Posts Tagged ‘Depression’
Guide to Thrive during SummerMay 18, 2021
Believe it or not, many of our school aged clients actually report worsening mental health over their summer break. That is consistent all over the country. That may seem a little backwards at first, I mean what’s better than going on vacation, sleeping in and spending the days by the pool? But, the main thing that most summers lack is routine and social outlets! Routine is so important for children (and adults alike!). While we are not recommending that you structure every moment of every day, it can be beneficial for parents and children to have a basic outline of a “normal summer day”.
As a mother myself, it can seem overwhelming to think about a whole summer with my children at home all the time. I need routine for myself too. There are different types of time that we recommend scheduling into your days to help you and your children thrive over summer. Based on the ages of your children, it could look different but the ideas are the same.
We recommend spending as much time outside being active as possible during summer. This could include playing outside, swimming, exploring a nearby creek, having picnics, playing on the playground, pretending with friends, etc.
This means time where they do something that builds their brains or grows a skill. This could include reading, reviewing some topics that interest the child, playing a musical instrument, learning a new skill. This gives a sense of mastery that is often missing during summer and crucial for mental health.
At my house we call this the “art station”. This could include painting, drawing, pretending, play-doh, whatever it is that your child does that is creative.
While older kids might balk at the idea of a “rest time”, it is so crucial. This does not mean they have to take a nap but does mean “down time” or quiet time. This is crucial for parents and children! Set a timer, start with a small increment if you need to, and tell your child they need to do something quietly in their room until the timer goes off. This can be playing independently, reading in their room, or napping.
Personal Responsibility/Sacrificial Time
This is time dedicated to helping others or taking care of home responsibilities. Summer is a great time to volunteer, visit shut-ins, clean out closets and give away unneeded items, etc. This is when our children refocus on others and fill their cup by filling other’s cups. This can also include home chores.
This just means committing to eating meals. That may sound silly, but think about how often we are rushing during the school year all around time. Meals are either skipped, unhealthy, or eaten separately. Take summer to try new recipes, commit to eating the rainbow, or just commit to eating regularly as a family.
No pressure, we can help!
While it may not always be possible to hit every category every day, it can be helpful to have a basic outline to each day. This not only helps children, but helps parents too! It also limits the never-ending “I’m bored!” “What can I do?!” If your child or teen is struggling with mental health, summer can be a great time to get started seeing a therapist. You are not competing with homework or other schedules. We would love to help if you need us!
Suicide Prevention MonthSeptember 1, 2020
September is Suicide Prevention Month and we at Foundations Family Therapy want to be part of the solution to end the stigma of suicidal thoughts and help everyone know the signs that someone you love could be experiencing suicidal thoughts.
The first thing to note is there are different tiers of suicidal behavior. The first is suicidal ideation. This can range from thoughts of “I don’t want to do anything” to “hurt or kill myself” but sometimes “I wish I could just not wake up” to contemplating suicide on a regular basis.
The next step is suicidal plans. This could be someone who has moved from the desire to be dead into making a plan of how they would kill themselves.
Lastly, suicide attempts are the last stage of suicidal behavior. This is someone who has moved from thinking, to planning, to taking action and is the most serious.
Many people who experience suicidal thoughts have some common signs. These include talking about death or suicide, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawing from friends and family, verbalizing that they are a burden to others, losing interest in activities they used to enjoy, extreme mood swings, giving away possessions, or saying goodbye to people they care about.
Don’t be afraid to ask your child or someone you care about if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts. You are not going to “give them the idea” if they are already having these thoughts. Many times, people want someone to ask and acknowledge how they are feeling and will tell you honestly.
If you or someone you love is experiencing suicidal thoughts, don’t wait, act. If they verbalize a suicide plan or have attempted suicide, please call 911 immediately or take them to your local hospital.
If they are voicing suicidal ideation without plans or means, please reach out to a licensed mental health provider about getting them help or reach out to their doctor immediately. You are not alone and there is help available.
*The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)*
The Emotional Impact of COVID-19 On TeensJuly 29, 2020
Parenting is hard, especially during these unprecedented times. We’ve all been asked to adjust, adapt, and change our lives which isn’t easy for anyone.
When our world changes suddenly, because of things like COVID-19, it is common to experience changes in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Feelings of anxiety, fear, or worry are typical in stressful situations. And, even though we’ve been adapting to COVID-19 for 6 months, it’s still not easy.
Consider the stresses your teen may be experiencing. Social distancing and virtual learning can be really hard for teens who thrive on connection and socialization. Here are a few signs of stress to watch for and factors that may affect your teen’s emotional responses.
Watch Out For Unhealthy Eating or Sleeping Habits
Proper nutrition and sleep are an essential part of our overall wellness. Sleep is critical to our overall health and the effective functioning of our immune systems. It also impacts our emotional wellness and mental health, helping to beat back stress, depression, and anxiety.
Healthy routines may have flown out the window over the past few months but it’s never too late to get your family back on track. Try to establish flexible routines that provide structure…especially around eating and sleeping! Stock up on healthy foods and snacks. Avoid sugary drinks and high-fat foods.
Even though teens may be less receptive to having a strict “bedtime”, you can find creative ways to make sure your teen is getting enough sleep each night. Aim to do things at roughly the same time each day. That doesn’t mean your teen has to set the alarm for 6 a.m. just because they used to when school was open. But try to stick to a daily regular bedtime, wake time, and learning schedule.
Talk About Excessive Worry or Sadness
Anxiety and depression are on the rise across the country. Help your teen feel supported and heard by keeping the lines of communication open. They need to know they can come to you to talk about any concerns or worries. Take a few moments each day to talk with the teens in your life about how they are feeling and what may help them during this difficult time.
Remember to lead with compassion and understanding. Sometimes, the anger we express towards a person the person we are trying to support can be more reflective of our anger over feeling helpless. As parents, this response is particularly strong with our children. It’s easy to miscommunicate our anger and stress. Make sure you are taking care of yourself, too!
Help Them Concentrate
Whatever school looks like for the 2020-21 school year, it’s important to help your teen develop and grow emotionally and academically. Approach the school year with a positive outlook and new mindset even if it’s not what you hoped for. Remember, families across the country are finding ways to adjust to this new normal so you’re not alone.
Help your teen stay focused by creating routines and structure. Outline expectations and provide support in whatever way possible. Be available to communicate and help your teen with school work. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it! Many parents are wearing a teacher’s hat for the first time. Be sure to tap into all of your resources and find ways
to channel your frustration in healthy ways when times get tough.
Above all, try to remember your own experiences as an adolescent. When you were upset, what did you need most from your parents? If your teen is struggling, we can help! The teen counselors at Foundations Family
Therapy are experts at talking to teenagers. We like working with teenagers. That may sound strange to some parents, but as therapists, we truly believe in your teen and enjoy working with them.
Schedule an appointment today with our Fuquay Varina or Raleigh, NC therapists.
How To Curb Negative ThinkingJuly 3, 2020
We’ve all been there…
Lost in a downward spiral of negative thinking. It’s a self-defeating cycle fueled by doubt and anxiety. It continues to build and gain momentum like a snowball down a hill taking out everything in its path.
These feelings are only intensified for those who suffer from depression and anxiety. Negative thinking can easily feel like quicksand if left unmanaged.
The good news is you can stop negative thinking in its tracks and move forward in positivity. Here are a few things to keep in mind…
One of the best ways to stop negative thinking is to refocus your energy on the current moment. Stop and be present. The next time you feel yourself spiraling into negativity, remember to shift your thinking to the here and now.
Mindfulness techniques work to help keep you present and focused on the current moment. There are several mindfulness practices you can use to stop anxious thoughts from flooding in. Focus on your breathing. Let go of all the “what-ifs” and negative self-talk.
Tune Into Your Thoughts
You are not your thoughts.
When your thoughts are negative, they can make you feel sad, angry, and confused. Remember, thoughts are never the real you! Let your thoughts come…process them…and let them go.
As you process your thoughts, think about why you might be feeling a certain way. Many times, there’s an underlying cause to your negativity that you can work out on a deeper level. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support!
Set Healthy Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries in all areas of your life can help you thrive! Boundaries are important in relationships with others and with ourselves. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by learning when (and how) to say “no”. Also, don’t fall victim to the comparison trap social media sometimes presents.
When you feel your thoughts spiraling negatively, take a step back.
Stop and listen—ask yourself why they are happening.
Once you do, set some boundaries that will prevent a downward spiral of negativity in the future.
Everyone experiences negative thoughts from time to time but it’s important no to let them spiral and ruin your entire day. We’re here to help you to gain control over your thoughts and feelings. Give our office a call today!
Responding to Feelings of Grief in the Midst of COVID-19April 17, 2020
Grief can be a natural response to what’s happening in our world right now.
There’s a shift and a sense of loss for the ways things were.
We’re preparing for how things may have to be.
Life as we know it looks very different as we “social distance” ourselves and many of our expectations and way of life have had to rapidly change. What we never imagined having to worry about is affecting us. The novelty is beginning to transform.
This is new and this is hard.
The thing is, our new norm can look both similar and different from our coworker who is also running a school for their kids at home, our friend who works as a nurse in a hospital, or our next-door neighbor who is elderly and also a widow.
Some might have had to re-think what walking down the aisle looks like, someone you know may soon be delivering a new life into the world, and many have to face the heartbreak of not walking across the stage for their well-earned diploma. What grief are you facing? What should you do about it?
Tending to your needs.
Give yourself time to make space for what is difficult. You can do this by setting a timer to journal, lighting a candle to pray at night, or taking a walk to have a space big enough to hold what you are going through. It is important to find a way to both open and close the space and time you are in to create a container for your grief – so it doesn’t flood into the rest of your day and become debilitating.
Creating hope – not despair
While social distancing has limited our ability to physically be present with one another, it has not taken away our ability to connect.
What I can’t help but notice is that our spirit as a community has not been extinguished – on the contrary – it has inspired us to create.
As I write this the Easter Bunny will be coming down my street in a fire truck today, after three hours of going down every neighborhood in my town. While it feels a little cheesy, I also notice a sense of excitement for my daughter to be able to squeal with joy and clap her hands at the sight.
I pray that hope – not despair – may fill your lives during these times as we see and respond to each other’s loss and needs. Together, we will see this through.
Jessica Block, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate
Staying connected in a social distancing worldMarch 30, 2020
With COVID 19 impacting our lives, we find ourselves more physically isolated than ever before. For people struggling with anxiety or depression, this could be a recipe for disaster if we are not intentional in remaining connected.
All people are built for relationships.
We are made to be in relationships with others. It is important to remember that what we are aiming for is physical distancing NOT social distancing. It is as important, if not more important than ever before to stay connected and in community with others.
How can we do this?
We have seen a lot of creative ways through social media recently on how to stay connected including FaceTime and other video messaging services, teleconferencing for work, and now even teletherapy. We are blessed to live in a time where these things are available to us.
We have also seen “bear hunts” throughout neighborhoods and teacher parades recently on social media. These small things remind us that we are all human, longing to be together again soon. We are all in this together.
For some, social distancing can easily slip into isolation which can lead us down paths of hopelessness and cause our thoughts to spiral. If you find yourself struggling with anxious or depressive thoughts during this time, check your connectedness first.
Are you still communicating with friends and family members?
Are you making time for things that bring you joy?
Are you finding meaningful alternatives to things that you used to enjoy such as going to the gym or going out to eat?
If you are a member of a local church, are you watching church online? Doing your own quiet time and Bible study? Talking with people from your small group?
Some fun ways to stay connected and encouraged are below. If you find you are still feeling depressed or anxious, know we are here to help you!
- Creating a goody bag for friends/family and putting it on their porch or driveway.
- Have your children have a “guest reader” for bedtime stories. Call a grandparent and have them read a book to your child on FaceTime
- Write encouraging messages on neighbors, friends, or family members driveways
- Send snail mail
- Get outside and meet some neighbors (in their yards of course!)
- Watch a show with a friend on zoom and talk about it like if they were watching in the room with you
- Have someone else hold you accountable to stay connected
- Host an online prayer/worship time
- Wave and be friendly to those you see in your neighborhood. You can’t catch COVID-19 from waving!
- Make cards and leave them on people’s cars
Get creative and have fun in this short season to make memories and stay connected!
Elizabeth Edwards, LMFT
The Mental Health Benefits of Cleaning Your HomeMarch 2, 2020
Many of us try to do our best to keep up with household chores and cleaning. But, no matter how hard we try, it seems like clutter always finds a way to creep back in our lives. Between work, after-school activities, playdates and everything in between, it’s easy to understand how clutter can sneak back in so easily.
If you dread cleaning, there’s actually a bright side according to psychological research. A recent study discovered that cleaning up messes actually can have a positive impact on your mental health and happiness.
So, if you want to destress, pick up your broom! Here’s why…
Spring Cleaning For Your Mind
The British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that only twenty minutes of physical activity was enough to decrease stress levels! Over 3,000 people surveyed reported that regular housework was enough to decrease anxiety and stress levels. While cleaning isn’t a cure-all, that percentage can really help boost your energy and calm your nerves.
On a deeper level, mental clutter can interfere with our clarity and create emotional baggage. Sometimes, external factors can interfere with your joy in life. Therefore, the problem is not in finding things that bring you joy, but in de-cluttering, your life so unhealthy distractions don’t get in the way.
Decluttering mentally is a little deeper than just getting rid of clothes you don’t wear anymore. It’s about reevaluating your thinking patterns and problem solving methods. It’s about relationships you’ve outgrown or ones that no longer serve you.
Sometimes, you can’t fully appreciate the joys in life because of mental clutter. This year, as you dive into spring cleaning, think about decluttering your mind to create joy, peace, and fulfillment.
Our team can help you identify the joys in your life as well as the challenges that stand in the way. Let’s work together on your journey to thrive!
How To Cultivate A Healthy Post-Holiday Mindset For 2020January 17, 2020
Sometimes it’s hard to find inspiration – especially when you’re down.
Maybe the holidays have left you feeling a little derailed from your normal routine. All of the shopping, late nights and overeating can leave anyone in a major post-holiday slump this time of year.
However, as you go through this transition from the holidays back to your daily routine, it’s more important than ever to give your body and mind what they need. Here are some ways you and your family can start 2020 off on the right foot.
Rely On Your Relationships
Finding support when you need it can really be a troublesome thought for some. It’s not always easy to ask for help. Healthy relationships and connections help release feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and oxytocin flood the brain’s reward centers, creating a deeper sense of happiness and an elevated mood.
Don’t be afraid to reach out! Having someone to talk to about your feelings whether we are stressed, angry, sad, excited, or happy is important! It is unhealthy to always have to keep our thoughts and feelings balled up.
Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap social media can spark! Move at your own pace in 2020. Break down your post-holiday chores and tasks into manageable goals to help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. People who have higher self-esteem and fewer stressors in their lives tend to fare better with social comparisons.
Focus on your strengths! Instead of dwelling on your weaknesses or imperfections, celebrate your talents. Feel good about what makes you unique and use your strengths to the best of your ability.
Instead of setting a deprivation-based resolution, try focusing on positivity this year. Forget about short-term “resolutions” and focus more on developing healthy habits that will improve your overall health and wellness.
Whatever resolution or lifestyle change you pledge to make this year, it’s
essential to stay mindful every day. Mindfulness helps you stay focused which is important when goal setting. Mindfulness can help you…
Stop procrastinating and start getting real work done by controlling your
attention….end the negative cycle of self-criticism and stay focused on your goals instead of every little mistake along the way…mindfulness can do so many things!
Above all, it’s important to take care of yourself in 2020 and beyond. We understand it’s not always easy to stay mindful, optimistic, and nurture your relationships when you are suffering from depression.
If you or someone you love is struggling to thrive…our compassionate team at Foundations Family Therapy is here for you!
There’s No Medicine That Will Heal Loneliness, But Community CanDecember 4, 2019
We’re told time after time how this time of year is the “most wonderful time of year”. But for some, it’s not.
For those who are grieving, the holidays can strike up a different tune. Many people have hard times remembering holidays past and, perhaps, better times.
But grief isn’t just about loss. People can grieve for many different reasons which can trigger a downward spiral into isolation and loneliness. It’s the loneliness that can cause people to feel inadequate, and struggle with feelings like worthlessness.
Loneliness doesn’t just attack when you are by yourself. You can be surrounded by a room full of people and still feel empty. As it turns out, loneliness can actually impact your physical health, too. It can increase inflammation, heart disease- even high blood pressure.
People who are lonely are at risk because they struggle to receive love and support. The good news is, finding a sense of community and connection can really help combat loneliness this holiday season.
If you’re feeling lonely in the Raleigh, NC area this holiday season, there are plenty of ways to connect and build a community of support. Here are a few ideas…
How To Combat Loneliness in Raleigh, NC
Add Some Light To Your Life
Go see one of the most spectacular Christmas light displays in the Triangle is in Wake Forest. Piper Lights is the project of a family who really loves Christmas. They’re at 5725 Fixit Shop Road, Wake Forest. The display includes 7 acres of lights that will leave you feeling bright and merry.
Grab A Quiet Coffee
The Morning Times Coffee Shop & Gallery is the perfect place to get the morning off on the right foot. If you’re feeling lonely, treat yourself to a cup of coffee and stay awhile to enjoy the friendly and comfortable atmosphere it has to offer.
Support Local Community
Visit City Market, 215 Wolfe Street, Raleigh, for a wonderful holiday shopping experience! The City Market features a unique collection of art, restaurants, and retail in downtown Raleigh so you can support local and have fun scratching items off of your gift list!
Salt, Sugar, and Your Mood During The HolidaysNovember 21, 2019
A sprinkle of salt here and a dash of sugar there… it sounds like a pretty common scenario, especially around the holiday season!
Do you find yourself adding a few spoonfuls of sugar to your morning coffee?
How about a dash or two of salt to season your holiday dinner? Add to that the existing sugar and salt in processed foods and you have a recipe for both physical and emotional health problems.
The physical complications of exces\s salt and sugar in your diet are rather well known. Too much salt, or sodium chloride, may put yourself at risk for health complications like heart disease and diabetes whereas excess sugar intake could lead to obesity. As if that weren’t bad enough, sugar and salt can also affect your mood in a negative way.
Sugar & Your Brain
Did you know that your brain uses more energy than any other organ in the human body and glucose is its primary source of fuel?
But, in the case of sugar, there is such a thing as too much. In fact, excess sugar impairs both your cognitive skills and sometimes self-control. For many people, having a little sugar triggers cravings for more. T
Sugar can actually have a drug-like effect on your brain.
In fact, science tells us that sweet, salty, and fatty foods can stimulate the reward center in our brains which creates a downward spiral of overeating, weight gain, and loss of self-control…just like any other addiction. Our bodies can adapt to crave these elements
The Effects of Inflammation On Your Mood
Both excess sugar and salt can lead to inflammation. You can start to feel bad physically and mentally. Inflammation from high sugar consumption can affect your memory and cognitive skills.
Furthermore, inflammation can have a tremendous impact on your mood. Sugar consumption has been linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression in many studies.
The good news is you can still enjoy the holiday season (and all the delicious
meals that come with it) if you fuel your mind and body with healthy foods.
Remember, an indulgence here or there isn’t the real problem. Take note of the refined sugars and overly processed foods you find in your daily diet and get a healthy jumpstart to 2020.