Tag Archive: Covid-19

  1. Helping Your Child Reintegrate Into Post-COVID Society

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    COVIDSummer fast approaches, and with it comes a major development: society has begun the process of reopening. Millions of people have taken advantage of one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Many businesses have reopened, resulting in more people getting back out in the world.

    When the pandemic began over a year ago, most people felt a sense of panic. No one had experienced this kind of event before. They did not know what to expect or how to behave. Many also felt unprepared for the emotional impact of social distancing and becoming hermits within their own homes.

    While lamenting the lack of social activities, most people dreamed about things getting back to normal. Now that the country has shifted towards fully reopening, many people find themselves unsure how to proceed. With planning and patience, we can all successfully reintegrate into our communities.

    Let Your Child Know It’s Fine to Feel Conflicted About Societal Reintegration

    Children of all ages likely voiced their exciting plans for what they would like to do and where they’d like to go once relaxed rules for socialization began. Now that reintegration has started, many kids find themselves experiencing some fear. Reintegration is comparable to riding a new roller coaster. Though they might be excited, uncertainty and scary feelings can arise when they step up to the ride.

    Talk to your child about what emotions they find themselves experiencing. Let them know that everyone feels a bit of trepidation as they move into the summer. People are out of the habit of shopping in malls, dining out, and enjoying recreational activities in public places. After a year of so much solitude, no one should expect to transition back without any emotional fallout.

    The Importance of Maintaining Boundaries

    Many businesses have relaxed their rules related to the pandemic. Some stores and dining establishments no longer require that patrons wear masks. Some leave it up to customers if they want to remain a minimum amount of feet apart. As the risk of contracting the coronavirus lessens, relaxed social distance guidelines will become more common.

    This development does not mean that everyone has to throw out all precautions. If your child still wants to wear a mask in certain situations, let them know that’s fine. Discuss as a family which situations you feel that adhering to the standard pandemic rules might still feel practical. You might make decisions about where to eat out based on what rules the restaurant enforces.

    One of the biggest things people missed during the past year is the ability to hug and kiss their loved ones. The painful loss of human touch proved palpable for many. Let your child know that they still have autonomy about with who they have physical contact. They may not be comfortable yet giving hugs, accepting kisses, or holding hands. Tell them they are within their rights to establish that boundary with others.

    Let your child know that you will back them up about their decisions. Their comfort levels top those of well-meaning relatives and friends. If a child feels too shy to speak up, step in for them. For example, a parent can say, “My son/daughter isn’t comfortable yet with hugging. I’m sure you understand.” Stand firm if anyone questions this decision.

    Planning for Summer Vacations

    Many people count getting to go on vacation again as one of the best parts of society starting to reintegrate. Before deciding on a destination, do your homework. If your child expresses fear about going to crowded theme parks or beaches, be respectful of their feelings.

    Keep abreast of scientific data and reliable news sources for guidance. Look for low-risk places families can visit this summer. Whereas your family might normally head for a place packed shoulder-to-shoulder with tourists, consider alternative plans for this first vacation. For example, national and state parks offer plenty of ways to enjoy nature while keeping a safe distance from crowds.

    Renting an RV gives a family a hotel room and restaurant on wheels. An RV can provide a feeling of safety and privacy for a nervous child. If a destination can be reached by car, consider driving as an alternative to the cramped conditions of flying. When your child knows their parents have the family’s health and comfort levels at the forefront of their minds, they may be more likely to relax and enjoy the trip.

    Provide Information in an Age-Appropriate Manner

    Staying updated about COVID-19 can be a double-edged sword. Adults often find they have to strike a balance between staying educated and being swallowed up by fear. This balancing act applies to children, too.

    Your child likely relies on you to know the latest developments about the coronavirus. Young minds – even those of a teenager – can still run wild. Open a dialogue with them about this. Let them know you won’t make any decisions about their activities until you know the facts. Make sure they know they can come to you with any questions or concerns. Together the family can ease their way into reintegration.

    A year ago, we all thought we’d feel nothing but joy as the time finally came to reintegrate into society. Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has become a widespread effort, the country is starting to reopen. Many people are finding their kids are experiencing some fear and hesitation about this. Talk to your kids about their right to set boundaries, accurate and current information, and safe summer vacations. Sustain Recovery has spent the past year helping our clients deal with their addictions and stress from COVID-19. If your child struggles with addiction to alcohol or drugs, our long-term program can help. We also treat co-occurring mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Sustain Recovery has an excellent track record for dealing with teenagers and adolescents who did not thrive with other treatment programs. Call us today at (949) 407-9052 to find out how we can make this the summer that turned your child’s life around.

  2. Self-Care for Treatment Providers in a Post-Pandemic World

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    self-care

    When the COVID-19 crisis began a year ago, an unprecedented number of people developed high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Those who already suffered from those mental health issues before the pandemic often found their conditions worsened.

    The spotlight turned to the professional treatment community. Therapists, doctors, and other treatment program providers found themselves charged with providing the answers to how to cope. Many treatment providers themselves faced stress and anxiety over COVID-19. They worried about the health of their families and themselves.

    These treatment providers were tasked with leading others in healing while trailblazing the path needed to cope during a worldwide pandemic. Now, as society moves into the beginning stages of the post-pandemic world, the same treatment professionals find themselves in similar leadership roles. Once again, they must navigate the unknown and remain a consistent beacon of light for their patients.

    Focusing on Self-Care Benefits Both You and Your Clients

    The first step to helping patients make the switch to a post-pandemic society revolves around self-care. While self-care for the patient remains important, self-care for the providers should not be neglected. How well you take care of yourself spills over into the care of your patients.

    Setting a Policy on What Types of Appointments You Will Offer

    Many treatment providers find themselves preparing to transition away from schedules heavy with telehealth appointments. Some may employ a hybrid method of offering both telehealth and in-person sessions. Others may find it best to make a complete switch back to office appointments only. Make a decision based on what works best for you.

    You may not feel prepared to see patients only in the office. You might prefer to start conducting all sessions in your office. Whatever your instinct is for the beginning stages of reintegration, respect your level of comfort moving forward.

    Once you have decided what approach works for you, explain your policy to your patients. Knowing you have settled on what the next phase of your treatment practice will look like helps with self-care. Making this decision removes uncertainty and instills the confidence of having a game plan.

    Exercise and Eating Healthy Benefits Any Self-Care Plan

    Sometimes telling patients to eat healthy and exercise becomes routine, but remember that the advice also applies to you. Many people slipped into unhealthy eating habits while quarantined. Give your dietary intake some consideration. If you see room for improvement, take action.

    Many professionals enjoyed the benefit of exercising as part of a group. The pandemic closed down many options for that, but many gyms and fitness centers show signs of reopening. If you are ready to restart (or begin) a group workout, look around for options. Many gyms are cautiously reopening. Choices like yoga classes and running groups now offer spaces again.

    If you prefer to work out alone, make sure you establish a schedule and keep to it. At-home gym equipment paired with upbeat music can inspire you to keep up with your workouts. Like running, biking, or hiking, outdoor exercise gives you the bonus of fresh air and warmer weather.

    Choosing Which Pandemic Guidelines Should Still Apply For Now

    The pandemic swept in a host of boundaries people had to learn. Avoiding things like hugging and handshaking became a habit. People habitually wore masks and respected recommended social distancing guidelines. As society reintegrates, many may assume those rules all go out the window.

    Make no assumptions about how you should behave. If you still feel wearing a mask during in-person appointments should be required, that is your right. You may also want to talk to your patients about other related policies. Let them know if you still want to refrain from handshaking, hugging, or other forms of physical contact. Discuss with your staff what your policy will be for themselves and your patients.

    Sneak in Short Moments of Self-Care

    A typical day does not always provide long stretches of time for self-care. While an hour of yoga or a massage might be tempting, your schedule may not be open to these activities. Keep in mind that you can take small chunks of time and devote them to self-care.

    Try closing yourself off in a private area, putting in earbuds, and playing a favorite song at top volume. Dance if the spirit moves you! You can also use the same space to take five minutes to close your eyes, concentrate on your breathing, and clear your mind.

    Seek Support From Your Peers

    Other treatment professionals can be a valuable source of support. They understand the career concerns you are up against better than anyone. Look for formal support groups, both in-person and virtual.

    If you can’t find one of those, form a chain of colleagues with a similar interest in self-care. The group can look to each other for support. They can also bounce ideas off each other. Brainstorming how to take care of yourselves spills over into taking better care of your patients.

    When the pandemic began over a year ago, treatment professionals were expected to provide all the answers for their patients. Now that society is reintegrating again, the same treatment providers are tasked with helping others navigate this change. The first priority for therapists, doctors, and others in the field is their own self-care. When they make sure to take care of themselves, self-care practices will spill over into their work. Sustain Recovery provides pandemic-stress-related care as part of our treatment programs. We can offer your adolescent and young adult patients a place to address their substance use disorder and any co-occurring diagnoses. If you have a patient who did not thrive while in other treatment programs, we are happy to discuss why our program is often the one that works. Call Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052. We will be happy to detail a plan to help your young patient embrace recovery and a post-pandemic world.

  3. Should Therapists Keep Offering Telehealth Appointments After a Year of the Pandemic?

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    online therapyAs society now enters the second year since the pandemic began, many people reflect on changes that occurred. Everyone can point to adapting to commonalities we shared, such as social distancing. For many in the licensed therapist community, COVID-19 meant closing their offices to in-person appointments. They began to treat their clients via telehealth appointments.

    Nervous clients and unfamiliar territory made it challenging for many therapists to shift from their regular office to a home office. With the advent of vaccines and more open social policies, change is afoot again. Many therapists find themselves now faced with the decision of when to reopen their offices.

    Consider the Comfort Level of Your Clients

    Many clients are understandably nervous about returning to in-person sessions. A year spent hiding out in their homes may make it difficult for them to return to office visits. Clients who experience anxiety disorders or social anxiety may feel an elevated level of fear about changing back.

    Talk to them about what feels comfortable for them. A dialogue reminding them that they had adapted to telehealth appointments can help them become more confident about returning to office visits. Many clients may experience trepidation about getting back out in the world. Let them know that acclimating to this within the safety of visits with a trusted therapist can be a great jumping-off point.

    Take Stock of Your Own Needs as You Plan for the Future

    Every therapist wants to run their practice with the safety and comfort level of their clients in mind. They must also be aware of their own needs. Transitioning to telehealth appointments challenged many therapists. They felt burdened with assuaging the pandemic-related fears of many clients, all while learning to deal with their own concerns.

    As therapists begin to swing back to a more normalized way of treating clients, they must ensure they factor in their own needs. Therapists can ask themselves questions, such as:

    • Am I comfortable treating clients in person now?
    • Have I established an enhanced cleaning system for my office?
    • Have I prepared my family for my return to the office?
    • Do I have a plan for addressing fears clients may have about changing back to being treated in person?
    • Am I willing to continue telehealth-only appointments with clients who insist on them?
    • Will doing both in-person and telehealth appointments work for my schedule?
    • Should I require proof of vaccination from the coronavirus from my clients and office staff?

    Adopting a Hybrid Treatment Option Means Advance Planning

    Many therapists are considering utilizing a hybrid approach to treatment. This option entails seeing some clients in person and others via telehealth. Some clients may want to use a combination of the two.

    Straddling the line between continuing with telehealth appointments while also returning to office-based appointments may feel challenging. As difficult as it proved to be for many to adapt to working from home, it became comfortable and began to feel normal. Now treatment professionals must factor in that a return to how things were may feel unfamiliar at first.

    Those therapists who plan to offer clients either option may take some time to get used to the hybrid plan. Telehealth appointments were often more casual in terms of dress codes. You may want to consider how you envision your wardrobe at the office versus at home. Clients who became accustomed to showing up via Zoom in their pajamas or workout clothes might be unsure of your preferences for how they dress in person.

    Keep in mind that you are the architect for how you rebuild your daily practice. If you found clients enjoyed seeing your dog on camera from your home, you might sometimes consider bringing them to the office. You may find that you want to slowly reacclimate clients to a more formal approach, which is also a viable option.

    Offering In-Person Appointments Only May Be the Right Choice

    Once you reach a comfort level at seeing clients in your office, the question becomes whether or not to establish this as the sole option. While many therapists may find the hybrid plan works for them, not all of them will. Many treatment professionals have home lives that do not lend themselves well to telehealth appointments.

    Spouses, children, or roommates may be present in the home. Despite everyone’s best efforts to remain quiet and unobtrusive, no plan unfolds as foolproof. Many therapists enjoy having two separate lives: their professional ones in their office and their home lives.

    Some therapists carry a heavy caseload of clients who benefit from getting out of their homes. Part of their healing process may include the value of being out in the world. Talking face-to-face with their therapists can be part of their ability to achieve progress. For these therapists, an in-person only practice may present the best option.

    As the world enters the second year of the pandemic, the widespread application of coronavirus vaccines means how you treat clients is up for review. Treatment professionals who had switched to telehealth appointments only are asking themselves how best to adapt to the reopening of society. Things to consider as you formulate a new plan for your practice include incorporating both your needs and those of your clients. Therapists are weighing whether or not to return to in-person appointments only or adopt a hybrid option. Sustain Recovery understands the value of long-term, in-person treatment for adolescents. Our programs offer many types of therapy and continued schooling for our clients. We offer treatment for both substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. Our location in sunny California may be just the place for your young client to find the lasting help they need. Call us now at (949) 407-9052 for more information.

  4. How To Stay on Top of College Plans

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    Stressed About College

    ‘As we fully enter the new year, COVID-19 continues to influence many important life events. Balancing work and social life with quarantining takes up a lot of mental space for the average family these days. However, there is another concern weighing on the minds of many. Some of the most impactful decisions families and young people must make pertain to schooling. 

    The coronavirus has caused an upheaval in the routines related to attending high school, preparing for college, and the career choices adolescents make as they begin to head out into adulthood. The good news is you still have some control over how to proceed with schooling at the high school and undergraduate level. 

    Change in Rules for College Prep Tests

    Typically, a student headed for college takes the SAT or ACT in person. These exams are often required to gain entrance to most colleges and universities. The New York Times reported last fall that if COVID-19 continued as a long-term threat to in-person testing, digital versions of entrance exams would be developed. Digital versions of the SAT and ACT will allow students to take these exams at home. Suggested ways to help prevent cheating include “locking down” a computer to use only the testing screen. The student would also appear with their camera and microphone on, providing proctors the ability to monitor students as they take the exam. 

    Due to some colleges temporarily making them optional for incoming students, the SAT and ACT exams may prove a moot issue. Keep these developments in mind as you and your child investigate school choices. If a pre-entrance exam is required, whether virtual or in-person, many options exist for study guides, including software, books, and websites. Take advantage of these guides to prepare for exams and excel.

    Choosing a College is a Multi-Step Process 

    Many considerations factor into the decision of what college to attend. Distance from home, housing options, tuition, and degrees are among the most important choices to consider. It can take more than one discussion with your child to decide which schools to put on a “shortlist” to send applications to. Your child’s interests and abilities must be strongly considered. 

    If your child is uncertain about what subject major to choose, they can enter as “undeclared.” They can take some of the required classes, such as English and History, with various courses that may spark their interest in a degree program. Many students discover their passion by taking just one elective class, like Music, Psychology, or Accounting. If your child already knows what major they want, focus on colleges that offer degrees in that subject. 

    Remember that a student can major in one subject and minor in another, allowing them to expand their expertise and combine two subjects. For example, a major in Art combined with a minor in Business can help prepare a student to build a career running a gallery.

    Financial Factors to Consider

    If finances are limited, a local community college can offer a low-cost start to a college career. This can also cut costs by allowing the student to commute from home. If your child is moving out-of-town for school, investigate the price of living on-campus. On-campus living often includes meal plans in addition to room and board. Sharing an apartment off-campus with other students will not include meals. 

    Put on your “detective hat” and look for financial assistance, such as scholarships and grants. High school and college counselors can offer insight and tips for cutting the cost of tuition. Consult with friends and extended family members who have dealt with this previously, as well as sources like librarians, books, and internet-based articles. 

    Many students work part-time to help pay for their expenses while at school. University advisors can connect you with on-campus employment opportunities, such as working in the library or cafeteria. Advisors can also provide lists of companies in the area that frequently employ students. 

    Transportation is another factor to consider for cutting costs. Many college campuses are “walker-friendly,” meaning that many businesses and restaurants are near the campus, allowing students to walk or ride a bike for necessities and entertainment. Many colleges have trams or buses that cater to students, some of them free-of-charge. Utilizing these options may make a car’s need and its related expenses unnecessary, saving money over several years.

    College Is Still a Reality During a Pandemic

    Campus safety is concerning for both parents and students.  The coronavirus has amplified the need for heightened security. The vaccine is now being distributed, expected to be widely implemented by the time the fall semester rolls around. While the concern about the virus will still be a reality this fall, the vaccine means that things will be much different from last fall. Be sure to check with any college you are interested in to see what COVID compliance practices they use. Many schools are currently offering some or all online classes for the current semester, with details potentially changing this fall.

    Every parent gets a little nervous about helping their child prepare for and choose a college, but it’s even tougher during a pandemic. Last fall had families in a panic about college plans, but due to the vaccine being rolled out now, this fall will likely look different. It’s not too early to start investigating entrance exam choices, financial aspects, and which schools offer what your child needs. Sustain Recovery offers schooling assistance while your child attends treatment with us, allowing them to stay up-to-date with their studies. We provide comprehensive programs designed to help clients who might have been treatment-resistant in the past and can benefit from our long-term programs. Our staff of treatment professionals excels at guiding adolescents and young adults, allowing them to achieve and maintain sobriety, as well as manage any co-occurring mental illnesses. For more details about how we can help you or your loved one, call us today! (949) 407-9052

  5. Using the Arts to Relieve Pandemic-Related Stress

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    Art

    Society is coming up on a solid year of various levels of quarantining and social distancing due to the coronavirus. What initially everyone hoped would be a short-term effort that would flatten the curve, allowing things to begin to return to normalcy, proved to be a long-haul effort that is still going on into the new year. As a result, millions of people are experiencing pandemic-related stress that impacts their work lives, home lives, and mental health.

    Approaches to relieving stress brought on by living long-term in a world riddled with COVID-19 can include engaging in regular exercise, talking to a mental health professional, or the use of prescription medications. An often overlooked option is taking part in one (or more) of the creative arts. They not only can provide an outlet for built-up stress and anxiety but provide a welcome change of pace from a person’s day-to-day activities. Engaging in an artistic activity may also create a welcome new hobby that you will enjoy for years.

    The Art of the Written Word

    Creative writing can take many forms, including fictional stories, essays, and poetry. If you are new to trying your hand at writing, find a quiet place in your home and carve out some time for yourself. You can write about anything you want and don’t worry about if it’s necessarily good or not. If you aren’t sure what subject to tackle, consider writing about a memory from your past, like a favorite childhood birthday or a great love of your life who you still think about. 

    Short stories and poetry also prove to be great outlets for exercising your creative muscles. Remember you do not have to show your work to anyone unless you want to, which helps reduce the fear about whether or not your work is good. Another excellent writing outlet is journaling. Often the act of purging your pent-up emotions helps counter the ill effects they have on a person. You can either write on a computer in a word document or use an actual pen and paper in a journal or notebook. 

    Channel Your Inner Artist

    Since ancient man (and woman) first drew rudimentary pictures on cave walls, art has proven to be a wonderful way to express yourself. Whether you want to try your hand at using acrylic paint, watercolor, or sketching with ink, local craft stores and the internet offer many options for procuring supplies. Many artists find the act of turning on some favorite music and sitting down with a sketchbook or setting up their easel provides them with a good chunk of time to let the worries of the day fade away while they escape into the beauty of color and form. 

    Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

    If you used to make a habit of going out to clubs and bars and dancing, you probably miss being able to do that. Even if you have the proverbial two left feet and want to dance but are intimidated by it, taking advantage of private time at home can give you the outlet you need. Put on a playlist of music that makes you want to move your feet and create a dance floor in a room in your house. You might play a dance instruction video or a scene from a favorite musical (think the high school dance in “Grease”) for inspiration and get your groove on. 

    Dancing doesn’t have to be a solo act. Couples can let go of stress via dance and entire families can get in on it. Little kids love to express themselves through movement and music, making it a perfect opportunity to have a family dance party for all ages. Dancing can also provide needed exercise, which can also contribute to stress relief.

    Create Wearable Art for Yourself and Others

    Many people relax by sitting in a favorite chair and putting their talents to work with knitting, crocheting, or sewing. This type of artistic endeavor can help focus the mind on the task at hand, relieving you from the daily stress that builds up. Hobbies like these build up hand-eye coordination and can be done solo or with others who share your hobby via social distancing or on a meetup app. The bonus is you can create wearable art for yourself or that makes a great gift for friends and family.

    Free Advice From the Pros

    If insecurity about your skill level for any of these artistic options has a grip on you, remember that the internet provides innumerable options for free instructional videos and classes that help guide people through their first steps. Videos about how to construct a short story, tips for choosing paints, how-to instructions on dancing, and so much more give people the ability to embrace a new artistic endeavor with expert advice they can return to whenever they need it. 

    Everyone is experiencing some level of stress due to the coronavirus and the restrictions it imposes on pastimes and hobbies. Turning to artistic activities, such as dance, art, writing, and sewing-related pastimes can help relieve stress, pass the time, and potentially become a new hobby. When a young person is struggling with mental health issues and addiction, it’s important for them to find a way to deal with their issues, including pandemic-related stress. Sustain Recovery understands how to address an adolescent’s underlying issues and point them in the right direction. We offer multiple treatment modalities, including residential, intensive outpatient programs, and partial hospitalization programs. If your client needs a long-term treatment program that includes treatment for mental health and addiction and has experience providing the solution for clients who did not respond to other programs, we can help. Call us today at (949) 407-9052 to discuss how to get through not only the pandemic but all of life with a healthy new attitude and focus on recovery.

     

  6. Carving Out a Routine While the World Feels Chaotic

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    Floss

    The ramifications of COVID-19 have made daily life anything but routine. Many people have experienced disruptions in their work schedules, loss of jobs, and changes in when and where school occurs. When daily schedules become disrupted through no fault of your own, it can cause stress and resentment. While the beginning of the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine has begun, giving hope that things will return to a more normalized version of life, society still has a ways to go before social distancing rules are relaxed or disappear altogether.

    In the meantime, it’s important to remember that the pandemic need not usurp all of your power over your day-to-day life. Despite restrictions that cannot be avoided, you can still redesign your regular routine and stick to it. Keeping a schedule helps reduce stress, gives a sense of autonomy, and assists in normalizing a topsy-turvy world. Give some thought to what your old schedule was like, how it is now, and how you can make the most of coming up with a new one that feels reliable and helps you accomplish what needs to be done while allowing for downtime. 

    What’s Eating You?

    One of the most common disruptions in a person’s daily life caused by the pandemic takes place in the kitchen. Eating junk food may feel comforting in the moment, but a culmination of poor dietary choices adds up. All-day snacking can also become a habit that robs people of healthy food choices. Make an effort to commit to regular meal times and conscious choices that draw from several food groups. While there is nothing wrong with occasional snacking or high-calorie indulgences, relying on a general practice of eating well and at regular times helps cement a reliable routine.

    Exercise on a Regular Basis

    Regular exercise helps keep your body in good shape and provides a great way to release stress. If you already had an established workout routine, COVID-19 may have impacted it via gym closures, canceled exercise classes, or difficulty social distancing while working out in public. If you’ve avoided exercise, investigate ways to incorporate it into your schedule. The internet offers a plethora of instructional videos that appeal to those who want to work out solo or with a group. Hit your app store for similar offerings and you may be surprised how quickly a good workout can become habitual. 

    Hobbies Offer a Respite From Daily Stressors

    When the initial quarantining began last spring, one of the chief complaints from newly homebound people was boredom. Engaging in hobbies gives the mind something reliable to count on, which helps pass the time and lessens anxiety. If you have neglected an old hobby you used to enjoy, schedule time to start up again. If you are looking for a new hobby, take stock of choices that interest you and pick one. Most needed supplies can be procured via a quick trip to a shop or ordered online and delivered. Youtube has videos that teach just about any skill set, such as playing an instrument, knitting, painting, woodworking, and a host of other choices. 

    In order to ensure that you don’t neglect your hobby time, add it to your calendar so you get reminders. Choose a doable amount of time for each session and how many times per week you want to pursue your hobby and treat that block of time like a work meeting or household chore that must be done. 

    Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

    Having a job with regular hours or kids who have specific school hours makes it easier to keep a sleep schedule. If you are dealing with unemployment or another reason that your sleep schedule is compromised, make it a priority to address it. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day helps with your circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. 

    While daily life may not be the same these days, knowing that you can count on getting into and out of bed at the same time every day offers the comfort of a routine and the benefits of regular sleep. If insomnia interrupts your ability to get a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor about options. Many people find that writing in a journal or doing yoga or meditation before bedtime helps release the day’s stress and empty the mind of worrisome thoughts that keep you from drifting off. Playing white noise such as the sound of rain, waves at the beach, or a desk fan helps many as they lie in bed ready to slumber. Plenty of free apps offer many sound options to help a person drift off.

    One of the most common concerns related to quarantining and other effects stemming from COVID-19 concerns the loss of daily schedules. Schedules offer you continuity and a reliable plan for each day. If you find yourself floundering with a schedule that doesn’t work for you or no schedule at all, look at each aspect of your day and decide how and when to incorporate it so that you have a sense of continuity. Sustain Recovery offers several programs for adolescents struggling with addiction and mental health issues that each contain tried and true schedules. We offer partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, residential, and extended care programs in our Southern California location. We offer multi-faceted options including holistic, 12-Step meetings, and schooling. If your clients have tried other programs but found they weren’t a good fit, call us now at (949) 407-9052 to discuss how we can help.

  7. Safe Vacation Ideas To Help Break the Monotony of Staying at Home

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    Road

    Last year proved to be unlike any other due to the novel coronavirus, for a variety of reasons. Health problems, financial concerns, job losses, and children deprived of a normal schooling routine have all proved difficult issues to surmount. Another problem facing people worldwide was the inability to travel due to pandemic-related restrictions. Each year, millions of Americans look forward to spending their vacation time getting away to a favorite haunt or somewhere new to explore. Having that option removed or compromised can be difficult.

    The new year can still allow for getaways that provide you ways to carve out a break from daily life. While regular vacations at busy tourist destinations are not currently recommended, a little creativity and a willingness to be open-minded can help give you the time off you need. Whether it’s just a weekend or a much longer vacation, see if one or more of these ideas helps jumpstart your plans to get away from the same old routine that’s gone on for months.   

    Taking Your Home on the Road

    Last summer showed a spike in RV sales and rentals as people chose to vacation in a rolling home. Traveling in an RV allows for social distancing that you can’t get when dealing with hotels, airports, and restaurants. It’s like living in a tiny house while still getting out of town. Many websites provide listings for rentals for recreational vehicles, giving families, couples, and individuals the ability to enjoy them without committing to a purchase. These options are similar to Airbnb, except these rental properties can be driven across the state or country.

    RVs aren’t just limited to the stereotypical image of a forty-foot Winnebago, which may prove too cumbersome for someone who doesn’t feel confident driving one. Consider a sprinter van, an extra-long van typically equipped with a kitchenette, full bath, and a bed if you need less space. Truck campers and “skoolies,” the slang term for school buses converted into an RV, are also mobile homes that provide most of the comforts of home. 

    Vacationing in an RV allows you to cook and sleep in privacy, avoiding the problem of trying to social distance in busy restaurants and hotels. Many national and state parks, as well as RV parks, charge inexpensive fees to stay there, giving you a picture-perfect view from your vehicle’s windows of beautiful lakes, mountains, forests, deserts, and other areas worth visiting. 

    Break up Your Home Life With a Staycation

    A “staycation,” taking a vacation without leaving home, has a lot of advantages. You don’t incur costs for gasoline, plane tickets, hotels, and things like amusement park tickets, making it easy on your wallet. Make a point of breaking your usual routine so that the staycation gives you a real change of pace. Do things you don’t normally do, like sleep in or stay up late. Make every night a movie night or binge-watch a new favorite television show. 

    If you have a hobby you’ve neglected or wanted to start but couldn’t find the time, gather the necessary supplies for it and get to work. Enjoy restaurant food by utilizing food delivery services or curbside pick up. If you have kids, involve them in ideas the whole family can enjoy. Things like board games, reading to each other, or a talent show can put everyone in a good mood and laughing. Planning activities for a weekend break or several days off can help elevate your mood by forcing you out of your humdrum routine.

    Camping Trips for One

    Sometimes what a person craves the most out of their time off, is peace and quiet. If you find yourself overwhelmed with your workload, clients, and demands in your personal life, getting back to nature may be the salve to soothe you. Dig out the basic supplies or purchase a tent, sleeping bag, a few cooking supplies and decide where you want to get lost in the landscape. 

    You can go camping in the middle of nowhere or alongside other campers who gather at places like state or national parks. You can choose a location that provides electricity hookups, water, and bathrooms, or opt for living off what you can carry in your backpack. Either way, leaving behind the modern world can significantly change your mood. Swearing off the internet, texting, and monitoring the news lets your mind recharge. Solo activities like hiking, bicycling, or kayaking give you time to relax and stay in the moment of the beauty of your surroundings. Sitting alone with your thoughts while the sun rises or cooking over an open fire helps you leave your busy, stressful life behind. Take a journal to write in and a portable music device to allow the muses to camp with you.

    Everyone looks forward to planning the perfect vacation, but 2020 proved to be a year that caused millions to cancel plans to get out of town and enjoy the usual trips away from home. 2021 doesn’t have to be a repeat if you get creative about how to spend your time off. When a young person finds themselves in need of professional treatment for their mental health and any co-occurring addiction, it may not be the time away from their daily life that they crave, but it can prove beneficial in multiple ways. Sustain Recovery treats adolescents with a variety of programs that help them leave the toxicity of their lives behind and focus on healing their emotional issues and getting sober. Our long-term programs, including schooling, help focus our clients on taking responsibility and returning home ready to continue making progress. Call (949) 407-9052 now to find out how our Southern California campus can help your adolescent clients.

     

  8. How to Combat Pandemic Related Triggers in Adolescents

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    Pandemic Stress

    COVID-19 has overshadowed most of 2020, causing a lot of negative impact on millions of people’s mental health in the U.S. alone. People report higher levels of anxiety, stress, depression, and a real fear of coping with a pandemic no one was prepared to handle. It has been particularly devastating for younger people who do not have the life experience or age needed to handle the epidemic on a more adult level. When an adolescent is already dealing with one or more mental health issues and abuse of alcohol or drugs, referred to as co-occurring disorders, the stakes are even higher. Several things directly related to COVID-19 are potential triggers for adolescents in treatment, making it essential for their treatment providers to know how to help them work through them.

    Distance Learning

    Adolescents rely on the structure of their regular school schedule, even if they sometimes struggle in their classes. When schools began to close down in the spring, many students found themselves without the anchor they had taken for granted for years. Initially, it was thought that by the beginning of the next school year, classes would be back in session. Still, many school districts have chosen not to reopen or only allow students to attend in-person part-time. Schools had to scramble to provide appropriate distance learning for their students, leaving parents and children in the lurch as they waited for new policies to be announced and enacted. 

    If a client’s parents are unsure how best to help their children adjust to the new school rules, give them some pointers. Parents should talk to their child’s teacher and make sure they are clear on the new school schedule and what is expected of the students. If their child experiences limits or difficulties due to their mental illness, they should discuss possible options with the teacher to help them succeed. Share this information with your child and let them know they will be expected to work independently at times but are welcome to ask for a parent’s assistance. Ask that the parents share what they learn with you to work as a team while helping the child transition to distance learning. Let the child know that every other student and the faculty are scrambling to adapt to the new normal, and perfection is not expected.

    The Boredom of Quarantining 

    Staying at home nearly 24/7 is difficult for people of all ages. Still, an adolescent may feel like they’ve been grounded through no fault of their own. Encourage your child to keep in touch with their friends via electronic options, such as text, telephone, and online meeting programs. Although meeting up in person is not advisable, it’s important not to entirely isolate. Doing so can increase levels of depression and anxiety, which contribute to poorer mental health. 

    Establish new schedules within the home that keep quarantining from feeling like endless days of boredom. Activities like movie night, playing board games, or other family plans can give structure. Weather permitting, include walks around the neighborhood or an outside activity done as a family. While a child still benefits from time alone, even during the pandemic, look for signs that they may be using alcohol or drugs to self-medicate.

    The Negative News Cycle

    Understandably, parents want to be up-to-date on all COVID-19 related developments, but exposure to too much news can have harsh consequences for the whole family. Limiting TV news, as well as discussion centered around the latest negative news stories and statistics, can help your child feel less vulnerable. While younger people need to stay informed, consider that they have less ability to interpret the news. They also tend to take one negative aspect of it and apply it to the feeling that everything in their lives and future is entirely out of control. Talk to your child about what news they have seen or read and discuss it together to help them process it.

    Be a Role Model

    Adolescents watch their parents for signs of how they are coping, making it essential to be mindful of words and actions. Parents need to communicate to their children that while things may feel bleak, society is learning more about how to act. There will eventually be a return to a more normal way of life. Encourage the child to continue any treatment appointments and prescribed medication to help them continue on the path to healing. If the child exhibits signs of needing more intensive help with their co-occurring disorders, seek options such as outpatient or residential programs.

    Living in a world gripped by COVID-19 is difficult enough for the average person. An adolescent dealing with co-occurring disorders may find that they face many triggers that threaten their ability to effectively manage their mental health and any trouble with abuse of alcohol or drugs. Therapists can partner with parents to provide their adolescent clients with the help they need. Kids can learn to deal with triggers, such as distance learning, social distancing, and the barrage of negative news. If the pandemic triggers have proven too overwhelming for a child to cope with, Sustain Recovery can provide multiples types of programs. Each option is designed for a young clientele to help manage their mental health and any accompanying addiction. Located in Southern California, our treatment professionals offer multiple types of therapies that teach children to thrive and reach their potential and their families to help them recover (949) 407-9052.

     

  9. How Therapists Are Adapting to a COVID-19 World

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    Telehealth

    COVID-19 has created unparalleled levels of stress and anxiety for the average person. Many people who were already in therapy when the pandemic began have discussed the impact of COVID-19 with their therapists. Many people have also sought out therapy for the first time to help manage the stress that living during COVID-19 has brought to their lives. As a result, treatment professionals have had to incorporate plans of action adaptable to these newfound complications.

    The Pandemic Also Affects Professionals

    Complicating the new landscape of a world taken over by a pandemic is the fact that many professionals are dealing with their own fears and concerns about COVID-19 while trying to treat their clients for the same issue. It can be difficult for a therapist to guide people in handling their emotions and making decisions about how to react when they themselves have the same concerns. A therapist may be struggling to keep their usual roster of appointments while dealing with distance learning children. Similar to their clients, they worry about themselves or a loved one contracting the virus. If someone in their lives is sick or has lost their battle with COVID-19, stress can become burdensome. These losses make it taxing to simultaneously be responsible for providing professional help to several people in the same boat. 

    Telehealth Appointments Offer Options

    If you are not offering telehealth appointments, consider doing so. Telehealth therapy appointments have significantly increased during the pandemic. They can provide both the therapist and their clients peace of mind that neither is in danger of infecting the other. It also keeps both parties from having to leave their homes or risk exposure to the general public. Telehealth appointments also allow a therapist to offer sessions outside their regular hours, which can help them arrange a better schedule for themselves and their clients, particularly if their client load is increasing. 

    Adapting to Client Needs

    Keep in mind that no matter how much you want to help as many people as possible, you have to make sure you are taking care of yourself, too. Squeezing in more appointments than usual is a noble effort, but spreading yourself too thin may ultimately cause you to become overwhelmed and less effective. You may end up cutting down drastically on sessions offered in order to manage your own mental health. 

    Many therapists are reporting that their clients are expressing concern about their therapist’s well-being. While it’s crucial to maintain appropriate boundaries, it can be soothing to a client to know that their therapist is experiencing elevated levels of stress, too. A brief exchange of feelings about pandemic-related topics can help build a bond between a treatment professional and their client. 

    Remember to Take Care of Yourself

    Think about some of the specific suggestions you give a client to help them manage their stress levels. Make sure you are applying them to yourself, as needed. Engaging in regular exercise, getting outside daily to get some sun and fresh air, and maintaining a healthy diet all provide benefits. If things like yoga, meditation, or aromatherapy are a go-to stress reliever, or if you are interested in trying one of these for the first time, be sure to incorporate that into your routine. Make time for a hobby that relaxes or rejuvenates you. Take time to relax with a book or watch a movie. Block out time for it in your appointment calendar, so it doesn’t get pushed aside. 

    It’s also beneficial to make sure you have your own outlet to discuss how you feel about the pandemic and anything related to it. This may be a partner, family member, or friends. For others, it may include seeing a professional to help you manage the world of being a therapist during such a historical time of rising mental health issues. Remember that you are not alone if you feel overwhelmed as a treatment professional in a COVID-19 world. There are not a host of textbooks or classes that teach how to work during this new reality, leaving many therapists scrambling to adapt to it. Constant changes in local policies about social distancing, guidelines for safety, and differing opinions from politicians from the national to the local level can be exhausting. Organize any articles or emails you need to read related to all this and then set aside time to go through them.  

    Therapists are experiencing an increase in their patient roster and the need to help manage their stress from living during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, therapists themselves are also dealing with the same anxieties as their clients. Treatment professionals must take care of themselves, too. Sustain Recovery is a treatment center in California that offers multiple options for managing co-occurring mental illnesses and abuse of drugs and alcohol by adolescents. We provide several options for care, ranging from outpatient to long-term residential, that are designed to fit your child’s treatment needs. We offer COVID-19 compliant facilities to provide safety for our clients, their families, and staff. If increased anxiety about the pandemic or other mental health issues are causing your child to need intensive help, call us today to find out how we can create a plan for their success! (949) 407-9052.

     

  10. Making the Switch to Telehealth Appointments

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    Telehealth Appointments

    Several years ago, many people were skeptical about therapy done online. By the end of this year, however, online therapy has become more common and accepted by both treatment professionals and their clients. COVID-19 has been a game-changer, making remote therapy appointments more relevant and needed than ever before. Telehealth is defined by the World Health Organization as “delivery of health care services, where patients and providers are separated by distance.” Many people use the telephone, but an increasingly popular way to conduct therapy appointments is to use an online meeting program, such as Zoom or Skype. The client and practitioner can see each other and speak in real-time. This simulates the feel and impact of an in-person appointment without the health risk of either person being in direct contact with each other. 

    Just a year ago, many insurance companies balked at the idea of telehealth. Since then, however, the pandemic has forced many of them to reassess their policies. Patients who were previously denied coverage for telehealth therapy now receive compensation in line with insurance policies for in-person appointments. While it remains to be seen if this new strategy continues after the pandemic, many believe it is here to stay. Just as corporations have learned that their employees are equally productive when they work from home, it is estimated that many insurance companies will embrace telehealth permanently.

    Benefits of Telehealth

    There are several benefits to establishing telehealth appointments either as a new choice or the only option for treating patients. Offering such appointments opens you up to having hours outside the typical ones provided. Evening and weekend appointments are more convenient for both the therapist and their clients when no one has to leave their home. If the therapist is out-of-town, they can still conduct appointments from whatever location they are in, such as a hotel or rental housing. It is often much more convenient and accessible for patients who live in rural or remote areas. These benefits open up a therapist to increasing their patient load, thus allowing them to help more people. Additionally, they can give potential clients more options to get the help they need.

    How To Make The Transition

    If you are a treatment professional who is unsure of how to add telehealth to your list of services offered, there are some essential tips to help you make the transition. First, establish an office area that is free of noise, visitors, and other distractions. Make sure you have adequate lighting that is focused on you but isn’t too bright. Continue to dress professionally, but be aware that some clients may dress more casually. If you are not familiar with using on-camera meeting software and apps, ask a friend or family member to test it out with you, so you are comfortable with the new system.

    Helping a Client Be Ready 

    Let your client know they will have the same quiet and private setting they are used to. Inform your clients ahead of time. Tell them which online program you will be using, any costs associated with it (the common ones are typically free), and give them time to download it and try using it. Tell them you both should dress as you would for an in-person appointment. Depending on your state’s requirements, you may need to use consent documentation and get verbal or written consent from your client for telehealth. It’s also essential to establish how payment for services will be made. 

    Many people are nervous about being on camera on their computers. The anxiety about Zoom meetings may be increased for those new to having therapy online. Reassure your clients at the beginning of the first session that it’s okay to be nervous. If a family member or pet makes an unexpected appearance, let them know it doesn’t anger you. It’s a universal experience, and it’s nothing to stress out about. 

    Additional Bonuses of Telehealth

    There are additional benefits to telehealth besides the ones gained by the clients who use it for their therapy appointments. Social distancing is helpful but does not guarantee to stop the spread of COVID-19. Telehealth keeps the treatment professional and their client physically apart, meaning there is zero chance of one person transferring the virus to another. It also dramatically reduces the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed, which is paramount when so many hospitals and other medical treatment facilities require a significant number of PPE during the pandemic. 

    COVID-19 has resulted in millions of people beginning to use telehealth options to conduct their therapy appointments. Talking to your clients via online programs is a fast-growing addition to a therapist’s business. Paying attention to how to prepare yourself and your clients for the transition is essential. Sustain Recovery is an adolescent treatment program that offers young people suffering from co-occurring mental illness diagnoses, as well as abuse of alcohol or drugs, a proven way to help them manage their lives and enter recovery. We offer long-term residential programs that include schooling, outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, and inpatient programs. Located in sunny Southern California, we have a program that can help your family. Call us today to find out how we can help adolescents in need of learning to manage their issues and become responsible young adults on the path to success. (949) 407-9052.

     

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

Megan
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