D.I.Y. Therapy

DIY Therapy: Biological Response of Love and Love of Self

Love is an emotion, a biological response that encourages species survival. With love, parents care for and protect their children and children care for their elderly parents. A love of self is also a biological response that encourages survival in personal self-care. So let’s strengthen the naturally occurring sense of self-love. with daily actions.

Create a daily routine of self-love. If necessary set three reminders per day. Saturating yourself with love in the early stages of healing or recovery will keep you from going down that unwanted, unhealthy space. Set the calendar on your phone to remind you. If you can’t do that, put sticky notes by your bed, at your desk, in your pockets, on the fridge, wherever you will see those. You can even do this with your friends and be support for each other.

When writing affirmations or love-notes your own voice and preferred words. Below are examples for you to use or build upon.

Morning Affirmation: 

“This morning I choose to love myself unconditionally. Today is a gift that I am ready to receive. I choose to let go of drama and anger. I will live this day in love and compassion. I am deserving of self-love.”

Afternoon Affirmation:

“Despite any negative thoughts so far today, I must remember to love myself unconditionally. I know that I am loved and supported by true friends and family. I also know that I am not here to be perfect, I am here to be myself.”

Evening Affirmation:

“Today I practiced self-love because I know that. I am loved, that I am capable of loving myself, and that I am made of love. I choose to celebrate my successes and to accept my failures. I go to sleep knowing deep in my bones that I am capable of creating my best life and that I can handle whatever comes my way.”

It was many years of practice, failure, and success to become a loving person to my self. It was even more years of stretching to share that love with others. Now that I am fully aware that I can be my own hero, I can hold space for others. I hope this inspires you to continue your journey until you also reach this awareness.

Peace and hugs, Leah

 If you desire extra support to stay on top of your self-care practice, check out my 3 month challenge: Dive Deeper Into Self-Care.

I’m an artist and writer with a focus on art therapy. If you would like to support my heart work, please consider becoming a monthly patron on Patreon.com/Loviedo. For $1 a month*, you can fund programs like my D.I.Y. Therapy: Healing Depression E-course, my monthly “Radical” e-zine and other free creative healing projects, like “Cultivating Radical Self-Love: A Collaboration of Healers, Artists & Writers“.

*You can also receive also receive art in the mail for a higher contribution.

D.I.Y. Therapy

D.I.Y. Therapy: Why is Regret so powerful??

Regret and remorse have been such powerful emotions in my life. These keep me stuck in the past, unable to move forward and enjoy my journey. I have an unhealthy habit of living in my head, in the past. Whether it’s something that happened a few days ago or years ago, some experiences have been difficult to release. I recently was mired in regret after allowing all the negatives of life to become more important than the positives.

One of my favorite cousins died, one of my sisters was in the hospital and a newer friend attempted suicide. This was on top of the stress I felt about more “simpler” problems. I felt sad, unloved and overwhelmed. And my reaction was all funneled directly to my closest friend. Basically I was a jerk. Of course in my head at the time this friend was at fault. I had built up every little thing they did and said into a mountain of hurt and I was the victim. I wallowed there so long that we didn’t talk for a few weeks and then I felt so much sadness at the thought of losing this friend. That’s when the pain became extra strong. “Wasn’t it bad enough to lose my cousin? How could I lose my friend too!”  I started thinking about the situation and reviewing my actions.

Suddenly the clouds cleared and I could see that this friend had not actually done anything to deserve how I treated them.

I understood that I was choosing to react to life in an unhealthy way. In a way that I had promised myself I wouldn’t do anymore. Once again I was stuck in old patterns. I went from sadness and grief from all the pain of the summer to a much more inward feeling of disappointment and shame. Looking back it was obvious to me that if I had taken the chance to communicate in the beginning none of this would have happened! In my search for healing I found a very helpful meditation video on regret that guided me through such a difficult time. It’s called “Meditation on Regret and Self Forgiveness” and is on YouTube at https://youtu.be/g0bRq_WUkKs

Here are the insights I received from the video.

  • Step One:
  • What did I feel at the time of this regretful situation? Sadness, anger and fear.
  • Was there malice or intent attached to it?  No, I wasn’t trying to be mean. I felt victimized.
  • Why am I attached to it?  Because it feels so wrong and unnecessary.
  • How can I let go of expectations? I can communicate with others instead of expecting them to somehow understand what I need or feel.
  • Step Two:
  • Is there a permanent negative impact on my life and others? – Maybe, but I don’t feel like there really is.
  • Why is the regret still with me? Because it was an awful way to act.
  • Can I remedy the situation now in the present? Yes, I can apologize and if needed make it up to my friend.
  • If not, how can I apply lessons to live consciously, accept it and move forward so I don’t repeat this regret? If they don’t want to accept my apology than I can be conscious of how I treat people now and in the future. I can stay aware of when I’m not communicating and I can improve healthy communication skills.

Luckily I was able to apologize to my friend and let go of the regret rather easily, but what if that person no longer wanted to be my friend? I’d like to believe that I would carry the remorse for a while, but eventually let go of all pain from that time in my life and be a compassionate person.

What this summer has taught me is that I really am in control of how I react to real or perceived threats. I obviously have to stay aware of my ability to not communicate and my habit of living in the past. I refuse to live in the past because regret is an easy way to avoid lessons and accountability. I want to own up to my actions.  Regret creates untrue thoughts that “the current state of emotion or situation will never change”. I’ve been alive long enough to know this isn’t true. Everything constantly changes, including me. Please remember that regret is born from knowing now what you didn’t know then. Be self-compassionate.  When you are faced with regret take it as an opportunity to reflect on whether your actions line up with your beliefs.

What do you think of this post?

Do you have regrets holding you back?

How do you heal from regret?

*Like this??? Read more D.I.Y. Therapy Posts. **

– 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 –

Have you downloaded my FREE coloring book? “Peace, Love & Weirdness” is an offbeat collection of my original illustrations and affirmations.

peace love weirdness coloring book

Grab your free copy on my Coloring Book page

D.I.Y. Therapy, Empowering Discussions

D.I.Y. Therapy: You Are Perfect, Whole, Complete

Perfect, whole, complete

You are complete! Trust yourself. You can improve upon yourself and add new skills, more compassion, more love, more knowledge, but the reality is you were born completely whole.

I sometimes forget this, getting caught up in the perception of loneliness and feelings of incompetence, but I’m never truly alone because I have my whole complete self with me. If you have a lonely, incomplete feeling in your gut this morning I hope you can heal it with positive, healthy action. I’d give you a hug if you were here.

I found this work of art at Shakti Rising, a wonderful organization where I’m spending a summer of service and learning. You can read my earlier blog post about this experience, https://impoweryou.org/2016/07/11/shakti-rising/.


After the 17 years I decided the pain grafted to myself needed to be gently removed and replaced with love. I share my D.I.Y. Therapy posts in the hope that my journey can help others find self-love and create a life free of depression.  My advice is not a cure-all. I still have moments where I slip back into feelings of depression, but now I can acknowledge my emotions and their causes as a way to find my way back to peace. Read more of my journey out of depression and into balance with my D.I.Y. Therapy posts on this blog.

– – – – – – 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 – – – – –

Have you downloaded my FREE coloring book? “Peace, Love & Weirdness” is an offbeat collection of my original illustrations and affirmations.

peace love weirdness coloring book

Grab your free copy on my Coloring Book page

Empowering Discussions

D.I.Y. Therapy: I Believe In You

With a pain filled snarl you ask me why, “Why do you believe in me?

Because I’ve seen how much the path you’re on now looks so much like mine.  I spent what felt like a lifetime doubting myself. I held onto my pain and anger until a series of events collided into my life and caused me to question my long-held fears, my painful beliefs. I decided to try believing in myself the way others had told me they believed in me. Trusting their view was difficult, in fact trusting in my journey was the most challenging act I ever played. I was doubtful, timid, fearful of the bright light being just another dim bulb. At times a gasping cry was all I could give. But it was a rainy season and the seed of self-love began to sprout little green shoots of hope. I felt my roots growing stronger drinking from this love I fed myself.

Day by day it grew. I believe in myself and that is why I believe in you.

I wrote this after a painful conversation with a friend I love so dearly. She broke my heart telling me secrets that I never knew she kept. I needed to let her know how much she mattered to me.

After the 17 years I decided the pain grafted to myself needed to be gently removed and replaced with love. I share my D.I.Y. Therapy posts in the hope that my journey can help others find self-love and create a life free of depression.  My advice is not a cure-all. I still have moments where I slip back into feelings of depression, but now can acknowledge my emotions and their cause as a way to find my way back to peace.

Read more of my journey out of depression and into balance with my D.I.Y. Therapy posts on this blog.

– – – – – – 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 – – – – –

Have you downloaded my FREE coloring book? “Peace, Love & Weirdness” is an offbeat collection of my original illustrations and affirmations.

peace love weirdness coloring book

Grab your free copy on my Coloring Book page

D.I.Y. Therapy

D.I.Y. Therapy: Write a Song to Yourself

In the midst of my depression I relied on positive, upbeat music to lift my mood. There were many to choose from, but I noticed that many song lyrics are counterproductive with lyrics that reinforce negative patterns. So one day I decided to write a song for myself; to guide, remind and empower me to continue on this journey without giving up. Here it is.

Love is my heartsong, I will sing it loud and strong.

Love is my heartsong, listening to it all along.

On this journey of life, through goodness and strife,

guiding me with a loving light,

shinging bright

shining bright,

Love is MY heartsong, I will sing it loud and strong.

Forever singing as I move along.

-Leah Oviedo

Can you write a heartsong? It doesn’t have to rhyme, or be perfect. It just has to come from you, from your core.

Is writing a song for yourself too dorky? Or are you not creative enough? I know all the excuses. I’ve told myself enough excuses in three decades to recognizewhen I’m making one, but what does holding back really give us? My D.I.Y. therapy advice is to work past your fear and sing it loud, even if it’s with the doors and windows shut tight.


I share my D.I.Y. Therapy posts in the hope that my journey can help others find self-love and create a life free of depression.  My advice is not a cure-all. I still have moments where I slip back into feelings of depression, but now can acknowledge my emotions and their cause as a way to find my way back to peace.

Read more of my journey out of depression and into balance with my D.I.Y. Therapy posts on this blog.

– – – – – – 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 – – – – –

Have you downloaded my FREE coloring book? “Peace, Love & Weirdness” is an offbeat collection of my original illustrations and affirmations.

peace love weirdness coloring book

Grab your free copy on my Coloring Book page

Empowering Discussions

D.I.Y. Therapy: How Can I Love Myself?

Love is a way of being, of living and is a direct reflection of your beliefs. I used to feel like a loser, worthless, ugly and as if I would always feel sad. When I became aware of why I believed that way I begin to take the steps to change my belief. I began the practice of self-love.

  • Commit to Self-Love!

At first the thought of writing messages to myself was corny and ineffective, until I paid attention to how I felt afterward. Now it’s enjoyable and reassuring to write self-love affirmation that I post around my room and social media pages or read to myself first thing every morning(almost every morning). I recommend writing about 3-6 sentences. Not too short that you can’t connect to your affirmation, but not too long that you feel overwhelmed at the thought of a daily reading. I added mine to the notepad on my phone and set a calendar reminder to read it every morning as soon as I wake up. This only takes a minute so it’s easy to add to my schedule.

  • Surround yourself with positive messages.

Whether the messages are from TV, those intrusive magazines in the checkout line or who you follow on social media, becoming aware of negative marketing and evaluating the media you consume will allow you to focus on interactive learning as opposed to just consuming news. I stopped watching and reading the major news outlets (and their advertisements that promote low self-worth) who are invested in drama and negativity as opposed to simply educating about events and the world. I stopped obsessing over fashion and begrudgingly ended my addiction to (most) womens magazines and began to read positive media like YES Magazine and activism inspired news like Ms. Magazine.

  • Catch AHA! moments.

Take note of what you learn. Whatever you realize is making you happy or unhappy, what feels good or unhealthy and any moment of clarity that allows you insight into being your best self should be recorded. This will allow you to stay focused on creating a solid foundation of loving yourself.

  • Try mindfulness practices such as journaling, meditation or exercise.

I love to meditate on a positive affirmation. It’s as simple as repeating an affirmation repeatedly with regular focused breathing. I also take walks and stop to create art from debris, trash, leaves and rocks, whatever is lying around that might make a fun pattern or design. I made the heart below from discarded candy wrappers littering the sidewalk. I also journal whenever i feel the need to write my feelings or record an important event. I also enjoy actions that force me to focus such as yoga, breathing exercises and sitting still in the evening to drink tea and doodle.


If you need help with practicing self-love check out the Love Warrior Community(the Self Love Diet). This online community offers free tools and events designed to help us love our bodies. It’s my favorite resource and was started by Michelle Minero a licensed therapist and is supported by her daughter Emelina. www.lovewarriorcommunity.com

– – – – – – 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 – – – – –

Have you downloaded my FREE coloring book? “Peace, Love & Weirdness” is an offbeat collection of my original illustrations and affirmations.

peace love weirdness coloring book

Grab your free copy on my Coloring Book page

beach, trees, lush beaches
Empowering Discussions

D.I.Y. Therapy : The Importance of Movement in Healing

This photo below is my yoga spot. How lucky that for some time this spot has been on the beach though once I start traveling this will change. Maybe I will practice yoga at a park or in a bedroom. All I need is a place somewhat calm with space to move.  Getting up out of bed, away from TV and the internet, and moving my body has been an important part of healing from depression. Being depressed means having very little energy, a habit of secluding ourselves, and thus our bodies become very sedentary.

When I say movement I am talking about exercise, but that word can seem overwhelming to some of use. This is especially true if like me, you had awful experiences in P.E., physical education. Who thought dodgeball and hormones should ever go together?!?!

Exercise doesn’t mean you need to join a gym or start running 5K’s, unless that appeals to you.  It’s simply a biological fact we were made to MOVE! Our bodies have this amazing capacity to twirl, jump, walk, and zoom around! I’m not much for running and haven’t felt like playing tennis lately so I practice stretching, breathing and mediation through yoga. I’m not a pro and don’t know all the terms, but I know what feels good.

beach,  trees, lush beaches
My Yoga Spot

What type of movements do you like? Are you a hula hooper, runner, dancer, or walker? Find some movement that you enjoy and schedule the time to do it. If you’re a morning person plan on getting up early before your day, if you prefer to sleep in than pick a later time. Just make sure you move everyday.  Your movement doesn’t need to be an intense sweaty workout. Even if it’s just to stand up and twirl around your room to a great song or 10 push ups on your lunch break, you will feel better if you move and pay attention to your body.

If you like this blog check out my books and art at Leahis.com or Amazon.com

*ads directly below this post are NOT endorsed by me*

D.I.Y. Therapy

DIY Therapy – Own Up To Your Actions

Own Up

It’s easy to place blame on outside forces. When someone hurts us, they are to blame and we take some comfort knowing it wasn’t our fault.  On a personal level however, we truly are the only person in control and if we refuse to accept personal responsibility we are unable to move forward.  Allowing ourselves to be victims for too long is damaging. We are designed to heal. It starts with silencing those thoughts in our mind that give voice to our past, present and future bullies.

Pity parties, disillusionment, and fantasy allowed me to give up before things ever got too challenging. I refused to heal

I was a victim for longer than I needed to be. Rather than find help so I could move forward and grow, I clung tightly to those long gone bullies in school, career failures after college, and unhealthy relationships. Nothing was my fault because the world was too cruel and unforgiving for “pobre mi” to do anything. I stopped trying to succeed and decided to live in the memories of a happy childhood, along with living in a fantasy world of books and movies. This fantasy told the story that someday my luck would change, an important person would point me out in a crowd as a heroine, and raise me up.

Even in my fantasy world I wasn’t in control, but instead waiting to be saved. Because only if someone made it easy for me could I finally succeed.  I lost any thought that I was in control of my life. In my disillusioned state only someone or something else could help me.

I lied about my personal feelings, invested my energy and time in people I didn’t care about or who had little in common with me, and chased the elusive myth that money and things could solve my problems. In fact that is still an obstacle I must fight when life gets rough. I did try for things, but easily gave up whenever it became difficult. I put on a brave face. Oh wasn’t I such a martyr, marching on despite this cruel world that rejected me as a young adult and still didn’t want me to be happy. In reality, I was very sad, socially awkward, and scared. I couldn’t admit to being wrong or people would realize how much of a failure I really was.

Terrified of rejection from people that might genuinely like me, I stopped socializing. I jumped from one job and one city to the next with no plan. I burned bridges. I gave up. So I acted like the unintended consequences of my rash decisions were purposeful choices. There was always an excuse or a way out of any problem without putting myself in too much harms way.   I felt so alone which only made my depression deepen. While skipping from place to place in attempt at finding purpose I gve up by never trying hard enough.

I had taught myself to be a perpetual victim. At the age of 32 and a tumultuous year of loss and change, I  decided it was time to learn a new way of living. Personal Responsibility was my first lesson. Below are five lessons I learned about owning up to my actions.

1. You are in control of your thoughts. What you think has a a huge impact on your self-worth. If you constantly think “failure, loser, awkward, weird” in reference to you, that is what life becomes. Change the way you think about yourself, about others, and about your capabilities. Celebrate what makes you feel good and learn the necessary skills for the parts of you that need improvement. Focus on what YOU think needs improving. Don’t listen to those who judge you and tell you what you need to change. *They don’t know what’s best for you. You know what’s best for you.

*(Unless you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol which change your brain chemistry. In that case others may have a clearer idea of what you need.)

2. Change your relationship to the world. The world owes you nothing, but it has given you life. Now it’s up to you how to live. You are in charge and it’s time you take actions for the life you desire. What do you perceive as the perfect life? Whatever it is, you need to figure out how to make it happen without waiting to win the lottery or for your boss/partner/friends to realize you deserve better and save you. We are the outcome of cause and effect. What we give to the world is what we get back.  Research what you need to get to your dream life, make a plan, and stick to it until you succeed.

3. Ask for what you need. Ask for help. Ask for guidance from someone who has been through what you are going through. If you’re not succeeding in your career find a mentor or shadow someone at work. If there’s a hobby or sport you really enjoy learn how to do it better. and see what opportunities there are such as internships, classes, or books that you can learn from. When I decided to start a writing and editing career it was and still is a learning experience. Before I would give up if I had to put it in too much effort, but now I commit to actually finishing projects.

4. Admit to being wrong. Go ahead try it the next time you make a small mistake. Now repeat that admission a few more times and pay attention to how that makes you feel.  Let go of your ego.  Let go of the fantasy of perfection.  We all make mistakes, some of us seemingly more often than others. That’s okay! Mistakes don’t make you a bad person, but believing you’re worthless will make you act worthless. Teach yourself to apologize, admit when you are wrong, and allow yourself to make mistakes without admonishing yourself.

5. Fight when it matters. Fighting in self defense is good. Fighting to prove you are tough is dangerous. Debating(without yelling and with reason) over politics, human rights, and personal beliefs is healthy. Arguing over the remote control, what movie to see, or who is correct; those are all a waste of energy. Your energy needs to be spent on inner growth, not on changing others.  Save your strength for what matters. There will be many times you need to assert yourself and  prove a point, but sometimes you need to let go and move forward.

Before when I was frustrated, upset or angry I would throw a pity party complete with panic attacks and hours of sobbing.  The slightest thing could set me off, be it serious, exaggerated, or simply a doubtful thought. After teaching myself a new way to live I am at a point where I can stop myself from giving up. I do this by reminding myself that life ebbs and flows. What’s bad now will not be bad down the road, unless I insist on moving forward with it.

Now I know that I am capable, I remind myself that of my accomplishments and my desires every day with my powerful thoughts. I changed my thinking. I stopped letting every bad moment turn into a week or month long tragedy. I read books and articles about conflict resolution, anger management,  and inner peace.  I became certified to teach self defense. I started working on a career that would resonate with me, and now I  learn something new every day.

I used to live in fear, now I live aware.

Be conscious of your actions, words, and thoughts. Seek out people who share your passions in life.  Get involved in a project that makes you feel good and see it through to the wonderful end.  As you focus on what resonates with you more of that will come into your life.

learning self-worth

I lost 17 years to depression.  During those years many days and nights were spent curled into a ball, sobbing, and calling myself the worst things you can imagine.  During the day I felt this incredible weight of sadness. It was only lifted by occasional moments of relief in the form of happy surprises and lucky turns. There are months at a time that I have zero recollection of; others will remind me about something that happened or a job I had and it will be a complete blank. Hope was a made up word. I could glimpse a good life, but assumed that sadness would hold me down until I drowned sooner rather than later.

Fortunately after spending more than half my life unhappy I was finally able to make changes. It didn’t happen overnight, but I learned how to take control.  That weight of sadness is gone.  Even a few years after changing I am AMAZED that not only can I feel good, but I am not afraid. This post is one of many where I will share the steps I took to overcome depression, fear, and self-loathing. I hope it can help someone else on their journey to inner balance.

If you like this blog check out my books at Bookemon: http://www.bookemon.com/member-book-list/151519 or Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007LMUEJ2

*Any ads below this post are NOT endorsed by this blog.*