10 Questions

10 Questions with Anna McElearney

 September 17, 2020

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Hello, this is Uriah from Productive Therapist, and this is 10 Questions with a wonderful therapist and coach, Anna McElearney. Enjoy.

Hi. I am so delighted to be on this podcast! My name is Anna McElearney, and I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed professional counselor. And I’m also a coach. And what I love about my profession is that in my clinical practice, I work specifically with couples. I’m a couple therapist and I also, in my coaching practice, coach newly-graduated therapists and newly-licensed therapists. I help coach around self-care.

Self-care is a passion coaching area of mine because I remember when I was in graduate school, learning about self-care was something that was very briefly talked about.

And again, this was a long time ago when I was in graduate school for my therapy program, but it was over 10 years or so ago. And so maybe they’re doing it differently now. But when I was in school, it was touched on from the aspect of making sure that you create self-care routines, make sure you schedule in time in your calendar to care for yourself, take lunch breaks, and those types of things.

But I just knew that there was a whole – that barely scratched an itch, basically. And so throughout my years, as my life has evolved personally and professionally, self-care has been something that has started to evolve and what it means and what it looks like in my life. And so what I’ve started working toward through my coaching practice is helping new therapists or experienced therapists, for that matter, in the emotional side of the caring for themselves as they are juggling so many different hats: their professional life hats and their personal life hats.

That is why I just love it.

I love being a coach and I love being a therapist, working with couples, seeing couples when they come in and if they stay committed to the therapy process, watching how they’ve grown through their relationship together.

So what are one or two things that I always do in the morning? Well, when I’m recording this, we are well into COVID and it’s September, so now kiddos are going back to school.

So, you know, my day and my morning look a lot different than it has in the past. But there are one or two things that I always do every morning that have not changed.

And that’s when I wake up. I give my little boy and my husband a big, big hug, and then I drink some water and then I go for the coffee. Those three things are must.

And then if I have a little bit more of an awareness, it’s like the morning fog is kind of lifted, after my coffee, I go and I start opening up the windows, get some natural sunlight into the home, and then I try to make my bed. That’s something that I’m actually putting a lot of intention and thought behind these days. I’ve read a lot and heard a lot about people and they talk about how the effects of making the bed each morning and how that can be very uplifting and helping your productivity.

And that simple act has changed things for me just a little bit.

But it’s enough to help kind of bring in a little more light in areas where sometimes I might need that on some mornings, especially right now as we’re still battling the pandemic and kiddos are going to school. And it can sometimes be just a very unknown time right now, so that helps. Those are one to two things that I always do, I can say. And then the making of the bed is something I’m striving to do most days.

But one other thing that I do every day in the morning within the first 60 to 90 minutes is that I do some type of workout.

And that also leads me to the next question about my go-to drink or snack for productive energy. So what I usually do for that is a smoothie. I try to make it as packed with a bunch of things as possible, dSo they’re not really like the greatest tasting smoothie in the world, but they’re good enough that there’s a lot of healthy vegetables and fruits that are in there! And so I’m starting my day off to a healthy start in a good boost after some type of workout that I do.

So the next question is, what does a very productive day look like for you?

Well, this is such a great question. And if I would have been answering this prior to COVID, it probably would have looked a lot different or sounded a lot different than it does today now that we are in COVID and we’re starting school. Our school days are online now because that’s how we’re starting school right now.

And so a very productive day for me is really slowing down a little bit more, quite honestly, and focusing more on the absolute “have to” so that my son is getting what he needs for his educational needs and then from there tending to my own personal self-care and what do I need as far as my own nourishment for the day, what I’m putting into my body for nourishment and then also into my mind to help center me for the day so that I’m able to be present for all that I have going on throughout the rest of the day, and also so that I can care for myself while I’m caring for my family and also for others, my clients, whether that’s in my therapy practice or in my coaching practice.

So I think right now, very productive for me is actually more focused specifically on self-care so that then I can care and be present for others right now.

So my favorite way to rest and recover would a great question. And it’s two-pronged for me. One, of course, is to spend it outdoors or anywhere really that I really enjoy being outside with my family.

And the other way is something just for me, which is I love to watch all the Bravo Housewives shows. I love all of them. So that’s kind of what I do when I have time.

Oftentimes it’s spent, you know, catching up because I can’t ever watch them when they’re happening, but I do really enjoy them. 🙂

And the next one is, am I a Mac or a PC person and why?

I’m a Mac person. I think I used to be at one point a PC person, but I got turned on to Mac because my husband started using Mac and then we started becoming like a Mac family.

All the products we started having were or Mac and it just kind of migrated that way. So I think I’m more Mac by default now, but I was a PC person at one point in time. What a fun question. 🙂

And the next one is what is one of the best business books I’ve read?

So this is something, I’m currently reading some business books, but also, earlier on in my career, one business book that was really helpful was a book (and I don’t know if I’m remembering the exact title because I know there’s been new editions), but it’s the Paper Office.

This book, really it’s not like a book or you read to learn about business. What it is, is a book that can help you if you’re just starting out in private practice with forms creating your own content related to all of your forms. So your intake form, your consent form, all types of forms to have a productive private practice.

So I found this very helpful as I was starting out in my therapy practice.

So hopefully that’s helpful to anyone listening that’s just starting out and needing a place to begin their journey.

If I was a hot sauce, would spice level, would I be one to ten, ten being the hottest?

So I would probably be like eight, maybe seven, eight-ish. I love hot sauce. I love all things spicy and hot, but I like it to the point where it’s still palatable for me. If it’s too hot, then it’s not enjoyable, but I like it just the right amount. So for me, probably seven or an eight.

Where can people find out more about me?

So you can go to my website. My therapy website is counselingwithanna.com, but my coaching website is selfcaretodaytomorrow.com and there you can reach me.

You can also hear a podcast. I created a self-care podcast where we talk about all things self-care and what that means to different people and how to start creating some rituals and routines for yourself around your own nurturing and self-care.

So that’s that selfcaretodaytomorrow.com, and you can reach out to me there. And you can also listen to the podcast on that site as well.

And the bonus question, what’s one of my best tips for success and happiness?

Honestly, as I’m getting older and I’m just getting a little bit more experienced with my life and how I am in my life, one of my best tips for success and happiness is trying to be present more and more each day because as I’m starting to recognize, each day is so precious and being more present to really fully embrace all that’s available to us in the present moment, and truly that’s all we have.

And also building gratitude into our day. I think those are my best tips for success.

Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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