Self-Care & Mental Wellness: Dr. Jess Beachkofsky On The Top Five Selfcare Practices That Improve Mental Wellness

An Interview With Maria Angelova


Take care of your body! This can encompass a ton of different things but the points to hit are getting enough sleep, fueling your body with good stuff, and moving every day!

Let’s face it. It seems that everyone is under a great deal of stress these days. This takes a toll on our mental wellness. What are some of the best self-care practices that we can use to help improve our mental wellness and mental well-being? In this interview series, we are talking to medical doctors, mental health professionals, health and wellness professionals, and experts about self-care or mental health who can share insights from their experience about How Each Of Us Can Use Self Care To Improve Our Mental Wellness. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jess Beachkofsky.

Dr. Jess Beachkofsky, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist, parenting and homelife coach, and mom of 2 daughters. She’s been practicing psychiatry for over a decade and spent 12 years serving in the military before transitioning to her virtual practice. She’s passionate about working with people that are motivated to take an active, engaged stance in their mental wellness.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about you and your personal background. Can you please share your personal story? What has brought you to this point in your life?

I’ve had a lot of really fun, interesting twists and turns in my life, but this specific moment stands out the most. I was an Air Force Major running the inpatient mental health unit at a military hospital in San Antonio. My husband was working as a physician in the Air Force and our hours were long. We had a wonderful part time nanny and used on-base childcare, but I was still overwhelmed by my 1- and 2-year-old daughters and was wracked with constant mom guilt.

That Mother’s Day I remember playing with them in their kiddie pool in the back yard. When they went inside, I just sat in that tiny pool, drank my Sav Blanc and cried. I knew at that moment that my life needed some major changes, and I took the steps that (eventually) brought me here!

What is your “WHY” behind what you do? What fuels you?

Family connection and living a full life keeps me moving forward. I want to enjoy spending time with my family while feeling that I’m adding value to the world through my work. I’m passionate about mental health with a focus on Positive Psychiatry which can be helpful in almost every stage of mental wellness.

I’ve also been coaching working moms who want some more help at home by engaging their families to participate more. I love problem solving for that win-win scenario where kids learn skills to grow into great grown-ups while moms get a break from the mom guilt and can enjoy more time with their families instead of just managing all. The. Things. Every light bulb that goes on for a patient going through a life transition or for a mom building a stronger family empowers me to keep going.

Sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake or failure which you now appreciate has taught you a valuable lesson?

Although everyone has experienced failure and made mistakes, this question is actually really difficult for me! One of my superpowers is reframing situations to see opportunities. So, for me, failures are really just pivot points.

My most recent difficult “pivot point” was in summer 2021 when I was let go from a contracting position that I had been working for years. Although not explicitly stated, the instigating factor was the cost of having a medical doctor when they could contract with a mid-level provider for less money. I took that very personally since I knew I was providing excellent patient care! But I never really loved that specific job, it was just very secure and consistent. Had that never happened, I never would have done the soul searching that led to fewer hours in clinic and more hours with my family and other non-medical endeavors! Now I have control over every aspect of the value I can provide to others, and I have more job satisfaction now than I’ve ever experienced.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Wow, three? Ok, I’d have to say creativity within problem solving, my reframing superpower I just talked about, and forward motion or drive towards what I want to do in this life.

Creative problem solving is endlessly useful! There is never just one way to do things, and although I’m an excellent hoop-jumper, following directions can only take a person so far. I’ve figured out some to interact with people and build teams, and that led me to become the youngest medical director of a mental health unit for a DoD facility. Creativity can often lead to an unexpected but superior solution in a place no one thought to look before.

Then, my perspective or the ability to reframe a situation as mentioned above. A loss of one job turned into multiple opportunities to have more flexibility and create more value in the world simultaneously!

Forward momentum is that grit or ability to stick with things and keep going. Even when I’m not sure if I’m doing it “right” I’m always trying to move forward towards who I’m working to become. So much time is lost by procrastinating because a task seems too hard or too involved to get started on “now”. I aim to just get started on that single I-don’t-want-to-do-it-right-now thing because almost always, I end up getting into it super-fast! I make a ton of headway and feel so much more positive on the project and my abilities. That drive pushes me into a state of flow quickly and easily. And that flow state is an amazing place to be!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting new projects you are working on now? How do you think that will help people?

Oh, this is exciting! I have a ton going on. Right now, I’m working to phase out of clinical contract work and focus on my private practice and coaching work. Within my practice I’m dedicating more energy and effort to including positive psychiatry in my work with every patient. There is no stage of treatment where someone cannot benefit from building up their strengths and skills and emphasizing physical and emotional wellness.

I’m also developing a new program for mom professionals called Team Family Solutions that’s teaching a comprehensive system for a more cohesive homelife. It teaches the skills needed to train up helpers that live there and gives direct, actionable steps for making real, measurable changes. I’ve also been writing for my blog on topics covering routines, decluttering, and family connection building. And on top of that I’m opening a digital product store on Etsy. It provides companion guides and printables to help apply the home management and team building tactics I teach in my program and through my blog. I love making things pretty AND effective. And teaching feeds my soul. This part doesn’t feel like work at all!

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, about the interface between self-care and mental health. From where you stand personally or professionally, why are you so passionate about mental well-being?

Mental wellness is at the center of my life both personally and professionally. I require a lot of energy to do my clinical work and while I love it, if I’m not taking care of myself, I can’t provide value to those I’m helping. Patients that put effort towards their therapy assignments, look inward, and work towards physical wellness make the most significant gains. And for my mom crowd, we know that you need a ton of resilience to do great work while momming at your best. If you aren’t coming from a self-optimized position, it’s hard to guide and engage with family in a joyful and meaningful way.

Based on your research or experience, how exactly does self-care impact our mental wellness?

After over a decade of psychiatric experience I know self-care has a direct impact on mental wellness. No one can be at the top of their game for very long if they don’t maintain themselves. Your body, brain, and soul have requirements just like your job or your family. When those aren’t met you end up with a sub-par version of yourself. It also just feels GOOD to take care of yourself, easily manage stress, and move your body regularly.

Here is our primary question. Can you please share your “Top Five Selfcare Practices That Each Of Us Can Use To Improve Our Mental Wellness”?

  • First, take care of your body! This can encompass a ton of different things but the points to hit are getting enough sleep, fueling your body with good stuff, and moving every day!

Every adult really needs between 7–9 hours of sleep in each 24-hour period and without this your brain can’t function optimally. In fact, the easiest way to make a person psychotic is to sleep deprive them!

Eat healthy foods as often as possible and don’t stuff yourself. Plants and unprocessed foods are the best base, but you can still eat other foods you enjoy, just not constantly. And leave a little room in your stomach. Your brain will always tell you it wants more because this was a useful survival mechanism before we had 24-hour grocery stores!

And move your body every day! It’s great for those feel-good endorphins and to decrease stress. It can be a long trail run, a short walk, some yoga at home, or a class at the gym. And this is a great way to cover a few bases if you take it outside for some fresh air and nature, workout with others for that community connection, or go inward with a post exercise meditation or breathing practice.

  • Second, feel the gratitude. Remind yourself of the things that you have that provide something useful or bring you joy. Be specific. It’s not just “my family” it’s “how my husband reset my clock for me after the time changed so I didn’t have to do it in the dark”.

And if you’re struggling with a low point where it doesn’t seem like there’s much to be grateful for, try shifting your perspective. Sometimes when we feel we “have to” do something it becomes a dreaded chore. By shifting those words to “get to” the entire experience of that event can become a point of appreciation. You may “have to” pay the electric bill but if you “get to” pay it you realize that you have the funds, a place to use the electricity, and a way to enjoy the benefits of it. With practice this becomes almost automatic and can cause a dramatic shift in perspective from a negative towards a much more optimistic and positive outlook!

  • Thirdly, connect with others. This can be as simple as a brief engagement with a checkout clerk, messaging with someone at work, or talking with your kids on the way to school. We are social animals by nature, and even if you consider yourself an introvert, humans are drawn towards connecting with other humans. It doesn’t even have to take a long time or be very involved.

Taking a genuine interest in another person and what’s happening with them can provide a wonderful distraction from your own situation, feed your soul, and fuel you until your next connection point with someone else. Don’t just chit-chat, really listen with your whole being. You will learn so much from giving your full attention to someone, and they will feel validated and appreciated. Then you get to carry that warm feeling of connection with you all day long.

  • My fourth tip is to learn new things. Bonus points if they have nothing to do with what you already do for fun or work. Take a class (there are so many online offerings!) or even just read a book in a different genre. Join a friend, co-worker, or one of your kids in one of their endeavors so you learn more about the topic, the human you’re sharing it with, and feel that connection.

Keeping your brain stimulated is important no matter what your age and by digging into something new you’ll gain different perspectives too. For successful people it can also be fun and freeing to be a beginner at something again. Not knowing and then building some skills or knowledge on a new topic can feel challenging yet provide a ton of reward!

  • Finally, spend time in nature and get as much fresh air as possible. We all need to take brain breaks throughout the day (or at least if you’re keeping up with self-care) because this maintains and refreshes focus and can lead to generating new ideas or solutions. Getting some natural light on your retinas can help to stimulate your brain. Being outside, just for a few minutes, can lower heart and breathing rates, blood pressure, and stress hormones.

Even if you can’t go hiking in the mountains, a few minutes looking out the window, walking around the block, or standing on the back porch can help. And don’t forget to feel the awe and wonder of this amazing planet we live on! Look at the twinkling night sky, notice the tiny flowers poking through the cracks in the concrete, or watch the patterns that starlings make as they fly through the sky in unison.

It might seem like a lot but so much of this can be done during down time or just while you’re going through your day as usual. Maybe see if there are some time blocks you can swap with something that’s less rewarding. But just focusing on being more intentional with exactly what you’re doing already will still make a notable difference.

Can you please share a few of the main roadblocks that prevent people from making better self-care choices? What would you suggest can be done to overcome those roadblocks?

One of the biggest roadblocks is time. We are all naturally busy but that doesn’t mean you don’t have time. Certain activities just require more intention rather than just going through the motions. Sometimes just rearranging a few things during your day can put the time you need right where you want it. And if you’re not really sure where your time is hiding you should find out! Spend a few days taking an inventory of where you spend your time and how you feel with certain activities to get some tangible data about your day. It’s hard to make a useful change if you don’t know where you’re coming from.

And this leads into the routine piece. When you see the time that you have, how you use much of it already, and what you want to do with it, it becomes easier to figure out how to incorporate something new. This should always be linked to an activity you already do regularly so it’s more likely to get done and to stick. This is called habit stacking and it’s very effective for altering schedules as long as you make small, reasonable changes and don’t overhaul everything at once. (And using sticky notes for reminders can help too!)

Another major roadblock is underestimating the results or return for taking the upfront effort to care for yourself regularly. Your energy and well being can change dramatically in such a positive way that you may end up feeling like you have even more time in your day. And that means more to put towards the people and activities that you love too.

In one sentence, what would you say to someone who doesn’t prioritize their mental well-being?

Your brain and your body are there for you, making sure you get to do what you want all the time, so take care of them (and hopefully you can continue with this arrangement for a very long time)!

Thank you for all that great insight! Let’s start wrapping up. Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does this quote resonate with you so much?

One of my favorite quotes which I tell myself often is “do hard things”. I read a passage in a book a few years ago pointing out that we’re animals and we are all surviving. Every day. Just trying to survive. It’s a lot easier than it was 10,000 years ago but no one said it should be easy! So, I am always reminding myself that it’s ok if it’s hard because I do hard things. I’m a human and I work at being a better one every single day, especially when it’s hard.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? They might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

I would love to have brunch with Kindra Hall! She’s an author, storyteller, and a pretty kick-ass mom. I ran across her first book 2 years ago and she released her second in 2022. The way she talks about stories and their power is so inspiring. I would love chatting and sharing stories. And I want to hear more about what it’s like to go from a small town to living in NYC with kids! She seems absolutely amazing and I’m sure we would have a blast!

I truly appreciate your time and valuable contribution. One last question. How can our readers best reach or follow you?

Sure! You can always email me directly at or visit my website I’m also on IG and Pinterest @coachjessmd. For the doctor version of me, I’m licensed in Florida, Texas, and Indiana and you can contact me through my webpage

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at To schedule a free consultation, click here.



Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.
Authority Magazine

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.