3 Tips That Will Help You Talk To Your Kids About The COVID-19 Outbreak

Child doing her school work at home during COVID 19 stay at home order in North Carolina. Health anxiety in kids can be helped in Online therapy in North Carolina with a trained online therapist from Foundations Family Therapy in Raleigh, NC.

Schools are closed.

Ballet, soccer, and baseball seasons are canceled.

There are no playdates or trips to the museum. This is our new normal.

The reality is that we’re living in unprecedented times. With state and nationwide closures and restrictions, many people are left feeling anxious and uneasy- especially children.

And, if you’re a parent, you might find yourself struggling with how to explain the situation to your children without causing fear. Here are some times that can help you talk to your children about the Coronavirus as the outbreak continues.

Help Them Feel Safe

The real enemy is the anxiety surrounding COVID-19 that can be especially difficult for children to deal with. From their perspective, it seems like the world is shutting down around them. Disrupted routines and isolation can really start to take a toll. Help your children adapt to their new normal by creating a safe and healthy environment at home.

Watch your tone when you speak. Keep them from viewing sensationalized
media stories. Find ways for them to safely connect with loved ones and friends through video chat and phone calls. Above all, continue to reassure them that this is just a temporary situation.

Create Routines

Even though we can’t predict the future or know what to expect in the coming weeks, remember that children thrive on routines. Help them create some reliability and consistency in these uncertain times by putting together a schedule for the day.

Let your children know what to expect. Be honest about the time you’ll spend at home and come up with creative ways to not only pass the time, but to enjoy the togetherness!

Lead With Empathy

Children have a lot of emotional needs and it’s important to let them continue to express the way they are feeling. For example, it can be very frustrating that they will miss an upcoming field trip to the zoo. Acknowledge their feelings and frustrations and help them work through these big emotions. In the end, you’re really helping to build their mental resilience.

The days ahead will likely continue to be a challenge for us all as we adjust to our new normal.

The good news is that there’s never been a better time to slow down and focus on what you have. Now is the time to create positive change and celebrate the beauty of togetherness within your family.

Use this time to connect with your family and shower your children with love!

3 Different Types of Rest You Can Try Today

Trees with fall leaves on ground. Family Counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC 27526 is available to Foundations Family Therapy in Raleigh, NC 27606. You can also get online therapy in North Carolina!

Now that the chaos of the school year is well underway, many families view rest as a luxury.

Thoughts of putting your feet up and reading a good book or dozing off on a Saturday noon are quickly overshadowed by soccer games, baseball practice, and other after-school activities.

Our demanding schedules and “busy culture” prevent many people from getting the proper rest they need to recharge. The good news is proper rest isn’t always about taking an expensive vacation or hitting up a spa. Here are some ways you can carve out a little time for a little rest and relaxation every day.

Do something unproductive

A break from your regular routine is good for your health and happiness. Carve out some time to do something that makes YOU happy…even if it’s binge-watching a Netflix series. Take a much needed physical and mental break by doing something that’s not on your “to-do” list.

Connect with nature

Fall is a great time to find peace by connecting to nature. Go for a walk and soak up the beauty around you. Nature can help you disconnect from technology and tune into the peace and beauty of the world around you.

Carve out “me time”

Solitude can really help you recharge! This is especially true for parents who expand almost all of their energy and attention on their children. Make time each day to do something for you. Try setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier each morning to ease into your day with the right mindset.

Of course, it’s not always easy to just hit pause if you suffer from depression or anxiety. Our busy culture can easily drive people into burnout. If you feel overwhelmed by everything in your life, our team is here for you!

Places to Practice Self Care in Raleigh to Improve Your Mental Health

Photo of a Large Tree | Christian Counseling | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC 27606

Most of us have heard the phrase “self-care” whether we have accessed support with a mental health provider before, or not. We read about it in magazines (especially ones that are trying to sell us products) – how we should ‘treat’ ourselves because we’ve worked so hard, and we’ve ‘earned it.’

I get it… because I do it too sometimes.

Sometimes I think things like: I earned that piece (er, three pieces) of dark chocolate

I should schedule some self-care time, like a massage or something…’, but then I don’t because life, parenting, work, {insert excuse} gets in the way.

True self-care is an intentional practice, not a quick fix or something we always schedule. It’s about nourishing ourselves.

In her groundbreaking book, Daring Greatly, Brene’ Brown, Ph.D., LMSW says, “I believe that owning our worthiness is the act of acknowledging that we are sacred. Perhaps embracing vulnerability and overcoming numbing is ultimately about the care and feeding of our spirits.”

Self-care does not equal selfish. We, as humans, have to do it in order to survive.

In grad school, my professors drilled ‘the importance of self-care in the care-giving professions’ into our brains. In fact, if we put our own health and wellness as the last item on our list of priorities, it usually means just the opposite where someone else needs to step in and help take care of us.

Why do we resist or avoid self-care?

Replenishing our energy is essential not just to preventing burnout, but in allowing us to thrive. So why is it hard to do?

We receive messages about what it means to be a ‘good human’ from different places including our social group, family of origin, the media, our partner, and we internalize our own narrative about what we do and do not deserve. Whether it’s feeling guilty about wanting to turn down an invitation to a party to have much-needed quiet time, or skimping on sleep in order to get those last few notes typed because you know you just
can’t (or is it “won’t”?) make it happen when everyone in your household is awake. I know- I do it too.

What are the essential elements of self-care? Yours may be different, but I’ve thought a lot about mine and here is what I’ve come up with: connection, setting good boundaries, and listening to/loving my body. I try to remember it is a practice, not a perfect.

Self Care Tip: Connect

Engage in a meaningful relationship with your community.
• Try some meet-ups!
• Get moving! Join a run, walk, or hiking club in your town.
• Volunteer with a great organization like Habitat for Humanity.
• Consider supporting BackPack Buddies or organizing your own local food or clothing drive in your neighborhood. Check out ideas on the Inter-
Faith Food Shuttle

Self Care Tip: Set Healthy Boundaries

Saying ‘no’ sometimes allows us to recharge and to make sure we are living authentically in line with our values. Here are some tips…Listen to and love your body
• Schedule a massage!
• Or better yet, have a massage therapist come to you.
• Listen to that pain in your neck/back, and visit the chiropractor.
• Check out a yoga class and remember to breathe.

Remember: we can’t sustainably support others and bring our whole self to the table if we are depleted.

Shannon Haney-Jenkins

The 3 Rs of Vacation Everyone Should Know

family at beach

It’s that time of year again…summer fun is officially underway! And, for many families, that means a vacation. Whether it’s a trip to the sandy beach shores, a restful mountain retreat, or a fun staycation, there are many ways a break from your regular routine can benefit your health and wellness.


One of the BIG goals of a family vacation should be to reconnect. We live in a busy world where it’s sometimes hard to unplug. A family vacation is a perfect time to unplug and reconnect with the ones you love. Try planning a hike, a game night, or any fun activity that helps strengthen your connection all while creating lifelong memories.


Even if you’re a family who loves to be on the go, make sure you build in some time for quality rest and relaxation. For many people, vacation is about letting go of the mental and emotional stress we carry with us. Find ways to tap into your inner peace and relaxation that can translate to everyday life (you don’t have to spend money on fancy spas or meals).


Vacation is also the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. Use your time away from your regular schedule to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Focus on the small things in life that are easy to overlook. You’ll probably realize that these things are BIG in many ways.

Above all, use vacation as a time to bring positivity and relaxation to your
everyday life. Vacation should be about reconnection and relaxation- not running away from the stress of your 9-5 job. Find ways to bring incorporate a little piece of vacation into your everyday life.

3 Ways To Build Self-Acceptance In Swimsuit Season

counseling for self esteem | Foundations Family Therapy | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC

Summer is here!

Kids are out of school; the North Carolina humidity is upon us and pools are open! This can be a time of year where we are (whether we want to or not) bombarded with messages about how our body should or shouldn’t look.

You can’t go to the grocery store without seeing images of perfectly chiseled abs and flat stomachs on the magazines at self-check-out. So, with all this influence swirling around us, how do we view our bodies in a healthy way and how do we build body confidence? Let’s talk about it.

Explore what is driving your negative thoughts about your body. If it’s fashion magazines, let’s dive in and ask a few questions. Do these people look like people you know? What percentage of those photos are Photoshopped? (Probably all)

It can be easy to compare our bodies with ‘perfect’ bodies that are not real. It could also be that social media is driving your negative thoughts. Maybe a friend posts a swimsuit selfie and you wish your arms looked like hers.

Sometimes we can channel negative thoughts about ourselves into tangible, healthy goals. If you want to work on your arms, can you make goals to do gym exercises that work on tone or building muscle? It’s important to see your own personal growth with those changes and not comparing your growth and progress to someone else.

We all have different body types and it’s important to celebrate them. Check out positive body conscious companies like Aerie that promote all body types instead of having one ideal for beauty.

What do I do for myself versus for others?

This question can be tied to the previous example as well. If I want to start working out my arms, am I doing it for others and appearances or am I doing it for myself?

When you wear make-up or get a pedicure, does it feel good for you or for others? Does it make you feel confident to dress up in a suit and tie or to work out at the gym? When you choose healthy food choices, is that for you? It’s important to evaluate your body self-care and the purpose behind it.

Think about what your body can do. We often focus on what we don’t like about our bodies that we forget all the amazing things that our body can do. Some examples are: run, hike, swim, breathe, touch, experience the world, give birth to a child, build a house, create, paint, etc. We can dance, jump, play sports, yoga, and kickbox. What does your body let you experience, or feel or see?

Staying with the above example, you start working out your arms and now you can do 5 pull-ups when at first, you could one. Embrace everything that your body can do.

Hope these tips are helpful in your journey in building healthy body confidence for this summer and beyond. Need additional support in developing positive self-image? Connect with me at FFT.

Renee Pugh, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

3 Things Everyone Should Know About Sleep And Mental Wellness

Counseling for better sleep | Foundations Family Therapy | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC

Sleep is an essential part of our overall health and wellbeing. When we get quality sleep, our bodies have a chance to recharge so we wake up feeling refreshed and energized. But for some people, quality sleep doesn’t come easy.

Studies show that an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans experience sleep-related problems. Whether it’s oversleeping, insomnia, sleep apnea, or restlessness, lack of quality sleep can really take a toll on your physical and mental health. Here are a few things everyone should know…

Sleep Disorders Can Cause Mental Illness

Over the past few decades, clinicians have changed their perspective on the way they view insomnia and its connection to mental illness. Traditionally, it was thought to be a symptom of a mental health disorder whereas now, it’s believed to also be a contributor. Whatever the cause, it’s important to seek help so you can restore quality sleep and your health.

Insomnia Is One Of The Most Common Sleep Disorders

Insomnia can affect your sleep in many different ways. It’s generally described a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Insomnia can really decrease sleep quality when it interferes with getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. Sleep disorders like Insomnia can trigger symptoms of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression making it a vicious, repetitive cycle.

Medicine Is Not Always The Answer

Medications alone are not always the answer. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help determine the underlying cause of your sleep disorder in order to restore your wellness. CBT can also help you develop good sleep habits and avoid behaviors that keep you from sleeping well for long term solutions.

Sleep is not a luxury, it’s a necessity even in our busy society. Sleep’s powerful effects on our mental health can’t be ignored. If you’re struggling with your sleep routine, our sleep guide can help get you started on the path of restoration.

Sometimes sleep disorders are related to other underlying causes like depression and anxiety. Our resource page can help you take the first step in wellness. Download our guides today > > DOWNLOADS

The Emotional Toll of Infertility

Young married couple | Foundations Family Therapy | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC

Ever notice how time seems to slow down when you’re waiting for something? An hour still consists of 60 minutes but the minutes feel like hours and the hours like days!

Time is constantly passing. However, this concept goes to show that depression and anxiety can really throw off our sense of time. The take us out of the moment (mindfulness) and move us into the realm of “what ifs” and “should haves“.

For those women and couples facing fertility issues, waiting for time to pass is one of the most distressing and challenging hurdles one can face in life.

The two-week wait (generally defined as the time from ovulation to confirmed pregnancy) can really take a toll on your emotional well-being if you are trying to conceive. Women can become hyperaware of their bodies constantly asking themselves, “Am I pregnant?”

Infertility & Mental Wellness

When we talk about infertility treatment, you probably think about physical treatments like IVF, IUI, and other medical options. But, society sometimes neglects the emotional toll infertility can cause. Couples who can’t conceive might be left with feelings of disappointment, anxiety, sadness, and frustration month after month.

Thankfully, there are many treatments that can help struggling women and
couples who need help getting pregnant. These medical appointments and decisions only add to the stress and uncertainty surrounding infertility.

Some women might even feel out of control of their own bodies which can spark continual feelings of loss, sadness, depression, and anxiety.

Infertility By The Numbers

We need to lift the stigma that stands in the way of building families because infertility doesn’t discriminate.
• 7.3 Million: Number of women aged 15-44 who have ever used infertility services: 7.3 million (source CDC)
• Infertility affects men and women equally (source: reporductivefacts.org)
• Twenty-five percent of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to
their infertility (source: reproductivefacts.org)
• Up to 13 percent of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking
• Infertility is common. Out of 100 couples in the United States, about 12 to 13 of them have trouble becoming pregnant

It’s important that those facing infertility know where to turn for emotional support during one of life’s toughest challenges. Perhaps you’re heartbroken at yet another negative pregnancy test, and you don’t understand why everyone around you can get pregnant but you haven’t been able to. Maybe you’re struggling with guilt over the choice to terminate a pregnancy and you’re not sure you can forgive yourself or move forward.

Wherever you’re at in your journey of loss, you would want to feel better and, to have the pain go away to make sense of your situation. Therapy could help you process your feelings and thoughts in a safe space with a caring provider that can help you walk through the grieving process.

You don’t have to suffer alone. You can move forward with hope. We’re here for you!

3 Ways to Tackle Test Anxiety

Teen Counseling | Foundations Family Therapy | Raleigh, NC 27606

It’s crunch time during this busy time of year!

Many children are prepping for EOG’s and teens are prepping for finals plus end of the year projects. It can be a stressful time for both parents and their kids especially when test anxiety creeps in. Luckily, there are helpful strategies of what to do before taking a test and during the test to help with reducing this anxiety.

Before Taking A Test

Be prepared. It’s important to have gathered information about the test before it occurs. For example, is it multiple choice or essay format. It is also helpful to know will there be breaks, what can I have with me in the room, and will the test be timed. Knowing more information can help alleviate some anxiety about the upcoming test. Start to practice in the same format of the test related to practicing with multiple choice options by creating your own questions.

Understand your learning style. It can be helpful to know the best way in which you retain information. For example, do you learn better when you write the information down visually or when you hear the information orally. Use those same methods when you study. It can sometimes be helpful to study with other classmates taking the same test.

Practice self-care. Taking care of your physical health before a test can also increase confidence and focus when you are body is feeling better. For example, ensure you have a break from studying, get good sleep, and make healthy food choices. This will increase concentration needed for the test.

During The Test

Take 5 breathing technique. If you are feeling anxious during the test, use the ‘take 5’ breathing technique to concentrate on your breath and then return your focus. You take the index finger of one hand and trace your fingers of the other hand while breathing in as you rise to the top of your finger and breathing out as you follow your finger down. You can put your hand on your lap so others are unaware and you will be able to calm your mind and focus back on the test.

Self soothe. Try squeezing your fists or chewing gum. Engaging in the five senses can be an encouraging way to self-soothe. Squeezing your fists like you are squeezing the juice out of lemons or chewing gum (if allowed) is a way to connect more to your body. Also, wearing something comforting to you like a soft shirt or having a bracelet that you can touch can help with redirecting focus from anxiety to the task at hand.

Positive self-talk. During times when you are feeling stuck or unsure, having a mantra to tell yourself can be encouraging such as ‘I will try my best’ or ‘I can do this.’ Negative self-talk can distract from your focus and increase your anxiety levels. If you have scrap paper during your test, you can write your mantra at the top to remind you to have this focus throughout the test.

You did it! The test is complete. Make sure you take time to reward yourself for reaching your goal like getting some ice cream with a good friend.

Need additional strategies to prepare you to overcome test anxiety? Connect with me and we’ll create a personalized plan just for you.

Renee Pugh

Refresh Your Mindset: How To Go From A to B Instead of A to Z

Footprints | Faith Based Therapy | Foundations Family Therapy | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC

We’ve all been there before…

You set a goal to motivate yourself and one thing leads to another. Work, the kids, deadlines, soccer games, grocery shopping- where does the time go?!

Soon, a few months pass and you aren’t any closer to your big goal leaving you feeling defeated, overwhelmed, and maybe even hopeless- sound familiar?

Burnout & Stress Lead To Overwhelm

Unrealistic personal goals usually do more harm than good in the long run. You essentially set yourself up for failure by having high standards or you become too consumed with perfectionism.

When your mindset is focused on always wanting more, you loose site of so many wonderful things in life.

However, having motivation and goals in life is important. The good news is you can create the perfect balance of motivation without getting overwhelmed if you change your mindset.

Baby Steps Over Leaps

If you have a big goal, you don’t have to toss it out the window. Dreams and aspirations are great motivators. The key is developing a mindset that welcomes change and personal growth.

Instead of going from A to Z, take as many baby steps as you need. Try going from A to B. Think about one small thing you can (realistically) do today that will move you one step closer to the bigger goal. This mindset will help you feel motivated and accomplished which is just the fuel you need to take another baby step the next day….or week.

Practice Self-Love

Above all, on your journey to personal improvement and growth, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Sometimes, life really does get in the way. Enjoy the moment at hand for what it is and try to refocus.

After all, life isn’t about how many times we fall, but how many times we get back up!

3 Healthy Tips That Can End The Social Media Scroll

Teen on phone | adolescent counseling | Foundations Family Therapy | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC

Do you find yourself scrolling your newsfeed mindlessly before realizing that you had no intention of even being on your phone?

You aren’t alone.

Current studies show that we are becoming addicted to the ‘scroll.’ Even the ex-president of Facebook, Sean Parker referenced the ‘thought process that went into building these applications like Facebook…was all about, ‘how do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’

This world of comparing likes and comments can be detrimental if we let it consume all our attention and if it starts to impact our self-identity. So, how can we manage our scrolling before it manages us? Let’s talk.

Set boundaries around social media use.

Establish certain times when you check your social media accounts and certain times when you don’t. If social media, is your first outlet when you wake up and last outlet when you go to bed, assess whether it is impacting your mood. Are you starting your day already comparing yourself in a negative way to others? If you aren’t, is it helpful for you? If it is helpful, set a timer for yourself to create that structure. That way it puts you in the driver’s seat to manage your time effectively.

Create positivity in your newsfeed.

Make a conscious effort to really assess what you are viewing in your newsfeed. Are you watching/reading about uplifting things that bring you joy or is it the opposite? Think about following organizations that are important to you and maybe unfriending those ‘friends’ who are always negative. Of course, it’s not realistic that everything will be positive in your newsfeed, but if you are finding that more is negative than positive, that might help you assess the proper balance.

Engage in other activities.

Whenever you shift time from one activity, it’s important to find healthy replacement activities. If you are on social media less, what else can fill your time? Maybe there is a book you’ve wanted to start or a work out routine you know would boost your mood. Other activity options could be listening to music/podcasts or catching up with a friend. If you want to add a mindfulness activity, consider starting a daily meditation such as Headspace or Abide, if you are interested in a faith-based meditation.

These tips can help you take control of your social media scrolling but sometimes you need more balance. Give us a call if you’re interested in learning more about establishing healthy balance in your life and incorporating mindfulness into your routine

Renee Pugh, LCSW