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Posts Tagged ‘balance for life’

Two Parenting Mistakes and Time Management

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Nobody’s perfect. In an age of two working parents, single parent homes, co-parenting, blended families, and just plain normal moms and dads doing the best they can, mistakes will be made.
Mistake number one: Too tired to parent.

This is probably our oldest parenting mistake. Back in ‘the day,’ parenting after a long day hunting and gathering probably looked more like an episode of ‘Survivor’ rather than ‘The Waltons.’ Older siblings were put in charge of younger siblings, children who could prepare food were put to work, while Mom and Dad protected the clan from predatory animals and neighbors. In true Darwinian fashion, children who did not conform to family norms probably did not survive.

Today, well-meaning, tired, parents know they should not ignore misbehavior, yet sometimes it’s just easier to allow the TV and the PlayStation to do their job. Tantrums are met with concessions. Children learn to act rather than ask permission because they know consequences from tired parents can be negotiated away through whining, manipulation, persistence, and even good behavior.

This leads us to mistake number two: I can’t keep up the consequence because now he’s being so good (washing my car, vacuuming, setting the table)! Time off for good behavior only works in prison. In the home, children are in charge of their behavior choices, and parents are in charge of the consequences. If children are permitted to choose the behavior AND manipulate the consequences by acting ‘good’, this can lead to power struggles, confusion, and more manipulation. Kids soon learn tired parents crave love and happiness (and a clean car) and they’ll do anything, including shorten a punishment, if their child rewards them with good behavior and attitudes.

Parenting is not for the faint-hearted and perfection is a myth. Always keep an eye out for good parenting tips and do your best!

Singles and Dating: Depression and Loneliness in the Winter

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Winter has come and I can’t help but notice a trend that repeats each year. In the less warm months, many younger people begin feverishly looking for “the one.” There seems to be the hope among single individuals that it is important to find someone to spend the cold, depressing winter months with while dealing with loneliness.

A study advised that being physically cold leads to a pining for psychological warmth. Volunteers were shown a love film in a cold setting. The warmer volunteers became, the less lonely they felt. As a consultant, I note many times that my clients enter relations in November or December under false hope, only to have the relationship end as fast as the spring heat hits the air.

Not only do I see this trend in my counseling sessions, I also see it in my group of pals. For instance, I had just went to the hair salon and my stylist’s telephone rang many times while I was sitting in her chair. With a deep sigh, she announced that she had been getting phone calls from exes or past flings for a couple of weeks. She rapidly decided that these were just fellows looking for someone to help their isolation and to keep them warm on these cold nights.

Studies are telling use we are more prone to loneliness and depression when we are cold. It looks to follow that it might be sensible to think a touch more before making decisions about entering into a relationship when we are cold. Put simply, when you’re cold, maybe you should not go home with that guy from the bar or cling to the casual relationship with the man you “kinda” like but do not truly see a future with.

As we enter the New Year, resolve to make better choices this winter so you aren’t spending spring recovering from a winter fling.

Alcohol Addiction Help during the Holidays: Attending an Addiction Support Group, Seeing an Addiction Therapist

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The holidays are a special time of year when people take time to focus on others, give thanks for what they have, and give to those in need. While it is easy to get caught up in the holiday festivities those in recovery from addiction understand the importance of self-care. Developing a holiday recovery plan will help individuals avoid relapse by ensuring recovery activities are scheduled into each day.
A holiday recovery plan is all about dealing with additional stress, balancing the extra activities involved with the holidays, and managing ‘high risk’ situations. The first step in any good holiday recovery plan would be to check the calendar for upcoming events. Make sure high-risk situations like family gatherings or office parties are limited both in number and time spent participating. Likewise schedule more recovery activities such as AA or NA group meetings, exercising, meditating, or professional counseling sessions.
Even the best-laid plans are not perfect so urges to use are normal. Family, memories, parties, finances, crowds, and even the additional commercials advertising alcohol may trigger urges to use. When managing urges, it is important for individuals to remember how easily inappropriate reactions to high-risk situations can turn into a relapse. Completing a daily inventory at the end of each day can help you stay on track. Reflecting each evening on thoughts, feelings, urges, reactions, and actions can help you gain awareness, knowledge, and skills needed for a continued successful recovery. Even evaluating the triggers that lead to past holiday relapses can provide valuable information about navigating this year’s holiday calendar.
Those with addiction can successfully navigate the holidays by starting with a holiday recovery plan. By carefully planning recovery activities, reducing high-risk situations, and being mindful of ‘what works’ you can have a relapse-fee holiday!

 

How to Stop Anxiety Attacks and How to Control Anxiety Through Natural Anxiety Relief

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Anxiety can be frustrating, devitalizing, and even paralyzing. For the individual that struggles with sustained anxiety, it is actually a bugger. My hat goes off to those who is able to get up everyday and do what they have to do while managing to keep the anxiety in check. For those among us who fight with anxiety, it’s important to be aware of how to control anxiety so it doesn’t control you.

An anxiety management plan needs to be multifaceted. Individuals seeking to create such a plan must analyze medical causes, an advantage of utilizing care, and possibly medication management with a psychiatric professional when necessary. In the meantime, I’ve listed 2 natural anxiety relief practices that can help.

First, focus on the moment. Disconcerting thoughts usually take us into the future and cause us to worry about what could happen. Teaching yourself to focus on the here and now will lower anxiety by shifting your perception into the present and decreasing the ruminating thoughts about situations out of control. Try it! As you eat, become aware of what you are eating and how it tastes. As you work, feel the weight of the pen in your hand or your back against your chair.

A second practice is to break down a project or goal into tiny steps. Those with foreboding sometimes get overwhelmed when facing a cut off point. In this case, the goal feels so great that procrastination happens due to the uneasiness. To cope, try this: write down one thing you would like to attain. Now set down the steps wanted to complete it. Take each “main” step and break it down into one or two smaller steps. Keep the list with you and as you complete each small step, check it off. Let yourself be conscious of your success for that moment and be ecstatic that you’re heading towards your goal.

Anxiety can be a real game-stopper. To those fo you with nervousness, these two practices can be a game-changer so you’ll know how to stop anxiety attacks in the future. Try either or both today!

Compassion Fatigue: Seeking a Caregiver Support Group and PTSD Support

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

What does a caregiver have in common with a soldier, firefighter, and doctor? Compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue (CF) stems from the daily sustained amount of compassion and energy required when caring for an individual with special needs or a chronic health condition.

Symptoms of CF can be similar to the signs of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and may erupt as caregivers begin to absorb pain from the individuals they are caring for. Mental health symptoms such as anger, fatigue, depression, anxiety, loss of joy, and hopelessness are common. This is detrimental to both parties and ultimately deteriorates the quality of care being provided. Ultimately the caregivers may need the same kind of PTSD support.

We know self-care benefits caregivers but many times caregivers neglect their health and ignore the early warning signs of CF. As they push themselves to maintain the strength to forever care for their loved one, a superhuman mentality prevails and self care takes a backseat. This may lead not only to the symptoms of CF but also relationships issues.

As the mother of a young child with special needs, I know first-hand self care is critical in maintaining longevity as a caretaker. The first step is awareness. If you are uninformed about CF you may not understand the behaviors you must change and the ramifications if you do not. The second step is to re-train your thoughts about self-care. It is not selfish to refuel yourself as you care for your child. Think about the flight attendant telling you to put your oxygen mask on first – if you are not OK you cannot help your child.

The third step is to retrain your behavior as you retrain your thoughts. Simply stated one must exercise, connect with other grown-ups, talk, cry, journal, meditate, dance, eat healthy, sing, take a warm bath, pick flowers, doodle, pray, and most importantly, laugh out loud. A caregiver support group may be a good outlet for sharing your experience with others. If you find you are doing these things and not gaining any pleasure or benefit, talking with a professional can help.

The Very Best You

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Everyone has buddies and relatives whom we love. Not only do we care deeply about them, we think a lot about what we will be able to give them. These emotions and thoughts are crucial! There’s a point, nevertheless, when giving might be negative.

The best thing you can give your loved ones is the very best you. What does that suggest? It means that you learn about yourself, how you are feeling in different situations, how your family of origin affected you for good (or not so good), how you deal with conflict, and what your wishes are. When you find out about yourself you begin to change. You can discover you are becoming as important as your mother or father. Maybe you never learned to request what you need and now you’re getting depressed due to resentment. You might even discover your intense wrath is a cover-up for your hurt. The result is that you may be good at going through the motions of giving, but the internal attitude is not so charitable because it consequently diminishes the value of your good works, thus leaving you feeling sad and alone inside. But it does not have to stay that way.

Consider Wayne* and Sandy*. Wayne and Sandy came to see me because Sandy was depressed and Wayne didn’t think he could handle it any more. As we conversed, Sandy discovered that in 27 years of marriage, she never asked for what she needed. She thought that her role as wife and mom was to only do for others!

Wayne spotted that, while he was fond of having Sandy take care of him and the children, he had become self-absorbed and disconnected from Sandy. As they gained understanding of themselves and one another, Sandy started listening to her feelings and wishes and Wayne started listening and responding. Sandy’s depression lifted and Wayne found out he was married to an interesting woman!

This is what I mean by becoming the very best you. Start today: invest in yourself, learn to love yourself, and begin making the changes you need so you can love yourself more. When you learn to love yourself more and love yourself first, everything falls into place. So the gift you can give is the gift of loving yourself. Everybody will be happy with that as a gift!

 

* Wayne and Sandy are pseudonyms and represent a host of couples who have received solutions in their marriage for matters surrounding this kind of issue.

Sue Watkins is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Sue can be found at www.SueWatkins.net.

 

How Classroom Routines for Children Provide Security in their Daily Education

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

This is the first of a four-part series that examines the importance of rituals in our lives. This article will examine the daily rituals that we all take for granted, as we often fail to recognize their role in keeping us grounded. It is important to know “routine” definition. A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed, or a fixed program. These daily rituals are particularly significant as children start school, when parents adjust schedules to accommodate the changes from a more flexible summer routine to the more demanding requirements of a daily education program.

Our schools are very rich in the usage of rituals. The day begins with morning announcements, the children have certain times and routines for classes, recess, lunch, etc. Have you ever observed routines for children throughout their day at school, including the classroom routines? They know exactly what to anticipate the moment they walk in the door. There is a place for their backpacks, jackets, supplies. They know when they are supposed to take out materials from their desks, open books, etc. In order for rituals to be effective, they have to be meaningful, so the rituals in the schools and classrooms provide a security for the children as they become comfortable knowing what to expect. Have you ever listened to a child explain that they had a substitute teacher? You can tell from the child’s voice that the routine was different. Have you ever heard a child explain that they had music that day rather than PE? It is significant for them, because it is a change in what they expected.

As schools create daily rituals for children, it is also crucial for parents to use rituals in the home to provide that same sense of “grounding.’ Getting up at the same time, going to bed at the same time, reading books together, doing homework at specified times, etc. Children want and need that security that rituals provide them.
Surprise yourself and make a list of all the daily rituals that you have provided for your family.

Next month we will examine those rituals that families create for special occasions such as birthdays.

Achieve Balance: Balancing Life and Work

Friday, September 28th, 2012

In today’s fast paced world, at times it may seem impossible to balance your life. Many people feel they must wake up with their feet on the ground running in order to meet the demands of the day.

Whether it is taking care of the household duties, meeting the needs of a demanding job, or pleasing the spouse and children, balancing your life without being struck down by physical or emotional issues can be challenging at times. When an event, task, relationship, or thought is overpowering, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and out of control.

Managing tasks, emotions, relationships, and retain self-respect is essential to a healthy and balanced life. It is important to not be too one sided about anything, and balancing life and work is key. In fact, combining opposites is the key to staying in balance. For example, all work and no play is just as unhealthy as all play and no work. Being too invested in self-interests and having no interest in others will cause an imbalance just as too much time invested in others and not enough time in self.

While it is important to strive to enhance and make ourselves better, self-acceptance is essential to balance. Know the difference between dieting to combat obesity or diabetes and dieting to look like the swimsuit models you saw in last month’s People Magazine. Accept your body shape and your genetic makeup while dedicating yourself to a healthy lifestyle.

Do you feel like your life is out of balance? A therapist utilizing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) can help you move away from extremes and attain balance again by helping you learn mindfulness, distress tolerance skills, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness skills. Finding balance in life and achieving balance can lead to healthier relationships, greater self-confidence, and a more fulfilling life. If you are struggling, why not call a therapist today?

Tia Parsley, MEd, LPC, LCDC has experience assisting adolescents and their families with issues such as addiction, anger management, depression, anxiety, communication, parenting, and stress management.

 

Balance

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Achieve Balance Today!
Sounds great, but how?
Welcome to my Blog. I’m Kate Walker and in addition to founding and owning achievebalance.org (http://achievebalance.org) and our new non profit Ann’s Place (http://annsplacetexas.org) I am a licensed professional counselor supervisor and a licensed marriage and family therapist supervisor. Every day I’m going to give you hints and tidbits of information about achieving balance in your relationships, your work, and within yourself. I don’t presume to have all the answers, so I plan to direct you to resources written by experts in the field of health, nutrition, exercise, spirituality, recreation, communication; you name it. My ambitious goal is to be your one-stop-shop for topics related to achieving balance.

To do what I do for a living, I must have faith in my client’s ability to help him or herself. To that end I am asking for your help. Your comments to my posts will help your fellow man/woman who may need help today. There are some rules to the game, however.

• Posts that use profanity, vulgarity, mean-spirited comments and general nastiness will not see the light of day (or your computer screen).
• Although I enjoy a good debate/product placement/soap box pontification as much as the next person, those types of comments probably won’t make the cut either.
• Be helpful, be short, and be nice.

Thanks for joining me. Now, let’s go make a difference!

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