Category: mental health

emotional health during holidays

How to Take Care of Your Emotional Health During the Holidays

For many people getting through the holiday season is no small feat. If it were possible to skip over this period of time, they would gladly do it. Even those who enjoy the festivities, and who adhere to the traditions and rituals that this time brings, can also find the holiday season challenging and at times stressful. The stress may come from a difficult financial situation, having to participate in activities that they do not enjoy, seeing people they rather not have contact with, or having to experience the holidays after a certain loss. It is not surprising therefore that for many the holiday season is not a joyous time and they struggle to care for their emotional health.

Individuals may feel so stressed out about the holidays that they may experience anxiety or depression. In many instances people are already experiencing mental health issues and adding the stress of the holiday season exacerbates these symptoms.

Many people suffer due to the belief that they have little choice in how they experience the holidays. The perspective that traditions and rituals are to be followed without deviating from what has been done or is expected by family, friends and even themselves, leaves them feeling guilty. It may also lead to feeling stuck in performing a role and running the risk of further hindering their well-being.

So what is one to do if there are situations and issues that are making it difficult to deal with the holidays?

There are several strategies that can be used to help to take care of your emotional health this holiday season.

  1. Be patient with yourself. It is time to self-evaluate your emotions in an honest manner. What do you think you are able to do for yourself and others, physically and emotionally?
  2. Rely on those who care about you. Do you rely on family, friends, or co-workers to help you deal with difficulties in your life? If thinking about who you can rely on brings up very few people or no one, it is time to start asking what is keeping you from making these connections to be able to grow your support system.
  3. Change expectations for yourself and others if the old expectations lead to dissatisfaction or negative feelings. If the expectations have always been difficult to meet, then working on becoming more flexible might give better results. It might be that new traditions and rituals are in order.
  4. Figuring out what it is that stresses you out the most might be a good place to start. Is the interaction with certain individuals, a particular event or date, or a particular situation bringing up negative feelings or reactions? Beaware of the triggers and make changes to avoid or change reactions.
  5. Helping others in need where you become someone else’s support system allows you to change the way you see situations or events.
  6. Ask for support when you feel overwhelmed. Ask your support system to help you consider your options and if you continue to think that reaching an emotionally healthy feeling around the holidays is difficult, contacting a professional to assist you in feeling better could provide the support you need.
  7. Take care of yourself by sleeping well, exercising , and sticking to your established plans when it comes to your physical and mental health needs.

Following a routine that leads to a positive and healthy physical and emotional well-being allows you to deal with situations that life presents to you.  Your emotional health is key to living a life you love.

For more information, questions or concerns, or you need assistance on the road to being emotionally healthy please call Maria Rodriguez-Fischer at 919-401-8261.


family holiday

halloween celebration

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visualize your goal

How To Visualize Success

Want to know how to visualize success?

As more information is presented to us through scientific studies about the importance of the mind-body connection, we realize the influence that each side has on the other. Just as we find through research, and our own experience, that being physically active and exercising affects the chemical balance in our brain, which often leads to a better mental health status, we have also seen that our mind can have an influence on our physical health.

Most of us have experienced incidents where negative, anxious or depressive thoughts have led us to feel physically ill. At times, all we have to do is remember those incidents to have a negative reaction from our body. On the other hand, we only have to think of a pleasant memory or experience and some of those positive feelings are brought into our awareness.

Having this information helps us in shaping the life we want for ourselves. Everyone has their own ideas of what leads to happiness and success. So how does knowing about the mind-body connection lead us to the life we want? There are many paths to success and they tend to include hard work, common sense, intelligence, persistence and drive to name a few.

Creative Visualization

One more factor that is becoming more widespread as individuals seek assistance in working towards their goals is Visualization. Visualization is a technique used where a person invokes a positive mental image to focus on in preparation for a particular action or performance. Visualization is a tool that can assists on the path to success in many areas of a person’s life. There are many examples given by individuals from all walks of life where they implemented visualization as a way of reaching their goals.

Several well-known people, from famous chess players and athletes to not so well-known individuals, have used visualization and went on to improve their performance. They mentioned that after visualizing their actions, they felt as if they had actually practiced before going through the motions.  This idea is expressed well in Remez Sasson’s article Creative Visualization.

Visualization has gone from being a tool for areas such as sports and games to expanding to our personal and professional lives bringing with it the possibility of mental practice before the actions. We can now have mental images or representations to perfect the outcome leading us to move through the actions with more confidence and self-assurance. Yet, visualization can be used for much more. It can help us see the life and goals we want to reach and show us how to get there. It is important to focus on the goals and see ourselves being successful to create a clearer picture of where we want to go. It is a very powerful tool that when added to the more traditional tools in reaching success will create a better outcome for us.

If you want help learning to visualize your goals, give Maria Rodriguez-Fischer a call at 919-401-8261.

visual poster

crative visualization


what motivates people to change

What Motivates People to Change?

When considering the question of what motivates people to change, one may say that there are many factors that one could come up with to answer this age old inquiry. Many people might say that motivators such as money, material goods, fame, etc. lead to change. These are all valid motivators, which are generally considered extrinsic (coming from the outside). However, I would like to focus on even stronger motivators, intrinsic motivators, which are coming from within. They are coming from a place that has to do more with feelings and drives. These motivators normally lead individuals to feel a sense of urgency when it comes to wanting personal change.

Emotional Discomfort Can Be What Motivates People To Change

emotional discomfort can motivate changeWhen you consider the psychological aspect of change, it is generally believed that change is born out of feelings of emotional discomfort or pain. We generally tend to want to remain in a state of complacency or at rest, unless there is another strong force affecting our state of complacency. Once we are receiving messages that lead us to feel discomfort or pain, we seek to get rid of these feelings. For example, we may experience problems in our personal lives and they may escalate to the point where we realize we need to change our thinking or our behavior to experience more stability in our lives. These feelings of discomfort or pain may affect various aspects of our lives resulting in physical or mental illness, job problems, and/or relationship difficulties. At that point, it is our intrinsic motivators that are guides in seeking a sense of well-being and happiness. It becomes what motivates people to change. Some of these intrinsic motivators include having a sense of purpose or finding meaning in our lives, feeling trust in ourselves and others, feeling secure, growing in knowledge and skills, feeling satisfied with our performance and capabilities and also feeling appreciated. Intrinsic motivators lead individuals to feel satisfaction in all aspects of their lives, spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual. In addition, they helps us feel engaged in the process of change.

Plan For Change

talk with a therapistOnce you find yourself feeling discomfort or pain and you realize that things need to change, it is time to make a plan. At that time it is important to carry out a personal evaluation of what you believe needs to change. It is also a good idea to take an honest, and more objective look at what others who care about you have suggested in regards to change. If a self-evaluation is not providing enough information about the physical or mental state that is being experienced or changes that need to take place, then professional assistance by a medical doctor or therapist may help access intrinsic motivation to bring relief and well-being. In other words, you may need help accessing what motivates people to change.

If you need this sort of assistance call me, Maria Rodriguez-Fischer at 919-401-8261.

mental health specialist

Mental Health Specialist

Use a Mental Health Specialist When Taking Care of Your Mental Health

Don’t delay. Use a mental health specialist when caring for your mental health. In this day and age Mental Health issues are being discussed more openly than in the past. However, it is still not treated with the same level of importance as other issues related to our physical health.

mental healthWe can see the disparity when we look at health insurance plans where the number of visits in a year to a mental health therapist (psychotherapist) is numbered. If visits to our medical doctors were also limited to a certain number of times per year, we would have to try to avoid getting sick or simply not go to the doctor when we are sick. This is only one way that care for our mental health falls behind other areas related to our well-being.

It is unfortunate that awareness of the importance of taking care of our mental health is brought to the forefront mostly after some incident rallies individuals to action in the area of mental health. As a mental health specialist, I believe it is important to have mental health be an integral part on the journey for personal well-being.

Use a Mental Health Specialist For Preventive Mental Health Care

As part of being and remaining mentally healthy, it is important to pay attention to our thoughts about ourselves and others, and to our emotions. This can become part of a mental health test for you.  Just as we have to pay attention to our body as it changes and develops aches and pain, we should watch out for emotional and psychological pain and for changes in our thoughts and mood.

It would be great if we could go to mental health check-ups and practice preventive mental health care. However, most of the time preventive mental health care does not take place, which is why we must carry out self-evaluations of our mental state and rely on others we trust and who want to see us healthy in mind and body. Mental health specialists want to help you prevent mental health issues and not wait until a major incident occurs.

If you believe that your current mental state is not typical for you and you feel stuck after trying to feel emotionally better on your own, professional assistance is available and may offer relief and improvement of symptoms. Contact me, I am a mental health specialist in the Durham and Chapel Hill communities and I want to help you become mentally healthy.

emotional health during holidays

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