Jul 15, 2020
Calming The Anxious Mind During COVID19
The current presence of COVID-19 has created increased chaos, and many of us are left wondering what is going to happen as a result. Our mind has a tendency to wander around and jump to various conclusions, but there are alternative ways to think and behave that might help us feel better. When I find myself getting stuck in my own mind or thinking negatively about a situation, I often think “what can I do to change the feelings related to this thought process”. I will share some techniques I use and why I enjoy them, and I would also like to share some techniques for you to try in case my ideas aren’t of direct interest. Being outdoors has always provided a sense of enjoyment because fresh air, exploring nature, and learning how the world works without human involvement is fascinating. Sometimes I like to take it a step further and ride my ATV in the woods to explore different land structures or wildlife. I usually do this with my cell phone only being used in case of emergency so I am not distracted and can enjoy the moment. I also think we need to learn how to “disconnect” from the world temporarily, which includes putting down our phones and feeling a sense of freedom from social interaction. Utilizing video games could be another way to disconnect from the world for a little while and put energy into a virtual world of achievement. Some other helpful techniques to reduce anxiety/stress are:
1: Guided meditation - Utilizing this technique allows us to be present in the moment, which helps minimize stress, anxiety, and depressed mood. I have found this technique to be helpful in the evenings when trying to sleep because it allows our mind to calm down and not focus on struggles of daily living during a time when relaxation is needed. Starting out with a 3 or 5 minute guided meditation is most helpful because it allows the mind to build focus and understanding. Give this a try for approximately 7 days and see if there is a change in your sleep pattern, mood, or overall stress level.
2: Journaling - I have found this to be a helpful technique when we aren’t able to make sense of several thoughts or a situation. Writing down information allows me to better process what is happening and develop a plan to either continue with success, or to create a plan to change for the better. It also works as a form of emotional release if you are feeling as though there is no possibility of expressing yourself to someone else. Making the journal a bit decorative and unique can help you feel as though “this is my personal location for my thoughts and feelings and only I am allowed to know what is written”.
3: Exercise - This doesn’t necessarily mean going out to run 5 miles every day, which is how some people define “exercise”. Exercise can be as simple as mild movements, like stretching for example. Stretching helps relapse tension within our muscles, which allows mental energy to flow better through our body. Movement also begins to release endorphins, which are “feel good” chemicals our body naturally produces to say “hey I like what you’re doing”. This also gives us the reinforcement to continue doing these behaviors to feel more positive about our well being. Getting a planner could be helpful with this activity because you can write down different exercises or stretches and develop a time frame to complete them.
These skills take practice to achieve satisfaction, so it’s okay if you’re not right where you want to be when you get started. Give yourself some time to develop a pattern of behaviors that work well for you and I think you’ll be surprised with what your mind is capable of teaching. The more practice you put into these activities, the more automatic your responses will become because your mind and body will recognize the positive aspects of your new journey. Throughout your exploration you’ll be able to find activities that work right for you.
About the author:
Bryan Schon, MA, LPC, NCC is a Licensed National Board-Certified Counselor helping teens and adults overcome anxiety and stress in Farmington, CT.
866-887-6864 extension 816
Jim Moutinho was a guest today on the Brad Davis with Gary Byron discussing how to help loved ones suffering from depression or mental health issues. For the full interview go to www.talkofconnecticut.com
On May 31, 2019, Jim Moutinho appeared on the Brad Davis Show The Talk of Connecticut 1360am to discuss responsible alcohol use and the family. Topics included alcohol use in society, evaluating what is problematic drinking versus responsible drinking, discussing topics with children and family, and upcoming family outings where alcohol is present.
go to www.talkofconnecticut.com to listen to the broadcast.
On April 26th, 2019 Jim Moutinho joined Paul Pacelli of the Talk of Connecticut 1360am to discuss the risk of increased use of Benzodiazepines in adolescents and adults. Topics include what they are, addiction potential and alternative treatment options. Go to www.talkofconnecticut.com or subcribe to the Talk of Connecticut Podcast for all the latest topics impacting Connecticut.
Apr 3, 2019
On March 29, 2019 Jim Moutinho, Founder/Director of Advanced Treatment Solutions stopped by the Talk of Connecticut WDRC 1360 and spoke to Brad Davis about the opiate crisis and best practices for treating individuals struggling with opiates. Topics include overdose, evaluations, Medication-Assisted Treatment options, and counseling. Click above for the entire interview.
Side Gigs to Make Ends Meet When You’re Recovering from a Mental Illness
When mental illness takes control of your life, you likely do not have the energy necessary to focus on much more than your recovery. Many people find that when their mental illness has spiraled out of control, they need to put their careers and aspirations on the sidelines while they work on recovery. However, after some time working with professionals and doing plenty of soul-searching, it can be healthy to get back into a working mindset. Maybe it’s not time to throw yourself back into the pressures and anxieties of your former position, but taking up one or two side gigs that tap into your hobbies and creativity while making some extra money can provide a sense of purpose and utility that is essential for healthy self-esteem.
The side gigs mentioned here are generally home-based. When working from home, it’s imperative to have a workspace separate from the parts of your home used for socializing and relaxing. Your own home office helps you avoid distractions for optimal productivity. If you live with family or roommates, communicate with them that you are not to be disturbed when working unless it’s an emergency. Another great home office hack is setting up your space in a part of the house with as much natural light as possible. Light stimulates feelings of productivity and positivity, keeping you on track during your workday. If your place is a bit lacking in the natural light department, feel free to make do with your own lighting design that combines ambient, task, accent, and decorative elements.
Sell Handmade Goods on Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace where people go to find handmade versions of their favorite things. If you are a handy person, you probably know how to make something that people want to buy. Etsy allows makers to sell products ranging from prints to jewelry and homemade beauty supplies. You can even sell digital downloads if your talents are more about graphic design or coding. While Etsy charges for the products you list, you get the added benefit of using a marketplace people already use. People who shop on Etsy want to support small businesses.
Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
If you’re the type of person who finds themselves hanging with the dog at the party, this is the side gig for you. Spending time around pets is good for your mental health. Household pets ease anxiety and promote mindfulness. Combine the benefits of spending time with four-legged friends with the opportunity to make some extra bread, and it’s the perfect post-recovery side gig for many out there. To get started with dog walking and pet sitting, consider going through a third-party site that connects you with pet parents searching for services while adding a level of security for both parties involved. Many pet-sitting websites have limited insurance that will cover damages or injuries should they occur during the time employed.
Teach Music Lessons
If breaking out your instrument is your go-to move whenever you feel stressed, teaching music lessons taps into that therapeutic release while generating a healthy hourly rate. The thing about music lessons is that while you may spend time instructing and going over teaching materials, a lot of the lesson time is spent simply playing together with your pupil. Furthermore, you get to enjoy the self-esteem-boosting benefits of teaching somebody a healthy skill.
If you’re recovering from mental illness and you’re not quite ready to jump back into your career, it may help to make ends meet with one or two side gigs that you enjoy. Not only can the extra money help, but taking on minor responsibilities also helps re-build your self-esteem. Look into ways to turn the things you love into a money-making venture, whether that involves selling your handmade wares on Etsy, helping pet parents with their furry loved ones, or passing on your love of and talent for music to willing pupils.
Nov 25, 2018
We just completed our annual Holiday photo shoot and got some great shots for this years card. After much thought the winner for this years card is....
Included in Photo: Jim Moutinho, Dr. Jane Clark, Katherine Hernandez, Kelly Anziano, Brian Carberg and Erica Cahn.
Aug 24, 2018
Treat Yourself: Make the Most of Your PTO with a Stress-Free Vacation and Reap the Benefits
Photo Credit: Pexels, Pixabay
Around 40 percent of Americans don’t plan on using all of their paid time off (PTO) this year. If you’re part of this crowd, you need to reconsider. No, your workload isn’t too much and you won’t be seen as replaceable. Yes, other people can handle your job too. You need a break. It can actually make you have better job performance and provide other health benefits as well. It’s time to treat yourself by taking a stress-free vacation.
The key to happiness may be a vacation. A study found that people who take time off of work are happier than those who don’t. The main reason seems to be excited anticipation for vacation. And the happiness doesn’t disappear when vacation ends; the increased levels of happiness last for two weeks after returning to work.
Taking a break from work helps you feel renewed, so you can come back to work even fiercer. A study found that the best performers practice in 90-minute intervals with breaks between sessions, thus showing that people need restoration to optimize their performances. In fact, performance reviews increase by eight percent for each 10 hours an employee takes for vacation.
A relaxed brain is able to focus on mundane but necessary tasks, such as memorizing new skills like mastering new software that your company is using. Taking a vacation can give your brain the relaxation it needs to grasp new concepts. Without a vacation, it’s difficult for your brain to focus outside of the immediate whirlwind that is your everyday routine.
In fact, allowing your brain to daydream boosts problem-solving skills, planning, and creativity. At work, you’re highly focused and overworking your brain, thus limiting its insightful capabilities. However, a relaxing vacation gives your brain a chance to daydream. Furthermore, new experiences can give you fresh ideas for work because multicultural experiences help promote creativity and spawn new ideas. However, this only occurs when you’re simply immersing yourself and enjoying the moment.
Of course, not all vacations are created equal, and not everyone will enjoy the same type of vacation. Being extremely remote isn’t necessarily the best option. Completely disconnecting yourself can lead to an overwhelming urge to connect, which can ruin the vacation. Consider what you like to do. Do you want to ski the snowy slopes, sit by the ocean, or explore a new city? Figuring out what you enjoy most in your free time will help you choose the best vacation.
A vacation full of planned activities may be key. If you always have something on the itinerary, you won’t worry about checking emails. You’ll be having such a good time that you’ll learn to let go. If you’ve already mastered the ability of letting go of work on vacation, you don’t necessarily need to plan out your days and can more spontaneous. “Those who are less anxious about their one chance to get away often feel less pressure to make their vacation perfect, and are therefore often more open to exploration and discovery,” says Forbes.
Vacation is a time to relax and take a break, but that can be hard to do if you’re worried about your house. Secure the outside and inside of your home before leaving so you can have peace of mind. Walk around your property to look for vulnerabilities, such as a loose fence panel or a broken roof shingle. Consider having the roof, plumbing, and HVAC system inspected. Cleaning your gutters is important regardless of the season.
Inside the home, do another walkthrough. Ensure all exterior doors and windows are closed and locked, including pet doors. Unplug all appliances and electronics that don’t need to run while you’re away, and don’t leave any food in your refrigerator and pantry that will go bad in your absence. Ensure all fire detectors have fresh batteries. Also, give your house a good cleaning before heading out.
A vacation is a way to achieve work-life balance, which is vital for the wellbeing of your mental health, personal relationships, and work enjoyment. Don’t just let your PTO go to waste. Stop thinking of vacations as a luxury, and start thinking of them as a necessity. Do yourself, your employer, and your career a favor – take your much-needed and much-deserved vacation.