10 Valentine Gift and Project Ideas

It doesn’t matter if you have a date for Valentine’s this year or not. If you are looking for something fun to do for that special someone or your bestie, we have you covered this Valentine’s Day with these 10 fun gift and project ideas from around the web.

  1. We can’t have enough sunglasses here in Arizona, so why not gift all your besties with a pair of sunglasses and these creative gift tags from diy network.
  2. Here’s another great idea from diy network for your best friend or boyfriend or girlfriend. Don’t forget to download your free gift tag!
  3. Go to your local party supply store and purchase a giant heart balloon add a special note to the strings.
  4. Get together with some friends and set up a Valentine themed photo booth with Valentine themed accessories and décor. Turn your photos into Valentines for that special someone or each other.
  5. Make this fun Valentine inspired treat from the blog, My Crazy Good Life.
  6. Why not make sure everyone you know has kissable lips with this fun Valentine from the blog Mom Dot.
  7. Make some wall art like this. You could either use different lip sticks and kiss the paper yourself or find lip shaped stamp at your local craft store.
  8. Here’s a great project from DIY Joy . This would make a great gift and gather a group of friends and all work on together.
  9. Emoji’s are all the rage. Try your hand at making these fun pillows from DIY Craft Ideas and Gardening.
  10. We love these DIY conversation heart rings from Studio DIY. Make them for all your besties!

These are just a few of the many ideas around the web. We hope you feel inspired to go out and find or make awesome Valentine’s for your boyfriend, girlfriend, or besties! Happy Valentine’s Day from the team at Doorways!

The Importance of Resiliency

By Rich Killen, LAC, Licensed Associate Counselor

Confucius once said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”.

What Confucius is talking about here is a concept used in psychology circles called, “resiliency”.

To put it simply, resiliency is an ability to recover from adversity. You can find this word used in several different areas ranging from a person’s resiliency as it relates to experiencing trauma or an athlete’s ability to be resilient during a game or a competition.  For the sake of this article, I will be referring to the latter. Super Bowl LI turned out to be a great demonstration of this particularly on the part of the New England Patriots and more specifically, Tom Brady. This game featured the underdog Atlanta Falcons and the favored New England Patriots. However, despite the predictions, we saw these Patriots losing by 25 points in the third quarter. To put this in context, no team has ever overcome more than a 10 point deficit in any Super Bowl. This Falcons team that was considered by many to have one of the best offenses in the league which consisted of the league MVP at quarterback. For a team that has been as proficient on offense as the Falcons were this year and considering the lead that they had, they should not have lost the Super Bowl.

Much of the current research on “resiliency” has suggested that it is a skill that can be improved upon when practiced. Some of this same research also suggests that “resilient” people are those that believe they can have some control over what is going on in their life as opposed to an individual that believes there is nothing they can do to change their situation. This is where Tom Brady and the Patriots excelled. They believed that they still had control over the game, or to put it another way, they believed that they could still win the game. The reality is that Tom Brady has had 49 game winning drives in his career including 5 in the Super Bowl. So even though no team has ever overcome a 10 point deficit in the Super Bowl this win was not without precedent. As long as there was still time on the clock the Patriots still believed they could win.

This is what great athletes do. They have an unshakable confidence in themselves knowing that despite the score and despite the circumstances, they have the potential to overcome. Another example of this is Tiger Woods (the Old version not the current version). Nineteen times he was won despite trailing going into the final round. Often times he would hit his tee shot in the rough leaving him with difficult approach shots. However, he had this same unshakable confidence that despite his circumstances that he would be able to overcome the undesirable situation that he put himself in. Building “resiliency” is a skill and it takes lots of practice, and often with anything that is being practiced, there is a lot of failure that is endured. However, when an athlete is able to utilize this skill it often leads to a performance of epic proportions.

Rich Killen LAC, Licensed Associate CounselorRich has  Masters degrees in Mental Health Counseling and Sport and Exercise Psychology from Argosy University-Phoenix. He has worked with families and at-risk youth and has also worked within a Partial Hospitalization Program for individuals struggling with addiction. In addition to this experience, he has also worked with athletes and other individuals interested in improving their performance and success in life, school, and their careers. Rich has a passion for people and helping them achieve their goals.

What a Healthy Teen Dating Relationship Looks Like

It may come as a surprise to some, but teen dating violence has become all too common during the teenage and young adult years. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control, in the time leading up to their survey, 1 in 10 teenagers had been hit or otherwise intentionally hurt at least once by their dating partner.  Even more shocking is that 1 in 10 teenagers had been kissed, touched or forced into sexual intercourse that they did not want to engage in by their partner.  With February being National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we want to show teens what a healthy dating relationship looks like. For more information on how to protect your teen from teen dating violence, check out our post Teen Dating Violence: How to Protect and Support Your Teenager Through Awareness.

One of the key elements of a healthy relationship is communication. Talking through things can help teens in a relationship be on the same page. Here some tips to share with your teen for having a healthy relationship, from Love is Respect:

  • Support Each Other. Encourage each other and don’t be afraid to ask your partner when you need support. A key component of a healthy relationship is building each other up as opposed to putting each other down.
  • Say What’s on Your Mind. Remember that your partner is not a mind reader. If something is on your mind, bring it up to your partner and have a conversation about what is going on.
  • Come to a Compromise. There are going to be conflicts in any relationship. It’s okay not to agree on everything. When in conflict, you need to find a way to come to a compromise that is fair for each other.
  • Have Respect. Each partner’s feelings have value. It is important to consider not just your own feelings, but also your partner’s feelings. Having mutual respect is a component to any healthy relationship.
  • Have Respect for Privacy. Having one’s own space is crucial to a healthy relationship. It’s okay to not do everything together and to tell each other every little thing.
  • Have Clear Boundaries. By doing this, you can determine what makes each other comfortable or not and help guide the direction of the relationship. It is important to note, that by having clear boundaries, one partner should not feel restricted. Each person should be able to still do the things they enjoy, spend time with friends, or have their needs respected.

To further understand what a healthy relationship looks like, it is important to point out what a healthy relationship doesn’t look like:

  • One partner should not be controlling over the other partner.
  • A partner should not be jealous, humiliate, be possessive, yell, insult, or be verbally, emotionally, or physically abusive to the other.

We hope that these tips will help you show your teen how to create or further build a healthy relationship. However, if you are concerned that your teen is in an unhealthy relationship, help them end the relationship.  Additionally, we have teen counselors that specialize in helping teens that suffer from dating violence that can help.

Apps to Protect Your Teen Driver

It’s a rite of passage for many teens- getting their driver’s license. As a parent, you might not share the same enthusiasm as your teen. This is understandable. Per dosomething.org, one in every five 16-year-olds are involved in an accident in their first year of driving. There is some good news! Did you know that there are now several smartphone apps available to help you monitor your teen’s driving? This is a great way to help put your mind at ease and ensure that your teen driver is practicing safe driving practices.

AT&T Drive Mode for Android Devices

AT&T DriveMode is a free, safe driving app that helps prevent distractions while driving. This app activates when speed reaches 15 MPH and deactivates when speed drops below 15 MPH for 2-3 minutes. It also silences all incoming alerts and will notify parents if the app has been deactivated.

TrueMotion Family for IOS and Android

This is a free app that tracks driver’s behaviors. TrueMotion has the ability to track whether any phone calls or texts were placed while driving, as well as speeding and aggressive driving. Then based on the driver’s actions, a score is given. Based on that score, drivers can determine if they are distracted driving and then correct those behaviors on their next car trip.

DriveScribe for IOS and Android

This app will automatically start when the car is going over 5 mph or Bluetooth connects. This app blocks phone calls, emails, and texts while driving and provides an auto text when it is running. DriveScribe also tracks driving behavior. You can accumulate points for smart driving and once a certain amount of points accumulate, they can be redeemed for gift cards.

RoadReady for IOS and Android

This app is for teens learning to drive. It helps keep track of practice hours accumulated by keeping a driving log. This app allows for parent pointers and shows which areas can be improved.

Safe Driver for IOS and Android

SafeDriver runs in the background and rewards you for not using your phone while driving. For example, not texting while driving will earn you points that can be redeemed in the Safe-Drive Marketplace.

TextLimit for IOS and Android

This app is completely customizable so that you can determine which phone features can be disabled and at what speed. The goal of this app is to completely stop distracted driving.

CellControl for IOS and Android

Cell Control is also a customizable app that lets you control what phone features are disabled when the vehicle is moving. The app prevents access to social media, the camera, texting, etc. so that you know that your teen is not getting distracted while driving.

These are just a handful of the many apps that are available so that you can help your teen create safe driving practices and eliminate distracted driving, as well as help put your mind at ease while your teen is behind the wheel.

Is your Teen’s Use of Social Media Contributing to Depression?

It seems that our lives have become entrenched in the use of social media. According to a recent article in Tech Times, citing current research, “the current generation is into social media so much, not knowing that the longer they spend time on it, the higher the possibility of getting depressed.” Does your teen fall into this category? Do you know the impact it is having and if is contributing to your teen’s depression?

Studies are finding that the more time that teens are spending on social media, the greater the risk for depression. However, researchers are still trying to determine if it’s the social media that is causing the depression or if higher numbers of teens with depression flock to social media.

Tech Times reported that over 1,787 U.S. young adults ages 19-32 in a recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh visited about 30 different platforms, 30 times a week and spent an average of 61 minutes a day on those various social media sites. Of those, a high amount of depression was found in no less than 25 percent of those that participated in the study.

HealthDay News interviewed Dr. Brian Primack the director of Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the University of Pittsburgh. He explains that one possibility is that if your teen is already depressed, they use social media more since it takes less energy than direct social relationships. On the other hand, there are also reasons as to why an increase in the amount of social media use can lead to depression. These teens tend to compare themselves to others on social media sites and feel they are not living up to the same scale. He further goes on to suggest that it can be a “vicious cycle” as teens that are already depressed that use social media only deepen their depression.

While the researchers of this study do find a correlation between the use of social media and depression, they in no way are suggesting that everyone that uses social media is going to get depressed. Health professionals encouraged to explore the link with their patients.

Whether you are concerned that your teen is depressed or not, it is still a good idea to monitor their social media usage. Be aware of sites they are visiting and the amount of time they are spending on them. If you do have concerns that social media is causing depressive thoughts for your teen or worsening your teen’s depression, consider talking to a health care professional that specializes in teen depression.

A New Year and a New Focus on Life Habits

Did your teen make a resolution for the new year and is already struggling to stick with or achieve their goal? Why not take a different approach that encourages your teen to develop some lifelong habits?

By developing lifelong habits, your teen will naturally achieve smaller goals that they may have for themselves. By focusing on the long term, rather than the short term, your teen will learn skills that they can use for whatever it is they do in life.

What are some effective habits that your teen should be focusing on? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey as explained by Education.com provides skills for teens to use on a daily basis. These are the seven habits and how to utilize them:

Be Proactive

Teens need to begin by establishing priorities. Once this is done, they need to be the ones that are responsible for the tasks at hand. By doing this, they learn to take responsibility for actions and not place blame on others.

Begin with the End in Mind

When setting goals, help your teen have a vision for the end result. In particular, what is their goal in life and what vision do they have for their future. Then help them create a plan and direction to get to that end goal.

Put First Things First

Learning how to prioritize is an important life skill. Teens can then focus on what is most important in life. Learning this time management skill will help propel them through tough times. Learning and understanding time management will help propel your teen through college and their professional years.

Think Win-Win

Sometimes we can be self-centered, so it is important for teens to look at relationships in a way that benefits both sides. By having a mindset of win-win, your teen will learn how to look at things from multiple perspectives and determine a solution that works for both sides.

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

A skill that is becoming lost, is active listening. We are so busy trying to get our thoughts out, that we sometimes don’t fully understand the full picture. By encouraging your teen to first listen to others, they will be better able to communicate with others.

Synergize

There is an old saying, “there is more than one way to skin a cat.” This is so true because we all have an idea on what is the best way or the right way to do something. Encourage your teen when working with others that both ideas might be valid and can actually lead to a better idea.

Sharpen the Saw

Teens can be so busy and pulled in so many directions. Remind them that it is important to take a breather and renew. This could be done in many ways but should be ways that strengthen our hearts, brains, souls, and minds.

These habits will not only help through the teen years but will provide a solid foundation for their entire lives. However, if you are struggling with helping your teen, a professional teen counselor can help your teen to build skills to be successful now and in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You, Carrie Fisher

By Katherine Cook

Carrie Fisher QuoteOn December 27, 2016, Carrie Fisher passed away. She was best known to the world as Princess Leia from the Star Wars series. That too is how I discovered her when I was about 10 or 11 years old. Oh, how I loved that character. Not your typical princess, she was strong, witty, independent. I wanted to be like her. Years later I find it amusing how I found myself not wanting to be like Leia, but like the woman who played her.

When I was 23 almost 24 years old, after years of serious “mood swings” and a very alarming manic episode, I was diagnosed as bipolar 1. A scary diagnosis. All that I knew of bipolar disorder is what had been portrayed in the media. I had a great support system with my husband, mother, father, sister, psychiatrist, and some friends, yet I still felt very lost. Very alone. I knew no one who was “like me.” No one who really understood what being in my head felt like. So, I began searching.

In my search, I found that the woman who played the princess that I idolized so much as a child was bipolar too. Not only was she bipolar, but she wasn’t ashamed to be bipolar. She owned it. She was proud of it. She was a mental illness advocate and fought to shut down the stigmas that surround it. She had a kind of courage that gave me hope.

Coming out as a person struggling with a mental illness is not an easy thing to do. There is a huge misconception as to what it means to be bipolar, or mentally ill in any of its forms, in part due to how the media portrays it. The stigma that surrounds any mental illness certainly doesn’t help the sufferer feel comfortable seeking help or having open discussions about how it affects their life. Carrie Fisher fought for us. See, I could get up in front of thousands of people and shout the same things she did until I was blue in the face, but no one would take the time to really hear me. After all, they don’t know me. I’m just some random work at home Mom to them. But people “knew” her. They respected her, loved her character, and even loved her in a way. When she spoke, people listened. I am so thankful for the voice that she gave to people like us. Her interviews, her stories, her books, they inspired me. More importantly, they helped give me the courage to fight this thing and to live my life. She helped give me the strength to continue on and not let my diagnosis consume me.

In the days since her passing, I have seen several articles similar to this. People suffering from mental illness, not only bipolar disorder but others as well, expressing their gratitude for what she had done for them. I wonder if she knew how much she meant to us. To us, she wasn’t Princess Leia. She was Carrie Fisher, advocate, stigma fighter, mental illness warrior, and I know we will forever be thankful.

These are some of my favorite quotes from Carrie Fisher about living with a mental illness:

  • About living with a mental illness: “I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.”

“At times being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.”

“The only lesson for me, or anybody, is that you have to get help. It’s not a neat illness. It doesn’t go away.”

“Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It’s a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life.”

  • Her advice to people struggling with mental illness who are afraid to pursue their dreams: “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”
  • On not being ashamed: “I’ve learned to celebrate my life, to embrace it. If I have the problems, the problems don’t have me. They’re not something I’m ashamed of.”

“I don’t want to be caught… ashamed of anything. And because someone who has bipolar doesn’t just have bipolar, they have bipolar, and they have a life and a job and a kid and a hat and parents, so it’s not your overriding identity, it’s just something that you have, but not the only thing – even if it is quite a big thing.”

  • On being an advocate: “We have been given a challenging illness, and there is no other option than to meet those challenges. Think of it as an opportunity to be heroic – not ‘I survived living in Mosul during an attack’ heroic, but an emotional survival. An opportunity to be a good example to others who might share our disorder.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness, or maybe just need some extra guidance, please know there is no shame in seeking help. With the right support and treatment, we can live fulfilling lives. Stay strong, stay brave, you got this.

 

Katherine Cook is a work at home Mother of three amazing boys. She enjoys her work blogging for various types of businesses. Katherine was diagnosed as bipolar 1 around nine years ago and has recently started sharing her journey and struggles with others in hopes of helping to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Teen Date Night Ideas for the Winter Months

So how many times have you been out on a date for pizza and a movie? Maybe now is the time to change it up.

Check out these fresh ideas and go on new adventure your next date night!

  1. Go Indoor Rock Climbing– check out AZ on the Rocks and not only have fun but get in some exercise. This can be good for a first date since you will be quite active, avoiding any awkward silence.
  2. Go to an Amusement ParkCastles-n-Coasters has a variety of activities from bumper cars to miniature golf to a roller coaster offering plenty of time for talking and hand holding. Be sure to check out their web page for various specials.
  3. Go to a Coffee Shop/Book Store– grabbing a cup of coffee gives you a chance to chat and perusing the bookstore gives you an opportunity to learn more about each other and find common interests.
  4. Go Ice SkatingAZ Ice Arcadia offers indoor skating and a great opportunity to hold hands!
  5. Go Check Out Holiday Lights– turn on some Christmas music and check out light’s on family or friend’s homes or here’s a great map from AZ Central.
  6. Go Holiday Shopping– wrap up your holiday shopping for each other or other friends or family.
  7. Go PaintballingWestworld Paintball Adventures offers a chance to compete together and really get the heart racing.
  8. Do Some Holiday Baking– maybe one of you knows how to bake and the other doesn’t. Put on some music and create some of your favorite sweets.
  9. Take a Stroll– the Desert Botanical Garden offers beautiful scenery for a nice stroll and time to talk.
  10. Get Creative– try your hand at pottery painting. As You Wish Pottery has a variety of things that you paint while expressing your creative or maybe not so creative side.
  11. Attend a Local Sporting Event– Phoenix has a variety of sports teams to check out or maybe take in your own schools sporting event.
  12. Go for a Picnic- we are so lucky in Phoenix to have such great weather. Why not pack up a picnic lunch and head to your local park.
  13. Go to the Musical Instrument Museumthis is a great place for music lovers to check out a variety of instruments and music memorabilia.
  14. Go for a Hike- check out the great views from South Mountain.
  15. Go to an Art Museum- if you are interested in art, the Phoenix Art Museum is a great place to share your love of art.

We hope that we have given you plenty of ideas to change up your date night. Go out there and try something different and most importantly, have FUN!!!

 

Is Social Media Negatively Impacting Your Teen’s Body Image?

According to a recent report from Common Sense Media, teens are spending an average of about nine hours on social media daily and this does not include what they may be using at school.

Doorways Arizona Blog: Is Social Media Negatively Impacting Your Teen's Body Image?

Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have become an integral part of teenager’s lives, something that many teens feel they can’t live without. One of the more negative sides of social media use is how these media are serving to influence a teen’s personal body image.

Proud 2 Be Me, is an online community that was created by teens for teens.  Their goal is to promote positive body image. Proud2BeMe posed the question to their community of whether social media sites help or hurt self-esteem and body image.   The answers were enlightening:

Teens indicated that it’s all about getting the coveted “like” on social media.  Teens crave that positive attention. And the more likes the better. To get likes, teens, especially females, will often oversexualize themselves.  One teen said, “The less clothes you have on, the more popular you are.” –-Dayton, 17.

The problem is that the more of these oversexualized pictures the teens see, the more that look becomes the norm, rather than the exception. And teens start comparing themselves to these images that they are bombarded with, resulting in a false idea of what it is normal to look like.  In a way, social media is like an online beauty contest that never ends. And unfortunately, most teens feel like they can’t win this contest unless they do something drastic such as crash dieting to try to lose a lot of weight fast.

What is a parent to do about this? It’s not realistic to ban your teen from using social media.  You can help combat this negative influence by encouraging your teen to share what’s on their social media accounts with you.  Then you can discuss the pictures and the impact they have on our body image and self-esteem.

If your teen is struggling with body image and is engaging in unhealthy activities to alter their appearance such as extreme dieting, there is help.

At Doorways, we have caring, confidential, nutritionists and counselors on staff who are experts in teaching teens how to make healthy lifestyle choices.  We offer a free consultation to any parent seeking help. Just call us at 602-997-2880.

 

 

Apps for Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

According to Health Line, the United States alone has an estimated 6.4 million children that range in age from 4-17 that suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The symptoms of ADHD include trouble with organization, difficulty concentrating and staying focused, as well as issues remembering details. You could say that as a student-particularly in high school-with ADHD having these difficulties stands in the way of academic success. One of the most important things that you can do as a parent to aid in your child’s success is to help them get organized.

Doorways Arizona Blog: Apps for Students with ADHD

With help from the team at Health Central, we have outlined some invaluable apps that can help get and keep your adolescent student on track.

While the features may differ slightly amongst each app, the purpose of these apps is to keep your student on track daily by managing classes. These apps allow you to put in all pertinent information about your classes like teacher, assignments, test dates, project deadlines and grades and also set reminders.

Dropbox might be an online tool that you are familiar with. This tool allows you to store files and then access them from any of your devices. This can be helpful for your student because files saved to Dropbox can be accessed from a home computer and as well as say your student’s phone.

It is likely that your student has lots of ideas for an upcoming project, but just isn’t sure how to organize. What is great about this app is that it allows you to jot down your ideas and then it outlines them in a logical order.

This app allows you to keep all information in one spot, like images, web links, and notes. The best part is that later you can search and find the information that you need.

  • 30/30 for Apple Devices

30/30 is an app designed to help you manage time. This is great for students because it allows to you to allocate a certain amount of time to each desired task i.e. 30 minutes of English homework and it sets a timer and counts down the 30 minutes.

This is another document storage base. What’s really helpful about GoogleDrive is that it allows you to scan or type in additional important information.

This app is the modern-day family calendar. It allows you to add appointments, family functions, sporting events, etc. to your entire family’s calendar and hopefully avoid being told by your teen that they didn’t know they had a dentist appointment because you hadn’t told them.

These apps are merely organizational tools to help you and your teen achieve greater academic success. If you have additional concerns about your teen, please consult a health professional that specializes in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder