliant".

I am reminded time and again that often, someone just needs to know that they are not invisible.  That someone is willing to listen. That someone cares. That someone wants to help ferry them through a rough patch.

What these two "famous" deaths bring to light is the sheer rise in suicides in the last decade. Maybe the rate has always been the same, but the "shame" of mental illness was hidden to protect families. Or a person's reputation. I wish we could talk about mental illness: anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, etc. just the same way we talk about cancer and heart attacks.

We still too often say that people are "high strung" or "delicate". Rather than being forthright. Mental illness still holds a stigma in the minds of some....

Time and again, we are told that those with mental illness feel shame. Often, self-medicating rather than asking their doctor for some help. Often, pretending they are JUST FINE so the stink of mental illness doesn't taint their "brand", their reputation, or how others see them.

There is no shame in getting help. And yes, I know that things like exercise and meditation can ease depression and anxiety, however, sometimes we just need modern medicine to get from one side of a rough patch to the next. There is no shame in needing to take a pill to keep you from drowning in despair.

As a person who works intimately with others to help them manage challenging life situations, I can tell you that even if you don't know WHAT to say to someone who is struggling, just saying "how can I help" or "I hear you" or "I am here for you" allows them to realize they are not alone, that someone cares. That someone wants them to get help.

That someone may not know what to say  - and cannot "fix" it - but they can help them find the right resources of someone that can help. (The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1800.273.8255)

And if you are that someone that feels on the edge of despair, please tell someone you love - or someone you don't even know - that you are in need of a little support, a little help.  No one can "fix" things for you, but that doesn't mean they can't help you weather the current storm.

If following someone on social media makes you feel less-than or as if you are failing, unfollow them.  My loved one that has dealt with depression since her teen years recently removed her Facebook account because there was just too much political BS out there, too much diatribe, too much anger, and she saw that it was triggering her anxiety.

Your mental health is worth more than Facebook friends and Instagram followers. So, don't hesitate to walk away from social media if you find it makes you feel worse.

And the thing is, I know that even someone that has battled deep depression and serious challenges in their life can have moments of joy and light and happiness and love. We aren't meant to be happy all day, every day. That's not realistic. Life will always come with challenges. It will ebb and flow.

But the challenges and the ebbing don't negate the fact that their is hope and joy just waiting for you.

I know this isn't my typical love note. But sometimes, we have to step away from what we would normally talk about and get real.

Tell someone you love them today.


From the blog: What To Do When You’re Feeling Burned Out With Your Life. After waking in a cold sweat, you go to Dr. Google searching for some advice. This waking feeling panicked isn’t new. In fact, you find yourself on the edge of tears multiple times a week. You’re afraid of the answer, but you’re feeling overwhelmed enough to finally reach out and ask me what to do when you’re feeling burned out with your life.

I want you to know, darling, that I see you. Not only are you juggling a full-time job, you’re managing the crazy busy schedules of your two kids, too. Oh, and lest we forget all the worrying about your aging parents. You’re tired all the time, going to bed after 11 PM most nights and waking to a 5 AM alarm.

And darling, I know that you are surviving on a mix of adrenaline and caffeine. When did you last eat a good meal? Because I know you’re an excellent mom. Which means you’re ensuring our kiddos (and your mom) are eating nutritious, balanced meals. Yet, if you are honest with me, you eat a lot of comfort foods and pick at your kid’s leftovers for dinner.

You secretly long for a romantic night out but can barely remember the last time you two went out alone. Now, when was the last time you had sex?

I see you, because I used to BE you. I was always rushing from here to there. Surviving from one crisis to the next. Constantly wondering if anyone else was going to notice that I was drowning in a sea of obligations.

So, what to do if you’re feeling burned out? First, darling, take a big deep slow breath. I’m guessing it’s been a long time since you allowed yourself to really breathe. In fact, take at least three deep breaths.

Now, I want you listen closely because before I give you some tips to ease the stress, I want to deliver some real truth about what to do when you’re feeling burned out.

You are going to have to make peace with the fact that it is impossible for the average human to accomplish as many things in a week as you are demanding of yourself each day. Yes, I know that you have a lot of responsibilities. Yes, I know that you deeply want more in your life. And yes, my darling, I know that you are not average, but extraordinary.

All of that said, my dear, doesn’t negate the fact that you are pushing yourself to the brink without a whit of margin. Your mental and physical health cannot sustain this pace of overwork, care-giving of others, and neglecting yourself in order to keep up with the demands on your time.

Now that I’ve said my peace about the inability for anyone to maintain the pace of demands, let’s dig into some real, concrete ways to ease the stress.

What to Do When You’re Feeling Burned Out: Six Practical Tips to Ease the Pressure

One – Do a Brain Dump

When asked what to do when you’re feeling burned out, the first thing you need to do is take a hard look at everything you’ve piled on your plate. Don’t just think about it, get it out of your head and onto paper.

My favorite method for a brain dump is to use index cards so they’re easy to organize afterwards. (You can use paper or a spreadsheet if you prefer.) Grab a pen and set a timer for five minutes. Then, write down every single thought that comes to your mind.

When the timer goes off, take a little breather. Grab a glass of water. Come back to the dozens and dozens of things you need to do and begin to organize them into logical areas of your life. (Such as errands, work, side-hustle, children, parents, household, etc.)

Two – Be Honest and Realistic with Yourself

After organizing into areas of your life, take a good look at what’s been plaguing your mind. Note anything that has a deadline, like dates to fill out the college financial aid forms for your teenager. When looking for what to do when you’re feeling burned out, it’s important to admit what’s outside your control. (Like wishing my mother-in-law had protein in her fridge instead of mostly pastries.)

Is everything here really that important? It’s critical to notice things that don’t matter, like obsessing over Instagram posts from the “it girl” from high school. Where are you letting fear of missing out get in the way? Where are you judging yourself too harshly? What do you not really even want to do?

Ease up on yourself, ok, darling?

Buried within the mountains of worries outside your control, things that don’t matter, and unrealistic expectations are real gems. You’ll probably have traces of your big dreams and goals, scattered like pieces of confetti throughout those must dos and have tos. Set those aside in another place for later.

Right now, we’re all about triaging you so that you aren’t in tears every Thursday night.

Three – Delete, Delete, Delete

Now that you’ve really looked at what’s been pushing you to the edge of your grasp on sanity, you need to just let some of that shit go. I say this with love, sugarplum.

Can you skip that family reunion? Do you really need to make Pinterest enviable custom invitations to your daughter’s birthday party? Do you really need to go to your co-worker’s BBQ? Can you simply decide not to wallpaper the bathroom or paint your closet? (Hello, unrealistic expectations! Hello events you don’t want to attend!) Opt out of these things!

Are there tasks you’ve been putting off for weeks and months? Do you really want to do them? Are they on your list simply because you think you “should” do them? Decide not to do them and delete those, too.

Yes, this also means that there will be some things that sound enticing that you need to just say no to. Darling, you are finite resource and you can’t do it all. Your sanity is worth more than that. Delete even more off your list.

Bonus points for tearing up those cards! Doesn’t it feel good to knock some things off your list by choosing not to do them?

Four – Defer Some things

Remember those traces of your big goals and dreams? You’re so focused on survival that you don’t have a smidge of energy for them right this moment. So, rather than adding it to the list each week, and then feeling frustrated because you never find the time to work on those goals, defer it.

Not forever. Just for a little while. I like to choose dates like winter solstice or first day of fall. Things that are on my calendar, but aren’t big holidays like Christmas.

Deferring is not the same as procrastination. Rather, deferring allows you to better manage your time and the expectations you put on yourself.

The mind is a powerful thing. When wondering what to do when you’re feeling burned out with your life, deciding a future date to begin a project eases the stress. Your mind (and heart) will know that you aren’t ignoring your desires, you’re planning for them.

Five – Allow Others to Help

I’m the first the admit that there are lots of things I think I do the best. Like load the dishwasher and fold the towels just so. Yet, there are times JB does the dishes or folds some laundry.

You have got to be willing to let others help you, even if they don’t do things exactly the way you do. Your mother-in-law can bathe the kids when she visits. Allow your oldest child to make dinner once a week.(It helps you and teaches him a great life skill.) That amazing husband of yours can do the grocery shopping, even if he brings home Cheetos or other things you wouldn’t buy. Allow loved ones to feel useful.

When you feel overwhelmed, delegation is your ally!

Be creative! You may not be able to delegate stuff at work, for example, but are there are single tasks you loathe but a co-worker loves? Talk to your manager about options for swapping out duties.

Hiring someone to help can be a great stress reliever, especially when you’re feeling burned out. Hire someone to clean the house or mow the lawn. Hire someone to cook for you (also known as your supermarket deli).

You can also get support by hiring a coach or therapist. Their role is to be of service to you. To help you find ways to let go of the stresses of daily living. They can help guide you towards solid ideas and solutions to manage your life differently.

The hardest thing about asking for help is admitting you need help. Well, that and having to let go of some of the control. Darling, you deserve more than feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Six – Grab Your Calendar

Last, but not least, I want you to grab your calendar. When you want to know what to do when you’re feeling burned out, it’s critical that you create real margin in your life.

I want you to schedule a mental health day within the next month. This is not a day to accomplish more on your list or go on a school field trip with your kids.  You are in desperate need for some fun and rest. Go to the movies or meet a girlfriend for lunch. You can stave off always feeling burned out by resting, playing, and caring for yourself. This is part of your triage.

Now, you need to ensure that you regularly relieve the pressure by taking an hour a week to better manage your life. Block out the time on your calendar like you would any other important appointment, like doctor’s appointments. This is time for you to do a fresh brain dump, get clear on what you most desire, and remind yourself to let go of what doesn’t really matter.

It can feel impractical to set aside an hour a week just to think and plan, but the truth is you need the time to continue to combat overwhelm and burnout.

Darling, surviving from one moment to the next is no way to live. Life is more than an endless to do list. You deserve to live a daily life that feels loving and nourishing. That’s impossible to do when you are feeling overwhelmed.

You deserve more than asking what to do when you’re feeling burned out with you life. In fact, you deserve to realize those big dreams and goals of yours. When you are feeling burned out, those dreams get pushed aside. It’s time to say no to that and yes to creating a life you love.
The last thing I want to do during the workweek is cook lunch, yet not eating means I'm starving for dinner (or tempted to snack on chips or crackers or...) so the best way to apply a little compassionate discipline here is to prepare something ahead and have it on hand.

First, of all, I make up several salads at a time in individual containers. Half of a paper towel on top keeps the greens from getting too wilted. This makes it easy to get some veggies in at lunch (and pack JB's lunch in the morning). 

But what I crave the most is protein!  This week, I made some Meatloaf Muffins and they were spectacular. This recipe makes 6 JUMBO muffins.

Preheat your oven to 350

Take 1/2 pound of ground sirloin and 1/2 pound of ground chicken (you can sub turkey, but I really love ground chicken in this) and mix together in a large bowl. Grate THREE carrots and add the grated carrots to the meat and then add one whole egg, a small chopped white or yellow onion, and a can of petite diced tomatoes. Add your spices: garlic powder, a little salt, ground pepper, some Italian Seasonings. Mix well. 

Because I'm trying to cut out gluten, if the mixture is too wet to hold together, you may need a little starch. A tablespoon of coconut flour works well, as does 1/4 cup of gluten-free oats. (note: all oats are gluten free, however, many oat products are processed in the same plants as wheat products and get cross contaminated. Gluten-free oats will be labeled as such).

Grease a Jumbo Muffin Pan and put a scoop of the meat mixture in each cup of the muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and with the back of a spoon, spread tomato paste on the tops of each muffin and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  (You can do the tomato paste in the beginning, but know the edges will scorch).

Remove from oven and COOL.

And, just like a bakery type muffin, you can store in the fridge what you will eat in the next couple of days.For anything beyond that, individually wrap each muffin in waxed paper and put in freezer bags and toss in the freezer.

Come lunch time, all you have to do is warm up your muffin for some quality protein!

Volume 8 -Issue 12

June 09, 2018

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.

About Debra

Debra Smouse is a writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle who is on a mission to help people fall in love with their lives.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Get social with Debra on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Getting to Know YOU

One of the most important tools for creating a life you love is self-awareness. I'm sharing 33 questions to ask yourself.

All you need is a pen and a journal.

Read 33 Important Questions That Determine How Well You Really Know Yourself at YourTango

Keen Listener

“Debra is a keen listener who manages to be truly empathetic while also helping clients to face reality, create a definitive plan of action, and move forward.

She applies her creativity to any dilemma and provides consistent accountability and encouragement”

~ Roxanne Ravenel | Novelist/ Freelance Journalist / Social Media Management

Monitor Your Dreams. Fall in Love with YOU.

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.

Best Decisions

Enlisting Deb’s coaching services has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. She is truly an expert de-tangler. I started out with a “Declutter” course at the recommendation of a fellow writer, and as soon as she began offering Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar, I was intrigued. I appreciate her honesty, encouragement and her openness. She has a way of seeing things that you can’t see for yourself and is a whiz at breaking bigger dreams into manageable chunks that will get you to where you want to be faster than you thought possible.

I had a very tough few years and have been wanting to get my “oomph” back. Well, with Deb’s help, I’ve found it again! My husband agrees with my assessment and has seen a noticeable change in me since working with Deb. To quote him, “I don’t care how much it costs, keep working with her, because it’s working!”

Rachel B. Kain, Writer & So Much More

Need a Life Coach?

Are you looking for some support, accountability, and just the right motivation to move forward? Life coaching can help with that!

I have space for two new clients this summer. Is one of those spots yours?

Check out my coaching packages

(or email me to set up a free consultation to see if we're a good fit)

You Won't Be Sorry

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, Artist

Awareness is Worth It!

If you want to create and live a life you love, then you need to dig into who you are and what you really want. It’s all about the mighty power of self-awareness! 

To be honest, it isn't always fun to do, yet it's worth the effort.

Read 18 Powerful Ways Improving Your Self-Awareness Creates The Life You Want over at YourTango

Unbelievable Difference

Working with Deb for just a few months has made an unbelievable difference in my life.

With her encouragement, I made major progress on clearing the clutter in my physical life as well as in my emotional life, which paved the way toward creating a new vision for the life I want to live now.

Deb has an easy conversational style, rational down-to earth wisdom, and a warm sense of humor.

She got right to the heart of the things holding me back from living my best life, and has given me sound principles and practices I can carry forward into the future.

For the first time in a long time I feel excited about my life, and I have Deb to thank for that!

-Becca Rowan, Author

Create Your Vision

Tired of feeling as if you’re just surviving your own life? Take charge of your existence and thrive!

In Clearing Soul Clutter: Creating Your Vision, you'll find a series of 30 intuitive lessons, you’ll learn how to envision a nourishing life and make your dreams come true. It’s time to stop letting life happen to you and start doing something about it.

If you like challenging new ideas, actionable teaching, and caring guidance, then you’ll love this life-changing book.

Order via Amazon or if you are in the US, you can order directly from me.

(I'm also offering a special combo of Clearing Soul Clutter & Clearing Brain Clutter)

Muse & Cheerleader

I believe everyone could benefit from a good life coach. Yes, everyone. Even (and especially) other coaches! Debra is a coach who models what she encourages in her clients—deep soul searching, practical living skills, and solid business sense. Whether you’re new to exploring personal growth or someone who assists others along their own paths, Debra offers a style that meets you where you are.

Personally, I’ve done a ton of my own transformational work and continue to explore new pathways every day. While I wish I could say that I have ‘arrived,’ there really is no such destination for a lifelong learner like me or probably you. Debra is a friend and mentor who helps keep me on task, shed light on my blind spots, and untangle the stuck places that I can’t quite tackle on my own.

Throughout the time we’ve worked together, she’s nudged me forward with just the right amount of force and given me space to grieve my losses and celebrate my victories. She’s more than a coach. She’s a muse and cheerleader, and I am immensely grateful to have her on my team.

Kayce S. Hughlett – Life Coach & Author

Your Heart's Desire

Are you ready to finally know what you want out of life? Discover the unique path to your own heart and soul.

By taking 30 days to dive into your heart’s desires, you can learn how to overcome your highly-stressed life to connect to your deepest wants and needs. Clearing Brain Clutter: Discovering Your Heart's Desire is perfect for people who truly want to reclaim their lives for purpose and passion.

If you like actionable advice, effective workbooks, and crystal-clear guidance on what’s holding you back, then you’ll love this book.

Order via Amazon or if you are in the US, you can order directly from me.

(I'm also offering a special combo of Clearing Soul Clutter & Clearing Brain Clutter)


Your advice has always been spot on…….from helping me see how important it is to be thankful for my blessings to helping me remove physical and emotional clutter from my life. I am actually the most grateful for the times when you have spoken the truth in love and been honest with me when I wanted to continue to delude myself. Without those wise words, I would have continued to lie to myself and not had the breakthroughs I have experienced.

I’m not all I want to be yet but I would have ever found my path had I not met and worked with you. Thank you for your efforts in helping me find my life. I am forever in your debt.

~Basil Human, Engineer, Chief Operating Officer, Writer

Allow Yourself to Receive Help

For the love of yourself, please know that you do not have to do everything alone. It’s ok to admit you can’t do everything. Even if you can do everything on your own, you don’t have to. Help comes in many forms

Read About 13 Key times to Let Others Give You A Hand over at Attract the One
Copyright © 2018 Debra Smouse - Create a Life You Love, All rights reserved.

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