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!
Successful people often have a few common characteristics that have helped them move past their mental roadblocks and into a thriving mindset. There are hundreds of videos and self-help books out there that share success tips and tricks but success boils down to self-improvement and personal growth.
Here are a few things to keep in mind that can help you move forward in success…
Develop A Growth Mindset
Successful people are not afraid of making mistakes and taking on challenges. They leave their fixed mindset behind…the one telling them they’ll never change and their environment will always stay the same… to move into a growth mindset.
People who have a growth mindset view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. They always take away lessons from the negative things that have happened in order to build resilience.
While setbacks happen to everyone, you can keep moving forward in positivity even after a few steps back. That’s what resilience is all about!
For example, instead of thinking, “I really don’t understand this new program at work. I’ll never understand it so I give up!,” try thinking with personal growth in mind, “I don’t know it yet, but I will learn.”
Don’t let the fear of failure be the voice that stands in the way of your success in life.
Create a Plan
Personal development plans help you stay on track and meet your goals. They are a good way to attain more self-awareness and figure out what aspects of personal development have been working and which aspects you need to improve.
Not sure where to start? Grab a notebook or journal and make a commitment to write each day. Evaluate your vision and your values. What does success look like and feel like to you? Create small and measurable steps to get there.
Include periodic check-ins with questions like…
Am I taking care of my mental and physical health?
Am I coping with stress effectively?
Are my goals aligned with my life vision?
Coping with Stress
Coping with stress in a healthy way is an important part of the journey to success. Stress can blur your clarity and focus. It can have an effect on how you eat, sleep, or think. Stress can dampen your productivity and create problems in meaningful relationships.
Managing stress is an important part of your overall health and wellness. Try incorporating some common stress-relieving habits like meditation, exercise, socializing, reading, or simply changing up your environment.
It is also important to know your triggers when you feel extremely overwhelmed and need a break. We understand. You’re tired of just surviving each day. You want something different. You’re ready to take your life back, to gain control over your thoughts and feelings, to repair your relationships. You were made for more than just surviving; you were made to thrive.
Our team of licensed therapists in Fuquay-Varina and Raleigh help struggling individuals, couples, and families gain hope, reclaim their foundation, and move from surviving to thriving.
When will the coronavirus threat pass?
When can I safely make plans with my friends again?
How will the economy turnaround?
At this point, it seems like we have more questions than answers. There are so many unknowns as we continue to move through these challenging times. Lockdowns and regulations are starting to take an emotional toll on families. But even during these uncertain times, there are plenty of ways your family can move forward in positivity and strength.
Communication is Key
Being part of a family unit is hard and COVID-19 has made that strain even harder for some families. We are all imperfect individuals coming together trying to connect, engage, and balance multiple personalities, goals, dreams, demands, and constant changes. What we crave is connection, support, love, calm, and acceptance.
Some families are adjusting to telework and may find it difficult to get their work done due to lack of childcare, confined spaces, technological issues. Other families are struggling with lack of social freedom (especially in teens). We all have unique struggles as a family.
With all of these additional stressors, communication is more essential than ever! It helps provide clarity, respect, and understanding during these challenging times. Sometimes we miscommunicate. Other times we forget to say important things. Help your spouse and family members by communicating what’s important to you. And, on the flip side, don’t forget to listen to what’s important to them.
Anger Is A Secondary Emotion
Oftentimes kids will show anger on the outside, but on the inside, there is usually a lot of fear or sadness. All of the COVID-19 transitions and adjustments can add to the anger and confusion kids experience. At Foundations Family Therapy, we can help angry kids manage their behaviors, express their feelings in a healthy way, and increase
their communication. Your child is struggling right now. Child counseling at our Fuquay Varina our Raleigh counseling office can help.
How To Bridge The Distance Gap
Now, some families are separated from loved ones like grandparents because of COVID-19 safety regulations. Humans are wired for connection and affection making self-isolation and loneliness rising concerns. The good news is there are ways you can connect, communicate, and nurture relationships from miles away.
Our Family Therapists help families learn to communicate better and reconnect from near or far. We treat the entire family as a unit to help each person feel heard and valued within the family system. Through family counseling, you can move through these difficult times and come out on the other side even stronger as a family.
Above all, it’s important to remember that our current state is temporary. The world has gotten through pandemics before and sooner or later this too will pass. Find the good in each day and use this time of ‘togetherness’ to cultivate healthy, stronger relationships with those you love. We’re here to help strengthen your family unit so you can move forward in positivity and love.
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!
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!
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
In a time where so much is unknown, take comfort in knowing our team at Foundations Family Therapy is here for you! Social distancing and limiting human contact are essential when it comes to flattening the curve and we’re stepping up to do our part.
Effective Wednesday, March 25th, we will be servicing our clients via online sessions only. Book Your Session Today
Online therapy offers secure, convenient, and easy to access care in a time when you need it most. Also, many major insurance companies have agreed to pay for Telehealth services the same as they would pay for in-office visits. This means your out of pocket cost should be the same for Telehealth services as it is for in-person office visits. They have agreed to continue this throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our team at Foundation’s Family Therapy remains committed to doing everything that we can to provide you a safe and comfortable environment for wellness. We look forward to connecting with you and moving forward together in health and happiness.
Jamie Criswell MS, LMFT
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
It’s that time of year when many people are heading into the new year with motivation and enthusiasm toward achieving their resolutions. Every year, many people set goals to lose weight or exercise more. There’s a lot of focus on improving physical health and wellness, but it’s also important to think about your mental health.
Your happiness matters 365 days a year.
Whether it’s January 1st or August 31st, you can make the decision to incorporate positive change in your life. Each morning you have a choice. A choice to give in to negative energy or choose to live with positivity.
This year, make your mental health and happiness a priority with our therapy services at Foundations Family Therapy. There are SO many wonderful benefits of therapy that will impact all aspects of your life.
Teach You Better Conflict Resolution
One of the many benefits of therapy and holistic healing is that it can teach you new ways to respond to conflict. You can learn new ways to look at situations that have caused you far too much stress, and new ways to nurture peace and contentment within yourself.
Help You Identify Malfunction
Therapy is helpful in addressing the parts of yourself that malfunction. It can help reduce anxiety so you can think clearly and make good decisions. Therapy helps build your confidence and improve your daily function by helping you remove obstacles that prevent your ability to enjoy your life.
Create Positive Change In Your Life
Therapy helps create positive change in all areas of your life to strengthen your happiness and wellbeing. These changes can happen through your diet, exercise, and perhaps even your communicational skills. They may need to include your activities, to ensure you make time for yourself, or to improve intimacy and trust in your marriage.
Our compassionate team can help you turn your mental, emotional, relational, and functional self around.
Life can be better, and you can feel better. You were made to thrive in 2020 and beyond- let us help!
Halloween is right around the corner! A time full of fun and fright. There are so many things about Halloween that children love, but scary costumes usually aren’t one of them.
The good news is that it’s pretty common for kids to get some extra goosebumps during this time of year. If the blood-and-guts of the season send your child running away in fear, try these tips for a happier Halloween.
Understand Real vs. Fake
Spend some time before a night of trick-or-treating to talk to your children about what’s real…and what’s not. This can be a tricky concept for children (especially younger tots) so don’t get discouraged.
Try walking them through the Halloween aisle at target and showing them a few masks to show how they are scary but they aren’t real. This can be A LOT harder to do on Halloween when someone is walking down the street dressed like an axe murderer, so get a head start on the conversation!
Plan Kid-Friendly Activities
Separate the adult Halloween activities from the kid-friendly ones. Remember, younger children work hard to process what their surroundings and an unfamiliar haunted house could really through them into a panic!
Skip the bloody zombie door hanger this year if it’s not for your child- there are a lot of other ways to celebrate and have fun.
Don’t Minimize Their Feelings
Some costumes, events, and decorations can be really scary to young minds. Talk to your children about the way they are feeling. Talk specifically about what’s scaring them and trying having the real vs. fake conversation (again). Above all, provide comfort to make them feel safe and heard.
Pack Your Patience
We probably don’t have to tell you this but children can be moody. If you spent $75 on the princess costume and they won’t wear it that night, stay calm! Be flexible and try talking through their resistance. Build-in some extra time so a meltdown or two doesn’t ruin all of your Halloween plans (#Momlife?)
Don’t Add Sugar To The Mix
We all love the sweet goodies of Halloween. Where would we be without a 5lb bag of candy sitting on top of our refrigerators for months to come? One of the worst things to do is to add sugar to a meltdown. Try not to bribe or reward bad behavior with candy.
Also, it’s probably best to talk about your candy rationing BEFORE trick-or-treating.