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Self-Compassion: The Power of Loving Ourselves

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It is officially the “day of love” – it’s Valentine’s Day.  For some, this is a very important time to spend with loved ones and celebrate our relationships and connections.  For others, this can be a difficult day, especially if we feel disconnected or alone.  I am a firm believer that Valentine’s day is simply just a day, and that if we value our relationships with others, whether romantic, familial or platonic, we should celebrate this everyday.  But one relationship we tend to forget most is the relationship that we have with ourselves.

 
Continue reading “Self-Compassion: The Power of Loving Ourselves”

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Review: “Not Alone: A film about teen suicide and depression”

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I found this documentary on Netflix randomly but found it profoundly inspiring.  Here is the back story: This documentary is lead by Jacqueline Monetta, who initially shares her story about the tragic and unexpected loss of her best friend to suicide.  She shares that she engaged in her own self-reflection.  She described, in her own experiences, the stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance.  And she began her journey to give other youth who have struggled with depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts a voice to share their stories of pain and resiliency.  The documentary captures Jacqueline interviewing survivors of past suicidality and depression, who share their diverse stories of loss, trauma, guilt, self-hatred and shame.  She also focuses on ways that these beautiful individuals found their strength and their hope.

Continue reading “Review: “Not Alone: A film about teen suicide and depression””

Making ME a Priority: Letting Go of the “Shoulds” and “Musts”

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

Jean Shinoda Bolen

As we approach the end of the holiday season and the beginning of a brand new year, some of us challenge ourselves by reflecting on all the things we want to change about our lives.  It could be our physical health (“I want to be healthier, more physically fit, and have more energy”) or our emotional well-being (“I want to be happier, calm and relaxed”).  We view January 1st as a baseline to which we can compare ourselves on December 31st.  If you are anything like me, I tend to set goals for myself that I “know” I have the time and energy to complete.  I find myself “should”-ing and “must”-ing about all of the things that I truly believe in that moment are achievable.  And then life happens.  And all of my “shoulds” and “musts” become precipitators for feelings of guilt, shame, anger, and frustration.

This year, I am going to try something very different.  My goal is to make myself a priority.  This is far beyond the “Year of Me” that I have tried to start for several years, where I set goals for myself to achieve that focus on different aspects of my life.  Making myself a priority simply means that I will try my best to give myself equal attention as the other aspects and responsibilities of my life.  This means that the relaxation and self-care time that I hope to “fit into” my life will now be scheduled.  I will let go of the “shoulds” and “musts”.

For example, one of the goals that I have made for the last three years (at least) is to begin reading for leisure again.  I happily go to the bookstore and pick out two or three books that I have always wanted to read and then I go home, put them by my bedside and wait until nighttime.  Then, I go about the rest of my day.  I cook dinner, eat dinner, attempt to clean up, and relax in front of the television and catch up on the shows that I have previously recorded (or Netflix…there is almost always time to watch Netflix it seems).  By the time I get to my bed, I look at the books as I yawn deeply and my eyes sting of fatigue.  If I can get a paragraph or two in, I am asleep before I can turn the page.  I tell myself that I will do it tomorrow…if I have the time.  And then the next day, the same things happen.  Until a few months pass and I have still not read the first chapter.  Insert “shoulds” and “musts” and feelings of guilt and shame.  So, if I follow the idea of making myself a priority, I will schedule reading time into my schedule and follow through with it, just as I would do with scheduled meal times and work hours.  I will go to my bed earlier.  Even if it is for half an hour, it is now a personal appointment.

In my personal and professional lives, I have learned that there are often times when the things that we hold dearest to us are the ones that we often set aside when we believe that there are things that we “should” or “must” do instead.  Spending quality time with our family members often occurs when we have time at the end of the day after running all of our errands and completing all of our chores. And just like the situation with my lonely books at my bedside, we often run out of time and cannot fit it in, promising ourselves that there will be more time tomorrow.  Letting go of the “shoulds” and “musts” is reminding ourselves that the dishes can be done after the kids go to sleep.  They will still be dirty at 9:30 p.m.  Or giving ourselves permission to sit and drink our cup of tea until it’s completely finished.  It only takes ten to fifteen minutes.  The countless cups of half full tea that turned cold because I was trying to multi-task and completely forgot about it is unbelievable!

It seems like an easy enough goal, right?  To schedule time to spend with my family and do things for fun? The actions are not difficult.  What I may struggle with most will be reminding myself of my “shoulds” and “musts”.  Challenging these negative thought patterns (a.k.a. Thinking Traps) by asking myself, “Do I really have to do this now or can it wait a few minutes or hour?“, will take practice.  But I am up for the challenge.  Besides, taking care of ourselves reminds us of our self-worth and value.  It’s time for all of us to remind ourselves of this.  So, read that chapter you have been meaning to read. Go out for coffee and catch up with friends whom you have not seen in a while. Watch your favourite television show with your partner.  Play with your kids.  Make them all personal appointments that you cannot cancel. Let go of your “shoulds” and “musts” and focus on your “wants” and on yourself.

Embracing the Powerful Mind Newsletter – January 2018

The newest issue of Embracing the Powerful Mind Newsletter is out and it focuses on New Year’s resolutions and online counselling.  It also includes exciting information about my extended office hours.

Happy Reading!!

Embracing the Powerful Mind Newsletter January 2018

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Now Booking for January 2018!!

christmas-lights.jpgThe new year is approaching and it can be characterized by the development of goals to increase happiness, success, and physical and emotional connections. It is a time when we make plans to address our physical health, “bad habits”, and financial decision-making.  However, for some reason, we often neglect the idea of addressing our emotional well-being as well.

It is important to remember that our physical and mental health are interconnected and are equally important to take care of.

I am currently scheduling in-person and online appointments for January 2018.  This is a great time to take care of ourselves, both body and mind.  I have also extended office hours that will hopefully accommodate your schedule.  Please see below the appointment times and locations that are now available beginning on Tuesday, January 9, 2018:

Orangeville office 

Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Saturdays – various times available – Please contact me for more information

Contact me at: 519-217-5013 (phone or text)

Brampton/Georgetown 

Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Contact me at: 437-772-1010 (phone or text)

Online Video Counselling (Location: Your own home through Inkblot Therapy)

Monday, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays: 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

 

For all services, you can also email me at cindynashcounselling@gmail.com or use the Contact Form by clicking here.  If these times don’t work for you, contact me anyways and we may be able to find another time that suits you better!

It’s time to take care of you.  You deserve it.

Open House – November 8th!!

I am extremely grateful and excited to have found an amazing team at Beechwood Chiropractic Wellness Centre in Norval, Ontario.  On Wednesday, November 8th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., there will be an Open House event, where a variety of services will be represented (see attached flyer).  Please join us for raffles, shopping, door prizes and an opportunity to connect with some great people in your area!!

Can’t wait to meet you!!

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New Office Location!

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I am extremely excited and grateful that I have been given the opportunity to extend my private practice to other geographic areas.  I have recently connected with Beechwood Chiropractic and Wellness Centre in Norval, Ontario and will be seeing clients in this office for a few sessions per week.  Please feel free to visit their website to see all of the amazing services they provide as well.  The location is fantastic and will allow me to provide counselling services to Norval, Georgetown, North Brampton, and Mississauga.

If you would like more information about my available times or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to contact me by clicking here.

 

Dealing with “Starting-high-school” Worries

Every year, beginning around April or May, many of my young clients express worries and fears about starting high school in the following year.  This feeling can be described as a general worry, but can escalate to crippling fear and panic.

There are many reasons why this fear and worry is understandable.  It involves transitioning from the oldest in elementary school to the youngest in a larger, more intimidating school environment.  Socially, high school amalgamates several elementary and middle school classes into one gigantic grade 9 class, filled with unfamiliar people.  Some of my clients also worry about the perceived increase in difficulty level of school work and expectations.  And even though grade 9 is the beginning of high school, it sometimes symbolizes that need to confirm long-term goals, which can include university or college programs and future careers.

On a more personal level, I empathize with my young clients because the frame of reference that they have regarding high school is a lot more darker and surreal than what I was exposed to when I was transitioning.  I was bombarded by the bright colours and cheerful casts of shows like “Saved by the Bell”, “Boy Meets World”, “Full House”, and “Beverly Hills, 90210”.  Now, high school series show more mature themes, such as “Pretty Little Liars”, “Riverdale” and “13 Reasons Why”.  It is no wonder that some of our young ones are more nervous about this major life change!

When supporting youth through this time, I found the following things helpful and they may be helpful for you when talking to your teen:

  1. Normalize how they are feeling.  “I am sure that a large percentage of soon-to-be grade 9 students are experiencing similar fears and worries”.  Remind your teen that uncertainty and unfamiliar situations are always worrisome until they become more predictable and familiar.  This will take some time.  It is also okay to remind your teen that there are some experiences in life that cannot be avoided and this may be one of them.  Challenging our fears can teach us about our resiliency and our ability to adapt to new and different surroundings.
  2. Focus on balanced thinking.  “In addition to the things that worry you about high school, what are some of the things that you are excited about?”  This could include meeting new people, joining clubs and extra-curricular activities, having their own locker, etc.
  3. Process specific worries.  “What is the worst case scenario that you are worried about?  Let’s find some strategies that may be helpful if this happens.  What is the likelihood that this will happen anyways?”
  4. Connect your youth with appropriate supports.  Some schools are now hosting “orientation” weeks that allow grade 9 students to acclimate to their new surroundings and get used to the new routines and structures.  Participating in these programs may help in familiarizing themselves with their high school.
  5. Talk about it.  Even when your child says, “I don’t want to talk about it. It makes me nervous”, remind him or her that the more he or she talks about it, the less scary the topic may become.  Obviously, you don’t want to force your child to talk about it, but engaging in small dialogues about things that are exciting about high school may make it less daunting.
  6. Remind ourselves that of the social pressures that we may not understand, especially if we went to high school without social media, cell phones, the internet, and super-sized high schools.  High school is definitely a different experience now than when I was a teenager a very, VERY, long time ago, and I am okay with admitting that I may not fully understand the new pressures that our youth today have to face.  But I am also confident that with many of our youth, the passage of time and the support from others can make a positive difference when making this transition.

Here are some other helpful articles that may be of some use:

“Starting High School” – http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/starting-high-school.html

http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=243&np=295&id=2196

Helping Your Teen Adjust – http://www.drpaul.com/adolescent/highschool.php

 

Online Counselling Now Available!

I am very excited to announce a new service that I will be offering to current and new clients!  I have recently been approved to be an online therapist through Inkblot Therapy.  This is a very exciting opportunity for me to provide support to individuals in a more convenient manner.

Inkblot Therapy allows therapists and their clients to experience an online counselling session in a secure and confidential manner.  The user-friendly process is simple:

  1. Create a confidential user profile on the Inkblot Therapy website and use my personal ID Code to access my calendar.
  2. Purchase a specific amount of sessions and book them online.
  3. Log in to your account at the scheduled time of the booking for your 1 hour session with me.  All sessions are confidential and adhere to PHIPPA standards.
  4. Receive your receipt following the completion of the session that you can use for insurance claims.

Online counselling via video conferencing can be beneficial in so many ways.  It can address barriers such as geographical or time constraints.  It can also be used as a method of receiving support in between face-to-face sessions or as a “trial” to evaluate if counselling is a helpful tool for you.

For more information about online counselling with me through Inkblot Therapy, please contact me through email, phone call or text.

Find more information about online counselling using the following links below:

Online counselling: Pros and cons – http://au.professionals.reachout.com/online-counselling-pros-and-cons

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Counselling – https://www.verywell.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-online-therapy-2795225

Common Myths of Online Counselling Debunked – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/panic-life/201707/common-myths-about-online-counseling-debunked