The Duffy Blog

Mental & emotional wellness for today's youth & families

Developing Goals for the Fall/Winter

With the summer ending, the idea of returning to school or back to a rigorous work schedule can be difficult to cope with. Most people “go with the flow” and take things day by day. This may be effective in the short term and can certainly help you enjoy the last few weeks of summer but is not sustainable long term. Before realize it, most of the day is filled with school/work related tasks that are exhaustive and throw our schedule out of balance. This monotonous and stressful pattern takes away from the positive momentum the summer months provide and makes it difficult to develop a balanced approach for the fall and winter.

 

Having something to look forward to is one of the most effective ways to develop a balanced schedule. Each week it is recommended that you have something enjoyable to work towards. When we have something that will provide some relief from stress and more balance to our life, the weeks feel shorter and our outlook is more positive.

 

Week to week goals should be divided into three different categories, personal, social, and academic/work goals. This will allow for more balance in life and also help you avoid the monotony of work/school, home, sleep, repeat.

 

Personal: What are some things you would like to work on during the Fall/Winter? Developing relationships, finding a hobby, reduce time spent on phone/tablets? Think of the times when you have been busy and felt stressed throughout the day. What activity would you rather be doing? What are some things you have said you would do if you had more time? Write them down. Once you write them down they become goals and goals are only attainable if you have a plan to pursue them. Each week, take time out of your schedule to engage in these activities. Your default time will be over the weekend but what about during the week? You can split the week with a fun activity on Tuesday or Wednesday and it will make the remainder of the week feel shorter and less stressful.

 

Social: From adolescence to adulthood, relationships become more complex and difficult to maintain. Many feel that social media is a great way to stay in touch with peers but it cannot substitute for seeing friends and family face to face. We are social creatures and communicating through a screen is not beneficial for our well-being. Social contact improves self-confidence and also allows for us to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with others. Furthermore, social media has been linked to increased rates of pervasive anxiety, depression, and social isolation which can make it difficult to function in academic/occupational settings. Simple outings such as going to the gym, the local coffee shop, or a public setting to meet someone face to face can help us meet new people and also feel a sense of belonging.

 

Work/Occupational Goals: Why do we work so hard? When answering this question, think about the experiences in life you want to have. How can work help you achieve them? If we work hard simply for the approval of others or because we are afraid of failing, motivation will decline. Occupational/academic goals are important to have and are best supported with purpose. What about your goals makes them so attractive? Use that to motivate to guide you through it and the week to week experiences with friends and hobbies propel you to the next school or work related challenge.

 

Think about these three areas. What will help you find balance in your life?

 

 

ADHD: Biological or Developed Disorder?

ADHD: Biological or Developed Disorder?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by a constellation of symptoms including impulsivity, hyperactivity, inattention, and difficulty with focus.

These symptoms have been researched heavily and findings reveal biological links to the disorder. For example, if a parent meets criteria for ADHD, their child is 50% more likely to exhibit symptoms of ADHD from an early age.

Read more

Early Depression Screening for Children & Teenagers

The Push for Early Depression Screening Continues

In February, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended yearly screenings for depression in children and adolescents.

If such recommendations were heeded, then children and adolescents would be screened for depression by their pediatrician at the same time as their yearly physicals. With depression rates increasing each year, and an abundance of research supporting the need for early detection, this recommendation is a step in the right direction.

Read more

Hey Duffy! Mental Health & Wellness Column - Medication Addiction - Edition 001

Hey Duffy! Is It Possible For Me To Be Physically Dependent On My Medication?

With the opioid crisis and the rise of benzodiazepine abuse, this is a general concern of most patients.

Many of our patients are not on medication.

We generally do not recommend medication unless symptoms are severe and the patient has experienced little progress in talk therapy. The most common medications we see are anti-depressants (SSRI’s) and stimulant medications (Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse etc.).

Read more

School Safety & Mental Health: 3 Considerations for Parents & School Personnel

School Safety & Mental Health: 3 Considerations for Parents & School Personnel

School safety has been a hot topic among parents, politicians, school personnel, and mental health professionals.

Much of the focus is placed on violence, which is important, but what about the statistics that show an extremely concerning state of decay among our youth?

Read more

Do You & Your Kids Have a School Safety Plan In Place? Use These 3 Tips To Get Your Plan Started!

I remember September 11, 2001 very vividly.

I went to high school in Washington D.C. and was in my second period Spanish class when my personal cell phone began vibrating.

I ignored the it for fear of getting into trouble and then heard my name over the PA system requesting that I report to student services immediately. My mother was on the phone and told me about what was going on. The World Trade Center had been hit by two planes and another had crashed into the Pentagon.

Read more

How Parents & Community Members Can Support Overburdened School Counselors

How Parents & Community Members Can Support Overburdened School Counselors

If you were to look at the job description for a school counselor, you would see that their role in the school is to provide academic and emotional support.

While it sounds simple, there is so much more that goes into this.

Add a case load of more than 75 students and then add other administrative duties they may have. How are they supposed to keep up?

Read more

Drug Use: Progression from Abuse to Dependence

Drug Addiction: Progression from Usage to Abuse & Dependence

Government officials have long expressed an interest in addressing the nationwide opioid epidemic.

Each year, there are around 70,000 deaths due to drug overdoses and many of them include the abuse of opioids.

In the past, the drug trade involved the illegal exchange of drugs for money between a dealer and a customer. Today, that exchange occurs on a much more secure channel that grant anonymity to both parts.

Read more

How does ADHD impact brain activity

How Does ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) Impact Brain Activity?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) impacts a larger percentage of the population across all ages.

If suspected at a young age, individuals can undergo a clinical assessment and a battery of psychological tests that can uncover underlying cognitive functions that may be contributing to pervasive inattention and hyperactivity. Read more

Developing Goals for the Fall/Winter

With the summer ending, the idea of returning to school or back to a rigorous work schedule can be difficult to cope with. …

ADHD: Biological or Developed Disorder?

ADHD: Biological or Developed Disorder?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by a constellation of symptoms including impulsivity, hyperactivity, …

Early Depression Screening for Children & Teenagers

The Push for Early Depression Screening Continues

In February, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended yearly screenings for depression in children and adolescents. …