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Mental Health Tips: Back to School

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” 
Albert Einstein

In-Person Classes

Good morning and happy first day of classes! Getting back into a school routine can be very challenging after experiencing an online platform during the pandemic. It is important to have a plan set in place so your on-campus experience can prosper. Going back to in-person classes can trigger anxiety and depression. It is recommended to set goals for yourself in order to have a healthy routine on campus. As an incoming Junior, I can’t wait to share all of these awesome tips and tricks to combat anxiety on the first week back to school!

Remote Vs. In-Person

Throughout this semester change should be expected! It is very possible that at any moment we can go back to all online schools and that’s why I am encouraging you to take advantage of being in a classroom setting. For those of you who don’t know the difference, remote learning takes place all online and In-person takes place in a classroom setting on campus. If you have any classes that are hybrid you also have the chance to take advantage of some in-person learning. Push yourself to get to campus, you will feel much more successful having a steady routine.

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” 
Tom Bodett

5 Tips to Prepare for In-Person Learning

Remember that you are not alone in this experience. You can easily justify your feelings by considering how all your peers may also be feeling. Going back to school is an anxious time and your emotions are completely valid.

  1. Get into a Routine
    • This first tip is a no-brainer. After your first week of classes, you should be well enough adjusted to come up with a stable routine. You don’t necessarily have to schedule your day by the hour, but to have some structure is an awesome way to stay organized. 
  2. Set Goals
    • Making a bi-weekly list of goals is very important for your drive in college. In creating these goals you will be enticed to reach them. Therefore you may become more active with your studies or workouts. Keeping yourself in check is very important for your mental headspace. 
  3. Organization is Key
    • Every week things can get misplaced and messy! Make sure to constantly keep re-organizing yourself and your space. A clear mind is a happy mind. 
  4. Stay Connected
    • Staying connected to a support system when you are away at school is very important. Whether you are confiding in your parents or home friends it is recommended to keep someone updated on your goals and life. 
  5. Be Optimistic
    • Not everything is going to go as planned when you are back on campus! Remember that that’s okay and life can sometimes throw you a curveball. If you are staying positive it will be easy to pick up that curveball and throw it right back at your life. Staying optimistic is the key to success in your on-campus journey.

Concluding Thoughts

Going back to school can definitely bring over some overwhelming feelings. If that’s the case for you, follow the tips shared above for a much more planned out semester on campus. Keeping yourself in check can lead to a much more positive mental space. Good luck with classes, you’re going to crush it!






Dog Tips: Toxic Foods to Avoid

As a dog owner, it’s extremely important to know what types of food are toxic for your furry friend. Moreover, many people may be tempted to give their dog all of their food scraps, but this is not a good habit to get into. There are some fruits, vegetables, and other types of food that can wreak havoc on a dog’s digestive system. This can cause serious health problems and send your dog to the vet. On the contrary, there are some foods that we introduce to our canines that can be beneficial to their health. It’s valuable to be aware of which types of food are safe or dangerous for your dog.

Source: SheKnows
  • Chocolate. No matter how delicious chocolate is, it is not safe for our furry friends. Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine which can lead to kidney failure. Dark chocolate has the highest concentration of theobromine
  • Avocado. You could put avocado on almost anything (toast, tacos, sandwiches) and we’d eat all of it. However, avocados contain something called persin which causes vomiting or diarrhea in dogs. 
  • Onions and garlic. For instance, whether it is raw, cooked, dehydrated, or powered, keep all forms away from your canine. If one of these foods is ingested, it can kill your dog’s red blood cells and cause anemia. 
  • Grapes and Raisins.  In short, it is unknown what toxic substance is within this fruit, but it does cause kidney failure when ingested. 
  • Macadamia Nuts. These nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. In addition, macadamia nuts can affect the nervous system. Further, the signs will typically appear within 12 hours of digestion and can last around 24 to 48 hours. 
  • Cooked bones. Always avoid cooked bones. Your dog can knaw on a raw bone and love it. Cooked bones can easily splinter after being ingested. In large quantities, these bones can cause constipation or worst, perforation of your dog’s gut, which is fatal.

Other Toxic Foods to Avoid

In addition, here is a list of other types of food that should never be ingested by your dog. Many of these foods can cause similar health problems, including vomiting. 

  • Peaches and plums
  • Almonds
  • Cinnamon 
  • Ice cream
  • Xylitol (which is a sweetener that is used in many foods)
  • Alcohol

Safe Foods That Your Dog Can Ingest

Source: American Kennel Club

A list of safe foods is provided below. Please remember that if you do feed your dog anything listed, it should be in small quantities.

  • Bread
  • Cashews and Pistachios
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Fully cooked eggs 
  • Fish, including tuna and salmon
  • Ham
  • Honey
  • Peanuts and peanut butter
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Watermelon
  • Cooked white rice
  • Cooked pasta

Always remember to be aware of what you are feeding your dog. A healthy and balanced diet is essential to a long and happy life. If your canine ingested any of the dangerous foods, immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

If you haven’t yet, go read out our previous blogs “Teaching Your Puppy to Stay,” and “Puppy-Proof Your Home,”.

Source: TreeHugger

Dog Tips: Teaching Your Pup How to Stay

Teaching your dog to stay is a valuable command for their safety and your peace of mind. Before you teach this command, make sure that your dog is proficient at sit and lie down. Additionally, when you are speaking a command you want your dog to listen to you. If your furry friend struggles in one of these areas, work on that first. Read our previous blogs on these topics to aid you, “Simple Ways to Teach Your Dog How to Lie Down,” and “How to Teach Your Dog How to Sit,”. Continue reading to learn helpful tips to teach the stay command. 

Source: wikiHow pets
  1. Pick definitie beginning and ending words. Make sure that you say “stay” when you expect your puppy to stay and pick one release word to use. Some examples are “ok”, “free”, “release,”. Your dog will learn this word and understand that they can leave the position. If you do not pick one word, it will confuse them. This leaves you frustrated because you may feel that they aren’t listening, when they don’t know what command you are requiring. 
  2. Use lots of small and delicious dog treats. This style of dog treats will keep the training session moving. Reserve these treats only for training sessions and use different treats to reward your dog for other good behavior. 
  3. Do not give your stay command with food in your hand. This will entice your dog and they will walk up to you.
  4. Practice often and use different environments. Utilize different parts of your house, front yard, and backyard to practice the command. Once you feel that your canine is paying attention to you and understands the command, you can move onto other places. 
  5. Once your dog is holding the command for a long period of time, increase your distance. When you give the cue, take a few steps backward or to the side. By increasing the distance, you are proactively thinking about future scenarios. This also improves your bond together because your canine is watching you and waiting for the release word. 
  6. Make sure everyone in the household utilizes the same words. For example, if a family member is using the release “all good” and you’re utilizing “ok”, the dog may not fully grasp it. This confuses your canine and causes frustration for others. It is essential to use clarity and the same word when training verbal cues.
Source: Preventative vet

Your pooch will become a pro at this command! It may take some consistent repetition and patience, but you’ve got this.


Success Stories Within The IDD Community: Josh Blue

Josh Blue is an American comedian. He lives with cerebral palsy, but instead of letting that hinder him, he uses his disability as fuel for his comedy work.

Early Life:

Josh Blue was born on November 27, 1978, in Cameroon, which is a country in Central Africa. During that time his family was living in Cameroon because his father was a teacher during a mission in Africa. After his family returned from Cameroon, Blue spent his childhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota. For high school, he attended Como Park Senior High School. For college, he attended Evergreen State College where he graduated with a degree in creative writing. This is where he started his career as a comedian. During his college years, he volunteered at a zoo in Senegal, a country in West Africa. The zoo was called Parc de Hahn. One day, for a joke, Blue locked himself in an uninhabited animal exhibit. Throughout the day, he watched as spectators threw bananas and peanuts at him as if he was an animal. 

Career Success:

While attending college at Evergreen State College, Blue started to attend open mic nights for comedy. These were a huge success for him! Every time he went he received large amounts of laughter and applause from the audience. In 2002, Blue won the Comedy Works New Talent Search contest. He has been on Comedy Central’s television series Mind of Mencia on multiple occasions. In 2004, he won first place at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival’s Royal Flush Comedy Competition.

In 2006, Blue hit his big break when he won the reality show on NBC called Last Comic Standing. After this, he was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He was the first comedian to perform stand-up on her show. He also appeared on shows like Live with Regis and Kelly and Comics Unleashed. In 2009, Blue acted in a horror movie called Feast III: The Happy Finish. During 2010, he was awarded the 13th best comedian by viewers of Comedy Central’s Stand-up Comedy Showdown. In 2011, he moved up two places and was awarded the 11th best comedian by the watchers of Comedy Central’s Stand-up Comedy Showdown. 

Current Day:

Today, Blue lives in Denver, Colorado with his two kids, Simon and Seika, and his girlfriend. Blue still performs in various comedy clubs around the nation. In fact, this past July, he performed at Comedy Works South in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Be sure to check out our previous success story featuring Isabella Springmuhl Tejada and a similar success story featuring Nick Vujicic!







Mental Health Tips: Normalizing Therapy

“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.” 
Shannon L. Alder

Therapy is a Great Solution

In the present day, many individuals have mixed feelings and concerns when it comes down to therapy. Imagine having a person who will listen to all your problems, anxieties, and fears with no judgment. Imagine being able to tell someone your deepest darkest secrets with total confidentiality. Even imagine having someone to support and guide you through your most stressful endeavors. Let’s be real, most of us struggle each and every day with stressors and unexpected situations. This is why it’s important to have someone outside of your inner circle to confide in about different issues. In 2021 it is plain and simple, therapy should be completely normalized and I am here to tell you why!

What is Psychotherapy?

When it comes to therapy many people have different ideas about what it is. For the purpose of this blog post and the tips, I am planning to share I believe it’s important we all think of the same definition when it comes to psychotherapy. According to the American Psychiatric Association “Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and can increase well-being and healing.”

“All children should be taught to unconditionally accept, approve, admire, appreciate, forgive, trust, and ultimately, love their own person.” 
― Asa Don Brown

How Can Psychotherapy Help?

Psychotherapy can help alleviate mental struggles that cause problems in your daily life. For example, this type of therapy is proven to help with difficulties coping with everyday life, the impact of trauma, depression, anxiety, etc. In the current state of the world, it is normal to be stressed and struggle to get through your day. If this pertains to you, it is important to ask for help. A psychotherapist can be the solution to your daily problems. Help yourself by speaking to a professional!

5 Tips to Maximize Your Therapy Session

When you finally acknowledge that your daily life is constantly being interrupted by any of the struggles listed above then you should begin to seek help. It is important to find a therapist that you connect with and feel comfortable opening up to

  1. Choose Wisely
    • When you recognize your need for a therapist don’t just settle on the one 5 minutes from your house. It is encouraged that you find someone that you really connect with. Your therapist should be confident in you and be very accepting. You should feel very comfortable speaking to your therapist. Search online and set up a couple of different consultations to find someone you adore.
  2. It Takes Two to Tango
    • Once you pick the therapist you like and schedule your first meeting it is important to remember that your therapist is there to help you. Your therapist isn’t there to instantly change the way you behave, this therapy journey is a collaboration of the two of you. Grasp onto any advice that is given to you and actually use it in your everyday life! Your path to wellness and success is a team effort. 
  3. Set Goals
    • This step is extremely important. When you go into therapy it is important to set realistic goals about what you want to get out of it. In doing so it is easy to track your progress and allow your therapist to help you to their maximum ability.
  4. Talk About Your Past
    • This tip may be the most challenging, but at the end of the day, it is the most healing. Speaking about your past can explain why you react to certain situations in the present day. Filling your therapist in on sad or traumatic events of the past can open up countless doors to solutions in the present. After speaking about these types of experiences a weight feels like it has been lifted off your back. 
  5. Be Honest
    • Your therapist isn’t there to judge or talk about you behind your back. Your therapist is there to solely listen to your problems and to help you work to better them. Therapy is a safe space to completely let loose and speak freely. In doing so you will definitely get the most out of it. 
“The attempt to escape from pain, is what creates more pain.” 
― Gabor Maté