Caring for an Elderly Parent or Loved One: Knowing When to Move Home

Elderly man sitting by his house

Caring for an aging senior can be a struggle, even if you live nearby. Caring for an elderly parent or loved one from a distance can seem nearly impossible. If your family member needs more care than you can give on occasional visits, it could be time to consider moving closer, or moving home so that you can provide the level of care they need.

Knowing When It’s Time to Move Closer

If you are making several drives lasting longer than an hour multiple times each week to check in on or provide care to an aging family member, it may be time to think about moving. Long drives are taxing and can also be costly when tolls and fuel prices are factored in. Rather than spending hours behind the wheel of a car or on some other form of transportation, you could be passing that time with your loved one either providing much-needed care or just spending quality time together. Research shows that spending time with senior family members helps their overall well-being.

Living near an aging relative allows you to spend more time with that person and could also allow you to save some money. Recurring travel expenses can really add up. But, so can paying caregivers to help them while you are away. If you live a long distance from your senior loved one in need of care, you may be paying others to provide the care you would prefer to do yourself (if you didn’t have to travel).

Knowing When to Review a Senior’s Living Options

For some people with disabilities, it can become dangerous to remain in their current home. Stairs are one of the main obstacles to older people maintaining their independence in their own houses. Even when someone lives with them, it can be difficult or even impossible to deal with going up and down stairs safely. There are options to make steps easier for aging people, but they don’t always work for every home.

Stairs are not the only factor to consider when evaluating whether it’s time to move your older loved one from their current house. Other factors include bathroom accessibility and the cost of repairs that would be needed to make the home accessible for people with disabilities if and when that is needed.

Sometimes, it makes sense for an elderly loved one to move into your home, or the home of another relative. Or, you could consider the assisted living facilities in your area.

Knowing What Tasks to Hire Out

If your loved one is able to stay at home, keep in mind that there are only so many tasks one caregiver can complete. You should enlist help when it comes to taking on the maintenance of your family member’s home. Connecting with local contractors is a smart idea so that you have a go-to contact when something needs fixing. One chore that most people are happy to delegate is yard work. You can search for online lists of service providers or online directories like Yelp, Google My Business. Or use a review site like Angi.

Sometimes there are community program for neighbors helping neighbors that could be used. You can ask some neighbors who does their lawn care. If they do a good job, get the contact information you would need to arrange the help. Or, ask if some young people in your neighborhood are looking to do yard work. That may cost less than a lawn service would charge.

Making changes to your life and in the life of your senior loved one can be overwhelming. Coping and Relaxation techniques can help deal with the transitions needed for safety and health of your loved one Take time to carefully consider what options will work best for you and your family before making important decisions about when to move. Remember that it may take time and patience for everyone involved to adjust to their loss of independence and transition into their new living situation.

For more informative articles like this one, be sure to check out other posts from Health Vista.

 

Blog Post #29 added 1-17-22 by guest contributor Millie Jones of seniorwellness.info

Edited by Mary Knutson of Health Vista, Inc.

 

Find your strengths to cope with grief during addiction recovery

siluette of person feeling freedom from addiction

How to cope with grief during addiction recovery:

The grief of losing someone close to you is difficult for anyone. For someone who has struggled with addiction, the feelings of sorrow after someone passes away may seem like too much to bear. But, you know that having a relapse can be lethal. So, you must find your strengths to cope with grief during addiction recovery. Then, find the help you need to heal from the emotional damage without returning to your destructive behaviors.

The death of a friend or loved one can leave anyone feeling dangerously low. HealthVista, Inc  has some helpful information on its website about grief, including a checklist to show you how normal responses to grief can vary. Many coping strategies to help you during those difficult times of bereavement during addiction recovery can be found in this blog post below:

Tap into your strengths

Remember that the same inner strength and resources that helped you fight addiction can help you get through the pain of grief. If you’ve been through a recovery program, you’ve probably learned some highly useful strategies. Realize that your personal strengths can help you. Now’s the time to use them, because giving into addiction will only make a bad situation worse.

Find support

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. The most important thing is to stay with your detox treatment plan.  People who are close to you can help a lot you as you recover from loss. Feeling supported and loved by your family and friends can help you resist the strong urges to turn to drugs or alcohol. For many addicts, family is a powerful source of strength. Consider making efforts to reconnect to family, friends, and your spiritual supports if you have been apart. Remember, one of the primary lessons of substance abuse treatment is to surround yourself with positive people.

Get professional help

 You may need some counseling following the death of someone close to you. Counselors can help you avoid falling back into drug use, alcohol abuse, or other unhealthy addictions. Grief counselors teach strategies for coping with depression and the hopelessness that can be part of bereavement.  Substance abuse therapists and support groups can keep you focused on preventing a relapse.

It is hard to find a counselor that can help you through both your grief and addiction, although many therapists excel in one or the other. They are both important as you cope with grief during addiction recovery.  Grief counseling addresses the loss of a very real and physical person while substance abuse counseling helps you through the loss of your old ways. Even as you get healthy, you may miss things that you don’t want to admit.

Finances are another concern when seeking professional help. If you have yet to re-establish a career and get yourself back on your feet, paying for the help you need can seem impossible. Ask about any sliding scale services that can work with your budget or your insurance.

Let go of guilt

Not everyone can easily turn to their family, friends, or loved ones for help. In the early days of recovery, you may find it difficult, especially if they are the same people you hurt when you were under the influence. Asking for help may be hard, even among your peers. You or your fellow addicts may have done unspeakable things to fuel desires. It’s hard to face that and open yourself up again to uncertain emotions.

Recovery often involves confronting the feelings of guilt and shame for your past actions that may have affected the people you love. It is a complex emotion that you  can learn more about from this handout  or by watching this Mananaging Guilt Powerpoint . When the someone you’ve hurt has died, you may never have the chance to make amends. This can make it even harder to grieve their death since a part of your atonement died with them.

Guilt is hard to overcome. Lingering guilt can feel all-consuming and keep you trapped in your addiction even if you haven’t been using anymore. If you never get the opportunity to rectify your actions, you may find yourself locked in a pattern of wanting to move forward and heal, but not being able to because you never got to truly redress your wrongs. Learn to let go of the guilt, because holding on to it can increase your risk for relapse.

Get enough sleep

If you don’t take care of yourself physically, it can also make it harder to avoid relapse. A lack of sleep can trigger depression in anyone, but sleep is doubly important for addicts, who need to feel refreshed and strongly fortified against addiction. Being unable to sleep is not unusual when someone is grieving, but and it can weaken your self-control. Try to establish a regular sleep pattern by going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. If sleep deprivation persists, consult your doctor or counselor.

Eat healthy foods

Good nutrition is also essential for addicts who have gone through recovery. You probably learned to that a variety of foods and nutrients is needed for your physical and mental health. Renew your efforts to improve your nutrition, if needed. Try eating balanced meals each day, emphasizing foods that you like, plus fruits and vegetables. See your doctor if you have a persistent lack of appetite, or anemia.

Find a creative outlet

Positive and healthy distractions are effective ways to help overcome depression. Spend some time indulging your creative side with activities that engage your mind completely, such as music, writing or journaling, drawing, or gardening. Creativity can help you express your emotions, give you a sense of accomplishment, and a somewhat different perspective on a troubling situation. Going for a walk outdoors or participating in sports or exercise can also be very healthy both physically and mentally.

Set goals

This might also be the perfect time to examine goals you might previously have put on the shelf. For instance, you could take steps toward further educational goals. You might even decide to get serious about advancing your career or starting your own business. With online classes, there are more flexible programs available. Starting college later than usual can give you more experience in the real world, and make you uniquely equipped to handle the challenges!

Spend quiet time for relaxation

It’s important to understand your emotions in order to get then under control. Meditation and relaxation techniques can help quiet the mind and help us let go of the things we can’t control. Learning to cope by using meditation, mindfulness, or other ways of relaxation can reduce the confusion and grief after  loss and bereavement.

While your instinct can be to shut everyone out, it’s important to stay socially connected after someone dies. Whether it’s an addiction counselor, a grief counselor, a solid family member or a good friend, you’ll know who you can turn to. It won’t be easy, but the influence of family members, friends, and counseling professionals can keep you grounded and on the right path.  Grounding techniques can also help you fight the strong urges and cravings that are common during recovery from addiction.

Plan for a solid recovery and avoid relapse

Use your strengths and your supports. Seek clear and practical health information to develop and promote a plan for healing both your body and mind. Explore the many resources and the Recovery Workbooks at Health Vista to improve your mental health as you recover and manage addiction.

Blog Post #28 added 12-29-21 by guest contributor Gwen Payne of invisiblemoms.com .  Edited by Mary Knutson of Health Vista, Inc.

 

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Learn Music at Home in this Pandemic

Smiling oman with headphones on

Why Learn Music at Home?

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many lives. It put limits on socializing, traveling, and going to classes. So many things were avoided or postponed that it may affect a person’s physical health, mental health, and their well-being. It is important to find things that will help you take care of your mental health during these challenging times.

There are many ways to cope with feelings of stress or isolation, one of which is learning music at home. Did you know that playing an instrument benefits your brain?

Music in Human Evolution

Music has been around for a long time, playing an essential role in the life cycle of humans. Evidence was discovered that ancient ancestors made flutes from animal bones and used stones and woods as percussion. They used music to bond socially and to calm babies. Our ancestors developed music as one of their ways of communicating and for ritual and religious practices.

During the early years of music, most songs had a religious theme and were used for worship. Now, we also have contemporary music. The beats, rhythms, tempo, lyrics, and popularity of different genres changed through the years. Also, the way people access and listen to music has changed. Music transitioned from reels, phonograph records,8 track tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, and radio to headphones, earbuds, and Bluetooth devices. Now, people can easily listen to their favorite songs using mobile phones. You can sing along with emotional or upbeat lyric videos on YouTube or find Karaoke versions of the songs you like. Choosing inspirational music for adults or for teens can even be used to help your mood. Music can be a healthy choice that can decrease anxiety and stress.

Make up for Lost Time

Although listening to music is good, it is even better if you learn to play music, to build your brain power, creativity, and to express yourself. It is never too late to learn to play an instrument. It is possible at any age. During this pandemic, many people spend a lot of time at home, scrolling on social media sites and playing games. Instead, you could use your computer, smartphone, or other gadgets to go online to learn to play music. Becoming a musician will help you develop new skills and can fulfill your long-time dream of learning to play music.

Choose an Instrument

If you want to learn music, the first step is to pick a musical instrument. Something that you are interested in learning, and find the best instrument for you. You might want to visit a music store to see what is available, and how much they would cost to rent or buy. Choose an instrument that you really like because it will help you keep going during the times when it seems too difficult. If you are interested in string instruments, you may want to try the ukelele first before a violin or cello.

Consider the type of songs and music you love to listen to. Choose an instrument that you could play your favorite songs with. Or, you could choose to use your voice as your instrument and have singing lessons.

Consider buying a music book that has some easier versions of songs that you like, to help you be inspired and have fun during your practice. It takes time and requires so much patience that you will want to do everything you can to stay motivated and happy.

Find A Teacher

After you have decided on the instrument, you can also look for a teacher who will help you learn and develop your new skill. During this pandemic, if it is not safe to meet people outside, you can still study your instrument at home with the help of a teacher who will give a lesson and interact with you virtually. Sometimes, online lessons may be at a lower price than face-to-face lessons.

If you cannot find local music teachers that will help you play an instrument, you can try enrolling at a music school that offers online music or voice lessons. Various schools offer music lessons online, such as Sage Music. The teachers at Sage Music are supportive, patient, and professional musicians that give individual attention to learn how to play your chosen instrument. Having the support and guidance of a music teacher will make a difference in your journey to learn music.

Learn Music Online

Restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic are not a hindrance to becoming productive and learning something new. If you wish to learn music, you can do that online. With high-quality music lessons, your musical skills grow and improve. As you achieve your goals, you gain self-confidence, feel great about your music, and have fun.

Find Ways to Cope

Accept that the pandemic has brought a lot of changes to people’s lives. Music can help many people to cope with stress and anxiety. Music can help people overcome mental health issues and create a sense of community, belonging, and participation. Virtual performances can be beautiful and inspiring for performers and for those who are able to watch and listen.

Conclusion

If you have anxiety and are feeling stressed, consider learning music to help improve your sense of well-being in spite of the pandemic. Start and learn music now, as a way of coping, relaxing, and developing your skills.

 

Blog Post #27 added 10-27-21 by Guest Contributor Curtis Dean of Sage Music.   Edited by Mary Knutson of Health Vista, Inc.

Recovery Workbook for Treatment Resistant Scabies: Fight the Mites!

Cover page of recovery workbook for treatment resistant scabies

Announcing!

I am in the process of self-publishing a  Recovery Workbook for Treatment Resistant Scabies. It is the ultimate guide to how to fight the mites and win! It will be available on Amazon.com as an eBook and as a paperback soon.

My scabies story:

I had scabies twice in my life.  Once was when I was much younger, and the rash was mostly on one of my arms.  I don’t recall it being a big problem except for the extra work involved.

About 2 years ago, I had it again and it was one of the worst experiences of my life.  The itching was intense, on many parts of the body. And the treatment didn’t work until after the 3rd time! I was itching and extremely miserable for about 4 weeks!

My basic instructions while using Permethin medicated cream were similar to this pamphlet by AZ Dept of Health Services (2015) at https://www.azdhs.gov/documents/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/healthcare-associated-infection/advisory-committee/subcommittee/scabies-pamphlet.pdf   I was very frustrated when I couldn’t find helpful instructions online about what more to do when those instructions didn’t work.

Finding a better way:

I got serious and got busy figuring out a better way. The instructions I developed should be added to the prescription treatment your medical provider gives you. It doesn’t recommend alternative medications or herbal treatments.  It tells you in detail how to prepare for and follow the process for a complete treatment that prevents the mites from reinfesting you.

The Recovery Workbook tells my story and what I did to ultimately succeed in getting rid of the scabies. That higher-level treatment plan is being shared to help others who are struggling with scabies. The book includes tips for coping, important background information about scabies mites,  reasons for the extra instructions, and some information from relevant research articles,

Scabies treatment resources:

Worksheets and Checklists are available here  for those who buy the eBook and want to be able to write things down. You can print them out at   https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.196/7ns.f19.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Worksheets-for-Scabies-book.pdf

If you don’t by the Recovery Workbook for Treatment Resistant Scabies, the checklists will still be helpful.  But, you will be missing out on some very valuable information and helpful support.  I encourage you to buy the book. You can contact me if you prefer not to use Amazon.

If you don’t buy the book, but you use the worksheets and checklists, please consider sending a donation toward this website’s maintenance costs.  Thanks in advance for using the donation link toward the bottom on the R side this page or at https://healthvista.net/

Getting rid of treatment resistant scabies is not easy.  I hope that the recovery workbook, worksheets, and checklist will help people fight the mites and win!

Blog Post # 26  3-26-21 by Mary Knutson RN, MSN

Health Vista, Inc.

 

Improve Your Mental Health: Tips for Sleeping Better

Man sleeping

Photo via Rawpixel

Sleep Better for Your Health

Sleep is very important to improve our mental health and well-being. Try some tips to sleep better and make a difference in your quality of life. Sleep disorders are common among people with mental health conditions. Depression and anxiety are also common with many sleep problems like insomnia or sleep apnea.

Although insomnia can be a symptom of some mental health disorders, the relationship between sleep problems and mental illness is complex. Research suggests that poor quality sleep can contribute to mental conditions. Treating sleep problems can be one way to relieve some symptoms you may be struggling with.

Improve Your Sleeping Environment

The bedroom sleep environments have a much greater impact on our quality of sleep than most people think. Common things that disrupt sleep include noise, clutter, heat, and even small amounts of light filtering in from outside or inside your home.

Using your bedroom for stressful activities like work or studying can also contribute to sleeplessness. Consider giving your bedroom an upgrade to promote better sleep. Hang some blackout curtains, get a white noise machine, and move electronics into another room.

This is also a good time to check your bed and make sure it is comfortable. If your mattress has visible sagging, lumps, or tears, it’s time for an upgrade. A good-quality mattress is essential to provide the comfort and support your body needs to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep during the night.

Before going shopping, take some time to learn about different mattress types and materials so you can choose the best option for your needs. For example, memory foam mattresses can be great for many different body types and sleeping styles since they’re available in numerous firmness levels. If you like a little bounce to your bed, you can even get hybrid memory foam mattresses that contain both coils and foam.

Stick to a Sleep Schedule

Sleeping on an inconsistent schedule can also cause sleep-related issues. Your body runs on a kind of internal clock called the circadian rhythm. This regulates your sleep-wake cycle, helping you feel awake during the day and tired at night. However, fighting against this natural process can leave you feeling tired and groggy in the mornings and wakeful at bedtime. Try to go to bed and wake up at the about same time every day to avoid disrupting your circadian rhythm.

Care for Your Body

What you do during your waking hours will also affect your sleep. For example, studies have found that moderate aerobic exercise can increase the amount of rejuvenating deep sleep that you get, according to John Hopkins Medicine. At the same time, eating a balanced diet focused on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help your body regulate your sleep cycles. Try to limit your consumption of caffeine since it is closely tied to sleep problems.

If you want some extra help to learn how to treat your body right, you may want to work with a nutritionist, dietitian, or fitness professional. Fortunately, you can find these wellness specialists through online freelancing platforms. Simply, search for the service you are looking for, read the reviews and talent details. Then, choose a specialist that fits your needs and budget.

Try Relaxation Techniques

Many people with mental health conditions can benefit from learning a few relaxation techniques to quiet the mind before bed. The National Sleep Foundation recommends breathing exercises and guided imagery to promote sleep, but you may also want to try progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness meditation. Find relaxation exercises that work for you and then start a habit of practicing them every evening to help your mind and body wind down.

Get Mental Health Help

For anyone with an underlying mental health issue that is getting in the way of quality, restful sleep, professional help is worth it. For example, if you have depression and experience difficulty sleeping, consider seeking treatment for depression. Mental health counseling can be effective at relieving the symptoms of depression.

Learn More about Sleep and Recovery

Health Vista has many resources for health and well-being.  You can find a How to Sleep Better handout on the Recovery Education page, with a few more tips for you. Browse the website to find ways to improve your quality of life whether or not mental illness is a problem for you or a family member. A Coping and Relaxation Workbook is also available to download and print free. Using coping techniques can help you to fall asleep faster, and to avoid over-reacting with anxiety when you wake up during the night.

Remember How Important Sleep Is

Sleep plays an essential—yet often overlooked—role in our physical health and mental wellbeing. Don’t settle for poor-quality sleep. Try improving your bedroom. Upgrade your mattress, if needed. Pick up some healthy habits and routines. Start taking steps to sleep better today, so you can wake up to a happier and healthier tomorrow.

Blog Post # 25  added 2-25-21 by Guest Contributer Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com.  Edited by Mary Knutson.

Recover and Thrive after Major Life Challenges

Man and woman relaxing

Strive to recover after addiction or other life challenges

Those who commit to to it can recover from addiction or other life challenges. They have a priceless opportunity to thrive and create a better life. To optimize your life, you may need healthy lifestyle choices, a supportive social life, and the drive to take charge of your life.

Remember that in 2020, there were many more changes and challenges than usual for individuals, families, and communities.  The year 2021 continues to be difficult for people with addiction or with mental illness, but recovery is possible.  Be kind to yourself as you realize all you have been through and survived. Both good and bad life changes can sharply raise your level of stress.

Get enough exercise and rest

Whole-body wellness means balancing the right amount of activity and rest.  We need both physical and mental strength to fight for recovery every day and to replace bad habits with good ones. Exercise has proven to be an effective recovery tool because “working out” affects the brain in a positive way.

If you want to add exercise to your life during recovery, think small at first. The goal is to identify and start an activity that is sustainable for the long haul, so you can stay self-motivated. Hitting the gym hard for 30 days until you burn out is not especially helpful. But, walking a little bit every day is an activity that can last a lifetime. Other low-impact exercises could include lightweight muscle workouts using small dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands. If you don’t have weights, you could put water into milk jugs until they are the weight you want to use. Muscle exercises and the active movements are important to jumpstart metabolism and help to strengthen your core muscles.

Improve your nutrition

Besides adding physical activity, improving your diet also supports your overall well-being. Eating healthy foods and getting balanced nutrition are key. Destructive habits like substance abuse can take over your life if it seems like getting high or drunk becomes more important than eating. Recovery is an opportunity to start over and refuel the body with much-needed nutrients.

Switching quickly from an extremely poor diet to a healthy one can be difficult because your habits can be powerful. Consider small, impactful changes to your eating. Some healthy changes can include:

  • Eating regular meals on a schedule.
  • Cut down on caffeine, if possible. Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat foods that are lower in fat, higher in protein and fiber
  • Add vegetables to your plate. (Try covering half the plate in garden colors, then dividing the remaining half into a quarter of protein and a quarter of whole grains.)
  • Experiment with different flavors to add excitement to your meals. People often reach for junk food because it tastes good, but healthy food done right can taste even better.
  • Plan meals in advance and have a big cooking session. If you can spend a few hours in the kitchen on a Sunday, you can make your lunches and dinners for the entire week and avoid the temptation to grab a quick unhealthy bite during the week.

Find Positive and Supportive People

Healthy living includes spending positive social time with people and having fun. For instance, healthy cooking “parties” can be a way to meet new people or connect with old friends. The key to your social life— and the struggle — is to disconnect from negative influences that may trigger a relapse. To have a better “road to recovery”, you may need to find new friends. If you are an alcoholic, instead of going to bars, “hang out” at coffee shops or other places where they don’t serve alcohol.

Social support is crucial to recovery because you may not be able to manage triggers on your own. Supportive friends and family can help you stay on track and to keep busy enough so there is no room in your life for bad habits.

Take Control of Your Life

Taking your life “by the reins” is like steering yourself away from stress and addiction toward recovery. Problem-solving will be needed after you figure out what is bothering you the most. Perhaps your financial situation is the current source of your stress. Or, maybe you’re not totally satisfied at your job, but don’t feel financially comfortable enough to leave. Maybe you’ve recently lost your job and don’t know what your next move should be. Think about what you would most like to do in life, and then pursue it. This life change could be an opportunity to do something you love. You may want to start a “side hustle” or launch your own business.

If you are considering forming a business, a good way to protect your personal assets and qualify for more tax breaks is  LLC filing. Like most states, MN allows a company to be structured online with affordable services. First, you would need to spend some time brainstorming to choose a unique business name, and then start making a business plan.

Learn How to Cope

It could be scary to jump into starting a new business, a new job, or new relationships after a major life challenge. Your confidence is usually low, and your future may look uncertain. But, when you choose something you really want to do, it will help motivate you toward a more successful and stable future.  Make sure you talk about your plans with your family and friends, they can advise you and support you as problems come up.

In recovery, your emotions may change quickly, like an emotional “roller coaster”. It helps to have a coping plan to help you and your family deal with negative thoughts or behaviors.

Health Vista, Inc. has a Coping and Relaxation workbook you can download and print. You can also find many local and online addiction resources, and recovery resources to use.

Through healthy living, people in recovery can thrive. Rather than following a downward spiral, start making improvements in exercise, diet, positive social support. Follow your passion to help propel you to a better life as you recover from addiction or other life challenges. .

Finding success involves planning and a high level of self-knowledge, but it is easier than you might think. Get active and healthier. Laugh with good friends. Manage your life and learn to cope with the stress that comes with big and small life changes.

Blog # 24  Added 2-11-21 written by guest contributor Dylan Wallace.  Edited by Mary Knutson, Health Vista, Inc.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

 

 

Parenting Advice for Every Age: Tips for Raising Amazing Kids

Happy family raising amazing kids

Photo via Rawpixel

Raising Amazing Kids

Raising children from newborns to adults is an incredible journey. But it’s also very difficult. All parents want to raise happy, healthy kids that enjoy success in school and thrive as adults. But what is the best way to set your children up for success? While there is no perfect parenting strategy, there are actions you can take to encourage the development of healthy habits and ensure your children feel supported through every life stage. Here are some great resources to help you along your parenting path!

Encourage Healthy Habits

A healthy home environment will encourage your kids to get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and avoid risky behaviors.

Best Ways to Help Children Fall Asleep at Nap Time

9 Ways to Encourage Indoor Kids to Play Outside

How to Build Healthy Eating Habits in Kids

Be Mindful of the “Whatever It Takes” Veggie Approach

4 Parent-Tested Systems You Can Use To Limit Screen Time

Clearing Bad Energy from Your Home

Get Involved

Children are less likely to develop bad habits and engage in dangerous behaviors when their parents take an active interest in their lives.

An Age-by-Age Guide to Bonding With Your Child & Teenager

7 Educational and Entertaining Activities for Young Kids

Practice Active Listening with Your Children

Make Holding Family Meetings a Priority

11 Ways Parents Can Get Involved in Schools

Teach Key Life Skills

Teach your children to cook, clean up after themselves, budget their money, and make plans for the future. These life skills will come in very useful when your kids become adults!

How to Teach Your Kids to Cook

12 Ways To Raise Financially Confident Kids At Every Age

The Benefits of Kids Doing Chores

The Age-by-Age Guide to Teaching Kids Time Management

How to Teach Kids Social Responsibility in a Connected World

Find Information and Resources

Visit Health Vista to explore a collection of clear and practical health information and quality educational resources to heal the body and mind.  If your child has emotional or behavioral problems, consider reading about the use of a coping plan at https://healthvista.net/a-great-way-to-plan-ahead-use-a-coping-plan/.  It is also possible that the music that your child listens to could be making it harder for them to cope.  You can find some examples of inspirational music at https://healthvista.net/inspirational-music-for-teens/.

Be Kind to Yourself

Parenting is a learning process. If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not alone! Since every family and every child is unique, it can be hard to know what’s best for you and your children. As long as you love your child unconditionally, praise their good behavior, and spend as much time together as possible, you’re bound to raise amazing kids.

Blog Post # 24 added 1-27-21.  Written by Guest Contributor Kristin Louis.  Visit her website at https://parentingwithkris.com/

How to Cope with Election Results

Traveling under series of arches

Stress and anxiety are normal

During an election year, stress and anxiety can be expected. Particularly when you have strong feelings about one of the candidates or a certain issue, an election can seem all-consuming.

Once an election results ends, you may be stressed about what’s going to come next or how your friends will react if you voted for different parties or candidates.

Everyone deals with stress differently. The important thing is for you to identify healthy ways to address election results and move forward.

Understand that you are not alone

Election campaigns, election events, and post-election updates have put people on edge. One study found that 38% of people reported that they lost sleep over the 2020 U.S. presidential election and 25% of people felt rage when they thought about the election.

To deal with election-related problems, it might help to remember that they impact many people and that you’re not alone. You don’t have to feel as though something is wrong simply because you’re upset.

There has been a lot of unrest over the election and other issues in the United States. There are least two sides in an election – and everyone feels as though they are on the right side. Some people will get angry or upset when others do not agree with them. While this might not be pleasant, it is normal.

You can identify yourself as passionate. That is fine unless you let your passion blind you to alternatives, or if your passion leads you to compromise your honesty and integrity. Or, you can identify yourself as empathetic. As you start to understand and share the feelings of others, it’s easier to see the similarities and differences that you have.

Many highly empathic people learn to use their skills for good. You can start conversations to understand more about people. Remember to listen and state your views, but don’t argue. With empathy, you may be able to inspire change, allowing you to feel as though you have more control over what’s happening in the world around you.

Learn how to process stress

When elections seem to be taking their toll, remember that there are healthy ways to cope with stress. Try to identify what you’re experiencing, whether it’s stress, disbelief, shock, helplessness, other emotions, or a combination of these. Know that physical and emotional symptoms can be stressful on your body.

Practicing self-care is of the utmost importance. Think about what you can do to help yourself. You’ll want to get a good night’s sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and take breaks.

Particularly when it comes to election stress, the media can be your worst enemy. Try avoiding the news for a bit if it’s bothering you. If you feel that you absolutely need an update, limit yourself to 10 or 15 minutes of news.

It’s also a good idea to unplug from social media for a while. Give yourself a break of a few days or a week. When you’re not constantly dealing with your friends’ arguing over issues and candidates, you might find it easier to relax.

If you continue to feel stressed and worried, it may be time to talk to someone. Start by talking to friends and family about your feelings. If needed, discuss the problems with a psychologist or other trusted professional.

Similarly, if you’re dealing with election-related stress by using alcohol or drugs, seek help at drug or inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers. Professionals at those facilities can treat addictions as well as stress, depression, anxiety, and other factors that could contribute to addictions.

One of the most important aspects of managing stress is knowing when you’re at a breaking point. There’s no need to burn out simply because an election didn’t go in your favor. You cannot stress on things that are out of your control.

Take a deep breath and remind yourself that there are other things that you can change. If you’re still struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Identify your behaviors

You might tend to isolate yourself and feel sad.  Or you might reach out with more anger and irritability that makes other people uncomfortable. Either way, it makes it harder to get the support you need.

It’s easy to become addicted without realizing it. You may pour a drink as a way to relax. Maybe you went through half of the bottle before you knew it, because you still weren’t able to relax. This might happen night after night, and before you’ve fully comprehended it, you’ve developed a drinking problem.

Alcohol and drugs are unhealthy ways of numbing pain, though.

If you find that you’ve developed problematic behaviors, work to stop them. If you encounter setbacks or withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop, it’s important to know that there is help available, including online resources for recovery or addiction.

The sooner you identify unhealthy behaviors, the sooner you can get them under control. Although election results might trouble you, they shouldn’t consume your entire life. It is OK to step back and watch things unfold.

Focus on what you can control

There are plenty of things that you can do to gain control of your life. If you’re stressed about election results, think about what you can do locally:

  • Join a group so that you can talk about politics with others who have similar views or debate others with different perspectives.
  • March for your rights to ensure your voice is heard.
  • Volunteer for causes you find important.

When you’re able to build support systems and find outlets for your emotions, it can be easier to manage stress in all aspects of your life. Remember that you’re not alone and that others are willing to help.

Sources:

prnewswire.com – Mental Health Survey: Rage, Election Worries and Covid-19 Fears Plague Americans

greatergood.berkeley.edu – Six Habits of Highly Empathic People

cdc.gov – Coping with Stress

Blog # 23 added 12-14-20 by guest author Patrick Bailey (with minor edits by Mary Knutson).

Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Website / Blog URL: http://patrickbaileys.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pat_Bailey80

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-bailey-writer

6 Ways People in Recovery Can Deal with Isolation

Woman leaning on door looking outside

Why is it  important for people in recovery to find resources and stay connected to others?  Because addiction thrives on isolation.  And, you need to find ways to cope.  The loneliness and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic can worsen substance addiction and make relapse more likely.  During uncertain times, people may feel mentally and even physically vulnerable. With less access to support and services, they are at the highest risk.

What does it mean to be in recovery during times of isolation? How do you attend support group meetings? How can you talk to a lawyer? How can you meet with a therapist?

Here are six ways people in recovery can not only survive, but even thrive, during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus ID  19) pandemic:

Seek online mental health treatment

Recovery is a life-long journey. You will need help along the way, often includes seeking therapy. With the special safety regulations during COVID-19, most mental health practitioners have gone online. That would help you to continue therapy with a reliable internet connection, or perhaps by phone. There are many surprisingly affordable options out there.

Use a coping plan

You know that—pandemic or not—there will be ups and downs in your recovery journey. Having a coping plan can help you to deal with anxiety, depression, or addictions, whether or not they are related to COVID-19. If you know what your emotional triggers are, you can plan ahead to identify what helps (and what hinders) those challenging situations. Look at your ways of coping because they could be healthy or unhealthy ways of dealing with it.

Stay busy with work or volunteering

People may be at higher risk for relapse when they are unemployed. Recent studies found that unfavorable employment changes were increased alcohol intake among former heavy drinkers. Many businesses have closed and many people lost their jobs during this pandemic. If you are one of them, continue to look for work—in any meaningful way. Apply for jobs, take online training courses, or volunteer your time. Staying busy can keep you motivated to stay sober.

Find ways to stay accountable

Due to staff cuts and layoffs, some organizations are no longer offering frequent monitoring and testing for people in addiction recovery. That means that some accountability methods might be missing. If you think it is important to be drug tested regularly, you can purchase drug tests, and ask a friend or sponsor to help administer them. Since addiction prefers a cloud of secrecy, shed some light on your journey by using other trusted connections and adding ways of staying accountable.

Recognize the symptoms of isolation

Isolation is a depth of loneliness. We may actually be unaware of how it affects us. We may notice an overwhelming or occasional sense of sadness, but there are many other signs we often miss. When isolation is starting to impact you physically, you may have trouble sleeping, and lapse into unhealthy routines. Some research even showed that people in isolation are also at a higher risk for heart disease or a stroke.  Emotionally, isolation can cause you to struggle with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and substance abuse. This puts people in recovery at a greater risk for relapse.

Meet online with others in recovery

Without the in-person support of other people in addiction recovery, people may feel like they have nowhere to turn when they need help to avoid relapse. In many cases, you could meet with support groups, lawyers, health care providers or therapists using apps such as Zoom, if needed. There’s a good chance the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) group you attended is already meeting online. Find out if it is. If it isn’t having meetings, do a Google search for other online AA meetings in your area. Many churches and community centers are providing digital space for meetings.  And some websites include online communities. If you seek a supportive community group, ask your counselor or provider to recommend a reputable website. Resist the urge to quickly give information about your identity and location to people you meet online.

With every day in quarantine, the risk of isolation increases. Try out some of the ideas above, or find some additional resources. You can learn how to cope by grounding yourself in this time of disruption and distress. Health Vista has many health resources you can use to guide your recovery, as well as books for managing pain, anxiety, anger, depression, mental illness, and addiction.

Now that you know the challenge that you are dealing with during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can use your time wisely to find and use the resources you need for support and information.  Then, you will be able to cope better and have a more successful recovery during times of isolation.

Blog #22  Posted 12-2-20.  Written  by Dylan Wallace (with edits and additions by Mary Knutson, Health Vista, Inc.)

 

 

Trauma Can Affect You: Ways to Help Yourself to Recover

Past or current trauma can affect you, your thoughts, and your behavior. Having past trauma, as a child or as an adult is common in our society.

Trauma affects some people more than others

Some people are more resilient and have more support. Ongoing anxiety issues may be something you need to learn to cope with.  If you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), more distressing symptoms may continue to affect your life.

Some health care settings are embracing Trauma- informed Care (TIC)

TIC assumes that people have had past traumas and attempts to avoid “triggers”. They want to prevent people feeling re-traumatized while they are receiving health care, and help them feel more safe and secure.

TIC Resources and Education are needed

I developed a Trauma Recovery Webquest  to share important information about TIC concepts including both childhood and adult scenarios.  It was designed to be used for health professionals as well as for anyone else.

Please realize that the linked video of childhood trauma in the first Powerpoint. Living with Trauma-Finding Recovery can be quite upsetting.  Feel free to skip that part if you don’t think you should watch it.

The webpages have many valuable links. The Trauma Webquest Process page includes a Resilience website and many handouts to help people cope with their symptoms of anxiety, flashbacks, dissociation, or thoughts of self-harm.

I have included (for free) links to some of the Recovery Workbooks that I have had for sale on my website, including Managing Anger, Managing Addiction, Depression, and a Coping & Relaxation Workbook.

Most importantly, you can use the Finding Your Way to Cope with Trauma Workbook !

I sincerely hope that you will find this information to be helpful and useful.

Believe that recovery  is possible.

You might enjoy the following video to inspire you:

 

Blog post #21  8-27-20 by Mary Knutson Health Vista, Inc.