Podcast Episode: Mental Health Awareness Month With Jennifer Carota

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States? Mental health is something that I really think more of us need to be talking about, specifically in the small business arena. And these days, I’m also a lot more open and honest about the hard stuff about small business. In May, last year, I had a really incredible and eye-opening conversation with Laurel Harlan, a licensed therapist and cookie business owner, on the podcast. So, when Jennifer Carota, who is also a mental health professional, contacted me this year, I was particularly excited because it’s very rare to find somebody who wears these two hats.

Jennifer is from Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, in the United States. She is a licensed professional counselor and she owns a business called The Counseling House, which is a group practice, not far from Pittsburg. The Counseling House is dedicated to providing mental health counseling services to individuals and families in a comfortable, nurturing, and home-like environment and Jennifer has a whole bunch of people in her practice, who can help a whole lot of us out. She has professional counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists. The really cool thing is that Jennifer also owns a cheesecake company, called The Cheesecake Fairy. Baking is Jennifer’s therapy. It’s her self-care and it keeps her sane and centered, and so it accidentally became a business. The Cheesecake Fairy is largely a wholesale company that makes elegantly upscaled cheesecakes in a jar. Because Jennifer is both a mental health professional and a cheesecake fairy she is totally my people! Tune in today, to find out how to cope when things start getting a bit too much for you to deal with.

Show Highlights:

  • If you don’t take care of yourself, it will begin to affect your business, because you can’t separate yourself from your business, no matter how hard you try.
  • Baking is Jennifer’s therapy and it keeps her sane and centered.
  • Jennifer explains how a licensed professional counselor became the Cheesecake Fairy.
  • Although Jennifer went to graduate school and got her master’s degree and her license, she always had a nagging feeling in her belly that there was something that she still needed to be doing.
  • Jennifer found it stressful to be responsible for the livelihoods of four or five of her team members, as well as taking care of her clients.
  • When things got stressful at the Counseling House Jennifer started playing around with cheesecakes again.
  • Jennifer explains how she finds the time to run two businesses.
  • Baking cheesecakes really created a new, healthier routine for Jennifer.
  • Jennifer’s cheesecakes are in jars and they’re the perfect portion size, so it’s easy not to over-indulge in them.
  • Jennifer makes both sweet and savory cheesecakes.
  • Jen explains how she finds balance and keeps sane amid the chaos of so many competing priorities.
  • How slowing down and being more assertive in communicating has really helped Jennifer.
  • How chaos expands and creates anxiety.
  • Separating yourself from your situation can really give you a clear perspective.
  • Jennifer gives some of the warning signs that things are starting to get out of control. Prevention is the best intervention.
  • Getting off the treadmill and making more manageable choices.
  • Creativity resides in that mindful space.
  • It’s really worth the effort of reaching out and checking up on people.
  • What to do if you’re just not feeling yourself.
  • Making better choices for yourself.
  • How much should you put on social media?
  • Looking at your patterns can help you work out if you’re just feeling a bit blue, or if you’re actually suffering from depression.
  • Paying attention to how you are really feeling.
  • You can have conflicting emotions about the same thing at the same moment.
  • The importance of maintaining great emotional hygiene.
  • Choose very carefully what you focus on.

“May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe, and may you be at peace.” – From the guided meditation in the Calm App. (www.calm.com)

Links:

www.thecounselinghouse.com  (Jen’s Counseling)

www.beginagainwithjen.com  (Jen’s Coaching)

www.thecheesecakefairy.com(Jen’s Cheesecaking)

Jen wrote a blog post for this episode: https://thecheesecakefairy.com/whats-new/f/top-five-sanity-savers-for-cakers-and-bakers

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