How to Get Teens Motivated to Work from Home

Anyone else having a hard time getting motivated to work at home during our national stay home advisories? How about your teen? While today’s current events stemming from COVID-19 are no doubt stressful for everyone, teens and young adults who deal with anxiety and depression can find coping with the added stressors of society to be even more difficult… especially now that most of them are having to be home away from their normal routine.

One quick tip that I’ve found to help my own transition with having to get work done at home is to create a comfortable space where I can be productive. Yes, this meant creating a space away from my couch where I could dedicate certain times of the day to do work. Teens especially need a space of their own to do their school work, reading, etc. to help them prepare for coping with what could be a new normal for the next few weeks or so. In fact, studies have shown that organization can help those with anxiety reduce stress, improve sleep, improve relationships, make better food choices, and more.

I encourage all parents to work with your teens on creating a comfortable space where they can be focused, creative, and productive.

Here is a list of ideas that can help jumpstart your teen’s productivity and keep them motivated in a chaotic time.

  1. Get organized
  2. Get dressed in the morning
  3. Create checklists
  4. Create daily routines
  5. Designate a clean space for schoolwork
  6. Make time to get outdoors for fresh air
  7. Don’t forget to make time for meals and snacks
  8. Stay hydrated
  9. Unplug after working and take time to reflect on positive things
  10. Try to get to sleep and wake up during the same time each day

Does your teen need additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic? Sign up for our FREE online meet-up for teens hosted via video conference.

This group is for teens who are anxious, isolated, out of routine, and are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 shut down.

Join us to talk, to do artwork, stay connected to others, or simply just to share the space silently while being with others.

We are here for you. This is a space for you! No expectations. No judgements. Just a place to connect and belong.

Stay well!

Alanna

Therapy During The Summer: Optional yet Necessary?

Let’s face it, kids don’t realize how much parents do for their kids: run them to sports events, to doctors, to friends’ houses, etc., Not to mention parents organize family vacations around their schedules, research schools, careers, monitor homework, so many activities all to give our children a fulfilled and happy life and to provide every opportunity we can for them. Sooo, holiday breaks occur or summer vacation, we hope we can also have a breather, a break from driving them to doctors, therapists, school functions, etc. Not only that, but as responsible parents we want our kids to have a breather too so when they say they don’t feel like “having to go to therapy when I have off” what’s a parent to do? How can they refuse them?

This is the therapeutic dilemma: we don’t want to take our kids out of school to attend therapy sessions, but then on snow days or vacation days, summer break, when they don’t have school, we don’t want them to miss out on any fun. How do we resolve this? 

When we step back for a moment and look at the big picture we are looking at one hour a week plus the drive which will not interfere with anyone’s life style.

The Good News

On the plus side that continuity of therapy is going to help your kids reach their goals much faster. Weekly therapy is most beneficial for fast and consistent results. Coming to therapy even when on break and summer vacation helps to teach your teens about commitment, and responsibility; Most importantly therapy is much more than a crisis management system. The school year can be filled with stress and overwhelming emotions. Therefore, therapy sessions can often be focused on how to manage in the moment crisis. But when things calm down during the summer, this is a time when your teens can dive deep and truly heal. They have the opportunity to explore feelings and heal distress on an in depth level because they are not dealing with weekly peer or academic stressors.

The Facts

If we give in to our kids, the negative side of losing that continuity is that our kids begin to take therapy less seriously. The progress they were making can be disrupted. It will negatively impact the generalization and maintaining of their coping skills and behavior changes. Summer has less structure and it is easy to stop practicing our skills.

I know what you are thinking…Does missing one week of therapy really make that much of a difference. Well, the answer is both yes and no. In the big picture one week doesn’t necessarily make a huge difference for some.

It is easy for one cancellation to turn into two, and so forth and so on. Before you know it your teen will only attending therapy monthly or less. Then come fall  when the stress of the school year hits, and crisis breaks out, you will be saying to yourself, “I don’t understand, you have been in therapy all summer, why don’t you have the skills to manage this by now.”

We have all been there, things get busy, and something gets put on the back burner.

#Truthbomb

The reality is if you decrease sessions, your teen hasn’t been in therapy learning to manage distress. This is a pattern I see year after year and it is an easy trap to fall into. Life gets busy, summer appears to have less stress, and everyone deserves time to themselves.

As much as any of us, if not all of us, want a breather, a break, from the hectic and chaotic life of raising of teenager, it is helpful to look at what is most important to help to resolve this dilemma. Not everyone will need the same things and same therapy, but if your teen needs continued support this summer, remember it is only 1 hr a week and the results will be worth it: A teen who has the skills to live a life they love!

If you have a teen that is in need of support as this school year is coming to an end. Click here to learn more about how Mindful Healing can help.

 

Saying “I’m Just Impulsive” Is An Excuse

Saying, “I’m just impulsive” to justify acting out is just an excuse. It is a way to not take ownership of your own behaviors.

It’s like saying, “just like to be alone” to justify isolation or “I’m just a messy person” to justify not cleaning or doing chores.

However, there are skills that you can learn and actions that you can take to change your behaviors. You are not powerless!

And at Mindful Healing, while we believe that you’re doing the best you can at any given moment, we also believe that you can improve, be more skillful and make better choices.

Often times emotional teens act without thinking. Teens tend to think about what they want in the moment and don’t always think about all the consequences.

In fact, this happens a lot with teens in general. The pre-frontal cortex the area of the brain that controls reasoning and decision making isn’t fully formed until approximately age twenty-six.

So making effective decisions takes some effort.

Your teen needs to learn and practice skills so they don’t respond in an instant to intense emotions…

and self-harm, or lash out, or refuse to go to school, or cave to peer pressure, etc.

We’ve see teens act impulsively all the time in order to avoid intense emotions.
And we’ve heard the response “I’m just impulsive” many times, as I am sure you have. But this is not an excuse. They CAN improve.

It’s time to stop blaming lacking skills as personality traits and own the responsibility to do the work to improve.

Because we know you can.
Because we believe in you.

Are you ready to believe in you too?

When your teen is ready, we are here!

What The Heck Is DBT and Why Will It Help My Teen?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive treatment model that offers hope for teens who have not seen improvement in other therapies. It is based on actionable skills and focuses on problem solving and acceptance-based strategies. DBT is led by a DBT-Certified therapist who is intensively trained by Behavior Tech.

At Mindful Healing, LLC our DBT program for adolescents involves group skills training. These actionable skills focus on helping teens learn to feel in control of their emotions rather than their emotions being in control of them. To transfer skills to the home and school environment, many teens also participate in individual DBT and parent coaching.

DBT is used to treat teens with anything from school avoidance to suicidality. It is the gold standard of evidence based treatment for emotion regulation in teens.

What Skills Does DBT Teach?

DBT skills group is a co-ed open-enrollment group. It runs for 26 weeks.   Group has a maximum of 8 clients to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fully engage. We ask that you make the commitment to attend for a minimum of 12-weeks to give your teen ample time to develop skills and begin to see progress.

DBT skills training is very structured and consists of five modules.

Mindfulness skills: Teaches teens how to focus the mind and to observe and describe what they are feeling and thinking in the moment without judgement. These skills can help teens reduce reactivity to painful thoughts and emotions.

Distress Tolerance: Learning how to accept yourself and the situation. More specifically, learning to tolerate a crisis and being able to recognize urges to do things that would be ineffective, such self-harm, without acting on them.

Emotion Regulation: Addresses emotional sensitivity, mood changes such as depression, anxiety, or anger. In addition, recognizing and coping with negative emotions, and reducing one’s emotional vulnerability by increasing positive life experiences.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: It’s often relationships with others that are the triggers for self-destructive behaviors in teens. Interpersonal effectiveness skills teach adolescents how to engage more effectively with others. In addition, it enables them to feel more supported by others.

Middle Path: Teaches teens how to shift perspectives and see more than one viewpoint rather than only extreme thinking and behaviors. These skills involve learning about how to compromise and negotiate, as well as methods of behavior change, validation and acceptance.

Additional DBT Supports Available At Mindful Healing:

Individual DBT psychotherapy: This is the main way of developing and refining the ability to apply skills taught in DBT skills group to daily life. Individual DBT focuses on helping teens identify personal triggers for behaviors and explore skill based solutions.

Parent Tele-Coaching: Many parents feel unsure of how to approach a particular situation, when or how to set limits, if setting limits will make things better or worse, how to encourage skills use, etc. Parents can contact our intake corrdinator to arrange an individual parent coaching session for assistance in developing their own skills!

Commitment Strategies: “Commitment strategies” are a cornerstone of DBT treatment. Not all adolescents choose to come to therapy. Some are encouraged by parents or friends to seek treatment, and may not be “motivated” initially to attend therapy. Special commitment strategies are used to help adolescents gain a better understanding of their behaviors, and how DBT skills will help them meet their own unique individual goals!

In a nutshell, DBT teaches teens actionable skills to help them learn to live a life they can love! DBT targets the issues that cause distress. It teaches teens skills to deal with them without having to resort to self-defeating behaviors.