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JMcCasslinTherapist's Corner...
Remember Blessings

     Today is Black Friday. The day after the most thanks-filled day of the year. The day we usually focus on what we want and what we think others want from us, gift-wise. It can be a stress-filled day or a day where we continue to be thankful.
      For me, it's a time of year I both dread and love. I love decorating for Christmas and so do my children. It's a weekend filled with fun while we decorate our home. I enjoy getting gifts for others, although I have a difficult time with spending a lot of money. I also have difficulty answering people when they ask what I, or one of my family members, wants for Christmas. For several years, I've been trying to get people to give less "stuff" and more things that my children can experience and build memories. It's a difficult change of mind, even for me.
     Consider this: how many children/adults do you know that consistently use what you get them for Christmas? Yes, there are times when we "nail" the gift and the person uses it daily. But if your kids are like my kids, they play with a toy and forget about it several weeks later. On the other hand, they don't forget experiences. My children still talk about Legoland or the zoo. So this year, I asked people to buy things like piano lessons, martial arts classes, swimming lessons, museum passes, zoo memberships, or state park permits. These are things we will use. They will build memories for my children, and family time for us all. They will promote self-esteem, confidence, exploration, problem-solving, and more.
     Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for people's thoughtful, tangible gifts. I do not want someone to feel obligated to get something they don't want to get. Plus, it is difficult, and not always cheap, to purchase these things for different ages. For example, my oldest can do piano, T-ball, etc, etc, but my 2-year-old can't. Just as long as no one buys another stuffed animal, I'll be ok!
     I know we give thanks when we are able to give to others, as well as when we receive gifts. There are times when tangible gifts are helpful and appropriate. But perhaps there are also times when stuff piles up and we need to "cleanse" our homes. The same can be said for our minds. There are times when stuff piles up and we need to cleanse. We allow the stressors and chaos to overcome us, and it overshadows our ability to find peace a
nd gratefulness in the "ordinary" things. 
     So this season, let's do our best to find our blessings and to remember them.

Jessica R. McCaslin, Therapist 

TillmanD

Clinical Director Contemplations...
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, as well as the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. My thoughts jumped 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 car, and look around...where are my kids that I need to take to school?  Ah, that is them getting into my 16 year olds car to go to school because going to school as brothers is WAY better than being dropped off by dad.  What, I don't have to drop them off?   And it is cold outside because it is now November and has finally gotten cold.
     The good news is, autumn is my most favorite time of the year, but where did the rest of the months go? Twelve 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 to address a problem or to be thankful for what we have. 
     I came across this quote 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 do that), 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

Lenz

From Our EAP...
25 Ways to Beat 
Holiday Stress

 
Many people get stretched pretty thin this time of year by money and social obligations. Here are 25 ways to keep on track this season.

     1. Set realistic expectations. Things aren’t going to go perfectly and that’s ok. You can prepare yourself mentally by visualizing your calm, positive response to negative events.
     2. Get moving. It’s not the chores, shopping, and Uncle Stanley’s visit that’s stressing you out – it’s your anticipation of them! Create a to-do list, and tackle one or two items per week through the holidays.
     3. Avoid the shotgun approach. You’ll accomplish more by tackling one thing at time and giving it your full attention.
     4. Budget expenditures. Set per person limits on gift giving and stick to them. Remember to include special outlays for travel, decorations, food and entertainment.
     5. Pay as you go. Charging purchases may delay your bills, but knowing they’re waiting for you in January increases stress.
     6. Play to your strengths. Utilize what you have the most of – time, money, or creativity.
     7. Pare down on gift giving. For extended family and social groups, suggest each person give just one gift by drawing names out of a hat.
     8. Cut your costs. Give inexpensive but thoughtful gifts like home-baked goods or hand-made photo albums. Bundling several small items around a theme provides a low cost, personal touch.
     9. Don’t lose the meaning. If consumerism has you down, check out inspirational literature and reconnect with what makes the holidays special and important.
     10. Participate in reaffirming activities. Spend time at church and in your community with like-minded people.
     11. Take some time off work. Don’t cram all errands and shopping trips into the precious little time you have outside work hours. Avoiding the weekend crowds will allow you to get more done with less stress.
     12. Do a solo power shopping event. Turbo charge your efficiency by avoiding distractions and competing agendas.
     13. Take advantage of the internet. Most sites offer free shipping for the holidays.
     14. Ask for help. If you’re playing host, assign chores and duties to your spouse and children.
     15. Cheer loves company. Combine household holiday prep with socializing. Ask some friends over for a baking and gift wrapping party.
     16. Lighten your cooking duties. It’s perfectly acceptable to cook a main course and ask dinner guests to bring a side.
     17. Get on the same page with family. Come to a consensus on what’s important and cut out the fluff.
     18. Recruit a child wrangler. Kids underfoot can add to the stress of big events. Designate one adult to organize games and fun activities in a confined space.
     19. Avoid isolation. The holidays can be a depressing time for those who’ve lost loved ones. Get out of the house whenever possible and reconnect with old friends
     20. Help someone who needs you. Nothing melts away personal troubles like helping someone else.
     21. Pass down wisdom and tradition. Instead of mourning the passing of better times, keep those memories alive by sharing them with the next generation.
     22. Review your life priorities. Combat your hectic schedule by reassessing what matters most.
     23. Forgive someone. Letting go of past resentments makes room for future happiness.
     24. Make a gratitude list. Review it whenever you feel depressed, anxious, depressed or stressed out.
     25. Take a time out. Give yourself permission to indulge in something you “just don’t have time for anymore” like a long lunch or a night out with friends.

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Administrator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP, WorkExcel.com)

FRGN Highlights

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Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. celebrated their 25th Anniversary with an open house and ribbon cutting on November 9, 2016. The public was invited to enjoy refreshments, a tour of the facility, and drawings. We are proud to have served our clients and communities for 25 years. Here's to more!

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