confidence

National Plus Size Appreciation Day

October 6th is National Plus Size Appreciation Day, which was created in 2017 to celebrate body types in all shapes and sizes. It’s also a time to open the conversation about how body image can affect self-esteem. 

What is considered plus size?  In the clothing industry, size 18 and up is considered to be plus size. But in the modeling industry, sizes 6-16 are considered plus size. So in the images we see everywhere in the media, the people modeling the clothes do not reflect the bodies of the people that will be wearing the clothes.  This perpectuates unhealthy and unrealistic expectations about how we should look.

The pressure to be skinny is often cloaked in the message of the need to be healthy.  While there is evidence that weight can impact your health, it’s not the whole story. Everyone can work on engaging in healthy behaviors, which can lead to feeling better about themselves at any size.  This may be eating well, exercising, interacting with friends, not smoking, limiting alcohol intake, regularly seeing your health practitioner, and meditating.  Everyone has a unique body and a unique life that got their body to where it is today.  Accepting others, accepting ourselves, and valuing everyone’s process, can lead us toward connection and away from judgment

Our bodies can be appreciated for all that they can do for us and not just for how we look. Everyone can feel confident in their body and be proud of what they can achieve with the body that they have. 

There are many role models that are leading the charge in body positivity. 

We can look up to powerful women in the media who advocate for self-love, including Lizzo, Demi Lovato, Serena Williams, and Mindy Kaling. They all share the same message: For everyone to love their authentic selves and create a positive relationship with their bodies. 

Let’s all remind ourselves and those around us that we are all valuable. Follow the links below to learn more. 

What Is Body Positivity?

The Path To Self-Acceptance 

Why Body Positivity Matters

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Tips on Talking to Loved Ones in a DV Relationship

By: Betsy Pownall, LPC

It is difficult to know what to say when someone shares that they are in an abusive relationship.

Whether it be a friend, family member, or client, there is this moment of pause~the thought of, “How I respond right now will really matter.’

Here are some tips on what to and not do to/say when someone discloses this vulnerable fact of their lives.

What to say:

  1. “I’m sorry this has happened (or is happening) to you.”

Acknowledge you have heard what has been said, that you heard it and are listening. Acknowledge the courage it takes to disclose abuse and the strength it takes to survive. This is your opportunity to empathize.

  1. “No one deserves to be abused.”

This is a universal statement and an opportunity to connect with the survivor.

  1. “It’s not your fault.”

Don’t minimize the violence or blame the victim. The batterer is accountable and responsible for his/her choices and behaviors.

  1. “You are not alone.”

Violence in relationships is a widespread social problem, yet the victim often feels very alone. By generalizing, we can help the survivor understand that the abuse is not about who they are or what they did but about their partner’s attempt to maintain power and control.

  1. “There is help.”

Empower the survivor by offering information choices, safe space and support.

What not to say/do:

  1. Give advice.
  2. Change the subject.
  3. Ask trivial questions.
  4. Intellectualize the problem.
  5. Become emotional.
  6. Make decisions for them.
  7. Be evasive or elusive.
  8. Handle everything yourself.
  9. Ask ‘why’ questions.
  10. Pity them.
  11. Indulge in silly witticisms.
  12. Become insensitive or cold.
  13. Cut communication.
  14. Be judgmental or rejecting.
  • Don’t blame. The survivor is not at fault for the violence. It is never okay for one person to use force against another. Avoid questions that may sound blaming, such as “why don’t you just leave?”
  • Don’t participate in the denial. Violence does not change on its own; it often escalates. It will not simply ‘get better’.
  • Keep in mind: Battering is against the law.
  • Don’t ignore the danger. Is there a gun in the house? Are there children in the home?
  • Don’t focus on leaving if this does not seem to be a safe option. Help the survivor find ways to be safe.
  • Encourage developing a safety plan.
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Constantly Feeling Rushed?

Do you ever feel like there is just too much on your plate?

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly in a rush to get things done? If so, you’re not alone.

Faster doesn’t always mean better. Feeling rushed or pressured can take the fun out of your daily activities.

Feeling like you must finish something as soon as possible can cause stress and anxiety. The good news is that you don’t have to feel this way. You can change the way you look at and complete your tasks.

Understanding Why We Rush

Understanding the “why” behind our actions can help us better address them.

  • Why do you want to finish your essay in an hour?
  • Why do you want to clean your entire kitchen in one afternoon?

Figuring out the answers can help you look at the bigger picture.

Here are a few personal questions you can reflect on.

  • Do all of my tasks have to be done today?
  • Can any of these tasks be delegated or completed at a later time?
  • Is there anyone in my life who can help me?

Be honest with yourself. The answers may surprise you.

Meeting Your Needs

When our schedules are too full, we sometimes forget to meet our personal needs.

Implementing at least one self-care activity a day can have a significant impact on our mood, sleep and overall wellness.

Our brain can only do so much in one day. If you catch yourself getting tired or overwhelmed, that is your brain telling you; that it’s time to take a break.

Your work isn’t going anywhere. It will still be there tomorrow when you’re ready. And if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals and relaxing are all forms of self-care.

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How to Foster Happy and Healthy Friendships

The friendships we create have the power to impact our mental health and well-being in so many powerful ways. 

When we have good friends in our corner, we know that there are people who support and encourage us to be our authentic selves. 

That’s why it’s so important to develop healthy and long-lasting friendships. And the key to finding and being a good friend is to look out for the qualities.

Focus On Trust

The best friendships are built on a foundation of trust and confidence. When we open ourselves up to people around us, it can inspire others to do the same. 

It feels good to know that we can count on our friends in times of need and vice versa. 

Trust can show up in many forms and go a long way. Whether it’s having someone who can offer a listening ear or judgment-free advice.

Seek Authenticity

A friend is someone who you can be comfortable being yourself around. And not just for the best moments. 

They are there for you through the ups, the downs, and everything in between. 

So seeking people, we can be authentic with is a good sign for a healthy friendship. It means that you are comfortable telling them your boundaries and communicating when things are on your mind. 

Authentic friends are there to grow with you!

Find Cheerleaders

In times when we feel low, it’s important to have friends who can give compassion and support.

So it’s good to find friends who can be cheerleaders too. Meaning they can celebrate your wins with you or grieve for your losses. 

Good friends will be there to help you no matter what and want to see you succeed. 

“Good friends help you find important things when you have lost them…your smile, your hope, and your courage.” – Doe Zantamata

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Understanding and Moving Past Boredom

What does boredom mean to you?

Do you look at it as a positive, negative or something in between type of emotion?

Do you feel like your habits tend to make you feel bored more easily, such as too much screen time? 

If you could convert boredom into creativity, would you?

So, even though it may not always feel like it, boredom is a feeling – and something we can control.

We just have to put the work in.

The next time you catch boredom creeping up, you can try putting your phone away! 

If you aren’t careful, 10 intended minutes of screen time can turn into an hour.

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with loved ones and can be a great tool when used in moderation.

Sometimes when we start scrolling, it can be hard to stop, and before you know it, the afternoon has escaped you.

Any form of screen time, whether it be scrolling through social media, texting or playing games, can negatively impact our motivation and distract us from our goals.

When we notice boredom creeping up on us, grabbing our phone can feel like the fastest and easiest form of entertainment.

Although it may initially distract you, it likely won’t establish a long-form solution.

Instead, we recommend putting your phone in a different room and immersing yourself in a creative activity. 

Creativity can be practiced in so many ways. It all comes down to finding an activity or two that brings you joy.

Singing, dancing, writing and gardening are all great activities to explore.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to get creative.

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Letting Go Of Resentments

It’s not uncommon to disagree with the people we love – even our romantic partners. 

But when the past starts to impact the future, it may be time to make some changes.

Decoding Our Resentments

Instead of pushing any feelings of resentment aside, we can try and realize what they’re trying to tell us. 

Doing so can help us work through them, accept them and move forward in a healthy way. All feelings have a purpose and something to teach us. 

Express Your Needs 

If you ever feel like you’re not having your needs met – it’s time to speak up!

Open communication and honesty is a two-way street.

Once you start opening up, your partner likely will as well, which in turn can strengthen your relationship. 

Write And Share

Sometimes the best way to get our thoughts out is to put them down on paper. 

What are your resentments? 

Where do you think they come from? 

What makes you think about them? 

Is there anything your partner can do to help? 

Oftentimes journaling can help us decode feelings we didn’t even know we had! 

If you catch any new feelings pop up alongside your journaling journey, you can share them with your partner. 

Every new conversation can help strengthen your bond and open up new doors.

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Best Friends Day

Did you know that June 8th is Best Friends Day? It’s a time to celebrate the social connections we have made as well as recognize the benefits that building strong social connections has on our lives.

It’s no secret that friends do so much for us–spending time together, celebrating the good times, and comforting us in the hard times. But having a social connection is also beneficial for our well-being and mental health.

Friends can:

  • Boost happiness and reduce your stress. 
  • Improve self-confidence and self-worth. 
  • Increase your purpose. 
  • Help you cope with challenges you may face. 

On this day we can also remind ourselves of the power of social connection. Research indicates that a lack of human connection can be more harmful to your health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. The pandemic has decreased our in-person connection while also increasing our online interactions.  While technology can help to connect us in new ways, excessive screen use also disconnects us from nature, from our own thoughts, and from others. We need face-to-face interaction in our lives and losing that piece of our society over the last two years has not been healthy.

If you are searching for ways to expand your social connections and make new friends, try some of these suggestions from the Canadian Mental health Association

  • Join a new club, or try out a group activity
  • Reach out to an old friend you’ve lost touch with
  • Volunteer for a cause you care about
  • Eat lunch in a communal space
  • Introduce yourself to your neighbours
  • Ask someone for help when you need it
  • Do a random act of kindness

Now is the time to check in with friends and acquaintances and let them know that they are important to you. 

For more resources, check out the links below. 

7 Thoughtful Ways to Celebrate National Best Friends Day

Connect With Others | Mental Health America

The Power of Friendship

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