Mental health therapist/consultant
Wife to john, Mommy to sons Gavin (7) and Mason (4)
Between owning her own business and her many volunteer roles, life can certainly get busy for Lauren DePaola. however, family and her own personal health always come first for her, which she believes allows her to be an even better clinician for her clients.
What does your typical workday look like?
I’m up at 6 a.m. to get ready before my children wake up for school. I drop the boys off at school then head to my of ce. I see counseling clients from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and t in volunteer work for my other positions locally and statewide in any free moments during the day. Admittedly you will nd me some nights after everything else is done dedicating more time toward advocacy work. On Wednesdays, I am thankful to be invited to offer client sessions at the North Florida Women’s Physicians and Midwives of ces. My practice specializes in reproductive mental health with a focus on the perinatal timeframe, including pregnancy, postpartum and perinatal loss. As the owner of a small business, the many other responsibilities to keep my practice running, in addition to the counseling piece, are included in my typical day/week.
How do you balance work life and family life?
I don’t. Instead I arrange my roles in priorities; work and family are not equal roles to balance. My family and my personal health must come first as my top priorities. I try my best to frequently revisit my priority list because it is easy to lose focus. I only see clients during typical business hours to keep my priority on my family after hours and on the weekends. I encourage my clients to examine the priorities of whatever “season” of life they are presently in, and I try my best to do the same. I want to be available for my young children’s extracurricular activities and eld trips, and I am blessed and thankful to have the flexibility to do so. I also take a couple days off from work about every eight to 10 weeks to refresh and recharge so I can be as effective a mental health clinician as possible for my clients.
What advice would you give other working parents?
To examine your expectations of yourself in this “season.” Take the time to adjust those expectations as needed so that you can put your priority on caring for yourself. Then you can continue to put effort into your other roles and priorities. Give yourself permission to let go of the lie of perfection and the need to say “yes” all of the time.
What sacrifices/compromises have you had to make?
My natural tendency is to say “yes” when opportunity presents itself. This can throw priorities off and lead to exhaustion and less than my best in the areas I feel truly passionate about. Learning to let opportunities, even when they appear good, pass by to save space and energy for the very best fit is a learning process. I’ve also sacrificed financially to be self-employed. Owning a business is both the hardest and most rewarding job I’ve had other than parenthood.
When and how do you make time for yourself?
I try not to go more than two days without exercise. Recently I’ve added in short walks outside if I have extra time in between clients. Prayer and listening to devotional podcasts and music on my drive to and from work are a special part of my self-care. Quiet time, time with friends and adequate sleep are also very important parts of taking care of myself. It has become increasingly important to keep solid boundaries with technology.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
My parents. I’m blessed to have stepparents as well. All have made an impact on the person I am today. My mom passed away suddenly when I was 20, yet the con dence and values she instilled in me have continued to serve me well. My dad has been instrumental in my faith in God and has helped me understand that we aren’t called to be perfect as Christians, but instead reliant on a perfect God. My family keeps me accountable and helps me refocus on the most important parts of life.
Who are your biggest supporters?
My husband, kids, extended family and friends. I’m so thankful for the patience my husband has with me in spearheading a business and working toward local and statewide movement for improving the perinatal mental health landscape.
Finish this sentence: I hope that I have taught my children …
the perfect love and forgiveness of God and carrying out His direction of showing loving kindness to others, no matter their differences. Don’t take yourself too seriously; enjoy life.
If you had a day all to yourself, what would you do?
Go to the beach and just BE there — grab food and a margarita when the feeling moves me and have zero timeframes or constraints looming.
What is your go-to breakfast?
Coffee and eggs or a granola bar.
What is your coffee order?
Medium iced coffee with some vanilla flavoring and cream. I’ve recently started to like coconut milk with iced coffee, too. When we have colder weather I like hot coffee with a flavored creamer.
What is your must-have work tech item?
My phone and laptop seem to handle it all so far, but I learn something new every day in terms of technology!
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
To add an extra hour to the day when I need it! Despite best efforts, some days there just isn’t enough time to get my list of to-dos done.
Which TV character most resembles you? Why?
My husband and I joke that we share some similarities with Doug and Carrie from “King of Queens.” The ways we are opposite seem to balance each of us out.