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Aimee Barr, LCSW  Psychotherapist . Educator . Advocate Helping you through your most difficult life transitions. Organization Spotlight: LyftedUp👇


Go For A Walk (Outside)! It’s far from summertime. But regardless of the weather, being outside and getting the advantages of sunlight will impact your physical and emotional health. Studies have shown that walking briskly (about three to four miles per hour) can reduce your risk of developing life-threatening diseases, and it can help treat depression and anxiety. Likewise, according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, found that nature walks (particularly group nature walks) "appear to mitigate the effects of stressful life events on perceived stress ... while synergizing with physical activity to improve positive affect and mental well-being."

It’s been a quite a holiday season! Maybe you ate one too many chocolate brownies, had an extra glass of champagne and you are feeling extra tired and heavy. Your diet is fuel for your body. How you honor your body and what you nourish yourself with will affect not only your physical health but also your emotional health. As we confront the #JanuaryJitters, please look at what you are feeding yourself. Too much sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can be hazardous to your alertness, mood and energy level. What new commitments can you make to your physical health this year? Everything is connected, we can’t honor our emotional health without looking at how we are caring for ourselves on a physical level.

Today is National Hugs Day!
Psychotherapist Virginia Satir said before: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Studies have shown that a 20- second hug is able to reduce harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate. Hugs can improve your health, your relationships and make the world a kinder and more connected place. Today is National Hugging Day! This is an annual holiday dedicated to hugging that was created by Kevin Zaborney. Have you gotten at least 4 hugs today?

Aquarius Season
And just like that, the sun has entered the Zodiac sign of Aquarius and will be in this freedom loving air sign until February 18, 2018. Aquarius is the eleventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation Aquarius. In astrology, Aquarius is considered a "masculine” and extroverted sign. It is also considered one of four fixed signs. Aquarius has been traditionally ruled by the planet Saturn, and, since its discovery, Uranus has been considered a modern co-ruler of this sign. Aquarius individuals are seen as rebels with a cause and are highly intellectual people who love helping others. Who is an Aquarius celebrating their birthday this season?

When we feel anxiety our breathing patterns will immediately change. Instead of breathing slowly from our lower lungs, we will breathe rapidly from upper lungs. This will result in feeling nauseous, dizzy, disoriented and experiencing greater panic. The great news is that by breathing correctly, you can almost immediately reverse these symptoms. If you want to practice breathing, imagine that you are blowing up a balloon, slowly and steadily and with the absolute least amount of force. Breathe out until the last drop of breath is released. Another relaxation technique is to scan your body for anywhere you're holding tension. Typical places are your lips, jaw and shoulders. With each slow out-breath, allow the tension you're holding to flow out, and relaxation to flow in. What breathing techniques have helped you slow down when feeling anxious?

Today we have a new moon is Capricorn! Capricorn is the planet that rules our governments, the patriarchy, institutions, and rulers, so this is a time where we can expect extra focus on them! This new moon is aligned with Venus in Capricorn, helping us to come together, benefiting from partnerships and cooperation. Right now is an excellent time to see how uniting together can help us be more compromising, fair-minded, and focused on justice. What relationships in your life can benefit from greater compromise? I support you in utilizing this new moon to bring peace, cooperation and kindness to all of your partnerships.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King, Jr
Today in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, we honor the legacy, life and contributions of a man who became the greatest champion of racial justice and equality in America. We commemorate the timeless values he taught us through his example — the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service. On this holiday and everyday may we embrace universal unconditional love, forgiveness, tolerance and nonviolence for all humankind.

Life is much more manageable not mention enjoyable when you have skilled mentors and a strong support system. Confront your #JanuaryJitters by recognizing that you shouldn’t have to go through challenges alone! Invest in mentors, seek out counseling from qualified mental health professionals and commit to learning. Ask for guidance, support and invest in yourself. How has finding the right support made a difference for you? Please share in the comments below.

If you are a mental health care professional, trauma survivor, love someone who is a survivor, or consider yourself seeking solutions to the cycle of trauma and violence in our society, this book is a #mustread. Please be emotionally prepared, The Body Keeps The Score is an intense read and can be triggering. However, it also provides an extremely thorough and informative understanding of what trauma does to the body and will also offer a lot of hope on how survivors can find healing. The author, Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk offers the reader important new information on breakthroughs in neuroscience, psychology and body-centered therapies for understanding and treating trauma. The Body Keeps the Score helps us understand how life experiences play out in the function and the malfunction of our bodies, years later. This book offers tremendous wisdom, compassion and scientific insights. It is one of a kind and I highly recommend.

When we are feeling anxious, overwhelmed and exhausted, it’s practically guaranteed that we will not be able to see our circumstances, ourselves or others objectively. During those intense moments when our emotions are intense, an adult time out is mandatory. A time-out involves removing ourselves from a triggering situation, so we have a moment to pause, deescalate emotions and gain clearer perspective. Time outs are not an avoidance tactic or way to hide from responsibility during a disagreement, but is actually a healthy way to manage anger (or other strong emotions) before it gets out of control. Remember that when emotions are riding high, communication is usually not productive or beneficial. How has pausing when angry and giving yourself a needed time out benefitted your relationships? Please share!

Human trafficking is the illegal movement of people, within national or across international borders, for the purposes of exploitation in the form of commercial sex, domestic service or manual labor. It is an illegal industry that generates an estimated 32 billion US dollars annually.
The work I have done with survivors of human trafficking is heartbreaking and has forever changed me. The horrors that currently exist in this world can’t be put into words. Human trafficking is an atrocious crime against humanity and a social issue I have a huge commitment to preventing. It is hard to get accurate statistics on the frequency of trafficking, due to the secret nature of the crime. However, research suggests that 80% of those trafficked are women and girls and 50% of all victims are children. Today I want to acknowledge http://arise.foundation/us/ and @GEMSGIRLS for the extraordinary work you do to help rescue and support survivors. In honor of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, lets support these organizations who are on the front lines saving lives. Most importantly, if you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to law enforcement by calling 911 or the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline line at 1-888-373-7888. Let’s continue to be aware and look out for each other.

It would be nice if we could do it all. One of the biggest causes for the #JanuaryJitters is overcommitting and under-delivering. As our life expands we will probably need to readjust expectations and put new structures in place to manage our commitments. Effective time management begins with accepting the reality that time is a finite resource. This acknowledgment frees you to make choices about what you will and won’t do so you can invest more in what’s most important and still have disposable time left to relax and have balance. Do you feel that they have too much to do? I support you in using this season to reevaluate, honor and then powerfully choose your commitments!

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