, ,

How to Prepare in the Summer Before College

 

July is the month for spending time at the beach, having a BBQ with friends, lounging in a hammock on a lazy afternoon – and preparing for the fall semester at college. The last part of that sentence may have made you think, “what?????” Although it isn’t easy to think about college life during the carefree summer months, spending time in July doing some college prep will have a big pay-off when college starts in September.

Here are 5 ways to prepare for college during the summer:

  1. Prepare so you can hit the ground running in the fall:
  • Research Professors: Check out Rate My Professors and Uloop to read reviews from other students at your college. This will help you pick courses and instructors that match your learning style
  • Register for fall classes: When scheduling your classes, be sure to check the campus map to make sure you have enough time to walk from one class to the next.
  • Download a campus map and have it on your phone for easy reference: Become familiar with where the drop-in tutoring program is located and take advantage of free tutoring.
  • Purchase textbooks: some professors post their textbook requirements before class starts. Here are some tips for saving money. 
  1. Practice Your Time Management Skills:
  • Every Sunday in July, take a few minutes to plan out your week. Make plans to spend time with friends, to exercise, to work at a summer job, to read, to clean your room, and to engage in a hobby or favorite activity. Then write down your activities and tasks in a paper planner or paper calendar, on your laptop’s calendar, or on a whiteboard in your room. By doing so, you will become more aware of how your time is spent, how long it takes to get where you are going, and the actual length of time an activity lasts. This is good practice for when you are planning your college schedule. By practicing during the summer, you will strengthen your time management skills for the fall.
  1. Practice Your Study Skills:
  • One of the most essential study skills is the ability to effectively take notes. July is a great time to get familiar with note-taking strategies and find the one that best fits your learning style.
    Effective strategies include paying attention to boldface words and headings reworking main ideas into concepts that are easily understood, being attentive to captions, using different modes of note-taking such as highlighters, sticky notes, index cards, graphs, charts, and diagrams. The goal is to make sure that the notes you take either answer or reference the objective and questions that accompany each lesson. Don’t just write down every word the instructor says. Listen to what is being said and try to relate it to your life. Putting it in your own words will also help reinforce the lesson. Here’s a way to practice: listen to a TED talk that interests you and be sure to take notes as if it is a lecture for a college class. Then highlight the main topics or make note cards with index cards. Study your notes and have a friend or life coach quiz you and see how well you remembered the information. This is a great way to practice note taking during the summer!
  • Create or find a comfortable space to study free from distractions. Some people prefer the library, others a coffee shop, or a bedroom. Find out what works for you!
  1. Practice Life Skills:
  • The summer months are a great time to learn and practice the life skills that are needed for college. Learn to do your own laundry and practice doing it once a week. Wash your sheets and make your bed with clean sheets. Make yourself an appointment at the dentist. Go grocery shopping and then make a meal. Practicing these skills will make life at college so much easier!
  1. Practice Self-Care:
  • Learn to treat yourself well! Practice getting to bed at a time that allows you to wake up refreshed. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and are likely to continue to do once classes start. Make healthy decisions regarding what you choose to eat. Develop a plan for what you will do when you feel overwhelmed, such as meeting with a therapist or life coach or taking a yoga class.

So while you are enjoying the lovely summer season, spend some time preparing for college in the fall. Advance LA’s Life Skills Coaches assist their clients with getting ready for college by helping them practice the above 5 skills. A Life Skills Coach provides support and encouragement to make summertime college prep as fun as a day at the beach!

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

, ,

Health and Wellness

 

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month! Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? The Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend that adults eat 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. That seems like a lot! And research shows that most adults eat only 0 – 2 servings per day.

We all know that eating fruits and veggies can help us to feel healthier. But even for the most health-conscious eaters, getting more of these nutrients can be a challenge. So, here are 8 tips for adding more fruits and veggies to your daily diet. And keep in mind that ½ cup of a fruit or vegetable equals one serving.

  1. Choose a healthy snack: Instead of grabbing a bag of potato chips or a candy bar for a snack, try choosing something healthier such as carrots with hummus, celery sticks, and peanut butter, or a piece of fruit.
  2. Keep fruit in sight: You are more likely to eat fruit if it is easy to see. Place bananas and tangerines in a pretty bowl on the counter where you will see them on the way out the door. Have cherries and grapes rinsed and ready to grab from the refrigerator.
  3. Make soup – it’s easy!: Homemade soups are super easy to make and have lots of vegetables in one serving. Just saute carrots, onions, celery, green beans, and corn until tender. Then add a can of tomatoes and 3 cups of vegetable broth – viola! Homemade soup! Throw in a can of beans or some pasta for a heartier soup if you like.
  4. Think of the fruits/veggies!: Make sure every meal or snack you eat is paired with a fruit or veggie. This can be accomplished by add salsa to your eggs, avocado to your turkey sandwich, and fruit to your cereal.
  5. Double up: Two serving of veggies, please! The USDA recommends filling half your plate with fruits and veggies.
  6. Dessert!: A sweet snack after dinner can be a handful of frozen grapes or strawberries – especially delightful in the summertime!
  7. Make a smoothie: A smoothie can be a perfect breakfast, lunch or snack. Start with your favorite fruits, add some almond milk, and then throw in a handful of greens for an added nutritional boost. And if you add a banana or a small spoonful of peanut butter you won’t taste the greens!
  8. Share the cooking! It’s more fun to cook with a friend or Life Skills Coach and experiment with finding ways to add fruits and vegetables to your favorite dishes. Try adding a layer of spinach to the lasagna or a cup of sautéed diced carrots into the spaghetti sauce – you will be surprised how good it tastes!

Having health and wellness as a goal can help to make you more aware of your daily nutrient intake. Grocery shopping and planning meals with a friend, parent or life skills coach is a great way to achieve your goal of choosing to eat in a more health-conscious manner. Happy Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month!

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

, ,

May is the Month to Find a Summer Job!

 

Now is the time to start looking for that summer job. The earlier you start, the more likely it is that you will find a job that you like and one that is a good match for your skills. A recent study showed that 70 percent of all summer jobs are usually filled by the end of May because employers want to have their hires in place by the time summer begins. So let’s do this!

 

1) First things first: create a resume

Even if you do not have any formal job experience, you can still impress employers with a professional-looking resume. You can list unpaid internships, extracurricular activities, volunteer stints, and classwork related to the prospective job. If you are unsure what your resume should look like, you can visit the career office on your college campus, meet with a Life Skills Coach, or ask a supportive adult.     

 

2) Have your list of references ready to go

Prepare a list of three references ready to give to interviewers. Teachers, professors or academic advisors, volunteer leaders, and coaches, can provide a personal reference. Babysitting and volunteer references are fine if you are looking for your first formal job. Make sure to ask your reference giver ahead of time, if you can use them as a reference.

 

3) Practice and prepare for your job interview

Career counselors say that interviewers make up their mind about hiring in the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate. Therefore, to make a good first impression, summer job seekers should practice doing mock job interviews with life skills coaches, family, friends, and teachers, to get feedback. Also, because nothing is more important than making a good first impression, applicants should show up at an interview dressed in a professional manner. This means a suit, or pants (not jeans) and a button-down shirt, a dress, or skirt and blouse.

On the day of your interview, arrive early, bring your resume, turn off your cell phone, have a strong handshake, and make direct eye contact when meeting the employer. Also, be confident and enthusiastic about the position. Then after the interview, be sure to send a thank-you note in the regular mail or by e-mail.

 

4) Show that you are flexible by being available to work

Research shows that employers ranked “being available for all shifts” as the most important thing they are looking for in new employees. Employers expect employees to work evenings and weekends. Applicants who state that they are willing to work hard-to-fill shifts have a better chance at getting hired.

 

5) Make sure your social media can pass inspection!

It is now a common practice for employers to look at a candidate’s social media presence. Applicants should take a look at their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts and make sure that there isn’t anything inappropriate. One rule of thumb is, “If you wouldn’t want to your parents or your professors to see it, don’t put it up!”

 

6) How to find a summer job

There are basically three ways to find a summer job: networking, using online job sites, and “pounding the pavement.”

Networking is a great way to find a summer job. Talk to teachers, family members, coaches, friends, and parents of friends and ask if they can help you with your job search. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much people will want to help you!

Online job sites like indeed.com are also really helpful. Use the site’s search engine by typing in a keyword like “summer job” and the city where you want to work. Most job sites require applicants to upload a resume and a cover letter.

“Pounding the pavement” is also an effective method for finding a summer job. This means walking into a business and asking the manager if he or she is hiring. This shows confidence, motivation, and maturity. Make sure you have your resume and list of references ready to go!

 

7) And last but not least, stay positive!

A positive attitude is the most important thing in a summer hire, even more so than experience. So during the interview, and in your follow up thank you note, convey that you are passionate and enthusiastic about the open position. Good luck job hunting – you got this!

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

, ,

Spring Cleaning Strategies

 

Spring is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. At this time of year, we begin to feel more open to inviting changes – both big and small – into our lives.

One type of change that can bring about a sense of optimism and enthusiasm is to undertake a spring cleaning for your home. Psychologists suggest that spring cleaning has a very valuable function: as we remove our home’s clutter of all the things we needed for comfort during the winter months, we make room for spring items that symbolize new beginnings.

Before you start, choose a reward for yourself for when you are finished – maybe a mani/pedi, a splurge on a restaurant that you have been wanting to try, or going to a movie the IMAX theatre. Then make a to-do list of what you want to clean. Once you are finished, you can check off the items on your list that you accomplished, and say, “I got a lot done today and now I am going to treat myself for a job well done!”

Spring Cleaning Strategies:

1-Get Rid Of The Clutter

Professional organizers suggest the “4 step method.” This means sorting your stuff into four categories: (1) trash, (2) giveaway, (3) store neatly, or (4) keep out on display.  Arm yourself with large trash bags before you begin. The items you put in the trash category may cause you to feel a pang of loss so experts suggest that you take a photo of the item so you can keep the good memories that are attached to the item. The items that you give away can be donated to Goodwill. Put away neatly the items you plan to store and wipe down or clean the items you plan to display.

Cleaning will be so much easier when the clutter is gone. And you will feel energized once all of the clutter that is weighing you down – literally and figuratively – is gone!

2-No need to buy lots of cleaning products

There are an overwhelming number of cleaning supplies. The problem of buying lots of different products is that you now have all the cleaning supply bottles cluttering up your cabinets! You really just need a vacuum, dishwashing soap, a good all-purpose cleaner and paper towels or microfiber cloths.

3-Time to Clean!

Gather cleaning products, a sponge, a bucket with sudsy water, and a few towels.

You’re going to start with the “top zone” of the top floor of your home. The top zone is any area above your head. Start here:

  • Dust above cabinets
  • Clean air vents
  • Dust or clean ceiling fans
  • Dust or wash light fixtures
  • Clean high windows
  • Change light bulbs and replace air filters

Next, move to the “mid-to-low-zone,” otherwise known as waist-level. These are the surfaces you probably clean weekly, but for today, give them a little more attention and an extra deep cleaning:

  • Dust surfaces
  • Polish wood furniture
  • Clean leather furniture
  • Vacuum and spot clean upholstered furniture
  • Wash sheets and change bed linens
  • Clean and wipe down bathroom sinks and counters
  • Scrub showers and bathtubs
  • Clean toilets

Finally, move to the “bottom zone” or floor-level surfaces. It’s time to pick up ALL that dirt and dust that’s shifted down toward the floor. Now it’s time to:

  • Sweep hard floors
  • Spot clean and mop tile or linoleum floors
  • Vacuum rugs and carpets
  • Wash small area rugs
  • Dust baseboards
  • Sweep front and back steps and/or porch

4-Create New Cleaning Habits

Now that your home is clean, you will want to keep it that way! A simple, daily clean up in the bathroom (wipe down shower, wipe off counters), a nightly clean-up of the kitchen (wash and put away dishes, clean stove top, sweep floor, throw out old food), and a weekly bedroom tidying (put clothes away, wash bed linens, straighten up) will keep your home neat and clean all year.

Congratulations – your home is now clean, organized and ready for spring! Now give yourself that reward because you deserve it!

If the thought of spring cleaning overwhelms you, Advance LA Life Skills Coaches can help! Our coaches help their clients to use executive functioning skills to create their to-do cleaning lists, their shopping list for cleaning supplies, and then they assist, support and encourage their clients as they clean. It’s more fun, and less daunting, to clean with a supportive coach!

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

, ,

March Madness, Inspiration to Exercise!

 

Its March Madness month! For college basketball fans, this is the highpoint of the year. But for all of us, March is a great month to focus on exercise, health and wellness. Let’s call it March Motivation!

First, we need to put away the excuses. You don’t have the time? You don’t have the money to join a gym? You say you are too busy to exercise? Well, the good news is there are plenty of easy, no-cost ways to exercise and you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, the research says that it is beneficial to spread your physical activity throughout the week which means that you should do a small amount of exercise every day.

So, let’s do this! Here are some suggestions:

1)Walk and talk: grab a friend, a co-worker or your life-skills coach, and go outside for a walk. It makes the time go by faster when you are talking to someone. And if an exercise pal isn’t available, try listening to an interesting podcast or music while you walk.

2) Walk your dog: Your dog is always delighted to take a walk with you. 

3) Go to a new neighborhood and explore it by foot; browse the shops, have a bite to eat, get a cup of coffee – you never know what you might find!

4) Take a walk at the mall: If it is too hot or too cold outside, take a fast walk around the mall. You can window shop and people watch while getting in a good workout.

5) Shop for produce at your local farmers market: It’s a great way to get outside and walk around and the gorgeous produce may even inspire you to try a new healthy recipe!

6) Park farther away from your destination than you normally would: park in a safe spot and then walk to your destination. You might find you enjoy not having the stress of finding a place to park close to where you are going.

7) Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator: Even if it’s just for a floor or two or take the stairs two at a time.

If you make exercise a priority, you will find lots of opportunities to be more active every day. A great tip is to not think of exercise as something you have to get dressed in exercise gear in order to do or something that you have to pay for. Try to incorporate a little exercise into every day. Remember, every step counts!

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

, ,

Dating for Young Adults with Diverse Challenges

 

Oh, February – the month where the focus is on romance and dating. For all of us, dating can be nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing. For neurodiverse young adults, dating can be particularly challenging due to a lack of self-confidence and insecurities.

A lot of people get nervous about dating and end up staying home and thinking, “I really want to date.” So it is important to get yourself to informal social situations that will allow you to meet other young people. You can try going to a club l.a event, or joining a bowling league, going to a church or temple event, or trying a new hobby like an art or cooking class.

So what to do if you are at a social event and you find yourself wanting to meet another person? Here are some tips to help you get into the swing of dating:

1.) Some people need to know someone as a friend for a while before they are comfortable enough to go on a date. So how do you get more comfortable with each other? You have to talk to the other person. This is the beginning stage of dating when two people see if they have common interests; what are their favorite activities, what are their favorite foods, and what do they want in the future. If you find out you both love pizza, then going out for pizza is a great date!

2.) It can be tricky finding out if the person that you like feels the way about you. One sign is the person wants to talk to you and wants to find out more about you as a person. Remember, a lot of people get nervous talking to someone they like so the conversation may be a bit awkward at first. But if they ask you for your number or ask if you want to go to a movie or out to lunch, that can be a sign that they are interested in you. Or you can invite them to do something with you and if they say “yes,” then that may be the sign you are looking for!

3.) Try to be open to trying something new. Often times a person will want to share their favorite activity with someone they want to get to know better. For example, a person who loves their bowling league may invite the person they like to go bowling. You might be surprised how much you like doing something just because you like the person you are doing it with!

4.) It might take the pressure off if you don’t think about your activity as a “date” and instead just think about it as two people sharing an activity. And it’s ok if you find out that you like each other but don’t always like the same activities. For example, some people like to cook and some people don’t like to cook but they love to try new foods. This could still work out really well!

5.) If you meet someone online, get to know the person really well before you first meet in person. If you decide to meet them, then meet in a public place where there are lots of people around. Let a family member, good friend or coach know that you’re going to be on a date so that they’re aware of it, and even check in with that person during the date to make sure everything is going okay. Don’t get into your date’s car or go to their home or apartment the first time you meet. It’s a good idea to have your date meet your family member, good friend or coach so that the people you know can get to know your date as well.

6.) Preparing for your date might reduce your nervousness. Make arrangements for how you will get to the date and bring money to pay for the activity. Think about what you might talk about. You might try role-playing with a friend, coach or parent to practice having a conversation. Make sure to share the conversation so you both get to talk.

7.) Be honest with the person you like. And be sure you are both comfortable and happy doing the things you decide to do together.

And after being with the person you liked for a while, you might find that you have changed your mind and you no longer like them romantically. That is fine! It might be best if you both just stay friends.

And keep in mind that you do not have to go out with a person just because that person wants to go out with you.

And what happens if the person you like decides that they prefer to just be friends with you? That is okay too. Your feelings may be hurt for a bit which is absolutely normal. It happens to everyone. It just means that the person you are meant to be with is still out there waiting for you to find them!

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

, ,

How to Set Realistic Goals for the New Year

 

The beginning of a New Year is an opportune time for setting a goal and looking forward to the wonderful feeling of achieving it.

As an Advance LA Life Skills Coach, I teach my clients the important skill of goal setting. I explain that goal setting means choosing something that you want to accomplish and then taking the steps to make it happen. A phrase to keep in mind is, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me!”  I explain that a coach can offer support to help a client achieve their goal but, ultimately, it’s the person who is in charge of achieving his or her goal.

 

Fun Facts:

  • 90% of successful people set goals.
  • By setting goals, a person chooses where they will go in life.
  • By setting a goal, a person can achieve more, improve performance, increase self-esteem, and increase self-confidence.
  • By setting a goal, a person can feel less stress, concentrate better and feel happier!

 

A good strategy for setting goals is to use the “S.M.A.R.T.” strategy. This means you make your goal Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Specific:  Define what is important to you: what do you want to accomplish? Decide exactly what you want your goal to be. For example, instead of “get better grades” the goal should be stated as, “I will earn a B or better in my math class.”  Instead of “make more friends” the goal should be stated as “I will take a risk and join a school club or attend a club l.a. event this month.”

Measurable: Include precise amounts or dates so you know when you have met your goal. For example, “I will complete my math homework every day” or “I will invite a classmate to get coffee after class once a month.”

Attainable: Give your goal some real thought. Is it YOUR goal or really your parents? Is it actually possible or too far out of reach? For example, “I will go for a brisk walk four times a week” may be more attainable than  “I will run a 5K race.”

Relevant: Your goal must further you in the direction you want to go in. Review your goal once a month and determine if it is still important to you. Talk about your goal with a parent, coach, or teacher. If the goal is no longer of interest, feel free to change it!

Timely: A deadline is essential so you know when to celebrate your success. It feels great to achieve a goal so choose an end time that is realistic. For example, “I will make my bed in the morning every day for four weeks.”

And of course the best part of goal setting: choosing a reward for when the goal is met. Enjoy the feeling of satisfaction of a job well done! If you did not achieve the goal, take the time to reflect on what happened. Was the goal unrealistic? Did you try your best? And remember, a goal can always be adjusted and a person can always try again!

Goal setting is empowering because it provides a focus and a true sense of accomplishment when the goal is met. Setting a realistic goal is a skill of knowing how to make your dreams a reality.

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

, ,

Returning To College With A New Outlook

Parents of college freshmen look forward to their child coming home for the Winter break. But parental excitement can turn to worry when their child announces that they do not want to return to college after the holiday. This is not an unusual situation as thirty percent of college freshman will not return for their sophomore year with a large percentage not returning after the Thanksgiving or holiday break.

In a recent New York Times article, “When a College Student Comes Home To Stay,” authors William Stixrud and Ned Johnson discussed this trend. The authors noted that college freshmen are often devastated about not feeling emotionally able to return to school. In addition, they experience intense worry that they have disappointed their parents.

It is easy to understand how freshman year can be overwhelming as college life is a highly dysregulated environment. There is little structure, inconsistent sleep and eating patterns, and often a great deal of alcohol and drug usage. To add to this mix, students often feel intense pressure to succeed socially as well as get good grades. According to the American College Health Association, 62 percent of undergrads reported feeling “overwhelming anxiety.”

If your child says that he does not want to return to college after the Thanksgiving break or after winter break, there are steps a parent can take to offer support and guidance.

The following are suggestions for parents to assist their child with a plan for returning to college:

1.) Encourage your child to find a job: Working helps young adults learn to manage their time and budget their finances. Discuss with your child that a first job may not be the beginning of their career but it can be a wonderful opportunity to gain job skills. Grocery store jobs or retail jobs teach young adults responsibility, the importance of punctuality, and how to get along with co-workers and supervisors.

2.) Encourage your child to take a class at your local community college: Discuss with your child that he or she can take a class for the sole purpose of exploring a interesting subject without the pressure of needing to get a good grade. Often times college freshman become overwhelmed, and discouraged, by required courses that are of little interest. Discovering a true passion may motivate a young adult to return to college more focused and invigorated.

3.) Address any mental health issues: Parents often want to believe that enrolling in college will eliminate any mental health issues that were present in high school. However, college life tends to exacerbate issues due to the lack of support from family and close friends. Taking time off from college may allow a young person to gain a better understanding of their strengths and challenges. When returning to college,  parents can require that their child be able to demonstrate knowledge about campus support services in case the need arises.

4.) Life Skills Coaching: A life skills coach can provide the support a returning college freshman needs to regain their confidence. Learning time management and executive functioning skills can help a young adult learn to budget their time and stay on top of their school work. Coaches can assist young adults with how to get involved in campus activities. Further, a coach can help a young adult increase their self-reliance and independence allowing for a successful re-entry to college.

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

,

Helping Young Adults After A Wildfire

Experiencing a wildfire can be frightening and traumatic. Seeing the devastation to homes and communities can be overwhelming and can undermine an individual’s sense of security. The wildfires in Calabasas, Agoura, Westlake, and Thousand Oaks have presented intense coping challenges including the need to relocate, especially when a home or community is destroyed.

Wildfires come with unique challenges in that the amount of warning can vary from one neighborhood to the next. While some people may have had hours or days to evacuate, others may have had only a few minutes to gather their belongings and leave their home. Even if an evacuation wasn’t necessary, preparing for the possibility can be frightening along with watching the images of nearby homes burning on the news and social media.

A young adult’s possible reactions may include sleeping and eating disturbances, agitation, increase in conflicts, physical complaints, and poor concentration.

Parents and caregivers can offer the following strategies to help young adults cope:

  1. Remain calm and reassuring: Acknowledge the loss or destruction, but empathize the community’s efforts to clean up and rebuild. Offer reassurance that, in time, life will return to normal.
  2. Acknowledge and normalize feelings: Create time and space for the discussion of feelings and concerns. Listen and empathize. Offer reassurance that intense reactions are normal and expected.
  3. Promote positive coping and problem-solving skills: Encourage young adults to develop realistic and positive methods of coping that allow for the management of anxiety and that match the situation.   
  4. Emphasize resiliency: Help young adults identify what they have done in the past that helped them cope when they were frightened or upset. Bring their attention to other communities that have experienced wildfires and recovered.
  5. If necessary, seek mental health support. Individual counseling can help a young adult develop effective means of coping, and learn to understand and adjust following a wildfire.

Parents and caregivers can help young adults with special needs in the aftermath of a wildfire by remaining calm and reassuring. Response efforts should emphasize teaching effective coping strategies and offering support to help young adults understand that their reactions are normal and expected.

 

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

,

10 Tips to Keep Holiday Stress at Bay for Young Adults

Holidays bring fun and joy – and also a fair amount of stress! Decorating, holiday visits, and shopping for gifts can be overwhelming for all family members. You may notice that your adult child with special needs is feeling overwhelmed and stressed out but they are having trouble articulating how they are feeling. It can be helpful to have a conversation about how feeling anxious during the holiday season is a very common experience.

WHAT IS STRESS?

Something you can’t see or touch but can definitely feel.

The name for Tension in your mind and body.

A Reaction to things that are new, different or overwhelming.

It’s Especially common during the holiday season.

A Source of headaches and stomachaches.

Something you can learn to handle!

A little stress isn’t bad. Sometimes stress is good because it can energize you to get up in the morning and get to work or school on time. But too much stress can make you feel sick, tired, sad and worried.

The following are strategies when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out:

STRESS MESS: Everything annoys you and you want to scream

STRATEGY: Take some time alone, put on headphones, close your eyes and imagine you are in your favorite place in the world.

STRESS MESS: Your feel restless, frantic and jumpy.

STRATEGY: Do something positive with your energy; go for a run or a long walk. If you are at work or in school, take a bathroom break or get a drink of water.

STRESS MESS: You can’t stop worrying, even about unrealistic things.

STRATEGY: Do something creative like draw or paint, bake cookies, listen to music, go for a walk.

                        10 DAILY WAYS TO KEEP STRESS AT BAY:

  1. Be active – exercise lifts your spirits and helps you feel relaxed.
  2. Eat healthy foods – a healthy body fights stress better.
  3. Avoid caffeine – it makes a person feel more edgy.
  4. Get enough sleep each night – you will feel more relaxed when you wake up.
  5. Laugh!
  6. Be neat – being organized helps you feel in control.
  7. Express your feelings – unlock your voice and unlock your stress.
  8. Be a planner – it will help you feel in control of your day.
  9. Talk to someone about your problems – you will feel better.
  10. Take a moment each day to feel gratitude.