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Medication Management

Nov 18, 2017 in Hot Topics

Counseling or Medication?

A common misconception among people is when it comes to medication and counseling, you can only have one or the other. Sometimes, people have a fear of being on medications or going to therapy, so they will only do one of the two options. However, medication and counseling should be used to work together. While not everyone needs medication, it is much better to have your clinician who knows you and your case to suggest medication that are right for you.

 

Isn’t Medication the “Easier Option?”

Medication is believed to be a “quick fix” but counseling should still be utilized. Keep in mind that just because you may be on a medication, your treatment still requires effort from you. It is very important to do what the clinician suggests. You may have seen or heard something about a certain medication that you believe will help you, but it may not actually be right for you. Know that they are the trained professionals, and ultimately have your best interest in mind.

 

How Do I Get Started?

If you are currently seeing a psychologist, they cannot directly prescribe you medications. If they believe you could benefit from them, they will refer you to a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner. From there, you will be able to explore all your options and decide with the psychiatrist what is best for you.

Seasonal Depression

Nov 11, 2017 in Hot Topics

We all know that for many people, the holidays can be a drag. For such a joyful time, there can be so many stressors that can ruin the fun. Worrying about gatherings, meals, family, and presents can all put strain on our minds.

 

One term that professionals use is “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD. This is the idea that there is a cycle that takes place within the year that implies that our mood changes with the seasons. It makes sense because we know that certain times of the year bring different connotations. For example, in summer we think of being carefree and relaxed, and in winter we think of holidays and the busy times that comes with it.

Well, how do we deal with this feeling of depression during a crucial time of the year? There are many options, but these can be the most effective:

  • Seek counseling when you know you’re going to need it
  • Engage in your favorite activities around this time to keep yourself relaxed and healthy
  • Don’t be afraid to shift some of your seasonal workload on someone close to you (partner, parents, etc.) to help if you’re spread too thin
  • Start planning earlier to avoid last minute gifts, meals, and gatherings

 

These things will not get rid of SAD all together, but reducing the amount of stress you have can make it much easier to manage. As the saying goes, if you take care of yourself, you can take care of those around you.

Choosing Love

Nov 4, 2017 in Hot Topics

love
ləv/
noun

Halloween Mindfulness

Oct 28, 2017 in Blog From The Experts

It’s the spookiest time of the year! Halloween is a fun time for kids and adults. Kids are not the only ones to celebrate either. Plenty of adults still dress up, have parties, and pass out candy.

 

Basic Halloween safety for kids trick-or-treating is fairly well known. However, adult safety and mindfulness for Halloween is sometimes overlooked. A huge part of the holiday is obviously dressing up in costumes, sometimes scary. One of the major things that we have to be aware of about ourselves is phobias.

With all the costumes, it is a good chance you could run into someone dressed as something you are truly fearful of. A common phobia affected by Halloween is coulrophobia or the fear of clowns. While it is a person’s right to dress up as whatever they please, you should know what you need to do if you encounter someone who might trigger these phobias.

So what should you do if you have an encounter? Your first reaction may be feeling like panic. Just do your best to reassure yourself that you are in fact okay and safe. Keep someone around you know you trust, who you can turn to if you are starting to feel unsafe.

To plan for the situation of you being in a full blown panic attack, think of a place where you could escape to that would make you feel safe. If you’re not at home it could be a place like your car, a bathroom, or any room where there is no occupants. Bring your trusted person along if you prefer it.

Along with that, make sure to stay aware if your surrounding for an overall fun and safe Halloween!

Dealing with Workplace Stressors

Oct 21, 2017 in Hot Topics

Not every job you have will end up being your favorite. However, at the same time, if your job is causing you excessive stress that you are bringing home, it can affect the people around you.

 

The best way to avoid bringing negative energy home, is to practice a “calming ritual.” Examples of what other people do are things like driving around a few extra minutes, stopping to get a treat on the way home, or unwinding and taking a shower as soon as you get home.

Every job can be stressful, and according to the American Psychological Association’s 2012 annual Stress in America survey, 65% of respondents listed their work as their top source of life stress, but only 37% said they were doing an excellent or very good job managing stress. It can be a very easy thing to simply neglect your mental health regarding work. Employers seem to understand if you have a cast, but don’t always accept the need for “mental health days.”

Sometimes, a change of jobs may be the way to go. You need to ask yourself, is it the job that is making me stressed, or is it the people I work with? If it is the job, you may want to consider a change. This is especially true if you are in a “filler” job or are not where you wanted to be career wise. You may feel bad because you have been with the company for so long, but what some people do not think about is this: It is not your problem to be worried about what the company will do without you. Chances are, they will replace you in a week. It sounds harsh, but it is the reality of how businesses work.

If the problems are coming from the people you work with rather than the company, try talking to a higher up about the problem. If they do not take it seriously, or if there are “cliques” that rule your workplace, consider a new job as well, or figure out if it is something you can live with or not.

 

There may not be a problem at all with your workplace, rather the “work” aspect of everything. Most people don’t work because they want to, it’s because they have to. Unfortunately, this is not really something you can change. However, to support your work day, get enough sleep at night, adopt a healthier diet to give you proper energy, and learn to manage your stress. On your next day off, if it is possible, spend it on yourself and doing what you enjoy. You will go back to work feeling refreshed and relaxed.

Enjoying Your Life

Oct 14, 2017 in Blog From The Experts

We have a tendency to skip over the things that make us happy when we get caught in our busy schedules. Sometimes, one of the most challenging things we can do is actually sit down and reflect on all of the good things in our life, rather than the negative.

 

Life is bound to get hectic and overwhelming at times. During these times, it is so easy to be caught up chasing something we don’t have, because we think it will fulfill us.  This can create a harmful cycle. If we are constantly chasing the newest thing to make ourselves happy, when will it end? If you find yourself in this cycle, it is time to have a thorough reevaluation of the things that are important to you.

Think about the things you value the most. It could be friends, family, shopping, yoga, or video games. The goal is to get down to the core of the relationships and hobbies that are the most crucial to your happiness, anything else is “extra.” Once you have identified the most meaningful things to you, try to incorporate them into your life more. If it is not physically or financially possible, try to find something that is similar, or a good “dupe” for it.

Now that you know what makes you happy, be grateful for these things. On our worst days it can feel like we have nothing to live for. These are the exact times that we should focus on ourselves and the things we love, and show gratitude for them. You never know when something can be taken away, so we should enjoy the privilege of them while they are here.

Picking Yourself Up on an Off Day

Oct 7, 2017 in Hot Topics

Since we are all living, we know that life does not always go as planned. We know life is full of ups and downs, and it is always going to be that way. How can we cope with the days that turn out harder than expected? Maybe your car just broke down, work is boring you endlessly, or each of your kids throws a tantrum at once. There are ways for you to stay calm during these hectic times.

 

Remain Positive

 

It can be way too easy to just complain about the surrounding world and see the bad side to everything. It seems obvious, but putting all your energy into seeing the bright side of things can turn the whole situation around. You have to actually believe the things you are going off of. For example, don’t lie to yourself. Don’t give yourself false hope or be misleading. Instead, face the problem at hand, don’t wait around for miracles, and be straight up with yourself.

Practice saying/thinking things like, “This situation is difficult, but it WILL pass, and I can handle it because I know what needs to get done.”

 

 

Accept the Chaos

 

Sometimes a situation that we can do nothing about will arise. Sometimes there will be so much going on that we feel like we will explode. In these times, sit back and enjoy the craziness around you. Are things out of place? Yes. Will things eventually calm down? Yes. The thing to remember is that nothing lasts forever and that the hard times will settle, and the feelings will also fade. There are just those days that you simple can’t do anything to change it and it’s out of your hands.

 

 

Reward Yourself

 

Once you have finally made it through your hectic day, take time to relax and enjoy what is left of the day. Rather than sulking about how hard your day was, reward all your hard work! You made it, and now you can look back and adjust your actions even more for the next off day.

 

The most important thing to remember is that whether you are having a bad day, month, or year, time and self-growth can fix anything. If you didn’t handle a certain day how you would have liked, change it for next time.

Paying Attention to Kids’ Online Behavior

Sep 23, 2017 in Hot Topics

Sometimes, it can be hard to keep up with social media and what is being portrayed to your children online. There are constantly new trends and new social media sites that change right as you are getting caught up. Even if it is a challenge, young people need online supervision.

 

When kids know their parents are not tech savvy, or know they do not have social media accounts, they are more likely to make poor choices online. When they know their parents are watching, they will be more careful about what they post and who they interact with.

Aside from concerns about what your child may be posting, you have to also take into consideration the images they are being exposed to. Many young children can get the impression that they are required to look a certain way to be happy. They may not even realize the impact it is having on their self esteem. Another important thing to note is this does not just apply to young girls. Boys can have the same pressure that girls do in terms of body image and expectations.

Also, for both boys and girls, social media ideals can give a false sense of what love and a relationship looks like. This can lead to unrealistic expectations of their partner, and ultimately leaving unhappiness and loneliness.

 

Not only should you as a parent have an account on every platform they are on, you should try and monitor it as much as possible. This means if you see activity that is alarming to you, talk to them about it. Also talk with them about body image and how stuff online really is unrealistic sometimes. Tying into that, give them a positive and fair outlook on relationships and love and what they are really like and not what social media makes them look like.

Defining Wants from Needs

Sep 16, 2017 in Blog From The Experts, Hot Topics

There are few things that are truly necessities to us. However, there are a lot of things that feel like necessities. How do we define what we really need? How can we avoid overindulging and wasting money?

 

Many people are accustomed to a certain type of lifestyle. We live in a very privileged country where we have the freedom to buy, wear, and own almost anything we could want. Aside from the obvious necessities (food, water, shelter) what do we really need? While it varies for everyone depending on if they have kids, how they like to live, and how much income they have, we still all have similar needs.

An important thing everyone should have access to are things like toiletries or bathing products, medications (prescribed or over the counter), and clothing. The list usually would go on and on, but where do we draw the line? Are things like perfume, a pair of shoes in every color, and beauty products actually needed? Of course not. However, there is nothing wrong with having wants.

The only problem is when you put those wants above your needs and spend more than you have. It seems obvious, but it is really easy to simply put something on a card and say “oh I’ll be able to pay for it next week” but what happens when next weeks comes around, and you do that same thing for another want. Then, you are forced to cut into your “need” funds.

 

The bottom line is that setting up a budget for yourself is the best option. Set aside money for what you have to pay for, then you can start to address your wants. Being responsible now, and taking care of the things you have to pay for first is always a good idea, because there is always going to be something you’re just dying to have. Even if you think that you couldn’t possibly want something more than you want that one thing, there is always something else.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Sep 9, 2017 in Hot Topics

Our lives can become so hectic that we feel like sleep is a luxury, and not a necessity. As much as we try to skimp on sleep, we need it to recharge our brain. Sleep helps our brain to learn and make memories. Insufficient sleep can make us sloppy, forgetful, and cranky.

 

Many people would love to get more sleep, but they feel like they do not have the time to do so. Sometimes, lack of sleep is linked to insomnia. Both situations can be helped.

In order to make enough time for you to get a full night’s rest, avoid naps and set a sleep schedule. You cannot do one without the other. If you are trying to go to bed by 10 pm, but take a nap from 3 pm-5 pm, it will be very difficult to fall asleep.

When it is difficult to fall asleep, we tend to keep checking the time. This can make the whole situation worse by giving us extra anxiety about the sleep we are already missing, in turn making it harder for us to fall asleep, so avoid looking at the clock.

Another very important aspect that can play into the insomnia side of the issue, is your sleep environment. Sleeping while you are too hot or too cold can keep you awake. Also, things such as computers, TVs, or phones can just be distracting. Even if you are not used to it, try sleeping in a dark environment. Before bedtime, schedule about an hour of downtime to help you relax and prepare for sleep. During this time avoid food, and especially caffeine. Sometimes people like to drink tea before bed, not realizing it does have caffeine, which keeps them awake. Opt for a caffeine-free option instead.

After all that, if you find your mind racing at night with thoughts or anxiety for the day ahead, try writing down your thoughts. Staying awake staring at the ceiling will definitely not help you get your full 8 hours. You may find once your thoughts are expressed, your mind is at ease enough to fall asleep.