Valentine’s Day: The Day to Celebrate LOVE for everyone

Photo Credit: Teresa Sumerfield Photography (http://www.teresa-sumerfield.com)

It’s February 14th…which means the romantic comedies and love songs have been playing on repeat for the past few weeks on television and radio, the jewellery commercials have been in full force to remind you of the “perfect” gift of diamonds, and the stores are littered with all shades of pink and red. It’s Valentine’s Day. For some, this day can be exciting and romantic. For others, this day can bring about feelings of loneliness and sadness. And for others, this day is just Thursday.

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Bell Let’s Talk Day is Tomorrow!

January 30, 2019 is Bell Let’s Talk Day!! If you don’t know what this initiative is, make sure to visit their website at: https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/bell-lets-talk-day

From: https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/bell-lets-talk-day

As a therapist and counsellor, I hear it often: “I don’t know if I need counselling. I’m not crazy”. Language is a powerful thing. And the first thing I try to do is NORMALIZE. I remind them that our mental health is the same as our physical health: just as we all have vital organs that keep us alive, we all have emotions that naturally respond to the environment or situation surrounding us. When we have aches and pains, we sometimes postpone our visits to the doctor or forget to take our medication. We may skip our daily jog or indulge in a double burger with bacon and cheese. And, sometimes, we have difficulties managing our emotions or taking care of ourselves mentally by engaging in regular self-care or seeking professional help.

Our emotions are vital to our existence and all serve an important function – even the unpleasant ones. They tell us that we either like or dislike what is going around us, they tell us to take extra caution if we feel that we are at risk of being physically, socially, or emotionally harmed. When we try to deny our emotions or minimize them, we introduce another emotion – GUILT. And this feeling can make whatever we are experiencing seem a million times worse.

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My 3 Principles of Stress Reduction: Putting my words into Practice

Organization isn’t about perfection. It is about efficiency, reducing stress & clutter, and saving time & money, & improving your overall quality of life.

Christina Scalise
Some call it ‘organized chaos’…

There are many constants that I like to emphasize during my counselling sessions. Some are based on theory, some on personal or professional experience. Regardless of the presenting issue, I have three principles of stress reduction that I like to encourage all of my clients to embrace:

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It’s Exam Time!

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With the end of the school year approaching, there is always excitement about summer vacation.  But with this, is the seemingly gigantic obstacle that needs to be overcome before the bliss of sunny days and freedom: exams.  Your teen may be experiencing some anxiety about this time of the year because of the cumulative projects and upcoming exams.  You may see more irritability or expressions of stress and frustration rise in their words and their behaviour. Just remember that it’s only temporary and once that final exam is completed, the excitement of summer will return!

During this time, I always try to remind myself when working with my teenage clients that it can be a very stressful time.  I try to incorporate strategies to help in managing test anxiety, whether or not they believe they experience it. So, I wanted to share a few main points that I find to be helpful with surviving exam time:

1. Studying requires breaks! Our brains can only retain a certain amount of information before it begins to shut down on its own.  Therefore, even though we are entering into our third hour of studying, the likelihood of remembering is quite low.  So take those breaks to give your poor brain a rest, please.

2. When we “blank out” during exams, it is usually not because we are unprepared.  It is usually because our anxiety is so high that it is interfering with our ability to remember.  If this is the case, it is important to enter the exam environment in a calmer state.  Right before the exam, put away the notes (you’re not going to learn anything new in the next few minutes) and focus on relaxation.  Sit and listen to your favourite song, sketch in your sketchbook that you haven’t used in a while, watch a television show.  Bring your anxiety down from a 10 to a 7. It will make a big difference.

3. Try to reframe your thoughts if they are negative.  If you think that you are going to fail, remind yourself of the good (or “okay”) marks you have received in this class so far this semester. Instead of focusing on what you still don’t understand, think of the things that you studied and know backwards and forwards.  If you think that it will be a long and grueling process, remind yourself that you will be on summer vacation in less than a week.  This time tomorrow, this class will be done and over!

4. Before you start writing anything down on your exam, read over all of the questions and take a deep and slow breath. Exhale all of the worries and remember all of the work that you have put forth to get there.

5. Get a good night’s sleep and eat something small before the exam.  Fatigue and exhaustion will make it very difficult to focus, formulate your thoughts, understand the questions, etc.

6. Once the exam is over, IT IS OVER. Don’t spend too much time thinking about the questions and whether or not you got this one right or that one wrong.  Leave it in the classroom and take the night off if you can by doing something enjoyable.

7. If you feel panicked or anxious before your exam, remind yourself that it’s normal to feel this way.  It may not mean that it is because you are going to fail. But it is definitely a reflection of your desire to do well, which means it is important to you.

Below is a link to a pdf file that has a lot of helpful strategies to prepare for exams and write them.  I give this to my clients all the time, even if they are not worried about their exams.

https://www.anxietybc.com/sites/default/files/Test_Anxiety_Booklet.pdf

Good luck to all and I hope this post was helpful to you!!

Talking to your Child or Teen about Tragedy

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Wishing that our children can be free of tragedy and sadness (Photo Credit: Teresa Sumerfield Photography)

It seems like more and more frequently, we find ourselves bombarded with media coverage about tragedies that occur randomly and unexpected.  School shootings.  Bus accidents.  Innocent children and youth dying. Acts of violence towards strangers.  Sometimes, watching the local news can be more terrifying than the movies and television shows we “responsibly” use our parental blocks to shield our children from the horrors of computer animation and gratuitous gore and bloodshed.

It is not surprising, then, that our young ones are becoming increasingly anxious about arbitrary and general and unspecific situations.  We may wonder why our sons and daughters are worried about practically everything and we may try to comfort them by telling them that they have nothing to worry about.  However, in my work with children and youth, although this interaction is, at best, full of positive intentions to support and help, it is often viewed as minimizing and insincere.  It can also send the message that these feelings are not okay or “normal”.

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Self-Compassion: The Power of Loving Ourselves

love

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.

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

notalone3

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.

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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!!

open house