About Courtney Blewett

I am the Manager of Mission Delivery for MSAA's MRI Access Program. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and over two years of clinical experience working in MRI. In my free time, I love spending time with friends and family and will seize any opportunity to be by the ocean or the beach! Fan of the NE Patriots!

More Joy, Less Stress

Holiday season is here! While the holiday season can be a cheerful and joyous time, it can also be very stressful and demanding. Back-to-back holiday parties, social obligations, shopping, and entertaining guests can quickly become too much to handle.  Alongside this, the feeling of loneliness and isolation are also very common around the holidays. With a few helpful tips and strategies, there are several ways to cope with stress and anxiety so you can enjoy this festive time of year.

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Turning Over a New Leaf

September knocks on our door and before we know it, the season of change is among us. Autumn arrives with crisper air, vibrant colors and fresh perspective. I’ve always viewed autumn as a transformative season, a time to “turn over a new leaf”- quite literally. Fall arrives with an array of beautiful colors and then eventually they tumble to the ground. Come next spring, the tree’s will be bursting with bright and fresh new leaves. The changing of season to autumn is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf in life and set new goals and embrace change.  

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Work Smarter, Not Harder.

A picture quote by Michael Altshuler illustrating how you can work smarter that reads ‘[The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.]’

The term “Time Management” is an oxymoron, if you really think about it. The truth is, time cannot be managed. Time marches on its own schedule and the clock continues to tick.  Time is out of our control, but we are in control of what to do with our time. If you need to cross things off your to-do list, it’s important to prioritize tasks and divide your time between different activities. The key to greater productivity and performance is to work smarter and not harder. But the question is, how do we work smarter and not harder?

Prioritize. If you find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew with your to-do list, it’s important to prioritize your tasks based off urgency and importance. Focus on the urgent tasks first and set aside the non urgent tasks to do later. Delegate and divide your tasks!

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Unwind & De-stress

It is without a doubt that today’s fast-paced world can be stressful. Between balancing work, family and social obligations, it can be hard to set aside time for yourself. By learning how to relax, you can soothe your body and mind, heal from your daily dose of stress and devote some much-needed time for yourself. Luckily, when it comes to strategies to relax, the easier the better! Setting aside 10 minutes of your day is all you need to calm your mind and body.  Here are a few relaxation strategies that may be helpful.

Breathe. Breathing techniques are one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to relax immediately. And the best part… this strategy can be done anywhere!  All you need to do is take a deep breath in and slowly breath out and repeat steadily for 5 minutes. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing and feel the tension release from your body.

Connect with nature. Spending just a few minutes outside is all you need to disconnect when you feel stressed. Go for a short walk, or simply sit outside. You don’t necessarily even have to be outside either; listening to nature sounds or looking at scenic pictures can help you relax.

Write down your thoughts. Journaling offers an abundance of benefits – from reducing stress to sparking self-discovery. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, jotting down your thoughts can help release these emotions, while also recognizing how you feel.

Plug in music and zone out. It’s no secret that listening to our favorite song is an instant mood boost. I find music as an outlet; a way to take my mind elsewhere and de-compress. Listening to soothing music can help quiet the mind, but choose whatever may bring you joy and relaxation.

Take charge and control your stress by learning how to soothe your mind, body and soul. We can’t control environmental factors, but we can control how we react to them.

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Lazy Days of Summer

Ahh… summertime! The lazy days of summer are here, and the season of relaxation is in full effect! It’s important to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and take a moment for yourself. Lay in the grass, lounge on the beach, walk through the gentle waves, read a book or lounge by the pool. Now is the time to focus less on work and redirect your time to the things you enjoy.

Summer not only brings an abundance of fun activities, but tasty foods as well… hot dogs and hamburgers please!  Grilling some yummy food surrounded by friends and family is the picture-perfect way to spend a warm summer evening.  Ending the meal with an indulgent dessert never hurts either… did someone say ice cream? It’s no secret that ice cream is a summer staple. My personal favorite is chocolate chip cookie dough on a waffle cone.

Here are a few activities to soak up the summer season!

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Midsummer Eve

Perhaps it’s the illuminating glow of light… or maybe even the circle of fairies, this ‘Midsummer Eve’ painting by Edward Robert Hughes has always fascinated me.  The scenery depicts a fairy tale world, a mythical goddess sprinkled with flowers, surrounded by little winged creatures. I like to believe she is singing a song of summer and the fairies are singing along. It reminds me of the bedtime lullabies my mother and grandmother sang to me as a little girl. Moreover, this painting has proven that even as an adult, my imagination is just as powerful.

Research shows this piece of artwork references the belief that barriers between the fairytale world and the world as we know it, were thinner at “midsummer”, allowing mythical spirits to enter our world. This created a phenomenon that if you entered the woods on a midsummer evening, then you would encounter fairies and mystical creatures.

This phenomenon was often viewed as sinister, but starting in the nineteenth century, fairies acquired a much more likeable reputation. The artist, Hughes, contributed to the shift in this attitude, redefining this folklore with his use of golden lights, warm tones, and soft pastels.  

Today, this painting is known as enchanting and charming, reminiscent of a more magical and distant life.

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Color Your Way to Happiness

Investing in a hobby welcomes joy, happiness, and relaxation into our lives. Having a hobby allows you to take a break from your day-to-day routine and carve out time to devote to yourself. Hobbies keep you in the moment, drifting your mind away and focusing on an activity that you love. Not only do purposeful activities add joy to our lives, but they are known to improve mood, mental clarity, and our overall well-being.

Art is a wonderful outlet for self-expression and creativity. Sketching is a hobby I enjoy when I need to unwind and decompress. With soft, mellow music playing in the background, my brain enters a meditative state and I feel relaxed. Being hyper-focused on the drawing allows for creative and open-ended thinking.

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“Spring” into Action!

It’s time to wake up from winter hibernation! If you’re anything like me in the cold months, you like to curl up in a blanket with hot drinks (coffee please!), watch movies, and take it easy. But now that warmer and sunnier days are here, it’s time to ditch our cocoon and “spring” into action! Transitioning from winter to spring has a positive effect mentally, physically, and emotionally. The warmer spring weather allows us to get back outside into nature. Our skin uses the sunlight to produce more vitamin D which has vital functions for good health and mental well-being. Here are a few enjoyable ways to enjoy the spring season and get outside:

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