Happy New Year

Years ago one of my amazing clients told me about her tradition of doing a New Year's jar and graciously allowed me to share it with others. Starting on January 1st at the end of the day you write down your favorite moment of the day on a small piece of paper. It could be something sweet or something that made you laugh out loud. Then you place it in a jar where you can see it daily. Some of my clients have liked to use different colors of paper to create beautiful designs in the jar. Others have preferred to pick one color that relates to how they want to feel that year. At the end of the year you open up your jar and read all of your happy memories. There are many benefits to this activity. One is that it shifts our focus on the positive. It can help us see that even on what seems like the worst day there is something we can be grateful for. Another benefit is it serves as a visual reminder of the good in our life. Finally, we get the added joy of remembering all our happy memories at the end of the year when we read them. Even if the New Year jar is not for you, I hope you will consider creating some traditions of your own that bring you happiness every day.

Stress Management Group

 
 
Group:  Stress Management
 
For: Adults  

When: 4 week group Thursdays from 12pm to 12:50pm  

Thursdays June 19th, 26th, July 10th and July 17th
 
Where: Healthy Minds, 319 South Main St., St. Albans Vermont
 
Stressed by work, family, friends and life in general? Come learn tips to feel relaxed and happier!  Group will focus on learning stress reduction skills using aromatherapy, meditation and cognitive behavioral techniques to think more positively.
 
Registration and material fees: $10
Most insurances accepted or $25 per each session.
Please register by June 12th.
For further information please contact Raquel at 802-524-0305 ext. 6.

 

 

Recently Quoted

screen shot of web site hosting articleRaquel was quoted in the article "What is Worth Fighting for With Your Preteen?" by Shannon Philpott on Mom.me.  

To view the full article: http://mom.me/parenting/6690-what-worth-fighting-your-preteen/

Perfect...

The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. -Jill Churchill   

I love this quote. I think it's a good reminder for a lot of us who feel the pressure to be perfect. We may know that it's unrealistic to always say or do the right thing but the thoughts are still there. Along with the worry that others will judge us if we don't. This thinking may be a product of how you were raised. It may be a symptom of our society in which we are often expected to be super human and over function. The great thing is however this type of thinking started for you, you have the ability to change it. You have the right to be kind to yourself and say I am no longer going to make myself sick worrying about meeting unrealistic expectations. I am going to free myself from this unhealthy thinking. Instead I'm going to choose to enjoy life and realize that I can be good without having to be perfect. Besides, how boring would life be if everything was perfect?

 

Recently Quoted

Teaching kids with boundaries article

 

 

 

Raquel was quoted in the article "Teaching Kids Boundaries with Peers" by Shannon Philpott.  


To view the full article:  http://mom.me/parenting/the-social-scene/friendship-dramas/6508-teaching-kids-boundaries-peers/

 
 
 
To read more of Shannon's articles please visit her website at

How to Use Breathing Techniques to Calm Your Body and Mind

 

Many people underestimate the importance of properly breathing. Taking the time to slowly inhale and exhale can have a dramatic effect on your emotions and your brain's ability to function. Research has shown that individuals who are prone to anxiety tend to breathe more shallowly. Simply slowing down your breathing can help to reset your brain and calm your body down. Try the following exercises to notice the impact your breathing has on your emotions and body. First take a few quick breaths. How do you feel? Next hold your breath for a few seconds. Do you feel relaxed or anxious? Now breathe in slowly through your nose with your mouth closed and then breathe out slowly through your mouth. You should hear a sighing sound as you exhale. Remember don't hold your breath in between inhalations and exhalations. Just continue to breathe in and out slowly. How do you feel now? How does your body feel?

Quoted on Mom.me

 

Raquel was recently quoted in the article: "Rules for Behavior Between Siblings in the House" by Shannon Philpott on Mom.me. You can follow this link to read the full article: http://mom.me/parenting/family-dynamics/sibling-relationships/6504-rules-behavior-between-siblings-house/

Quoted in The Glass Hammer

 

Raquel was recently quoted in the article The Art of Giving Effective Feedback by Robin Madell on theglasshammer.com, a career website for female executives. To read the full article please go to http://www.theglasshammer.com/news/2013/02/07/the-art-of-giving-effective-feedback/

 

 

 

 

Applying Cognitive-Behavioral Strategies to Your Career

 

A simple trick I have shared with my clients is to keep an ongoing file of your work accomplishments. It could be small tasks like mastering a new skill or bigger honors like receiving an award. Be sure to include detailed compliments you receive from customers and colleagues. Why? Our brain focuses on where we put our energy. If you are focused on the things you hate about your job, you will dread going in everyday. If you are focused on the positive things such as building your skills and having them noticed by others you will be happier at work . This can often increase your performance resulting in more positive outcomes. Another reason is that it helps to build up your self esteem and sense of self-efficacy. It can be easy to get down on yourself after you make a mistake. Reviewing your accomplishment file helps to see the bigger picture and remind you of all the things you have done right. On the practical side, your accomplishment file can come in handy when it's time for your annual review. Humans tend to focus on the negatives. By bringing up specific examples from your accomplishment file such as how you saved your company a certain amount of money or won a new account, you remind your employer of your positive contributions. Do you want to be the employee who your boss associates with negative or postive thoughts? Some of my clients have printed out key points from their accomplishment file to give to their employers so they have something tangible to see when discussing their performance. As an added bonus, the majority of my clients who have used this strategy have been able to gain either a promotion, a raise or used it to move to a better job.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 When I was younger, the word Thanksgiving brought with it images of turkey, gravy,  stuffing mashed potatoes and family. If I'm being honest, it was pretty much in that order. But spending time with my family was still on the list. Somewhere along the lines, it seems that Thanksgiving changed into Big Sale Day. Don't get me wrong, I love shopping too and considering the way the economy is today it makes sense to take advantage of deals when we can. However, something about camping out in the cold at 5am to buy the newest gadget instead of sitting around the family table enjoying a delicious meal seems sad to me. I am not saying that it's wrong in anyway. It's just not right for me. I am sure there were times that I really wanted something but looking back now, I can't tell you what those things were. I can tell you about the memories of my family laughing together and even arguing sometimes. I can describe all the delicious food we had and fighting over the last piece of cheesy garlic bread. I ask you now, what do you remember about your Thanksgivings growing up and what would you like to remember about this one?I want to stress that I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. I know what my answer is but I also know it's a very personal decision. For some people, it might be a family dinner. For others, that might not be a healthy or preferable option. Whatever you choose I hope you enjoy it and make good memories. If it makes you feel good to battle it out in the stores for the toy your child (or you) really wants, then I am all for that. Good luck and remember to be kind to your fellow shoppers and store staff along the way. If it's that you want to spend time with your family knowing full well it might lead to headache later on I hope you have fun as well. However you choose to spend your day, I wish you all a Very Happy Thanksgiving! 

Mindfulness

I recently attended Terry Fralich's Advanced Mindfulness training.  For years I have been successfully teaching mindfulness techniques to my clients who reported the wonderful effects it had on their lives.  I like to teach my clients a variety of skills that they can use but understand that some might click for them and some might not. Mindfulness clicked for me in a whole new way after this workshop.  Through sharing different mindfulness exercises, Terry did a wonderful job of illustrating how practicing mindfulness can help us connect to our present moment instead of feeling sad about our past or worried about our future.  I am excited to share these techniques I have learned with my clients in order to help with a number of issues including anxiety, depression and overeating.  I also encourage you all to visit Terry Fralich's website http://www.mindfulnesscenter.org to learn more about his work.   

Event

Raquel will be presenting her interactive workshop Creating a Strategic Success Plan for Your Business at the Vermont Women's Business Center in Berlin on May 7th, 2012.  For more information, please visit the VWBC.

Event

Raquel will be at the Vermont Women's Expo on Saturday March 10th at the Sheraton Inn in Burlington Vermont.  Stop by her booth for more information about the services she provides.  For more information visit the Vermont Women's Expo 

Strategies for Success Workshop

 

Over the years I have had the privilege of working with several very smart women who despite all of their strengths, sometimes struggled with getting ahead in the workplace. Our work together revealed that achieving their goals  just took learning tools to make small changes in the way they viewed themselves and how they communicated with others. These changes often lead to raises and/or promotions for them.  As an added bonus, they were able to use these strategies to improve other areas of their lives.  Personally, I have used these skills to transition from an entry level job to a supervisory position and then to running my own successful private practice.   In an effort to reach more women, I have developed a 5 part workshop focusing on these strategies for success.

 

Co-workers celebrating victory, woman with trophy.Topics include:

Assessing strengths and areas for growth

Setting clearly defined short term and long term career goals

Developing an assertive communication style

Maintaining clear boundaries

Building and demonstrating leadership abilities

Improving self care and stress management skills

Creating a supportive network

 

It is my hope that creating a supportive network for you will begin in these workshops. In order to foster this, workshops will be limited to only 8 participants. In addition to the 5 workshops, I will provide two 15 minute individual coaching sessions. The first coaching session will take place prior to the 1st workshop so that we can create a plan on how to help you get the most from the group. You get to choose when the 2nd coaching session takes place (either during the workshop series or after it is done).

Dates: Wednesdays May 23rd, 30th, June 6th, 13th, 20th

Time: 6pm-7:15pm

Location: 595 Dorset St. Suite 2, South Burlington, VT 05403. 

Cost: $250 for all 5 workshops, materials and two 15 minute coaching sessions. To register call me at 802-651-8999 ext. 5. (If you get my voice mail please leave the best times to return your call). Please register early as space is limited!  

 

Test Anxiety

Image of student struggling to study for a testDoes the mere mention of the word “test” cause you to get sick to your stomach? Do you not do as well as you’d like even though you’ve studied the material? Does your worry that others might judge you based on your test scores cause your mind to go blank? Then you may be suffering from test anxiety. It occurs when intense negative thoughts and feelings about your performance interfere with you doing your best.
 

Fortunately, there are many strategies you can use to help. The most basic ones involve making sure to take care of your mind and body. We perform best when we have a good night’s sleep, eat healthy and generally feel well. If you disagree with this, think back to the last time you stayed up all night eating junk food…how prepared did you feel to take on the world the next day?
 

With you body in a good place, you can focus on taking care of your mind. In my experience, most people don’t do poorly on an exam because they are stupid or don’t study enough. (In fact, some of the smartest people I know have struggled with poor grades.) What appears to be the biggest factor is that they tend to “psych themselves out.” In other words, they start believe that they can’t do well on the test and then act accordingly. The following example illustrates what can happen: you have a math final . Even though you did well all semester you tell yourself “I never do well on finals…if I don’t do well on this test, I might fail this class. If I fail this class, I might fail all my classes and then, I won’t get into a good college. If I don’t get into a good college my whole life will be ruined.” Somehow you convince yourself that your whole future depends on this one test. You become so nervous you can’t focus on the test and end up with a poor grade.


One helpful strategy is to to keep things in perspective. For example, you could tell yourself “Even though I haven’t done well on finals in the past, I feel really prepared for this one and know I can get a good grade. Even if I don’t do as well I’d like to, a poor grade will not ruin my entire life.” Another technique is to challenge negative thinking. The next time you feel bad about your abilities, list all the evidence you have against your negative thought. For example, if you think “I’m stupid”, list all the evidence that you are not. Your list might look like this: I got an A on my paper, my friends tend to ask for my advice, my teacher thought my presentation was great, etc.” You might also try positive affirmations which involve repeating positive statements to yourself in order to increase your confidence. Statements like “I am successful” or “I know this material” can help you to stay calm and focused. For more strategies, please feel free to call me to set up a session where we can come up with an individualized plan for you.