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Tips on How to Draw Your Future

As we all know, January is the traditional time to make a list of resolutions to improve our behavior.

But for those of us with executive functioning challenges, it is also a time to be kind to ourselves about any incomplete resolutions from the previous year and start out with a clean slate.

A lot of us have the best intentions of working our way through a written list of resolutions but maybe there is a better way?

This year, why not try something new and draw your future. Yes, draw your life’s dreams, desires, and goals.

A visual representation of your dreams and goals is known as a Vision Board. Creating a New Year’s resolution vision board is a powerful way to visualize all of the things you want to do, be, and have in your life. It also serves as a daily reminder of your goals and is a great way to hold yourself accountable.

So pick a day in January to make a date with yourself. Sit down with a soothing hot beverage and a favorite snack, as well as a large piece of paper and pencils or markers. First, draw yourself in the middle of the paper. Next, take time to dream about what you would like to have happened in the coming year.

Then, draw your future! Draw the home you would like to live in, and draw yourself working or studying in the field that you would like to be in. Draw yourself doing an activity you would like to try, or a new food you think will taste good, or a new city you would like to visit.

There is something perhaps a bit magical about putting your future dreams down on paper where you can see them. Somehow it makes them feel real and feel possible.

Once you complete your vision board, make sure to post in a place where you will see it often and where it will inspire you to action. Share your vision board with a parent, trusted friend, or Life Coach and ask for support to help you make your visions a reality!

And from all of us at Advance LA, we wish for you a New Year filled with health, prosperity and joyful action.

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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.

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3 Tips for Managing the Holidays

For some of us, the holiday season can be a minefield of social expectations. There is a lot of pressure placed on everyone during the holidays to spend time with family and friends. But those types of interaction require a social proficiency that can be difficult for young adults with challenges. Young adults who struggle socially may need to plan ahead to take frequent time-outs as a strategy for successfully enjoying the holidays.

Here are tips that may be helpful:

1) If you have trouble socializing, it is perfectly fine to give yourself permission to take some time to be by yourself. Although we are constantly bombarded with media images of families and friends spending huge amounts of time together, many of us need time alone to center ourselves. This is important because behaving in a manner that is not true to your authentic self is a recipe for unhappiness.

If socializing is stressful for you, then a good strategy is to spend small amounts of time interacting with others. For example, you can enjoy a holiday dinner with your family, and then excuse yourself to take some time alone. If you feel up to it, you can rejoin your family for dessert.

2) If you are someone who loves consistency, the chaos of the holidays and loss of routines can be really stressful. Routines create a feeling of calm and safety, as well as reduce the number of decisions that we have to make. But holiday festivities often disrupt the normal flow of a day or week. So try to keep to your regular routine as much as possible and only schedule a holiday event once a week. There is no “right” way to celebrate the season. Do what works for you!

3) Use your coping skills during stressful times. Remind yourself that it takes true strength to ask for assistance. Reach out to a trusted person in your life such as a parent, good friend, or Life Coach. Let them know you could use support for dealing with holiday stress.

If you are at a party and begin to feel overwhelmed, step outside and take deep breaths until you feel calmer. And try to find time to exercise. Sometimes a walk around the block is enough to allow you to feel centered and ready to re-engage.

With some preparation and planning, you will be able to carry on during the holidays and perhaps even find yourself enjoying them!

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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.

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4 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

November brings the start of holiday fun and excitement! But despite the joys of the season, many people find themselves feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the holiday season’s extra activities, social and familial demands, and general stress.

Most of us try to load up our already busy schedules while worrying about attending to our normal duties. With all of these higher expectations on us, it is easy to feel robbed of what should be a holiday season filled with joy, love, and wonder. So what to do?

Here are some strategies for decreasing feelings of holiday stress and increasing your enjoyment of the holiday season:

1. Practice Planning And Organizational Skills:

  • Create a to-do list: The phrase, “ink it when you think it” is a great motto. Write down the thoughts that are causing you stress so you can review them at a later time when you are feeling calm. Keep a pen and pad of paper nearby!
  • Check your to-do list at the beginning of each day. Arrange items in the order of priority. This will give a sense of control over your day and also keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

2. Create Reminders To Help You Stay On-task With Your Calendar

  • Write important dates on a calendar that you frequently check.
  • Make a daily schedule. This helps you plan your day.
  • Make post-it note reminders and put them up near your bathroom mirror or front door.
  • Alarms (alarm clock or phone/computer alarm) can be helpful to jog your memory.

3. Create A Plan of Attack To Use Every Time You Need To Complete A Big Task Such As Making Plane Reservations or Party Planning:

  • Figure out what you need to do.
  • Plan how and when you will do it
  • Figure out how much time is needed to complete the task
  • Treat yourself when you finish the task!

3. Know Your Productivity Cycle

  • It’s important to pay attention to your own productivity cycle.
  • Ask yourself ‘What’s my most productive time of the day?’ Then, schedule that time of day for working on your most important tasks or activities.

Above all, remind yourself to practice self-care! Schedule in down-time in your schedule so that you have time to relax and unwind.

And if you do feel that your level of stress is draining away the fun of the holidays, reach out to a trusted friend, family member or life coach. Talking with someone is a great way to relieve anxiety and stress. And remember, it takes strength to ask for help when you need it.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season from everyone at Advance LA!

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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.

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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.