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Relieving Stress One Habit At A Time

Stress is a normal part of life.

We may not be able to control every situation, but we can find ways to minimize potential stressful events through our actions.

Be Prepared

Let us know if any of these thoughts sound familiar…

Oh, I’ve got to print out those directions before my hike next week. 

I have that big presentation tomorrow. I can’t forget to email my boss those notes. 

I can’t forget to get gas before my road trip this weekend.

Sometimes those tasks can take a lot longer than originally anticipated.

When time is of the essence, basic activities such as filling up gas can be quite stressful. 

Knocking those chores off the list sooner rather than later can take a huge weight off your shoulders. Every task completed is one less thing to worry about. 

Make a Habit of Setting Reminders

Regularly keeping your eyes on your watch throughout the day can be exhausting and prevent you from living in the present moment.

Setting aside 5 – 10 minutes every night before bed to set alarms for important events the following day is a great habit to get into. 

If you like, you can even set your alarm a few minutes earlier than necessary – in case you need a little buffer time.

Have an Appropriate Backup Plan

Even the most well-thought-out plans aren’t guaranteed to go smooth sailing every time, and that’s okay!

Life is unpredictable and frustrating events do happen.

Even if you leave your house 30 minutes earlier than necessary to get to a meeting, you still might be late.

Brainstorming a few solutions or backup plans in advance can give you some peace of mind. 

For example, if you get stuck in heavy traffic and don’t think you’ll be able to make a meeting on time, you can pull over and do the meeting from the car or let them know you will be there as soon as you can and encourage them to start without you.

Having those backup plans in place ahead of time can help prevent any stress or anxiety on your journey. 

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Teaching Your Child How To Handle Conflict

As a parent, it’s important to remember that your child will likely disagree with their friends from time to time, and it’s a normal part of life and friendship. 

Helping them navigate through arguments can give them the guidance to move past these disagreements. 

Showing children how to establish their boundaries and communication with their friends is something that can help today and in the future. 

Find Balance

We only want the best for our children, so it may be tempting to want to step in when they are fighting with a friend.

However, stepping in right away isn’t always the best solution. 

Giving them the opportunity to talk it out on their own can teach them very valuable problem-solving skills. 

What you can do, is offer them support, advice and comfort.

Grow As We Go

Fights are often personal for the people in them – meaning that your child and their friends might be fighting about something unique to their friendship. 

As they grow, you can assess what the situation calls for and how to brainstorm ideas to hopfully resolve it. 

Conflict Resolution 

It’s never too early to start teaching your children healthy conflict resolution skills. 

Of course, you will always be there for them, but eventually, they will reach a certain age where they can handle most situations independently.

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New Year’s Resolutions – Stages of Change

By: Tanya Kramer, LPC

Everyone’s New Year’s resolution journey is unique, and what works for someone else may not work for you.

With that being said, here are a handful of best practices that may be able to help you set resolutions this year.

Image Source

Consider what “Stage of Change” you are at right now. 

Please see the Stages of Change graphic above. 

Once you’ve acknowledged where you are at now, see if you can move a step closer to taking action. 

Then you can decide if you are ready to take action by January 1st. If you are not, that is completely fine – don’t rush it. 

Make a plan before taking action and then decide when you would like to start taking action. 

On the designated date, take action on your resolution. This date doesn’t have to be January 1st if you need more time.

If you slip, hold yourself with grace. What did you learn? Are there additional steps you may need to add to your plan? Take action again.

How Do I Make a Plan Before Taking “Action”?

While creating your plan, you’ll want to think about the current patterns and behaviours you would like to change.

You will also want to see if anything needs to be addressed before getting started. 

If you are a visual learner, it can be helpful to draw yourself a map.

Brainstorm any barriers that might impact your success and then come up with possible solutions. 

ExampleQuitting Smoking

 

In the example above – the individual realized that they tend to smoke while studying, in the morning, when they are bored, and during social events. 

Quitting smoking or any habit for that matter can’t be achieved overnight, and there may be some setbacks along the way.

Now, setbacks are all part of the process. Even if your journey doesn’t turn out as planned or takes a bit longer than anticipated, don’t give up!

You can achieve anything you set your mind to!

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How To Adjust To A New Year And New Transitions

There are quite a handful of things in life we can’t control. Change and time are two of those things.

The start of a new year can often feel like a time of transition.

We may not know exactly what lies ahead but can control our attitude and outlook towards it. 

Develop a Sense of Agency

Do you ever feel a little lost going through the motions?

It’s so easy to feel like life is happening to us. But that is not the case.

You have a say in where you want to go in life.

You can make your own changes, both big and small.

Seek Gratitude

Practicing gratitue on a regular basis can help put several situations into perspective.

There is always something to be grateful for. You just have to know where to look. Practice noticing small events of appreciation once in a while.

Before you know it, it will become a habit. 

Be Present

There is no time like the present! Change and transition are inevitable.

Nothing we say or do will change what happened yesterday.

The only moment that matters right now is this very moment.

Time flies so fast – exactly why it is so important to appreciate every moment for what it is. 

“Your life is a story of transition. You are always leaving one chapter behind while moving on to the next.” – Anonymous

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International Human Rights Day

December 10 marks International Human Rights Day. It is a time to familiarize ourselves with and recognize the rights that everyone is entitled to as a human, regardless of race, religion, gender, nationality, or social status.

This day was created after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. It was the first legal document that advocated for fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

The United Nations website indicates that the themes of this year are Equality and Article 1 of the UDHR that states “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Additionally, they promote the idea that the path to a more fair society that addresses poverty, inequality and discrimination is by adopting measures that are grounded in human rights. You can find more information on their website International Human Rights Day.  

Explore additional resources below:

Human Rights Day Information & Resources For Kids 

Universal Declaration Of Human Rights Timeline 

11 Books To Read For Human Rights Day

What Are The Universal Human Rights? – Benedetta Berti | YouTube

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4 Techniques To Help Minimize Stress

We may not be able to completely avoid stressful events.  But we can minimize its intensity in healthy ways.

Keep on reading to learn more. 

Gratitude Lists

The next time you catch yourself feeling overwhelmed or anxious, hit pause, sit down and say five things out loud you are grateful for.

Don’t take too much time to think about this list. Just say the first 5 things that come to mind. 

Not sure where to begin?

Here are some examples that can help get you started.

1) A beautiful sunny day.

2) That first sip of coffee in the morning.

3) Your best friend.

4) Your favorite comfy socks.

Okay – now it’s your turn! 

Call a Friend

When you’re stressed about something, sometimes the best thing you can do is call a friend to vent or chit-chat. We are all so different and have our own way of looking at things.

Your friend may be able to help you look at what’s bothering you in a new way.

Listen To Your Body

Your stress may be a result of running on a low battery for too long. 

It’s so important to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. 

If you feel like you’ve been working too many hours or feel a sense of unbalance, you may need to change up your routine.

There is nothing wrong with going to bed an hour early or declining an event if you don’t feel up to it. 

Identify Your Stressors

We may not be able to control every stressful event that happens to us.

But if you take some time to identify your main stressors, you may be able to dial down the intensity.

For example, if you find your email inbox overwhelming you can unsubscribe from emails that no longer deliver value or only check emails during business hours.

Give it a try and see what happens!

“No one knows your body like you do. Listen to it. It will tell you what to eat, when to drink, how to sleep and which exercises you need to do. Let your own body be your most trusted personal trainer.” –  Toni Sorenson

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How to Beat Negativity According to Science

The truth is, we all have negative thoughts sometimes, and that is completely normal.

However, too much of anything is not healthy.

When we do the same thing for so long, it can become a habit.

Some habits can be tough to break – but if you put the work in, anything is possible.

Deconstruct Your Negativity

Our thoughts truly are so powerful.

The stories we tell ourselves can significantly impact how we think, act and feel.

If we go into a situation assuming something bad will happen, chances are it will.

“Every day may not be good… but there’s something good in every day” ― Alice Morse Earle

The next time you catch yourself stuck in a negative mindset hit the pause button and question your thoughts.

Here are a couple of prompts that can help get you started.

1) What can this situation teach me?

2) How can I transform this negative feeling into a positive one?

Find Healthy Distractions

Have you ever had one of those days where your mind just couldn’t stop racing?

It’s happened to almost all of us, especially after a stressful day.

The longer we think about negative emotions, the more intense they tend to become.

Now, you shouldn’t ignore your feelings and hold them in. That can actually make things worse. However, you can take that energy and put it towards something that’s good for your well-being. You can dance, go for a run or take a walk.

Practice Gratitude​

Practicing gratitude can help remind us just how lucky we are.

Not every negative event is actually as bad as it feels at the moment. You just have to keep reminding yourself that. Feelings are not facts, and just because you feel something doesn’t make it true.

If you’re having a tough time getting started, here are a few prompts that can help. 

1) What went well today?

2) What did you learn today?

3) What everyday item makes your life easier?

You can either write your thoughts down or think about them in your mind. There are no right or wrong answers.

Relax

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.” – Mark Black

When in doubt – just relax! When we’re overtired or stressed, things tend to feel way worse than they actually are. 

Going to bed earlier than usual or getting lost in a good show can instantly transform your mood. 

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Let’s Rediscover Your Motivation

You have the ability to achieve anything you set your mind to! You just have to rediscover your motivation!

Set SMART Goals:

Regular goal setting is a fantastic way to increase your overall motivation.

Setting SMART goals can give you something to work towards on a day to day basis, and give you a sense of direction. You don’t have to set large goals right away. You can start small and work your way up. 

Just remember to keep your goals SMART: 

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. 

Set Daily Tasks:

Of course, having a solid set of goals can help you stay on track and think about the future. However, sometimes that isn’t enough to keep you motivated throughout the day. 

When you have so many things to do, it can often be difficult to know where to begin.

Taking just a few minutes every morning to write down your most important tasks can help declutter the mind and prioritize your day. Whenever a task is completed, you can cross it off and move onto the next one. 

At the end of the day, you can look back on your list and celebrate how much you got done.

Build a Consistent Routine:

Writing out a to-do list is one thing. Following it in an appropriate order is another.

There will always be items on your list that ideally should be completed before others. Some people prefer to tackle the most complicated items first thing, while others prefer to take it easy and work their way up.

You know yourself best. If you want to succeed, you have to do what works for you. A great hack is to label your to-do list in order of priority.

An “A” task must always be completed before a “B” task, and a B task must always be completed before a “C” task.

Emphasize Self-Care:

Practicing self-care and listening to your body is one of the best ways to prevent burnout. When we’re constantly on the go and worrying about things, it’s easy for our motivation to slip away. 

We all have those days where we just don’t feel motivated – and that’s okay!

Continuing to work on a task when our energy levels just aren’t there can be very exhausting and counterproductive.

If you feel like you need a break, go take one!

Call a Friend:

Being around people can be very motivating and give you some much-needed energy. As you know, getting together with friends is not an option right now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t call or FaceTime the people you love.

The next time you catch yourself feeling unmotivated, call up a friend and talk about something you love and/or are excited about.

That simple change of mindset can completely transform your mood.

Learn More

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