Does your relationship have these red flags?

Does your relationship have these red flags?


MSW Intern

Does your relationship have these red flags?

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and we want to use this time to talk about healthy relationships with you all. It can be hard to know what you want your relationship to look like, especially if it’s your first relationship or if you feel like you’ve seen more bad relationships than good ones in your life. Below are five questions to ask yourself about you and your partner to help identify any red flags you might find in your relationship!

1. How do you feel when you are with them? Are you happy, excited, comfortable, safe, or cared for? Or are you sad, nervous, scared, or worried? Maybe some of both? Think of a few words you would use to describe how you feel around them, listen to yourself, and trust what you hear!

2. Is the relationship protective or controlling? It can be easy to confuse these two. Protection comes from a place of care for your wellbeing, but control comes from a place of their own insecurities, distrust, or disrespect towards you. If you ask them to stop doing or saying something, how do they respond? Do they listen or get defensive?

3. Is jealousy healthy? Many people think that jealousy is a good thing in relationships because we want to feel special to our partner; however, jealousy, especially if it comes with accusations of cheating, being upset about you seeing your friends, or going through your phone or social media, is a very controlling pattern, which is a red flag!

4. Are you pressured or threatened by them? Pressuring someone into doing something, whether by asking over and over, emotionally manipulating you, or making threats, is never ok. If they don’t listen to your boundaries, they are not safe. Also, using threats to get their way, whether or not they follow through with them, is never ok.

5. What if your friend was in this relationship? Try putting someone else in your shoes: if your best friend, sibling, or other loved one was in a relationship like yours, would you like how they are treated? Would you like their partner? Would you be worried for them? Sometimes we have higher standards for our friends than ourselves, but part of self-care and self-love is valuing yourself enough to stand up for yourself as much as for your loved ones.

How did your relationship do? Do you feel more secure, have some questions, or feel concerned? If you think you might be in an unhealthy relationship, know that it’s not your fault! We suggest telling someone about it, if it’s a friend, family member, teacher, counselor, or whoever you would feel comfortable talking with about your concerns. You can always come on our chat to talk with a therapist, or schedule an appointment for therapy if you’d like to spend time working on your relationship or anything else going on in your life.

Dealing with Food & Weight Comments at Holidays

Dealing with Food & Weight Comments at Holidays

Madeline Myers
MSW Intern

Dealing with Food & Weight Comments at Holidays

With holidays coming up, from Thanksgiving to Haunnakah to Christmas, family and food are a big theme these coming months. While this can be a wonderful time of year, it can also be stressful or hurtful with comments about food and eating. While you may be on your journey toward body positivity or body neutrality, your family may still be stuck in body shaming and sizeism (discriminating against people based on size or weight). Here are some ways to deal with these unwelcome comments at your next family gathering:

Have responses ready to go

There are many ways you can respond to unwelcome comments about your size, weight or plate! Try thinking of a few and practicing them on your own before the holiday. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • “I’d rather not discuss that today.”
  • “I’m not concerned about my size/weight.”
  • “I hear your concern, but it’s healthy for me to nourish my body.”
  • “I like my body.”
  • “My (doctor, nutritionist, therapist, etc.) and I have discussed my eating, and I’m following those instructions.”
  • “That comment makes me feel bad.”

Practice setting boundaries

Sometimes instead of using phrases specific to a situation, we want to set overall boundaries with people. These are ways to let someone know how you want to be treated. Here are some examples of boundaries you can set:

  • “It makes me feel bad when you talk about my weight. Can we talk about something else?”
  • “Please don’t make comments about what I’m eating or how much I’m eating.”
  • “I work hard to have a healthy relationship with my body, and I’d rather not hear your opinions about me.”
  • “That’s not an appropriate thing to say to me.

Find an ally for your holiday

Do you have a cousin, aunt, uncle, or any other family member you feel comfortable talking to about eating, size and weight? If you do, it can be helpful to talk to them about your worries for the holidays and ask them to support you the day-of. This could be texting to check in, backing you up when you deal with unkind comments or situations, or however else would make you feel supported. If you don’t feel comfortable with members of your family, try contacting a friend you can check in with to provide support and encouragement.

Question their comment

Sometimes asking a question about someone’s comments can take them off guard, while feeling less confrontational for those of us who struggle with that. Here are some questions you could ask:

  • “I’m not sure what you’re trying to say to me.”
  • “Did you know that talking about my appetite makes me feel uncomfortable?”
  • “What do you mean by that?”
  • “Are you saying that I shouldn’t eat today? I’m not sure why I shouldn’t.”

Walk away from the situation

Sometimes talking isn’t an option, and that’s ok! You have many ways to deal with this on your own. You can walk away from the person or situation. You can also practice other coping skills to distract yourself, encourage yourself, or stay calm. Having a list of coping strategies can be really helpful for uncomfortable situations like this!

If you find yourself struggling this week, reach out to us on the chat. We can help you make a plan or just navigate your feelings about eating, self-image, family, and the holidays. 

National Coming Out Day at UpStreet

National Coming Out Day at UpStreet

Madeline Myers
MSW Intern

National Coming Out Day at UpStreet

October 11 was National Coming Out Day for the LGBTQ+ community! At UpStreet, we want to show our support and talk about this important day. 

National Coming Out Day began in 1988 after the 1987 Second National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, attended by half a million people and famous folks such as Whoopi Goldberg, Jesse Jackson, and Cesar Chavez. The march advocated for recognizing queer relationships, passing a civil rights bill for gay and lesbian people, ending discrimination against people who are HIV-positive, and repealing laws that made it illegal for queer people to have intimate relationships.

Today, National Coming Out Day is a time where queer people can find community, support, and celebration for their identity, regardless of whether or not they want to share it with others. Because many people assume that everyone is straight and cisgender by default (an assumption called heteronormativity or cisheteronormativity), LGBTQ+ people often have to come out to announce who they are. The process of coming out can bring a lot of emotions and experiences with it–from fear to excitement, hurt to healing, sadness to joy, isolation to connection, danger to safety, and anything in between or beyond. Likely, it will be a mix of many things. 

Being queer or LGBTQ+ is a beautiful part of human diversity, and you deserve to be celebrated! However, not everyone may feel that way. You are in control of your story and who, how, when, and if you decide to tell people about this part of yourself. Whatever you do or don’t do on this day, you are valid, you are queer enough, and you are a cherished part of your community. At UpStreet, we want to congratulate you for your identities and tell you that we care!

Below are two guides on coming out from the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project. We hope these are helpful for you, and if you want to talk to a licensed counselor about queer identities, coming out, or anything else in your life, we’re here to listen and support you! Our services are free and confidential, and we’d love to hear from you. Head to to talk to one of our counselors. 

Click here for a guide on coming out from the Human Rights Campaign

Click here for a guide on coming out from The Trevor Project

Polyvagal Theory

Polyvagal Theory

Maddie Myers
MSW Intern

Polyvagal Theory: How Our Bodies Handle Stress

What is polyvagal theory? It’s a scientific theory by Steven Porges about how the body reacts to stress, and revises the idea of “fight/flight” with new information! I promise, even if you don’t love science, this can be really interesting and useful to know when you’re dealing with stress or trauma in your life.

Polyvagal theory talks about three “settings” or “levels of activation” that your brain and nervous system can be at to give you the best chance of staying safe and surviving dangerous experiences. Here are what they look like:

So why is this useful to know? For one, it’s good to identify where your body and mind are at, and this is a useful outline for understanding that. If you take a few moments to listen to your body, which of these states does it feel like it’s in? Why do you think you are in that state? Checking in on yourself can be a really important tool for noticing when tension or despair are piling up inside before they become too heavy!

It’s also important because chronic, long-lasting stress or traumatic experiences can actually change how we respond to everyday life. Sometimes our brains get so used to being stuck in “survival mode” that we don’t come back to a sense of safety, or we get thrown back into survival mode over small things that remind us of big things in the past. This can make recovering from traumas and stress more difficult, because processing those feelings and growing in new ways is best done when the body and mind feel safe in the present.

So how do you feel safe in the present moment?

Here’s a list of ways to help your nervous system come back to a sense of safety and calm:


  • Deep breathing. Check out our post here for breathing techniques!
  • Being around people who are calm and kind can help bring us back to the present moment. This can also work with pets!
  • Being outside in nature can help ground us in our surroundings and feel more calm and relaxed,
  • Going on a walk or doing physical activities can release endorphins and give us a lot of physical sensations to keep us in the present.
  • Do something that you find calming–if that’s drawing, crafting, making a snack or drink, using a fidget toy, listening to music, doing your makeup, journaling, or something else. Know yourself and what makes you feel good!
  • Talking with a counselor can be a good way to process feelings of being unsafe, and can also help you come up with ideas for how to stay present and unwind your nervous system when it feels out of control.

Want to talk more about any of these? Come chat with us. Someone is available Monday – Friday from 10am – 8pm and Saturday and Sunday from 2pm – 10pm.