HMS Counseling Newsletter

December 2014

Classroom Guidance

The classroom guidance topic for the month of December is anger management. During this lesson, students will learn to identify what triggers their anger as well as the difference between healthy and unhealthy ways of expressing that anger.

Optional Book Study for Parents on Adolescent Behavior

Beginning Monday, January 12th, Ms. Stokes will be leading an optional book study for parents on the book Why Do They Act That Way. In this book, Dr. David Walsh explains what happens in the human brain on the path from childhood into adolescence and adulthood, and uses this information to help parents communicate with and stay connected to their kids.

Parents have the option to participate in this study via blog or by attending a weekly coffee and discussion time with Ms. Stokes on Wednesday mornings from 8:00-9:00 am.

If you would like to take part in this opportunity, please click on the button below:

Mark your Calendar for our next Parent Night!

Holbrook's next Parent Night will take place on Thursday, January 29 from 6:30-8:00. The topic of this presentation is self-injury. Studies show that 1 out of every 5 girls and 1 out of every 7 boys self-injure. Approximately two million cases are reported annually in the United States. This is information that every parent needs to know. We hope that you will make plans to attend.

Tips for Beating the Holiday Blues

In the midst of the hustle and bustle, the holidays often bring unwelcome guests--stress and depression. Follow these tips to bring more joy to your holiday season:

1) Acknowledge your feelings. If you have recently lost a loved one or can't be close to those nearest and dearest to your heart throughout the holidays, it's normal to feel sadness and grief. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's Christmas. Make sure to take time out to acknowledge and express your feelings.

2) Reach out. If you feel lonely, reach out to friends, religious communities, or other social groups for fellowship and support. Volunteering your time is a great way to give back to others and to lift your spirits at the same time.

3) Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect. As families change and grow, often so do traditions. Hold on to the most important ones, but be flexible and open to change. For example, if your family can't be together over the holidays, find new ways to celebrate together such as sharing pictures or videos.

4) Set aside differences. Even if they don't live up to all of your expectations, try to accept friends and family members as they are. Temporarily put aside grievances until the holidays have passed. Try to be understanding of others' feelings during this time. Chances are, they are probably experiencing the stress of the holiday season too!

5) Stick to a budget. Before you go food or gift shopping, decide in advance how much money you can afford to spend and stick to your budget. Looking for alternatives? Try these ideas: 1) give homemade gifts, 2) start a family gift exchange, 3) donate to a charity in someone's name.

6) Plan ahead. Set aside specific times for shopping, baking, visiting family, etc. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and scrambling to get everything done at the last minute.

7) Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and family will understand if you can't participate in every activity during the holidays. If it's not possible to say no to your boss when he/she asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for lost time.

8) Don't abandon healthy habits. Overindulgence during the holidays only adds to your stress. Make sure to get plenty of sleep, and incorporate physical activity into your routine. Also, try eating a healthy snack prior to holiday parties to prevent overindulgence in sweets and snacks.

9) Take a breather. No matter how busy your holiday season is, take time for yourself to relax and enjoy yourself. Even 15 minutes makes a big difference! Try going for a walk, reading a book, listening to soothing music, or even treating yourself to a massage! Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, and restoring your inner calm.

10) Seek professional help if needed. If your holiday blues seem to last for a while or if you have persistent trouble sleeping, feeling sad, anxious, or irritable, talk to a mental health professional.

Don't let the holidays become something you dread. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers and take steps to prevent stress and depression. With a little planning and positive thinking, you too can find joy and peace during this holiday season!

(Adapted from the Mayo Clinic article Stress, Depression, and the Holidays: Tips for Coping)

Congratulations and Farewell to Mrs. Lefko!

We are excited to announce that our school counseling intern, Mrs. Susan Lefko, has accepted a position at Langtree Charter Academy. Though we are sad to see go, we are proud of her accomplishment and wish her well as she begins her new career as a school counselor. Thanks for all that you have done for Holbrook, and Congratulations, Mrs. Lefko!

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