2 October 2020

Suggestions for Healthy Ways to Make It Through this Time


by Richard Pehle LCSW-C, November 2,2020

Healthy Ways to Make It Through This Time

  1. Create a prioritized list of things you would like to accomplish today. (Be gentle with yourself if you can’t get everything done.)
  2. Change into daytime clothing at a regular time each day.
  3. Keep a normal sleeping pattern in which you go to bed and get up at the same times each day.
  4. Reach out daily to friends, family, and social contacts to reduce your isolation.
  5. If you feel cramped in your home or apartment, set up an area and times when you and other family members can have some privacy.
  6. Do something to bring humor into your life. Watch a TV comedy or movie, read cartoons or humorous books.
  7. Exercise regularly by walking, biking, stretching, weight lifting, or using an exercise video.
  8. Use meditation and breathing to reduce stress. There are several good apps like Calm and Headspace that can help.
  9. When the weather is nice get outdoors. Take in a sunrise or sunset.
  10. Limit watching news updates about the virus.
  11. Use this special time to connect with family.
  12. Avoid over-indulging in alcohol, drugs or food, as they may negatively affect your overall health.
  13. Practice a hobby, learn something new, or play a game.  There are many free sites online for games, museum tours, or new learning experiences.
  14. Play your favorite music.
  15. Focus each day on present day activities vs. concerns about the future.
  16. Improve your mood by helping someone else to feel connected or supported.
  17. Reduce negative thinking or worry by consciously choosing to put your attention on something else.
  18. If you are spiritually based, spend some time connecting with your church, higher power or spiritual place.
  19. Accept that it is normal in this time to experience some anxiety or feeling down.
  20. Allow yourself to contact a counselor if you feel your worry, anxiety, or depression is becoming upsetting or difficult to manage.

24 September 2019

Enriching Your Relationship Through Counseling

Relationship Counseling

A marriage or committed relationship does not have to be in crisis to benefit from relationship counseling. All good intimate relationships involve work, compromise, and learning over a lifetime of growing together. Counseling helps couples by improving their communication, increasing awareness of each other’s needs and differences, and encouraging more time devoted to enhancing their relationship.


Couples working on communication, often report feeling unheard or undervalued in their relationship. One means of addressing this concern in counseling is for couples to practice giving daily appreciations to each other. Expressing appreciation for something that the other has done, qualities the other possesses, something that the other has said or how the other looks, can help restore feeling seen, wanted, and heard.


During counseling in order to heighten a couples awareness of one another, each person may be asked to talk about highlights and challenges of growing up in their families. In addition, they may share what each of them hopes for in an ideal partner and relationship. This knowledge creates a greater understanding of the reason for the conflicts that they have and an improved acceptance of each other. Creating a joint picture of how they would like their relationship to be can set the foundation for growth.


With all the multiple demands on couples, spending quality time together or time working on their relationship often takes a back seat to other needs. By attending counseling, making daily time for each other, and having a date night, the couple focuses on enriching the closeness of their relationship.

Our counselors are here to help you enrich your relationship. Contact us to see how we can help you. We believe you will find our fees reasonable. However, you will not be turned away from Cornerstone because of limited funds.

Richard Pehle LCSW-C


1 May 2018

Is Self Care An Indulgence?

self careYou can hardly pick up a magazine or browse through the internet without catching the term self care.  It has become a buzz word for children and adults, in schools, work and among friends.  But why?

Many people think of self care as an indulgence.  Something they may do if they have time.  But definitely not something worth making a priority.

Unfortunately, the trend these days is to take care of work, the kids and all the other details first.  The trend has gone away from putting on our own oxygen mask first. This advice, given at the beginning of every flight can be applied throughout life.  If a plane is in trouble and the oxygen masks come down, you put your own mask on first because, if you don’t you may pass out and be unable to help those who are less capable, such as your child or an elderly passenger near by.

The same is true throughout life.  If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of the people and tasks around us to the best of our abilities.  When a mom first comes home from the hospital, the most offered advice is to nap when the baby naps.  Moms are exhausted from nine months of carrying a child and hours of labor, and are put into a state of further exhaustion by a child who doesn’t sleep through the night.  By napping she is able to function more fully when the baby really needs her.

Self care is not an indulgence.

The first assumption people make when they think about self care is that we are talking about hours out of your day.  People hear the phrase and think of pedicures, massage or a day at the spa.  While these things are nice and may help to reboot your week, self care is something you do daily to take care of yourself and you can start now.

Examples of Self Care

Self care includes eating well.  Making sure that the food you put in your body is fueling you and not bringing your energy level further down.  Eating lean meat with a variety of fruits and vegetable and drinking plenty of water throughout you day is an easy way to take care of yourself.

Getting enough sleep.  Sleep is when our bodies and our minds reset.  It is when we heal.  Getting enough hours of sleep can make the difference between being exhausted all the time and being able to have the energy to get your work done and enjoy the time you spend with your family.

Breathing.  Yes, I just said breathing.  Breath is something we take for granted.  Don’t we breathe every day?  Yes.  But take a few minutes right now.  Close your eyes and breath in for a count of four.  Hold it for a count of five and breath out for a count of six.  Repeat that for a few minutes.  Something as simple as breathing can restore your attitude and your energy.  If you enjoyed this exercise, you may want to consider meditating for a few minutes a day.  There are apps that can guide you through meditation and help you learn to focus your breathing.

Exercise is not only good for your body, but it’s great for your mental health as well.  Going out for a walk, ride, run or swim can help clear your head and even increase your energy level.

Self care doesn’t have to be hard.  It doesn’t have to be time consuming.  It can be as simple as making the decision and starting today.  It is good for you, but it’s also good for your family, your work and even your relationships.  Self care allows you to be the best you that you can be.

How will you take care of yourself today?

4 December 2017

Mood Booster

Simple ways to reset your mood.

Everyone needs a mood booster, once in a while. Regardless of how we would like to be, life is full of situations that can frustrate us, disappoint us, or cause resentment. The real challenge is to find ways of behaving that can positively affect our mood and stress level. So here are some simple ways you can take charge of how you feel.


Use breathing to calm your body. Allow yourself to take a series of deep and slow breaths inhaling through your nose to the count of four, pausing for a second to hold your breath, and exhaling through your mouth to the count of seven. Dr Weil, a noted wellness physician, has stated that doing this exercise three or four times a day can lower your anxiety level, blood pressure, and positively effect your mood.


From a spiritual perspective, seeking guidance or relief from a problem by turning it over to a higher power can be helpful.


When you are feeling down writing a gratitude list can cause you to put problems in perspective.


Try thinking of several challenging things you have successfully worked through in your life. Think about the actions you took and resources you used that you might apply to your current distress.


Think of purposely distracting yourself from rehashing the problems and all of the what ifs it brings up.

Remember that people in stress often forget to do self care and self soothing activities like listening to the music they love, taking a walk in nature, getting a message, or having lunch with a close friend. Taking care of yourself and participating in something you find joyful goes a long way to reset your mood. Sometimes, just knowing that you can influence your mood with simple specific actions will help you feel better and be less stressed.

Be Well,

Richard Pehle, LCSW-C

27 November 2017

Helpful Ideas to Effectively Manage Stress

Stress is a normal part everyone’s life. We all have to face it. Sometimes, stress can be overwhelming and cause angst and disharmony in our daily lives. Here are several ways to identify and reduce your stress level. Remember you are not alone and if you feel overwhelmed, we can help.

Stress Management Tips

  1. Take time daily to check-in on your stress level.
  2. Actively Practice De-stressing methods: Meditation, Guided Imagery, Progressive Relaxation.
  3. When stressed, take several slow deep breaths throughout the day.
  4. Avoid isolation. Develop and use your support system (friends, teachers, family).
  5. Establish a routine of daily exercise and body movement.
  6. Drink up to 64oz of water a day.
  7. Stay in the present moment – What’s happening around me now?
  8. Reduce your negative thinking and watch out for Cognitive Distortions.
  9. Take a regular time out from work and stress.
  10. Make a special place in your home for quieting down, relaxing, and meditating.
  11. Try to keep a balance in your life between time for: work, play, family, hobbies, friends, self nurturing and spirituality.
  12. Practice H.A.L.T. Remember to never let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.
  13. Practice turning over stress to your concept of a higher power.
  14. Make a list of things you are grateful for to help keep life in perspective.
  15. Humor is a great stress reducer. Watch things that make you laugh and relax.
  16. Let go of resentments: they can hurt and stress you.
  17. Make use of these ideas:
    • Take things one day at a time;
    • See mistakes as opportunities for learning;
    • Try to keep things simple;
    • The best may be the enemy of the better
    • Remember: stress is a normal part of being alive!
  18. When stress is on-going and difficult, allow yourself to seek support from a professional counselor.

Our counselors work evening and weekends and do not require insurance.

Cornerstone Counseling Center

Address: 8 Carvel Circle, Edgewater, Maryland 21037

Phone: (410) 266-1153 Fax: (410) 266-9740

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a Service of the United Church of Christ of Annapolis.

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