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COVID-19 and Summer Vacation for Teens

Date: July 2nd, 2020

Filed under: Kids

For many teens, COVID-19 has taken away a good chunk of their school year, socializing with friends, and attending events like prom, graduation, or sports games. Now that summer is here and social distancing measures are still in place, this can be an especially tough time for teens. But by making time for a few basics you can help your older child to make the most of their summer despite the difficulties.

Make time for:

Healthy Habits

It’s tempting for teens to stay up late and sleep away most of the day, but this isn’t healthy for either their physical or emotional health. Although you can be more flexible in the summertime, encourage your teen to go to bed and get up at a regular time each day.

Chores

Developing a work ethic may not be popular with teens, but it’s important for them to take responsibility and contribute where they can. Assign them some regular chores, and, if necessary, establish a reward system and consequences for completing or not completing their assignments.

Friends

Teens need time with friends. While it can sometimes seem that they spend too much time with their peers, it’s important, especially during social distancing, for teens to feel connected. If you’re in a position to do so, allow your child’s friends to come over for socially distant activities, and allow your teenager a reasonable amount of time to connect with their peers electronically.

Family

It’s also important for teens to spend time with family. Plan meals they like and activities they enjoy to make family time more appealing to them, and set aside time to be with them one-on-one. Spending time together can strengthen your relationship and allow you to continue teaching your teenager important lessons and values as they prepare for adulthood.

Work

Summer jobs may be hard to find, but they are out there, and are a great way for teens to keep busy and earn some money for spending or saving. Job searching can be intimidating, so let them know about places that are hiring, help them fill out the paperwork, and be supportive in encouraging them to find work.

Fun

Of course, no summer vacation is complete without time to play, relax, and have fun. Make sure that your teen is rewarded with leisure time to do things they enjoy so that summer feels like a vacation—even if it’s not quite the one they had in mind.

Fun Summer Activities for Families

Date: June 19th, 2020

Filed under: Kids

Summer vacation is here—but it may feel a little different this year due to COVID-19. After all, the kids have been home for weeks already, and you may not be able to take your traditional vacation because of closures and social distancing. But summer 2020 can still be fun—here are some creative things families can do to make this year’s summer vacation feel like one, and keep your family sane.

Summer is a great time to just play and have fun with your kids. Relaxing, working, and playing together can strengthen your relationship with your children, and is a great way to create memories and stay healthy—mentally, emotionally, and physically.

4 Tips for Building Tolerance for Others

Date: June 11th, 2020

Filed under: Tips

Tolerance isn’t easy. Because we rely so heavily on our own experiences and worldview, it can be hard to see things from another person’s perspective or accept that someone else’s viewpoint may be equally valid with ours. But tolerance is a skill that can bring greater peace and harmony to our lives and the lives of others. Here are 4 tips for building tolerance for others.

Take Ownership of Your Feelings

Recognize that no one can make you feel a certain way without your permission. If you’re feeling angry, hurt, or upset, know that you have the power to change your emotions. Move from an attitude of “this person upset me” to “I’m feeling upset because of something this person said or did, but I don’t have to stay that way. I have the power to choose my reactions.”

Develop Curiosity

In many cases, when we lack tolerance towards others it’s simply because we don’t understand them. By cultivating an open mind, learning about other cultures and people, and broadening our horizons, we increase our ability to understand and accept others.

Change Your Perspective

Sometimes hurt feelings or a lack of tolerance come about because we can’t see where the other person is coming from. You may not be able to fully understand another person’s experiences, but you can shift your perspective from yourself, (“I can’t believe that person was so rude to me”) to them and how you can relate (“Maybe they’re having a hard time right now. I know I sometimes say things I don’t mean when life is getting me down.”)

Practice Respect

When you don’t agree with another person’s opinion, focus on respecting their right to think for themselves and to believe what they choose. Just as we would never want that right taken away from us, we have a responsibility to extend that same courtesy to other people and treat others with respect, even when we disagree with them.

As you work to develop greater tolerance in your own life, you’ll find that you are happier, more at peace with yourself and those around you, and have a greater appreciation for diversity. Building tolerance for others is a lifelong pursuit that will continue to empower and bring healing—both to you, and to the society in which you live.

Simple Ways to Support Social Justice and Fight Discrimination

Date: June 8th, 2020

Filed under: News

Recent events have brought racism and other forms of discrimination to the top of our newsfeeds and the forefront of our attention. As a result, you may be wondering, “What can I do to fight discrimination and create a more socially just world?” It can feel overwhelming. After all, you’re just one person. But there are simple ways that even one person can support social justice and fight discrimination:

Examine Your Beliefs

What messages did you hear growing up about people of other colors or cultures? Was your neighborhood or school made up of people from many backgrounds, or was it predominantly one color? Did you have many or limited experiences with people of different heritages? The messages—spoken and unspoken—that we grow up with can have an impact on how we think about discrimination and social justice today. Instead of taking those thoughts for granted, examine your beliefs carefully. Do you have any underlying misconceptions or biases that need to be changed?

Educate Yourself

Learn about the history of others, their culture, heritage, and the issues facing them today. Doing so can help you to better understand why certain actions or expressions might be hurtful to others, and give you a great appreciation for their experiences.

Stand Up and Speak Out

As you learn to recognize discrimination and racism in your own culture, try to share what you’ve learned with others. In many cases, this simply means helping others to examine their own beliefs and thought processes about race and culture. Be respectful when doing this—it’s usually not helpful to call someone out as being “racist” or “prejudiced” as it leads them to be defensive instead of opening up a conversation. Instead, say something like, “I don’t understand that joke. Could you explain it to me?” Or, “You know, I recently heard the history of that expression and I’ve decided not to use it anymore.”

Get to Know Others

One of the most powerful things you can do to support social justice is to expand your circle and get to know people of other colors, backgrounds, and beliefs. Go out of your way to make friends with someone that perhaps you wouldn’t normally, or visit a part of town that has a different ethnic mix than your own neighborhood. Getting to know people as individuals helps you fight the “us-versus-them” mentality and promote unity.

Creating a more socially just society requires each individual to examine their beliefs and be open to getting to know others and learning from their experiences. As you do these things, you can fight discrimination, support social justice, and create a better world starting with your own community.

Want to learn more simple ways to fight racism? Here are some articles worth reading for ideas on what we can all do:

8 Everyday Ways to Fight Racism

4 Ways that Scientists and Academics Can Effectively Combat Racism

5 Ways to Fight Racism and Xenophoba

How to Talk to your Children about Protests and Racism

Anger and COVID-19

Date: June 4th, 2020

Filed under: Mental Health

Are you feeling increased irritability, frustration, and even anger during COVID-19? You’re not alone. People across the globe are experiencing anger stemming from fear, stress, frustration over government responses, lost jobs, changes in routine, and a host of other causes.

Is It Normal to Feel Angry during COVID-19?

Although it may not be pleasant, anger is a natural emotion to feel during this time. Stress and the many changes affecting you and your loved ones can make you feel like you don’t have control over your life—and from there it’s a short step to feeling angry at that loss of control.

How Can I Handle My Anger?

Anger might be a normal response to what you’re going through, but how you handle it will have a huge impact on your overall mental health and happiness—and that of the people you care about. It’s important to work through your anger in healthy ways.

• Don’t bottle up your anger. Bottled up anger doesn’t go anywhere. Instead, it grows inside you and makes you more likely to become depressed or lash out.

• Do share your feelings. Expressing how you’re feeling to your partner, a trusted friend, or a counselor can help you to learn more about what you’re feeling and why. It also allows you to release some of those feelings through talk.

• Don’t take out your anger on others. Anger displacement is common, but destructive. We’ve all experienced it: We’re angry at the guy who cut us off on the road, but since we can’t do anything about it, we end up yelling at a family member when we get home.

• Instead, do identify the real cause of your emotions. Who or what are you really angry at, and why? Identifying the real source of your anger can help you calm down and stop you lashing out at others.

Need Help?

If you feel like you need help handling your anger, reach out to our office. Our counselors and therapists can help you identify the real cause of your emotions and guide you toward effective ways of controlling your anger and finding healthy ways of working through it and letting go.

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