Categories
Podcasts

Parenting During a Pandemic

Powered by RedCircle

If you’re a parent, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that these are very difficult times. During this global pandemic, parents are being asked to simultaneously do multiple different jobs at the same time, and the expectations and evaluations we’re placing on ourselves can be crushing. Pandemic parenting leaves adult feeling overwhelmed.

I recently stumbled upon a meme on Facebook, of all things, and I knew that I had to reach out to its author to ask her to come on the podcast.  

Here’s an excerpt from that meme: 

Working, parenting, and teaching are three different jobs that cannot be done at the same time. It’s not hard because you’re doing it wrong. It’s hard because it’s too much. Do the best you can. Prioritize your mental health.

Such compassionate words that so many of us need to hear right now. Words written by this week’s guest, Dr. Emily King.  

Dr. Emily King is a Licensed Psychologist and Heath Services Provider in private practice in Raleigh, North Carolina. She specializes in working with children and adolescents with anxiety, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. King received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

In this episode we touch on: 

  • The importance of self-compassion in times like these 
  • How you can use anchor points in your routine to help everyone feel more comfortable where they’re at in their day 
  • The unique needs that kids might have during these times and how we can help them thrive through them. 
  • What self-care looks like and how we can cultivate it to help us show up as our best 
  • How to cultivate more compassionate, open communication with our partners and spouses during this intense time 

I know you’re going to appreciate this conversation with Dr. Emily King. Please share this with another parent who might need some compassion during this time. 

Categories
Podcasts

Using Brain Science to Become a Better Parent

Powered by RedCircle

Being a parent is tough. There’s no doubting that. Helping children grow and develop into resilient, resourceful, independent adults is no easy task.

But, have you ever stopped to think about the role that brain development plays in the way in which you parent your children? Parenting science has come a long way over the last few decades, but recently, combining personal experiences with new knowledge can lead to amazing results.

As it turns out, much of the challenging behavior we encounter when parenting especially young kids can be tied back to their brain development at that stage. Depending upon what stage they’re in and what “brain” they’re in, the way we react to challenging behavior and the way our children respond to us will differ greatly.

Today we’re speaking with Allana Robinson. She s Parenting Coach and CEO of Uncommon Sense Parenting, as well as a Registered Early Childhood Educator, Mom of two, and military wife. Allana supports parents of toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners in understanding WHY their children are misbehaving and how to fix it without yelling, shaming, or time-outs.

During this episode, Allana gives us a simple yet accurate picture of young children’s developing brains. She talks about how to recognize when children are relying on different parts of their brain and uses color-coding to make it quick and easy to understand. Finally, and most importantly, Allana talks about how we can adjust our response to our kids depending upon what “brain” they’re in.

As a parent of two young children, I got so much out of this episode, and I know you will too!

Additional Resources:

  1. Listen to my interview with Doug Noll about the role of emotions in conflict: https://www.peakmindpsychology.com/blog/0321
  2. Learn how to cultivate a better mother-daughter relationship with Dr Michelle Deering: https://www.peakmindpsychology.com/blog/0324
  3. Sign up for Allana’s free class: https://www.allanarobinson.com/freeclass/
Categories
Blogs

Your (Obligatory) Holiday Survival Guide

Christmas and Kwanzaa are right around the corner (and Hanukkah snuck right past me). Maybe you love this time of year…and maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re like a lot of folks who find it quite challenging. Personally, I don’t holiday like a lot of my fellow Americans, but I think it would be an oversight not to address the topic, even if it’s a bit late in the game.

In 2006, I was an intern at Children’s Mercy Hospital, and I had the bad luck of being on call for Christmas. That meant I was stuck in a city where I knew very few people, all of whom would be going home to their families for the holidays. My parents came to visit but headed home on Christmas Eve. I bawled the next day, alone in my studio apartment, missing everyone and everything.

The next year, I was in a different city at a different hospital but, again, stuck with the Christmas call. That year was easier. I had a friend in Omaha, and we did our own thing to celebrate.

The following years saw some holidays with friends in California, some with my family, and some with my partners’ families. I’ve gotten very unattached to any specific vision of what the holidays must be like, and, honestly, it’s been pretty freeing. My holiday stress level tends to be pretty low, but that’s not the case for many people.

The holidays bring with them changes in routines and schedules. Our self-care goes out the window. We hit the end of the year crunch time. Many people have the added task of holiday shopping, decorating, cooking,  hosting, traveling, planning, and juggling 9 million things. Others have salient reminders of what or who they’ve lost. Couple all of that with the pressure of meeting expectations (yours and others’) or not feeling as joyous as you think you should. While you’re at it, throw in (what’s typically) a cold and dark time of year and a pandemic we’re all tired of, and it’s no wonder that many people experience heightened stress, anxiety, or depression!

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to not just survive but thrive through this season. Now, I’m not advocating that you abandon your holiday traditions as I have, but I will encourage you to do ALL of the things on this list.

1. Let your values be your guide.

Get really clear on who and what is important to you, particularly when it comes to the holidays. Tune out the noise, the expectations, the perceived obligations, and put your time, energy, and attention into what truly matters.

2.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.

When something less than desired happens, put it in perspective. Ask yourself, “On the scale of bad things, is this a paper cut or a nuclear disaster?” and react accordingly.

3. Make time for self-care.

Prioritize the basics like sleep, eating nutritious food, drinking water, and moving your body. Make time for whatever other self-care practices help you feel like you at your best.

4. Move with ease.

When we feel stressed, our movements get frantic, rushed, and hectic. Instead, intentionally relax your shoulders and move gently, smoothly, and a little more slowly than you might want to. This will help tell your nervous system that it’s all good. There’s no crisis. Relax.

5. Channel compassion – for yourself and everyone else.

You don’t have to be merry. In fact, there may be lots of reasons why you aren’t, and I bet the way you’re feeling makes sense when you consider those reasons and put them in context. So be kind to yourself! Offer that same compassion (empathy + kindness) to others, too. Adopt the attitude that everyone is doing the best they can at that moment. Try to understand what their perspective might be, how it might make sense when you consider the context, and offer them kindness, too, even if it’s just in your own thoughts.

6. Speaking of kindness, do one for someone in need.

Not only does this help someone out and add just a little bit of goodness into the world, but altruism is good for us, too. It gets us out of our own heads and our own problems and, frankly, it feels good to do good.

To be honest, I think this is pretty solid advice for any stressful time, not just the holidays, but I sincerely hope you thrive through this holiday season.

“You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
 – (often attributed to) Maya Angelou
Categories
Podcasts

 Coping with Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

Powered by RedCircle

When I had my first baby, I experienced post-partum anxiety. It was, without a doubt, the darkest time of my life. It is now 5 years later, and when I think back to that version of me in that dark place, I am increasingly afraid for her. 

Post-partum depression, anxiety, and related issues are so much more common than we realize, and on today’s episode, I’m speaking with Lauren Robbins. She is a therapist and Executive Director of Pregnancy & Postpartum Support MN.  

In this episode, we’re talking about the sensitive and important topic of supporting parents through their pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting years. If you are a parent, or if you know and love someone who is, you won’t want to miss this episode. 

 Learn more about PPSI-MN at https://ppsupportmn.org 

If you need help, you can call or text PPSI-MN at 612.787.7776 

Learn more about the Self-Care [by design] program at https://www.peakmindpsychology.com/selfcare  

Those suffering from postpartum anxiety disorders can encounter physical symptoms including panic attacks and sleep deprivation. Feeling overwhelmed, mood disorders and panic disorders are just some of the mental health challenges many face in the postpartum period. While family members can be helpful, those with higher risk factors may want to consider cognitive behavioral therapy through a licensed professional.

Categories
Podcasts

Surviving and Thriving through the Upcoming School Year in the Era of COVID

Powered by RedCircle

“I’m so worried about the upcoming school year.” 

“I’m already struggling to be a good mom and a good employee. Now I have to be a good teacher too?!” 

“I have such high standards for myself. I’m afraid of my perfectionism as school starts again.” 

“I’m afraid for my health and for my child’s health.” 

“I feel like I’m choosing my job over my kid’s health.” 

Do any of these sound at all like the thoughts and feelings you’re having right now as the 2020 school year approaches? So many of us are facing such uncertain and difficult times as we attempt to figure out how to handle the school year as our country is still gripped by the COVID-19 epidemic.  

Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have cited fewer COVID-19 cases, and because the majority of the population is fully vaccinated, serious cases are limited; deaths rare. But this school year goes beyond rapid testing, COVID-19 tests, and wearing masks. Indoor masking is the least of concerns as students and staff return to public schools. The mental stress facing school communities as they aim to comply with what the CDC recommends and managing frustrated parents at school district meetings puts health and safety in a sad second place. At high schools, COVID is an even larger risk due to the independence of older students, and large classrooms with close contact.

We’ve heard from you loud and clear that you are looking for psych strength resources to help you cope through this year, and that is precisely why we recorded this episode. 

This episode is NOT an episode to teach you “10 Quick Mindset Tips to Force Yourself to Think Positively” or “5 Ways to Fit it All In and Do It Perfectly.” 

This episode is grounded in reality. In the reality that many of us will be facing a very difficult school year.  

But, here’s the thing. While there are many circumstances that are outside of our control as the school year opens up, we do have control over a few things. How we react. The boundaries we set. What we choose to be important and how we focus on it. The way we treat ourselves in the process. 

This episode is for you if you’re looking for some psych strength building techniques to help you thrive through this school year. Thriving through adversity is a real thing. It doesn’t mean that you have an EASY time. It means that you grow as a person, even when times are tough. 

You can do this. We’re here to help. 

Please reach out to us if there is anything else we can do to support you as school reopens, and do share this episode with someone who needs it.