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May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Hoyt Dave

Therapist's Corner...
Summertime "Sanity"

Can life get any more hectic than it already is?

Summer is that time of year when people get frustrated because what routines we may have had, are gone out the window. There are appointments, regular family tasks that need done, vacations or trips, visits, kid activities and the list keeps going on and on. Today’s lifestyle is usually one that leaves little time for doing those activities which help us stay grounded and in control when life throws us a curve ball.  Many folks struggle to keep up and as the frustration goes up, the ability to handle life usually goes down. There is hope though, today more so than ever. There are resources available to help some as close as few clicks on the computer or telephone away. Please don’t think that you have to wait until life has totally buried you before taking action and reaching out for support.

So how to stay on top of your game? Communication is one key to the puzzle…

Tips to Improve Family Communications with Children:

  • Be available – Assure them that you will be there for them in their time of need
  • Be a good listener – Show them that what they have to say is important.  A lot of problem behaviors often start with a need to be heard
  • Show empathy – Let them know that you have heard them and care for them
  • Be a good role model – They are always learning. Don't think because they aren't right in front of you that they aren't learning – like us, they learn by hearing, smelling, seeing, tasting, and/or feeling
  • Give clear age appropriate directions – Try to keep it as simple as possible with not a bunch of details.  You may need to go with them at first to show them what you expect
  • Praise your child – Even as adults we like to get something for what we do, let them know when they have done well. Try to think of it as a scale with good comments on one side and what are viewed as bad comments on the other – keep the scale as balanced as possible
  • Calmly Communicate – Take a breath, think to yourself "Will it matter in 10 minutes, 10 hours, or 10 days?" and then say what you have to say with as few words as possible
  • Be truthful –  Make sure to model the importance of being truthful and honest
  • Disappointment is part of life that we all have to learn to deal with at one point or another – it doesn’t have to be the end all be all – life will go on.-model that life will move forward

Don’t 

  • Give broad general instructions
  • Name call or blame
  • Yell or threaten
  • Lie or tell your children half-truths
  • Use silence to express strong feelings

 Okay but what about keeping your cool through everything taking place in life?

  • Take a few deep breaths very slowly –BREATH!
  • Wait 5 minutes before starting to talk to your child
  • Try to find a word to label what you are feeling
  • Share your feelings of frustration with a spouse or friend
  • Do not hold grudges
  • Seek professional help if you feel you have lost control

No one is perfect– contrary to popular belief there is no one’s picture in the encyclopedia under “perfect.” Love is the foundation of mental health and self-esteem.  You may have heard it said if you can’t love yourself, how can you love someone else? Well some of that is more true than you may know.

Imagine what things would be like if you loved yourself just a little more:

  • You’d be less susceptible to persuasion . . .
  • You’d be less driven by fear . . .
  • You’d be happier…
  • You’d be more motivated by enjoyment and personal satisfaction . . .
  • You’d try more, risk more . . .
  • You’d be more at ease with your rough edges and more willing to work on them . . .
  • You’d be happier with your relationships and less likely to stick with partners who aren’t worth it…
  • You’d be more comfortable with expressing your feelings . . .
  • You’d be less questioning of yourself . . .
  • You’d enjoy life more …
  • You’d feel liked for who you are, and not for some phony person you wish you were . . .

Maybe it would be helpful to write about your feelings, acknowledge and honor those feelings, which otherwise are typically disowned. Writing about your feelings can become a way of loving yourself.

A little poetry to give one hope perhaps?

The Victor by: C. W. Longenecker

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win but think you can't,
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost.
     For out in the world we find success beginning with a fellow's will.
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you are out classed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
    You've got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win the prize.
Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster person.
But sooner or later, the one who wins is the one who thinks they can.

 So now we have covered a few ways to help make your summer just a bit more tolerable.  However the “Big Three” still need to be taken care of in order to ensure the possibility of success.

#1) Sleep – Make sure you are getting the correct amount of rest (at least 6 hours on average)

#2) Exercise – take a walk, play with your kids, just do something healthy to get your heart pumping.  The positive endorphins released from a good exercise tend to help more than many prescription medications and are easier for your body to process- give it a try!

#3) Diet – Try to get a balanced diet.  As much as we may love snack cakes and the like, they are not good for us in that they result is less energy and more body fat.

Thank you and have a great summer of 2014!               

~ Dave Hoyt, Therapist

Sandstrom JudyTips from our EAP...
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Research has shown that social support wards off the effects of stress on depression, anxiety and other health problems. Do you need to be more connected to others? Here are some tips to help you create a plan to make, keep and strengthen connections in your life:

Make a short list of friends and family members who are supportive and positive. Also include a list of people you feel the need to stay in touch with regularly such as parents, a close friend or adult child who lives far away, or an aging relative who lives alone.

Make a commitment to yourself to call, email or get together with them on a schedule that’s reasonable for you. Try to reach out to make at least one emotional connection a day, but plan realistically. In cases of long distance, consider using web-based ways of keeping in touch, like Skype or Facebook.

Share what’s on your mind honestly and openly. Talk about your concerns in a straight-forward way, but try to keep it constructive. Try to be direct about what you need – for example a sympathetic ear, help solving a problem, a fresh perspective, new ideas or a good laugh. Don’t hesitate to ask for the kind of help you’d like. Ask what other people think about your situation, and show them you value their opinion.

When you talk, also listen. Ask about someone else’s day, or follow up on the topic of a previous conversation. Showing sincere interest in another person’s life builds relationships and listening to other people’s concerns can often shed a new light on your own challenges. Offer help or advice if asked – listen and respond.

Make social plans. Create opportunities to strengthen your relationships with fun things that both you and your friend or relative will enjoy. Looking forward to special activities boosts our spirits, gives us energy and makes us more productive.

You may find that among people you hardly know, one or more can become trusted friends you can rely on—and support—in good times and bad. Even if you feel that you’re so busy you don’t have time to keep up with family and friends you already have, it doesn’t take much time to make new friends. If you’re shy and hesitant about meeting new people, just a few questions can get a conversation going. Think about neighbors you pass regularly, co-workers, people in your exercise class, a cousin you’ve lost touch with, or those who volunteer in the same organizations you do. If you don’t already have people you can talk with regularly about what’s on your mind, it’s worth the effort to build connections for your emotional health. If you find yourself anxious or timid about social interaction, you may want to consider talking to a therapist or counselor to build your confidence in social situations.

In our next newsletter, we'll look at some other ways to reach out. Stay tuned!

~ Judy Sandstrom, EAP Coordinator

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