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Try Something New this Spring

Try Something New this Spring

The green grass is coming back. The hills and mountains are more than shades of brown. The beautiful colors of the flowers can be seen everywhere. Spring has sprung! With warmer weather and prettier sites to see, it may be time to try something new this spring. The winter months can be long and hard for some but spring is the perfect opportunity to get out and get moving.

Increase Your Movement.

We have talked a lot on this blog how movement and exercise is needed for so many of our bodies functions to remain healthy. Movement also decreases depression. Spring could be the perfect time to commit to trying something new. Consider things you enjoy and try to get exercise and movement from them. There are so many different fun ways to exercise that are outside of the normal gym or class setting. Take a look below at the suggestions. Which of these may you want to try?

  • Local city-wide paved trails for walking or biking
  • Tend to the garden
  • Paddleboard in a local lake
  • Take a hike at your ability level
  • Fly a kite
  • Pickleball with some friends
  • Go for a kayak ride
  • Play frisbee with a friend
  • Listen to your favorite music while walking

There are so many ways to add movement to your lifestyle. Many of which can be so much fun if shared with someone you enjoy. Try something new this Spring, it may just stick around as something you love.

Spring Time Fun.

Spring also brings other opportunities that may not be as available the rest of the year. The idea is change up your routines and habits to make space for new things this year. Did you know that repeating the same things all the time can lead to increased stress and more boredom in your life? This can be a challenge to those of us who prefer routine. Everyone can benefit from change and being intentional to bring new fun things into the mix. Below are a few things to consider that can be different for spring.

  • Start a garden or shop local farmers market for new foods
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Pick some berries and make a homemade pie
  • Explore a downtown area and dine outside
  • Find a quiet spot to bird watch
  • Take a small get away spring vacation
  • Hang a bird feeder and identify the birds
  • Clean out the house and have a garage sale
  • Go on a picnic
  • Find wildflowers and make an arrangement for your house
  • Grow some window seal herbs
  • Dance and play in the rain
  • Sit in a patch of clover and look for a four leaf one
  • Take a Sunday drive or road trip to see something new
  • Take a walk on grass barefoot

The idea of the list is to try something new this spring. Slow down from the normal pace of life and “smell the roses”. The pace we sometimes keep can be hard on our bodies and on our families. Building in time to slow down and enjoy something different can improve our mental health and decrease our stress and anxiety.

If you find yourself desiring more fun and less stress but can’t seem to make changes for yourself, you are not alone. It can be hard to overcome a wound or trauma from your past. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here for you and wants to help you with tools to help you live your best life. Reach out today.

The Power of Positivity

The Power of Positivity

We have all heard it our lives. Thinking positive and staying positive is good for us. Having a negative outlook affects us mentally and physically. But what exactly does the power of positivity mean? We are going to talk about that today. So whether you could use some help with changing your mindset or some encouragement on keeping it, todays blog could help.

What is Positive Thinking?

Have you heard the saying “the glass is always half full or half empty”? Oftentimes, that is pertaining to how someone thinks or perceives things. We each have a default mindset when we hear or contemplate a scenario. If our minds default to considering the good outcome or finding a possible good, even in bad situations, we are seen as having a positive outlook or positive thinking. Have you ever met someone that regardless of what scenario you discuss with them, they immediately jump to the negative conclusion? I think we have all met a person like that.  They have a negative mindset, or they are negative thinkers. Below we talk about the power of positivity and how it affects our well-being.

Does Being Positive Really Help?

There are so many studies out there that look at our physical and mental health and how it is affected by the type of thinker we are. You can Google the term and learn so much. Although there are many studies that look at the topic from different perspectives, the outcomes are mostly similar. When we are intentional to change the way we process situations, it can have positive affects in our lives. But first we must recognize the need for change and make a decision to act upon it. The findings below could help you make that decision. These are a just a few impacts having a positive mindset can help.

  • Improved psychological health
  • Longer life span
  • Better stress management and coping
  • Improved immune system to common illnesses
  • Decreased depression
  • Reduced heart related illnesses
  • Improved relationships
  • Boosts productivity
  • Increased energy

We could all use more of this list in our lives, couldn’t we? Which of these impacts has the most appeal to you?

How Can I Change My Thoughts?

If you have struggled with negative self-talk for most of your life, changing that could seem hard. Remember, it’s ok to decide just one step and work on that. Change happens in small increments over time, not overnight. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time. Persistence is the key to change and looking at results over longer time. Before you know it you will be looking back and with gratitude over the difference the power of positivity has had in your life. Below are steps that can help you change your mindset from negative to positive.

  • Acknowledge your thoughts
  • Encourage yourself with positive statements
  • Ponder all outcomes, not just the negative
  • Keep a thought journal to reflect back on
  • A gratitude journal can help keep good things in mind
  • Talk to yourself in third person, using your name to address yourself, our subconscious minds responds differently to hearing our name
  • Remind yourself of positive or good things that have happened recently
  • Schedule down time in nature, being creative or just being quite
  • Remember the challenges you have already conquered

I want to remind you; change will not happen overnight. But, if you stay committed to go easier on yourself and talk more positive, you can see change over time. If you have tried to take steps toward improved mental health, but struggle to make headway, you are not alone. Sometimes we have events in our lives that require professional help to guide us through. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here. Our therapists have a passion for helping people find freedom in their lives. Reach out if you are ready take your life back and live out your life goals.

Can Undiagnosed ADHD Lead to Depression?

Can Undiagnosed ADHD Lead to Depression?

There are many times in a person’s life when emotions, thoughts, and actions become confusing. This may be especially true as we grow into adulthood. You may be unable to concentrate on your work. You may appear restless or may attempt to do several things at one time. You may prefer to take simple and quick fixes to solve problems rather than search for better solutions that take time and greater mental energy simply because you just don’t have the energy to give. Does any of this sound familiar? You may be experiencing Attention Deficit and/or Hyperactivity Disorder in adulthood. Undiagnosed ADHD can affect many things. Now you may be thinking “Isn’t that for kids?” While ADHD is mostly diagnosed in children, this does not mean that it is primarily a children’s disorder and can oftentimes go undiagnosed if it appears later in life or goes unnoticed. So, what’s the harm? Like any disorder, if left untreated, ADHD in adulthood may cause an increase in depression. Let’s discuss some key information about how ADHD may affect a person, its connection to depression, and how to cope with both.

What is ADHD?

Experiencing ADHD can be difficult. This is especially true if you have not been diagnosed and don’t know what’s going on with your brain. Let’s talk about some effects of ADHD. ADHD is a brain disorder that makes it hard to control impulsive behaviors and, for some, makes it hard to focus, and for others, makes it hard to control excess movement. This would determine whether a person is an inattentive type or hyperactive type, however, a person may experience both. ADHD is very common and is known to affect a person in many aspects of their life, including at school, at work, throughout their relationships, and in daily functioning. How many of these effects do you relate to?

  • Often unable to follow instructions or job duties correctly
  • Often unable to manage time well or misses deadlines
  • Avoids tasks that require mental effort or energy
  • Often loses common items or spends extensive time ensuring that things do not get lost
  • Fidgets or squirms in a seat
  • Been told that you “talk too much” or have “too much energy”
  • Blurts out an answer before a question has been finished
  • May take over what others are doing such as cutting into conversation, or activities, or using other people’s things without permission

An ADHD diagnosis requires an evaluation or a review of past and current behaviors or symptoms by a licensed professional. A diagnosis is required before professional treatment or medication intervention may be given.

Connection Between ADHD and Depression

ADHD and depression are conditions that often co-exist, meaning that a person may have both at the same time. Depression is more than just feeling down. Depression can often feel like an increase in hopelessness, deep sadness, and, at times, feeling separate from the world that lasts longer than two weeks. It is common for a person with undiagnosed ADHD to experience feelings of depression. So, what’s the connection? Some symptoms of ADHD and depression look similar so it can make diagnosis difficult. Let’s look at some.

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Feeling underachieved
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty with daily function

Is there science to back that up? Why, yes! ADHD brains are thought to have dysregulated dopamine function, meaning that there is a lack of motivation in the reward system and mood. This means that those with ADHD often do not feel in top shape. Furthermore, those with ADHD can also experience emotional dysregulation. Emotional dysregulation is where a person experiences emotions more intensely, or irregularly than those without ADHD, which means they may take longer to soothe, relax, or transition out of difficult emotions. These two brain functions may heavily contribute to depression.

Getting Help

Experiencing ADHD and depression simultaneously is no small feat, so those who recognize their symptoms or believe they may be dealing with it must get the help that they need. To get better, you must take the first step. Congratulations! Here you are. Are you interested in getting help? Treatment can greatly improve quality of life and understanding of one’s symptoms. Controlling and limiting how a person’s symptoms affect oneself, impulsive behaviors, and depressive symptoms, then maintaining relationships and work becomes much more manageable. A psychiatrist paired with a licensed professional counselor is the recommended form of treatment. If you are interested in getting the help you need, please reach out to Upstate Restorative Counseling today!

Are You Experiencing Depression as a Teenager?

Are You Experiencing Depression as a Teenager?

Written by: Ashlee Cantrell

Being a young person is tough. You’ve got the responsibilities of school, potential academic struggles, social and family expectations, physical and emotional changes along with the increasing pressure of “getting your life together” to figure out what you want to do with your future. What happened to just being a teenager? Unfortunately, sometimes too much pressure or stress can lead to feeling “down in the dumps” or depression. Having teen depression can cause many issues, which is why we need to discuss signs to look for and how to reach out for help. So, what does depression even look like and how do you manage it? Let’s get some answers for you.

What Does it Look Like?

First things first; what is depression? Depression is a mental health concern that causes people to feel consistently sad, unhappy, and sometimes hopeless. Depression in teenagers is often expressed in a similar way to adult depression however, the intensity of the emotions and behaviors tend to differ. So, what does teenage depression look like? When a teen’s mood is disrupted by their ability to function on a daily basis, this can be a key sign that they might be depressed. Mental health may also affect physical health. When a person is feeling depressed, their body may feel tired, run-down, and uninterested in their day-to-day life. Is this something that you can relate to? Let’s look at some general physical symptoms that may occur:

  • Low energy
  • Loss of interest in regular activities
  • Loss of interest in social interaction
  • Changes in sleeping/eating patterns
  • Physical changes (posture, lack of eye contact, keeping head down, etc)
  • Difficulty concentrating, or paying attention

What Does it Feel Like?

Although depression may be easier to spot if you are experiencing it on the outside of your body, it is important to know what it feels like on the inside of your body. This will help us to catch it and ask for help sooner. It may be difficult to understand what you may be feeling if you are depressed but don’t worry. You are not alone. Let’s talk about it.

  • Confusion. Having depression is very confusing. One minute you’re a regular teenager going to school and feeling all right, and the next you might be feeling a rush of intense sadness that feels like it could last forever. Other times, you may feel nothing at all. Your moods may be unpredictable and who knows what caused it or what to do about it.
  • Anger. This is a big one. Anger is a lot different than sadness as it might be the only other mood that you can recognize right now because everything and everyone is getting on your nerves. You may be feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive right now because it may feel like no one seems to understand what you’re going through, and they may be criticizing you too. Why won’t they just leave you alone?
  • Worthlessness. With depression often comes a sense of low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness. “I do not deserve to be here.” “I do not want to be here anymore.” Have thoughts such as these or similar popped into your head recently? If so, you may know what I’m talking about.
  • Hopelessness. If you look around you, you might see other teenagers having fun, getting ready for their futures, and just enjoying life. Does it make you feel less motivated? Less excited for the future? Someone with depression often has difficulty with motivation for the future and struggles when seeing others doing well.

One of the most crucial parts of this section is that if you find yourself feeling any of these symptoms, it is important that you are willing to discuss how you’re feeling with someone that you trust. It does not have to be a parent, but it must be someone that you trust to support you and get you the help that you need.

How Do I Manage It?

As a teenager, developing a sense of acceptance, safety, and belonging is super important. When adding a depressive mood to the mix, it can cause harm to that development. Now that we have discussed what depression is, what it looks like, and how it feels, let’s talk about how to manage it!

  • Making new friends. This is easier said than done, especially when you’re not feeling your best. Try making new social connections in class, or a mutual group at school!
  • Participate in sports, and social hobbies, or get a job. Staying busy helps to keep the mind active and occupied with positive activities.
  • Self-care. Self-care is important to make sure that your body is getting what it needs on a daily basis. This may include exercising for 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, keeping a healthy balanced food plan, and aiming for eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Talk therapy is a great way to talk through how you’re feeling and learn appropriate coping skills that fit you. Therapy provides a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment that will guide you toward the appropriate treatment to help you.

There are many “rites of passage” to growing up, like going to your first football game, getting your first job, or getting your first kiss! However, experiencing depression is not one of them. Depression is not something to be taken lightly. If you find yourself relating to any of the information above or feel afraid that you might be experiencing depression and don’t know where to turn, Upstate Restorative Counseling is here to help you. You deserve to be here, and we are here for you. Please reach out.

 

 

Are the Changing of the Seasons Affecting Me?

Are the Changing of the Seasons Affecting Me?

Written By: Ashlee Cantrell

At times it feels like the fall-time is everyone’s favorite season. Everyone is raving about pumpkin spice, sweater weather, cinnamon donuts, and the upcoming holidays. But, if you often find yourself not feeling the hype, you’ve come to the right place. The truth is that for many people, the fall is a tough time, and the winter can be even tougher, physically, and mentally. You’re not alone. Let’s discuss why these seasons are so difficult and find some ways to make them easier for you.

Leaves Are Changing and So Am I

Throughout the fall season, the air gets colder, and the leaves change color—from deep greens and browns to bright oranges, yellows, and reds. It is quite a transitional time during the year. It can also be a significant time for a change in your mental health. Let’s discuss a few.

  • Daylight Savings Time. During the fall season, we find ourselves “falling back” in daylight savings time. This means that we are getting an extra hour in the darkness and losing an hour of sunlight. Sunlight is super important for helping the body gain access to Vitamin D throughout the day. Vitamin D is a key resource for allowing the body to process effectively and an insufficient amount of Vitamin D is known to be linked to a depressive mood.
  • Cold Weather. On top of the inadequate access to light, cold weather can increase the risk of a depressed mood, specifically by increasing a person’s risk of feeling more tired and altering their food intake.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder. Each year, about five percent of people are significantly affected by the changing of the seasons due to a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD, or seasonal depression, is often thought to be exactly that, depression during certain seasons. For example, some people experience SAD during the fall months and the winter months. However, it can improve during the spring and summer months. Rarely does it cause depression during the spring and summer, but each person with SAD has a different experience. During this time, symptoms of depression may include a lack of motivation, lack of focus, negative thought patterns, and avoidance of social and personal relationships and experiences.

Holiday Stress

With pumpkins in the past, we are moving towards the wintertime. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, and you know what that means! Food, family, and stress. Although this can be a positive time for some, it may also be a time of family feuds, and grief. This can be difficult to manage on your own. Let’s talk about it.

  • Family Feuds. Happy Thanksgiving! You’re getting ready to go home to the big family get-together as you do every year, except there is one thing you can’t get off your mind. “I really hope _________ isn’t going to be there!” In reality, most people have disagreements with their family members. However, the holiday season is the time that people go home to see their abusive parents, or un-friendly in-laws. This is not something that we look forward to.
  • If a family member has passed away, family traditions can bring up memories of past holiday seasons, triggering many emotions including grief, guilt, and other painful emotions or memories. For some, this may cause the person to not want to celebrate the holiday season in the same way or to rid the family of the same traditions. For others, it may cause personal isolation during the holiday time. Overall, experiencing grief causes stress in many ways.

So, What Can I Do?

There are so many reasons why the changing of the seasons may affect a person negatively. Managing the physical and mental effects of the seasonal changes and managing holiday stress is a lot to handle. So, how do we do it all without falling apart? First, you must be able to recognize when the seasonal change begins to affect your mental health. For example, is it right after the leaves begin to change, as soon as the air gets colder, or when daylight savings time occurs? This will be able to tell you when to start implementing these skills effectively. Here are a few tips and tricks to help manage stress as the seasons change:

  • Get access to as much natural light as possible by spending extra time outside
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week
  • Eat a regular, healthy diet (save some room for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner!)
  • Start your own family traditions
  • Do the things you really enjoy and forget about the rest (hayrides, pumpkin carving, apple picking, Halloween parties, baking cookies, putting up the Christmas tree, elf on the shelf, and SO MUCH MORE!)

We Are Here to Help

For those who feel overwhelmed by the seasons changing and the holiday time, you are not alone. Being faced with seasonal affective disorder, grief, stress, or family conflict is no small task. Therapy can be a powerful tool and we are here to help. If you find yourself feeling down this season and need help picking yourself back up, reach out to URC at 864-664-2710. You can contact Ashlee today.

Is This Depression or Burnout?

Is This Depression or Burnout?

Today we will talk about a topic that is on the rise. People are experiencing more feelings of tiredness or being overwhelmed. They are voicing that the hobbies that used to be fun and interesting to them, they no longer enjoy. Small things are causing them to blow up emotionally. The fuse seems to be burning at both ends. Can you relate to these feelings? There are common symptoms between depression and burnout but today we will try to distinguish some characteristics that could help identify the differences. Are you thinking that you are hopeful there is help? Keep reading, you are not alone.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is typically correlated to people and their jobs. It is easy to push ourselves to accomplish targets and promotions or to appease our boss. But at what cost? Our minds and bodies are not designed to perform and think and solve at such compact, fast rates. The human mind is powerful and amazing, but it has its needs. Like our bodies, our minds need some quiet and some rest.  Without those we can enter in burnout. It often feels like our brains are short-circuiting. Like it cannot process and perform all the tasks that are required. This spills over into our lives outside of work in different ways. Below are a few examples that could affect our lives when we are experiencing burnout.

  • Reduced productivity
  • Increased mistakes or forgetting
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of compassion
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Things that interest you aren’t fun
  • Thoughts spiral through tasks
  • Symptoms improve when you are away from what’s burning you out

While some of these will be similar to the below symptoms of depression, there are key differences. Burnout symptoms will often come and go. You may feel a dread on your way to work or a spike of excitement to leave. Depression is different and we will talk about that below.

Is This Depression?

Depression can have some similar symptoms but there are key differences. Fatigue is a symptom that most with depression will report. Unlike other things that can take a toll on our bodies, depression symptoms don’t seem to ease up. This can lead to deep feelings of hopelessness or sadness. Depression can truly affect the quality of life the person has as well as relationships. Depression can last for months with no real break and make it hard for a person to carry on the needed tasks to live. Below are few examples of how depression could look in our lives.

  • There is no joy in life or interests
  • Deep feelings of hopelessness
  • Energy is often very low or non-existent
  • Trouble thinking or remembering
  • Issues sleeping
  • It is hard to eat, even the things you enjoy
  • Craving for things we use to cope such as food, alcohol, drugs or pornography

Symptoms of depression can be serious, and this blog post cannot diagnose or fully help you. Whether your symptoms are from burnout or depression, when they affect your lives and the ability to thrive, you may need to seek help. If you find yourself quietly quitting and need help getting back on track, we are here to help.

What Can Help Burnout?

Each of us will go through times where life seems too busy or overwhelming. At those times, it is important to recognize our needs for some down time, or fun. Incorporating ways to refresh our minds and restore some balance is necessary for us to maintain our health. Regardless of what brings us to the place of feeling burnout or depressed, the things below could help. Do you need to take a step to incorporate something different into your life? Something that can help restore some mental balance?

  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Balance time with people you enjoy vs. alone time
  • Have physical activity each day
  • Eat more nutritious foods and stay hydrated
  • Take a mental health day and do something enjoyable
  • Be gentle with yourself, we can’t go full force all the time
  • Journal
  • Set boundaries to protect your needed down time
  • Add quite time with deep breathing in your car rides
  • Do something that makes you happy

Seasons where it is hard for us to carry on, is hard. If you find yourself in this season and you have tried to incorporate things to improve your health, but you are struggling, we are here to help. You are not alone.