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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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10

Teen Stress

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Teen Stress

The teen years involve a lot of stress. Some studies have indicated that teen stress is on the rise, yet many of the stressors of teens are the same as those faced by teens throughout the yesteryears. Furthermore, counseling for teen stress can help them to work on the many struggles particular to being an adolescent.

The teen years involve many unique challenges from other phases of life. Let us count the ways teen stress exists:

  • First, most teens want to fit in. An important phase of the teen years is finding a sense of acceptance. Teens seek a sense of this through friends, family and community culture. This is easy for some and very difficult for others and the social hierarchy is always at the forefront of teens attention.
  • Second, 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.
  • Also, brain development is rapid. In the teen years the frontal lobe begins to develop. Thus allowing teens to plan more and sometimes making them feel they know it all!
  • In addition, 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.
  • Last, teens are grappling with questions like, “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”.

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

Since teen stress will always exist, it’s important we learn to support our children through these years. To learn more about how to support your teen in developing the skills to navigate the teen years visit our website here.

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05

Plant a seed

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Let Love Grow

Let Love Grow

Plant a seed.

You might be wondering – what does that have to do with counseling?! I would argue it is at the core of psychotherapy.

Seeds can be a recommendation, a challenging question or something we notice within another person. Sometimes seeds take root and grow right away and sometimes they stay dormant for years before getting what they need to grow. Be patient and remember to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome – you can plant the seed but you can’t force it to grow.

If you are a parent, you may at times think your kids aren’t listening to a thing you say. I recommend you to keep talking anyway because when you least expect it your kids will start to catch your bits of wisdom.

If you notice someone struggling in life, offer him or her a kind act or caring words. Sometimes the kindness of one person can change the life of another. It’s worth a few minutes of going out of your way.

Sometimes we get stuck on trying to find the extraordinary things we can do to make a difference. But really we make the most different through the small things we do. Don’t give up all of the chances to do something good looking for the one chance to do something great.

My challenge to you: plant a seed everyday.

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18

11 Tips for Accepting Criticism

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

11 Tips for Accepting Criticism

 Accepting criticism from others can be a very difficult thing. Accepting criticism can help you improve communication. Here are some tips for how to make criticism productive because we are bound to make mistakes. The key to our mistakes is to be able to learn from them and find a way to become better in the future.

So lets begin reviewing our 11 tips for how to accept criticism:

First, accept that you are not perfect. If you begin each task thinking that nothing will go wrong, you’re fooling yourself. You will make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them.

Second, double-check your work. After you’ve finished, and before you submit it to your supervisor, be sure you’ve gone over everything carefully. This can help you to avoid silly mistakes and ensure that your boss won’t have to bother you about minor problems.

Don’t take it personally. If your co-worker has criticism for you, remind yourself that it doesn’t necessarily mean s/he doesn’t like you, or that you’re not good enough for the job. Your co-worker is simply trying to ensure that you do the best work possible.

Then, listen carefully. If you ignore critical comments, you’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Take notes and continually remind yourself how to fix the problem. This step is the most difficult, as it can mean that one must “suck up” one’s pride and admit one’s responsibility in one’s work-related errors.

Another helpful tip is to ask yourself what can you learn from this criticism. If you feel yourself growing defensive or getting angry, repeat the question ‘What can I learn?’

Now agree with part of the criticism. When faced with criticism, most people focus on the part of the negative feedback that may not be true and ignore the rest. This doesn’t solve any problems, and you don’t learn anything. When you agree with one part of the criticism, you become open to learning. You don’t have to agree with everything; even agreeing with one small aspect of the criticism will create an atmosphere of teamwork. The focus then can become how you’ll work together to solve a problem, which will lessen your feeling of being attacked.

Now you must analyze and evaluate what you’ve heard. You need time to process the information, determine if it’s a valid criticism and decide what you’ll do to solve the problem or correct the mistake. If this is a complaint you’ve heard repeatedly, you should think about what you can learn from the situation so it doesn’t happen again.

In addition, don’t hold a grudge. Staying angry/upset about criticism can affect your future work. Put the mistakes out of your mind and focus on doing the best job possible on the next task.

Make sure to clear the air. If you’re upset with how your co-worker criticized you, let him or her know as soon as possible, so there are no lingering bad feelings between the two of you. Explain why it upset you, and suggest changes that could be made to strengthen your relationship.

Accept the fact that others may see something that you don’t. Even if you don’t agree with the criticism, others may be seeing something that you are not even aware of. If people say that you are negative or overbearing, and you don’t feel that you are, well; maybe you are and you just don’t see it. Allow for the fact that others may be right, and use that possibility to look within your self.

And last, be happy whatever the criticism and do not let the criticism bring you down. It may be that the co-worker has problems at home and is just venting his anger off you as an outlet. Be glad you have at least helped him or her.

Improving your ability to take criticism can help your relationships, so even though it’s hard we hope you give these tips a try.

Adapted from a handout, source unknown.

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17

10 Communication Tips for Couples

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Put your relationship first by seeking couples counseling.

Put your relationship first by seeking couples counseling.

Communication with couples can be difficult. Here we share 10 communication tips for couples. If you are struggling to communicate effectively with your partner, couples counseling has been proven to support improved communication between couples.

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