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Only when we are
brave enough to explore the darkness will we
discover the infinite power of our light.
– Brene’ Brown

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How to Manage the Stress of the Holidays

By | Counseling, Stress, Yoga | No Comments

The holiday season tends to be one of the busiest times of the year for many people. It’s a time when you may have to attend family functions as well as entertain at your home. It also tends to be one of the more expensive times of the year due to all the gift giving that’s involved. These factors can often cause a lot of stress.

The holidays should be a time that you enjoy, but this can be extremely difficult if you’re stressed out the entire time. The following are tips that may help you manage your stress so that you can enjoy the time with your family and friends:

Exercise Regularly

Even with a hectic schedule, regular exercise can help to improve your mood, while also reducing stress. Physical activity stimulates the production of your brain’s endorphins, which are natural chemicals that produce feelings of pleasure, reduce stress and increase relaxation. Taking a yoga class or going for a 30-minute run three or four times a week can greatly reduce your stress over the holidays.

Yoga is an option that has been shown to reduce stress, in addition to many other physical and mental benefits. Whether yoga, running, walking or biking, 30-minutes of exercise three or four times a week may make a huge difference in your stress level.

Establish a Budget

Set a budget for yourself. This budget should include your normal expenses as well as expenses for gifts, food (if you’re hosting a dinner) and travel. Keep close track of your expenses and you won’t get stressed out towards the end of the year because you suddenly realize you’ve spent way more than you thought you did. Holiday spending can add up if you don’t pay attention to it – even if it doesn’t seem like you’re spending that much money at the time.

Don’t try to do too much

Don’t feel obliged to go to every single holiday gathering that you’re invited to. Decide which ones work for you and politely decline the others. If you’re going to a holiday party or dinner every week, it can make your schedule feel extremely hectic.

If you’re hosting a holiday dinner, don’t be afraid to ask for help. For example, ask a close friend or family member to help set up. Or ask your guests to bring a side dish or dessert. This could help to reduce the burden of having to feed a dozen or more people alone. Most people actually enjoy doing this!

Take some time for yourself

The holidays are a time when everybody tends to catch up with friends and family. While this is perfectly fine, make sure that you get some time to yourself. Even taking 15 minutes out of your day to enjoy a cup of coffee or do a little bit of reading, can help you relax.  A moment to yourself will give you some clarity and give you a chance to just slow down for a minute.

Following these tips may help to reduce your stress during what can be a hectic holiday season. By reducing your stress, you’ll improve your ability to actually enjoy the holidays with your family and friends.

Are We Normal?

By | Couples Counseling, Marriage, Marriage Counseling | No Comments

One of the first questions couples ask after all of the introductions have been done and paperwork completed is: “Are we normal?” I usually wait for it, because I know at some point one or both will ask the question. The question comes loaded with fear, worry, and dread that there is something terribly wrong within the relationship. Sometimes, I think couples ask because they are expecting me to say “you are beyond repair” or “run for your life.”

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I work with couples at various stages in their relationships. There are moments over the course of a marriage when couples might seek therapy. Most people think therapy is mainly needed when they are on the brink of divorce. While this may be true in some cases, it is also common for couples to seek therapy at times when divorce isn’t even a thought. they simply need clarity or want to improve certain aspects of the relationship.

Couples reach out for support before marriage, shortly after the wedding, prior to growing their family, while trying to get pregnant, after the first, second or third child is born, after the first child starts preschool or the last graduates from college, just to name a few. All of these are pivotal moments in the family life cycle. All of these moments have one very important thing in common – change.

All couples experience some type of change or transition that requires adjustment. Adjustments can be difficult to manage because sometimes that means you have to accept that something isn’t working for you. Even though it may feel taxing, it’s actually great because this is where growth happens! This is typically the moment when couples decide to find a therapist.

Therapy offers a space where you can express your concerns, thoughts, and feelings happening in your relationship. I recognize that change is difficult, and I provide an opportunity for couples to come together and decide how they want to handle change…together.

So, when you make the decision to begin therapy, and you ask that question, “Are we normal?”, I will help you identify the experiences that brought you to therapy and say simply, it is very normal. Life is normal, and you are experiencing life. All couples have a point of transition where what was, is no longer. Therapy helps people, and couples, navigate those transitions. It is very healthy to seek a therapist in order to gain additional support.