Autumn Chills!

It seems the summer ended almost overnight,  and suddenly we are well on our way to warm winter nights, cosy fires and foggy Autumn mornings.

At this time of year it is important to stay in touch with how we are feeling and with any shift in mood or form, as the nights become longer and days become darker.  A great way to stay in touch with our feelings and to monitor our mood is by using a mood diary, or keeping a journal. Brief annotations throughout the day or week describing how you feel a particular times will help with staying on top of mood swings and, more importantly, help us figure out what times of the day or week we are most vulnerable to feeling low, and cut it off at the pass.

There are some very simple habits to form that can help empower us to take control of our moods.

* Getting ahead of the downward slump/keeping a mood diary.

* Getting out and about during daylight hours.

* Eating regular, healthy meals.

* Staying in contact with others.

* Keep your mind challenged, reading, classes, crafts or hobbies.

If you feel that oncoming winter is dragging you down feel free to call me on 087 7097477 and we’ll can work on exploring your perspective so that  you can look forward to crisp cold walks and open cosy fires, and generally enjoying the winter season instead of dreading it.

You can phone on 087 7097477 or email at midwestcounselling@gmail.com

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January Blues???

It’s dark, cold and a very long way to pay day.

Is it any wonder that the third Monday in January has been awarded the dubious honour of being called Blue Monday – the most depressing day in the year?

The resolution to begin a lifestyle overhaul got postponed till all the Quality Street were finished, the exercise regime is impossible in the dark and wet… and sure you can’t quit smoking when it’s this gloomy out?? Hardly inspiring stuff, is it?

Putting a little balance back into our lives is really what these resolutions are about and are a big help in finding a bit of peace for 2013.

Take 10 mins and look at your life in terms of 8 different categories and try to (honestly) give each one a rating out of 10 – if you’re falling below 5 in any of the areas it may be time to take a look at it and see what can be done.

  • Health
  • Money
  • Social life
  • Partner/relationship
  • Work/career
  • Friends/family
  • Home
  • Personal growth/spirituality (religion, interests, hobbies,)

Set yourself reasonable and attainable goals and as always feel free to fail and start again.

Best of Luck and Happy New Year!

If you feel you many benefit from talking to someone,

please feel free to call me on 087 709 74 77 or

email me in confidence at midwestcounselling@gmail.com.

The Budget 2013; Financial Strain and Your Mental Health

Financial strain is probably one of the biggest causes of stress, especially in today’s economy and is only getting worse. With so many losing their jobs, cutbacks and tax increases just trying to make ends meet can cause immense stress to already stressful lives.

This year’s budget has promised to be tougher and more hard-hitting and may cause many of us to despair, panic and fear for the future.

If the stress and worry is becoming too much or if you feel you many benefit from talking to someone, please feel free to call me on 087 709 74 77 or email me in confidence at midwestcounselling@gmail.com

Stress, Depression and Christmas.

Although Christmas is meant to be a time of happiness and joy for many, depression, sleep problems and anxiety and stress are the more common features of the holiday season.

It may be the season to be jolly, but between mounting financial strain and the pressure of spending prolonged hours with our families and in laws, it’s easy to see why many of us would prefer to pull the duvet back over our heads and hope the whole thing will just pass us by.

Although this may seem a bit un-festive, in reality anxiety over strains of Christmas can negatively affect our health in many ways and with the “festive” period upon us there is often more opportunity to avail of unhealthy coping behaviors.
We are often more likely to try and cope by drinking, smoking, overeating or staying up alone late at night.

If you are feeling the strain and would like someone to talk to, feel free to call me on 087 709 7477 or to email me in confidence at midwestcounselling@gmail.com and perhaps we can try to put some of the yuletide glow back into the holiday season.

Bullying and our Children.

It’s normal to feel frightened and enraged about any kind of threat to our children’s well being, here are six solutions that can help parents to be effective in taking charge.
1. Stop Yourself from Knee-Jerk Reactions
If you act upset your child is likely to get upset too. They might want to protect you and themselves from your reaction and the older your child is, the more important it is that they’re able to feel some control about any follow-up actions you might take with the school.

2. Get Your Facts Right
Ask questions of your child in a calm, reassuring way and listen to the answers; look for solutions, not for blame. Be your child’s advocate, but accept the possibility that your child might have partially provoked or escalated the bullying.3. Protect Your Child
Your highest priority is to protect your child as best you can. What protecting your child means will vary depending on the ability of the school to resolve the problem, the nature of the problem, and on the specific needs of your child. Each case, like each child is unique.4. Prevent Future Problems
. Concerned parents can help schools find and implement age-appropriate programs that create a culture of respect, caring, and safety between young people rather than of competition, harassment, and disregard.5. Get Help for Your Child
Finally, you want to get help for your child and for yourself to deal with the feelings that result from having had an upsetting experience. Sometimes bullying can remind you about bad experiences in your own past. Getting help might mean going to a therapist or talking with counselors provided by the school or by other agencies.

6. Make this into a Learning Experience
As parents, it’s normal to want to protect our children from all harm but our children of also need the room to grow. Upsetting experiences don’t have to lead to long-term damage if children are listened to respectfully, if the problem is resolved, and if their feelings are supported.

(Abridged from the wonderful students at Antibullyingireland.ie )

Understanding anxiety disorders

It’s normal to worry and feel tense or scared when under pressure or facing a stressful situation. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, an automatic alarm that goes off when you feel threatened.
In moderation, anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, anxiety can help you stay alert and focused, spur you to action, and motivate you to solve problems. But when anxiety is constant, excessive or overwhelming, when it interferes with your relationships and activities, it stops being functional — that’s when you’ve crossed the line from ordinary, productive anxiety into the territory of anxiety disorders.

Do your symptoms indicate an anxiety disorder?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, then it’s possible you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
• Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
• Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
• Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?
• Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
• Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?
• Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
• Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?

If you’re experiencing a lot of physical anxiety symptoms, consider getting a medical checkup. Your doctor can check to make sure that your anxiety isn’t caused by a medical condition, such as a thyroid problem, hypoglycemia, or asthma. Since certain drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, your doctor will also want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs you’re taking.
If you can rule this out maybe you would benefit from speaking to a psychotherapist in your area. Anxiety disorders respond very well to psychotherapeutic treatment. The specific treatment approach depends on the type of anxiety disorder and its severity. But in general, most anxiety disorders are treated with behavioural therapy, medication, or some combination of the two. Sometimes complementary or alternative treatments may also be helpful.

Fell free to call me, in confidence, on 087 709 74 77 for an appointment.

Extract abridged from helpguide.org 22 July 2012