Posts tagged with "tip guide"

Covid and health illustration

Tips for Thriving During a Pandemic

By Michael Ungar, Ph.D.

“While there is much to be worried about during this pandemic, it is also an opportunity to build resilience individually and as a family.

Jessica and Faizal have been married for eight years. On the outside, their lives looked good before the pandemic. Jessica owned a small chain of salons, Faizal was an accountant in a large international firm. When they weren’t working, they travelled or golfed. They had one child, and though Faizal wanted a larger family, Jessica was hesitant to become trapped in the role of mother. Then COVID-19 happened. Jessica’s salons closed, and Faizal’s firm was hinting there’d be no bonuses this year. Without the distraction of work or travel, the couple’s relationship sputtered, and both were secretly speaking with divorce lawyers.

Like any crisis, this pandemic has forced us to examine our relationships and our values. It has stripped the veneer from dysfunctional patterns of coping. We are questioning the sanity of long hours at work or our penchant for living with high levels of household debt. While that reflection can make it seem our life is spiralling out of control, this pandemic is also forcing people to reconsider the things they need to be resilient, not just now, but in the future too.

As tragic as Jessica and Faizal’s lives may seem, the real tragedy is that they hadn’t put in place the personal, social or economic resources they needed for resilience. Resilience is most often described as our personal capacity to bounce back from hardship, and likened to thinking positive thoughts, or persevering under stress (the term ‘grit’ is common). The science of resilience, however, says something quite different. While rugged individuals can cope when their lives are stable, paychecks steady, and family conflict low, people with plenty of resources do much better when times get tough. Jessica might not have been able to control the pandemic, or its impact on her business, but she might have been able to put aside a rainy day fund. Faizal couldn’t have anticipated his loss of annual income either, but he might have invested more energy in his home life as a hedge against the emotional toll a future crisis would have on him and his family.

While research on the pandemic is now being done everywhere, there is plenty of evidence from studies of resilience during natural disasters which shows that most of us are poorly prepared for a major change. As we wait for a vaccine to become widely available and we can open up our economies without risking the lives of those with a compromised immune system, there are steps we can take to thrive during this difficult time.

  1. Put more effort into your relationships. Our individual resilience depends on the security of our relationships with others, including our family, friends and colleagues. The more we pay attention to the needs of others, the more they will pay attention to ours.
  2. Keep your days structured and maintain healthy routines. As the days go on and we struggle with change, one way to maintain good mental and physical health is to impose structure and accomplish the things we should accomplish. Structure and routine are a great way to make our lives feel predictable and increase our feelings of hope for the future.
  3. Get your finances in order. Thinking positive thoughts and being optimistic is easier when our finances are less stressed. If you have been accumulating debt, it is time to reconsider priorities and ask yourself, “Do I want to live with this much pressure?” and “What do I really need to feel happy?”
  4. Find new and powerful identities. As the pandemic continues and we spend less time at our places of business, it is important that we find new ways of showing others the things that are special about us. This is the time to explore hobbies, develop new talents, and share with others the things we like to do.
  5. Look for the spaces and places where you feel you belong. Making a contribution to the welfare of others pays a dividend in goodwill. It also makes us feel like we are part of a community, family, or workplace. The more we feel like we belong, the less likely we are to experience depression or anxiety.

Each of these steps has been shown to help people weather a crisis. For Jessica and Faizal, becoming more resilient has meant putting down their smartphones and eating dinners together as a family. It has meant asking each other for help, first with cutting up credit cards, then with making it possible for each of them to take time every day to exercise and be with family and friends. Jessica used to try to squeeze a walk in between running home to make dinner. Now she asks Faizal to cook dinner so she can spend some time looking after her own needs. If it works, she may even agree to having a second child as the family’s new pattern of caring for one another won’t mean all the responsibility for that decision falls on her shoulders.

Faizal, meanwhile, is taking control of the family’s bank account and rethinking where they live. A large home in the suburbs may bring with it some benefits, but it has also made the family vulnerable and placed them too far in debt. Change is coming, of that he’s sure. The couple are no longer seeking marriage counseling to break up. Now they’re seeing a life coach, together, to rebuild their family and their lives.

The pandemic is taking its toll, but like other disasters, it is causing many of us to rethink what we value and change the world around us so we can come back stronger.”

Michael Ungar, Ph.D., is a Family Therapist and Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience at Dalhousie University. His latest best-selling book is Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success. More about Dr. Ungar: www.michaelungar.com

Challenging Behaviors

By Rachel Schwartz, Watson Institute 

Challenging behaviors represent one of the most difficult and frustrating attributes of autism. While not every individual with autism displays challenging behaviors, those who do often struggle to gain access to opportunities and independence in their communities of choice. In the face of challenging behaviors, many parents, caregivers, and practitioners sometimes feel powerless in how to best respond. This article is intended to serve as a resource by providing practical tips.

Tip #1

  • Behavior is communication. An individual’s behavior communicates to the environment his or her wants and needs.  Listening to those needs will allow us as practitioners, parents, and caregivers to better understand and respond appropriately. Furthermore, understanding what an individual communicates will allow for teaching new, appropriate ways to communicate the same thing. For example, a child throws items when he or she needs help. Rather than providing help after a child throws, teaching the child to appropriately request help will build a new skill and reduce throwing.

Tip #2

  • Isolate challenging behaviors as actions. What movement does the child make when he engages in the challenging behaviors? What actions do I see? Using actions words becomes a starting point for planning. Using action words keeps the focus on what the behavior communicates to the environment and how stakeholders can help change that behavior. Changing the lexicon of challenging behaviors from meltdown to movement may allow for more reflection, collaboration, and positive programming. 

Tip #3

Consider yourself a co-conspirator. Changing behavior involves reflecting on how the environment sets the stage for challenging behaviors and how we as stakeholders, caregivers, and parents, respond to those behaviors.  Behavior doesn’t occur in isolation; behavior happens as a response to the people and activities in an environment. Consider recording what occurs after an individual engages in a challenging behavior. Whatever occurs immediately following a challenging behavior serves to reinforce it and allow it to continue to occur. Learning how to adapt the environment can prevent challenging behaviors from occurring and promote more appropriate, positive behaviors. Changing challenging behaviors and ensuring that challenging behaviors do not stymie equal opportunities involves taking equal responsibility for the behaviors occurring.  

Final Thoughts

My work in the field of special education continues to push my perception of challenging behaviors and presumed competence.   One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that challenging behaviors do not change overnight. Behavior change occurs gradually over time, typically in fits and bursts. It takes persistence to work with and change challenging behaviors. However even more than that, it takes compassion and empathy.  Incorporating both will build an environment of kindness, mutual respect, and trust for all involved.

Bio: Rachel Schwartz, PhD, BCBA-D has worked internationally creating and supervising programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. Rachel currently works as an education consultant and trainer with the Watson Institute in Pittsburgh, PA.  

Leather Bags Are Not Made Equal: Discover The Best From 2020

A leather bag comes in many shapes, sizes and textures. They are not made equal. Discover the best of the best leather bags in 2020.

Whether you have a professional image to uphold or you like the posh feel of real leather accessories, leather bags are part of an essential wardrobe. Yet they’re not all the same. From small to large, each bag’s qualities show a different side of your personality. 

Keep reading to find the best leather bags of 2020 so far, from posh clutches to shoulder bags you’d be proud to wear as a professional.

Messenger Bags

Leather accessories like messenger bags and briefcases help preserve your professional image. You can’t do without a sizable bag to carry your laptop, files, and other important documents to and from the office.

Messenger bags have the added benefit of a strap, often worn either crossbody or over one shoulder. A briefcase isn’t as casual, however, so if your office environment is more formal, choosing a leather briefcase looks more appropriate. They’re also easy to care for.

Leather Bags and Purses

If style is all you’re going for, then your 2020 purse has to be a leather bag. Whether you go with a traditional style envelope crossbody or something more modern, the leather completes your look. Even a festival bag or a plain zipper-style works in many colors and textures.

Choose a small backpack style leather bag for functionality and chic presentation. While this style is popular this spring, it’s also useful and fits a lot more than a regular purse.

Shoulder Bags

When the situation calls for more cargo space, 2020’s fabulous styles have you covered. Use large leather bags or totes to get the job done. If you’re running somewhere, many of these larger bags even fit a laptop.

Moms everywhere can rejoice at the return of larger bags to the style scene because they’ll hold whatever you need. For any traveler, they’ll work well as an overnight bag.

Clutches and Small Purses

For minimalist style gurus or one day or evening out, you don’t need as much space. Use small leather bags and clutch purses to put a swanky spin on your usual look.

These diminutive options don’t take away anything despite their size. They accent a more elegant look for a distinctly high-class image.

Other Goods and Apparel

Leather goods don’t stop at purses and bags. Other leather apparel and accessories can help complete the new you. Look for items like leather journals, wallets and card cases to explode in popularity this year.

Putting together the perfect ensemble starts with the right accessories. Choosing a bag and matching leather goods makes or breaks the outfit from head to toe.

Your Statement Year

This is the year for you to embrace a posh new look. It starts with these stylish leather bags, the best from 2020. 

Whether you go with a small clutch or a larger shoulder bag, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful leather purse to complete your new wardrobe.

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