Less Anxious & More Confident: School Edition

School is officially in session! It’s been a few weeks, perhaps even a month. Classes are in full swing —but are you having a hard time adjusting or feeling motivated? Feeling overwhelmed? Still have summer on your brain?

Here are 5 tips to help you feel less anxious and more confident starting off the school year right!

  1. PLAN AHEAD: Have you heard of that saying: “fail to plan, plan to fail”? It’s true! There are simple tools that you can do to help you plan ahead. Planning ahead and setting a routine (with room for some “me-time” and flexibility) can be helpful in feeling less anxious.

  1. STAY ORGANIZED: Use tools to help you stay organized. There are so many apps (more than I can keep up with) that do the work to help you stay organized and on task. Here are a few: 

The Homework App: Easy way to view and manage your student life across all of your devices.

Pocket Schedule Planner: View all your classes at a glance, easy tracking with a calendar, personalized timetable, and manage your assignments.

Egenda: School planner and assistant all in one.

My Study Life: A free cross platform planner app for students, teachers and lecturers designed to make your study life easier to manage.

Homework Pal: Easy way to view and manage all of your upcoming assignments.

Don’t like apps? There is always the good ‘ol paper/pencil planner. Use highlighters or different colored pens to help you differentiate subjects, extra activities, work, and important events like scheduling time for self-care!

  1. PREPARE A STUDY AREA: It is so important to have a designated study area. I encourage a comfortable and quiet place with minimal to no distractions. This sets the tone for a productive environment.
  2. PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH: Take care of your body and mind. Take care of your health! It is so easy to put yourself at the bottom of the priority list when school, work, activities, friends, family, and your significant other all demand your time. Purposefully schedule time for yourself, whether it is 15 minutes or 3 hours, each and every day. You will thank yourself later!
  3. SUPPORT SYSTEM: Line up a support system. Starting classes again can be challenging, especially if you have been in a groove that does not involve school.
    Reachout for help. Ask your professor for that extra help on a topic you don’t quite understand. Talk to your parents. Laugh with your friends. Hug your dog! It is healthy to have an outlet that can listen and offer support and/or feedback.

To a healthy, happy, and successful school year!

If implementing these tips feel overwhelming and you feel you could use some additional support, please schedule a time to talk with me for a free consultation. I would love to help you!

Click here to schedule!

Am I Depressed?

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Many people ask themselves this question every day.  You notice a change in yourself, or maybe your loved ones point it out to you; could it be depression?

Our society likes throw around clinical terms such as “depression” in everyday language to describe someone or characteristics of themselves. The reality is, that this term is very real, psychiatric diagnosis.

So… how can you determine if you are suffering from depression? Here are some symptoms to consider:

  1. Depression is a word to describe your mood. Are you feeling down, sad, lonely or irritable?
  2. When our mood changes, we tend to lose interest in parts of our lives we used to find joy in.
  3. Changes in our sleep, appetite, activity levels, attention span and weight may also indicate depression.
  4. Feelings of guilt, low self-esteem and worthlessness are common in people who struggle with depression.
  5. Suicidality or thoughts about self-harm or death can also be experienced by someone with depression..

 

If you read the above tips and found any one of them to be true, you would probably not be alone. As humans, we experience emotion on a continuum- and just because we experience sadness or changes in our sleep, does not mean we suffer from depression.

It is important to consider that when the above symptoms become difficult to handle and are impacting different aspects of your life, you should seek out a professional’s support.

Any licensed mental health professional can help you determine if you struggle with depression. As it is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorder, there are plenty of options for treatment and support.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thinking, please contact your local emergency services or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at :  1-800-273-8255

 

Be Well,

Valerie Spiropoulos, LCPC

 

 

Miscarriage Matters

Spring is officially here! Hopefully the weather cooperates soon 😉 Spring is a time of renewal, learning to form and embrace a new version of yourself.

The Centered Life recently partnered with the blog talk radio show “Miscarriage Matters” as a part of the series Renewal of Body, Mind, and Soul. I was invited to be a guest by Danielle Langford. Danielle is an Empowerment Specialist and Workshop Facilitator, who created pinkempowers.com and is also the host of Miscarriage Matters. Miscarriage Matters is a radio show educating the public about miscarriage and loss and how it truly affects a person by offering friendship and a listening ear.

Miscarriage is important to talk about as it happens to women and families everywhere. Miscarriage does not discriminate. Through my work with clients who have experienced a miscarriage, I have gathered that there seems to be this attached shame of talking about it and rushed sense of needing to grieve quickly or if at all. Miscarriage Matters radio exists to let you know that you are not alone and to offer support.

Renewal involves establishing the new normal. Specifically, it is learning to form and embrace a “new version” of yourself with the loss now being a part of you; as a part of your identity.

 

Here are 8 helpful aspects to consider as you start your journey towards a “new normal”:

  1. First and foremost, know that you are not alone. You will never get over the miscarriage, but you can get through it.
  1. Allow yourself to grieve! Allow yourself to go through the grieving process by acknowledging the loss and learning to sit with the pain and to seek support.
  2. Increase your self-care by challenging feelings of guilt, getting involved in things that promote empowerment, and embracing self-love.
  1. Find your sense of self again. Give yourself permission to go through the grieving process- no matter what that looks like.
  1. We are emotional beings: express yourself through the process. Allow yourself to cry, be sad, and be angry, etc.
  1. It is okay to laugh! Experiencing joy is okay, even when you feel sadness and pain.
  1. Renewal starts when you are ready; sometimes loss becomes more painful, before it gets better
  1. Know that your experience is unique and grief is not linear. With that being said, there is no time frame or formula for grief. Everyone grieves differently and that is okay. It all depends on the culture, background, experience, situation, and of course the individual.

 

I encourage you to seek counseling as it can be tremendously helpful to validate your experience. Additionally, I encourage you to seek support through a religious or spiritual affiliation, volunteering, joining a club or organization, and from family/friends. As Danielle said in the show, “Sometimes you need to go outside, to get renewed inside”.

Please be sure to tune in weekly on Tuesdays at 7pm CST to listen to Danielle Langford and Miscarriage Matters. You can connect with Danielle and the rest of the Miscarriage Matters team at blogtalkradio.com/miscarriagematters. You can email them mmradio@mymiscarriagematters.org. I also encourage you to check out Danielle’s website here for inspiration and a schedule of her upcoming workshops!

You can listen to this radio show segment HERE .

 

Best,

Jennifer

 

 

 

“Power Posing”

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Do you have an upcoming interview? Nervous about a presentation? Need a boost of confidence? Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows us how our body language not only affects how others view us, but how we view ourselves. In this video, Amy shows us how “power posing” for a few minutes affects testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain.

 

 

First session?

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What to Expect:

There are many barriers that can stand in the way of making a decision to start psychotherapy; time, resources, motivation, support, shame, anxiety… Which is why the simple action of making that first call or searching for a provider online, is so much to be celebrated! If you’re at this stage, STOP. Take a moment to give yourself credit for overcoming these major obstacles!

Feeling nervous… Just as with anything we do for the first time, it’s expected to have a little anxiety about the first session. Try seeking support from a family member of friend who has had experince with counseling. Also, feel free to contact your provider and ask any questions you may have about the process. Remind yourself why you sought counseling in the first place…. do you seek relief, healing or support? These are important things to remember if you feel nervous about your first session.

When you arrive… As with other medical professional offices, you can expect a little paperwork your first session, The Centered Life has our forms available on the website to save you some time, if you want to come prepared! Do not expect a long wait… Our professionals are very diligent in managing time schedules and will greet you promptly!

A comfortable environment…. Unlike a medical office, our private spaces are designed like a home living environment, offering warm and cold beverages and light snacks are also some of our ways to show hospitality and help our clients feel more at “at home.”

The Theraputic relationship… It’s important to know, that just like all of your other relationships (family, friends, co-workers, neighbors), the therapeutic relationship is the same, in that it will take time to develop, grow and strengthen. Therapists understand this very well and encourage clients to go at their own pace in sharing intimate details about their inner emotional experiences. It is likely that your first session wI’ll focus on building rapport with your therapist, understanding the therapeutic process and helping your therapist to understand some of the reasons you sought their services.

Before you go… Take an opportunity to ask your therapist any questions that came up for you. The end of your session will be the time when you discuss frequency of your sessions and scheduling. Don’t forget to get the contact information of your therapist and The Centered Life, in case any questions come up after you leave the office!

Take a deep breath… Give yourself recognition for doing something brave… You took a step towards healing and wellness!

 ~The Centered Life Staff