Irritable? Can’t focus? Yelling? Starting to melt down? They aren’t listening? I don’t know what to do?!? Maybe we need to…
When stressed we have a tendency to overthink things and make them complicated. Sometimes it’s best to H.A.L.T. and think simple. Ask these questions about yourself and your kiddo…
H – Hungry
When was the last time I had something to eat? Was it full of sugar? Am I hungry?
Solution: Eat a snack. Protein if you can (cheese, nuts, avocado).
A – Angry
Did a kid say something mean to my child at lunch? Did someone cut me off in traffic?
Solution: Reflect. Take a moment. Listen to a fun song. Make a joke. Meditate.
L – Lonely
Does she need a hug? To hear “I love you”? To do an activity together? Some friend time?
Solution: Spend time around someone. Ask for help. Give a hug. Play a game.
T – Tired
Did he wake up through the night? Have nightmares? Have a busy day? Play too long?
Solution:Power nap. Stand up. Play Simon says with stretches. Drink water.
When was the last time I drank any water? Have I had too much sugar/caffeine?
Solution: Drink water or a beverage low in sugars (even artificial) and no caffeine.
These all relate to your BASIC NEEDS – your foundation. If your basic needs aren’t met, you can’t expect yourself, or a kiddo, to make good choices and not be upset. It’s okay to start small. Sometimes, that is all we can manage at the time- and that’s okay. Print this and stick it in your car visor or wallet if you need to. Doesn’t matter if it sounds silly – if it works.
By: Laura Strohm, LMSW Supervised by Robyn Gobbel, LCSW
Frequently, we can find ourselves feeling worn down and grumpy, without an understanding of what could have caused that feeling. There wasn’t a bad day at work, or a fight with a friend, and you can’t pinpoint anything else that has happened to you – but you still know you’re not at your best.
Anytime we’re not feeling right, it becomes more tempting than ever to reach for items that can provide some quick comfort. Downing a shot of tequila or loading up on tacos might relax you in the short term, but that feeling is not going to last.
Many times, the healthier solution to feeling better is maddeningly simple. In honor of May being Adult Mental Health month, here are some questions you can ask yourself in order to get back on track to feeling like you again. Some may stand out to you more than others do, and this is fine – everyone’s priorities look different.
How Am I Sleeping?
I know, you’ve heard this a million times. But maybe your bedtime has been inching later and later as you try to fit in one more client email, or perhaps one more episode of The Great British Baking Show. You have so little time in the day, and you’re trying to make sure it all gets fit in. But just like your grandmother has been telling you your whole life – not getting the sleep your body requires truly can mess with your health, and make you feel lousy.
On the other hand, if you’re going to bed at the right time, ask yourself how well you’re sleeping throughout the night.
How Am I Eating?
It’s amazing how often we can find ourselves feeling fatigued or sick, only to realize that we forgot a meal at some point during the day. Next time you’re feeling gloomy, ask yourself when and what you last ate. Breads and pastas are delicious (as well as comforting), but they may be slowing you down and contributing to your lack of energy.
When Did I Last Exercise?
You don’t have to hit the gym or jog four miles every day in order to benefit from exercise. Go on a nature walk, play basketball with your kids, or challenge your friend to a swim race. Exercise will clear your mind at the same time that it reenergizes your body – especially if you do it outside.
Am I Overstimulated?
Stimulation is anything that is picked up by your senses – sights, sounds, smells, etc. Certainly, some stimulation is necessary, but being overstimulated can feel unpleasant and aggravating. If you’re frequently in an environment that you find too loud, too bright, or generally chaotic, it may be leading to your sense of overwhelm. Surprisingly, even your own mind can be too stimulating – sometimes it’s satisfying to daydream, but we can become so carried away with imagined situations that it makes us stress even more.
Do I Need Alone Time?
Everyone needs space to themselves now and then, but if you consider yourself shy or introverted, this question is particularly key. Depending on your job and lifestyle, you likely interact with people all throughout the day, and it can be draining to keep that up –especially if you’re also a parent. Consider using work lunch breaks (or your kids’ naptimes) to take advantage of some peace and quiet.
Do I Need To Socialize?
It might seem strange to pose this question after discussing the importance of alone time, but social time is equally important. Ask yourself when you last spent time with your closest friends, or went on a romantic date with your partner. It’s okay to take a day off from people now and then, but be mindful of how much alone time starts to hurt you instead of help you.
According to Google’s definition, self-esteem is: “confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect” …which is accurate, but feels like an over-simplified definition of everything it entails. Self-esteem depicts how people value themselves; it shapes how we perceive our value to the world and how valuable we think we are to others. Our self-worth impacts nearly every part of our lives–our trust in our own abilities, our trust in others, relationships, work, etc.
What does one’s self-esteem look like?
Obviously, this is something that will vary from person-to-person, but it impacts many aspects of a person’s life. In general, these are some outward signs of:
By: Julie Burke, LPC-I Supervised by Susan Gonzales, LPC-S
Low self-esteem can be caused by many different things…a few contributing factors may be:
Poor academic performance
Feeling like you don’t belong/like you’re the “odd one out”
It’s important to acknowledge that almost everyone has (or will) experience self-doubt and/or question their abilities at some point in time in their lives. Having a lapse in confidence or questioning what you’re doing once or twice is not necessarily synonymous with having low self-esteem. When someone has low self-esteem, whether they realize it or not, they have the belief that they are not good enough in various facets of their lives. Whether you are someone struggling with low self-esteem and you’re wanting to raise it and feel more self-love and worth or someone who has a positive self-worth and want to maintain that, the following suggestions are just a few, easy things to do to help boost self-esteem.
1. Positive self-talk.
The way you think about yourself has a HUGE influence on your self-esteem. If you think you’re no good (whether it’s something you tell yourself or hear from others), this is something that you likely will start to believe. When is the last time you acknowledged your strengths? Or reminded yourself that you are: smart, kind, funny, helpful, etc.? Reminding yourself of these things may feel silly at first–because it feels unnatural to give yourself accolades, but it really does help.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Comparing yourself to others is something that is all too easy to do, but so hurtful to your self-esteem. Everyone has their own story and thing going on…so why not worry about YOU? Again…as mentioned above–focus on your strengths. What are YOU good at? Your friend, coworker, sibling, etc., may be really great at this one thing, but what other thing are you especially great at? Focus on you.
Exercise can (and will) help improve your mood. And find what exercise works for you. Whether it’s crossfit or going on a walk in the neighborhood or jazzercise or yoga…find something that works for you and find a way to fit it into your routine.
4. Don’t strive for perfection.
This also doesn’t mean slack off either…but keep in mind that perfection is not a realistic standard to live up to. Nobody is perfect, after all.
5. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake.
I repeat…nobody is perfect, after all. Everybody makes mistakes…and keep in mind that mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn.
6. Do things that you enjoy.
If you’re able to find activities and do things that you enjoy, you’re more likely to think positively. Find something to do every day for yourself that you enjoy–self-care is a must!
7. Celebrate the small stuff.
This can be especially difficult for people to do, but only because people often have unrealistic expectation for themselves (if this is you…re-read number 4). Celebrate the small things! Did you get extra cuddles from your pet? Awesome! Those are the best. All green lights when driving earlier today? Woo-hoo! Find little things in your day and find time to celebrate them.
8. Surround yourself with supportive people.
If you are constantly surrounding yourself with people who bring you down…how do you think that will make you feel about yourself? Do your best to avoid spending time with people who trigger your negative thinking. Surround yourself with people who will help you celebrate you and will make you feel good about yourself.
9. Be helpful & considerate.
Often times, helping others makes us feel good about ourselves. Have you ever done a random act of kindness? It just might help.
There is a great quote I recently read:
“And if I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?” -Unknown
Unfortunately, for many people, that’s not going to be one of the first, second, or even third thing they name. It’s time to do things for you and work on increasing your self-esteem and self-worth.