Embracing Our Friends Struggling With Mental Health Disorders

Everyone goes through life with a support system. These support systems include family, friends, romantic partners, co-workers, and others. Next to blood relations, friendships are the second most valuable relationships any person will have in his or her entire life. It is an attachment between two or more people built on mutual concern and interest in each other.

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Forging Friendships And Its Benefits

Friends are there for you not only in your successes but also in tough times. Having friends is an incredible thing for your mental, emotional, and physical health.

Having great friends makes your life better. It is beneficial to have someone you can trust and carry you in times of trouble. Studies have shown that building friendships increases your serotonin levels, making you happier and less lonely and stressed.

The companionship provided by your friends can also give you a sense of belongingness, as you are now part of a social circle. The benefits of having friends may also manifest in your physical health because you have people with whom you can do healthy activities.

It is gratifying to find a tribe formed by connection and not just forced by blood relations. However, it is also best to be wary. Friends play a vital role in shaping you as an individual. They influence your personality, behavior, and interests more than you think. So be careful whom you’re making friends with.

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Mental Illness: Challenging Friendships

Like many things in life, friendships go through rough patches. Some friendships that began early in your life have to end at one point. Some experience a falling out because of irreconcilable differences. Others fail to survive the drastic changes that happen over the years, so they move forward with their lives separately.

Our friends may be fighting secret battles we know nothing about. One good example of this is having a friend with mental health problems. The thought of having someone close to you diagnosed with something so serious can be grueling and worrisome.

Mental disorders affect many functions in an individual, including behavioral and personality changes. Be prepared since there will be moments when your friend may shut you out, which can make communication tricky. Also, expect that your friend may turn down invitations to go out and socialize.

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Showing Support To Your Friends With Mental Health Problems

Life is not easy. But life is twice as hard for people troubled with mental disabilities. There is still a strong stigma clouding the subject that many who suffer from disorders refuse professional help.

Here are a few ways on what you need to do when your friend is struggling with a psychological disorder and how you can show your support in his/her battle:

  • Accept That Your Friend Will Have Limitations 

Individuals with mental health problems, having their capacities severely affected and limited, often get restricted. As mentioned before, there will be days when your friend may feel sad and down. Driving someone to do something when they are having a dreary day will only further push them away from you.

  • Avoid Spreading Speculations 

While it’s hard to have a mental illness, opening up about it is another challenge. Avoid telling other people the condition of your friend as it is a sensitive topic for them. It is not an easy journey for your friend and it will be helpful that it remains confidential between you.

  • Listen Attentively

Everyone faces difficulties in life. There are times when you may feel exhausted as you also have burdens to carry. However, it is critical for people with mental illnesses to have someone who pays close attention to them and what they have to say.

They need outlets and vents for what they are feeling. It doesn’t have to be every day; they juts have to know that you are with them, and you are more than willing to lend your ear when needed.

  • Do Not Judge

The last thing a mentally-challenged friend needs is someone who judges their choices or condition. They need someone who can be beside them and someone to reassure them that they will get better.

  • Learn More About Mental Health

This might be the most essential thing you need to do when you have a friend with a psychological disorder. Familiarize yourself with the condition so you can help your friend get better and to take better care of them. It is also helpful in nurturing your friendship.

Friends For Life

Being a friend doesn’t just mean being there during prosperity. It also means holding on to them even when the road is rough. If you have a friend who struggles with a mental health illness, just knowing that you are there for them is enough. Amid taking care of them, do not forget to take care of yourself too.

The Second Family: How School Clubs Benefit Mental Health

School clubs can be a quintessential part of every child’s life. Despite the academic challenges that come from taking classes and preparing for tests, many students still join clubs. People find fulfillment in joining groups, so they see the increased workload worthwhile.

However, what exactly do students get from joining school clubs? It turns out that club participation has beneficial effects on mental health, as clubs can act as a second family.

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Providing Support Systems

The most direct benefit of school clubs is that they allow students to meet new people. Clubs revolve around a particular interest, so its members are more likely to bond over shared interests.

Since clubs often take members from various levels, they are an excellent venue for meeting people outside your classroom. Many students find companions within clubs, allowing them to expand their circle of friends.

Like a family, a health club offers a robust support system for members. Participants have shared experiences that bond them together. This solidarity allows the group to become closely knit.

Many members feel secure as a part of the club, trusting the members enough to share any problems they may have in life. They can expect to receive emotional support from the group, and in turn, they also reach out to other struggling members. It is almost as good as getting psychological assistance from platforms like BetterHelp.

The support system offered by student organizations is suited to the challenges that children face in school. In these groups, members have other students as peers. Their similarities mean that the kids can better relate to one another and think of corresponding solutions.

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Improved Academic Performance

Some parents think that school clubs are a distraction from classes. However, more often than not, academic performance improves when the student joins a club. Indicators of academic achievements, such as grades, test scores, and study habits, are higher for students who join organizations.

School clubs indeed require commitments in terms of time and effort. However, being a member also teaches children to take increasing amounts of responsibility. Activities such as organizing club events require a level of agency and self-efficacy, which can translate into other areas of life.

Furthermore, some clubs are academic. For example, some clubs might focus on particular fields such as chemistry or music. Other organizations might specialize in helping students succeed in certain activities like debate or quiz bees. By their very nature, joining these organizations will directly improve your academic performance.

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Cultivating Social Skills

Another mental benefit of joining organizations is that kids get to interact with more people. While club members tend to have common interests, they still come from a wide range of backgrounds.

Diversity means that children get to interact with many people of varying personalities and work ethics. Hence, they will have to develop social skills to form working relationships with diverse sets of people.

Most club projects require teamwork and coordination, so students need to work together to achieve their goals. They are also excellent avenues for developing leadership skills, encouraging your child to lead projects and to delegate the work at hand.

Club members need to learn conflict resolution as they set aside personal differences to focus on achieving larger goals. They need to learn to cooperate with others, even those who might have personalities incompatible with theirs.

Clubs are a great way to build confidence and self-esteem, especially as they achieve their milestones.  Being a club leader is more challenging, but it can help kids learn crucial leadership lessons that they will use throughout their lives.

Organizations are also hotbeds of creativity. Members frequently brainstorm by discussing issues and figuring out possible strategies. They then formulate plans to achieve their goals.

Action-oriented problem solving enforces the mindset that ability is a product of hard work and strategic thinking. In turn, adopting this mindset allows the organization, and its members, to perform better.

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As Andy Tix, Ph.D. puts it, “one of the basic psychological determinants of a student’s performance involves how they explain failure and success to themselves.”

It might seem that only extroverted students get to reap the social benefits of clubs, but this is false. Even introverts can find camaraderie in a student organization. With co-members that accept them as who they are, they might also learn to become more outgoing through these groups.

Maximizing Benefits

To get the best benefits of joining school organizations, students must be careful in choosing which clubs to enter. They should take into account both their interests and the culture that’s promoted internally by the organization.

It’s wise to choose only a few clubs to allow for deeper engagement instead of joining several clubs but being unable to dedicate enough time for each.

On days when the school allows organizations to highlight themselves to potential applicants, students should consider the clubs that pique their interest. They should then research to narrow down their choices. It’s good for them to speak with someone from the clubs themselves to get a clear picture of the club experience. 

Finally, students who join clubs should be able to dedicate enough time and energy without compromising other aspects of their lives. If they find themselves sacrificing their academic performance or family time, it might be time to reevaluate their membership.

Overall, clubs are a great way to gain a support group, improve academic performance, and learn social skills. If you’re a student, take note of these benefits the next time your school hosts an organization fair. Join a club now and grab the experience of a second family!

 

 

How To Make Life Easier For Frontline Workers During A Pandemic

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Have you ever been in a situation where you get and don’t get someone’s point at the same time?

That’s my experience while reading the news about organizations that rallied against the government’s quarantine orders. I understood why they did not want to stay at home for too long; they had to work to survive. However, I also found that self-isolation could keep the virus from spreading; that’s why the new regulation was not out of line at all.

Instead of wasting my energy by changing the protesters’ views, I choose to focus on frontline workers. They are our modern-day heroes who suffer more than anyone during the pandemic, to be honest. Below are a few things we can do to make their life easier.

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Follow The Rules

Uniformed men and women have been stationed at almost every entry and exit point in various states to reduce the chances of letting infected people in and spreading the virus. The nurses and doctors also work hard in hospitals—real or makeshift—as the number of COVID-19 patients is not slowing down much. In other words, they serve more individuals than they can handle.

If you wish to ease their lives at work, you need to start following the new rules diligently:

• Do not leave the house for insignificant reasons, e.g., partying, gambling, working out at the gym or any public place, etc.
• Wear a face mask every time you step out of the door.
• Put a wide berth between you and anyone else in public.

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Avoid Lying About Your Health Status

A significant number of COVID-19 patients are frontline workers, and people wonder how that has happened. They ask, “Don’t the doctors know the proper handling of infected individuals?” “Don’t the nurses or uniformed officers wear face masks and other protective gear?”

The answer to both questions is that yes, these frontline workers are well-knowledgeable on how to look after themselves while taking care of others. However, many still end up falling ill because some patients lie about their health status.

I found a fitting example of that while watching international news. A couple of months ago, a Philippine senator walked in a hospital to accompany his wife, who was supposed to give birth. However, he did not inform any staff that he had coronavirus symptoms and was waiting for the results of his medical testing. When it turned out that the senator indeed had COVID-19, he left the hospital at once but not before potentially spreading the virus to unsuspecting hospital personnel.

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Show Your Gratefulness Towards Them

Whether the frontline workers are at the borders or in the hospitals, they are expected to work harder than ever due to the pandemic. For instance, when patrolling the entry and exit points in the cities, they need to check every car and scan anyone who wants to enter or leave the area. In health facilities, there may not be enough medical professionals to accommodate all the COVID-19 patients, but they cannot turn them away, so they tend to work overtime. Every single day since the outbreak, therefore, their stress level may already be larger than life.

Now, it is unrealistic to think that you can give them a day off and save the day to show your gratefulness to them. You want to ease their load, but you may not have been trained to do what they are doing for everyone. Instead, you should always thank and smile at them and avoid toeing the line all the time. Even if you cannot stop others from breaking the rules, what matters is that you don’t add to the frontline workers’ problems.

Final Thoughts

Stop trying to question the government’s decision to put everyone under quarantine. Their idea has already been tried and tested—hide if you can’t fight the enemy. Your focus should be on the frontline workers’ welfare, especially now that they are doing their best to protect us from COVID-19.

Showing Love For Military Parents Amid Lockdown

The lockdown that persists in different states in the US is challenging not only for adults but also for kids. I am not even talking about the fact that they have been required to finish the school year by homeschooling. For sure, they do not mind staying at home and not getting up early every day. However, it may be troublesome for them to be inside the house 24/7 when their friends are not too far away.

No matter how much you want to go out, dear child, don’t do it. That is especially true if your mom or dad is in the military and serves as a front-line worker these days. Instead, show them your love through the following ways:

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Send Voice And Video Messages

The most basic way to express love for hardworking parents is by sending them voice and video messages. After all, a lot of military moms and dads may not be able to go home every day because of their duties. Some may even want to stay out of the house for as long as possible if they suspect themselves of having the coronavirus.

If the parents hear your voice or see your face, it can make them want to protect themselves further. This way, they can be with the family soon.

Help Prepare Delicious Meals For Them

Plenty of military parents who go to the bases in the United States tend to work alongside healthcare professionals. That is especially true for those who have a medical background. The others take turns operating the checkpoints and making sure that no one roams the streets.

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Assuming your at-home parent sends meals to your military mom or dad every day, why don’t you help prepare their meals? This task can be done even by toddlers, you know. You can do something as easy as spooning the dish into the container or decorating it in any way you please. In case you are old enough to hold a knife, you can chop the ingredients. After that, attach a little note on the food container to brighten your parent’s day.

Stop Fighting With Siblings

Sometimes, moms and dads become happy when they know that all the kids, young or old, are getting along. They may not need you to give them anything; you merely have to show them that you and your siblings are not fighting.

This technique is most useful if your parent has been deployed overseas. You cannot give them hot meals; they may be too busy to FaceTime with you. But if your stay-at-home mom or dad informs the military parent that you are not acting like cats and dogs, they will undoubtedly feel at ease.

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Stay At Home

Although your military parent may be giving their 110% at work, half of their mind may still be focused on your welfare. After all, the coronavirus is unforgiving when it comes to its victims. It is especially terrible for kids because their immune system may not be strong enough to fight the disease.

To keep your mom or dad from worrying, therefore, you should stay at home all the time. Do not sneak out to visit your friend’s house, even if it is only next door. Try not to insist on going to the nearby park, either. The quarantine will not last forever; just hang in there for yourself and your parents.

Final Thoughts

Now is not the best time to become a rebellious kid. Your mom and dad need you to be mentally and physically resilient right now, especially if one or both of them are in active duty. Show them how much you love them by doing the things mentioned above. Good luck!