Keeping Your Mental Health And Family In Check

Source: pexels.com

Family is said to be one of our greatest blessings in life. It brings us happiness and comfort. However, the world can be very complicated, and raising a family can be challenging at times.

Responsibilities and all the other pressures in life can be overwhelming that we forget to check on ourselves. Perhaps you might be thinking that being a good parent and at the same time prioritizing your mental health is impossible. But it should not be the case. 

Data shows that among the people who suffer from depression, 68% of the women and 57% of the men are parents. The time of pregnancy is typically the highest peak of their depression. Parents of children with special needs, such as ADHD and autism, are also found to have higher stress levels than other parents. 

The mental load of being a parent is no joke. You are responsible for providing for your family, so you work for hours and sometimes even get a second job.

At the same time, parents are supposed to be with their children as they grow up. They should discipline and guide their child to become good people. Constant effort to balance these responsibilities can be overwhelming and exhausting. 

Good Parenting Starts With A Healthy Mind And Body 

Some parents may think that taking a moment to evaluate and re-align your mental health is a waste of time. We are always so caught up with how to become a good parent, find a better job for our family, secure a promising future for our children, etc. But often, we fail to notice that parents’ mental health status may have critical effects on the children. 

For one, there is an association between bad parenting and depression. Depression can make a parent hostile, ill-tempered, and disengaged. Most of the time, the parents themselves are not aware of the deep-seated issues causing them stress. 

In effect, children of parents with depression tend to have poorer physical and mental health. It could harm the child’s temperament and influence the development of various behavioral and psychological problems in children later on.

These children tend to have more deficient interpersonal skills, maladaptive stress response systems, and a higher risk of depression and anxiety. 

Keeping Your Mental Health In Check

Source: pikrepo.com

Knowing the gravity of the parent’s mental health and its effect on the parent themselves and the children, what can we do? What are some of the ways you could do as parents to keep yourself and your family’s overall well-being in check? 

Becoming a parent makes your situation more complicated, but the essential practices of keeping a healthy mind are still applicable to you. 

Have A Safe Outlet For Your Thoughts And Feelings 

Most of the common reasons for different psychological problems root from long-suppressed feelings. Leaving our feelings unaddressed is a recipe for a breaking point in the future. When we push our feelings under the bed, it does not go away. It seeps into the surface in other and possibly more toxic forms. 

Having emotions, however negative, is part of being human. Being a parent is not supposed to make you immune from having bad feelings. What is important is that we process it, we express it in a healthy way from which we will try to resolve it. 

You can keep a diary or a journal to write about your feelings. Writing can be liberating and reflexive. Through writing your feelings, you can gradually understand where they’re coming from, and it can serve as a buffer to your emotions and irrational bursting out. 

An outlet can also be a friend whom you can trust and are comfortable sharing your feelings with. Lastly, seek professional help to better address your emotions. 

Find An Activity That Makes You Feel Good 

Source: pikist.com

When we become parents, we do not stop being ourselves. Despite the busy schedule and the mounting responsibilities, we still deserve some ‘me’ time. Not being able to do so may negatively affect our well-being. So, no matter how challenging the situation is, try to schedule your week to squeeze in a day or a few hours dedicated to yourself. 

Try not to stop doing the activities and hobbies you enjoy before becoming a parent. For example, you might be a music enthusiast and you used to play a lot, or maybe you are a fitness geek and you work out regularly, or an artist and you enjoy painting or drawing. Find time to do it even just for an hour. 

A simple break such as this can be a helpful breather to clean off your mind from time-to-time. 

Healthy Body: A Healthy Mind 

This concept may not be new to you, but as we all know, maintaining good physical health influences our psychological well-being. On the one hand, physical discomfort and pain can negatively affect our mood and temper; it can either make us feel sad or easily irritated. 

While on the other hand, a problem in our physical health can be a sign of a psychological problem. Some of these examples are having a headache, muscle pains, low pain tolerance, and fatigue. These symptoms can be a physical manifestation of stress, depression, and anxiety. 

Aside from addressing the root causes of the psychological problem, if there are any, keeping an active and healthy lifestyle would help alleviate this problem. Proper exercise and proper sleeping and eating habits significantly improve your mood and ease your anxiety. 

Conclusion 

It is true when they say that to be able to love others, you must first love yourself. Being a parent can mean having a tantamount of work and household chores.

We direct all our efforts to become a good parent, but we must remember that to be a good parent is to first be good in ourselves. Maintaining your mental and physical health is caring for your family.

Maintaining Mental Stability While Living With Your Family In The New Normal

The international community was given warnings about an ongoing outbreak in Wuhan, Province of Hubei, China, on December 31, 2019. The first death occurred on January 9, 2020, while on January 13, the first case outside China was recorded – it was in Thailand.

By February 11, the virus was officially called COVID-19 and was formally declared a pandemic on March 11.

Since then, several countries have been limiting land, sea, and air entry to its borders, restricting movement and mass gathering of its current residents through quarantine protocols, and refocusing resources to respond to both suspected and positive cases.

As infection and mortality rates go up, aspects of living as a society and as individuals are being sacrificed to ensure that countries and communities are flattening the curve. 

Flattening the curve is the phenomenon in which a particular country or community has been able to slow down infection rates up to a point where its healthcare or hospital capacity can manage all infected and suspected cases.

It can also be said that flattening of the curve is successful if the recovery rate has overtaken the infection rate. Health experts have stated that flattening of the curve is essential to beat this pandemic.

Source: pixabay.com

Changes Brought About By The Pandemic

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one way of avoiding getting infected (or, infecting others) is to practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people unless necessary. This is to ensure that we do not infect nor get infected during our interactions with others. 

Since COVID-19 spreads via coughs, sneezes, or water droplets from conversing during interaction with infected individuals, national and local governments, offices, and communities have closed down or limited headcount in establishments.

Governments started enforcing work from home setup, deferred payment penalties for credits and loans and promoted contactless and online transactions. It has impacted family life, and the economy as more and more citizens are staying home than going out. 

Source: pxfuel.com

Families are now deemed to be closer than ever as parents and children are ‘stuck’ at home and have spent more time together during this crisis. On the positive side of this quarantine, many families have found new hobbies and leisure time to enjoy with each other. 

As this is the first time in the modern era that strict public health protocols are implemented for a prolonged period, it led to economic stagnation, which, in turn, resulted to layoffs of companies especially for non-essential personnel, and to some extent, the shutdown of operations or declaration of bankruptcy.

The surge in unemployment caused an escalation in terms of magnitude and the number of individuals suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression.

The New Normal

We, as humans, have been known for our ways of adapting to change. The following are examples of measures implemented to jump-start the economy while preventing further spread of the virus:

  1. Wearing of PPEs and using protective barriers for personnel that need to face customers.
  2. Disinfecting of hands and equipment which are continuously used.
  3. Promoting and installing contactless or online transactions and payment methods.
  4. Checking of temperatures of customers or personnel entering an establishment.
  5. For businesses in the food industry, restaurants or fast-food chains are either cutting seating capacity to maintain distancing (one person per table, installment of barriers between guests) within their establishments. Some have gone to the extent of only accepting delivery or food-to-go.
  6. Avoiding face-to-face meetings and opting for online alternatives (e-learning, webinars, online consultations).
  7. Appointments are now vital for essential services instead of queueing in line for ease in crowd control and contact tracing.
  8. Alternating between personnel that will go to their respective offices.
    Source: flickr.com

    Adapting To The New Normal In Our Households And Various Common Spaces

    According to Robert Leahy, Ph.D., of the New York and Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, “We are currently facing a pandemic and in various regions across the world, people are following similar lockdowns, shutdowns, or social distancing.”

    He adds, “We have to look at this by putting in perspective that to win the battle against COVID-19 we must make sacrifices and develop a coping mindset.” He also listed the following steps that can be taken to ease mental stability:

    a. Give Yourself A Break

    Since we are all experiencing a change in how we live in the modern era, one must learn to accept that, although the virus and pandemic are temporary, the changes brought about it in terms of our manner of living will be our new reality and will require a different lens or perspective to accept it.

    When we encounter hurdles in adjusting and taking, accept them as they are. An example of which is juggling or maintaining a boundary in one’s personal home-working environment and attending to the needs of others living within the same households, especially the elderly and children who are more susceptible to the virus.

    b. Be Kind And Practice Acceptance

    One must keep in mind that in a household or community, one is not alone. We are all going through the same changes but with different levels of adjustment and coping mechanisms. Hence, approaching or dealing with others must be done with humility and politeness. To achieve this, one may do the following:

    c. View Life As A Narrative

    Looking at life as if it were a book with chapters and plots will give one a sense of control in a seemingly helpless situation. This will help with the adjustment of coping mechanisms and change in perspective for this chapter.

    In Conclusion

    While we move forward and transition to either the ‘new normal’ or ‘original normal’ way of living, COVID-19 is seen as a disease that will most likely stay—coping with it, both physically and mentally, is a way to survive this pandemic.

Keeping Kids Safe Even After The Quarantine Ends

After two months of waiting, the local government units have announced that they will lift the stay-at-home order. It entails that everyone can return to their old lives, albeit not entirely. You still need to maintain a social distance with others to ensure that you can evade the coronavirus if you meet an asymptomatic person.

This new policy is admittedly suitable for working adults. However, it may be too much for kids, given that they are prone to catching the coronavirus. If you allow them to jump back on their former routine, which probably consists of playing outside for hours, you might as well give the virus a warm welcome. 

Your children can only stay safe if you:

keeping-kids-safe-even-after-the-quarantine-ends
Source: pixabay.com

Avoid Letting Them Go To Public Places

The first thing you should do is avoid taking your children to public places. Most—if not all—schools promise to continue with the homeschool system until there is a vaccine for coronavirus, so they don’t need to go out. Some zoos and malls may reopen, too, but the kids may encounter asymptomatic individuals and catch the disease.

The little ones may protest when you do that, claiming that they are fed up with staying at home. However, you should not give in to their pouts. Limiting their destination is one of the most effective ways to ensure that the coronavirus will not affect them.

keeping-kids-safe-even-after-the-quarantine-ends
Source: pixabay.com

Make Sure Their Face Mask Is Always On

The end of quarantine makes people assume that our battle with COVID-19 is over, that we have already won. The number of new positive cases may no longer be soaring high, but we are not close to the end of this pandemic yet. The governments have merely lifted their stay-at-home order because the economy has taken a nosedive.

Given that the coronavirus still exists, your children should have a face mask on, even when they are playing at the backyard. No one can see the virus with the naked eyes, after all. It is better to be slightly overprotective than to find your kids fighting COVID-19.

keeping-kids-safe-even-after-the-quarantine-ends
Source: pixabay.com

Arrange Playdates With The Same Children

Considering your town has not been affected by the outbreak too much, you may arrange playdates for your children. However, it is not ideal to let them play with different peers every week, even if doing so can improve their social skills. Instead, you should check with their friends’ parents if they are open to playing exclusively with each other.

Others may call you snobbish for doing so, but try not to mind them. You are merely arranging playdates with the same children to ensure that your babies will not interact with different kids and adults often. It will reduce their chances of acquiring the coronavirus, for sure.

keeping-kids-safe-even-after-the-quarantine-ends
Source: pixabay.com

Teach Proper Sanitation

It is typical for the little ones to touch whatever they see on automatic, even when they do not leave the family property. E.g., the doorknob, railings, poles, mailboxes, etc. If your children are too young to understand that they should not do that, you may teach them how to disinfect their hands.

This technique matters especially if most fixtures and accessories at home are metal. You see, the virus may stay on the surface for a few days and infect as many people as possible. In case your youngsters do not know proper sanitation, the lack of knowledge may make them susceptible to the disease. 

Final Thoughts

I know how much you and your kids want to have fun and let them enjoy their days post-quarantine. It’s everything that my children talk about these days, too. Still, let’s avoid socializing until the experts have synthesized a vaccine against COVID-19.

Adults With ADHD

Adults With ADHD

The 2019 ADHD conference tackled different topics, mostly about childhood conditions. Of course, some adults have lived with ADHD their whole life without having to treat it, but they will say that it has been difficult for them not knowing. In the sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties, mental health and behavioral disorders were not seen as such. A stigma was attached to it. If you acted funny or unusual, people would assume that you are CRAZY. That has always been the one and only categorization of people with mental health issues.

Continue reading “Adults With ADHD”

Why Home Quarantine Isn’t Ideal For ADHD

My 7-year-old son Eli has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) a couple of years ago. He is a bright boy who loves to play with his friends at school or a nearby park. Every day I walk him to his class, and then we go for a bike ride when he comes home to deplete his energy further. This way, it will be easier for Eli to fall asleep at night.

That has been our routine since Eli moved up to first grade until the coronavirus pandemic has rocked the world. Unfortunately, things have gotten a little wacky from the time the news has broken out about COVID-19 cases in China. Tens of thousands of people in various European countries also tested positive. Though I knew that it was only a matter of time before the outbreak reached the US, I still hoped that it wouldn’t happen. It’s not only because the virus is challenging to beat but also because people cannot leave their homes for a while. But then, the inevitable occurred.

why-home-quarantine-isnt-ideal-for-adhd
Source: unsplash.com

Don’t get me wrong; being isolated with my family is probably the best thing that has happened to us. However, it is the worst-case scenario for my son with ADHD. Here’s why.

No One Can Go Outside
A lot of ADHD kids love going out because the house is typically not massive enough to do various activities. At a park, for instance, they can play tag with others, use the swings and slides repeatedly, and communicate with their peers. Boredom becomes the least of their worries.

Due to quarantine, though, the children need to stay holed up in the house until the government declares that it is already safe to do so. That is an absolute bummer, especially for kids who have ADHD and are living in a small apartment.

why-home-quarantine-isnt-ideal-for-adhd
Source: unsplash.com

Playing With Toys At Home Can Get Old Quickly
At the beginning of home quarantine, Eli seemed excited about the thought of not going back to school for some time. He played with LEGO blocks and remote-controlled cars; my husband even bought new games for his Nintendo Switch. Eli loved them all, but his interest in those toys only lasted for a week. After that, he kept on asking if he could see his friends in the neighborhood.

I could not blame my son for losing interest in his current toys quickly. Having a short attention span is one of the symptoms of ADHD. I find it lucky that Eli has managed to stay focused on the same objects that long. Still, it does not change the reality that he cannot go out yet.

ADHD Kids Thrive In A Social Setting
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are amicable individuals. More than playing, they love talking. When a teacher called me one time because Eli was chatting nonstop with his seatmates, I asked him about it. His reply was, “Sorry, Mom, I can’t stop talking with my friends when I think of something.”

I believe that being surrounded by peers is something that my son misses the most. He is never alone at home; my husband and I try to engage with him 24/7. But I guess things are more enjoyable for Eli when he is around other children.

why-home-quarantine-isnt-ideal-for-adhd
Source: unsplash.com

How Can Parents Help ADHD Kids During Home Quarantine?
The best thing that you can do for your hyperactive child is to think of new games for them every day. It must have been an issue in the past because of your busy schedule, but now you have plenty of free time. You can role-play, start a dance contest, or play video games with your kid. If there’s enough space at home, you may even build a mini jungle gym or anything that will allow the child to expend their pent-up energy. That’s the only way for them to stop wanting to go out for a while.

Stay safe, and good luck!

I Am A Mother Of An ADHD Child

Source: pexels.com

A brave mother like me, who has a child in the spectrum, would definitely join seminars like the 2017 ADHD Summit. I was just so happy when I learned from a cousin who studies at UVU (Utah Valley University) that their College of Humanities and Social Sciences have created this event, featuring a Pulitzer Prize winner as a keynote speaker to talk about ADHD. And to top it all off, the speaker who is an award-winning writer is managing ADHD herself.

Continue reading “I Am A Mother Of An ADHD Child”

Takeaway Points From 2014 Phoenix Adhd Diagnosis Statistics

According to a 2014 Phoenix Adhd Diagnosis Statistics, a total of 11 percent of the children in this part of Arizona are dealing with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. This condition is often characterized by a kid’s inability to stay still even in a short class or control their actions at times. They usually have a tough time keeping up with everyone either at home or school as well. With a significant number of children who show symptoms of ADHD, it is not surprising at all for psychologists to research activities that may help youngsters cope with the illness. “Most of the activity in the brain is at the neuron level, not in the larger brain regions that we see with today’s scans,” Marilyn Wedge Ph.D. says.

2014-phoenix-adhd-diagnosis-statistics-1
Source: flickr.com

Doodling As A Stress Reliever

One thing that seems to have a positive effect on the students of various schools in Phoenix, Scottsdale area is doodling. It is a form of art that allows kids to take a pen and paper and practically draw whatever comes to mind for as long as possible. They can drag the writing medium across the slate or keep on drawing circles and other shapes. “Doodling activates the brain’s unfocus circuit. As a result, your unconscious brain participates in memory formation, and your brain, rather than being like a stiff, focused sponge, becomes more absorbent of information,” Srini Pillay M.D. explains.

The sense of freedom that the children can experience when doodling can relieve their stress excellently. They get to tap into their creative side to express what they cannot speak of and calm down at a stretch. That is especially essential for ADHD kids who are in the late stages of childhood and may be aware of the fact that their brain function is different from their peers.

2014-phoenix-adhd-diagnosis-statistics-2
Source: unsplash.com

Concluding Thoughts

According to Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. and co-author, “Evidence shows that eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and making other smart daily choices can help your child manage the symptoms of ADHD.” Unfortunately, once your child receives a diagnosis for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, there is no known way even now to help him or her get away from it permanently. No medicine or treatment is available to cure this condition. All you can do is teach regular tasks that kids their age should know and encourage making friends. Such activities will allow them to lead normal lives eventually.

 

 

Art Therapy As An Alternative Treatment For ADHD

Even simple tasks as simple as putting an outfit or listening to class can be a little bit frustrating for people experiencing ADHD. To cope, therapies became a part of the treatment plan. One type of treatment people with ADHD engage in is Art Therapy.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy uses the approach of sculpting, painting, and drawing as a way to improve the confidence and well-being of those with ADHD. This is usually used in children. The concept behind it is self-expression can be a tool to help solve complicated emotional problems, reduce stress, improve interpersonal and social skills, and manage behavior properly. An individual does not need to be a professional artist to use this kind of therapy.

“In this type of specialized therapy, the focus is on the process of creating and, to a lesser extent, on the final product,” says Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW.  “Creating is the primary initial focus, increased self-understanding usually comes later.”

How Does Art Therapy Work?

There is science in art therapy, and neuroscience allowed experts to understand this process. Each time an individual places a brush on a paper, he or she is already engaging in decision making and problem-solving. This action stimulates neuropathways which activate various parts of the brain.

Source: pixabay.com

Other things which trigger the neuropathways are kinesthetics and sensory experiences. Actions like touch, movement, sound, and visuals fall under this category. For example, working with wet clay enables an individual to use intensive motor skills. It awakens all the senses and releases tension.

A typical art therapy usually involves several combinations of structured projects. This program helps the child develop different skills, work through emotions, and resolve inner conflicts.

“Eighty percent of sensory stimuli enters through our eyes and goes into our brains where it is retained visually, nonverbally. Most of us think, feel, and recall memories not in words but in imagery. These images become a verbal language when we attempt to communicate what is going on in our mind to someone else,” shares Marianne Gontarz, MSW, LCSW.

Sample Art Activities

Art therapy activities are simple. However, those who will spearhead these projects should make sure that the emotions will be touched when implementing these activities.

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

  • Scribbles

Scribbles enables a child to release stress and pour down emotions in a balanced manner. It starts by folding a paper in half. The patient is then tasked to scribble on one side of the paper using his dominant hand. Afterward, he or she must then scribble on the other side while using the non-dominant hand.

“Similar to dream interpretation, there is no secret formula to reading another person’s art. You have to ask the person questions about their drawing in order to be able to figure out what a picture means,” explains Drena Fagen, LCSW, LCAT, ATR-BC.

  • Worries

Parents might sometimes wonder what a child’s problems are. This activity helps address that. At the start, the patient will be asked to write down a problem he or she is currently facing. This can be done in words (through poems) or drawing (through abstract art). After making it, he or she will then be asked to tear the paper using both hands. Parents, afterward, are required to talk about the artwork by giving them pieces of advice on how to solve their worries.

Source: pixabay.com

  • Mandalas

A mandala is an artwork comprised of a circle with a pattern sitting in the middle. Some art therapy sessions start by asking patients to create their mandala. This helps promote focus and release a calm energy.

  • Coloring Sheet 

Another way to release stress is through creating coloring sheets. Using a black marker, a patient is asked to draw a scribble while they close their eyes. Afterward, he/she must color every section of the scribble with different colors.

Individuals with ADHD may really have difficulty expressing themselves. Using art therapy only proves that for someone with this disability, a picture may indeed be worth more than a thousand words.

Symptoms of ADHD In Children: Why It Could Be Something Else Like PTSD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a psychological disorder which usually manifests during childhood. It is something that not one parent would wish for his child, but it happens. As per Healthline, 6.1% of American children receive medication for ADHD. However, sometimes, a misdiagnosis may occur as the symptoms of ADHD is similar to some psychological issues like post-traumatic stress disorder. “While it is true that severe anxiety can sabotage attention, many of the youth in question here have struggles with both real anxiety and real attention problems,” David Rettew M.D. wrote.

 

Source:commons.wikimedia.org

Continue reading “Symptoms of ADHD In Children: Why It Could Be Something Else Like PTSD”

Creating Wonderful Memories With Your ADHD Child

Source: additudemag.com

 

The Importance of Emotional Bonding

Establishing physical and emotional bonds between you and your child is an integral part of parenting. It instills compassion, warmth and affection in your child. When you show your love to your child through hugs, kisses and cuddles while growing up, they become more stable emotionally and even mentally – increasing their confidence and self-respect in themselves. All kids benefit from emotional bonding, and all the more for kids with ADHD.

Continue reading “Creating Wonderful Memories With Your ADHD Child”