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Stress Management

normalcy

The Normalcy Paradox: Is it too soon?

One year ago, after more than a month in lockdown, you yearned for a return to normalcy. However, weighing that desire against the real threat of death, you opted for safety and stayed home, many alone and in fear. Today, 128 million people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the United States, and 282 million are partially vaccinated. Mask mandates and social distancing requirements are loosening. For many, it’s a ticket to freedom. For others, to roam freely seems a scary and potentially deadly proposition.  So, the normalcy paradox emerges. You want it and you fear it. You are having mixed feelings like excitement and reluctance, curiosity and hesitation. In my virtual therapy room, I’m hearing concerns like the following: I’ve changed and my body has...

CBT

CBT: Spring Clean Your Mindset

Spring has sprung! Just as Mother Nature ditches the dreary dormant season of winter, CBT can shift your mindset from doom to bloom. Think of it as a spring cleaning for your brain. So, grab the mental Swiffer to dust out the cobwebs. Spray the virtual Windex to clear the fog. It's time to open up to blossoming possibilities. It’s easy to fall into the habit of negative thinking.  The shorter, darker, colder days of winter have a real effect on mood and energy.  Over time, it can affect your attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.  You might begin to automatically assume worst case scenario's.  That fearful belief provokes an anxious feeling that further validates the fear that something will go wrong.  It’s a vicious cycle that feeds on...

anxiety

Anxiety and Lockdown

Anxiety is on the rise. As we approach another lockdown, you anticipate uncomfortable feelings.  You notice parts of yourself vying for attention - the ones that feel fear, loneliness, and shame. The anxiety of unfinished business from the past, beckons your acknowledgment and soothing.  Without the external distractions of work, shopping, and appointments, you are forced to sit with your internal world. There are many ways to distract yourself from this discomfort. You can go for a walk, watch a movie, call a friend, dance in your bedroom, or take a class online. It's a temporary "fix" but, will all this “doing” result in healing? What if this is the time to stop doing? What if all this doing has kept you stuck in unproductive being? And what if...

change

Butterflies: Proof of change for good

Change doesn’t happen comfortably.  Just when the caterpillar's world was ending, it became a butterfly. The extenuating circumstances you are in right now are also a new beginning. Uncertainty. Isolation. Fear. Instability. Change. Transformation. Transcendence. Each has an affect on mental health, for better or worse. Each is an opportunity for greater compassion. Your everyday life looks distinctly different than it did a few months ago. Whether you’ve been on lockdown, protesting with Black Lives Matter, or struggling to keep a roof over your head or business - this is a time of unprecedented and profound change.  You’re experiencing change in how you socialize, work, educate, love, heal, and relate to the world.  It’s unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and uncertain. Traumas are triggered. Self preservation is awakened. The status quo is upended. Emotions are...

ritual grief quarantine

Ritual. Grief. Quarantine.

Ritual. It brings family, friends, and communities together. It binds you in your values. It bonds you in your shared beliefs. It connects your  mind, body, and spirit. But what if rituals don't exist? Sunday was Easter. I’m not a terribly religious person, but I knew that I wouldn’t be with my family for a traditional gathering. And it felt like a freight train rolled in and parked on my chest. I woke up sad. The familiar heavy fog of longing for something that wouldn’t be, had settled in while I slept. My family ritual was not happening today. And I'm not alone in that. Weddings, funerals, bar & bat mitzvah's, seders, school & sports events, and more have also been cancelled or modified. It's a loss...

trauma, emdr, therapy

Dear Trauma: EMDR changes lives

Dear trauma, I don’t need you anymore. You served a purpose and kept me safe in the face of danger. But now you’re getting in my way. I got this. Yours truly. When trauma happens, your central nervous system reacts in one of 4 ways to protect you:  Fight - physically defending yourself  Flight - running away Freeze - if I don’t move, they won’t see me - think deer in headlights Faint - playing dead It’s involuntary and automatic. It’s your body‘s way of protecting you in the moment. So, thank your body for doing that - and let it know you’re safe now. In the case of PTSD and limiting beliefs, it’s not enough to know you’re safe. Your body's protective mechanisms get frozen in time...

2020 Vision: 29 life-balance tips

Make 2020 a breakthrough year. Stress, fatigue, and overwhelm can keep your head spinning and your to-do list growing. Get off the hamster wheel in 2020 and begin taking corrective action. It’s counterintuitive but, it all starts with slowing down. Make 2020 the year of YOU. Follow these simple tips to hit the reset button. Build clarity, energy, and focus...

mindful holidays

Holiday Magic: Mindful strategies

‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Well, sometimes. If you take a mindful look at the way you approach the holidays, you'll find that you actually have a mixture of feelings - like joy and sorrow, pleasure and stress, boredom and excitement, for instance. The holidays can be bittersweet, especially for those who have lost someone they love. They are stressful for those forced to mingle with family members they don’t admire. And they are lonely for those who are alone. It’s a time ripe with celebration, gratitude, and giving. And it’s a time of wishing and grieving.  So whatever your circumstances, how do you surf the waves of emotion that arise during the holidays? Mindful practices can keep you rooted in your truth, feeling ground, and present,...

hatred vs empowerment

Hatred vs. Empowerment: Flip the Script

Sexual harassment. Terrorism. Racism. Genocide. Human trafficking. Dis - empowerment. The list goes on. We are divisive and rageful, hateful and blaming, exploiting and violent. You feel exhausted, disempowered, and depressed. Your power is not in what separates you, it’s in what connects you to others. It’s in being receptive rather than reactive. Your conscious mind’s ability to reflect, evaluate, and problem solve sets you apart from other animals. You choose how to think and behave. You crave empowerment, self worth, and purpose. You need to feel connection, love, and belonging - without it you suffer. These are basic human needs. As long as food, shelter, and safety are provided, you aspire for meaning and a higher purpose. It’s visceral and biological. Looking outward isn’t as...

Heather Edwards psychotherapy coach

SAD AF: Slay the happiness vampire

This is for the dreamers, overachievers, procrastinators, and perfectionists. It’s a the middle of winter. A time that can be bleak and isolative. The days are fleeting. The nights are long. Gray skies blanket the possibilities and stifle your mood like a punch in the gut. SAD knocks at your door like the vampire of happiness. Your bed looks more and more inviting. Your motivation escapes you. You’re tired, a little somber, and you worry about your future. This is S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). S.A.D. resembles a mild depression and typically occurs in winter. It challenges many of us - the creatives, the empaths, and everyone in between. In case you’re wondering if you have S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) here are a few symptoms: decreased energy increased appetite (for...