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Home For The Holidays

As the saying goes, “there’s no place like home for the holidays” – especially this year! For all of us, this will be a very unique holiday season. We may not have our traditional celebrations, office parties, or special get-togethers with close friends due to the current pandemic. But for some neurodivergent folks, celebrating on a lesser scale may be a blessing in disguise. The American Psychological Association found that 38% of people say their stress increases during the holidays but that stress may decrease this year due to less social pressureSo in the spirit of lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness, let’s focus on the ways that a holiday season in a pandemic may actually be just fine! 

If you are someone who loves consistency, this holiday season may feel easier. There is likely to be less of the holiday chaos, and fewer festive events that you may feel obligated to attend.  

It seems that most people will be preparing small dinners with only household members in attendance. But there are still creative ways to share your holiday meals with those who can’t be with you in person. You can email recipes to your friends and families so everyone can prepare and eat the same food at the same time. Then connect your laptop to the TV, get everyone together on Zoom, and dine on the couch so that it feels closer to being in person. 

With less people coming over for a holiday dinner, there is less stress about preparing a perfect, Instagram-worthy holiday meal. So why not try a new recipe, or try baking an indulgent dessert? If you are celebrating with your family, you don’t have to worry about being judged and if things really go awry, you can always order a pizza. But for those who love to cook, why not prepare extras of your favorite holiday treats and share with your neighbors. Just remember to wear a mask and disposable gloves for delivery! 

For those of us who are not comfortable with a lot of physical contact, this will be a much more relaxed season as there might not be any hugs, kisses or handshakes. This is the year for a fistbump or an elbow bump to say “hello.” And if even that level of contact is not comfortable for you, just give a friendly wave and warmly say, “Happy Holidays!” 

And although we are in a quarantine situation, you can always go for a walk outside. A fun afternoon activity is going to a local orchard to pick apples or take an early evening stroll to admire your neighbors’ holiday decorations. You can even drive to the beach and watch the sunrise or sunset. The fresh air will feel great! Just remember to wear a mask and maintain social distancing guidelines. 

Being home also means you can wear your comfy clothes and not max out your credit card buying fancy outfits for holiday parties or trying to win the “ugly sweater contest.” And you may be pleasantly surprised how much fun you can have hanging out with your family. Plan movie nights, or watching sports nights, or binge-your-favorite-show nights. You may feel quite content hanging out with your family and watching TV from your couch. 

And if the holidays make you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself that it takes true strength to ask for assistance. Reach out to a trusted person in your life such as a parent, good friend or Life Coach. Let them know you need support during the holiday season. And as always, there is no “right” way to celebrate the season, do whatever it is that works for you.  

From all of us at Advance LA, we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and all the best in 2021! 



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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How to Have an Attitude of Gratitude, Even for Thanksgiving 2020

The phrase, “attitude of gratitude” may seem like a cliche, but during this challenging 2020 year, taking the time to pause and experience gratitude may help to change your perspective and give you a more positive outlook on life. 

Gratitude is a valuable tool to help you reframe your outlook about the Thanksgiving holiday. For example, instead of saying that you are tired of being stuck at home, you can flip the paradigm and say that you are grateful for having a home where you feel safe and can try some new holiday recipes. Or a traditional Thanksgiving may not be possible this year due to the pandemic, so you can flip the paradigm and make 2020 a year to create new Thanksgiving traditions. Here are some tips to flip that paradigm! 

Be Open To A Different Kind Of Thanksgiving: For many folks, this Thanksgiving may be a very small one due to restrictions on travel and people feeling anxious about being in large groups. But small can be lovely too! You can warm up a mug of cider, watch your favorite movie, and have a delicious turkey sandwich. There is always an opportunity to find gratitude, even if it is just for the variety of viewing options on Netflix. 

Start A Gratitude Journal: At either the beginning or ending of your day, write down a few things you are grateful for in your life. It might be as simple as the sun shining in the morning, thinking about the positive relationships in your life, or having had a delicious pumpkin spice latte that day. 

Set an Intention for The Day: Before getting out of bed in the morning, think of one thing to do differently. Example: “Today I am going to practice self-care by going outside for a walk in the fresh air” or “Today I am going to let a friend know that I appreciate their kindness to me.” 

Stop during the day and take time to reflect:  Sometimes, without even noticing, we rush from one task to another without taking any time to stop and just take a breath. Think about the phrase: “Stop and smell the roses.” This means that you actively decide to slow down and truly notice all of the good things happening around you. So, if you find yourself feeling rushed and overwhelmed on Thanksgiving Day, try to just stop for a moment. Take the time to reflect on the day and to experience the emotion of gratitude. 

Express your gratitude: Actively show your gratitude for others by sending a thank you note, email or text. Let the people in your life know that they have positively affected your life and that you feel grateful toward them. 

And remember, being grateful doesn’t mean that you bury your feelings about what is actually going on in your life. If you are feeling sadness, anger, or grief, it is important to allow yourself to feel those feelings. You can still feel intense emotions while still being aware of the things or people in your life for whom you are grateful. 

And research has shown that actively practicing an attitude of gratitude is also good for your physical well-being. It helps with lowering stress levels, improving sleep, pain tolerance, and self-esteem. 

Happiness is an emotion that can come and go. But if we practice gratitude, we will be better able to have a positive state of mind, and perhaps even feel good about the 2020 holiday season.  



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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To Be A Successful Remote Learner, You Need To Sit In The “Front Row”!

Research shows that successful students choose to sit in the front row of a classroom. But is it possible to sit in the front row when you are learning remotely? Absolutely! You just need to take on the mindset that you are going to act as if you were sitting in the front row, even if you are actually sitting at your kitchen table. Read on to learn the strategies that front row learners use that set them up for academic success:  

1. Create a study environment that supports academic success 

Front row remote students think of their online classes as if they are in-person classes. When class starts, they are present both in mind and body, and ready to work! This mindset can be created by making a work area that is quiet, organized, and distraction free. Let your family know your class schedule and ask them to not disturb you when you are in class. And turn off your phone! You would never check Instagram while sitting in the front of a classroom so don’t allow yourself to do so when you are in a remote class. 

2. Engage with your professor 

Enter the remote classroom on-time and make sure you look at your professor, just like you would do if you are in person. You wouldn’t have a snack while sitting in the front row so avoid eating during class at home! And really engage with your professor: raise your hand, ask questions, visit remote office hours, or send an email after the class with follow up questions. Show the teacher that you really like the class and you are excited about the material.

3. Take notes – by hand! 

 Research shows that taking notes by hand helps you learn the material in a deeper manner than if you take notes on your computer. A helpful note-taking technique is called, “two column notes.” For this style of note-taking, you fold your notebook paper length-wise, and only write on the right side of the page. Later, when you review your notes, transfer the main ideas from the right side of the page to the left side in short, bullet points. When preparing for an exam, first you review all of your notes on the right side, then cover up the right side and use your left side bullet points to test yourself on the material.  

And two strategies for students with dysgraphia: First, try taking notes on your computer during the lecture, and then writing out your notes from your typed notes when you are not under a time pressure. Second, try taking notes on your computer, then print your notes and cut them into flashcards. Very clever! 

4. Use Time Management Techniques 

Find a calendar system that works for you and use it daily. Many students find that using their phone’s calendar app is convenient and effective as their phone is always nearby. Some students also like to use a large wall calendar with exams dates and project due dates as a strong visual reminder. An important strategy is to input all important dates into your calendar as soon as you receive your syllabus. And remember, a calendar system only works if you check it daily! 

An excellent time management technique is prioritizing tasks. One method is to start with the easiest tasks to get them out of the way, and then focus on your more challenging assignments. Or, if that sounds too stressful, start with the most challenging task first and leave the easier ones for last as a reward-like way to end on a high note! 

It is important to be realistic with your time. Make sure you have sufficient down time to prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. It’s a good idea to take frequent study breaks and go for a walk to get fresh air. 

Another good  strategy is to create a to-do list on Sunday evenings that you can refer to every morning and at the end of each school day. On Friday afternoons, review your calendar and give yourself credit for all that you accomplished. You deserve to treat yourself well! 

5. Connect with the other students in your classes 

Take advantage of any opportunity to interact with your virtual classmates. Take a risk and reach out to someone who seems friendly to ask if they would like to review the material or study for a test together. Research shows that students who feel they are a part of a learning community tend to perform better than those who feel isolated and on their own. 

6. And most important: Front Row Students Ask For Help! 

 It is perfectly fine to ask for assistance! No one expects students to have all the answers (even the professors don’t have ALL of the answers!). Schools want their students to succeed and that is why there are many places on campus to go for in-person and virtual support. You can go to your school’s office of disabilities to request accommodations, go to the study center to work with a tutor, or schedule sessions with a Life Skills Coach to learn time management skills and learn how to practice self-care to lower your stress and anxiety. Front row students know it takes strength to ask for help!  



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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Strategies For Coping with Uncertainty

Life can feel very uncertain these days. Young adults may feel worried about what their fall college semesters will look like, if they will be able to find a job, and if they will be able to hang out with their friends or go on a date. Feelings of fear and worry can leave young people feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

In times like these, it is good to remember that no matter how helpless or hopeless you are feeling, there are steps you can take to cope with the uncertainty of life. Here are some strategies that may help give you a sense of control and make you feel a bit more safe:


When people are anxious they tend to take rapid, shallow breaths that come directly from their chests. This type of breathing is called thoracic or chest breathing. When you’re feeling anxious, you may not even be aware you’re breathing this way but this can cause your heart to race and for you to feel dizzy. This can make you feel even more anxious and even make you feel like you are having a panic attack.

Try this simple breathing technique to help you relax:

  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth
  • Repeat for several minutes until you start to feel better.

Some people like to use a visual when they are doing their deep breathing. Try this one: pretend you are holding a beautiful red rose in your left hand and a pretty birthday candle in your right hand. Then inhale slowly and visualize yourself smelling the lovely fragrance of the gorgeous rose. Then exhale and slowly blow out your birthday candle. If you find that watching a video is helpful while you practice deep breathing, you can find videos like this calming breath bubble on youtube.

The best thing about using your breathing to help you to feel better is that no one has to know! You can do it standing up, waiting in line, or sitting down. The more you practice, the more natural it starts to feel.


Physical activity improves your body’s ability to use oxygen and improves blood flow which directly affects your brain by increasing your brain’s production of endorphins. Endorphins are the “feel-good” neurotransmitters that give you a sense of well-being after exercise.

Physical activity like going for a walk or a bike ride can also help take your mind off your worries. Invite a friend to join you when you exercise and make an effort to ask them how they are doing. Helping someone else is a great way to boost your own mood!


No matter how much we may try to feel in control, the truth is that life just comes with uncertainty. Recognize the signs that you are feeling overwhelmed. Some people experience stress as physical pain such as a headache or stomach ache. Others may feel like they can’t catch their breath or that they just don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. When you realize you are feeling really anxious, try practicing self-care.

Great self-care strategies are relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. There are quite a few online yoga classes available for you to try as well as a number of meditation apps. Challenge yourself to set aside some time each day to practice these new skills.

Establish good sleep hygiene. Taking the time to relax and unwind before bed can help you to sleep better at night.

Eat a healthy diet. Eating healthy meals can help maintain your energy levels and prevent mood swings. Avoid sugary and processed foods to give your overall mood a boost.


So much of life right now feels uncertain and there are many things beyond your control. But it may help to remind yourself that you are not powerless.

For example, if you are worried about your health during this pandemic, you can take action by wearing a mask when you leave the house, frequently washing your hands, and avoiding crowded places. If you lost your job through no fault of your own, you can control how much energy you spend on a job search by updating your resume and practicing your job interviewing skills.

By focusing on what is in your control, you will worry less and use your active problem solving skills more. And it is ok to ask for help, in fact it takes strength to ask for help! Life Skills Coaches, teachers, and trusted friends can assist you with creating more certainty in your life. You can do it!



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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Preparing for An Online College Fall Semester


While we are all adjusting to a “new normal” during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is college students who are really feeling the impact of this health crisis. While many colleges are still planning for an in-person experience, the actual day-to-day college life will likely come with modifications and restrictions. It is important that college students have realistic expectations of what the fall college experience will be like. The following are some changes that colleges may be making when they resume this fall:

Orientation Will Be Virtual:

College freshmen are likely to face a very different orientation experience. Whereas orientation used to be a time for new college students to meet their fellow classmates on campus, this fall is likely to have virtual orientations. Some examples include virtual welcomes from online student organizations and resource fairs, Q & A video sessions, zoom calls between students and faculty advisers, and lots of recorded sessions that can be watched at a later time.

It is completely understandable if virtual orientation leaves students feeling disappointed. College is something that young people may have been looking forward to for a long time. But we all hope that this is a temporary situation and eventually there will be a return to the in-person, on-campus experience that students imagined when they sent in their applications last fall.

Fall Semester May Start and End Early:

Many colleges are re-thinking their academic calendars. One popular model is to start fall classes earlier and end instruction at the Thanksgiving break. The idea is that by the virus is more likely to spread if students go home for Thanksgiving and then return to campus for a few more week until the holiday break. By limiting travel, the hope is that the risk of the virus will be limited as well.

Face Masks Will Be Mandatory, There May Be Lots Of Physical Barriers And The Dining Hall Will Look Different

Colleges will likely follow state health guidelines and require students to wear masks on campus when outside of their dorm rooms. Also, the plastic shield that is used at the grocery store cashier area will probably be installed in dining halls and in classrooms. This may be unsettling for students but again, it is all part of our new normal.

One aspect of college life that will really feel different is the dining hall. Meal times used to be a great way to hang out and make new friends. But colleges are now likely to offer grab-and-go options with disposable dishes and utensils. But students can still have a meal with a friend: they just need to find a table outside and maintain space between each other. Hopefully students will be back in the dining hall in the spring.

Classes Are On-Line

For some students, this is the most difficult aspect of attending college this fall. Taking an online class requires motivation, determination, and executive functioning skills which may be challenging for neurodivergent students. For example, students with ADHD often utilize the strategy of sitting in the front row of a classroom in order to focus and pay attention. Attending a class via Zoom from one’s bedroom requires a much higher level of filtering out distractions.

August is a good time to make the necessary preparations for a successful fall semester. Contact your college and inquire what guidelines will be in place to keep students safe. Making arrangements for a Parent, Friend or Life Coach to provide support and assistance with staying on track with assignments and projects will also allow students to achieve academic success.

The fall college experience will be unique. But preparing is the best way to handle uncertainty. Students who are flexible and maintain a positive mindset are sure to do just fine.



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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4 Strategies to Help Ease Into Your New Normal


We are all feeling a bit uncertain about what life will look like once we “re-open.” Some of us can’t wait to return to our typical daily routine of leaving the house in the morning for work or school, and then returning home in the evening. But there are also lots of us who are dreading the end of the stay-at-home orders because, to be truthful, we really like staying at home!

Feeling anxious about “returning” is a completely normal response to change. Most people like to know what is going to happen next and established routines help us to feel safe. So it is natural to feel unsure about what life post-quarantine will look like.

But we will have to eventually venture out again. Here are four strategies that may help you ease into your new normal:

1. Go slowly! – For some people, being told to stay at home has had some unexpected benefits. You and your family may have been lucky and have not faced health challenges, so staying home has been enjoyable.. The stay-at-home orders gave us permission to not feel pressured to be socially active, to not have to face the stress of being in a classroom, or to have to engage with strangers while going about our lives.

A slow, gradual return to your pre-Covid life may help reduce the stress.If you haven’t been leaving your house at all, maybe take a walk around your neighborhood. Once you are feeling more comfortable doing so, invite a friend along for the walk. If you both are wearing masks and keeping 6 feet apart, a walk outdoors with a friend is a great first step!

2. Make a plan – Creating a plan for your mental and physical health will help you to feel more in control. Make a commitment to meet with your therapist or Life Skills Coach weekly to talk about your return to life outside of the house. Challenge yourself to eat healthy meals, exercise, and get plenty of rest.

3. Do what feels right for you – You can decide how you want to spend your time and energy. You don’t have to be busy all the time if you don’t want to! You can take a lighter academic load this fall if that will help reduce your anxiety about returning to your college campus or take a part-time job to ease back into the work world.

4. Use your healthy coping skills – There may be challenges that you may not be able to solve. But healthy coping strategies can help you to face these problems . Doing yoga, meditating, talking with your Life Skills Coach, or going for a walk with a friend are all activities that will help you to feel your best. Coping skills help you to regulate your emotions when you are feeling overwhelmed.

No one can say for sure what life in the future will look like, but it will probably take some getting used to. The main thing is to return to regular life at your own pace and be kind to yourself. Tell yourself you are doing the best you can and that is just fine!



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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Fun Things To Do During Summer 2020!


Here are 7 ideas that may bring some sunshine to an indoor summer:

  1. Enroll in an online activity – Pick something fun like a dance class, a yoga class, a cooking class or a gaming class. This will help you put an event in your calendar and give you something to look forward to. And who knows, you may just find a new passion or hobby!
  2. Be creative! – For many people, painting is really therapeutic. You can try watercolors or acrylic paint and just experiment. Or maybe try writing in a journal every day. You might find you enjoy writing short stories, song lyrics or poetry. And you can try baking – this gives you a creative outlet with the added bonus of having something delicious to eat!
  3. Start a new project – Why not build a website for yourself? WordPress.com and wix.com are just two examples of free website builders that are easy to use. You can make a website to display your art, your new baking skills, or start a blog. The sky is the limit!
  4. Home improvement – Is your room cluttered? Or do you wish the walls of your room were a different color? This is the perfect time to clean out closets and spruce up your room!
  5. Get a jumpstart on college in the fall – Summer is a great time to practice the skills you need to have a successful fall semester. Make a schedule for yourself with times for exercise, movie watching, lunch, etc. and practice putting alerts in your phone to remind you. Take a college prep class and learn organizational strategies that will have you ready to go in the fall!
  6. Try Meditation – The app Headspace offers free meditations you can listen to anytime that are part of a larger collection called Weathering the Storm. This collection includes free meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
  7. Text some friends and stream a movie together! – You can social distance and still enjoy a movie night with friends. There is a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party which allows groups of friends to watch their favorite Netflix program at the same time. There is also a chatroom so you can share your reactions with each other.
  8. Get outside – while staying inside – Five national parks in the US have teamed up with Google Arts and Culture to bring you “The Hidden Worlds of National Parks” so people can enjoy the beauty of the natural world. You can explore different climates, different environments, see deserts and snowy terrains – all while sitting safely on your couch!

This may not be the summer you had planned for but it can still be a great summer.

Challenge yourself to be open to new ideas and to stay flexible if plans have to change.

Who knows, this could turn out to be a really memorable summer!



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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How to Keep a Positive Mindset


Positive Mindset

With all that is going on in the world, it is important to have a Positive Mindset. This  doesn’t mean you are always smiling and laughing. Rather, it means that you are focusing on all that is good in life and maintaining an optimistic overall perspective.

A person with a Positive Mindset chooses to focus on the bright side and to approach challenges with a positive outlook.

You can teach yourself to have a Positive Mindset by making positive thinking a habit, always looking for the silver lining, and trying to make the best out of difficult situations.

A person with a Positive Mindset strives to have these 5 characteristics:

  1. Optimism: An optimistic person makes an effort with the assumption that his or her efforts will pay off.
  2. Acceptance:  This means you can acknowledge that things in life don’t always turn out how you want them to but you can learn, and grow, from your mistakes.
  3. Resilience: A resilient person bounces back from disappointment and doesn’t give up.
  4. Gratitude: This means that you actively appreciate all the good things in your life.
  5. Integrity: This means you are honest and trustworthy.

Practice the following behaviors to develop your Positive Mindset:

  1. Smile!
  2. Give someone a compliment.
  3. Tell someone that they did a great job!
  4. Try not to complain – instead do something to fix the problem!
  5. Do not let other people’s negativity bring you down.
  6. Give of yourself, volunteer!
  7. Be compassionate with yourself, remind yourself that you are doing your best.
  8. Be true to yourself…. Always.



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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The 4 A’s: Dealing With Stressful Situations


Life can be really stressful! And if you are starting something new like a spring college semester or a new job, it can feel really overwhelming as you juggle responsibilities and trying to manage your time.

A good strategy for managing stress is using the 4 A’s: AVOID unnecessary stress, ALTER the stressful situations, ADAPT to the stressor and ACCEPT the things you can’t change.

AVOID Unnecessary Stress

Not all stress can be avoided and, actually, it really isn’t healthy to avoid the situations in your life that cause you stress. But, you may be surprised by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.

  • Learn how to say “no” – know your limits and stick to them. Whether it’s your personal, academic or work life, don’t take on more than you can handle.
  • Avoid the people who stress you out! Hang out with friends that help you have fun!
  • Narrow down your to-do list: Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you feel like you have too much on your plate, figure out the things you “should” do as compared to what you “must” do. Then push the “shoulds” to the bottom of the list and get started on the “musts.” And don’t get too stressed if your “shoulds” don’t get done until the next day.

ALTER The Stressful Situation

If you cannot avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem or stressor doesn’t present itself in the future.

  • Express your feelings when you feel stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated. This applies to parents, siblings, friends, roommates or co-workers. If something is bothering you, communicating your concerns in an open and respectful manner can help the situation.
  • Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you are both willing to bend at least a little, you will have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.
  • Manage your time well. Plan ahead and make sure not to overextend yourself, especially if it’s your first semester at college or your first few weeks at a new job.

ADAPT To The Stressor

If you can’t change the stressor, try and change your reaction. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

  • Try to view the stressful situation from a more positive perspective – aim to try to think of it as a learning opportunity for future stressful situations.
  • Look at the big picture, and try to put the stressful situation into perspective. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run? Will it matter in a month? A year? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere!
  • Focus on the positive – staying optimistic in stressful situations makes them a whole lot easier to get through!

ACCEPT The Things You Can’t Change

Some sources of stress are simply unavoidable.

  • Don’t try and control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control, particularly the behaviors of others. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on what you can control such as the way you choose to react to them.
  • Look for the upside – new experiences like college or a new job are just one big learning experience. Take advantage of the chance to learn something new even if it does come with a little bit of stress now and then!

When you are feeling stressed, sometimes just talking to someone in itself can be helpful. Talking with a parent, friend, trusted adult, or Life Coach when you are feeling overwhelmed is a great strategy for clearing your mind and helping you to feel more centered.



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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10 Ways to Celebrate Yourself


This year, why not choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to love and take care of yourself! You are deserving of all the good in the world so make 2020 the year where you practice self-care and honor yourself.

Try these 10 ways to celebrate how wonderful you are on Valentine’s Day or any day:

  1. Write yourself an affirmation letter. Write down the things that you really like about yourself – it could be your beautiful curly hair, your excellent gaming skills or your kind heart. Make it a point to re-read your letter often. Positive self-talk is a great strategy for creating and maintaining a positive outlook on life!
  2. Find an interesting place near your home that you haven’t explored before and see it on your own terms. Get outside and explore the world. Seize the day!
  3. Bake something sweet for yourself! Try a new chocolate chip cookie recipe or decadent brownies. Sweets for the sweet – you!
  4. See the movie that you really want to see. Going to see a movie alone may feel strange at first but it is also really liberating! It feels good to not have to share the popcorn!
  5. Take a walk – with yourself. Cue up your favorite playlist or try a new podcast. Walking is good for your mind and body. Take in the scenery and enjoy the fresh air!
  6. Share your love! Spend an hour at your local animal shelter and feel all the love from the animals who are so happy to see you!
  7. Do a random act of kindness. Brighten up a neighbor’s day by bringing them flowers or maybe bring them a plate of the cookies you made!
  8. Take good care of yourself. Make an appointment for your yearly physical or your annual dental visit. While maybe not super fun, taking good care of your health is the ultimate act of self-care. Choose to take care of yourself with the same love and compassion, in the same manner, you would take care of a new puppy. You deserve it!
  9. Treat yourself to something delicious to eat! You can choose to eat something really healthy or a giant Reese’s peanut butter cup. Enjoy, this is your day!
  10. Tell someone you love them. Let your mom, dad, grandparents, or someone special in your life that you love and appreciate them. We all need to know we are loved!

Have a happy 14th! You’ve got the best Valentine around – you!



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.