Do You Have News Fatigue?

Are you overwhelmed with the news?

Do you dread the constant news alerts popping up on your phone?

Are you sick of hearing about, talking about and thinking about what’s going on in Washington, DC and beyond?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might be suffering from new fatigue. I know I am!  I recently got a chance to talk about why news fatigue happens – and more importantly – what to do about it! This segment aired on ScrippsTV channels across the country yesterday – including on our very own Denver Channel 7.

How Psychologists Deal With Stress

Back in the fall I spoke with the Huffington Post about anxiety surrounding the election.  Here’s a quote:

Like everyone else I thought that by now – a full three months after election day – politics would once again be in the background of our lives.  Obviously that hasn’t happened.  Instead, it seems like the stress and dissent has only increased.

Once again I spoke with the Huffington Post this week about how psychologists (no matter their personal politics) are managing with all the stress in the air.  Here’s my my tip:

I really like this..maybe I’ll give it a try this weekend:

 

How to Fight Stress By Learning to Skydive

Skydiving helps decrease stress? What?!

OK, so the title of this post is sort of misleading.  Skydiving by itself probably doesn’t lead to decreased stress (it certainly wouldn’t for me).  BUT, learning a new skill (like skydiving, for example) can be a great way to manage the everyday stressors of life.

I recently came across this article about learning new things:

A piece outlining how the author took up Irish dancing and gained all sorts of wonderful new insights about herself (she was better than she thought she might be, and she became more confident when it came to learning other new skills too).  And low and behold, look what else was in the article:

A quote from an article I wrote 6 years ago about trying new things and the benefits to mental health.

Even though it’s old news on this blog, I still do believe in the importance of learning new things; and putting ourselves in awkward,uncomfortable situations so that we can experience the success of coming out the other side.  As this time of year is gray, cold and generally nasty in most parts of the country this time of year – it can be the perfect opportunity to take skydiving Irish dancing crocheting lessons.

Power Your Lunchbox – Hearty Snack Time

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I’m thrilled to be continuing my work with Produce for Kids this year.  If you don’t know about the organization, they are an awesome group of folks who strive to help kids and families have fun while eating well.  Check it out:

Produce for Kids® believes in creating a healthier generation through cause marketing campaigns that provide easy, fun and inspiring recipes. Produce for Kids has been helping families and children by giving back since 2002. Through produce and grocery retail partner programs, Produce for Kids has donated more than $6 million to charities that benefit children and families nationwide.

One of my favorite things about Produce for Kids are the ideas they have for healthy meals and snacks.  A couple of times a year they focus their efforts in helping families pack healthy lunches.  Take the pledge to power your lunchbox!

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I’m going to be honest, in our house we heartily support buying lunch at school.  There are a few reasons for this, not least of which is that it makes the mornings more pleasant – no lunches to pack!  But it still leaves after school snack time to deal with.  As my kids are getting older, the afternoon snack is becoming more important – there is just so much to accomplish in the afternoons before dinnertime. Things like:

  • Homework
  • Piano Lessons
  • Karate
  • Soccer practice
  • Swimming lessons
  • Choir

and really boring things like:

  • Meetings

The other day, we had a full afternoon in the hours between after school and bedtime: homework, piano lessons, soccer practice (2 of them actually), basketball practice  and a parent meeting at school.  On days like these, snacks are particularly important.  I’ve been trying to be better about packing good looking, healthy snacks that will sustain my kids (and me!) until dinnertime – which often ends up being later than I would like.

So while the big kids were at school, my little guy and I tried our hand at homemade hummus.  We used this recipe by the Pioneer Woman (don’t you just love her).  It was super easy, and also delicious because we were able to tweak the ingredients to our taste (more lemon juice, less garlic).

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Everything is just dumped into the blender and mixed up until smooth

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Put it in an airtight container

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And make sure to pack some yummy, healthy things to dip in all that deliciousness!

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This would also make a good lunch – but hearty, tasty snacks are important too!

Don’t forget to take the pledge to Power Your Lunchbox (or snack box, or whatever!) – Happy snacking!

 

 

 

Hidden Veggie Meatballs

I have a little bit of extra time off this holiday season – and I plan to use some of that time to stock my freezer with easy, yummy foods for when life (work, school, soccer, piano) ramps up to its normal break-neck speed again.

The other day my kids found this recipe for Hidden Veggie Meatballs in the Produce for Kids cookbook, Healthy Family Classics:

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Before I knew it, they’d made a cute little video documenting how to make them.  Check it out:

We now have a couple dozens of these tasty little things just waiting to be eaten in the freezer.  For this and other kid-friendly and health recipes, check out Produce for Kids.

And did I mention that you can get this cookbook for 20% off this holiday season? Check it out:

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Families, Politics and the Holidays

Did you make it through Thanksgiving? How are you feeling about Christmas? It’s fast approaching, and guess what?

Your family is still your family, and your politics are still your politics. 

I recently spoke to the fun folks over at BuzzFeed about how to deal with tough conversations with family over the holiday season.  As always, BuzzFeed’s take on the topic is funny – but also filled with really useful tips. Here’s a favorite:

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As the booze flows, so do the inappropriate and inflammatory comments and questions.  Resist the urge to engage in a drunken argument – nothing good ever comes from it.

Check out the entire article – and all 15 tips – here:

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Families and the Ties That Bind (Hint: None of them are political)

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There is a lot of tension in the country right now.  And we knew it was going to be this way, right? No matter the outcome of the election, there were always going to be many, many millions of folks who’d supported the losing side.  And after a full of year of debate, nastiness and name-calling in the political arena, more rancor post-November 8th was exactly what NONE of us needed.

And now here come the holidays.  A time that’s supposed to be shiny, bright and Pinterest-worthy – but is actually often stressful, disappointing and overwhelming.

I’ve been talking to quite a few folks in the media this week about tips for how to manage holiday gatherings with family members who are on different sides of the political debate.  A few things have come to my mind in these conversations, not the least of which is:

We don’t love our families (and our families don’t love us) because of our political views

The love shared between families is made up of many (in my mind, more interesting) reasons:

  • We share the same history – the history we can remember and the history that happened generations before we arrived
  • We have lots of shared memories – of things good, bad and in between
  • We root for the same football team, laugh at the same dumb movies, like the same weird food, etc
  • We have forgiven each other for mistakes and hurts big and small – and will continue to do so many more times in the years to come
  • We accept each other for what we really are: Not what we post on our Facebook page or send in our holiday cards
  • We sit with each other when we are sick, hold each other’s hands when we grieve and celebrate together when a milestone is reached

Feelings about the election and the coming administration are intense, but let’s all try to keep it in perspective.  Shared political beliefs rarely occur in families anyway, and this year is no different.  To expect agreement this holiday season will likely only result in frustration.  Instead try focusing on all the many things we do have in common and love about each other.  Pumpkin pie, anyone?

Post Election Stress

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Well, it’s been a couple of days and I think (I hope) the dust is starting to settle from the election and all its ugliness.  No matter who you supported, didn’t support, or tried to ignore it’s been a rough few months.  And no matter whether your candidate won or not – the election has been decided and we need to move forward as individuals and citizens.

Four years ago I wrote an article about “Post-Election Stress Disorder.”  Check out the whole thing here, or see a few of my tips for managing below:

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I also got to contribute to a few news stories on coping with post election stress this week.  Here’s one from the Denver Post:

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The main take away? Turn off the media and engage with those you love.  Try to stay positive and keep moving forward.

Fighting Hunger Around the Holidays

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Want to do something really easy to help fight hunger? All you have to do is “like” Produce for Kids on Facebook and Instagram and they will donate 1 meal to Feeding America.  Here’s more:

Join us this holiday season for our inaugural Holiday Meal Drive! Starting today and running through December 31, we’ll be donating one meal* to Feeding America® for every new Facebook and Instagram fan. With one click, you can help make a difference to the 42.2 million Americans, including 13.1 million children, who live in food-insecure households.

Check it out and Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

 

Do We Need Couples Therapy?

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“Do we need to see a therapist?”

“Could a couples counselor help?”

No couple really wants to have these sorts of thoughts or conversations.  Often, if couples have gotten to the point of thinking about seeing a psychologist, things have gotten pretty bad.  Disagreements. Yelling. Silence.  Maybe all 3.

So how do you know if seeing a couples therapist could be helpful to your relationship?

You keep having the same argument over, and over, and over.  Living with someone is tough – there are just so many things to argue about! Sometimes those arguments can go in circles – meaning they keep happening in the same old way with no resolution.  Couples therapists can help you communicate differently and hopefully get out of the old ruts.

You’ve stopped arguing and don’t know what to say. Some couples stop communicating altogether after a while – and that can be damaging too.  Learning how to re-start the conversation by communicating (and listening) effectively are great goals for therapy.

You’re not where you wish you were.  One of the biggest challenges in the life of a couple is weathering changes, transitions and different phases of life.  Just because you love each other doesn’t mean you deal with change and challenge in the same way.  Couples therapy can help folks get back on track after a transition (becoming parents, retiring, relocating, etc).

Of course I’m a little biased, but I think just about every couple could benefit from seeing a psychologist at some point in their relationship.  There are no side effects, and even a meeting or two can be helpful!