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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

Change is Coming: How to Cope with the New

“Change is good”
“Change is inevitable”
“Change is necessary”
“Change of heart” “Change of pace” “Change of scene”
“The more things change, the more they stay the same”

I could list dozens of idioms in our lexicon that tell us how important change is. “We should expect it, we should like it, and we should roll with it,” is what they seem to boil down to.
As someone who loves a schedule, a list, and some structure, change is something that gets a side-eye from me. Nine times out of ten, the changes that pass through my life end up working out for the better, I just haven’t been able to get through my head that I don’t have to panic every time it comes. (I love the comfort that comes with knowing what is down the road and what to expect).

However, change doesn’t always need to be tied to panic and discomfort; change can sometimes bring unexpected happiness. It might be just what we’re needing without even knowing it.

The transition from grade school to high school; the transition from high school to college; the transition from college to “real life,” starting a new job. These changes are inevitable and necessary. And I survived them all. Who knew? I certainly didn’t at the time.
I was nervous each time I had to adapt, adjust, and grow comfortable with my new reality. Often when something new and different came along, I would brace myself for disaster (because I am wired that way!). Sometimes I would go in with low expectations so that I wouldn’t be disappointed or overwhelmed. And that is not great either.

The thing is, it didn’t matter whether I was prepared or disappointed, excited or scared.
Change was a’comin anyway.
What mattered was how I responded and reacted to these changes.

If I was nervous or scared, did I react as the situation deserved, or did I panic and shut down? If I was excited or prepared, did I get my hopes up too high? There is a balance to be found in all of this, and it seems that it’s something that will always be in flux.
Some helpful ways to cope with change are to engage in some mindfulness practices.
One specific tool is to utilize a deep breathing exercise when we find the panic and anxiety too much to manage. Simply find a comfortable space, take a few deep breaths, and follow a simple breathing pattern focused around breathing for 4 second intervals. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold the breath for 4 seconds. Repeat these four times through, and your brain and body will thank you!
Another helpful tool is to engage in some imagery, picturing what things in your life will remain constant. When change is on the horizon, it can be easy to get caught up in all the things that will be new and different, but many cornerstones and important aspects of life remain the same. Feeling grounded in what is and will continue to be can help us feel that the changes are less overwhelming.
So, don’t fear change; try to prepare for it.
Do what you can to be ready, and let life happen as it must.

Change is making its way to Sanctuary. We are constantly growing, and with that must come change. Sanctuary went from a small office in Douglassville to the house we are in now, many years ago. Then we added a second site in Collegeville. Our Collegeville location will soon make that same transition from a small office to a new house in Audubon.
And while this is a big change, it is one we are so ready for. We are expanding our hours as well as our space. We are taking on new clients and clinicians. We must rise to the challenge and face these changes with open arms, because they are necessary, and they are good. Good for us and good for you, as we welcome a new chapter in the Sanctuary story.

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.

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