Dr. Dale Atkins, PhD Psychology P.C.
Sanity SaversTM and More...
December 2014


Happy Holidays! Even within the predictable fast-paced holiday tempo, may we all find moments to focus on the things in our lives for which we are grateful.

Please follow me on Twitter at @DrDaleAtkins and "like" me at Dale Atkins on Facebook, as I will be posting current commentaries regularly.

My blog has gone live: http://drdaleatkins.wordpress.com/. I invite you to "jog my blog" and submit topics YOU would like me to discuss.

In this month's article, Caregiving, I offer some thoughts about what to consider before discussing "difficult topics" with your older parents.

In Tips for Your Holiday Well Being, I suggest simple, "go-to" ideas for maximizing YOUR holidays.

Please visit my website, www.drdaleatkins.com for information and updates about my professional interests, thoughts, and engagements. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like me to speak to your group or organization at dale@drdaleatkins.com.

I appreciate you sharing this newsletter by clicking the Send to a Friend button below.

Wishing you health, peace and balance.


In this issue
  • Sanity SaversTM
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Your Holiday Well Being
  • Happenings
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • A Thought

  • Sanity SaversTM

    As our parents age, many of us will be in positions of increased responsibility and caregiving. This may create or contribute to anxieties, stress, and challenges for all involved, and eventually we will need to broach some "difficult topics." The topics can include driving a car, finances, medical issues, or lifestyle changes. These conversations require planning so it is essential to consider what we should assess before starting them.

    We need an objective assessment of our relationship with a parent. Granted, this is not easy. But we can attempt to examine whether there is tension within the family dynamics. We can ask, is the relationship open and trusting? Might having a family doctor or good friend present when we talk about things be helpful? Might they be the better messenger? Understanding the relationship can guide us in how we approach the conversation, as well as in selecting the time and place.

    We need to be mindful of changing roles and how we view ourselves. Are we "dictating" to our parents? The whole idea of "imposing rules" is a challenging concept. What we are addressing is deeper and more complicated than taking away a person's independence. It is about changing important aspects of their life (many of which are closely tied to their identity), while maintaining their dignity and respect. Even though we adult children assume more responsibility for our parent's care and/or well-being, it is essential the older person continues to feel valued, respected, and encouraged to do what they are still capable of doing. This is essential even as these capabilities may diminish over time. Each of us, regardless of our age, must feel important and that our life has meaning, and that we matter.

    We need to be aware of how we communicate. Let's focus on these four ways to communicate with respect and compassion:

    1) Tone of Voice
    2) Volume
    3) Facial Expression
    4) Body Posture

    In addition to our presentation, we can listen to their response. Is it fearful? Angry? Try to sense what they are feeling. Is there insight into underlying fears of losing their independence and role in a family and in the world?

    For many older people, it is a RELIEF to discuss some of these topics because they are fully aware that they will not live forever or that they may be compromised in some ways. So, this can be an important opportunity to initiate and continue ongoing life discussions.

    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit

    Meditate on Love Each Morning

    Artist and poet Roderick MacIver suggests why meditating on LOVE each morning is worth doing:

    "I meditate on love in the morning with the thought that that will help me bring more of it to my work and life. Sometimes it works. Sometimes the complexities weigh the whole thing down and I forget." (Roderick MacIver, 2011)

    Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Your Holiday Well Being

    The song lyric reminds us, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Is it, really?

    What makes this time of year wonderful for one person may make it awful for someone else. To help ourselves during the holidays, we can each try to figure out what works for us and what doesn't. Only then can we try to maximize what works and minimize or eliminate what doesn't.

    At holiday time, many of us respond anxiously to the thought of how much there is to do as multiple tasks pile up. We become keenly aware that there is limited time to take care of all that we think we need to do.

    Without appreciating the toll these "extra" items on our to do list take on our well-being, we feel pressure to accomplish them all. In response to this, the most important thing we can do is to take care of ourselves in small ways, every day.

    So here are some tips for your HOLIDAY WELL-BEING (And whatever you do, avoid thinking of this as another "to do list"!):

    Before getting out of bed, breathe slowly and deeply, feeling the air around you.

    Mentally greet the day as you take a moment of appreciation that you have this day in front of you.

    Focus on one thing you want to be mindful of throughout the day to help keep you calm.

    Create spaces throughout the day to return to that thought, visualization, intention, or state of being.

    Make eye contact with people and connect with them as many people are feeling pressured and a shared smile or knowing laugh eases tension.

    If things do not go as well as you had intended, remind yourself that you can always restart your day as you BEGIN WHERE YOU ARE.


    TODAY Show (NBC), and HLN.
    Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
    Dec. : TBD, with Laura Posada; Q&A with viewers.

    Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.

    Center for Hearing and Communication Educational Workshop (Parent U)
    Dec. 8th, 6-8PM: Parenting Your Child with Differences, facilitator.
    42 Broadway, 20th Floor Conference Room, New York, NY10094.
    Please call 917-305-7840 for more information and registration.

    Sixty and Me Interviews
    Four interviews with Dr. Atkins, conducted by Margaret Manning, covering the following topics: stress and worry, care-giving, downsizing, and friendships.
    http://sixtyandme.com/elderly-care-how-to-be-a-caregiver-while-taking-care-of-your-own-life-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/, and http://sixtyandme.com/how-to-deal-with-loneliness-in-retirement-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/

    Experience Life Magazine
    The Cares of Caregiving, by Jon Spayde. Interview.

    I hope you enjoy my chapter, "Family Involvement and Counseling," in the new text, Introduction to Aural Rehabilitation, Second Edition. Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by Plural Publishing.

    I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.

    My sincere thanks to website developer, Barry Brothers, who, along with Carina Ramirez Cahan, brought vision and positive, creative energy to the site. Do take a look at Barry's work here: http://www.thelimulusgroup.com/bb and consider him for your business, development, design and communication needs.

    Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life

    SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to Live A Balanced Life is filled with suggestions to save your sanity every day of the year.

    A must for any woman seeking to find her balance!

    Once again thank you for continuing to read and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life.


    WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY CRISIS IN THIS COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart also partners with families, preschool centers, institutions of higher education, community groups and a variety of other groups and individuals to make certain that every stakeholder in a child's life is working to provide them with a high quality early education.

    Jumpstart's proven curriculum helps children develop the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.

    Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. If you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate www.jstart.org/donate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!

    Visit www.jstart.org to learn more about Jumpstart initiatives - such as Read for the Record, which mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy in an effort to break the world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day. On October 21, 2014 people across the country united in big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between to read the children's book Bunny Cakes, by bestselling author and illustrator, Rosemary Wells.

    A Thought

    "Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose."

    Viktor E. Frankl

    dale with samson

    DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, lecturer and commentator in the media who appears on NBC's Today show.

    She has more than thirty years of experience and focuses on living a balanced life, creating and maintaining healthy relationships, parenting, aging well, caregiving, and managing stress, life and work transitions.

    Dr. Atkins is the author and/or co-editor of several books including:

  • Sisters:
  • A Practical, Helpful Exploration of the Intimate and Complex Bond between Female Siblings
  • From the Heart:
    Men and Women Write Their Private Thoughts about their Private Lives
  • Families and their Hearing-Impaired Children
  • I'm OK, You're My Parents
    How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that Works
  • Wedding Sanity Savers
    How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day.
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • Find out more....
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