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TillmanD

Clinical Director Contemplations...
Keep Moving 

The new year has begun, and with it, so too does the fresh start to the year.  The opportunities abound for change from a simple new calendar, to perhaps a resolution, or even still a change to an old and outdated routine.  The “new” has started, you seized it.  Energy and hope are high…at least until life happens.  Then, the familiar calls to us again, inviting us back.     

Why in the world do we keep doing the old?  The answer, because it is familiar.  Sometimes we keep choosing the familiar even if it holds us back and keeps us down.  An Irish proverb says, “making the beginning is one third of the work”.  Said differently, the hardest part, is taking the first step.  January is behind us, you have taken that first step.  Now the task, keep making them!  Sustain the traction you found in January and keep moving.

What happens if the unexpected strikes in June and the momentum wavers?  Perhaps it is already?  The answer, it depends on your thoughts and perceptions of the setback.  One choice you have is to believe “oh well, I failed…again”.  Another choice, “I blew it, now back to the old way until January”.  The choice I challenge you to make now is “yes, here is a setback…but I am still moving, and that was the hardest part”!

Be well my friends and keep moving,

~ Douglas R. Tillman, Ph.D., Clinical Director

Kristen Headshot CroppedGuest Segment...
Staying True to Your Vision of Life

I think many of us come to a point in life in which we wake up one morning and have the sinking realization that we haven’t done what we love in a very, very long time. Or we suddenly realize we feel lost and aren’t sure what we want from life. I’m a firm believer that any day (not just January 1) is a good day for a fresh start—to start consciously defining what you want and to figure out how to get a little closer each day. Life will always be some compromise of dreams vs. reality, but even tiny progress towards your vision of yourself can make a huge impact. How to get there?

Start journaling. Journaling over time helps us be more introspective and insightful. By reading past entries, we can better identify themes and answer questions. These questions might include: Where in life do you feel lost, helpless, or dragged down? Where do you excel? What aspects of life make you proud? How did you accomplish these things? Who do you admire, and why?

Practice being assertive. Learn to stand up more effectively for what you want and need. There are various ways to learn how to be more assertive, including books, online articles, and talking to a counselor. The hard part is being brave enough to practice your new skills when interacting with others—but it gets easier over time.

Reevaluate your relationships. Is there one person in your life that drags you down, embroils you in drama, or encourages you to make poor decisions? You may need to end the relationship, limit the relationship, or find ways to be more assertive with that person. None of these are very easy choices up front, but in the end, may greatly improve your wellness and keep your sense of self clear.

Do what you’re good at. I don’t necessarily mean dropping everything to pursue your dream—reality is often not as simple as feel-good movies make it out to be—but at least making time for things that make you feel competent and confident. Things that maybe you’ve let slide and haven’t done in a while, like a hobby, a sport, or volunteer work. Doing things we love help us feel more in touch with ourselves.

Seek support. Take stock of your support system. Social supports can range from friends and family to mentors, community groups, coworkers, and even professional support. Who does your support system include—and who would you like it include? How can you expand your support system where it’s lacking? Goals are much easier to achieve with a few good people cheering us on!

These suggestions seem small, but can be difficult to make because they take sustained effort and  a desire for real change. That’s not meant to deter anyone, for they can add up to significant positive changes over time. In turn, these positive changes can help you define your vision for life and turn it into a reality.

~ Kristen Eckhardt, MS Ed., Guest Columnist

Sandstrom Judy

Tips from our EAP...
Are You Singing the Blues? 

Everyone experiences the blues from time to time. Feelings of sadness, hurt, loneliness, stress, or anger can strike along with difficult life experiences. You feel upset. Feelings linger longer than you’d like, but you can still function and you know you will bounce back. Can you learn skills to help you bounce back faster and achieve new personal heights in response to life’s difficulties? Yes, you can!

Are the Blues a Clue? Certain life events or medical problems can cause overwhelming sadness. These conditions include symptoms of depression that require medical treatment or support from mental health professionals. This is not the blues. These are serious health concerns. Conditions such as postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder (winter depression), grief reactions, medical or drug-induced depressive disorders, and the sudden onset of depressive symptoms in elderly persons may require medical care. 

What Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. Can Do: Family Resources can evaluate and refer you to medical treatment for depression. If you are not depressed, our therapists can help you examine issues that are making you blue. Ambivalence about your job, unresolved conflicts in relationships, new challenges in your life, adjusting to losses, and financial difficulties are just a few issues that can give you the blues. 

Signs of Depression
Major depression is a treatable psychiatric illness. It is not what we mean when talking about the blues. Depression often runs in families. If you experience depression, it can be life threatening because in its severe form, it can produce suicidal thoughts. Spotting symptoms of depression and seeking a professional evaluation is your first step. If alcohol or drug use is associated with any of the following symptoms, an evaluation for addictive disease is also important. 

 SYMPTOMS of DEPRESSION:

▪ feelings of hopelessness and despair, low self-esteem;

▪ feelings of sadness, crying jags;

▪ sleep disturbances (too much sleep, or the inability to sleep); 

▪ noticeable increases or decreases in appetite with
significant changes in weight, either up or down;

▪ loss of concentration, memory difficulties; 

▪ low energy;

▪ inability to feel pleasure, reduced interest in
fun activities;

▪ loss of sexual interest or interest in being
with others;

▪ feeling physically worn down and sick;

▪ thoughts of “wanting to be out of your misery”;

▪ suicidal thoughts or planning suicide
(Note: This is a medical 
emergency. Get help immediately.)

~ Judy Sandstrom, EAP Coordinator

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