Did you know April is National Autism Awareness Month?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals to varying degrees.
Are you living with a person with autism? Are you experiencing stress due to the high demands of caring for someone with autism? If so, you are not alone. The demands of living with a person with autism are great and families frequently experience high levels of stress and anxiety.
The Autism Society (www.autism-society.org) offers a variety of resources for families who are living with and/or caring for a person with autism. To talk with someone about how to cope with the stress and anxiety of autism, call the EAP at 410-328-5860.
Some people have a version of autism called Aspergers. People with Aspergers are often very intelligent and can figure out a variety of problems, but have trouble reading people’s faces, or interpreting sarcasm or social cues. If you would like help in improving your social skills, call the EAP to meet with a counselor today. Or, you can email Maureen McCarren, LCSW-C at firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Group for Caregivers?
Are you caring for someone? Is it difficult for you to find time for yourself? Would you like to be part of an email group with others in the same situation? You could share ideas, frustrations, offer solutions, etc. The Employee Assistance Program is in the process of developing an on-line support group for Caregivers. If you are interested in the group, please email Maureen at email@example.com or call 410.328.0412.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD, during the fall and winter when there is less exposure to sunlight. Sunlight triggers the production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps regulate mood, among other things. Many people have found that supplementation with Vitamin D can help. Talk with your doctor to see if this might be a good strategy for you.
How Can I Sleep Better?
Stress often interferes with sleep, which then can make the next day more difficult to manage. If this continues, it can lead to depression, anxiety, irritability, and forgetfulness. Many anti-depressants are effective because they help people sleep better.
Some people want to try natural ways to increase sleep and then boost mood. First, take an inventory of your current habits. Are you ingesting too much caffeine or drinking it too late in the day? Try decreasing coffee, tea, chocolate, and stop all caffeinated products by 2:00 p.m. Cigarettes, although initially relaxing for the smoker, are stimulants and add to sleep problems. Exercise is great to help people sleep better, but don’t do vigorous exercise late in the day or right before bed. Gentle stretching or a long walk late at night is better to help people sleep. Alcohol helps people feel sleepy but it interferes with the deepest phases of sleep and causes frequent nighttime awakenings. Do you have a medical problem such as back pain, or a thyroid disorder that may interfere with sleep? Or, is the medication you’re taking hampering sleep? Try a little meditation or yoga and see if that helps you. For more information, or to talk with someone about the issues that are bothering you or worrying you, call the EAP at 410.328.5860. Sometimes, having an objective person help you look at things differently can help decrease stress. Sweet dreams!
Neurofeedback helps YOUR brain work more efficiently
During a neurofeedback session, saline soaked electrodes will be placed on your head so that the frequencies of your brain can be read by the neurofeedback machine. You will hear a sound when your brain is doing the right thing. As you hear more sounds, your brain will be training itself. You don’t have to DO anything. Just sit and listen. If you suffer from anxiety, your brain will learn to be calm; if you can’t focus, your brain will learn to concentrate better; if you have trouble sleeping, or have chronic pain, neurofeedback can help with all of that and more. For more information, contact Maureen McCarren, Senior EAP counselor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 667.214.1555.
February 24- March 7, 2013 – National Eating Disorders Awareness week.
The aim of National Eating Disorders Awareness (NED) week is to increase outreach and awareness of eating disorders and body image disorders, while reducing stigma and improving access to treatment resources. Eating disorders are serious, life threatening illnesses-not choices- and it is important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder. For more information and volunteer opportunities, go to www.nationaleatingdisorders.org, or call Jan Buxton, Senior Counselor in the EAP. You can reach Jan by calling 410-328-5860 or emailing her at email@example.com.
Support Group Forming
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has held a few different Grief Support Groups in the past. All have been very well received. So, we are planning on starting another one. It will begin on January 13, 2014 and last through March 24, 2014. (Group will not meet on January 20, 2014 due to the MLK holiday.) There will be weekly meetings, during lunchtime, noon-1:00p.m. in the EAP suite. Space is limited, so call or mail us to register for the group as soon as you can. Also, feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Wanda Binns, EAP Manager, will be facilitating the group. You can reach her at 410.328.5860, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Employee Assistance Program would like to congratulate the Baltimore Ravens on winning the AFC championship game. We wish you continued luck in the upcoming Super Bowl in New Orleans.
How to Maintain Brain Health
As we age, we need to exercise our brains in various ways to keep them sharp. Some ways to do that are:
- Exercise -especially aerobic exercise such as running, walking, playing basketball, dancing, hiking, swimming, and tennis.
- Eat right-vegetables, fruits, protein and be sure to drink enough water. Stay away from anything white-sugar, white rice, white potatoes. Remember, the darker the color, the more nutrients in the fruit or vegetable. For instance, eat more blueberries and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Challenge your brain to work in novel ways-take a different route to work, learn something new on the computer, learn a new language (no matter how long it takes you!) start a new hobby or craft, take a class, use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth, learn how to play a musical instrument, etc.
- Explore new places or cultures; try different food and possibly learn how to make it.
- Surround yourself with stimulating people and situations, go to museums, concerts, sporting events, etc.