13 Mar

Take time to nurture your soul!

When our soul is tired no amount of sleep will fix it.  It is important to make your happiness and wellness a priority.

5 Things you can do to feed your soul.


Take a breather, or rest for a couple of hours one afternoon when the world feels like it is getting away on you.  We can find creativity and energy when we allow ourselves time to rest and regenerate.  Our mind can get overloaded with day to day things and it is pretty challenging to find room for more.  So curl up on the couch with a good book or just let yourself be with some calming music and a cup of chai.  Do whatever it is that you enjoy, let yourself be still if that is what you need or go for a walk and feel the energy of nature. Choose your way to replenish.


Be with the people who make you happy.  Make time to see that friend that you enjoy spending time with and that makes you smile.  Humans need social connection and when our soul is tired this is one of the first things to go.  It doesn’t have to be a full out social event but rather a chance to talk and laugh together.  Sometimes sharing helps us to put things into perspective.


Laughter really is great medicine.  According to Gaiam it helps lower blood pressure and stress hormones but it boosts t cells.  Laughter also brings with it a sense of wellbeing.  So turn on that old episode of I Love Lucy and find a bit of inner joy.


Grey’s Anatomy fans know that when the going gets tough Meredith has been known to encourage her friends to “dance it out.”  A quick Google search tells us that on campuses across North America dancing to relieve stress is effective and fun.  This strategy to feed your soul can be done with others or in the privacy of your own space.  Pop in those ear buds and give it a try.  We recommend creating a “dance it out” playlist which you can have with you at all times because you never know when the mood might strike.

Be Kind

Doing something kind for others feels good.  In an article by tiny buddha they remind us that “being kind to others is being kind to yourself.”  This isn’t always easy but being positive and kind usually makes it more difficult for others to respond in a negative manner.  Setting your intention to be kind for the day can bring some pleasantly unexpected results.


29 Jan

Wellness for 2017

It’s a new year and with it comes new ideas of things we could be doing differently to promote wellness in our lives.


The less is more movement continues to be significant. North Americans have become known for their love of material things. The trend in 2016 was decluttering your life physically and emotionally. In 2017 it continues as it moves to fashion and our wardrobes with clothing coming from natural fibres and Canadian designers. The idea that we should simplify our wardrobes and get rid of excess, ditch the trends and get back to basics.  We guess that means 2017 will be a bit of a jeans and tshirt kind of year as we declutter our wardrobe.

Digital Detox

The constant buzzing, we are all familiar with the sound that happens even when our phone is on vibration.  The checking to see the email that just came in or texting a friend instead of calling.  In 10 Ways To Step Up Your Self Care Game in 2017 this tip stands out.  Take a no technology break and let your brain be creative without the help of a phone or computer.

Hygge or Nesting

Hygge, pronounced (hue-Gah) a Danish term defined in the New Yorker as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”.  Winter is the perfect time for curling up with a good book with a hot beverage and practicing the art of hygee.

Self Care

We keep talking about this but honestly it is incredibly important and we can’t talk about it enough.  It is the subject of many blog posts like 30 on Tap and Moms Who Drink and Swear.  A favourite description for self care that is shared by Nicole Knepper on The Soundtrack for Self Care 2017 is to take time to do things that make you feel like you.  That is fantastic advice we can all use!

Silence is Golden

Have you ever thought about spending time in complete silence?  Silent retreats are now being offered where people cannot speak and must unplug for the duration of their time there. Unwind and still your mind for a couple of days or even weeks.  These retreats are becoming so popular they are being offered around the world in countries such as Australia, Costa Rica and closer to home in Canada. There is a website that lists them on their directory.

So find something that speaks to you and make 2017 the year of wellness!


30 Oct

Starbucks shows leadership in employee wellness!

Congratulations to Starbucks Canada for showing leadership in employee wellness!  Starbucks made the announcement during mental health awareness week.  Working at Starbucks just got better, they have increased their coverage for counselling and therapy .  The coverage for the services of social workers and psychologists has increased from $400 per year to $5,000.  Eligible employees (employed over 20 hours per week) and their families will have access to this coverage which will not require a doctor’s referral.

This is important news and acknowledgement that change in the area of employee wellness is needed. There is an increasing need for these supports to be available.  “20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime “according to stats from Canadian Mental Health Association.

The news this month was covered with interest by a number of publications such as The Globe and Mail whose article Why Starbucks Canada’s investment in mental health therapy matters, pointed out the significance.  People need help and our public system has limited resources for the volume it is seeing.  They have made the commitment to their employees and their families.  This benefit may seem large but health care analysis Mike Sullivan points out, it is likely to be used by a small portion of employees and will reduce productivity, disability claims, absenteeism and increase wellness and satisfaction.  This is really a win, win situation for both employer and employee.  They are reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and increasing the likelihood of earlier intervention.

As we see the see the millennials make up a larger part of the work force, holistic mental health is what they will be seeking.  It is inspiring to see corporations recognize this need and  take steps to support their employees in such a positive manner.  If you are not sure about your benefit coverage call your HR representative or benefit provider.  Many packages are now including coverage of an RSW or Registered Social Worker.

Employee Wellnes at Starbucks

18 Oct

Traditional Medicine vs holistic or alternative medicine


Holistic medicine is something we are hearing more about these days. During our work with counselling clients when discussing strategies for self care we often inquire as to what types of extended benefits they have.  It is common for people to come to counselling after they have been referred by their medical doctor who is treating them for things like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety or depression.

We are hearing through media  more and more frequently that Illnesses or symptoms can be triggered by the stress we have in our lives. Traditional doctors are now recognizing the impacts lifestyle can have on people’s health and are encouraging their patients to include holistic or complementary treatments like yoga, meditation, massage and counselling.

As counsellors we understand the benefits of using many different modalities of care to support our mental health.  Having a health team and being an active participant in your own health care can be empowering. Sometimes it is not clear to our clients what each practitioner does and what benefits they might have.  The following is a bit of information about the most commonly covered practitioners. Also if you are without benefits don’t let that deter you as many of the treatments require a modest investment ranging from $50 to $150 dependent on the type of practitioner but can make a positive difference in your life. Ask your counsellor for referral information and they can provide you with a list of local practitioners.

To define naturopathic medicine I went straight to the source, Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors website.  They define natuopathic medicine as a

distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body, and unfavourable lifestyle habits. Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity.

Treating both acute and chronic conditions, naturopathic treatments are chosen based on the individual patient – their physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environment and lifestyle factors. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation and traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, may also be used during treatments.”

The Canadian Chiropractic Association states that “Chiropractors are extensively educated in the prevention, assessment, diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and associated neurological system and will recommend a course of treatment to help relieve pain and improve function without surgery or pharmaceuticals, such as manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue therapy, exercise, education, modalities (i.e. ultrasound or laser) and rehabilitation. Chiropractors are also trained to provide nutritional counselling, as well as recommend injury prevention strategies.”


Ostheopathy is another form of holistic treatment. It is defined by the Canadian College of Ostheopathy as:

“A Natural medicine which aims to restore function in the body by treating the cause of pain and imbalance.  To achieve this goal the Ostheopathic Manual Practitioner relies on the quality and finesse of his/her palpation and works with the position, mobility and quality of the tissues.”


Another common extended benefit is treatment by a registered massage therapist.  There is a misconception that massages are just for a bit of relaxation.  The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario states:

Massage therapy treatment has a therapeutic effect on the body and optimizes health and well-being by acting on the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems. Physical function can be developed, maintained and improved; and physical dysfunction and pain and the effects of stress can be relieved or prevented through the use of Massage Therapy.

Modern massage techniques can be traced back to the 1700′s and the development of Swedish massage, the first systematic method of therapeutic massage based on physiology. Today’s Massage Therapists use their knowledge of anatomy and physiology to combine traditional Swedish and modern Massage Therapy techniques with exercise and other therapies to treat their clients.”





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