A New You - Summer 2022

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The Capistrano Dispatch May 27–June 9, 2022

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The Capistrano Dispatch May 27–June 9, 2022

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Welcome to ‘A New You’

f the past couple of years of living through a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we humans are resilient and are capable of adapting to even the worst of circumstances. Our mental fortitude has been tested, our eating habits adjusted, and even our personal relationships have either been strained, put through the ringer, or—for those more fortunate—have thrived. The world has forever been changed by the events of the past two years, and as a result, so have most of us—ideally, for the better. And as more and more restrictions across the globe are lifted, we’re able to see things anew, with a fresh perspective. For many, the pandemic-induced lockdowns were very isolating. So, for this year’s “A New You” special section—our annual guide to self-improvement—we speak with

area psychologists to tell us the best ways of easing back into society, reconnecting with old friends, and heading back into the office. And regarding those strained relationships, our resident senior dating columnist Tom Blake provides some insight and advice on getting over an ex, or just moving on from heartbreak and bettering yourself. Also, with more of us heading out for activities such as running, hiking, and going to the gym, we explore which sneakers, or kicks, are best to rock. And if you’re looking at more water-based activities, we’ve got you covered as well by highlighting some of the best spots to swim, paddleboard or even just hang out with friends. After wrapping up those activities, what better way to relax than with a massage? Lastly, we look at the different types of massages that are available, outlining their benefits and explaining which ones are best suited for you.

Navigating the Post-Pandemic Life By Andrea Clemett After a couple of years of being inside because of the waves of COVID-19 restrictions, individuals who were diligent about staying indoors are navigating their way through the new normal. But the anticipation of getting into the swing of in-person living again can spark uncertain feelings and anxiety. Erica Curtis, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and owner of a private practice in San Juan Capistrano, identified three categories for the reservations some have about returning to life post-pandemic. The first, she said, relates to health concerns from individuals with medical issues, as they need to limit how much they’re around others. A second reservation relates to those with various types of anxieties, while the third category pertains to individuals who have adapted to finding contentment in their home, “doing my own thing.” “If anybody, especially those who may have suffered from a little social anxiety or a kind of anxiety, getting back in the world has been really hard,” said Dianne Mason, a marriage and family therapist associate located in San Clemente. “There’s a lot of fear

The Capistrano Dispatch May 27–June 9, 2022

around it, perhaps paranoia about getting sick and just forgetting how to socialize.” Mason also found that young people were widely affected, ranging from teenagers in middle school to college graduates. Additionally, individuals in transition during the pandemic were likely to feel an impact when returning to an immersive in-person lifestyle. “A lot of people were really connected on social media, but that doesn’t really help,” Mason said. “It actually makes them sad, because they’re seeing that other people are back into their lives and they’re not, because they feel like they can’t.” Mason identified that the individualistic culture of the U.S., combined with a few years of isolation, was a catalyst for many to feel lonely. Although other cultures have community-based societies that keep people interconnected, the pandemic may have disrupted that, leaving people longing for friendships. “I try to get people to go outside, even if they’re not going in public,” Mason said. “I’ve been telling people to try to get on Meetup or places like that to learn to socialize again; reach out to old friends and try to connect in-person.” Dr. Vived Gonzalez, doctor of psychology and an LMFT, said socialization is part of the

human biological makeup and a vital component of feeling connections and exchanging social reciprocity. Studies have shown that people living in isolation or lacking interpersonal relationships will have weaker immune systems. Gonzalez often suggests managing expectations when creating a new reality for ourselves in a “new norm.” Within her practice in San Juan Capistrano, therapists have encountered teens who have struggled to adjust to in-person or fully remote classes, expecting life to return to normal. As routines frequently vary, individuals can benefit from understanding the change process while not letting others’ viewpoints determine one’s life or actions. Gonzalez uses the saying “what doesn’t break, bends” to establish flexibility in one’s thinking. “If you want to wear a mask because it makes you feel safe, do it; it doesn’t matter what other people think,” Gonzalez said. “I encourage our patients to think about what they need and be OK with it and then integrate it slowly.” Curtis said that learning how to cope with change is one of the biggest tasks of living. She suggests finding ways to get comfortable with the idea of change. She added that sometimes

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just naming it as such, “this is change,” can deeply validate feelings that something is off. By gaining an objective perspective, it can lead to accepting that change is hard. When getting reacquainted with in-person gatherings or returning to the office, Curtis said, “We don’t want to push our sort of nervous system faster than it’s ready to go, and at the same time, we want to find that place of stretch.” It’s about finding a place of growth where a person can benefit from engaging with community, friends, or family, whether it’s getting together with one friend, going to an outdoor restaurant or even a larger public area. When offering support to someone diligent about staying inside, consider listening to their needs, Gonzalez said. Common conflicts or distress among people, families in particular, can lie in the desire to control another person. Therefore, validating another person’s concerns can establish a safe support system. “That social connection occurs when we feel really seen and understood,” Curtis said. “And so, once we feel connected, we feel safer.”



Hit the Reset Button with a Massage By Breeana Greenberg

cradle,” Pavlina said. “This is a really good option, because they can just lie on their side.” The Massage Associates also offers an oncology massage from therapists who received specialized training to be able to safely work with cancer patients.

Massages offer a wide variety of benefits, such as pain relief, increased range of motion, increased circulation, and an immune system boost. However, it can be hard to decide what massage is best for you. From Swedish and hot stone to prenatal and deep tissue, each type of massage offers its own unique benefits. SWEDISH Swedish-style massages are more about relaxation, San Clemente Barefoot Bliss owner Aimee Phillips explained. “It’s longer, broader strokes,” Phillips said. “If you just want to come in and just relax. You don’t have any specific focus areas at all that you want, it’s just to kind of check out but get light to medium pressure.” SIGNATURE THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE Similar to a Swedish massage is the Signature Therapeutic massage, which is what Michelle Bryant, owner of The Massage Associates in San Juan Capistrano, recommends for clients to start with initially. “It’s what probably 75% of our clients get,” Bryant said. “It’s tailored to what each client needs. A little bit of relaxation combined with some deep-tissue work for extra tight areas. It’s basically a customized massage with a little bit of deep-tissue work.” DEEP TISSUE A deep-tissue massage is a great way to address specific areas of concern and target particular muscle groups. Masseurs typically do not recommend deep tissue as a first massage experience, as it can be an intense massage. “Deep tissue is where the therapist uses forearms, elbows and more targeted work,” Phillips said. “So, if there are specific issues that need to be worked out, that they would work a little bit deeper.” Bryant explained that The Massage Associates’ full-body, deep-tissue massage offers that deep tissue target work everywhere. “This is somebody that says they want our elbows in their calves, their shoulders, their glutes and their lower back,” Bryant said. “They want full-body, deep tissue, everywhere.” HOT STONE Barefoot Bliss offers hot stone massages with basalt or Himalayan salt stones, said Meagan Pavlina, San Clemente Barefoot Bliss’ manager. The basalt stones are heated by water, and are smooth and glide over the skin, Pavlina explained. The Himalayan sea salt stones are textured and full of minerals that sink into the The Capistrano Dispatch May 27–June 9, 2022

muscle tissue, Pavlina said. “The body really absorbs the heat, and so it penetrates really deeply into the muscles and gets an instant release that helps us to not have to add too much pressure,” Pavlina said. “It’s really good for tender areas and also just for general relaxation.” Hot stones can be a great add-on to a massage to get even more benefits from the experience. The salt stone can also offer light exfoliation on top of the massage. “It’s a combination of hands and then the stones are integrated into it,” Phillips said. “It’s like an extension of the hands, so it’s going to be a lot of the same flowing movements.” REFLEXOLOGY Reflexology is the idea that stimulating pressure points on the hands and feet during a massage can stimulate organs and relieve congestion in areas that might not be accessible through a traditional massage, Bryant explained. “If you’re having stomach issues or respiratory issues, a lot of pressure points on the feet correspond to those areas that you can’t massage with traditional massage,” Bryant said. ASHIATSU—BAREFOOT The barefoot or Ashiatsu massage is a specialized technique in which the therapist uses the foot as a tool instead of the hands or elbow. “It provides a broader pressure; it’s long flowing movements,” Phillips said. “The benefit of that is that you get more myofascial work, so you’re able to work at a deeper level but more comfortably for the client because you’re using the padded sole of your foot to do the work.” Ashiatsu massage targets the parasympathetic nervous system, as opposed to the

sympathetic nervous system, Pavlina said. “It’s kind of like you get the relaxation of Swedish because it’s the slower, flowy strokes, but you also still get the benefit of the deeper, targeting, focus work,” Pavlina said. “The foot is, like, if I was to put a tennis ball over my elbow, that’s what my heel feels like. So, it’s really good for people who want that focus work but also still want a relaxing massage session.” STRETCH COMBO MASSAGE The Massage Associates suggests the stretch-combo massage for people looking for a sports-type of massage. It involves more stretching to increase flexibility, improve posture, range of motion and circulation, Bryant said. “So, we incorporate more stretching techniques in with the therapeutic massage,” Bryant said. SPECIALIZED MASSAGES: PRENATAL & ONCOLOGY Prenatal massages are great for moms-tobe, Bryant said. A prenatal massage, wherein the customer lies on her side, consists of lighter pressure with broader, longer strokes like a Swedish massage. “That one’s always really going to be lighter pressure, regardless of the focus work or anything, because their joints are going to be a little bit looser with all the hormones, that you really just want to keep things light and relaxing,” Pavlina said. Barefoot Bliss can also offer side-lying massages to those who have trouble lying on their stomach or putting their face in the massage table’s cradle. “We can do this for people who have contraindications to lay down, like if people don’t come in to get a massage because they have a hard time putting their face in the face

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WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BOOKING A MASSAGE Professionals recommend clients look at reviews, make sure that the masseur is licensed and certified. It’s also important that the massage therapist does a thorough intake when you come in, starts and ends the session on time, and respects your time, Phillips said. It’s also important to see if the facility is clean and that you feel comfortable communicating with the therapist. With all types of massages, it’s important to let the masseur know of any target areas you want addressed or avoided, communicate if you want them to increase or decrease pressure, and tell them if anything is painful. “You want to feel like they’re seeing you as an individual and as your specific needs and they’re willing to meet you there,” Pavlina continued. Massages are not supposed to be uncomfortable; even a sport or injury massage can be enjoyable, Pavlina said. “It’s supposed to be a hurt-so-good kind of feeling,” Phillips said. “You do not have to suffer through anything,” Pavlina added. “That’s a huge misconception that I think we hear a lot, so we try to re-teach our clients to prioritize enjoying the massage.” That’s why a masseur should check in frequently during the massage and ensure that they’re hitting all of the spots you need addressed, applying the right level of pressure, and that nothing hurts. In choosing the length of a massage, if you’re just looking to come and relax and do not have any specific areas of focus, 60 minutes is fine, Phillips said. However, if you have any particular areas or concerns you want addressed through your massage, Barefoot Bliss recommends a 90-minute massage so that the masseur can address the whole body while also spending extra time on the spots that need special care. “In today’s world, very rarely do you ever have an experience like that or just a moment to experience that and so, to be able to gift yourself, maybe once a month, that 90 minutes that’s just for you, can feel like a reset,” Pavlina said. “That can just really keep you going, and I know that we have a lot of really hard-working people out here with lifestyles that just don’t quit,” Pavlina continued. “And so, it’s almost a necessity to hit that reset button, so that way they can continue with their life. It’s not just a luxury.” thecapistranodispatch.com


If the Shoe Fits

Guide to finding the proper support for your feet to avoid exercise injury

By Zach Cavanagh hen you’re looking to change up your lifestyle and embark on the journey of “A New You,” the first step many will take is exercise, and the simplest workout anyone could start with is walking, running or hiking. However, you probably just shouldn’t lace up your daily casual shoe for your exercise routine. Even the least strenuous exercise walks or runs could lead to an injury if your feet aren’t properly cushioned or protected, especially if the exercise becomes a regular part of your regimen. While it’s still recommended to seek out a shoe sales professional if you’re going to get super serious about your footwear, there’s also nothing wrong with following some guidelines to help inform your search and help find what’s right for your upcoming journey. That’s where this feature comes in handy. Generally speaking, most people will be walking, jogging or running on pavement or in the gym on a treadmill, and for this, you can stick with a typical road-running shoe. While it’s the most widely used kind of exercise shoe and can be fairly simple to walk into a sporting goods store and just grab a pair of Nike or adidas shoes off the shelf, there are several things aspiring walkers and runners should consider. The main factors to consider in a walking or running shoe are cushioning, stability and fit. The most notable right way will be the cushioning of the shoe, which is probably the


The Capistrano Dispatch May 27–June 9, 2022

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factor most reliant on personal preference. You may think you want the most cushioning, especially if you’re a bigger body, but you may not love the squish underfoot of all that cushioning. Others may want to feel every bit of the ground they’re treading, and for that, there are thinner or even “barefoot” models of shoes. The next and possibly most important factor is the stability of the shoe. Not everyone walks or lands on their feet the exact same way with every step. Some people might roll their foot inward on a step, or they may use too much of the outside of their foot. Finding out your pronation or supination—the way your foot rolls for impact distribution—for shoe selection is important for preventing injuries from the ankle to the back. Stability is the step in which professional help is likely most needed, and some shoe stores have the ability to map out your foot and guide this process. This mapping will also help with insoles, which can round out the support for your foot that the shoe alone may be unable to provide. Lastly is the fit, and this isn’t as much of a personal preference as someone might think. Most people might actually give themselves too much space inside the shoe, even in your casual everyday shoe, and obviously, you shouldn’t be shoving your foot into something too small. Find that right middle zone. Aside from your regular running shoes for the gym or pavement running, there are more heavy-duty options such as trail runners, hiking shoes and hiking boots. Each is more rugged than the last, with different sole options for the terrain you’ll be conquering and more stability on the outside or, in a boot, up the ankle. Whichever path you choose, make sure to properly support your feet, ankles and legs to keep up this journey and protect yourself from injury. thecapistranodispatch.com


5 Tips for Overcoming Heartbreak By Tom Blake Growing old has many rewards: retirement, the opportunity to play lots of golf, and the likelihood that children are grown and usually married and have grandchildren. No more pressure from working 9-to-5. The list is endless. However, as we age, we also experience loss. We lose loved ones through divorce, breakups, misunderstandings, and death. And it’s not just losing a partner. We lose parents, siblings, and dear friends. We are dealt personal hardships. Perhaps we’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness. It’s life, it’s inevitable, and it’s hard. When these things happen, we face a new challenge: overcoming our heartbreak and finding a new direction. How do we do that? How do we become an improved version of ourselves? How do we become “The New You”? In writing about senior dating and relationships for 28 years, here are five tips I’ve learned from readers on how to overcome heartbreak. 1. It’s understandable and OK to be sad. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to be alone (for a time, but not for too long). 2. Remind yourself that healing takes time. It will sting for a while. In an April 2022 interview on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts asked Magic Johnson how he overcame the news in 1991 that he had HIV. Magic said, “You realize you aren’t alone.” Being aware of this helped him become “a new you.” The Bee Gees, the popular 1970s singing group, was made up of three close-knit brothers. They had many hits, none bigger than “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?” I saw an interview on TV recently with Barry Gibb, about that song and how he dealt with

the loss of his three younger brothers Andy, Maurice, and Robin, when each one unexpectedly passed away. Gibb was devastated. He said, “I moped around for months; there were highs and lows.” I lost my brother Bill a year ago in January; it’s taken that long to not think about him every day. I’ve healed, I guess, because I no longer reach for my phone to call him, as I did for months after he passed. Again, healing takes time. And we will never forget. 3. Don’t try to go it alone. Have a support group, if only one or two people. Confide in them and talk to friends; be out socially, if possible. Try not to isolate yourself. Be around people by attending church, volunteering, and going to senior centers. 4. Remind yourself that everything is going to be all right in due time. It may not seem like it when adversity happens. Be positive as best you can. 5. Look for a seed of opportunity that often sprouts from adversity. When I was dealt an unexpected divorce in 1994, I started a journal just to gather and organize my thoughts. Six months later, using the words from that journal, I became a newspaper columnist. A seed of opportunity came along, and I grabbed it. I’m still writing 28 years later. Overcoming heartbreak is one of the main themes of music. Singing group Pablo Cruise had a 1978 hit titled “Love Will Find A Way.” Words from that song include: “Oh, but it’s all right (all right) Once you get past the pain (Past the pain) You’ll learn to find your love again So keep your heart open ’Cause love will find a way” Remember Magic’s words: “You aren’t alone.”

The Capistrano Dispatch May 27–June 9, 2022

South OC Provides

Water Therapy Through Various Forms By C. Jayden Smith Dana Point, San Clemente, and San Juan Capistrano residents are all aware of their proximity to the glistening Pacific Ocean, but the business of everyday life can distract from taking advantage of the water nearby. Stresses such as work, taking care of family, and outside factors including social media or major news headlines can mount up, placing too much pressure on one person, with that person needing an outlet or a place to escape for just a few relaxing hours. That’s where the concept of “water therapy” comes in. Hydrotherapy is a relative new concept, in which water is used in varying amounts of pressure and flow to treat temporary or chronic health conditions and ease physical and mental health symptoms, according to Medical News Today. Hydrotherapy offers numerous benefits, including reducing pain and easing arthritis symptoms without heavily impacting joints, improving mental health, and helping relaxation efforts. Another way to get into the water is by swimming, which is the fourthmost popular sports activity in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Along with other aerobic activities such as bicycling or running, swimming for two and a half hours a week or more can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses. “People report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land,” the CDC’s page on the benefits of swimming reads. “They can also exercise longer in water than on land without increased effort or joint or muscle pain.” Page 16

Swimming can also improve the moods of men and women, decrease anxiety in those with fibromyalgia, positively affect the mental health of pregnant women, and improve family connections within families that include children with developmental disabilities. Locations such as physical therapy tanks, swimming pools, and saunas are all popular methods for people to get their water fix. Fortunately, for South County residents looking for more, the sprawling coastline is at their doorstep. We’ve identified some places within the area that will help take a load off, even for just a while. DANA POINT HARBOR The landmark’s obvious claim to fame, which keeps thousands coming back year after year, is the beautiful blue water residing within and around the area. Go for a swim or lay a towel down at Baby Beach, try paddleboarding, or simply take a stroll throughout the area while admiring the dozens of docked boats and making a stop or two inside the harbor’s many shopping and dining options. EVOLUTION SWIM The newest year-round location under the Evolution Swim Academy name still provides the same quality indoor beginner swim lessons for children ages 3 months and older, Mondays through Sundays. Additionally, Evolution Swim offers a spot for year-round pool parties, family swim time, a café and snack shop, a pro shop, and a play room, in addition to other programs. 28206 Airoso Street, Rancho Mission Viejo. 949.388.4545. evolutionswim.com.

SAN CLEMENTE PIER Another undeniable local hangout, the pier provides unparalleled views of the water throughout the day, and especially at sunset. Take a dip in the Pacific Ocean on the pier’s south side to relax the mind and enjoy the beauty that the location has to offer. Surfing is another popular activity occurring on the northern end, where you’ll find plenty of other lovers of the sport waiting to find the right wave and get out in the water. WESTWIND SAILING INSTITUTE People who are both experienced and new to being on the water altogether have received highly rated boating instruction from Westwind Sailing since its inception in 1987. Westwind Sailing offers classes, private lessons, and programs with sailboats, kayaks, and paddleboards. “We pretty much get everybody out on the water, because the benefits of our resources are amazing,” Executive Director Diane Wenzel says. “It’s not just being on the water and sailing or paddling; it’s very cathartic, it’s very cleansing, it’s very healing, and it’s just a really great place to be.” Wenzel compares the feeling of success to a “fountain of youth,” as she enjoys seeing people smiling ear to ear and embracing the feeling that being near the ocean and the Dana Point Harbor brings. The harbor’s legacy, in addition to the views of the nearby cliffs, Catalina Island, and other locations going both north and south along the coast, makes the resource of having water nearby valuable to residents and visitors alike. Visit westwindsailing.com or call 949.492.3035 to learn more. thecapistranodispatch.com

Skin’s In South County Medical Businesses Look After Patients’ Skin Care Needs By Collin Breaux When it comes to taking care of your body and given the amount of sun exposure California residents might incur, one could say people in South Orange County have skin in the game when it comes to skin care. Fortunately, specialty medical centers in the area have the experts, resources, and level of care to help keep patients looking their best. Numerous places in South County are dedicated to ensuring skin issues are addressed— including those related to acne. The services available at Dana Point Acne Lab, for instance, are apparent in the name alone. Sharon Loconsolo, an acne specialist and licensed esthetician who owns the business, has been treating patients for 30 years and decided to make treating acne a niche specialty five years ago. “There is a need for it,” Loconsolo said. “It’s extremely rewarding to help people clean up their acne.”

The Capistrano Dispatch May 27–June 9, 2022

A patient’s diet, what cosmetics they use, and other lifestyle factors are considered in acne cases, which are always specific to an individual. Loconsolo initially offers what she calls an “acne camp” when she first meets with clients, during which she analyzes the person’s skin and then comes up with a treatment program. Patients then usually go in for treatment every two weeks until the acne clears up. “It’s all age groups that get acne,” Loconsolo said. “It really does take a toll on their self-esteem.” Generally, cases of acne are related to lifestyle factors including the clothing and bed material they use—and, of course, puberty— but some other instances can be genetically inherited. “It truly changes their life to get clear skin,” Loconsolo said of the clients she’s treated. Social media is also influencing how people perceive their skin. There now can be an expectation that people should have flawless skin without any wrinkles—a perception that isn’t realistic, Loconsolo said. Over in San Clemente, Seaside Skin Care is also ready to help patients with their skin care needs. Botox injections, microneedling, and laser treatments are some of the services available at the medical spa—which is clean, has a calming aura, and friendly staff ready to welcome patients to their appointments. “We have our esthetician services, which do facials and peels,” said Michele Westen-

dorf, Seaside’s clinic director and injection specialist. “(Clients get) a customized approach to their skin and treatment goals. We have a discussion with them about their type of skin they have and what their treatment goals are (when they first come in).” Those initial discussions cover whether their skin is overly dry, if they’re concerned about sunspots and aging, and other particular issues. The experts at Seaside then come up with a treatment plan based on what the client is seeking. “Here in California, we get a lot of sun exposure—which causes damage to our skin,” Westerndorf said. “There’s factors we don’t see until we’re older, and this is all about the long-term and maintenance to keep you feeling and looking healthy and younger.” How people feel on the inside is tied to their appearance on the outside, which Seaside can help with in terms of enhancing a client’s natural beauty, according to Seaside Marketing Director Kate Tomalas. “It ties into the overall feeling and self-confidence people have moving forward. Your skin and your appearance is the first thing you present when you meet someone,” Tomalas said. “I think feeling confident in your skin is what makes the big difference.”

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The Capistrano Dispatch May 27–June 9, 2022

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