Colleen Werner

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I’m a ballet dancer, author, and Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling student at Trevecca Nazarene University. I recovered from anorexia nervosa and live with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I aspire to create an eating disorder treatment program for dancers.

Member Since NOVEMBER 08, 2019
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All victories, big and small, deserve to be celebrated 🎉⠀ ⠀ In our society, we often tend to only celebrate huge victories. The reality is that any kind of accomplishment, from something like getting out of bed, to something like graduating college, deserves celebration.⠀ ⠀ Little accomplishments add up to make a big impact on our mental health.⠀ ⠀ What’s something you’ve achieved recently? Let me know in the comments 💛⠀ ⠀ Want more?⠀ ✨ I have a limited number of spots available for individual therapy for people who live in Tennessee. Schedule a session by emailing me at colleen@gaiacenter.co or texting me at 615.375.4695.⠀ 💓 There are still 1-2 spots in my virtual therapy group for body image/eating disorders/disordered eating for Tennessee residents. Learn more by emailing me at colleen@gaiacenter.co or texting me at 615.375.4695.⠀ 🌟 My Instagram is for educational purposes and is not therapy or medical care.

Just finished watching Wander Darkly, a new film written and directed by my talented cousin, @tara_miele, featuring @siennathing and @diegoluna, that was shown as part of #AFIfest!⠀ ⠀ It’s an incredible story shown in such a unique, compelling way.⠀ ⠀ It will be released on-demand and in select theaters on December 11th, and I strongly recommend you all check it out (and follow Tara in the meantime 💁🏻‍♀️)

Sharing with you another edition of "Colleen's Adventures in Practicing Radical Openness" 💁🏻‍♀️ #sponsored⠀ ⠀ On Thursdays, I see clients earlier in the day than usual. I'm much more of an afternoon or evening person, however, I like to have one day a week where I get to the office early and can see more clients.⠀ ⠀ Reality time: It takes a lot to get out of bed early on Thursdays. While I absolutely *LOVE* seeing clients, I'm still not a morning person 😴⠀ ⠀ However, I choose to continue practicing openness to early mornings instead of boxing myself in and saying I'm only an afternoon/evening person.⠀ ⠀ This morning, that openness proved to be very worthwhile because the light pours into my office SO beautifully around 10am. I was able to soak up some quiet time with my pumpkin spice donut candle burning and simply noticing the beauty and peacefulness around me.⠀ ⠀ Another recent example of openness:⠀ ⠀ I had the privilege of @beyondyoga sending me a lovely package including this adorable crop top/short set. I haven't worn a matching crop top/short set in years, and TBH this color wasn't one I probably would've ever chosen myself. However, as soon as I tried it on I was obsessed, and so grateful for the spontaneous opportunity for novel behavior! This set is SO buttery and soft, I've been living in it. Their sets come in sizes XXS-3XL, which can fit a wide range of bodies.⠀ ⠀ While trying new things and being open is something I still work on on a daily basis, I'm grateful to be in a place where it's something I strive for instead of run from.⠀ ⠀ How have you practiced being open recently? Let me know in the comments 💛 ⠀ ⠀ 🌟 My Instagram is for educational purposes and is not therapy or medical care.

Welcome to today's edition of "how many areas of the yard can Colleen make Sean take photos of her for Instagram in" 😅😂 #FableticsPartner⠀ ⠀ When I was getting ready to take photos today for this post, I had the idea of going to a local park that we drove by a few weeks ago. I figured Sean and I could take a nice walk, grab the photos I needed, and soak in some of the beautiful sunshine.⠀ ⠀ The post was all going to be about novel (new) behavior and the positive impact it can have on your mental health.⠀ ⠀ Then we got to the park and realized it was TINY. Still determined to make the most of things, we decided to get out of the car and explore a little...only to discover that said park was wasp city. Needless to say, we jetted out of there and drove back home 😂⠀ ⠀ Typically when Sean helps with taking photos that I need for brands (I do actual photo shoots about once per month, but that doesn't always line up with when I receive packages) we go to the backyard in front of our garage because it provides a pretty neutral backdrop – except for midday where its shadow central 😅⠀ ⠀ So, we decided to go to the front yard, and discovered that our huge hedges actually make a pretty decent backdrop 💁🏻‍♀️⠀ ⠀ Long story short, practicing novel behavior doesn't always work out the way you want it to. Sometimes it's not a great experience, and that doesn't mean you never try new things again! It's just part of life, and that's okay 🤷🏻‍♀️⠀ ⠀ One novel thing that *did* work out nicely was trying out @fabletics SculptKnit material for this legging and sports bra set.⠀ ⠀ I tend to love their Motion365 and PowerHold fabric and was a little skeptical when I opened the package, but I was pleasantly surprised at how supportive and comfy this set is! Plus, the reflective detail is SO cute. This sports bra style feels extremely supportive, even with jumping/running, and the leggings have great compression and support too.⠀ ⠀ If you want to give Fabletics a try, go to the link in my profile and get ANY 2 BOTTOMS for $24 when you become a VIP, plus 50% off everything else & free shipping - with your first VIP order!⠀ ⠀ #MyFabletics #MoveInFabletics

This month all of the #GaynorGirls + #GaynorGuy are sharing our fave @gaynorminden products — mine is without a doubt my Gaynor Minden pointe shoes!⠀ ⠀ While I love all of my GM stuff, their pointe shoes are the one product I couldn’t live without.⠀ ⠀ I also can’t wait for my new European production GM pointe shoes to arrive soon — I know I’m going to love the firmer, more supportive satin even more 😍⠀ ⠀ My current size/model in Gaynor Minden pointe shoes is the classic fit in size 8 wide, 5 box, high heel, high vamp, green (hard) shank. I’m excited to potentially experiment with going down a shank in the European production shoes and I’ll let you all know how it goes!⠀ ⠀ To my fellow Gaynor Minden wearers — what’s your fave thing about your GM pointe shoes? Let me know in the comments 🌟⠀ ⠀ Photo: @i.am.alaina⠀ ⠀ #GaynorGirls #GaynorGuys #GaynorMinden #MyGaynorMinden #GaynorGirlsAllOverTheWorld #SewAndGo⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🌟 My Instagram is for educational purposes and is not therapy or medical care.

Happy International #LeggingDay! 🎉 #FableticsPartner⠀ ⠀ I pretty much live in leggings (especially now that we’re finally getting fall temperatures here in Nashville) — I own more pairs of leggings than any other kind of pant — they have to have their own drawer 😂⠀ ⠀ Whether I’m wearing them to warm up before ballet class, with a hoodie headed to the grocery store, or with a cardigan to see therapy clients, leggings bring me lots of joy and comfort.⠀ ⠀ My current fave is this adorable coral pair — I wore them to school yesterday and they really brightened up my early morning. Do you have a fave pair of leggings? Do you wear them more than “real” pants like me? 😂 let me know in the comments! 🌟⠀ ⠀ Photo: @i.am.alaina⠀ Leggings: @fabletics

Something that I’ve been getting a lot of questions about lately both online and IRL is about how to avoid burnout and practice mindfulness when you have a packed, stressful schedule.⠀ ⠀ One of the biggest things that I incorporate in my life and work on with people in therapy is finding small, simple acts of mindfulness to incorporate throughout your day.⠀ ⠀ Mindfulness has so many mental and physical health benefits, and I feel that it’s often misconstrued that mindfulness needs to be some formal practice like meditation or yoga. While those are awesome ways of being mindful, we can practice mindfulness in just about any task throughout our day.⠀ ⠀ Some ideas for practicing mindfulness throughout the day:⠀ ⠀ 🍂 Periodically try to notice how your feet feel in your shoes, and maybe even wiggle your toes around⠀ 🍂 If you have an Apple Watch, use the Breathe app and actually listen to the reminders (I know I tend to ignore the notifications too 🙋🏻‍♀️)⠀ 🍂 Download some other free breathing app on your phone and set reminders to breathe at intervals throughout the day⠀ 🍂 Make the first 3 bites of each meal or snack mindful — notice the texture, taste, temperature, smell. Even if you can’t make the whole meal mindful, you can probably take the time to do it with a few bites.⠀ 🍂 Mindfully sip water throughout the day. Notice how it feels as you swallow.⠀ 🍂 When you take a restroom break, do a quick body scan. Notice any sensations throughout your body.⠀ ⠀ These are just a handful of suggestions — there are many more! Do any of these sound doable for you? What are some other ways that you think you can incorporate simple mindfulness? Let me know in the comments 💕⠀ ⠀ Photo: @i.am.alaina⠀ Leotard and tutu: @discountdance⠀ Pointe shoes: @gaynorminden⠀ ⠀ #DDSambassador #DiscountDance⠀ ⠀ 🌟 My Instagram is for educational purposes and is not therapy or medical care.

Found this photo from a shoot last fall with @i.am.alaina and just had to share it with you all ✨⠀ ⠀ While I spend a lot of time on this account sharing information about mental health/therapy and my dance journey, I don't often spend a lot of time anymore reflecting on my own mental health progress.⠀ ⠀ This is partially because this is a professional account and I don't want it to just be solely about my personal journey, and partially because caring for my mental health has become such a normal part of my daily routine that I'm often not thinking about it consciously in the same way I once had to.⠀ ⠀ However, over the past week or so I've been really conscious of the progress I've made over the past few years and past few months, and I'm so proud.⠀ ⠀ In moments of distress and discomfort, I often find myself going to statements of self-compassion instinctively vs. automatically trying to run from things or judge myself.⠀ ⠀ I consciously nourish my body with the things that it both needs and wants, without labeling things as good or bad. I engage in joyful movement such as ballet because I love it, and when I'm not feeling it, I take the day off.⠀ ⠀ I challenge myself to voice my needs, and more often than not, I do actually voice them.⠀ ⠀ Don't get me wrong – there are still days where I beat myself up, where I dislike my body, where I have trauma nightmares, and where I shut myself off from help. And, there are far more days where I'm genuinely caring for myself.⠀ ⠀ Healing looks different for everyone, and I'm not going to say that because I can do it, you can too – that reeks of privilege and isn't factual.⠀ ⠀ However, I do know that you are capable of healing because of your own inner strength and resources, even if you don't feel that way right now. Your healing journey likely will look very different than mine, and I encourage you not to judge your healing vs. mine – we all have different needs and things that work/don't work for us.⠀ ⠀ Keep fighting, the hard work is so worth it 💛⠀ ⠀ Pointe shoes: @gaynorminden⠀ Tutu: @discountdance #DDSAmbassador #DiscountDance⠀ ⠀ 🌟 My Instagram is for educational purposes and is not therapy or medical care.

Feeling so grateful to have been able to spend the weekend with my mom @mamaprophet and my brother @prophetnyc this weekend after not seeing them for almost a year and a half 💛⠀ ⠀ Getting to (safely) show them my city and my home was so needed, and I’m so glad to be in a place where this felt constructive and healing. We have been through so many ups and downs as a family, and having a weekend full of ups with them was so important.⠀ ⠀ As bittersweet as it was to say goodbye this morning, I’m so lucky to have had this lovely weekend surrounded by people I love 💛⠀ ⠀ 🌟 My Instagram is for educational purposes and is not therapy or medical care.

Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay 🌎 #FableticsPartner⠀ ⠀ While everyday is mental health day on my page, I’m grateful that today is a day where there can be a greater focus on the importance of taking care of our minds 💛⠀ ⠀ Two things that are especially important to me are dancer mental health and therapist mental health.⠀ ⠀ For most dancers, it’s no surprise that mental health isn’t prioritized in the dance world, and that while dance can be a beautiful, healing thing, it can also be very detrimental.⠀ ⠀ As shared by @kathryn_morgan and others recently, the ballet word in particular is extremely toxic in regards to body image, weight, and food. Companies like to say they’re becoming more diverse, and then tell dancers they need to change their bodies or else they won’t get a role, despite their talent. A beautiful art form that should be freeing often becomes something that’s toxic and painful.⠀ ⠀ Something else close to my heart is the mental health of therapists. Despite being in a field centered around mental health, therapists often struggle to take care of their own mental well-being. Due to the stigma in the world as a whole and the stigma that sadly exists in the field around professionals getting help, many mental health professionals struggle immensely.⠀ ⠀ While I’m grateful to be in a grad program where taking care of our own mental health is celebrated and that I have a wonderful group of clinician friends who are all about self-care, I know many other people in the field don’t have the same kind of support. My journey of recovering from an eating disorder and living with anxiety, depression, and PTSD don’t make me a lesser human or therapist — they’ve made me stronger and more empathetic.⠀ ⠀ If you’re struggling with your mental health, please know you’re more alone and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.⠀ ⠀ If you live in Tennessee and need mental health support, I have a limited number of spots available both for in-person and virtual therapy as in intern @thegaiacenter. Email me at colleen@gaiacenter.co to learn more or schedule a session 💛⠀ ⠀ 🌟 My Instagram is for educational purposes and is not therapy or medical care.⠀ ⠀ Photo: @i.am.alaina

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