Wellness for Caregiver’s Stress: Release Relax, Rejuvenate 

by Tracey A. Smith, M.Ed., CTRS

What do you do for you? How do you keep your vitality, balance and wellbeing while caregiving?

How do you balance your home, work, relationships and play? How do we deepen our sense of wellbeing and resiliency under an accumulation of stress? In a fast paced society, self-care is often not supported.

Caregivers have the responsibility of caring for another person’s wellbeing. This includes parents, teachers, therapists, clergy, medical professionals, and middle-aged children caring for elderly parents. As caregivers, it is essential to take the characteristics of Care and Giving and use it for our own self-care, for the role of caregiver includes some level of exposure to stress, compassionate fatigue, and traumatic experience on a daily basis. 

Current and ongoing societal stressors can compound the life stress of the caregiver.

These stressors can include experiences with racial and gender discrimination, stories of homelessness and violence, natural disasters, and widespread political unrest. Unaddressed, mounting stress can give way to feelings of hopelessness and decreased self-esteem, even leading to withdrawal from friends and family and those communities that help buffer us from burnout. 

Dean Solon’s poem Here and Now speaks to the climate of stress during our current times. Encouraged by his perspective, I am reminded that we can choose not to shut down but rather “to be opening to all that is with mindfulness and heart fullness.” There is hope. Wellness is a choice with the personal responsibility to address our stress. We can make a choice to practice loving kindness with ourselves. Healing and transforming stress and maintaining fitness of the mind, body and spirit involves lifelong learning. The better we take care of ourselves, the better we can care for others. How can we do this?

» Read more

Tracey A. Smith, M.Ed., CTRS, Owner Wellness W.R.K.S. LLC (well-being, recreation, knowledge, spirituality), is a Wellness Lifestyle Management Educator, Trainer, Certified Recreational Therapist. What I love about my life practice is the opportunity to serve a variety of populations and participants in an enjoyable fashion. I provide workshops, training, and professional staff development. I create an atmosphere where participants can feel safe to explore their own issues of self-care and lifestyle management, while learning alternative ways of healing. I use Wellness Education and Recreational Therapy balanced with Restorative Practices to promote emotional, physical, mental, spiritual health and wellbeing. I am committed to promoting peaceable communities.

To learn more and to schedule a program for your group, visit Tracey’s website, Facebook page or call her at 215-605-3221.


Online Self-Tests

Here are three free online tests for compassionate fatigue, satisfaction, and life stress, from www.compassionfatigue.org
  1. Professional Quality of Life Assessment
  2. Compassion Fatigue Self-Test
  3. Life Stress Test

Additional Resources

Here and Now

by Dean Solon

none of us has control over the world.
what is included on the earth-plane, where we are, is free will.
it is up to each one of us to be coming to his or her senses.

what each of us is capable of, and is to be working on and playing with, is an integrating of peace and passion.

this is a time of richness, of richness for each and all of us.
this is a time, and place, that is rich for practice.
there is so much to be working with, here and now.

don't be pushing away this world of activity and phenomena,
and don't be swallowing it whole.
be open to be allowing yourself to be encountering and engaging with these interesting times.
be with attention and intention to be living with clarity and with loving kindness.

this is not a time to be shutting down.
this is a time to be opening to all that is
with mindfulness and heartfulness.
this is a time to be awakening
and awake.

may peace be with you.

Connecting through Motherhood

by Catherine McLaughlin

Motherhood. Such a joyful time. Loving your kids can stir loving feelings in you that you’ve never felt before.

And then BAM! Temper tantrums, back-talk, a door slams - the pendulum has swung and you’re irrationally hurt and upset. I’m reminded of the famous opening paragraph of Dicken’s classic, A Tale of Two Cities: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. And as we build our families through the ups and downs, society expects us to take on multiple roles - employee, wife, mother, caregiver of our aging parents…somehow our own identities get lost in the shuffle.

There’s a traditional African proverb that states “It takes a village to raise a child,” but I say that it takes a village to support a mother. In a different time, people lived in actual villages. Mothers banded together - they cooked together, raised each other’s children, and supported each other through the ups and downs of life.

Fast-forward to today, and the lack of a natural community forces us into our homes. We have to create our own community. But we’ve been working, or recently moved to a new neighborhood, or feel so depressed after having our babies that we can’t face others. Or maybe we were part of a community before we had children, but we no longer feel like we belong there. So we retreat into our apartments, our homes, our bedrooms. And this lack of community has direct effects on us as women, mothers, parents, and partners.

Being part of a community has so many benefits.

Sharing information, making connections, having a support system, developing meaningful relationships. The community enables us to grow as mothers, and as individuals.

Supporting Moms through Motherhood is a group that will offer just that. The group provides a supportive community for moms of all ages and stages as we move through life. Drop in for coffee, a snack, and a connection with a group of inter-generational women.

We meet on the second Wednesday of every month. There is no cost to attend. Contact Catherine McLaughlin, MA, NCC, LPC at catherine@cjmcounseling.com or 267-800-5073 for more information.


Raising Your Teen's Self-Esteem

by Katie K. May

You’re a concerned parent who has a teen with low self-esteem. You want your teen to feel confident enough to resist peer pressure.

It breaks your heart to hear them make such negative comments about themselves when they look in the mirror. And, It’s painful to watch them fret over each blemish on their face and compare their bodies to those of their friends. You’re so afraid that they actually believe the critical thoughts they have about themselves and wonder how that will impact them.

Will they give into peer pressure? Will they make healthy choices or act impulsively to feel better in the moment? Will today be a “good” day or a “bad” day and how will you manage the emotional roller coaster?

If you’ve been telling your teen that they’re perfect and pouring on the compliments, you know that this just doesn’t work to change how your teen feels on the INSIDE. What’s more, it may backfire and make them feel even worse. Helping your teen raise their self-esteem so that they can connect to themselves may be your goal, but how do you do it?

» Read More

Katie K. May is a licensed teen therapist who works with teens with anxiety, depression and self-harm behaviors. She specializes in offering groups for teen self-expression, support and connection, including Teen Therapy Group and Teen DBT Skills Group. Grab your Anytime Anywhere Coping Skills free printable guide at tinyurl.com/teencopingskills to learn more about Katie's work.

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Featured Programs


Paint Sip & Savor – Healing Secondary Trauma for Caregivers

Sunday, 11/13, 1:30-4 pm 

Celebrate the beauty of autumn while taking care of yourself. Paint watercolors together in community, while we sip tea, enjoy sweets, and explore the theme of letting go. No painting experience necessary.

$25. Discount if you bring your own watercolors and # 6, 8 & 10 brushes. Space limited to 12 participants.

RSVP by contacting Tracey at tracey@wellnesswrksllc.com or 215-605-3221.


Beginner’s Mindfulness Group

Mondays, 7:30 – 8:30 pm

Stay connected to yourself throughout the holiday season using mindfulness practices. It is so easy to get lost in the stress-filled haze of the holidays. Stay connected to your inner anchor! Learn how to manage stress, anxiety, and a spinning mind that leads to burnout and saps the joy out of life. Mindfulness has been shown to increase focus, life and relationship satisfaction, improve blood pressure and help with sleeplessness among other health benefits. Meets weekly throughout November and December.

Cost is $200 per month. Please call Jennifer Perry at 215-292-5056 or email jen@heartfulness consulting.com to ask any questions and discuss if this group is a good fit for you.

Peaceful Parenting Group Program

Now enrolling!

Join fellow parents in this transformational 12-week parenting class from the comfort of your own home. If you would like to infuse your parenting with more compassion, connection, and cooperation, then this class is for you. Based in the latest brain science you can learn new parenting techniques that empower you AND your child for a more harmonious home. Since today’s parents are super busy, this class is offered as a combination of online and telephone access. Great parents get great support.

For more information, please see heartfulnessconsulting.com/ peaceful-parenting/, call Jennifer Perry at 215-292-5056 or email jen@heartfulness consulting.com to ask any questions and discuss if this program is a good fit for you.


Winter Coping Skills Camp

Thursday, 12/29

Does your teen need more support feeling empowered and increasing self-esteem? This day-long camp will provide teens with actionable strategies to learn how to be less critical and more self-accepting and truly learn to love themselves.  Your teen will come away with practical coping skills to help them manage difficult emotions and feel a sense of control over their moods.  (No more wondering what mood your teen will wake up in and how it will affect the day.)

Camp will include groups, yoga and a mindfulness practice and will feature a variety of wellness practitioners, including the therapists featured in this article. This is a truly unique experience... like a retreat for teens... and it's the only one of its kind in the area.

Enrollment will officially open in November for the December 29th camp. Sign up for the wait list and receive priority enrollment (only 12 spaces are available) plus receive $25 off the camp investment.

Join the "Dream Team for Teen Self-Esteem" and get on the wait list for Winter Coping Skills Camp! Help your teen start practicing self-compassion and coping skills because they are SO worth it... and you want them to believe it too!

November Events

Learn more about all of our offerings – and how to RSVP – by clicking on the program title on our online calendar or following the links below.

Supporting Moms through Motherhood

2nd Wednesday of the month
9:30 – 11 am
» RSVP at at catherine@cjmcounseling.com or 267-800-5073.

Beginner’s Mindfulness Group

Mondays, 7:30 - 8:30 pm

» RSVP to Jen Perry at jen@heartfulness consulting.com

The Greater Philadelphia Holistic Parents Meetup

2nd Saturday of the month
» RSVP on Meetup

DBT Skills Group

Tuesdays at 7:30 pm
» Pre-registration required


Rumi and Hafiz Poetry Evening

Monthly on Wednesdays, 7:30 pm
» RSVP on Meetup


Rest, Restore, and Move Class

Every other Tuesday at 12 pm
» RSVP on Meetup

Healthcare Professionals Networking Breakfast

1st Wednesday of the month
9 – 10:30 am
» RSVP Required


EMDR Consultation Group for Therapists

Monthly on Friday at 8:30 am
» Learn More

EMDR International Association Regional Network Meetings

Every other month on Fridays
» Contact Elizabeth Venart, EMDRIA Regional Coordinator, at 215-233-2002 or Elizabeth@ elizabethvenart.com to learn more.


LPC Supervision Group for Therapists

Group now forming.
» Learn More


Interstitial Cystitis/Pelvic Pain Support Group

Monthly on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm



Teen Group Therapy Circle

» Learn More

Philadelphia Writers Workshop

Tuesdays, 7-10 pm
Pre-Registration required
» Learn More


Morning Meditation

Mondays at 8:30 am
» RSVP on Meetup


Evening Meditation

Thursdays at 7:30 pm
» RSVP on Meetup

Qi Gong Classes

Thursdays at 2:00 and 6:15 pm
» RSVP on Meetup

Knitting Circle

Monthly on 2nd Saturdays 10-11:30am 
» RSVP on Meetup

» Learn about these programs and more on The Resiliency Center's events page and online calendar   
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