If you feel that you or someone else you know exhibits symptoms of Bi-Polar Disorder, check out the Bradley Cooper's new movie, Silver Linings Playbook this weekend.
PERMANENT RESULTS come from PERMANENT CHANGES
Sometimes we have to really take a close look at our lifestyle, our actions, habits, and attitudes to figure out what we need to trade in to get us the results we are looking for. What changes could you be making?
As you are going over in your head all of the things to get done this weekend, take a look at this to do list and see if it allows you to take a sigh of relief:
To do list for today:
~ Count my blessings
~ Practice kindness
~ Let go of what I can't control
~ Listen to my heart
~ Be productive yet calm
~ Just breathe
7 RULES OF LIFE
1. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
2. What others think of you is none of your business.
3. Time heals almost everything, give it time.
4. Don't compare your life to others and don't judge them. You have no idea what their journey is about.
5. Stop thinking too much, its alright to not know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.
6. No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.
7. Smile. You don't own all the problems in the world.
Whisper of the Heart
"Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does."
Take this weekend to really behave like the person you aspire to be.
Some good words to remember....
As we begin to take action toward the fulfillment of our GOALS and DREAMS, we must realize that not every action will be perfect. Not every action will produce the desired result. Not every action will work. Making mistakes, getting it almost right, and experimenting to see what happens are all part of the process of eventually getting it right...
Read this article to improve your Mental Health!
Is social media getting in the way of schoolwork and other activities?
If you answered YES, you won't want to miss NOVO's FREE Parenting Workshop:
Maintaining Healthy Communication with your Children in the New Digital Media Age
Reserve your spot TODAY by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 630-297-3617.
Click here for more details on this workshop. For information on the other scheduled FREE Parenting Workshops go to http://www.novocounsel.com/roots_family_project .
Is Facebook the first thing your son/daughter checks in the morning and the last thing he/she looks at before bed?
If you answered YES, then you won't want to miss NOVO's FREE Parenting Workshop:
Maintaining Healthy Communication with your Children in the New Digital Media Age
Reserve your spot TODAY bu emailing email@example.com or by calling 630-297-3617.
Click here for details on this workshop.
If you anwered yes, then you won't want to miss NOVO's FREE Parenting Workshop:
Maintaining Healthy Communication with your Children in the New Digital Media Age
Reserve your spot TODAY by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 630-297-3617.
A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?'... She fooled them all .... "How heavy is this glass of water?", she inquired with a smile.
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.
She replied , "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "and that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."
"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced.
So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night... Pick them up tomorrow.
You might think this sounds like a silly idea but in reality we must fail in order to succeed in life. Instinctevly, we want to shelter our children as much as possible and not see them upset but what does that teach them? Here's a great article read and think about ... http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/01/why-parents-need-to-let-their-children-fail/272603/
A mom from Cape Cod was recently in the news for one of her interesting parenting techniques. On her blog, she posted a letter she gave to her 13 year old son when she gave him an iPhone for Christmas. She outlined an 18 point contract she was expecting her son to abide by, regarding use of the iPhone. This can be seen on her blog at Read More
Great advice for everybody, not just parents......
Wise parents spend the most physical and emotional energy on issues where they have some control, wasting very little energy on things they wish they could control.
Love and Logic Inc stats
Is Food Controlling You?
...break free of the chain of bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating
Attend a Free Support Group lead by Sue Underhill, a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in the treatment of eating disorders.
Why Should You Attend?
• You will be able to talk with others who share similar struggles
• You will learn how to overcome your eating disorder
• Find the help you need to take control of your eating and get healthy
• Learn to recognize the triggers of emotional eating disorders
WHEN: 2nd & 4th Monday of the month, 6:45-8:00pm, starting January 14th, 2013
WHERE: NOVO: Renewing Joy in Life, LLC,
104 S. 2nd Avenue, St. Charles, IL 60174
WHAT: Support Group structured for teenage girls and young adult women struggling with eating disorders
If interested in pre-registering or learning more, please contact Sue Underhill, LPC at NOVO
Phone: 630-408-8020 Email: email@example.com
More information about this ANAD support group can be found at www.novocounsel.com/events or at www.ANAD.org
The Importance of Our Stories
By Carol McIntyre, LCSW
I’m a genealogy nut. I admit it. But those family stories have taught me tremendous lessons in the power of the human spirit. Understanding the past of those we have loved (and perhaps lost) provide teaching moments for ourselves, our family, friends and coworkers. Through our experiences, we are writing the stories of our lives each day. Here are a few ways we can “write our stories” and work toward influencing the outcome in our Book of Life.
Look at the plot. Who are the characters, their jobs, their gifts, their strengths and weaknesses? Characters include our parents, children, siblings, friends, coworkers and neighbors to name a few. How do each contribute to your story today? We have good guys and bad guys but sometimes they are not as easily identifiable as on TV. What are the opportunities and obstacles you and the rest of the characters in your story are experiencing. Remember, we are not looking for the answer yet, but assembling pieces of the puzzle!
Examine the high points and low points, influential people, places and events of the past. Who was your favorite person or persons, perhaps one who inspired you, encouraged you or even stood in your path? What did these people mean in your life? Did they have your back? Or did they throw you under the bus? All your experiences contribute to your plot, including the unexpected twists and turns our lives inevitably take.
Now we are getting somewhere. You now know where you have been. Where are you now? Are you satisfied or want to make changes? Do you have an idea? Self-inventory is tough. Even people in Alcoholics Anonymous report that Step 4, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves” and Step 10 “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it” is the hardest thing they have ever done.
We have to look at the good and the bad without conceit or beating ourselves up. Making a list is a good place to start. Put pen to paper and be sure that you write it out. Writing things down is making a commitment to change. Look over the list, and what do you like. What are old coping skills that you no longer need. Self-inventory is also time to clean out the closet and get rid of the mental trash.
Working with your therapist can help clear out the mental clutter and also provide skills to prevent the clutter from accumulating in the nooks and crannies of our minds in the future. It can also help you to clarify your story and develop new storylines.
What is your version of “happily ever after”? Did you ever make a bucket list? I revise mine regularly. As I complete one task or adventure or skill, I cross it off and feel free to add another if I so choose. Part of my bucket list involves my husband and children and now, their spouses. The other part of my bucket list involves feeding my mind and continuing my journey into a life that at its conclusion, I hope to see as well lived. In between, my task and yours, dear reader, is being adaptable enough to change depending on whatever situations I happen to find myself in, and maintaining ongoing harmony and balance. Happily even after, indeed.
MOODY KIDS? SIBLING FIGHTS? HERE'S HELP:
Q: How do I get my kids to stop being so moody? It just irritates the heck out of me. I try to give them games to play and engage, but then end up yelling. And it doesn't do any good. So how do I get them to change their attitudes?
A: I know how irritating it can be to be in the same room with a moody teenager ...or 15 moody kids at a time. But allow
me to challenge you with this question.
What gives us the right to dictate another person's emotions or moods? On days that you feel irritable, would you like your husband to tell you to "just get over it"? Kids are allowed to be moody if they want. Here's the real issue:
Why do you need your child to be happy or in a good mood?
Just so you don't think I'm being a jerk, I used to do this all the time with my wife. If she didn't respond "the right way" or the way I needed in the morning, I'd ask her, "What's wrong? Can I do something to help you?" Was I really interested in helping her? Not really. I wanted to CHANGE her mood...so that I could be in a good mood. I was allowing her mood to determine my mood. Huge trap.
If you try to control other people's behavior, it always leads to power struggles and frustration. Instead, we need to have this attitude:
~~You are allowed to be moody and unhappy.
~~Your mood does not determine my mood.
~~I am not responsible for your happiness or your mood. You are.
~~ I am responsible for my own mood. The most effective way to change my child's behavior is to control my own.
~~If you need help because something is bothering you, I'd be thrilled to help you (but I'm not going to change you).
Can you control your own anxiety, lecturing, perfectionism? If not, this will rob you of peace, joy and healthy relationships.
Two siblings are squabbling. Instead of yelling at them to stop, Mom and Dad sit on the living room floor and play a board game, laughing and enjoying themselves. Guess how this affects the kids? They ask, "What are you guys doing?" You reply, "Oh nothing, just playing a game. You guys can keep fighting and being miserable since you seem to enjoy it, but we're having fun in here." The kids will join you.
Your daughter is slouched on the sofa, pouting and harrumphing. Instead of lecturing ("I don't see why you have to be so ungrateful...") or making a snide comment, you walk by and say sweetly: "I can tell something is bothering you. I'm going to get some popcorn and sit on the porch. Happy to listen to you if you want to join me."
Now you are giving your intensity to your kids in a positive way (rather than yelling at them), modeling how to get along and connecting with them. Or you can continue "getting on them" and trying to change them, which will only engender defiant kids who do not trust you.
There is no guilt in anything we do. But you do have to be honest. So many of the power struggles in your home occur because of your anxiety and control issues. You can't stop lecturing or yelling. You must change that. My way or the highway is what babies say. Seriously.
Holidays with the Older Adult
By NOVO's own: Carol McIntyre, LCSW, C-ASWCM
For most people the holiday season is hectic, busy and at times, overwhelming. For caregiving family members, the holidays often mean loss and sadness at seeing a loved one who was once vibrant and healthy, now frail, sometimes with failing hearing, eyesight, memory and cognition.
How do we cope with the inevitable changes life brings to our elders? Some people use the tactic of “everything is just fine and we will have a normal holiday”. This might bring disappointment if they are expecting Mom or Dad to help with holiday preparations and due to illness or changing cognitive or memory status, they are just not able to cope with the hustle and bustle. Let’s take a look at the aging adult.
The older adult who has experienced major health or memory problems needs more time to recharge their batteries than the rest of us. Body parts are wearing out and so they are a lot less willing to go out for a day of shopping at the mall. Ambient noise makes it harder to communicate for an elder than for the under 60 adult. Hearing declines to a degree in old age and for those who worked in loud environments in their working lives, the oft repeated “huh?” is not as much a couldn’t understand, but as a lost ability to hear high tones, called Presbycusis. If you are hard of hearing, everyone knows it but you. Auditory processing slows also. Vision declines in old age as well.
I couldn’t imagine that the light gathering ability of our eyes at age 60 is 1/5th that of our ability at age 20, making fine print on price tags and even name badges a challenge until my eye doctor told me to wear my reading glasses full time when I was in my early 50’s. I have discovered that I now struggle to read much of anything in low light without my glasses, and my arms are just not long enough to hold the paper at the right distance to read 10 or 12 point type. Computer use has intensified this, and while dim light is very romantic in a restaurant, it makes reading the menu a challenge! So the last place an elder with declining hearing or vision wants to be is at Chuck E Cheese or a noisy sports bar because the brain just cannot keep up with the myriad of things going on in a bustling restaurant or crowded shopping mall.
Older people don’t move as well, either. We can complain of visits from Arthur-itis in our youth and middle age following an injury, but after age 60 is when it really starts to catch up and intensifies. If the knees and hips aren’t working efficiently, our balance is affected. Poor posture and sedentary work also impact our balance and endurance. Falls are the number one cause of injuries in the over 60 demographic and if balance is poor, the elder is less likely to want to walk and it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle of decline.
Next time you visit your elder, take a look at their medicine chest or kitchen cupboard and inventory the medicines and over the counter supplements. Medicines have side effects that can impact hearing, vision and balance. Find activities that will interest but not exhaust them after a day out. In our complex world, think of the simple pleasures such as watching the grandkids play in the park, driving looking at the countryside, or even a trip to the local ice cream drive in. The “Wow!” moments can be found even in slower activities. A quiet conversation over tea and cookies with Mom/Grandma or a small home project working alongside Dad/Grandpa with one of his interests can create memories for a lifetime. For you and your kids.
It's December and we're off to the races! Have you gotten your decorations out of the attic, have your tree, your gift exchange names, teacher gifts, neighbor gifts, friend gifts, your kids' wish lists, family gifts, boss gifts, co-worker white elephant...the list can literally go on f-o-r-e-v-e-r! We want to know what you are doing to get yourself prepared. Making gifts? Have a go-to gift for everyone? Gift-buying strategies? Have decorating parties with friends to help each other out?
NUMBER TWO ~ Remember to “SEE”
By Therese J. Borchard
No, I don’t mean for you to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. SEE stands for Sleeping regularly, Eating well, and Exercising. Without these three basics, you can forget about an enjoyable (or even tolerable) holiday. Get your seven to nine hours of sleep and practice good sleep hygiene: go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up in the same nightgown with the same man at the same time in the same house every morning.
Eating well and exercise are co-dependent, at least in my body, because my biggest motivator for exercising is the reduction in guilt I feel about splurging on dessert. Large quantities of sugar or high fructose corn syrup can poison your brain. If you know your weak spot–the end of the table where Aunt Judy places her homemade hazelnut holiday balls–then swim, walk, or jog ten extra minutes to compensate for your well-deserved treat. Another acronym to remember during the holidays is HALT: don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
Have you ever thought "If only (blank) would change...". I have. I bet you have, too.
The Chicago Tribune had an interesting article on how we can alter our thought patterns so we don't fall into the abyss of "if only they would change, things would be better". We can only control ourselves and our thoughts. Read the article here.
A tidbit of trivia we noticed in Real Simple Magazine's November 2012 issue stated:
"The yearly salary a 2012 stay-at-home mom would earn (that is, if she were paid), as determined by the career-advice website Salary.com. The income was calculated by combining the average wages, plus overtime, for the jobs a mom typically performs, including laundress, janitor, driver, cook, facilities manager, psychologist, and CEO (of the household). The results also showed that the average stay-at-home mom works a grueling 94.7-hour week and would make an average of $22.94 an hour."
This sounds pretty good, right?! Moms around the world, whether at-home full-time or part-time are rarely fully appreciated for all they do. NOVO recognizes these women (the few cases of stay-at-home dads too) for all their hard work. If you know someone who falls into the above category, grant them with praise and encouragement today for all that they do everyday.
"Each relationship you have with another person reflects the relationship you have with yourself."
~ Alice Deville
"Action expresses priorities."
"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"
"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"
Monday we discussed how we need to be our own best friend not our own enemy. It's a great big step in a positive direction to be kind and supportive to ourselves but it is just as important to surround ourselves with positive, supportive people as well. When you surround yourself with others that aim to live a healthy lifestyle, have a positive outlook on the world or share similar views as yourself, everyone benefits from a friendship/relationship such as this. When you interact with others on a regular basis that are always grouching about their day, their jobs, and their relationships, these type of people gradually drain you of your positive energy you are trying so hard to maintain. You may have heard of an "emotional vampire". If not, this is a type of person that seems to suck the energy right out of you in some way or another. You may have already identified someone in your life that fits that description.
Here are five types of emotional vampires you’re likely to encounter, and some “silver bullet” tips for fending them off.
Vampire 1: The Narcissist.
This vampire is grandiose, self-important, attention hogging, and hungry for admiration. She is often charming and intelligent–until her guru status is threatened.
Self-defense tips: Enjoy her good qualities, but keep your expectations realistic. Because her motto is “me-first,” getting angry or stating your needs won’t phase her. To get her cooperation, show how your request satisfies her self-interest.
Vampire 2: The Victim.
This vampire thinks the world is against him, and demands that others rescue him.
Self-defense tips: Don’t be his therapist, and don’t tell him to buck up. Limit your interactions, and don’t get involved in his self-pity.
Vampire 3: The Controller.
This vampire has an opinion about everything, thinks he knows what’s best for you, has a rigid sense of right and wrong, and needs to dominate.
Self-defense tips: Speak up and be confident. Don’t get caught up in bickering over the small stuff. Assert your needs, and then agree to disagree.
Vampire 4: The Criticizer.
This vampire feels qualified to judge you, belittle you, and bolster her own ego by making you feel small and ashamed.
Self-defense tips: Don’t take what she says personally. Address a misplaced criticism directly. Don’t get defensive. Express appreciation for what’s useful. Bounce back with a massive dose of loving-kindness.
Vampire 5: The Splitter.
This vampire may treat you like his BFF one day, and then mercilessly attack you the next day when he feels wronged. He is often a threatening rageaholic who revels in keeping others on an emotional rollercoaster.
Self-defense tips: Establish boundaries and be solution-oriented. Avoid skirmishes, refuse to take sides, and avoid eye contact when he’s raging at you. Visualize a protective shield around you when you’re being emotionally attacked.
Judith Orloff, MD, is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA. Her new book, upon which these tips are based, is “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life.”
We all have an inner voice that can be our best friend or our worst enemy. What this means is that if we give ourselves negative messages constantly, we feel downtrodden and depressed, defeated before we even start the day. If we give ourselves positive messages instead, we can ensure a more positive outlook on all of the day's challenges. This can be useful in EVERYTHING that we do.
* You're starting a new workout plan. When you feel tired, tell yourself "I'm not tired" or "I feel great". Congratulate yourself on your hard work and promise yourself you'll do it again the next day.
* You have a birthday coming up. Tell yourself, "I look forward to this coming year and my goal is to....this year" or "I feel young" rather than "I feel old and tired" or "It's just another birthday".
* You have been given a challenge at work or at home. That voice that says "I'm not good at this" or "I'll never get that done" - SILENCE IT. Tell yourself "I can figure this out", "I'm a smart, capable person".
* You have received an unexpected bill in the mail. Don't let the first thought be "I'll never get this paid off". Take a deep breath and say "This is what I'm going to do..." Take action!
This all is easier said than done, I know. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to be the person you can be proud of everyday. By taking one day at a time and cheering ourselves on rather than beating ourselves down, we can accomplish so many things. We can feel great about the person that we are and inspire those around us.
Are you someone that lifts others up or brings them down? When you are dealing with others whether they are your family and friends or a checkout clerk at a store, are you upbeat and cheerful with your greeting or do you have a frown and an air of boredom surrounding you? The attitude you have, whether positive or negative, affects everyone around you in some way. As you make plans, big or small, for the extended Memorial Day weekend, make it a priority to impact others in a positive way in every possible way that you can.
There are certain sayings or quotes that you read or hear throughout your day that stick with you and keep popping into your mind every so often. Thanks to one of our local St. Charles companies, Dukane Corp., one of their sayings that they have posted on their board in the past for the community keeps coming to mind:
Life has no remote - get up and change it yourself
It's not a saying that needs a lot of deep thought but it does require some inner reflection. Are you dissatisfied with where your life is, where it's heading, the people that you keep company with, etc...? We oftentimes convince ourselves that outside sources will make us truly happy - our job, our spouse, our kids, our material posessions or material posessions we don't own but are convinced will make us so happy once we have it. A lot of times, we are waiting for someone or something to alter our lives for us instead of taking life by the horns and making some real changes that will improve not only our outlook on life but our true happiness and contentment with the life that we were given.
We ask that you think, really think, about what you are dissatisfied about and strive to make changes, big or small, towards making your life the way you want it. You may need help or support from your family or friends, but you are the only one that can truly make you happy.
To be in your children's memories tomorrow.... you have to be in their lives today
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the to-do lists, the frantic schedules and carpools that we hustle from one point to another and before we know it our kids are grown up and we're standing there wondering where all the time went. Attempt to slow down and be present in the moments you have with your children. Ignore or silence your phones; e-mail can wait; the laundry will still be there tomorrow...all of these mundane tasks sometimes take precedence in our minds and we need to get back on track and spend the time we can with our children really listening to what they have to say and enjoying who they are.
We hope you and your loved ones had a memorable Mother's Day weekend.
The Connection ~ Part V
By Judy Thomas, LCSW
When choosing a supplement, keep in mind that not all supplements are created equal. When choosing a vitamin supplement look for a seal of approval from the Unites States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, Natural Products Association or ConsumerLab.com. This indicates that it has been tested and includes the nutrients listed in the amounts listed. This can also give you some confidence that the pill will dissolve before exiting your system. For fish oil supplements, the possibility of contaminants makes it doubly important to check that testing has been done to ensure purity.
Good emotional health starts with good physical health. Making sure your body has what it needs does not have to be a time consuming process and is well worth the effort. It is also mandatory for maintaining emotional health.
The Connection ~ Part IV
By Judy Thomas, LCSW
When considering the effect of fats, it is important to remember that most fats and oils are made up of a mix of different fatty acids and it is this mix that is important. A detailed discussion of all the fatty acids is beyond the scope of this article so we will focus on the two essential fatty acids that appear to have the greatest impact on health and mood. These are omega 3 (alpha-linolenic) and omega 6 (linoleic) fatty acids. They are called essential fatty acids because they can not be created within our bodies. A proper balance is key.
There have been recently published studies indicating a link between mood disorders and low levels of omega 3 fatty acids, with improvement in mood correlated with supplementation. This does not prove causation but the statistically significant correlation between higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids and improved mood make it a promising target.
Dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flax-seed, hemp, canola, walnut and fish oils. Ways to increase dietary consumption include switching the type of oil you use in salad dressings, adding flax-seed or hemp seed to dishes, changing the oils used in cooking, eating more cold water seafood and taking fish oil supplements. Increases in seafood consumption should be moderated due to the widespread contamination present in most seafood these days.
CHECK BACK ON MONDAY TO READ PART V
The Connection ~ Part III
By Judy Thomas, LCSW
The B vitamins are another nutritional landmine that can wreck your mood. Low levels have been correlated with depression and anxiety in a significant number of studies. Unlike the fat soluble vitamin D, the B vitamins are water soluble making daily intake more important. Add to that the many substances that destroy them; including alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and refined sugars, and it is no wonder that many people have chronically low levels of these important nutrients.
Most data published on the internet focuses on B6 and B12 but this is only part of the picture. The brain uses all the B vitamins in the creation of neurotransmitters and neuron health making it important to maintain adequate levels of all the B vitamins. A deficiency in one can actually mask deficiencies in others.
As always, the best way to get your daily dose of B vitamins is from the foods you eat. This can necessitate a bit of planning if you want to get them all as foods that are good for one may not have much of the others. In general, unprocessed foods including meats, whole grains, beans, brewer's yeast, tempeh, and molasses are good sources. When diet alone is not enough, daily supplementation with a B-complex can provide noticeable benefit. For severe deficiencies, your doctor can provide injections.
A third important area where modern convenience is damaging our nutritional balance is in the area of fats. The message pushed in the media has been fats=bad which is very misleading. The body needs fats for cellular repair and to facilitate the use of many nutrients. The brain itself is 60% fat in the form of the myelin sheath that insulates neurons and glial cells. Not all fats are created equal and, unfortunately for us, the ones most common in a modern diet are the worst for us.
CHECK BACK ON FRIDAY TO READ PART IV
The Connection ~ Part II
By Judy Thomas, LCSW
There have been a handful of scientific studies showing a link between low Vitamin D levels and mood disturbance, particularly mild depression, with the strongest data available focused on Seasonal Affective Disorder. An abundance of anecdotal evidence is available as testing for Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common with increased awareness of the connection between low serum levels of vitamin D and serious physical illnesses. An increasing number of individuals are reporting that when they were put on Vitamin D supplements, their mood improved.
The best way to increase levels of Vitamin D are to get adequate sun exposure. The recommendation from The National Institute of Health website is 10-30 minutes per day in direct sunlight to the face, arms, legs, and back without sunscreen, twice a week. Very nice when you can get it! When this is not an option, the judicious use of nutritional supplements can help.
There are two forms of vitamin D available in supplement form, D2 and D3, with no studies showing a discernible difference between the two. That being said, the D3 form is reportedly more easily utilized by the body and is specifically mentioned in the more rigorous studies. A few seconds to read the label is a very good investment.
CHECK BACK WEDNESDAY TO READ PART III
The Connection ~ Part I
By Judy Thomas, LCSW
In the current stressful environment, it is easy to lose sight of our health needs. This produces a double whammy, as higher stress levels put greater demands on all of our body systems. One area where we can make a big difference without a big investment in time is by appropriate use of nutritional supplements. Adequate levels of vitamin D, the B vitamins, and healthy fats can be the difference between feeling great or coping with chronic feelings of depression and anxiety.
If you are like most people, you spend a lot of your day indoors. This deprives the body of its primary source of vitamin D, which is created by the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight. This deprivation is compounded by overuse of sunblock and living in an area with shorter days, more cloud cover or smog. As a result, many people are suffering from a deficiency of vitamin D and paying the consequences in poorer physical health and chronic feelings of depressed mood, anxiety and chronic fatigue.
There are very few food sources of vitamin D. According to the International Food Information Council, natural sources are fatty fish, such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, cod liver and oysters. The recommended intake (RI) of vitamin D, as set by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine, is 5 mcg, or 200 IU, until the age of 50. At 50, the RI doubles to 10 mcg daily, or 400 IU. One tablespoon of cod liver oil delivers 1,360 IU, or 340 percent of the RI. This is by far the best dietary source of vitamin D. By contrast, 3.5 oz of salmon or mackerel contains 90 percent of the RI. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/22240-foods-containing-vitamin-d/#ixzz1kfvZOnmH
Dairy products are another good dietary source of vitamin D, although they usually contain a high amount because they are fortified with it. The NIH reports that since the 1930s, all milk in the United States is fortified with vitamin D. Dairy products that contain vitamin D are milk, cheeses, yogurts, cream and butter. Eggs yolks also contain a natural vitamin D, although they are not always considered dairy. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/22240-foods-containing-vitamin-d/#ixzz1kfvdp7HF
Due to the fact that it is difficult to get 100 percent of the RI of vitamin D from foods, the FDA allows many foods to be fortified with it by adding it to the product. These fortified sources of vitamin D include cereals, margarine, some orange juices, flours and other drinks that are fortified with calcium. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/22240-foods-containing-vitamin-d/#ixzz1kfvo4xB5
CHECK BACK MONDAY TO READ Part II
By Judy Thomas, LCSW
Pain is a sign that something is wrong. Emotional pain lets us know when our boundaries are being violated. The level of pain indicates the seriousness of the violation. Rather than running from the pain and ignoring it thinking it will go away, we must look closely at it and its causes. This informs us of the location of our boundaries and our limits, allowing us to choose whether the reward for continued association is worth the pain. The very act of choosing can reduce our pain and sometimes even eliminate it. Consider the pain involved in starting an exercise routine after years of perfecting our couch potato form. When this new routine is perceived as being imposed by outside forces, the physical discomfort can be extreme and lead to stopping very quickly. However, when the perception is one of personal choice, the pain can become a welcome indicator that we are doing it right.
A simple exercise for directed change is to look closely at the pain you feel and ask “What is the cause of this pain?” Once some of the causes have been identified, you can dig deeper and ask “What is the value of that which is causing the pain?”, “Why do I believe I need or want this in my life?” and “What can be done to change the circumstances to reduce the pain?”.
JUST SAY ‘NO!’ Part II
By Judy Thomas
Sometimes the answer is to start saying ‘No!’ and making it stick. This decision is not without a price to be sure. It may mean cutting ties with toxic people that we have become accustomed to having in our lives, or giving up the security that comes with predictable employment. Only you can decide when the price is worth ending the pain.
While reclaiming the power of 'No' is not the only way to counter the pain in our life, it is the most basic. Take a look at your life and identify the areas that seem to be the source of your most persistent pain, ask yourself some pointed questions and be ready to accept what may be some hard truths. Now you are ready to start making some decisions about making changes.
JUST SAY ‘NO!’ Part I
By Judy Thomas
No! What a powerful word. We discovered that when first learning to speak. We retain this knowledge on a very primal level but have been conditioned to avoid claiming this power. We are trained while growing up to compromise, to get along, to agree. It starts with our parents, continues with other family members, gains steam with school and is firmly hammered home with our first job. We are trained to fear saying 'No', even when the situation calls for it. After all, we don't want people to believe we are unreasonable, oppositional, disruptive, anti-social or just plain rude.
There comes a time where it becomes clear that polite discourse characterized by gentle attempts to maintain our personal boundaries no longer works and stronger measures are called for if we are to protect ourselves. That is when an unequivocal ‘NO!’ is the only option. A statement backed up by action – the refusal to cooperate. When we stop “going along to get along” and start demanding the respect we deserve as unique, brilliant stars with much to offer the world.
Check back on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 to read Part II.
Stress kills. This has become commonly accepted and is generally agreed on by experts and laypersons alike. A major source of stress for people these days is worry; which can be defined as the process of repeatedly asking yourself, “What if …?” Fill in the blank with any bad thing you can imagine. For some people, asking “What if...?” can be a good motivator but for most, it is the doorway to sleepless nights, chronic anxiety and an increased likelihood of developing health problems.
Worry focuses the attention on possible negative occurrences, most of which will never happen. It can make people feel like their lives are spiraling out of control. This is because it is only half of the question. When thinking about our concerns, it is more helpful to bring the second half of the question into consciousness and this is, “What can I do about it?” This is where the ability to problem solve comes in.
Problem Solving in 5 Easy Steps
Step 1: Define the problem as specifically as you can. Being specific keeps a problem to a manageable size. This could mean that a current concern needs to be broken down into several related problems.
Step 2: Think of all the possible solutions to the problem. Be creative here. What has worked for you in the past? What advice would you give a friend? What have you heard about working for others? What would Macgyver do?
Step 3: List the pros and cons of each possible solution. Write it down. This makes it easier to contrast and compare your options.
Step 4: Choose the solution you think is best. This includes deciding how you are going to carry it out and may include additional problem solving as you develop your plan of action.
Step 5: Try it out. Did it work? If not, you can either determine why it failed and modify your plan of action or move to the next possible solution. The important thing is to not give up.
Life is filled with speed bumps that can be approached as opportunities to learn and grow or as insurmountable barriers to accomplishing our goals. Developing a problem solving response as opposed to a worry response, can reduce our stress level and lead to a healthier, happier life.
~ by Judy Thomas, LCSW
Every relationship, no matter how strong and committed, is challenged by crises and life transitions. Loss of a job, a death in the family, or other significant crises tests the relationship’s staying power. Equally challenging is a happy life transition like the birth or adoption of a child. Bringing a child into a relationship radically changes it. Couples with strong successful relationships are better able to integrate children into the relationship. They are able to find not only the time to nurture the child but to nurture each other as well.
Successful couples share laughter and fun times together. They nurture mutually satisfying intimacy by remaining romantic and idealistic about each other over time. They both can identify more positive moments between them than negative ones. None of this is meant to conclude that the successful couple does not have disagreements or varying beliefs on many subjects. Successful couples are able to accept that agreeing and identical beliefs are not necessary to happily functioning relationships.
There are some identifiable reasons why some couples survive the hard times. Two characteristics of successful couples are they invest themselves fully in the relationship and have their own identity as a couple. This doesn’t mean that the couple is ‘joined at the hip’. Both people have individual identities and each maintains other friendships and relationships with family. It does mean that they accept each other as individually different people. They both have deep feelings of togetherness and equally deep feelings of independence. The successful couple has an ongoing commitment to a caring, sharing, equality-based relationship.
By the time the cold, snow, and gray skies of winter arrive, S.A.D. symptoms have become more distinct and serious. These symptoms include depression, anxiety, hopelessness, social withdrawal, loss of interest in usually enjoyed activities, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite and eating habits that often lead to weight gain.
If you are one of the S.A.D. people there are ways to lessen its negative impact. Here are some tips that can help.
Take care of yourself: make a schedule that doesn’t overburden and stress you and stick to it; eat healthy food and plan meals that include lots of veggies, fruit, and whole grains; relax often and get lots of rest; exercise regularly.
Manage stress: attend a stress management class or workshop; practice meditation; read some good books, journal.
Socialize: make plans to spend time regularly with people you like. Socializing helps you take care of yourself and manage stress more effectively.
Get professional help: If you are really having trouble coping with life and managing S.A.D. symptoms you need the help of a professional. Psychotherapy (counseling) is a great place to begin. In some cases you may need to find a psychotherapist for therapy and a psychiatrist for medication. You will need to attend your therapy sessions regularly and take any prescribed medication as directed. You may also want to participate in workshops or educational support groups that are led by knowledgeable professionals. These are usually multi-session experiences that provide needed social activity and focus on taking care of yourself and managing stress.
If you want more information and resources on S.A.D. you can check out mayoclinic.com or wikipedia.
Instead of viewing food as just the fuel that keeps us going, each of us has a very complex relationship with food. We eat when we’re sad or anxious or overworked or bored. We eat when we’re hungry and when we’re not hungry. Many of us don’t even know what really feeling hunger is! We have favorite comfort food like cake or pie, candy, mashed potatoes and gravy, or my personal favorite, mac & cheese. Almost all comfort foods are carbs. They make use feel warm and happy and satisfied. We probably learned to love them as kids when we got treats for being good, enjoyed special holiday dishes, got rewarded for our accomplishments, or got pampered when we were ill.
Not everyone becomes overweight or obese. However, most of us are aware that obesity is a serious problem in the United States. We can even bring the problem really close to home. A national study found that Elgin, a part of the Fox Valley, has one of the highest rates of obesity in the country!
Others of us don’t eat or binge-eat because of our very complex relationship with food. Along with the alarming rates of obesity, there is an equally alarming increase in the numbers of adolescent and adult men who are suffering from the life threatening problems of anorexia and bulimia. Historically it’s been only women who have suffered the devastation of these eating disorders. These disorders are now serious problems for both women and men!
We all need to learn to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to food in a healthy and balanced way!
I believe the answer is up to all of us. We decide how to feel whether it be satisfied, frustrated, or 'adult'. Xbox is okay as long as I get my share of the chores done. The house is something I really can be proud of (especially if I can afford it without eating canned goods for a couple years...we shall see). It is in our nature, human or American, to constantly want new, more, and better things. The double edge of this sword is that we put people on the moon but we're bored with it a couple hours later.
It takes effort to stop and think "hey! I really got a lot going on! I'm doin' good!". I'm really not kidding about the effort part either. I can go days without reminding myself that despite a frustrating job, 15 hour work days, and a tsunami of bills things are good. A lot of the time things are great. How often do you pat yourself on the back or set aside time to enjoy what you have worked so hard for? We have time if we make it. Speaking of time, I'm out of it for now. Talk to you soon, Eric.