Happy Labor Day!!!

New Year's Resolution

 

As you can see I enjoyed Labor Day, I forgot to publish this! Enjoy Thenessa’s blog – Megan R. Pickens, LPC-S

Labor Day is the day that we Americans celebrate working or being employed…… by taking a day off to not work….yay!!! Sure, my husband and I are thankful to have jobs and be able to provide for our family. So in this respect, kudos to Labor Day…everyone deserves a break. I guess I should not just say Americans as there are a few other countries that recognize Labor/Labour Day as a holiday such as Australia and Canada. Basically, it is a time to reflect how we the common people keep the economy going and America a great place to call home. I’m sure many find a since of pride and accomplishment in living the American dream……essentially doing their part to make America a better place for future generations. What do we normally, do on our day of relaxation and reflection? We prepare a great feast, which is quite American. This is usually the last bar-b-que of the year and is  a lot of work….but hey, it beats being at the office. And, it is an absolute fashion no-no to wear white after Labor Day. Although, I have never read when it is okay to start wearing white again???? Normally, we stuff ourselves and watch the U.S. Open, absolutely love me some tennis.  However, this year we will take time to aid others in need, As a family, we will be helping displaced families due to Hurricane Harvey that are in local shelters. The number of families in need is overwhelming. So we will use part of our day to be of service to others. Yes, the all mighty dollar does keep the economy going but love and compassion for our fellow man goes along way as well.  I encourage each of you to consider taking a hour or two to help someone in need,

Happy Labor Day

Resolutions!!!

Cheers, 2017 is here. Happy New Year to you all! At the beginning of each new year many of us make resolutions. Mostly, resolutions are geared towards your personal needs and/or preferences.  What is going to improve your current lifestyle, to aid in making you the best you, you could possibly be? Our resolutions are to assist us along this rocky journey of self-improvement.  Many of us dive in full throttle and we do great for the first few weeks but then we tend to not see the results we anticipated or we realize that our resolutions are to restrictive and we give up…. back to what we have become comfortable with.  I would like to suggest, instead of making unrealistic resolutions, sit down and come up with your long-term resolutions and then come up with some short-term resolutions that you can use to measure your long-term goals.  For instance, let’s say your long-term resolution is to lose 20lbs…….”now, you and I both know that you did not gain this 20 extra pounds overnight and we should know that you are not going to lose it in a matter of days”….you want to set measurable short-term goals to aid in reaching your long-term goal….like, I am going to exercise 3 days a week for a minimum of 20-30  minutes, or I am going to decrease my sugar or processed food intake weekly.  Giving up everything all at once, is setting one up for failure.  If you are strong willed and can give it up, then by all means do so. Most of us need to gradually incorporate these changes into our current lifestyles. Once you have reached a short-term millstone, reward yourself. You are on the right track and making progress. Now, by rewards I do not mean go and undo all the hard work you have already done to make it this far….just a small reward for reaching a goal. Continue on this path until you reach your long-term resolutions. The key, don’t give up…baby steps!!!

Wishing you health and prosperity in 2017.

Remembering Dr. King

This year on January 16, 2017 we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for his remarkable contributions not only for African- American but for all mankind. Dr. King was a true humanitarian.  His selfless acts along with others provide me with opportunities that most likely I would not have without their stance, blood sweat and tears.  If Dr. King were still alive he would celebrate his 88th birthday this year. Below is an abridged version of an article by the Huffington Post authored by Clarence B. Jones about Dr. King and what he might have done to deal with current issues:

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on His 86th Birthday

This weekend our nation will observe its annual commemoration of this great man’s life. It comes at a time when national and international events have provoked a lot of discussion about what Dr. King would say or do in response to those events if he were alive today.

An entire generation of Americans has grown up associating Dr. King almost exclusively with his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech (which I copyrighted; it is now one of the most valuable intellectual properties of the King estate). Few people today know of his opinions on issues like poverty and income inequality, or of his early support for Israel and his public opposition to the war in Vietnam.

Although I have no polling data to support my belief, I estimate that he enjoyed an approval rating of 80 percent or higher at the time of his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, but that his approval rating had probably dipped to 40 percent or lower by the time he was assassinated five years later.

This blog post addresses some of the important contemporary domestic and international issues that I believe would be of major concern to Dr. King if he were alive today. My statements are not based on what I have read or on what some third party told me. They are based on my personal recollections of conversations and discussions I had with Dr. King one-on-one, and of conversations we had together with third parties, over the approximately seven years I worked with him as a political advisor, personal lawyer and draft speechwriter.

The night before he was assassinated, Dr. King spoke at the Bishop Charles Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, before a large gathering in support of a strike by sanitation workers for better wages and working conditions. Among other things he said:

We’ve got some difficult days ahead. … Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I am not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.

The contemporary issues that I believe would be of primary concern to Dr. King today, issues that challenge the coalition of support he enjoyed at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and threaten our ability to get to that Promised Land, are (in no particular order):

Systemic and growing poverty among a significant segment of the population.

Dr. King would regard systemic poverty in the United States as morally indefensible and unacceptable. He would publicly align himself with Pope Francis, who, in an address to the students of the Jesuit schools of Italy and Albania on June 7, 2013, said:

The poverty of the world is a scandal. In a world where there is such great wealth, so many resources for giving food to everyone, it is impossible to understand how there could be so many hungry children, so many children without education, so many poor people! Poverty today is a cry. A few weeks later, in an address to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on June 20, 2013, Pope Francis added: A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.

Dr. King would closely examine the amount of money expended on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the cost of maintaining our military bases around the world and compare those expenditures with those allocated toward reducing poverty, increasing affordable housing, and creating employment opportunities. He would put forward an updated version of his “bill of rights for the disadvantaged,” which he proposed as early as 1964. In November 1967 he wrote:

[O]ur country must undergo a revolution in values. The billions of dollars now directed toward destruction and military containment must be redirected toward a bill of rights for the disadvantaged. Such a bill of rights should provide an adequate education, income, home, recreation, as well as physical and mental health care.

Ubiquitous gun violence.

This year firearms are expected to surpass automobiles as the leading cause of death in the United States. Nationwide, young black men have the highest firearm mortality rate; the overwhelming majority of these firearm deaths were from homicides perpetrated by other black men. Dr. King would be forceful in speaking out on the reality of gun violence among young black men.

Efforts to limit voting rights by the U.S. Supreme Court and various state legislatures.

Dr. King would initiate a national campaign to restore the enforceability of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires that certain states and local governments get permission, or “preclearance,” from the federal government before enacting any change to voting laws or practices. As of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County vs. Holder on June 25, 2013, which declared Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act (the section containing the “coverage formula” that determined which states and local governments would be subject to the Section 5 preclearance requirement) unconstitutional, there is no way to enforce Section 5, and many states that would have been subject to the preclearance requirement have since enacted laws restricting voting. In those states Dr. King would seek to mobilize mass support for removing such restrictions.

Continuing police shootings of unarmed black men.

Dr. King would respect, applaud, support, and join the new generation of young people who are forcefully but nonviolently calling for an end of the disproportionate use of excessive force against young African-American men by police officers. He would participate in relevant demonstrations in Ferguson and elsewhere as long as they remained nonviolent. He would say not only that black lives matter but that all lives matter. He would declare that police shootings of unarmed black men require not “negotiation” but immediate cessation. He would say, “Stop killing our young people! They are the most sacred and precious asset we have as a people.”

Mass incarceration of black youth.

According to legal scholar Michelle Alexander, in some inner-city communities four out of five black youths can expect to be incarcerated at some point in their lifetimes. Alexander elaborates in her 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness:

The mass incarceration of people of color is a big part of the reason that a black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born in slavery. … More black men are imprisoned today than at any other moment in our nation’s history. More are disenfranchised today that in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.

The above statements are not intended to be definitive claims regarding what Dr. King would actually say or do today. They are intended solely as projections of what I believe he would say or do today were he alive to celebrate his 86th birthday.

Martin, we miss you.

 

What A Shame!!!

stop2

Yesterday I was watching the news and the following story caught my attention…..my first response…..What A Shame….my second response was young lives wasted lives. According to ABC news two high school students (girls) were arguing in one of the girl’s bathrooms located at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware early Thursday morning. Witnesses report that the argument was over a boy. Yeah, that is an entirely different blog.  Anywho,  the argument escalates into a fight. It is believed that the victim (Amy Joyner-Francis) was attacked by more than one person. The assault resulted in Amy hitting her head on a sink in the bathroom. Amy was airlifted to a local hospital where she later was pronounced dead. How tragic. You send your kids off to school in the morning with the hopes that they learn something. Hopefully, we are instilling values to produce healthy, happy, productive citizens. Yes, I once was a high school student, so I do know the foolery that does occur….seems like it was a lot simpler back in my high school days.  Most importantly, we lived!!! Yes, arguments are going to occur between kids but we have to ask ourselves, “What are we teaching our kids?” When violence is the answer to resolving a problem. What a shame this younger girl died over foolishness. What a shame that the individuals responsible are going to endure consequences they are not prepared for. What a shame there were peers watching and joining in but no one felt compelled to be the voice of reason or to go get assistance until it was to late.  As adults, as parents we have to do a better job of teaching or kids right from wrong. We have to do a better job of teaching them to live to fight another day.

 

http://abc7ny.com/news/16-year-old-girl-killed-in-high-school-assault-remembered/1302551/#videoplayer

Are You Codependent?

are-you-codependentHas someone said, “You’re so co-dependent?”  “I can’t take it, you’re so needy!” and you begin to wonder “Am I?  What does this mean for me and my future?”  Simply put, being co-dependent means the relationship you are involved in is one-sided, as you are willing to sacrifice your happiness and emotional health for the benefit of your partner or child.

Some hallmarks of co-dependency are

  1. No relationship with self. You do not know your own needs, wants, and desires.
  1. Depends on others. You only receive total fulfillment and satisfaction from your relationships with your spouse, child, etc.
  1. Compulsive Helper. Helping others makes you feel in control and safe.
  1. People Pleasing. You will honor others’ needs and wants at the cost of your own needs and wants.

Co-dependents take on 3 roles in relationships with others – the rescuer, persecutor, and victim.

The rescuer’s survived a childhood home where where their needs were not met.  As an adult, they feel safe and at their best self when they are helping others.  They do not know how to set limits and make their well-being a priority.

The persecutor’s family was one where mental and/or physical abusive ran rampant.  They hide their pain by coming off overconfident.  As an adult, they cannot tolerate vulnerable feelings.  When vulnerable feelings arise, they feel weak and will develop unsafe ways to release their angry feelings.

The victim felt damaged and inadequate in their family.  They will allow others to take care of them because they do not feel capable of doing so themselves.

If you find any of these to be true, seek professional help through a mental health professional and or Co-dependents Anonymous.

Stress and Self-care

LettingGo

With the elections coming up, I have become more and more aware of the state of the world, or at least the state of these United States. Who would have ever though that Donald Trump with be a candidate in a presidential election with a possibility to win? Certainly not me. Just watching these debates and thinking about how much life could possible change if presidential hopeful Donald Trump is elected puts me in an area of fear and stress like no other. Which brings me to my point. In this fast paced rapid world that we live in stress has become a ritual. Being under stress has become as routine as taking a bath or brushing one’s teeth. I can’t tell you the amount of coffee consumed each day or the amount of cigarettes that are smoked each day in an effort to relieve stress. It is important that people understand that stress is just as deadly as any other disease. It is known as the silent killer. Stress will eat away at a person until there is nothing left. Too much of anything can lead to depression and stress is the number one culprit. Having to live with these levels of stress daily make it important to have the tools for self-care and stress management. Self-care includes any intentional action you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. We tend to only think about self-care when our body are telling us that it is tired, and even then we only focus on the physical. The truth is self-car should be a daily venture and has to very well-rounded in order to be effective. I found and article with some self-care tips that can be done daily in order to relieve stress. This list is below broken down into the three major areas of self-care; self-care for the mind, self-care for the body and self-care for the soul. The list can be viewed below.

Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Mind

1. Start a compliments file. Document the great things people say about you to read later.
2. Scratch off a lurker on your to-do list, something that’s been there for ages and you’ll never do.
3. Change up the way you make decisions. Decide something with your heart if you usually use your head. Or if you tend to go with your heart, decide with your head.
4. Go cloud-watching. Lie on your back, relax, and watch the sky.
5. Take another route to work. Mixing up your routine in small ways creates new neural pathways in the brain to keep it healthy.
6. Pay complete attention to something you usually do on autopilot, perhaps brushing your teeth, driving, eating, or performing your morning routine.
7. Goof around for a bit. Schedule in five minutes of “play” (non-directed activity) several times throughout your day.
8. Create a deliberate habit, and routinize something small in your life by doing it in the same way each day—what you wear on Tuesdays, or picking up the dental floss before you brush.
9. Fix a small annoyance at home that’s been nagging you—a button lost, a drawer that’s stuck, a light bulb that’s gone.
10. Punctuate your day with a mini-meditation with one minute of awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations; one minute of focused attention on breathing; and one minute of awareness of the body as a whole.
11. Be selfish. Do one thing today just because it makes you happy.
12. Do a mini-declutter. Recycle three things from your wardrobe that you don’t love or regularly wear.
13. Unplug for an hour. Switch everything to airplane mode and free yourself from the constant bings of social media and email.
14. Get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just talking to a stranger at the bus stop.
15. Edit your social media feeds, and take out any negative people. You can just “mute” them; you don’t have to delete them.

Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Body

1. Give your body ten minutes of mindful attention. Use the body scan technique to check in with each part of your body.
2. Oxygenate by taking three deep breaths. Breathe into your abdomen, and let the air puff out your stomach and chest.
3. Get down and boogie. Put on your favorite upbeat record and shake your booty.
4. Stretch out the kinks. If you’re at work, you can always head to the bathroom to avoid strange looks.
5. Run (or walk, depending on your current physical health) for a few minutes. Or go up and down the stairs three times.
6. Narrow your food choices. Pick two healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and rotate for the week.
7. Activate your self-soothing system. Stroke your own arm, or if that feels too weird, moisturize.
8. Get to know yourself intimately. Look lovingly and without judgment at yourself naked. (Use a mirror to make sure you get to know all of you!)
9. Make one small change to your diet for the week. Drink an extra glass of water each day, or have an extra portion of veggies each meal.
10. Give your body a treat. Pick something from your wardrobe that feels great next to your skin.
11. Be still. Sit somewhere green, and be quiet for a few minutes.
12. Get fifteen minutes of sun, especially if you’re in a cold climate. (Use sunscreen if appropriate.)
13. Inhale an upbeat smell. Try peppermint to suppress food cravings and boost mood and motivation.
14. Have a good laugh. Read a couple of comic strips that you enjoy.
15. Take a quick nap. Ten to twenty minutes can reduce your sleep debt and leave you ready for action.

Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Soul

1. Imagine you’re your best friend. If you were, what would you tell yourself right now? Look in the mirror and say it.
2. Use your commute for a “Beauty Scavenger Hunt.” Find five unexpected beautiful things on your way to work
3. Help someone. Carry a bag, open a door, or pick up an extra carton of milk for a neighbor.
4. Check in with your emotions. Sit quietly and just name without judgment what you’re feeling.
5. Write out your thoughts. Go for fifteen minutes on anything bothering you. Then let it go as you burn or bin the paper.
6. Choose who you spend your time with today. Hang out with “Radiators” who emit enthusiasm and positivity, and not “Drains” whose pessimism and negativity robs energy.
7. Stroke a pet. If you don’t have one, go to the park and find one.
8. Get positive feedback. Ask three good friends to tell you what they love about you.
9. Make a small connection. Have a few sentences of conversation with someone in customer service such as a sales assistant or barista.
10. Splurge a little. Buy a small luxury as a way of valuing yourself.
11. Have a self-date. Spend an hour alone doing something that nourishes you (reading, your hobby, visiting a museum or gallery, etc.)
12. Exercise a signature strength. Think about what you’re good at, and find an opportunity for it today.
13. Take a home spa. Have a long bath or shower, sit around in your bathrobe, and read magazines.
14. Ask for help—big or small, but reach out.
15. Plan a two-day holiday for next weekend. Turn off your phone, tell people you’ll be away, and then do something new in your own town.

Bard, E. (2015). 45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul. Retrieved 2016, from http://tinybuddha.com/blog/45-simple-self-care-practices-for-a-healthy-mind-body-and-soul/