“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stress and Your Body

This is originally from the Washington Post. It is really interesting to see the different ways stress effects the body. If you can't read it, go to the original by clicking here.  Here is a book that would be helpful to reduce stress: The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)

SOURCE: American Psychological Association | PHOTO: iStockphoto | GRAPHIC: The Washington Post - January 23, 2007 retrieved August 17, 2010 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2007/01/22/GR2007012200620.html

Are you experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome?

Ryan flying to college
Lately, I’ve been working with and meeting several women who are experiencing “empty nest syndrome.” 
Before I go on, I should explain what “empty nest syndrome” is…basically, it is the feeling of loneliness or depression that parents experience when their children are grown and leave home. 
I think what surprises me that although many of us have heard about it through the media- it still takes us by surprise. I guess part of the reason is that we don’t talk about our feelings. Plus, there are so many elements that we are unprepared for and don’t realize these feelings are related to our kids leaving home. When I think about “loneliness and depression,” I immediately see the commercials for anti-depressants- I can easily say, “Well, that’s not me.” The reality is that the feelings that come with “empty nest syndrome” can be subtle. It may start with a feeling of regret or loss. A woman I know shared that it was hard to get out of bed now. She no longer had to get up and make breakfast and scurry the children to school. Now, she only had to take care of herself. I, personally, dealt with a barrage of “what ifs”…“What if I had done this” or “What if I had done it that way instead.” The truth is we are not perfect; we all made mistakes or missed opportunities, so what are we going to do now? We have a whole new second life ahead of us! My husband and I actually moved across the country and started grad school- something we had wanted to do for years. Another person I know decided to pursue her dream of being a master gardener and sharing her talent with others.
Lutjens (1999) shares four points that can help you in this period of your life:
·      Recognize the seasonal nature of parenting. Mothers and fathers should view their children as Renaissance artists, trained in their hometowns to benefit other communities. As a result, parents should start releasing their kids from birth onward.
·      Get a life even before the child leaves home. Involvement in ministry, friendships and hobbies can keep parents from becoming child-centered.
·      Grieve the pain of the empty nest. Single parent or not, it hurts when children leave home. Don't skip the mourning process, or bigger problems might crop up later.
·      Tell children about the pain without making them responsible for it. Say, "I miss you," not, "Look at how you've hurt me."
Here’s a short video that gives some good helpful tips… be warned though it is kinda corny.
Let me know what you are doing now in this second half of your life. Are you pursuing a dream that you always but had put off? 

Lutjens, G. (1999). Empty nest or emptiness. Troubled with: A website of focus on the family. Retrieved August 12, 2010 from http://www.troubledwith.com/Transitions/A000000630.cfm?topic=transitions%3A%20empty%20nest

Thursday, August 12, 2010

7 Weekday De-stressers

Well, it's been a crazy summer. I'm just winding things down with graduate school and getting ready to plunge back into the world of work full-time. Exciting things are happening at Hope and a Future Ministries. For one thing, I am going to be offering counseling at 9770 Old Baymeadows Rd. Jacksonville, FL. You may have seen the "book now" button I've added to the blog. You can confidentially book a counseling or life coaching appointment without calling the office. In addition, I am in the process of reincorporating as a non-profit and designing our new web page. This busyness has kept me from writing on this blog. Ryan says he is not ready to give me an article so I thought I'd share an article from Wish Magazine. This particular article focuses on ways to stay healthy in the workplace. I know I need it...what about you? 
7 Weekday De-Stressors
Wellness ideas to make your workplace healthier and happier.
For the past 10 years, research has shown the benefits of Workplace Wellness Programs. Reduced injury claims and insurance costs, fewer sick days and increased performance all point to a healthier work environment. Wellness programs don’t require a huge financial or time commitment, just some creativity and one or two volunteers to get it started and keep it rolling. Here are some great ideas to discuss at the water cooler:
1. Yoga Classes
Transform the lunchroom or a meeting room into a yoga studio by moving some furniture aside, dimming the lights, and laying down some mats. Yoga students needing practical hours to complete their certification may teach for free.
2. Get Active Together
Talk to management about the benefits of rock climbing, hiking, cooking classes, or kayaking – all great ways to build team spirit. You can also host a week-long Step by Step Challenge through the Ontario Division of the Canadian Cancer Society. Everyone raises donations (or pays a fee) and gets a package, including a pedometer to count the number of steps they take in a week. The goal is to meet the recommended 10,000 steps per day to ensure good health.
3. On-Site Chair Massage
Have people sign up in advance for 15-minute mini-massages (be prepared for a stampede). Then designate an office for the day and arrange for a practitioner to drop by. Massage colleges may send a student for free as part of their practical training.
To read the rest click here
Mahon, D. (2007). 7 weekday de-stressors. Wish. Retrieved August 11, 2010 from http://www.wish.ca/your-life/regulararticle/231/.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Guest Blogger

I am excited to introduce our new guest blogger; Ryan Marler is a Psychology major at Liberty University. He is just finishing up his Bachelor’s degree this fall and then hopes to attend grad school. His desire is to someday work with those suffering PTSD, especially Veterans. This seems a natural decision since he comes from a line of military people; his uncle is currently a Major in the Army. Ryan is a gifted writer/communicator with a heart for people. He is an observer of life with wisdom to share sprinkled with a good dose of wit. I, personally, look forward reading what he has to contribute. Ryan will definitely add a different perspective to this blog. Please welcome him with your comments. (Oh...by the way, he's my son! J)