Plum Counseling & Wellness, LLC

Plum Counseling & Wellness, LLC Licensed therapist serving Virginia residents, specializing in postpartum mental health, early motherhood, and highly sensitive people.
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Sometimes wisdom drops in your inbox at the exact moment you need it...  this is what happened today for me with Dr. Lau...
04/03/2024

Sometimes wisdom drops in your inbox at the exact moment you need it... this is what happened today for me with Dr. Laura Markham's excellent newsletter. Love how she breaks this down!

You don't need threats, punishment or yelling for your child to listen to your limits. These 8 tips change everything to get your child to listen to you.

This has really changed the way I think about setting boundaries, particularly with my kids. A request asks them to do s...
02/17/2024

This has really changed the way I think about setting boundaries, particularly with my kids. A request asks them to do something (which might be beyond their skill set or emotional capacity at the moment), while a boundary tells them what *I* am going to do.

Boundaries shift me back into that position of sturdy leadership (hey-o Dr. Becky!) whereas a request leaves my kids in the driver's seat on whether or not they'll comply. I like Hailey's idea of starting with a request and then moving to a boundary if needed!

For example, my kiddo was on his tablet and it was time to go play. I said, "screen time is over - can you please turn it off?" He was too engrossed and couldn't disengage from it on his own, so I had to move to the next step.

I could either a) repeat the "request" again till I got *real* annoyed - "turn that off now! I already told you screen time was done!" or b) set a boundary - "okay bud, you're having a hard time turning that off, so I'm going to come get it and put it away for you."

What I love about this is that it assumes benevolence (one of my favorite skills for healthy relationships). I'm not assuming that he's ignoring me or being intentionally defiant; I think, "wow, he's really into that game and doesn't want to stop playing. That makes sense, but I know too much screentime isn't good for him, so I'm going to help him make that transition."

Try this out today - instead of asking your kids to do something again, shift into telling them how you're going to help them follow through. It takes some practice, but I find it to be much more effective!

Do you ever feel like your boundaries just aren’t working—and no matter how many times you set them, the people in your life aren’t listening? If so, watch out⁠: you might be making requests or giving ultimatums instead of setting boundaries. Here’s the difference. If your boundaries aren....

Super excited to have an article published with one of my favorite HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) websites, the Highly Se...
08/17/2020

Super excited to have an article published with one of my favorite HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) websites, the Highly Sensitive Refuge! I talk about the interplay between high sensitivity and postpartum anxiety, my own experiences after my second son was born, how to recognize some of the symptoms of PPA, and some strategies for coping with feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated by your kids.

The more I delve into the world of HSPs and maternal mental health, the more connections I see between the trait and postpartum anxiety/depression for so many mothers - I hope that this article is helpful for other HSP mamas out there!

https://highlysensitiverefuge.com/postpartum-anxiety-postpartum-depression/

I'm an HSP with postpartum anxiety and depression, and the one seems to magnify the other.

Wonderful read for anyone who is pregnant right now and struggling with all of the unexpected changes and uncertainty du...
06/22/2020

Wonderful read for anyone who is pregnant right now and struggling with all of the unexpected changes and uncertainty due to COVID - written by my friend and colleague, Ashley Clark Comegys.

https://www.ashleycomegys.com/exhale-a-blog-for-womens-mental-health/this-isnt-what-you-expected-pregnant-during-a-pandemic?fbclid=IwAR1pLDxkDkg37LOxfjPqxcwPuAjijjbFs-tY2GRhQRKFC8FdijzYsH2URJs

Being pregnant during COVID-19 is hard. You may be feeling grief & loss about the experience you thought you'd have. Learn more from an online therapist.

06/03/2020

It feels like there's an expectation that mental health professionals should be a blank slate and not reveal much about their own views, opinions, and experiences, but I want to assure my community that I am actively taking a stand against racism in my business and in my personal life.

I pledge to create a space where black people and other people of color can speak authentically, where their voices are heard and their experiences are honored.

I pledge to continue the personal work of educating myself about true black history and the systems and beliefs at work within our country that continue to harm black people every day. I will also work to uncover and correct my own hidden biases, ignorance, and prejudices so that I am a better white neighbor, friend, and person.

This business stands in solidarity with black people and people of color.

Thank you to Sarah at The Doula Guild for featuring me in a guest post about common symptoms of perinatal mood and anxie...
06/01/2020

Thank you to Sarah at The Doula Guild for featuring me in a guest post about common symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders - I hope this is helpful to some new mamas out there!

You just brought your sweet baby home a few weeks ago, and your days are spent in a haze of snuggles, sleepiness, and spit-up. You’re trying to soak up this magical newborn time, but you find yourself crying at the drop of a hat, acting moodier than a teenage girl, and feeling so overwhelmed that ...

“You are not working from home. You are at home, during a crisis, trying to work.”Let’s give ourselves the grace and com...
05/25/2020

“You are not working from home. You are at home, during a crisis, trying to work.”

Let’s give ourselves the grace and compassion to remember that we’re doing the best we can with the resources we have - and it’s probably more than enough.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/24/opinion/coronavirus-parents-work-from-home.html

We’re homemakers, stay-at-home parents and paid workers. All at the same time.

If you hear crickets when you call your kid's name, or if turning off their show creates a huge showdown, try this quick...
05/14/2020

If you hear crickets when you call your kid's name, or if turning off their show creates a huge showdown, try this quick method to help end the struggle!

Getting our kids’ attention can be a challenge, but this quick method can help them tune back in - without causing a blowup!

A wonderful colleague recently shared this phrase with me, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. ⁣⁣It applie...
05/08/2020

A wonderful colleague recently shared this phrase with me, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. ⁣

It applies in so many contexts, from professional projects to my relationships with my kids. As an HSP (highly sensitive person), I tend to overthink everything. This depth of processing and attention to detail can be a wonderful strength, but it also can get me into trouble when it blocks me from the real goal: connecting to people in a real, authentic way. ⁣

It’s my default to retreat into my head and put off reaching out to people until I have the “perfect” thing to say or post. It’s easy to focus on the areas that I’m lacking as a parent or a partner rather than simply being calm and present with my family throughout the day. When I make perfection my goal, I fall short every time. When I focus on connecting, suddenly I see opportunities everywhere. ⁣

Where can you let go of perfection and embrace connection in your own life? Tell me in the comments below!⁣

"It went fast. It went slow. Sometimes at the same time. Thinking about the last thirteen years of growing up gives me h...
05/06/2020

"It went fast. It went slow. Sometimes at the same time. Thinking about the last thirteen years of growing up gives me hope for our current state, suspended indefinitely, like someone hit a cosmic pause button and froze us in place in our home. Yet time continues to move. And just like the loads and loads of diapers that felt like they’d never end, this too shall pass."

By Melanie Dale My son just turned thirteen. His grand plans to take friends to a fully-immersive virtual reality experience are scrapped until further notice as we’re thrust into our own fully-immersive virtual reality called OUR ACTUAL LIVES RIGHT NOW. His friends slipped cards i

Need a minute to yourself? Try this tip!
05/05/2020

Need a minute to yourself? Try this tip!

If you can’t get a moment of peace from your kiddo and you just need to get some stuff done, this phrase might be the key you need for cooperation.

I have to admit something: my attitude has been crap lately. I’ve been snappy and impatient, losing my temper at the sma...
05/02/2020

I have to admit something: my attitude has been crap lately. I’ve been snappy and impatient, losing my temper at the smallest things, intolerant of any degree of mess or noise, and sulking around waiting for someone to throw me a big pity party, even though everyone is dealing with the same (or worse) situation. ⁣

It came to a head after we had a few days of dreary weather - which always hits me hard - and I found myself yelling, tossing oven mitts in the air, and basically throwing a Class A temper tantrum when the dinner I cooked wasn’t ready at the time I’d planned. ⁣

I realized that something needed to change. There are a lot of frustrating things happening right now, but my own attitude was the primary source of my suffering. I was actively choosing to be miserable, and frankly I was doing a pretty damn good job at it. ⁣

I sat down and reflected on the things I’m grateful for, the things that are going well, and the kind of parent (and person) I want my kids to see me being. I came up with 3 words to describe the attitude I want to cultivate in myself right now - Kind, Present, Patient - then wrote them down and taped them to the fridge. It has only been a few days, but I’ve already noticed a huge shift in my mood. ⁣

I may not be able to control the circumstances around me, but I can consciously choose to meet my people with kindness, presence, and patience each day. It doesn’t take any more work than being irritable and distracted, and there are zero downsides. It’s my choice to make - mine alone - and it’s time to take ownership of that responsibility and privilege. ⁣

What way will you choose today?⁣

Is your relationship feeling the strain from COVID? Check out this article for tips on how to support each other (and av...
05/02/2020

Is your relationship feeling the strain from COVID? Check out this article for tips on how to support each other (and avoid driving each other crazy!) during quarantine. Thanks to Fatherly for including me in another great piece!

https://www.fatherly.com/love-money/relationships/divorce-proof-marriage-coronavirus/

The coronavirus is putting an unprecedented amount of stress on couples. Here are some ways to cope.

Excited to announce that I am now in-network with United HealthCare!⁣⁣I’m also happy to work with you to get out-of-netw...
05/01/2020

Excited to announce that I am now in-network with United HealthCare!⁣

I’m also happy to work with you to get out-of-network reimbursement if available. ⁣

Please contact me with any questions or to schedule your free consultation!

I can't think of a better time to teach our kids how to be content in the present moment... or to learn how to incorpora...
04/30/2020

I can't think of a better time to teach our kids how to be content in the present moment... or to learn how to incorporate more mindfulness in our own lives!

https://www.plumcounseling.com/blog/how-to-encourage-mindfulness-for-kids

Raising a mindful kid can lead to many mental health benefits, such as lower stress levels, greater sense of contentment, and better emotional awareness. Read on to find out 4 strategies for building mindfulness for kids!

As much as I agree that this time of social distancing is necessary for the greater good, it doesn’t negate the fact tha...
04/24/2020

As much as I agree that this time of social distancing is necessary for the greater good, it doesn’t negate the fact that we’re struggling. We are emotionally weary, collectively beaten down by the uncertainty, fear, and tedium of a quarantine that’s dragging on far longer than most of us expected. ⁣

It feels unsustainable because it is. We aren’t meant to live like this, separated from so many aspects of our lives and routines that form our identities. Humans thrive on connection - living, breathing, physical presence. We can survive without it, but this is stale air we’re breathing. ⁣

It’s okay to not be okay during this time. It confirms that you’re human, that you crave the same things we all do - the same things we all need to feel fully alive. We will get through this together (even if we’re apart) but just know that everything you’re feeling is normal and valid. ⁣

If you need extra support right now, please reach out to talk to someone. Message me if you need help finding a therapist. You may be isolated, but you are not alone.

During this time of unprecedented change, uncertainty, and anxiety, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the pregn...
04/23/2020

During this time of unprecedented change, uncertainty, and anxiety, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the pregnant mamas and those with new babies. Bringing a new life into this world is a challenging task in the best of times, but even more when you’re isolated, lacking your support network, and faced with ever-changing fears about personal health and safety.

I want to make sure that these moms have access to the emotional support they need during this difficult time, so I’m offering a discounted first session and sliding scale options for pregnant and newly postpartum moms. I am also in network with United Healthcare and can work with out-of-network benefits.

Please share this with anyone who might need extra support - stay safe (and sane) out there!

04/20/2020

Being stuck at home all day with young kids is a tough situation for most parents - and it’s especially difficult if you’re also Highly Sensitive. Check out a therapist’s tips for mentally surviving the COVID quarantine!

So much validating and useful information in here - take care of yourselves, mamas!https://www.romper.com/p/coping-as-a-...
03/27/2020

So much validating and useful information in here - take care of yourselves, mamas!

https://www.romper.com/p/coping-as-a-mom-through-coronavirus-related-stress-anxiety-22633346?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=partnerships&utm_campaign=pregchicken

This is hard. Like, really hard. Parents across the country are home with their children, attempting to work and homeschool and keep everyone fed and bathed and happy, all while we manage fears about our health, money, and what the future holds. In…

It’s okay to just BE. ⁣⁣It’s okay to NOT do all the things. ⁣⁣I’m seeing so many wonderful resources for keeping ourselv...
03/22/2020

It’s okay to just BE. ⁣

It’s okay to NOT do all the things. ⁣

I’m seeing so many wonderful resources for keeping ourselves and our kids active and entertained and educated and productive and distracted. Free workouts, free audiobooks, sample schedules, free classes for anything you can think of, virtual museum tours, delivery kits for all sorts of homemade goodies, tutorials for sewing masks, articles on how to work at home, ideas for writing letters, putting teddy bears in our windows, virtual group hangouts, and so many more. ⁣

All of these are great ideas... if they make you feel better. ⁣

But...⁣

If they don’t...⁣

If you feel exhausted and overwhelmed...⁣

If you’re in survival mode and the thought of doing anything extra makes your chest hurt with anxiety...⁣

If all you want to do is snuggle under a blanket and catch up on all the Netflix, while eating store-bought cookies and wearing sweatpants, that’s okay too. ⁣

This is a time of unprecedented stress, change, vulnerability, and uncertainty. Some days it feels like danger is everywhere and the world is on the brink of collapse. Some days it just feels plain tedious and boring and mind-numbing. ⁣

It’s okay to retreat to a safe space and NOT be productive. It’s also okay to do all the things if you want to! Do what helps you. Do what your heart and mind and body need right now. Focus on taking care of your mental health. Focus on creating a haven of peace and rest for yourself and your family. Cocoon yourselves in calm (even if that means TV and junk food all day). Do whatever makes your world feel safer today - and let go of all the rest. ⁣

Be well. ❤️❤️

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Leesburg, VA
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