Finding Peace – Mindfulness

This wonderful introduction to mindfulness is by guest author Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW who is a psychotherapist and author of Shortcuts to Inner Peace. 

It’s tempting to think that you need the tropical beach, the hammock by the lake, the walk in the woods, the yoga retreat or the special meditation cushion in order to feel the “ahhhhh” of inner peace. We all have certain props or places that we use to jump start that special sensation of anchored contentment. [Read more…]

Is Counselling For You?

When Can It Be Helpful To See A Counsellor?

Thousands of years ago, when our ancestors lived in tribal communities, they would gather around the campfire and tell stories about their experiences, receiving comfort and support from the community and perhaps words of wisdom from their elders.  Human life has changed significantly since then, but our need for comfort, validation and guidance still remains.  Like our ancestors, these needs can often be met by family, friends or colleagues, but at other times there may be reasons why we do not seek the support of those around us.  Perhaps well-meaning advice hasn’t quite hit the mark, or maybe there is a desire not to burden others.  Perhaps there is a sense that others simply won’t ‘get it’, that we will be negatively judged, or we prefer to just keep ourselves to ourselves. It is in these instances that time spent with a Counsellor can be really beneficial.


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Navigating Family Relationship Challenges during the Christmas Holidays

The Christmas holiday season brings joy, warmth, and togetherness. It’s a time when families come together to celebrate, exchange gifts, and create cherished memories. However, this time of year can also come with its fair share of relationship challenges, as the pressure to create a harmonious environment can often be overwhelming. In this blog, we will explore some common family and Christmas holiday relationship challenges and provide tips on how to navigate them effectively.


Communication breakdown:
One of the most common challenges faced during the holiday season is communication breakdown. It’s not uncommon for families to have unresolved issues or differences of opinion that can lead to tensions. During this time, it is crucial to prioritise open and honest communication. Create opportunities for family members to express their thoughts and feelings, ensuring everyone feels heard and validated. Practice active listening and avoid interrupting or becoming defensive.



Dealing with differing expectations:
Each family member may have different expectations for the holiday season. Some might value traditions, while others seek a more relaxed and casual approach. It is essential to acknowledge and respect these differences. Foster an environment of compromise and find ways to incorporate various preferences, ensuring everyone feels included and valued. Emphasize the importance of flexibility and adaptation to make the holiday experience enjoyable for all.


Managing financial stress:
The financial strain that often accompanies the holiday season can add a significant burden to relationships. It’s crucial to have open discussions about budgeting and gift exchanges to avoid misunderstandings and financial strain. Consider alternative ways to celebrate, such as exchanging homemade gifts or engaging in low-cost activities that create lasting memories. Remember, the true spirit of the holiday lies in the joy of being together, not lavish presents.


Balancing time and obligations:
The holidays can be a busy time with multiple family gatherings, parties, and obligations. Striking a balance between spending time with immediate family, extended family, and friends can be a challenging task. Prioritise quality time with loved ones and make an effort to schedule events and activities that allow for meaningful connections. Also, remember to allocate time for self-care and relaxation to avoid burnout.


Dealing with past conflicts and tensions:
Families are not immune to past conflicts and tensions. Christmas can bring these underlying issues to the surface. It is vital to address these conflicts proactively. Seek peace, forgiveness, and understanding. Engage in honest conversations and work towards resolving any longstanding issues. Consider involving a neutral third party, such as a therapist, if needed, to facilitate productive discussions.


Establishing boundaries:
Maintaining healthy boundaries is essential for any relationship, especially during the holiday season when emotions can run high. Respect each other’s personal space and privacy, and be mindful of individual comfort levels. Communicate and set clear expectations regarding boundaries and ensure everyone is comfortable and respected.


While the Christmas holiday season can present its fair share of relationship challenges, it is important to remember that the true essence of this time lies in love, understanding, and togetherness. By prioritising open communication, respecting differing expectations, managing financial stress, and balancing obligations, we can navigate these challenges and create beautiful memories with our loved ones. Embrace the opportunity to strengthen family bonds and foster a supportive and harmonious atmosphere this holiday season.