9/1/2012: In Session with Carol Pedro: Executive Director, Youth and Family Counseling Service
As summer winds down and the routines and responsibilities of our lives return we can often find ourselves a little down. Life is like that…some days are just tougher than others. Many clients have expressed feeling overwhelmed and report an increase in anxiety and depression around this time of year. Mothers express how will I manage school schedules, my own job and responsibilities at home?” Kids may become more irritable and will share “I don’t want to go back to school. I can’t believe summer is over.” They may express worrying about the new school year.
No matter where your day takes you, no matter what brings “the blues” your way, YOU have the power to change. By the time someone reaches out for a session they are usually quite upset, uncomfortable, worried or in pain…generally feeling pretty badly. Many people focus on negatives, only at “the problem” and forget there are some very positive things to do and reasons to be grateful and hopeful.
Try these (immediate) small changes you can make in your daily life:
1) Read a positive, affirming passage every day. Resources are accessible on the internet. A variety of daily meditation style books are also available.
2) Shut off your cell phone for one hour a day.
3) Do not listen to the news continuously. Select one news program daily – up to one hour.
4) Add color to your life – wear bright colors, display fresh cut flowers, draw a colorful picture.
5) Listen to soothing, calming music – no lyrics – (your mind may wander to negative places!)
6) Be polite, say “please”,” thank you”, hold a door open for someone else, let someone in your lane of traffic.
7) Smile – even at strangers!
8) Laugh – especially at yourself!
9) Hug your pet, your child, your spouse.
10) Eat something you make and make it fun. Shape pancakes into hearts, cut a smile in your sandwich, creatively plate your food and sit and enjoy your meal!
So in the weeks ahead as you plan your after summer return to reality, treat yourself and your kids to one or more of these small changes and feel better. You deserve it!
Carol M. Pedro is a licensed therapist at Youth and Family Counseling, 233 Prospect Street, Westfield, NJ (908) 233-2042. Website yfcsnj.org.