Stress is a normal part of life and can actually have a positive effect on motivation and performance. There are, however, times when stress becomes too much and we begin to experience negative health effects: headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and trouble sleeping are all possibilities, according to the WebMD website. The sense of overwhelm that comes with our busy schedules and tendency to overcommit ourselves can have a paralyzing effect. Teens complain, “I have so much to do, I don’t even know where to start!” Does that sound familiar?
Effective stress management can take a lifetime to learn, but it is never too early to start. Noticing the feeling of being overwhelmed or the physical symptoms of stress can be the first step. How do you experience stress? Are you unusually irritable or upset? Do you have a fluttery feeling in your stomach? Tense neck and shoulders? A recurring or constant headache? A general sense of impending doom? The earlier we are able to notice signs of negative or toxic stress, the easier it is to intervene.
Taking action is the next step. What are your favorite stress busters? I challenge you to make a list. On paper. And post it somewhere obvious. Think back to the carefree days of childhood – what did you love to do? Color with crayons? Sing at the top of your lungs? Dance? Play Frisbee? Swing from the monkey bars? Spend time with your dog or cat? Have a tea party with a friend? Run fast and free? What activities have you noticed help you decompress or change your mood? Listening to loud music? Going for a run on the trails? Spending some time digging in the garden? Drawing or painting? Throwing darts? Write every one of these on your list.
In the moment of greatest stress and tension, with the to-do list staring back at you, all of the above can seem like frivolous time wasters. But often when we are stressed out, we are not getting much done anyway! And I would argue that our usual time wasters – getting on Facebook, net surfing, gaming – leave us feeling non-productive and uninspired and guilty as opposed to alive and recharged and ready to return to the challenge in front of us.
If your stress levels seem to be affecting your life to the point that you are having trouble functioning – unable to get moving in the morning, unable to sleep at night, loss of appetite, disinterest in friends, feelings of hopelessness, turning to drugs or alcohol or food to self-medicate – it is time to seek out a friend, a trusted adult, or a professional. Asking for help is a show of strength and maturity, not weakness. There are many resources at our disposal and a good place to start is by asking school counselors, the school nurse, your personal physician, or by checking out the JJAB website at www.losalamosjjab.org.
The JJAB, the Family Y, the Youth Activity Center, the Teen Center, Family Strengths Network, Mesa Public Library, the County Recreation Department, and Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) are all community organizations that offer fun and positive activities for youth. You can find all of these groups and their offerings on the web.
So the next time you are feeling freaked out and overwhelmed by stress and all that is expected of you, get that list of Stress Busters out, call a friend, and take some time out to take care of you!
About the LACHC
Recognizing risk factors and improving the health and well-being of youth and families is one of the priorities of the Los Alamos Community Health Council (LACHC). The LACHC is the designated health planning body for Los Alamos County. The LACHC works collaboratively with service providers, non-profit organizations, community members, and Los Alamos County staff. The LACHC has been strongly involved in local community outreach through Town Hall Meetings, the Health Fair, radio interviews and articles. More information about the LACHC and its work can be found at www.lachc.net.
The LACHC meets 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the first Thursday of each month in the large conference room at the Betty Ehart Senior Center, adjacent to Mesa Public Library in Los Alamos.
The heart represents the Asset category of support.
Healthy Community! Healthy Youth!
Assets In Action works with the 40 Developmental Assets of the Search Institute to build relationships throughout the community. Our community can be more successful when we build the traits, experiences and opportunities for everyone to be successful.
Activities: We have many educational and team building activities for all ages.
A Day in the Life of a Teen-If you wonder what challenges and stressors our kids deal with on a daily basis, request this thirty minute, interactive presentation. This is great for a group of 5 to 50 with eye opening results.
Change of Heart-This program is taught to every sixth grade class and all new students at Los Alamos Middle School, in the Los Alamos Public School District. The seven hour curriculum addresses differences in culture and lifestyle while helping students build the skills to get along modify poor behavior and make better choices in the future.
Community Asset Awards-If you know someone in the community that does something to build on any of the 40 Developmental Assets and improve our community, the state or the world, nominate them for an award on our website or request a nomination form. We take nominations all year long and recognize those nominees in January of each year.
Cookies & Conversation-We bring local senior citizens to Los Alamos Middle School and High School for lunch and fellowship. Seniors and youth answer light hearted questions while enjoying baked goods once a month.
March On Hunger-Assets staff works with local schools to collect donations for food programs. When many focus on donations during the months of November and December, programs often need items to fill their shelves as they get ready for spring.
SPARKS-Do you have a passion, hobby or talent that you’d like to share in a school or community setting? Let our Assets staff help you share your talent. We can arrange location, publicity and more.
KRSN AM 1490-Monday Matters is our weekly radio program where we highlight programs and projects building Assets in our community and state. You can also stream the broadcast on line at www.krsnam1490.com.
Los Alamos Monitor-Assets In Action is a weekly column written for the local newspaper. Each week we try to promote a particular Asset usually featured on Sunday or Tuesday editions.
The Essence- This publication works to promote great businesses, people and programs throughout the community. Assets are regularly featured in one or more of the articles.
Facebook-Wepost a weekly announcement with the weekly Assets or recognizing events or people in the community.
Text-If you only have a minute, we have an Asset for you.Would you like your Assets delivered by text? If so, just let text Assets at (505) 695-9139.
Twitter-If you are part of the Twitter nation, sign up to follow us and enjoy the weekly Asset @AssetsInAction
Presentations: You can request a presentation from staff ranging from 5 minutes to 8 hours and all presentations in Los Alamos County are free of charge. This is a great opportunity for a staff meeting, club or organizational presentation.
Bernadette Lauritzen-Coordinator 505-661-4846
Sponsors: Assets In Action is sponsored by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB) and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.
Donations: Donations can be made to the Assets program through the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board. The JJAB is a 501-c-3, contact us for more information. www.losalamosjjab.org
The Los Alamos Middle School Hawks kicked off the Hawk Hubba Bubba Awards this week.
The award recognizes staff that, “Take A Second, to Make A Difference, at the middle school.
“I was excited to learn of this award when it was introduced at the high school, and yes, maybe a bit jealous,” said Los Alamos Middle School, Principal Rex Kilburn. “However, now that this same award will happen at the middle school I am very excited for my staff to be able to receive this recognition.”
LAMS social studies and student council leader, Linda Bennett, garnered the first award, receiving eleven nominations from students.
Bennett received a small bag of goodies to add a little sweetness to the day.
“I am very proud of her because within one semester as a new teacher she has earned this level of respect from her students,” said Kilburn.
Bennett also received Hubba Bubba bubblegum, the inspiration for the award.
The Hubba is short for Help Us Build Better Assets, based on the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets and implemented locally by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, with the help of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, through Assets In Action.
Students are empowered to anonymously recognize staff members for contributions to their school community.
Assests In Action also implements the Change of Heart program, at six of the LAPS school sites.
Change of Heart is a seven hour improving school climate curriculum developed by the Search Institute.
The awards idea was a result of discussions for how to build on the local Assets program at LAMS.
The school had hoped to present a new award winner, each month for the remainder of the year. It appears that enough nominations have been received to provide weekly kudos through May.
Students can pick up nomination forms from school secretary, Mrs. Claire Swinhoe or request one from the Assets office, at 661-4846.
King cakes and French donuts from the Morning Glory Bakery, were some of the rewards for the Community Asset Awards.
The Community Asset Awards took place earlier this month to recognize 57 members of our community for making Los Alamos a better place to live and work.
The fourth annual event was held at the beautiful Betty Ehart Senior Center, on January 5th.
Attendees were treated to desserts from the Morning Glory Bakery, Hilltop House Hotel, Coffee House Café and the Decadent Table, as a reward for their efforts.
Keith Stephens was recognized with the Director’s Choice distinction for his work to improve so many areas of the community.
Stephens would love residents to consider donating funds or time to the Trinity Hill lunch program on Fridays. The program feeds teens from Los Alamos High School and some volunteer hands would be greatly appreciated for the mission.
It doesn’t matter if you can spend 15 minutes setting up, cleaning up or just spend time talking to youth, every minute makes a difference.
Bill Enloe received the Spirit of the West award, named for former County Councilor Jim West. West worked with the Assets program prior to his death, on a plan to recognize community contributions by members of all ages.
Enloe was nominated by LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt and selected by a committee from all 57 nominations. Enloe was selected in part due to his leadership and goal of setting the tone of making community a priority.
The nomination process for 2013 is already underway and several nominations have been submitted for the next event. The deadline for submitting a nomination is December 16th, 2013 and the event will take place in early 2014.
Submissions can be done on the Assets website, at www.AssetsInAction.info, where a list of all the winners and several photos can be viewed, of the event. A hard copy of the form is also available by calling 661-4846.
This year the Community Asset Awards was sponsored by JJAB, America’s Promise Alliance and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.
Come by the Teen Center at TOTH on Thursday Nov. 1st from 3:15 - 4:30 pm to review and provide comments on the new Teen Center Design. The new building will be located in the Central Park Square by the Origami Restaurant. Stop by to give some feedback and eat PIZZA!
A Community meeting will be held at 5:30 pm at the Community Building next to Ashley Pond.
Los Alamos Youth Food Project Check Presentation
LOS ALAMOS COMMUNITY GARDEN AND COMMUNITY-SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP TO TEACH AND FEED RECEIVES GRANT TO FURTHER LOCAL EFFORTS
State Farm® Youth Advisory Board Grants $96,250 To Support Youth Efforts on Sustainable Healthy Eating.
Los Alamos, NM. Oct. 23, 2012 – The Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB) was awarded a $96,250 State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB) Grant in support of an educational and outreach community garden. The JJAB has contracted The Family YMCA to deliver the grant’s education and food-assistance objectives throughout the next year. This is the second award by the State Farm YAB to the JJAB for their Los Alamos Youth Food Project (LAYFP). Funding last year supported the establishment of community partnerships, created curriculum, funded classroom activities, and assisted with the creation of a garden site at Los Alamos Middle School. This year’s award will further develop classroom and community garden efforts.
“State Farm supports service-learning because it integrates service to the community into classroom curriculum using a hands-on approach to mastering subject material while fostering civic responsibility,” said State Farm Agency Field Executive, James Medina.
A small “barn-raising” will be held on the 23rd in conjunction with the official Grant Award Ceremony of the State Farm YAB grant. This hoop-house raising event is going to allow youth an opportunity to paint and decorate the structure that will be used for winter planting and spring seedling starters. Volunteers, especially youth, are welcome to assist with the completion and decoration of a small hoop house at the Co-Op, which is partnering as a satellite location for the award’s community garden project.
“The Y is pleased to be the steward of this grant from State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board to our JJAB,” said Linda Daly, executive director. “Our mission is to form partnerships for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, so this aligns perfectly with our vision.”
Local State Farm agent Lou Santoro added, “the Youth Advisory Board is a prime example of State Farm’s commitment to education, our community and our youth. I could not be happier to see the work of our local youth and local nonprofits recognized and supported.”
The State Farm Youth Advisory Board has granted over $24 million in grant money since its inception in 2006, empowering youth to implement service-learning in 397 communities. Additionally, applications are available for interested youth aged 17-20 to become Youth Advisory Board members. More information can be found at www.statefarmyab.com.
The Community Asset Award nomination period has begun. Those people that work to make Los Alamos a better place can be nominated at www.AssetsInAction.info. The awards ceremony takes place in January, at the Hilltop House Hotel.
Instructor: Los Alamos Police Detective Daniel Roberts Cost: $15/individual or family. Teens welcome! Membership discounts apply! Registration is Closed - Please come and pay at the door.
There is a lot of hype about internet danger. What should you really be concerned about? Detective Roberts will cover real-life issues including:
Come hear straight talk about safety issues and get your questions answered.
Date: Monday, Sept. 10
Time: 6:30 – 7:30pm
Location: Teen Center
Instructor: Elisa Enriquez, MSW, LISW
Registration appreciated, but not required: Online at lafsn.org
Are you worried about someone who may be thinking of suicide? To find out what you can do, high school students and adults can join Ms. Enriquez to learn to recognize warning signs of suicidal ideation and get help for those in distress. The discussion will focus on increasing awareness about suicide and providing “A.I.D.” (Ask, Intervene, Do).
Ms. Enriquez is an Ombuds Specialist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She received her MSW from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999 and has provided counseling at the LANL EAP Office, as a private provider, and for the Los Alamos Family Council.
The Assets In Action program, sponsored by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, is sponsoring the Hubba Bubba Awards for LAHS staff members. Please take a moment to recognize your favorite person and tell us about them.
Download Hubba Bubba Awards Form