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Valentine’s Day Tips for Couples & Singles

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which means you may be feeling some pressure to make the day memorable or work on improving your relationship this month. If you are single, you may be feeling extra lonely without as much connection and interactions with the people you care about in your daily life. With this global pandemic, we know how much our individual and partner relationships may be struggling with these challenges. Trying to balance these feelings around the holiday dedicated to appreciating your relationship or yourself may be hard, but we have some tips we want to share to help aid the overwhelming feelings so you can focus on growing whether you are in a relationship or single! 

For The Singles

First, here are the five best things about being single right now: 

  1. Opportunity to know yourself, recognize your personal strengths and celebrate your independence.
  2. Time and freedom to accomplish the things in life you want without having to consider someone else’s schedule, hopes and dreams.  Use it wisely. 
  3. The positive outlook that you still have the opportunity to choose your mate. The world is your love oyster. 
  4. You can cultivate your friendships and build these to have life-long lasting power. 
  5. You learn to love yourself first and only then can you love someone else and receive their love effectively. 

February is a great time to learn about love languages, whether you are with someone or working on improving yourself! 

Do you ever think about how you show love and how you like to receive love? Most people show their love and affection for their partner in the same way they like to receive it as we make an inherent assumption that everybody wants to be shown love in the same way we do. In his book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman (2015) identified five key ways that people like to be shown love. Take this love languages quiz and ask your partner to do the same! You can share the quiz with your friends or family if you are currently single to feel more connected during the holiday Discuss your results so that each of you knows how best to show your love for the other!

And remember…hold on when you get love, and let go when you give it (Millan, Seligman, Cranley, McGee, Campbell, 2012). 

For The Couples

This pandemic has definitely changed the way quality time can be spent with a person. This Valentine’s Day is no different, but we have some tips that may help spark some inspiration and ease on how to connect with your partner and grow in your new situations! 

Here are some tips for relationships struggling with distance:

  • Plan a romantic phone call or video chat with your favourite dessert and drink nearby 
  • Share three things you love and appreciate about your significant other 
  • Talk about something you both would be excited to do once you reunite 
  • Share your favourite memory together 
  • Let them know you miss them, and that you can’t wait to see them when it’s safe to do so!

Here are some tips for relationships struggling with being in close proximity: 

  • Plan a relaxing alone time activity for your significant other to show your appreciation 
  • This could be a candlelit bath, grabbing them their favourite book and meal, or giving them time to wind down in the comfiest part of your living area 
  • You can find a way to get out of your space by spending time outside together on a walk, in the park or supporting any local spots that are open right now
  • Doing this small gesture of allowing them to relax and recharge with their favourite things is an excellent way to show you care and love them! 

Resolving Conflict

Do you fight with your partner to win? Or do you fight to seek understanding and resolve the issue?  

When someone is addressing a problem, it can be easy to hear the language they are using as a direct attack or criticism. In those moments, we often stop hearing what they are saying and jump into “defensive” mode whereby we’re formulating our response in our head and not listening. Our defensive mode can additionally lead to offensive responses all of which creates a negative communication cycle. Nobody feels heard or understood, leading to added frustration and no resolution.  

Effective conflict resolution begins with effective communication. We must listen to each other attentively, ensure we’ve understood correctly, and respond with honesty and kindness. Doing so will allow each other to be vulnerable in a safe environment where collaboration can occur to resolve the issue.

“Communication leads to understanding leads to collaboration.”  (L. B. Pearson). 

It can be easy to get caught up in the issues, anxieties and pressures of Valentine’s Day whether you are in a relationship or single. However, during this global pandemic, the most important test has demonstrated that showing love and care for your partner or yourself is what matters most! Prioritizing these relationships right now might seem daunting, but it’s more manageable than you think, and it can start with something as simple as these tips we’ve laid out! 

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[FREE DOWNLOAD] Post-Holiday Blues: Dealing With The Aftermath of the Holidays

Even though the Holiday Season may be enjoyed for some, a lot of the time for others it is the other way around. For some people, they might not have any holidays at all and have to work while others get a break from work. Some folks might experience anxiety from seeing family or during current times seeing family during a pandemic. When the holidays are over mixed emotions will have to be dealt with, and Elpizo has created tools to help you deal with the holiday aftermath. 

Some tools that we go over are things like how to deal with changes in a healthy way when the holidays come to close. One of these ways is by using coping strategies to help sudden shifts, whether good or bad. 

Another tool that we go over is how to plan for those post-holiday blues. One tip that we give in planning is to “Reach Out” which has you reaching out to talk to a mental health professional. You can do this now by calling Elpizo Counselling Services at 1-877-335-7496. 

To read the tip list on how to deal with the aftermath of the holidays, click the cover below.

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How International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Came To Be

November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and people around the world will come together to commemorate and address this issue on a global scale. 

The day was first recognized in 1999 when the United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution, introduced by the Dominican Republic, designating November 25th as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. However, the United Nations (UN) was not the first to do this. Women in Latin America and the Caribbean have been honouring the day since 1981. The reason for the day was to mark the anniversary of three women political activists who were assassinated in the Dominican Republic on November 25th 1960 for opposing the regime of dictator Rafael Trujillo. 

The UN officially recognized the date on February 7th 2000, and the United Nations General Assembly encouraged organizations around the world to raise awareness yearly on the date. 

Unlike an illness or disease which groups of people have no control over, ending violence against women is a movement that everyone can bring awareness to. Tragedies like the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre, where a man killed 14 women in a Montreal university should never happen. As a society, we should bring awareness and support initiatives such as The Spotlight Initiative, so history doesn’t repeat itself. 

Elpizo offers a wide range of services for women who have recently or in their past experienced violence and sexual violence. We provide comprehensive counselling and therapy solutions such as Rapid Resolution Therapy that will eliminate emotional and behavioural difficulties. These options are offered online and in-person, and with all our therapeutic options, we work with you to make sure you get the treatment you need.

The 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence is an international campaign that takes place every year. It runs from November 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to December 10th, Human Rights Day.

Launched in 2008, the UNiTE Campaign aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls around the world. This is done by calling on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing and fighting against the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. 

COVID-19, the quarantine, lockdowns, and social isolation have negatively influenced mental health and increased risks of family violence and conflict. It is a critical time for women being affected by gender-based violence. 

From November 25 to December 10, the UN’s System’s 16-Day Activism against gender-based violence is taking place under the 2020 global theme: “ Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”

The main principles of the UNiTE Campaign Advocacy are:

  1. Honour and acknowledge women’s movements
  2. ‘Leave no one behind’
  3. Survivor-centered
  4. Multi-sectoral
  5. Transformative
  6. Elevate the voices of young feminists
  7. The colour orange continues to be a key tool; unifying all activities

In order to support and be a part of the change, join UNiTE on The 16 Days of Activism and help speak out, unite with partners around the world, reflect on what we can all do in our own communities to eliminate violence faced by young girls, women, and the LGBTQ2 community. Start conversations on social media and become an ally by listening, believing, speaking out, intervening, and acting on what is going on and how you can help.

If you would like to learn more about International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and current UN efforts to fight violence against women, click here.

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Safety Planning for Victims of Domestic Abuse

It might seem overwhelming to prepare a safety plan when you wish to leave an abusive relationship. Here are some tips for those who are thinking about starting their path to a safer place: 

  • If it is safe to do so, always have a phone accessible and know what numbers to call for help, including friends or family and your local shelter. Know where the nearest public phone is located. 
  • Plan and practice with your children and identify a safe place where they can go during moments of crisis, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house.  
  • Back your car into your driveway when you park at home and ensure your gas is at a full tank. If possible, keep the driver’s door unlocked with the rest of the doors locked to allow for quick access to the vehicle. 
  • Let trusted friends and neighbors know about your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you might need their help. Give them clear instructions on who you do or do not want them to contact in moments of crisis, including law enforcement. 
  • When preparing to go to a shelter, if you can, call ahead to see what the shelter’s policies are. They can give you information on how they can help, and how to secure a space when it’s time to leave. 
  • Have a backup plan if your partner finds out about your plan. 
  • What to bring:  
    • Driver’s license or Ontario Photo Card 
    • Social insurance card 
    • Health card 
    • Birth certificate and children’s birth certificates 
    • Financial information 
    • Money and/or credit cards (in your name) 
    • Checking and/or savings account books 
    • Protective order, if applicable 
    • Copies of any lease or rental agreements or the deed to your home 
    • Car registration and insurance papers 
    • Health and life insurance papers 
    • Medical records for you and your children 
    • School records 
    • Work permits/passport/visas/immigration papers 
    • Any legal documents, including divorce and custody papers 
    • Marriage license 
    • Medications and refills (if possible) 
    • Emergency items, like food, bottles of water, and a first aid kit 
    • Multiple changes of clothes for you and your children 
    • Emergency money 
    • Address book 
    • Extra sets of house and car keys 
    • Pictures and sentimental items 
    • Valuable items, such as jewelry 
    • Safe cell phone, if necessary 
    • Numbers of your attorney, local domestic violence program or shelter, local doctor’s office and hospital, criminal legal resources, children’s school

You might want to consider keeping copies of these items at a friend’s place so it won’t raise suspicion if found by your abuser and in case your abuser decides to destroy these items as they may anticipate your plan to escape.

 No matter the severity of your situation, just know that you are not overreacting or being drastic. Signs of abuse can begin to show up in small ways, so it’s important to be mindful, watchful and prepared at all costs. You are not alone. There is a world of support to help and encourage you through your circumstance.

For more information, please visit the Government of Canada website at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/stop-family-violence/plan-your-safety.html