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Anticipatory Grief: Facing Loss and the Unknown During COVID-19

COVID-19 has impacted almost everyone in some way. Maybe you know someone who contracted the virus. Perhaps you had to file for unemployment. Or it could be that you’ve been impacted in other ways by having to deal with some other losses throughout this pandemic.

While people have had different experiences throughout COVID-19, most of us can agree that these are uncertain times.

That uncertainty can cause a fear of the unknown. Because there are still so many unknown factors about this virus and what will happen in the future, it can lead to something called anticipatory grief.

What Is Anticipatory Grief?

Unlike the grief you might experience after the loss of a loved one, anticipatory grief occurs before a significant loss.

How can you grieve something you haven’t lost yet? First, it’s important to note that this type of grief covers a variety of losses. Maybe you feel you’re going to lose your job soon. Perhaps your pet is getting old, and you’re already grieving their death even though it hasn’t happened.

When it comes to COVID-19, anticipatory grief can occur if you know someone who is sick or is at a higher risk of getting sick. It can also happen if you’re worried you might lose your job. Or, if this pandemic will impact your relationships and you’ll lose friends or your partner.

Anticipatory grief impacts people differently. For some, it can be even worse and harder to deal with than the actual loss when it happens.

Does It Make the Grieving Process Easier?

Grief is unique to each person. Because of that, it’s impossible to say whether anticipatory grief shortens the grieving time or allows the process to be “easier.” However, it does provide an opportunity to experience closure before an actual loss occurs. That can make acceptance an easier target to reach.

For example, if you know someone with COVID-19, anticipatory grief might move you to settle your differences, or tell them how you feel. It might be a turning point for your relationship. If that person takes a turn for the worse, anticipatory grief allows you to find that closure if they pass from the illness.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of anticipatory grief are often very similar to others throughout the grieving process. Some of the most common signs include:

  • Fear
  • Loneliness
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • The desire to open up to someone
  • Guilt

You might also find yourself visualizing the loss before it happens. If you’re worried about losing a loved one to COVID-19, anticipatory fear might make you think about it. Unfortunately, that often adds to the fear and anxiety you might already be feeling about that person and a possible loss.

How to Deal With Anticipatory Grief

Anticipatory grief is often a natural part of the general grieving process. But, if it starts to hinder your life or becomes debilitating, you might need to seek out support or treatment to get through it.

 

Don’t be afraid to share your feelings during your anticipatory grief. Turn to people you love and trust and express yourself. Just talking about it can help you feel better and guide you through the stages of grief healthily.

If you’re struggling with grief or a loss, feel free to contact me. Counseling for loss is one of the most effective ways to get through the grieving process, even if you’re just worried about what’s ahead.

The desire to talk to someone and open up is one of the most common symptoms of anticipatory grief. You can find comfort and peace of mind when talking about where you are in the grieving process, and counseling is a great way to do that. Please reach out to me today — I want to help.

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Scared of School; 3 Tips on How to Preserve Childhood Amid School Safety Concerns

Turning on the news nowadays can be overwhelming – and it’s almost inescapable. COVID-19 dominates the media and the minds for many of us and has become the all-too-real “invisible boogeyman” for waves of children. Not too mention that our country has seen multiple school shootings where innocent children or teenagers are killed—either by a classmate or an unexplained gunman. It’s not wonder so many kids are now scared of school. And guess what, so are parents.

As a result of the endless and evolving concerns around the pandemic as well as the number of mass shootings and threats to schools, many have taken extra safety precautions to keep students, families and staff secure. These safety measures include things like rebuffed air circulation systems, increased cleaning, hand sanitizer stations, mask orders, hiring additional security guards, installing metal detectors in the buildings, requiring only see-through backpacks or purses, entrance security and search checkpoints and even holding lockdown/mass shooter drills. It doesn’t sound much like the school environment most adults remember. It doesn’t sound like an environment that nurture learning at all, but surely one that invokes anxiety in many.

Even though these precautions are in place for a good reason, they can be traumatizing and scary to young children who may not fully understand why they’re needed.

So, how can you help to preserve some innocence and normalcy in your kids’ childhood while having an honest conversation with  them about school safety?

1. Keep Things Normal

Children thrive with routine. If you want to preserve childhood for your kids, do what you can to create a sense of normalcy as much as possible. This approach will help them to feel safe and secure, both at home and at school.

When children feel comfortable in their routine, they’re also more likely to open up about emotions they’re experiencing. Often, that includes things they might be scared or confused about. If they go to school and everything feels different, they need to know they can come home and depend on that normalcy. Think of their routine as a bit of a “safe haven,” and do what you can to keep it consistent.

Parent Hack: There is an enormous amount of media coverage on the pandemic and much of it is pretty intense. It’s an intense time. Try to avoid leaving the news running, even in the background, at home and consider limiting your own watching to times when your kids are not in the area or in earshot. Teaching kids about the news is important – but especially in times of crisis, the news tends to be overwhelming and traumatic for many children.

2. Encourage Conversation About Their Feelings

Some kids don’t have a problem opening up and sharing their feelings. For others, it isn’t always so easy.

If your child doesn’t want to talk about their feelings openly, try to prompt them with questions concerning how they feel when it comes to school. You don’t have to get specific. Besides, it’s better to let your child lead the conversation.

Once your child does open up, be sure to validate their feelings, too! If you want to preserve childhood, make sure your children know that their feelings are important.

If your child is scared of school be careful not to “quick fix” it with false assurances or telling them to “get over it” or move on. Validate the feelings. You can also talk about what is real and what isn’t, but start with letting them know that you heard how they are feeling.

And yes, it is also important to provide reassurance. Children look to their parents for comfort, guidance, and support. Assure them that their school is taking steps to be safer. And talk about the real precautionary measures that are being put into place for all of them.

Parent Hack: Tell your kids some of your own feelings and share with them what you do to help when you feel worried or confused. Don’t get too wordy – keep it simple. Sometimes hearing a parent share sets the stage and invites sharing of their own.

3. Talk About School Safety Precautions

One of the best ways to assuage your child’s concerns is to talk about some of the safety measures schools have put in place in response to COVID-19, school shootings and even bullying which many kids can relate too very quickly from experience or observation. Discuss with your children about how these efforts are intended to work. Talk about why they’re being used, and how they will help to protect them from harm.

When you’re trying to preserve childhood, it’s important to use age-appropriate language. That isn’t always easy. But, do what you can to find a way to explain the importance of these safety measures to your kids.

Parent Hack: Remember age appropriate doesn’t mean elusive or dishonest. Be honest and age appropriate.

Normal Childhood in Abnormal Times?

It’s not abnormal for your child to be scared or concerned if they start to see extra security measures in their school. Maybe the school is just being cautious. Or, perhaps they experienced something that prompted the additional safety measures. In that case, your child might need to talk with someone who can help them to understand better what’s going on.

One More Thing…

Children and grief counseling are going together more than ever nowadays, thanks to tragedies in schools. It’s an unfortunate reality, but this type of counseling can help kids who might be struggling.

If you’re having trouble trying to preserve childhood with a child who is already grieving, you don’t have to tackle it on your own. Feel free to contact me for more information or visit my page about children and grief counseling to learn more.

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Politicians, Privacy, & TeleHealth – Here’s What You Should Know

Thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has become more of a popular and necessary resource for people worldwide.

Telehealth has plenty of benefits, after all. For example, you can have sessions from the privacy of your own home. You can work with doctors anywhere in the country. Plus, you can schedule appointments at a time that works best for you.

But, when it comes to privacy and telehealth, some people have had concerns about their private information or the possibility of data breaches.

Some researchers believe that there are significant security risks in telehealth systems. These risks can impact a patient’s level of trust and willingness to continue using telehealth as a platform.

So, what are the issues, and what is being done to boost security?

Not Making Telehealth Privacy Policies Clear

Privacy and telehealth should be a relatively easy connection. Because it’s still a somewhat new platform that physicians and patients are using, there are still some “kinks” to work out.

One of the most significant issues is that healthcare providers aren’t giving their patients a privacy policy to look over. If there are no strict regulations in place for a particular medical facility or from a physician, there is no guarantee to the patient that their privacy will be protected. Even if a provider does do everything “right” to keep a patient’s information secure, the patient needs to know what steps will be taken to make that happen.

A specific suggestion to take the privacy policies out of the hands of healthcare providers would be to let a federal agency (The Federal Trade Commission) create a set of privacy and security standards for all healthcare providers across the country and enforce them when it comes to telehealth.

What Are the Risks of TeleHealth?

Data breaches happen all too frequently in the business and tech world. Telehealth’s popularity is expanding. It’s likely hackers will waste no time in trying to steal valuable information from patients, too. Some of the most serious risks include:

  • A lack of control over collecting and sharing data
  • Sessions used with apps can share sensitive data
  • Home computer systems/networks may not be secure
  • Transfer of information increases the risk of a data breach

What Can the Healthcare Sector Do About the Rise in TeleHealth?

The bottom line? When it comes to privacy and telehealth, there should be more government regulations to streamline the process.

In a standard patient/physician setting, HIPAA covers most of a patient’s right to a private appointment. But, HIPAA only applies to covered entities. That means it only applies to the physicians, not to patients. So, if you’re talking to a physician on the phone or through a video chat, HIPAA laws do not apply to you, and information you share through your app/portal may not be safe.

The Food and Drug Administration currently regulates medical devices. However, it doesn’t have any regulation on apps or consumer-facing mobile devices for telehealth services. So, what’s the solution? As stated above, one federal organization needs to put telehealth under its existing umbrella to take control of these privacy issues.

The Growing Need for Telehealth

Thanks to COVID-19, it’s clear that telehealth is here to stay as an option for many people. More people will likely continue to use it. It can help with everything from physical ailments to counseling for loss or anxiety.

The system is not yet perfect when talking about privacy and telehealth. But, as the need for it continues to grow, we can likely expect at least one government sector to step up and create an overview of how telehealth privacy policies should look.

How To Use TeleHealth Right Now

In the meantime, look for options that offer some type of encryption (no less than 128bit and preferably more) and stay away from options that are designed as social vehicles – look for ones intentioned for business and even better, if built and maintained specifically for medical/health purposes.

Facetime, Skype and such are great for talking with grandparents or friends. Zoom, Meetings and such are good options for business meetings, teaching classes and industry networking. These have strong options for increasing privacy – so if your counselor or doctor is using them, make sure to ask if they have set those parameters in place. Doximity and others are designed specifically for medical – and there are a lot medical system portals that are private to only the professionals in the system using them, too.

You don’t have to be a webhead or a techie. You just have to ask your telehealth provider. My rule of thumb, if they don’t know how they are protecting your privacy, it begs the question of how strongly they really are.

If you want to know more about what telehealth is, how it works, or how you can ensure that your information and personal data are safe, please contact me for more details. Or visit my page about counseling for loss to learn about how I can help you navigate troubling times.

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Top 5 Reasons Virtual Counseling Is Highly Effective

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, virtual counseling or “telehealth” was becoming increasingly popular. Now that this pandemic has forced most of the world to practice social distancing and stay inside, however, it’s become an even more vital resource than ever.

Virtual counseling for loss, especially during this pandemic, can be just as effective as its in-person counterpart.

If you’re not sure if virtual counseling is right for you, let’s go over a few reasons why it’s highly effective, and how it can help you if you need support.

1. It Offers More Access to Counseling

Some people, especially those who live in rural areas, may have never had the opportunity to go to a counselor before. Virtual counseling allows you to talk with someone no matter where you are in the world. Plus, you’ll do so without leaving the comfort of your home. If you’ve never been able to meet with a counselor because of where you live, virtual counseling gives you the chance to do so.

It also makes counseling accessible to people who might have mobility issues, chronic pain, or other health conditions that keep them from getting out of the house too often. You only need a quiet space within your home to obtain the benefits of online counseling.

2. It Can Create Openness

When you’re in a virtual counseling session, you can do it from the comfort of your home. In an intimate space, it’s easier to open up and be more vulnerable. You may even share more with a counselor virtually than you would during an in-office session.

3. It’s Convenient

It can sometimes be challenging to find a time that works for both you and your counselor. So, you may not get to talk to them as often as you’d like. Plus, the hassle of merely driving to the counselor’s office can dissuade some individuals from keeping the appointment. Especially great for medical personnel and others whose scheduling might make it difficult to access a typical appointment time.

Virtual counseling is convenient and can be done after regular “working hours,” so you can find a time that works for your schedule without having to wait for weeks in between.

4. It’s Affordable

In-person counseling can be expensive. For some people, the cost is an issue that may have kept them away from working with a counselor in the past. However, it has been shown that virtual counseling is more affordable for both the client and the therapist.

Many states are now requiring insurance providers to cover online therapy sessions, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Have you been considering virtual counseling, but you’re not sure if you can afford it?  Talk to your insurance company to see if it’s covered.

There are fewer overhead costs to worry about when it comes to virtual therapy from a therapist’s standpoint. So, they can pass those savings onto their clients. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a different rate for virtual services.

5. It Offers Similar Benefits as In-person Counseling

One of the biggest questions people tend to have about virtual counseling is whether you’ll get the same experience as you would in person. The answer is, for most people, a resounding yes.

Because most virtual therapy sessions are via video chat, you can still see your counselor’s face and expressions, and they can see yours.

If you have a reliable internet connection, a private area of your home, and a willingness to clear time in your schedule, virtual counseling can be incredibly helpful.

If virtual counseling interests you, you might still have questions or wonder if it’s right for you. Feel free to contact me for more information or visit my page about counseling for loss. Together, we can get through these uncertain times and far beyond. And, you can do it from the comfort of your home.

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COVID-19: Understanding the Risk of Burnout for Medical Personnel

While everyone has been impacted in some way by the pandemic, we can probably all agree that healthcare workers and medical personnel have been at the front lines of this virus from the beginning. In addressing the many challenges of COVID-19: understanding the risk of burnout for medical personnel is so important. And this will likely be the case for many months to come.

With millions of cases across the globe, we have come to depend on medical personnel to help the sick, keep us informed, and keep us educated, all while putting themselves at risk of catching the virus, too.

Across the country, healthcare workers have been working longer, more stressful shifts. You’ve probably seen photos or videos of the marks on their faces from having to wear masks for so long. What we can’t see are the emotional effects this pandemic has caused.

Burnout for medical personnel is a real thing and could happen to anyone in the healthcare field thanks to these stressful, uncertain times.

Many of us wonder, how can the risk of burnout for medical personnel be reduced? What can healthcare workers do to keep themselves not just physically safe, but emotionally and mentally healthy, too?

What Are the Risks?

A recent survey of over 1,000 healthcare workers from 34 hospitals in China found that over 50% were experiencing depression, while 44.6% were experiencing anxiety. Perhaps the most staggering statistic is that over 71% of healthcare workers surveyed said they were feeling distressed.

In the U.S., we haven’t had enough time or research performed yet to determine how this pandemic has affected our medical personnel fully. However, as most of the country has been under some form of “shelter-at-home” order for more than 50 days, we can assume that those 50+ days have all been full of stress and exhaustion for our healthcare workers.

It’s vital to understand that there are many reasons why medical personnel could be experiencing burnout right now, including:

  • Longer working hours
  • Seeing an alarming number of patients not recover
  • Not allowing family or friends to visit the sick
  • Worrying about their own health and safety

What Can Be Done to Reduce the Risk of Burnout for Medical Personnel?

When you’re a frontline healthcare worker, it’s hard to simply “take the day off.” Medical personnel is often viewed as heroes and for a good reason. Most of them are eager to get to work helping others and making major strides to combat this virus (and other illnesses along the way!).

If you’re a medical professional or know someone who is, taking care of yourself during these uncertain times is more important than ever. Though you might not get to take time off that you want or deserve, there are other things you can do to reduce the risk of burnout.

Establish a Self-Care Routine

Starting with simple self-care can make a big difference. Find moments throughout the day to practice mindfulness, or take a few calming, deep breaths to relax. Get outside as often as possible when you have a break. Studies have shown that just 30 minutes of being in nature each day can boost your energy and reduce stress levels.

Find a Listening Ear

Most importantly, find someone to talk to.

Having a support group around you during these times can help. It allows you to express your concerns and even “vent” about what you’re going through.

Seek Professional Support

If you don’t want to talk to family or friends, you might benefit from critical incident stress counseling. If there is one thing we’ve all learned from this pandemic, it’s that we need to work together to get through it. Healthcare professionals aren’t immune to that, either.

 

If you’re in the healthcare field and feel stress pulling on you, feel free to contact me for more information — or to talk. Your mental and emotional health can be (and should be) a priority.

I offer online therapy, so please reach out to me today or visit my page on critical incident stress counseling to learn more about how I can help.

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Is It All Hype? How to Manage Anxiety from the News

It’s nearly impossible to avoid the steady news stream surrounding the coronavirus pandemic that has swept over the world. So how do we manage anxiety from a global crisis?

Whether you always hear new data or statistics or you’re buying into what “news” is being posted on social media, it’s easy to feel anxious. You might also be scared about the situation, in general, or even wonder if it’s all hype.

This virus isn’t the first illness or other major world event to cause anxiety among many of us. And, it won’t be the last. Still, what can you do to manage anxiety and feel less fearful about what’s going on around you?

Take a Break

Perhaps you think the news is blown out of proportion. Or maybe you don’t believe everything you read or see on television. Nevertheless, an excellent way to manage anxiety over it is to step away from the news for a while.

Closeout of your social media accounts, turn off the television, and stay away from your phone. No, it’s not always fair that you have to completely “shut down” for a while to avoid the news. But, sometimes it’s the best option.

It’s often the constant, sustained stories of hopelessness and fear from the news that can continue to trigger your anxiety. By taking breaks throughout the day and focusing on something else, you can manage those triggers. As a result, you can handle your symptoms better.

Try spending your time doing things that will not only distract you, but that can reduce stress. Try reading, exercising, or even meditating. These activities can help you to feel more mindful and less anxious.

Focus on What You Can Control — Not What You Can’t

When you’re dealing with anxiety, it’s not uncommon to feel as though your world is spinning out of control. If you want to manage anxiety, it’s essential to recognize that there will always be things out of your control, such as losing a loved one to this virus. But, there are things you can control, like going to counseling for loss.

You can’t control how many people catch the virus. You can’t control what happens to those who do. What you can control is how you respond to what the news is saying.

You choose what to believe, and you decide how to act on it. When you put yourself in control of those things, you’re giving yourself more power and taking away the authority of your anxious thoughts.

Find the Moments of Positive News

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when scary statistics and predictions continuously bombard you. While you don’t necessarily need to go looking for “happy news,” pay attention to the positive pieces that pop up on the air.

This pandemic, for example, has shown great moments of humanity. People are helping others. Workers are donating their time. Restaurants are giving food to children who are out of school. Younger people are checking in on seniors.

There are bright moments, even in negative stories. So, don’t focus solely on the doom and gloom of the current situation (or any news story). You don’t need to ignore the negative things to find and appreciate the positive news.

Struggling with Headline Anxiety

If you’re trying to manage anxiety amidst the news of the coronavirus or other happenings in the world, you’re not alone.

These are uncertain times. It’s crucial to make your mental health a priority. Unfortunately, that isn’t always easy to do when you’re stuck at home, surrounded by the news all day, every day.

If you’re having trouble managing your anxiety, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Anxiety typically doesn’t go away on its own. Thankfully, you don’t have to manage it alone. Feel free to contact me for more information about working through your anxiety or visit my page on counseling for loss to learn more about how I can help.

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8 Daily Practices of Generosity & Gratitude

All across the web, we encounter articles and lists urging us to become more successful. While some of this content can be helpful, most of it takes for granted that we all similarly define “success.” Sure, we need resources to survive and thrive. But what about the many other elements of an enriching and fulfilling life? In particular, what good is our material gain if we have not cultivated daily practices that enhance and expand our sense of generosity and gratitude? Here are 8 daily practices of generosity and gratitude that take only a little investment and yet the pay off can be life-changing.

Generosity in the Digital Age

We are all connected in previously unimaginable ways. However, even a casual glance at the dreaded Internet “comments section” demonstrates how our digital connections don’t always result in generosity. To be a giver means more than likes and shares or color-coded profile pictures. Quite often, it means doing something more face-to-face. But whether IRL or online, generosity is intended to describe a selfless act.

As the inimitable Fred “Mister” Rogers once stated: “I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else.”

Gratitude in the Digital Age

Our devices have the power to extract us from the present moment. When we are not present, gratitude is hard to find. Gratitude lives in each moment — in the here and now. It is a counterbalance to the allure of social media notifications. It is an antidote to the notorious “fear of missing out (FOMO).”

8 Daily Practices of Generosity & Gratitude

1. Start Each Day With Intention

There is so much we cannot control. Our greatest power, therefore, lies in controlling what we can. Set an intention for each day.  Take responsibility for yourself, your feelings, and your responses to others. Strive to make your time and energy count.

2. Take Tech Breaks

Again, our devices can shatter our most generous and grateful tendencies. Schedule deliberate breaks to be present in our own life — and the lives of others.

3. Pay Attention

The poet Mary Oliver reminds us: “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” Your attention may be the greatest gift you can bestow on anyone. It is also the lens through which you recognize for whom you and to what you show gratitude.

4. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Don’t leave things to chance. Keep a daily journal of the things that make you feel grateful.

5. Ask Others If and How You Can Help

Helping is not about what we think others need. It’s about letting them guide us to be generous.

6. Pledge to Listen More and Listen Better

A version of paying attention, listening is a gift. Increase your listening time. Hone your listening skills.

7. Get Involved in Volunteer Efforts — Or Create Your Own!

There are so many helpers out there. Get involved. If you can’t find a group doing what you wish to do, create a new group! There is always a need – so stretch and give of your time, talents or both.

8. End Each Day By Choosing a “Headline”

Before you fall asleep, mentally “write” a headline to describe the highlights of your day. Honor your efforts and pledge to do more tomorrow.

How to Tap Into Your Generosity & Gratitude

None of us are immune to daily stresses and pressures of modern life. There is no shame in asking for help with our emotional growth. Working with a therapist provides us with such an opportunity. Frequently, we may be our own worst enemy when it comes to cultivating daily practices. Your counselor is like an unbiased guide offering another set of eyes — experienced and trained eyes.

Together, you can identify behavioral patterns that hamper your growth. From there, new approaches are created and tried out. This process of discussion, followed by trial and error, is a proven path toward personal evolution and fulfillment.

Please contact me today if you’re ready to begin this journey toward a more fulfilled life. Or, visit my page on heart disease and depression counseling to learn more.

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Does Your Child Suffer from Separation Anxiety? – 4 Ways to Prevent a Meltdown

4 Ways to Prevent a Meltdown

Separation anxiety can be hard for both a child and a parent. Seeing your child break down every time you have to leave them is heartbreaking. And it can cause you to feel guilty or even frustrated, not knowing how to prevent a meltdown.

The cause of separation anxiety can be a variety of things. For example, a change in the environment, like moving to a new home or school, can trigger it. Any time a child feels unsafe or not secure without you, it could lead to symptoms of separation anxiety.

So, what can you do to help your child get through it? Can the meltdowns that happen when you leave be avoided?

With time and effort, yes, they can.

Let’s look at a few ways to prevent a meltdown.

1. Create a Quick “Goodbye” Ritual

Rituals and routines can be comforting to babies and young children. An action that is done over and over again lets them know it’ll be the same every time. So, your “goodbye” ritual means that, eventually, you’ll come back to get them.

It’s also important to say goodbye relatively quickly and without making a big deal over it. It can be tempting to linger, give them one more hug or kiss, etc. By reducing the amount of fanfare you give your farewell, it will make it easier for both of you.

2. Start Small

For some children, you may have to do “practice runs” when it comes to leaving them with someone new. If you have a new caregiver or your child is going to a new school, practice what things will be like ahead of time.

Try leaving them with that individual for a few minutes one day, and then a few minutes more the next. Gradually, you can go for more extended periods or travel further away from the location.

Once your child starts to see that they’re safe with that particular caregiver, it’s easier to prevent a meltdown when you leave in the future.

3. Be Consistent

If at all possible, keep your child’s surroundings the same. If you regularly have a caregiver for your child, it can be better for them to come to your house, rather than have your child go to their place. And if your child has to go to a daycare or school, allow them to bring one thing from home to make them feel comfortable.

It’s also better if the primary caregiver for your child is consistently the same person. Switching out babysitters every week won’t help with your child’s anxiety. Having as much consistency as possible when it comes to time spent in someone else’s care will help to ease their worries.

4. Keep Your Promises

Did you tell your child you would be back to pick them up at 5 pm? Then, that’s exactly when you need to be there. Don’t be late just because you think your child can handle it.

They’ll start to build confidence over time that they’ll be okay with you away. But you can easily break that confidence if you break a promise to them.

By following through on your commitments to pick them up at a specific time, you’re reassuring them even more that they can not only handle being away from you but also that everything will go back to normal at the end of the day.

Remember, It’s Not Forever

It can be tempting to give in to your child when they’re having a meltdown, but the best thing you can do is to reassure them everything will be okay. Giving in will only make things harder in the long run. For some more helpful hints, check out Family Education.

If your child is struggling with separation anxiety, try the solutions above to make leaving times easier for you both. If nothing seems to be helping, though, please feel free to contact me or visit my page on children and grief counseling to learn more.

Together, we can work on figuring out the underlying cause for your child’s separation anxiety and find different ways of dealing with it.

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Choosing a Life Coach: 5 Essential Traits to Look For

Choosing a Life Coach is not very hard, if you know what to look for. Below are 5 essential traits to look for to make sure you find the right one for you. A great life coach needs to have much more than techniques and resources for you to try. Their personality traits can make a big difference, not only in how well they work with you, but how much they can change your life.

Chemistry is vital between a life coach and their clients. So, it’s essential to choose someone who feels like a good fit.

With that in mind, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to life coaches. When choosing a life coach, you might find someone you don’t work as well with, as you initially thought. That’s okay. Understanding that ahead of time can save you both a lot of effort (and save you a lot of money!).

There are certain traits every life coach should have, though. When you’re starting your search for a coach, keep these characteristics in mind to narrow down the field.

1. They Are Trustworthy

Life coaches have to advertise themselves and their services to get clients. But, are they authentic within their marketing? Are they “selling” more than just a gimmick?

If your life coach isn’t authentic, they’re looking at themselves as a product. Products can only do so much, and they typically follow a pattern instead of working with people on an individual basis.

Without authenticity, you’ll never be able to fully trust your life coach. Without that trust, you’ll never be able to build a strong relationship with them. As a result, your time together will end up feeling more like a motivational seminar or lesson.

In choosing a life coach, try to focus on the relationship. That said, relationships are built on trust, and your relationship with a life coach is no different. Make sure they’re themselves from the start.

2. They Know Who They Are

Most people can tell when someone is being “real” with them or not. A life coach should have textbook knowledge, but they should also have a unique personality that makes them qualified for what they do.

After all, almost anyone can read a book, attend classes, etc. It takes a particular person to motivate others – they should have formal professional training, measurable experience and a personality that inspires. Keep this in mind when choosing a life coach.

Your coach should have no problem showcasing who they are. If they have a naturally positive, motivating demeanor, you can feel more comfortable learning from them.

Also remember, that part of knowing who you are is knowing who you are not. A reputable coach will never try to represent themselves as being the best coach for every person and every need. If they are not open and honest – up front – about what they don’t do, then look for someone else.

3. They Are Compassionate and Supportive

Great coaches genuinely connect with their clients. So, when a client is facing struggles, the coach feels those struggles and wants to help. Finding someone with compassion can make a huge difference. They’ll let you know you shouldn’t be ashamed of your struggles, and you won’t feel alone in getting through them.

Your coach should also be supportive, no matter how big or small your challenges are. It takes a delicate balance, being able to connect with clients while offering “big picture” guidance, but the right life coaches make it happen.

4. They Are Confident

Your life coach should know what they are worth. This mindset doesn’t mean they’re cocky or condescending. But, they should have confidence in themselves, what they do, and how they can help you. (Be wary of those priced way below the market or offering special “discounts”. You often get what you pay for, to a point. And significant price reductions usually reflect desperation which is not a good sign. Yes. Be a smart shopper – but be savvy too).

Their confidence will help you to trust them more. A life coach can show you how confident they are in what they do simply through how they live their lives. They make mistakes and own up to them, they have a thirst for knowledge, and they stand firm in what they believe.

5. They Are Dedicated

Life coaches can have several different clients at any given time. The best coaches show the same level of dedication to each one. Coaches understand that it can take a long time to see results. It’s a journey. When your coach commits to going on that journey with you, you’ll want them there for all the ups and downs.

Your coach should be willing to stay involved with you every step of the way, even if that journey takes longer than expected.

If you’re unsure about whether a professional life coach is right for you, or if other forms of counseling and help might be better, feel free to contact me for more information or visit one of my other my pages to learn more about my services.

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Children of Divorce: 5 Long-Term Effects of Broken Marriages

A broken marriage can be a scary, ugly, and confusing thing—especially for the children of divorce.

But, the tumultuous time of divorce isn’t the only thing couples need to worry about. A broken marriage can have lasting, long-term effects.

Some divorces end peacefully. Two people can agree their relationship didn’t work out. And some parents can co-parent their children just as well, making a favorable situation for everyone.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

In a drawn-out, angry divorce that started with a broken marriage, kids can bear the brunt of the long-term effects. Let’s look at a few of those, and the problems they can cause later in life.

1. Anxiety

Did you argue with your spouse in front of your child? Are the arguments about them? Do you confide in your child about your problems with their other parent?

Children in the middle of a broken marriage can develop anxiety if things aren’t handled the right way. Your child should not be your “friend” or therapist when you’re going through a divorce or separation. Additionally, they shouldn’t have to hear you argue with your spouse about them.

If they do, it can lead to a lot of guilt. They might start to resent the other parent. Or, they might feel as though they are the root of the problem.

2. Depression

A broken marriage can cause depression if a child takes the blame for it. Or, if their life suddenly changes and things aren’t the way they used to be, it can create an overwhelming feeling of sadness.

Signs of depression in a child can include isolation, problems sleeping, or sudden difficulties at school—both with their education and in their relationships with friends.

Survival is science. Living is art.

3. Fear of Abandonment

When children of divorce witness a marriage falling apart, it’s easy for them to take what they’ve experienced and apply it to their own life, even if it’s years in the future. They might develop a fear of abandonment in their romantic relationships later in life.

This mindset can lead to relationships where they are dependent on the other person for their happiness. Unfortunately, extremely dependent people can get into relationships that are emotionally or physically abusive.

4. Fear of Commitment

Some children may take the opposite route in their romantic relationships when they get older. They might be hesitant to get into a serious relationship with just one person because they’ve seen how easy it is for things to go wrong.

No one wants to get into a relationship, assuming it’s going to be doomed from the start. If a child has been through a particularly ugly divorce between their parents, that experience can steer them away from committing to someone. As a result, they may not easily be able to have a healthy relationship.

5. Inability to Cope

A lack of commitment doesn’t just affect relationships. When a child grows up thinking they can “walk away” from their problems because they saw their parents do it (or one of their parents), it can eventually become difficult for them to deal with the hardships of life.

If they lose their job, someone breaks up with them, or some traumatic event happens, a person who has learned to avoid confrontation, commitment, and problematic situations their whole life can have an incredibly difficult time dealing with things like these.

The good news? None of these long-term effects have to happen—even if a divorce does play out.

Again, a broken marriage is hard for everyone. A crucial thing you can do when you’re going through a split is to communicate with your child. Let them know it’s not their fault, and don’t use them as a substitute therapist.

If you see that they’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Sometimes, a therapist or counselor can be the best way to help children of divorce work through the struggles they’re dealing with at home. Please, contact my office today or visit my page on children and grief counseling to learn more about how I can help.