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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Can Your Mental Health Be Effected By Lack Of Vacations?

American employees are working longer and taking fewer days of vacation, especially compared to our European counterparts. Recent statistics suggest that we are taking fewer vacations and working harder because many of us fear we might be laid off or that the workload will be too over-whelming when we return. Tonight we will look at how our mental health might be effected and some tips for survival.

How do American's vacation days compare to European workers?

*American's as a whole have 16 days of vacation, but generally only take 14 of those days each year.
*Italians average 42 days of vacation
* The French 37 days
* The Germans 35 days
*The industrious Japanese get 25 paid days vacations and work 100 hours per year less than Americans.

What are the possible effects of not taking vacations?
Vacation starvation, as it is called, can lead to workers who are disgruntled, stress related illnesses such as stomach problems, back aches, etc. Other problems include family tension, and an increase in addictions.

What are some of the reasons for American's taking less vacation time?

1. Overwork ethic- Americans define themselves by their job and our 24/7 technology keeps us tied to our jobs.

2. Guilt and fear-American's tend to fear guilty about leaving their jobs, especially when times are tough in the economy. Other's fear they might lose their job if they take time off, or perhaps lose a promotion.

What are some means of coping with vacation starvation?

1. Take frequent, but shorter vacations ( 4 day weekends)

2. Trade vacation time for pay decreases (29% of American's say they'd trade a pay raise for more vacation time)

3. Use your weekends as time for yourself and family vs. spending the weekend working on things from the office.

4. Learn some stress management techniques from a mental health professional.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The deadliest day for Suicides

Some surprise findings came out this week related to suicide. Tonight we break some of the myths that surround the topic and will bring you some information that might change everything you ever thought about suicide.

You have some interesting information to share related to the “deadiest” day of the week related to suicide. What do new studies reveal?

• Songs always talk about Monday blues and we typically have thought that suicide rates are the highest on Mondays
• A 5-year study done at the University of California points a finger at Wednesdays being the day with the highest rate of suicide.
• 25% of suicides occur on Wednesdays compared to 14% on Mondays and Saturdays, and suicide rates do down dramatically on Thursdays having the lowest rate of 11% of all suicides

Why do they think this might be true?

• The researchers believe that we are not as isolated as we once were during the weekends due to the internet, text messaging and cell phones
• People become more stressed on their jobs and by mid week their “co-workers get on their nerves” or the stress is just too much for them.

Were there any other findings of interest?
• We used to believe that there was a seasonal component to suicide rates and that winters had the highest rates of suicide. Once again, with the increase in connectivity due to technology, people are more connected and suicide rates are now a little higher in the summer than in the winter.

What are some suggestions if you believe someone is suicidal?

• Take all threats seriously. There is a myth that if people talk about it, they aren’t serious. Studies indicate that more than 75% of all completed suicides did say or do something prior to their death to let people know about their suicidal thoughts.
• Remember this is a cry for help. Be willing to tell someone, or take the person to the emergency room, or tell them you will go with them to therapy
• Don’t keep the secret. Make sure you do something to let others know such as calling the Call for Help number at 673-7373
• Call a professional therapist if you or someone you love is depressed. Remember that depression is quite treatable. 75% of people notice relief after 6-8 therapy sessions

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pottermania-- What Harry Can Teach Us About Ourselves

Perhaps you have noticed that HE is everywhere. You see clips of him on the internet, on television, and the newspaper is filled with information about his adventures. Yes, it is almost time for the much expected new installment of Harry Potter. With the release of film six in a few days, soon everyone will be talking about Harry.

What is the draw that captivates so many?

· Aside for the amazing story line, Harry Potter captivates so many because it is not only the classic story of good vs. evil, but it is a magical story of personal growth & empowerment in the face of adversity. Despite the losses experienced by the young Harry (death of his parents), he is achieves greatness in part due to love, nurturing, the development of his own inner strength.

From a psychological perspective, what does Harry Potter teach us?

· We all hold inner strength: He is the part of us, which is buried deep inside locked deep inside our soul. Harry is the child in us that holds the power…the potential…the purpose…the passion! We just need to look within to find our strength and believe in ourself.

· Fearlessness: Harry is the part of us that doesn’t fear what others will think. He is the one who knows he must face his fear and his demons and moves forward.

· Trust in our abilities: Harry is the part of us that believes we can do anything and trusts we hold the magic to make it happen.

· Self Esteem: Harry sees himself as capable, as trustworthy, as honorable, as dedicated, as intelligent, as athletic, as scholarly, and worthy of being a wizard.

Are there some things WE can learn about self esteem building from Harry Potter?
Here are some suggestions:

1. Write down all your positives on a sheet a paper (and ignore all the chatter in your head that judges what you write down).

2. Make a list of the amazing things you have accomplished

3. Make a list of the “monsters” (the adversity and challenges) you have conquered.

4. Create a list of the magical things you have created in your life… the people you have helped… the ways you have made a difference.

5. Become your own cheerleader. Speak of your accomplishments and

talk yourself “up” instead of tearing yourself down.

6. Investigate your positives, search out your talents, reach for your dreams, trust your heart, believe your brain, and make decisions that make your soul sing.