May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

May is almost over, but that doesn't mean we need to stop talking about mental health. We need to raise awareness and fight the stigma that still exists today around people with mental illness.


What is Stigma?

Stigma is a negative word that creates shame, fear, and brings judgment on those who are fighting for their life. As a result of stigma, often people will choose not to seek help because of the fear of what people will think of them, or what they will be labeled. 

Here are a few mental health facts provided by the National Alliance of Mental Illness to help establish just how prevalent mental illness is in America (NAMI, 2018). 

  • 1 in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions, that’s 43.8 million adults who experience mental illness in a given year. 
  • 1 in 25 adults in America live with a serious mental illness.  
  • One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by the age of 24.
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
  • According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States, age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment (ADAA, 2016).

What will you choose?

We have a choice to make. We can show love and support to those who struggle with mental illness or we can choose to add to the stigma and ignore the reality of what most people are facing in America. 

Do you know someone who has a mental illness?

Our health and well-being is so important. It is a gift! You deserve to feel healthy, happy, and supported in this journey and know that you are not alone. Sometimes it takes a friend, a counselor, or an accountability partner to help you in this journey. At Novo Life Counseling, our goal is to help break down those barriers, remove the stigma, and to create a safe place for you to feel seen and heard. To learn more click here

What's one thing you can start doing today to reduce the stigma?



We all need to hit the pause button in our lives from time to time, whether we’re feeling overwhelmed or need help refocusing our negative thoughts to positive ones. Mindfulness is one of the best tools we can use to manage stress, renew our mind and find inner calm and peace.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the awareness of one's own experience without judgment, focusing on current thoughts, feelings and senses (American Psychological Association, 2012). It allows for us to reconnect with ourselves in order to be fully present in each moment. Sometimes it’s a mindful pause, a deep breath, or a visualization process that fosters awareness of how we’re feeling.

Mindfulness is the best place to start in our self-care journey and is a great tool to use at any time, especially when faced with anxiety or stressful situations.

Why Should we Practice Mindfulness?

Research from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore concluded that mindfulness-based therapy can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain while overall improving mental health, sleep and lowering blood pressure (Harvard Health Publishing, 2014).

What Does Practicing Mindfulness Look Like?

The goal of this exercise is to help you feel more refocused and renewed.

Mindful Breathing

Take a deep breath and invite yourself to be in this present moment.

  1. Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. Keep your back upright, but not too tight. Hands resting wherever they’re comfortable. Tongue on the roof of your mouth or wherever it’s comfortable.

  2. Notice and relax your body, including the  shape of your body and its weight. Let yourself relax and become curious about your body seated here—the sensations it experiences, the touch, the connection with the floor or the chair. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Just breathe.

  3. Tune into your breath. Feel the natural flow of breath—in, out. You don’t need to do anything to your breath. Not long, not short, just natural. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen. It may be in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. When one breath ends, the next breath begins.  

  4. Now as you do this, you might notice that your mind may start to wander. You may start thinking about other things. If this happens, it is not a problem. It's very natural. Just notice that your mind has wandered. You can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. And then gently redirect your attention right back to the breathing.

  5. Stay here for five to seven minutes. Notice your breath, in silence. From time to time, you’ll get lost in thought, then return to your breath.  

  6. After a few minutes, once again notice your body, your whole body, seated here. Let yourself relax even more deeply and then offer yourself some appreciation for doing this practice today.

If you have time, linger and savor this moment as you draw your attention back to your body and back to the present moment. Continue to practice this on a daily basis as you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, giving yourself permission to take a mindful pause as often as you can.

For more mindfulness exercises click HERE or download this app: HEADSPACE



It’s #worldhealthday and the World Health Organization (WHO) is focusing on fighting depression this year.

"Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015" (WHO).  

These are our loved ones, our neighbors, and people in our community. Learn more so you can help those who may be struggling with this illness. Novo Life Counseling also specializes in working with those who struggle with depression and is ready to talk with you — you are not alone and your life DOES MATTER!



According to the Mayo Clinic (2014), researchers continue to explore the affects of positive self-talk, finding it can lead to:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

It's unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. It's also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don't smoke or drink alcohol in excess.



We all need to hear the words or tell ourselves that WE MATTER. One of the most common questions we get asked is, how do you de-stress? Through a lot of trial and error, we have learned what works best for us and it is different for everyone.

Self-care is about taking time for YOU. It is unique for everyone. It is taking the time to care for your body, your soul, and your mind. It re-charges you, renews you, and leaves you feeling refreshed. It can be doing something that brings you joy like, traveling, spending quality time with friends, working out, eating healthy, meditating, resting or adventuring out in nature. Whatever it is for you, I challenge you to good self-care.

Don't let a busy life be your excuse. Heavy workload or stress can have lasting affects on the body which is why it is so important to make time to care for yourself.  

It's worth it...You're worth it!




Are you feeling overwhelmed, tired, depressed, or have low energy? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is real and can have a

"Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD." (NIMH, 2016). 

The University of Washington provides reasons why the cloudy, dark and rainy weather may be having an effect on your emotions and overall health. Take these steps to deal with your winter blues and maintain a balanced mood throughout the year! 



Light Therapy* is a free service provided by: UW Counseling Center (206-543-1240) or, Hall Health (206-543-5030). 

Contact your personal physician, or Novo Life Counseling for assistance with additional referral resources.

*Please consult with your physician or mental health counselor before purchasing a light therapy box. 



Jobs are stressful, families are stressful, school is stressful, life is stressful. So, how do you cope with all of this stress?

Managing your stress and the anxiety related to stress is key in preventing more serious health problems from happening later on down the road. 

Stress management includes three healthy everyday habits:




SLEEP WELL. Prepare yourself for better sleep by doing things that relax your mind, like reading a book! According to the National Sleep Foundation (2015), exposure to light, such as watching TV, stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain which may prevent you from getting a good night's sleep and increase the risk of depression. 

EAT WELL. Eating well is just as important! Try choosing clean, whole foods with little sugar. For helpful tips check out this blog: She is a Holistic Health and Wellness coach and blogger who has made some amazing dishes for me!

EXERCISE WELL. Exercising daily, even if it's just a short walk will promote physical health. According to the CDC (2015), regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. I know there never seems to be enough hours in the day, but I have learned that it is better to take a short 10-minute walk around the neighborhood then not at all. 


YOU MATTER. Make time for yourself, rest and relax. Do the things that bring you joy or fill you up so that you are not running on empty. Even if it means scheduling time for YOU in your calendar, so that you don't get overwhelmed by your "to do" list. 

I have learned the importance of SAYING NO. Taking on too much will only worsen the stress or cause you to take it out on others. 

TALK IT OUT. Find a friend, a counselor, or someone you can trust to talk about the stress in your life and what is causing it. 

For more information visit: