Celebrate Yourself and Express Gratitude to Improve Your Quality of Life
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When was the most recent time you paused, celebrated yourself, patted yourself on the back, and expressed gratitude? Far too many of us neglect to stop and appreciate ourselves, express gratitude, or think about our accomplishments, especially the small ones.
Most times we tend to wait for our birthdays, major holiday, or some grand accomplishment to celebrate ourselves. But what if I told you we should be celebrating ourselves far more often than we currently do? What if I told you we should be giving ourselves figurative (and literal) roses on a regular basis?
So, what is celebrating yourself?
Self-celebration is recognizing and honoring who you are right now, not who you hope to become in the future or who you desire you could be. It is important to embrace, support, and empower yourself right now. You can enjoy being who you are anytime, anywhere, and for any reason. It isn’t boastful.
Many individuals lose motivation quickly, but you can keep yourself motivated by committing to appreciating and celebrating who you are. Develop the habit of doing this every day. To rejoice in yourself, you are not required to have a grand cause or major accomplishment. Instead, enjoy yourself for who you are.
Here are three reasons why it’s crucial to celebrate yourself:
- It Teaches us to Appreciate the Journey
- It Activates Our Gratitude
- It Boosts Our Mood and Functioning
In what ways can you celebrate yourself?
These are the following ways you can adopt to celebrate yourself:
- Take a look at your daily successes.
- Think about your accomplishments over the years.
- Give thanks for whatever you have in life.
- Make a celebration playlist
- Give yourself a break
- Write a card or letter to yourself right now.
How does the way you celebrate yourself relate to gratitude?
The secret to leading a happy and fulfilling life is gratitude. One of the best presents we can provide for ourselves is practicing gratitude on a daily basis. To truly celebrate yourself, you must take the time to appreciate your existence.
Unfortunately, it is simple to forget to be grateful. Many of us frequently lose sight of the simple pleasures in life because we are so preoccupied with what has gone wrong or only celebrating life’s highs. However, you may cultivate a spirit of appreciation that can change your entire outlook on life by honoring each day of your life.
Here are some benefits of gratitude:
- Reduce your unpleasant feelings
- Keeps you in the present moment
- Develop empathy & Build strong relationships
- Gain a positive self-image
- Lower stress, anxiety, and unhelpful thoughts
- Enhance your energy and overall health
Recognizing small wins while you wait for big ones.
Do you ever celebrate your minor successes? It’s easier to focus on big wins these days and ignore small ones because we are not satisfied with them or because society has told us it’s not enough. We should remember that tiny victories will eventually lead to big ones, so we should be grateful for small ones.
Everyone wants to accomplish their goals, but sometimes we need more inspiration to pursue our lofty, daring ambitions. This is why celebrating tiny victories along the way keeps us motivated to get beyond challenges and move forward.
Celebrating yourself and your wins – big and small – is important to feel seen, heard, and validated. It is important to embrace, support, and empower yourself in this current stage of your life. It is not boasting to honor who you are at any time, anywhere, and for any cause. It is a celebration of what you are in your unique way and it can take any form you want. Self-celebration creates possibilities for how we treat ourselves, and consequently, how we live.
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Anxiety as a Mental Health Problem
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By now we’ve all heard and/or used something like “My anxiety is really bad right now” or “I‘m so anxious about XYZ“. And that’s because the feeling of anxiety is fairly common.
Anxiety is when you’re worried, tense, or afraid, particularly about things that are going to take place or that you think might happen in the future. Humans inherently have anxiety when they feel a sense of danger to their safety. It’s something that you can sense, think about, and experience.
You can become anxious and unsure of whether your next move is the ideal one to make. Or you may feel anxious when you’re anticipating a new event, and you’re unsure what to expect. Many people occasionally experience anxiety. Anxiety is a common side effect when dealing with difficult situations or changes, especially those potentially impacting your life.
When is our anxiety a mental health problem?
So now you know anxiety is fairly common. The question is when is your anxiety a mental health issue? If your anxiety interferes with your ability to lead a life as entirely as you would like, it could be a mental health issue. Here are some other ways anxiety may be interfering with your quality of life:
- Your anxiety symptoms are severe or persistent.
- Your worries or fears are excessive, given the circumstances.
- You avoid situations that could make you feel nervous
- You worry a lot or find it challenging to regulate your anxiety symptoms, including panic attacks.
- You find it challenging to carry out daily activities or engage in enjoyable activities.
Common symptoms of anxiety
Here are a few signs and symptoms of anxiety or panic attack:
- Breathing difficulties or suffocating feelings
- Heart Palpitations
- Excessive sweating
- Painful or tingling muscles
- Upset stomach
- Fear of impending disaster
- Fear of passing away or being unconscious
- Generalized fear
- Social phobia or agoraphobia
- Low self-regard
- Health concern
- Appetite changes
What are some types of anxiety disorders?
There are various types of anxiety disorders. It’s best to speak to a licensed mental health professional if you are experiencing excessive anxiety symptoms. Here are a few common anxiety disorders:
Social anxiety disorder:
Fear or uneasiness in social circumstances is a symptom of a type of anxiety disorder known as social anxiety disorder, often known as social phobia.
You might find engaging in social interactions, making new friends, and participating in activities challenging. You will be concerned about being observed or assessed by others. Individuals will worry about being closely and continuously followed by others and judged by them.
Panic disorder comprises experiencing frequent panic attacks and constantly being on edge about having another one. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety condition that produces regular, unforeseen panic or fear attacks.
This is characterized by extreme anxiety and unreasonable fear of a circumstance or an object, such as a fear of spiders or wide-open spaces. The irrationality of their terror may be known to those who suffer from phobias.
Phobias can be brought on by genetics and environmental factors. If a close relative suffers from an anxiety disorder, children are more prone to have phobias. Disturbing events, like nearly drowning, can cause fear to grow. Phobias might develop due to contact with terrifying heights, tight spaces, wildlife, or insect stings.
Six Tips for Managing Anxiety
Here are 6 tips on how to manage anxiety:
Know the symptoms
If you can recognize the signs of anxiety, you may be able to take appropriate action before your symptoms worsen. Headaches, stomachaches, insomnia, or disordered eating may be signs that you should utilize some coping skills to manage your emotions.
Bad eating habits may result from hectic lifestyles. You should plan a time to eat a healthy breakfast or bring a meal loaded with fruits and vegetables to work with you.
Learn relaxation techniques
You might experience a reduction in stress and anxiety by learning specific relaxation techniques – deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, for example. Try the CalmiGo. This device is scientifically proven and uses 3 methods: breathing regulation, relaxing scent, and multisensory stimulation.
Try something new
It would help if you tried something new, like yoga, gardening, music, or any other pastime, to reduce stress and temporarily divert your attention from problems.
Incorporate social interactions
You should start interacting and spending time with your loved ones or join a group to meet people to practice being social. Others may be found who can offer psychological and practical support.
Taking the time to make a plan may be helpful if you are feeling overburdened by financial or work issues. Set goals and priorities, then mark them off as completed. People who have a plan may find it easier to decline additional requests from others that make them feel uncomfortable.
Anxiety is a form of stress response that is characterized by feelings of concern, dread, or discomfort around a particular circumstance. You may experience agitation, nausea, or the sensation that your stomach is turning. An anxiety attack can resemble an unexpected feeling of terror when there is no danger.
People who have anxiety or panic attacks that interfere with their daily lives should consult with a healthcare provider to find out about available therapies.
Try our Anxiety and Worry Management workbook!
Adult Friendships & Mental Health
Do you have a friend with whom you can cry, laugh, and share your most private secrets? Or looking for a trusted friend to do life with? If yes to either of those questions, then you understand the importance of friendships. And you may have noticed that at some point in your life friendships were harder to maintain or to cultivate new ones – welcome to Friendships in Adulthood.
Even though they are challenging to maintain, adult friendships can significantly impact your well-being. Studies have shown that socially connected adults are less likely to experience serious health issues like depression. Maintaining strong relations with friends should be considered as important to your health as eating well and exercising.
What is the Impact of COVID-19 on Adult Friendships?
Much like a plant or any living thing, the more care and attention are given to friendships, the stronger they grow and the more connected people feel. So when COVID-19 came along, and the term “social distancing” became the new norm, friendships were tested.
The pandemic may have shifted your attention away from what you care about and who you are most likely to encounter. While it may have ended some friendships, others didn’t last long either. You may have also seen some relationships held by fondness and some fading away without an anchor.
Wasn’t this the time when you realized the worth of friendships? Your friends are among the most important sources of comfort and support during stress. You might have felt lonely and emotionally troubled because of the limited face-to-face interaction that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic’s stay-at-home orders and physical distance requirements.
Close ties are essential for assisting people in overcoming such obstacles. In addition to satisfying basic demands for social belonging, your strong relationships can provide much-needed emotional support and affirmation.
Ways Adult Friendships Help Boost Mental Health
Are you wondering how adult friendships can help with mental health and well-being? Adult friendships can benefit a person’s well-being in several ways, from enhancing confidence to fostering personal development.
Here are some benefits of maintaining friendships in adulthood:
- Provide emotional support
Do you sometimes feel depressed, overwhelmed, or that you need emotional support while going through difficult periods in your lives? Well, telling a trusted friend who is a good listener about your terrible day or trying times can improve your mental health.
- Boost confidence and self-love
You may have some moments of low confidence where you don’t feel like doing anything. You may feel like the most demotivated person alive. But consistent, trusted friends can boost your self-confidence by complimenting you on your self-worth or on how hard you’ve worked on a project. Friendships typically go both ways, so offering your friends compliments, words of encouragement, and being there for them can make you feel purposeful and improve your self-esteem as well.
- Help with personal growth
You may occasionally experience feelings of not doing enough or that you haven’t grown much as a person. Having a supportive group of friends can aid you in seeing the progress you’ve made or motivate you to attempt new challenges and work on your personal development.
- Prevent feelings of loneliness
You may experience feelings of loneliness, especially during the isolation brought on by the pandemic, or just having busier schedules. Healthy friendships can promote social interactions and improve your mental health, whether it is through texting and catching up, in-person meetups, or the occasional Zoom or FaceTime check-ins.
Why You Might Be Struggling To Maintain Adult Friendships?
Have you recently lost friends but don’t know why? People can occasionally drift away, especially as life’s complexity and responsibilities increase. However, it’s not always the case. There are other reasons why you could be losing friends.
- You Might Not Have Enough Time
Adult connections are challenging, particularly given that everyone has their career, life, and obligations. Maintaining positive relationships and spending time with friends are harder and harder automatically. Always be sure to schedule regular time to check up with your buddies. If you have the time, talk to them in person, but if not, pick up the phone and inquire about how they are doing.
- Your interests change
And it’s all right! Friends can grow apart over time if they quit sharing the same interests and don’t have as many things in common. It simply demonstrates that not everything is intended to last indefinitely, and we must accept that.
- Fears of Losing the Friendships
Sometimes when we’ve been friends with someone for a really long time or we value the friendship we can unintentionally sabotage it. That could mean becoming extremely possessive and/or controlling or becoming more withdrawn, by “not wanting to bother them”. You can discuss it with your friend if you’ve been feeling a little self-conscious, restricted, or suffocated by the friendship. In a gentle manner, let them know what’s troubling you. If certain behaviors have caused you or your friend to withdraw, find out what is upsetting them and address it.
- You Lack Energy or Motivation
It may be difficult for you to keep up friendships if you’re going through a difficult period or are not mentally at your best. Your mental condition has already taken too much of your brain’s ability. The inverse is also true; if you notice your friends are withdrawing, they may be going through a difficult period. Be sure to check in with them and find out how they are feeling and what is truly going on in their lives. You might discover a lot, and continue building a strong friendship.
Having a support system can assist you in staying committed to your goals, adopting healthy behaviors, and stepping outside of your comfort zone to have hard conversations. The people we trust and hold dear to us affect our lives and decisions. Be sure to offer your friends the care they require or to ask for it when necessary.
In conclusion, keeping in touch, planning and attending get-togethers, and always being open and honest about what’s been bothering you are the keys to having a solid, lasting relationship with your friends. After all, who will if you don’t fight for your friendships? Remember friends are great, but they can’t replace a licensed mental professional.
More resources on adult friendships and mental health:
Speaking of Psychology: Why is it so hard for adults to make friends? With Marisa Franco, PhD. (January 2022). American Psychological Association. Retrieved October 2, 2022, from https://www.apa.org/news/podcasts/speaking-of-psychology/adult-friendships
Life Transitions & Changes
“Change is the only constant.” that’s what one of my high school teachers would say way too often during my high school years.
*cue to my teenage self*
Yes, I was rolling my eyes in class. As you could imagine, I didn’t like change, and I didn’t like hearing it was the only thing that would be guaranteed in my life.
I’m sure you can relate: Change can be scary. You might feel overwhelmed, anxious, and even stressed at the thought of things not being predictable or things deviating from what we’re used to. Fear of the unknown is a real thing.
Life transitions can be anything from starting a new job, moving to a new house, having a child, or starting a new relationship. Even though these may seem like positive changes, they can still be stressful and anxiety-producing. Other transitions, such as the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of good health, are generally unwanted and unexpected.
Over the years I’ve come to realize and accept that change is actually a normal part of life. Yet, we can still be resistant to change, and even feel vulnerable when we’re experiencing transitions in our life. But life transitions are not always bad; there may also be opportunities for growth through change. Yes, we can’t deny that there are sad and depressing transitions in our life.
I get it, an unexpected and distressing situation is a bad combination. There can be a sense of grief and loss associated with change. So I want to provide you with tips and ideas on what you could do when going through a life transition – planned or unplanned; seemingly good or bad.
Ways to Cope with Change and Life Transition
We all experience changes in life, and it’s okay to need time to adjust and cope with the changes. Here are things you can do to help you work through life changes more efficiently:
1. Prepare, if possible
If you know change is pending and in the near future, begin to plan. Give yourself ample time to start to prepare for the change that’s about to happen. Set small achievable steps to begin to prepare mentally and physically for the change that’s coming. Planning your way through your transition will alleviate some of the stress and anxiety you may be feeling.
2. Establish realistic expectations
Perfection is a myth, make sure you are adjusting your expectations to align with reality. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself by enforcing unrealistic expectations of what is to come.
3. Create a routine
We are creatures of habit. Whether we recognize it or not there are things we do habitually. Why not be intentional about it? Creating a new routine or habit will be helpful in starting to adjust to the change that is coming or that has already happened.
4. Examine the way you talk to yourself
I know we can be our own worst critic at times. So it’s important to note, the way you talk to yourself can actually make your situation better or even worse. Try positive self-talk to help you cope and adjust to the changes happening around you. Allow yourself that grace to adjust, we’re all a work in progress.
5. Set small objectives
Change tends to come with its own levels of stress so you don’t want to add to that by overwhelming yourself with too many tasks all at once. Don’t overwork yourself. Set small goals and work your way up. Larger objectives may lead to bigger disappointments; let’s save ourselves the additional headaches by taking things one step at a time.
6. Maintain communication
Ask for help when needed and surround yourself with supportive individuals. It’s easy for our emotional mind to think “No one will understand what I’m going through”, then we withdraw or isolate ourselves from others. However, maintaining communication and connections with supportive family, friends, or partners can boost our mood and functioning. Our support network and resilience have a big impact on how smoothly and swiftly we transition.
7. Exercise compassion towards yourself
This includes being mindful of how you are talking to yourself, but it also encompasses how you are treating yourself overall. Are you as nice to yourself as you would your best friend if they were going through this transition? How are your sleeping habits? Your eating habits? Your hygiene? Sometimes when we get caught up in transitions we forget or neglect the basics, remembering to practice self-compassion and self-care is very crucial.
TAKEAWAY: How do you cope with change and life transitions?
I’ve shared tips that have been helpful for me and my clients. But I can acknowledge that there might be several other ways to cope with change. I’d love to hear what coping mechanisms have worked for you when going through changes.
Remember, don’t let yourself be consumed by fear or resistance when change arrives in your life, but rather allow yourself time and space to adjust to the change and process your feelings.
If you need additional support in managing your life transitions reach out to a licensed professional in your area.
Let’s Talk About the Importance of Self-Care
We’ve heard “self-care” thrown around a million times in the past year alone. It may come off as cliché at this point, however, self-care holds great importance. Everybody should regularly practice self-care. We should be actively engaging in activities that help us feel restored holistically. I know it’s been said time and time again, “I don’t have time for self-care” or “Self-care is too expensive“. But I want you to take a moment now, pause, and acknowledge your importance. How important are you? How much does your well-being matter?
I hope you were able to acknowledge: You are important to yourself. You are important to your family, your partner, your friend(s), your pet(s), your coworker(s), and the list could go on. Remember: You matter and you are important. You deserve to rest and to feel restored. So you should give yourself the time and space to take care of yourself. And no, it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming).
What is Self-Care?
So the big question: what really is self-care even? The Anna Freud Centre described self-care as “things we do to look after our mental health”. Based on the National Institute of Mental Health practicing self-care is engaging in things “that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health”. I think all these definitions are true, and I would like to add that it is about taking care of our body, mind, and soul by taking part in stress-reduction and well-being-promoting activities regularly. I emphasize the word “regularly” because I believe self-care shouldn’t be a one-and-done event — it should be something we incorporate into our daily routine. So to preserve a good relationship with oneself, practice self-care. Our capacity to live fully, vibrantly, and on purpose is dependent on how we treat ourselves. Self-care also serves as a reminder to you and others that your needs are important and should be given priority.
“When we care for ourselves as our very own beloved—with naps, healthy food, clean sheets, a lovely cup of tea—we can begin to give in wildly generous ways to the world, from abundance.”
—Anne Lamott, author
Types of Self-Care
Self-care needs differ from one individual to another. Everyone can take a different approach to how they practice self-care. It has to do with what you need to take care of your overall well-being so that you can fulfill your obligations both personally and professionally. The various facets of self-care are listed here, along with illustrative tactics that you can implement immediately.
NOTE: The activities and suggestions below are a guide only and it is important to choose activities that are meaningful to you and your own goals
Activities that keep you in shape, provide you the energy, and help to improve your physical health:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule
- Try to eat a balanced diet
- Make time for lunch breaks
- Utilize your sick time or mental health days
- Regularly exercise
Allowing oneself to safely identify, process, and reflect on the entire emotional experience, can be done through these activities:
- Practicing mindfulness
- Engaging in affirmations; manifesting; positive self-talk
- Writing in a Journal
- Setting healthy boundaries with family, friends, and work
- Talking things through with a supportive friend or therapist
This type of self-care entails actions that support your ability to continually work at your optimal level of success. Here are some examples:
- Clean or organize your space
- Create a budget
- Join courses on professional or personal growth
Mental Health Self-Care
Activities that provide you the mental clarity and intellectual acuity to tackle life stressors you encounter on a regular basis:
- Keep a journal for reflection
- Take part in leisure activities
- Disconnect after hours, turn off your work phone and email
- Read a book
- Spend time talking to supportive friends and relatives
Spiritual Health Self-Care
You may or may not be religious, but thinking of spiritual self-care should be connected to practicing activities that have purpose and meaning.
- Reflective exercises such as meditation
- Be in nature
- Visit a church, mosque, or temple
- Try yoga
- Be of service to others; volunteering
Social Health Self-Care
We are social beings, thus having meaningful connections with others is important. Being intentional about fostering a variety of relationships is a great way to practice self-care. Here are some examples:
- Call a friend and meet-up
- Spend time with your partner, family, and children
- Attend your family’s and friends’ special events
- Join social groups based on your interests
- Play with your pet
Create your own self-care plan or download the FREE Self-Care Checklist.
- Choose at least one activity that you can use for each of the given types of self-care above. There may be some overlap, so try to choose differing activities.
- Include self-care activities that you enjoy, that promote your well-being, and that would be easy to incorporate into your schedule.
- Put your list somewhere you can see it every day. Keep it visible.
- Share it with your boss, coworkers, friends, and family so they can encourage you (and join in!). Keep to your strategy and routinely practice self-care.
There is Virtue in Work, but there’s probably more in Rest.
I’ve been working – with and without pay – in the social service/mental health field for the past 10 years. I think it’s safe to say I’ve seen and heard A LOT. Something I recognized very early on was there was a lot of burnt-out, jaded workers in the field. I was determined I wouldn’t get caught up in the grind/hustle culture because I didn’t want to become burnt out and jaded too. I remember back in 2016 thinking “I’m going to a mini-break from the city at least once a month.” That literally lasted about 2 or 3 months. I found myself skipping lunch, seeing clients back to back, working 3 jobs at one point, working 6 days a week, and high on coffee. So yes, the grind culture had gotten me!
I was burnt out, I was tired. And there was no amount of “Good Vibes Only” that was going to fix it. I needed to rest – slow my pace. Granted the pandemic was a major cause in the slowing of my pace. But when I started my business about a year ago, I was very intentional about not getting caught up in overworking myself again. I am dedicated to only seeing clients 4 days out of the week, not packing my caseload to an overwhelming number, and actually weekending on the weekend.
“Work-life balance is such a misnomer because nobody wants work on one side of the scale and life on the other – in that scenario if you’re succeeding in one area, you’re failing in the other. Nobody wants that. We want work-life integration. We want work-life harmony.”
— Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith
So naturally, you may think: “She must have it figured out, she has mastered the work-life integration“. Wrong. I’m human and we always have room for improvement. There are still moments I have to hold myself accountable for the boundaries I created for my overall well-being. There are so many ways I am learning to incorporate rest and have an improved work-life integration.
We tend to think of vacation as an indulgence. Rest and leisure as a luxury for the rich and famous. Who has time to rest when we have bills to pay? Who has the money to rest when inflation is at records high?
“Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much of each to have.”
— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
So I went on an exploration to learn more about rest and how we can optimize it. That’s when I learned about Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. She shared there are seven different types of rest that we should be experiencing. I think learning all of them can help you identify what you might be missing out on and what kind of rest you need to incorporate into your routine.
1. Physical Rest
This is the most obvious and well-known type of rest, but many people are not aware that physical rest is actually divided into two components: active and passive. Passive physical rest are activities we do like sleeping and taking a nap. But active physical rest are things like yoga, stretching, walking, and getting a massage are forms of physical rest as well.
Passive physical rest is crucial to our mood and functioning, so let’s be mindful of getting adequate sleep daily, and as for active physical rest, let’s try incorporating that once or twice per week.
2. Mental Rest
Do you know when a computer has too many tabs open? Do you ever feel like your mind has multiple tabs open? Someone with a mental rest deficit might find themselves having difficulty concentrating, or even finding it hard to fall asleep with hundreds of different things floating around in their minds.
Try taking mental or brain breaks within your day – you may be surprised what a 10 to 15-minute break can do. Get away from technology and other distractions, go for a nature walk, listen to music or sit in silence.
3. Social Rest
Social rest can be one of two things: surrounding yourself with individuals that pour back into you or conversely, taking some alone time. It’s your responsibility to confirm which one you are in need of. You can tell that you’re feeling the need to get social rest if you ever find yourself saying, “Can I just get a moment for myself?” This may be because the people around you may constantly need things from you. On the flip side, you may recognize that you need to reconnect over brunch with your close friend, for example.
4. Spiritual Rest
I know there is a vast amount of belief systems. Yet, we all have that innate desire to feel like we belong, feel like we have a purpose and that we are contributing to the greater good – that is spiritual rest. So whether it’s staying connected to God, the Universe, a higher power, purpose, and/or meaning it relieves us of feeling alone in our human experience.
You may feel like the work you are doing is meaningless or you’ve lost your sense of purpose or belonging. That is your cue to get connected or reconnected to your purpose. That may be through volunteering in your community, going to church or your spiritual center, or maintaining a work culture where you feel like your work is meaningful.
5. Sensory Rest
Living in a bustling city you can step outside your apartment and several things are happening all at once. You smell the garbage that hasn’t been picked up yet. Someone honking their horn. A baby crying in the stroller. Two people outside the local deli arguing. A car driving down the block playing music like it’s a block party. You’re texting your friend that you’re on your way, while you’re getting an incoming call. Now that’s sensory overload. It may seem extreme, but for a minute, pay attention to what’s around you right now – what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you feel, what you taste. Chances are there are quite a few things happening around you too. Our senses are receiving a lot of stimuli throughout the day.
You may find that by the end of the day you’re irritable or easily agitated – that’s your sign it’s time for sensory rest. The best way to describe this is to take a break from all the distractions and sensor inputs around you: loud music, bright lights, noisy neighbors, kids playing, and notifications on your phone. Maybe even challenge yourself to an hour, or two, with no screen time.
6. Emotional Rest
I think by now we all know how important it is to express and release our emotions in healthy ways. Yet sometimes we may notice we want to shield our loved ones from our true emotions or be guarded with our authentic feelings in that work meeting. Sometimes we’re hesitant to express ourselves because we don’t want to be portrayed as weak, stressed, depressed, or incompetent. Maybe we want our loved ones, colleagues, or employers/employees to feel like everything is going fine.
When we’re holding in our genuine thoughts and feelings too often and we may notice we don’t have an authentic space to be ourselves, to express our true feelings – that’s when it’s time for emotional rest. Speaking to a therapist or a trusted friend, or journaling and learning new ways to express yourself will definitely be helpful.
Remember it’s okay to not be okay.
7. Creative Rest
When was the last time you allowed yourselves to appreciate nature – the trees, animals in their natural habitat, oceans, and waterfalls? Or immersed yourself in experiencing beauty in the creative arts through paintings, drawings, photography, music, singing, or dancing? Or read an inspiring book? Well, that’s creative rest.
Most people don’t consider themselves creative. But the idea of creativity is more than just producing art. Creativity is innovation, it’s problem-solving. So chances are you have to get creative from time to time. You may have noticed you’re having a hard time being innovative, trouble brainstorming new ideas, or problem-solving is difficult for you – that’s when you need creative rest.
The restoration process to re-charging ourselves has to be something we can do intentionally and regularly. I know times are difficult, but we shouldn’t use financial or time limit excuses as reasons for not practicing rest. We all need to prioritize rest, probably more than ever. Not to overwhelm ourselves with all seven types at once, we can start with one area. Start where you notice the greatest deficit, and go from there.
If you’re still not sure, take Dr. Shaudra’s rest quiz to see where you need to start. Email me, I’ll love to hear your results and your journey to restoration. Hope I’m helping you Live Mindfully, Feel Restored – one step at a time.
Try this affirmation the next time you are in the need of rest:
My mind and my body are ready to rest. I am in my safe place. Everything will be okay!
Toxic Positivity: Too much “Good Vibes Only”?
Have you ever heard of toxic positivity? If not, it is the idea of always focusing on the “good vibes only”. You can also think of it as excessive positivity. When done constantly, it becomes the very reason we tend to invalidate our true emotions and experiences without acknowledging and exploring any underlying issues or concerns.
Like that image, toxic positivity is sitting in distress and saying something like “Stay positive” or “Everything will be okay”. We constantly hear about the power of positive thinking. Trust me, I believe our thoughts hold weight and can really be a powerful tool for making meaningful changes in our lives. However, as women, we can often tell ourselves that nothing is wrong, downplay our feelings and experiences, use the infamous Keep Calm and Carry on, or just try to “suck it up”, smile, and “be happy”. Don’t get me wrong, having a positive outlook creates motivation for a healthy mind and body, and is something I encourage with my clients. Nevertheless, when positivity is taken too far, it can actually do more harm than good.
Have you ever heard the saying “Too much of a good thing, isn’t so good?” (or something like that). Well, that’s the case for excessive or toxic positivity – it doesn’t leave any space for feeling your feelings or exploring solutions to the current situation you are facing. We are all strong, overcomers, and resilient beings, and chances are we will “Get Through It”. But sometimes positivity isn’t the answer – so quickly. Before you can practice that “being positive” attitude you do need to take some time to acknowledge how you are truly feeling in the moment, take care of your emotional needs, and ask for support if needed. Ultimately you should not be glossing over what it is you are feeling with a sprinkle of positivity.
“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”
— Walt Disney
Ways to avoid imposing toxic positivity on yourself and others
Strategies to help you avoid toxic positivity when speaking to yourself:
- Recognize that your negative emotions are normal and okay
- Identify and label your emotions. Don’t try to avoid them, or deny them
- Have a support system that you can trust and talk openly about all of your emotions
- INSTEAD OF, “Others have it worse” TRY SAYING, “All humans experience some level of pain, it’s normal to not always have a positive reaction”.
Strategies to help you avoid imposing toxic positivity on others:
- Recognize that their negative emotions are normal and okay
- Encourage others to speak openly about their emotions and remind them that negative emotions are part of the human experience
- Avoid having a positive response to everything
- INSTEAD OF, “Always look at the bright side!” TRY SAYING, “Things are really tough right now, I am here for you.”
Just as I try and ‘get real’ with my clients and encourage them to talk about every aspect of their human experience, today I encourage you to accept feeling the way you are and being the way you are – flaws and all. Remember feelings are temporary and they will pass, but let’s not ignore them and pretend they don’t exist.
Try these affirmations the next time you are having a bad day:
It’s never fun to feel like this. It’s okay if I’m having a bad day. I give myself the grace to feel all my feelings.
RESILIENCE: Knowing That There Is Something Inside You That is Greater Than Any Obstacle
Given the past 2 years alone I think it’s safe to say we have all gone through failures, setbacks, and challenges. In fact, after I get through a challenging time, I can almost guarantee that they’ll be more challenges to come in the future. Although that sounds negative, it’s also reality, and that’s life!
I’m not here to stress you out even more, but a quick reality check: Challenges and difficulties are a part of life. Oftentimes, when things seem pointless and/or hopeless, when you’ve just come face to face with yet another failure, it can seem as though it’s the end. It can seem as though no matter how hard you try, the life that you want will always be just out of reach. But that’s not the case.
With snapshots from media, it’s easy to assume that those who look successful, those who get what they want, and those who seem to be “the happiest” aren’t people who have ever faced difficulties. But as we all can guess by now, those people have also had to overcome sadness, disappointment, and difficult life experiences as well. The thing that makes them different and who they are now is how they respond and react to those obstacles – resilience.
Resilience has several definitions. It can be defined as the ability to quickly overcome challenges and life stressors. Or the adaptability to thrive and survive despite adversity. I like to believe we all have some level and degree of resilience. Resilience is a character trait, and it can be built, developed, and improved over time.
Remember when I said, I’m not here to stress you out more? I’m here to encourage you: Hang in there! Endure the pain, feel all those feelings. It may not feel like it right now, but all of these experiences will make you stronger, I assure you, you may not know the reason why now, but soon enough, you will realize that there is a purpose for everything.
I get it, it’s easy to tell someone else to hang in there and to keep a positive outlook when they are going through tough times, but when challenges hit closer to home, “keeping our chin up” isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Resilience doesn’t make the challenges go away, nor does it say to ignore how hard things may actually be, but it allows us to acknowledge our challenges, see past our current circumstances, find ways to experience joy in life, and with a good support system manage our stressors better.
“It may sound strange, but many champions are made champions by setbacks.”
If you want to build your resilience here are some tips to try:
- Learn how to Manage your Emotions
- Remain Hopeful
- Take Care of Yourself
- Building Community & Staying Connected to Others
- Learn from your Experiences
All of these things are paramount to managing stress well – being resilient. When we can control (not suppress) our emotions we can better acknowledge how we feel, identify why we feel that way, and explore ways to regulate ourselves so we can begin to strategize ways to deal with the stressors. Hearing words of encouragement can often be a great way to remain encouraged and hopeful during difficult times. Words can have a powerful impact on our mindset. We’ve all heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”, the fact is that words really do have an impact on how we feel. So during challenging times remember to take care of yourself, pay attention to how you are talking to yourself, surround yourself with good energy, and remember there’s a lesson and/or growth in every setback.
YOU CAN BE RESILIENT AND ASK FOR HELP
Hear me out, by no means do I wish to invalidate any hardships and traumas you may have faced in your lifetime. I am fully aware that trauma is real, and generational trauma can have lasting impacts on how individuals perceive and operate in the world around them.
Resilience means you have the tools to cope with life’s stressors. Being resilient is knowing that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle you may face AND knowing when to ask for help. If you need to reach out to a local licensed mental health professional for additional support, that’s okay, don’t hesitate.
To learn more about how you can work on developing your resilience, check out our Resilience Workbook below.
Four Simple Ways To Help Manage Your Emotions Today
There’s so much happening in the world today – recovering from a pandemic, mass shootings, wars, diseases, food crisis, and the list could really go on. Sometimes it’s hard to feel positive, happy or even to know what to do with all the emotions you’re feeling. Listen, I get it. So, I wanted to share some proven techniques that have worked for me that you can try to get attuned with your feelings and allow yourself to feel your feelings.
Practice Positive Activities
We, as human beings, are hardwired for survival which means that we are often prone to more “negative” emotions and thoughts. Every time our survival instincts kick in, we have this unusual feeling that draws negative feelings toward a person, an event, or even a thing! This is the reason why we have to practice feeling good.
Write a list of activities that makes you feel good – try and do at least 1 of those things a day. Be intentional (and patient) because it takes practice. This activity should help you raise your vibrations and uplift your feelings – promoting more positive emotions and experiences.
Write it all out
We all bottle in our stress, anxieties, fears, shame, doubts, worries, and insecurities more often than we should. The way to release all these feelings and thoughts is to find a release.
Turn on music that can make you emotional. Get a pen and a piece of paper. Set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes. Write anything, especially those negative thoughts you’ve bottled up. Feel your feeling – the rage, the sadness, the doubt. It’s good to get it out of your mind and body. Then try deep breathing for 5-10 minutes. Inhale peace. Exhale negativity. The point is not to dwell on the feelings but to get them out of your system.
“Saying thanks to the world, and acknowledging your own accomplishments, is a great way to feel good and stay positive.”
― Rachel Robins
Whether it is small or big, always remember to celebrate yourself. You can treat yourself to delicious food, a good massage, or whatever makes you feel good. Then, write a gratitude letter to yourself. And it’s not only about work and productivity – celebrate you for simply being you. Always, remember, self-love!
Process your Emotions with a Professional
You don’t have to always do it on your own. Ask for help from a therapist, healer, and/or coach. Someone to help guide you through and help you understand your emotions, your past, and traumas and how they are affecting you today. There’s power in understanding how your lived experiences are coming up in your challenges and hardships so you can learn from them and move through them.
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