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Finding the “Right” Person in Relationships

By Counseling No Comments

Have you had a constant string of bad relationships? Dating can seem endless, and it can be overwhelming and, at times, very limiting. Sometimes it just feels good to be noticed, and we jump at the first person that looks at us. There are four very important ideas to consider when you are trying find the right person in your life: know who you are, know what you want/need, know your boundaries, and know your worth. All of these ideas are important in attracting the right person to spend your time with.

Your relationships reflect who you are, and if you don’t know who you are or what you want, then how are you being reflected in your relationship? Simply put, you are not. If you are simply trying to “make it work” with just anyone, then you are attracting the wrong type of person. When you don’t know who you are, what you want, what is and isn’t ok, or your worth, it is impossible to attract someone who is worthy of your love.

  • Who You Are

You can’t be happy if you don’t know what makes you happy. This is the most important part in attracting someone the right person. Many times, you walk into relationships bending and shaping out of your comfort zone to make someone like you. When you bend and shape for other people to make them happy, you eventually lose your sense of self. Knowing who you are gives you the power to create a meaningful relationship. If you know who you are then you know the qualities you are looking for in a person. This gives you the influence to choose the type of person you want to attract. You have the power to say no to people who don’t fit…you don’t have to be the one to fit in order to make it work.

  • What You Want/Need

If you don’t know what you want in a relationship you are setting yourself up to attract the wrong kind of person. By knowing your values and needs from a relationship you are able to shape your mental picture of who it is that you want in our life. When you know what you want you typically get a well-balanced relationship that reflect who you are through your wants and needs. When you express your wants and needs in a healthy way it sets you up to create successful and meaningful relationships.

  • Create Boundaries

Know your boundaries walking into a relationship. If you continue to find yourself in situations that are uncomfortable and uncertain you are probably not setting or holding boundaries. When we attract the wrong type of person, we often find ourselves trying too hard or being suffocated. Boundaries are something we have the power to create and enforce. Boundaries tell you “what is ok” and “what is not ok”. This helps you create stability and security in relationships which helps you create strong relationships. People who respect your boundaries are the people who can stay. People who do not respect your boundaries are also not respecting who you are, what you want, or your worth.

  • Your Worth

When you know what you are worth you stop attracting the wrong type of person. When you know your worth, you know the things you deserve. Many times your experiences with others shape the way you view yourself and what you are worth. It is hard to separate yourself from those experiences and develop a sense of worth that is all your own. If you want to stop going from bad relationship to bad relationship you have to start loving and respecting yourself. Sometimes you have to be more choosy about the people that do enter your life. When you start seeing yourself as worthy, you are able to find a person who respects who you are, what you want/need, and your boundaries.

You never want to lose your power. When you give your power to the person you are pursuing you lose yourself, because when you give them your power they have the ability to use, manipulate, and control you. When you are a person who knows who you are, what you want/need, your worth, and your boundaries then you know that the person that you meet reflect the qualities that you are put out there. They will know who they are and what they want, they will have boundaries and self-worth. Each of these areas take time and preparation. These areas do not come natural to most of us and we have to take time to develop a sense of identity, understand what we want, create boundaries, and find the strength to know our worth.

Is sleep as important as they say?

By Counseling No Comments

Our society sends this message that we need to constantly be striving for better at whatever the cost, pushing ourselves nonstop to get that raise, buy that car, pass that exam, get straight A’s, etc. and in order to do so you have to stay up until all hours of the night. It seems that if we were to shift our focus and be more mindful of our sleep quality and the amount, we are getting each night it could potentially increase our quality of life. Not getting enough sleep is linked to some serious health issues but also mental health issues as well. Research shows that sleep is directly linked to poor concentration, fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety, and ADHD which are the three most common mental health disorders in the United States. Poor sleep can take a toll and affect our relationships in a negative way. Our energy levels are often impacted which makes it very difficult to stay away all day and complete our tasks. We are exhausting our bodies and our brains. If we are getting enough sleep it would add up to about a third of our lives asleep. Sleep is as important as eating, drinking, and breathing is, it is vital in order to stay happy and healthy. Good sleeping habits help to restore and repair our brains and bodies from the everyday stress we endure. When we are sleeping our brains are still working in a critical and important way. They can be processing information, storing memories, and undergoing maintenance that allows us to function at our best during the day. Children need a significant amount of more sleep that adults, but it is also noted that patterns of sleep shift from childhood to adulthood. Children sleep multiple times throughout the entire day and night, as an adult it shifts and becomes one long amount throughout the night.

So, what could be some ways to increase our quality of sleep?

Creating bedtime habits:

  1. Create a bedtime and wake up time routine.
  2. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning (we are creatures of habit and consistency)
  3. Avoid sugar, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime.
  4. Get a good amount of sunlight exposure during the day.
  5. Exercise regularly, note that it is best to get a workout in at least a few hours before you go to bed because exercise often provides energy and can disrupt sleep.
  6. Meditation or engage in mindfulness. (my favorite app for this is the insight timer, for children you can use: Children’s bedtime meditations for sleep & calm)
  7. Put away devices an hour before bed.
  8. Engage in self-care. (Some of my favorite are lavender essential oils, warm tea, taking a bath, writing in your journal, read a book)
  9. Only use the bed for sleeping, don’t bring work into the bedroom because then this signals to your brain that the bed is not just for sleeping and then your brain doesn’t shut down as quickly and efficiently.
  10. If you are unable to fall asleep get out of bed and move around for a bit, maybe sit on the couch and read a book for a bit until you start to feel tired then go back and lay down.

I came across this chart that has broken down the amount of sleep as a guideline that is efficient for our mental health and bodies based off our age:

  • Birth to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours.
  • 4 to 11 months: 12 to 15 hours.
  • 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours.
  • 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours.
  • 6 to 13 years: 9 to 11 hours.
  • 14 to 17 years: 8 to 10 hours.
  • 18 to 64 years: 7 to 9 hours.
  • 65 years and older: 7 to 8 hours.

Know that this is just a guideline. Everyone’s sleep needs are different, so it is about trying to find what your needs are and where that sweet spot is of feeling rested and restored.

Family Holiday Advent Calendar

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Family Holiday Advent Calendar

We all want holidays to be a time to remember full of love and laughter. Being surrounded by family or friends can often bring closeness, joy, and memories to cherish. For a lot of individuals holidays bring up sadness and grief along with a lot of additional stress and worries. It is hard to miss our loved one’s day to day, but holidays seem to heighten those feelings and emotions. One of the ways we can work through those feelings is to surround ourselves with loved ones. I also understand that for some being around family or friends can add onto that stress so finding that balance here will be important. Finding others that we can connect with, share memories with, laugh with, and purely enjoy each other’s company can provide some healing on the challenging days. I know that from my own experience gathering with family and playing games, sharing stories, listening to music or whatever it is, always brings love and laughter into my heart and soul. So I wanted to create a family holiday event calendar that you can either follow day to day or you can mix it up and choose one that fits for you that day. Remember this event calendar is not supposed to add additional stress, the goal is to relieve some of it. So, making it work for you and your family is what is important. My hope in creating this is to provide a little bit of structure throughout each day of something fun you all can do together that brings connection, love, and support through this holiday month. Enjoy each other’s company, authenticity, and build memories to cherish. Know that it is okay to feel the way that you do there is no right or wrong way. Also, please know that if you are struggling or know of a family member that is struggling this holiday season you do not have to struggle alone, we are here to help at Courage to Connect Counseling.


Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 Color a picture 2 Share Christmas wish lists 3 Write letters or notes to loved ones 4 Do a puzzle together 5 Sing together 6 Play a board game 7 Make decorations and hang them
8 Go for a family walk 9 Create cards or gifts 10 Share memories of loved ones 11 Make dinner as a family 12 Take silly pictures together 13 Watch a movie together 14 Play charades
15 Spend time with family friends 16 Go through toys and donate ones that are no longer used 17 Paint rocks 18 Have a dance party 19 Tell stories together 20 Choose an event to attend together 21 Bake together
22 Drive around to see Christmas lights 23 Have a family meal 24 Read a holiday book 25 Enjoy presents and give thanks 26 Make Breakfast together 27 Build a snowman 28 Go sledding
29 Play Games 30 Have a living room picnic 31 Cheers to the New Year        


The Busy Season

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During this holiday season you can ask just about anyone how they have been and about ninety percent of people will look at you and say “I have been busy (and may add something like “but good”)!” We find ourselves stretching ourselves to the limit to meet the needs and demands of the holiday seasons. Around every corner we have Christmas parties, family get together, cookie exchanges, holiday plays, presents to buy, decorations to tend to, people to pick up from the airport, cleaning, cooking, baking, the list can go on and on. We never seem to run short on anything but time and money. The two major stressors that can bring out the lowest of lows in people. Many people find themselves at the end of the holiday saying “Thank goodness it is over!!” rather than “I am so grateful for the season!” Some people even have a complex emotion of both.

Taking Care of Yourself This Season

There are so many great articles about how to take care of yourself during the holiday season. One of the big pieces I believe to pay attention to is where is your body at? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you making time for exercise, sleep, family time, good nutrition, and even breathing? Many time during the holidays we sacrifice many of these things to simply make it through the day with people smiling all around us and our bodies are just waiting for the moment to crash. Are you taking care of your basic needs: food, movement, connection?

Things You Can Do To Meet Basic Needs

Cook Healthy Meals: You can attend to nutrition by planning out meals. Using fresh ingredients and finding balance in each meal. It is easy to fall onto fast food and dining out when we get busy. There are alternative options like utilizing crock pots or insta-pots on busy days so when you get home the food is ready.

Have Small Snacks Handy: Sometimes running around can take more time than expected due to crowds. Always having small health snacks in your car or in your purse can keep your blood sugar and your mind in a fresh place.

Small Group Time: Sometimes the large groups can be overwhelming and can create a lot of internal anxiety. Finding ways to make time for smaller groups to refresh and drop back down to your baseline. Sometimes powering through is not always the option we want to take.

Disconnected Family Time: Spending quality uninterrupted family time with one another. Time spent is the most important piece of the holidays.

Exercise: Exercise is a very important piece of the holiday season. All that you really need is 30 minutes of good movement and activity in a day to release small amounts of anxiety that can build up. Exercise allows us keep anxious energy moving throughout the season.

The Important Things

Remember the important things in life. What are some of your favorite holiday memories? Many people do not remember the gifts they got or all of the parties they attended or the things you accomplished. The thing that most people remember are the people they meet and the memories they make. Children remember time spent together, traditions, memories made, and time spent. People talk about the people they met and how they could be a life-long connection. They talk about the adventures that were taken and the people that were involved. The family favorites that were participated in. These are the things to keep at the fore front on your mind. Being too busy or hurrying from one thing to the next doesn’t allow for joy and peace to set in during the holidays.


Failure Builds Resilience

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When failure knocks us down the hardest part begins. We have to pick up and fight to move forward. Each circumstance allows for us to come out a different person than we walked in. This is so much easier said than done. I want to look at failure from two sides: how failure is bad and how failure is good.

Failure is Bad
• Emotional toll
• Other’s opinions
• Judgments
• Confidence killer

 Failure is Good
• We are pushing ourselves
• Motivation
• Growth opportunity
• Options to choose

When we look at the bad we can see that there is a lot to deal with internally when it comes to failure, but the same is also true with the good. We are given the opportunity to grow even in the good and bad of failure, because when you look at the bad those are hard things to deal with but they are opportunities for us to grow and prepare for what lies ahead.

Failure is not Fatal

“Success is not final; Failure is not fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill
Many people see failure as devastating, and yes I believe it definitely feels that way sometimes. Failure is hard on us emotionally and socially, and it makes us feel vulnerable. The key in failure is to remember that we are given special opportunities to learn through failure. We have the choice to make sure that failure does not have to be fatal: we can choose to let it hinder us or we can choose to take it and learn from it.
Failure can be seen as a stepping stool. Without failure or disappointment, we would never be encouraged to move or grow. We would become stuck in a mundane cycle with little purpose, meaning, and zest in life. If we didn’t have failure in our lives we wouldn’t be challenging ourselves enough or taking necessary risks in life that give us meaning and purpose. Failure motivates us to change, grow, and pursue life in a different light. Encountering failure gives us the opportunity to see that we are pushing ourselves and we are striving for excellence in our lives.

Failure is Fantastic

“Fantastic” may be a little over zealous when talking about failure, but the truth is failure is determined by your mindset. If you go into failure with a defeated mindset, failure will take that form. If you walk in positive and with your mindset as an opportunity, then failure will take that form. If we are able to harness the positive power of failure, we can build resilience in a way that will leave us with a different kind of power to overcome what we are going through. If we never fail, we are probably never trying hard enough.
When we start looking at our obstacles as opportunities we set ourselves up for growth and a character of resilience. Instead of letting failure win, we can look back at the choices we made and track how to redirect new choices for a better outcome. With that ability we are able to move forward with new knowledge knowing that we have the power to change our future for the better. This gives us the opportunity to make new choices, and cultivate a greater understanding of how our choices affect our outcome. As we take this idea and move forward from failure we are given this opportunity to take control of the choices that we make therefore putting us in control of our own outcomes and becoming more resilient.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” -Henry Ford

Learn From Failure to Build Resilience

The definition of resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Failure helps us practice our resilience, but how do we build resilience from failure. Resilience is not a skill that is learned over night, resilience is something that must be practiced, nurtured and built upon. Some of the key factors according to Brene Brown are: resourcefulness and problem solving skills, seeking help when needed, a belief that there is something that can be done to manage feelings and to cope, a social support system, connection with family and friends, and spirituality. Each of these keys are vital in growing from failure. We all must learn to problem solve in order to grow from failure and when we learn the art of problem solving we are able to develop other areas of our life that are key in living a fulfilled life.
When we fail, if we are able to learn to problem solve, talk to trusted people about the failure (and what can be done), and lean into our loved ones for the support we need we can cultivate resilience from our failures. We have to let up on ourselves and remember that failure is not who we are, it is a behavior we did. Many of the most famous people failed numerous times: Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, J.K Rowling, and the list could go on. Some would argue that if you want to be great then you are going to fail on your way to becoming great. Each of these people learned to master the art of resilience in a way that led to greatness. They were able to fail, learn, and recover quickly. Accepting that failure is a healthy part of life because it allows us to grow and build upon what we are passionate about and create something greater than we could have imagined.

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