kim engstrom counseling services
About the Creator
Teenagers Are Just Misunderstood
What's a Parent To Do
A Healthy Brain
Tech Talk Picks
Communication: Let's Talk
Point of View
YOGA: It's a Practice
Ways to Get Involved
Kim Engstrom has been working with teens, young adults, and families in various capacities as a teacher, counselor, advocate, and fan for 20+ years. A mother of two daughters, her commitment is to them having lives they love, being a contributor to the world, and practicing unconditional love. Kim finds no greater joy than being with her family and treasures being present as often as possible, seeing children as the beautiful gifts they are to this world.
For more information on stress or communication coaching for you and your family
Contact Kim @484 558 0311 KE.email@example.com
Table of contents
I have always valued working with adolescents and young adults. They are our future after all! We forget what it was like when we were teens. It was probably one of, if not the, most tumultuous times of our lives.
From the ages 15-24 we experience the most developmental growth: spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally.
Easy to understand then, why teens are confused, in doubt about their future, longing to connect and just plain exhausted. I'm committed to helping teens remove the blocks to discovering what is possible for their lives.
Sometimes all you need is someone to listen and bonus if they get what you're saying.
The Inhale-Exhale team commitment is that all families be whole and complete.
Our promise is that parents feel affinity and connection with their children and are inspired to take on stress in their lives with a sense of freedom and ease.
As a result, our young people are validated, heard, accepted, and empowered to take on their future!
Teenagers Are Just
What's a Parent To Do
This zine is designed to ease tension by sharing tips from certified professionals, family enthusiasts and parents and kids themselves.
Our focus is on mindfulness, awareness, and community-building. Our promise is that parents will feel increased confidence and connectedness, and young people will feel validated, empowered and inspired in their lives. Finally, every reader will take away skills to communicate powerfully, and tackle the stressors in their lives, leaving with a sense of comfort and support that they are not alone.
Talking to our kids is no easy feat. If we could just speak the same language.
Each issue of Inhale-Exhale will give you simple and effective tips and tools to get you on the same page with your kids.
Today, parents have ample reason to stress over the well-being of their children. From common occurrences such as on-line bullying to tragedies such as school shootings, parents’ anxiety and stress over keeping their children safe is arguably at an all-time high.
These stressors are also being felt by our children. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, one in five adolescents has had a serious mental health disorder at some point in their life. In fact, problems with mental health often start early in life, with symptoms exhibiting as early as age 14.
It is clear that the progress of technology and the evolution of modern families create a landscape that has so far been unnavigated.
Children and teens experience stress and anxiety differently than adults. The way each person looks at the world and their problems is based on a myriad of views: parents, teachers, friends and social media. Their core identities are emerging and the world is becoming a much scarier space than their earlier carefree days. They are trying to figure out who they are in the world and separating themselves from their parents.
As parents and caregivers we feel the need to lessen kids’ stress by offering solutions and advice. We want to minimize their angst by telling them not to worry. What they want to hear instead is that you get it. You understand what they are going through, or at least you want to try. Acknowledging what is happening for them requires being in their world with them. When we try to minimize their stress, we teach them to stuff it, ignore it, or that it’s not okay to have it.
A Healthy Brain
Kim Engstrom, MS
● A state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
● Something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety
● Physical force or pressure
What is the situation that has you stressed ?
What is your interpretation of the situation ?
What are you making the situation mean?
Your response to events as stressful or not is made up from one of these areas of the brain. We create stories about what’s going on to match our past experiences and it’s in those stories that the stress lives. Your stress response lives in those stories or interpretations of the event not in the event itself.
Thoughts are things and thoughts can be changed. Stress in life is inevitable. It’s our reaction to the stress that causes the spiral of anxiety.
So get control of your stress by bringing yourself into the present. Focus on your body, allowing yourself to let go of the thoughts that are causing increased anxiety. Watch those numbers on your stress scale go down!
Let’s look at how the brain processes information:
The Hippocampus is the region that regulates motivation, emotion, learning, and memory.
The Amygdala is responsible for the perception of emotions It is known as the fight or flight mechanism and is where memories of events and emotions are stored. Temper Tantrums are formed here when something doesn't go the way we want it to go. You do not want the amygdala to run the show.
The Pre-Frontal Cortex is the CEO of your actions also know as the grown up brain..It plays an important role in problem-solving, planning, impulse control, reasoning, as well as controlling emotions, and behavior.
Let's Do An Exercise
Imagine your STRESS on a scale of 1-10
1 = CALM
1. Define Your Family’s General Principles Start with a question —what are the main reasons to have balance regarding screen time and other activities?
2. Define Family Rules Translate your principles into your “tech limits," “agreements,” “rules,” however you want to label them. The main focus is determining times when screens should be put away.
3. Establish Incentives & Consequences The two main goals are to have a limited number of rules and to have the kids help create them .
4. Allow wiggle room Thinking about the times that may come up when someone needs to go on a screen despite the rule and how these situations should be handled is also important.
Learn more about Screentime Contracts @ https://www.screenagersmovie.com/family-contract
With school being online (for the most part), monitoring your screen time is more now important than ever. It’s vital that you designate times away from screens – whether it be TikTok or Calculus, you will (eventually) feel the strain. Here are a few alternatives to consider:
The Inhale-Exhale team would love to hear what you think
Please email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Screen Time Agreement
humans using technology not technology using humans
1. Working out; it doesn’t have to be anything intense! Stretches, going on a walk, riding a bike – whatever is comfortable (and gets you off your phone… aside from listening to music).
2. Cooking; try out a new recipe! The worst outcome is you mess up and learn something new, the best? You cook/bake your new favorite food!
3. Reading; words are eternal. Getting sucked into a good book is just as addicting as binging the newest show on Netflix.
4. Writing; use this as a creative outlet. Jot down your thoughts and leave them instead of analyzing them.
5. Create a Screen Time Agreement for yourself or with your family.
6. Cleaning and organizing; you'll feel productive and during and free after!
7. Mediation; carve out time to NOT think.
8. Sleeping; feeling overwhelmed? You'll likely benefit more from catching some zzz's than a TV binge.
9. Spending time with your family; yes, being stuck with them for several months has taken its toll. Accept, you’re in this together!
Your mental health is as pivotal as your physical health.
Omaer N. Incoming College Freshman
So it’s your senior year, and things are looking bad. Your district may be going completely online and fall events, clubs, and sports, have been canceled. It may feel like a continuation of what we have dealt with since March, but it’s important to distinguish between the two periods.
Back then, in March, uncertainty held us back. We didn’t know as much as we do now, and we let fear control us! Now, with new knowledge, we can use the time and energy spent understanding our situation for other things. For example, focusing on your own independent growth.
What helped me get through missing all the anticipated rites of passage of high school was practicing self-care and reflecting upon my past 4 years.
If you’re just coming into your senior year, embrace it. It may not be what you expected, but there is no alternative! Have an open mind, study hard, and don’t forget to have fun (whether it be Facetiming and having a Netflix party, or holding a socially distant picnic)! Life is fluid, and we can only accept the situation. The sooner we do so, the sooner we can live a new “normal'' creating and exploring all the possibilities created by COVID.
Another situation you’re dealing with is navigating what to do after high school. Whether it’s a four year college, community college, entering the workforce, the military, etc., it’s a huge decision!
1. Pick a name for your family.
2. What is one thing your family is committed to ? example: everyone feels heard, fun, and stress free. Create a family motto.
3. Pick a family spokesperson. Rotate each month so everyone gets a turn. This person plans and leads the family meeting.
4. Set a time for family meeting Once a week is preferable. Do what works for your family. No less than once a month. Make an outing of it.
6. Start each meeting sharing your family commitment. With that in mind, each person shares what worked and what didn't work this week for themselves, or with others
Keep your family connected and going in the same direction with a
FAMILY BUSINESS PLAN
Know that the resources are readily out there. Talk to a guidance counselor from your school, search and research what plans there are for you, or create your own (realistic) goal and go from there. Practice writing essays, use financial aid calculators, and apply for scholarships! It’s all out there, which can be daunting yet another essential reason to practice self-care.
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to self-care. For example, I enjoyed brewing tea and reading a good book outside. It might take time to find something, but when you do, it makes the search worth it.
Your life is only just beginning — don’t forget that. Things may seem bleak, but make the most of it. It is temporary. Consider it an opportunity for growth and what you have look forward to when this is all over !
5. Create a meeting agenda. The spokesperson gets to prepare the agenda for the meeting. Have a family comment box.
Creates a sense of team and bonds you together.
Guides you in your goals and decisions
Inspires a family culture
1. Dedicate time to go out together once a week. While it may seem like you spend all 24 hours with your parents or children, most of this time is passive and only comes from living in the same house. By creating a designated activity to do once a week, we are forced to confront any underlying problems among family members and actively spend time together. This can be a simple activity such as playing a board game or driving around to something adventurous like hiking and canoeing.
2. Be flexible! It has now become extremely evident that our world is very unpredictable and that we cannot control all aspects of our lives, so it’s important for both parents and children to remember to be flexible during these uncertain times. Flexibility can often prevent an argument from becoming too heated.
3. Listen. First, it is important to listen to what health experts have to say because they have their job is to protect the well-being of our families during this pandemic. It is also important to listen to family members, particularly during this time, because of the new and unnecessary stress that has been added to everyone.
Nithila A. Incoming College Freshman
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have been forced to accept a new type of normalcy in our day to day lives. With our routines becoming more rigid than before, the relationship between parents and children has been impacted directly. These past 5 months have been the longest that most children have had to spend directly with their parents and with this extended exposure comes a new array of problems for families to work out.
Required to spend more time with each other, we are faced with either confronting problems or let them pile up until they become explosive. For many students, they feel as if their freedom has been taken because they cannot go out and find solace among their friends.
For parents, it is often difficult to manage their children who are now adults or young adults. These minor annoyances accumulate which causes shorter tempers, additional stress, and emotional outbursts that can permanently impact relationships negatively.
While we get accustomed to our new pandemic reality, here are a few tips to alleviate these emergent problems:
What stresses you out most about online school?
Parent: That we have to do it because of the fear of teachers getting sick and students becoming super spreaders and having to consider all of the COVID-19 protocols
Tween: Timelines. You don’t get as much on-demand help as you would if you were at school. It’s not as easy to go to a teacher for a quick question without a lot of coordination.
What do you like most about doing school virtually ?
Parent: It’s very convenient and efficient. No commute and it keeps things simple. The asynchronous learning model is nice so that you can re-watch and re-learn lessons.
Tween: Seeing video lessons over and over again if it was confusing or new is nice.
What did/do you miss the most about being with peers?
Parent: You just can’t beat human touch. The energy and drive my child gets from being face to face is crucial!
Tween: Recess, playing and hanging out with my friends and classmates. Doing projects with my teachers and friends.
4. What top tip do you have for thriving in times of uncertainty as opposed to surviving?
Parent: Stay in touch with friends, be gentle with yourself. Let your child hear you process what you are going through, including some of your inner dialogue. Find something that gives you joy.
Tween: Keep going. Wear a mask and be safe. Play and talk with friends using different virtual platforms. Play with pets too. Some day this will end.
Point of View
Mom and Rising 6th Grader
YOGA: IT'S A PRACTICE
"Grounding yourself" is a bit of a buzz-phrase nowadays. But what does it really mean?
Grounding yourself is a way to separate yourself from a stressful situation or feelings. Being grounded means being present in the moment; feeling in tune with yourself and your surroundings.
Also called earthing, it is a therapeutic technique that involves doing activities that electrically reconnect you to the earth. This practice relies on earthing science and physics to explain how electrical charges from the earth can have positive effects on your body.
Grounding yourself can (according to several accounts) help relieve stress, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and fatigue. Try Tree Pose as a grounding go to!
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I will remember my breath