The Lily Program® ~ An Individualized Mental Health Program For Women

Brookhaven Retreat Blog
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 03:42

The Dog Days of Summer: Safety Tips for Your Pet

Pets are well documented to reduce anxiety and stress while boosting mood and mental health. But while summer means fun in the sun with friends and family, it can be a dangerous time of year for our furry loved ones. Follow these tips to keep your pet happy and healthy this time of year:

  • Never leave your pet in the car. Even with the windows down, the sun can raise the temperature in your car to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.
  • Provide your pet with plenty of cool, fresh water both indoors and out. Just like us, they need to stay hydrated. Be sure to check water bowls several times a day.
  • Protect their skin from sunburn. Light-colored or thin-coated pets need sunscreen. Check your pet store for animal-friendly formulas. Make sure you apply it to sensitive formulas such as the nose and ears.
  • Keep your pet free of summer critters such as fleas and ticks. Talk to your vet about prevention and be sure to brush and bathe your pet regularly.
  • Enjoy the great outdoors with your furry friends, but make sure they don’t get overheated. Go for a walk in the cooler morning or evening hours and stay in shaded areas whenever possible. Be careful on paved paths or sidewalks, as the hot surface can burn your pets’ paws.

Best wishes for a safe and happy summer with your furry friends!

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Monday, 29 July 2013 20:50

Extreme Self-Care: Foot Soak

There are times when we become so worked up with our emotions that we’re not sure we can stop ourselves from boiling over. We want to react – now! – without taking the time to calm down and think. We want to assign blame or unload our emotions on others and don’t care that we may come to regret it.

A self-care kit can be crucial in times such as these. When you’re not sure you can regulate your emotions and reason yourself to calmness, hit the pause button. Put away your phone and any other means of contacting others, pull out a massaging foot spa, whip up this foot soak and allow your mind and body to relax.

There’s nothing quite as soothing as relaxing your feet in warm water. This technique reduces stress, but by creating distance with telephones also prevents anxiety and regret created by runaway emotions.

Mindfully experience your soak and un-pause only when your mind and body have relaxed from your earlier avalanche of emotions.

Foot Soak Jar In a ½ gallon mason jar, add:

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 cup baking soda

Keep this jar by whatever water container you use for a foot soak. When in need, add 1/3 cup of the mixture to your massaging foot spa or vessel of warm water.

Optional: add a few drops of peppermint essential oil for its cooling properties or a few drops of lavender for its soothing scent.

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Sunday, 28 July 2013 04:20

Peach Bruschetta

This recipe combines peaches with a savory bruschetta that makes a wonderful late-summer treat. Try serving this the next time you grill for a delicious and seasonal appetizer.

Ingredients | Arugula Pesto

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups arugula
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Ingredients | Bruschetta

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing the bread
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 baguette, sliced 3/8-inch thick
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 soft small peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, and cut into wedges ¼ inch thick
  • shaved parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • coarse salt

Preparation

  1. To make the pesto, combine the garlic and walnuts in a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the olive oil and arugula and continue to pulse until the mixture is evenly moist and spreadable. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. To make the bruschetta, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and rosemary. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill. When the fire is ready, paint each bread slice on both sides with oil. Arrange the bread on the grill rack and roast, turning once, for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

    If you do not have a grill, toast the bread on both sides in a preheated broiler until golden brown.
  4. When the bread slices are ready, let them cool enough to handle then rub the smashed garlic cloves on both sides of each slice.
  5. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the pesto on each bread slice. (You will need only ½ cup pesto; cover and store any remaining pesto in the refrigerator for another use).
  6. 6. Top each slice with some of the caramelized onion, 1 or 2 peach slices, a little parmesan and a sprinkle of salt.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm

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Thursday, 25 July 2013 20:07

August's Best Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

It is the last call for produce of summer! The year's best fruits and vegetables are ripe for the picking.  Stop by your local farmer's market or grocery store this month to take advantage of what the season has to offer.  The fruits to look for at this time are apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, watermelon, mangoes, and avocados. Vegetables to buy are bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, okra, zucchini, corn, and salad greens.   The culinary choices for these picks are endless, but most of them can be enjoyed as-is with no fuss.  The following is one delicious example of a recipe for an in-season fruit to try on a hot summer day:


Peach Yogurt Pops (via DietsinReview.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh peaches
  • 1 cup low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey

Instructions

  1. Combine peaches and yogurt in blender and begin to process.  
  2. While processing, add in a slow stream of honey.  
  3. Process until smooth.  
  4. Pour into popsicle molds and insert popsicle sticks.
  5. Freeze until firm.
  6. Enjoy!
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Thursday, 25 July 2013 03:47

Who Controls You?

A family friend recently broke her engagement, left her fiancé and moved out of the state. And I couldn’t be happier for her.

According to Carol Rogne’s book, “Who’s Controlling You? Who Are You Controlling?” my acquaintance fit all the characteristics of an insecure enabler with low self-esteem: she was compliant, enabled controlling behavior in an attempt to receive love, went along just to get along, gave all her energy at the expense of herself and internalized her controller’s criticism. In short, she stayed in an abusive relationship for far too long.

Her attempts to receive love by caretaking for a man who controlled her left her empty, miserable and emotionally broken. She did not leave until she felt she was in physical danger. But at least she left. How many women remain in toxic relationships that destroy their self-esteem and leave them hollow and depressed?

According to Rogne, co-dependency is marked by an enabler who care-takes, focuses all their attention on the other person, does more emotional work, is uncertain about the relationship, tried to please, often feels guilty and allows the other person to steal their joy. The controller, meanwhile, criticizes, lacks empathy and feels entitled, and is confident their partner won’t leave.

Women in codependent relationships are addicted to a relationship that they constantly try to fix. They are trapped by their relationship, and can form an addiction to cope with feelings of emptiness and worthlessness. This addiction may be to alcohol, mood-altering drugs, shopping or food. Such women are as much controlled by their addiction as by their partner.

Being controlled is emotionally devastating. It takes strength for a woman to accept her own truth – that she is trapped in a dysfunctional relationship, and that without change, her mental health will never improve.

Brookhaven Retreat empowers women to make positive changes in the way they choose relationships, view themselves and allow themselves to be treated.

When a woman accepts personal responsibility and refuses to view herself as a victim, she is open to changes in self-perception and behavior that prevent future abuse.

Building self-esteem and worth helps women find the courage not to accept emotional abuse. By rebuilding herself and her personal power, a woman is free to create the life of joy she knows she deserves.

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013 20:36

The Royal Baby Has Arrived!

The Duchess of Cambridge is a new mom! Her royal son was born at 4:24 p.m. on July 22 and is now third in line for the throne. Her pregnancy has drawn international attention to the joys and complications of pregnancy and will doubtlessly do the same for every stage of motherhood.

For many women, new motherhood is a source of new stress. New moms are incredibly busy and may feel guilt at the idea of taking self-time to recharge. Media moms also create added pressure by maintaining a polished image of motherhood. This stylized ideal creates an impossible standard to which new moms hold themselves. While the media follows the joys of famous new moms, women may be afraid to speak out if they experience difficulty.

New moms are also at risk for postpartum depression. Studies vary, reporting rates between 5 and 25 percent of moms experiencing postpartum depression. Aside from causing mothers distress, postpartum depression also affects the health of children: because mothers are not able to provide adequate emotional and physical stimulation, children suffer lower IQ, slower language development and higher rates of ADHD.

It is important for moms experiencing chronic stress or depression to seek help. Doing the best we can for ourselves and our children is more important than recreating an image of the “perfect mom.”

Time out helps new mothers feel refreshed and set an example of emotional health for her children. Health, wellness and self-acceptance are possible when we accept that we are perfect just the way we are.

We congratulate the Duchess on her new baby and cannot wait to see photos!

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Monday, 22 July 2013 21:32

Gardening Tips for July

July is the peak of summer, a time when the days are long and warm, and both flowers and crops are plentiful. But the extreme heat can make tending a garden difficult or even dangerous, and plants can struggle to survive.

Gardening boosts mood and reduces anxiety and depression while creating a beautiful environment to enjoy. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when tending your garden in summer:

  • Protect yourself from the heat - Wear tightly knit, loose-fitting clothing to protect yourself from the sun while staying cool. Apply sunscreen half an hour before going outside and reapply every two hours. Don’t overlook your lips, ears, hands and feet. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield your head, scalp and hair from harmful exposure, and don’t forget to hydrate!
  • Protect your plants - Plants struggle in the extreme heat and dry weather that July can bring. Add organic compost to your soil when possible to support a fertile soil system that helps plants thrive. Add mulch to protect the soil from excessive heat, helping it retain moisture and nutrients.
  • Choose what you plant - Annuals have shallower root systems that struggle and can easily dry out in the July heat. Choose plants with hardier root systems like perennials and biennials – these also end up being less work and contribute to the lasting beauty of your garden!
  • What to harvest - July is harvesting season for blueberries, blackberries, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, beans, sweet corn and all types of delicious produce. It’s also a great time to begin planting cool-season vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, beets, carrots and winter squashes. Check the gardening guides for your zone for a thorough list based on frost dates. Make sure to water young plants to keep them alive through the heat.
  • Gardening is a wonderful tool that promotes mindfulness and relaxation. By taking appropriate safety measures, women can protect their health in the heat while maintaining a beautiful and thriving garden to enjoy.
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Sunday, 21 July 2013 18:23

A Domestic Nightmare

A recent BBC article explored the inner conflicts of those who isolate themselves from the outside world. Those who wrote to the BBC cited depression or anxiety as the motivation for their withdrawal, yet isolation only increased their emotional suffering.

Many women who experience depression or anxiety retreat from the world, avoiding friends, family, finances, job opportunities and social engagements. But isolation doesn’t only affect women with mental health issues; we all isolate, to one degree or another.

When we are down, we feel listless and withdrawn and are least likely to seek someone to talk with because we don’t feel like engaging. Yet this is when we most need our social contacts for comfort, friendship, help or a few laughs.

Friendship is one of the most supportive tools for promoting wellness. Studies show that social contact reduces isolation, depression and anxiety while boosting mood. It is social contact that pushes women out of isolation.

Unfortunately, for many women it isn’t so easy – emotional breakage may be so deep that they cannot open themselves to others to escape their isolation. Despite the emotional pain of social withdrawal, women are so trapped by depression that they have lost their true selves and cannot function.

Leaving their comfort zone is a huge step for the women who come to Brookhaven Retreat, but group activities, support and camaraderie help women break down emotional barriers and rediscover themselves. Brookhaven Retreat has seen how indispensible friendship is to lasting mental wellness.

When you are upset, avoid withdrawing. Instead, try to open yourself to feelings of gratitude, love and mindfulness. If at all possible, chat with a friend until the feeling passes. Cultivating such meaningful friendships is an integral part of creating a life worth living.

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Sunday, 21 July 2013 07:07

Freekeh with Roasted Butternut Squash and Dried Cranberries

Relatively new to many store shelves, this grain can be found in health food stores and some supermarkets. Freekeh is made from young wheat that is harvested while still green, then roasted and rubbed.

Its popularity is well deserved not only for its flavor but its nutritional content. Freekeh has a wonderful nutty flavor and firm texture that makes it a wonderful meal. It is also easy to prepare, requiring no more time or effort than boiling white rice.

Freekeh is much healthier, however. It’s very high in fiber and protein, making it lower on the glycemic index and more satisfying than many common grains. This recipe is a delicious way for those of us dreaming of cool autumn days to enjoy freekeh, but it can be prepared in so many other ways. Try it as a breakfast grain, with curry and chicken, or in stir-fries.

Freekeh with Roasted Butternut Squash
and Dried Cranberries

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cracked freekeh
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 5 cups broth or water
  • 3 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Combine freekeh and water or broth in a pot.
  2. Bring to boil and cook 1 minute.
  3. Reduce heat to low, add diced onion and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover pot and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.
  5. While freekeh cooks, prepare the butternut squash.
  6. Toss squash in a bowl with olive oil. Spread on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until tender, but not soft.
  8. Stir cooked squash and cranberries into freekeh.
  9. If desired, top with chopped nuts.

Source: The Whole Grains Council

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Saturday, 20 July 2013 03:35

When Our Ego Does the Talking

There are times when we all argue with friends, family members and significant others. But the way we go about these arguments can be harmful for our relationships, especially when we argue only for the sake of our egos.

Often, we argue because if we admit that we are wrong, we feel less: less validated, less intelligent, less right, less loveable. But sticking up for our egos over our relationships can be harmful to ourselves and to those we love.

When we let our egos argue, we enter a competition in which only one person is right (the better person, the winner) and the loser is wrong. This attitude of inequality can drive people apart.

A trick to better communication is to realize when your ego is doing the arguing. Letting go of the need to win and stepping into the other person’s shoes can instantly deescalate an argument. Try viewing the discussion calmly and non-judgmentally; it may even help at first to let the other person know that you are going to step back and do this.

We have to let go of the fear of being devalued if we are wrong, and realize that anger is an attempt to escape feelings of shame, anxiety or upset that we don’t believe we have the strength to deal with. If we build up our emotional resources, we begin to realize that we are worthy and loved even if we are wrong.

Practice loving and accepting yourself. Do so by sharing your feelings rather than going on the attack. Admit when you may be wrong. This opens you to vulnerability, but also builds the emotional pathways that establish a pattern of self-confident and loving behavior.

Reducing the anger in our lives makes us happier and more peaceful. Removing toxic behaviors allows us to create lives, attitudes and relationships that are emotionally supportive.

To let go of anger, we must simply let go of our egos while accepting everybody’s worth, including our own.

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