State of Mind with Debra Sloss
State of Mind with Debra Sloss
Building Resilience: What’s Your Soul Food? – Part 2

Episode #43: This month we take a deeper dive into the question “What’s Your Soul Food?“ We continue to explore the many ways our listeners take care of their bodies and minds. We’ll learn more about how these self-care practices help us work through traumas and find resilience when facing life’s challenges. In this episode, we’ll hear from a new group of community members about the soul food practices that they have found to nourish themselves. Joining your host Debra Sloss is psychotherapist and trauma specialist Kara Bowman. Together they discuss how self-care supports mental and physical health. If you like what you hear in this episode, be sure to check out Episode 42, Part 1 in the Building Resilience series to hear more on this topic! We hope that these two episodes will help you expand and relish your own soul food buffet!

Broadcast: 6/5/22 & 6/13/22

Special thanks  to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production, Jennifer Young for research and outreach, Leslie Nielsen for outreach and Izzy Weisz for marketing. And thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing, and donating the use of our theme music.

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Sound Bites & Resources from Contributors
Michael – Listen to audio here: Dedicated to helping others be their best selves as a law enforcement officer in our local jails, upon retirement he unexpectedly found a new way to bring out his best self….on the dancefloor!  He welcomes you to join him and fellow dancers to tap into this joyful elixir of life.

Michael Lew teaches Country Western Line Dancing in two locations:
Mid County Senior Center, 829 Bay Ave., in Capitola on Tuesdays from 5pm to 6pm Jade Street Park, 4400 Jade Street, Capitola on Thursday from 7:15 to 8:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to come and experience the fun of dancing!

Andrea – Listen to audio here: On the other side of decades of an eating disorder, substance abuse, and debilitating anxiety and depression, this psychotherapist leans on nature (and visualizations of nature), crafting gifts, and intentional laughter through laughter yoga as her soul foods.

Free Guided Insight Timer Meditations – by Andrea Wachter. Scroll past the first row to find the many no-cost guided meditations led by Andrea.

Anxiety Management, Overeating and Body Relationship Courses – offered and taught by Andrea Wachter.

Annie – Listen to audio here: Working in the mental health field and dealing with bipolar disorder and depression, all kinds of yoga is her soul food, bringing her relaxation with synchronous breath and movement and flexibility of body and mind. She’s so grateful for her friend introducing her to yoga 11 years ago!

Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube – A free YouTube channel with calming videos tutorials for yoga. An easy and free way to do yoga in your own home. – A website with hundreds of free and high-quality guided exercise videos that vary in type of exercise, body focus, and length. This whole-person focused site also includes recipes, easy to read articles about health and wellbeing written by experts, and mindfulness videos.

CA Peer-Run Warmline24/7 phone number and online chat for emotional support, staffed by people with lived experience with mental health challenges.

National Alliance for Mental Illness – Santa Cruz County Chapter — Provides free information, education classes, and support groups and does advocacy work helping those with loved ones with mental illness.

Carol– Listen to audio here: Grateful that somehow later in life she has learned to prioritize self-carerather than distract with busyness or succumb to the storms.  Her commitment to self-care makes her more emotionally available to her adult son who is recovering from a recent mental illness episode and together they share soul foods of hiking, emoting, talking, and meditating.

Kelly – Listen to audio here: This empty nester with a new physical limitation reached out to find new soul foods during the pandemic.  It took creativity, a little splurging, and persistence, but now she has a steady diet of soul food.

Yvette – Listen to audio here: For decades this artist has found a variety of art forms that help her be with her emotions and thoughts and opens her to her options and coping skills.  She has learned to trust in the dance of her mind, heart, and hand. Teaching others how to find their creative confidence is another soul food born out of her art.

Sheila – Listen to audio here: While lovingly tending, anticipating, and harvesting the many gifts of her garden…texture, color, design, delicious treats for her and friends…this gardener’s aches, fears, and loneliness fade away.

Connor – Listen to audio here: For this soul food foodie nothing can beat donuts and coffee on a nature walk with a friend for this.  Well, except maybe driving with a friend, listening to music, and savoring a gourmet sandwich at a nearby town.


Debra’s Resources:

Greater Good Magazine – Research based stories, tools, tips and classes for building social and emotional well–being.

AllTrails – A website where you can find a list of and maps for 68 scenic trails in the Santa Cruz area for hiking, biking, trail running, exploring or other outdoor activities. Or search for trails in any other area.

Trauma and the Nervous System: A Polyvagal Perspective– a 9–minute video explaining how our nervous systems work, how and why they can become dysregulated and describes ways to settle and regulate your nervous system for improved mental and physical health.

Debra’s Quick Reads:

Volunteering/Service: What We Get When We Give

Play: Play Doesn’t End with Childhood: Why Adults Need Recess Too

Music: Music and Brain Health

Nature: Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health

Awe: Eight Reasons Why Awe Makes Your Life Better

Laughter: Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review & How Does Humor Affect Mental Health?

Kara’s Resources

Self–Care Is Important: Why Is It So Hard to Practice?– Article by F. Diane Barth, LCSW

What Is Self–Care & Why Is Caring About Yourself Important? Article by Katherine Hurst that mentions the five kinds of self–care.

275 Self Care Ideas  Article by S.J. Scott / February 28, 2022 – A list of ideas for self–care divided into categories for emotional, mental, physical, pleasure, sensory, social and spiritual.

InterPlay – An active, creative way to unlock the wisdom of the body. Classes are online or in person in Aptos.

Calm or Headspace – Phone apps with audio guided meditations and visualizations. Both include audios for sleep.

NVC Santa Cruz – Classes and tools for building deeper, more authentic connection with others as well as with ourselves.

Diet and Depression, Harvard Heath Publishing – Article that discusses why diet is an important component of mental health.

Laughter Yoga – Find Laughter Yoga Santa Cruz on

Research Cited – A complete list with references.


Santa Cruz County Department of Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services –Provides parks, coastal access points, trails, and cultural and recreational programs for all ages throughout the unincorporated county. Come be active, explore, learn, play and connect where our diverse natural and cultural resources are celebrated and protected for generations to come!  To find a park or trail to explore or a class or program to enjoy in our biannual activity guide, visit

Family Service Agency (FSA) of the Central Coast is a dedicated underwriter of State of Mind. FSA provides resources, support, and counseling services to adults and children.  FSA believes in the power and potential of people of all ages and backgrounds to discover their own creative solutions and welcomes people of diverse cultures, genders, sexual orientations, ages, faiths, socio–economic backgrounds.  FSA Counseling Offices offer Medi–Cal, Medicare, and low–cost, sliding scale services in both downtown Santa Cruz 831–423–9444 x200 and in Soquel 831–346–6767 x200.

Contact Guests:

Debra Sloss, LMFT

Kara Bowman, LMFT
Email:     Phone: (831) 219–8522