Perfectionism: The Unicorn Trap of Self-Expectations

Greetings, SBSC readers! Jennie here. Lately, I’ve been observing something remarkable – a prevalence of perfectionism among my clients, their caregivers, and even within our very office. This observation has stirred something within me, prompting me to share my thoughts and insights through this blog post. Let’s delve into the captivating world of perfectionism and discover ways to navigate its enchanting allure together.

So hello, my fellow seekers of perfection! Buckle up, for we’re about to embark on a fantastical journey, exploring what we believe is the enchanting world of perfectionism. Whether you’re a young adult just starting to navigate life’s wild rollercoaster or a seasoned regular adult with years of wisdom under your belt, you’ve likely encountered the allure of the mythical unicorn called perfectionism. Today, we’ll delve into the whimsy of this magical trap and learn how to tame its mystical allure.  It’s a trap.  Don’t get sucked in. 

The Allure of Perfectionism  Ah, perfectionism, the shimmering mirage that promises happiness and success if only we could reach it! It’s like chasing a graceful unicorn through a sunlit meadow, captivating and seemingly within reach. Oh, believe me, I know this all too well. I watch clients, as young adults, determined to ace every test, impress every person, and climb the ladder of success like a determined mountaineer. The chase continues, fueled by the unyielding demands of society and their own high expectations.  Why are we chasing after unicorns when they don’t exist?   Being perfect doesn’t exist. 

The Illusion of the Perfect Life But let me share a secret with you: perfection is nothing more than a captivating illusion. That elusive unicorn dances just out of reach, leaving us feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. Perfectionism is an impossible standard that nobody can truly meet – a truth as profound as it is liberating.  Once we realize it doesn’t exisit, it allows us to relax.   Unfortunately, many chase that illusion, leaving them longing for a life where everything falls perfectly into place — but honestly, that doesn’t happen.   While we may see on social media observing the perfect lives of others, this comparison is not healthy, leaving us feeling inadequate and feeling like we aren’t good enough or falling short of what things “should” be like. 

I was sharing with one of my teen clients recently that it’s almost like social media is a magician’s trick, showing us crafted, carefully curated moments or highlights rather than the truth of both joy and sadness, fantastic moments, but the struggles that lead up to those moments. You’ll see a picture of a couple, but what you don’t see is the fight they got into because one member of the couple just wanted ONE picture with BOTH smiling and “enjoying” the moment. 

Embracing Imperfection and Unleashing Your Magic  Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s that embracing imperfections can be an incredibly freeing experience. Admitting that you’re not perfect is a weight lifted off your shoulders.   Just like unicorns, our uniqueness makes us special, and our flaws make us human. It’s time to discard the need to always have it together and simply enjoy the beauty of our true selves. This shift is hard…and scary.  What, you want me to show my quirks and different parts of me?  You are suggesting I “DONT” blend in??? 

When I told someone I was writing a blog post and I was going to give it a unicorn theme, they looked at me like I had grown my own unicorn horn.  Ha!  That look was pricesless.  “Jennie, seriously?”    Yup.   But that’s me, taking writing a blog post and trying to make it fun. Entering into that vulnerability can be scary – but building a connection with someone that is authentic is well worth it to me. How many people wouldn’t be as engaged in this blog post if I didn’t bring out the whimsical, playful side of my personality?    

Letting Go of Unrealistic Expectations Picture this: an adult, striving to be the best at everything while trying to balance a perfect social life and still make time for self-care and downtime. It was an exhausting juggling act, and many feel like a failure whenever they drop a ball. But here’s the epiphany – life isn’t a test we must ace or a performance we must perfect at. It’s an adventure meant to be explored, with all its ups and downs, bumps, and surprises.  It’s okay to drop one of those balls we’re juggling, it’s OK to have one less ball to juggle with. Or just use it as a soccer ball instead of juggling. 

I was sharing with a parent the other day about how we tend to think of success as a linear path – but really it’s more about the ebbs and flows.  We need to stumble a few times before we find our best selves.   For those that know me, I’m a horrible writer.  If I write something or create a flier, 2 therapists in the office will read it and edit it for grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. (I still double-space after a period—did you know that’s not a thing anymore? Hmmm.  )   When we hold onto these unrealistic expectations, we create chronic stress. I can obsess over a flier or blog post, or I can say, I did my best and move forward.   These unrealistic expectations cause a sense of pressure that can lead to anxiety.  When we hold onto these unrealistic expectations and fail to meet those, we develop low self-esteem.   We become burnt out, we avoid taking on new opportunities, and we miss out on opportunities. Who wants that?   

Discovering the Real Magic: Growth and Resilience As we stumble and rise again, we come to understand that real magic lies in growth and resilience. Resilience is the capacity to withstand or recover quickly from difficulties, it’s our ability to bounce back. Embracing our imperfections (instead of avoiding them) allows us to learn from our mistakes, develop resilience, and grow into stronger, more compassionate beings. Oh, I’ve had my fair share of falls, but each one taught me invaluable lessons that made me wiser and more appreciative of life’s little wonders. It’s so difficult to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself – but when i’ve done that, I have not regretted it.   Now, when I make a mistake, it’s a new adventure, rather than a horrible detour I made.  It’s important to make the conscious decision to say that and think that.  When things don’t go according to plan, it’s a new adventure. 

Enlisting the Help of Fairy Guides (counselors, advisors, coaches ) Now, I’ll let you in on a secret that changed my life: seeking support from counselors, advisors, and coaches is like having a magical fairy guide by your side. These compassionate beings offer invaluable tools to enhance self-awareness and navigate the tricky terrain of perfectionism. I like to say that they’ll sprinkle their fairy dust, guiding you through the woods of self-discovery, until you find your path illuminated with newfound clarity, but really they help provide tools and strategies, providing a mirror to reflect back what is happening at the moment, accountability to push you to follow through and of course a cheerleader.  We all need someone cheering us on.  Having my fairy guides helps me focus on problem solving, rather than just focusing on the problem.  Let’s be honest, it’s so easy to focus on the problem, where I messed up, where I could have done something differently. 

Okay, enough of the unicorn and magical thinking.  I urge you to embrace your imperfectly perfect self. Perfectionism may shimmer like a unicorn, but real joy, growth, and fulfillment come from embracing the magic of imperfection. So, my fellow adventurers, let’s release the unicorn trap of self-expectations and soar free in the kaleidoscope of life’s beautiful imperfections!  May your hearts be light and your spirits bright as you journey forth on this delightful path of self-discovery. And always remember, the most whimsical and magical parts of life are often found in the simple joy of being authentically you. 

If you haven’t read Beautiful Oops, it’s well worth the 2-3 minutes to watch:

Do you have a child who struggles with making mistakes?  This is another fan favorite in my office:

Ignite the Path to Healing and Growth: Discover the SPARK Program

In today’s ever-evolving world, ensuring the well-being of our children is of utmost importance. Mental health challenges can impact their overall quality of life and hinder their ability to reach their full potential. That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce you to the transformative SPARK Program—a unique and empowering approach to helping children aged 5-10 overcome mental health struggles and ignite their journey to healing and growth.

Does your child need more than 1x a week therapy?  Our office has our SPARK program, which provides multi-dimensional, high-level support.   Our SPARK program offers a high level of therapeutic support while allowing individuals to continue living at home and generally maintaining their daily routines. This comprehensive form of therapy is designed to provide concentrated and targeted care for individuals who require more frequent and specialized treatment for their mental health needs.

In our SPARK program, clients attend group therapy sessions and participate in various therapeutic activities tailored to their specific challenges and goals. The frequency and duration of sessions allow for consistent support and progress monitoring, promoting optimal growth and healing. Clients have the opportunity to develop coping skills, explore emotions, build resilience, and improve interpersonal relationships in a supportive and nurturing environment. Family involvement is also emphasized, recognizing the significant impact of family dynamics on the client’s well-being. We encourage our parents or caregivers to attend the parent session on Mondays, and we encourage our families to eat, as a family, together, after programming on Tues, Wed, & Thursdays. 

Our SPARK program serves as a bridge between traditional weekly therapy and more restrictive levels of care, such as inpatient or residential treatment. It provides individuals with the necessary intensity of treatment while allowing them to continue their daily responsibilities and connections within their community.

Here are some key advantages of this type of support:

  • Comprehensive Treatment: SPARK program addresses various aspects of an individual’s well-being. By providing a range of therapeutic interventions and services, it aims to support emotional, psychological, and social needs.

  • Flexibility and Continuity: Unlike inpatient or residential programs, our SPARK program allows clients to receive treatment while maintaining their daily routines and responsibilities. This flexibility enables them to apply therapeutic strategies and skills in real-life situations, promoting better long-term outcomes.

  • Personalized Care: Through assessments and ongoing monitoring in our SPARK program treatment can be adjusted and customized to ensure the best possible outcomes.

  • Family Involvement: Our SPARK program values the impact the family can have on the client.  Our program actively involves family members in the treatment process, providing opportunities for education, coaching sessions, and support. This involvement fosters improved communication, understanding, and support within the family system.

  • Skill-Building and Coping Strategies: Through interventions in SPARK, clients have the opportunity to learn and practice essential coping strategies and life skills. These skills help them effectively manage stress, regulate emotions, navigate challenges, and build resilience, leading to improved overall functioning and well-being.

  • Transition and Aftercare Planning: Our SPARK program aims to provide comprehensive transition and aftercare planning. This ensures a smooth transition back to daily life while maintaining the progress achieved during treatment. It may involve coordination with schools, healthcare providers, and community resources to provide ongoing support and resources.

The SPARK Program is more than just a therapeutic journey—it’s a catalyst for transformation, empowering children aged 5-10 to overcome mental health challenges and embark on a path of healing and growth. Investing in your child’s mental health and well-being is a powerful decision—one that can shape their future in remarkable ways. Consider the SPARK Program as your partner in this journey, igniting the spark within your child, and setting them on a trajectory towards a vibrant and resilient life. Together, let’s unlock their full potential and watch them shine brightly as they embrace the path to healing and growth. 

A Kaleidoscope of Concern: Unraveling Mental Health Clues in Your Inner Circle

As a licensed therapist, I understand the importance of recognizing signs of distress in our loved ones and offering support. In this blog post we will explore common signs of mental health issues and provide advice on how to approach the situation with empathy and understanding.

Remember, early intervention and support can make a significant difference in someone’s well-being and recovery.

Understanding Common Signs: It’s crucial to be familiar with the signs that may indicate a loved one is experiencing mental health challenges. While everyone’s experiences are unique, some common indicators include:

  • Changes in behavior: Look out for sudden or significant shifts in behavior, such as withdrawal from social activities, loss of interest in hobbies, increased irritability, or difficulty concentrating.  For children specifically, pay attention to significant shifts in behavior, such as excessive clinginess, refusal to go to school, aggression, frequent tantrums, or persistent nightmares.
  • Emotional instability: Notice if your loved one displays intense or prolonged sadness, anxiety, mood swings, or heightened emotional reactions.  For children specifically, observe if your child frequently displays excessive worry, fearfulness, sadness, or seems overly sensitive to criticism or rejection.
  • Physical symptoms: Pay attention to unexplained physical ailments like frequent headaches, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, chronic fatigue, or increased substance use. For children specifically, Look out for unexplained physical complaints like stomachaches, headaches, or other physical discomforts that persist despite medical evaluations.
  • Social withdrawal: Observe if your loved one begins to isolate themselves, avoid social interactions, or experience a decline in their relationships.
  • Cognitive difficulties: Keep an eye out for signs of confusion, disorientation, memory problems, or impaired decision-making abilities.  Furthermore, for children specifically, watch for signs of regression in behavior, such as bedwetting in previously toilet-trained children or clinginess in children who were previously independent.

It’s important to note that these signs alone do not confirm the presence of a mental health issue. However, if you notice persistent and concerning patterns in your family member’s life it may be beneficial to seek professional guidance from a mental health provider. 

Approaching the Conversation: If you notice these signs, it’s important to approach the conversation with sensitivity and compassion. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Choose the right time and place: Find a comfortable and private setting where both of you can have an open and uninterrupted conversation. Find a comfortable and private space where your child or adolescent feels safe to express themselves without distractions or interruptions can be helpful. 
  • Express concern and empathy: Start the conversation by expressing your genuine concern for their well-being. Use phrases like, “I’ve noticed some changes in you lately, and I’m here to support you.”  Create an environment where they feel heard, understood, and supported is a huge factor when having these tough discussions. Let them know that it’s normal to experience a range of emotions, and it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling.
  • Be a good listener: Encourage them to share their thoughts and emotions, without judgment or interruption. Validate their feelings and let them know you are there to listen and understand.  Building trust is important, prioritize building trust by actively listening, maintaining eye contact, and showing empathy. Let them express themselves fully without interrupting. Avoid dismissing or minimizing their experiences, even if you may have a different perspective.
  • Use age-appropriate language: Simplify complex ideas, using language that is appropriate for their age and developmental level. Avoid using technical jargon or overwhelming them with complex explanations.  Many families report using visual aides like drawings, diagrams, or books that explain mental health topics in a way that is easier for them to understand.
  • Offer resources: Provide information about mental health professionals, helplines, or support groups they can reach out to. Assure them that seeking help is a sign of strength, and you will support them throughout the process. Collaborate on finding potential solutions or coping strategies. Encourage them to come up with their own ideas while offering suggestions if needed.

Recognizing signs of mental health issues in our loved ones is crucial for early intervention and support. By familiarizing ourselves with common indicators, approaching the conversation with empathy, and providing ongoing support, we can make a significant difference in their well-being and help them on their journey. 

Proactively Managing Your Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and parents and caregivers may experience it more often due to their responsibilities and challenges in raising children. However, there are several ways that parents and caregivers can combat stress, and manage their stress in day to day life:

Practice self-care: Taking care of oneself is critical for combating stress. Parents and caregivers should prioritize activities that bring them joy and help them relax, such as exercise, meditation, reading, or spending time with friends.

Establish a routine: Having a predictable routine can help reduce stress by providing structure and predictability to daily life. This can include setting regular meal times, bedtimes, and wake-up times.

Seek support: Having a support system can help reduce stress levels. Parents and caregivers can seek support from family, friends, or professionals such as therapists or counselors.

Take breaks: It is essential to take breaks and time away from caregiving responsibilities. This can include taking a short walk, going out for coffee, or engaging in a hobby.

Practice stress-reducing techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and mindfulness can help reduce stress levels. Parents and caregivers can also consider seeking out stress-reducing activities, such as yoga or tai chi.

Practice positive thinking: Cultivating a positive mindset can help reduce stress levels. This can involve focusing on the positive aspects of life and practicing gratitude.


Connect with others: Spending time with supportive friends or family members can help reduce stress levels. Additionally, joining a support group for parents or caregivers can provide a sense of community and belonging.

Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial for managing stress levels. Parents and caregivers should aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Prioritize healthy eating: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help reduce stress levels. Parents and caregivers should aim to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

Practice time management: Poor time management can contribute to stress levels. Parents and caregivers can reduce stress by creating a schedule, setting priorities, and delegating tasks when possible.

Limit exposure to news and social media: Constant exposure to negative news and social media can increase stress levels. Parents and caregivers can limit their exposure to these sources of stress by setting boundaries and taking breaks from technology.

Laugh and have fun: Laughter can be a great stress reliever. Parents and caregivers can make time for fun activities, such as watching a comedy or playing a game with their children.

Overall, parents and caregivers can combat stress by prioritizing self-care, establishing a routine, seeking support, taking breaks, practicing stress-reducing techniques, and cultivating a positive mindset. If you are struggling to manage stress on your own, counseling can help. A counselor can teach you coping mechanisms and help you develop a plan to manage stress in your life. If you are interested in learning more about stress management or counseling, please contact our office. We would be happy to help you.

Taking Care of the Caregiver

As the author of this blog post (Nancy) I’ve been a caregiver now for three years straight!  This is a job that I never thought I’d be doing.  I’ve always seemed to take care of others, but not to this extent.  I take care of my boyfriend who needs 24/7 care after having a stroke.  If not careful, caring for someone else doesn’t leave me much time to take care of myself…but that took me a while to realize!  Being a caregiver has so many responsibilities for the other person such as distributing meds, confirming the meds have been taken, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals, laundry, chauffeur tasks, scheduling and appearances, social gatherings being a roommate, and grooming.  These are just a few of the responsibilities.

Life is full of changes that take place and lead us into unexpected situations.  Life can move you in a different direction with the snap of your fingers, leading you to a place where you don’t even realize how you landed there.   Many find that as they are a caregiver, they start heading down the path of losing themselves. Many times they take really great care of the person who needs the support, but they can be feeling lost.  Many understand that they are doing something good and kind, and struggle to figure out why they didn’t feel good about this.  This can leave them feeling empty and confused, almost as if life was passing them by!
The most important factor in caregiving is that the caregiver has to be healthy in order to take care of their recipient.  This means you cannot lose yourself in order to care for someone else.  You have to be conscious of how you feel throughout the day, and your time management has to be stellar!
As Linda Abbit explains in her book, The Conscious Caregiver, “So what is a conscious caregiver?  Conscious caregivers choose to allot time, energy, and compassion to themselves as well as their care recipients.  You believe taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually greatly benefits both you and your care recipient.  In fact, caregiving quality improves when you care enough about yourself to take time out from caregiving for activities that make you happier and more refreshed”.

What can YOU start incorporating into your life that makes you happy while also caring for someone else?

Here are some of the things that come to mind…

  • If your person can be alone for short periods of time, go grocery shopping!  Sometimes it’s a good way to relax and listen to the overhead music.  It will give you a chance to catch your breath while still accomplishing a task you need to fulfill.
  • Started an area of indoor plants to nourish the air in the home.  Certain plants clean the air in the home.  These include ferns, snake plant, fiddle-leaf fig, peace Lilly, spider plant, and English ivy, to name a few.
  • Start an herb garden in the kitchen.  I use these herbs for cooking and have them under a grow light.  Basil seems to sprout easily, yet I enjoy oregano, thyme, and mint also.
  • Oh! If you have space, an outdoor garden in the backyard is a nice moment of respite!
  • When you clean the house put the music on and dance a little jig while cleaning!  This can be really uplifting!
  • Take small breaks for yourself, especially if you are starting to feel overwhelmed or anxious.  A small break, doing some breathing exercises, and just BEING are very helpful.
  • If the weather is nice I always make an effort to go out on the deck and enjoy nature.  Take the person you care for out there with you and they can enjoy it also.
  • Call a family member or a friend to talk once a day.  Reaching out to others outside the home is a great way to build connections with others and avoid isolation
  • Utilize and take advantage of helpers, respite care, and family members who offer to help.
As a caregiver myself, these are some of the ways I’ve found to help me feel better and they bring me back to myself.  I know you have your own special ways to feel good, so think about it, write them down, and start adding them into your day!  You will find yourself before you know it!

Benefits of Group Therapy

Many families wrestle back and forth between group therapy and individual therapy.  Group therapy can be a valuable form of treatment for many individuals, and there are several reasons why you may want to consider it over individual therapy.

Group therapy can provide a sense of accountability and motivation. In a group setting, group members are accountable to others and can motivate each other to make progress. Group therapy requires active participation and accountability, which in return allows being part of a group can help motivate individuals to work on their issues and make changes in their lives. This community of group members provide encouragement and support to one another.

One of the key benefits of counseling groups for children is that they can help children to develop important social skills. Through group activities and discussions, children can learn how to communicate effectively with others, how to express their thoughts and feelings, and how to work as part of a team. This can be particularly beneficial for children who may struggle with social interactions, such as those with autism or other developmental disorders. Groups can be a powerful way to practice new skills and behaviors. In group therapy, group members can practice communication, problem-solving, and social skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Children may feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings in a group setting, rather than in individual counseling sessions. Counseling groups provide children a safe environment to share their feelings and experiences with their peers. Groups provide an opportunity for social support and connection. When you’re going through a tough time, it can be incredibly helpful to know that you’re not alone. Group therapy allows group members to connect with others who are dealing with similar issues, learn from their experiences and gain a sense of belonging. This can help children to feel less alone and more understood, which can be especially important for children who may be struggling with difficult issues such as bullying, trauma, or grief. Counseling groups for children is an opportunity for the needed peer support many kids are missing. Children who are struggling with similar issues can connect with one another and share their experiences, which can be very helpful in reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. Group members can learn from each other and gain new insights into their own situations.

Another important benefit of counseling groups for children is that they can help children to learn how to cope with difficult emotions. Children may experience a wide range of emotions, such as sadness, anger, and fear, and these emotions can be difficult to manage. Through group therapy, children can learn how to recognize and express their feelings in a healthy way, and they can also learn coping strategies that can help them to manage their emotions more effectively. Counseling groups for children can also be an effective way to address a wide range of issues, including anxiety, depression, anger management, bullying, and family problems. Group therapy can help children develop healthy coping mechanisms, learn new problem-solving skills, and gain a better understanding of their emotions. Groups allow you to gain multiple perspectives. In individual therapy, you only have the therapist’s perspective on your issues. In a group therapy setting, you have the opportunity to hear different perspectives from other group members, which can be very enlightening and can help you gain a better understanding of yourself and your problems and new ways of handling problems or perspectives of different experiences. The group dynamic can allow individuals to see their problems from different angles and gain new insights into their issues. Additionally, group members can learn from one another and gain new strategies for coping with their problems.

Finally, counseling groups for children can be cost-effective, as they typically involve fewer sessions than individual counseling.  Group therapy sessions usually involve several people, which means that the cost of therapy can be shared among the group members. This can make therapy more affordable for those who may not be able to afford individual therapy sessions.

For many people, group therapy can provide a valuable form of support and can be an effective way to address a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues. It’s important to note that group therapy may not be suitable for everyone and that some people may prefer individual therapy. But, group therapy can be a valuable option to consider, and it’s worth discussing with a therapist to determine if it’s a good fit for you.   It’s possible that a combination of group and individual therapy could be the best option for you.  Overall, counseling groups can be an effective way to support children’s emotional and social development.  They can offer the benefits of peer support, provide a safe and supportive environment, be effective in addressing a wide range of issues, and be more cost-effective than individual counseling.






Diversity in our playroom

Diversity is important in a playroom because it helps to create a safe and inclusive environment for all children. It allows children to see themselves and their experiences reflected in the materials and activities provided, and to learn about and appreciate the experiences of others. We recommend diversity in your home environment but also wanted to highlight that we provide diversity in our playrooms as well.

As play therapists, there are several ways to create diversity in our playrooms and practices:

  1. Include a variety of toys and materials that represent different cultures, races, and abilities. This can include dolls and action figures of different skin tones and abilities, books and games that feature characters from diverse backgrounds, and art supplies that allow children to express themselves in different ways.   Representation is important; children should feel seen, validated, and delighted.
  2. Create a safe and inclusive environment by displaying posters, paintings, or artwork that show families of different races and abilities, and signs that display messages of acceptance and inclusivity.
  3. Encourage children to share their own experiences and perspectives by asking open-ended questions and actively listening to their responses. This will help to build a sense of understanding and empathy among the children in the playroom.
  4. Encourage children to embrace their individuality by promoting self-expression and creativity. This can be achieved by providing a variety of materials and activities that allow children to express themselves in different ways, such as through art, writing, or dramatic play.
  5. Engage in ongoing education and self-reflection to deepen our own understanding of diversity and inclusion, and model an open and accepting attitude for the children in our care.
  6. Partner with families and caregivers to make sure that their child’s cultural background is represented in the playroom and that the child feels safe, seen, and heard.
  7. Use multicultural books, stories, and songs with different cultures and traditions in mind.
  8. Incorporate games and activities that celebrate diversity
  9. Our groups are open to all clients.  Our groups allow us to create opportunities for children to interact with peers from different backgrounds and abilities.


Creating a diverse and inclusive playroom is essential for play therapists, as it allows children to feel seen, heard, and validated. A diverse playroom can also foster empathy and understanding among children, and promote positive social and emotional development.   Play therapists can use a variety of strategies, such as incorporating diverse toys and materials, creating a safe and inclusive environment, encouraging children to share their own experiences, and engaging in ongoing education, to create a diverse and inclusive playroom that promotes acceptance, empathy, and understanding among children.


Winter Month Pampering

Wintertime gets a bad rap!  Wintertime can sometimes seem like it goes on forever!  We get stuck inside and stuck in ruts of comfort that are not always good for us.  Winter can be a tough time for many of us. The shorter days, colder temperatures, and lack of sunshine can make it hard to stay motivated and positive. However, there are ways to pamper yourself and make the most of the winter months. Even though this is a time when there doesn’t seem to be much going on, when you are in your home, you can find many ways to enjoy this time of year!  It can be a cozy time of the year, a time to start healthy habits, make plans for the future, and just enjoy being! As the winter months approach and the temperatures drop, it’s important to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. One way to do this is by indulging in some self-pampering. Here are a few ideas to help you get started feeling cozy and cheer you up!

  • Fix a hot cup of your favorite beverage, grab your blanket, and sit by a crackling fire. Instead of reaching for a can of soda or a cup of coffee, try making yourself a hot cocoa, tea, or chai latte. These warm drinks can help soothe the body and mind, and provide a comforting and cozy feeling to de-stress
  • Take a warm bath. Fill your tub with warm water and add in some Epsom salts or essential oils for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Light some candles and put on some soothing music to create a spa-like atmosphere
  • Light some twinkling lights in a dark room and meditate;
  • Grab your journal and jot down all that you are grateful for
  • Add cozy colors to your rooms by adding pillows, tablecloths, or bright bedspreads
  • Add throw rugs in areas where your bare feet hit the ground to avoid that chill
  • Wear your slippers or fuzzy footies to keep your feet warm
  • Add a pot on the stove of potpourri in steaming water and let the smells engulf the rooms
  • Find a good book and a special reading spot.  Cozy up with a good book and a warm blanket. Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, there are plenty of great books out there to choose from.
  • Bake your favorite cake or bread and enjoy the aroma
  • Spend some time making your favorite soup and enjoy it throughout the week
  • Have a binge-watching night of the show you love
  • Give yourself a manicure or pedicure. Treat yourself to a new nail polish color or try a new design. Not only will your nails look great, but the process of painting your nails can be therapeutic and relaxing
  • Try a new skincare routine, because cold weather can be harsh on our skin, so it’s important to take extra care of it during the winter months. Experiment with different moisturizers, masks, and serums to find what works best for your skin.
  • Take a walk. Yes, we know, it’s cold outside, but getting some fresh air and exercise is still important. Bundle up and take a walk around your neighborhood. The fresh air will do you good, and the exercise will help to boost your mood.
These are just a few ideas that will help you feel cozy in your home!  By taking some time to pamper yourself during the winter, you can help boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve your overall well-being. And, isn’t that the ultimate goal? Taking care of ourselves, prioritizing our own well-being. You can do some of these things alone, and some with family and/or friends.  It’s up to you! Most of all, these things will help you enjoy the winter season by bringing healthy things into the season!

I’m Codependant…Now What?

Co-dependency is a term that is often used to describe a type of relationship in which one person is emotionally and mentally dependent on another person. This type of relationship is often characterized by codependent individuals who are unable to function normally without the other person.  A dysfunctional relationship pattern in which an individual is psychologically dependent on (or controlled by) a person who has a pathological addiction, e.g., alcohol, gambling)-codependent.

Co-dependency can develop in a variety of different types of relationships, including romantic relationships, friendships, and even parent-child relationships. In a romantic relationship, for example, one partner may become dependent on the other for emotional support, validation, and a sense of self-worth. This partner may also feel a sense of responsibility for the other person’s happiness and well-being, and may go to great lengths to keep the relationship together.

Co-dependency can also develop in friendships, where one person may become reliant on the other for emotional support and validation and may feel a sense of responsibility for the other person’s happiness. In a parent-child relationship, a parent may become emotionally dependent on their child, and may feel a sense of responsibility for their child’s happiness and well-being.

Co-dependency can have negative effects on both parties involved. The codependent person may feel a sense of helplessness and insecurity and may have difficulty making decisions and standing up for themselves. They may also become emotionally and mentally exhausted from constantly trying to please the other person.

On the other hand, the person on whom the codependent person is dependent may feel smothered and constrained by the codependent person’s constant need for attention and validation. They may also feel a sense of responsibility for the codependent person’s well-being, which can be emotionally draining.

Here are five things to look out for if you feel you are codependent, or questions you can ask yourself in order to understand whether or not you are codependent.
  • Putting other’s needs above your own;
  • Saying Yes when you want to say No;
  • Having muddy boundaries;
  • Do you feel trapped in your relationship;
  • Do you avoid saying what you are thinking in order to avoid arguments?
Here are some steps you can take to help you to break the habit or get out of the habit of being codependent:
  • The first step in breaking the habit of being codependent is to recognize the signs of codependency in your own behavior. Some common signs include feeling responsible for the other person’s happiness, having difficulty making decisions, and feeling helpless without the other person
  • You have to take care of yourself before you take care of others’ needs.  It’s important to practice self-care, taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
  • You respond rather than react to others.  Don’t immediately respond but give yourself time to think through what someone is asking of you.
  • Be patient with yourself and try to give yourself mercy, not being as hard on yourself if you slip up.
  • Keep your boundaries clear and think about how you want to be in the future. Learn to set healthy boundaries, for example, learning to say “no” when necessary and not allowing others to take advantage of you.
  • Focus on developing a sense of self-worth: One of the main reasons for codependency is a lack of self-worth. Focus on developing a sense of self-worth and self-love, so you are not dependent on others for validation. This includes, not letting others bully or treat you badly.  Recognize when a relationship is not healthy and do something about it.  Work on it with that person or walk away.
  • Therapy or counseling can be very helpful in breaking the habit of being codependent. A therapist or counselor can help you understand the root of your codependency and provide you with tools and strategies to break the habit.   Or joining a support group can be a great way to connect with others who are also trying to break the habit.  A group can be a safe space to talk about your feelings and the challenges you encounter.
Your time and your energy belong to you!  I’m not saying to never help a friend, or never do something kind for someone else.  I’m just saying know your boundaries and know when you are healthy.  Know when the situation is not healthy and pull back.  We teach others how to treat us.  We need to take this teaching to a new level and start treating ourselves better so that others treat us better.


Bad Day Pick Me Ups

Everyone has bad days from time to time. It’s normal to feel down, stressed, or overwhelmed. Sometimes days start out great, then just make a turn for the worst.  Sometimes it’s as simple as saying you woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  On other days, no matter what you do, unlucky things keep piling up. When we’re having a bad day, it can be hard to shake off the negative feelings and see the bright side of things. However, there are things you can do to help improve your mood and make the most of a bad day. Here are a few things that might help pick you up on a bad day:

  • Deep Breathing   Stop what you are doing.  Sit back, relax, and inhale slowly to the count of seven. Exhale slowly to the count of seven.  Repeat multiple times until you feel better.  Go back to what you were doing, this will help alleviate the negative emotions that you are feeling.  Taking a few minutes to focus on your breath and be present in the moment can be extremely helpful.
  • Connect with others  Reach out to friends or family members and talk about what’s going on.
  • Fresh Air  Go outside for some fresh air.  Take a walk around the block or the office building if you only have a few minutes.  This should help you feel better;
  • Perspective taking  Create a Gratitude list.  This list can consist of anything in your life that you are thankful for.  It doesn’t need to be anything big, just anything that you are grateful or thankful for;
  • Let go of some of your thoughts  Grab your journal and write down what you are feeling in that moment.  Be as blunt as you’d like, your journal is for your eyes only;
  • STOP  Take a break
  • Sense of humor  Acknowledge your bad day, then laugh about it!
  • Get Moving  Exercise can help boost endorphins and improve your mood.
  • Listen to music Music can have a powerful effect on our emotions, so put on some of your favorite songs and let yourself feel the music.
Remember, it’s okay to have bad days, and it’s important to take care of yourself.   You can get out of that funk by trying these suggestions.  They may not work immediately, but are sure to make your next day better!  When you’re having a bad day, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, there are things you can do to help improve your mood and make the day feel a little bit better. We can help ourselves through these temporary bad days.  All we need to do is become aware and do something to change it!

Give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions come up, and try not to be too hard on yourself. These suggestions are just a starting point and you might find that other things work better for you. It’s important to find what works best for you in order to lift your mood. Remember to be patient with yourself, and know that things will get better.

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