| A Better You |


“Never in the history of calming down, has anyone ever actually calmed down by being told to calm down” — Unknown


Abby Delouya, RMFT-CCC, CPTT


Quick tip:
Increase learning retention

The start of the new year lends itself easily to renewed motivation in school and at work. We may think, “This year will be different!” — yet, come Cheshvan, we can find ourselves in the same tired slump as last year. Boosting our cognitive abilities can lead to increased motivation and success. How can we do that?

1) Chunking: Chunking pieces of information can improve memory. You remember the whole by remembering the parts; we do this naturally when we try to remember a phone number.

2) New information must be learned slowly: Cramming causes information to go in and go out, whereas taking your time allows for new topics and ideas to be integrated with the established neural networks in your brain.

3) Repetition: We all know the importance of chazarah when learning Torah. Repetition of tasks is the best way of transforming any short-term memory into a long- term one.

4) Set small goals: Break down the overall goal into small, manageable tasks. Unrealistic goals create frustration and cause you to doubt your abilities.

5) Be deliberate: Purposeful practice is when we perform the same activities again and again with immediate feedback. For example, learning how to braid challah with someone who has mastered it will be more beneficial than trial and error on your own.

6) Step out of your comfort zone: Struggle is vital to learning. Working and learning in a challenging environment deepen one’s learning.

Jargon decoded:

Triangulation is a common manipulation tactic. Triangulation happens when one or both of the people involved in the conflict try to pull a third person into the dynamic, often with the goal of: deflecting some of the tension; creating another conflict to take the spotlight off the original issue; reinforcing their sense of rightness or superiority. It’s especially damaging if a parent uses triangulation against a child, either child versus child (the golden child versus the scapegoat) or bringing them between feuding parents.

Relationship reflections:
New baby transitions

Being busy with children is a huge blessing. It also can have an enormous impact on our marriage. Certain transition times can be more challenging to the overall family dynamic, and specifically, to the marriage. Some transitions happen infrequently (moves/job changes) or G-d willing not at all, or with little frequency (health crises), yet having a new baby can be a semi-regular occurrence, especially during the first decades of marriage.

Some golden rules can help ease this beautiful and blessed, yet often chaotic and exhausting, situation:

  • Try not to criticize: Different doesn’t necessarily mean wrong (and even if it is wrong, a backward diaper is not a dangerous situation — let it go).
  • Connect with each other: It may only be for a few minutes at dawn or over laundry, but reinforce your connection and identity as a couple.
  • Create a detailed short-term plan: Map out in advance what will be needed, what can be cut back, what help can be increased, and what other family/friend support is needed.
  • Appreciate little gestures. It’s true that taking over one feed is not solving the sleep deprivation issue, however, little things add up. Try to share heartfelt appreciation for those little deeds.
In the news:
Hangry is real

Being “hangry” has become a causal term, however a recent study shows real correlation between hunger and anger and irritability. Negative emotions are caused by fluctuations of hunger pangs; this is most likely due to changes in blood sugar, as well as the fact that people interpret things more negatively when they’re hungry. The simple act of carrying snacks in your purse or preparing snacks in advance for the kids (or hubby’s) arrival might be the difference between serenity and chaos.

Abby Delouya RMFT-CCC, CPTT is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice with a speciality in trauma and addiction. Abby lives in Monsey, NY, and maintains her practice in Canada.


Identity Crisis

Sara Glaz Aloni

Ding! You got a new text message. “We see that you just charged $600 to your Freedom credit card at George’s Seafood Grill in Timbuktu. Please reply with a Yes (Y) or No (N) as to whether we should process this charge. Thank you and enjoy your day!”

Financial fraud! Yep, it’s easy enough to deny the charge, but the fallout can be a huge headache — your account may get frozen, and you may have to wait for a new card in the mail. Bills on autopay will have to be changed (wait, which bills did I put on autopay?!), and you may be credit-cardless for a few days.

We all know the cybersecurity threat is real these days, but how can you protect your hard-earned money, not to mention your sanity?

First and foremost, create strong and unique passwords for your online bank and credit card accounts. Use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, if possible. Also, avoid single words (like cat or dog) but instead stick to old-fashioned gobbledygook like T6b!q128. Come across the option to use two-factor authentication? Use it. While it may take more time to login to your bank account, it prevents shady characters from gaining access.

Receive a text message from Amazon saying your account was closed and to just click on a link to reactivate it? Welcome to a very common cyber threat called phishing. Avoid clicking links and opening attachments (it’s like opening your front door to a hacker). A phishing attack can install malware on your computer that gives the criminal the ability to do a lot of harm, such as sabotaging your computer and stealing money.

Consider this one: Freeze your credit. A credit freeze can be done for free online with the three main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). What does this accomplish? It prevents criminals from opening new loans or lines of credit in your name, without your knowledge. While it doesn’t protect you from someone trying to charge your credit card, having your identity stolen can be much more harmful to your finances and far more complicated to fix, especially when it comes time to apply for a loan like a mortgage. When you're planning to apply for credit again, such as  taking out a mortgage or opening a new credit card, don't forget to contact the credit agencies and request to unfreeze your credit.

Sara Glaz Aloni is an investment advisor and financial planner at The Munk Wealth Management Group in Cedarhurst, New York.


Be a Container for Calm

Sara Eisemann LMSW, ACSW

“Never in the history of calming down, has anyone ever actually calmed down by being told to calm down.”

— Unknown

After I finished cracking up, my next thought upon reading this was to wonder: What does actually calm people down? And the answer was simple: the loving presence of a nonjudgmental person.

When feelings go into such overwhelm that they’re pouring out all over the place, what we need most is a container for those emotions. We want someone who tolerates the intensity of our feelings with equanimity, and in so doing, shows us that they are not too big, and that we are not too much.

And that will do more than any amount of being told to calm down ever can.


Sara Eisemann LMSW, ACSW, is a licensed therapist, directed dating coach, and certified core mentor.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 814)

Oops! We could not locate your form.