Counseling, Therapy, & Life Coaching by Innovative Counseling Services Inc.
for Individuals, Couples, Children, and Families

What’s New with Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs seasonally, typically more noticeably in the fall and winter months then often disappears in spring.

According to Women’s Health, although SAD may differ from one person to another,  when the days become shorter and the light is less. People with SADS may feel sluggish, develop insomnia, increased desire for sugar and carb cravings with an increase in weight. Some people feel sluggish and just don’t feel motivated to get out and enjoy life as usual.

Here are some ideas to help reduce your SAD symptoms:

  •  A light box can be helpful to provide full Spectrum HD-LED Light  and it can be used daily. Follow the recommendations that come with your lightbox.
  •  Exercise is helpful even if it is the last thing you feel like doing. Just put a favorite exercise video on at home if you can’t make it out to the gym.
  • Add vitamin D to your regimen as it has been shown to decrease symptoms of SAD. Researchers have shown that a decrease in vitamin D is related to SAD.
  • Eat a healthy diet (refer to my blog on healthy food) and last and most important talk to someone.
  • Lastly and very important, talk to someone in person. Texting and Facebook can create more feelings of isolation. Talk to a friend or a therapist Cognitive Behavioral therapy can be very helpful to improve your outlook and your sense of motivation so your mood can lift as you await spring!

How to Manage Holiday Stress

The holidays are a time of year for celebration, being with family, and enjoying. Yet, they also tend to be a time of stress for many people in terms of preparation, overindulgence, and cost. The following are five ways to manage your stress through this holiday season.

1. Make time for your family but also for yourself.

As you rush around to finish shopping and decorating for the holidays, take some time for yourself and your family or friends to enjoy a massage, or give gifts of massage or other stress reducing activities to others.

If you are a parent, spend time with your children while they are home from school. Plan a day outside together. Nature is relaxing and can be fun even it means a snowball fight and some laughter before you get back to your shopping and preparing for guests etc.

Stress can also be caused by dysfunctional family members who are brought together during the holidays. Discuss with your family that you will forgive and forget others for any past problems created so that you can enjoy the holiday and feel good and leave family gatherings without anger or hurt.

Enjoy time with a warm drink in front of the tree or fireplace with Christmas music together as a family as you play a game that involves interaction. Don’t miss out on time together and plan to make it relaxing instead of perfect. If you are rushed,  remember to take a few minutes to sit down, conjure a relaxing place, and inhale and exhale ten deep breaths. Constantly being on the go can make you feel less in touch with the inherent joy of this season.

2. Keep to some kind of routine.

Keep with your fitness routine during the holidays and invite your family members when you can. Don’t give up exercising and if you are rushed just take a little time to run outside with your children and play a quick game.  Just a few minutes of a fun break can bring some laughter and stress relief before you get back to the holiday tasks. Try to maintain some sense of your norm as you move through the season. This will allow for you to keep pace with your lifestyle as you enter the New Year and help you see what adjustments to make for a healthier 2018.

3. Refresh the true spirit of the holidays.

The holiday is supposed to be about giving and receiving. Both are so important. How can although this season can certainly be stressful, the holiday season exists to celebrate love and joy. Even if you are stressed, remind yourself of what actually matters in the larger picture. Will it really matter if presents are not perfectly wrapped?

4. Build in time for activities that you have to do but may not want to.

Obligations abound throughout the holiday season. Maybe you feel obligated to attend the neighbor’s Christmas party or the one for work. Or, you feel pressure to spend extra time with your in-laws. Whatever the source of a more stressful obligation, try to find something positive to focus on before you arrive and then schedule the amount of time you will stay. Both will offer you a sense of control and allow you to feel more at ease.

5. Remind yourself of moderation.

We will be going to holiday work parties and will imbibe in more unhealthy foods and drink more than any other time of the year. We gather for large dinners, have chocolate and desserts, and also tend to drink more as part of the festive spirit. We receive gifts of food and decadent foods and liquors, etc. Remember to enjoy but in moderation. Eat slowly and notice when you are full before you take a second helping. Don’t give in to the adage ‘it’s only Christmas once or its time to celebrate and worry later’.

All of these suggestions are simple, but they add up to a more balanced holiday season.

We offer a FREE 15 minute session to new clients. Contact Us to schedule it today. These sessions are only available via phone, email, text and Skype.


How to Heal Trauma and Anxiety

Trauma is held within the body. Although trauma can feel deep and overwhelming, there are successful ways to treat trauma and often what is associated anxiety.

Recent neuroscience research shows the best treatment for trauma involves movement. Yoga and breathing are fantastic ways to connect yourself to active healing.

Talk therapy and journaling are  also very effective ways of allowing for compassion and insight into the traumatic event. Some type of movement and inner awareness are essential keys to healing.

Deep feeling comes when you are not talking but being present and aware of your internal world.  When you are aware of and understand your internal feelings you can move through the trauma and anxiety. Once you have established a sense of safety, “you will feel your feelings and emotional sensations.” This is self awareness, where the traumatized parts can then be acknowledged, felt, and integrated.

Some of the best treatments combine yoga, breathing, meditation, movement, EMDR therapy, and TFT or tapping therapy.  Learn more about EMDR on my web site.

Equality and Gender Difference

The definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.”

Here men are not mentioned, only sharing equality is. Yet, a persistent sense of feminism is that it promotes a dislike of men. Fairly, most feminists recognize the patriarchy as fact. This being defined as “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.”

Perhaps the idea of feminists not liking men comes from this? But, some prominent feminists are working hard so there is better understanding that empowering women to achieve equality really has nothing to do with disliking males.

Respect to Achieve Equality

In this mainstream scenario, equality is achieved by simply respecting females. And, in fact, everybody. Beyonce is one of the world’s most well-known musicians and a devoted feminist. At the 2014 Video Music Awards, the her performance’s stage background was one word: Feminism.

President Barack Obama is also a feminist. In a 2016 essay written for Glamour magazine, he proudly shared,

“…Twenty-first-century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.”

Here feminism is about equality within both the public and private — from personal choice to political expression to earning power. Well-known comedian Aziz Ansari recently said, “You’re a feminist if you go to a Jay Z and Beyonce concert and you’re not like, ‘Mmm, I feel like Beyonce should get 23 percent less money than Jay Z.’”

He may frame this as comical, but women within the United States earn 23 percent less than men simply because they are women.

Physiology and Equality

In physiology, equality of the sexes doesn’t mean we are the same. We are genetically, emotionally, physically, or even cognitively different. Enter the ever-evolving dialogue around the binary ideas of male and female gender.

For now, there is a male/female spectrum. On one end of that spectrum is the “macho man” who is aggressively proud of his masculinity. Then there is the “metrosexual,” a young, urban, liberal, heterosexual male. On the other end, there is the homosexual man who sleeps with men but can express any of the previous traits within the male spectrum from macho to metrosexual. All of these men are equal in their definition of a man, but different in their physical, emotional, and even cognitive display of their maleness.

Females also have a spectrum demonstrating their gender. The female spectrum ranges from the very feminine — such as having traditional qualities like being delicate or pretty — to homosexual women who are sexually attracted to women. Of course, homosexual women can be feminine or may display an appearance traditionally seen as more masculine.

Currently, the LGBTQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/questioning) is defining their own gender identities outside the binary spectrum just explained. Here a person’s sense of their own identity — as a female (girl or woman), a male (a boy or man), or other gender (transgender, bi-gender or gender queer) — is a complete departure from the traditional binary view of gender.

The point is: gender is a continuum. Yes, we are different but on a continuum each person, regardless of where they land on the gender spectrum, deserves equality.

Respect and equality are both essential aspects of feminism. Achieving equality is about recognizing physical, cognitive, genetic and emotional differences between and with the sexes. Where you fall on the spectrum doesn’t matter as long as everyone respects differences but treats differences equally: with equal rights, equal pay, equal health care benefits, and so on.

This is also why feminism and equality for everyone still has so far to go.

Tips on How to Emotionally Respond to a Narcissist

Many people who have lived with or been in a relationship with a narcissist find themselves emotionally drained and confused. They become confused about how to feel or how to respond to the narcissist’s demands, incongruences, bullying and his/her need for constant attention and approval. The narcissistic person demonstrates a pattern of  ongoing relentless manipulation for the sheer enjoyment of seeing or hearing a reaction.

‘The narcissist makes decisions for others to suit his/her own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams, or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. Click on  “How to Successfully Handle Narcissists”  for more information.

Therapy can help you to set ground rules and stick to them. You must develop a way to calm down and react in a consistent manner to the narcissist. Learning to take control by walking away decreases his/her power over you while maintaining your sense of self.

For more information you can schedule a free 15 min. consultation.

I offer convenient SKYPE AND phone sessions also.

Call or email for your  FREE 15 minute session. Contact Us to schedule it today. These sessions are only available via phone, email, text and Skype.

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