Thank you for joining me your host Liz Clifton and my wonderful take34u Self Care Series: Creating Calm Confidence Guest Stephanie Lau as we share selfcare secrets, top tips and stories of our experiences.

It's an absolute pleasure to support you with your own self-care journey as you take34u and enjoy our chat below:

Stephanie Lau & Liz Clifton Interview

Stephanie Lau
FEMA Crisis Counselor at Care Hawaii, Meditation Coach / Exec Producer at Empower Your Mindset and Mindfulness Mentor at Access Mindfulness.

Stephanie Lau is a mindfulness-based coach and personal development writer. She left a career as an arts educator in order to focus on sharing her knowledge in mindfulness, meditation, and reiki healing modalities after recovering from domestic violence. In 2018, she trained with the nonprofit Access Mindfulness to help New York City schools and underserved communities live in more self-aware, compassionate, and mindful ways. Her mission is to help consciously-minded leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives transform blockages in their mind and relationships in order to feel more grounded, balanced, and purposeful.

Connect with her here:
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Stephanie Lau & Liz Clifton Interview Transcription:

Liz Clifton: Beautiful. So it is my absolute pleasure to welcome the wonderful Stephanie Lau FEMA crisis, counselor and meditation coach, and overall just amazing person welcome.  

Stephanie Lau: Thank you for having me and chatting.  

Liz Clifton: Oh, I thank you so much for being here. So my first question is what does self-care mean for you?  

Stephanie Lau: Self care means taking care of yourself. So that encompasses really understanding how you're feeling at any moment and just acknowledging it without trying to judge it or change it. And knowing that it's okay, that whatever you're feeling is natural and it is there for a reason. So even, you know, during those times when you feel down, for me that means, oh, I get to take care of myself even more because I haven't been in the past. so really just whatever that means. So it could be if I'm feeling anxious or worried, just like getting support or just really nourishing myself and finding ways to do that. Or it could be, if it's like sort of like a boredom type of like routine repetitive feeling, it would be to take care of myself through doing things I love. Or just being in places I love or talking to someone I love. So just figuring out what the balance is needed and course correcting is what self-care is and just to really love yourself. So do things that really show myself how much I care about me, whether that is, you know, enjoying a couple of bites of ice cream at the end of the day. Or making myself a cup of tea, just simple things that opening a window for fresh air. I feel like all that is forms of self-care and self-love and yeah, just appreciating yourself, you know.  

Liz Clifton: I love it. And I love that. The words that you're using nourishing yourself that save you to fall. And what kind of ways do you nourish yourself for yourself?  

Stephanie Lau: I just really liked to have a very clean space, not like super clean, but so making sure everything like my bed is made. My, like, you know, maybe even like a bubble bath, if I have time. Nourishing foods and surrounding myself with things that feel nourishing. So for instance, music. When I was, you know, moving a lot this past three months, I started listening to all this like really peaceful spiritual music. Just anything that felt calming. And that was very nourishing for me because my energy felt very, a little all over the place with all of the changes. So yeah, just doing that and then, self soothing. I feel like that is also very nourishing whenever I feel like, like I can't get ahold of someone, that I care about because you know, a lot of my friends and family don't live here. So doing things like that to, to really nourish myself is very wonderful. So yeah, food healthy, healthy eating, smoothies I love. And baking so I bake, like very healthy treats for myself. like gluten-free pancake mix mixed with like, you know, all these ingredients and then I bake it. So just all of that, you know. 

Liz Clifton: Ooh, that sounds delicious. I'm coming over.  

Stephanie Lau: Please. Please do I have much.  

Liz Clifton: And so do you on a day-to-day basis, do you find that you kind of consciously check in with yourself or is it something that just happens intuitively as you kind of move through things?  

Stephanie Lau: Yeah, I feel like I do try to check in with myself, especially when I have breaks. I try to understand like, what is, what do I have space for in the moment So luckily my job right now, there are a lot of spaces. So sometimes I write, sometimes I listen to a nourishing self development podcast or lecture online and all those things kind of remind me of who I am. Which is someone that's constantly evolving and growing and learning to take care of myself. So yeah, just, just really figuring out and finding those spaces for myself throughout the day. And even just at the end of the day, I might still be at work, but I'll still step outside with a book. And take, you know, 10 to 20 minutes to just read or breathe. And I just love doing that. So, yeah.  

Liz Clifton: Oooooh sounds beautiful, especially in your wonderful surroundings.  

Stephanie Lau: I know, I know it's very beautiful.  

Liz Clifton: So when you're checking in and, you know, you're doing that as you go through the day. Do you check in like emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually, or does that vary on like a day to day, moment by moment?  

Stephanie Lau: It does actually, because if I'm at work, I try not to check in too emotionally. Just so I can stay focused on my job and to understand what the other person needs. Like if I'm on a phone call with someone who needs support. but yeah, if I'm just like by myself, I definitely try to check in fully and just make space for myself. And so that's why I love weekends. that really allows me to like, reassess, like, okay, so how was my week. What exactly are my needs right now. And then just, you know, try to meet all those needs the best I can. So, yeah, I'm very grateful for, for being able to know how to do that. And then to actually allow myself to do that.  

Liz Clifton: Taking those moments and stuff comes up that you get to deal with. Do you have like a support network that you've built when you're looking for a little bit of extra self care?  

Stephanie Lau: I feel like I do. Yeah, I do have, you know, I took this amazing leadership course. So I have all of these lovely women and men in my life that I could just, you know, reach out to and tell them like I'm feeling a certain way. And then I also have my friends that I I'm in touch with relatively like every day, pretty much. So I know they would support me if I was in some sort of, you know, break down. B but yeah, I just, yeah, I just, I think the point is to, to realize when to ask for support. Because for me, I think it's easy for me to just be like, yeah, I can handle it myself. Versus realizing maybe I do need a little extra help this time. So just recognizing that. And then, so I think the shift would probably be to see if like recurring thought patterns, like if those thoughts are happening too long. Like to, if you're in a negative space for too long, maybe longer than a day, that is when it's important to get help. So yeah.  

Liz Clifton: I love that. And putting that kind of that time, limit on it that is really helpful, you know.  

Stephanie Lau: Yeah. But I feel like it's different for everyone. And, you know, so I think that was just like some things that I try to do though for myself.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. And I think that's great because you're right. So, okay. So definitely for everyone and the point at which we need support can be really different. So it may be like a day if it's a feeling or for some people, if it's a really intense feeling that time can be even shorter and then we get to reach out.  

Stephanie Lau: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. You never know. And you know, everyone's histories are different, so really understanding your history and understanding when you need support. I think that will actually set you up for success and overall just wellness in general and that self love. So yeah.  

Liz Clifton: And all that and all about, like you said, just getting to know yourself, you know, and it's knowing the boundaries. And the different self care that says you the best, you know, in those different moments.  

Stephanie Lau: I know exactly. I mean, and just even learning about it. Like learning from here, learning from different podcasts and different classes. And how you can remember all these things, because I feel like the more, you know, the more tools you have at the ready. So then when you do have those moments of like doubt and indecisive, that you'll be able to draw on that. Because you already have it, you know.  

Liz Clifton: And so looking back over your own experience of self-care, do you recall where you first kind of became aware of self-care and what some of these firsts of activities or memories were?  

Stephanie Lau: Hmm, I don't necessarily recall, but I do remember there moments in my childhood where I just, I just had some sort of presence. Like I would, it would be a beautiful, like winter day. Cause I grew up in Wisconsin and in there would be snow on the ground and I would be in my, you know, winter outfit and I would just find something beautiful, which was like trees. Right. And I just laid on the snow and I looked up at the trees and I would just count the branches or look up at the sky. And I felt so cozy and at peace. And I think maybe my spirit was unknowingly giving the signals to like, Hey, there, it's just the nature through the sky through remembering the simple joys in life that are all around you. They're not that far away, simple as just walking outside, looking at the sky or a tree or looking in someone's eyes, you know, and just being present. So I think that presence has so much room for peace.  

Liz Clifton: That's beautiful. And I was right there with you in that snow, looking after the trees. Thank you for sharing that.  

Stephanie Lau: It's one of my favorite memories, very grateful for those little moments.  

Liz Clifton: When you think about like your most joyful times, is that one of those moments that you recall and could you share some others with us as well?  

Stephanie Lau: Oh, there's so many, I feel like just playing, allowing myself to be free until like live in the moment or my favorite moment. So, from like squirting my brother with the water gun and it's summer too. Yeah. Just like being out in nature at parks with friends and just like experiencing the park and the, the, the nature and just being, to like at work, I was, I used to be in the Screen Actors Guild. I just stopped being in it because I didn't want to pay. But, yeah, there was a moment where I was just running and I just decided, because it was like a big crowd scene and, we were just, they were just filming us as a crowd and I decided to like run all the way to the top and just like jump up and down and dance and be ridiculous. And that was one of my favorite moments because I was like, there's no, that we have no restrictions in this moment. We can literally do anything within reason. So I was just like, let's do it. And yeah, just like recognizing that inspiration, that inspiration in yourself and just running with it, that those are some of my happiest moments.  

Liz Clifton: That's beautiful I love it. And just that freedom just to be.  

Stephanie Lau: I know you have to, you have to let yourself go. It's not like I know like this is like one of my things that I'm working on and, and constantly thinking about lately is how to let myself be free to play, to be, to express. I think coming from a childhood of, you know, a lot of trauma kind of stifles that a little bit. And so understanding where that comes from and then recognizing it and then working with it and just knowing that we are safe. We're loved no matter what. So it's time whenever we're ready to, just to just go to just be.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. Just be content with where we are and who we are.  

Stephanie Lau: Exactly.  It's a continual process of learning and unlearning and you know, growth.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. And then relearning again, because we've grown and we've changed.  

Stephanie Lau: Exactly. And then like relearning the things we didn't think we needed to know again. But it's like, oh, we're reading it with new eyes and new insights. So it's always new. I think the more you, the more you evolve, everything kind of shifts around you.  

Liz Clifton: That's beautiful. And I think the more that we see and the deeper we feel. You know, the emotions be, they happy or sad, we see it more clearly.  

Stephanie Lau: Absolutely. And that it's so important to, you know, we are humans. And I think the more we can understand our emotions and, and allow ourselves to feel our emotion. The more we can actually have the capacity to experience life.  That's why self care is so important.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah awww completely. And as we take that self care for ourselves and we top ourselves up, we can go out and support other people so much better.  

Stephanie Lau: Absolutely. It like that, that filling your own tank. So you can fill others and be the light by modeling how it is. It's, you know, not trying to change other people, but being like, yeah, join me, you know.  

Liz Clifton: Come dance.  

Stephanie Lau: Perfect. I love that. I know. I think everyone needs to dance more these days. So healing.  

Liz Clifton: And freeing as well.  

Stephanie Lau: I know it shifts your energy and it gets you out of your head, into your body into just the moment.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. Yeah. And it's, I think it's, I mean, that for me is like a great starting point of self-care is just being in that moment. So people that perhaps are coming at self calf for the first time, or they're very new to it. Is there something that you'd recommend to, to start with?  

Stephanie Lau: Hmm. I love listening to audios. So maybe finding, like looking up self-care self-love inner child, audio is on YouTube or even like, Hey, how's the app. and also just affirmations talking to yourself in the mirror. And although my favorite is probably putting a hand on my heart and my belly and just telling wonderful things to myself, like, you know, I love you all as well. I'm safe and constantly just like holding myself in that way until I actually feel a shift of that. Love that nourishment. so yeah, just, just doing all these things, and then exercise eating right. Sleeping, all those things kind of works in cooperation for that self care.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. That's beautiful. Thank you so much.  

Stephanie Lau: Thank you for listening.  

Liz Clifton: My pleasure. It's so enlightening and it's amazing to hear how different people kind of view south cat and what their different experience of it is , you know, it's amazing because obviously we're all unique. We all take different things from it. I mean, you've got to draw, you know, in different areas, so it's beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.  

Stephanie Lau: Thank you. I'm happy to share and I hope that helps it.  

Liz Clifton: For sure. It does. And it's helped me, so it's  like the first step. Okay. And just as like a parting thing, is there anything actually that you would like to share with the audience  

Stephanie Lau: Yeah. Just remember to take it easy on yourself. We're in this together. You get to have support, you get to learn how to love yourself and yeah. And to know that you deserve to be loved and you get to love, and it is safe to love. Once you remember that you are loved and that, you know, it never goes away. It's always there. You just have to grab onto it sort of like an energy. So tap into that energy and go enjoy and be.  

Liz Clifton: That's beautiful and run free.  

Stephanie Lau: Run free.  

Liz Clifton: Have to pull back into that. Yeah.  

Stephanie Lau: Yeah. Constantly. Thank you.  

Liz Clifton: Oh, that's beautiful. Thank you so much for your time. You are amazing. And it's been an honor to speak to you.  

Stephanie Lau: Thank you so much. I love you. And I love speaking with you because you bring so much joy and love to the world. Thank you Liz.  

Liz Clifton: Thank you beautiful lady.