Well Valentine’s Day has come and gone. All the chocolates are now on sale; and for someof us, it is time to stock up on the discounted chocolates.  Valentine’s Day has got me thinking though.  It’s got me thinking about all the other days of the year.  Yes, it is wonderful that we have one specific day to demonstrate to our loved ones, just how much we love them. We get to shower them with jewels, flowers, notes of love and chocolate. That day is done but the opportunity to show our love is not gone. We have 364 other days in a year that we can show our love to our partner, children, family, and friends.  Here are some ideas how to spread your love throughout the year.

There is an important message here and it is “Let’s Talk”.  All too often people who are dealing with mental health issues keep it to themselves, struggling, hiding and not getting help. Some people feel that mental health issues are something that they cannot talk aboutbecause of the negative stigma that has historically been associated with it. However, you should never be ashamed to talk about the issues that you are dealing with.  Everyone is dealing with their own set of issues, and some of us deal with mental health, and that's okay.  You do not need to struggle alone. “ Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures” states the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Well it’s that time of year when you see all those relatives that you haven’t seen since last year at this same time.  Why is that?  Hmmm, I’ll let you speculate on that.  Maybe for you it also brings a feeling of dread, especially when Aunt Sally never listens to you about your life threatening food allergy.  After all it’s just “in your head”! Why is it every time she sees you she tells you that you have crazy food preferences and it’s really just a bother to have to make something different for you?  Makes you feel kind of special, doesn’t it?

In the past few years we have all become increasingly aware of the different times when people have been evacuated from their homes and communities when there is a disaster.  The most recent disaster being the Fort McMurray fire, which touched the hearts of Canadians across the nation.  However, some disasters demand that we do not leave our homes at all.  It’s important that each one of us prepare ourselves ahead of time with a few simple plans and provisions for either scenario.

Hallowe’en is on its way.  The stores are filled with candy, costumes and random bloody body parts.  Haunted houses and corn mazes which are hard to find your way out of, also pop up in unexpected places.  Hallowe’en images of torn or missing limbs can create unknowns for a child, resulting in their speculation of how that might have happened.  With the time change it is darker far sooner thanjust a few weeks earlier and being in the dark can also be scary.  All of this adds up to a recipe filled with fear for our children.

Labour Day …. Welcome to the unofficial Canadian start to the New Year.  Summer holidays are over for most people and many are back to the routines that create a sense of structure for us.  It’s not just children that need that structure, adults also need it. While we are 3 days into this New Year and new routines, are there also new expectations for each family member?  New grade in school?  New responsibilities at home? Is it time to re-examine who is responsible for what in order to keep the home running well?

This morning I came across an amazing poem. Not only is it well written; but it is straight to the point. It describes exactly how illegal drug use can affect your life when you choose to use drugs. My hope in sharing this with everyone is to share the realities of drug use. Perhaps this poem can be a connection point between those with an addiction to their families and friends. Perhaps in can be a conversation starter for parents and their children. Either way, it is a poem that I think needs to be shared and discussed as it could save someone's life.   Although the author is unknown for this poem, I would still like to encourage everyone to share this wonderful poem. Please also leave your comments about what you think about this poem and ways it could be used to help people.

One of the things that is often thrown out the window by couples, while they are raising their children, is the date night.   The reasons why most couples don’t take advantage of date night is not enough time, too many commitments, and too many children’s activities.  We love our children and we want to do the best for them including providing them with a well-rounded fulfilling life.  But, how do you tell when there is too much in the mix?  Ask yourself these questions. First, is all your time devoted to your children? Second, does life seem hectic with little down time? Third, do you have any time for yourself? And fourthly, is there any couple time?  If you answered “yes” to any or all of these; you need to take a breather and reflect on what is important.  In my practice, couples often tell me that their children come first and I know that they do this with good intentions. However, couples need to focus time on their relationship; otherwise they face the consequences of distance growing between them. This distance becomes increasingly more difficult to bridge and fix the more time passes without the couple being engaged with one another’s lives.

This week I have undertook the ominous job of putting together a list of important events and dates in Canada. This list includes everything from religious holidays, national holidays, awareness days, weeks, and months. The list appears to be never ending! I had never realized before now how many “special” days there are.It appears that we have a battle going on for our attention and awareness going on around so many issues.  Now, many of these “special” days are very important topics that the general public should be aware of and should learn more about.