Moving: Tips to Help Your Children Cope

Young man and his son unpacking boxes after moving to new flatWhen it comes to moving, there are a lot of mixed emotions involved, especially if you have children. While no parent wants to uproot their child’s life, it’s bound to happen from time to time. On average, over 15 million families move within the United States each year. A majority of parents choose to make the move while their children are still young, which comes with its struggles and benefits. The less time children have to establish strong relationships, the easier it is to relocate. However, young kids can’t always grasp the concept of leaving their friends, school, and home, making it harder to accept.

If you’re currently in this type of situation, check out these five steps to help your children cope with a move!

1. Introduce the move

The first step in preparing your child for a move is, to be honest with them. Let them know what’s going to happen and answer any questions they may have. Be empathetic and patient, as they may be upset or not understand. Especially with young children, it’s important to give them positive reassurance on such a big life change. Let them see that you’re excited, and that will likely give them a sense of excitement too. Regardless of a positive or negative reaction, give them time to process this information and be open to talking more about it with them if needed.

2. Plan the move

Now that your children know you’re moving, it’s time to start planning. Reduce your child’s stress around the unknowns by planning ahead and taking care of the details. For example, understanding how much you can afford to spend on your new home is crucial. Online mortgage preapproval can help with expectations and avoid uncertainty during the move. Once you have your mortgage pre-approval from the lender, you’ll be able to feel confident and ready since you now know your budget without having to get attached to homes out of your price range.

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Create a Family Self-Care Plan

Action for Healthy Kids shared that self-care is for everyone. Simply put, self-care is the practice of taking actions to improve health… both physically and emotionally. Kids and adults need time to refresh, recharge and unwind from work, school, and current events. While it is important to focus on self-care individually, it’s also important to prioritize as a family to support healthy communication and a better understanding of how to support our loved ones.

Take Action

A few simple steps and a family brainstorm are all it takes to make self-care a priority at home. Get creative and modify as needed over time.

  • Create space for planning. Set time aside on a weekend or after dinner one night during the week to come together as a family and begin planning. It’s important to make sure that everyone can be present so the plan is representative of the family, as self-care can be practiced in many ways.
  • Set goals or clarify purpose. Creating a self-care plan can be simply to integrate mindfulness and other forms of relaxation into busy family schedules, or it can have attached goals. Think about things your family may want to work on together (e.g., decreasing screen time by an hour each day, reducing stress associated with busy schedules, etc.). Identify top stressors and use as a template to build out a plan that helps you achieve goals to decrease and improve on how you manage them.
  • Brainstorm activities. Create a nice balance of 5 or 6 activities. Activities included in a self-care plan should be inclusive of activities that support the mind and body.
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JANUARY’S DOOM AND GLOOM

little girl thinking with question mark over her headRise and Shine shared that January tends to be a time when many people feel gloomy: increased sadness, low motivation, low energy, and irritability. It’s dark and cold, winter stretches ahead and there’s a long period before another break from school/work. For youth, it’s also a stressful period during school, with high demands.

This year, there’s a persisting unwanted and all too familiar stressor: COVID-19. With new variants, there has been a return of many COVID-19-specific stressors: outbreaks in schools, some schools returning to virtual learning, increased virus testing, increased fear of getting/spreading COVID-19, and quarantines. Many youths are experiencing increased frustration, irritability, anxiety, anger, worry…and fear. There is fear of unknowns and fear of prior experiences, fear of missing events, fear of quarantine, and fear of being infected or infecting a loved one.

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Feeling pandemic frustration, anger or rage?

EEHealth shared in its blog that little did we know how much the COVID-19 pandemic would change our lives when it first began. Dealing with a global pandemic hasn’t been easy, and we’re all feeling the effects as we cope with the threat of illness and a constant state of stress. And while the rollout of vaccines provided relief and hope, the Delta variant put us back on alert.

What’s worse, COVID restrictions have interfered with our healthy outlets for stress, such as socializing with friends and have led to pent-up tension and lashing out.

As the pandemic drags on, regular outbursts of anger are becoming the norm. Maybe you’re in your car and another driver slams their horn at you in a fit of road rage. You could be at the grocery store and witness one shopper snapping at another for not moving their cart out of the way fast enough.

COVID-induced fights are breaking out on social media, at school board meetings, even at your own family dinner table. Some are angry at those who won’t get vaccinated. Others are angry that they are still being told to wear a mask. Many aren’t even sure why they are angry.

Anger, frustration, and rage attacks (sudden, out-of-control and unwarranted outbursts) are common reactions to stress, and COVID has certainly raised stress levels for everyone. You, too, may have a shorter fuse than usual these days. You may get easily irritated or angry in ways that are not typical for you. Read more

How to be SMART about your New Year’s resolutions

Portrait of confused and uncertain hispanic woman isolated on white background and looking at cameraEEHealth shared in its blog that the New Year often brings resolve and determination to change some aspect of our lives.

It’s a tradition that can be traced back as far as the ancient Babylonians, who celebrated the start of a new year in mid-March when crops were planted. During the week-long celebration, they reaffirmed their loyalty to the king and would promise to pay off debts in the coming year and return any borrowed items.

If they made good on their promises, their gods would show them a favor. But if they did not hold true to their word, the ancient Babylonians would fall out of favor of their gods.

Today, thousands of years later, we’re still making promises for our new year. We may not be pledging to a deity that we will pay off debt or running off to return that ladder we borrowed from a friend months ago, but we do still use the time to take stock and make a promise to ourselves to change/give up/start doing something — even if we have no idea how we’re going to do that thing we resolved to do. Read more

5 Self-Improvement Tips to Boost Health, Happiness, and Life Satisfaction

Dorothy Watson from http://mentalwellnesscenter.info/ shared with healthy Lombard that we’re never too old or young for self-improvement, especially in a nation where obesity, physical inactivity, substance abuse, and depression are so prevalent. In fact, the CDC says 6 in 10 U.S. adults suffer from at least one chronic disease — while 4 in 10 have two or more chronic conditions. Moreover, about 9.5 percent of U.S. adults suffer from a depressive disorder — while about 18 percent live with anxiety.

Fortunately, improving your overall health and life satisfaction is easier than it sounds — especially if you prioritize things such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress management.

Likewise, by modeling good behavior, your children and teenagers are also learning what to do. Actions speak louder than words, and studies show children and teenagers pay more attention to how you live your life in actions than in the words you choose to use. By modeling hydration, healthy eating, exercise, relaxation, and finding life purpose through example, you are helping to prevent childhood obesity.

Check out these five tips from Healthy Lombard to start living your healthiest, happiest, and most fulfilling life possible!

1. Keep Yourself Hydrated

As simple as it may be, most Americans aren’t drinking enough water on a daily basis. And not only can a lack of water in the body lead to mental fatigue and moodiness, but also headaches, a slower metabolism, and dry skin.

While your specific need for water will depend on your diet, gender, health, environment, and several other factors, most men need about 3.7 liters of water each day — while women require about 2.7 liters. However, drinking water isn’t the only way to meet these daily requirements — as water can also be found in fruits, vegetables, and other beverages like tea and milk. If you’re having trouble drinking enough water each day, try working the following water-rich foods into your diet:

  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Peaches

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HELPING CHILDREN DEAL WITH PANDEMIC-RELATED GRIEF

Rise and Shine shared in their newsletter that A recent study estimated that 140,000 children in the United States have experienced the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver due to COVID-19 or other pandemic-related causes. Because of this, the upcoming holidays may be difficult for many children and their families. Losing a parent or other primary caregiver is one of the most stressful things that can happen in a child’s life, putting them at risk for depression and post-traumatic stress. Here’s some advice for helping children deal with their grief.

What does grief look like?

Death can trigger many feelings, such as sadness, disbelief, shock, fear, and even anger. There is no “right” or “normal” way a child should experience their grief — every child will differ in what they feel in response to death.

For example, sometimes younger children may appear sad and talk about missing the person who passed away. Other times they may act out. And other times, they may play and interact with friends and do their usual activities as though nothing has happened. As a result of measures taken to limit the spread of COVID-19, they may also grieve over the loss of routines such as going to school and playing with friends.

Adolescents also experience grief in different ways. They may have significant changes in their sleep patterns, isolate themselves more, become easily irritated or frustrated, and withdraw from friends and activities. They may also be angry and hide their sadness. Read more

Tips for Living Alone with Early-Stage Dementia

Pensive senior lady in wheelchair outsideThe National Institute on Aging asks, “Have you been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s diseasevascular dementiaLewy body dementia, or a frontotemporal disorder and live alone? Or, do you have mild cognitive impairment (MCI)?” If so, these tips are for you.

These tips offer ways to help you cope with changes in memory and thinking, prepare for the future, and stay active.

Make Everyday Tasks Easier

Many people with early-stage dementia continue to manage their everyday activities. But it’s important to look ahead to a time when performing daily tasks will be harder. The sooner you adopt new strategies to help you cope with changes, the more time you will have to adjust to them. Here are some tips:

    • Organizing your days. Write down to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook or calendar. Some people have an area, such as an entryway table or bench, where they store significant items, they need each day.
    • Paying bills. Setting up automated payments is an easy way to pay your bills correctly and on time without having to write checks. Talk with your utility providers, insurance companies, and mortgage company or leasing office about automatic bill payment. Also consider asking someone you trust to help you pay bills. That person could review your financial statements and ask you about anything unusual.
    • Shopping for meals. Many stores offer grocery delivery services. You can also order fresh or frozen meals online or by phone. Meals on Wheels America (1-888-998-6325) can deliver free or low-cost meals to your home, too, and this service sometimes includes a short visit and safety check. Other possible sources of meals include houses of worship and senior centers. If you make your own meals at home, consider easy-to-prepare items, such as foods that you can heat in the microwave.
    • Taking medications. Several products can help you manage medications. You can try a weekly pillbox, a pillbox with reminders (like an alarm), or a medication dispenser. You can buy these items at a local drugstore or online. You may need someone to help you set these up. Or try an electronic reminder system, such as an alarm you set on your phone or computer.

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5 Great Reasons to Try Generosity

Happy little girl standing on snow groundAARP shared these five reasons why it pays to be generous.

1. Giving adds pleasure to your life.

Your brain likes it when you give. In a study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California, Los Angeles, participants underwent neural scans using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Those who were frequently generous to others — including such small acts as cheering people up — exhibited a low-stress response in their brains while performing an intense math task, compared with those who gave less. Givers also experienced more activity in the brain’s reward center, producing the well-known “helper’s high.

2. May increase in brain volume.

Giving to others can diminish the effects of aging on the brain. Volunteers in the Baltimore Experience Corps program, where retired people serve as mentors for young children, not only staved off age-related shrinking of the brain, but the brains of male subjects also grew slightly in size

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How to Create a Self-Care Plan

Natalie Altenburg shared that at the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness, they often talk about self-care.  Self-care is the specific, intentional tactics we employ to ensure that we are taking care of our physical, emotional, social, and environmental health.  One of the great things about self-care is that there are many ways to practice it.  The activities that we incorporate into our self-care practices can be anything from running to listening to music to cooking.  However, with such a wide range of ways to practice self-care, it can be challenging to find the self-care routine and practices that work for you. 

If you are struggling to create and perfect your self-care plan, consider some of these tips: 

  • Assess your needs.  It is important that we have self-care practices that address our physical, social, emotional, and environmental health.  However, some of us may need to focus more on one area of health than another.  Try to look objectively at your overall health to see if you need to spend more time on activities for one type of health over another.  For example, if you find that you struggle with stress, you may want to prioritize self-care activities that will help you cope emotionally.
  • Try new things.  When it comes to having self-care activities lined up, it is important that you enjoy said activities, so you are even more motivated to do them.  While you might already have some things in mind that you know you like, be sure to try something new occasionally, so that you can add to your tool kit of self-care practices.  
  • Consider your schedule.  Take note of how much time you have for self-care activities during each day of the week.  Perhaps your weekends have larger open periods of time than your weekdays.  If this is the case, have a list of self-care activities that last 5 to 10 minutes to do during weekdays and have a list of activities that take a bit longer than you can utilize over the weekends.  Be sure to customize your plan to your schedule so that you can practice self-care every day. 
  • Be prepared for your plan to grow and evolve with you.  As human beings, we are all always learning and growing.  Because of this, it is understandable that your current self-care plan may be different from what your self-care plan is a year from now- and that is okay!  Take time to reassess what is and is not working and adjust your plan from there.   

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