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When Martha Stewart went to jail in 2004 for lying about selling a stock sale, she did what only Martha Stewart would do; she made friends with her inmates, taught them how to make ceramics, after she learned it in prison herself, and made jam out of the crab apple trees on the prison grounds.

In other words, when life gave Martha lemons, she made lemonade. She may not be perfect (who is, right?) and yet, she’s a testament to the power of perseverance. In fact, the popular show, “Orange is the New Black” is based on her time in prison.

Last Sunday evening life threw Sonoma County, California some lemons in the form of wildfires spreading so thick and fast and coming towards our home that we were packed up and ready to evacuate. Many of our friends lost their homes, along with hundreds of others and by Monday, the smoke was so thick, we closed our windows and sat quietly in prayer awaiting our evacuation orders.

By Tuesday, we still hadn’t received word from the city to leave. The wind started to change direction (thank you ocean breezes) moving away from us and leaving our town of Sebastopol untouched.

As a highly sensitive person with a highly sensitive nervous system I instantly began to pick up on the collective fear emerging from the area and I, too, felt panicked and fearful, even after I knew we were safe. The “what ifs” began to play in my head round the clock, along with a deep sadness for those affected by the fires.

Then something happened. I decided to stop engaging with the fear (not an easy task when you’re in the midst of a crisis like this) and stay positive.

I’m talking about the badass kind of positivity that banishes negative thoughts and takes some serious discipline.

This meant turning down the volume on Facebook, sending love and healing to the area over and over again, and changing my thoughts when they started down the rabbit hole of despair. I felt better.

​I’m now stronger and feeling more positive about helping the community rebuild.

“Why am I sharing this story with you today?” You ask.

I started thinking about how life might throw you lemons (like the everyday kind of lemons) when you have consistent hard days of treating your patients in all kinds of pain including the physical and emotional traumas of a wildfire natural disaster like ours. How do you stay positive, healthy and strong and then help your patients do the same?

Your patient-centered healthcare environment is your partner in helping keep things calm during the stress of life.

Here’s what the evidence shows:

✔️ When you walk into your waiting room with beautiful blue walls, you instantly feel calm.
✔️ When your patient walks into your waiting room that looks and feels like a living room at home, their brain recognizes this as a familiar place and the cortisol flooding their body suddenly stops.
✔️ When your staff walks into your office filled with plants, their mood instantly improves. They know they are in a special place where their work family cares.

Your welcoming and friendly office might be the only stop on your patient’s to do list that brings waves of comfort during stressful times.

Your work matters and your space does too.

If you’ve been feeling the urge to paint a wall, buy some new plants or ________ (fill in the blank) for your waiting room, and you have no idea what color to choose, what plants to buy or how to begin the process, I wrote a book that can help.

The Waiting Room Cure: The healthcare practitioner’s guide to transforming the waiting room into a nurturing and highly-profitable referral magnet has over 100 waiting room images that show you exactly what to do and how.

Learn more here:

Feel my (lemon) squeeze,