Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall: 
How to Have a Successful Transition

By Dawn H. Haaz, Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist at David A. Nover, M.D., P.C.

For many of us, the summer is a relaxing time.  We are more likely to go on vacation, go down the shore and on other fun day trips, visit with friends and family, have more flexible schedules, and spend more time enjoying the outdoors.  As the summer comes to a close in the next month, there may be some disappointment and even stress with the return of the structure that the school year (even for adults without kids) brings.  Below are 5 tips on how to maintain the relaxation and positive attitude you may have enjoyed this summer:
1.    Create a routine to keep you structured and grounded.  We do best physically and mentally when we have predictability in our schedule.  Make sure to allow enough time for sleep, meals, exercise, and downtime.  Be careful not to overschedule yourself with commitments and when possible make sure to choose ones that are important and beneficial to you.

2.    You probably spent more time outside in the summer getting exercise whether it was taking walks/jogs, bike riding, swimming, playing outdoor sports, or gardening.  Though it may be a little more challenging, there are plenty of ways to get exercise in the fall and winter too.  You can take walks in the afternoon when it’s warmest out.  Just remember to dress in layers as it gets chillier.  You can also join a gym, the YMCA, or take a class at a studio.  There are many physical activities you can do inside, including yoga, karate, dance classes, Pilates, swimming in an indoor pool, basketball, and racquet ball to name a few.  Of course, you can do workouts at home too.  Remember it is importance to keep physically active all year round, because we release endorphins (happy chemicals in our brain) when we exercise that help us feel less stressed and more content.  Having an exercise buddy can also help motivate us and keep us accountable.     

3.    Even though you may be more on a structured schedule during the school year, still make time for relaxation and to destress whether it’s taking time off from work once in a while, watching a favorite TV show at night, getting a massage, or meditating regularly.

4.    Continue to make time for hobbies and interests that you enjoy.  If your hobbies are specific to the summertime, then find other hobbies to focus on in the fall and winter.

5.    Make plans to look forward to whether it’s visits with friends and family, a future vacation (locally or in a warm location), seeing a show/concert, exciting projects around your home, or holiday plans.
These tips should support you with a successful transition to fall by helping you feel less stressed, more relaxed, and positive all year long.  If you struggle with chronic stress or sadness, it may be helpful to speak with a professional.  If you feel you can benefit from speaking to a professional, call us at 215-491-7570 to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians. 

 

August is

for Friendship

How Do You Rate Your Relationships?

By: Dawn H. Haaz, Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist at David A. Nover, M.D., P.C.

 

Did you know that Friendship Day is celebrated in August?  At all ages, friends can play an important role in our lives.  As social beings, we have a universal need to feel connected to others, and friends play an important role in fulfilling this need.  They allow us to feel less lonely in life and provide us with the opportunity to share our greatest joys as well as our most challenging times.  Additionally, research has shown the benefits of friendship on both our physical and psychological health.  Positive friendships can have benefits on our self-esteem and sense of belonging.  In fact, meaningful friendships can increase our longevity. 

Are you content with the quality of your friendships and other intimate relationships?  Are they healthy?  Do you have trust, open and honest communication, and dependability in these relationships?  Do you feel respected, understood, and compassion in these relationships?  Can you be your genuine self without feeling judged?

I believe relationships are paramount in our lives.  When we struggle with relationships- whether it is with significant others, family members, ourselves, our bodies, or even food- we often experience distress.  This distress may take the form of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, self-injurious behaviors, or disordered eating.  I am passionate about helping my clients work through this distress and understand the deeper issues getting in the way of them experiencing positive and fulfilling relationships.  After all, when we feel good about our relationships with ourselves and others, we are likely to flourish in all aspects of our lives.

If you or your child, is having difficulty making or maintaining positive and satisfying relationships, then it may be beneficial to speak with a professional.  Please call us at 215-491-7570 to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians.

May is Mental Health Month

by Dawn Haaz, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist at David A. Nover, M.D.

Do you or someone you care about have a mental health diagnosis?  If so, you are not alone.  In fact, 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health issue in 2014.  Unfortunately, it is not only adults who are affected by mental illness.  Half of those with mental health disorders show first signs prior to age 14.  Three quarters of mental health disorders begin prior to age 24.  Sadly, less than 20% of children and adolescents and 44% of adults with a diagnosed mental health disorder receive the treatment they need. 

Did you know May is Mental Health Month?  The theme for 2018 is Fitness #4Mind4Body.  This theme provides awareness of the interactive relationship between our mind and body. 

One way to prevent and treat mental health disorders is through diet.  Did you know that young people with the healthiest diets are about half as likely to have depression, whereas those with diets highest in junk and processed foods are 80% more likely to have depression?  In fact, in one study, 1/3 of those with depression who improved their diets had full relief of their symptoms.  Try eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, olive oil, and other healthy foods while eating sweets and fatty food in moderation.

Did you know that exercise can help prevent and treat mental health disorders?  Studies have shown that just one hour of exercise a week is related to lower levels of mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders.  You can incorporate small amounts of fun exercise into your daily routine.  For example, you can take walks outside, play a sport, take a dance class, or go swimming.

Did you know that poor quality of sleep can increase your risk of developing a mental health disorder?  People with mental health disorders are much more likely to suffer from sleep problems than those without mental health issues. 

If after making changes to diet, exercise, and sleep, you or someone you care about are still struggling with mental health issues, it may be beneficial to seek professional help.  Mental health disorders can usually be treated effectively with psychotherapy and medication.  You can call us at 215-491-7570 to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians.

 

References:

Mental health month 2018 – toolkit download. (2018). Retrieved from

                www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-month-2018-toolkit-download

 

Mental health myths and facts. (2017, August 29). Retrieved from

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mental-health-myths-facts

www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-month-2018-toolkit-download

In case you missed it in April . . .

Have you been feeling stressed lately?  If you answered, “yes”, you are not alone.  Stress is so prevalent in our society that April is recognized as National Stress Awareness Month.  Everyone experiences stress at times.  In fact, according to the American Psychological Association (2014), 75% of Americans report experiencing at least one symptom of stress in the past month. Some common symptoms include feeling irritable/angry, fatigued, overwhelmed, having a lack of interest/motivation, and being depressed/sad.  Fortunately, not all stress is bad as it can motivate us to prepare for situations, such as a job interview or important presentation.  Stress can even save your life when in danger.  However, chronic stress can result in serious health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease.  It can also negatively affect your relationships both at home and in the workplace.  Parents of children 18 and under, women, and younger generations (Millennials and Gen Xers) are especially prone to stress. 

The good news is there are healthy ways to prevent stress.  Here are 10 ways to prevent stress:

  1. Get enough sleep every night

  2. Eat well-balanced meals

  3. Exercise regularly

  4. Avoid recreational drugs and drink alcohol in moderation

  5. Create balance in your life between “work” and “play”

  6. Engage in hobbies/activities you enjoy regularly

  7. Set realistic goals for yourself and create a plan to accomplish them

  8. Build a strong support system

  9. Know your limits and don’t be afraid to say “no”

  10. Have a positive attitude

 

 

Unfortunately, even when we try our best to prevent stress, situations in our life, often beyond our control, may cause us stress.  Here are 10 healthy ways you can manage stress:

  1. Take deep breathes

  2. Meditate or do yoga

  3. Engage in physical exercise

  4. Utilize your support system

  5. Express yourself through writing, music, or art

  6. Listen to music

  7. Distract yourself by doing something fun

  8. Laugh

  9. Enjoy nature/outdoors

  10. Put your problems in perspective and think positive

If you are experiencing chronic stress that is affecting your physical and mental health, it may be time to seek professional help.  You can call us at 215-491-7570 to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians.

 

Reference:

American Psychological Association (2014). Stress in America: Paying with our health. Retrieved

from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2014/stress-report.pdf.

David A. Nover, M.D., P.C.  

1432 Easton Road, Suite 2-C  

Warrington, PA  18976  

215-491-7570