Here in Minnesota, we experience an intense, cold, and long winter season. It gets dark early, and the sun rises late. We see the sunlight less, and we stay indoors more. Due to these conditions, a lot of people have concerns with Seasonal Affective Disorder otherwise known as the winter blues.
As we approach winter I wanted to send out some love for people who are starting to or will start to feel the winter blues. It can be a tough, long season if we feel down, depressed, and lonely most of the days. What can we do to help increase our mood and try to feel better this winter season? Here are some ideas to try out.
This list is a starting point for your wellness this winter season. Use one or all of these ideas to help yourself feel better and make the most of these cold days. It is important to take care of yourself, and I know that is way easier said than done. However, it will help your relationship with yourself and with others if you complete some of the ideas above and work towards beating those winter blues. Make this season your best winter yet!
I wrote a little about what talk therapy is here, but I wanted to give a some more concrete information about what you may encounter in the first therapy session and follow up sessions.
Initial therapy session: This session is a little longer than the ongoing sessions because it allows time for me to get a clear understanding of your presenting concerns. I will ask questions about what brought you to therapy, symptoms you may be having, and a history of your concerns. This information is used to create a goal plan of how we will address your concerns in ongoing sessions. It will also give me insight into your current coping skills, your support system, and your areas of strength which will all provide great information and help as we formulate your goal plan.
Ongoing therapy sessions: After our initial intake session, we will meet on a regular basis for 50 minute therapy sessions. The regularity is up to you. It can be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. These sessions will be formatted to fit your needs. You will be the driver, and I will be the guide. I work from a holistic approach where I combine mindfulness techniques with traditional talk-therapy to enhance the whole person. In sessions, the mindfulness techniques includes guided meditation and deep breathing to create a stronger mind-body connection. If the client wishes, these techniques will be used in conjunction with talk-therapy where we talk about and process your concerns and feelings. This allows for increased relaxation and decreased stress. Usually sessions consist mostly of talk-therapy with one or two short mindfulness exercises that promote grounding and can be tools for clients to use outside sessions.
Therapy sessions are tailored to fit your needs, and they may look different depending on the day. The goal with therapy is to help you process your concerns, emotions, and feelings while providing you with support and tools for you to create your best life possible.
If you have any questions, please contact my via phone or email. I would love to give more information and answer any questions you may have.
Wow. What an election season it was. What an outcome. There are so many emotions and so many thoughts floating through my head and through social media. But whether or not we like it, the election is over, and the results are in. We must work to move forward. We must come together to continue the good fight for justice and equality for all. Fighting and advocating for others is one of the best parts of my job, and I am ready to keep going! I am excited about this opportunity to hold my social work values high. I want to bring social justice to all, and I want to create a community that is strong and powerful.
The social work code of ethics discloses 6 core values that social workers must work to uphold. These values include service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. These core values are not only something I hold up professionally, these are values that I hold up personally. I believe that as a country we need to work toward these values. I believe that this will allow us to have compassion toward others, it will allow us to build community, and it will allow us to grow in a positive way.
I feel that we are very divided now, and there seems to be a lot of anger and hate in the air. However, I think that the best way to move forward is to use your feelings for good. What are you feeling? Upset? Happy? Sad? Excited? Whatever your emotions are, use them to fuel your fire and create positive change. I want you to notice and acknowledge your feelings, search for how you can use those feelings for good, and then put those feelings and emotions to use by fighting for what you believe in. Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions.
We need to talk. We need to open up about our values and share with others what we are thinking. We need to do this in a kind and respectful way. I mean who wants to get yelled at? Not me. I also encourage this in-person or over the phone. I think so much context can get lost over social media.
We need to listen. We need to open up to what others are saying. I have been trying to read comments and articles from people with different views from my own. I want to understand them and where they are coming from. I encourage you to do the same.
We need to get involved. We need to fight for what we believe in. Call your legislator. Reach out to your neighborhood organization. Start a blog. Sign up for an online newsletter. Donate money to a cause you care about. We need to build community and keep it strong. We need to stand together for our children, for our friends, for our communities, and for ourselves. We will be able to create change and be a more effective community if we stand together and get involved.
I’ll leave you with this, we need to work to be better by being better ourselves. We need to come together and use our power for good. We need to continue to offer kindness and compassion to one another. Little by little we need to work toward becoming one country again. Right now is the time to offer hope and acceptance.
As a fun way to get to know me better, I thought I’d share some fun facts about me.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me.
*Picture from summer of 2016. My son’s first ride on the lightrail!
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what therapy means to other people. Therapy, talk therapy that is, can look like different things to different people. I have noticed in our society that due to mental health stigma (more on that in another post) a stigma around talk therapy has developed as well. We have created this culture where we sometimes shame people for seeing a therapist, or where we have to hide that we see a therapist for fear someone might think we’re “crazy”. We also have created this idea that talk therapy is only something you do if you’re really mentally unstable, or this place where you lie on a couch and share all of your deepest darkest secrets. Well, yeah, some of that could be true, but there is so much more to it than that.
Talk therapy is a safe space for people to go and share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. It is a place to process difficult emotions and events. It is a place to get support. It is talking with an un-biased person who does not judge you for what you share. It is a mostly* confidential space where people can share anything they want. It is a space to work through difficulties with yourself, a partner, child(ren), family member or friend. You may lay on a couch, you may sit on a chair, you may go for a walk, and you may share some of your deepest darkest secrets. It all depends on what you want from it and the therapist you’re working with. There are several models of therapy that therapists might/could utilize in sessions, but overall it is a compassionate, empathetic, and trusting person that will allow you the space to share and process and cry and laugh and get some tools to help make you a better you. Therapy can be several weeks, months, or years long. It is going to look different for each person. Each person will find a therapist that they work best with because, to be honest, we all mesh well with certain people and that is true when working with a therapist as well.
Talk therapy is a another way to gain support on your journey to finding your true and authentic self. It is for people with several mental health concerns, and it is for people who want support with life transitions or everyday worries that they may have. We don’t have to judge others for seeing a therapist, and we don’t have to feel ashamed for seeing a therapist. It is part of our normal journey through life, and some people choose to get a little extra support because they want to make themselves the best they can be.
*There are some limitations to confidentiality. Please speak with your mental health provider to get further details on this.
Image via http://www.all-about-psychology.com/psychotherapy.html