Mindfulness for beginners: what is it and how to practice

Let’s start by defining ‘mindfulness,’ according to Headspace, mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we are doing at the moment. Amanda Marker, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and the Lead Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center says mindfulness has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness. Marker explains there are two key elements of mindfulness: focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment.

 

Practicing Mindfulness

According to Marker, mindfulness starts with being aware of our bodies. She goes on to say that very act can be calming.

“You don’t need to buy anything. You can practice anywhere – all you need is a little time and space.”

Marker understands that it can be incredibly challenging to quiet the mind, but she acknowledges that is not the goal during this practice. She says when it comes to practicing mindfulness, all you’re trying to do is pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Marker says your mind will wander during this practice. You might start to think about your to-do list, the laundry you forgot in the dryer, or even a conversation you had with someone yesterday. Marker explains that is normal and part of human nature. She says when practicing mindfulness, try to not judge yourself for whatever thoughts pop up. Instead, she wants you to focus on your breathing and return your attention to the present moment.

“Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.”

Basic Mindfulness Meditation 

The first thing Marker suggests when it comes to your practice is to take a seat. She wants you to find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you. She recommends setting a time limit, especially if you’re new to the practice. Once you’re sitting down, it will be time to focus on your breathing. Marker wants you to use this time to allow your thoughts to come and go without judgment. She also wants you to focus on your breath or even a mantra you may have set at the beginning of the day or your practice.

Marker encourages using your senses during your practice. She wants clients to focus on what they see, smell, taste, or even feel. In fact, she recommends you saying them aloud before letting those thoughts and senses go. She also invites clients to allow their emotions to be present during this practice. Similar to the senses, you can describe aloud what you are feeling.

 

The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

In an article published by Harvard Medical School, mindfulness can bring improvements in well-being. Amanda Marker, LMHC believes being mindful makes it easier to enjoy the positive movements in life as they happen and can help you become fully engaged in activities. Another benefit is being less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past. Mindfulness can also help with improving your mental health and relieve stress.

Introducing Your Child to Mindfulness 

Marker wants parents to talk with their kids about mindfulness.

“When the opportunity presents itself, talk about how you used mindfulness during your day.”

She says children learn by seeing what the adults in their lives do, so she encourages being open about how you practice mindfulness. Marker suggests introducing exercises when things are calm and your child is in a good space. She explains during this time would be ideal to try mindfulness activities as a family, as it could be a great way to connect one another. Marker does warn to keep the time short, especially if your child is on the younger side. She also wants you to let the child set the pace. If they’re done, don’t push it.

For activities, you can start with a walk or breathing exercises with your child. Once you have completed that activity, you can shift your focus to the senses. Marker suggests activities like listening mindfully, eating a treat mindfully, or taking another walk using all of your senses. For example, have your child hold a raisin. Marker instructs having your child notice the color, texture, shape, size, smell, weight, and taste of it for one minute.

 

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth Crisis Center was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington D.C. Throughout the past 46 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

One of the several programs, YCC offers is Outpatient Behavioral Health. This program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as three and their families. Parents may also receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at YCC.

 

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What is Mental Health and does everybody have it?

Mental health is the well-being of an individual’s mental, emotional, and/or physical functioning. Mental health is something that all individuals have whether they are aware of it or not. When something has an impact on our mental health we may refer to it as mental illness. Although there are myths about mental health/illnesses and how it impacts individuals it is very similar to any other illness and should be treated as such. For example, imagine having migraines that interfere with how you can interact with your friends/ family, perform job responsibilities at work, or even do things you love like going for a run. Most of us will seek a doctor to learn the cause of the migraine and how we can at least decrease or eliminate migraines due to its impact on our lives. Having migraines doesn’t mean something is wrong, but further warrants attention by a professional. In the same concept, mental health warrants us to take a look into what is impacting us mentally, emotionally, or physically, and what we can do to make it better.

Sometimes mental health and mental illness are used interchangeably. This should not be the case. According to the CDC, mental illnesses are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior. Those conditions have a handful of different names like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. The CDC says such conditions may be occasional or long-lasting and affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.

The CDC says while the terms are often used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same things. For example, a young woman can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. However, a teen boy could be diagnosed with a mental illness and experience a period of physical, mental, and social well-being.

How can someone take care of their mental health? What does care look like?

Lead Family Link Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center, Jazmin Jerome says ensuring mental health can look different for many people. Self- Care and implementing healthy coping mechanisms can provide individuals with a source of strengthening their mental health and overcoming challenges faced in.

  • Healthy eating
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Medication
  • Talking with a mental health professional
  • Doing puzzles
  • Exercising 
  • Spending time with family/friends

 When someone struggles with mental health or does not know where to start when it comes to taking care of it, what should they do?

For someone unaware of where to start when it comes to taking care of their mental health it would first be beneficial to think about/recognize any changes in behaviors, moods, and interests. Jerome, who is also a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern suggests talking to someone about these concerns is the first step to getting help from a professional. Although you may not want to talk to a mental health professional at first, being able to talk to a trusted individual and expressing your concerns will allow others to help you as well. 

Easy Mental Health Tips:

Some of Jerome’s favorite mental health tips include:

  • Spending time with loved ones, surrounding yourself with good company and people who have your best interest 
  • Journaling, even if not physically writing in a journal but at least having a trusted individual that can act as your “human journal” who you can talk to and truly express yourself with
  • Finding a new hobby or continuing with a current hobby, being able to identify things that make you, you that brings you peace is very important when it comes to ensuring positive mental health.

About the Youth Crisis Center

Founded in 1974 as Florida’s first runaway program, the Youth Crisis Center emphasis on care is for those who have been exposed to traumatic situations such as divorce, homelessness, relocation, bullying, loss of life, and abuse. This past year, the Youth Crisis Center served a total of 2,467 children, teens, young adults, and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC.  YCC provides a variety of services such as short-term residential crisis care, outpatient therapy, skills-based groups for children and their parents, and transitional living programming for young adults.

 

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Maintaining healthy relationships at a time during social distancing

Time has changed. Some restaurants require us to wear a mask before we sit down to eat and even wear a mask before we walk into the door. Some students have to sit in front of a computer at their own house for their first day of school due to distance learning. Greetings such as handshakes or hugs can sometimes be met with a confused look or are strongly discouraged. Our major parades have been canceled or modified, the concerts we have been saving up for have been delayed, and some grocery stores have lines with them as workers try to limit the number of people inside.

Social Distancing, Social Isolation, and Self-Isolation

“Social-Distance” is something that we as a nation have heard from our government for months now. Having to socially-distance could be a big reason why some parents choose to have their kids learn from home rather than the school halls; it’s the reason for the stickers on the floor at your favorite store to make sure you don’t stand too close; and, it’s the reason some restaurants have limited seating inside to make sure their customers are socially-distanced from others

During a time like this, social-distance at a time like this can often be confused with social-isolation. Now, social-isolation and self-isolation should also not be interchanged.  An article in Psychology Today, says, “social distancing is important in controlling an outbreak.” The article encourages the reader to think about whether it’s smart to go to crowded restaurants. It also wants the reader to think twice about how many kids they allow their child to have play-dates with if any. It also touches on romantic relationships and to decide if it’s best to go on dates and meet up with friends. The answer is yes, those are still good ideas and important to your overall mental health, to where it applies. However, if you are sick or in a very high-risk group, you may not want to participate in those activities.

Being socially distant does not mean socially isolating yourself from your loved ones, friends, or activities you like to do. Choosing to social distance is to just maintain your space from others, not in your group, and to be mindful of how close you are to others. According to the CDC, it also means wearing a mask when you can’t social distance, frequently washing your hands, and avoiding touching your face with your unwashed hands. You can still do the things you love and social distance at the same time.

Having to self-isolate is a result of different reasons. The CDC says isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

 

Maintaining Healthy Relationships 

Danielle Masters, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center say social distancing can make ongoing or developing friendships even more challenging. As parents and caregivers, we can help to create resilience and support our child’s needs while also maintaining safety through communication, encouraging an open dialogue for them to be able to talk with us about their feelings as well as fostering their social connections. We can make time for our children to be able to socialize through phone calls or video chat dates. For younger children, coming up with some creative ways that they can make the most of their time with their friend, like drawing a picture together, making up stories and then taking turns sharing, building things and then showing the other, as well as just allowing them time to “just chat”.  

Masters also suggest virtual clubs or classes for teens. They can also take walks, ride bikes, and do things outdoors with a friend if able to safely social distance. They can also connect through age-appropriate gaming (if allowed in your home and with parental discretion/monitoring.) It is important to have a conversation with your children regarding safety and differing viewpoints about social distancing. By helping them to understand and respect that every family has their values and opinions on how to keep their family safe we are encouraging empathy and can continue to find creative ways to cultivate social connections.

Talking to your kids about healthy relationships

Masters believes as parents or caregivers, it’s never too early to begin talking with our children about what a healthy relationship is. Helping children to define and understand that all good relationships are built on communication, understanding, trust, loyalty, respect, and boundaries. Most of us do this with our children automatically, when we teach them the importance of sharing and taking turns, when we show empathy for them if they fall or hurt themselves or are sad about something and we ask, what happened? Or how can I help you? She goes on to say that we also show this by teaching children about the importance of consent, by asking before taking things that do not belong to them and helping children to understand how their words or actions may influence other people. Helping children understand that no means no and “to listen and stop”.

Masters encourages parents to discuss with kids their boundaries, what makes them comfortable or not comfortable, and helping them to understand that their boundaries, as well as others’ boundaries, need to be respected. Another influential way to teach our children about healthy relationships is by being a good role model within our relationships. Our actions, attitude, and behaviors towards our significant others, family, and friends can have a big influence on our children.

Define what an unhealthy relationship is. Talking with children about peer pressure is especially important. When teens begin developing romantic relationships, helping them to understand that one partner should not try to control the other by intimidation, isolation, emotional abuse, physical abuse, or even digital abuse. Lastly, being supportive and non- judgmental so that if the child ever feels that a relationship is becoming unhealthy they can talk with you or another trusted adult.   

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth Crisis Center was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington D.C. Throughout the past 46 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships.

One of the several programs YCC offers is Outpatient Behavioral Health. This program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as three and their families. Parents may also receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at YCC.

 

 

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Facing your anxiety while preparing for a new school year

It’s that time of the year again…back to school.

 

This year may look a little different than previous years of going to school. Some students, teachers and staff will be wearing masks. Some students may not see their friends anymore because they moved over the summer, they’re being homeschooled, or if they have the option – virtual school. Regardless of what back to school looks like for some – a lot of feelings come with returning to school; some people are excited while others may be nervous or even anxious.

 

What is Anxiety and why do some people have it?

 

Jessica Beal, a Family Link Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center describes anxiety as a feeling of excessive worry, nervousness, or being overwhelmed. Delving deeper, she says physical symptoms can include difficulty breathing, butterflies in your stomach, and some people may even experience muscle tension. Beal explains everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life, but some may experience it more often and at a more intense level. She says genetics, environmental factors, a high-stress level, and poor coping skills can trigger anxiety, but the direct causes are different for everyone.

 

Overcoming your Anxiety

 

Beal says anxiety management starts with knowing yourself. You need to ask yourself some serious questions, such as: what worries you the most, what situations make you feel uncomfortable, and what are some negative beliefs you are carrying around with you. Beal explains anxiety is typically rooted in fear and worry. With that being said, Beal believes negative thinking patterns can allow the cycle of anxiety to continue and worsen over time.

Beal says Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a highly effective treatment for anxiety as well as learning healthy coping skills to lower your overall stress level.

 

Follow the “C’s”

 

Beal suggests for anyone anxious about the start of the new school year is to follow what she calls the “C”s.

 

Community – Surround yourself with your loved ones. You should want to be around people who love you, care about you, and want to see you succeed. This can be your family, friends, neighbors, or anybody else who makes a positive impact on your life.

 

Confidence –  Believe in yourself. Beal wants to remind everyone that they have survived everything life has thrown at them so far. Even though you didn’t think you would be able to make it through some things, you have made it this far in life. That alone took resiliency and strength. You were able to adjust to whatever was going on in life and this new school year is just something we all will need to adjust to.  

 

Caring – Take care of yourself. Beal says self-care is extremely important. You need to know how to listen to your body and know when to stop when you are over-doing it. It’s not just your body, Beal also wants you to pay attention to what your emotions are telling you as well. She also believes in developing a routine and sticking to it is important when it comes to self-care. She also wants to stress the importance of making sure you have time for yourself and you’re taking breaks when you need them and not before it’s too late and you’re already dealing with burnout.

 

Creativity – Find a creative outlet to channel some energy into. 

This isn’t just restricted to just being creative with drawing, painting, writing, etc. Beal says it is important to have hobbies. Hobbies are necessary for some people to get their feelings out there, especially if they cannot necessarily verbalize them. If you are someone who struggles with opening up about feelings or has a hard time finding the right words to say, Beal strongly suggests looking for a creative outlet or something to channel those emotions into.

 

Coping Skills – Beal reveals that a good set of healthy coping skills is what is lacking the most when she meets with students. She says coping skills can be anything from practicing mindfulness to having hobbies. According to Beal, you must have something that you enjoy doing.

 

Youth Crisis Center’s Family Link Program

 

YCC’s Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term, outpatient counseling services to families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing concerns that could disrupt the health and stability of the family. These services are available at no cost to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns and Nassau counties through appointments at the child’s school or other community locations. Click to learn more about Family Link and the 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential. To learn more about services, please call (904) 720-0007.

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The Power of Routines

Everybody has some type of routine in their life. Whether it’s waking up and making your favorite pot of coffee or doing some type of skin or self-care before bed. Bertha Barrett is an Outpatient Therapist for the Youth Crisis Center and is also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. She challenges people to think of how important routines are to our overall health. A routine is like a habit, it is a consistent practice for completing a series of tasks daily.  

Routines and your health 

Going back to the different parts of routines, some parents often help their young children create routines that will help them in the long run as they grow older. Some kids are often taught to wash up, brush their teeth, and eat breakfast once they wake up. It’s not just setting up healthy habits or to prevent cavities, routines can help your mental health as well. According to Barrett, routines help elevate stress, anxiety, and insomnia. “Think about those days when you were attempting to incorporate multiple things in your week along with work, school, and any other extra activities you have. You may have experienced some anxiety, difficulties sleeping, and felt extremely stressed throughout the day as you thought about all the things you had to complete.”

Barrett says while you were having those feelings emotionally, you probably felt something physical as well. According to Barrett, there was a chance you felt tense in your shoulders and neck, there was a sense of butterflies in your stomach, or you felt fatigued and irritable. 

Keeping it consistent and goal-oriented 

The articleThe Importance of Creating Habits and Routines” in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine states that learning ways to create and practice routines around one’s daily lifestyle is significant for improving overall health and reduce chronic issues. Barrett believes having a routine helps to free up mental resources for other tasks. When establishing a routine, it is critical to consider your set goals as the purpose. 

Barrett also wants to point out that it is important to remember that like habits, routines take time and have to include a repetition to become an automatic response. It is common for some to say that it takes 21 days to create a habit. However, research from  The British Journal of General Practice, it can take on average 66 days or 10 weeks for something to become habitual. Barrett says this simply means consistency is key. 

She stresses the fact that one cannot establish a routine and follow it for only a couple of days or a week and expect to reap the many benefits it offers.  

S.O.S

 A lot of us sometimes wish we could just make a sudden change to our lives and it sticks with no problem. Unfortunately, we can’t always get what we want. Barrett reminds us as with anything, too many sudden changes can overstimulate our mind and create more stress. She wants to start off small.  It is also recommended to keep your routine simple at first and precise. For example, it will not be realistic to go from reading this blog to telling your household everything needs to be done by 7:00 pm for you all to have family time. Barrett says it’s not going to happen because it’s too broad and you need to be specific when setting a routine. She encourages people to make a list of daily things that need to be done. Focus your routine around those daily things, from there you can decide how to go from getting those done every day to make sure they are done with enough time to spare to add in routine family time.                                    

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health 

The Youth Crisis Center was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington D.C. Throughout the past 46 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

One of the several programs YCC offers is Outpatient Behavioral Health. This program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as three and their families. Parents may also receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at YCC.

Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Social Distancing vs Social Isolation: Maintaining relationships and setting boundaries

As our country continues to deal with COVID-19, the term ‘social distancing’ continues to pop up. Social Distance is a big reason why you are probably working from home, your kids are not at their physical school, and why so many businesses are limiting how many people are allowed inside. CDC says limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of the virus. Basically, social distancing means keeping space between yourself and others when you are not inside your home. You have probably noticed stores placing markers or pieces of tape to keep people at least six feet apart. It is recommended to avoid groups and stay out of crowded places.

This could be particularly hard for people who consider themselves extroverted or someone who simply enjoys being out around a lot of people whether that be the mall, the beach or their favorite restaurant. If you are someone who enjoys spending time with your friends or family members, this time could also be particularly challenging. However, just because you are being asked to distance yourself that does not mean to isolate yourself from your loved ones. In fact, you should be finding other ways to talk to your favorite people as we all go through COVID-19.

 

Setting boundaries for others

Whether you consider yourself an introvert or you’re taking the CDC’s recommendation seriously, you might have to deal with family members or friends who do not take the recommendation as seriously. This is where setting boundaries can become useful according to Bertha Barrett, an Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center. She suggests you should be clear about your concerns, especially if you’re at a higher risk of contracting the virus due to health issues. You should also take into account if you have young children or even a newborn who could be prone to getting the virus.

Even though you are keeping your distance for health reasons, that does not mean you need to cut off all communications with your loved ones. Recently, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry called on residents to try and call somebody at 7 pm to still stay in touch while also practicing social distancing. This is not the time for someone to intentionally try to ostracize themselves and be lonely. Even though you have set physical boundaries for someone does not mean you should set emotional ones as well. Use this time to not just call a loved one but find ways to reconnect with your family as you all go through this together.

 

Setting boundaries for yourself 

Barrett says setting boundaries for yourself can help you stay mentally well by reducing stress. If you happen to live alone or you don’t have family members or friends to call at the moment, use this time to focus on yourself. She recommends limiting your time in front of the television or any screen, especially if constant updates of the pandemic makes you uneasy. If you’re working from home, Barrett says it can be easy for someone to isolate themselves from the world by diving into their work. She wants you to stick to your normal work routine and hours if possible. Barrett says it is important to know when your workday is over. While maintain a work schedule is important – she also recommends setting time aside for yourself. Barrett calls finding ways to relax and focus on both your mental and physical health important during this time.

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program


The Youth CrisisCenter was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 


Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client.

 

Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Accepting the new normal: Working and learning from home

If we’re not already wondering ourselves, someone is probably joking about it on social media: “what day is it?”

The CDC has been keeping on an eye on the coronavirus since the beginning of 2020. The United States has seen over 300,000 cases this year and over 7000 deaths since January. The global pandemic has caused the country’s leaders including those at the state and city level to take action to do what they can to keep you safe. Some states and cities have a ‘Safer at Home’ executive order aimed at having citizens staying at home except for critical and essential services.

Setting a Routine

This means people are having to work from home and then staying home. Children are having to do their schooling from home as well. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are used to routine and structure. We have dealt with it since before we could possibly remember with our caretakers put us down for our usual nap as toddlers, the school bell ringing marking us tardy or on time for class, and to make sure we clock in and out on time for work. Humans are truly creatures of habit, and COVID-19 has seemed to disrupt our normal routines and staying at home for work and school, has become our new normal, at least for now.

Amanda Marker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is the Lead Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center. She says with routines as we know it being interrupted across the glove, it’s important to re-establish routines for oneself. Marker suggests trying to make a reasonable schedule you feel you can stick to. She believes creating a routine can cut down on stress by providing structure to ‘what comes next.’ This is especially helpful for kids who are home all day when they are used to having a structure in school.

Marker says it’s important during this time to not put too much pressure on yourself. She goes on to say we are experiencing this new way of life collectively.

Time Management

Working and schooling from home can be difficult if it’s not something we are typically used to. For many of us, the boundaries of work and home life are not as clear as they were. Marker says it’s important to set reasonable limits, build in short breaks throughout the day, and find time to disengage from work.

Marker points to the Pomodoro method as a way to manage your time. It’s a technique in which you set a timer for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break from your work or study. After four 25 minute work sessions, you are then allowed to take a 15 to 30-minute break.

Disengaging from your job or schoolwork is just as important as practicing time management. Marker recommends creating an “end of the day” ritual. This could be changing clothes to signal your workday is over, turning your work phone off or just simply closing your computer.

Designating a work from home or school space

According to research by Anja Jamrozik, a cognitive scientist, states there are five basic needs to meet to create an effective work from home space “Access to natural light, a comfortable temperature, good air quality, comfortable furniture, and a strategy for minimizing distractions.”

Everybody’s situation is different. Someone may live in a small two-bedroom apartment or have three kids who all need to their schoolwork onlineNot everyone has the opportunity to close a door and set up a desk in a spare room with natural lighting. Marker wants you to remember that it is okay if you can’t do that. Whether you’re trying to set up something for you, your kids, or the whole family the key is to create a routine and make space for it each day. Making space in your home for education shows your kids that it’s important to you and you value learning. Making space for your work helps you focus that it’s time to work and it could be your ‘getaway’ from what else is happening in the world.

Communication is also important when it comes to designating a work or schooling space. You want to limit distraction if possible. Marker says it’s important to set guidelines. If you’re working from your bedroom, close the door to signal to your family members or roommates that you are working. If you are working in an open area, you could try putting on headphones. Marker explains this could be a visual cue to others to not disturb you when you are in the zone working. She also recommends talking to those in the household ahead of time to set boundaries, guidelines, or a schedule when it comes to working from home. By doing that, everybody can help curb the interruptions.

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth CrisisCenter was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client.

 

Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Talking to your kids about COVID-19

The U.S continues to talk about COVID-19 and the uncertainties it not only leaves for our country but the rest of the world. The virus has been dominating headlines and has been a part of the news cycle since the beginning of this year. At a time of calls from our nation’s leaders to social distance, it can be had for some children, regardless of age to fully grasp what exactly is happening not just in our country, but around the world.

Kim Sirdevan the President and CEO of the Youth Crisis Center says this is the time to talk with your kids about the Coronavirus. With the majority if not all public schools in the state of Florida out and doing online learning, there is a chance your child is possibly missing those valuable hours with their friends and teachers. It has come to a time where it may not be the best decision for your child to go to their friend’s house or hang out with a group of them and that can be hard to understand.
Sirdevan recommends talking with your kids and just reassure their safety at this time. You should also try to limit what they see.

“You don’t want to scare them and that’s what is happening. They are reading data and seeing numbers.”

She tells Real Country Mornings with Gary and Char, a lot of kids watch and follow the lead of their parents. Sirdevan goes on to say that if a child sees their parent navigating through this time calmly and carefully, your kids will feel more confident about what’s happening. Kim Sirdevan also wants parents to use this time to educate themselves. If your child comes to you with a question – she says parents should be able to give them credible answers. She goes on to say that if a parent doesn’t know that specific answer – then they should try to find out for their child.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth CrisisCenter was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client. 

Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Setting aside time to check in with your child


It’s natural for parents and children to want to spend time together. However, with a busy work-life, school, after-school activities and other distractions, it could be hard to be able to set aside time to check in with your loved ones. Things happen and sometimes interactions slip through the cracks, but there are ways to make sure you do get that quality time with your loved ones.


Find a Routine


Amanda Marker is the Lead Outpatient Therapist for the Youth Crisis Center. She recommends creating an after-school plan to help not just cut down on the chaos of making sure homework is done but to create more time with your child. The after-school plan could mean your child will spend one hour doing their homework or an hour of reading with you. This also helps set expectations.


Talk With Your Child


Don’t be afraid to just pull your child aside to talk with them. Marker suggests asking them how they’re doing or asking about school. She says you should use active listening skills to understand what is going on in your child’s life. Marker wants to remind you to validate your child’s feelings, adding she believes they want you to let them know that you care about them. According to Marker, as parents, we may not be able to fully understand what is going on in a child’s life if we are not actively checking in with them or asking how they are.


Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

 

The Youth Crisis Center was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client. Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Recognizing Love Languages with Your Family

Hopefully, it’s not a feeling or thought that crosses the mind of any child – whether or not they feel like their parents do not love them. There can be numerous things that would lead a child to have a feeling like this such as lack of affection shown by parents, unpleasant interactions, or negative thoughts. These actions don’t have to stem from all negative interactions. For example, a lack of affection shown by parents could also mean that a particular parent may not know how to appropriately show affection to their child. Another example could be something that is a part of everyday life: conflict.  

While it should not fall entirely on the child for them to understand just how much their parents love them, Outpatient Therapist Ron Bertie recommends looking at your parent’s love languages.

5 Love Languages 

According to Doctor Gary Chapman, “there are five basic love languages.” The author goes on to say that each person has a primary love language that others must learn to speak if they want that particular person to feel loved.

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Services
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

For either a child or parent who may be struggling with showing affection – it could help to look at your love language. If you’re able to figure out what your love language is and compare it to theirs, it’s possible there could be a plan on how to meet in the middle.

Re-evaluate Your Thinking

Another thing Bertie recommends to children who are thinking this way is to look at the way they’re thinking. He says this way of thinking should be followed by going through cognitive distortions.

“Try to figure out if it’s true or not true.”

An article on PsychCentral says, “cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true.” Mindfulness can help with this way of thinking, such as grounding techniques or even journaling can help.

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth Crisis Center was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client. Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships