Are New Year’s Resolutions Impacting Your Mental Health?

The all-famous “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” question has already likely come up. And, we all know how that goes. A recent study by a psychology professor at Scranton found that about 40% of Americans have a list of things they want to change in the new year, but less than half of that 40% will actually stick to their resolution and be successful. Setting expectations and failing to achieve the “all new you” bar you have set could have an effect on your mental health.

new year's resolutions

Realistic Resolutions

Making resolutions are great when they are attainable. Ever hear the adage “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” An elephant itself is pretty overwhelming, but when you shrink the expectation and make it feasible, then success inevitably follows. Let’s take a look at some ways you can set yourself up for success in the new year.

  1. Be specific. Goals such as “lose weight” and “exercise more” are very general, and it may be difficult to create a plan of action when there isn’t much clarity.
  2. Make it reasonable. Using the examples above, how many pounds do you want to lose? How many days a week will you exercise? How long will you exercise?
  3. Reward yourself. Create milestones along the way where you reward yourself for sticking to the plan. For example, a massage for being consistent in your workout routine for two months. Little rewards along your journey will keep you motivated to keep going to the finish line.
  4. Have a support system. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and motivate you.
  5. Adult counseling. The last year has definitely changed our way of life. If the thought of going into a new year is worrisome to you or you are just flat out dreading it, speaking to a counselor can be helpful.

Setting realistic goals gives you a greater chance of succeeding. Avoid unattainable goals that sound a bit far-fetched. No one likes to fail. When you set goals that are out of reach and then don’t achieve them, it’s disappointing. If you are already struggling with mental health issues like depression, this can actually worsen your symptoms.

Happy New Year from Garrett Counseling

Give Garrett a call today and see how we can help you start the New Year off right! Click here or call us at (256) 239-5662. New Year’s resolutions aren’t right for everyone, but whatever you decide for you, our staff from the center for counseling in Huntsville, Jacksonville, and Boaz wish you a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.


Depression Can Trigger Insomnia & Insomnia Can Trigger Depression

Sleep and mental health go hand in hand. Rarely do you have good sleep if your mental isn’t good and vice versa. Often one sign of depression is excessive sleeping. If you are anxious, you may not be able to sleep. Not sleeping is just one definition of insomnia. If you don’t get enough sleep, you could end up depressed or anxious about not getting sleep. It’s a vicious cycle seen in local adult counseling centers all the time.

local adult counseling for depression and anxiety

Signs and Symptoms

When you hear the word “insomnia,” you probably think of it as being awake all night unable to sleep. Some symptoms associated with insomnia are outlined below.

  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Trouble with concentration, focusing, or remembering
  • Making errors or having accidents more frequently
  • Awaking during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Easily irritated, anxious, or depressed
  • Not feeling rested in the morning
  • Difficulty falling asleep

Any one of these symptoms could point to an issue with insomnia.

How Therapy Can Help Your Insomnia

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common approach when working with insomnia. The key is identifying the rooft of why you aren’t sleeping. Keeping a diary is a great benefit to both you and your counselor in this process. As you recount your activities day by day, the sources of disruption reveal themselves. Once you know what the culprit is, you can move on to a strategy in managing that circumstance or that behavior which will in turn result in better sleep and improved mental health overall.

Garrett Counseling – Your Local Adult Counseling Center

If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, or insomnia, contact Garrett Counseling today! Our depression counseling experts can help get you the sleep you need to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Call us today (256) 239-5662 to speak with one of our professional team members, or click here to contact us online.


How Does Sleep Affect Your Mental Health?

Have you ever “woken up on the wrong side of the bed?” Truth be told, sleep and your mental health have a very strong connection to each other. Today we will dive into how sleep affects your mental health exploring things like the often asked question of, “Do I get enough sleep?” as well as reasons to seek therapy if you have challenges with getting a decent night of sleep.

how does sleep affect your mental health?

The Importance of Sleep Cycles

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that “More than one third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.” They further state that “Seven to nine hours is what is needed to maintain good health for the majority of adults.” There are two cycles of sleep, “quiet sleep” and REM, and they cycle about every 90 minutes. In the REM stage of sleep, we retain memories. It’s also where learning and mental health are maintained. For many, it’s surprising how many consequences there are to REM sleep disruption. Some include; disrupting normal hormone levels, the ability to regulate emotions, and impaired thinking.

When emotions are on the fritz and thinking is foggy, you are at risk for irritability, depression, and anxiety. Anxiety often leads to sleep difficulties. Which means low quality sleep. If you are dealing with depression, you may sleep too much or battle insomnia. Either way, sleep cycles are out of whack creating more issues. These are only a few of the effects sleep has on mental health and reasons to seek therapy.

Let Garrett Help You Sleep Better!

To learn more about how sleep affects your mental health, follow this link for more info and take our sleep quiz. If you are struggling with getting a restful night of sleep, contact Garrett today and speak with one of our professionals to find out how we can help! Call us today at (256) 239-5662, or send us a message. We offer in-person and telehealth appointments from three convenient locations, Jacksonville, Boaz, and Huntsville. Call us today!


Seasonal Affective Disorder

The temperatures are dropping. There is a crisp smell in the air. Pumpkin spice everything is available and you’re either wearing crimson and white or navy and burnt orange. While some embrace the fall season approaching, it has quite the opposite effect on those with seasonal affective disorder.

seasonal affective disorder

Signs and Symptoms of SAD

The National Alliance of Mental Health states that symptoms usually begin in late October or early November and last until the end of March or early April. Individuals suffering from more severe SAD may not really feel quite like themselves again until May. Let’s take a look at some common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Having a depressed mood nearly all day every day
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy doing
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Decreased energy
  • Irritability/agitation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme fatigue

Can Seasonal Affective Disorder be Prevented?

Although SAD might not be 100% preventable, there are steps you can take that could be beneficial. Get outside! Even if it’s cloudy, fresh air and daylight can boost your mood. Exercise at least three times a week. Keep your social life alive. Stay in touch with your friends and social groups. It’s important to have support during these difficult months. Stick with a healthy diet. Our bodies crave sweet and starchy foods during this time, especially the holidays. If you eat a balanced diet packed with vitamins and minerals, your body will have the energy it needs and ward off the sluggish, sleepy feelings. Lastly, be proactive and seek help. Seeking and getting depression treatment can also help you understand your feelings.

Garrett Counseling Can Help

If you are experiencing more than typical seasonal affective disorder, you may need help with depression counseling. Our skilled team is standing by ready to help you navigate the seasons with hope through depression treatment for seasonal affective disorder. Take that first step to enjoying the seasons, not dreading them. Call (256) 239-5662 or click today.


How to Talk to Your Parents About Getting Therapy

As your parents age, they will begin to experience more loss, health diagnoses, and changes in life that can lead to feelings of sadness, worry, and depression. If you have noticed changes in the overall behavior of your elderly parent, it may be time to seek out a local therapist for depression treatment in Huntsville, AL.

geriatric depression treatment Huntsville, AL

Why Seek Depression Treatment in Huntsville, AL

Depression in the elderly is something local therapists deal with on a regular basis. The good news is that counseling for depression can help your mom or dad through their aging process and get to the root of their unhappiness. Some of the more common occurrences that take place leading to these unwanted feelings include the following:

  • Retirement – Although a very exciting time, retirement is a huge life change. Going to work every day and having responsibilities gives an individual a feeling of purpose. When that routine is suddenly gone, it can leave a void that your mom or dad may find difficult to fill. Finding a new purpose can be challenging and a real struggle for some.
  • Health issues – With age typically comes the need to alter how daily activities are performed. A once strong and independent person might find they need assistance for more laborious tasks. For most, asking for help or needing to rely on someone else to help is not an easy pill to swallow. Your elderly parent may feel guilty for bothering you when they need help and also feel helpless.
  • Grief – The cycle of life unfortunately includes the loss of loved ones. The older we get, the more loss we will experience.

What Should I Say?

Communication is key. This is a cliche statement that can be used in pretty much any situation. Particularly important is the way you approach your elderly parent about counseling. They are already in a mentally fragile state, and you may be wondering how to bring up the subject of counseling for depression in a manner where they would be receptive. Here are a few pointers.

  1. Include other family members.
  2. Discuss topics of life transitions and aging sooner early in the conversation. Explain that depression and loneliness are normal but there is treatment.
  3. Empathize with their feelings. Imagine how you would feel if your child told you that they think you need counseling.
  4. Include them in the process of finding a counselor. If you can help them with a list of local therapists who are on their insurance, provide that as well as information about each. It’s their therapy, they should choose their counselor.

Compassionate and Skilled Geriatric Counseling Center

If you think your parent needs counseling for depression or something else, talk to them. Call Garrett Counseling for depression treatment in Huntsville, AL, choose Garrett Counseling. Our professional team prides themselves in the compassion and expertise your loved one deserves. Call us today at (256) 239-5662, or click here to send a message.


Healing with Guilt Counseling

The Cambridge Dictionary defines guilt as “a feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong…” Guilt is a normal emotional reaction. However, if you allow guilt to hang around too long, it will feel like a thousand pounds. Eventually it begins affecting more areas of your life. Guilt counseling is an excellent tool to help cast off the weight of your guilt and free yourself.

weight of guilt, guilt therapy can help

Effects of Guilt

Feelings of guilt are oftentimes associated with mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety. If left untreated, guilt can impact what you believe about yourself and have a negative effect on your self-esteem. When a person feels inadequate, it is very difficult to keep moving forward to pursue and achieve goals. Guilt can steal joy and happiness. It can cause you to avoid the person you may have hurt or even isolate yourself from everyone. Effects of guilt also present as anxiety, worry, upset stomach, regret, difficulty sleeping, perseverance over past mistakes, and muscle tension. In more serious cases, guilt can lead to self-harm or wanting to harm others.

If you are experiencing any of the above effects of guilt, it is time for grief counseling. Your mental well-being and quality of life go hand in hand, so it’s important to seek help so you can optimize your health.

Grief Counseling with Garrett

Our team of professionals at Garrett are available in three convenient locations to serve your needs in Alabama: Jacksonville, Huntsville, and Boaz. Online appointments are also available for those who prefer meeting with a counselor from the safety and security of their own home. Contact us today for your initial consultation and see how our team at Garrett can help free you from the weight of guilt. You can reach us at (256) 239-5662, or click here to fill out the online form.


Treating Teenage Depression with Counseling

According to the CDC, approximately 1.9 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 have been diagnosed with depression. The World Health Organization cites that globally, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.

teenage depression

Early Detection is Key

Recognizing signs of teenage depression is crucial to warding off an escalation of symptoms and inconceivable consequences. Adolescence predictably brings with it a change in behaviors. Deciphering the difference between normal teenage-isms and depression could be a challenge. Emotional symptoms of teenage depression  include the following:

  • Feeling hopeless
  • Unexplained crying spells
  • Feeling worthless
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • A grim outlook on the future
  • Easily frustrated
  • Overly sensitive
  • Difficulty with concentration or thinking
  • Thoughts of suicide

Behavioral changes associated with depression include sleeping too much or not being able to sleep at all, changes in appetite, lack of energy, social isolation, neglecting personal hygiene, self-harm, or use of drugs or alcohol.

When to Get Help

If you are concerned with your child’s behavior, start by talking with them. This will give you a clearer understanding if they are experiencing normal adolescent changes or if there may be something more going on. Depressive symptoms typically do not go away on their own, so it is important for you to seek help for your teen. If left untreated, symptoms can worsen and put your child at risk of suicide or other self-harming behaviors. If there is an immediate risk of suicide or threats of suicide, call 911 or local emergency contact number.

Compassionate Counselors

Our team of compassionate counselors are specialized in the scope of teenage depression. To serve you better, we offer in-person counseling sessions at all three of our Garrett Counseling locations (Huntsville, Boaz, or Jacksonville). Teletherapy sessions are also available. Request more information by clicking here, or call (256) 239-5662.


Reasons for Therapy – Part 1

reasons for therapyToday we’re starting a mini-blog series on reasons for therapy. We’ll start this off by saying, if you want to go to therapy, you should. Just wanting to is a good enough reason. However, if you want to know some of the common reasons for therapy  as heard by our counselors, here they are.

Top 5 Reasons for Therapy

The top five most frequent reasons we hear from patients about the reason they are here with us are (in no particular order):

  1. Infidelity
  2. Divorce
  3. Depression
  4. Anxiety
  5. Death of a Loved One

However, these are certainly not the only reasons. Kids going off to college, a job change or loss, feelings of isolation and stress are common reasons too. Therapy can be beneficial for anyone in any new or different situation. You don’t have to experience a life-changing event or trauma to feel like you qualify for therapy or that you would even benefit from therapy.

Our Counselors Can Help

As you can see from this short list, reasons for therapy includes major things to every day stressors. If you’re facing a big life change, speaking with a counselor can help with clarity. They can also guide you through the decisions you may be trying to navigate through. They can help you with your decision process, weighing the pros and cons of each decision. If you’re feeling isolated or alone, maybe you just need someone to talk to who can offer an unbiased opinion on your thoughts and feelings.

At Garrett Counseling, our team has the expertise and compassion to help you through any emotional or mental stressors you may be encountering no matter how big or small you may think they are. With three convenient locations in Huntsville, Boaz, and Jacksonville, we are available for you. Call us today at (256) 239-5662, or fill out our contact form here.  In part two of this mini blog series, we’ll cover a few more reasons therapy is an important part of overall wellness.


Identifying Signs of Postpartum Depression

The birth of a child is one of the most anticipated experiences a mother dreams of. Snuggling the newborn, the smell of their skin, and all of the wonderful feelings of holding your baby. But what if you don’t have that feeling of elation? What if you feel detached? You could be suffering from postpartum depression.

postpartum depression

What is Postpartum Depression?

Unlike the “baby blues”, which may include things like changes in appetite, decreased libido, frequent mood swings, fatigue and trouble sleeping, Postpartum depression is more serious. It is a combination of hormonal, social, and psychological changes that occur surrounding the birth of a child with more severe, and atypical symptoms. Although not unusual, postpartum depression doesn’t happen to everyone. It is more severe than the baby blues. It can happen immediately, weeks or even months following childbirth. Some signs include the following:

  • Loss of pleasure
  • Having no interest in your baby or feeling detached
  • Crying frequently and without reason
  • Depressed mood
  • Severe irritability
  • Feeling worthless and hopeless
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Difficulty making decisions or focusing

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may be suffering from postpartum depression and need help immediately.

Treatment for Postpartum Depression

Treatment for postpartum depression varies based on the types of symptoms you are experiencing and their severity. For some counseling alone is enough. Others need antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication individually or a combination of medication with a counselor or support group. If you are breastfeeding, it’s important to discuss medications with your doctor so they can prescribe one that fits your needs.

Don’t Be Ashamed

Be encouraged! If you feel that you are experiencing mental postpartum issues, there is help available to you. Our compassionate and skilled professionals have the expertise in treating postpartum issues that others in Jacksonville, Boaz and Hunstville don’t. Any of our locations can get you in quickly, so call or fill out our contact form for your appointment today at (256) 239-5662.