Try Moodgym for free!

This year at 1Up we added the opportunity for members to access a program that developed in Australia called Moodgym. “Moodgym is an interactive self-help program designed to help users prevent and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.” (https://moodgym.com.au/). Using the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Moodgym supports users to address problematic thought patterns or behaviours. It can provide new tools to manage anxiety and can provide users with a better understanding of their own moods and when to seek further help.

We are excited about Moodgym and hope that it will provide another tool to support our community. Anxiety has been increasing for everyone as Covid continues and we remain living in a state of constant flux. It is our hope that Moodgym can support members with new tools to manage during Covid and to understand if they need more help.

Moodgym has been studied in a number of different settings with different population groups. It has been found effective at reducing anxiety and depression symptoms in adult populations as well as effective in reducing hazardous alcohol use. Further information regarding the studies and their outcomes are listed on the Mood Gym website.

Moodgym is user friendly. The website is easy to access and use, the activities are easily understood and utilized and the language is simple and clear. This allows it to be accessible to persons who find reading information difficult or whose first language is not English.


moodgym consists of five interactive modules which are completed in order.

  • Exercises and quizzes: As you progress through moodgym, you will be asked to answer questions about your feelings and thoughts. moodgym will then provide useful feedback about your results.For many of the exercises it is up to you whether or not you complete them (although of course moodgym encourages you to complete all of them!). However, some quizzes must be completed before you can move on to the next part of moodgym.
  • Summaries: At the end of each module, a summary of your results for that module is available and can be printed out. These can also be accessed from your Workbook.
  • Workbook: In the moodgym Workbook you’ll find all of the exercises and quizzes that you encounter throughout the program.

If you are a 1Up member, and would like to try out this innovative self-help program for free, email Lesley at lesley@singleparentvictoria.ca.


CLICK HERE for more information about Moodgym.


Mental Health Resources – Part 3

PODCASTS

Hello friends!

Although some restrictions have recently been lifted, many of us are still facing challenges such as isolation, stress and anxiety as a result of measures we must take to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19.

If you find yourself struggling, that is normal and OK. Here is a list of FREE podcasts that you may find useful in managing your mental health.

Most of these podcasts are available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, as well as other podcast apps.

1. Tara Brach: https://www.tarabrach.com/talks-audio-video/

“Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world.”

Offerings includes audio and Video talks, guided meditations, blogs, reading resources, articles, etc. 


2. The Hilarious World of Depression: https://www.hilariousworld.org/

“A show about clinical depression…with laughs? Well, yeah. Depression is an incredibly common and isolating disease experienced by millions, yet often stigmatized by society. The Hilarious World of Depression is a series of frank, moving, and, yes, funny conversations with top comedians who have dealt with this disease, hosted by veteran humorist and public radio host John Moe.”


3. The Happiness Lab: https://www.happinesslab.fm/

“Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos has studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better… Laurie will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will change the way you think about happiness.”

This podcast has a “Coronavirus Bonus” season specifically about how to cope with the changes and challenges that have accompanied the pandemic.


4. Wellbeing Podcast with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau: https://www.we.org/en-CA/get-doing/activities-and-resources/wellbeing/we-well-being-podcast/

“Challenge the way you see mental well-being through tackling taboos and frank conversation.”


5. The Calmer You Podcast: https://www.calmer-you.com/category/podcast/

“Helping people with anxiety to become calmer, happier and more confident.

Chloe Brotheridge tackles topics like how to reduce negative thinking, ways to heal trauma, and manage grief. A recent episode of this podcast specifically talks about how to be productive and manage stress while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.”


6. A Mindful Moment:

“Are you thriving or just surviving? Increase your mindfulness to shift into living a life of purpose and meaning. Mindfulness improves your health, relationships, finances and career. Tap into your full potential by learning tips, techniques and new perspectives on a wide variety of topics.”


7. The Anxiety Coaches Podcast: https://www.theanxietycoachespodcast.com/

“The Anxiety Coaches Podcast is a relaxing and inspiring show sharing lifestyle changes to calm your nervous system and help you heal Anxiety, Panic, and PTSD for life! We Bring you 2 episodes every week. There is no need to walk this path alone. Join us for a relaxing, informative and inspiring time and start your journey out of anxiety-panic!”


8. Your Anxiety Toolkit: https://kimberleyquinlan.libsyn.com/

“Your Anxiety Toolkit aims to provide you with helpful tools to manage anxiety, stress and other emotions that get in the way.”


Mental Health Resources – Part 2

Apps

Hello friends! 

Although some restrictions have been lifted recently, many of us are still facing challenges such as isolation, stress and anxiety as a result of measures we must take to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19. 

If you find yourself struggling, that is normal and OK. Here is a list of FREE online resources that you may find useful in managing your mental health. 

https://www.headspace.com/ 

“Headspace is here to give you the tools and resources to look after your mind…If you’re unemployed, you can get a free year of Headspace Plus to help you get back on your feet.” 

https://www.calm.com/ 

“Sleep more. Stress less. Live better.” 

Mindshift

“MINDSHIFT is free to download and use for all Canadians. It employs scientifically proven strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help users learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of their anxiety.” 

https://mobile.va.gov/app/cbt-i-coach 

“CBT-i Coach is for people who are engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia with a health provider, or who have experienced symptoms of insomnia and would like to improve their sleep habits.” 

https://calmharm.co.uk/ 

For self harm. 

https://www.clearfear.co.uk/ 

For anxiety. 

https://insighttimer.com/ 

Free Meditation app for sleep, anxiety and stress. 

https://www.downdogapp.com/ 

Free yoga, including prenatal. 


Mental Health Resources – Part 1

Websites

Hello friends! 

Although some restrictions have been lifted recently, many of us are still facing challenges such as isolation, stress and anxiety as a result of measures we must take to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19. 

If you find yourself struggling, that is normal and OK. Here is a list of FREE online resources that you may find useful in managing your mental health. 

https://www.keltyskey.com/ 

“Kelty’s Key is your source for online therapy. Get tailored treatment from an online therapist or work on your own with our self-help resources… We are publicly funded by Vancouver Coastal Health, making all our services 100% free.” 

https://www.sfu.ca/carmha/publications/antidepressant-skills-workbook.html 

“The Antidepressant Skills Workbook (ASW) is a self-care guide that shows you how to use cognitive and behavioural methods to make important changes in thinking and actions that help one to emerge from depression and make it less likely to recur.” 

https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/looking-after-yourself 

Looking after yourself modules: “If you experience a condition that is affecting your mental health and are looking for specific information about different types of problems, then the ‘workbooks’ or sets of modules in this section may be relevant to you.” 

https://www.anxietycanada.com/  

Anxiety Canada 

https://bouncebackbc.ca/ 

“BounceBack is a free skill-building program designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered online or over the phone with a coach, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness.” 

https://bit.ly/2Aceokk

“Acceptance & Commitment Therapy webinars and workshops in response to Covid.”

https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide 

Coronavirus Sanity Guide 

https://palousemindfulness.com/ 

Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): “This online MBSR training course is 100% free, created by a fully certified MBSR instructor, and is based on the program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.” 

http://freecbti.com/ 

Free Cognitive Behavioural Therapy  for Insomnia (CBTi) 

https://familysmart.ca/ 

“Are you a family with a child or youth with a mental health challenge? We get it – we are also families whose kids struggle with their mental health and we know things might be tough right now. We’ll listen – keep it real, and look for ways to help you.” 

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/virtual-supports-covid-19 

BC Government resources including low cost counselling. 

https://here2talk.ca/home 

“Here2Talk connects post secondary students with mental health support when they need it. Through this program, all students currently registered in a B.C. post-secondary institution have access to free, confidential counselling and community referral services, conveniently available 24/7 via app, phone and web.” 

https://foundrybc.ca/virtual 

“Foundry is working to make sure all young people in British Columbia can get the care and support they need when they need it. We are now offering virtual drop-in counselling sessions by voice, video and chat to young people ages 12-24 and their caregivers!” 


Food for thought and wellbeing

Being a single parent comes with financial challenges, to begin with, let alone with a global pandemic at hand!

Since 1978, 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre has served the evolving needs of single-parent families in Greater Victoria. We do our best to respond to the changing circumstances of single parents. We learn from their experiences, reflect upon our resources and capacities and develop new programs and opportunities to offer relief to single parents. Our journey continues under the new circumstances that affect us all: a global pandemic that disrupts our family routines, physically distances us from loved ones, interrupts our work schedules, results in job loss, and stress as a result of uncertainties.

Being a single parent comes with financial challenges, to begin with, let alone with a global pandemic at hand! As jobs were being lost at a rapid rate we surveyed single parents in Greater Victoria and nearly 50% reported they found themselves struggling with having enough food for their family. To help meet this need we’ve turned our attention to food resources. With thanks to grant funding from the Rapid Relief Fund and Good Food Access we are now able to offer a weekly market day at the Centre. Any 1-Up Members that need help covering basic food costs are welcome!

Every Wednesday from 11-3 members can drop by the centre and pick up a bag of non-perishables, fresh garden produce, bread and often dairy, fruit and other goodies. $25 Grocery store gift cards are available to help meet specific food needs. The market will run weekly until the end of summer.

For all the single Mom’s and Dad’s out there doing your best and making choices to raise your child in a secure, happy healthy home environment – we celebrate you and are here to support you. What you are doing is not easy and we want to help make your life a little bit easier.


Building routines when staying at home

Have you been feeling a little edgy, restless, or out of control? You are not the only one.

As our daily lives and routines have been disrupted we have trouble marking the changing days and weeks (Is anyone else feeling flabbergasted that April is almost over?).

There is a lot of evidence to support the importance of routines. We have all read parenting books that tell us our toddlers need routines but our older children, and we ourselves need them too. Often when I suggest routines to people I get push back. Sometimes people tell me they don’t like to be “rigid”, or that they just like to go with the flow or that routines cause them stress.

I am here to urge you to give them a try because routines can actually alleviate stress. They make us feel more focused, they eliminate decision making, and they give structure to otherwise aimless days and weeks.

So, how do you build some routines that will actually work for you?

  1. Don’t be rigid. Your routine is not a carefully constructed minute by minute detailed plan of your day
  2.  Do be flexible. If something happens to disrupt your routine, that’s ok, take a breath, let it go (the breath and the routine)
  3. Set a task or chore for each day of the week and invite your kids to help
    • Monday – laundry
    • Tuesday – clean bathrooms
    • Wednesday-bake something yummy
    • Thursday – tidy bedrooms
    • Friday – plan weekend hike
    • Sat – family time
    • Sunday – plan your weeks meals (don’t want to shop more often than you have to)
  4. Start small and general
    • Set your alarm for the same time each week day
    • Go to bed at the same time each night
    • Turn off all screens 1 hour before bedtime (read a book or read out loud together)

Once you feel confident you may try to plan your day, maybe it will look like the one below, maybe not. .

An example of a routine that might work well for a family staying at home is:

  • Set the alarm and consistently get up at the same time each day.
  • Eat breakfast and tidy up.
  • Do a craft or play a board game
  • Go out for a walk
  • Have lunch
  • Do school work (take a nap if you are little)
  • Go for a walk
  • Prepare dinner (together as a family, or rotate each kid helping)
  • Clean up together
  • Movie time or board game time
  • Story time (no matter how old you are end your day with a book not a screen)
  • Sleep (at approximately the same time each night)

The point to the routine is to create a sense of flow to your days and weeks. To give everyone something to look forward to and some structure in which to get things done. Have fun, enjoy your time together as a family, and soon enough we will be back in our overly busy lives.


Thoughts on mindful parenting on a “snow day”

Lesley McNeely, Counsellor and Educational Coordinator

We spend so much time feeding [our children] and transporting them to events, we forget to stop and get to know them.

Here in Victoria a “snow day” is a very special event. It is a day when snow falls and shuts down our city. Now I am not going to lie to the rest of you out there – this is not the kind of snow that would shut down most cities. People in Montreal and Toronto would be laughing pretty hard at the idea of a snow day for so little snow, but here on our island “snow day” is special. It is unique, short-lived and an opportunity.

It is an opportunity to slow down, stay home, and put aside all the things we have to do and be still. It allows us to go outside to play for hours in the novelty snow, or stay inside to play board games, read and cuddle. It forces us to become present, in the moment and to put aside all the “shoulds” that bombard our daily thoughts.

It is this kind of presence in our own lives that Mindfulness encourages. Mindfulness is everywhere these days. There are blogs posts, articles and advertisements all telling us that we should “be more mindful” or practise mindfulness, which may or may not mean meditation depending on who is speaking.

So, what do we here at 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre mean when we speak of mindful parenting? Well, we are looking at the practice of mindfulness as introduced to the West by people such as Jon Kabat-Zinn. The practice of Mindful meditation and the concept of mindfulness is in no way a new one and the current uptake in interest in the West can likely be attributed to the increase in virtual ” noise” we all experience through our cell phones, computers, TV’s etc. Not so long ago if someone wanted your attention they had to write you a letter, send out a newspaper or call and leave a message if you weren’t there. You got to choose, when and to whom, you would pay attention. Our friends and families, strangers with random opinions (like me and this blog post) did not have instant access to our attention. If we wanted to watch TV we had only 1 of 12 channels to choose from. There were a limited number of choices for getting groceries or going shopping, we planned meals from a cookbook and most stores and businesses were closed on Sunday.

What does this mean for our parenting? It translates into a bombardment; a barrage of external noise that distracts us from our instincts as parents. We lose sight of how we want to parent. The good and the bad habits we are forming as parents, and the connection with each child as a separate individual. We lose track of who our children are and start to see them as we think they are. We spend so much time feeding them and transporting them to events, we forget to stop and get to know them. The world has conditioned us to believe that busy is happy and we forget to slow down and just be present.

Snow day last week reminded me of all this. It reminded me to stop and think about how I want my days and weeks to be shaped, whom I want to spend my time with, and the most important thing, it reminded me of – my children are growing and will soon be gone! I need to put aside all the many distractions and enjoy them while I have them.