7 ways to combat cabin fever

imageHave you noticed some people seem to do well not matter what the weather is outside? I have because initially when fall and winter begins I have to adjust to the cold. Sometimes this leads me to feel trapped inside, in the past I believe they called it cabin fever.

Hanging out inside most of the day and night can feel confining and a little stressful. If you find that staying inside is impacting your mood some, you are not alone. Here are some ways to combat cabin fever.

1. Go for a short walk, even if it is cold out. Please feel free to ignore this one if you are in below 0 degree weather.

2. Work out, sometimes just doing a few exercises is all we need to feel a little less claustrophobic.

3. Meditate, there are plenty of guided meditations online (free) if you need a little help.

4. Don’t watch T.V. read a good book instead. Escape with your mind.

5. Call up a couple good friends and either go have a cocoa/tea or have them over for cocoa/tea

6. Play games with friends or family, keep them light or only lightly competative.

7. Breathe the cold weather is temporary. Remind yourself for most of us the cold weather will only last a few months.

Holiday stress and what to do about it!

Holiday anxietyThe holidays are a happy time for many people and families. For some it is an anxiety producing experience, filled with stressful decisions and anxiety producing situations. I have more than one client that finds the holiday season uncomfortable at best and triggering anxiety and depression at its worst. Under the stress of the season I have found many clients take care of everyone but themselves during this time.

One of the best ways to manage anxiety and stress around the holidays is to take care of your self. I don’t expect you to stop thinking of your family and friends, I am suggesting you take care of you also. A little self-care can go a long way.

If you find you are in the category of people who experiences anxiety and stress around this time follow these simple steps to reduce stress and increase your fun factor.

1. Breathe (daily) slow deep, gut breaths
2. Work out 3-4 times a week (go for a walk)
3. Get a massage/ go to the sauna/ take a bath
4. Hang out with a friend
5. Stop taking everything so seriously
6. If you find you want to say “no” to an invite say “no”
7. If you find you want to say “yes” to an invite say “yes”
8. Eat as healthy as possible between unhealthy holiday meals
9. If you think you are experiencing more than you garden variety stress over the holidays get help from a professional

If you experience daily anxiety attacks these ideas will help but they may not take care of the issue. Once our stress system is out of wack, it can take a lot to calm it down again, including skill building and medication. This blog is addressing those people experiencing mild to moderate holiday stress. It does not address the more challenging issue of anxiety or panic attacks. I will write more about these in later blogs.

What I learned when my mother lost her memory!

Memory loss
I haven’t written a blog since February, it is not that I didn’t want to write I just couldn’t. I sat in front of the computer and then eventually broke down and did something else. January is when it truly hit me that my mother was not going to improve much more than she had and well, I was now the parent.
For many years now I have had great self care, but nothing prepared me for this switch in our relationship and my self care was not working, mostly because I was not doing enough. I was my mother’s caregiver and I was not clear what she needed or what to do about it. I called the people I knew could help but initially my mother refused to move, she was not comprehending how it was not working with her living alone anymore.
It took four months and me finally saying I could not keep living the way we were living. She was distressed daily at this point but couldn’t remember her stressed out calls to me. She was freaking out three or four days a week and sometimes everyday and then couldn’t remember she had called or what it was about.
It was a roller coaster that finally slowed down when she moved into Senior independent living. I still am responsible for her care, we talk most days and see each other often but she is no longer scared. I have experienced a lot of relief the last two months and have begun to feel normal and now my self care pace is back to normal.
I’m sure you are wondering what did I learn by now and here it is:
1. When you feel overwhelmed compassion is hard to find for yourself and others (my mom was getting it all)
2. Your regular regiment of self care may not be enough when a top ten stressor appears in your life.
3. Surround yourself as quickly as possible with people that love you.
4. Be kind to yourself.
5. Delegate as many tasks as you can, if you don’t know what to delegate ask what they would be willing to do to help.
6. Have a friend or friends check on you a couple times a week.
7. Trust that you are doing the right thing, even when you are not sure what that is.
8. If you fall on your face, get mad, make a mistake, forget an appointment, yell at someone, get unreasonably angry in traffic: forgive yourself immediately.
9. I repeat be kind to yourself.

Greta Jaeger, LPC, Certified Life Coach
(404) 259-1335

Tired of being Tired

SleepHave you ever noticed how stressful it is to not sleep well? If you’re not sleeping well then mild stressors become mountains and life can seem overwhelming. This is the short course on how to fix your insomnia problems.

1. The bed is for two things only sex and sleep
2. No T.V. in bed or reading
3. Go to bed at the same time every night
4. Get up at the same time every morning even if you didn’t sleep
5. If you nap during the day don’t sleep longer than 15 to 20 min
6. If you lay in bed for 15 min and don’t fall asleep get out of bed and do something relaxing (meditate, stretch, deep breathing exercises) for 10 min or so then try to sleep again. Repeat until you fall asleep
7. Look up deep muscle relaxation (do this exercise when you first lay down)

Ok, that should get you started. One last thing you need to keep this pattern up for 7 weeks. If your sleep patterns are behavioral this should take care of it. If you have any questions please feel free to email or call.

Greta Jaeger, LPC, CPLC
(404) 259-1335

Depression and the day I got my glasses

depression help

My new glasses and my favorite winter hat.

That was yesterday by the way. Yup, I got glasses for the first time in my life. I am now in my forties and my better than normal vision is no longer. I waited months and months forcing my eyes to adjust if possible, well it didn’t work. I need read glasses because my arms are no longer long enough to hold what I am reading at the right distance. Well, it was amazing a new world opened up to me again, I no longer have to hand things off to be read by the better seers near by. One day recently I could not read something and I need to read it in the next hour or so to take advantage of it. It was a sad day, I literally had to down load a thing on the ipad that magnifies things for you and could not get it to work. Now I have seen the light so to speak and am living more at ease with my new reading glasses. I guess because of what I do it was easy to see the common thread between getting my glasses and the lifting of a depressive mood. With the right skills and techniques we can impact our mood for the better it is often our stubborness thinking it won’t work for us or I tried it once and it did not work, that stops us. I am not ignoring that fact that medicine is often an important part of treating a mood diorder. I am saying for those of us with mild to moderate diagnosis of depression habits and behaviors i.e. working out can have a major impact on mood. It is easy to think after trying something a couple of times it does not work, but over a short period of time it can work with consistancy. The hardest part when you are depressed is motivation to do those havits that will change our lives over time. Particularly in our get it this instance society, we learn to want it now. The fastest fix I know is a combination of working out, hanging out, and getting your mind right. These habits all take time to impact mood.