5 Tips For How To Handle Being Alone During The Holidays

IMG_4891Whether through choice, death, or simply logistics, some find themselves alone during the holidays. While quite a few feel depressed due to this circumstance, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some suggestions to not just survive the holiday season, but to thrive!

1.) Volunteer. There are so many wonderful organizations that are in desperate need of volunteers. Volunteers can volunteer with babies, children, teens, adults or older adults or animals. If someone doesn’t want to volunteer face to face with strangers, there are plenty of behind the scenes ways to volunteer, i.e. administrative tasks. Here is just a short list of organizations to chose from: Hospitals, Assisted Living Facilities, Animal Shelters, Homeless Shelters, Political causes, and so much more. In Orlando, there are literally hundreds of charities that could use more volunteers. Volunteering and giving of ourselves is the best way to feel better. Additionally, new relationships will be created, and suddenly, one might find a social calendar teeming with new friends and activities.

2.) Ask. Most of us (not all, but most) have extended family that we could chose to be with during holidays. If your extended family doesn’t invite you to join them, (because they likely assume you already have plans), why not ask if you can join them? They will most likely say “yes” and perhaps apologize for not thinking to ask themselves.

3.) Remain active. Exercise/movement is especially important during the holiday season. We need sunlight, and getting outside to take a walk, go for a run, or a bike ride can help us feel better.

4.) Faith. Faith is huge. As a Christian, I could fill my entire calendar with my  church’s activities alone.  Some people don’t have a church, and there are various reasons for that. Churches are made up of fallible human beings (to borrow from Dr. Albert Ellis.) If you didn’t have a positive experience at one, you can try a different one. There are seeker friendly churches, churches that go more into depth, and “high” churches. Is your family from another country? There are Greek churches, Romanian churches, etc. What a great way to connect to your heritage and create some new relationships. If you live in a metropolitan area like Orlando, FL, every denomination represented. There are even churches which meet on our beaches! It can be fun to visit every single denomination, learn their differences, and discover where you feel comfortable. Faith – believing in something greater than ourselves – can be incredibly powerful, healing, and fill us with Joy because we believe we are never alone.

5.) Grief. If you find yourself alone due to loss of a loved one, and find yourself grieving, it’s important to talk about it. Holding it in, ignoring it, and hoping it will subside may make those feelings worse. Call your local Hospice and find out what groups they offer for grieving family members. Hospice typically runs many groups for children and adults who are grieving. They also tend to be free of charge.

Of course each of these can be expounded upon and take hours to discuss. These tips are meant to stimulate thought and give some quick ideas as to how to potentially fill up your holiday season, brighten it, and thrive this year.

This article may be reproduced as long as the author’s name and contact information are kept in tact.

LPB Professional PhotoAbout the author: Laura Peddie-Bravo is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (2001) and Nationally Certified Counselor (1999.) Mrs. Peddie-Bravo is the founder and owner of The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC. For more information or to arrange a brief complimentary appointment, please call 407-222-6239. http://www.TheBravoCounselingGroup.com

 

The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC’s Holiday Hours

Maple leaves Fall

The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC will be closed from Tuesday, November 25th through Sunday, November 30th, 2014 due to Thanksgiving vacation. The office will reopen Monday, December 1st at 8:00 am. If you have any questions, please call Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC at 407-222-6239.

Please note The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC is not a provider of crisis services. It is an outpatient counseling private practice. If needed, there is a 24 hour 7 days a week service through the Life Line telephone number and website:1-800-273-8255  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  , in case of urgency, and 911 in case of a life threatening emergency. Life Line provides a live person to talk, or chat with via computer,  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

New client appointments will be scheduled on or after 12/1/14.

Again, if you have any questions, please call Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC before Tuesday, 11/25/14. All communication received on or after 11/25/14 will be returned on Monday 12/1/14. Thank you!

Welcome to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Now What?

 

Question Mark

As a parent of a child on the Autistic Spectrum, I’ve had numerous conversations that started something like this:

Me: “Oh, you have a child on the Autistic spectrum too?”

Acquaintance: “Yes, what have you tried to help your child?”

Me: “I’ve tried Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Hippotherapy, Therapuetic Riding, Digital Auditory Aerobics, iLs,” and so on. “What have you tried?”

Receiving a diagnosis of “Autism” isn’t like being diagnosed with a broken arm, for example. If someone has a broken arm, we know exactly how to treat it. With Autism, it’s a completely different story. We don’t really know what, if anything, will help. We do know that recent research indicates that early intervention with children on the Autism Spectrum can yield incredibly positive results.

You may be thinking “Ok, but exactly which interventions?”

That’s the tricky part.

We don’t know exactly which therapies to recommend. Some therapies have emerged as helpful, largely in part to documented research that proves positive results. Occupational Therapy is routinely recommended and has been proven to help those on the Autism Spectrum. Speech Therapy also has been documented to helpful, if it’s needed. ABA therapy has also been shown to be a solid, helpful therapy. Play Therapy can be helpful too. But there are other therapeutic approaches, and they can be very expensive. My fellow parents traveling the ASD journey know how many thousands we have spent “trying” therapies.

There is a saying in the Autism community “If you’ve met a child with Autism, you’ve met ONE child with Autism,” meaning, each child with Autism is affected differently. Occupational Therapy on horseback, called Hippotherapy, may have worked wonders with my child, but your child may not obtain the same result. That’s the reason most of us say we’ve “tried” this and that therapy.

Here’s a list of every therapy I know about that my friends and I have tried with our ASD children, and I’m sure there’s plenty I’m missing:

Occupational Therapy http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/benefits-of-occupational-therapy-for-autism

Applied Behavioral Therapy (ABA) http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba

Speech Therapy http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/benefits-speech-therapy-autism

Hippotherapy http://www.freedomride.com/programs/hippotherapy.html

Therapuetic Riding http://www.freedomride.com/programs/therapeuticriding.html

Play Therapy http://www.a4pt.org/?page=WhyPlayTherapy

Learn To Learn http://www.learntolearn.com/

Vision Therapy http://visualhealthlearning.com/

Social Skills Group http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/community-connections/social-skills-and-autism

Digital Auditory Aerobics http://holistichealthchicago.com/ait.html

iLs http://www.integratedlistening.com/autism/

Gluten/Casein Free Diets (GFC) http://www.autismspeaks.org/node/112986

Chelation http://www.generationrescue.org/recovery/biomedical-treatment/treatments-to-explore/

Hypobaric Chamber http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AutismNews/story?id=7070353

Fast 4Word https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T6QpYUtVt0

Music Therapy http://www.joyfulmusictherapy.net/about-us.php

Marital Arts (with an instructor who is an expert with both martial arts and ASD) For example: http://www.dragonflyasd.org/

Luminosity http://autismsd.com/lumosity-and-autism/

The Salt Room http://www.saltroomorlando.com/about-salt-therapy.html

And more (i.e. therapeutic swimming, therapeutic gymnastics, etc.)

So, how do you know what will be best for your child? What I recommend is connecting with other parents who are a bit further down the road than you. Talk with them, listen to their experiences, ask questions and take notes. Support for the parents and caregivers of ASD children is critical. Some places to obtain parental/caregiver support: 1. Parent Support Groups through your child’s school, 2. parent support groups through local chapters of Autism groups, i.e. Greater Orlando Autism Society in Orlando, Florida, 3. Parent Support through local therapy clinics, and 4. If no face to face parent groups are available, try online support through Autism Speaks, CARD (Center for Autism Research and Development), Autism Support Network, etc.

I encourage you to maintain high expectations for your child, and be patient with him or her as (s)he develops at his or her own pace.

Let me leave you with hope and positive quote from Dr. Temple Grandin (if you don’t know who she is, look her up. Her books, website and public appearances about Autism are incredibly helpful.)

“The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things.”

Dr. Temple Grandin

 

About The Author:

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Laura is the parent of three amazing children, one who has ASD. She  has extensive experience with the Autism community in Orlando, FL  as both a parent and professional. You are welcome to distribute this article as long as you keep the author’s information intact. For more information, or to schedule a complimentary phone call, please phone Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC at (407) 222-6239.

Fall 2014 Office Hours

Maple leaves Fall

 

Greetings! Now that school is back in session, The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC’s office hours are changing too.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 407-222-6239.

Client hours (hours during which clients will be scheduled)

Monday: 8:00 am – 1:30 pm

Tuesday: 8:00 am – 1:30 pm

Thursday: 12 noon – 9:00 pm

Office hours

Monday: 8:00 – 5:00 pm

Tuesday: 8:00 – 5:00 pm

Wednesday: 8:00am – 5:00 pm

Thursday: 12noon- 10:00 pm

Friday: 8:00 am – 12 noon*

(*please note: any contact -phone calls/emails/texts – received after 12 noon on Fridays will be returned the following Monday.)

Again, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC, owner of The Bravo Counseling Group LLC at 407-222-6239

Women, Depression and Heart Attack

royalty free image woman having heart attackAccording to the morning news, I learned of an alarming new trend concerning middle aged women.  A new study released today (http://www.webmd.com/women/news/20140618/depression-doubles-odds-of-heart-attack-for-younger-women-study) revealed increased risk for heart attacks and heart disease in middle aged women who also have depression. “Young and middle-aged women with depression are more than twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or die from heart disease as their mentally healthy peers, new research suggests.” The article also said “The study also found that women younger than 55 are more likely than men or older women to become depressed.” While the relationship between depression and heart disease or heart attack isn’t understood, I have been aware for years that there is a connection between our body, mind, and spirit. Sometimes the way to prevent disease, or heal disease,  is to increase our  mental and spiritual health.

Many of us, and I must admit I am guilty of the same thing, will only take time to slow down and rest when we are physically ill. Once we get to the point of illness, then we (hopefully!) stop and pay attention. I encourage everyone to become more  aware of how we are doing before the point of illness. For example, if we are beginning to feel tired, run down, overwhelmed, those are important signs to stop, assess the situation and perhaps make changes. When we feel trapped, insist there is no other way or nothing else we can do, and keep going on, trudging through each day, we invite physical illness.

What are the symptoms of depression?  Symptoms of depression may include, but are not limited to: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, ambivalence, lack of energy, lack of motivation, withdrawal from people and things the person used to enjoy, irritability, anger, sleeping too much or too little, and may include thoughts of suicide. If you or a loved one have symptoms of depression, please seek help.   You can turn to a mental health professional, medical doctor, pastor, or speak with a hotline 24/7. Here are just a few resources which may be helpful:

Life Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

NAMI: http://www.NAMI.org http://www.nami.org/

NIMH: http://www.NIMH.org http://www.nami.org/

Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/

{Note: This article may be freely distributed as long as the author’s information remains intact.}

LPB Professional Photo

About the author: Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She founded The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC located in Winter Park, Florida. Laura operates from a Wellness perspective, incorporating mind-body and spirit into her counseling. For a free 15 minute consultation, please call 407-222-6239.

 

 

 

Summer Office Hours

awesome roses 5-17-14

Summer Office Hours

Between June 1st and August 14th Client Appointments will be scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. (Please note: The July 4th Holiday will be on a Friday this year and it  will not affect The Bravo Counseling Group’s regular office hours.)  It is generally easier to schedule appointments during the summer, however, in order to ensure your preference of day and time, please call in advance to schedule.  To schedule an appointment,  schedule a complimentary phone call, or to ask a question, please call 407-222-6239. Please know that we offer free  phone consultations in order to do our best to make sure you and your counselor are a good fit and answer any questions you may have.  We do provide Pro-Bono services year round, however, those Pro-Bono appointments are currently full. If we are unable to assist you for some reason, we are happy to help connect you with other resources.