Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wellness Wednesday: Social & Cultural Wellness

As we continue to slug through the winter months, our wellness is increasingly important to pay conscious attention to. Many people tend to experience the “winter blues,” which can be attributed to a range of things from less sunlight and time outdoors to more sickness and time spent alone. This month, we will focus on another aspect of wellness, social and cultural wellness. This aspect of wellness is often less focused on than physical or emotional wellness, but it is no less important!

Social wellness is the ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships with the people around you.  It involves having positive relationships based on trust, respect, and understanding. Having a healthy support system of family and/or friends means always having someone to turn to during tough times. Social wellness also means feeling confident when alone or with others.

Cultural wellness means supporting cultural diversity in your community. It involves building positive relationships and interacting respectfully with people of different backgrounds, lifestyles, genders, ethnicities, abilities, and ages. It can also mean exploring your own culture and finding things you enjoy about it in order to help you feel connected to a group of people.

Social and Cultural Wellness Facts and Tips:
        People with good social networks and support systems are less susceptible to illness, can manage stress more effectively, and have higher self-esteem than those who are more isolated.
        Laughter and human touch (e.g., hugging) can improve your mood and overall health.
        Being open-minded to new experiences and cultures is important as you adjust to new surroundings or meet new people.
        In any relationship, it is important to always treat yourself and others with respect.
        Seek out opportunities and be willing to meet new people and do new things (i.e., join a club or organization, play a team sport, learn a new hobby, volunteer, or attend community events).
        Try to look at situations from multiple perspectives and resolve conflicts through compromise.
        Observing others and asking questions can help you gain a better understanding of unfamiliar cultures and customs.
        Be knowledgeable about the resources offered within the community.
        In conversation, work to listen to understand rather than listening to respond. Often, we are so focused on our rebuttal or our own story in a conversation that we miss the connection we could have made with someone.
*Tip: try summarizing what the other person said to you and reflecting how it made you feel before adding your own information. This will help the other person feel heard and be more likely to listen to your information in return.
        Learning to set healthy boundaries in our relationships can be one of the most challenging things to do, but it has a huge effect on our level of social wellness. Relationships with healthy boundaries tend to be much less draining. They fill us up and make us happier instead of frustrated and upset. Check out this article on setting boundaries for some helpful tips: https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-way-to-build-and-preserve-better-boundaries/

Do you have other ways you improve your social and cultural wellness? Share them with us in the comments or on our Facebook page!

Nicki Phillips is a counseling intern at Esprit and a graduate student at UW Oshkosh working towards a degree in clinical mental health counseling. She brings a fresh perspective to her work along with a vibrant personality. She believes everyone is inherently worthy of respect and compassion, and strives to create those qualities in her relationships with clients. She sees clients who are uninsured, underinsured, have a high deductible, or prefer to pay out-of-pocket for a reduced cost. She particularly enjoys working with adolescents and young adults, and has also worked with children (ages 5 and up) and adults. She has immediate openings for new clients! Please schedule online at espritcounseling.com. She can also be reached via email at nicki@espritcounseling.com or by phone at (920) 383-1287.


Monday, February 5, 2018

Anxiety and Motherhood

So for all the mothers out there, do you have a love/hate relationship with video monitors? Or is it just me?  I am guessing I am not alone and to be honest, I wouldn’t trade mine for the world.  It gives me such peace of mind to see her cozy in her bed, safe and happy.  BUT man I look at it constantly and sometimes it leads me to not be present with the task I am doing.  Or I am consumed with her nap, feedings, diapers, etc.

I should give myself a “mom” break during nap times and I don’t.  My husband can so easily just turn the screen off and set the volume on so he can hear her and he is able to be more present.  Or he can just let her fuss it out for a bit in her crib.  Sometimes, (actually most times), I get jealous of that ability.

So I ask myself, “Why do I have a hard time?”  I believe there are many answers to that question.  One is anxiety and the “what if” questions that roll around in my brain.  My daughter is now 8.5 months old so I have been working on this for several months.  For all new mothers out there with a newborn, BELIEVE me it does get easier.  I used to not even be able to talk about anything besides her.

Here are a few tips I have learned along the way.

1. Give myself grace, I am learning a new job and it takes time.

2. She is new and is learning right alongside me.

3. For the “what if” questions, I have to force myself to slow down and ask what is the possibility vs. probability of my concerns occurring.  Sure a lot of things are possible but the probability of it happening is lower than my anxiety leads me to believe.

4. Ask those who have experienced it, and making sure those are people that you trust.

5. And for those you ask, you DON’T have to take all their advice.

Your answers might be different than mine but the best thing I found for myself was asking the question, “Why is it hard?”  Sometimes just giving mental space to think about the question and reflect can bring awareness.  And how I work with clients a lot of times is awareness first and then finding coping skills.  I just sometimes forget to do that myself.  Can anyone else out there relate?


So to Moms and Dads out there, you are doing great, give grace, and reflect.

Hannah Episcopo graduated from Trinity International University with a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. She enjoys working with individuals, couples and families. Hannah specializes in anxiety, depression, co-dependency, faith and self-esteem issues. Hannah’s work includes walking beside clients as they journey through self-exploration, understanding and healthy communication. She values helping clients identify their strengths and create positive coping skills to meet their goals. Hannah also has experience working with children and adolescents and often incorporates play therapy into sessions.    

Monday, January 8, 2018

How The Daring Way Changed Me

Does anyone really understand emotions like shame, vulnerability or creativity?  Did you know that all three of these emotions are inextricably linked?  Vulnerability can cause feelings of shame and shame can cause the experience of vulnerability.  Did you know that you cannot be creative without making room for the feelings associated with vulnerability?  These are difficult topics to understand, in part because there are often many layers and complexities to them.  But I have found someone who does understand them, Dr. Brene Brown.  The first time I saw Dr. Brown’s TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability (check out the video:  https://brenebrown.com/videos/) about 4 to 5 years ago I felt understood. I immediately related to her research and found myself in much of what she was talking about.  Vulnerability is the birthplace of many things, including creativity and belonging.  What exactly is vulnerability though?  Vulnerability is defined as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure”.  Shame, a universal human experience, often gets in the way of practicing vulnerability or being real in our lives.  Shame is defined as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we've experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”   
Through her years of research (which is mainly done through interviews with all sorts of people), Dr Brown  has learned tactics to help the rest of us not only get through life, but learn to thrive in it.  Her hope for humanity is that we all learn and practice what she calls, wholehearted living.
Early in 2017, I learned that The Daring Way University, which trains mental health professionals on how to apply Dr. Brown’s research, was offering trainings throughout 2017.  I decided to be brave and take a chance on this new opportunity.  This training would allow me to work with people and help them achieve WHOLEHEARTED LIVING. 
On a Sunday in May of 2017, I drove to Faribault, MN, for a 2 day intensive training.  I had some idea what to expect, but was nervous nonetheless.  The word “vulnerable” kept popping up in my head.  I was terribly anxious about “being vulnerable” in this group setting surrounded by other mental health professionals.  There were 10 of us in this group as well as a group facilitator.  At the beginning of the experience, we wrote down our intentions for those 2 days.  I identified that I wanted to be authentic and open.  Other professionals in the group identified similar goals as well which helped me relax a little bit.
The leaders, in their infinite wisdom, believe that the best way to train future leaders is to have them go through the group experience themselves.  It was a humble reminder of what it is like to be the client again.  I really had no idea what to expect which I imagine is how many new clients feel when they first walk into a therapist’s office.  We learned about what vulnerability is, and isn’t, clarified personal values, what shame triggers are, how shame feels in our bodies, what my ideal and unwanted identities are, and practiced creativity.  All of these things, in and of themselves, were life changing for all of us in the room.  But, the one thing I couldn’t have predicted was the power of the group itself.  The 10 of us in that group created such an energy that is indescribable.  Rarely, have I felt so vulnerable, but so connected to other people.  How those two opposites of vulnerable and connection exist in that room at the same time, is part of the magic of The Daring Way. I will carry that with me forever.
After the 2 day training, I did 10 weeks of online classes, in which I continued to learn about and practice the new skills.  I continue to consult with my Daring Way Mentor in preparation for becoming a Certified Daring Way Facilitator in my own right.
The best way for me to talk about the impact of The Daring Way on my life, is for me to share some personal stories that illustrate what I do differently.  This past summer, my family and I, made the painful decision to return our dog to the breeder.  He had developed significant aggression issues and we no longer felt safe in our own home.  Despite our dog’s issues, we absolutely loved him with all our hearts.  Returning him to the breeder brought up painful experiences of shame, wondering what we did wrong to make him this way, and huge feelings of guilt that we were selfish for giving him back to the breeder because we wanted normalcy in our home again. 
Before going through The Daring Way, shame would have driven my outcome, rather than my personal values.  This time, I was able to identify shame in my body (a warm flush, continuous negative thoughts about myself as well as constant confusion).  Once I recognized I was caught up in shame, I was able to respond differently.  In the past, I would have kept much of this to myself.  This time, I reached out to people in my Marble Jar (people in your life who are safe and have earned the right to hear your story).  I was able to connect with my values and make decisions from that place, rather than from a place of shame and guilt.  It has been 6 months since we let our dog go.  Although I still have pain and grief, I feel very good about how I handled my thoughts and feelings throughout that experience.

Another recent incident involved a family member, who asked me to do something.  In the past, I would have said yes (even though I didn’t really want to do it).  This time I applied what I learned from Dr. Brown, I asked myself crucial questions…do I want to do this?  How am I afraid of being perceived if I say no?  If I go, am I being my authentic self?  There are certain people in my life that I can be my authentic self with but like any human being, there are certain people I find it hard to do this with.  This particular family member is one of those people. 
The fact that I even asked myself those questions is a testament to The Daring Way.  It got me off automatic pilot.  I live more consciously.  I am driven more by my authentic self vs. the self that is afraid she will be disliked.  This work isn’t easy. In the example above with the family member, I drove myself (and my husband), slightly crazy for a few days.  It was pretty terrifying for me to do something different than what was expected of me.

                I invite you to get off automatic pilot.  Take your life to the next level.  Fill that hole inside of you.  I promise, you will never be the same.  Check out her books, like “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Daring Greatly”.  Or better yet…come join me for The Daring Way weekend.  Check out the details here:  http://www.espritcounseling.com/thedaringway.html

Jennifer Olkowski is a state certified Licensed Professional Counselor and Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor who has worked in a variety of behavioral settings, including inpatient, outpatient and private practice.  Jennifer enjoys working with children, adolescents and adults with a variety of mental health issues from everyday adjustment concerns to mild and significant anxiety concerns to mood disorders.  She is especially passionate and skilled in working with the anxiety spectrum disorders.  Jennifer has received specific training in Exposure and Response Prevention, the gold standard of treatment in anxiety disorders.  She is particularly passionate about bringing mindfulness and commitment to values in everyday life utilizing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  Her focus is encouraging present moment awareness, more compassion for the self and helping clients identify what truly matters to them.  Jennifer has a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from UW Oshkosh and Masters of Science in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska.  As a parent herself, Jennifer recognizes the challenges in raising children who are healthy and resilient to the many ups and downs of life.  When Jennifer is not in the office, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and being in the outdoors.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dreading the Holidays?

We all have them:  Those awful memories of family get-togethers gone bad.  We mean well.  We plan for a holiday to share with loved ones and this time it will be different...but then.. we revert to our old habits.  Arguments ensue, feelings are hurt and soon, we begin to dread getting together again.

What do you do? Often, our expectations for what we want to happen does not match with reality.  We have our own versions of what happened which often differ from someone else's perspective.  We have our own biases and preferences and when others do not do as we expect or want, then what?

We even imagine those perfect holiday scenes and find ours never measure up.  A quote I read that emphasized how we blame others or ourselves for this perceived failure is "It's not you and it's not only you."  Everyone contributes in their own way to the enjoyment or problems that can arise. Trying to understand the other person's perspective promotes greater understanding and harmony.

There are certain conversations that my family tries to avoid because all of us know it will end badly.  We have that "silent agreement" among us to save those conversations with like-minded family members or friends because agreeing to disagree seems to work best.  We know we will not be able to persuade someone to our point of view, making someone right and the other wrong, or someone gets to win and the other's expense.

Something I have noticed at every one of my family gatherings is how we revert to roles we played when we were growing up.  Even though we are all adults with adult children, those old familiar roles are dormant until we get together.  It is during those times, when we do not relate as the adults we are that the problems begin.  And, adding alcohol to the mix increases the tension, as it is like pouring gas on the "taking things personally" fire.

The holidays can be reminders of better times in our lives as well.  Sometimes, that becomes an emotionally polarized situation. Although we remember happy times with loved ones who have passed away, we are also sad to be without them during a time that emphasizes family.  It can be somewhat awkward and difficult to attend a holiday gathering that include spouses or significant others when you are alone.

Everyone copes with holiday gatherings in their own way.  Try to remain open and accepting of situations that arise while you keep in mind the reason you are gathering.  You can find something about the occasion to enjoy and appreciate - other than the cookies!

Kathy Thome is passionate about using the therapeutic relationship to help you achieve your personal goals.  She is proficient in multiple approaches and will work with you to find that which is best suited to your needs. 
Kathy is skilled in working with many issues.  She has extensive experience helping individuals with depression, anxiety, grief, and the development of interpersonal skills that foster growth and esteem. 
Prior to her counseling career, Kathy was a high school teacher and a school counselor, which gives her a unique perspective and insight related to adolescents as well as parenting.  She worked with suicide prevention groups and also founded the first LGBTQ group (Gay Straight Alliance) at her high school.
Kathy is a state certified Licensed Professional Counselor, earning her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Western Illinois University.
In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, including those with four legs.

December Wellness Wednesday

(Forgive my lateness in posting.)  


Physical Wellness: What it is (and what it isn’t)

Wellness can be a tricky concept to nail down. By definition, it means, “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” Beyond that, the generally accepted meaning includes more than an absence of illness-- it’s also about actively working towards your best self. There are many different aspects of wellness. They include physical, emotional, environmental, financial, spiritual, occupational, and social/cultural wellness. This month, we will focus on the most often emphasized aspect of wellness-- physical wellness.

Physical wellness is exactly what it sounds like-- taking care of your body! This includes things like physical activity; a healthy diet; drinking water or decaffeinated tea; getting enough quality sleep; avoiding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; and scheduling annual check-ups and screenings. Doing these things has been proven to help you feel happier, healthier, and more energetic.

Research has shown several benefits to engaging in physical wellness practices. Physical wellness can improve your emotional stability and mood, reduce stress, and decrease your risk for anxiety, depression, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer. Exercise and healthy eating can also help with your body image, self-esteem, confidence, memory, and concentration. People who engage in physically healthy practices also tend to experience deeper, less restless sleep.

Personally, I have struggled for years with my physical wellness. I tend to go through phases of being very active and eating healthy, then losing my motivation and falling back into bad habits. As a busy person on a budget, it can definitely be a challenge to find cost-effective ways to be physically healthy while still getting everywhere on time! There are five small things I have started doing on a daily basis that are free or low cost and have already helped me feel better.
     Drinking decaffeinated tea: I get bored with plain water, and end up not drinking enough of it. Did you know you are supposed to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water every day? That means if you weigh 180 pounds, you should be drinking 60 ounces of water or EVERY DAY. Tea is a way to change up the flavor without any of the added calories or sugar of other alternatives.
     Sleeping when tired: This one seems obvious, but I tend to stay up later for no real reason other than, “it’s too early for bed.” But sometimes my body needs the extra sleep! Also, 15 minute power naps are lifesavers.
     Park and walk: While this one requires a little bit of advance planning to account for the extra time, it has really helped me combat my sedentary job. Parking a little farther away, whether it be a few blocks or just the far side of the parking lot, helps me get my blood pumping and get energized for the day. I also like to take some of my break time to take a lap around the building, or get a few minutes of sunshine in the summer.
     Meal prep: If you’re like me, you’re lucky if you make it to the grocery store once a week. One of my biggest downfalls with healthy eating is packing healthy lunches. I’m always running late in the morning, so I usually tend to throw a frozen meal in my lunchbox or order delivery food at work. Lately, I have been trying to switch to eating salads and homemade lean meats for lunch, but I never have time to put them together before work. Instead, I have been making time on Sunday nights to cook and portion all 5 lunches for the week. I’ve found that it doesn’t take that much longer to slice veggies or cook meat for 5 meals than it does for one, and then I only have to do it once per week! This way, I have no excuse not to grab the healthy option instead of the frozen meal.
     Calendar alerts for appointments: I’m the first to admit it, I’m a procrastinator. I can also be forgetful, especially when it comes to scheduling appointments. Usually, my “yearly” checkups are more like every 15 months or so because I am not proactive about scheduling my appointments in advance. I recently discovered that rather than putting alerts in my phone for when my appointments are supposed to be, it works much better for me to put them in when I need to schedule them. For example, my dentist is booked out about 3 months, so I put an alert in my phone for three months before I need to go in reminding me to schedule my next appointment.
What are your tips and tricks for maintaining your physical health? Do you struggle with other things not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page!


Nicki Phillips is a counseling intern at Esprit and a graduate student at UW Oshkosh working towards a degree in clinical mental health counseling. She brings a fresh perspective to her work along with a vibrant personality. She believes everyone is inherently worthy of respect and compassion, and strives to create those qualities in her relationships with clients. She sees clients who are uninsured, underinsured, have a high deductible, or prefer to pay out-of-pocket for a reduced cost. She particularly enjoys working with adolescents and young adults, and has also worked with children (ages 5 and up) and adults. She has immediate openings for new clients! Please schedule online at espritcounseling.com. She can also be reached via email at nicki@espritcounseling.com or by phone at (920) 383-1287.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Put the Happy Back in the Holidays


The holidays are a very busy time for so many of us. There are family gatherings, events, shopping, many of which are based on tradition or expectations. Sometimes with all of the running from one thing to the next and the long to-do lists we lose sight of what we truly value or enjoy in the holiday season.
So this holiday season I am going to challenge you to reevaluate where you invest your time to determine what’s really valuable to you. A good question to ask yourself is “does this fill me up?” or “does this bring me joy?”. Sometimes we find ourselves doing things because they are expected of us or this is the way we have always done it, but does it fill you up? If not, stop doing it. If running to 3 different family gatherings in one day to celebrate feels more like a race or a chore than a celebration then stop doing it. Plan family gatherings that are spaced out over several weekends so the pace is slower and you can actually have time to connect with those family members. If getting up at 4am and cooking a 5 course meal is exhausting and does not bring you joy, stop doing it. Consider picking up a turkey and sides from a local grocery store or going out to eat.
What all of this comes down to is determining what you value most about the holidays and finding ways to focus on that and eliminating barriers that get in the way. If spending time with family is what you value but spending the whole day cooking and doing dishes gets in the way of that, stop cooking and doing dishes, find alternatives. Just because you have always done it that way doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it that way. If gift buying and giving creates a financial strain and takes away from the occasion, stop doing it. Find alternatives such as making homemade gifts from supplies you already have or decide to do an activity together as a family. I know a family who gives verbal gifts. They gather around and instead of opening gifts they share things they love about each other or ways that the people in their lives have filled them up that year. Discard the traditions and expectations that working for you anymore and make new ones!

Make the holidays about what fills you up. What brings you joy? 

 Kaitlyn Gitter is a Licensed Professional Counselor who strives to help people find inner peace and healing.  She provides client centered counseling services to children, adolescents, families, couples, and adults.  She values the human connection and creating a safe space for exploration, learning, and growth.  Kaitlyn obtained her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from The Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, IL. She has extensive experience working with individuals struggling with eating disorders, self-esteem, and body image issues. She also has a particular passion for working with adolescents and young adults. Other areas of interest include grief and loss, anxiety, depression, ADHD, behavior issues, parent/child relationships, and family systems.

Kaitlyn utilizes several therapeutic approaches but specializes in Internal Family Systems Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She often incorporates relaxation and mindfulness techniques into sessions. In her work with children she frequently integrates play therapy and artistic expression to encourage healthy emotion regulation and communication.  In her free time Kaitlyn enjoys running, traveling, camping, and gardening. Kaitlyn believes that happiness is something you create and every individual has the power to make positive change in their life. She is here as a partner on your path to creating happiness and peace.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wellness Wednesday: November 1, 2017

50 Ideas for Your Personal Self-Care Plan

These days, it seems like everyone wants something from us. As a graduate student, I’m constantly trying to figure out how to balance school, two jobs, an internship, and having a dog, all while maintaining my relationships with friends, family, and my partner. There is never enough time, enough energy, or enough organization to finish everything I want to get done in a day. Sometimes, the stress and chaos gives my mind the opportunity to trick me into thinking that “not doing enough” is the same as “not being enough.” It can be hard, but I know that isn’t true, and I can see that once I give myself the opportunity to step back, take a deep breath, and refill my proverbial glass.

There are all sorts of things you can do for yourself to refill your glass. The internet is full of them. Sometimes, all of the options can seem just as overwhelming as not doing anything at all. So, to start, here are a few tips for creating a plan that works for you:

       Write it down!
Whatever you choose, write it down. It not only helps you remember, but it keeps you accountable.
       Trust yourself
You know yourself best, so when looking at a list of possibilities, choose the ones that you think could really help. Be honest with yourself.
       Be brave
At the same time, don’t limit yourself to things you already do or do well. Try something new, and be open to things that might not have worked so well for you in the past. People change, and so do the things we like!

So, now that we’ve covered the basics, here are 50 ideas for things you could add to your own plan! Some are more habitual, others are for when you need a quick pick-me-up! I have collected them from various internet sources as well as from my personal experience.

1.    Pick one thing that you need to do and get it done so it’s off your mental “to do” list.
2.    Get a manicure or pedicure.
3.    Get a massage.
4.    Find a therapist.
5.    Get a book from the library (free) or bookstore about some topic you’ve been interested in, but have never taken the time to learn. Afterward, spend a few minutes each day learning about it.
6.    In the morning, listen to music that inspires and motivates you.
7.    Write a list of things you’re grateful to have in your life and post it somewhere you can see it often. We have a tendency to focus on the negative, so remind yourself of the good stuff.
8.    Go through your closet and purge the clothes you haven’t worn in years. Donate them to a charitable organization.
9.    If you bring your lunch to work, pack a few extra items to share with someone less fortunate on your way or during your lunch break.
10. Share a kind smile with strangers on your way to and from work. Some people may go all day without anyone acknowledging their existence.
11. Start a cycle of encouragement. Tell someone near you what you appreciate about them. They may return the favor when you need it most.
12. If you buy your morning coffee, skip it today and donate the money to a charity of your choosing.
13. Call your mom, dad, or any other family member you care about just to say hi.
14. Learn how to sew. Self-sufficiency may have some other mental health benefits for you as well.
15. Send a completely random care package to someone you love. Who doesn’t love a surprise?
16. Try out a form of martial arts. A lot of schools offer a free lesson.
17. Take a moment at the end of each day and consciously list a few good things in your life. This can help refocus your emotions on all the positive things that happen each day, even when it doesn’t seem like it.
18. Turn off your phone and step away from the computer for a whole day.
19. Take a few minutes and enjoy a funny animal video on YouTube.
20. Go for a walk by yourself with headphones on, listening to music you love.
21. Prepare a meal, no matter how simple.
22. Create something for no practical purpose such as a song, a poem, an essay, a painting, a drawing, a comic strip, a collage, etc.
23. Lay on the floor on your back with your eyes closed for five minutes (or longer) and just breathe.
24. Shower with all the lights off. It forces you to move incredibly slow and it’s so relaxing. Make sure to have safety mats in place so you don’t slip on your way out.
25. Stare at your pet or another animal and seriously contemplate their existence. Do you think they believe they have a higher purpose?
26. Rearrange all of your furniture in a way that makes you more comfortable or just to try something fresh in your living space.
27. Check in with yourself a few times each day and take a moment to process your thoughts and emotions. Don’t let them build up.
28. Swing on a swing set. Too many adults forget how much fun this is.
29. Call your friend or sibling when you know they can’t answer and leave a ridiculously funny made up song as your voicemail. You’ll spread a little laughter while also laughing in the process.
30. Make up a brand new dance move and teach it to someone.
31. Do a five minute meditation on your feet.
32. Carve a couple hours out of your schedule this weekend to enjoy a classic film.
33. Go out to see a movie at your favorite theater all by yourself.
34. Make a piece of artwork—draw, paint, cut and paste, whatever—that someone might interpret as ugly and tell it you love and accept it anyway.
35. Watch RuPaul’s Drag Race and bask in the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent of the contestants. Try to channel some of that in your own life when you find yourself needing it.
36. Go to a support group meeting.
37. Listen to a podcast about something that interests you that you haven’t yet explored.
38. Roll out a blanket and eat your dinner on the grass at home or in the park. Invite someone else if you’d like company.
39. Make yourself a gourmet grilled cheese and some tomato soup. Comfort food at the right time or during the right type of weather can be great for boosting your mood.
40. Tell yourself something that resists self-criticism but feels encouraging like, “I’m doing the best that I can.”
41. Taking care of yourself can start with something small! Maybe today you just need to lie down on the couch instead of on your bed for a change of scenery.
42. Write something encouraging on a post-it and put it where you will see it every day! Or write directly on your mirror: “I am beautiful and brave.”
43. Say a magnificent affirmation out loud, like “I am a child of the universe, and I have been given endless talents and capabilities.”
44. Commit to posting mostly or only positive things on your favored social media site for a while. For every sad news item, there’s a related (or unrelated) story of resilience, bravery, and triumph.
45. Write a review of a business you like. Send that positive energy into the universe and share some love for your favorite local places!
46. Read a book that’s easy and fun. You can give it away to a younger person in your life after if you feel like giving it up.
47. Listen to an album you loved when you were younger but haven’t heard in a long time.
48. Congratulate yourself for doing difficult things, even if they might not seem difficult to others. Depending on the individual, plenty of everyday things can be difficult, like riding the bus, standing in line, filing paperwork, going to the doctor, making food, doing chores, etc.
49. Wash your face. Sometimes the simplest hygiene tasks can be the most refreshing.
50. Reflect on the struggles your ancestors endured so you could exist and remember that you have inherited their strength and resilience.
What do you think of these ideas? Share your results and any tips you have learned in your own wellness journey in the comments or on our Facebook page!
Nicki Phillips is a counseling intern at Esprit and a graduate student at UW Oshkosh working towards a degree in clinical mental health counseling. She brings a fresh perspective to her work along with a vibrant personality. She believes everyone is inherently worthy of respect and compassion, and strives to create those qualities in her relationships with clients. She sees clients who are uninsured, underinsured, have a high deductible, or prefer to pay out-of-pocket for a reduced cost. She particularly enjoys working with adolescents and young adults, and has also worked with children (ages 5 and up) and adults. She has immediate openings for new clients! Please schedule online at espritcounseling.com. She can also be reached via email at nicki@espritcounseling.com or by phone at (920) 383-1287.