Category Archives: Family Fun

Life Balance

It is important to balance aspects of life by taking one step at a time. One of the most important things to remember is to set aside specific times to accomplish tasks. Getting more organized, setting specific times for doing tasks, and achieving a schedule will help individuals attain diminutive tasks throughout every day duties. Learning time management skills is definitely a way to help one accomplish goals.

Many people who claim to be victims of psychological or physiological effects of stress may have been able to deal more efficiently with the stressors by using different coping skills. Because we can not always change and manipulate stress nor our external realities, sometimes changing one’s outlook on life greatly affects the way an individual deals with and views stressors. For example, an individual who has a positive outlook, is physically fit, and in touch with many of the dimensions of her being may be able to make a connection by really listening to her body and focusing what her body may be trying to telling her. It is important that people know the avenues to use while dealing with and preventing stress. Massage therapy, accupuncture, yoga, and meditation may be a few ways to help individuals make the connection to life balance . I’ve learned that I really hold tension in my shoulders. So, when I am stressed out I try and work on releasing the tension in this area of my body. Deep relaxation may be another way to manage stress. I have actually written a few of my own meditations to practice.

The basic difference between constructive and destructive reactions to stress is that destructive reactions are maladaptive and constructive reactions are usually more effective.

Examples of destructive reactions are:

1.      Defensive Behavior

2.      Using Drugs and Alcohol

3.      Burnout

             Examples of constructive reactions are:

1.      Changing Self Defeating Thoughts and Messages

2.      Acquiring A Sense of Humor

3.      Utilizing Tips for Managing Stress

Managing Today’s Stepfamily

If you are a member of a stepfamily, you know how difficult it can be to integrate all of the new members and adjust to the new boundaries and rules. The following ideas may help you make a successful transition during this challenging process.

Have patience. Establishing new families takes time. Just because you love your new partner, it is unrealistic to think that you will automatically love his or her children. It is equally unrealistic to expect that your new partner’s children will instantly love you. It can be difficult to accept that even though you wish to have a relationship with your stepchildren, they may not be ready for a relationship with you.

Expect to adjust. With proper help and guidance, children can recover from family disruption. All children experience a difficult adjustment period following a divorce or remarriage. It takes time, patience, and perhaps some professional assistance, but most children are able to regain their emotional bearings. It is critical that the adults manage their own emotional recovery in order to help the children adjust without trauma.

If you are part of a part-time stepfamily, you may need a longer adjustment period. All relationships take time to grow and develop. When stepchildren see you less often, you have less time to get to know each other. This is why it may take a part-time stepfamily longer to move through the adjustment process.

Don’t expect your new family to be like your first family. If you expect that your stepfamily will be just like the family of your first marriage, you are setting yourself up for frustration. Your new family will have its own unique identity and will evolve in its own special way.

Expect confusion. Forming a stepfamily is a confusing time for everyone. Think about how confusing it is for a child to become part of two new families. All of the family members—parents and children—must learn to understand the new structure and learn to navigate the boundaries.

Allow time for grieving. Stepfamilies begin with an experience of loss, and everyone needs to grieve. The adults’ losses are not the same as those of the children, and both must be respected. Adults grieve the following losses:

    The loss of a partner

    The loss of a marriage relationship

    Lost dreams of the way they thought it would be

    They must adjust to changes that result from the divorce or death (moving to a new house, starting a new job, adjusting to changes in lifestyle, etc.)

Children grieve, too. Their losses are usually different from those of their parents:

    They may now be living with one parent instead of two.

    They may have less time with one or both parents during times of dating and remarriage.

    There may be less stability in their homes.

    They must adjust to changes that result from the divorce or death. (They may have a new place to live and go to a new school; they may have lost friends in this process.)

    They have lost the fantasy of how they wanted their family to be.

Children have an especially difficult time resolving their grief when their parents are hostile with one another, when one or both of their parents remarry, and if they have trouble accepting their new stepparents.

Acknowledge the absent parent. When one of the original parents is absent, the children need a special kind of understanding. An absent parent (who has died or who lives elsewhere and doesn’t visit) is part of a child’s past. The child must be allowed to have memories of this parent. The children who have access to both of their parents are those who adjust the best to divorce. They should be allowed to regularly speak with, visit, and write to their noncustodial parent.

Help the kids fit in. Children of stepfamilies belong to two households. It is understandable that they have questions about where they fit in. They are usually able to adjust to having two sets of rules as long as they are not asked to choose which is better.

Be clear about the rules. Ideally, both sets of parents should discuss the family rules and what will happen if rules are broken. When the adults agree on the rules, they should explain them to the children. Most successful stepfamilies have learned that the rules should be decided together in the beginning, and that the biological parent should do the explaining and disciplining. The stepparent may have more involvement after the relationships with the stepchildren have been established. All of this works best when the parents can agree to be flexible and cooperative with one another. This may be difficult immediately following a divorce or remarriage, but it is important to work toward this objective.

Educate yourselves and seek emotional support. Read books about managing stepfamilies, attend classes, and participate in stepfamily support groups. Seek the help of an experienced mental health professional to help you through the rough spots. Marriage and Family Therapists have specific skills and training for working with families and stepfamilies.

Give the kids their own space. Make physical space available for the children who don’t live with you. Children need a sense of belonging. Creating a room or section of a room for visiting children will help them feel like part of your family.

Expect them to think it’s temporary. Accept the fact that your children may expect you and their other parent to reconcile. They may fantasize that your new relationship with your partner is only temporary. This is especially true in the beginning. Find a time to sit down with the children and explain that when two people are unable to live together anymore, it doesn’t mean they love their children any less. This is especially important for the parent who has moved away, since the children will inevitably feel a sense of rejection.

Expect resentment. No matter how good a parent you are, you will never be the biological parent of your stepchildren. It is natural for a stepchild to feel some resentment for you, especially when you are setting limits for their behavior.

Show the children love. Sometimes children need love the most at a time when it is the most difficult to give it to them. While bad behavior should never be rewarded, always praise children when they are behaving well.

How to Balance Work and Family Life

What Is Your Definition of Success?

If you want to create balance in your life, it is important to know how you define success. The following list is a place to start. Cross off those that don’t seem important to you and add your own. Next, identify which of the items on your list are the most essential to your success definition and which items present the greatest challenge to you.

1.    Being able to move on when a situation is no longer productive or positive

2.    Being satisfied with your work situation

3.    Enjoying the present, not putting off the good things until some time in the future

4.    Expressing your creativity

5.    Fulfilling your potential

6.    Holding yourself with esteem separately from your work

7.    Being authentic

8.    Identifying your values and basing your choices on them

9.    Managing your money well

10.    Not feeling envious of others

11.    Paying attention to your spiritual life

12.    Spending time in fun ways away from your workplace

13.    Spending time with people you cherish and enjoy

14.    Taking good care of yourself

15.    Understanding when to fight for something and when to give in

What would you add? Which items present the greatest challenge to you?

The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, says that 20% of what we do produces 80% of the results. Some examples of this principle are:

    20% of the people sell 80% of the widgets.

    20% of the salespeople earn 80% of the commission.

    20% of the parts in your car cause 80% of the breakdowns.

    20% of the members of an organization do 80% of the work.

The 80/20 principle can help anyone create balance in their life. Here’s how:

1.    Identify the times when you are most happy and productive (i.e., the 20% that produces the 80%) and increase them as much as possible.

2.    Identify the times when you are least happy and productive (i.e., the 80% that produces the 20%), and reduce them as much as possible.

Your Seven Habits of Success

You have probably heard of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. As you create balance in your life, think about your own list of success habits. What seven things would lead to more happiness in your life if you did them every day? Here are some ideas to get you started:

1.    Do something you love doing for at least part of the day.

2.    Get some physical exercise.

3.    Get some mental exercise.

4.    Stimulate yourself artistically.

5.    Stimulate yourself spiritually.

6.    Do something for someone else.

7.    Do something just for fun.

8.    Acknowledge yourself for something you said or did.

What ideas would you add?

Dealing with Workaholism

What if a person needs more than just self-help in dealing with a lack of balance in work and family life? An organization called Workaholics Anonymous can help.

Workaholics Anonymous is a 12-step recovery program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a “fellowship of individuals who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from workaholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop working compulsively.”

How Do You Know if You Are a Workaholic?

Ask yourself these questions if you think you might be a workaholic:

1.    Are you more comfortable talking about work than anything else?

2.    Do you become impatient with people who do things besides work?

3.    Do you believe that more money will solve the other problems in your life?

4.    Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop working and do something else?

5.    Do you get more energized about your work than about anything else, including your personal relationships?

6.    Do you look for ways to turn your hobbies into money-making endeavors?

7.    Do you often worry about the future, even when work is going well?

8.    Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won’t otherwise get done?

9.    Do you take work home with you? Do you work on days off? Do you work while you are on vacation?

10.    Do you think about your work while driving, falling asleep, or when others are talking?

11.    Do you think that if you don’t work hard you will lose your job or be considered a failure?

12.    Do you work more than 40 hours in a typical week?

13.    Do you work or read while you are eating?

14.    Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships?

Pleasurable Activities List

Sometimes participating in activities that make you feel good is a great way to distract and sooth yourself from painful emotions and distress. Try to engage in these activities on a daily basis and get in the habit of regulating your emotions in a positive and fun way. You may choose to keep a journal and write down a pleasurable activity that you choose to do each day. This may help you practice being mindful, present, and self-aware. Exercise is also important because your body naturally releases endorphins which are you bodies natural painkillers. These are the same painkillers that are released when you cut yourself. Please add to this list and mark the activities that you engage in. Note how you feel before and after each activity and especially note how you feel after completing activities for a whole week! Be aware of obstacle and note ways to overcome any obstacles that may keep you from engaging in pleasurable activities!


Pleasurable Activities List

• Go for a Walk

• Read

• Meditate

• Spa

• Library

• Bookstore

• Yoga

• Go to a Cafe

• Take a Class of Interest

• Arts and Crafts

• Sew or Knit

• Museum

• Paint

• Write a Letter to a Loved One

• Go to your Place of Worship

• Volunteer

• Help a Neighbor

• Study a Language

• Join a Group or Club

• Write a Poem

• Write a Story

• Go to the Beach

• Go for a Bike Ride

• Go Surfing

• Call a Friend or Relative

• Go to the Mall

• Write a Letter to a Loved

One Who has Passed

• Create a Music Compilation

• Make a Video

• Surf the Web

• Watch the Sunset

• Get or Give a Massage

• Take Photos

• Sing in a Local Choir

• Join a Local Theatre Group

• Participate in a Sporting


• Garden

• Enjoy the Outdoors

• Scrapbooking

• Manicure and Pedicure

• Bubble Bath or Shower

• Go Swimming

• Pray

• Get your Hair Done

• Fix Something That is Broken

• Organize

• Learn Something New

• Create a Self Portrait

• Make a Vision Plan

• Write in your Journal

• Write Down your Strengths and

Positive Qualities

• Make a To-Do List and Start it

• Make a List of People You

Admire and Why

• Make a Bucket List

• Join an Athletic Club

• Hang out with a Friend or


• Lay in the Sun with Sunscreen on

• Take Care of Pets

• Have a Picnic

• Take a Road Trip

• Go Jogging

• Daydream

• Go to a Party

• Have a BBQ

• Traveling

• Plan a Party

• Go Out for a Meal

• Get Some Work Done

• Read the Newspaper

• Write Down Goals and a Plan

to Accomplish Them

• Have a Quiet Evening or


• Play a Musical Instrument

• Self Hypnosis

• Relaxation Techniques

• Deep Breathing Exercises

• Read Affirmations

• Clean

• Picking up Trash

• Recycling

• Looking at Old Photos

• Dressing Up and Looking Nice

• Eating Comfort Foods in


• Bowling

• Sending a Loved One a Card

• Send an Ecard

• Fantasizing

• Buy Something for Yourself

that is Within Your Budget

• Play a Computer Game

• Tell Someone that you Love

Him or Her

• Do Something Nice for


• Write a Love Letter

• Kissing

• Listening to Live Music

• Festivals

• Spend Time With Children

• Visit a Nursing Home

• Buy a Gift

• Play Cards

• CrossWord Puzzles

• Shoot Pool

• Horseback Riding

• Visit an Animal Shelter

• Make a List of Activities that

you used to enjoy and do

• Work on Your Car

• Exercise

• Flying a Kite

• Counseling Session

• Go to a Sporting Event

• Concert

• Hiking

• Acting

• Cooking

• Attend a Religious Service

• Internet Chat

• Hobby Activities

• Audio Book

• Collecting Items

• Eat a Treat

• Go to a Beautiful Place

• Sitting in a Peaceful Spot

• Being Held or Touched

• Play Frisbee

• Golf

• Pay Bills

• Laundry

• Decorate

• Water Plants

• Self Help Exercises

• Resolve a Conflict

• Going on a Date

• Memory Lane

• Planning a Career or Career


• Simply Relaxing

• Lighting a Candle

• Burn Incense

• Laughing

• Thinking About Past Trips

• Sex

• Journal About Progress Made


• Meet New People

• Networking

• Saving Money

• Go to the Gym

• Aerobics

• Pilates

• Imagine What it will be Like

When You Finish School or Other


• Buy and Sell Stocks and Shares

• Think About and Plan Retirement

• Family Get-Togethers

• Ride Motorcycle

• Masturbate

• Pick or Buy Fresh Flowers

• Go Camping

• Losing Weight

• Class Reunions

• Sailing

• Sketching

• Thinking about being an OK


• Ice Skating, Roller Skating,

Roller Blading

• Skateboarding

• Do Something Spontaneous

• Explore your Surrounding Areas

• Window Shopping

• Take a Short Nap

• Write a Book

• Make a Gift for Someone

• Entertaining

• Think About Getting Married

• Sightseeing

• Tennis, Raquetball

• Refinish Furniture

• Walk by the River or at Beach

• Thinking about How Much You

Have Going for You

• Exchange Emails

• Go Fishing

Pleasurable Activities List • 813-240-3237 •


• Being Alone

• Having Lunch with a Friend

• Happy Childhood Thoughts

• Visualization Activities

• Stargazing

• Play Billiards, Darts

• Volleyball

• Play Cricket

• Bocce Ball, Patonk

• Solving Riddles

• Stretching

• Saying “I Love You”

• Saying “I am Sorry”

• Erotica books

• Rock Climbing Indoors or


• Hiking

• Being Active in the


• Advocacy

• Going Green

• Woodworking

• Canoeing, Kayaking

• Thinking About How You

are a Person Who Can Cope

• Playing With Animals

• Rearrange Furniture

• Having Coffee or Tea (careful

of caffeine)

• Sauna or Steam Room

• Skiing

• Ballet, Tap, Jazz Dancing

• White-Water Rafting

• Get an Aquarium

• Adopt a Pet or Volunteer at a Shelter

• Home Improvement

• Imagine an Ideal Place

• Hot Tub, Jacuzzi

• Walk in Botanical Gardens

• Breath in Fresh Air

• Listen to Mediation CD

• Write Your Own Meditation

Pleasurable Activities List For KIDS

• Use List Above Too!

• Park


• Movies

• Yoga (class/ book/ home videos)

• Great Explorations (St. Pete)

• Library

• Visit family/ Friends

• Aquarium

• Kid City

• Play Dates

• Davis island

• Beach

• Busch Gardens

• Adventure Island

• Play sports

• Zoo

• Read

• Frisbee

• Mall Play Area

• Seedlings Store

• Bike Ride

• Wagon Ride

• Walk Dog

• Play Ball with Dogs

• Gymboree

• Swimming

• Arts and Crafts

• Water Balloons

• Play Dough

• Science Experiment

• Cook or Bake

• Sea World

• Play in the sprinkler/ Hose

• Computer Games

• Borders or Barnes and Noble

• Board Games

• Ultimate Play and Party Zone

• Bubbles

• Sidewalk Chalk

• Squirt Gun Battles

• State Parks

• Disney

• Color, Draw

• Dance

• Tea Party

• Sports

• Kids Meditations

• Make Pictures in Clouds

• Make a Pet Rock

• Gardening

• Brain Dance

• Puzzles

• Buy a New Toy

• Puppet Show

• Play Therapy Activities

• Play House