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.

Love Yourself this Valentine’s Day

By Dawn H. Haaz, Psy.D.

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

 

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and it is a day focused on love and appreciating those in our life we love.  While we often think of spouses and significant others on Valentine’s Day, it is also important to take time to focus on our relationship with ourselves too.  After all, we can’t be a good partner or even friend, if we don’t feel good about ourselves and take time for ourselves.  Ask yourself, “Do you feel good about yourself?”  “Do you give yourself the unconditional love you deserve?”  “Do you make time for self-care?”  If you aren’t able to answer “yes” to these three questions, below are some tips to help you feel good about yourself and take care of yourself this Valentine’s Day.

 

5 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

  • Replace negative self-talk (e.g. “I can’t do anything right.”) with positive self-talk (e.g. “I am good at lots of things.”).

  • Engage in hobbies and activities that you enjoy and make you feel good about yourself.

  • Surround yourself with positive people that help you feel good about yourself.

  • Avoid comparing yourself to others.  Remember, everyone has different strengths and challenges.

  • Create a list of all your positive attributes (i.e. personality traits, skills, talents, physical traits) that you feel good about.  Read this list over regularly to remind yourself everything you have to offer.

5 Ways to Engage in Self-Care

  • Make time to engage regularly in activities that you enjoy and are relaxing (e.g. listening/playing music, art, writing/journaling, going to the spa, being outside with nature).

  • Take care of yourself physically by engaging in regular physical activity that you enjoy and eating well-balanced meals.

  • Make sure to get enough sleep to be at your best physically, mentally, and emotionally.

  • Engage in yoga, meditation, guided imagery, or prayer to help you feel calmer and more connected spiritually.

  • Develop a positive support system, so you have people you can go to during challenging times as well as to share in happy times with you.

 

When you have unconditional love for yourself and feel cared for, you are more likely to be able to provide that same care and unconditional love for others that are important in your life.  If you still struggle with your relationship with yourself or others, therapy may be helpful.  Consider calling us at 215-491-7570 to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians.

 

Finding Peace in Your Relationships and with Yourself

By Dawn H. Haaz, Psy.D.

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

 

Are you looking to have more peace- both inner peace and in your relationships?

September 21, 2019 marks International Day of Peace, which promotes a day of seeking peace among nations as well as people.  This holiday was established in 1981 by the United Nations and was declared a permanent holiday in 2002.  Coincidentally, Selichot, which is Hebrew for “sorry and forgiveness prayers” begins on this same day in preparation for the Jewish High Holiday, Yom Kippur, which is the Day of Atonement.  This is a time of reflecting on one’s actions during the past year, asking for forgiveness for one’s sins, and avoiding committing the same sins in the Jewish New Year, which begins September 28th this year.

Regardless of your religious affiliation, September often marks a new start for us with summer ending, school starting, and autumn beginning.  It is a perfect time for us to reflect on the past year, including our accomplishments, challenges, and difficulties.  We can reflect on how we feel about ourselves as well as our relationships with others.  More importantly, we can examine our needs, desires, and goals for the future year.  It is a time to reflect on what we really want to get out of our life and our relationships and create a plan of how to accomplish what we want. 

For some, these tasks may not be so easy.  It may include admitting our faults, our challenges, and mistakes we have made.  Even more challenging, it includes asking for forgiveness from both ourselves as well as others.  Creating goals and action plans to accomplish these goals may also be an overwhelming and daunting task.

Below are 10 tips to help you get started to have a year of peace (both inner peace and in your relationships):

  1. Know and accept yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses.

  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself or others.

  3. Ask yourself for forgiveness when needed.

  4. Apologize and ask others for forgiveness when needed.

  5. Practice open, honest, and clear communication with others to prevent arguments and misunderstandings.

  6. Avoid letting yourself get hung up on petty matters.

  7. Think positive thoughts and find the positive in yourself and others.

  8. Seek relationships where you can be genuine and make you feel positive about yourself.

  9. Create good work-life balance and don’t overcommit yourself.

  10. Make time for yourself to relax and be in the moment.

If you are still struggling with finding inner peace or peace in your relationships, it may be helpful to speak with a professional who can help you.  Call us at David A. Nover, M.D., P.C. at 215-491-7570 to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians.

David A. Nover, M.D., P.C.  

1432 Easton Road, Suite 2-C  

Warrington, PA  18976  

215-491-7570