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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

Tips for Going Back to School

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

Getting ready for and going back to school can be a very stressful time. Following the slower pace of summer, many struggle to get back into the mind frame to focus on learning and schoolwork.

Here are our favorite tips for parents to help prepare for the transition into a new school year.

Practice Getting Back on a Schedule

Take the week or two leading up to the first day to transition back to your school-year schedule and routines. In addition, work to get you and your kids back on the usual sleep schedule for school.

Take Care of Any Health Needs

If your child needs a physical, check up or needs medication refills make sure to follow up with appropriate health care providers. Also, try to be proactive in getting help for both physical and mental health needs your child may have going into this next school year.

Get Oriented

If your child is going to start in a new school this year spend time getting familiar with the space. Practice finding their classrooms, restrooms, the office or nurse and any other areas they need to be familiar with. The best way to ease anxiety about this first day of school is to help your child feel as prepared as possible.

Be Prepared for the First Day

To decrease the stress of the first day help or remind your child to pack their bag. Also, have them pick their outfit the day before. In addition, make sure to have healthy breakfast and snack foods available for your child.

All of these tips are aimed at helping your child to be successful on their first day of school. Anything you can do to decrease the stress and anxiety of the first day of school is recommended. Remember, anxiety is often just about the unknowns. Therefore, the more of those you can decrease the better off your child will be. Most of all, we want to send kids into the school year focusing on academics and of course, friendships!

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27

Be Open to Outcome, Not Attached to It

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Open to outcome

Reflect for a Moment

Do you often find yourself wanting to be in control? Do you end up in a job or relationship for too long because you really want things to work out, even though it causes you unhappiness? Have you ever found yourself continually trying to make something work that just clearly isn’t working? If you answered yes or maybe to any of these questions, this article holds a critical lesson.

Be Open to Outcome, Not Attached to Outcome

This lesson is embedded in the practices of Buddhism. This tends to be a very difficult way of life for people of Western cultures. One of the biggest obstacles is our sense of security in believing things will work out the way we want them to. It seems as though this is a common illusion we often have. A Yiddish proverb tells us “We plan, god laughs.”

Being attached to outcome has many negative consequences as well. If you are attached to an outcome you won’t hear things that are inconsistent with the way you want things to be. In addition, you may end up with unnecessary unhappiness trying to make something work that no matter what you do just isn’t going to work.

Begin paying attention in your own life to whether you are being attached or open to outcome. Furthermore, observe yourself with open-minded curiosity. It is always good to hope for the best. However, it is never wise to expect the best. Remember: be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.

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20

Count Your Blessings

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
blessings

It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. All to often this causes us to become grumpy or irritable and we don’t take time to think about all of the things that make our lives good. So, how can we combat this negativity and remind ourselves of all the things that make our lives wonderful?

Take a Moment to Reflect

Every time something doesn’t go like we planned, or someone annoys us, or needs our time unexpectedly, let’s think of something that’s going right. Let’s think of all the good people in our lives. Moreover, how lucky we are to have things in our lives that sometimes need attention. How does that sound? I once counted my blessings for ten days straight, and have accumulated so many of them that they should last me a long time to come!

I admit, it does sound a bit more simple than it is. However, when negativity appears, it can help us to put things in perspective and neutralize them a bit. The next time you are feeling pessimistic, remember to take a time out and think about one thing that you are grateful for or that brings you happiness.

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