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How to Keep a Positive Mindset

 

Positive Mindset

With all that is going on in the world, it is important to have a Positive Mindset. This  doesn’t mean you are always smiling and laughing. Rather, it means that you are focusing on all that is good in life and maintaining an optimistic overall perspective.

A person with a Positive Mindset chooses to focus on the bright side and to approach challenges with a positive outlook.

You can teach yourself to have a Positive Mindset by making positive thinking a habit, always looking for the silver lining, and trying to make the best out of difficult situations.

A person with a Positive Mindset strives to have these 5 characteristics:

  1. Optimism: An optimistic person makes an effort with the assumption that his or her efforts will pay off.
  2. Acceptance:  This means you can acknowledge that things in life don’t always turn out how you want them to but you can learn, and grow, from your mistakes.
  3. Resilience: A resilient person bounces back from disappointment and doesn’t give up.
  4. Gratitude: This means that you actively appreciate all the good things in your life.
  5. Integrity: This means you are honest and trustworthy.

Practice the following behaviors to develop your Positive Mindset:

  1. Smile!
  2. Give someone a compliment.
  3. Tell someone that they did a great job!
  4. Try not to complain – instead do something to fix the problem!
  5. Do not let other people’s negativity bring you down.
  6. Give of yourself, volunteer!
  7. Be compassionate with yourself, remind yourself that you are doing your best.
  8. Be true to yourself…. Always.

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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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The 4 A’s: Dealing With Stressful Situations

 

Life can be really stressful! And if you are starting something new like a spring college semester or a new job, it can feel really overwhelming as you juggle responsibilities and trying to manage your time.

A good strategy for managing stress is using the 4 A’s: AVOID unnecessary stress, ALTER the stressful situations, ADAPT to the stressor and ACCEPT the things you can’t change.

AVOID Unnecessary Stress

Not all stress can be avoided and, actually, it really isn’t healthy to avoid the situations in your life that cause you stress. But, you may be surprised by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.

  • Learn how to say “no” – know your limits and stick to them. Whether it’s your personal, academic or work life, don’t take on more than you can handle.
  • Avoid the people who stress you out! Hang out with friends that help you have fun!
  • Narrow down your to-do list: Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you feel like you have too much on your plate, figure out the things you “should” do as compared to what you “must” do. Then push the “shoulds” to the bottom of the list and get started on the “musts.” And don’t get too stressed if your “shoulds” don’t get done until the next day.

ALTER The Stressful Situation

If you cannot avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem or stressor doesn’t present itself in the future.

  • Express your feelings when you feel stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated. This applies to parents, siblings, friends, roommates or co-workers. If something is bothering you, communicating your concerns in an open and respectful manner can help the situation.
  • Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you are both willing to bend at least a little, you will have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.
  • Manage your time well. Plan ahead and make sure not to overextend yourself, especially if it’s your first semester at college or your first few weeks at a new job.

ADAPT To The Stressor

If you can’t change the stressor, try and change your reaction. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

  • Try to view the stressful situation from a more positive perspective – aim to try to think of it as a learning opportunity for future stressful situations.
  • Look at the big picture, and try to put the stressful situation into perspective. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run? Will it matter in a month? A year? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere!
  • Focus on the positive – staying optimistic in stressful situations makes them a whole lot easier to get through!

ACCEPT The Things You Can’t Change

Some sources of stress are simply unavoidable.

  • Don’t try and control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control, particularly the behaviors of others. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on what you can control such as the way you choose to react to them.
  • Look for the upside – new experiences like college or a new job are just one big learning experience. Take advantage of the chance to learn something new even if it does come with a little bit of stress now and then!

When you are feeling stressed, sometimes just talking to someone in itself can be helpful. Talking with a parent, friend, trusted adult, or Life Coach when you are feeling overwhelmed is a great strategy for clearing your mind and helping you to feel more centered.

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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 Ways to Celebrate Yourself

 

This year, why not choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to love and take care of yourself! You are deserving of all the good in the world so make 2020 the year where you practice self-care and honor yourself.

Try these 10 ways to celebrate how wonderful you are on Valentine’s Day or any day:

  1. Write yourself an affirmation letter. Write down the things that you really like about yourself – it could be your beautiful curly hair, your excellent gaming skills or your kind heart. Make it a point to re-read your letter often. Positive self-talk is a great strategy for creating and maintaining a positive outlook on life!
  2. Find an interesting place near your home that you haven’t explored before and see it on your own terms. Get outside and explore the world. Seize the day!
  3. Bake something sweet for yourself! Try a new chocolate chip cookie recipe or decadent brownies. Sweets for the sweet – you!
  4. See the movie that you really want to see. Going to see a movie alone may feel strange at first but it is also really liberating! It feels good to not have to share the popcorn!
  5. Take a walk – with yourself. Cue up your favorite playlist or try a new podcast. Walking is good for your mind and body. Take in the scenery and enjoy the fresh air!
  6. Share your love! Spend an hour at your local animal shelter and feel all the love from the animals who are so happy to see you!
  7. Do a random act of kindness. Brighten up a neighbor’s day by bringing them flowers or maybe bring them a plate of the cookies you made!
  8. Take good care of yourself. Make an appointment for your yearly physical or your annual dental visit. While maybe not super fun, taking good care of your health is the ultimate act of self-care. Choose to take care of yourself with the same love and compassion, in the same manner, you would take care of a new puppy. You deserve it!
  9. Treat yourself to something delicious to eat! You can choose to eat something really healthy or a giant Reese’s peanut butter cup. Enjoy, this is your day!
  10. Tell someone you love them. Let your mom, dad, grandparents, or someone special in your life that you love and appreciate them. We all need to know we are loved!

Have a happy 14th! You’ve got the best Valentine around – you!

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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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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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7 Tips for Handling Your ADHD

October is ADHD Awareness Month. This is a time to celebrate the progress made in ADHD education and advocacy as well as raise awareness about the importance of diagnosis and treatment.

People with ADHD often feel like they have a “short fuse” meaning that they are quick to anger. This tendency can sometimes put a strain on personal relationships and job performance because what starts out as a feeling of small annoyance can quickly turn into huge frustration. Here are ways to keep your cool when you have ADHD by using stress management techniques.

  1. The most simple strategy: breathe. Take 10 slow deep breaths before or during a stressful situation. Slowing your breathing can go a long way toward keeping your cool.
  2. Get up and move. Stretch for a few minutes or take a quick walk.
  3. Become more aware of time. Adults with ADHD often find it difficult to be on time, finish a task, or stay on track. Useful strategies to combat this include using a watch, timer, cell phone, or computer calendar that will buzz and alert you so you can check whether you are staying on task.
  4. Just say no. Don’t sabotage yourself by saying yes to everything asked of you and then overbook yourself and feel stressed out.
  5. Exercise regularly. People who are active are calmer. Psychologists think this is because exercise boosts the body’s capacity to respond to stress.
  6. Figure out what helps you stay calm. For example, does laying your next day’s clothes out the night before help you stay organized? Does adding extra time to get somewhere help you avoid being late? Keeping a journal that lists every time you react is likely to help you figure out why you react, and how to avoid it.
  7. Find a coach experienced in working with adults with ADHD. A coach can help you with almost every aspect of life with ADHD, including advising you on how to be more organized, get along with friends, relatives, and your spouse, and generally encourage you.

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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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Living With Your Young Adult

 

For many parents and young adults who live together at home, life can sometimes be a bit frustrating. Parents may prefer more structure while young adults may yearn for more freedom.

One way for parents and young adults to navigate this complicated time is to set boundaries. Firm, clear boundaries create reasonable expectations for everyone. This becomes the foundations for a living agreement. There are three basic principles that make up a living agreement:

1- Establish privileges and boundaries.

All privileges and boundaries are unique to each family. Start the creation of a living agreement by having a family meeting and having a discussion about what boundaries will work for your family.

Examples: Parents will pay for cell phone costs if the young adult works or volunteers 10-20 hours per week. Or, if the young adult is paying even a nominal amount of rent, then parents can not enter the young adult’s room if the door is closed. Parents will pay for car insurance if the young person does their own laundry, keeps their room and bathroom clean, takes out the garbage and helps out with grocery shopping and other household needs.

There are consequences for not upholding responsibilities. For example, the young adult may not have access to the gaming console if daily hygiene is not maintained. And parents may have to pay $5 to the young adult every time they enter the young adult’s room without permission!

2- Pick and choose your battles.

To start a living agreement, begin with one to three items. These should be small, easy to accomplish items. The living agreement document can and should evolve over time. If an adult child begins to take on additional responsibilities, they should, in turn, have more privileges.

3- Set realistic expectations and boundaries – on both sides.

Setting realistic expectations allows a young adult to feel a sense of accomplishment. And having a young adult set their own boundaries allows for smaller victories to reach larger triumphs.

A living agreement is a great tool for communicating your expectations with your young adult who is living at home. If you are interested in learning more about creating a living agreement, please join us at the Advance LA Parent to Parent Support Group on August 16, 2019, from 6:30 – 8 pm. Our guest speakers are Bonnie Schuman and Hali Paul who are certified mediators who specialize in working with young adults and their parents in resolving conflicts and repairing relationships.

Many young adults may need additional assistance with achieving independent living. Advance LA offers a one-to-one Life Skills Coaching program where our coaches help their young adult clients with independent living skills.

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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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5 Ways to Manage Autumn Anxiety

 

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy, right? Well, not necessarily.

If thinking about summer coming to an end makes you feel anxious, you are not alone. It seems that a large number of young adults find the thought of starting the fall semester or the upcoming return of chillier weather to be a cause for higher anxiety levels.

Therapists are calling this end-of-summer anxiety, “autumn anxiety”,  after seeing so many clients with feelings of anticipation and nervousness during the last week of August through the first weeks of September.

Some people hate the heat and the laziness of summer and can’t wait until the fall season starts. But there are other people who LOVE the summertime and experience deep and intense feelings of sadness and panic at the thought of the summer season coming to an end. There are often feelings of guilt about not having done all that they wanted to do during the summer, especially as the summer months seem to come with a great deal of pressure for everyone to “make the most of every summer moment.”

Some of the anxiety regarding fall is that, even for adults, there are feelings of new things happening, new schedules, new assignments, and new jobs. It makes sense that people feel anxious!

If these autumn anxiety symptoms sound familiar, here are a few tips for taking back the enjoyment of August:

  1. Go outside: Spending time outdoors and in nature can restore positive mood and energy levels.
  2. Get sleep: Long sunlit days can mean you get up earlier and stay up later — a recipe for sleep deprivation. Your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol when you’re sleep-deprived, which can contribute to emotional sensitivity.
  3. Take it easy: Give yourself a bit of a break. August doesn’t need to be all about preparation. This is the time to rest up while you still can. Stay organized, but know that this is a transitional month, and that means taking it slow.
  4. Seek help: The August blues are something to monitor and take care of. When an inability to focus on a task affects your ability to function at work, at home, or in your relationships, it is time to seek help. Even if seasonal anxiety is something you’ve always had, it is something that is treatable. Talk to a therapist, Life Skills Coach or trusted friend about how you are feeling. Learning strategies for dealing with autumn anxiety can be really helpful.

Summer often feels like a time of optimism — months on end where the sun is shining, and there’s always ample amounts of ice cream — but it’s important to remember that it’s OK to feel the autumn anxiety.

Treating yourself kindly during this end-of-summer time period will likely go a long way towards helping you feel a bit better.

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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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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!

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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.