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TillmanDClinical Director Contemplations...
Watching the Leaves Turn

This Monday morning was about as typical as it gets; we were in a hurry as usual. My mind was filled with the day's activities, kids' schedules, what to have for dinner, and even what tasks to complete before the week was over. My thoughts jumped already to the weekend, before saying to myself, "I need to make sure we do something for fun next weekend, this one had a lot of work in it"...then it hit me as we were walking to the car, "I sure am cold"! 

I get in the passenger side of the car, my oldest son gets behind the wheel, and my youngest son gets in the back...all by himself. Why wouldn't he get in by himself? Two weeks ago he turned 10. And how about the boy (very quickly becoming a man) behind the wheel driving us around? Not the kind of driving us around that we used to do on the country roads with me running the pedals and him turning the wheel "driving"; he has a learners permit for another four months "driving." And it is cold outside because it is now October!

The good news is, October is my most favorite time of the year, but where did the rest of the months go? Ten years ago, I was fighting the car seat and saying to myself "it sure will be nice when this is not needed anymore," and "...it will be nice when this six year old can do more for himself." Now, in this moment, I wish I had all that time back.   

Many great people have written of this time in life. Still others had personally warned me of it coming. But, I did not listen, or I did not give it the respect I should have. Thankfully, like most things, the earlier you can begin working on a problem, the easier it is to address (not that it is ever too late). 

I came across this quote today by Elizabeth Lawrence that is my Fall call-to-action, "Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." Now, it would be fine to take this literally and "watch the leaves turn" (and I will do that myself), but it speaks to me particularly strong about my boys. Who cares if I don't check email one last time and watch that football practice instead? Will it really matter if I don't get the yard mowed and we go for a drive instead? Sure a hot meal is great, but is it really better than a bowl of cereal after a long walk in the crisp air with my partner? 

I hope this article awakens a side of you to stop letting life speed by. I wish it to stir in you an accounting of what really matters (and what does not). I pray for an upset that sparks you to reach out (or over) to a loved one. I would love nothing more than you to be moved to doing something you love, with people that you love more. Finally, I desire for this to enter you heart and not allow it to again take things for granted and to count your blessings.

Fall is here, you still have life in your lungs, and it is never to late!   

~ Douglas Tillman, Clinical Director

TCarlsonFrom Our  Psychologist...
Self Care Is Not Optional

“I hate this table!” I said grumbling under my breath, while grabbing the dust rag as I was told. “I don't want to!” I moaned. My mother very firmly responded, “I don't care if you want to. It just needs done."

In that moment, I'm sure she would tell you she simply wanted the table dusted and had grown impatient with my whining. However, the truth is, those words taught me more as a 10 year old than she could have ever imagined. As adults we all have to do activities we don't want to, but we tell ourselves it simply must be done. In most cases we do have options, of course; however, we don't want to suffer the consequences of not doing it, so in our mind that isn’t really an option. Consider someone who doesn't want to pay a parking fine, yet doesn't want to go to jail, so they pay it anyway. Even for people who really like their job, it's common to occasionally have a day when they don't want to go to work, but they go anyway because they fear the consequence of losing their job.

This “non-optional attitude" can be incredibly important when it comes to self-care activities, especially exercise. For example, although I have a well-ingrained habit of exercising early in the a.m., more days than not when the alarm goes off, my immediate thought is, “Ugh…. I don't want to.” And then I quickly remind myself, “You don't have to want to. You just have to do it.” I use many variations of the same message, channeling my mothers firm tone of voice when I say to myself, “It just needs done.” At times I visualize my adult self, pulling along the child-like version of me who is kicking and screaming, “I don't want to!” But I go. I do it anyway. The adult wins, because the adult understands the consequences of inactivity in a way the child-like version of me never will. In the end, I reap the same benefits whether I am excited to be there that day or not. Sure, some days I work harder than others but when it comes to making healthy habits consistency is key. And when it comes to exercise, we don't have to want to. It just needs done.

I'm not sure where it originated from, but somewhere along the way people got the idea we should always “want” to do something before we do it. That somehow if the desire isn't there, we shouldn't have to do it. Think about that for a moment. Can you imagine a life where we all only did things we wanted to do? I’m quite certain we would be surrounded by piles of garbage everywhere! There are many responsibilities we will likely never want to do, but they still need done.

I remember an argument early in my marriage when I was upset because my husband was disgruntled while doing the dishes and I naïvely was hoping he would do them with a smile. I distinctly remember him saying, “Look, I'll never want to do the dishes, but I'm doing them. Isn't that all that matters?” Hmm, that was hard to argue with. He had a point. As long as he was doing them, it didn't really matter if he wanted to or not. The dishes were getting done.

And so it is with self-care. There are times we won't want to exercise. There are times we want chocolate cake for breakfast, but we choose not to eat it. We do this because we know our decisions matter. What we do, or don't do, what we eat or don't eat, does impact our overall health. Sometimes we may crave the healthy food or the activity, but even when we don't we can make the smart choice anyway. Mom is right. Sometimes, it just needs done.

This phrase, and similar others, can be useful no matter what your goals might be. The thoughts we say to ourselves often determine what we do or don't do. So channel your inner voice - whether it sounds more like a parent, a coach, or a drill sergeant, and apply it to whatever goal for which you may be lacking desire. Now, get going already! You’ll be glad you did!

~ Dr. Tabitha Carlson, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

HainAFrom Our EAP...
Creating a Welcoming Workplace

 

How do you help those who are ethnically diverse feel more comfortable and welcomed at your workplace? What can you do so they experience more inclusion, despite a work environment foreign to their own?

Establishing a Welcoming Environment Is Everyone’s Job.

If your fear of saying or doing something improper is holding you back from welcoming a new worker, relax. Creating a welcoming workplace is a lot easier than you think.

Educate yourself about the native culture of your new employee (a five-minute trip to Wikipedia is all it takes), become self-aware, and decide that you want your coworker to feel safe so they can be themselves in their new home—your shared workplace.

Pursuing these goals will help you overcome your fears and biases, model how others can do the same, and allow you to move beyond tolerance to being excited about diversity and inclusion. You will witness a positive force that propels your workplace upward so everyone succeeds.

7 Simple Ways You Can Embrace Workplace Diversity

Here are seven tips on how you can create a welcoming workplace for everyone.

1) Understand how cultural differences impact work behavior. People from different cultures may respond differently to everyday work situations. Understanding these differences will help you increase your curiosity and interest and decrease feeling puzzled by what you observe. Educate yourself about the culture of your colleagues. Observe your colleagues to  learn of their traditions and beliefs. You’re likely to see differences in how one expresses joy, stress, grief, thankfulness, and spiritual awareness.

2) It’s okay to ask. Some cultural differences can be hard to understand. For instance, employees from certain Asian cultures find it difficult to openly disagree with a superior. Similarly, some people are not receptive to a confrontation in the workplace; they would rather discuss matters in a non-office setting such as a restaurant. Never hesitate to ask your colleague what is the best way to communicate with them without violating their cultural norms.

3) Check your biases. Creating a welcoming workplace includes a good dose of self-awareness.  Are you quick to make assumptions about someone based on their dress or accent? Everyone has biases. The trick is recognizing them, and turning off the “autopilot” response you may experience.

4) Communicate effectively. Ensure that your colleagues clearly understand the expectations you have of them. Here are some tips on communicating effectively with a culturally diverse group:

• Display positive body language.

• Be patient and polite.

• Be assertive without being aggressive.

• Use verbal responses such as “yes” and “okay” to show your  involvement in the conversation.

• Go over the discussion by summarizing the information as well as asking questions.

• While you may use industry terminology, keep the language simple. Consider avoiding slang. Employees from outside the U.S may struggle to understand American metaphors, many of which can be enormously abstract.

• Others may be fascinated with the roots of American slang.

5) Focus on individual strengths, not ethnicity. Assess the strengths, weaknesses, and preferences of each individual on your team; use this knowledge when assigning tasks. For example, because of a language barrier an individual may lack confidence in dealing with customers, but could be a dynamo with troubleshooting or analyzing data. Appreciating these differences can increase the chances of employee and team success.

6) Become a mentor. Mentor your new colleague to help them feel comfortable with the change, and help them understand the politics and interrelationships within the company,  its policies, and its organizational structure.

Be open to being “the go-to person” they can turn to for help when things become confusing, especially if your organization does not have a formal mentoring policy to integrate new employees from diverse cultures.

7) Stand up to discrimination. All of us lose when discrimination reigns. Be a change agent and recognize it when it appears. Don’t stay silent if you witness discriminatory behavior, or if you hear a culturally biased statement made about a colleague.

Stand up for the rights of colleagues who may fear or resist openly objecting to discrimination, and prepare to help those who struggle with understanding how a culturally diverse workforce creates a workplace where everyone wins.

~ Anna Hain, EAP Coordinator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP, WorkExcel.com)

LambersonFRGN Spotlight...
Introducing Mandy!

Mandy graduated with her degree in community counseling from the University of Central Missouri in December 2014.  Before reaching her goal of becoming a community counselor she held work experiences with juveniles in the legal system, children who were abused/neglected, and adults and children diagnosed with mental health disorders.  Mandy continues to have special interest in working with children, adolescents, and families.  She utilizes play therapy and sand therapy techniques when working with children.

Mandy has been married for 6 years and has two children.  She recently moved to Kearney with her family, and is excited about this new adventure in her life.  Mandy enjoys playing sports, painting, Crossfitting, and crafting.

 

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