How to Tell When Conflict in Your Relationship Is Healthy (and When It’s Not)

Bickering over whose turn it is to pay. A fight over a change in plans for the weekend. A disagreement over household chores and responsibilities. An argument over not listening or remembering something that was said in a previous conversation.

These may seem like relationship red flags, but the truth of the matter is: All couples fight every now and then. Conflict doesn’t have to always lead to a breakup. Fights or disagreements can lead to better solutions and a stronger connection and bond.

If you find yourself fighting all the time with little to no solution, then it may be a relationship red flag.

Here’s how to tell when the conflict in your relationship is healthy (and when it’s not).

Relationship Green Flags

Healthy relationships look different in every single situation. Happiness in a relationship isn’t something where one size fits all. Each couple and individual in a relationship has their own specific wants, needs, values, goals, hobbies, and more.

You may look back on something you dated years ago and wonder what you saw in them or why you dated them in the first place. A relationship that happened ten years ago is probably very different from one that you have or are looking for now. That’s because you’ve grown and changed, and so have your desires and what you’re looking for.

The signs of a healthy relationship usually include open communication, trust, independence, curiosity, playfulness, physical and emotional intimacy, teamwork, and conflict resolution.

Relationship Red Flags

Although healthy relationships can look different depending on the couple, there are certain relationship red flags that can be big indicators of unhealthy conflict in a relationship.

No Respect for Boundaries

Boundaries are crucial in any type of relationship. If you have a set boundary and you made that boundary clear to your partner, they should be respectful of that. If you start to notice pushback or pressure on a specific boundary you have set, it’s a big indicator that there isn’t mutual respect in place.

Emotionally and/or Physically Distant

Relationships form and grow through constant communication and connection. If you start to notice more distance in your relationship, physically and/or emotionally, this is usually a good sign that your relationship may be struggling. You should want to be with one another. You shouldn’t be trying to avoid each other or find excuses to not be with one another.

Disagreements Stay Disagreements

Even in a healthy relationship, conflict can still happen, but conflict resolution is usually what makes a relationship healthy. In an unhealthy relationship, conflict usually stays as a conflict. It’s typically not a good sign if you’re constantly talking about the same issues over and over again with little to no resolution.

An open and healthy relationship means that you’re able to openly and effectively communicate with one another. This means having the ability to equally speak and listen to one another. If you notice that you’re not able to get a word in, or if your partner isn’t actually listening or remembering the things that you said, this can be a sign of a relationship that’s struggling.

What You Can Do

All relationships, even healthy ones, need a little extra TLC every now and then. Here are some things you can do to help work on your relationship:

  • Embrace your differences
  • Consider their side
  • Work through problems together
  • Communicate effectively—both speaking and listening
  • Try new things
  • Discuss your wants, needs, goals, and dreams
  • Try couples therapy

If some of these relationship red flags seem to be waving a little too close to home, it may be time to reach out to an unbiased third party, like a therapist, for support.

Couples therapy can help. Please feel free to schedule a free consultation or book an appointment today.

My Teen Seems So Unmotivated—What Do I Do?

It can be frustrating to look at your teen and see all their potential stuck behind an unmotivated exterior. You’re positive that if they just applied themselves more, they’d have the world wrapped around their finger.

The hard thing is that we all see the world differently, so as teenagers come into their own sense of self, they start redefining their priorities. It might be time for a check-in to see just what your teen needs to get that pep back in their step.

Before Anything, Consider Their Independence

Remember, the older your kid gets, the more independence they will crave, earn, and implement. Teenagers rely on their parents for far less than they did as children, and for the first time, they may like feeling in full control of themselves.

Just because your teen isn’t motivated to do what you want them to do, doesn’t mean they’re not motivated to do anything. They could be motivated to resist you—and if they are, it sounds like it’s working!

Instead of disrespecting their independence by running a house based on demands and shame, try to get into their head to understand how they uniquely self-motivate.

Reward the Good More Than You Criticize the Bad

Maybe you care about your teen doing well in school so they can consider college down the road, but they don’t. Ask yourself (or them): What do they care about?

If they have a favorite band, maybe you can look up tour dates and barter tickets in exchange for them turning in 80% of their homework this semester. Maybe every time they get a B or higher on a test, you buy them a new video game or take them out for their favorite dinner. Show them it’s something worth celebrating by literally celebrating it in a meaningful way.

Be thoughtful and consistent about how you dole out consequences.

Maybe on the days they forget to do their chores, they don’t get social time with friends or their phone for the night. You can even let them experience consequences that come naturally—for example, if they don’t do their laundry, they go to school in wrinkled clothes. Some teens respond better to more logical consequences like these.

Avoid Thinking of Them as “Lazy”

“Lazy” is a myth.

The relief of overcoming a challenge or the joy of accomplishing a goal is a uniquely human experience. We all crave it, we just all have different definitions of personal challenges and goals.

Labeling your teen as inherently “lazy” will only lead to them becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. They will minimize darker emotions as carelessness and exhaustion as indifference. Get to the root of what’s getting in your teen’s way—because it is not a personality flaw.

Give Them Space to Have Bad Days

Sometimes, we as parents only give our children two options:

  1. Try and fail.
  2. Try, succeed, then desperately work to succeed again.

It puts teenagers between a rock and a hard place, so sometimes they choose to opt out entirely and not try. They may crave their own betterment, but fear the pain of finding out they can’t have it. As a result, they avoid the process altogether.

Show them a little empathy.

Consider saying, “You’ve seemed pretty down lately. I know you’re not a lazy person, so I’m guessing something must’ve happened. I’m here to talk through it with you if you need to get out of your head.”

They may immediately break down crying or they may roll their eyes and say you’re crazy… Then they may come back two days later after all the stress caught up to them and they could identify it themselves.

Life gets all of us down sometimes. To make sure your teen has someone to talk to about it, consider having them work with a counselor like myself.

Schedule their first appointment today.

What Are Some Effects of Online Infidelity?

Infidelity usually happens in secret. It takes some effort to organize schedules, meet in person, and avoid perception.

But what if those quiet footsteps become thumbs tapping away on a screen?

What if the secret meeting place was in the comfort of your own home?

What if no one could possibly recognize you online under a fake username?

Online infidelity can be scary not just because it’s infidelity, but because the signs are so subtle that it can be maddening to try and pick up on them. The effects of online infidelity on a relationship can be catastrophic at worst and eye-opening at best.

Let’s break them down.

First, What Classifies “Infidelity”?

It doesn’t matter if it started out as innocent emailing then grew into not-so-subtle, sexually explicit innuendos, invitations, and photos. It doesn’t matter if you never actually met up and had physical contact with each other.

If your actions caused your partner to feel betrayed or emotionally distressed, it has become a threat to your relationship. Some people view watching pornography as a sign of infidelity. It’s best to have an honest conversation with your partner about their levels of comfort with this before introducing it to the dynamic.

Even non-monogamous relationships have clear guidelines on who’s in, who’s out, and who’s okay under very specific conditions. Infidelity is any romantic or sexual interaction with someone outside of the terms of the relationship.

Effects On the Relationship

Online infidelity in a relationship can damage the level of trust you have with your partner, as well as dampen your self-esteem and lead to feelings of loneliness—in both of you.

Sexual Consequences

You may find trouble enjoying sex with your partner because it doesn’t feel as exciting or “perfect” as what you can get online. You may avoid sex altogether, or you may demand sexual behaviors you can find in pornography that your partner finds offensive to do.

Emotional Distancing

The longer you go demanding privacy, going to bed at different times, and making excuses for where you go, the quicker your partner will notice and detach themselves emotionally from you.

Soon you can both become distant and show indifference to improving obvious relationship problems. Holidays and celebrations may grow dull, muscles may tense anxiously whenever you’re together, and you may shirk responsibilities from not feeling fully committed to the family anymore.

Risk of Addiction and Depression

Every addict knows that addiction is a lifelong battle between them and the thing their body craves most. Relapses can happen at any time, and structuring their life around getting this one thing can threaten their relationships with loved ones.

Up to 17% of the people who use the internet for sexual content become addicted to it. This can lead to more defensive aggression thrown at your partner.

Enjoying high highs every day from sexual content online teaches your brain to reset its levels of happy neurotransmitters. Instead of experiencing a regular flow of moods throughout the day, now you may only feel content when watching porn. This tends to make every moment you’re not watching feel deeply pointless and depressing.

The Choices a Relationship Has

Some people choose to stay together, and others choose to split up. The choice (and the effort) is up to you. Working with a couples counselor is a great way to figure out why the infidelity happened, what problems in the relationship may have led to it, and what expectations you need to create to stay together confidently.

Some popular tricks used to rebuild trust include setting family pictures as your screensaver to remind you of the bigger picture, keeping internet devices in public view in the home, and taking internet “detoxes” together.

Whatever you choose, we’re here to help you work through it.

Is Infidelity Really as Common as It Seems?

Your partner is someone who understands you like no one else. In healthy cases, they make you feel safe, loved, and empowered to live your best life.

Most relationships come with clear boundaries to be romantically or sexually active exclusively with each other. Non-monogamous relationships also have boundaries on who it’s okay to share certain activities with, so that if infidelity happens, it’s clear that a line was crossed.

Feeling like you lost trust with the person you had it with most can be devastating, and sometimes lead to serious mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Let’s talk about infidelity and just how common it is today.

Defining Infidelity

Studying infidelity is hard because people have different definitions of it. If your partner goes to a club and pays for a lap dance, is that cheating? What about if they flirt with a coworker but never do anything physically suggestive—is that cheating?

What the Research Says

Still, studies have happened before, though they can vary greatly. One 2021 study found that around 20% of men cheat while around 13% of women do. (However, currently married adults under 30 break down differently—with 11% of women cheating vs. 10% of men.)

People in relationships are more likely to admit to it within the week that follows than people in committed marriages are.

The Choice to Leave or Stay is Always On the Table

No matter how “common” cheating is, (it does NOT happen in the majority of relationships) it’s still a clear way to break a loved one’s boundaries and leave them with emotional damage. If you were the one cheated on, remember that you don’t have to talk yourself into staying or leaving just because of its commonality. Your preferences and the intimate details of your unique relationship are all that matters.

One study showed that 54.5% of relationships that experienced infidelity broke up immediately, compared to 30% that tried to work it out but ultimately broke up, and 15.6% that stayed together.

The same study showed that married couples experience around 10% more cheating than non-married couples, and one-night affairs are only 5% more common than long-term affairs.

Why Infidelity Happens

Infidelity is usually a sign that something deeper is going on under the surface, whether it’s in the relationship or in the person who cheated.

For example, in one survey, most women who cheated said they ultimately decided to share the affair with their partner because they weren’t happy with them and wanted them to know. This is also the most common response in marriages that experience infidelity. Most men, however, listed “guilt” as their #1 reason.

Here’s the thing—around 70% of people who cheat say they regret doing it. While cheating often starts the conversation about underlying problems in a relationship, it certainly should not be your first attempt to open that conversation.

Baseless Accusations

New 2019 research shows that people who suspect their partner of cheating are actually more likely to be projecting their own fears of being infatuated with someone other than their partner. Thinking your partner is flirting with a friend of yours could actually insinuate your own fears about feeling attracted to a friend of theirs.

In some ways, observations of their partner flirting were accurate to their partner’s self-reported number of “check-outs”, but projecting is still more likely to be the cause of the accusation.

Whether or not infidelity occurred, working with a couples counselor is a great way to unload frustrations in any relationship. If you choose to work with me, I can get to know your relationship’s unique history, goals, and current strategies in accomplishing them.

Many couples come back from infidelity, but many couples also decide it’s best to go separate ways. Whatever you decide, I’m here to support you through it. Schedule your first appointment with us today.

What to Know About the Hereditary Aspect of Addiction

You may have heard the saying, “Addiction is a disease, not a choice.”

That doesn’t mean it’s like the flu and that anyone can catch it if they’re around a bottle of whiskey long enough. It means that some people are more predisposed to addictive tendencies and behaviors when it comes to drug and alcohol use than others are.

Researchers estimate that genetics alone account for 40-60% of someone’s chances of becoming addicted. It’s not a moral shortcoming, and it’s not as simple as a “bad habit” to break.

Here’s what you need to know about the hereditary aspect of addiction.

Digging into the DNA

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, maps out and controls the production of every cell in our body. If we zoom in on a strand of DNA, we would see a series of gene sequences that make biological choices for us.

These sequences also control the production of specific proteins in our body, and how well they function. How these proteins function can determine a person’s vulnerability to addiction. Take the neurotransmitter, dopamine, for example.

Certain proteins in our DNA can shape how our body manages dopamine levels in the brain. We get a hit of dopamine whenever we do something accomplishing or exciting, like finally finishing your taxes or biting into a chocolate lava cake.

Dopamine and the Protein PSD-95

Researchers in a 2004 Duke University Medical Center study found that the protein PSD-95 had a strong correlation with a mouse’s tendency to become addicted (or not addicted) to cocaine. Mice with normal amounts of it were better able to navigate and learn a maze than mice with lower amounts of it.

This could be because they felt some sense of accomplishment (read: felt a hit of dopamine) as they learned the lefts and rights of their path. Dopamine drove them to finish the maze.

Mice with low amounts of PSD-95, however, were both less likely to learn their way through the maze and more likely to become addicted to cocaine. Drugs like cocaine, morphine, heroin, nicotine, and alcohol mimic pleasure-boosting neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine.

Therefore, mice—and people—compromise their brain’s ability to produce healthy levels of dopamine by replacing it with hits from a drug. After continued use, it can reshape the neural pathways in your brain to the point where you no longer feel okay without the drug present.

You can see how quickly this becomes a problem for people in families with naturally low levels of PSD-95, and therefore compromised dopamine management.

Replacing Biological Systems with Drug Use

Thousands of years ago, the pleasure-centers in our brain were imperative for things like identifying high-calorie food to help us survive. In a modern world where things like fast food have become streamlined, we no longer rely on these pleasure-centers for survival, though they still function the same. Our brains have not evolved even close to the rate that our technology and society has.

By taking advantage of these pleasure systems, eventually addicts convince themselves they can’t avoid the discomfort of depression or anxiety without hitting their drug of choice. It’s biologically backed by their own body.

Down the road, long-term drug use can lead to impaired cognitive abilities, memory loss, anxiety, paranoia, depression, and a higher risk for dementia and strokes.

Fight Addiction with Treatment, Not Willpower

Addiction is a purely neurobiological condition. No amount of willpower can convince your brain that this drug isn’t the gasoline it needs to start its engine. While anyone can stop after the first hit, the drug is already priming the brain for a second.

For some people, it primes the brain all too well, until the tenth hit is no longer a choice.

If you think you’re struggling with addiction, schedule an appointment with us today to start working towards the best version of yourself.

What to Know About the Hereditary Aspect of Addiction

You may have heard the saying, “Addiction is a disease, not a choice.”

That doesn’t mean it’s like the flu and that anyone can catch it if they’re around a bottle of whiskey long enough. It means that some people are more predisposed to addictive tendencies and behaviors when it comes to drug and alcohol use than others are.

Researchers estimate that genetics alone account for 40-60% of someone’s chances of becoming addicted. It’s not a moral shortcoming, and it’s not as simple as a “bad habit” to break.

Here’s what you need to know about the hereditary aspect of addiction.

Digging into the DNA

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, maps out and controls the production of every cell in our body. If we zoom in on a strand of DNA, we would see a series of gene sequences that make biological choices for us.

These sequences also control the production of specific proteins in our body, and how well they function. How these proteins function can determine a person’s vulnerability to addiction. Take the neurotransmitter, dopamine, for example.

Certain proteins in our DNA can shape how our body manages dopamine levels in the brain. We get a hit of dopamine whenever we do something accomplishing or exciting, like finally finishing your taxes or biting into a chocolate lava cake.

Dopamine and the Protein PSD-95

Researchers in a 2004 Duke University Medical Center study found that the protein PSD-95 had a strong correlation with a mouse’s tendency to become addicted (or not addicted) to cocaine. Mice with normal amounts of it were better able to navigate and learn a maze than mice with lower amounts of it.

This could be because they felt some sense of accomplishment (read: felt a hit of dopamine) as they learned the lefts and rights of their path. Dopamine drove them to finish the maze.

Mice with low amounts of PSD-95, however, were both less likely to learn their way through the maze and more likely to become addicted to cocaine. Drugs like cocaine, morphine, heroin, nicotine, and alcohol mimic pleasure-boosting neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine.

Therefore, mice—and people—compromise their brain’s ability to produce healthy levels of dopamine by replacing it with hits from a drug. After continued use, it can reshape the neural pathways in your brain to the point where you no longer feel okay without the drug present.

You can see how quickly this becomes a problem for people in families with naturally low levels of PSD-95, and therefore compromised dopamine management.

Replacing Biological Systems with Drug Use

Thousands of years ago, the pleasure-centers in our brain were imperative for things like identifying high-calorie food to help us survive. In a modern world where things like fast food have become streamlined, we no longer rely on these pleasure-centers for survival, though they still function the same. Our brains have not evolved even close to the rate that our technology and society has.

By taking advantage of these pleasure systems, eventually addicts convince themselves they can’t avoid the discomfort of depression or anxiety without hitting their drug of choice. It’s biologically backed by their own body.

Down the road, long-term drug use can lead to impaired cognitive abilities, memory loss, anxiety, paranoia, depression, and a higher risk for dementia and strokes.

Fight Addiction with Treatment, Not Willpower

Addiction is a purely neurobiological condition. No amount of willpower can convince your brain that this drug isn’t the gasoline it needs to start its engine. While anyone can stop after the first hit, the drug is already priming the brain for a second.

For some people, it primes the brain all too well, until the tenth hit is no longer a choice.

If you think you’re struggling with addiction, schedule an appointment with us today to start working towards the best version of yourself.

How to Cope with the Stress of Making College Decisions

Spring can be a tense time for many high school seniors. Those who plan on going to college are finally hearing back from the schools to which they applied. (All while you wrap up finals, projects, and AP tests.)

While rejection is never easy, it becomes even more stressful when it can put the next four years of your life up in the air. You may worry that you’ll only be successful at your dream school, but it’s important to keep an open mind about every application you sent in. After all, you saw something of value when you applied, so try to keep that in focus as you hear back.

Here are some tips on how to cope with the stress of making that final college decision.

Avoid Black-and-White Thinking 

Black-and-white thinking is another way to say “thinking in absolutes”. For example, thinking, “If I don’t get into College A, then I’ll never go on to get my masters.” Or, “If I go to College B, I’ll always end up with low-paying jobs.”

Remember that right now, you’re every college’s primary target in advertising. Colleges flex high job placement rates, high average grades, and other appealing feats to convince students that going to their school is what made them successful students.

However, the truth is that success can come from anywhere. It’s about the work you put in, not where you put in that work. Consider the success stories of college drop-outs like Bill Gates, or, on a smaller scale, Claire Coder.

Consider the Best and Worst-Case Scenarios

Avoiding talking about the results we’re dreading only gives them more power over us. It makes space for anxiety to build and narrows your vision for the future.

Instead, rationally discuss the best and worst-case scenarios with a parent, friend, or counselor.

Best-case scenario? You get into your dream school and study the major you set your focus on years ago. Worst-case scenario? You attend a different school and discover a new field that interests you like nothing has before.

To ease your mind, know that around 80% of students change their major at least once over the course of college. One 2020 study even found that 61% of degree holders would change their majors if they could do it all again. (Though 82% still believe that going was a smart financial investment.)

What may be life-or-death to you now could be regrettable by the time you’re 25—there’s no way to know! Let this take some of the pressure off making the “right” decision now. Life comes with changes, and there’s not always a clear right or wrong answer.

Get to Know Who You Are Without College Attached

Remember, you’re so much more than a degree holder. No matter where you go, it can never take away from the strengths you already have. Maybe you’re a phenomenal guitarist, a caring friend, a competitive gamer, or an excellent party planner.

Take time to love and nourish these parts of yourself as your senior year comes to a close. Not everyone even goes to college, but does that make them any less of a person? Of course not!

Lean Into Your Senior Year

While you may be preoccupied with college decisions in your off-time, try to stay present when those once-in-a-lifetime senior year events happen. Get excited about spirit week, have fun planning for prom, attend those last few sporting events, and do the little traditions that your school has.

Paint the rock out front, get breakfast with friends on senior skip day, or have a hand in the class prank. Try not to take things too seriously right now.

If you’re struggling to separate your identity from your college decision, try talking it out with a counselor. Together, we can work on grounding techniques that will set you up for success no matter where you end up.

You’ve got this.

Socializing and Dating in a Maskless World: How to Approach It

Did you know that people with small social networks tend to have smaller amygdalas than those with large networks? The amygdala is the part of our brain in charge of emotional processing, and having a smaller one can cause you to turn down a paranoid, negative road.

Many of us became grumps during the pandemic.

People didn’t follow enough rules, people didn’t loosen up enough when the rules were off, people didn’t care about other people, they only cared about themselves…

The frustrated list of spiraling thoughts goes on. We’ve all been there.

When we limit ourselves to only a few people, our ability to sympathize and socialize shrinks. If you’re feeling a bit rusty in conversations these days, you’re not alone, and you’re not to blame. It’s simply psychology that you need time to adjust.

Accept That We’re All a Little Socially Anxious Right Now

Two weeks of change is something we can bounce back from. Years of change, however, cements in our bodies as learned behaviors. Plus, many people experienced trauma associated with coronavirus, whether through losing a loved one, a physical ability, their sense of community, or their steady income.

Everyone was told that wearing masks and social distancing was the safest thing we could do. Reverting back to what we did before may be fine, but what if we grew accustomed to wearing masks and enjoying a little more personal space?

Standing close to strangers on a crowded sidewalk again triggers that alarm in our 2020 brain, saying, “Back up! This is dangerous!” Even if it’s not dangerous anymore, the act alone is something we associate with danger. It still feels dangerous, even when it’s not.

Pushing ourselves into circumstances that feel dangerous triggers feelings of anxiety. To ease the discomfort, remind yourself that everyone’s nervous in some way. You’re allowed to have awkwardly timed comments on a date, because odds are your date will, too.

Start with a Small Friend Group, Then Slowly Open Up to Friends-of-Friends

Some people may prefer to face their fears head-on, and though they feel anxious, they still accept the invite to visit a crowded amusement park. Exposure therapy is their preferred route.

However, not everyone likes to cannonball into cold swimming pools. Others prefer to dip a toe in, then their leg, then their torso, then their head. Some people would rather wade in the shallow end until they get up the nerve to swim again.

If you’re nervous to get out there again, consider taking it slow. Meet a friend for coffee instead of attending your first 10+ person party in two years. Plan a four-person board game night instead of an entire family reunion. Science tells us that habitual, small steps help manage the anxiety that comes with re-entry.

When it comes to dating, don’t be afraid to pull a vibe check with a FaceTime call instead of a more intimate dinner. Dating multiple people until you find “the one” is normal, so if you fear physically meeting multiple people right now, take advantage of in-between options like video calls to see if moving forward is even worth it.

Allow Yourself to Crave Social Time and Be Afraid of It At the Same Time

Many of us crave the good times we used to have meeting enchanting strangers at parties, long-lost family members at weddings, and friends of friends at brunch. However, our conversations with them now may be tainted with hesitation. And that’s okay.

No matter what, social muscles are resilient things. Depending on how social we were before the pandemic, many of us have changed brain chemistry simply due to social isolation and feelings of loneliness.

Turn having fear back to having fun. Working with a therapist like myself to explore coping skills and dispel irrational anxieties is a great way to transition back into normal life.

Schedule your first appointment with us today.

How to Support Those Impacted by the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

On February 24, 2022, the world held its breath as Russia invaded Ukraine.

Today, our news feeds flood with videos of families ducking underground while their neighborhood is hit by an air strike. Newspapers and magazines launch front-page photos of children on trains wearing ripped jackets and bruised cheeks.

It can be crushing to feel so helpless from so far away. The good news is that there are things you can do to support those impacted by the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.

Donate to Helpful Organizations

Over 10 million Ukrainians have fled the country. Many of these refugees are looking for help to cover their basic needs. Looking for organizations that can help on the ground? Here’s a handful you can send donations to:

  • UNICEFHeavy firearms in Ukraine have destroyed imperative housing and plumbing infrastructure, keeping clean drinking water out of reach for many Ukrainian families. UNICEF’s emergency teams and partners are responding by offering mental and physical health support, food, clean drinking water, and education for children. Your donation would support these efforts.
  • Doctors Without BordersDoctors Without Borders (also known as MSF which stands for Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders in French) has been in Ukraine since 2014 helping citizens with HIV, tuberculosis, and other chronic illnesses. Since the war began, they’ve shifted their efforts to providing emergency services and expanding teams to several nearby countries. Your donation would help them receive urgently needed medical supplies, ranging from war-related surgeries and traumas to key medical supplies to which citizens with chronic illnesses no longer have access.
  • Voices of Children: Reduce the effects of war trauma on the lives of children by donating to the non-profit, Voices of Children. Your donation will go towards mental health treatment, rehabilitation, and easing the everyday concerns of their families.
  • Care: This 75-year old organization is aiming to touch the lives of 4 million displaced Ukrainians. Your donation goes toward providing critical first aid and recovery, food, clean water, hygiene kits, and more to family refugees.
  • Revived Soldiers Ukraine: Many Ukrainian citizens are choosing to move their families to safety, then stay and fight for freedom. Support them with a donation to Revived Soldiers Ukraine, an organization dedicated to providing medical and humanitarian support to soldiers in need of expensive emergency care and rehabilitation.

Got an AirBnB? Offer it to Ukrainian Refugees

AirBnB has already arranged housing for over 20,000 Afghan refugees and is on the road to housing 20,000 more. At the end of February, AirBnB announced they’re also offering support to house 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

If you own an AirBnB, you can host a refugee family through their partner nonprofit, AirBnB.org. As long as you have an AirBnB account, you also have the option to donate to help refugees’ stays to be completely free.

Support Journalists Reporting from Ukraine

Independent publications from Ukraine send their journalists into the heart of the war. These brave storytellers report from bomb shelters, train stations, and crumbled neighborhoods. Educating the world about what’s really happening in Ukraine will lead to more donations and assistance.

By donating to journals like The Kyiv Independent or The New Voice of Ukraine, you can help Ukrainians be heard. You can also share their stories to keep the people around you educated.

Keep Yourself Healthy so You May Help Others

Brené Brown, a social work researcher, academic, and speaker, recently found that the variable that highly compassionate people share the most is whether they have (and uphold) personal boundaries.

It’s now proven by research that the fuller your cup is, the more you can give to others. Support yourself during this crisis by prioritizing your mental health and starting therapy with me.

Schedule your first appointment today.

4 Tips to Manage Stress in an Uncertain World

Many people avoid stress proactively by living in a predictable routine. They wake up, go to work, see some friends, and wind down for the day. Living this way gives us a sense of control over our own lives and minimizes the amount of anxiety we risk.

If anything is going to force millions of people to change their routines, it’s a global pandemic.

COVID-19 took many things from us—the people we love, the jobs we rely on, the activities that energize us, and more. You may feel vulnerable and stressed now more than ever before. You may even hesitate to integrate old habits back into your life out of fear of losing them again.

Fret not—while we can’t stop unexpected events from happening, we can manage the stress they bring to our lives. Here are four ways to manage stress in an ever-uncertain world.

1. Limit How Often You Consume the News 

You can convince yourself that keeping up with the news makes you “well-informed”, but the truth is that it also makes you pretty depressed. While we live in a globalized world, most of our day-to-day life is affected by the things directly around us.

Your day is more likely to be thrown off by your child getting sick and needing someone to stay home with them than it is by the opinion of a politician on the other side of the world.

Yes, it’s absolutely important to stay connected with the rest of humanity. However, knowing every little detail about major events that happen every single day is information overload. Clear your head by clearing your feed and setting personal boundaries on how often you take in the news.

2. Focus on What You Can Control

Sometimes, our brains imagine the worst-case scenario before we get the chance to catch ourselves. That’s okay! The important thing is not to ruminate on it.

Instead, focus on what you can control. Ritualize the minor parts of your everyday life. Plan your outfit before going to bed, engage in weekly meal-planning, come up with an exercise routine, and get into a TV show that gives you something to look forward to.

Self-care doesn’t have to be as luxurious as Instagram sometimes makes it look. It can be as simple as prioritizing a diet that fuels you, planning activities that relax you, and cutting back on obligations that prevent you from getting enough sleep or time with those you love.

3. Be Patient with Yourself

Studies show that not everyone sees uncertainty the same way. Some people become inspired by the “challenge”, while others are fearful of the unknown.

If you’re in the latter half, you may struggle with negative thoughts, excessive anxiety, and irritable moods. These are totally normal responses to living through chaos, so there’s no reason to blame yourself.

Instead, try reflecting on the worst days in your life before this. The times you blanked on stage, tripped in the hallway, or ran out of gas on the highway. Remind yourself, “I got through hard times before, I can get through hard times again.”

4. Ask For Help (Even Before You Need It)

Let’s be honest: some of us are isolators. Things go wrong and without a second thought, we stop checking our emails, cancel all upcoming events, and curl up into bed for a couple of weeks.

While some people see asking for help as a sign of weakness, it’s actually a sign of love, humility, and strength. It shows your loved ones that you trust and respect them enough to influence your life for the better.

Where your support network fails, a therapist can step in. Some thoughts just feel too personal to talk about with friends. Therapists can help you identify harmful thinking patterns and repetitive behaviors that limit your ability to bounce back from stress.

Looking to get started? Schedule your first appointment with me today.