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 email@example.com
Assistance for Those Caring for Elderly RelativesThe EAP is committed to helping those who are helping others. We will have a special guest come to present ideas to those who are caring for elderly parents, relatives or friends.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410.328.0412.
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!
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 March 18 and last through May 20. 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. Cheryl Confer, Senior EAP Counselor, will be facilitating the group. You can reach her at 410.328.5860, or email at email@example.com.
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.