Posts Tagged Parenting

Mental Health Awareness: As Told by a New Dad, who is Mentally Unaware

I was told the birth of my daughter would have significant effects on my sleep schedule, social schedule, and life in general. One can never truly understand what that means until one is in that situation. Needless to say, our newborn baby, while we love her dearly, has caused my wife and I to change some things in our lives, if only temporarily. One of those things that have changed is our sleep (or lack of) schedule. I’ve always thought I was quite efficient at functioning with little to no sleep. Having certain sets of life circumstances… think long nights in Vegas, middle of the night hiking trips, and overnight flights across the globe… I always saw myself as someone who can manage without sleep, and still have the ability to be aware of not only my needs but other people’s as well. With this new experience of fatherhood, I’m learning that long nights in Vegas and long nights with a crying baby are two drastically different experiences. Being a new father has also made me realize how unaware I can be of my own mental health. I find myself thinking mostly about my new baby and my wife, and what their needs are, and by the time I realize what I’m needing, it’s too late and I’m in a crabby mood.

Thinking more about this made me realize how easy it is for us to lose track of what we’re needing, as well as other people’s mental health needs. As a therapist, I like to think that I am usually good at being aware of others’ needs, understanding what kind of support they are seeking, and encouraging them to pay attention to their mental health. However, when a big, life-changing event happens, or when we get wrapped up in our day to day lives, it’s easy to lose focus of what we may be lacking emotionally, and what we need to “fill up our tank”.

Because of how easy it has become for me to lose awareness, particularly on days after a very long sleepless night, I’ve started a new habit. Every day on my way home from work, after I exit on to a certain street, I use that time to check in with myself and ask myself how things are going. That exit is my signal to make myself aware of anything I may be needing.  As I work to cement this new habit into a daily ritual, I will also start to look at what strategies I can employ and how I can adjust my perspective so I won’t be burnt out or be frustrated at my darling daughter.

What is your “exit” on the way home from work? What is needed to keep your “tank” full? I encourage you to take a moment and make yourself aware of what you may be needing and how you’re doing. It doesn’t take much time and it sure beats waiting until you’re emotionally exhausted to realize you’re struggling. Once you find your “exit” and know what you need to do so you don’t get burnt out, take the necessary time to find what strategies you can employ and how you can make this a new habit.

Here are some identifiable warning signs that you be close to burning out to watch for along with some self-care tips.

Warning Signs

  • Increased illness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Your mind feels fuzzy
  • You feel stressed all the time, along with increased anxiety
  • Loss of enjoyment or pleasure for working, successful completion of projects, or even being with friends and family.
  • You are crabby, grouchy, or just not in a good mood
  • You forget appointments, due dates, and possibly even social events.
  • You have chronic fatigue

Self-Care Tips

  • Just say “No”- It is ok to decline a new project if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Take time to relax. If you need assistance with this try guided meditation, massage, or even yoga.
  • Make sure you take the time to fulfill all 8 areas of your wellbeing on a regular basis to help you overcome burnout and eliminate some stressors.
    • Physical- sleep, eat, exercise enough.
    • Spiritual- keep an eye on what you value and what your purpose is and make sure you do that activity often.
    • Intellectual- Find an activity that is interesting to do- something to stretch your imagination, creativity, and make you use your brain in a different way than you do every day.
    • Financial- Try using a financial calculator or meet with a financial advisor to discuss your personal situation. Talking about your finances and knowing what you need to accomplish to be financially stable is a good starting point to feeling less stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out.
    • Social- Even if you don’t feel like you have time, make time to be with friends and family so they can support you in your goals, or babysit your child so you can be with your partner alone.
    • Emotional- Stay positive. Find something positive each day to focus on- your daughter is healthy, you have a job etc. If you struggle with this, look up how to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.
    • Environmental- Your environment includes your social, natural outdoor, and built environment. Take time look at your surroundings and maybe check out that store or museum you always drive by because you are too busy.
    • Occupational- Take 5 minutes of your day to talk to a co-worker to learn from them, connect with them, and see how you can support each other at work.

We all have these areas that we need to fulfill in order to be successful, less stressed, and energized to face the next day and adventure. I hope with these tips and reminders, you can quickly recognize when and how to fill your “tank” and be able to handle late nights and responsibilities that we all have. And don’t forget to find that “exit” so you are reminded to take the time to do these things and be mentally aware.

As always if you need help with any of this or just need to talk, please use the resources that are available to you. If you have an Employee Assistance Program at work don’t hesitate to call them. If MINES is your EAP give us a call anytime. It’s free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day. You can reach us at 1-800-873-7138.

 

 

To Your Wellbeing,

James D. Redigan, LPC

The MINES Team

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TotalWellbeing: November 2014

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Emotional & Social Wellbeing

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Smile, Happiness is Contagious!

Welcome to the November issue of TotalWellbeing! Later this month we will be celebrating one of the more social holidays of the year, Thanksgiving. Whether you find this time of year relaxing, fun, or even a bit stressful, what better time to discuss Emotional Wellbeing and its connection with your Social Wellbeing.  It’s no mystery that our emotions have a way of influencing our social interactions, but it works both ways; the moods, state of mind, and overall emotional state our social connections can have a direct bearing on your emotional wellbeing, be it good or bad. To explore this relationship more closely please read The Connection, below.

Last month on the MINES blog we saw the last “Bridging the Gap” of 2014. This post helped recap everything we’ve been up to this last quarter, and previewed a bit of what you can expect for the rest of 2014 coming from the MINES team. So head over and check that out if you’ve missed anything or just need a little reminder of all the wellbeing topics covered these last 3 months.

If you are following us on our blog and LinkedIn showcase pages, you can expect some great resources and enlightening discussions coming up this next month, so stay tuned and let us know what you think.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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The Connection:

Emotional & Social Wellbeing

Emotional and Social Wellbeing tie together in countless ways. For the sake of this connection we will focus on the ways social influence impacts emotions, and in turn emotions affect your social interactions. It is important to be mindful of how our emotions affect those around us or even if our emotions are keeping us from connecting on a social level at all. And in turn, always be aware of how those around you are affecting you with their moods because happiness isn’t the only emotion that’s contagious. Another important aspect of this connection is the tendency for the quality of our social life to have direct bearing on our happiness levels. In order to be happy, one needs some level of healthy social interaction. Whether one is extroverted or introverted, combined with a myriad of other factors, will determine optimal levels of social activities for a given individual, but everyone needs at least a little companionship to maintain a healthy balance in life.

Social Wellbeing

Emotional Wellbeing

Social & Emotional Development of Children with Working Parents1396842_16444743

How to Do Emotional Clearing

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Developing social wellness begins early and often starts with the bonding between parent and child. This crucial stage of life is a crucial time in the lives of both parents and children, and can be one of the strongest predictors of mental and emotional wellbeing.To access this tool, click here. Emotional Clearing is the practice of bringing awareness to our mental and emotional compulsions and reactions in order to “heal” them or integrate them. The end state of doing this work is Wholeness which is actually a step beyond enlightenment.To read the full article, click here.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Psychology of Performance – 34: Spark!

The book, Spark, by John J. Ratey, M.D. is the holy grail of research applications related to the interaction of exercise, neuroplasticity, and performance. The information on brain chemistry changes in the areas of learning, addictions, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, ADHD, and aging is priceless. The essence of the book is that the data indicated the brain is able to create new neuronal connections, grow new nerve cells throughout life, manage major psychological conditions, pain conditions, and learning is significantly enhanced through exercise. Ratey stated that “exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain function”- based on hundreds of research studies (p.245). Ratey suggested that the more fit you get (regardless of where you start), the “ more resilient your brain becomes and the better it functions both cognitively and psychologically. If you get your body in shape, your mind will follow” (p. 247).

How much is enough? Ratey stated that walking is enough. Low-intensity exercise is at 55 to 65% of maximum heart rate, moderate is 65-75% and high intensity is 75-90%. “The process of getting fit is all about building up your aerobic base” (p.251). Ratey goes on to discuss the role of strength training and flexibility as important elements of optimizing your brain chemistry and hormone levels.

What does this have to do with optimizing your performance at work and in all areas of your life? Everything! Get started today and stick with it.

Have a day filled with optimal brain chemistry,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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How to Reduce Kids’ Holiday Stress

 
 
  How to Reduce Kids’ Holiday Stress
December 19, 2011
 When I first read the title of this week’s communication, I laughed with skepticism. I can’t imagine a child feeling stressed at the holidays. Every child I know counts down to Christmas, as if it’s the greatest day of the year.

Reading further into the article, I realized what they meant by “stress.” Stress for me during the holidays is all the planning and preparation that goes into it. As a child, I remember feeling unsettled and I guess you could say “stressed” if we went to bed and forgot to read The Night before Christmas or hadn’t followed any tradition that we had in the years before. After all, it was all of those traditions that I was counting down to.

As a child, I spent Christmas in several different household; each of my grandparents, my Mother’s home, my Father’s home, and many of my Aunt’s and Uncle’s homes. Yet, no matter where I was it was those little traditions; making the cookies for Santa, sitting at dinner with family, writing Santa a note, reading The Night before Christmas, that made wherever I was feel like home. And that’s what made me happy.

  Read more on this topic here…
  Britney Kirsch
Account Manager
 
 

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Embracing Global Diversity

As the parent of a seven year old, I’ve been enamored with the concept of “intentional parenting.” The essence of this philosophy is to think about the type of person you want your child to be when they become an adult and to give them age appropriate responsibilities to support their development. I, for one, am committed to raising a global citizen who has an appreciation for other cultures, languages, perspectives, and lifestyle choices.

I was exposed to traveling at a very early age and was always deeply appreciative that my parents expanded my horizons and perspectives through global travel. I’m sure my mom wasn’t completely surprised when I told her I had bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand and wasn’t sure when I would be back. And, sure enough, after two years of traveling out of a backpack, returned home to start graduate school. I loved the sense of intrigue and mystery that came with traveling to exotic lands and far away places.

I also came home with a profound sense of appreciation for the global diversity that we have right here! Looking at situations from a new perspective, asking open ended questions to understand a different point of view, and being curious about someone’s background or beliefs are all windows towards creating a sense of belonging to a global community. I feel so fortunate that much of the work I do in BizPysch – be it executive coaching, diversity training, or providing conflict mediation services – are all ways to build bridges and create a sense of community and connection.

Now, I’m getting ready to embark on another global adventure. As a parent who is committed to raising a “global citizen,” I am getting ready to move overseas with my son. We will be gone for a little less than a year and during that time we will both be students learning a new language and embracing a completely different way of living. There are so many ways to embrace global diversity, be it participating in a cooking class with foods from another country, learning a new language, seeing a foreign film, reading books about other countries, or following your curiosity by exploring new places on the internet!  I trust I will return with a new set of perspectives which is what makes traveling and experiencing different cultures, no matter how you choose to do it, so exciting!

Marcia Kent, MS
President, BizPsych

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In Language, Two is Better than One

 

 

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In Language, Two is Better than One
October 18, 2011
 

My parents didn’t teach me a second language as a child, although I hear that if they had I would have learned it much quicker than I did in high school Spanish class. I loathed Spanish class. I could memorize the meaning of any word but if you asked me to make a sentence out of that word, forget it. It could have been because it was always the first class of the day or because I sat at a table with the cutest boy in school.

My Dad forced me to take the class. He said I wouldn’t get into college without two years of Spanish. I thought it was a scare tactic, much like; “If you don’t drink your milk you won’t be strong.” I know parents often use exaggerated statements to influence us to do what they want us to do. Nonetheless, I begrudgingly sat in Spanish class for two years.

As soon as I started my application to college I learned my Dad was right. I did need two years of a foreign language to meet the admission qualifications. Structuring a sentence in Spanish is still a struggle for me, but knowing just the meaning of certain words has provided enough knowledge to understand other languages with similar origins.

Nothing but positive can come from exploring another culture and committing to learn the language. I just wish I would have learned it at an age when I wasn’t so easily distracted by my crush in Spanish class.


Read more on this topic here…
Britney Kirsch
Account Manager

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When to Keep Your Child Home from School

 
 

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When to Keep Your Child Home from School
September 26, 2011
 

I was the kid who got the perfect attendance award at the end of the year. I am truly trying to think of a time a stayed home from school and I can only think of a few times. In the earlier years, around 2nd grade, I probably could have gone to school but I convinced my Mom to stay home. I knew it would be amazing; watch TV all day with my Mom while she brought me food and doted on me. Wrong. I can hear her words now, “If you are too sick to go to school, you are too sick to get out of bed.” I am sure there were times after that when I tried the “but, Mommy, my tummy hurts” bit but school always sounded more exciting than staring at my bedroom ceiling.

Later in my adolescent years, in 8th grade, I was truly terrified of boys and dating. My Dad made sure of that! Nonetheless, kids taunted me at school for several days for not accepting a boys request to be his girlfriend. Whatever “girlfriend” meant in the 8th grade, I had no interest in knowing. The only way to avoid this was by not going to school. My Mom went to work earlier than I did and I just stayed home. What I didn’t know, is that she came home on her lunch breaks. When she walked through the door, I attempted to be sick, knowing I would fail miserably. She saw right through it. I had to confess. She taught me how to approach the peer pressure while she drove me straight to school.

My parents didn’t entertain excuses for missing school. But at the end of the day there was always a reason I wanted to stay home; whether I was fearful of a test, my classmates, or I was just plain tired of getting up. I am sure it’s not easy to look at your child when they are tired and weepy, begging you to stay home. Not to worry, help is here! This week’s communication will give you some strict guidelines for when to say yes or no.


Read more on this topic here…
Britney Kirsch
Account Manager

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Booster Shots for Personal Success

When my son was a little boy, he used to get very anxious at the thought of having to see the doctor, especially when it meant getting a shot. Even the promise of a lollipop or special treat did little to alleviate his anticipated state of dread. The last time he went he asked the million dollar question of, “WHY mommy…WHY do I have to get a shot again?”

The answer that I gave him was that it was a “gift of energy” to promote health and well being. Okay, maybe that was a little too esoteric for him to understand but it made me think about it that way! I thought about how great it would be if I could just get a little “shot” or a “booster” to help me through the many times when I faced a challenge or task with dread, trepidation, or even that paralyzing fear of failing.

Come to think of it, every time I engaged the help of an executive coach or sought counsel from a mentor, it was as if I was getting a booster shot to help me meet the challenge I was facing at the time.  And those coaching sessions were a “gift of energy” because they gave me the structure, tools, and built-in accountability that I needed to reach my goals.

My challenges have changed over the years from training for a marathon, getting a master’s degree to move forward with my career, and trying to find that optimal balance as a working mother. While the challenges have changed over time, the value of those coaching sessions  remained steady and was something that I could count on to help maintain a sense of well-being. I’ve appreciated every booster – be it a “shot it the arm” to help inoculate myself and manage my expectations about an event, or a gift of energy packaged as sage advice that gave me some new insights to work with.

It’s been incredibly valuable to have a coach help me see the potential in myself that I might have minimized or underestimated. It’s been priceless to have someone push me, encourage me to “stretch,” and challenge some of my limiting beliefs and irrational assumptions. It’s been invaluable to partner with someone and be able to think out loud about possible obstacles and setbacks and then develop strategies to overcome them so I reach my goals.

I’m a big believer in the merits and benefits of coaching. It’s one of the areas that I’m most passionate about when it comes to my role in BizPysch. We offer executive coaching and are always interested in partnering with people to help them achieve their goals in their professional development – it might be the perfect booster and gift of energy needed to promote your well-being!

Marcia Kent, MS
President, BizPsych

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Raising Emotionally Healthy Kids

 
 

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Raising Emotionally Healthy Kids
July 18, 2011
 

The next installment in our monthly topic of “Fortifying the Family” addresses the emotional health of children. Just as the toddler who only wanted pancakes for breakfast now only wants pizza since they turned four, so too do emotional nutrition needs change as children grow. Read this week’s communication for tips on making those age appropriate adjustments.


Read more on this topic here…
Peggy Hill
Account Manager

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Relapse and Recovery

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Relapse and Recovery
April 25, 2011

I was raised to be aware that sometimes I am going to mess up and I am not always going to make the right decisions. The key is to learn from those mistakes. But one of the most important lessons my parents taught me was that while I am going to make mistakes I am in control of my decisions and happiness.

My parents had already been through most of the landmines you worry about for your children; teen pregnancy, high school dropout, and experimenting with drugs. I couldn’t get away with anything. I didn’t even have a chance to make my own mistakes because they had already “been there, done that.” They knew every dangerous situation to avoid and they made sure I did just that. I am very aware of what my parents had to give up because of the choices they made. And I am very aware of how difficult life can become if you choose to head down a different path. Because of my parents, I have been very thoughtful of every decision in my life. There were times I would hear them preaching and I would want to run, just to not hear the “how hard it is to raise a child” speech again. In fact, I still hear that one!

Although I have never been an addict, I have worked in a rehabilitation clinic with adolescents who are. Many recovery programs are built on the philosophy much like what my parents taught me: Making a mistake is human, but learning from those mistakes is the key. Avoid dangerous situations, so you aren’t tempted to make a decision that you might regret. And most importantly, self-pity isn’t nearly as productive or rewarding as knowing that you are the controller of your destiny. Read this week’s communication for information on Relapse and Recovery.


Read more on this topic here…
Britney Kirsch
Account Manager

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