In Part 1 of this two part post on In Front of the 8 ball, I talked about the misconceptions around mental health, and why people avoid seeking out help or consultation. If you’ve made it to Part 2 then congratulations, as I’ve piqued your interest, and perhaps you’re contemplating the possibility of change in your life.
“I need help now. Whom do I see? Where do I go?” These are often the first questions we ask when we have an area of our lives that needs immediate attention. We need: a home inspection, an educational consultation, a health or fitness makeover. If you work for a mid-size to large company or organization, it is very likely that you have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This is a program that your employer contracts out to another organization to provide immediate assistance to alleviate any concerns or difficulties an employee may have. Employee Assistance Programs offer counseling services, as well as legal, financial, or wellness services. The best thing about EAP programs is that all of the services are free, already prepaid via your employer, and entirely confidential (your employer will not know that you have accessed or used EAP benefits).
I’ve always been a fan of George Gershwin’s song Summertime from Porgy and Bess(although DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince’s ain’t bad). Is it not true, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy. . .So hush little baby don’t you cry.” As we usher in a new season of grilling, swimming pools, hot weather and summer trips, it’s generally a positive and happy time for all.
Students often kick back and relax during the summer, putting off their summer reading list and hanging out with friends. Many adults tend to take their vacation time during the summer months to spend time with their family, enjoy the nice weather, or take the trip they have been planning all year for. Our friends in Europe simply all vacation at the same time during the month of August. Business and productivity is generally down in the summer months, and that’s just fine because that’s part of summer and living easy.
Many counselors also take advantage of the summers to travel, relax, and spend time with friends and family. Some of this may be by design, and for others it may just be due to “summer syndrome:” a good majority of their clients are feeling better, are on vacation, or living easy.
There is much to love about warmer weather, increased hours of daylight, and spending more time outdoors, all of these things contribute to better lifestyle, and better mental health. On the flip side my colleagues and I fully prepare for the return of old clients, new clients and referrals once the days become shorter, school begins, and the holidays season quickly approaching.
Summertime is naturally a great time to be “livin’ easy,” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to “work hard, and play hard” as well. I would like to propose(and challenge) that summertime can also be a great time for dynamic change for the following reasons:
- Being proactive in the summer can prepare and pave the way for a successful fall and holiday season
- Due to the general fun summer activities, the balance of doing introspective work on self, and balancing with self care is easier than other seasons
- It’s very possible there is more availability for appointments with a counselor in the month of June than in October
- No one has ever regretted planning ahead or being proactive
Allow me to be a part of your proactive process this summer by reaching out to me today.
photo credit: bootoyz
One of my favorite memories as a child was going to overnight camp. Making new friends, being enamored with all the camp counselors and staff–they were all so cool and had great stories.
The same passion for camp led me to return to camp when I was in college: this time as a counselor. That summer remains one of the most idyllic experiences. If you are among the families sending their children to overnight camps for 1 week all the way up to 8 week sessions, you may be experiencing some anxiety and fear for your child regarding his/her time away from home. The feelings might be shared by your child(ren), as well.
For parents, concerns about safety, and overall well-being are the biggest trepidations. For the child, being away from all that is familiar and going out into the unknown with very flimsy verbal affirmation that they will be picked up from camp or will be coming home is the greatest fear. Perhaps knowing that my friends were going to be at camp made my own transition to camp very easy when I was 8 years old. Perhaps I knew innately that I needed to leave the nest to explore and get dirty. Read the rest of this entry »