Hello FRA Families,
We are excited to share the latest edition of our monthly Wellness Newsletter. Our goal is to support this community on and off campus, and one of those ways is to regularly provide you with helpful tidbits for every age and stage. We hope that you find these articles useful and relevant, aiding you with some of the guidance necessary to wade through the trials of doing life together. As always, we would love to hear how we can support you further, what topics you would like to learn more about, and any concerns you may have. We are here for you!
Your FRA Counseling Team
What Giving Yourself Grace at Work—and in Life—Really Means
By: Erayna Sargent, December 23, 2022
In my work as an anti-burnout speaker and expert, I've seen and heard it all when it comes to possible solutions for managing burnout. Just scrolling through wellness accounts and hashtags on social media, you can get inundated with energy-boosting recipes, restorative yoga posts, and inspirational mantras to help you address burnout and chronic stress. One of the most common (and confusing) mantras I see? "Give yourself grace."
To be clear, I'm not against this idea, but the phrase is commonly used but seldom explained. Even I’m guilty of this in my work as an anti-burnout speaker and expert. So what does giving yourself grace mean?
You likely have heard the so-called golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In my opinion, giving yourself grace is all about the reverse: Do unto yourself as you do unto others. Or in other words, practice self-compassion—aka having understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness of yourself. This looks like being realistic, flexible, and honest about your bandwidth, energy, and interest.
All that said, what does giving yourself grace mean in a real-world context? How do you practice it? Here are some ways I recommend practicing it this month (and beyond).
How I Taught My Teen Daughter the Importance of Lifting Other Girls Up
by Katie Bingham Smith, December 7, 2019
My daughter had a crush on an older boy she really didn’t know well around homecoming time. He was flirting with her and she was smitten. Later, she found out he had a girlfriend and she quickly became disinterested.
“Why would he flirt with me if he had a girlfriend? Who would like someone like that?”
Oh, she is light years ahead of where I was at her age.
The conversation, which included a car full of her friends went on and I kept my mouth shut– the more I do this the more my daughter and her friends let me in on their lives. It doesn’t happen often and I will not take it for granted. Lessons in teen girl kindness
3 Reasons Your Child Needs to Struggle
As a parent, I am always looking for teachable moments with my children. A few years ago, when my son was 5, I was trying to teach him what it means to be a gentleman. One day, as my family was walking into a department store, my son ran to the door to open it for his mother and attempted to open it by himself. He struggled to open the door because it was a large, heavy, glass door. He managed to pry it open but struggled for a minute to open it all the way. My wife looked at me and asked me to help him. I said, “The struggle is good for him.”
By feeling the weight of the door and the struggle of opening it, he got a feel for what it’s like to keep pushing when you’re tempted to quit. In the process, he learned how to overcome a struggle. He walked around the rest of the day with his head held high and with a little swagger in his step. In hindsight, I discovered 3 reasons why your child needs to struggle.
How Parents Can Help Build Connectedness and Resilience for Their Kids in the Digital Age
By Joan Steinberg Jan. 5, 2023
As technology continues to play a huge role in our lives and those of our children, here’s how to protect their mental well-being online.
Since the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns, our relationships with technology have evolved. At a time filled with uncertainty and social isolation, technology provided a sense of normalcy and structure for so many. From the way we worked, attended school, entertained ourselves, and built community with friends and family, we were all always online.
Like many parents during the pandemic, I was tasked with balancing working from home and caring for my teenager. Seeing an uptick in not only my own internet usage but also my child’s, I realized that parenting has changed. I’ve seen my family’s technology usage shift into new areas – like at the very start of the morning or the dinner table, or how we all watch something on different devices instead of a shared television program – and our times without it start to feel like withdrawal. While parenting has been and always will be a juggling act, it now feels like a healthy balance with technology is getting more impossible to manage.
So, as we enter 2023 and inch closer to “normal,” questions linger: How is this continued uptick in technology use impacting youth mental health? And how can parents best equip themselves to intervene? I encourage all parents to talk to their children about online safety – physically and emotionally. Here are a few ways parents and caregivers can do just that!
Dr. Dan Siegel and Your Child’s Brain
by: Kaye McKean
Your child’s brain grows in unique and unexpected ways. Dr. Dan Siegel, leading the world in neuro-psychiatry has discovered that what attachment theories postulated so many years ago actually has scientific grounding! Relationships are truly what the brain needs to develop optimally. To put this into everyday English, our brains are social in nature and need warm, rich, safe relationships in order to grow and thrive. They are not machines that can simply be fed with ‘information’ or even ‘learning experiences’. It’s people (parents) who grow their child’s brains best! So all the toys, learning devices, after-school tutors, and computer apps won’t work nearly as well as simply building a strong emotional bond with your child. Continue Here
11 Things to Do When You Feel Lonely
By Jill Suttie | January 18, 2023
Loneliness has been on the rise in the United States in recent decades, causing concern about our health and well-being. More people are reporting that they feel lonely often and lack close confidants or meaningful social interactions. After suffering greater social isolation imposed by a worldwide pandemic, we are only feeling worse.
Loneliness isn’t just about being alone, per se. Solitude can actually be enjoyable and enriching, helping us to recharge. But when our social needs are not being met—either because we have few social connections or feel dissatisfied with the ones we have—that’s when loneliness can set in. And it can be painful—activating the same neural networks as physical pain.
While everyone can experience loneliness from time to time, it’s not something to just ignore. Like all difficult emotions, it can be a sign that something is wrong, and we need to attend to it, to soothe ourselves. If loneliness becomes a chronic problem, it can wreak havoc with our health and well-being. So, it’s best to figure out what you need and give it to yourself.
What can you do when you feel lonely? There are a lot of possible courses of action, depending on who you are and where you live. Some of them involve strengthening current relationships; some may involve going inward. Here are some suggestions on how to fight loneliness.