Karin Stortz's headshot for 2023

Family. Food. Travel. Mental health. Design. Home. Cooking. Home cooking. Empowerment. Growth. The big picture. The little things. Life in general. Just as there are seasons to a year, there are seasons to life. Joy in the Meantime is meant to be a trusted resource sharing what’s meaningful and delightful for whatever season you’re in. You are welcome here.

I’m Karin (Ka-Rin).

I’m the creator behind Joy in the Meantime. My meantimes have included becoming a partner and parent, working in clinical social work, traveling as much as possible and creating a place my family can call home.

Finding Joy in Creating a Family and Home

My husband Roger and I are parents to three adventurous boys – Bram, Emerson and Soren – and we are in the midst of renovating our (hopefully!) forever home outside of Chicago. This isn’t our first reno rodeo, and I’ve learned so much about what it takes to celebrate the small projects and tackle the larger ones all while enjoying our everyday lives in the midst of it.

Our family has empathy, hard work and humor at the center of our lives and it centers my work and informs my passions. From weekly family meetings to raucous backyard play, date nights to the late nights that come with parenting, I use this space to document our lives and hopefully share insights and ideas on parenting, partnership and self.

Finding Joy in Seeking Adventure

Whether flying to visit my family in Bergen, Norway (where I was born!) to exploring our town, a sense of constant wanderlust infuses my life and this blog. I want to see the world. I want my family to see the world!

We hope to explore every nook and cranny and expose my children to different people, places, tastes and adventures. We might be jumping in puddles in the backyard or boarding a very long flight. I share the ups and downs – and hard-earned tips and tricks – of planning nearby excursions and traveling afar with family.

Finding Joy in Being A Lifelong Learner and Lifelong Teacher

Everything I create – from a family tradition to a morning ritual to a course I offer – is informed by my background in clinical social work. I served in private practice as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), primarily with children, individuals, and families and focusing on a variety of mental health issues.

For over 13 years, I have been teaching and educating recruit correctional officers during the mental health component of their academy training, looking at mental health holistically from the people correctional officers serve to their own wellness in high-stress jobs. I’ve also partnered with schools, educators, and families on topics such as bullying prevention, teen dating violence, empathy skill building and bystander empowerment.

Teaching is one my most favorite things! I love to empower people, and that love led me to develop my podcast and courses to share practical tips to find our joy in our everyday lives. I’d also love to connect with you through my Office Hours Name TBD where we can focus on what’s most important to you right now.

Finding Joy in the Meantime

I started Joy in the Meantime as a way to intentionally pursue joy and purpose in the small, seemingly everyday in-between moments. I wanted to create a space to be present and live in the now moments.

More than anything, I love creating conversations and soft places for people to land. Opportunities for personal exploration and growth. Moments of magic and beauty. Here’s to supporting and being supported. Cheers to being inspired!

Three powerful phrases that can be helpful in tackling anxiety are:

1. “This is just a feeling; it will pass.” This phrase helps in acknowledging that anxiety is a temporary emotional state and not a permanent part of one’s identity or life.

2. “I am in control of my breath and thoughts.”This affirmation reinforces the idea that while you might not be able to control external events, you have control over how you breathe and respond mentally.

3. “I have overcome challenges before, and I can do it again.” This statement fosters a sense of resilience and reminds you of your strength and ability to handle difficult situations.

Using these phrases can offer immediate reassurance and a sense of empowerment, which are crucial in moments of high anxiety. They help shift focus from distressing thoughts to a mindset of resilience and self-compassion.

For everyone battling anxiety – you’re not alone. Each step, no matter how small, is a victory. Let’s celebrate our strengths and keep pushing forward, one thought at a time. ❤️

#AnxietyWarrior #MindOverMatter #EmpowermentThroughWords

Learn to truly care for yourself. It’s more than bubble baths and spa days. It’s a journey of self-discovery and making choices that honor your well-being. 🌿

Here’s what I wish I knew:

1. Physical Health is Key: Prioritize your health, not just with exercise, but by listening to what your body needs – whether it’s rest, movement, or nourishment.
2. The Power of ‘No’: Saying no isn’t selfish; it’s essential. It’s about setting boundaries and respecting your limits.
3. Mental Space Matters: Make time for activities that clear your mind. Whether it’s a quiet walk, journaling, or simply sitting with your thoughts, mental clarity is a form of self-care.
4. Connect Deeply: Nurture relationships that uplift you. Surround yourself with people who respect and support your growth.
5. Embrace Learning: Never stop learning about yourself. Your needs, desires, and boundaries will evolve, and that’s okay.

To my younger self: Don’t wait to learn these lessons. Start now. The path to self-care isn’t about grand gestures; it’s in the daily choices that add up to a life of genuine happiness and empowered authenticity. ❤️

Have you ever felt torn between the whispers of intuition and the echoes of anxiety? It’s a journey many of us navigate.

Intuition is like a quiet, steady guide - a calm, clear ‘gut feeling’ that emerges from a place of peace, not panic. It’s that gentle nudge or pull, a sense of knowing without logical reasoning. On the flip side, anxiety often manifests as physical stress symptoms – a racing heart, restlessness, or even a tight chest.

🔍 Reflect and Ask Yourself:
1. Source of the Feeling: Is this a sudden response to a situation (likely anxiety) or a constant, peaceful knowing (intuition)?
2. Physical Sensations: Am I experiencing stress symptoms like shallow breathing (anxiety), or do I feel calm and grounded (intuition)?
3. Emotional State: Is this feeling causing distress (anxiety), or does it feel like a natural understanding of something (intuition)?
4. Consistency and Clarity: Is my thought fluctuating with doubt (anxiety), or is it consistent and clear (intuition)?
5. Reasoning vs. Feeling: Am I overthinking (anxiety), or do I just ‘know’ deep down without a logical basis (intuition)?

Remember, anxiety, often rooted in past experiences or future worries, is your mind’s way of protecting you. Intuition, however, is your deeper, instinctual understanding of what’s right for you in the present moment. Learning to distinguish between the two is a powerful step towards self-care and inner peace.

Let’s embrace this journey together. Your path to clarity, empowerment, and genuine self-care starts here. Your feelings, both of anxiety and intuition, are valid and part of your incredible journey.

You’ve got this, friend ❤️

#AnxietyVsIntuition #SelfCareJourney #Empowerment #mentalwellness #anxietyrelief #intuition

Intuition – it’s a science-backed superpower in decision-making. Studies show that this ‘gut feeling’ is more than just an instinct; it’s a sophisticated mix of your past experiences and inner knowledge guiding your present choices. 🌿

Why embrace this inner wisdom? Research reveals that decisions guided by intuition often lead to more satisfying outcomes. It’s a unique interplay between your subconscious insights and conscious reasoning, offering perspectives that logic alone might miss.

So, how do you hone this powerful tool? Start by practicing self-awareness. Reflect on these questions:

1. What are my immediate feelings about this decision?
2. How does this choice align with my past experiences?
3. What does my initial reaction tell me, and why might that be?

Next time you’re faced with a choice, pause. Listen to your intuition. This powerful guide might lead to some of the most fulfilling decisions you’ll ever make.

#IntuitiveDecisionMaking #TrustYourGut #EmpoweredChoices

It’s natural to question ourselves – it shows how deeply we care. But dwelling too much on those worries can fuel our anxiety or self-doubt.

When doubt creeps in, pause and reflect on the small victories and moments of connection. Each one is a testament to your love and dedication. Each story listened to, every extra bedtime story read, and those moments of just being there - they’re the real markers of our parenting journey.

Here’s a practical affirmation to remind yourself in those times: ‘My love and presence are my greatest gifts as a parent. I am doing my best, and that is more than enough.’

Parenting isn’t a quest for perfection. It’s an ever-evolving journey of love, learning, and being there - growing alongside our children in every step, embracing the highs and lows that form the essence of this never-dull adventure. 😉

Share your own affirmations or moments when you felt you were doing just enough. Let’s support and uplift each other in this incredible journey of parenthood. ❤️

#ParentingJourney #AffirmationForParents #youareenoughmovement

Life isn’t about constant motion; Life is a rhythm of different seasons - times of simply being and periods of active growth. Remember, it’s absolutely okay to have off days. In fact, they’re vital for our growth and well-being. 🌿

Let’s embrace these pauses as essential. How do you recognize and honor your need for a break? Share your experiences and let’s support each other!

Bookmark this post for times when you need a reminder that it’s okay to step back. You’re part of a community that values real, balanced self-care. 🤍

#MindfulLiving #RealSelfCare #EmpoweredWellness

Embracing Motherhood with Compassionate Thoughts 🌿

It’s no secret that our thoughts can sometimes lead us down challenging paths, especially when laced with thinking errors like catastrophizing or overgeneralization. But guess what? Recognizing these patterns is a powerful step towards a more peaceful mindset. We’re on our way! 🙌🏼

Here’s a simple but effective self-talk script to guide you through those challenging moments:

Thought Error: “The day started badly; it’s going to be a disaster.”
Self-Talk Script: “Every moment is a new chance. A rough start doesn’t define the whole day. We’ve turned around tough days before.”

All-or-Nothing Thinking
Thought Error: “I missed the school event; I’m a bad mom.”
Self-Talk Script: “Missing one event doesn’t make me a bad mom. I do so much for my family, and my worth isn’t tied to one moment.”

Thought Error: “The kids didn’t listen at all today; I’m completely failing as a parent.”
Self-Talk Script: “Some days are tough, but they don’t represent every day. I’m learning and growing with my kids.”

Mind Reading
Thought Error: “Everyone must think I’m not managing well.”
Self-Talk Script: “I can’t assume what others think. Most are probably too focused on their own challenges to judge mine.”

Should Statements:
Thought Error: “I should be doing more, like other moms.”
Self-Talk Script: “I’m doing my best, and that’s enough. My journey is unique, not a comparison with others.”

Remember, these thoughts are common, but they don’t define your incredible journey in motherhood. Be kind to yourself as you are to your children.

Let’s share our experiences. What self-talk helps you through tough parenting moments? Drop them in the comments.

#CompassionateMotherhood #PositiveSelfTalk #MomLife #MentalWellness #EmpoweredMoms #mindfulmotherhood #momlifebalance #positiveparentingtips #momsupport #mentalhealthformoms #empoweredmoms #momwellness #parentingtips #parentingmindset

Embracing Authentic Emotions: The Shift from Toxic Positivity to Genuine Support🌿

In our journey of self-growth and connection, we often encounter the well-intentioned but misguided mantra of "staying positive" at all costs. But here`s the thing: true positivity isn`t about ignoring the complex, sometimes messy spectrum of our emotions. It`s about embracing and validating them, all of them. 🤍

Toxic Positivity vs. Authentic Support
Toxic positivity dismisses our genuine feelings, pushing a narrative that we should be happy or positive, regardless of our actual emotional state. It`s like putting a band-aid on a wound that needs more than just a quick fix.

Why Validation Matters 🌱
By acknowledging and validating each other`s feelings, we foster a space where emotional honesty isn`t just accepted, it`s encouraged. This shift allows us to support each other genuinely, building deeper connections and resilience.

Let`s Start a Conversation
Have you ever experienced toxic positivity? How do you prefer to be supported when you`re going through tough times?

Together, let`s advocate for a community where all emotions are respected and where support is as real as the feelings we experience.

#EmotionalHonesty #RealSupport #BeyondToxicPositivity

On the Podcast

Join me – my best friend Jen – as we dish about finding joy in the meantime.

Listen Now


Join me – my best friend Jen – as we dish about finding joy in the meantime.