Lepage Associates Newsletter
Mental Health Matters
April 2010
Lepage Associates
Call: (919) 572-0000
In This Issue
Graduating with a Little Less Stress
Working From Home
Please click on each group for a flier with complete information to include description,


Graduating with
a Little Less Stress

Graduation always seems to be associated with growth, progress, success, and achievement, but what about the stressful transition, relocating, and added challenges that follow?  Whether you are graduating high school, community college, undergraduate or graduate university, this is a crucial time in your life. You may be asking yourself, "Where do I go from here?" or "How will I ever get to where I want to be," but graduating doesn't have to put you in a panic. There are ways to plan ahead and mentally prepare for the road ahead, which can make the walk across the stage much easier.

When making your plans for post-graduation, don't simply aim for the stars, it's time to connect the dots!  It is easy when you are asked about your plans for the future to say, "I'm going to be a doctor," but knowing each step of the process, and planning accordingly, makes it easier to achieve your dream. For example, you can set out in high school to make good grades, so you can get into a good college, focus on the necessary classes, then move on to doctoral programs in your field. This concrete strategy helps prepare you for the costs, time dedication, and academic planning. Although many students continue directly from one school to the next, this isn't the only way to go.

Finances, application rejection, or sometimes just stress can prevent you from taking that next step in your academic or professional career. If stress from the prior academic level is weighing on you, take the summer to recover and redirect your focus in order to better succeed in that next step. The "in between" time is also a good opportunity to build up your résumé for future positions. Volunteering, interning, or simply applying yourself in the workplace can make the next phase much easier when applying. You can also develop useful skills for the future. Even temporary jobs such as waiting tables can be useful, particularly when paying off student loans.

Financial planning is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks after graduation. If you are a high school student applying to college, be sure to take advantage of the many local, state, and national scholarships offered. The internet is a great source for finding financial aid ranging from need-based to merit-based. When scholarships and family monetary support aren't enough, sometimes student loans are the best option. You should work with your parents when looking through possible loans to be sure you are getting the lowest interest rates possible before making the final decision. For those just leaving undergraduate school, looking for jobs to support impending student loans can be a trial. Understand that many early career positions will not offer your dream salary, but they will make a great addition to your work history and help pay off the loans in the process.
Even if you have planned everything, the change can be mentally exhausting and stressful. Remember to reach out to family and friends for support during this time. Sometimes, meeting with a life coach or therapist can help aid in this transition as well. These supports make graduating simpler and your life much happier, so when you turn your tassel, you will be fully prepared for the next exciting step in your career.



Welcome to Spring! This time of year leads us all to think about change and renewal. Check out our articles, groups, and seminars to find ways to help jump start yourself towards making that change.

Working From Home

Separating Business Life from Your Personal Life

When spring is upon us, we all want to work less and be outside more! It can be very tempting to work from home and with access to the Internet, live video, and email, working in an office cubicle is not always necessary.
Technology has permitted a dramatic increase in the numbers of people working from home. However, as good as this sounds, it can also cause problems between family members. Tension arises when one permits interruptions, breaks that are too frequent or too long, or overworking, which can damage even healthy family relationships.  
Luckily, there are guidelines you can follow to help separate your home life from your professional life, and create a balance that not only supports an expanding career, but a loving relationship with your family as well. And, enables you to enjoy some of that nice weather outside!
Work at Your Own Pace
Perhaps you are someone who likes to sit down and work for four or five hours straight without resting because it's easy for you to get distracted once you do step away from your task; diligently working for an hour then taking fifteen minutes to rejuvenate may be better suited for you. Whatever the case, YOU know what work style is better for you. Don't be afraid to rest between short bursts of work in order to perpetuate better efficiency. Just make sure that when you have finished your break, you immediately return to work without distractions.
Set Up an Office at Home
The best way to get accustomed to working in your home is to set apart a room in which you typically do nothing but work. This way, the moment you step into this room, your mind is prepared to focus. A lock may even be useful to prevent possible distractions. Talk to your family about this decision as well so they understand when the door is closed, you are "at work."
Working at Home Doesn't Mean LOOKING Like Home One of the benefits of working at home is being able to work in your pajamas, right? Wrong!  When you step into your work zone, you are essentially at an office. Take a shower, shave, get dressed (although you can be casual), and eat breakfast as if you are driving off to work. This behavior orients your mind to getting the job done. When you work in pajamas, you may feel relaxed and tempted to sneak in a nap during the day, hindering your progress. Eating a healthy breakfast and dressing appropriately will have you coursing with energy and creativity, so you can finish your work and enjoy relaxing once you've finished.
Set a Schedule and Stick To It
Before setting off to work, make sure you have a plan of what you would like to finish for that day (no, making this list should not count as time spent working). After you finish the list, you can think of it as a contract to complete before the end of the work day. This can be tricky: try not to overburden yourself to the point of not being able to finish on time, but also list enough to keep you busy throughout the day. Remember, once you set up a time to end your workday, don't go beyond it or try to "do one more thing."  Most importantly, don't let the wasted time of distractions throughout the day take away from your family.
Get Outside
One of the major benefits of working from home is that you can make your own schedule. Make sure you get some time outside to exercise and enjoy time with your family, or just some time to yourself. You will be far more productive if you allow yourself an hour than if you're pining away inside, staring out the window. You will also feel more invigorated and better able to focus on the task at hand. And, don't forget to have some contact with other people! Working from home can be isolating and lead to depression. Ensure you get some daily contact with the outside world, even if it just means checking your email in a coffee shop instead of at home.
Be Flexible
If you are working too much, are too stringent with your schedule, or are too lax and therefore not getting anything done, working from home will become more stressful rather than enjoyable. If you are struggling to figure out what works best for you, talk to some colleagues who work from home. Ask your boss what he/she does to make it work. Also consider an executive coach to help get you on track. Whatever you chose, remember, working from home is intended to make your life easier and more enjoyable. So, enjoy it!
If you are interested in learning more about life and executive coaching, visit our website or email tlepage@lepageassociates.com



Monthly Reader
Each month we will recommend a book that someone at our practice has found useful.
This month's book is:
What They Don't Teach You In College:
A Graduate's Guide to Life After College
by James A. Kramon
Love, Sex and Relationships
April 9th at Noon
Maintaining Balance During Your Engagement:
How to Plan Without Losing Yourself
or Your Relationship

Presented by Dr. Nicole Imbraguglio
Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful events people experience. Many people getting married feel pressure to have a "perfect" day, and this pressure takes us away from the joyful celebration a wedding can be. It's easy to get caught up in the zillion details of the wedding and lose sight of how you're feeling, as well as negatively affect the relationship your wedding is supposed to be celebrating. Come learn strategies to stay connected to your fiancé and 'be present' while planning your wedding.

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