Who Is Cheering You On These Days?

Even though I was raised in team sports, it was not until much later in life that I truly valued the tribe of women in my corner. Where in my teenage years to late 30s I had a few women who I truly believed had my best interest at heart, in my 40s that circle is widening – even as I am becoming more discerning.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/leaninorg/

Healthy relationships are part of the Mental Well-being pillar of Sustainable Productivity. I want to share a few women who have been cheering on my writing by sharing with their tribe. I want you to think about those in your circle. Who has taken time to brag about you, share your victories, and asked – and really wanted to know – how you are doing lately?

Here are a few of mine.

Learning new things always includes a learning curve. But social media for this middle aged introvert? Get outta here. So when Brooke Turbyfill asked me to test out Instagram Live interviews?

But alas, I swung for the fences and had fun – and learned something along the way! You can check it out here.

Then I had an opportunity to guest post on Sarah Butterfield “Out of Place” series. You can find my piece on “Ditching Perfection to Find Belonging” on Sarah’s website.

I hope that this inspires you to life someone else up and to look around you to see if you need to be more particular about your relationships. If you can’t find a cheerleader, come find me – I am rooting for you.

By |2021-04-06T13:17:26-04:00April 6th, 2021|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Compromise That Actually Works

Although I am an adult who understands life is not fair, I am desperate for compromise that actually works. In general I feel the way Larry David does in Curb Your Enthusiasm, “A good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied.”

I often field questions about how Sustainable Productivity can work in real life. I will bring you examples from real life – mine and my clients – in order to show how you can use the 3-step Sustainable Productivity model to create a life you don’t need to escape. I started wondering if I could find compromise that actually worked by using Sustainable Productivity in relationships.

The Background

When Bixby and I first started sharing a toothpaste tube, we had 2 adults, 2 kids, 4 Labs and 2 cats sharing 1100 square feet of house. We adapted the best we could – except for Bluesy, the cat. He moved out and adopted the neighbors after all 4 dogs had him cornered in the living room one day. To be fair, Bluesy generally started it.

But the rest of us did the best with what we had. The kids decided to sleep in one room and have the other as a playroom. Bixby and I purged mercilessly to bring two full households into one. This was Sustainable Productivity at its best – decide where the pain points are and make small, sustainable changes over time.

The Pain Point

Until one day when Bixby lost it. Over the toothpaste tube. He decided this was not something that could continue lifelong.

You see, in every couple, there is one who squeezes the toothpaste from the bottom and one who squeezes from the middle. There is a hilarious Instagram thread where my favorite couple Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach battle this issue.

My name is Susan S., and I am a middle squeezer.

Admitting my problem was truly only the first step.

I tried to change to squeeze from the bottom. It was not sustainable – I would forget or be tired at night and not care. I would be petty and grumpy and squeeze from the middle on purpose.

He tried to change and ignore my egregious behavior. It was not productive. You can only stuff your feelings down so many times before there is a blow up.

The Adjustment

They say marriages break up over dumb things. That seemed like a drastic adjustment to make for a toothpaste tube problem, but we could not continue with this pebble in the shoe of our marriage. The pain point was the tube. If we could make an adjustment about the tube, we would solve the problem before it grew into a bigger issue like, “You never listen to me” or “You know what bothers me and do it on purpose.”

So we bought a 2nd tube. Bixby kept his neat, tidy squeezed-from-the-bottom tube in his gross, messy drawer. I kept my blurt-from-the-middle tube in my Marie Kondo-eque box organized drawer.

Evaluate Progress

And we lived happily ever after. After meeting on Match.com 14 years ago and being quarantined together for 12 months, we are still each other’s weirdos.

By |2021-03-13T15:36:07-05:00March 16th, 2021|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Your Diet is More Than What You Eat

I think we all agree that it is important to consume healthy food to have a healthy life, but your diet is more than what you eat. Let’s look at how what we consume can impact whether or not we have healthy relationships.

Similar to the way nutrients from food fuel your body’s functions, the messages from the media and people you surround yourself with fuel your mental, emotional, and spiritual functions. Here are three examples, plus some questions to ask yourself to see if you might need to make some adjustments in your consumption.

Social media

Your diet is more than what you eat – it is the media you consume. Social media is the first part. Many studies have explored whether more frequent use of social media is associated with various mental health concerns, including depression, body image concerns / disordered eating, and externalizing problems. Reportedly almost half of teens admitted to using their mobile device within five minutes of going to sleep, and 36% report checking their devices at least once in the middle of the night. This does not lead to productive sleep.

Adults are not much better – when is the last time you went more than an hour without checking your device? Do you pick up your phone to greet the day before greeting your spouse? This pattern is not sustainable.

Healthy relationships are a component of Mental Well-being, a pillar of Sustainable Productivity. Connection is a key to healthy relationships and you cannot connect if you are buried in your device. Look up, look around, look your friends and family in the eye and have a conversation. You might be surprised at what you find and how things improve.

What we consume impacts our healthy relationships

Regular media

The second part is traditional media. Network and cable TV, podcasts, radio shows, streaming services, newspapers, tabloid magazine… not to mention the “news” channels. The amount of media content today is staggering. We complain about not having time for hobbies, self-care, or other priorities and healthy habits, yet we do seem to have time to spend on media. Especially as we age. The average American watches almost 4 1/2 hours of TV each day. This almost doubles in the 65+ age range.

too much TV can have a negative impact on healthy relationships

Source: https://www.statista.com/chart/15224/daily-tv-consumption-by-us-adults/

Are you spending 270 minutes each day watching content that feeds your soul? Is that sustainable for you? Are you satisfied with how much media you are consuming in a day? How does that impact your mental health?

It might be time to make a list of what you could do instead. Read, sports/exercise, craft, garden, take online lectures or see what your library offers, organize your home, play games/cards – the list is really endless. Start with a literal list on paper (or your phone or computer) of a few ideas. As you hear about interesting classes / concerts / ideas – jot them down. You can create a menu of choices to pick from when you feel yourself turning to the TV.


Your diet is more than what you eat – it is who you spend your time with. As mentioned before, healthy relationships are a component of Mental Well-being, a pillar of Sustainable Productivity. But let me give you some tough love – some people in your world are energy vampires. There are other people you spend time with because you feel like you should, or you always have. It doesn’t have to be like that. If the people in your life are not feeding your soul, consider why it is that you feel you need to continue spending time with that person.

Do you feel drained when you come home from spending time with a certain person? Are there relationships where you feel like you are making more of an effort than the other person? During quarantine, have you been relieved you have not had to interact with certain people?

It might be time to let these relationships go. Different relationships are in our lives for different seasons. If the season has ended consider if this is time to move on.

What small adjustment are you willing to make today related to consumption?


McCrae N, Gettings S, Purssell E. Social media and depressive symptoms in childhood and adolescence: A systematic review. Ado-lesc Res Rev. 2017;2(4):315-330. 12.

Holland G, Tiggemann M. A systematic review of the impact of the use of social networking sites on body image and disordered eating outcomes. Body Image. 2016;17:100-110. doi: 10.1016/j.body-im.2016.02.008

Rideout V, Robb MB. Social Media, Social Life. San Francisco, CA: Common Sense Media; 2018. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/2018_cs_socialmedia-sociallife_executivesummary-final-release_3_lowres.pdf. Published 2018.

By |2020-09-22T06:45:54-04:00September 22nd, 2020|Mental Well-being|0 Comments
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