The Medicine Cabinet Series was created to give you a unique look at the everyday lives and wellness routines of a diverse group of women from around the country. Dive in for a candid approach to wellness unlike any other.
Meet Charlotte Margulies, a licensed clinical social worker. She's a clinical supervisor and school-based therapist for her local school district, working with children and families with acute mental health and substance abuse concerns, often with significant trauma histories and on-going suicidal risk.
She's originally from the East Coast, but is now loving life in Aspen, CO. Charlotte also specializes as a Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapist and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, and serves on the Board of Directors for CASA.
While she absolutely loves her work, self-care often goes by the wayside. And that's where her wellness routine comes in.
Keep reading to learn more about how this therapist manages her workload, takes care of others, and takes care of her own mental health and well-being at the same time.
BINTO: What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I feed our pup, Brighton. Then I put a pot of water on the stove to boil while I am in the shower, listen to the news on my Alexa, and make some hard boiled eggs and a green smoothie. Then I am out the door.
I used to be a morning workout person but now that I have to leave for work much earlier that has been challenging. If I have some extra time in the morning, I love to snuggle on the couch with our dog and watch the news while drinking a latte. Making a homemade latte every morning with a sprinkle of cinnamon is one of my great simple joys. 🙂
BINTO: What's the biggest misconception most women have about mental health?
I think we spend a lot of energy and time focusing on our health and exercise routine and our mental health should be right up there as well. In particular, mental hygiene — the practice of regular self-care with a focus on mental well-being — should be a priority. We have a tendency to focus on our mental health only when something is wrong.
Even as a mental health professional, I've found that when I don’t prioritize my mental hygiene, everything else in my life feels a bit harder.
BINTO: What's your non-negotiable self-care routine for your mental health?
Getting outside at least a few times a week. I live in the mountains and have found that the more time I actually spend outside in the mountains, exercising, taking in the beauty of where I live helps me remember what is important in life. It helps me shed the stress of the workday, and remember that trauma does not have to follow me home. It helps me, more than anything, to process the vicarious trauma I may endure on a daily basis.
Getting outside is my version of meditation and mindfulness. I focus on engaging all of my senses and being truly present in those moments to help ground myself and the day. I can truly tell when I haven’t been outside enough.
BINTO: What are your favorite healthy foods? What foods can you not live without?
Eggs and green smoothies are the staples of my daily nutrition. I am often on the go, so I find hard-boiled eggs and smoothie in my fridge at work to be lifesavers. Other than that, I love a little bit of everything. I love cooking up roasted vegetables and making varieties of bowls throughout the week. I have also found that cooking on Sundays greatly diminishes my Sunday scaries.
BINTO: Tell us about your fitness routine.
Skiing, backcountry skiing and skinning up the resort, spinning/Peloton, strength training, trail running, paddle boarding, road biking, mountain biking — the list goes on.
I try to work out at least 4 to 6 days a week. Some weeks it is less due to work constraints, and I try to remind myself that's okay. I believe whole-heartedly in listening to your body and mind and allowing yourself whatever it needs in regards to exercise or rest.
BINTO: What was the defining moment when you realized you could take your health into your own hands?
I have always been an active person and athlete. However, I struggled with a very significant eating disorder for over 10 years. Restricting my eating so greatly caused some other health concerns and made it hard to do the things I used to find such great joy in.
At its worst I was scared to work out because I would “bulk up,” and “put on too much muscle.” Later in my recovery, I was scared to work out for fear that it may trigger my eating disorder again. When I was in graduate school, with the help of some amazing professionals, I was able to change the narrative and instead of being angry at my body for how it did or didn’t look, I started to be proud of what it could do for me.
When I moved to Colorado, that mantra has defined my exercise routines. I don’t Peloton to look better; I Peloton to ride hard, faster, and father through the mountains during the summer. I don’t skin up the resort after work just for exercise; I do it to enjoy the mountains in the backcountry more on the weekends and take in the beauty of my surroundings.
Now I am proud of my legs for carrying me up mountains, I am grateful for my lungs for allowing me to breath heavily and challenge myself. My arms allow me to hold my bike and navigate challenging terrain. Making this shift has been paramount in my overall level of gratitude as well and prioritizing health in a more appropriate way.
I work with clients every day, asking them: What is the function and purpose of this behavior? How does it align with your priorities, both short- and long-term in life? I approach physical health, nutrition, and mental hygiene in the same way.
BINTO: Do you use Binto? If so, what kind of changes have you experienced as a result?
Yes! I started using them a couple months ago and love how easy it is and how it is customized for my health needs. I've also utilized the access to a nurse to inquire about some changes to the supplements in my subscription and it was so easy and helpful!
I notice that my skin has cleared up, my digestion has improved, and I feel less faitgued. I am also a big supporter of their mission to provide better access to women’s specific health information.
BINTO: What beauty or skincare product can’t you live without?
Living at 8,000 feet can wear on your skin so I have fallen in love with the Epionce skincare line, recommended by my dermatologist and developed in Idaho specifically for living at higher elevations. The Lytic Gel cleanser and the Renewal Facial Lotion are my go-tos. I have also been LOVING the Drunk Elephant BabyFacial mask once a week. It leaves my skin glowing, fresh, and revived.
BINTO: What is your biggest challenge in terms of health or wellness right now?
I always say to my husband that whenever I feel most avoidant of working out is generally when I need it the most. I have never once regretted a workout, even when I wanted to do anything BUT workout in that moment. My work can be very emotionally draining, with long hours, vicarious trauma, and lots of crisis management. It often can feel very challenging to power through the emotional burnout to exert myself physically, but I have learned throughout my career that it is one of the most important components of self-care for me.
BINTO: How do you define wellness?
I believe now more than ever that this wellness is an incredibly personal definition. I define wellness as taking care of the whole body, from the inside out. It does not matter how healthy I eat or how active I am, if I am not caring for my mental hygiene first and foremost, the rest of me will suffer. I attempt to balance all elements to really define wellness as a term for the whole person.