Posts Tagged ‘Stress’
Maintaining Sobriety in Times of High StressAugust 19, 2021
Maintaining Sobriety in Times of High Stress
Who has experienced stress recently? If you said me, you are not alone. We all face stress daily. Some of this stress can go unrecognized such as trying to rush out the door to be at work on time or it can be a bit more significant, even life changing, that causes us to resort to drugs or alcohol to numb and forget about that stress. Maintaining sobriety can be especially challenging in times of high stress.
But how does one maintain a level of sobriety in times of high stress? We now live in a fast-paced society with increasing demands, while dealing with social isolation, social distancing, telecommutes with changing job duties and responsibilities. There are ways that you can maintain your sobriety in these stressful times.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Sometimes you just have to say no. When we stretch ourselves too thin on time or overexert ourselves mentally or physically, it can increase our stress and chances of relapse. Make sure you are taking much needed down time, practicing self-care, and taking care of yourself. If you are not taking care of yourself then it will be difficult to be of service to others.
There are most certainly healthy benefits from being outdoors, despite the obvious of fresh air, sunlight, and sounds of nature. This may be an opportunity for you to explore a new recreational activity that you have been interested in such as fishing or hiking, or it may be a way for you to get reacquainted with an activity that you used to enjoy. So, dust off those golf clubs and hit the links! You will have a deeper appreciation for the correlation between mental and physical health in doing so.
Identify Healthy Coping Mechanisms and Positive Supports
Make a conscious choice to find things to take your mind off drug and alcohol use, such as calling a friend or relative or going for a walk. Animals can also be therapeutic so consider going to the shelter to adopt a dog to walk with you and help motivate you. Also, consider getting involved with NA or AA meetings and at some point, identifying a sponsor. There are dozens of AA and NA meetings so do not feel obligated to commit to the first one you attend if you do not feel a connection there. It is perfectly acceptable to attend several before finding one to call your group.
Keep in mind that drugs and alcohol, no matter how serious your use is, are surface level problems. Considering collaborating with a therapist that specializes in addictions to help get to the root of the problem and identify ways for you to live the best life that you deserve. Foundations Family Therapy has a therapist that specializes in maintaining sobriety. Meet him here!
Self-Improvement Tips That Will Help You Move Forward In SuccessJuly 16, 2020
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.
Parenting in the Midst of Working from HomeApril 24, 2020
Due to the recent COVID19 outbreak, many parents are finding themselves working from home. While some parents are used to working from home, many are making the transition and settling into any given comfortable space in their home.
Whether working from home was the norm or a new transition, many parents are also now finding themselves taking on the role of teacher, cook, playmate, lesson planner, and everything else in between for their child(ren) in addition to having to work their job and keep up with daily work demands.
While we as parents may understand that this is the “new normal” and how things have to be for now, it can still be difficult to carry on all the responsibilities that we are used to all at the same time and all in the same location with every member being home all at the same time.
This transition may be difficult, but we can help!
We used to have the luxury of taking a break and going to our favorite coffee shop to get a hot latte that warmed the soul or going to our favorite restaurant and enjoying our favorite meal in the midst of mindful eating. Now? Not so much.
The breaks at the house may not seem as pleasant or appetizing as they once did. Your patience may be wearing thin and you may be singing “Jesus Take the Wheel” more than you ever have before.
Feeling overwhelmed right now IS NORMAL AND VERY MUCH OKAY. You are human. You have needs and you also need breaks. Self-care is important. YOU are important. I can assure you that you are not alone in feeling this way.
Strategies for Coping
So how can one have some semblance of sanity in the midst of this chaos? Here are a few suggestions that might be helpful:
Establish a routine
Not only for your child(ren) but also for yourself. While the routine may not look like it did before, there is some sense of normalcy in having a routine (with time).
Keep taking breaks during the day as you once did
Sure, you may not be able to hit up your favorite spot but you can substitute that time with another activity. Maybe you take a short drive somewhere or take a walk around the neighborhood/house or even take an actual lunch break in a different part of the house. Or maybe you take a few minutes for meditation and deep breathing.
When you can, ask for help
Whether that’s from your partner, nanny/sitter, daycare, or whoever! If you’re partnered, tag team it up. Split up tasks. Ask for what you need and be specific in what you need.
Check in with yourself often
If you need to, reach out to someone you trust and just vent. Whether it’s a family member, your partner, friend, neighbor, therapist, church member, whoever. Let it out.
Make time for a break
My favorite way to do this is setting a slightly earlier bedtime for your kid a couple of times a week. That way, they’re in bed and you’re hopefully taking a hot shower and catching up on your favorite show or just sitting there in silence.
Join your family, friends, co-workers, etc. through a digital coffee date, a Zoom meeting, or Google hangouts. Adulting with other adults is important!
Practice giving yourself grace
Parenting isn’t a competition and we are all in this “new normal” together. How easy is it to understand and validate another’s situation but then get down on ourselves?
Remember, we are human and aren’t perfect, and this includes in the parenting arena. Sometimes Fruit Loops and screen time are exactly what’s needed. Go with it.
Leticia Frazier, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
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
3 Tips That Will Help You Talk To Your Kids About The COVID-19 OutbreakMarch 26, 2020
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.
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 TodaySeptember 19, 2019
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!
How To Talk To Your Teen About Mental HealthAugust 29, 2019
Teen depression and anxiety are on the rise.
In fact, The National Institute of Mental Health reports that about 3.2 million 12- to 17-year-olds have had at least one major depressive episode within the past 12 months. Many of these teens don’t get the help they need which can cause even more problems.
So how do you talk to your teen about counseling and mental health in a world full of stigma, peer pressure, and judgment?
Discuss Normal Emotions
The teen years are a time of great transition. You might find your son or
daughter exploring their independence and developing a framework for how they view the world. Teens begin to “try on” different values and question why they believe the things they believe. This is a time of great potential but also a time of great stress.
Talk to your children about changes. From hormones to social pressures, teens can experience a wide range of emotions each day. Talk to them to help normalize the conversation around how they’re feeling. Setting up an open plan for communication can provide the support and guidance they need.
Talk About Depression Symptoms
Did you know that about 20% of adolescents will experience depression by the time they are an adult? It’s important to seek treatment for depression as quickly as possible if you are concerned about your teenager. Your teen may feel more overwhelmed than they ever have before. In fact, they may begin to feel hopeless.
As teen counselors, our staff has seen the healing impact of depression treatment. We know your teenager can get better. Therefore, we can communicate this to your child and help them on their path to feeling better.
*It’s important to note that any reference to suicide should be taken seriously. If a teenager has referenced suicide, it is important to seek professional assistance. If you are worried about your child’s safety, please error on the side of taking them to the nearest Emergency Room for an evaluation. The National Suicide Hotline also offers a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Respect Their Privacy
As parents, you want to know that your teenager is OK. On the other hand, teens might have a lot they don’t want you to know about. In fact, most teenagers have some secrets from their parents.
If your teen thinks that their therapist is going to report everything they say in counseling back to their parents, counseling will be ineffective. While our counselors understand your desire to know what’s going on, we also know that the best way to help your teen is to hold their secrets in confidence. Establishing trust is a solid foundation for any relationship.
Foundations Family Therapy offers a variety of mental health services at our Raleigh office. We want to help your entire family thrive.
How To Help to Your Teen With Life’s TransitionsAugust 15, 2019
Adolescence is a beautiful yet challenging time of change.
As a result, if you think about all of the social and academic pressures topped with hormonal shifts, it’s no wonder why it can be difficult for teens to adjust!
The good news is that if they seem emotionally unstable, irritable or moody, it’s likely this is all part of normal behavior.
School and Change
As we enter this transitional time of the year with new beginnings at school, it’s important to have a care plan in place to help things go smoothly. Careful organization and planning can help eliminate uncertainty and let your teen know she has a support system in place.
Start by establishing communication. It’s essential to keep communication channels open in order to build a positive relationship with your teen. Even if you don’t always agree, you want them to know that you are interested and that you care.
Another important part of healthy communication is teaching them about mindfulness. It’s easy to get lost in all of the fears, anxieties and “what ifs” that surround the teenage years. Help them learn ways to stay focused and stay present.
Teen Depression and Anxiety are on the rise.
Most importantly, in the rise of teenage depression and anxiety, it’s important to talk about personal safety. Have an open and mature conversation about all of the new issues and challenges your teen might face. Be sure to include topics like sex, drugs, and alcohol use. Talk about all of the new freedoms, responsibilities, and expectations associated with the teenage years and make sure they feel safe.
All parents want to give their teens the tools they need to not only survive but thrive. Family therapy can help with complicated issues and conversations. This is why our team of compassionate therapists- many parents themselves- are here to help your family grow together through adolescence and beyond.
4 Spots In Raleigh That Can Help Reduce AnxietyAugust 8, 2019
You know the signs…
Rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, and racing thoughts… are all signs of anxiety.
When anxious feelings arise, it’s time to reconnect.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health symptoms, and, for those who suffer, you are truly not alone in your feelings. Some of the most typical treatments for anxiety involve ways to be present in your environment by engaging with your surroundings. This includes using your five senses, deep breathing, and grounding techniques.
So, what does that really look like here in the City of Oaks? Use these local resources and businesses to calm your anxiety.
NC Museum of Art: Whether you are a lover of art or not, this museum truly has something for everyone. On a humid, Raleigh day, you can mosey around the portraits, statues, and expressive artwork at your leisure. Spend time focusing on the colors, textures, and design of each piece. Reflect on your emotional state when looking at the artwork. What is the artist portraying and how do you feel looking at it? If it’s a cooler Raleigh day, spend time strolling in the outdoor art park. Check out the massive Gyre rings and the spacious amphitheater. On your walk, stop and listen. What do you hear? Be mindful of nature all around you. This outdoor park is connected to the Capital Area Greenway System which has trails all over the Triangle so chances are, there is one near you.
JC Raulston Arboretum: This local arboretum has 10 beautiful acres to explore of botanical gardens. Take some deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth and chances are, you will smell something floral near you. As you walk, focus on the weight of your foot pressing down on the ground beneath you and feel connected, centered with the earth. What can you touch around you? A soft petal, a prickly pinecone, or the weight and feel of your camera in your hand capturing the scenery. It can feel refreshing to wander through the gardens but if you’d like more direction, check out the tours and workshops provided there to socialize with others or learn something new.
Cameron Village Regional Library: Although there are many wonderful local libraries around the Triangle, this one located in the Cameron Village Shopping Center, stands out. Explore the shelves of different genres, peruse the artwork, and say hello to the massive knight sculpture greeting you on the 2nd floor. As you meander through this open, two-story space, feel the sun’s rays shining through the large windows and see if you smell a new book calling your name. Pick up a book, feel the texture of the pages, and be reminded of the way it feels to get lost in a good story. This library as well as others in the area offer a wealth of knowledge in not only books but artistic programs for adults as well as storytimes for the youngsters.
Cinemark Raleigh Grande: Sometimes it can be beneficial to take a break from everyday life and immerse yourself in someone’s else’s story. What better way than the movies? Choose where you want to sit online before you come for optimal space and comfort. Stretch out in a cushy recliner with your feet up and enjoy the ultimate surround sound experience. Grab some yummy food to really engage your senses and take time to savor each bite, each flavor. Try to really slow it down and be present with your meal as well as with the show in front of you. Sometimes simply gaining a new perspective can shift your own.
Give one of these ideas a try the next time you’re struggling with anxious thoughts or feelings, and see if engaging your 5 senses at some great Raleigh attractions helps you to feel grounded and calm.
You may also find that anxiety therapy is helpful in reducing your anxious thoughts. We’re here to help, and we want you to move from surviving to thriving in all areas of your life.
3 Things Everyone Should Know About Sleep And Mental WellnessJune 20, 2019
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