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How to Cope with a Natural Disaster

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Natural disasters are an unfortunate reminder of Mother Nature’s power. From hurricanes, blizzards, thunderstorms, forest fires and tornadoes, these disasters leave a physical and mental impact on all individuals involved.  Most disasters leave a clear path of physical destruction, which can take years to repair. Sadly, some disasters can lead to loss of life or physical injury, which certainly take an emotional toll on the community and family involved.

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Top Fourth of July Safety Tips

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This Fourth of July weekend, many people will be traveling, firing up the backyard grill or enjoying fireworks, and the American Red Cross offers a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend.

“Everyone looks forward to having fun over the Fourth of July, and the Red Cross wants to make sure people know how to stay safe while enjoying the holiday,” said Linda Carbone, Chief Executive Officer of Florida’s West Coast Region and the Tampa Bay Chapter. Continue reading

Workplace Mental Health: It’s Not Just Benefits Coverage

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Workplace well-being is a popular topic as companies focus on talent attraction, development and retention.  In order to be the employer of choice in their field, many companies have implemented wellness programs and innovative benefits. We spend one quarter to one third of our lives at work and often more time with coworkers than family members.  The workplace environment and interactions have a significant impact on our psychological well-being. This focus on well-being has yielded positive results yet there remains a global epidemic in mental health. Continue reading

Is It Possible to Have a Carefree Summer?

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Probably not.  Realistically, what is carefree?  How long can that feeling last? As adults the reality of a carefree summer is very doubtful. But often summers remind us of that “carefree” feeling we had as kids.  Maybe it was sleeping in, or playing with the neighborhood kids in the nearby backyards, walking to the local pool for free swimming lessons, staying up late, getting ice cream treats, chasing lightning bugs (or fireflies!) or going to baseball games, the beach, camping, hiking. Ahhhh! The memories are sweet even if in real time, it wasn’t truly “carefree” it is nostalgic to look back on it that way. Continue reading

How to Leave the Old Behind and Embrace the New

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So many events happen in June. It is a month full of change and transition. Many families are attending high school and college graduations and those young adults are transitioning to college or the work world.  Family schedules change from the structured school schedule to a more relaxed summer schedule including camps and vacations. Many weddings occur in June, signaling one of life’s big transitions. June also means the start of the summer season.  As Willie Stargell said, “life is one big transition.”

Change and transitions, even when highly anticipated, are stressful for individuals, families and ultimately the workplace.  What can we do to navigate change and the transition process to grow and develop? Continue reading

Critical Thinking is the Decision Making Power App

“There is no danger that the Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable.”  ~Phillip Franklin, White Star Vice-president, 1912

Every day we make many, many decisions. Some are trivial, such as what size and flavor of coffee to drink. Other decisions are weighty when they involve substantial sums of money or resources. We strive to make the best decisions possible yet often are swayed by our assumptions and biases into flawed conclusions. Mr. Franklin’s statement above is a graphic example of an assumption that was terribly wrong. Continue reading

Who Cares About the New High Blood Pressure Guidelines?

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High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer,” so we should all care about this.  Recently the American Heart Association changed the medical definition of “high blood pressure.”

That condition now starts at 130/80 rather than the previous guideline of 140/90.  The new normal is less than 120/80. Why would they do this and how does that impact you? Continue reading

How To Make Motherhood More Blissful

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“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”

Jill Churchill

The promotions everywhere remind us to treat Mom special this week, this month, this day…take her to dinner, buy her a coffee, let her have free time, treat her to a spa day, a manicure, a hike, buy her stuff!

There really is validity to treating Moms right, and for Moms taking care of themselves. Not just in the month of May, but always. Research has been done on this topic.  In Who Mothers Mommy? Factors That Contribute to Mothers’ Well-Being we learn that Of the various parenting dimensions they considered, three were consistently linked with distress: role overload, parenting guilt, and child negative behaviors. Each of these constructs was associated with higher levels of maternal depression, anxiety, and stress. 

Dr. Claire Nicogossian, a licensed clinical psychologist, wife and mom to four daughters has created Mom’s Well- Being to provide moms with knowledge, skills and support for the most life-changing role a woman can have-being a mother.  She shares with us that there are many ways you can cope with stress in parenting by taking care of your well-being.  Listed below are Dr. Nicogossian’s nine skills and strategies to help manage stress.

Self-Care Skills and Strategies for Moms

Accept that Stress is Part of Life. Not all stress is negative. In fact, some level of stress can be motivating and organizing helping us to complete tasks and deadlines.  Understanding this can help you normalize the experience and find ways to work on managing stress.

Identify How Stress Impacts You. Does stress show up for you in the form of physical symptoms? Maybe it shows itself emotionally through feelings of being overwhelmed, anxious and irritable. Or it could come across in how you interact with family and friends.  The key to being a mindful parent is spending time identifying how stress shows up in your life.

Take Care of Yourself.  Taking care of your physical health including getting enough sleep to feel rested, good nutrition and hydration, and exercise creates solid physical health which helps to reduce stress. When parents are taking care of their physical needs, it makes it easier to chose mindful responses to cope with stress.

Focus on Breathing. Being in a state of stress will alter breathing patterns. Anxious individuals have disrupted breathing characterized by over or under-breathing and not taking in full breaths. Be mindful of your breathing patterns and throughout the day practice intentional breathing. Simple and easy, yet often overlooked.  Make sure that your breathing is regulated with full breaths can help reduce stress and improve well-being. (deep breath here).

Reach Out to Supportive Adults. Staying connected to supportive friends and family will help reduce stress and increase well-being not only in parenting but throughout the lifespan.

Finding your tribe of people who understand and relate to the demands of parenting not only helps with feeling connected but also…can help to reduce stress and cope with the demands of parenting. – Dr. Claire

Meditate. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, and also increase mental focus, compassion, and creativity and boosts the immune system. Meditation can be practiced anywhere you are, and in doing so, you will reduce stress and improve well-being.

Limit Multitasking. it increases stress, decrease well-being and takes away from being in the moment.  Be aware of how multitasking impacts your life.  Do you eat meals while watching television on scrolling on your phone? When a family member is talking to you, are you on your smart phone or engaged in another activity?  Look around…is your whole family in front of a screen?

Schedule Quality Time with Your Child.  Create intentional time each day to connect with your child. Meaningful time spent with your child will reduce stress and help to create and maintain healthy bonds of connection and shared experiences.

Be Transparent with Family Members. Rather than letting your stress impact how you treat those around you, be transparent and share what you feel when stressed.  Dr. Claire often encourages clients to uses phrases like this, “Today has been a long day, and I’m feeling (fill in the emotion you are feeling). So I may be a little quieter, and I want you to know it has nothing to do with you. You can help right now by (giving the child  a request), and I would love to (share an activity such as: hear about your day or read a book) with you or play a game in a few minutes or later on.

According to the NCBI  “Among women experiencing significant parenting difficulties, supportive connections can do much to offset ego-depletion and distress. As contemporary mothers strive so carefully to tend their children, therefore, they must deliberately cultivate and maintain close, authentic relationships with friends as well as family. These must be recognized as essential buffers against the redoubtable challenges of sustaining “good enough” mothering across two decades or more.

Results of the NCBI study provide a critical corollary to a common homily  “A mother’s job is never done.”   Stated simply, their findings indicate that, as mothers must tend, so too, must they feel tended themselves.”

As a workplace well-being provider, Lytle EAP Partners provides resources for both the individual and the organization to help manage stress in a productive manner.  Contact us here for more information.

How to Lead with Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence has long been discussed as the way to understand and motivate self and others towards success and create collaborative teams.  Defined originally by Peter Salavoy and John Mayer  as the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions and that of others, Emotional Intelligence has four key elements – self-awareness, social awareness, self-management and relationship management.   Studies have shown that more than two-thirds of a leader’s success depends on qualities that are elements of emotional intelligence such as empathy, trustworthiness, respect and approach-ability. Continue reading