Posts Tagged ‘RaleighNC’
Thriving During Stressful SituationsAugust 27, 2020
Your body feels tense, sleep is up and down, time feels like it is slipping and as soon as you feel like you have a bit of a footing on life, one more thing comes and demands your attention.
It’s hard to know what a social life looks like before COVID – but now?
It feels like survival is the only option. Thriving during stress appears to be a far-off, whimsical idea.
Well, if you somehow squeezed in the chance to read this – pause – resist the urge to skim through and think “that had some nice thoughts” and continue buzzing through your day.
Close your eyes, if you’d like, and let yourself rest and notice all the ways in which your body and mind have been on overdrive.
As you observe the places where tension and tiredness is sitting – ask yourself how those parts of yourself have been serving you.
Are your muscles stiff and joints aching? Does your head feel like it’s swimming? Are you to the point it feels like your eyes want to close but they can’t? Does it feel like you are carrying more than you feel able? You’ve been giving so much of yourself that your body is starting to hold what you have not had time to process. Or maybe you feel if you slowed down you worry there is too much to process, and it’s easier to just keep going?
You don’t have to just “get by.” It’s time to ask for help and unburden yourself. Challenge the idea that there is nowhere to turn to. Question the thought that it’s not worth reflecting on the matters at hand. Ask yourself – is this sustainable? It’s time to move from “surviving” to thriving!
Here are some suggestions.
Turn towards your faith.
Maybe it’s been some time since you’ve felt connected to your faith or you’ve fallen away. You’re not alone! Many people fluctuate with their connection to their faith identity for many reasons. Here is a great book to look into on this: “It’s Not Supposed to Be this Way – Finding Unexpected Strength when Disappointments Leave You Shattered” by Lysa Terkeurst
Find a way to renew yourself.
Give yourself permission to care for yourself and your needs. It’s not selfish! If you ever have been on a plane, the flight attendants will inform you that in case of emergency, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you help the person beside you. What is your best way to “get some oxygen,” so to speak? Is it a day trip to the beach or the mountains? Painting? Gardening? Building a puzzle while listening to your favorite music? Is there a way to build silence and rest into your day?
Ask for help.
Many people feel they have to endure trial alone – that what they are experiencing is “too much” or a “burden” for others. Others feel they will be judged and misunderstood. Not relying on others means spreading yourself thin and is a recipe for burnout. If this is true for you, please reach out. What does your support system look like? If you are not sure who to trust or are struggling to find healing, make an appointment with a counselor who seems like a good fit for your needs – that’s what counselors are here for!
You are not meant to go this alone. If you feel like you are trying to survive and are struggling to get by, know this – you are meant to thrive, even when times are stressful!
3 Essential Tips to Build Parent-Child Relationships While Homeschooling This School YearAugust 5, 2020
School looks a lot different this year not only for families in Raleigh, but for families across the nation. In March, U.S. schools were not prepared for an overnight shift to virtual learning. Now, months later, virtual learning is still looking like the best option for many many families amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
However you are feeling about back-to-school plans this fall, there are ways you can move forward in positivity and strengthen relationships with your children this school year. Here are a few tips from Foundations Family Therapy’s Founder Jamie Criswell who has been homeschooling long before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Focus on Quantity over Quality
The age-old debate about which is more beneficial, time or quality, is never more at play then when you suddenly find yourself struggling with both. How do I possibly give my child well planned out instructional time, fun time, family time etc. while also working, taking care of their younger siblings, cleaning the house and learning how to help with online learning?
We believe that “done is better than perfect”, which also translates to quantity (the amount of time) is better than quality (the perfect way to spend time) in this case. That could mean spending 10 minutes doing something your child/teen enjoys with them. Maybe build in a quick break between online learning for a walk, or turn up the music for a quick dance session.
Perhaps a 10-minute play session with Barbies or legos is just what your child needs. A simple block of just 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day can go a long way in letting your child know you care and enjoy spending time with them.
Have Lots of Grace
This whole online learning space and being home more hours than away is still new (even if you’ve now been doing it since March). You and your child are likely still coming to terms with things not being back to “normal” like we all hoped they would be by now.
Your child could be grieving the loss of what they thought school would look like this year. Lack of sports and other activities can also be disappointing.
Understand that they are missing their friends and are likely frustrated that this fall will likely not bring a return of those social interactions in the way they hoped.
You may be dealing with frustration and fear over how you’re going to juggle working with online learning and childcare. We understand! Give yourself and your child some extra grace. Be quick to forgive and recognize that each of you may be more easily agitated, angry, or sad. Acknowledge these feelings for yourself and help your child acknowledge theirs. Let them
know that you’re trying your best too and that while it may not look the way either of you wanted, there are some good things that can come from it. Try to focus on those, maybe even listing a few positives from each day with your child.
Talk it out
One thing that is sure to happen is miscommunication. Practice using the speaker-listener technique with your child to make sure that you both are feeling heard. Use “I” statements, feeling words, and short statements to describe what you would like to say. The listener can then reflect back on what they heard to ensure clarity. It goes like this:
Speaker: “I am frustrated with this assignment and I need help with understanding it”
Listener: “I hear you saying that you are frustrated and you would like for me to help you?”
Speaker: “Yes, that is it”
Though it may seem like a simple exercise, we often don’t practice it and both parties end up feeling not heard. It probably looks something like this:
Speaker: “I can’t stand This, it makes no sense!”
Listener: “What do you want me to do, you have to do your work!”
Speaker: “I’m done!”
This scenario may sound familiar and often ends in frustration and anger for both parties, with each of you feeling unheard, helpless, and not supported.
Taking the time to practice speaking and listening can help a lot when things become difficult or emotions are running high. Helping each person feel heard and understood goes a long way in building and protecting your relationship with your child (this works with partners too!) and leaves everyone feeling more connected.
Above all this school year, go easy on yourself! Remember that we all are doing the best we can! Find a plan that works for you and your family. Create schedules and routines that can help keep you on track and don’t hesitate to reach out for support!
A big part of reaching out for support is making your emotional health a priority as we continue to face these challenging times. If you or someone you love is struggling with adjustments to the new normal, we have therapists in Fuquay Varina, Raleigh and North Carolina providing in-office and telehealth services to help you thrive.
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!
3 Essential Steps To Becoming An Active ListenerJune 11, 2020
Hearing is something we do every day.
We hear the sound of a lawnmower or the sound of a beeping car horn. Our sense of hearing is not necessarily something that we can just “turn off” – it’s involuntary.
On the other hand, active listening is about tuning in to a conversation with motivation and purpose. Active listeners tune in with an intention to connect and participate in a conversation – not just hear.
Active listening can help nourish meaningful relationships in your life. Use these 3 tips that can help you become a more active listener in your relationships.
Master Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal conversation has a lot of deep meaning. You can learn to read and use body language in ways that help build better relationships. Eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and posture affect the way you are communicating.
These nonverbal cues can signal interest, affection, or hostility without saying a word. Before you engage in a conversation, think about all of your nonverbal cues and what they communicate.
Put down your cell phone and shut off the TV! Active listening is about making a conscious decision to hear what people are saying. It’s about being completely focused on others—their words and their messages—without being distracted.
Active listeners can tune out distractions and noise to tune into the conversation at hand. In its most basic form, active listening is when someone is listening for meaning and feeling and not just content. When you eliminate background noise and distractions you are signaling that the conversation (and your relationship) is a priority.
Mindfulness is an essential part of active listening. When you are mindful, you make a conscious decision to focus on the moment at hand. Mindfulness helps you focus on the here and now which is an especially important skill set. We’re so often triggered by words the words we hear that it’s hard for us to understand what’s really being said.
Remember that mastering communication and the art of active listening is something that takes work in any relationship. The good news is that it’s an achievable goal.
At Foundations Family Therapy, we provide counseling to help strengthen relationships. Whether you are trying to work through something small or on the brink of divorce, counseling can help if you and your partner are ready to work on your relationship. Give us a call today!
3 Ways To Prioritize Your Mental Wellness During The Phase 2 of Reopening in NCMay 22, 2020
Governor Cooper just announced that Phase 2 begins at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22,2020, and remains in place until June 26, 2020, unless changed or canceled.
Phase 2 is all about the transition from “Stay At Home” to “Safer At Home”. But we know that transitions can be difficult for some people. We’ve all been asked to change and adapt in unprecedented ways because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It some ways, these changes have taken an emotional toll on people. In other ways, we’ve learned to practice gratitude and find joy in the little things that make life so great.
If you feel like the past few months have been an emotional roller coaster, you’re not alone! Studies show that the Coronavirus is causing a historic rise in mental health problems. New polls indicated Americans are feeling more anxious than ever- especially over concerns for the health and safety of those they love.
So how can we move forward during this period of transition in health and happiness?
Move At Your Own Pace
Remember, just because you can go out doesn’t mean you should. Don’t feel pressured to follow in line with what others are doing. Understand your risks, know how to stay safe, and find ways to keep living your life. What works for you and your family might be different from what your neighbor is doing.
Self-care during a period of transition is an essential part of your mental wellness. Personal self-care routines vary and there’s no right or wrong way to practice self-care. The bottom line is making yourself a priority! Whether that’s going to visit your favorite salon during its reopening or for a quick walk around your neighborhood, make your health and happiness a priority.
Above all, try to maintain a positive mindset. Remember, this won’t last forever. Find the beauty in your ‘new normal’ so you can focus on all that you have. This period of change, transition, and adaptation can help us all build a little more resilience in our lives.
We know that building resilience, adapting to change, and finding personal happiness in life isn’t always easy. Our team is here to walk with you through your struggles. Many of our providers are still offering teletherapy appointments that can help you adjust accordingly while staying safe at home. Don’t hesitate to give us 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
How Christian Counseling Can Help You Overcome FearApril 9, 2020
Fear and anxiety are real challenges in life.
Perhaps we face them now more than ever as we continue to live in uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Sometimes, the thoughts in your head can be so overwhelming and disruptive that it’s hard to sleep at night. It seems like your mind is working in overdrive with no way to calm down.
This is what it’s like to live in fear.
How To Move Forward In Faith
Fear has a lot to do with perception. The Bible teaches us to develop courage and faith to allow us to embrace the unknown. As Dr. David Calvert, Pastor for Creative Arts at Grace Community Church in Angier, NC said,
“The gospel tells us of God’s overwhelming love for us, proved in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – but sometimes we need help remembering God’s forgiveness and remembering God’s deep love.Dr. David Calvert
A Christian therapist can help a client remember what is true in the gospel.
How Our Faith Impacts Counseling
Our faith influences our worldview. Therefore, we are open and honest about our beliefs as they influence how we understand healing, pain and hope. However, at Foundations Family Therapy we work with individuals with different perspectives and backgrounds.
“Many people are crippled by shame or the perceived inability to forgive themselves or others, and faith-based therapy is equipped to break down those perceived barriers to help Christians live in ways that bear the fruit of the Spirit,” said Dr. Calvert.
When you begin therapy, your counselor will meet you wherever you are in your faith journey. Faith-based therapy can work very well within the context of discipleship, coming alongside pastors and others making disciples by helping provide key insights and training for emotional health.
Finding God in your struggle
As we head into Easter Weekend, take moment and evaluate your relationship with God. Maybe you’re struggling with your faith and having doubts about God. Maybe you’re wondering “where God is” in the midst of your circumstances. You know he’s there but you can’t feel or sense him and you feel lost, hopeless and disconnected.
Our Christian therapists can help you learn from God’s promises that he will not leave you or forsake you. Christian counseling could help you find hope in your circumstances and identify purpose in the midst of your pain.
5 Tips To Help Ease Pregnancy Anxiety During COVID-19April 6, 2020
You have waited 9 months for your little bundle of joy to arrive and the time is drawing near. But now, instead of total elation, you may be experiencing anxiety and disappointment due to the threat and restrictions of COVID-19.
Suddenly, the way you pictured your birth and postnatal period going is totally different without you having much say in it.
You may be experiencing anxiety as you think about the unknown of what the restrictions could be, the health and safety of you, your baby, and your family, and what that could mean for help when you get home.
Many mothers right now are feeling the same thing.
We are in uncertain times which no one could have predicted or planned for. It is normal to feel some anxiety and disappointment. If you or someone you love is preparing to have a child, here are some things to remember during this time.
Adjust Your Focus
Remember, it’s best to focus on what we CAN control rather than what we CANNOT control. Currently, we have no control over mandates from our government officials, the doctors and nurses who are making regulations based on their knowledge, or the unknown direction of this virus. This could mean, the people you wanted with you in the delivery room or shortly thereafter will not be able to be there. That is outside of our control.
What is under your control is your own coping skills and relaxation techniques for the safe delivery of your child. You might start creating a relaxing playlist or plan to have your loved ones video call in. When our minds start wondering about things we cannot control, we can easily spiral to a lot of “what ifs”… and this will not be beneficial to you.
Your attitude is the number one thing that you can control during this time. The way you choose to respond will set the tone for everything else. Find things in this process that you can control and focus your energies there.
Prioritize Health and Safety For All
We must trust that these regulations are in place for a reason. The number one goal for your doctors and nurses is a safe and healthy delivery for you resulting in a healthy mother and baby.
Secondly, they are also invested in keeping as many people healthy as possible. Find the good in this situation. This is something that most people have to practice. This could mean creating a gratitude journal to remember this challenging time. Start by thinking about 10 things that you are looking forward to with your upcoming delivery and new baby’s arrival!
Does this situation mean that your support person (who you thought was only going to have a week off) is now going to be working from home and more present than originally thought?
Does this mean you don’t have to entertain visitors that stay too long when you just want to sleep?
Find some humor in this situation, too! Find that one friend who always makes you laugh and talk to them, laughter always does the heart good.
Stay Focused On The Big Picture
Hopefully, at the end of the day, you will be holding your precious baby! What greater gift and joy! The pain and disappointment will be swallowed up by the gratitude and joy you feel holding your baby.
Soon enough, the world will be back to its normal pace and life will go on. Cling to this time of togetherness with your immediate family and be thankful for it.
Surround Yourself With Support
We are all in this together. We can grieve with you because your birth is not going to look the same as you were hoping. Video chat with family/friends as much as you can to provide safe connections and support from miles away.
Many restaurants are now offering free delivery- use this! Be thankful for others who are willing to drop off helpful meals or supplies. Even though your support system may not be able to be physically present as you originally planned, their emotional presence can help you in many ways.
Most importantly, please remember that most cases of postpartum mood disorders begin in the last trimester of the pregnancy. If you find that you are experiencing anxiety or depressive symptoms more than 2-4 weeks postpartum, please feel free to reach out for support.
We are here for you. We have teletherapy services for connection and support from the comfort of your own home. Also, if you’re in your third trimester of pregnancy, check out a group we’re forming for pregnant moms HERE .Give us a call today.
Elizabeth Edwards, LMFT
A Message on COVID-19 From Our FounderMarch 13, 2020
The health and safety of our clients and therapists is our priority and utmost concern.
As we continue to see a spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States, and in our local communities, we are closely monitoring the recommendations of the CDC and our local and state health departments and are following all guidelines provided by these organizations.
Currently, we have no plans of closing our offices or canceling sessions. The local County Health Department is encouraging citizens to continue with daily life while taking precautions such as increased handwashing and staying home if you aren’t feeling well.
Social distancing has been encouraged to minimize the spread of the virus, however, because we are a small group, we do not have large events or crowds and we see our clients one-on-one, closing the practice does not seem warranted at this time. If the CDC or WHO provides different guidance at any time then we will make changes as needed.
Some precautions that are part of our normal operations to reduce the spread of any virus, and that we will continue to take include: daily cleaning of our therapy rooms and waiting rooms, availability of hand sanitizer throughout the practice, and encouraging clients to do telehealth from home if they are sick.
Some additional measures we are putting in place include:
While we’ve always cleaned throughout the day, we’ve now introduced increased awareness and commitment to actively cleaning throughout the day. In addition, we have a routine schedule for deep cleaning, wiping down surfaces and disinfecting common areas.
We use CDC-approved products for cleaning that have been recommended by the CDC as being effective against COVID-19.
Limiting Community Contact
Though we love our clients, therapists are now required to wash hands between sessions and refrain from common physical contact with clients (handshakes, hugs etc.)
We also are encouraging clients to come right at their appointment time if they would like to minimize contact with others in the waiting room.
Making Telehealth Services Available
We would also like to offer telehealth services to any client that feels uncomfortable meeting in the office or is deemed high-risk or someone in their family is at high risk of contracting the Coronavirus.
Please talk with your therapist about scheduling your sessions using telehealth until you feel comfortable coming back into the office for sessions.
Please remember that if you or anyone in your family has any symptoms of illness (fever, cough, vomiting) to stay home and do telehealth appointments (if you’re able to do so) until everyone has been symptom-free for 24 hours.
We understand that this virus is concerning and may cause increased anxiety for a lot of people.
We are here to help and want to ensure our clients that we will continue to meet with them in the best way possible while making sure that they receive the appropriate level of care.
We are closely monitoring the situation and adjusting to any new developments. We will communicate any changes through our website, email and social media channels.
Jamie Criswell, LMFT