Archive for the ‘Stress Management’ Category

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage


Give someone you love a smile, a flower, a kind word, and/or a hug today! Giving to others help make us feel good and the other person feel good. Giving a valentine’s gift or message does have to be to a romantic partner. Sharing love and close relationships has been shown to increase health and longevity, according to WebMD. The key is to feel connected to other people, to feel a sense of belonging.

On Valentine’s Day, some that are single may feel lonely and sad because they don’t have a special someone. Those that don’t have a lot of close friends may also feel a sense of loss and loneliness. One way to combat this is to reach out to others and share well wishes or kindness. This allows us to focus on the act of giving and sharing versus our own loneliness.

A friend of mine and I decided to hand out flowers to people we saw out and about one Valentine’s Day. We gave a flower to a mom pushing a stroller, to an elderly woman on a park bench, to a construction worker, to a police officer. The gifts we got in return were priceless. A shy smile and a “Thank you!” A laugh and a grin. That warm feeling in our hearts that comes from watching someone smile and feel acknowledged and seen even for one moment. We may not have changed anyone’s life that day, but in those moments, we felt connected even to perfect strangers.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our readers! Enjoy the day and the moments of connection you feel with the others in your life.

Let us know how you connected with others today in the comments below!

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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day, in honor of veterans that have served our country. Yet every day, many veterans struggle with mental health issues. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common diagnosis for those that have experienced life threatening traumatic events and have ongoing difficulties with intrusive memories, hyper vigilance and attempts to avoid thinking about the events. Some veterans have nightmares, difficulty with anger management and feel isolated and misunderstood when y=they return home after active duty and combat situations.

The Veteran’s Administration provides physical and mental health services for veterans.  But for some, that is not enough. The good news for veterans is that there are alternative mental health services for military service people and veterans.

Give an Hour

Give an Hour is a national nonprofit organization with a large network of mental health clinicians that offer no cost mental health counseling to those that qualify. Give an Hour offers its services to all active duty service members, veterans of any era, and their loved ones. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents, unmarried partners, and others affected by a loved one’s service.

Give an Hour clinicians sign up and agree to offer one free hour a week of psychotherapy to a member of the military, active or veteran, or a family member. Veterans and family members can sign up on the Give an Hour website and select from a list of volunteer psychotherapists.

According to the Give An Hour Website, eligible clients include:

To Donate to Give an Hour, click here.


Headstrong is a service that is available to combat veterans that provides free psychotherapy specific to treat PTSD, usually via a type of PTSD treatment called EDMR. According to Headstrong website, Headstrong was founded in 2012 through a partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine, one of the nation’s leading mental health care centers to offer free, and confidential treatment for post-9/11 military veterans. Headstrong currently offers services in select cities in the following States: California, Colorado, Illinois (Chicago), Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Texas (Houston), Virginia,  and Washington DC.

Headstrong has developed an evidence-based, cost-free, stigma-free, confidential, and frictionless mental health treatment program for post-9/11 military veterans that works.

For combat veterans in Chicago, to sign up for free Headstrong Services, click here.

Headstrong is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization supported primarily by donations. To donate to Headstrong, click here.

Disclaimer: As a mental health provider, I participate in both Give an Hour and Headstrong. I believe strongly in helping our nation’s military personnel and I also specialize in helping clients recover from traumatic experiences.

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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

On Saturday, August 19, 2017, I was honored to be part of the IlliniCare Health Fair at Compassion Baptist Church in the South Side of Chicago. Two of our Working Well Massage therapists, Nikki and Sara, joined me to provide relaxing chair massage to attendees of the event. Between the three of us, we massaged over 100 people on Saturday.

According to IlliniCare Health, 700 members of the surrounding community took part in the event.  IlliniCare Health’s goal in holding this event was to strengthen our community by improving health care access, increasing the awareness of pivotal resources, and championing the importance of education.  IlliniCare Health we believe treating people with kindness, respect, and dignity empowers healthy decisions and that healthier individuals create more vibrant families and communities. Working Well Massage shares these values as well and we thank IlliniCare Health for inviting us to work with them at this event!

We met Chicago Alderman Gregory Mitchell of the 7th Ward, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly at the 2nd annual Health Fair and Back-to-School Kickoff. gave children as young as 7-years-old and seniors as old as 91 relaxing massages! Illinois Eye Institute provided free vision check ups. Walgreens provided free flu shots and blood pressure checks.

Sara massages an attendee while other patiently wait for their massages. In the background, people line up for vision screening exams.

I was so proud of my team for helping everyone enjoy themselves. Along with WWM, there were health care providers offering free vision screening, dental care and  a host of other services. IlliniCare Health gave away free backpacks and wonderful nutritious lunches as well.

People of all ages patiently waiting for their massage as others browse free eyeglass selections

Bronzeville Children’s Museum “You Are What You Eat” exhibit also taught attendees about healthy eating and working out while having fun.

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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Taylor Polak a Content Marketing Specialist representing Concept Seating, sent me this infographic to share with my readers. The idea is that you can do a few simple exercises while at your desk. While none of the exercises are new, the infographic does a nice job of summing up and reminding us that we can do a  few simple movements each day from our desks to keep our bodies more limber and bring fresh oxygen to our bodies and brains as we work!

Note: I do not receive any advertising income from Concept Seating and sharing this infographic is not an endorsement of their products or services. Looking at their chairs, they appear to be very ergonomic and the company is located in Brookfield, Wisconsin.


Concept Seating is a Division of LJ Design and Manufacturing an is located at 3205 N 124th St Brookfield, WI 53005. For more info about their chairs and stools, call them at 800-892-5563

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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Chair massage at airports has gained in popularity over the years. Recently I made a trip to Phoenix, AZ for conference and was able to sample a 15-minute chair massage at the airport.  I was happy to say I received a very good massage from my Phoenix massage therapists, Manuel! (Manuel not pictured, but two other fine massage therapists posed for the pic.)

The price was high ($40 for a 15-minute massage), but since there are not a lot of options in the area, and I know the airports tack on heavy fees, I understand the pricing. I also know the massage therapists earn a fraction of this fee so I tipped well.

In Chicago, Terminal Gateway Spa is the company that provides chair massage in O’Hare International Airport. To the best of my knowledge, I do not think Midway Airport offers chair massage. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong!



Massage therapists at Phoenix International Airport’s Express Spa

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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage


As of May 22, 2017, Working Well Massage therapists are able to accept credit cards for payment of massage fees in our chair massage booth in Lincoln Park Whole Foods Market.


WWM booth inside WFM Lincoln Park near Express checkout

Up until now, we have only been able to accept cash or checks in the books. By accepting credit cards, we hope to make it easier for clients to access and pay for our services!

When you visit our booth, let the massage therapist know you will be paying with credit card. Our team will be using their smart phones to process credit card payments so please be patient with us as we acclimate to the technology!

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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

    One way to better cope with stress is to rely on your social support network, aka friends and supportive community. But what if you don’t have an awesome support network to turn to? You can create one. While that is not as easy as clicking on a book on Amazon and downloading it to your Kindle,  and it will take time, it can be done!

Photo from TShirts by Victoria on https://www.etsy.com/

    1. First off, learn to support, encourage and validate yourself! And then practice self-care, support, encouragement and validation of yourself daily. People that are seeking emotionally healthy friends and peers tend to be drawn to others that have similar attitudes.Keep in mind validation is not affirmation nor cheer leading. (Affirmation and cheer leading can be helpful. However, if we do not also validate ourselves, we may not believe our affirmations and cheer leading and affirmations may actually end up making us feel more anxious if we don’t acknowledge our feelings and thoughts first.)

      Validation is the acceptance of yourself as you are, it involves self talk or recognition that what you are feeling or thinking makes sense and is understandable and logical given your experience in the world.For example, a self validation statement would be, “I am nervous about giving this speech. I haven’t given many speeches before and doing something new can be anxiety provoking.”

      An invalidating self statement might be: “I shouldn’t be nervous about giving this speech. What a loser that I can’t even give a speech without being nervous. Get it together!” Affirmation would be: “I am awesome. I can give  a great speech.” Cheer leading would be “I can do it. C’mon, self, you got this!”

2. Practice gratitude, writing gratitude lists, looking for what you have and appreciating it helps you feel better. Writing gratitude lists and practicing thinking in a grateful mindset helps train your mind to focus on what is positive and working in your life versus training your mind to look for what you do not have or focusing on fears.

Focusing on gratitude is not the same as requiring yourself to always be positive nor is it denial of pain, fear or things that are perceived as negative.

Gratitude allows us to notice that while there may be sadness or loss or fears, there are also things in your life to be grateful for. Thinking of these thinks, counting our blessings and remembering that even when we lose something we still have other things to appreciate helps keep us stable and feeling motivated. And this type of attitude will attract supportive people to you


3. Work with a psychotherapist/counselor to help you learn to be more validating and to connect with other people if you have trouble on your own. Psychotherapists are trained to be validating and encouraging. Telling you to be validating and encouraging of yourself sounds easy, but for many people it is not! It takes retraining, especially if what you learned from people growing up was to be self-critical, judgemental or shaming.

4. Be a joiner! If you have access to any support group, attend meetings and get to know other people in the group. For some people, this means attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or Alanon meetings or joining a support group for people with loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disorder. It can also mean checking out Meetups.com for people with simple similar interests like hiking, or reading, speaking French or folk dancing. If you belong to a church or religious group, get involved. A great way to meet positive supportive people is to volunteer with a charity that interests you.

E.K  Bernshaw has these tips as well in his post How To Attract Emotionally Healthy People.

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