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The Sanctuary Counseling Blog:

A Resource for Seekers

Welcome to the Sanctuary Counseling blog. We hope that you will find the topics discussed here helpful in your own personal journey of self discovery and growth. Please subscribe to receive email notifications when new articles post, and click here to share your feedback and article ideas. Check back often, as we update frequently. Our blog most often focuses on the following topics:
  • Anxiety
  • Body image
  • Depression
  • Gender identity
  • Grief and loss
  • LGBTQ living
  • Parenting
  • Phobias
  • Relationships
  • Self nurturing

How Are Your Values Reflected in New Year’s Resolutions

Can you believe that 2017 is almost over?! It seems like ten minutes ago that we were doing this whole “ringing in the new year” thing, and now 2018 is just around the corner! You know what that means – we can start counting down the seconds until people start probing with “what’s your New Year’s resolution?” And as soon as the question pops up, like clock work, people start pledging to lose weight, quit smoking, make more money, and various other fill-in-the-blank self improvement strategies. But here’s a fun fact: only 8% of people actually stick to their resolutions. I’m not sure about you, but I am not part of the 8%.


That’s why this year I’m resolving to quit resolution-ing. I have failed to stick to a resolution for as many years as I can remember making one, so I’m going to err on the side of probability and assume this year won’t be any different. But that doesn’t mean I’m just not thinking about what I want from 2018. I’m just going to think about it differently and in a way that more accurately represents what I want my life to be like in 2018. And if you’re not in the 8%, maybe you will consider joining me.

I want to challenge you to think about your values – a value evaluation, if you will. Values are what make us who we are. They are what guide us to make decisions. They are what motivate us. They are what help us live lives that are authentic and fulfilled. When we are not aware of our values, some of these things can slip. When we are mindful of them, they can be enhanced. Living more consciously in the realm of values could make 2018 your most fulfilled year yet – no resolution required.

 
A PLAN FOR VALUE EVALUATION:

 
1. Identify your values! I’ve included a list below of some things you might consider values. On a piece of paper, write down the things that are values for you. This is not a comprehensive list, so feel free to identify values that are important to you even if you don’t see them below.

Family, Friendship, Authenticity, Work Ethic, Community,
Faith, Happiness, Growth, Knowledge, Adventure,
Altruism, Independence, Health, Balance, Loyalty,
Trustworthiness, Consistency, Intuition, Imagination,
Unity, Tranquility, Uniqueness, Organization, Creativity

 
2. Define your values. Take some time to write a few things down about why you value the things you identified. What’s so important about friendship to you? Why does your life feel more complete when you’re making creativity important? How does knowledge make you feel whole?

 
3. Live your values. Write a few sentences about what these values look like in your everyday life. How will you know if you’re honoring adventure in your life? In what ways can you be mindful of balance from day to day? What does it feel like when you’re practicing consistency?

 
4. Value Roll Call! Check in with yourself from time to time about how fully you are living your values. Maybe you have the words written on a notebook that will remind you to think about them. Or maybe you put a monthly reminder in your phone so you remember to take a few seconds to mull them over. Do whatever works for you and incorporate them in a way that feels right.

6 Hacks to Survive the Holidays (And Your Family)

 
 
Let’s face it – as much as we love our families and look forward to seeing them over the holidays, it can be stressful to balance different households with different views, beliefs, and expectations. I’ve compiled a list of ways to navigate holidays with families whether you’re traveling to multiple households or spending long periods of time at one.
 
 

1. If you need it, reserve some alone time. Know ahead of time if you’ll have an opportunity to maybe take a walk around the block or take a quick nap. Spending lots of time conversing with lots of people can be exhausting (I’m lookin’ at you introverts!). That being said, it’s likely important to spend a majority of your time with family, but know when you need a few minutes to yourself to “re-charge.”

2. Identify your support system ahead of time. Whether it be a partner, parent, friend – having someone that you can turn to if you become overwhelmed is essential. This could even be as simple as knowing which friend you will send a text message to if you need to vent.

3. Don’t overdo it & keep appropriate boundaries. If you are going to your mother-in-laws home and know that after about the four-hour mark, conversations tend to turn to uncomfortable topics – politics, religion – maybe it makes sense to set the boundary that you will stay for that amount of time, but no longer. We all have a threshold for managing uncomfortable conversations with family members and it’s important to not avoid them at all costs, but it also doesn’t mean you need to subject yourself to them every time.

4. Maintaining self-care that you know works for you. Not all self-care activities will always be do-able at any given time. We don’t always have access to a gym or a bubble bath. Having a handful of self-care activities that can be easily done or don’t take much time can be essential for getting through the holidays when you don’t have the option to set a boundary for how long you will be somewhere. Some ideas include meditation (Headspace is a great app for this!), taking a walk outside, reading, listening to music, and the list goes on. Just make sure what you choose is accessible.

5. Try not to get caught up in the consumerism. When the focus turns to “I didn’t get Sally a gift” or “why has Ted not told me what size shoe my niece wears??” things can get stressful REAL quick. When gifts are an expectation that your family holds, try getting your shopping done early or suggest drawing names to reduce the amount of shopping needed. This allows you to take in the true magic of the season and to enjoy the time you do get to spend with family.

6. Set a goal. This year I want to take more time to enjoy conversation. This year I want to make it a point to sit down with my mother and have an uninterrupted talk. This year I want to bake a pie from scratch with my sister. This year I want to start a new tradition/ritual with my family. Setting a goal for the holidays can keep you focused on something fun or important to you. It can also create excitement when you think about accomplishing that goal. Remember to remain open to the fact that sometimes things do not work out exactly as you would like and that’s ok. Setting the intention can be just as powerful as actually completing it exactly as imagined.
 
 
Even holidays with the closest and most considerate of families can feel overwhelming at times. It’s important to listen to your mind and body in the process and try to give it what it needs. You’ll enjoy time with family much more if you feel centered and ready to converse. Which of these ideas will you try to incorporate this year during the holidays?

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