When Christmas Is Difficult

When Christmas Is Difficult

This is a special Christmas edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health. 

In this edition, Pastor Brad talks with Perry Root, Sr. about experiencing grief or depression during Christmastime.  Perry is an M.S.W. student doing his practicum with Fresh Hope and is also a fulltime member of the Community of Grace staff.  He shares some insights as to experiencing grief or depression at this time of the year.

We encourage you to share this podcast with those that you believe might benefit from it.   Even posting it on your social media may reach someone who is very lonely, sad and depressed during this what many call “the most wonderful time of the year.”

To listen to this episode click here or click on the icon below:

small logo for Fresh Hope

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

Pastor Brad Hoefs, the host of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, is the founder of Fresh Hope Ministries, a network of Christian mental health support groups for those who have a diagnosis and their loved ones. In other words, Fresh Hope is a Christian mental health support group.

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

unnamed

When Christmas Is Difficult

When Christmas Is Difficult

This is a special Christmas edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health. 

In this edition, Pastor Brad talks with Perry Root, Sr. about experiencing grief or depression during Christmastime.  Perry is an M.S.W. student doing his practicum with Fresh Hope and is also a fulltime member of the Community of Grace staff.  He shares some insights as to experiencing grief or depression at this time of the year.

We encourage you to share this podcast with those that you believe might benefit from it.   Even posting it on your social media may reach someone who is very lonely, sad and depressed during this what many call “the most wonderful time of the year.”

To listen to this episode click here or click on the icon below:

small logo for Fresh Hope

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

Pastor Brad Hoefs, the host of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, is the founder of Fresh Hope Ministries, a network of Christian mental health support groups for those who have a diagnosis and their loved ones. In other words, Fresh Hope is a Christian mental health support group.

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

unnamed

Mental Health Life Hacks for the Holidays

Mental Health Life Hacks for the Holidays

By Rick Qualls

As a child every Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday I would become sick.

Don’t misunderstand. Mine was a “Leave It To Beaver” childhood. It was an idyllic 1950’s childhood where I was cared for and loved.

I would get so excited I couldn’t contain myself.

There were long trips to visit grandparents we didn’t see often. Sears and Wards offered additional catalogs with large children’s sections of fascinating toys. Wish books we called them. I studied them and marked the pages, so mom and dad wouldn’t miss my favorite requests. And I was an ardent believer in Santa Claus…even after I learned it was Santa Qualls that brought the gifts.

The holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year.

Today, as an adult with bipolar, I can still get sick during the holidays.

By the time I became an adult the ugly face of depression cycled into my life. The winter and holidays can now trigger a bipolar-depressive relapse. As the days get shorter and grayer, my spirits began to fall.

Fortunately, recent years have been better because of bipolar life hacks I have discovered. Here are a few:

  • Winter days and holidays are better when I keep my routine. I stay on my medicine. Not taking my medicine regularly will trigger a depressive relapse.
  • Sometimes adjustments are made in my meds as the season starts. I just had a session with my doctor in which an adjustment was made.
  • I have found that sleep difficulties can set off my depression. It does not take many sleep deprived nights to cause major setbacks. I have learned that I function best with nine hours of sleep. Everyone is different, but it is important to know what your sleep cycle needs to be.
  • I trim the Christmas tree but also trim my schedule. Some time ago I learned what is called the Pareto Principle which states that 80% of your reward comes from 20% of your effort. While the percentages may be argued I have learned that about 20% of what I do bring 80% of my satisfaction.
  • So I trim the schedule to make sure things of ultimate importance are done. It allows me to say, “No” to things that take energy I do not have. That helps me to keep my energy balanced.
  • These days my muscles and joints are not flexible, but my attitude is. If one of my grown kids can’t be at home on Christmas or Thanksgiving, I can let that go. I just make a point of enjoying them when they can. This flexibility makes life easier for them from the stress of trying to please other family members.
  • Accepting other family members as they are and not expecting someone’s personality to change makes things smoother. Over-expecting creates pressure for me and everyone else. Everyone needs their emotional space, including me!
  • What about the gray, dreary days? I turn on the sunlight. In my experience, a sunlamp used for Seasonal Affective Disorder helps my bipolar. So if the sun is hiding, the light comes on.
  • I also have learned that the light is best used early in the day. I discovered when using it in the evening it will prevent sleep, even overcoming my sleep meds.

What are your mental health life hacks?

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1Thessalonians 5:11

“Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. “Eph 4:29

What are your mental health life hacks? Share them in the comments. It may make a big difference for someone.

Quails-bio-slide

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

unnamed

When Christmas Is Difficult

When Christmas Is Difficult

This is a special Christmas edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health. 

In this edition, Pastor Brad talks with Perry Root, Sr. about experiencing grief or depression during Christmastime.  Perry is an M.S.W. student doing his practicum with Fresh Hope and is also a fulltime member of the Community of Grace staff.  He shares some insights as to experiencing grief or depression at this time of the year.

We encourage you to share this podcast with those that you believe might benefit from it.   Even posting it on your social media may reach someone who is very lonely, sad and depressed during this what many call “the most wonderful time of the year.”

To listen to this episode click here or click on the icon below:

small logo for Fresh Hope

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

Pastor Brad Hoefs, the host of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, is the founder of Fresh Hope Ministries, a network of Christian mental health support groups for those who have a diagnosis and their loved ones. In other words, Fresh Hope is a Christian mental health support group.

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

unnamed

Mental Health Life Hacks for the Holidays

Mental Health Life Hacks for the Holidays

By Rick Qualls

As a child every Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday I would become sick.

Don’t misunderstand. Mine was a “Leave It To Beaver” childhood. It was an idyllic 1950’s childhood where I was cared for and loved.

I would get so excited I couldn’t contain myself.

There were long trips to visit grandparents we didn’t see often. Sears and Wards offered additional catalogs with large children’s sections of fascinating toys. Wish books we called them. I studied them and marked the pages, so mom and dad wouldn’t miss my favorite requests. And I was an ardent believer in Santa Claus…even after I learned it was Santa Qualls that brought the gifts.

The holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year.

Today, as an adult with bipolar, I can still get sick during the holidays.

By the time I became an adult the ugly face of depression cycled into my life. The winter and holidays can now trigger a bipolar-depressive relapse. As the days get shorter and grayer, my spirits began to fall.

Fortunately, recent years have been better because of bipolar life hacks I have discovered. Here are a few:

  • Winter days and holidays are better when I keep my routine. I stay on my medicine. Not taking my medicine regularly will trigger a depressive relapse.
  • Sometimes adjustments are made in my meds as the season starts. I just had a session with my doctor in which an adjustment was made.
  • I have found that sleep difficulties can set off my depression. It does not take many sleep deprived nights to cause major setbacks. I have learned that I function best with nine hours of sleep. Everyone is different, but it is important to know what your sleep cycle needs to be.
  • I trim the Christmas tree but also trim my schedule. Some time ago I learned what is called the Pareto Principle which states that 80% of your reward comes from 20% of your effort. While the percentages may be argued I have learned that about 20% of what I do bring 80% of my satisfaction.
  • So I trim the schedule to make sure things of ultimate importance are done. It allows me to say, “No” to things that take energy I do not have. That helps me to keep my energy balanced.
  • These days my muscles and joints are not flexible, but my attitude is. If one of my grown kids can’t be at home on Christmas or Thanksgiving, I can let that go. I just make a point of enjoying them when they can. This flexibility makes life easier for them from the stress of trying to please other family members.
  • Accepting other family members as they are and not expecting someone’s personality to change makes things smoother. Over-expecting creates pressure for me and everyone else. Everyone needs their emotional space, including me!
  • What about the gray, dreary days? I turn on the sunlight. In my experience, a sunlamp used for Seasonal Affective Disorder helps my bipolar. So if the sun is hiding, the light comes on.
  • I also have learned that the light is best used early in the day. I discovered when using it in the evening it will prevent sleep, even overcoming my sleep meds.

What are your mental health life hacks?

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1Thessalonians 5:11

“Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. “Eph 4:29

What are your mental health life hacks? Share them in the comments. It may make a big difference for someone.

Quails-bio-slide

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

unnamed

When Christmas Is Difficult

When Christmas Is Difficult

This is a special Christmas edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health. 

In this edition, Pastor Brad talks with Perry Root, Sr. about experiencing grief or depression during Christmastime.  Perry is an M.S.W. student doing his practicum with Fresh Hope and is also a fulltime member of the Community of Grace staff.  He shares some insights as to experiencing grief or depression at this time of the year.

We encourage you to share this podcast with those that you believe might benefit from it.   Even posting it on your social media may reach someone who is very lonely, sad and depressed during this what many call “the most wonderful time of the year.”

To listen to this episode click here or click on the icon below:

small logo for Fresh Hope

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

Pastor Brad Hoefs, the host of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, is the founder of Fresh Hope Ministries, a network of Christian mental health support groups for those who have a diagnosis and their loved ones. In other words, Fresh Hope is a Christian mental health support group.

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

To donate to Fresh Hope go to http://freshhope.us/donate/

For a complete list of where Fresh Hope groups are presently meeting, go to www.FreshHope.us and click on “find a group.”  Or you may attain an online group of meetings of Fresh Hope by going to www.FreshHopeMeeting.com

If you are interested in starting a Fresh Hope group within your faith community, contact Julie at Julie@FreshHope.us 

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is a production of Fresh Hope Ministries. 

Fresh Hope Ministries is a non-profit ministry.  

The copyrights of this program belong to Fresh Hope Ministries and may not be duplicated without written permission. 

All of the podcasts of Fresh Hope Today, as well as numerous other videos, are all available on our YouTube channel: Fresh Hope Network

 Fresh Hope for Mental Health is on Facebook at  www.Facebook.com/FreshHopeforMentalHealth

 

 

12 Keys to Living Well Through the Holidays

12 Keys to Living Well Through the Holidays

The holidays can be a difficult time for people living with bipolar disorder. Adjusting your expectations and finding time to enjoy simple pleasures are among many ways you can stay stable and avoid triggers.

The holiday season can easily trigger hypomania, mania, dysphoric mania, depression, anxiety or intensify an already existing bout of depression. So, I offer these 12 “keys” which I have found which empower me to live well through the holidays:

  1. Adjust your expectations. Expectations more often than not have let me down. I find that if I adjust my expectations “down several notches” or even better if I have no expectations I enjoy the holidays Too high of expectations of others always seems to lead to disappointment. And disappointment can easily play into the hands of a mood swing.
  2. Enjoy the little things. Focusing on the little things can make a big difference. Life is made up mostly of little things. And simply enjoying them is important. I always have to remind myself not to make the little things into big things. And remember,  the little things that are not enjoyable or even painful are nothing more than little things.
  3. Give to others. If I focus too much on myself during this time of the year inevitably, it will lead me to the self-pity’s doorstep. When I am “other” focused I do much better. Giving to others and helping others who are in need allows me to keep the focus off of myself.
  4. Remember, this too shall pass. Going through hell only last if you stop while going through hell. If you are having a particularly hard holiday season, just keep going even if you are “barely going”. The holidays will pass. As they say, when you are going through hell, don’t stop! The one constant in life is change. Things will change. This too shall pass.
  5. Remember, depression lies. Remembering that depression lies is a biggy for me. If you and I begin to believe the lies of depression, then depression can even take a stronger hold on us. I always have to remind myself if depression is lurking around the corner or even if it has come to visit to use my rational thinking regarding all of the lies and deceptions that it has to offer. Despite how dark depression feels, I fight to use my logical mind over it.
  6. Watch your sugar and caffeine intake. This one is especially no fun at this time of the year. There is good food and drink everywhere. But, sugar (and carbs) takes us on a roller-coaster of highs and lows. Caffeine can easily overstimulate you and me. I recently lost about 62 pounds with many more to go, but during this holiday season, I’m allowing myself to enjoy some of the sweet things around me. But, I have promised myself that if I slip up and overindulge that does give me cause to jump off of the healthy eating wagon for good.
  7. Stick with a healthy sleep schedule. Don’t sleep too much or too little. Doing it is more challenging at times than knowing it. This one is absolutely necessary at all times.
  8. Exercise will help. The truth is that exercise always helps. But, if you are like me, I don’t enjoy exercise. I find that I do better if I choose some projects to do that cause me to move more than usual. Moving more is better for me and if the project is something I enjoy I don’t even realize that the movement is good exercise.
  9. Don’t isolate. This one is much easier said than done especially when you are in the midst of depression. Some years ago after being initially diagnosed, I was so depressed that I found myself simply isolating more and more each day. I had to do three things to isolate less:

a. I asked others to come to me and hang out with me as opposed to me going out.

b. I forced myself to get out of the house at least once each day. Even if it was only to take a short walk. It always helped.

c. I allowed my wife to urge me strongly to get up and get out of the house when I was not accomplishing the first two things. I didn’t always like it, and I didn’t always do it. But, she didn’t give up on me or get mad at me. She was lovingly very insistent.

10. Don’t over think. Overthinking life is never helpful. Overthinking can cause an “override” with our entire emotional and mental health. Overthinking can simply shut us down. If I’m too much in my “head”, I can lose large segments of time that go by with me becoming frozen in my thinking. Yes, I need to think and not react compulsively. But, overthinking can get me in as much trouble as not thinking and reacting impulsively. Balancing the two is very important.

11. Remember, there are no perfect families. During the holidays, most of us spend more time with our families than usual. And many of our loved ones can easily trigger us. Through the years, I have found it helpful to remind myself before a family gathering that “so and so” will probably once again trigger me. So, I plan ahead of time as to how I’m going to respond. Most times this works for me. You may not have the best family. But, remember, there are no perfect families.

12. Focus on what the meaning of the holidays. If you are a person of faith, it is important to remember why we celebrate the various religious/spiritual days during this time of the year. For those of us who are Christians, the message of God sending his son for us is the central message of Christmas. Which easily gets lost in amongst all of the commercial hype. So, during this time of the year, I take special care to make sure to spend time each day meditating on what the true meaning of Christmas is.

How about you? What have you found to be helpful to living well through the holidays? What works for you? What challenges you during this time of the year?

Check out Brad’s weekly podcast at www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com