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SurmeierTherapist’s Corner…
Make the Best of Your Holidays

     As a child, the winter holidays were always my favorite. Pretty decorations, snowball fights, yummy food, and best of all…gifts! My family has always been diligent about keeping our traditions alive during the winter holidays and as grateful as I am to spend this time with those that I love dearest, I can’t help but realize that this time of year seems to take on a new theme for us as we grow older. Decorations offer a beautifully nostalgic scenery, until you have to spend the time to take them down. Gifts are so joyous to share with each other except we’ve spent months pinching pennies to afford them.   
     While the holidays can be a time of thanks and tradition and time with loved ones, they can also leave us tired, broke, and just plain stressed out. So during the time of shorter daylight, colder nights, and financial stress, here are a few tips to help you enjoy this special time of year the very best you can.
     Tips to Make the Very Best of Your Holiday Season:
1. Stick to a routine! While this is helpful year-round, having a regular sleep, activity, and eating routine will make all the difference in your energy levels – of which you will need plenty!
2. Take time for yourself without isolating too much. It can get overwhelming during the holidays to be around people all the time. Take the alone time you need, but remember, time with caring and supportive people is important, too!
3. Eat and drink in moderation! With so much temptation around, it’s easy and expected for us to give in! But be respectful to your body’s needs. Drinking alcohol is especially harmful when you’re tired and the balance of your diet can make or break your energy levels.
4. Make a to-do list. No need trying to remember so much on top of stress! Do yourself a favor!
5. Budget your time. ALWAYS allow time to relax with your favorite music, movies, or activities!
     Here’s to a fun and safe winter for all!

~ Kylie Surmeier, Therapist


Therapist’s Corner…
Stages of Change

If you don’t like something change it. Simple, right? Turns out it is quite the process. The simplest and most complex of changes can be broken in to a six-step process.
     The earliest stage of change is pre-contemplation. This can also be a very kind way of describing being in denial. These individuals will often state that the behavior is not a problem. The mindset that the behavior cannot be changed or that the behavior is not negatively affecting their lives serves as reasoning for maintaining the behavior. Question to self: What would have to happen for you to consider your behavior a problem?
     During contemplation, awareness begins to creep in, and the potential benefits that change may generate within one’s life. With this stage, comes increased levels of uncertainty and fear of failure if one is unable reach a desired outcome. Question to self: What in my life is preventing me from making this change?
     During the preparation stage it is important to reach out and implement the support systems needed in order to change behavior. Make small changes and find healthy support systems that will serve as the platform on which to build. During the preparation stage reaching out to professionals such as therapist, dietitians, or support groups can serve as a helpful guide. Question to self: Am I setting attainable goals with the resources I have?
     The rubber hits the road during the action stage. New routines need to be established along with a regular procedure to monitor accountability. Positivity is crucial as this stage will test one the most, and it offers many opportunities for failure. Slow and steady pacing will encourage the long-term commitment necessary to facilitate change. Question to self: What have I done today to work toward my goal to change my behavior?
     Reaching the maintenance stage requires trust in self and perseverance. At this stage a healthy understanding of daily efforts needed to maintain desired behaviors has become an accepted way of living. Holding one’s self accountable has become routine. Rewarding one’s self is important, whether through positive affirmation or more tangible outlets. Reaching the goal should be celebrated! Question to self: Have I continued to accept my changes as part of my new lifestyle to which I hold myself accountable?
     Yes, relapse is part of it and even to be expected. Its ok. Failure most likely will happen. Getting the wheels back on track is just part of it. If you’ve made it this far, you can get back to your desired behavior by going back to the work done in the preparation stage. Questions to ask self: What triggered the relapse?
     Let these steps be a guide to you as you continue your own journey of growth and wellness in your life. Rome was not built in a day and change will not show up tomorrow. One must do the work to find the best they can be.

~ Jordan Allen, Therapist


Tips from Our  EAP...
Overcoming Loneliness

Loneliness: A Public Health Issue
     Despite the fact that people are con-nected more than ever through tech-nology, more of us are experiencing loneliness. A recent study has found that feeling lonely doesn’t just contrib-ute to more behavioral health prob-lems—it literally can shorten your life.
Loneliness Adversely Affects Health
     People who say they are lonely have a much greater risk of dying of heart disease than people who say they aren’t lonely. Lonely women have double the risk of early death, while lonely men have nearly half the risk, according to researchers. Loneliness is often referred to as the “new obesity” to elevate its recognition as a serious national health problem.
     Doctors have known for some time that people who are lonely have increased risk for anxiety and depression, which can also lead to more health concerns. Researchers say that the problem is getting worse because more people live alone than ever before.
Are You Lonely?
Everybody feels lonely from time to time, but chronic loneliness can sneak up on you. How do you know whether you’re lonely? Some recent studies offer some clues.

  •   Has your TV watching increased? If you are spending hours a day watching TV alone, you may be lonely. Researchers found that lonely people are more likely to watch more television than people who aren’t lonely.
  •   You don’t feel refreshed after downtime alone. We all need time to unplug from the daily grind, whether it’s taking a long walk or heading to a movie. Lonely people don’t feel recharged after their downtime. They feel lonely.
  •   You are constantly on social media? People who are frequently checking their Facebook or Twitter are likely to be feeling secluded, according to researchers. The connection we get through social media isn’t the same as the feeling gained by doing something you enjoy with another person, but for someone who is lonely it can feel like a lifeline.

Action Is Key
     If you suspect you’re lonely, don’t “get used to it.” Take action to bring more connections into your life. You can start by contacting all those friends you’ve been intending to reach out to for lunch, dinner or a drink after work. Even if it’s been a while since you’ve seen your friends, make an effort to get together with them.
     Another avenue is to start attending group activities that you enjoy. Play darts, take a yoga class, go to church, or train for a marathon. Organizations such as list groups of like-minded people in your area who enjoy a variety of things, such as books, Bunco, sailing, technology, or salsa dancing. Choose a group and check it out.
Think Forward
     Schedule something to look forward to. Think forward. Set up a family reunion or a vacation to give yourself something you can see on your calendar that you can anticipate. Sometimes just knowing that you have activities scheduled helps when you’re feeling lonely.
     Lonely people often think they are socially awkward, but studies have shown that this not the true. It may be difficult to put yourself out there, but knowing that you are going to do better than you think you will may help to get you out the door.
     Get a pet. Coming home to a furry friend that is excited to see you is a sure cure for loneliness. What’s more, walking the dog or brushing the cat can lower blood pressure in addition to making you feel less lonely.
Not a Willpower Thing
     It’s important to know there is nothing shameful about feeling lonely. Sometimes lonely people feel as if they should just get over their feelings or think they should toughen up about being on their own. Human beings are meant to be in community, and so it is natural to yearn for others when we don’t have enough social interaction. 
     Sometimes people who are lonely have additional issues that keep them from being able to make connections. Phobias or social anxiety can keep you trapped in your home. Depression can keep you from getting off the sofa. It’s important to get help for these issues, especially if they are contributing to isolation.
Your EAP Can Help
     Talk to the Family Resources EAP about solutions to problems associated with isolation, life changes, and loneliness. EAPs are problem-solving, resource experts. We’ll help you create a plan and take action to get help for yourself or a loved one who struggles with isolation and loneliness.

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Coordinator (article from Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP,

Happy Birthday, FRGN!!

Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. celebrated it’s 27th
birthday on November 1! Thank you to our staff, community, and clients for allowing us to provide services to those seeking our motto: Life Lived Well!


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