Monday, December 9, 2013

Managing Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people. Stress levels can increase related to finances, time management, family issues, and lack of self care. Here are a few tips to manage your holiday stress and increase the enjoyment you experience during this time of year!

1. Keep it simple.
Don't over commit yourself. Be realistic in what you have time to do, and don't take on more than necessary. Consider taking time off early in December to help add balance to your busy schedule with some time for self care.

2. Use your support system.
Delegate when appropriate and call for back up when entering an anxiety inducing situation, like going to a family member's home or the mall.

3. Identify what is important to you during the holidays.
Put things into perspective about what the holiday season means to you vs. the societal expectations/pressures.

4. Honor your financial picture.
Going into debt will cause more stress in the New Year, so if you have a limited budget to work from, try being creative with gifts from the heart. Set a dollar amount for each person on your list to stay on budget. Use cash instead of credit to avoid overspending.


Happy Holidays from Open Doors Counseling, Coaching and Consulting!

To learn more about Open Doors please visit us at www.opendoorscounselingaz.com or
call 602-499-9952.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Getting a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep is a restorative process that allows your body to rest and reenergize to take on the day. Without proper sleep, it can increase the effects of depression and anxiety, increase irritability, and decrease energy, concentration, and coping skills. Here are a few tips to help you get a good night's sleep:

1 .Develop a Sleep Routine

Your body functions in rhythms and cycles, and sleep also functions in this same way. When you go to bed the same time every night, and wake up the same time every day (yes-including weekends!) your body finds a rhythm that makes going to sleep an easier process. Try to aim for a schedule that includes 7-8 hours of sleep time. Start your sleep routine 30 minutes to 1 hour before the time you actually need to go to sleep. The sleep routine can include getting ready for bed activities, listening to soft music, soothing time with family, or watching a relaxing tv show.

2. Examine your Environment

Take a look around the location where you sleep and try to create as soothing as environment as possible. Is the room dark enough? Is white noise needed to block out sounds? Is the temperature comfortable? Are you surrounded by d├ęcor that feels soothing and comforting? Is there anything in the room that makes you feel uncomfortable, and can it be moved? Make any needed adjustments to help promote a health environment to induce sleep.

3. Reduce/Limit Caffeine Intake

Pay attention to the types, frequencies, and amounts of caffeine you consume. Caffeine can be contained in coffee, soda, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate, among other things. Try not to consume any caffeine at least 3 hours before you begin your sleep routine to help maximize your ability to fall asleep.

4. Expend Physical and Emotional Energy

Extra energy at the end of the day can create difficulty in falling asleep. Try including exercise during your day, take a walk after dinner, talk to a friend, or journal your thoughts to help release physical and emotional energy to decrease racing thoughts at bedtime.

Give some of these tips a try and see if you begin to experience improved sleep. If you find that you suffer chronically from insomnia or a sleep disorder, please consult your physician for treatment options.

For more information on Open Doors Counseling, please call 602-499-9952 or check us out at www.opendoorscounselingaz.com

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School...Back to Motivation!

As the lazy days of summer draw to a close it means back to school for many students. It is a time of excitement, hope, and the promise of learning new things. Even if you are not enrolled in school, use this time to become a student of your life. Allow yourself to be inspired and motivated to learn more about you, what your hopes, dreams, and needs are. Tap into the energy and motivation all around you. Here are some quotes to keep you inspired and motivated on your path to personal growth and learning!

”It takes a deep commitment to change and an even deeper commitment to grow." --Ralph Ellison

”Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes... but no plans.” --Peter F. Drucker

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."--Thomas A. Edison

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."--C. S. Lewis

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."--Helen Keller

Get back to motivation this back to school season! If you would like to learn more about how Open Doors can help you on your path to change, please visit www.opendoorscounselingaz.com or call 602-499-9952.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Three Steps Toward Self Validation

Do you ever find yourself looking for approval from others to feel good about yourself? This is an emotional trap that many people fall in to. They base their self esteem and self worth on the feedback they receive from others. But what if this was no longer the case? What if you could be free to validate your own emotions and how you feel about yourself? Here are three steps you can take to help you move toward self validation:

1. Acknowledge that you are okay just being you and that no one else has the power to tell you that you are not good enough. You can validate and acknowledge yourself, your accomplishments, and know that you are a good person just by what you are putting out into the world. We often would say these kind words to others, but rarely to ourselves. Make this a regular reminder to be kind to yourself and your own cheerleader.

2. Create a boundary with others where you can hear and be open to their feedback, but not accept things they say about you that you know to be untrue.

3. Honor your emotions and your strengths. You are entitled to your feelings and they are valid based on your own life experience. This life experience also has helped you build strengths. Identify and embrace your strengths, reminding yourself of them regularly.

Best wishes in your journey toward self validation from Open Doors Counseling!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Don't let the heat make your anger temperature rise!

With the rising temperatures, the summer heat often can affect our moods. Irritability, agitation and anger are common emotions, but you don't have to let them ruin your summer! Here are some helpful tips to keep your anger temperature low:

1. Identify what triggers your anger and reduce exposure to these triggers. If your temperature boils during the freeway rush hour, try leaving at different times or taking a different route.
2. Identify your anger level. Think about emotions on a scale from 1-10. For example, a 1 could be slight annoyance, 5 could be frustration, and 10 could be rage. Do a self check with how high your anger level really is and look at some strategies to reduce it before it gets to an unmanageable level.
3. Find outlets for your emotions. Exercise, yoga, meditation, massage, or talking to a supportive person are all great outlets to release your emotions in a positive way and help keep your overall stress level lower.

For more ways to learn how to better manage anger, call Open Doors Counseling, Coaching and Consulting to schedule an appointment at 602-499-9952. Happy Summer!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Is what I am feeling normal?

As a therapist, I constantly get the question from clients "Is what I am feeling normal?" In a world where we are told "Big girls/boys don't cry" and "Just get over it," it is hard to acknowledge and honor our feelings. Have you ever not shared how you feel with someone because you were afraid how they would react, or that they would think your feelings are "stupid"? This happens frequently and causes individuals to question their own emotions.

In therapy, one of the first goals is to understand, honor and validate your thoughts and emotions. No one else has walked in your shoes, so your feelings are normal for your experience. If you do not like how you are feeling, the next part of the process in therapy is to explore ways to think about and cope with your experience in a different way to help you lead a healthier and happier life.

So the next time you ask yourself "Is what I am feeling normal?," remember that the answer is YES and that you have the power to create change in your life! If you feel like you are ready to start your path to change, please contact Open Doors Counseling, Coaching and Consulting at 602-499-9952.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How to Heal


Healing from the past is a challenging goal. If you have experienced a traumatic event, it can feel very present in daily life event though it occurred in the past. It may be impacting your self esteem, sleep patterns, depression levels, anxiety levels, and relationships with others. Recovering from trauma is a process, and counseling can be a huge benefit to move through this process with support and guidance. The first step is finding a professional that you trust and are comfortable with. The process may be painful at times as you are sharing about it, but ultimately will lead you to identify what triggers the trauma experiences, developing coping skills and grounding techniques to manage the emotions that may come up, and healing by addressing the fears the trauma has caused and developing positive thought patterns that support healing. Validation, empowerment, communication, hope and connectedness are goals of counseling that will lead you on the path to healing and living a full and happy life.

If you are ready to start your path to healing, call Open Doors Counseling, Coaching and Consulting at 602-499-9952.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Opening Doors to a Better Life E-book

Open Doors Counseling, Coaching and Consulting is pleased to announce the availability of a free E-book on our website! Opening Doors to a Better Life: 10 Simple Tips and Worksheets to Help you Start Your Journey is now available free for a limited time at http://www.opendoorscounselingaz.com/Open_Doors_AZ_Events.html


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Have a Healthier Relationship this Valentine's Day


This Valentine’s Day, in addition to buying gifts of chocolate and cards for your loved one, also give them the gift of healthy communication. Resentment often builds up in relationships by not truly sharing with the other person how you feel, holding things in, and can eventually lead to conflict. 

Try the following tips to improve your communication for a healthier relationship:
-Use I statements. Focus on how you feel and what you need, instead of blaming the other person
-Focus on the present issue instead of bringing up issues from the past.
-Pick a time that works for both of you to discuss issues. Try to avoid discussions right before leaving for work or late at night.
-Set a time limit for the discussion. Rarely do things get resolved after hours and hours of arguing.
-Focus on problem solving and what each person is willing to contribute.

Healthier communication equals a happier relationship! 
Happy Valentine’s Day from Open Doors Counseling, Coaching and Consulting!