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Healthy Hobbies

Free time can often seem like it comes in a limited supply. Everyone has said at least once that they’d give anything for some time to relax. Often, though, it is not a matter of having time to spend on non-essential activities, but rather not wasting time procrastinating or doing nothing at all.

The feeling that your time is being wasted is one of the most frustrating. That stressful feeling can be even more painful when it seems that there is nothing you’d rather do than nothing. Lethargy, or the lack of energy and enthusiasm to do most things, can be a serious detriment to your emotional and physical health.

Counseling can help you deal with the causes of lethargy and understand the feelings that come as a result of it. But even if you are just feeling slightly like you may not be using your time in the best way, there is something you can do about it.

Starting a new hobby is a great way to inspire new energy into your life. The feeling of learning, improving, and, perhaps, producing something is an extremely rewarding one. Hobbies come in many shapes and sizes, and there is, without a doubt, one that can fit into your daily, weekly, or monthly routine.

Starting a hobby is a lot like starting a New Year’s resolution, and can benefit from the same structures and tips used to follow through. Take a look at our New Year’s Resolution tips to get some hints on how to stick to your new hobby.

Check out our list below, and let us know what healthy hobbies you want to try in the near future!


Creative Hobbies:

Creative hobbies can be expressive and often fit perfectly into small amounts of free time. Also, they can be an amazing way to release, process, or understand emotions and thoughts that gather in your head during your busy week.

Writing/Blogging – Putting something down on paper or typing up your thoughts is an excellent hobby. Not only is writing and speaking best improved through practice, which can be a benefit to your professional life, but it is also a unique way for you to see your own ideas come to life.

Click here for a list of poetry forms to try out and here for a beginners guide to blogging!

Painting/Drawing/Graphic designArt has always been a popular hobby for those with the itch to create. Painting and drawing can be extremely rewarding and can result in some really personal pieces. There are so many styles to try, and plenty of resources both off and online to help you get started.

Check out or to find some awesome digital art tutorials!

CookingEveryone eats. So why not try to spice up your daily kitchen routine with some creative cooking? Not only can this be a great way to build healthy food habits and save money, it can also become a passion that serves you well for the rest of your life!

Don’t know what to try? How about baking, grilling, or even pickling!


Active Hobbies:

Everyone knows that getting more active is good for you. But there is far more to health than just going to the gym. If a gym routine doesn’t appeal to you, maybe try one of these other active hobbies!

Running/Biking/SwimmingThe benefits of a daily or weekly exercise routine are well documented. On top of getting healthy, these popular activities often have groups and teams on a local scale that are always accepting new members!

Search for “local swimming/running/biking clubs” to find one near you!

Dance/YogaApart from the more traditional exercise activities, there are plenty of options. Dance classes can be a fun activity to bring your friends or meet new ones and learn a new skill to show off. Yoga classes are almost universal these days, and regular stretching can do wonders for tenseness brought on by stress!

Check out some articles about beginner yoga poses and some popular dance styles!

Martial Arts Martial arts have been used as a way to bring peace into life for thousands of years. They run the gamut from very self defense oriented to more form and practice centered. Practicing a martial art can bring both physical and mental strength, as well as the satisfaction of improving and learning over time.

Here is a short list of popular martial arts, and what they’re about.


New Skills:

One of the most exciting and rewarding types of hobbies is a hobby that teaches you a new skill. Learning how to do something non-essential that perhaps is not so common is not only cool and fun, but it might come in handy in ways you would never imagine!

Sewing/Knitting/CrochetingSome of the most traditional hobbies, these skills have been seeing a resurgence coupled with the creative opportunity offered by the internet. Making blankets and scarves is just the beginning!

Find some unique ideas here and here.

Woodwork/RestorationAn often started, often abandoned hobby, woodwork can actually be one of the most useful skills. Not only can you make or restore furniture in order to save money, it can be an excellent source of gifts from the heart that you know will last far into the future.

Take a look at this article featuring accomplished actor and woodworker Nick Offerman!

Taking Classes/StudyingThis one is a little broad, but the idea remains the same among all new pursuits one must study – self improvement. Whether you want to learn a new language, skills on an instrument, or the complete history of ancient Egypt, an intellectual quest can provide challenge and enjoyment. Plus, it can be a great source of random facts for any occasion.

Look for online classes or find local ones in your area!


Giving Gifts From The Heart

December is undeniably the season of gift giving. The feeling of finding a great present and watching a friend or loved one open it is one of the most satisfying. But for many people, picking an appropriately thoughtful or fun gift can be stressful at best. Gift giving does come with a certain amount of risk. There are many questions that often persist in even the most innocent search for presents. How much is too much (or too little) to spend? Is this gift too casual or too formal? Will they even like it?

Gift giving can be rewarding for a variety of reasons, and it is important not to let anxious questions spoil your holiday season. After all, the reason we buy gifts in the first place is to show our thanks to those around us. It is easy to forget the benefits of altruistic giving and lose ourselves in the procedure. Because it is so commonplace now, gift giving can feel a little thoughtless or arbitrary; and that feeling may stem from those worrisome questions and fears. But giving gifts can (and should) be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved.  

Being mindful of how and why the people in your life affect you is not always easy. Giving gifts is an excuse to explore your personal relationships and think upon what benefit they add to your time on earth. It is not selfish to enjoy the personal fulfillment generosity brings, and doing so can build a constructive experience your brain will reward you long into the future.

Below are some of the many ways you can refocus your perspective on gift giving to make the most of the holiday season!

Reflect on Your Relationships

Reflecting on your connections to the people around you is always worthwhile. Doing so with gift giving in mind can bring to light many things that you may not think about on a daily basis. Experiences shared, hardships weathered, and milestones reached are great starting points for thoughtful gifts. What fun things have you done in the past year with this person? What things has this person been through that you can pay homage to in a thoughtful and appropriate way?

They key here is listening. Remembering even a small joke between friends or loved ones can be a signal that you are not only present in the relationship, but that you look back on those moments fondly and wish to express your thankfulness. Gifts that surprise and remind of the good times are worth it in the moment of their opening!

Make Your Own Gifts and Cards

Somewhere along the way, making little gifts falls by the wayside to things we purchase in a store. It is certainly easier, and can produce presents that we could never make with our resources.

But, without question, making a gift is almost always a great way to show gratitude. A handmade present can be silly or serious, cute or cool. For family members, (especially parents) spending your time on something for them is probably just as appreciated now as it was when you were in grade school.

Remember that sometimes the point of giving presents is simply to show gratitude. Your gift does not have to be amazingly finished or perfectly created. Although it is a cliche, it really is the thought that counts. Plus, learning how to make something new can be a fun and worthwhile activity all on its own.

Here is a list of ideas to get you started:

Give From the Heart – Not From the Wallet

The best gifts don’t necessarily come in the most expensive packages. Any holiday movie will tell you that it is the people that you love that make the season bright. It is easy to forget or simply miss those we are closest to. Spending some time to consider your connection to the people you get presents for can reveal more than just the perfect physical gifts.

Sometimes the best gift is a phone call, a hug, or an apology. A candy bar from the gas station could be the most significant gift a person receives in their entire life. You can’t control how people feel when they receive your gift this holiday season. But giving with honesty, good intention, and thoughtfulness is the best way to ensure they know you care. In the end, good memories are the gift that keeps on giving.  

Giving Thanks After Tragedy- Personal Account

The holiday season is upon us. It’s a time when people traditionally reunite with their loved ones, share the year, and remember the good times. It’s a time of year that I love. Because I love my family.

Earlier this year, we suffered the loss of my cousin. He was nearly three years old when he died. At the time I was travelling abroad and was unable to return to the States. When I got to my room that night I was greeted by the phone alerts that everyone fears when they are not close to home. “You there? Please call now”. Everything else from that night is a blur now.

My family is not very big on my dad’s side. My great grandma, my grandparents, me, my step-mom, my dad, my uncle and aunt and their kids. We’re a tight nit group. I suppose I was the most far flung of the group. I was always out of the state or the country, or living with my mom. But it was never that big of a deal. One thing was for sure – we always came together on Thanksgiving.

For my family, Thanksgiving is the event of the year. We meet as a group, we cook a magnificent amount of artery clogging and delicious food, and we enjoy the company. Our memories every year are sweetened by our many traditions, and often it is one of the few times I get to see everyone together. For the longest time I was the only kid in the group. My dad is the older brother, and my uncle took his sweet time starting his family. It’s a given that kids get spoiled by everyone. I enjoyed my time, and when my cousins came into the picture, I did my best to give them a similar treatment.

I can’t remember a time when Thanksgiving wasn’t impervious to the outside world. I have nothing but fond memories of it. But this year I’ve been having a hard time looking forward to the day. I suppose it goes without saying that I never expected something like this to happen to my family. I guess everyone who loses a young family member says something like that.

This Thanksgiving will be the first without my youngest cousin. It’s hard to think of any other label for it. And because of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately. I’ve been thinking a lot about giving thanks.

Even to me, it seems a little cliche. But for those who are looking at a holiday season that has been forever changed by some tragic event, sometimes it feels like the world has turned inside out, upside down. So I feel comfortable thinking for awhile on something I have heard hundreds of times in my life. Giving thanks for what you have.

After the storm is over and you are left with the new and different world, it is easy to take refuge in the past. Of course, there will be times when it is utterly impossible not to remember. But the more I think about it the more I feel there are two ways to remember.

The first feeds your fear, your sadness. It is to remember from a world that is scarred. To see a hole that cannot be filled. It is the memory of the wounded and confused. I could describe it in a thousand ways and still go on. It fills your chest and weighs you down. This is the way of remembering that comes naturally. But it isn’t the only way.

The second way is the way I’d like to be remembered when I die. Fondly. Even now when I write this I’m tearing up at the memory of my cousin. But not because I’m sick with worry or anger anymore. But because I’m remembering the few times we met in peace. It fills me with a different emotion. The drive to make the world better for kids like him. The empathy for those of you who feel like I do. But most importantly, the concrete knowledge that I am thankful for and to my family.

I don’t expect to have the same kind of thanksgiving that we used to have. I’m sure there will be tears. But suddenly I’m not dreading it. I miss my family and I want to be with them, come hell or high water. We will all feel different. But at the end of the day, we are faced with an unchangeable fact. We can let it drag us down, or we can turn it towards something good. It’s a reminder that will be with me for the rest of my life. And I intend to shape it into a force of good.

I’m not sharing to bring out the tears, or to put a damper on the holiday season. To the contrary. Let me add to the roar of voices already shouting one thing: be thankful for your family, your friends, or those you share your life with. Whatever and whoever they are, remember their strengths and weaknesses, their virtues and their flaws. These are the things your memories are made of. Be thankful you are around to experience and share with them.

And for those of you who are like me; those of you who are facing a new kind of Thanksgiving or a new world, please remember fondly. Don’t regret for the lost. Enjoy for them. Don’t dwell on what could have been. Forge your life into a better one. Improve the lives of those around you. And don’t forget to give thanks for the people you share your time with. Have a happy holiday season!


From Marcus Earle

Thanksgiving and spending time with family tend to be synonymous in our culture.  While some look forward to seeing their family, others may get together out of obligation and some may have nowhere to go.  

In some homes or restaurants stories, laughter, games, watching sports, giving back to others, or another tradition fill family members with a sense of belonging, comfort and joy.  This is certainly the experience so many hope for each year.  

Those spending time out of obligation do so for various reasons.  Perhaps they have not felt valued in their family and have not had the courage to speak up for themselves.  Others may want to avoid the conflict or the emptiness that spending time with family may bring.  Some have been unable to envision doing something different for self when the expectation is family is together over Thanksgiving.  Certainly, there are many other reasons than those just mentioned.

There are also those who are not going home.  Maybe because they do not have one (i.e. they are homeless), their family is gone (e.g., death or live far away), or relationships are broken due to neglect, abuse, and/or addiction.  

If you are privileged to belong to a family which looks forward to and enjoys time together, perhaps consider adding someone new to your celebration who does not have a place to land for the holiday.  For those who feel obligated, perhaps this is the year to step back and decide what is in your best interest.  Perhaps considering what needs to change so you either have a voice and make sure you are heard or choose to have a different experience over the holiday (e.g., serving at a foodbank, asking to join another family, or spending time with those less fortunate or alone).   Those with no family may consider the previous and/or work to develop a new family experience with those they love.  There are many more choices than those just mentioned, including just spending the day relaxing on your own.  

No matter what you choose for your holiday experience, like our young writer expressed in “Giving Thanks,” remember to take notice of what you are grateful for this time of year.  When it includes others, make a point to share with them what you appreciate.    

The Percentage of 12 Year-olds who admit being addicted to porn will shock you

It’s no secret that our generation is the first to be dealing with the ability to access the most hardcore porn imaginable on a device that fits into our pockets with the click of a button. Pornography is available 24/7, 365 by any man, woman, or child of any age with access to the internet. So what is this doing to our society? Read more…

Telling your boss about your addiction

How do you tell your boss you are addicted to alcohol, drugs, or something just as serious and as personal?  This clip will provide valuable tips. Consult with your therapist about the disclosure process to your boss.

Quebeckers mourn for victims of Nice attacks


The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Jul. 14, 2016 10:09PM EDT

Last updated Friday, Jul. 15, 2016 1:41PM EDT

In some corners of Montreal, home to more than 100,000 French citizens, Bastille Day is celebrated with nearly the same fervour as in the streets of Paris. Revellers typically gather in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal and drink the night away at local bars such as l’Barouf, a particularly popular spot among French expats.

U.S. travelers shocked, saddened by France attack (Reuters)

However, as news from Nice, where dozens of people were killed after a truck plowed through a crowd, surfaced on social media, Thursday’s festivities became an altogether more muted affair.

France attack: The latest developments

At a formal reception in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where the French consul-general, Catherine Feuillet, and Mayor Denis Coderre entertain members of the city’s French community, Mr. Coderre ordered flags at City Hall to be flown at half-mast and quickly released a statement in which he expressed shock over the scope of the deadly attack.

“In this difficult moment, Montrealers stand in solidarity with the French people and the people of Nice,” he said. “Liberté, egalité, fraternité. These values have never been as relevant.”

The reaction from politicians in Quebec City was equally swift. Lawmakers in each of the province’s three main parties wrote messages of sympathy on social media, and at a popular music festival at the Plains of Abraham, the city’s French consul-general, Nicolas Chibaeff, took the stage, urging the crowd to continue celebrating despite the unfolding tragedy in France.

“Tonight, the spirit of celebration that unites us was attacked in Nice. Tens of people, who joined together to celebrate, to watch fireworks, have died,” he said.

The speech was followed by a moment of silence commemorating the victims.

There has been no confirmation yet that any Canadians were killed or injured in the Nice attacks.

Global Affairs Canada said late Thursday the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa and Canadian offices in Paris stand ready to provide consular assistance to Canadian citizens and are endeavouring to determine if Canadian citizens have been affected.

Canadian citizens in Nice requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Embassy of Canada in Paris at 33 (0)1 44 43 29 02 or call the department’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre collect at 1 613 996 8885. An email can also be sent to

Friends and relatives in Canada of Canadian citizens known to be in Nice should contact Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling 1 613 996 8885 or 1 800 387 3124 or by sending an email to

Heartfully Speaking- Tips for Heart Based Living

Contributed by Terrina Picarello, MA, LPC

PCS Staff Therapist

The Heart Hears More Than Just Words

The lack of feeling heard can really put a strain on relationships. This is true whether it’s a couple, a parent and child, best friends, co-workers; any relationship.

Have you ever had a communication with someone only to realize what they said, and what you heard, were totally different? Even the simplest of interactions can get misconstrued if we only listen to the words.

Authentic communication requires both learning to speak from a genuine heart place and learning to listen more deeply. We call it deep heart listening because as we focus in the heart when someone is speaking with us, we can learn to hear more than their words.

Deep heart listening involves hearing on three levels. The words of what is said. The feelings or the emotions behind the words – and the energetic essence of what the words and feelings combined really mean.

Most of us pay close attention to the first level of listening – the actual words being said.

To practice the second level of listening we need to also feel the communication. That’s where we start to understand a person deeper. When listening, try and sense the emotions driving what the other person is saying. (ie: are they frustrated, are they worried, are they excited, etc.)

The third level is the essence of a communication. This is where we can discover the real meaning of what someone is trying to say. To do this we have to slow down what’s going on inside our own mind, put our own emotions in neutral, and remain open to the other person.

Practicing appreciation with others as they’re speaking and making a sincere effort to deep heart listen strengthens the communication bond with each other. Offering this kind of “safe zone” to openly communicate is a way of putting our love into action.

With Care,
Your Friends at HeartMath

Read More HeartMath News

Exploring Polyamorous Relationships

Polyamory is defined as is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships involving more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Click here to view the Fox 10 News Interview with Dr. Marcus Earle and Dr. Morgan Francis.   If you have questions about polyamorous relationships or need help, our team of specialists is available to answer your questions. Call 480-947-5739 for an appointment.


Fox 10 Polyamorous Relationships Interview


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