Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Meet Kristen Linaman-Weleba, MS, LPC

Hi, everyone! In place of our usual blog post, I want to take the opportunity to introduce myself as the newest member of the Relational Advantage team! My name is Kristen Linaman-Weleba and I am a certified teacher and Licensed Professional Counselor. Most importantly, I have the joy of being a wife and mom to my husband and two children.

I received my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and my Master of Science degree in Professional Counseling from Grand Canyon University. I began my teaching career working with elementary age students and then transitioned into teaching middle and high school. For the last few years I have been a therapist at a residential treatment facility.

Every year while in the classroom, I encountered a small group of children and teens who not only struggled academically, but socially and emotionally as well. I knew how to address many of the academic challenges, but I recognized that these students would likely...

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A Visit to the Park Improves Emotional Well-Being

Spring is in the air in most areas of the country, and we can’t help but be drawn outdoors to enjoy a break from the icy chill of Winter! We know from studies and experience that getting outside can be a refreshing break from “cabin fever” but now we know that it might be easier than you think to enjoy the benefits.

The University of Alabama Birmingham conducted a study at three urban parks in Alabama that regularly have visitors. The study participants reported that they felt better after spending as little as 20 minutes in the park – even if they weren’t being physically active. An excerpt from the University’s report says:

Principal investigator Hon K. Yuen, Ph.D., OTR/L, professor in the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy, said the original intent of the project was to validate previous research findings on the impact of park visit on emotional well-being, and evaluate the contribution of choosing to participate in physical activity in the...

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Seasonal Affective Disorder: Tips for Those Who Suffer from SAD

Today’s post is written by our guest blogger, Kimberly Hayes, Chief Blogger for,

Live, Work & Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a psychological condition provoked by a seasonal change that results in depression. While people can experience SAD at any time of year, the majority of cases occur in the winter when daylight is scarce. An accepted theory behind the cause of SAD is that decreased sunlight exposure directly affects a person’s biological clock and disrupts their regulation of hormones, neurochemicals, sleep, and overall mood.

Symptoms of SAD are akin to those of major depression:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities once previously enjoyed
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Unhappiness
  • Changes in appetite and weight gain


If you are one of the millions of people who experience SAD in the winter, you don’t have to...

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How Counseling Can Save Your Life

I will be talking with Dr. Randy Carlson on the Intentional Living radio program Tuesday, August 22nd. He has asked me to spend a few minutes talking about the importance of counseling and how it can potentially save a person’s life.

As I consider how to describe the value of counseling, a few things come to mind.

At some time in everyone’s life, something unexpected and painful can occur. Death, divorce, injustice, rejection and serious accidents can bring about intense emotions or slow-burning resentment. Counseling can help you identify and manage the hurt or anger that could lead to destructive decisions and negative reactions. Lashing out in anger or holding on to resentment can have long-lasting devastating consequences and derail the healing and recovery process. Letting hurt and anger go unattended will steal the peace and joy from your life.

Statistics tell us that 40 million Americans over 18 suffer from anxiety disorders.  Almost all of us have...

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Don't Let Your Thoughts Fool You!

I was reading an article on the internet called the Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time and it was very entertaining. My favorite was about BBC TV conducting a prank interview with a London University professor who claimed to have created the technology to transmit odors through television. His invention was aptly named “Smellovision.” He performed a demonstration using coffee beans and onions and asked viewers to report if they detected the aromas. According to the article, numerous people reported being able to smell the coffee and onions and some even said the onion made their eyes water!

We laugh at their gullibility, but we should also pay attention to the fact that our brains can play tricks on us. Sometimes we need to evaluate the thoughts we think and make sure they are based in truth and reality, because our thoughts direct our perceptions and feelings, which results in our actions. So, our thoughts play a primary role when it comes to our...

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Never Give Up!

I often smile when I see the cartoon of the frog about to be swallowed by a pelican. All you can see are the frog’s hind feet sticking out of the pelican’s mouth and his hands wrapped tightly around the pelican’s throat. The caption reads: “Never give up!”

I often counsel people who want to give up because they think their problems are insurmountable and their heartache will never subside. They are exhausted and discouraged, often for good reason. Their spouse may have just left them, they received a poor prognosis from their doctor, their children are in trouble or for some other reason, their hope and optimism have all but disappeared. During times like these, we can all be tempted to just give up. After all, wouldn’t it be better – or at least easier – if we could just go to sleep and wake up in Heaven with no problems? While many people look forward to that day to come eventually, if you’re reading this blog, chances are...

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What is Loneliness and How Can You Rise Above It?

Loneliness is simply the feeling of being alone and feeling sad about it. It is a completely normal feeling that we all experience from time to time, but feeling trapped in our loneliness is what can become a problem. It can lead to isolation and depression or poor choices about how to feel better.

Why do we get lonely?

Loneliness can stem from missing loved ones who have died, are far away or whom we are no longer connected with because of a break-up, divorce, etc. It’s a significant factor in the process of grieving the loss.

Loneliness can also result from feeling fearful, unworthy or awkward around others. This is why you can feel lonely in a room full of people. These feelings and perceptions can make you want to withdraw and strongly influence isolation.

Sometimes, loneliness can be related to not being in love or having a romantic relationship. It’s only natural to miss feeling wanted, cared for and nurtured and to be disappointed by the absence of intimate...

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Discouraged? How to Stay Up in a Down World

Looking at all of the bad news, tragedy, and hardship that floats through the world today, be it on television, the Internet, or word of mouth from friends and neighbors, there may be times where you feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Sometimes, you may even just want to curl up into a ball and stop all the noise from creating such a catastrophic uneasiness.

For many, the challenge of rising above the pain and discouragement of life is very difficult. Although you can not eliminate grief and disappointment from your life, the effective tips below can help you in your effort to stay up in a down world.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

How to Stay Up in a Down World!

1. Look beyond your circumstances

Whatever you’re going through today won’t last forever. You can rise above the pain and sorrow by focusing on the hope that better days are ahead. Optimism isn’t the opposite of reality – it’s just the best way to view it.

2. Focus on what you have rather...

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