How To Nurture Your Mental Wellness

How To Nurture Your Mental Wellness

The World Health Organization describes mental wellness “as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.

When we talk about mental wellness, we’re not just talking about the the absence of disease or a clinical diagnosis.

It encompasses so much more.  

Are you living your life to the fullest, in alignment with what is most important to you and in such a way that it positively impacts others around you. That is mental wellness. 

Here are some ways you can work towards mental wellness, even starting today.

1. Set Boundaries

Boundaries are the limits we put in place to make clear what is ‘our stuff’ and what is someone else’s. Having healthy boundaries is a crucial part of mental wellness because it allows us to set limits on what we will (or won’t) accept in terms of behaviour from others and how much time, resources, energy we are willing to devote to certain situations.  

Boundaries protect us from taking on burdens that are not ours to carry and from developing resentment towards another person. Healthy boundaries allow us to be in relationship with others without becoming burnt out and exhausted.

Maybe you find yourself consistently doing things you know you don’t want to do to avoid conflict, to please others or to fit in. I’ve found this book Boundaries to be so helpful in figuring this out. (Note: There are some Christian references in this so if that isn’t a fit for you, skip the book)

2. Be In The Moment

How often have you found yourself being somewhere physically, but mentally your somewhere else, distracted by all the ‘stuff’ of life? You can hardly enjoy the experience you are having, even if it is one you have been longing for, because your thought life is carrying you away.

Research show that when we can remaining in the present moment we experience lower levels of perceived stress, anxiety and depression, improved mood, and a sense of improved well-being.  Results of the study confirmed that those with greater present-moment awareness responded to stress more often with a greater perceived ability to handle things by relying on core values to navigate the stressful situation.

To experiment with this practice, notice every time you are intending to do one thing (read to your kids or have a conversation with your spouse) but are simultaneously doing something else (thinking of an argument you had with your mother or the list of things you need to do before the end of the day).

When you notice that your mind has pulled you away from the moment, gently let the though go, and with intention turn back to what you were doing. You may need to repeat this several times. This is called ‘the practice of being in the present moment’, and much like going to the gym, it takes repetition before it becomes a habit.

3. Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is a vital part of positive mental health. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains will slowly release energy into your bloodstream, creating a consistent level of energy that won’t leave you feeling tired or sluggish. Eating healthy will also provide a mental boost because you’ll feel good about your healthy food choices.

4. Sunshine

Sunshine is a great way to boost your mood. Put on some comfortable walking shoes and take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood, or a local park. Exposure to sunlight will help your brain release serotonin which will boost your mood, and help you feel more calm and focused.

5. Get Some Sleep

A good night’s sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. When you’re well rested, you’re naturally energized. Regular sleep also boosts your immune system as well as your cognitive and mental health.

You have the power to improve your mood. By making some healthy additions to your daily routines, you can develop regular habits that will improve your overall mental well-being.

How to Find the Right Therapist

How to Find the Right Therapist

You’ve decided you cannot continue trying to deal with your struggles by yourself.  Did you know that research shows that your therapeutic alliance-the strength and connection of the relationship you build with your therapist-is a better predictor of the effectiveness of your therapy than the kind of therapy that is used.


That’s why it is important to put the research ahead of your first appointment and find the right fit so you. 


There are a lot of therapists out there and many of them are very good.  But, you want to find someone you connect with, that is skilled and experienced in helping with the kind of challenges you have.  

3 steps to help you to find the right counsellor in Halifax. 

1)Put in the Groundwork

Use a therapist directory like Psychology Today, Therapy Owl, Theravive, or Open Path Collective to search for a listing of therapist in Halifax  These directories all have search tools where you can narrow down the results to people who are in your area who specialize in working with the kind of concerns you have.  Most people will have a short description of their services on these directory pages.  But don’t stop there.  Make a short list of people who sound great in their directory listing and then go check out their private practice website to find out more about them.  Do they seem like the kind of person that you can connect with?  Do they seem to specialize in the things that matter to you? 

2) Ask the Right Questions 

It’s not uncommon for counsellors to offer free consultation calls.  Not all helping professionals offer these, but many do.  Set up an appointment for a free phone consultation and briefly discuss your concerns with the therapists to see how you feel talking with them. Do you feel a connection?  Does it feel easy to open up to them? Even in a brief call you can often get a sense of whether you feel that it will be a good fit. 

While you have them on the line, there are some important issues to consider when finding the right counsellor for you. 

-Make sure they have training, education and experience working with someone who has the kind of concerns that you do.  It’s OK to ask really specific questions to you potential therapist about how long they have been working with this kind of problem and how many people they see in the course of a week or a month who have the same kind of problem as you. After all, you wouldn’t want to go and see someone for marriage & couples therapy who had only ever read about it in a book or who had seen a handful of couples over the course of their career.  You want to meet with someone who is familiar and comfortable working with the kinds of concerns you have. 

-It’s also a great idea to explore how they work with the issue.  There are so many acronyms for the kinds of therapy techniques out there (EMDR, CBT, DBT, EFT, ACT, EFFT, SFT) that you want to cut through the jargon and find out how this plays out in therapy.  Trust me.  This is really important.  All of these, and many others,  have been shown to be clinically effective ways of working with people to resolve their problems.  But they all look at the problem a bit differently and the steps to helping can look quite different.  Going to a session of EMDR therapy is not going to be the same experience as a therapist who uses ACT or SFT. 

No doubt therapy is about growing and learning new things, but if the way the therapist explains how she will work with your concern just doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, building that alliance we have been talking about is going to be tough, even if she is a great therapist. 

Find out what their designation is (RSW, RPsych, RCT) and make sure that you health insurance covers services provided by someone with that designation.  Not all insurance companies cover services from all of these designations, so make sure to check it out before you book your session.  You should also ask about direct billing if this is going to be a deal breaker for you.  Not all therapists can direct bill for all insurance programs.  If this is a concern for you, look into it before you book that first session.

Confirm the method of payment for fees, cancellation policy, hours of operation and make sure all these things will work for you.

-Explore any other questions you might have such as how long are sessions, how often do your typically see clients, can you do video calls and anything else that you’d like to know about going to therapy. 

3) Follow Your Instincts

Remember, your choice is not final.  It will take a few sessions to see if you feel like therapy is helping and to get the -therapeutic alliance- built.  But it’s important to know that if you don’t feel comfortable after a few sessions, you can always find another therapist to work with. You’re the boss and you don’t need to feel badly.  I would encourage you to share your concerns with your therapist and at least make her aware of your concerns.  Perhaps she can adapt what she is doing to better suit you.  If you feel sure that you don’t want to continue with your therapist, she can likely provide you with some suggestions of other therapists to explore to see if you can find a better fit.  


If you are looking for a therapist, I encourage you to put the suggestions to the test. You can start by checking out my directory profiles (Psychology Today and Open Path) and my website  If you feel like we’d be a good match, book in for a free 15-minute consultation call to help you decide.   I look forward to hearing from you!



Find out more about how we can work together

1600 Bedford Highway Suite 220, Bedford, NS B4A IE8, Canada I (902) 702-7722 I
Office Hours: Mon/Tu/Wed/ & Fri 2pm-9pm Thursday 9am-5pm Saturday 9am-5pm
Reception Hours: Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm

As a private clinic, we’re unable to handle emergency situations. If you are in crisis, please call the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team at 902-429-8167 / 1-888-429-8167 (Toll Free), 911 or attend your nearest emergency department.
Copyright 2021 © Restore. Renew. Revive | All Rights Reserved | Privacy & Terms | Website by Windrose Web Design

4 Ways to Find Affordable Mental Health Care

4 Ways to Find Affordable Mental Health Care


When confiding in your friends, family and even your doctor, they may recommend for you to go to counselling for help with your struggles.  And it’s true… therapy can be really helpful.  After all, where else can you go to get expert help from someone who specializes in understanding human behaviour, relationships and helping people learn to cope more effectively with their emotions and experiences.

But if I’m being really honest, reaching out for help can be hard to do. For you, the obstacles could be worrying about the stigma of mental health problems, sharing your personal issues with a stranger or finding a free babysitter who won’t ask questions about where you will be.

But… you have finally reached out for help, overcoming the obstacles you saw in your path, only to discover that it wouldn’t be an option because of the fees. Whether it’s because you don’t have a job with health benefits, you are barely getting by on the income you have and can’t imagine being able to afford the co-pay, or you have maxed out your coverage for the year, the financial aspect of going to therapy can leave you wondering how on earth you will pay for the help you need.   

It can be very hard to know where to look for help, especially if you have continually tried to push down the need for help. You may be feeling a bit desperate at this point and just want the the path laid out for you.

Accessibility to mental health care and, particularly, quick access to appropriate services is vital.  As a clinical social worker, our code of ethics along with my personal values bring me to a role of advocacy to ensure fair and equitable access to services and benefits. With all this in mind, I hope this post brings clarification to your search for affordable mental health care and counselling in Nova Scotia. 




1. Nova Scotia Health Authority

Your Nova Scotia Health Care Card (MSI) entitles you to access free mental health services through our hospital system.  You can self refer to many mental health and addiction services, although some programs require a doctor’s referral.  You can find numbers listed for Halifax (HRM) and the rest of the province at this website.

There are also free crisis services you can access through the Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-429-8167 or the Kids Help Phone 1-900-668-6868, both of which are available 24 hours, seven days a week. 


Did you know if you are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can also be seen in your local emergency department? 

2. Work Place Employee Assistance Programs

Check in your employee handbook, look around your office or ask a colleague if your workplace participates in an employee assistance program.  If your workplace subscribes to this,  you will be able to call a 1-800 number and make a request for services. This counselling is intended to be short term, often 3-5 sessions, so it isn’t appropriate for some kinds of concerns, but sessions are covered at 100% by this workplace program.  

3. Look for No-Fee Community Based Services

These groups won’t be the right fit for everyone, but there are many places in the community where you can access counselling for specific concerns at no cost.  I’ll list a few places here that might be worth checking out, but you’ll need to call them to find out if you are a right fit for their programs and services. 


The Open Door

TREY (Trauma Recovery for Exploited Youth)

Avalon (Sexual Assault Centre)

Healthy Minds

SOS Family Services

Family Service Association Halifax –

Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia –

Community Mental Health Clinics –

4. Find a Therapist Who Offers a Sliding Scale or Low Fee Services 

Some therapists offer sliding scale fees or a lower rate under certain circumstances.  This is often listed under the FAQ section of their website.  As you explore finding a great therapist in Halifax (HRM) look for ones that offer reduced rates.  

I’ve recently joined Open Path Psychotherapy Collective as part of my commitment to offering high quality services at a reduced rate for individuals and couples.  The premise of Open Path is to connect people in need with a database of providers, similar to Psychology Today, so that finances would not be the limiting factor in choosing their mental health care provider.  

If you are a mental health care provider reading this, you can find out more about joining Open Path here:

If you are looking to find a provider, you can check it out here:**The database is growing quickly in the USA, but in Halifax there are not many providers as of yet.  You’ll find my directory listing and if you decide we are a good fit to work together you can reach out to Open Path to work with me through their program. 

Looking for a counsellor in Bedford, Nova Scotia? I’d be pleased to chat with you more about this.  You can schedule a free 15- minute consultation call at or reach me directly at (902) 702-7722.







Find out more about how we can work together

Free 15 minute

Consultation Call

Counselling for

Marriage & Couples

1600 Bedford Highway Suite 220, Bedford, NS B4A IE8, Canada I (902) 702-7722 I
Office Hours: Mon/Tu/Wed/ & Fri 2pm-9pm Thursday 9am-5pm Saturday 9am-5pm
Reception Hours: Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm

As a private clinic, we’re unable to handle emergency situations. If you are in crisis, please call the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team at 902-429-8167 / 1-888-429-8167 (Toll Free), 911 or attend your nearest emergency department.
Copyright 2021 © Restore. Renew. Revive | All Rights Reserved | Privacy & Terms | Website by Windrose Web Design

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