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Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Caregivers need Care Too

Posted on: February 4th, 2020

I, like many people of my generation are now finding themselves in the role as caregiver. Whether you are caring for aging parents or helping your college age children or like me, the mother of teenagers on their way to high school and helping my husband care for his mother, finding time for self-care can be next to impossible. I have learned that caring for yourself as you care for others is not optional but is necessary for health and wellness.  The following are a few suggestions to aid in self -care:

  1. Listen to your body. Our bodies will warn us when we are in danger. Frequent headaches, extreme fatigue, sleep disturbance, frequent colds and aches and pains are some warning signs that we are running on empty.
  2. Pay attention to your behavior. Irritability, difficulty controlling worry, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating are also symptoms of depressed mood and anxiety both of which are common occurrences with caregivers. Seek support from loved ones and a professional if these symptoms persist.
  3. Take time to nurture yourself. Don’t forget what you love. Caregivers often get caught up in the needs of others and forget they have a life. If you like to exercise, go to the gym or take a walk to clear your mind. Remember you are important.

Caring for yourself will allow you to be an even better caregiver for your loved ones. Once again, remember you are important.

Author

Alicia Lurry MA CRC LPC

A New Decade

Posted on: January 7th, 2020

It’s 2020! I remember being a child in the 70s thinking 2020 would have flying cars and look like something from the cartoon “The Jetsons.” I reflect on my anticipation of a great new world, the sense of awe and wonder. The ideas and imagination of a child brings a sense of expectation. We may not have the flying cars yet, but we are moving forward in innovations. We now have technological advances in our daily lives that I never would have imagined as a child. Just using this laptop to type this blog was never in my wildest imagination.

As we enter  this new decade of the 21st century lets rekindle that sense of hope and wonder. This New Year let’s not spend so much time looking at the past but let us put our energy into making our present and future great. What’s your vision for this year? If you don’t have one, take time to figure it out. Like those who envisioned our current technology we enjoy, change begins with a vision.

Happy New Year!

Author

Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

The Year in Review

Posted on: December 5th, 2019

The old saying, “What does not kill you makes you stronger,” is so very true. 2019 has been a challenging year. The final month of each year creates an opportunity for personal reflection. I entered 2019 with certain hopes and expectations. I had real plans for my year. A health crisis with my husband early in the year immediately challenged my plans. Someone reading this blog may have had a situation or two or three that “knocked them off their square.” My family and I are at what appear to be the tail end of our crisis. We are a little shaken but not defeated. My husband is stronger and is beginning to resume normal life. I reflect on this year not with the question of why me but with gratefulness. I can reflect on the challenges I faced and be thankful my family has survived. We are still here. We are still together. I encourage anyone who has had a difficult year to take a moment and reflect. Take a moment to be grateful for what you have instead of dwelling on circumstances that are out of your control. You may find you have gained strength you never knew you had and resilience to continue when life happens.

My hope for all in 2020 is that you live life to the fullest, embrace change, be strong and resilient in the face of adversity, laugh, love hard and above all be grateful for your journey.

Author

Alicia Lurry LPC

What is Good with You?

Posted on: November 5th, 2019

There are moments in time when we have to be mindful as to what is good in our lives. Difficult times can be distracting. Moments of strife can cloud your judgment and shift your focus so that the only thing you see is the difficult time. I often ask my patients this question, “What’s good with you?” This question seems to catch some patients off guard, but it is a simple one. Difficult moments can seem unending and overwhelming. Focusing on one good thing in life can remind us that there is good in the midst of chaos. Taking a moment to laugh with your loved one. Seeing the beauty in the change of the seasons. Feeling the warmth of the sun. Playing your favorite music in the middle of a traffic jam. These are all examples of finding the good. Sometimes the good is not obvious. We have to intentionally seek it out.

Finding the good is a mindfulness strategy that can help change your focus, relieve tension, and diminish anxious thoughts. No matter the circumstance there is always good to be found. Take a moment and ask yourself, “What is good with you?”

Author

Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

I AM My Bully

Posted on: September 12th, 2019

Have you ever taken a moment to identify your thoughts? Our thoughts can run as loops in brain. They can color our perspective and our level of optimism and confidence. I see many patients who have difficulty seeing the best in themselves. A common question I ask is what’s good about you? All too often patients struggle with finding maybe one or two things to say. But if I ask that same patient what they don’t like about themselves they can provide a list ranging from their physical attributes to some perceived personality flaw. These beliefs are identified as negative cognitions. Their origins can often be traced back to past experiences. Maybe a parent of caregiver would say things like, “You are so stupid.” or “You will never be any good, just like your father.” Maybe a childhood bully in school made fun of you because of the awkward stages of childhood we all experience. Whatever the case, being aware of whether we have accepted a negative and false belief about ourselves is the first step in develop a better self image. What do you do once you have identified the negative beliefs you have held? • Decide to address them as lies. Look at the source of the lie. If the source was an abusive parent or a mean kid the odds are their assessment of you was based on their own dysfunction not the truth of who you are. • Begin to acknowledge and accept the good in you. While none of us are perfect we all have unique talents and qualities that make us use special. Begin to embrace the greatness that is in you. • Separate yourself from negativity. Do not allow people in your space who will reinforce negative beliefs. Surround yourself with people who can encourage and inspire you.

If you want to change the way you feel about yourself, first you have to change the way you think about yourself.” Gavin Bird

Author, Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

The Challenge of New

Posted on: August 7th, 2019

I have come to the revelation after 49 years old living that nothing ever remains the same. There is comfort in the familiar. Life, however, is more of a series of transitions. This time of year, we are preparing our children for the new school year. For the youngest the transition will be from the comfort of home to going to a new place without a parent. The older kids will transition to a higher grade with greater expectations. High school graduates will transition to college, military, or the workforce. When we are kids, we tend to prepare ourselves for these inevitable transitions but somewhere along the way as adults we start to become creatures of habit. We begin to resist the inevitability of transition. Great peace can be found in embracing life’s transitions. I am challenging myself and I challenge the reader to look forward to change with excitement and great expectation. I am sure at one time or another you were once that kid experiencing the nervous excitement of the first day of school. When you experience the inevitable transition remember that kid you once were.

Author Alicia Lurry MA LPC

Stop to Smell the Roses

Posted on: July 2nd, 2019

Life can be a mixture of highs and lows. It has been my experience that the only thing we can predict as we continue on life’s journey is that life is unpredictable. How then do we maintain balance as we are often knocked off balance? Taking time to slow down and recognize the little joys in life can help regain a since of calm in the midst of chaotic situations. The following are 3 practical suggestions to help restore calm: • Practice mindfulness strategies of sensing the environment. Find a place of quiet. Begin to focus on your breath. Go outside feel the warmth of the sun or the coolness of the wind. • Do what you love. We spend much of our time doing what we “have to” do. Plan time to do thing you want to do. Doing what you love serves as a healthy distraction. It takes us out of our present circumstance and allows for relief from stress. • Laugh out loud. There is a scripture that says Laughter does good like medicine. Whether its spending time with friends or family, watching a funny movie, or going to see a comedy show, take time to laugh. Laughter reminds us that life can be funny. It isn’t always so serious. We knew this as kids but we often forget this as adults. It’s ok to be goofy. Finding joy in the midst of difficulty is not easy but it is necessary for resilience and success.

Author Alicia M. Lurry MA LPC CRC

Self Check

Posted on: June 17th, 2019

If you are a busy person who cares for others and balances multiple responsibilities, this blog is for you. For the past few months I have had much more responsibility than usual. My husband underwent a serious medical procedure that required him to be hospitalized for nearly a month followed up by inpatient rehab. My husband was absent from our home for a little over 6 weeks. Once he came home, he was very limited in what he could do. We as a family had to adjust rather suddenly to our new normal. I found myself struggling to meet his needs, reassure our children and meet their needs, and manage my own emotions. I found myself repeating frequently I’m ok. Telling myself you’re ok as a personal reassurance that I could persevere. I consider myself a strong person. I have come through some difficult patches in life. I always manage to push through. I found myself in therapy sessions telling clients who struggle with anxiety, depression and feeling overwhelmed to practice self-care. The hypocrisy of my advice was stunning. I began to realize that my pushing through and self- motivating affirmations of you’re ok were not helping me see the root of my issue. My root issue was that I was not ok. I needed support. I needed to be honest with myself and take a moment to ask for help and get what I needed. I needed to admit that I am human and sometimes I cannot handle everything. I needed to ask my friends and family for help when I was overwhelmed. I needed to seek therapeutic support to help put my experiences in perspective. I needed to be real with myself and do a sincere self-check. My husband is improving and has grown more independent. He is assuming his previous responsibilities and life is slowly coming back to normal. This experience has opened my eyes to the importance of honest self -awareness. If you find yourself struggling to hold on it may be time for a self-check.

Author Alicia Lurry MA CRC LPC

Where Has All the Kindness Gone?

Posted on: May 7th, 2019

Where Has all the Kindness Gone? Looking at our present political and social climate I find myself asking where has the spirit of compromise, kindness and civility gone. In my nearly 49 years of living I can say I remember a time when our leaders addressed conflict with the idea of compromise as a means for resolution. Is compromise considered to be an obsolete concept? As a therapist I meet with individuals, couples and families. Conflict within these relationships usually has much to do with lack of effective communication and an unwillingness to compromise. I often ask client’s what they consider to be a barrier to compromise. The following are some common responses: 1. I don’t think I’m wrong. They need to change. 2. If I compromise the other person will take advantage. 3. If I compromise, I will appear vulnerable and weak. Without compromise there is no movement. Think of driving down the road and two cars come to an intersection with flashing red lights. Without the ability to compromise there will surely be a crash and potentially substantial damage. Think of our relationships as those intersecting cars each wanting to go their own way, but needed to compromise and proceed with caution. Compromise is an essential part to any healthy relationship. If each person compromises, then inevitably everyone gets a bit of what they want.

Author Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

Breaking Free of Negative Cognitions

Posted on: April 2nd, 2019

There is a saying that sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. I believe this saying is very accurate. There are messages we feed ourselves daily, sometimes it seems as if these messages are on a loop in our minds. These messages can be positive, encouraging, and motivating or they can be hurtful, self sabotaging, and destructive. It is important to recognize the power of our thoughts and beliefs and how they shape our actions and behaviors. These messages can come from past experiences. They can come from previous trauma. They can come from our parents or caregivers in early childhood. What messages are you giving yourself? Have you taken them as truth? Have you patterned your life according to them? Here are some helpful practices in breaking the hold of negative cognitions: 1. Identify the source. It is easy to assume your belief came from you. Often however, we find that negative beliefs begin in childhood, when someone says something hurtful about you and because you lacked the ability as a child to believe otherwise, you took it as truth. As an adult it is now time to reframe that message and put it in proper context in order to change your perspective. 2. Check the evidence. We often hold certain negative beliefs without real evidence to support the belief. These patterns appear in some common cognitive distortions such as jumping to conclusions, mind reading, interpreting the thoughts or beliefs of others without adequate evidence of support, or fortune telling, expecting the worst possible result without adequate evidence to support the assumption. 3. Seek support. Negative thought patterns thrive in isolation. If you are struggling with this common challenge please seek the help of a qualified therapist. There are times when the support of the objective point of view is necessary in order to unpack what is years of negative beliefs. Negative beliefs are learned. Positive beliefs can also be learned. The work begins is recognizing the need for change.

Author, Alicia M. Lurry LPC