By Andrea Schramm, LPC, CRC
We’re all familiar with the physical and psychological benefits of exercise for ourselves. Exercise can support weight loss, improve your heart health, improve your sleep and reduce your risk of depression. The Mayo clinic recommends just 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. That’s a little over 20 minutes a day to reap the positive benefits of daily exercise! But, we all know just how difficult it can be to add just 20 minutes of something new to our busy lives.
But what if you took the time needed for physical activity and did it together with someone you love? What if sharing this time with another person gave you the boost and motivation you are looking for and fun while you exercise together? Here are some tips to getting started with exercising together as a couple.
By Caitlin Winkler, PLPC
What happens in a therapy room? Counselors use a variety of techniques and strategies geared to help clients reach their goals, but the overarching goal is the same: counselors want to help you get from point A to point B.
Think of it this way- After years of eating unhealthily, it can be easy to gain a lot of excess weight. This happens over a long period of time, with consistently unhealthy habits, and a lack of change toward the positive. After gaining the weight, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the weight needed to be lost. Though the desire is there to change, the action may not be.
At this point, people can choose to stay where they are or change years of unhealthy habits and patterns. Some may join a gym, find a trainer, or join an accountability group. For those who train their bodies to eat healthier, exercise, and work towards their goals, change can be seen as they continue their healthy choices. This takes intentional effort, energy, and, possibly, a lot of time.
In counseling, the process is the same. Counselors are like your trainer at the gym. With possibly years of unhealthy thinking patterns, choices, and behaviors, it can be extremely difficult to re-train the brain and lose that excess weight! But, just like in physical training, counseling can create a new and healthy mindset to help you overcome your anxiety, depression, and more. Counseling is not always an easy, process. Just like a killer workout at the gym, it takes work and perseverance. But, the time, effort, and energy is worth it in the end!
Caitlin Winkler is a Provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor at Unlimited Potential Counseling & Education Center in O’Fallon. Caitlin is under the clinical supervision of Emily Kircher-Morris, LPC (MO #2012026754).
By Caitlin Winkler, PLPC
Parenting: It can be one of the most physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding jobs in the world. It can bring great pain and hardship, with many trials and tests of will. This job is not for the weak. Day in and day out you are on-the-clock. There are no vacations, no sick-leave, and not any paid time off. It is a 365/24/7 job.
We spend a lot of time preparing and working for our careers, but I believe one of the greatest tasks we have ever been assigned is raising our children. We are preparing the future teachers, doctors, farmers, and world-changers. Because it is such a demanding and tough thing, wouldn't it make sense to need some amount of preparation and training? Yet, most of us don't even have a class in high school that teaches basic child care.
We learn from our own personal experiences with our parents or caregivers growing up. We learn about what to do, and sometimes what not to do. We may end up believing that parenting will come naturally and easily.
But what if you do not have the "picture perfect child"? Does anyone? Children can be unpredictable and are ever-changing. They are constantly learning and growing, soaking up the world around them. Within two years they move from completely helpless to extremely strong-willed and independent. They begin to learn numbers and letters, silly songs and sayings, and before you know it, school begins. Their days are filled with learning and new friends, but occasionally this time can be extremely difficult.
The school age can bring its own set of challenges to many children. From social issues, to learning disorders, extracurricular activities, and homework, life can become stressful and chaotic. Many parents are ready for this stage to be over - and then it is. Children grow up to become young adults and perhaps start their career or continue their education in college. Once across that bridge, your title as parent still stands, but you move from being primary caretaker to helper and "sharer of wisdom".
With each stage your child goes through, you, as mom or dad, run a parallel course to theirs. You too are always changing and learning to adapt as a parent. Without significant and continued training for this monumental challenge, the day-in-day-out job can be overwhelmingly hard at times (though always worth it, am I right?). It is impossible to know how to handle all the situations that child rearing can throw your way.
If you can relate, you should know you are not alone. It can be easy to believe you are the only one who has ever been through this and you may think you need to know all the answers. But know this: You are NOT alone and you do NOT need to have it all figured out. Find someone, somewhere who can share in your challenges. As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child."
Be sure to find time to recharge and renew yourself. Many parents feel guilty for spending time away, but even if it is just a couple of hours, self-care can make a major difference in how you manage the stress and pressure of being a parent!
There are many resources out there such as kidshealth.org and pbs.org/parents with great strategies to utilize. Some also have free apps that are downloadable straight to your phone.
If you are looking for techniques to establish (or re-establish) your role as parent. Check out 1,2,3 Magic and Love and Logic, which have books, online pages, and videos.
If you believe professional help would benefit you or your child, please reach out! At Unlimited Potential, we understand these issues both on a professional and personal level. We would love to work with your family to help overcome the challenges in your world.
Caitlin Winkler is a Provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor at Unlimited Potential Counseling & Education Center in O’Fallon. Caitlin iis under the clinical supervision of Emily Kircher-Morris, LPC (MO #2012026754).
By Sarah Mudd, PLPC, NBCCH, RASAC-II
While I was in graduate school, one of my first assignments was to evaluate myself based on 5 dimensions of wellness. This assignment was an eye opener in many aspects and became a checklist I still live by today. I never considered having so many parts of myself were important to my well-being.
Considering these 5 dimensions of wellness in your life may lead you on a track to a healthier lifestyle and feeling more fulfilled. Learning these components may take time, but try to consider and break down each dimension to start. In my personal experience, some dimensions were easy and others needed more work. The key here is not to try to have all the answers or conquer each dimension quickly, but take time to truly know yourself and work on areas where you may have trouble or are lacking. Exploring these areas can lead to enlightenment and a healthier you!
The 5 Dimensions of Wellness are:
Sarah Mudd is a Provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor at Unlimited Potential Counseling & Education Center in O’Fallon (MO #2016013189). Sarah is under the clinical supervision of Emily Kircher-Morris, LPC (MO #2012026754).