Hot Topics

Teaching Teens to Drive in the Snow

The thought of first time drivers having to endure the winter snow can be terrifying. We already know that teens are more prone to accidents, and when you add snow in the mix, it just gets worse. How can we have teens get experience driving in the snow, while still being safe?

 

The first thing to note, is that if you live in an area that gets snowfall, sooner or later, they are going to have to drive in it. Chances are, for a good amount of their life, they were driving with you. They most likely already have an idea that generally, when it snows people slow down. Other than this rule of thumb, talk to them about things they may not know about bad weather driving. Certain things like pumping your brakes (even if you have an automatic braking system, or ABS), using all wheel drive, or over-correcting may not be their first thought.

 

After they are educated on what to do in various scenarios, it is time for them to test the roads themselves. At first, they will probably keep in mind all the things you have told them. Then, they will become more comfortable and try to push the limit, and most likely speed in the snow more than they should. Obviously, the hope is that they will not disregard anything you have told them, but unfortunately, teens will be teens. Chances are they will slip or slide enough to scare them, then they will realize the snow is actually no joke. They will quickly find out there are all the precautions for a reason.

 

Ultimately, driving in the snow takes time and practice. Take time to drive around with your young driver in the snow, that way you both feel more comfortable. Also, accept the fact that eventually, they will have to endure it alone, so just ensure you give them any information they need.

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Choosing the Right College

Aside from the holidays, it is starting to be the time of the year that high schoolers choose a college. The whole process can be very intimidating. There is a lot of pressure to choose the “right” college. How do you know which one to go with? What happens if you choose wrong?

 

Choosing the right school the first time can save you some trouble later. One of the first things you should think about to narrow your search, is to ensure that the school has what you want to study. Another thing to think about is where the school is in proximity to where you currently live. Sometimes people choose to move away for school, others commute. If you do choose to live on campus, a very important thing to keep in mind is which school feels like home. The means which school has the atmosphere, people, and resources you know you will thrive on.

 

Know that even if you do end up feeling like you chose wrong, you can always transfer to another school. It is a very common thing for students, up to 1/3 of undergrads transfer at least once. If you find yourself feeling that you would be a better fit somewhere else, whether it is socially or financially, you have the right to switch. Sometimes, the school does not have anything to do with it. People may find they want to change their major, and their school does not offer what they need anymore. You cannot be afraid to take a leap and do what you think is best for yourself.

 

College can be intimidating, but if you educate yourself before you make a decision, you will end up succeeding.

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How to Know When to Seek Help

Sometimes, the main thing stopping someone from receiving help through counseling, is themselves. Over time, we can develop this complex that we need to be a “superperson” and act like we don’t have problems. Seeking help for your own mental health can change your life, so if you feel the need, why wait? Sometimes people can be hesitant because they are afraid of seeming weak or unable to cope. In reality, everyone has their own thing to deal with, and addressing anything going on in your life can be the first step to fixing it.

 

You will know it is time to see a counselor when whatever you are dealing with is starting to affect you daily, or more frequently than you would like. Another important thing is to listen to the people around you. If they can see you struggling, listen to them. Chances are they know you pretty well. The longer you put off your health, the worse it will get. If you are thinking about going to counseling, you probably can safely say it is time to go.

 

Put yourself in a position to succeed, and you will.

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Surviving the Holidays

Every year this subject comes up: Surviving the Holidays. We can handle days filled with obnoxious in-laws, finding perfect gifts, snow, and organizing gatherings, but when you put them all together it can feel like utter chaos.

 

So how do we cope with all the stress holidays can bring on? Well, the first thing to do is breathe. Acknowledge that this time is pretty hectic for everyone and that it will pass. It may help you to make a list of everything you need to accomplish. This gives you a visual hint of everything you have on your plate, and can help you tackle it.

If the reason why the holidays stress you out is because you are worried about your funds, try to get creative this year. Often, you can find many great gifts at lower-cost stores you might not have thought about checking before. If you are a creative or artistic person, try using some of your skills to come up with gifts for people.

The main thing is to remember to enjoy the holidays for yourself too. It is so easy to get caught up trying to impress everyone around you, that you can get lost. Enjoy the company around you and try not to let your mind wander to the “what ifs” and “should haves” that will just give you extra stress.

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Medication Management

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.

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Seasonal Depression

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.

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