Its Okay to Feel

During COVID-19 you may experience a whirlwind of emotions all in one day. One minute you may feel overwhelmed and the next minute you may feel as though you aren’t doing enough. Here is your friendly reminder that it is OKAY to feel. All of the emotions that you are experiencing are VALID, and you should not be ashamed of this.

Allow yourself to feel the emotions that you are going through. Reach out to friends, family, or a professional if it would help you to talk out your emotions to someone. You don’t have to always have a brave face, it’s okay to be vulnerable, especially in a time like this. You are doing just fine, don’t be too hard on yourself. We are getting through this together, one day at a time.

The Standards of “Shoulds”

The Standards of “Shoulds”

Jennifer Mandato, LAC

As I sit home in the silence of this quarantine, my mind is riddled with “should’s”.

I should be cleaning my house more…. I should be exercising more…. I should be practicing more mindfulness…. Those are only a few that I hear daily.  I felt because I am home more SHOULD be able to get done.  Then one day as I was unwinding after work scrolling through social media, I came across this quote by Jenny Jaffe “You’re only unproductive by the standards of the world we live in two months ago and that world is gone”. Almost instantly I felt myself exhale and a weight lifted off my shoulders.  In that moment with everything going on that was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I was comparing myself to our previous normal of what I could get done but things are not that way.  I cannot go to stores and go about daily routines as I used to.  Our world is very different now and what I can accomplish in a day is enough.  What we can do on a given day under the circumstances is enough.  This quote has almost become a daily mantra to remind myself of as to know I am doing everything I can and that is enough.  What you are doing is enough and breathe!

 

 

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“My Daily Schedule is in Tatters!” How to Build Routine and Boundaries Now

“My Daily Schedule is in Tatters!” How to Build Routine and Boundaries Now

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Without commutes and errands and sports practices, many parents and adults with ADHD feel they should have more time. But instead they just have more work, more distress, and more disorientation — a feeling of being ungrounded and unfocused due to all that unstructured time. Perhaps more than ever before, it’s critical to carve out a schedule that balances work and home life. Here’s how:

Our boundaries are obliterated. We are employees, parents, teachers, house cleaners, personal assistants, and playmates to our children — all at the same time. Each day feels like ‘some’ day; the labels ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Friday’ are just quaint reminders of the schedules we used to keep.

Without commutes and errands and sports practices, many parents and adults with ADHD feel they should have more time. But instead they just have more work, more distress, and more disorientation — a feeling of being ungrounded and unfocused due to all that unstructured time. Perhaps more than ever before, it’s critical for adults with ADHD and parents of children with ADHD to carve out a schedule that balances work and home life. Right now, routine is the secret to giving you back a sense of the time of day as well as the day of the week, not to mention your goals and priorities.

 

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Dear COVID-19: Why I’m Angry but Grateful

Dear COVID-19: Why I’m Angry but Grateful

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Dear COVID-19,

I can’t believe how you, a virus, have taken our world and turned it upside down. You have shutdown our world, isolated us, taken away our ability to hug and to lay a warm hand on another’s shoulder who is not in our immediate home. You have taken away our ability to work outside of our homes, physically sit in a restaurant and enjoy a meal or go to the movies.

You have taken away our children’s milestones, planning for a vacation and ability to go into stores without being panicked. You have taken away our ability to be human interacting with humans.

I’m so mad at you!

I feel isolated, sad, anxious and tired because I can’t sleep without waking up…

 

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The Importance of Hygiene Habits during COVID 19

The Importance of Hygiene Habits during COVID 19

Written By Nicole Filiberti

There are many ways our lives have been significantly changed in the past few weeks. Educating our children, very frequent hand washing and donning face masks when going grocery shopping are just a few of the many differences in the way we are currently living versus the way we went about our daily lives before this pandemic. The importance of hygiene has increased given the current happenings in the world. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to keep you and your loved ones safe during this challenging time.

 

  1. Disinfecting is your friend!

Now more than ever are we appreciating the help of disinfectant sprays and wipes. Remember that every time you leave your house, you are at risk of exposure. Removing your shoes before you re-enter your home, or quickly spraying them with disinfectant before you bring them in are steps that can significantly reduce your chances of bringing any unwanted germs into your home. Think about all of the frequently touched surfaces in your home and make it a routine to clean them. This includes electronic devices like iPads, computer keyboards and door handles. It would be remiss to not mention the fact that obtaining these items has become very difficult, so read on for a DIY disinfectant recipe that you can utilize.

 

  1. Barriers, barriers, barriers

The more you can do to separate yourself from the germs, the better. This includes wearing gloves and masks when going out and not touching your face. Create an invisible protection barrier by avoiding any touching your face when outside. Wash your hands before making any contact with any part of your face.

 

  1. Keep the immune system strong

It is not secret that food and habits have a significant impact on our health and well being. Now more than ever is it important to fuel your body with plenty of vegetables and fruits. Try not to fall into the habits of stress eating processed and sugary snacks and instead incorporate fresh, whole foods as much as possible. This is also a great time to step up your sleep game and make an effort to get quality sleep every night. These habits set you up with a strong immune system which is your first line of defense if you are to come in contact with any unwanted germs or viruses.

 

DIY Disinfectant Recipe

Pour hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Spray onto surfaces to be disinfected. Be sure to let it sit for a minimum of 1 minute. There is no need to wipe after.

Quarantine Self-Care: You Deserve It, Mama!

Quarantine Self-Care: You Deserve It, Mama!

By: Heidi Borst

These days, even though our minds are heavy with worry over coronavirus and we need self-care more than ever, it’s tough to make it a priority; instead, we’re focused on keeping our families safe & healthy, managing our finances despite dwindling incomes, and teaching/entertaining our kids in between conference calls and work deadlines. With so much on our plates, it’s easy to sacrifice our own needs. But during times of stress and uncertainty like the present, taking care of ourselves is essential, and besides, we deserve it!

Remember those Saturday morning mani/pedis at your favorite nail salon, or treating yourself to a much-needed massage while your partner handled the kids? To be honest, I’d give anything just to have the option of dropping my son off at our gym’s childcare center… just to be able to bust out a workout sans interruption (home workouts are tough).  While we have all given up a lot, there are still simple ways to indulge in self-care, at home, that are just as satisfying. Even better, they cost way less! Here are 5 ways you can nurture yourself, even under the restrictions of quarantine.

Read (Or Listen to) A Book

I’ve always been an avid reader, but since becoming a mother, finding the time to read has been tough. At the end of the day, I crave mindless reality tv, I’ll admit it. Before quarantine, I struggled to read the one magazine I subscribed to, forget about getting through an actual book. But now, I’m taking advantage of being stuck at home to carve out some much-needed alone time. I let everyone know that I’m not to be disturbed (it actually works sometimes!) and give myself an hour or so to dive into a novel. This works for anything, reading or not, that you’d love to do but haven’t been able to squeeze in. Schedule a date with yourself and let the family know you’ll be unavailable for a while. Time to make it happen!

Watch a Funny Movie

Personally, I’m skipping the heavily dark or dramatic stuff these days and going with entertainment that makes me laugh- because right now, I need to lighten things up a bit. While I’m keeping abreast of daily current events and the latest updates on the COVID situation, I’m limiting my news exposure to early on in the day, avoiding the news entirely in the evening before bed. Ending the day on a humorous or uplifting note makes me feel so much better. After all, isn’t laughter the best medicine? It definitely doesn’t hurt.

Create Ways to Stay Active

Recently, I woke up in a major funk, overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation we’re all in and the lack of answers I have about what’s to come in the near future. All I could think to do was to get moving. So, I put on my sneakers, called my dog to join me, and started walking. It took a while, and I listened to a free guided meditation (offered with the Audible subscription I don’t fully take advantage of), but the stress slowly melted away. Nature can be extremely invigorating; our bodies were made to move. The simple act of walking is enough to release those feel-good endorphins and improve your mood, and it’s free!  Do whatever it is you love- go outside and do a quick HIIT workout in your driveway, walk with your family, or stream one of the free workouts fitness pros are offering right now. You’ll feel a million times better.

Host a Virtual Happy Hour

Did you know that human connection is the number one indicator of longevity? With a few modifications, it’s still possible to nourish our relationships and fill our friendship cups while at home in quarantine. If you’re missing your girl-time like me, technology makes it too easy not to stay connected! So, go ahead, pour a glass of wine, and connect with your girlfriends virtually over Facetime, Zoom, or whatever method you prefer. It’s almost as fun as the real thing, and your friends won’t care if you’re not wearing makeup! It’s so easy to feel isolated right now as we practice social distancing so stay in close contact with friends to keep that pervasive loneliness at bay.

Have an At-Home Spa Day

Spas aren’t an option right now, but you can achieve the same result at home, for a fraction of the cost. My favorite way to pamper myself is by slathering on a face mask and running a long, steaming-hot bath with pounds (yes, pounds) of Epsom salt. To make the atmosphere extra spa-like, I use several drops of an essential oil; lavender is great for relaxing before bed, and citrus is wonderful for achieving a refreshed state during the day. Add bubbles in the bath, maybe even with a glass of bubbly on the side. Choose your favorite scent, close your eyes, and slip away as long as you like… imagine you’re at your favorite beach vacation locale and let it all go. After your bath, taking a few minutes to dry brush your body will get the lymphatic system flowing. Finish it off with a fresh coat of paint on your toes, and you’ll feel like a fresh, rejuvenated version of yourself!

Mama, Take Care of Yourself During COVID-19

Taking Care of Yourself Too

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis 

Now that we’ve been in our “new normal” for a few weeks, our kids are adjusting a bit to distance learning and being home 24/7. A question I’m hearing from parents about their children (and themselves) is, “Is it possible to be adjusting but still feel anxious?” The answer is a resounding yes.

As human beings, we have the ability to adapt to a new schedule, a new environment, a different routine within two weeks. But that still doesn’t take away our adult worry about a few key questions:

  • When will this end?
  • Will my kids be able to go back to school this year?
  • How many people have been diagnosed today?
  • How many in my town/state/country have not survived?
  • Do I have the virus?
  • What if my elderly parents, aunt, uncle, grandparents, neighbors contract the virus?

Worrying can occupy a great deal of your time and energy and drain you both physically and emotionally. Our children need us, right now, to serve as their grounding force, both emotionally and physically.

Click Here to Continue Reading on Psychology Today

Social Distancing- Is There a Silver Lining?

Written by Heidi Borst

Most of us are reeling in the midst of a pandemic we were grossly unprepared for. In the last couple of weeks, our whole world has changed. Daycares, schools, and businesses have closed. The always-bustling cities and towns we live in have come to a screeching halt as we follow our leaders’ instructions to stay home. We are desperate to ‘flatten the curve’ and keep our loved ones, and ourselves, healthy. With an economy in crisis, the fortunate amongst us are able to continue working remotely. Our days are drastically different than they were a mere two weeks ago; we’re grappling with how to maintain some semblance of normalcy to our days, if not for ourselves, for our kids.

First, the gyms and restaurants were shut down, a week later came the playgrounds and parks; athletic courts were padlocked and signs reading “Closed Until Further Notice” were demonstrably hung. Playdates, once the foundation of our children’s social lives, have become taboo. As parents, we’ve been left with no choice but to become our children’s teachers as well as playmates, whether or not the demands of our jobs allow it. It all feels like TOO MUCH.

And yet, with all of the restrictions placed upon us, we have so much to be grateful for. How can we shift our focus to the positive when our entire world has been turned upside down? It’s time to call upon our inner strength and will ourselves not to give in, but instead to get through this. It’s time to buckle down and push forward.

Stop and breathe. Instead of becoming paralyzed by what you can’t do, change your perspective. Focus on what you can do, and on what you have. If you’re holed up with your family, find ways to truly connect with each other. Play games, dance, sing songs, hug one another, talk about how you’re feeling. If you’re alone and the isolation is wearing on you, reach out to a loved one for support. There are so many members of our community who are lending their support to those in need, so just ask. If you’re able, offer your services to someone who may need them, of course always being mindful of your safety and theirs.

Reflect on the small things for which you feel gratitude. Maybe it’s a hot shower, or cupboards stocked with food. Maybe it’s the fact that your family unit is together, healthy and safe. Do everything you can during this crazy time to cultivate moments that nurture your soul- read a book, watch a movie (or binge a whole series), bake some cookies, go for a walk outside, cuddle with your fur baby, play with your kids, Facetime a friend.

More than anything now is the time to ease up on the stress of the expectations we make of ourselves. Instead, make room for self-acceptance and self-love. With so many uncertainties about the upcoming days, weeks, (months?), we have to let go. If we can re-direct the stress we’re feeling, instead of concentrating on a mindset of gratitude, our positivity and resilience will see us through. We’ve got this.

How to Care for Your Mental Health While Caring For Your Child’s Needs

When we became parents, our children became the center of our universe. Our own self-care became secondary. This is especially true when we have a child with disabilities. Our child’s needs become primary, but one thing I know is that by not taking care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of your child.

How many times have you thought, “I should read/sing/talk to my child because it’s good for them,” even when you really don’t want to?

You may be experiencing some burnout. That is, you feel like you are tired — tired of thinking about what’s next, what if, what will I do when… and you’re managing all of these thoughts while trying to hold on to the guise of being a woman or a man, a wife or a husband, a daughter or a son, a brother or a sister and a friend. If your head is spinning, I understand. I hear you and I feel you.

I know when I get to the point where my head is going to explode with the constant running lists, when I’m checking those lists on my phone and I’m adding more “things,” I know I am good to nobody. Not my kids, not my husband, not my patients; no one, nowhere.

I know it’s really hard, and I combat the feelings of guilt of wanting to run away and hide in a corner for a few hours right along with you. I crave silence in my head, even when the room is quiet. I crave not having my name called for the 523.67th time in the past hour. I want to owe nothing to no one.

That’s burnout.

That’s just plain old burnout in its truest form.

When I get here, I know something has to give. I know I have to change my mindset and my routine in order to survive.

Image by Pexels

Click Here to Read the Full Article

by Dr. Liz Matheis, The Mighty

Making New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

Before diving head-first into burnout, let’s consider this: the higher our reach, the more likely our failure. In fact, most of us will abandon our resolutions before we’ve undressed the Christmas tree. But don’t despair—it’s possible to set achievable goals.

Read on for ideas to turn fling-like resolutions into long-term commitments.

Image by: istockphoto.com

by Heidi Borst
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
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"Dr. Liz is the best! Our family was directed to her by our Pediatrician to assist with figuring out severe mood changes, severe anxiety, strange new fears and food aversion that had come onto one of our children literally overnight. After just a couple of visits, she suggested that the issues may actually be rooted in a physical issue and suggested we immediately take our child to be swabbed for strep, because Dr. Liz suspected PANDAS (a pediatric autoimmune disorder brought on by strep). The same Pediatrician that suggested Dr. Liz would not do the swab (they do not believe in PANDAS and we no longer go there) but I took my child to my doctor who did the swab and it was positive for strep. When our child went on antibiotics, within 24 hours all symptoms went away and our child was back :-) Dr. Liz then recommended a PANDAS specialist who helped us and our child is in complete remission and is happy and healthy. We are incredibly grateful to Dr. Liz for her knowledge of all things, even the most remote and unusual and for helping us so much! Thank you!"
- Anonymous
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Anonymous
"Thank you, Dr. Liz. Although we have told you countless times, it will never feel enough. You have listened when J could barely speak and continued to listen when he was sad, angry and confused. You've challenged him and directed us in our roles as parents. You've helped J face his fears while the list evolved and changed, and yet you've stayed committed to 'the course.' We pray that your children realize that time away from them is spent helping children learn and that vulnerability is a sign of strength and bravery."
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"My son was admitted to an Ivy League school when only 2 years ago, you assessed him and saw his struggles, his Dyslexia. We are grateful that he no longer has to carry that deep feeling of inadequacy or shame that must have kept him so self conscious and from reaching his potential. He has the PERFECT program for him. He has A's in high math and economics. He became a Merit Scholar, a Boys State legislature, the HEAD captain of the football team and help a job ALL while studying and managing his classes and disability. I am PROUD of you, a young doctor, who knows and sees the vulnerability of children and helps them recognize "it's NO big deal" God bless."
- Anonymous

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