We Will Overcome

bare shelves

So these are turbulent times we are in right now.  I know I haven’t been attending to my blog, because by nature, I do not feel I am writer.  But I have been feeling compelled to write something with everything that is going on in our world right now.

We are feeling as if everything we know is being turned upside down.  We go to the store and if we can find a place to park, the shelves are bare and the lines are long.  Even if you were not getting concerned about the recent virus hitting us, once you start to see these things, it triggers something in us.  When we visually see these things, are brains start to tell us that we need to worry, maybe even panic.  “What is this?  What is happening?”  So when we do see something, we buy more of it than we would usually, because maybe it will be gone the next time I come to the store.

You turn on the television, or look at social media and we are constantly bombarded with news about the virus spreading and all the precautions that are being taken.  I am not a medical professional, so I will not speak on what decisions are being made to help stop the spread of this virus.  But I will speak on how this is affecting us mentally and emotionally.  It is STRESSING us all out!!  Even us, who are in the mental health field, and know how this is all affecting us mentally, are being affected.  It is hard not to, we are human too and we are trying to process this all as well!

I know I have preached on Mindfulness before, and I will continue to do so.  It is even more imperative now more than ever.  We need to just take each moment as it is.  I teach in my office everyday, about how anxiety and control go hand and hand.  When we feel out of control, guess what?  Our anxiety goes right up!  So right now, I imagine most of us feel out of control.  So our anxiety is through the roof!  So we really need to tap into those mindfulness skills.  Stay in the moment, we don’t know what the future holds at this time. We need to take each day at a time, each moment at a time.  Take a deep breath and look around, what do you see, what do you hear, engage all your senses.

Also, be smart, if you find watching the news and looking at social media is making you more stressed, then cut back on it.  Limit the time you are doing these things.  Believe me, you are going to find out about the important stuff.

Utilize self talk, remind yourself that this should be temporary.  We will get through this.  It may be tough for a little while, and none of us like it when things are tough.  We want to hurry up through the difficult times and get to the end when we think things are “back to normal.”  Again, in my office we talk about this a lot.  When we are personally going through a difficult time, we want to “hurry up” through it, and get to where things feel better.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  We have to work through the yucky, uncomfortable and difficult stuff.  But, that doesn’t mean we won’t get there.  WE WILL GET THERE!!  Right here, right now, this is the “yucky, uncomfortable and difficult stuff.”  We are ALL going through this and are ALL impacted in some way.  We will also get through it and hopefully end up learning from this and become a better person from our experience.  I know it may not seem like it right now, believe me I get it.  But when you practice your mindfulness, also remind yourself that we will get through this.

I also talk about how when we feel we are in crisis, we go into “survival mode,” and I think that is how all of us are feeling right now.  Which is why the store shelves are bare, we are panicking and worried about our survival during this time period.  Basic self care is the most important thing when we feel we are in “survival mode.”  You need to make sure you are eating properly, getting enough sleep and getting some exercise.  Those are the basics, and then build from there.  Whatever helps you recharge, maybe you have to modify whatever that is right now.  If you enjoy being around people, then stay connected through technology.  Do things that you feel recharge you and help keep you grounded.  That will be different for everyone, so if you don’t know what that is, keep trying different things!  I am a big fan of journaling, I always encourage everyone to at least try it.

So hopefully this helps during this difficult time.  When all else fails, see a therapist.  They know exactly what you are going through, believe me!  Don’t let the whole “social distancing” thing keep you from seeing a trusted therapist.  Most of them offer telehealth, which is a viable option during this time, if you are truly concerned.  I know it may seem weird or different, but it really isn’t that strange.  Just like Facetiming a friend or a video conference for work.  Just make sure the therapist is using a Hipaa compliant program, as a lot of therapist are “jumping on the bandwagon,” and may not be using proper programs.  (Hint: Facetime is not Hipaa compliant!)  So as long as you have a wifi connection and some privacy (you can sit in your car in your garage or driveway if you have to!), you can do telehealth with a therapist.

Stay healthy, stay positive and stay true to yourself!  We will overcome!

Balance

amazing balance blur boulder
Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

It is Fall and the kids are back in school.  Now is the time to really focus on that work-life balance that we all strive for.  Just remember, it is hard, no one can perfectly balance their work life and their personal life, everyone feels like something is being neglected.  It is especially tough for working moms, we feel pulled to be at home with our kiddos.  But we also want careers and be our own person, am I right?  Even when they are school aged (like mine are), you are still pulled to help out with the fundraisers and parties (Halloween at the end of the month – yikes!!)  It is a constant struggle.

One of the reasons I haven’t been attending to my blog, because when I am at work, I am seeing clients, and when I am home I am in “home mode.”  Focusing on kids and housework and well, you know the drill.  It takes a true commitment to stick to focus on one thing at a time, which is why I am going to work on committing to writing my blog more often.  The trick is, you have to schedule and commit yourself whole heartedly to whatever it is you are doing.  If you are home with your kids, but constantly checking work emails, you are not really “home with your kids.”  If you are at work and constantly looking up Halloween party ideas on Pinterest (yea, guilty),  then you really are not at “work.”

Now granted, we all need a break from time to time, I get it.  And I know emergencies come up, you have to take phone call from home, or call the school while at work, it happens.  But overall, is what I am talking about.  It is actually part of mindfulness, to be mindful of where you are in the moment.  And actually be there, be present and truly be there.  If you are able to do that, you will feel more balanced in life.  Give it a try, you will see.

Self Care

Okay, by now the kids are most likely back to school, or very close to being back to school.  Obviously, I love my kids, as I am sure you all do as well.  But it is also okay to appreciate some alone time!  Even if you work (like I do), maybe you can get a few moments here or there, while they are at school and take advantage of that time!!  Maybe you have babies still, so you don’t really get the time to yourself, and I get that.  But if you have the opportunity, a grandma or aunt who wants or is willing to watch your little one for an hour or two, take them up on it!!  If you have a preschooler, they are there a few hours each week, take advantage of that time.

What do I do, you are asking?  Sometimes we put our lives on hold because we are taking care of our little ones, but now is the time to get back in touch with yourself!!  Even if you only get an hour (heck, even if it is just 5 minutes), take that time and really do something YOU want to do.  If you aren’t sure what that is anymore, try some different things.  Do some self exploration and figure it out.  Do you enjoy coffee, really enjoy your coffee in peace in the morning.  Do you like to read, then sit down and read a little.  I would recommend whatever you do, do it completely.  Do not watch TV while checking your emails and Facebook.  That is not taking time for yourself.  You will not feel “recharged” after doing that.  Not saying you can’t do those things, but just choose one at a time.  If there is a certain television show you don’t ever get to watch, then watch it, but just watch it.  Don’t be doing other things while you are watching it.  For me, when my kids get on the bus, I come back in the house and turn off the cartoons and put on Good Morning America for a few minutes.  I then feel like an adult!!  Even if I have to get ready for work, I try to take just a few minutes to really watch it and pay attention to it.

If you get the whole day to yourself while your kids are in school, more power to you!!  But, I know a lot of moms who fall into the trap of, “I have to be productive and get things done.”  Yes, I know, housework needs done, and it is easier to do when the house is quiet and empty.  I am not saying not to do it at all, but it is also okay to take a little bit of that quiet time and enjoy it.  You are allowed to enjoy it.  Remember that, give yourself permission that it is okay to take time for yourself.  Believe me, you will be recharged and ready to face the world again.  The housework will always be there, don’t fall into the trap of “just let me finish this, and this, and then I’ll sit down.”  Because most likely, you won’t get to taking that time for yourself.  I know we have all heard it, and it is hard to accept.  Especially as a woman, we are nurturers, we want to take care of everyone and everything, but what happens when we are doing that?  We lose our self in the process!!!  So here you go, this is what I want you start accepting, even though we have heard it numerous times, I want it to sink in this time.  MAKE YOURSELF A PRIORITY.  There, I said it.  I know, it seems selfish, doesn’t it.  But it isn’t!!  You need to get past that it is selfish.  It is not selfish, you need to take care of yourself, or you won’t be able to do all the other things that you need to do.  So to be a good mom, wife, friend, daughter, and everything else, we need to take care of our self.  Give yourself permission, it is okay, in fact, it is necessary!!!

empty cup

Allow yourself to be kind to yourself.

So have  you ever paid attention to how you talk to yourself?  Are you kind to yourself, or not so much?  Most of us talk to our self, in a way that we would never talk to a friend, or even an acquaintance!  We are usually pretty negative when we talk to our self and even down right mean!  So take some time and really pay attention to how to talk to yourself.  If you notice you are using really negative language, commit to yourself that you are going to work on changing that.  There are certain words that are more negative than others, think about it.  I always use the example of “fat.”  “Fat” is a negative word, it holds lot of negativity around it.  Now if you say to yourself, “I’m so fat,” think about how you can change that thought.  You don’t necessarily need to go to the complete opposite and say, “Oh, I’m so thin.”  But, you can change the word, so it is not so negative.  What really can help is to get specific.  With weight, put a number on it.  “Ok, so I weigh 200 pounds, and I really wished I weighed 150 pounds.” Or you can use inches or size of clothes.  See how when you get really specific, it can take some of that negative feeling away from it.  It is still being honest and truthful, but not as negative.  This all connects to our self esteem.  How we talk to our self is going to be connected to how we feel about our self.  Be kind to yourself, be your own friend, it is okay!!  FB_IMG_1502327578202

Mindfulness for Moms

This is the post excerpt.

I teach a lot of mindfulness in my practice.  It is a form of meditation, but you don’t need to be a yogi to enjoy the benefits of this meditation.  I explain Mindfulness as this:  Take a moment and be in the moment.  There, it’s that simple!!  It sounds so simple I know, but we live is such a crazy and busy world, that we forget to take some time and just “be.”  Even if you just take a few minutes, if that’s all you got, just do it.  Focus on your breathing, look around you, engage your senses, what do you hear?  What do you see?  What do you smell?  It seems really simple, but it can really help.  Give it a try.  I know you are busy, we are all busy, but you can find a way to work it in.  I work with busy mom’s all the time.  I am a busy mom too, so I know, it can be tough.  Especially right now, with it being summertime and the kids are home from school!!  But figure it out, you will thank me!  There are a couple of tips to start working it into your every day life.  I usually encourage my clients to take a few minutes while they are in the shower.  How many times when we are in the shower are we thinking about things and don’t pay attention to what we are doing?  Now I know, if you are a mom, you probably don’t even get to take a shower in peace, but if you do, even for just a few moments, really be present.  Feel the heat of the water, smell the shampoo, really pay attention to what you are doing.  When you drink your coffee, really taste it, hold the cup and feel the warmth of it in your hand.  Take a whiff and really smell it and take it in.  It really only takes a moment, here and there.  Believe me, it really is that simple, but you can do it and you will feel the reward.  I promise!!

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