The MLRA Therapy Blog

Insights and ideas from the therapist team at Meghan L. Reitz and Associates.

Everything listed under: Stress Management

  • Finding Peace Amongst Chaos

    Finding Peace Amongst Chaos

    Finding Peace Amongst Chaos

    Feeling like you’re always sprinting on the treadmill of life? Trying to keep up with our own expectations and the expectations of others can be really challenging. How can we ever slow down to a calm and collected stroll? It may seem impossible, but it just takes a little practice and patience find peace amongst the chaos of our daily lives. 

    Did you know, that according to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high stress in the past month and they also reported that their stress has increased over the past year. It doesn’t take a research study to convince us. Most people recognize that American society is stressed out where many feel the expectation to always be running on a hamster wheel to “stay ahead”. Add in the fact that life stressors can and will occur at any time and a crisis doesn’t really care to check how stressed you already may be or what kind of chaos you are already living in before piling on, and that’s a lot of stress to deal with! 

    Many factors, even what we would define as positive factors, can increase our stress levels. The time of year, holidays, big life changes like getting married or having a baby, moving and changing jobs are but a few examples. Consider if more than one of those things happens within a small time frame? You got it. Stress and chaos.

    So, how do we achieve finding some balance and feeling some peace amongst all this chaos? Let’s talk life hacks: 

    1. Prioritize what REALLY needs to get done
      - as opposed to what you want or think needs to get done in that moment. Take a moment before attacking a big task and break it down into smaller tasks and then put these in a priority list before starting on it. Then, knock each item off your list and celebrate each one!

    2. Take Breaks.
      Mentally you need to take a break between tasks. You will perform better and it will take less time to do each task in the long run. Sitting for long periods is harmful to your health, so get up and walk around for a minute before moving on to the next task.

    3. Breathe.
      Seems like common sense, yet you may find yourself going through your day and actually be subconsciously holding your breath or breathing too shallow. Set an alert on your phone to remind yourself to close your eyes and breathe for a few seconds or better yet, a few minutes.

    4. Ask For Help.
      Communicate to your partner, friends, family or co-workers. Asking for help could alleviate your chaos and you might be surprised how willing others are to jump at the opportunity to help you.

    5. Don’t multi-task.
       While we all like to think we can accomplish many things at once and “save” ourselves time, according to Forbes magazine, multi-tasking does not lead to more productivity and can actually make you less efficient. Do one thing at a time and pace yourself.

    6. Be Present in the here and now.
      Remind yourself you can only be in one place at one time and that there are only so many hours in the day. Be realistic about the time you have versus the tasks you want to complete.

    7. Put Down That Smartphone. 
      Schedule finite amounts of time to check emails and messages and avoid getting sucked into social media.

    8. Stick to a Schedule.
      Wake and sleep times, meal times, break times and any other way you can structure your day will help you stay on task and rest your brain and body along the way. 

    Remind yourself of this above list as much as you need to in order for you to put it into practice. You got this! Now let’s make some peace amongst the chaos.



    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Meghan Reitz, LCPC, NCCMeghan Reitz, LCPC, NCC, has worked within the counseling profession for over 14 years. Her therapist experience includes providing individual, couples, family, group, and crisis counseling. She also speaks with companies and groups on mental health and wellness topics. Learn more about Meghan HERE.

  • A Time for Stress, Scheduling and School Supplies

    Stress Scheduling and School Supplies

    A Time for Stress, Scheduling and School Supplies

    Back-to-School time can make parents stress over school supplies, their children's transition back to classwork and their own transitions at work or home. Anytime the seasons change, the school year begins or ends, a family moves homes or  any other transitional period, we can face some real unexpected or complex challenges. Most adults don’t typically do well with the “unknown” that an impending change creates and our kids can feel similarly. It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed and a little unsure.  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

    So, how to deal with our own anxieties as parents, teachers or other professionals working with kids? How do we help our kids cope more successfully at the same time? Let’s start with the basics of how adults can be successful at the beginning of the school year:

    1. Take care of yourself in order to take care of others.
    2. Lower your expectations of being the perfect parent or teacher. That doesn’t exist.
    3. Seek help and support when you need it.  You don’t have to go this alone without complaint or a pick-me-up of your own.
    4. Work with and organize with the other parents or professionals in your kids’ lives.
    5. Communicate with your spouse or partner to share the load if you can.
    6. Get organized ahead of time. Get the supplies a few weeks before school starts.


    Here are a few ways to support the kids in your life as the school year starts:

    1. Be clear with your expectations (household chores, homework time, etc.).
    2. Keep a schedule/routine.
    3. Have consistent wake times and bedtimes now that the school year is here.
    4. Less screen time, more interpersonal interaction or time outside (before it gets too cold!).
    5. Let your child be bored. Increase the need to use imagination and be creative.
    6. Spend time with your child. Don’t wait for the perfect time or event.
    7. Open the door to communication without interrogating them.
    8. Empathize. In their world,  a day of school may sound way worse than that all-day meeting about the process of building a process you just sat through at work.
    9. Problem solve with them.
    10. Take breaks if highly emotional or a heated situation arises. 

    While this is not an exhaustive list of tips and ideas, healthy communication will increase healthier interactions and smarter choices for both you and the kids in your life. Get involved in your kids’ lives but don’t overextend yourself. Ask for help when you need it. You’re not alone and just do the best that you can. 

    “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”
    - Jane D. Hull



    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Meghan Reitz, LCPC, NCCMeghan Reitz, LCPC, NCC, has worked within the counseling profession for over 14 years. Her therapist experience includes providing individual, couples, family, group, and crisis counseling. She also speaks with companies and groups on mental health and wellness topics. Learn more about Meghan HERE.

  • Coping with Change

    Coping With Change

    Change can be good, bad, or even both. As the seasons start to change, typically other things start to change too! Summer symbolizes a time for fun, relaxation, and vacation. With the start of Fall, the summer routine ends as adults go back to full work weeks and kids start the school year. The change in routine as well as other changes that may be occurring in your life (i.e.starting a new job, having a baby, moving, or getting married) can all cause anxiety and stress.

    Here are some tips to help ease some of the anxiety:

    • Find out as much information about the change - typically the scariest part of change is the unknown.

    • Figure out what you CAN control - identify what parts are in your control and work on accepting what isn’t.

    • Celebrate the positive - we are so worried about the negative that we forget to take the time to celebrate the positive (i.e. a new job can be scary so it is easy to focus on that and forget to congratulate yourself for getting the job in the first place).

    • Set reasonable expectations to cope with the change - we all take time to adjust to new and/or different things, even if it is positive, so be sure to allow yourself a reasonable amount of time to cope.

    • Use coping skills - find things that help you to de-stress (i.e. journaling, exercising, positive self-talk). When things are going well, we tend to forget about the skills we have. You always have options to reduce anxiety. If you feel that you don’t have the skills, it may be beneficial to seek help from a therapist.

    • Seek support - remember you don’t have to go through this alone. Support can come in the form of friends, family, doctors, teachers, therapists, etc.

    Now, take a deep breath. We have thrown a lot of ideas at you. Some key things to remember are to slow down, take one thing at a time, and communicate your feelings/needs/wants in appropriate ways. You are not alone. Humans tend to be creatures of habit. Even changes like getting your kids back to school when nothing else has changed can still be quite stressful as you figure out the family’s new routine. Growing pains are expected but know that this too shall pass.

    “The secret of CHANGE is to focus all of your energy not fighting the old, but on building the new.”
    ~Socrates


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Kelsey Wechter, MS, LPCKelsey Wechter is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Meghan L Reitz & Associates. She provides experienced counseling to children, adolescents, and adults to identify issues they are experiencing and overcome problems through a variety of innovative, evidence-based strategies. Learn more about Kelsey HERE.

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