Month: January 2019

Building Resilience as You Grow

Life appears easy for young people in the movies, on TV and social media. But the reality is, it’s tough being a young person. There is pressure to do well in school, get into a good college, wear the right clothes, have the right friends and be happy. You may feel stressed and anxious from these and other pressures. Building resilience can help you bounce back quicker from difficult times.

Resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change. It is not something you’re born with, but it can be learned.

10 Tips to Help Build resilience During Tough Times

1. Connect with others.
These can be your friends, parents or other trusted adults in your community. Even though it often seems as though they do not understand you, remember that your parents and other adults have more life experience than you. They probably have great advice or at least a listening ear.

2. Give yourself a break.
When we experience traumas, normal daily stress may heighten. Your emotions may be all over the place and feel extreme. Try to be aware of this and cut yourself, and others, some slack.

3. Create a stress free zone.
Make your bedroom a safe, comfortable place, free from stress and anxieties.

4. Stick to your routine.
When something bad happens in your life, your daily routine may get interrupted by new things. Stick to routines that give you comfort as much as you can.

5. Rest up.
Getting enough sleep and being well rested can help make it easier to face tough times.

6. Recognize what you can control.
Tough times can interfere with accomplishing goals and make us feel out of control. Focus on small achievements and take things one step at a time. Even getting out of bed and going to school during a tough time can be an accomplishment.

7. Express yourself.
If talking with others is too challenging, consider writing in a journal, creating some art or making music.

8. Do something nice for others.
Sometimes helping others can take your mind off your own problems. Consider helping a friend with something or volunteering your time for a good cause.

9. Focus on the positive.
While it may feel like the bad time you are experiencing will never end, bad times do not last forever. Remind yourself that you have overcome hard times before and you will get through this one too.

10. Unplug.
Sometimes the news can contribute to negative thoughts and feelings, especially if they are a result of a current event. Limit or avoid news outlets such as TV, newspapers, magazines or the Internet. Taking a break from social media can also help.

Remember that building resilience may help decrease feelings of stress and anxiety in tough times, but it does not completely eliminate these feelings. You may benefit from some of these tips, and building resilience skills can be helpful throughout your life.

If these tips are not helpful for you, you may want to consider talking to someone who can help, such as a therapist or other mental health professional. For mental health resources, visit our Resources page.

Source: American Psychological Association

When Your Child is in Crisis: What Parents Can Do

Depression is as much a physical illness as it is a mental illness. One of the best ways that you could help your young person work through depression is by understanding what it is – and – what it is not.  The myths about mental illnesses only contribute to the stigma, and this prevents many people from getting the help that they need.

The good news is that depression is highly treatable. Eighty percent of those who seek help find relief through therapy, medication or a combination of both. What can family and friends do to help? Here’s a brief guide:

When a Child is in Crisis

Despite our very best efforts, and for a variety of different reasons ranging for genetic makeup to a difficult life experience, some youth will become anxious and/or depressed. Deciphering a child’s moods and intervening before a crisis can be a delicate dance. The first step is facing the issues head on—together.

Talk About the Real Stuff

Sometimes conversations between parents and youth can be all about achievements, schedules and chores. Go beyond that. Find out what keeps them up at night, and ask, “What’s the best part of your day?” Become attuned to their emotional worlds so that you understand what their dreams are, what they struggle with and how their lives are going.

Give Your Young Person Space, but Pay Attention

Give youth space to grow and separate from you, but also watch for changes in behavior. Are they giving up activities they used to enjoy? Are they staying up all night or eating differently? Is your outgoing kid now withdrawn? If you’re worried, say so. Show interest in their internal lives without judgment.

Resist Getting Angry

When parents learn a young person has been hiding something or is having behavioral issues, the response is often anger or punishment. Instead, try to understand what is going on. If a kid is acting out, doing things like self-harming or skipping school, respond with compassion first. Say, “It seems like you’re having trouble, I’m here to help. Tell me what’s happening with you.”

Don’t Put Off Getting Help

If you’re worried about an adolescent, talk to a school counselor, therapist or doctor. It’s better to get help early, rather than when trouble has firmly taken hold.

Treat the Whole Family

When a kid is in crisis, many times it’s not enough to treat the child—you have to change the family dynamic. It’s possible that something about the home environment is causing the child stress, so be open to acknowledging that and getting family counseling if needed.

Finding Professional Help

Many children who are not at risk of hurting themselves still require psychiatric help or psychotherapy to overcome their anxiety or depression. Jewish Family Service’s team of experts can help you determine what kind of assistance your family needs. They can be reached at 248-592-2313. For additional mental health resources, visit our Resource page.

Source: Youth Dynamics