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We have all encountered toxic people who suck the life out of us. Some of you may be going through this as you read this blog. If you are struggling with setting boundaries with others then here are three rules to follow help you lift that deadweight and start to feel lighter emotionally and physically.

Rule #1: Set boundaries with yourself. Refuse to talk about yourself negatively. Practice self-care. Choose to spend your time wisely. Don’t answer phone calls or respond to emails after work hours. There are soooo many more ways you can set boundaries with yourself so make a list to identify and what ways do you need to treat yourself better. If you don’t respect yourself, how can you expect someone else to respect you?

Rule #2: Put your foot down. Don’t allow others to lie to you, cheat on you, shame you, blame you, and yell and speak to you disrespectfully. Don’t even let people gossip about others to you. Setting boundaries means letting people know what you are and are not comfortable with in your friendship or relationship. If you don’t speak up for yourself you will feel depressed, anxious, angry, resentful and will continue to be mistreated and abused by others.

Rule #3: Be consistent and follow through. Too often we talk about what we want to do but we don’t really follow through and then others may not feel that you are serious. For example, if you tell your significant other that you are not going to argue with them if they try to pick a fight with you but you still engage in an argument, then you are letting them think that their argumentative behavior is acceptable and engaging gives them the satisfaction that they want.

Setting boundaries takes time and may cause strain in your relationships. Relationships may even end if those whom you are setting boundaries with do not choose to respect your boundaries. I too have had to set boundaries with even family to ensure peace of mind. It is disappointing and hurtful but hanging on to those relationships with no boundaries were not worth sacrificing my mental and physical well-being.

Comment below what you think about setting boundaries. Is it hard? Do you make exceptions for certain people? Don’t forget to listen to the podcast to hear more about setting boundaries and to participate in this week’s TCC Weekly Challenge.

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At some point in life or maybe several times in life we are faced with challenges that incite fear in our minds. I go through it myself at times. If you struggle with depression or anxiety it may be even harder for you to shake that fear when it arises.

When I was child, my dad used to always say “The battle is in the mind, Jessie.” I didnt know what the heck he was talking about and really didn’t care at that age. Now that I am older, practicing in this profession, and through experiencing challenges and facing my own fears, I can testify to this daily battle in all of our minds.The battle between fear and courage, self doubt and confidence can take a mental and physical toll on you if you let it.

So how do you overcome the battle?

Step one, challenge yourself. Think of yourself as a lawyer and argue back to those negative and distorted thoughts with evidence and counteracting positive statements.

Step two, find your motivation or reward. Yea you might be afraid to put yourself out there but what is the end result? Where do you want to be down the line that requires you to push through this fear? There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Lastly, step number three, JUST DO IT! If you don’t jump out there and start that business that you have been wanting to start or talk to that crush you have been having your eyes on for the last few months or delay submitting that application to graduate school that would help you get a pay increase later, then you can only be mad at who at the end of the day? That’s right. YOU. Don’t regret five, ten, twenty years down the road that you didn’t act and allowed your fear take control of your life. Grab fear by the reigns and let it know who’s boss. I had so many doubts in my mind throughout my counseling career and especially with starting my private practice but I did it anyway because I decided a long time ago that I was never going to let fear keep me from achieving my goals. And you don’t need to allow it to either.

Listen to the podcast to find out how you can participate in this week’s TCC Weekly Challenge on overcoming your fears. Comment below which fear you plan on facing this week.

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It’s the summertime and you know what that means? Vacation time! If you haven’t already taken some time off I hope you plan to at some point this summer. Taking vacations are important to our mental and physical health and studies have shown that vacations can reduce stress, increase productivity at work, prevent heart disease, and allows the opportunity for better sleep. It also presents a time for you to practice mindfulness as discussed in the last podcast (Episode 1). Listen to the podcast to here more about my thoughts on vacations and how they can affect your mental health positively and negatively. Here are five tips to help you maximize your mental health while on vacation:

1. Social Media Detox-use this time to stay off of social media and truly be present mentally on your vacation. It can be stressful in itself trying to take pictures, record those perfect moments, and think of those catchy captions. At least limit your posting and scrolling to twice a day if you can’t cut it out completely.

2. Minimize electronic usage-phones, computers, and tablets should ideally be left behind but if it’s not possible, try every effort to engage in the activities and with others you are spending your vacation with. If it helps for you to turn internet off so you aren’t tempted try that as well. I know you may not think you can survive without the internet but trust me you can and you will thank me later after you try it. Electronics also negatively impact our sleep so when you are on vacation try to sleep with your phones in another room and put them on silent. Nobody should be contacting you anyway right?

3. Catch up on sleep- vacation is a perfect time for you to get the rest you need to improve your sleep quality so you will feel refreshed upon your return to work. It also won’t hurt for you to schedule nap time in your vacation itinerary. Sleep helps to decrease irritability which will make your vacation a whole lot more enjoyable.

4. Get in touch with nature-unless you work outside most of us never truly enjoy the wonders and peace of Mother Nature. Take walks, appreciate the scenery, practice mindfulness by sitting and using your five senses to become aware of your surroundings. Take in every little detail about your location and bask in the beauty of it all.

5. Resist the urge to spend money or excessive amounts- you do not have to spend a lot of money (or any at all) to enjoy yourself on vacation. Minimal spending helps save you stress later on down the line when you realize that money on that expensive meal could have been used for something else. Save money in advance and plan activities and meals accordingly for your trip and stick to using that money only. Be disciplined enough to not use undesignated funds. Leave credit cards at home if this is difficult for you.

I hope these tips help you to enjoy your vacation even more so than your last! Tell me what are you doing for your vacation? Comment below! Also if you are participating in this week’s TCC challenge comment below how that was for you. Listen to this week’s Episode 2: Mental Vacay podcast to find out what this week’s challenge is. Happy Vacationing!

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