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How to Cope With Holiday Stress

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
stress

While the holidays can bring plenty of joy, for many people it can be a very stressful time of year. Almost a quarter of American’s report feeling “extreme stress” around the holiday season. Even if you are not someone who experiences a great amount of stress around this time of year, here are some coping skills you can use yourself or share with others who may be struggling with the stress of the holiday season.

Let Go of Expectations

We often become fixated on our expectations and become upset when reality does not match those expectations, especially when it comes to the holidays and traditions. Remember that things may not go perfectly or exactly as planned but that is not what really matters. The holidays are an opportunity to surround ourselves with friends and family and to share in experiences that bring us closer together.

Be Present and Mindful

The holidays are obviously a very busy and fast-paced time of year for many people. While it can be easy to fall into this pattern of go, go, go, be mindful of when you are experiencing stress or anxiety and when it may be time to take a break. Around this time of year, we tend to be focused on the needs of others and let our own needs fall by the wayside. It is important to make time for self-care, whatever that means for you.

Set Boundaries

Know your limits and know when to say “no” to things. Stress and anxiety can often arise from taking on too much at once. Part of good self-care is knowing when you have reached your capacity and setting boundaries around the use of your time (including who you spend time with and when). Know that you do not have to attend every holiday event you are invited to or spend time with people who do not make you feel your best.

Maintain Your Routine

With the holidays come plenty of fun events and delicious treats to enjoy. However, trying to maintain most of your daily routine can help greatly when it comes to coping with stress. Exercise, diet and sleep are key components to both mental and physical health. Most people do not get enough sleep and holiday stress can exacerbate that problem. Taking a daily walk, setting a “bed-time” for yourself and/or starting your day with a healthy breakfast can help you to feel and stay on track and maintain healthy habits during a time when schedules tend to fluctuate.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of extreme stress! Try to focus on the things that fill you up rather than the things that drain you. Spend more time doing things and spending time with the people who lift you up and make you feel your best. Most of all, remember that the holidays are what you make them, no more and no less.

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04

Teen Stress

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

The teen years involve a lot of stress. Some studies have indicated that teen stress is on the rise.  However, many of the stressors teens face today, are the same as those faced by teens many years past.

Teen Stressors

The teen years involve many unique challenges from other phases of life. Some of these challenges include:

  • Most teens want to fit in. An important part of the teen years is finding a sense of acceptance from friends, family and community. While this is easy for some it can be very difficult for others. The social hierarchy is always at the forefront of teens attention.
  • Hormones are on the rise! Teen years involve many changes biologically which for some happen right on time, for others too slow and for others far too fast.
  • Brain development is rapid. In the teen years the frontal lobe begins to develop allowing teens to plan more and sometimes making them feel they know it all!
  • Peer pressure kicks in to full gear. Teens begin to feel more pressures to fit in to social expectations, to take risks and to try new things, some of which include alcohol, drugs and sexual behaviors.
  • What are you going to do with your life? Increasingly teens are feeling the pressure to figure out what they will be “when I grow up”.

How to Help

As a teen, there are many competing demands from parents, peers, teachers, employers, coaches and more. The goal of the teen years is to develop positive ways to cope with the stress of the increasing demands of life. As parents it is important to be a listening ear for your child as well as to pay attention to their friends and life dramas. Most of all, it is important to foster the sense that your child has the ability to make positive choices for themselves.

Teen stress will always exist. To learn more about how to support your teen in developing the skills to navigate the teen years visit https://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/teen-counseling

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03

Thoughts on How to Care for Yourself When in Grief

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Depression & Alzheimer's

The five areas of ourselves that really need extra care now are (1) your physical self, (2) your emotional self, (3) your mental self, (4) your spiritual self, and (5) your social self. Below are somethings that will help in each of these areas.

Physical

  • Good food (junk food, caffeine, & alcohol will sabotage your healing).
  • Sleep/rest – your energy field and immune system are in shock.
  • Walking in nature is healing – head for a park, zoo, or conservatory.

Emotional

  • Forgiveness and total lack of blame for everyone.
  • Giving support & compassion to all others who are suffering now in this.

Mental

  • Get a clear & total understanding of what lead up to the tragedy.
  • Do not make any major decisions for a while.
  •  Silence and calming music will help you heal.

Spiritual

  • Ask God/your Higher Power to allow you to feel his love & support.
  • Know that time always heals.

Social

  • Your family cares about you and wants your well-being.
  • Calm conversations with other family members will help you.
  • Your friends want to help; let them know ways in which they can-
  • Suggest making a meal, walking the dog, doing laundry- anything that seems to be a burden right now. This will help them.

If anyone causes you anxiety, remove yourself from them- some people are negative by nature and will be toxic for you & your recovery.

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02

Moving Towards Change

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Move towards Change

Change Is Difficult

As almost all people know, it can be really hard to change! When we think about ways to move towards change, some ideas work well and others not so much. Here is a list of routes to change from least effective to most effective (according to Ann Betz, coach and poet).

Some Ways We Try to Make A Change

  • Ignore the problem – pretend everything is okay, push the feeling aside… This is NOT effective
  • Control the environment – make sure you don’t encounter stress. Helps a little but most stressors are unavoidable at some point
  • Name emotion – short venting. It’s great to name the emotion, however we still haven’t gotten to problem solving.

Effective Ways to Make A Change

  • Put attention on what’s important – explore what fulfills you. Here we get clear on our intent for ourselves and for our lives, this is important groundwork for the next steps!
  • Reframing – learn to look at things from a new angle. Now we are able to look at problems with a bit more objectivity and find new, healthier ways of thinking.
  • Mindfulness – learn to be in the here and now, get present. Often with depression, anxiety and other issues we are living in the past or the future. Learning to be mindful involves staying present to what’s going on right now. Until we learn to stay present, change can be hard to come by.

We are all guilty of trying to use the first few methods to make changes in our lives, even when we are aware that they are ineffective. Instead of utilizing these ineffective methods, think about the above routes to change and how you can move yourself towards the bottom few ideas. Using these tools will certainly move you closer to the change you desire. If you are seeking more guidance on changing your thinking visit our website to learn how we can help https://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/individual-counseling

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18

Teens and Self Harm

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Teen Stress

Being A Teen Today

Teenage years are a very volatile and unpredictable time in a person’s life. They are too old to be considered children but still too young and immature to be considered adults. Frankly many parents are not fundamentally aware of the inherent distinction between the two stages, nor do they realise that the progression from child to adulthood is gradual. At this stage of life their hormones begin to go haywire as they prepare to cruise into adulthood. Often things such as peer pressure, bullying, disagreements, abuse and just plain ignorance can derail this delicate progression for teens.

At this stage of life teens require lots of understanding and patience. Teen counseling is very important to ensure that the chosen path into adulthood is navigated effectively. So many things can derail their progress that it’s a constant battle to make sure your words don’t fall on deaf ears. When teens find themselves in untenable situations sometimes they resort to self harm.

What Does Self Harm Look Like?

Self harm may include taking legal and illegal drugs, cutting themselves or engaging in high risk activities. Self harm can be a coping mechanism for dealing with pain, disappointment, neglect or abuse. When a teen is self harming it is very seldom that they will share this information with parents or guardians. This is when you know the situation has become indefensible and has pushed that teen to this extreme. Teens usually cut themselves in places that will not be easily visible like the arm and upper thighs that can be covered by long sleeves and pants.

How To Help Your Teen

It is paramount these at-risk teens get counseling before their actions lead to a more serious situation like them seriously or permanently hurting themselves or others. Listening is the most important step when counseling teens. Most often teens will continue to self harm when they feel that parents are judgemental and hypocritical towards them or lay blame squarely on their shoulders for any and all situations.

Reassuring your teen that help is available and things can improve is important. Some teens engaging in self harm feel a sense of hopelessness about things getting better and you want to reassure them that things can get better. Teens need to know someone is listening and that they have an outlet to air their frustrations and disappointment. They also need to know that there is always a different side, a better side to every situation.

To learn more about our services for teens visit: https://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/teen-counseling

 

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