Tips for Talking to Someone with Depression

Date: June 8th, 2019

Filed under: Depression

It can be hard to talk with a friend or family member who is struggling with depression. It’s normal to be afraid that you’ll say the wrong thing. While every person is different, here are a couple of phrases to avoid and what you can say instead when talking to someone with depression.

Avoid phrases like: “I know exactly how you feel.”

Every person is unique, and experiences of depression vary greatly. If you compare the depression of the person you’re talking to with your own—or with something completely different, like a case of the blues or grief after the loss of a loved one—it can discourage your friend or family member from sharing their own unique feelings with you.

Instead, try something like: “I know I can’t fully understand what you’re feeling, but I want to try. Can you tell me about it?”

Let your loved one know that you are there for them and that you want to understand what they’re going through. If your friend believes that you really care about their individual experience and that you are open to listening, it can help them to feel safe opening up to you.

Avoid phrases like: “Everyone gets depressed sometimes.”

A person struggling with depression knows that this statement simply isn’t true. It’s important to distinguish between common emotions of sadness, boredom, or frustration that pass, and the chemical imbalances that create true depression.

Instead, try something like: “I’m so sorry you’re struggling with this. Have you considered talking to a therapist about how you’re feeling?”

Your loved one needs to know that you recognize their depression as legitimate. Encouraging them to seek professional help can also help them to see that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and that seeking help for depression is as normal and advisable as going to a doctor for a physical illness.

Although talking to someone with depression can be intimidating, it’s important to let your friend or family member know that you care about them and want to help them. Use words that legitimize your loved one’s experience, express acceptance and compassion, and show them that it’s okay to ask for help. The simple act of choosing your words carefully and keeping an open mind can allow you to talk to someone with depression in a way that truly helps them.

Preparing to Parent in a Blended Family

Date: May 20th, 2019

Filed under: Relationships

Creating a successful blended family comes with unique rewards and challenges. There are many things you and your partner can do to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved. Here are just a few of the fundamentals you can incorporate when preparing to parent in a blended family:

Make Mutual Respect a Priority

It’s important to respect the feelings and freewill of each family member. You can’t make children love their new siblings or step-parent, but you can insist that all family members treat one another with civility and respect. Requiring respectful behavior can foster genuine good feelings as family members treat one another with consideration, and can strengthen the bonds of your new blended family.

Adjust Your Parenting Style to Create Consistency

Work with your partner to establish rules and routines that you both agree on, and that will keep things as consistent as possible for all of the children. Establishing a cohesive parenting style together will minimize disruption or resentment, and help your children to see that their natural parent and step-parent are united and want what’s best for the whole family.

Get to Know Each Other

Make time for children to get to know your new partner and their kids. Fun group activities or day trips can be good icebreakers, but it’s also a good idea to spend time together in everyday situations. This allows everyone to become comfortable with each other and acclimate to having new people involved in the day-to-day aspects of life.

Have Realistic Expectations

While some blended families seem to come together seamlessly, others take time to adjust, and that’s okay. Recognize that building relationships takes time and commitment. As long as everyone is respectful of each other, you and your partner are on the same page, and there is adequate time for new family members to get acquainted, your blended family can be successful and happy.

Summer Scheduling Strategies

Date: May 6th, 2019

Filed under: Holidays

Summer is just around the corner, and with the warm weather comes the end of the school year. It’s an event most kids look forward to eagerly, but it can be overwhelming for busy parents who have the challenge of keeping everyone occupied without the structure of school. If this sounds like you, here are a few ideas to help you schedule your summer.

Keep a Routine

With no school the next day, it can be tempting to let mealtimes and bedtimes slide. In the long run though, it’s usually better to stick as close to your normal routine as possible. It’s okay to be spontaneous and deviate from the schedule occasionally, but most kids respond well to order and routine. Staying consistent will make your summer more pleasant and the adjustment back to school in the fall a lot easier on both you and your kids.

Plan Your Events

Summer is a great time to make fun plans. It’s nice to get your events scheduled as early as possible, so you and your kids can look forward to them, have plenty of time to get prepared, and enjoy yourselves when the anticipation and planning finally pay off. Depending on age and interests, plans might vary from something as simple as a trip to the grandparents to something more complicated, like a family vacation in a destination you’ve always wanted to visit.

Plan Your Daily Activities

It’s also a good idea to make plans for the day-to-day. Summer crafts, playing in the sprinkler, or picnicking in the backyard don’t require as much planning as a family vacation, but they can help fill the hours of summer in a fun and memorable way. Having some stay-at-home plans can be the perfect fit for kids who are overstimulated by new environments. And of course, it’s always best to be prepared for the inevitable complaint of boredom once the novelty of summer freedom has worn off.

Summer is the perfect time to explore, try new things, and create memories. By planning ahead and balancing the spontaneity with routine, you can keep your summer fun, full, relaxing, and organized for the whole family.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Date: April 24th, 2019

Filed under: Mental Health

It might seem odd to think of our thoughts as deceiving us, but sometimes, that's exactly what happens. While we experience our thoughts as objective fact, the reality is that they are often filtered with our interpretation. Whether it's using black and white thinking, or 'awfulizing'/thinking the worst, our skewed thoughts about the world around us can contribute to anxiety, depression and frustrating inner struggles. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that focuses on the connection between our inward beliefs/thought patterns and our outward behaviors. This form of therapy is effective in treating a wide variety of symptoms, and can be especially beneficial if you suffer from depression or anxiety.

CBT is an effective tool in the treatment of many conditions. One of its strengths is that it is easily adaptable to a variety of individuals and circumstances. For example, it can be used on its own or in conjunction with medication or other types of treatment. It can also be used independently, in a group, or with the guidance of a therapist.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can positively affect your mood and behavior by helping you to change your perceptions. Although it does take effort, CBT is one of the most effective treatments for mental health conditions, and can have a lasting effect on your life. If you feel that you might benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, contact a professional therapist who can answer your questions, give you more information on CBT, and help you through the process.

In cognitive behavioral therapy, you will learn to identify negative thought patterns and see how those mental habits influence your life and how you perceive the world. Once you recognize this, CBT can help you adjust to a more positive and realistic way of thinking—one that can help you to face your fears, build confidence, and enable you to live a freer, fuller life.

Three Tips for Managing Stress

Date: April 3rd, 2019

Filed under: Tips

A little bit of stress in your life can be a good thing. In small doses, stress can motivate you to work hard and accomplish your goals. But if you’re experiencing levels of stress that cause difficulty concentrating, a weakened immune system, trouble sleeping, or irritability, you can improve your quality of life by following these three tips for managing stress.

Recognize Triggers

Learn what causes your stress levels to spike. Everyone’s triggers are different. These can be obvious, like the stress you experience when you have to give a presentation, speak in public, or interview for a job. But you may have less obvious triggers too. Maybe you hate talking on the phone, or get anxious in crowded public spaces.

Brainstorm Solutions

Many stress triggers are unavoidable. While it’s a good idea to avoid stressful situations if you’re already feeling overwhelmed, it’s also important to prepare to deal with them effectively. Brainstorm with a trusted friend or make a list of ways you can minimize stress when it’s triggered. For example, you might practice your presentation in front of the mirror several times, or role play that job interview until you feel more prepared for it. Or, if crowded public spaces are your main concern, you can plan to do errands like grocery shopping in the early morning or late evening, when there are fewer people around.

And finally…

Make Time to Relax

Life gets busy, but carving out time to relax and take care of yourself is essential. The simple act of taking the time to go for a run, read a chapter of a good book, or soak in the tub can help lower your stress levels and boost your mood.

Remember, stress in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s the amount you have in your life and how you manage it that makes the difference. Recognizing your stress triggers, minimizing their impact as much as you can, and taking good care of yourself can help you manage your stress effectively.

See more articles →