No Time to Waste: How to Get More Done in 2021

Pyramid Online Counseling      Education Center  
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Our brief moment of respite where the world collectively slowed down during the pandemic is over and the world is returning to its fast-paced norm.

If you’re struggling to keep up and maximize productivity, you’re not alone. Many people are wondering how to be more productive at work and at home and not sure where to start.

Thankfully though, you don’t have to start from scratch. We’ve narrowed down the top tips on productivity and assembled the best of the best here. Here are the top six ways to get more done and be more productive in life.

  • Plan your day ahead of time

Taking a few minutes to prepare at the beginning of the day (or the end of the day before) is going to be your best timesaver so you can get more done. Use this time to review your schedule, note your priorities and set personal goals. 

Everyone’s day is going to look different, but you’ll want to schedule in time for work, meals (grocery shopping, meal prep and eating time) and your physical and mental wellness on a regular basis.

  • Streamline your organization

How you schedule is just as important as where you schedule. When it comes to organizing your day, keeping it simple is best – only use one tool so you can see your full day’s to-do’s all in one place to be more productive at home and on the go.

Online calendars are one of the best tools for this because you can view them via your phone or a desktop, and you have the added bonus of being able to share calendars and events with others.

Use a code to make your schedule even easier to see at a glance, like color-coding events for work, social events, doctor’s appointments and your kid’s soccer games.

  • Set limits on screen time

According to CNN Health, Americans spend an average of 10 hours a day on devices, around four and a half of them on their phones. Although phones have incredible utility, there’s no doubt that phones are also a huge time-waster.

The number one tip for how to get more done is to limit screen time. It tops the list because it’s so practical, but it’s also so difficult. Managing time on your phone is an important lesson in self-control, but once you can keep to stricter limits, you’ll feel a million times more productive.

Thankfully, many phones come with screen time settings and your device will notify you when you’re at the max time. Spend a week with a limit of one hour on your phone. Stick to it and you’ll notice incredible gains in what you can get done in a day.

  • Stop trying to multitask

When you have too much on your plate it’s tempting to try to do several things at once to knock things off the list faster. However, multitasking makes us feel busier and more stressed and rarely do things get done well. Multitasking wastes time in the long run.

You’ll especially want to stop multitasking during social activities. Trying to play with your kid while you’re checking emails, or sitting down for a meal with your partner while you’re paying bills can leave room for error in your task and makes the other person feel neglected.

If your lifestyle requires that you are endlessly multitasking, you would be better off minimizing your commitments than doing them half-heartedly. You and the people around you will feel happier for it.

  • Don’t overcommit

It’s impossible to do everything, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for not being able to. If you’re struggling to be productive, it might be because you’re trying to be productive in too many areas, instead of honing in on being productive in the areas of your life that are the most important.

As you get the knack of running through your routine every morning, pay attention to what you’re excited about and what you dread. Consider cutting out the things that take up time and don’t add meaning to your life (sorry, work doesn’t count).

  • Invest in your mental health

Maybe feeling unproductive isn’t at the root of your discontent. Sure, crossing things off the to-do list is gratifying, but feeling unhappy may have a deeper cause than your struggle to be productive at work.

If mental health is interfering with how you live your daily life, seeking out therapy can change that. When you feel good about yourself and have an outlet to address your experiences, you’ll have more mental clarity to do other important things.

The key to productivity

You’ll never find the peace you want if you’re only worried about efficiency, and being productive is only satisfying if you’re happy at the end of the day. Make sure to prioritize your mental well-being in your striving for career and life success.

With Pyramid Online Counseling you don’t have to compromise your mental wellness or your productivity. With flexible scheduling and online services, you can invest in your mental health without the inconveniences of in-person therapy.

Online Counseling Helps You Tackle Life Transitions

Pyramid Online Counseling      Education Center  
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No matter how much we might want it to slow down, life continues to move forward, ever-changing, ever-evolving. At times, it might feel like all you can do is keep your head above water, while life forces you to adjust again and again and again. And while many of us would wish these transitions would simply take care of themselves and leave us be, life demands our attention.

The good news is this isn’t an isolating concept. Every single human being on earth has experienced change to some extent. Perhaps it’s been a big change, like a cross-country move, a baby on the way or a marriage separation. Maybe it’s just been a smaller adjustment, like moving houses across town or buying a new car. Regardless of the type of life transition you’re experiencing, change is simply a part of life. 

Some changes can be exceedingly difficult to tackle alone and can affect you in mental and physical ways you weren’t anticipating. For any kind of life transition – big, small, positive or negative – online counseling offers the tools and support needed to embrace whatever happens.  

Step 1: Anticipate the change

An online counselor works with clients to tackle all aspects of a change. This includes the initial anticipation. Take a wedding, for example. Weddings are just the first step into the large life change of marriage, and this change can come arm in arm with all kinds of emotions. Talking with a counselor will help you anticipate and talk through the realities of this change (a new home, a joint bank account, a different way to file taxes, the possibility of children, a permanent new roommate). By processing thoughts and feelings ahead of time, you will experience anticipatory benefits. 

First, you won’t be caught off guard by a pending life transition. It’s much easier to handle a situation when you’re mentally prepared to receive it, rather than when it shows up out of nowhere. When you know what to expect, you already have a game plan in mind on how you’re going to handle it. 

Second, not all aspects of a transition can be identified ahead of time, and some life changes are entirely unforeseen. There will always be obstacles which arise from time to time. However, this is the benefit of talking to a counselor – the tools and healthy coping mechanisms they introduce you to, both before and after a change, will help you handle transitions now and for years to come. 

Step 2: Receive support 

From time to time, we mistakenly believe we can totally handle life transitions on our own. No matter the change, consulting with a licensed counselor proves a major upgrade over processing emotions by yourself. It might be just to vent about the difficulties of post-grad life, the concerns of moving away to college or the difficulties you’re experiencing in starting a new job. Or, it might be to process a graver situation, such as grief or trauma from an event, or a significant loss.

No matter the transition, it’s important to receive support during these times. Knowing you don’t have to handle life transitions alone, regardless of whether or not you’re capable of doing so, is important to healthily navigating a change. 

For some situations, family might provide all the support you need. For other changes, it might be valuable to discuss the situation with a third party, a counselor trained in supporting people through life’s ups and downs. For example, if you’re in the process of navigating a divorce, most people in your life will hold their own opinions of the situation. Talking with a counselor gives you support in the areas you need most. You will learn to see all perspectives of a situation, gain confidence in making choices based on these perspectives and ultimately receive guidance in making the best choices for your well-being and peace of mind. 

Step 3: Navigate the change, during and after

As important as anticipating a life change is, it is just as vital to properly navigate the change while it occurs.

Online counselors help clients navigate changes in a number of ways. 

  1. Counselors will talk with you about the change, but will also help you focus on the opportunities arising from the change. Concentrating on the positive aspects will shift your overall outlook. While the negative, or hard, aspects of your life transition will obviously be processed, the primary focus of sessions will not be dwelling on these difficulties. 
  2. Counselors will help you manage your expectations of the change. If you expect yourself to be right as rain the day after receiving life-changing news, you’re probably setting yourself up for a hard time. Counselors help you set realistic expectations in order to keep you from becoming exceedingly anxious, stressed or overwhelmed.
  3. Counselors can walk you through the steps of moving forward. Dwelling on a change doesn’t help, and while it’s necessary to acknowledge the way the change impacted you and made you feel, it’s also necessary to take that information and keep moving forward. An online counselor will guide you through embracing the impact of change versus avoiding it, and will provide you with the tools needed in this new stage of life. 

Considering online counseling?

The convenience of online counseling services, such as those offered by Pyramid Online Counseling, provide secure, convenient sessions from the comfort of your own home. By meeting with a trained counselor via video chat, you’ll be able to discuss the nature of your life transition and receive personalized, professional counseling for anticipating whatever challenges you face. Call 533-525-3077 or reach out today to learn more about how online counseling can help you navigate life transitions.

What Career in Behavioral Healthcare is Right for Me?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Education Center  
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Exploring careers in behavioral healthcare

Today, there’s a major upward trend in people seeking out mental health services. The pandemic, as well as increasing social acceptance around mental illness, has made therapy and other behavioral health services more appealing. With this increase in individuals pursuing mental health treatment, it may have crossed your mind that being a mental health professional is a truly fulfilling and meaningful career.

What is behavioral healthcare?

Behavioral healthcare is a branch of healthcare specifically focused on social, emotional and behavioral well-being. Often, this field includes working with individuals who struggle with mental illness, behavioral problems or unhealthy lifestyle habits. Behavioral healthcare includes mental health and encompasses many areas of need. Here are some areas that are included under the umbrella of behavioral healthcare:

  • Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Gambling addiction
  • Sex addiction
  • Family counseling
  • Couples counseling

There are so many reasons to look into a career in the mental health field. It’s a stable career option that is growing as awareness and demand for mental health services increases. Many careers in behavioral health offer more flexibility than other fields and the rewards of helping people achieve fulfilling lives is a major draw. There are countless specialties and ways to serve in clinical settings. If you’re considering a career in behavioral health, here are the most common avenues to specific occupations. Keep in mind that for most careers in behavioral healthcare, the requirements differ by state and by employer.

Social work

Social workers tend to focus on resources and support rather than diagnosing mental health disorders. Although some social workers include treatment of mental illness in the scope of their practice, social work typically maintains an emphasis on mitigating environmental factors and adapting behavioral manifestations so individuals can live a more functional lifestyle. 

Perhaps the broadest range of career options within behavioral healthcare belongs to social workers. Social work is divided into micro-social work and macro-social work. Micro focuses on working with individuals (working in schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, child protective services, hospice, etc.) and macro focuses on changing systems (work in advocacy, policy analysis, community organizing, research and the like).

In order to be considered a clinical social worker, a Master’s Degree in Social Work is required. Additionally, social workers are licensed professionals, receiving full licensure after an exam, a period of supervised work and application to the Association of Social Work Boards.

Time in school: 5 to 6 years. Many schools offer an accelerated Master’s program if you obtain an undergraduate degree in social work, hence the 5-year path. It will take 6 years to obtain a Master’s degree if you currently hold an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field.

Counseling

Counseling is a branch of behavioral healthcare that focuses primarily on psychological health, rather than physical health. Counselors often work with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, grief, self-esteem, substance abuse, anger management, stress, relationship issues and so on. Like social workers, counselors work in a variety of fields, such as inpatient and outpatient therapy, substance abuse recovery, in government or in private practice. Most counseling positions require a Master’s Degree to practice. The National Board for Certified Counselors is where you’d look to get certified in counseling and a license can be obtained after taking one or both of two national exams.

Many people automatically think of school counselors when they think of the profession of counseling. School counseling is a distinct branch of counseling that differs from the rest of counseling in many ways. School counselors, though they often help with emotional and social issues, typically are employed by the school to encourage and assist with college attendance and applications, career readiness and scheduling classes. This requires a specialized Master’s Degree in School Counseling.

Time in school: 5 to 6 years. Like social work, accelerated programs exist for those who have received an undergraduate degree in the same field. Like most other clinical professions, counseling requires some field experience before graduating.

Psychology

Most often, the term “therapist” refers to a psychologist, or someone who has a degree in psychology. Psychologists typically use talk therapy to provide treatment to their clients. Often, a therapist will have a specialty area of practice, such as working with children or working with victims of trauma. Moreover, many therapists will have several areas of expertise and acquire more endorsements over time. Psychologists focus primarily on treatment rather than environmental factors. Psychologists typically work in private practice, hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, university medical centers and rehab programs. 

In order to practice, a person will have to complete an advanced degree and obtain licensure after a certain number of clinical hours in the field. Most psychologists have PhDs. Before licensure, applicants take an exam called the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

Time in school: Roughly 8 to 10 years. First a bachelor’s Degree, then a doctoral Degree, then some time in supervised training and practice makes for about a decade of study and preparation to practice psychology.

Psychiatry

Psychiatrists lean towards the medical side of the spectrum of mental health workers, as they can prescribe drugs for treatment whereas social workers, counselors and psychologists cannot. Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders by combining therapeutic techniques and medication. In order to be licensed and certified, a person must first complete four years of medical school and a four year residency before he or she can officially be called a psychiatrist. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and The American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry are the two recognized boards that offer certification. Psychiatrists typically work in hospitals and private practices.

Time in school: 8 years, plus 4 years in residency. Factor in a bachelor’s degree, a doctorate degree (either a doctor of medicine, MD, or a doctor of osteopathic medicine, OD), and a residency program and you’re looking at about 12 years before being able to practice independently. However, after 8 years of school a psychiatrist can obtain a license and is working in the field during the residency.

Pyramid Online Counseling employs licensed and certified clinicians in several capacities. We are always looking to hire competent and compassionate team members who want to help individuals master mental health struggles and live a life they can be proud of. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our careers page and apply online.

How to Evaluate an Online Counseling Program

Pyramid Online Counseling      Education Center, Treatment & Therapy  
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woman speaking with counselor on laptop

5 things to look for in an online counseling program

Especially in the wake of a pandemic, online counseling is quickly becoming the preferred method for many patients to receive the therapy they need, from the comfort of their own home.

In the same way that high school students spend time evaluating a university before choosing to attend, anyone considering an online counseling program should take the time to look into specifics. And much in the same way that different universities offer different features, you’ll want to make sure that the online counseling program you trust offers the right combination of elements to help provide you with the support you need.

Here are 5 things to look for when considering online counseling platforms, to make sure you find a provider that suits your needs.

1. Easy process to get started

Look for an online counselor program that makes signing up for your tenth counseling session as easy as your first. The sign-up process will look to gather basic information about you and the issues you’re experiencing, before connecting you with counselor profiles that can best help address your respective challenges.

Admitting you need help handling life’s difficulties is the most difficult step toward receiving the help you need. So many individuals will never reach the point where they can admit that their challenges are more than they can handle. As a result, it should be as easy as possible to sign up, browse counselor profiles and seek the help you need with minimal turnaround time. Look for an easy sign-up process that prioritizes your health and well-being.

2. Licensed online counselors

This is an absolute must: your online counseling program must include licensed online counselors. Many counseling programs online offer reputable counseling help from therapists who have completed required licensing. However, many online counseling options offer communication with individuals who are not properly accredited.

When you’re looking for online counseling, you need someone who has registered extensive work helping people just like you, people who have experienced and overcome the challenges you’re facing. Licensed online counselors can provide you with the help, the therapy and the medication you need, because they’re certified to help you deal with your specific issues.

3. Guaranteed response times

Especially if your need for licensed counseling is more urgent, it’s important that you receive the help you need, when you need it. Online counseling programs with guaranteed response times help you address specific issues with little wait time, whether you’re receiving help through a video call, messaging portal or voice communication.

Guaranteed response times also say a lot about the quality of the online counseling program in general. Especially if the counselors are fully licensed, they will understand that fulfilling counseling requests in a time-sensitive manner can have a huge impact on how well the patient receives the services. Oftentimes, the faster a counseling request is fulfilled, the better the result of the counseling session will be.

4. Live, secure online appointments

Most online counseling programs will offer live online appointments. We’d like to add another qualification here: make sure that the online counseling provider you’re considering offers the same live video connections through an encrypted platform. It’s not enough to host video communication between counselors and patients; given the often sensitive nature of the counseling itself, make sure your preferred online counseling provider offers a HIPAA-compliant, encrypted online connection to prevent any data breaches.

Much like the guaranteed response times benchmark above, the security of the counseling connection will tell you a lot about the quality of the online counseling program you’re considering. Counseling providers who take the time to establish and maintain an encrypted online platform, despite the added costs, are telling you that they prioritize your security above cost-cutting measures. And that’s what you want: an online counseling provider that cares more about you than your wallet.

5. Online counselor profiles to filter

Oftentimes, even among the more qualified online counseling providers, you’ll simply fill out a profile and be automatically matched with a counselor who has experience dealing with the issues you’re facing. However, certain online counseling providers take provider matching a step further, giving you the ability to filter through online counselor profiles to decide for yourself the counselor you’d prefer to work with.

The connection between patient and counselor is so important for an online counseling session, especially since virtual counseling doesn’t allow for in-person meetings or face-to-face communication. In addition, body language is more difficult to read, making that online connection between therapists and clients arguably more important than ever before. As a result, online counseling providers who allow you to filter through, and select, the counselor you’d like to work with are really working to set themselves apart. They put the power to initiate the relationship between counselor and client into your hands.

Finding an online counseling program with all the tools you’ll need

It’s important that you find an online counseling provider that checks all of your boxes, from licensed online counselors to a live, securely encrypted connection. Pyramid Online Counseling understands how important those benchmarks are, because we’re already accustomed to maintaining those same standards. Take the first step toward a healthier, happier daily outlook and schedule your online counseling appointment today through Pyramid Online Counseling.

What is Mindfulness Therapy?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Education Center, Treatment & Therapy  
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woman sitting on rick on edge of cliff

How can mindfulness therapy help me reassess my negative thinking?

Mindfulness therapy is predicated on one truth: thoughts precede moods. Negative thoughts can quickly contribute to compromised quality of life, reduced productivity and a depressed sense of self. In tandem, positive thoughts can help you over time take back the life you’re looking to live, restoring self-confidence along the way.

Mindfulness therapy, then, aims to help you control the same thoughts that so heavily influence moods. Specifically, mindfulness therapy deploys strategies like meditation, which draws conscious attention to clients’ thoughts and feelings. In fact, mindfulness builds on the foundation that cognitive therapy lays, helping patients avoid depression, its triggers and the moods and actions that follow, in helping you reassess train of thought.

What can I expect from a mindfulness therapy session?

Mindfulness therapy builds on itself, as patients become more and more accustomed to its taught modes of thinking. Weekly therapy can help you refocus your own mindfulness, through practices that include concentrated meditation, breathing techniques and the creation of a non-judgmental frame of mind.

Other pillars of mindfulness therapy include:

  • Reflections on your states of mind throughout the week, and how those thoughts directly and indirectly contributed to your actions.
  • A deliberate focus on how your breathing can affect your state of mind
  • Taught breathing techniques that help you control heart rate
  • Various types of meditation
  • Various integrations of meditation with other cognitive behavioral techniques

Ultimately, you can expect a variety of treatment modalities that help you focus on controlling your thoughts, with a focus on breathing and meditation that help deliver you increased control on your mood and on your actions.

What skills can I expect to learn from mindfulness therapy?

Just like no one experiences end-stage benefits from therapy on the first day, it takes time to experience major benefits from mindfulness therapy. However, over time you can expect to yield concrete, lasting benefits from sustained mindfulness therapy, including all of the following skills:

  • Learning to commit to decisions, rather than allowing indecision to affect productivity
  • Learning to focus on the moment, rather than allowing potential future situations and decisions to affect current decisions
  • Learning to assess a situation without overtly judging all individuals involved, including yourself
  • Learning to assess situations rationally
  • Learning to pay attention to both internal and external influences on your health and mind

These simple, concrete skills can benefit daily life in so many ways. Maybe you’re experiencing judgmental or destructive thoughts during life’s simple tasks. Maybe you’re having difficulty keeping negative thoughts from overtly corrupting your mood. Maybe daily routines like morning preparation or meal-making have become massive mental exercises. If you’re finding that there’s no barrier between your negative thoughts and the negative moods that develop as a result, mindfulness therapy is available to help.

How can I introduce mindfulness into different types of therapy?

Here’s another benefit to mindfulness therapy: you can learn to integrate its strategies and techniques into other therapy methods you’re practicing. At its core, mindfulness simply means learning how to be more aware of your thoughts and your mental state, and how those thoughts contribute to the moods you experience and the actions you take as a result.

Here are 3 mindfulness techniques you’ll learn in mindfulness therapy that can easily be carried over into other therapy modalities.

1 – Basic mindfulness meditation

Mindful meditation entails being mentally present in the moment. Sometimes, it means taking the time away from your busy day to simply sit and comprehend your own thoughts. Sometimes, it means turning off technology and other external distractions, while paying particular notice to feelings, passing thoughts or physical influences during this time.

Here’s one important note: during a period of mindfulness meditation, your goal is to take inventory of those thoughts, moods or feelings. Your goal is not to dwell on any single influence. Rather, you’re taking notes on what you’re feeling and how you’re taking those feelings in, before letting them go and continuing to focus on the present moment. Only after your period of mindfulness meditation concludes do you revisit what you identified and experienced previously.

2 – Controlled breathing

You’ll be amazed at how much you can control your thoughts, moods and actions simply by controlling your breathing. Take the time to consciously inhale and exhale during the extent of your controlled breathing exercises, rather than leaving breathing on autopilot.

Controlled breathing can also be a big help in maximizing the benefit of mindfulness meditation. Breathing exercises that include controlled, regulated inhaling and exhaling can yield big dividends for your mindfulness therapy, especially with regard to monitoring the thoughts that directly contribute to moods and actions. You’ll oftentimes find that controlled breathing helps you enhance mental clarity, relax the mind and help organize thoughts in general.

3 – Deliberate physical movement

Often performed in tandem with meditation or even controlled breathing, deliberate physical movement like walking, jogging or yoga help you concentrate and fully realize all aspects of the present moment. No matter the physical movement you elect to integrate into your mindfulness therapy, make sure it’s relaxed enough that you’re more focused on taking in all aspects of your surroundings, and less focused on overall stamina. Remember, you’re not looking to run a marathon or set weightlifting records here; the goal of deliberate physical movement is only to maximize mindfulness, to notice all of the aspects of each new moment.

Get the help you need through mindfulness therapy today

Mindfulness therapy helps you maximize your understanding of your own mind, and how individual thoughts and feelings contribute to actions. If you’re interested in leveraging mindfulness therapy to improve your health and happiness, understand that licensed therapists from Pyramid Online Counseling are standing by, ready to help. Schedule your appointment with a licensed online counselor today, after browsing therapist profiles to find the right individual to help you manage and overcome whatever behavioral health challenge you’re facing.

Self-improvement starts when we become increasingly mindful of our thoughts, positive or negative, and how those thoughts contribute to our actions. Mindfulness therapy helps you assess those thoughts in a non-judgmental way. Ultimately, mindfulness therapy goes a long way toward helping you transform positive thoughts into positive actions, while at the same time stopping negative thoughts in their tracks before they have the chance to manifest into actions you’ll regret.