Volume 18, Issue 2
A Year of Living Well
The Importance of Dignity, Hope and Purpose in Well-being
There has been a lot of emphasis recently on wellness, the focus being primarily on our physical health. The wellness movement has good reason to focus on lifestyle habits. For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one-third of all Americans are obese; that is, their body-mass index (BMI) is above 30. Obesity contributes significantly to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. The CDC estimates that medical costs for people who are obese are at least $1429 per year higher than for people with BMI’s below 30.
But another key piece of wellness is having a high sense of well-being. In order for us to embrace lifestyle changes that enhance physical health, we absolutely must be internally motivated to live life well.
There are three core qualities that people must possess in order to have a sense of well- being: dignity, hope and purpose.
Dignity is one’s sense of self-respect and of feeling worthy of respect. While dignity ultimately resides within us, it is also communicated by others—our self-respect is supported by others who treat us with dignity. Hope allows us to have optimism for the future, focus our energies in areas that we can positively impact, recover from setbacks and set goals for our lives.
Purpose is being confident of our significance or importance in life with our family, loved ones, friends and co-workers, knowing that we can make a difference, believing that we have abilities that can impact the world around us, and setting the goals for ourselves that are informed by our hope.
These three qualities – dignity, hope and purpose – are connected to each other. We need Personal Assistance Services (PAS), provides confidential services designed to improve your sense of well-being. Please consider calling PAS to speak with a life coach or a counselor. You will talk with caring professionals who will work with you to increase your sense of dignity, focus your hope, build purpose and sort through challenges that interfere with living the best life you can.
In order for us to embrace lifestyle changes that enhance physical health, we absolutely must be internally motivated to live life well.
When College Kids Come Home for the Summer
The independence that college students gain from being away at school, either living in a dorm or apartment, is very valuable to their psychological development and ability to live on their own after school. Re- turning home for the summer can be an adjustment, both for students and their families. A smooth transition from school life to home life is rooted in the ability to have open communication and support for the college student’s developing independence.
Identify potential conflicts and address them before they be- come family fights. Common sources of tension upon your child’s return from college include curfews; use of the car, phone and internet; finances; who can come over and when; and household chores. Decide ahead of time how you would like to handle each of these items. Then sit down with your returning child, discuss your expectations and listen to their wishes. Find a middle ground where you can compromise and adopt these as the ground rules for the summer.
Respect your child’s newfound independence. It’s easy to fall back on old family dynamics when your child returns. But after nine months away from family, your child is different now. Respect your child’s at- tempts to become an adult and exert their independence. Encourage your college age student to continue to take responsibility for the things he/she has been handling in college: medical appointments, finances, communications with the college or university, car and computer maintenance.
Old rules of childhood don’t necessarily apply now. If you force the same rules on your child that he had before he lived on his own at school, he will most likely resent it. Try to be more flexible while maintaining certain boundaries the family needs to coexist peacefully. Remember that your child may have chosen to sleep until 1 PM on weekends at school. He may have been out until 4 AM. While away at school, children learn for themselves the consequences for their choices. Allow natural consequences to take their course while they are at home as well.
By the same token, consider the needs of other family members and do set limits around behavior that negatively impacts the rest of the family. Loud music at 2 AM may disturb parents’ sleep and ability to work productively the next day. Going out without letting you know where she is and when she will be home may leave you anxious and unable to sleep. Disrespectful dialog with siblings disrupts the family’s ability to live harmoniously and maintain a peaceful haven for everyone.
Foster your college-age child’s developing independence by adopting adult-to-adult communication. Coming off as an authoritarian parent pushes your child away and communicates to your child that you don’t believe she is capable to become a self-reliant adult. Growing up is hard work, and the transition can be difficult, if not outright scary for your child. Support your child’s efforts to gain a wholesome independence by listening to his opinions and ideas. Invite him to discuss his perspective on various issues and then also offer him yours. The evolution into this kind of adult relationship will be very gratifying for both of you.
While your college student is most likely trying on different personas from their more child-like identity of their high school years, (a predict- able characteristic of “growing up”), try to be somewhat accepting of different clothing, hair, friends, personal decisions, opinions and preferences. In order to have an open, trusting and supportive relationship with your child, accept and appreciate your child for who she is.
Most importantly, let your child know how happy you are to be with her. Do your best to not gripe at behaviors you don’t agree with, as long as the behavior does not seriously compromise her safety or well- being. Allow your child time with his old and new friends, but then ask him to save some time for you, so you can enjoy his company as well and continue to build an adult-to-adult relationship with him.
If things get a little rough at times, remember that your EAP, Personal Assistance Services, is available to provide support for your family. Call us anytime.
Featured Service: Parenting Consultation
Caregivers of children can receive telephonic consultation with a team of consultants whose expertise includes child development, behavior modification, speech-language, sensory processing, education (both special and gifted), and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) processes. The parenting consultants provide information and guidance in understanding typical and atypical development and suggest strategies and resources to address those concerns.
Examples of what our team of professionals can provide include:
- Information on discipline, sleep issues, reinforcement strategies, potty training and temper tantrums
- Guidance in determining if overall behavior is typical for the child’s age and environment
- Assistance in identifying the potential cause(s) of behavior patterns
- Simple, positive parenting strategies that really work
- Information on developmental milestones such as language development, motor skills, sensory perception, and feeding skills
- Guidance and resources to determine when school age children may need an Individualized Education Plan
- Assistance in advocating for special or gifted services for children in daycare and school settings
Easy Tips for Eating Healthy
Tip: When fresh fruits and vegetables are not in season, buy them frozen without added sauces for a second-best nutritional value.
Tip: Read Nutrition Fact Labels on the food package to help inform your purchase and consumption decisions:
Check the number of servings – what looks like only a few calories may be misleading if the package contains far more servings than just one.
- General guide to calories per serving: low=40; moderate=100; high=400 or more
- Limit these nutrients: saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol and sodium. Low= 5% or less
- Get plenty of these nutrients: Dietary fiber, vitamins A & C, calcium & iron. High= 20% or more
A Service of Your EAP (800) 356-084
PASWord Express © 2015 is published by Personal Assistance Services, 9735 Landmark Parkway, Suite 17, St. Louis, MO, 63127 -9968 (800) 356-0845. Material may not be reproduced without written permission