Wiconi Counseling Center
* Wiconi: Lakota word meaning "Life"


Ways to care for your mental health if you can't afford therapy

Find what brings you joy.  Often times activities may require another person to go along, and this can add to feelings of loneliness and failure if our friends and supports are busy when we are available. Seeking out new hobbies and interests can not only be rewarding in the long run, but can bring a sense of adventure and meaning to our lives. A plus side is that it can be accomplished alone or with friends. 

Eliminate the guilt from taking time for yourself. One way for some to recharge their batteries is to sit and enjoy a few hours of television. The difficulty lies in our negative self talk about this activity. Practice sitting in the moment, enjoy watching television, and recognize the importance of self care - sometimes through "vegging".  

The outdoors. Not everyone enjoys the outdoors, but if this is something you might enjoy, spend as much time as possible there. Even spending a few hours in the evening watching the sunset can bring a sense of peace to an anxious mind. Making sure to be mindful of the present moment and the beauty around you can work wonders for mental well being. 

Exercise. This can be a catch-22 situation if one puts high expectations on the results of exercise, rather than just exercising for the sake of exercise and well being. Making sure to not burden ourselves with goals and outcomes, working out can be a natural way to increase positive chemicals and bring a sense of accomplishment.

Speaking our Needs Clearly

Discussion topic. I was at a big family dinner tonight celebrating the in-laws' 50th. I was sitting next to my 4-year old grandson when our meals were delivered. He checked mine over and the following conversation occurred:

Grandson [eyeing my ham]: I sure love ham

Me: [acknowledgment of his love of ham]

Repeat 4 times

Me: I wonder if you have something else you would rather say about my ham.

Grandson [thinking]: nope. I just love ham.

Me: Are you hoping I'll give you a bite?

Grandson [face lighting up]: yes!

Me: Then let's try again.

Grandson: can I have a piece of your ham?

A few minutes later, grandson [without hesitation]: can I have another piece of your ham?

Me [while giving him some more ham]: perfect clarity!

I think this is a natural stage of development. Transitioning from infancy when our needs were met when we cried out to learning how to put our needs, wishes, and desires into words.

Sometimes, though, we never leave this stage. How often are we as adults comfortable in speaking our needs and wants with clarity? What stops us? What would change in our lives if we practiced clarity in this area?

How to fight with your significant other "the right way"

Most times when we argue, we are ultimately hoping to be understood at the very least. Ideally, we'll be agreed with. Arguing can become a lot less stressful and heated when we can come to terms with the fact that we might not be understood and likely won't be agreed with. The point of the argument, then, becomes one of sharing ideas, rather than forcing them. Spend your energy working on softening what you might be saying, de-escalating yourself, coming to understanding and compromise, and finally making sure you are taking measures to take care of yourself, your partner, and your relationship when all is said and done. 

How to get through Mother's Day when you're grieving your mother 

We have a tendency to want to avoid grief, or to eliminate it all together, particularly around the holidays. This is understandable as grief can be quite deep, penetrating and painful. When we talk about the loss of Mother, this can be even more so. Yet, some of us have indeed lost our mothers and this is indeed a reason to mourn, to grieve, and to feel pain. Perhaps allowing ourselves to feel the depth, to grieve, to cry, to be sad is okay. Sometimes allowing our feelings, even though traditionally considered "negative" can be the best thing for our own self-care. This self-care is important as we journey through the process of living without Mom, and this is particularly important around mother-based holidays, including her birthday and even her death anniversary. These may be times when we need to schedule the day off work and spend time doing what fills our own hearts. Reading, napping, spending time in nature ... anything that gets us back into living in our hearts. Even when that heart is sad, it's worth paying attention to.