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:

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 She can also be reached via email at 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.