Consistently performing healthy behaviors to start your day can create an overall calmer morning and improve mental health. Establishing routines filled with healthy habits can help you move more efficiently while using less mental energy, which decreases stress and anxiety. If you don’t already have a clear morning routine set into place, try following this list to start 2021 off right. 

  1. Be Prepared 

In order to start the day with a healthy morning routine, you should prepare the night before. Your nighttime routine will play a role in how well you sleep based on factors like sleep hygiene and environment, but it will also help you to be prepared for the next day as it can decrease stress, over-thinking, and worry, which keep you awake at night. 

Before going to bed, prepare the items you plan to use in the morning. For example, lay out your clothes, make sure bags are packed, and set-up coffee and meals. This will allow you to sleep soundly and be prepared for the day ahead. 

If it makes you feel even more secure, keep a check-list on your bedside table to remind you of the things you should accomplish before bed and when you wake up. 

  1. Wake Up To Light  

Rising with the sun increases wakefulness as exposure to bright light decreases morning grogginess. If possible, leave your blinds open while you sleep so you can get maximum exposure to sunlight in the morning. 

If that’s not an option, consider using a smart light, which gently wakes you with a custom Sunrise Alarm that supports healthy cortisol levels and allows you to create a positive mood at any time with a selection of soothing sounds and lights. This can be especially helpful in the winter months when it’s dark more often and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is more common. 

  1. Avoid Technology 

Technology should be avoided first thing in the morning. Although electronics are extremely useful in many ways, they can be harmful to your well-being if used too often. 

Electronic devices emanate blue light, which is a high-energy visible (HEV) light that can cause eye and mental health complications. Therefore, if you use electronic devices early in the morning they can cause headaches, lack of concentration, or distract you from completing your morning routine. Social media has been proven to add to anxiety and depression, which is all the more reason to reduce time on electronic devices in your morning routine

If you prefer to use devices early in the morning, there are ways you can protect yourself from the blue light they emit. 

  1. Use the Night Shift mode on your devices to alter the screen brightness and temperature, which can decrease the amount and harshness of the blue light that comes from screens. Night Shift uses the clock and geolocation of your device to determine when the sun is rising in your location, so it can automatically adjust your screen temperature. 
  1. Protect your eyes more directly with a pair of blue light glasses, which filter out harmful blue light while still letting in the more natural light from your screens. Wearing these glasses throughout the entire day will further protect your eyes and prevent devices from disrupting your sleep patterns and causing disorientation if you use them frequently. 

By combining the Night Shift mode with the blue light glasses, very little blue light will penetrate your retinas and you will be mentally healthier and happier. 

A morning routine can help individuals set themselves up for better mental health throughout the day. Create your morning routine based on your specific needs and activities. Not everyone will have the same routine—it’s about what works best for you and your mental health. 

As always, HOPE is here.

Georgia HOPE specializes in providing quality mental health and recovery services for in the state of Georgia. To learn more, enroll, or refer someone to us, contact us below:

Is it stress? Is it anxiety? Is it both?

Anxiety generally is internal, meaning it’s your reaction to stress. Usually it involves a persistent feeling of uneasiness or dread that doesn’t go away, and that interferes with how you live your life. It is constant, even if there is no immediate threat.

Stress generally is a response to an external cause, such as interviewing for a new job or arguing with a friend. It goes away once the situation is resolved. It can be positive or negative. For example, it may inspire you to study for a test, or it may cause you to lose sleep.

Both stress and anxiety can affect your mind and body. You may experience symptoms such as:

  • Excessive worry
  • Apprehension
  • Tension headaches or body pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of sleep

Ways to Cope

  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise or do some sort of physical activity
  • Create a sleep routine to get regular sleep
  • Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol
  • Identify and challenge your negative thoughts
  • Keep a journal or download a relaxation / mediation app
  • Reach out to friends and family
  • Speak to a professional

HOPE is Here

If you’re struggling to cope or the symptoms of your stress or anxiety begin to interfere with your everyday life, it may be time to talk to a professional. We’d love to speak to you further and find something that works for you. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

COVID-19 has changed our world. These changes can be challenging for many and in some cases can impact overall
functioning at home, school, or both for children and teens. 

Below are some questions to ask yourself about how well students in your class are adjusting to these new changes.

If you selected at least one of the items on this checklist, the student could benefit from mental health services. Make a referral by completing our online enrollment form.

Teachers aren’t immune to all of these difficult changes. HOPE is here for you too! Affordable self-pay rates are available. Call 706-279-0405 ext 149, email inquiries@gahope.org, or contact us online to learn more or get started today,

Who is ready for a new year? Bring on 2021! 

Here are some important things to keep in mind in order to stay safe on New Year’s Eve 

  • Know what binge drinking is: a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours. 
  • Know why it is important: Knowing U.S. standard drink (or alcoholic drink-equivalent) sizes and the number of drinks per container can help you make informed decisions about your drinking. You’ll be able to: count your drinks more accurately, pace yourself better and stay within low-risk drinking levels 
  • For Parents: Remember, those who host the most, lose the most. Know the laws on providing alcohol to minors and the importance of having conversations with your teens about alcohol consumption.  

For more information on binge drinking and monitoring your drinking, visit the following links: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking 

For more information on what is considered a standard drink of whatever you might be drinking, visit this website for the standard drink calculator: https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Tools/Calculators/drink-size-calculator.aspx 

2020 is behind us but we have a long road ahead.

Did you know?

1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 

Source: NAMI

According to NIMH, research shows that only half of those with mental illness receive care each year.

These numbers are BEFORE the pandemic.

According to the CDC, during June 2020 amidst COVID-19, 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use.

A new CDC report finds that children’s visits to emergency departments for mental health concerns have been higher than usual this year, possibly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The proportion of such visits was up 24% among those ages 5-11 and 31% among adolescents aged 12-17, compared to the same period last year.

A new study also shows 20% of Covid-19 patients developed mental illness within 90 Days.

The call to action to get help for mental illnesses is greater now than ever before. The effects of this pandemic are far reaching, and we are seeing it in actual data and proof.

Take care of your mental health

You may experience increased stress during this pandemic as well as your children. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Get the right help for you and your family.

Mental health is an important part of overall health and wellness. It affects how we think, feel, and act. Mental health plays a big role in how we handle stress, relationships and emergencies.

People with pre-existing mental health conditions or substance use disorders may be particularly vulnerable in an emergency or pandemic.  Mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia) affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior in a way that affect how to function each day. These conditions may be situational (short-term) or long-lasting (chronic).

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. The changes that can happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone. Taking care of your family is important, but it should be balanced with care for yourself.

If you think you have new mental health conditions or worse symptoms, get help today.

Please see a list of helpful resources below for you and your family. We’re all in this together. #HOPEisHere

RESOURCES

For Everyone

For Communities

For Families and Children

For People at Higher Risk for Serious Illness

For Healthcare Workers and First Responders

For Other Workers

For Veterans / Military 

  • https://journeypure.com/locations/military-program/

Selected Resources for Coping with Loss

Selected Resources for Children and Parents

How to Get Help

Get immediate help in a crisis

Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health

Suicide

Georgia HOPE Contact Information 

Did you know that November is National Adoption month? A month set aside to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for children and youth in foster care.

Here at Georgia HOPE, we work to assist the whole family system and the communities they are in. If you are a foster and adoptive parent, you are ready and willing to make a difference in the lives of children in foster care. More than any thing, children in foster care need parents who are willing to accept them as they are, help them heal, and help them grow.

“Attachment behaviors are necessary in order to create some meaning out of the world around the child, to develop certain emotional attachment in their relationships such as:

  1. It helps child to understand how to relate to others.
  2. It gives a sense of feelings towards one’s own self.”

Subhani, M. I., Osman, A., Abrar, F., & Hasan, S. A. (2014). Are parents really attached to their adopted children?. SpringerPlus3, 545. https://doi.org/10.1186/2193-1801-3-545

Four things kids need from their adoptive parents are:

  1. The feeling of safety that it is not like the child’s previous living situations and that you become a more steady, comforting attachment for them. Some of them had a hard time trusting or lost all trust in adults in their life so it will be your job to show them that you are a safe place for them to lay their head.
  2. Love is very important for parents of any kind. These kids need to feel loved. Love is an action and you are required to take action in showing love to these children. The people who are supposed to love these kids the most are no longer around. So, don’t be fooled into thinking that saying I love you is enough. They have heard it before, and yet here they are in a strange place, with people they don’t know. It will take time. You will need to build trust, and they will test you. They are going to want to be sure that your actions are real, that the love they see in your home is not some phony love that will disappear, only to crush them once again.
  3. Understanding is meeting your children where they are at. Adopted children are coming to you from very difficult situations. You will need to step out of your comfort zone. You may have to deal with behaviors you have never seen before. It will take great understanding on your part. They desperately want you to just “get” them, and you will need to meet them where they are, with a nurturing and loving heart.
  4. Persistence is continuing to be there for your children. Adopted kids have lost their family. They have lost their mom and their dad, but they do have you. And you will have to be persistent. You will need to be their strongest advocate.”

How to build acceptance:

  • Build their self-esteem
    • Say “You did it!” instead of “Good job!” Phrases such as “you did it!” build a child’s self-esteem intrinsically. These terms hold more value to children and build their self-esteem within rather than using extrinsic rewards. The phrase “good job” and others like it keep children constantly looking for the approval of adults.
  • Be curious about what you see and the process.
    • For example, try saying “I see you used a lot of blue in your picture,” or “It looks like it really makes you happy,” and asking questions like “How did you make it?” Because children are constantly looking for the approval of adults, we want them to focus on their ideas and feelings rather than doing things to please others. Try asking a child: “Do YOU like it?”
  • Show warmth and empathy
    • When dealing with disappointments, be truthful with children, yet use empathy to show that you still love and care about them – no matter what. For example, if your child doesn’t make the soccer team, avoid saying something like, “Well, next time you’ll work harder and make it.” Instead, try, “Well, you didn’t make the team, but I’m really proud of the effort you put into it,” or, “It took courage to try-out, and I like that about you.”
  • Bust inaccurate views
    • When experiencing frustration, some children may be quick to make cognitive generalizations about themselves such as “I’m a bad at school.” As adults, we have the capacity to help children realize the inaccuracies of these statements and view things more objectively using reason. For example, you might say, “You are a good student. You do great in school and your teachers really like having you in class. Math is a subject that you need to spend more time on. So, we’ll work on that together.”
  • Reduce conflict at home
    • Children who are exposed to conflict at home, or high-conflict divorces are at-risk to internalize a sense of guilt. In addition, the child may develop a pattern of thinking that they have no control over their environment and begin to feel helpless. As a parent or caregiver, if you are finding that you have a tendency to be harsh on yourself, or pessimistic about your abilities, your kids might eventually mirror your attitude. By paying attention to your mental health and taking the steps necessary to nurture your own self-esteem you will become a positive role model for your child.
  • Counseling
    • Georgia HOPE offers a variety of services for families and individuals, children and adults for counseling and mental health services as well as family preservation services. We also offer free community support groups, HOPE Happenings, including Support for Foster Parents, Youth Hang Outs, Support for Teens, Support for Parents and Grandparents, to learn more about our groups, click here.
    • If you’re interested in taking the next step with us, enroll here or contact us to learn more.
Sources

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence affects millions, both women and men, of every race, religion, culture and status. It’s not just punches and black eyes — it’s yelling, humiliation, stalking, manipulation, coercion, threats and isolation.

Tragically, more than 10 million Americans suffer at the hands of loved ones each year, and women are twice as likely to be targets of this heinous crime as men. Source

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, is a pattern of abusive behaviors, characterized by one partner’s need to control the other by using a range of tactics. While the frequency and severity of physical or sexual violence may vary, coercion, intimidation and emotional manipulation occur on a routine basis throughout the relationship.

› Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, punching, shoving, kicking, burning, strangulation/ choking, using weapons or other objects to cause injury.

› Sexual Abuse: Forcing a partner to engage in unwanted sexual acts; refusing to practice safe sex; treating a partner like a sex object.

› Emotional Abuse: Name-calling and putdowns; denying/shifting blame; treating a partner as an inferior; threatening to harm self/others or to have a partner deported; abusing children or pets; stalking; using threatening looks, actions or gestures; using technology to track, monitor or frighten.

› Economic Abuse: Stealing or destroying belongings/money; preventing a partner from getting or keeping a job; not letting the partner know about or have access to family income; damaging or ruining a partner’s credit.

Is it domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that adults and adolescents use to control their intimate or dating partners. It can include physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and other controlling behaviors. The following questions may help you decide whether you are in an abusive relationship.

Does your partner ever…

  •  hit, kick, shove or injure you?
  •  use weapons/objects against you or threaten to do so?
  • force or coerce you to engage in unwanted sexual acts?
  • threaten to hurt you or others, have you deported, disclose your sexual orientation or other personal information?
  •  control what you do and who you see in a way that interferes with your work, education or other personal activities? › use technology to track, monitor or frighten you?
  • steal or destroy your belongings?
  • constantly criticize you, call you names or put you down? make you feel afraid?
  • deny your basic needs such as food, housing, clothing, or medical and physical assistance?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, please know that help is available.

It is not your fault.

If you are being abused by your partner, you may feel confused, afraid, angry and/or trapped. All of these emotions are normal responses to abuse. You may also blame yourself for what is happening. However, please know that abuse is a purposeful and deliberate behavior where one person uses abusive tactics to gain power and control over another person. Abuse is never the victim’s fault.

Help is available.

Without help, domestic violence often continues to get more severe over time. It can sometimes become deadly. Please know that you have options.

› Domestic violence programs. These organizations offer free and confidential help to individuals in abusive relationships, including crisis intervention, safety planning, emergency shelter, advocacy and other supportive services.

› Community support. Friends, family, women’s and community groups, places of worship, and service providers (such as legal, health, counseling centers) can also provide a variety of resources, support, and assistance.

› Criminal charges. If you or other loved ones have been physically injured, threatened, raped, harassed or stalked, consider reporting these crimes to the police. Criminal charges may lead to the person who is abusing you being arrested and possibly imprisoned.

› Restraining/protective orders. Even if you don’t want to file a police report, you can file for a civil court order that directs your partner to stop abusing or to stay away from you. In many states, restraining/protective orders can also evict your partner from your home, grant support or child custody, or ban him or her from having weapons.

Safety planning is key.

Many survivors find it helpful to implement concrete safety plans in the case of emergency, whether they are planning to leave or stay in the relationship. Here are some suggestions:

› Consider telling others you trust, such as friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, what is happening and talk about ways they might be able to help.

› Memorize emergency numbers for the local police, support persons and crisis hotlines. For example, the National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

›Identify escape routes and places to go if you need to flee from an unsafe situation quickly.

› Talk with your children and/or other household members about what they should do if a violent incident occurs or if they are afraid.

› Put together an emergency bag with money/ checkbooks, extra car keys, medicine, and important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, immigration documents, and medical cards. Keep it somewhere safe and accessible, such as with a trusted friend or at your place of work.

› Trust your instincts — if you think you are in immediate danger, you probably are. If you are afraid for your safety, call the police.

Joining the effort.

To stop domestic violence, we all need to be part of the solution. The following are some things that you can do to help: 

  • Help a friend or family member who is being abused. Let them know that the abuse is not their fault, listen to them, help them to identify resources and options, empower them to make choices for their safety, and provide nonjudgmental support and an opportunity for them to seek your support again. 
  • Support your local domestic violence program. Most hotlines, advocacy or shelter organizations could benefit from your time, financial support or other donations. For ideas for building needed resources in your community for survivors of domestic violence: https://bit.ly/2nD2EhB 
  • Speak up about abuse. Let the person using violence or intimidation know their behavior is wrong and encourage them to seek help. If you see abuse, call the police. Doing nothing can make the abuse worse and even deadly. 
  • Educate yourself and others. Call your local domestic violence program to schedule informational workshops for your workplace, community group or place of worship. Encourage schools to include abuse prevention as part of their curricula. Social change is possible when individuals, families, communities, and institutions have access to both knowledge and tools. See Awareness + Action = Social Change: Strategies to End Gender-Based Violence for inspiration: https://bit.ly/2MkqQTR 
  • Set an example. Make a commitment to work for equality and end violence in all of its forms. Model non-violent and respectful behavior through your everyday actions.

HOPE is here.

For help, there are resources available for you:

recovery blog post

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. If you have a friend or family member in recovery, it’s great to find ways to show your support.

Everyone’s recovery journey is different, but having support from loved ones is helpful for anyone in recovery. Here’s some ways you can show support:

  1. Accept them without judgment – Many recovering addicts feel judged by their families and friends, so you should avoid criticism and negativity as much as possible. Instead, express love for your loved one and praise their decision to maintain sobriety. Be accepting of the person and don’t place judgment.
  2. Learn more about recovery – Seek out reputable recovery resources to learn more about the individual’s specific issues and ways to promote recovery.
  3. Create a substance-free environment – One of the biggest predictors of long-term recovery is whether or not users live in drug-free environments. Loved ones can protect a recovering addict’s surroundings by removing any drug paraphernalia and alcohol while encouraging them to stay away from places that might tempt them to relapse.
  4. Actively listen – Not all recovering addicts want to talk but if they do, take the time to listen and pay attention to what they’re saying.
  5. Encourage healthy habits – Cooking food, exercising and playing games are all positive, substance-free activities that recovering addicts can do with their loved ones.
  6. Suggest joining a support group – In support groups, recovering addicts can interact with other recovering addicts while receiving encouragement. Support them by helping them find courage to go to a support group. You can suggest it and even volunteer to go along with them.
  7. Say you want to help – Sometimes a person in recovery will ask you directly for help but most of the time they may be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. But just hearing you tell them “I’m here for you and here to help,” is the best support someone can get. Make a clear, simple statement to the recovering addict that you want to help and you support them in this process.
  8. Don’t take things personally – The recovering addict may be making their recovery a top priority instead of you. Counseling sessions may take up their time instead of nights out with you. This is a necessary part of their process as they focus on getting better. In time, this strengthens any friendships or partnerships.
  9. Don’t rehash the past – You may have been hurt by the recovery addicts’ substance abuse but it’s time to move forward from past like they are trying to do. Not letting go of what happened while they were under the influence of substances prevents the necessary growth for everyone to recover. It may be helpful for you to get your own therapy to find peace and understanding.
  10. Don’t give up – The journey of recovery can be long and challenging. Be patient and don’t give up. Keep moving forward.

Helpful Guides: 

As always, HOPE is here.

Georgia HOPE specializes in providing quality mental health and recovery services for in the state of Georgia. To learn more, enroll, or refer someone to us, contact us below:

speaking of HOPE
https://youtu.be/Bgq7_kJi9uE

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

Recovery Month:

  • promotes the message that recovery from substance abuse in all its forms is possible
  • highlights the benefits of substance abuse treatment
  • encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective substance abuse treatment for those in need
  • honors the contributions of treatment providers

Resources

Helpful Guides: 

HOPE is Here.

Georgia HOPE specializes in providing quality mental health services for children, adults, individuals and families in the state of Georgia. To learn more, enroll, or refer someone to us, contact us below:

new normal

When COVID-19 became a reality, life as we knew it changed. Our routines and ability to predict what would happen next were drastically altered.

Stress and anxiety is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. We are living in an uncertain time where stress is common. It is nearly impossible to go through one day without hearing alarming information on the news about not only COVID-19 but national security concerns and disasters. We are reminded often that the days are filled with less peace and calm and more destruction and illnesses.

Through all of this, stress and anxiety management has become vital for individuals and families. HOPE is here. We’ve put together some coping skills to practice for minimizing the mental consequences of everything going on in the world and maximizing the recovery of this exposure.

Here’s 8 Tips for Managing Anxiety during the “New Normal”

It’s normal to have difficulty managing your feelings during this time. Because everyone experiences stress and anxiety differently, don’t compare yourself with others around you or judge other people’s reactions and emotions. Here are some tips for coping:

1. Talk about it. By talking with others, trusted friends and family or professionals, about the event, you can relieve stress and realize that others share your experience and feelings.

2. Take care of yourself. Get as much rest and exercise as possible. Try to continue any religious practices or centering activities.

3. Take one thing at a time. Getting things back to normal can seem impossible. Break the job up into doable tasks. Complete that task first and then move on to the next one. Completing each task will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things seem less overwhelming.

4. Help others if you’re able to. Help prepare meals for others. Volunteer to help clean up or rebuild your community. Donate to a local food bank. Helping others can give you a sense of purpose in a situation that feels beyond control.

5. Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol may seem to help you feel better, but in the long run, they generally create additional problems that compound the stress and anxiety you’re already feeling.

6. Ask for help if you need it. If your anxiety is so strong it gets in the way of your daily life, talk with someone. Don’t try to go it alone. This is especially important for people who had existing mental health problems or those who’ve survived past trauma. You could also join a support group. Don’t try to go it alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

7. Follow public health guidelines from reputable sources. The degree and rate of reopening seems to vary across the country, so stay informed when restrictions are reinstated and up to date. But check the sources as well. There’s a lot of misleading information out there causing more stress and anxiety than needed.

8. Be your own cheerleader and don’t compare yourself to others. Facing your anxiety is hard work. We all have things that scare us or stress us out and because of this, we shouldn’t compare yourself with others. If you are working hard to overcome your anxiety, you deserve to congratulate yourself and be your own cheerleader. The work of re-entering the world after an unprecedented months-long lockdown is work. If you are trying to overcome your anxiety, then you deserve to congratulate yourself for you hard work.

HOPE is Here.

Georgia HOPE specializes in providing quality mental health services for children, adults, individuals and families in the state of Georgia. To learn more, enroll, or refer someone to us, contact us below: