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Self-care is a regular, intentional process of devoting oneself to protecting and sustaining mental health.

Small things make a difference.

When we are busy, it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. Or if we make too big a plan, we might give up if we can’t find the time and energy to see it through. Break rituals are activities that we embed into our day to help us stay calibrated and avoid mental overload. We can’t falsely promise ourselves that we’ll relax once something gets scratched off our lists, because in the meantime, 10 new things will pop up. Just as when we neglect ourselves there is a cumulative effect on our health, the same is true when we make a regular point to nourish our mind, body and souls.

Self-care comes in many shapes and sizes.

There’s no one size-fits-all formula. Key activities include lifestyle medicine, creative pursuits, hobbies, time with loved ones, and positive mental dialogue. Science shows the tremendous value in all of these activities to protect and bolster mental health. Engage in a process of reflection (therapists, coaches and loved ones can be helpful in co-creating ideas) that helps you identify high impact activities that can be woven into your routines.

Self-care starts with giving yourself permission.

Many of us are uncomfortable with the idea of taking time for ourselves. We are used to taking care of everyone else and it’s a big shift to actually focus on you. It feels counterintuitive. This can demonstrate your strong sense of values and pride in serving others, but it can also tie into a deeper martyr complex or sense of unworthiness. When we give ourselves the green light and understand that we are worth our own investment because we are important, we are more likely to maximize the benefits of self-care. You must give yourself permission to take care of yourself, and make sure you are taking break rituals everyday. Sustainability is everything: You are worth it.


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After a traumatic event, it’s normal to feel powerless, anxious, scared, angry. We encourage you to reach out and connect with a professional counselor to explore effective and healthy ways to cope with your emotions.

You may experience feeling hopeless and experience withdrawing or isolating yourself, excessive sleeping, the use of drugs or alcohol more than usual.

At a time like this, simple things can help. Try to:

  • Talk to close friends or family about your feelings
  • Stay present, take breaks from social media and the news
  • Take a walk, go to the gym, run errands to keep active and healthy
  • Spend time in person with family and friends, try to stay positive

Please take care of yourself and those around you – physical health and emotional connectedness can go a long way toward making you feel like yourself again.


If you need to talk to a professional, schedule an appointment with us:

For billing/insurance purposes, we must have your legal name exactly as it appears on your insurance ID Card



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Every woman has the ability to make a difference in the community in which they live.

As well as impacting the people we encounter every day on some level, we’re role models for our daughters, granddaughters, sisters, nieces and friends. Helping to make a positive change in the lives of others is especially important during this time of COVID-19, when so many people are stressed and under financial, emotional and all other kinds of stress and anxiety.

If you’re wondering how you can contribute to your community, remember it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, things you may take for granted could make all the difference in someones life.

Here’s one uplifting example:

“Susan, a stay at home mom, who has 3 children at school was exploring ways that she could contribute to her community. Having to be home for her children meant that she had limited free time to offer, but she still wanted to give back. One day, she found the opportunity to volunteer at a canned food drive that was run by one of the local community programs. Susan couldn’t believe how fulfilling it was to help other people. When she met with the person in charge of the food pantry, she presented the idea of distributing food to seniors in the community who are unable to leave their homes”.

Imagine how rewarding this experience was for Susan, and how her actions could influence the women in her life? When you perform an act of selflessness, and give your time and energy to others, you’re not only helping people but setting an example. Paying it forward is such an important life lesson and a great message to share. No act of kindness can ever be too small, whether it’s helping a person in your community, with poor vision, across the street or assisting someone who is struggling to make a doctor’s appointment.

In the words of Oprah: “When we think only about ourselves, we live a half-life, when we give back, we live a full life”.


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October 2020 is Domestic Violence Awareness Month”

Domestic Violence was already an epidemic before COVID-19, but the pandemic has created an environment which has resulted in a spike in incidents of abuse.

We are experiencing a critical time for survivors. More awareness, education, and bystander intervention is critical if we are to stop the violence.

October 2020 is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are dedicated to sharing information that can help those who are experiencing violence during this unprecedented time. BCS Counseling Group is running FREE online groups for ‘Support and Empowerment for Domestic Violence Survivors’.

 

PLEASE SEE OUR PARTNER PROGRAM: womenagainstviolence.org


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Stress

You should never underestimate the affect that stress can have on your body and your mind. The symptoms of large amounts of stress include tiredness, illness, and the inability to concentrate or think clearly. Sometimes, prolonged periods of stress can even cause a mental breakdown. If you suffer from extreme stress or are stressed for a long period of time, your body will eventually wear itself down.

But sometimes a small amount of stress can actually be good in that it can help you gather yourself and take action. For example, when you have an important task to perform, stress can kick in and motivate you to meet your goals. During times of crisis, stress can send you into “automatic pilot” mode where you are able to block out the chaos around you and react effectively in the situation.

Some common stress factors include academic demands; moving house; being on your own in a new environment, new responsibilities; a new job or promotion; changes in family relations and your social life; financial responsibilities, and of course, a global phenomenon such as COVID-19, where our way of life has changed completely and the future is uncertain.

Whether in school or employment, pulling an “all-nighter” can lead to stress-driven exhaustion the following day. Caffeine starts with a temporary energy boost and ends in a crash, which can leave you feeling worse than you did originally. Waiting until the very last minute to get something done which forces your body to run on adrenaline.

Some ways to manage stress relief would start with managing your time wisely and staying organized. Try to get some form of exercise daily and eat healthily. A very important consideration when you are going through a stressful time, get enough sleep, it may seem a simple answer, but its also works.

Anxiety

Anxiety becomes a disorder when your symptoms become chronic and interfere with you daily life and ability to function. While having an anxiety disorder can be disabling, preventing you from living the life you want, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health issues—and are highly treatable.

Anxiety symptoms may include; muscle tension, poor memory, fear or confusion, constant worry, upset stomach, shortness of breath or poor concentration

Depression

People who are already overwhelmed by stress may be especially prone to depression, which can affect your body, state of mind, thoughts and behavior. It’s a serious condition, not just a passing mood. Clinically depressed people aren’t able to simply “pull themselves together” and bounce back, but it thankfully this condition can be successfully treated. 80% of those who seek professional help are able to improve and regain their sense of self.

Depression be can caused by the use of drugs and alcohol, or by the withdrawal you experience when you stop these substances. The sooner you get help the better.

Depression can make you feel exhausted, worthless and hopeless. It’s important not to give in to negative thinking and remember that your symptoms will fade as treatment takes effect. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to find out more and understand your illness.

What can you do? – Treatment Works

It you think you might be depressed or suffering from stress or anxiety, you should discuss your concerns with a healthcare or mental health professional who can evaluate your concerns.

Our commitment to our clients remains the same; To deliver optimal mental health care with compassion, respect and support. To promote emotional well-being and encourage true life potential.

When you are ready, if you’d like to speak to someone, schedule your appointment here.   Or take the BCS Wellness Check-in, and we’ll get back to you with options!

 

thank you

Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW
CEO & Founder

 


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An article by : Nicoletta Pallotta

A New Domestic Violence Crisis: Covid-19

Social isolation and working from home, aimed to stop the spread of the coronavirus may be making domestic violence more frequent, more severe and more dangerous. Are you or someone you love being abused? 1 out of every 3 women are in an abusive relationship and this issue becoming even more common during COVID-19, while we are stressed and forced to spend large amounts of time at home together.

Below are 10 common indicators of abuse:

  • Stalking: questioning your every move while telling you that they love you and are being protective
  • Texting or calling you constantly; insisting they are concerned about you and want to make sure that you are safe
  • Controlling your finances: forcing you to account in detail for every dollar that you spend
  • Criticizing you for every little thing you do
  • Humiliating you in front of your family and friends
  • Angering easily, particularly if he or she is drinking
  • Forcing you to have sex against your will
  • Hitting or punching you
  • Jealously of friendships or any other relationships you have
  • Isolating you from family and friends

If you can say yes to even one of these, you are in an abusive relationship.

During a calm stage, it’s easy to remain in the relationship thinking that it won’t happen again, but it doesn’t help to ignore the problem or live in hope that the abuser will change. It’s very important to be prepared and have a safety, back-up plan in case the violence erupts again.

Be prepared in case you need to call a shelter

It’s not accepting defeat to be ready. Find out about legal options or other resources available to you before you have to use them. You should know exactly where to go and how to get there, even if a situation arises the middle of the night.

Prepare an emergency bag, for a quick exit

Keep cash, a checkbook, your savings account details, identification, a medical insurance card and your address book in a safe place where the abuser can’t find it. The last thing you want to be worried about at a time like this is money!

Leave the situation

If it happens, be ready to go. If you have children, take them with you. If you are in immediate danger call 911.


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An article by Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW.

The challenges that women deal with are often directly related to their gender; sexism, stereotyping, motherhood, childbirth issues, infertility struggles etc.

As a society we like to think that we’ve achieved ‘equality’, but the truth is the way women experience life and are perceived in life, is still very different to men.

Traditionally perceived gender roles are something we’ll never truly escape. There is inherent pressure on women to balance career and family, and this is something that affects women across the globe. If you have children, you probably undergo immense guilt when unavoidable parental obligations interrupt your working day, even if a 60-hour week is your norm, deep down you may still think this way. All this in addition to the general predicament of feeling undervalued both at home and at work.

If you feel like you need help in dealing with any aspect of life, there’s a lot to be said for talking to someone of the same sex. Female therapists get it, because they live it. They understand. This is not to say that male therapists aren’t amazing and don’t add value, but when you’re dealing with sensitive subjects that are unique to women (and even when you’re not) it can be comforting, and easier to talk to a female counselor who can personally relate to much of what you’re going through.


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[A hidden Covid-19 Crisis: Domestic Abuse Rises Worldwide

Social Distancing restrictions aimed to stop the spread of the coronavirus may be making violence in homes more frequent and in some cases, more severe. Children are also especially vulnerable to domestic abuse during this pandemic. Research shows that increased stress levels among parents is often a major predictor of physical abuse and neglect of children and adolescents.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

  • Nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States have been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime.

  • 1 out of every 3 women have experienced an abusive relationship.

  • 81% of women who experienced rape, stalking, or physical violence by an intimate partner reported significant short- or long-term impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and injury.

Below are 10 common indicators:

  1. Stalking: questioning your every move and telling you that they love you and are being protective
  2. Texting or calling you constantly; telling you they are concerned about you and want to make sure your safe
  3. Control of your finances; force you to account in detail what you spend
  4. Criticize you for every little thing you do
  5. Humiliate you in front of your family and friends
  6. Angers easily, particularly if he or she is drinking
  7. Force you to have sex against your will
  8. Hits or punches you
  9. Jealous of friendships or any other outside relationships
  10. Isolation from family and friends

If you can say yes to even one of these you are in an abusive relationship!

  1. Don’t ignore the problem, be prepared and make a safety plan
  2. Often in a calm stage, victims chose to remain in a relationship hopeful that the abuser will change
  3. It is important to have a safety plan in the event the violence erupts again
  4. Call a shelter if you do not have elsewhere to go, find out about legal options or other resources available to you before you have to use them
  5. Prepare an emergency bag, extra cash, checkbook, savings account, identification, medical insurance card and address book
  6. Keep the emergency bag in a safe place where the abuser cannot find it
  7. Know exactly where to go and how to get there; even if the battery should occur in the middle of the night
  8. Leave the situation; take the kids with you
  9. If you are in immediate danger call 911

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BCS recognizes and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offers the following well-being advice.

Working from home:

  • Be realistic about what can be achieved.
  • Keep the hours you work in check and be mindful of work-life balance.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Eat well and prioritize sleep
  • tay physically fit, there are many home fitness YouTube’s you can follow
  • Try and find time to switch off from Coronavirus infomation overload on tv.
  • Monitor warning signs of poor mental health.
  • Reach out to mentors and colleagues for support.
  • Maintain interests outside work.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Problems concentrating
  • Mood changes, including excessive highs
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding calling or face time with friends
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress

If you feel you need a little extra help – Online Counseling is convenient, private and it works.


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The latest 3 letter acronym WFH (Working From Home #WFH)

When working from home, it’s easy to get distracted with household chores like laundry, walking the dog, emptying the dishwasher, etc. Create a routine and schedule that works for you.

Establish times when you will focus only on work and breaks when you can allow or accommodate home distractions. Find a room in your house that will enable you to unplug from distractions from family members or roommates.

Create a space that supports how you work best. If possible, include daylight, views, ergonomic furniture (especially a good chair), good lighting, easy access to electrical and hi-speed internet/broadband.

Try and replicate your office set-up at home. If you normally use multiple screens, for instance, do this in your home set-up. If you have minimal experience working from home, this is the time to create new personal habits to implement focus and establish a new daily routine.

Use video conferencing – Every laptop has a camera. Use it! this will help you feel more connected to your team. Enforce a rule or develop a process that encourages everyone to have cameras on during team calls. Not only will cameras help you feel more connected, but they will make meetings more productive. It’s hard to listen, smile and multi-task at the same time.

Know when to stop! Commuting to and from work establishes clear boundaries for your work schedule. Remote work has the potential to blur the lines between work and personal life. Develop team rules about the boundaries of work and personal time. More importantly, establish your own rules. You need to give yourself permission to be guilt-free during your personal time at home. When will you not be reachable? When will you start and stop work? Align with your manager and team and stick to it. Answering routine emails and texts in the evenings and the weekends impedes your ability to restore.