The boundaries between our personal lives and professionally lives continue to get blurred – and it’s easier than ever to let one impact that other. Especially since millennials are the “most stressed out generation” according to an American Psychology Association survey. (Hmm, I wonder why.....?) It’s impossible to flip a switch and leave all the personal happenings behind when you step into the office, but it’s essential you try to prevent your personal issues from impacting your work.Read More
As much as I love the holidays, if I’m completely honest, they also bring pangs of anxiety. Not only are you forced to spend time with family members you're not exactly fond off, or stuck in traffic or an airport somewhere you may or may not be interested in going, this past holiday season was particularly difficult for my family. On December 16, 2017 my step dad died. Even though he was sick and I had seen the warning signs that he would not make it to the New Year, it still felt like I had the rug pulled from under my feet. So to say that this holiday season was chaotic is a HUGE understatement. Family dynamics got crazier and we spent time we should have spent rejoicing and decorating, planning a funeral. It's enough to cause the deepest depression spell but I got through it all smiling and laughing. Which may leave you wondering:
How can practice self-care during the holidays or other chaotic times of the year?
Check In Mentally & Physically
This requires you to be aware of your triggers and methods for recovery. Take particular note if your mood always drops after talking with a specific friend, or if you have anxiety around a specific task. On the flip side, don’t forget to do a scan of the positive things as well. Like if you feel a little extra warm and fuzzy after watching movies with your family. The more awareness you can bring to the things that both deplete you and fill you with joy, the more you can do these next steps effectively.
Setting Boundaries With People
I love my family but sometimes something as simple as calling me the wrong name ticks me off. Setting boundaries is going to look different depending on the person and situation. As an introvert, being around large groups of people for long periods of time can feel like my worst nightmare. There have been times I simply chose not to go to family events just to avoid the noise.
I was particularly inspired to work on this when the night before my step dad's funeral I had to sneak away to my bedroom just to be alone and work in silence. I still wanted the TV on (on something I actually enjoyed watching) but I couldn't take the back and forth conversation of my mum, grandmother and uncle over the noise of the TV while I was trying to work. I already had a brunch with my best friend's earlier that day so I had pretty much met my social quota for the day and just couldn't do it any more.
After dealing with my anxiety for over a decade my mum knows when to not take things personally but still checks me when she feels I'm getting worked up and taking it out on her. Make sure the people closest to you understand your triggers and respect your boundaries that you have in place or any effort you make in self-care can result in offended family members or friends.
Respect Your Budget
This is the time of the year where it is easy to over-indulge. For those of us who only get paid once a month, you know that after that early pay day in December, it's a LONG way to January. Once you figure out what you can spend on extras like holiday gifts, events, and other holiday things, honour that. If you splurge now, you pay even more later. And later comes sooner than you think. The list of things that seem to trap us in extravagance may differ from person to person, however, it is common to be swept up into excessive behavior. Aristotle wisely stated, “all things in moderation.”
Forgiveness isn't something that's one and done. Forgiveness happens again and again, often for the same offence. Because no one is perfect, someone will always do something you don't like. It takes a strong person to forgive someone, no matter what they've done or how long ago it happened. It’s not too late. Your forgiveness will not only heal their hearts, it will heal yours. Forgiveness simply means, I value myself (or our relationship) more than being right. Who do you need to forgive? Maybe you owe yourself some forgiveness. P.S. You don’t need an apology to forgive someone.
Give up expectations
I expected my step dad to die before the New Year but. no matter how sure of this I was, I still wasn't prepared when it happened. The holidays, particularly Christmas, can set us up for unrealistic expectations. It's supposed to be a “magical” time of year as we dream of the perfect holiday. Past experiences, the loss of loved ones, the loss of a job or financial difficulty all seems to heighten during this time of year. One of the best ways to take care of yourself during this emotionally trying time, is to give up your expectations of the perfect family with the perfect tree while hosting the perfect parties with the perfect gifts. This type of thinking is extremely damaging to you. As you relinquish these ideas, you are able to open yourself up to experiencing greater joy in the reality of the moment. Let go of false illusions and celebrate the moment.
Don’t get caught in the hustle and bustle of the season
Plan ahead and designate specific time frames for the tasks that you need to complete or the functions that you will attend. This will give you time for mental preparation, allowing you to not be overwhelmed. The malls and stores are extremely active at certain times of the day and week. If possible, plan your shopping time during quieter hours, such as weekday mornings. Shop online in the privacy of your home to avoid crowds all together. When you do plan to be out in the crowds, calm your mind and body before going. Realise that you don’t have to rush. Take your time and enjoy the shopping process. Often times, by changing our perspective of the situation, we can approach things with calmness. We do not need to become part of the holiday frenzy. Create a sense of peace and joy, true holiday feelings, inside your mind and spirit.
Take care of yourself over the holidays. It’s the best gift you can give yourself and everyone you love. May peace, joy, love and happiness be yours today and throughout the year!
Yesterday on Facebook, my profile asked me to write an introduction about myself. I had no idea what to write. It’s weird how difficult it is to describe yourself, especially when you’re trying to sell yourself. And you know what I wrote on? I wrote about my career(s). I talked about being a therapist and blogger. It’s interesting that I chose my career(s) as the defining feature of who I am, and what makes me, me. But a lot of us do this! We often get so consumed with our careers and it’s not hard to do. We spend half of our week at work, and if you’ve got kids, or if you’re in school and working full time like me, it can be hard to find time for yourself. Finding a work-personal life balance isn’t easy, and often takes tough decision making, but it is possible. So today I’m going to tell you how I’ve learned to achieve this balance through my own experiences.
As a therapist, I can’t bring my client’s problems home with me. This is made easier by confidentiality issues so I can’t even talk about any of it with anyone. Knowing that I ethically cannot take their issues home with me makes it much easier to leave everything at the door. It prevents burnout and I never feel overloaded. At work, I have learned the power of not responding at all. Sometimes a co-worker will intentionally do or say something to you to antagonise you or get you into trouble, but getting riled up pushing back could actually make the situation worse, especially if you’re not good at compartmentalising your emotions. Then there are times when I have to say no, even if it comes off as mean and insensitive. It’s not easy, but if you have the kind of co-workers or boss that understands, if you can just take the time to explain your needs, it should be easier. For me, I ask that no one even speak to me if I’m eating, because of my health-related issues and I don’t attend extra-curricular events that infringe on my personal time away from work. It’s all about creating boundaries and making it known.
This is why the key to creating a healthy work-life balance is living intentionally. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of work, home, sleep, repeat. Living robotically will never bring you happiness; and waiting around for happiness to find you isn’t the best game plan either. You must intentionally seek your own happiness, through an activity you really enjoy. The best activities are the ones that get you out of the house, excite you and teach you something new. Attending church regularly has really helped me to wind down and prepare my head for a new week in the office. The praise and worship, teachings and enlightening conversations with my friends all help to keep me feeling positive and refreshed. I have even declared a Sabbath so that I have one, do-nothing day per week. Maybe there’s something you need to cut-out, or something positive you need to add. When you know what your life is supposed to look like, it’s easy to decide what doesn’t belong.
A simple practice of intentionality: before you do the next action online or at work, pause a moment, close your eyes and mentally say your intention. Why are you doing this? Is it out of compassion for others, or yourself? Is it to make someone happier? To improve the world? Out of gratitude for the work and kindness of others?
And then as you do the action, be mindful of your intention. This is a small step, but in those few moments you will be living an intentional life.
Ephesians 5:15 NIV “Be very careful, then how you live – not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity…”
How do you achieve the right work-life balance for you?
Everyone is different, so you all might have some different tips than the ones I just shared. Leave yours in the comments below—I’d love to read them.
Based on extensive research — that is, getting dumped and talking to friends who have been dumped, mixed in with my graduate studies — I've compiled a list of things to do in the weeks and months after a breakup.Read More
I have worked in an office for the past three years, and many days I've wondered why I thought this was the loftier of my choices. It's hard to imagine there being problems when you're cushioned by blasting AC and swivel arm chairs that go up and down, but trust me, it's rough. And unfortunately, it's not always the customers/clients who are giving me a hard time. When you work in an office, you'll have to work with all types of people and not all of them have the same goal in mind as you. Some have unrealistic expectations of climbing a non-existent corporate ladder, and your young and fresh presence is only going to get in the way of that dream. Somehow these people still have a job even though your employer swears up and down that they're making budget cuts. So how do you cope young Bahamian who just entered the real world? Or maybe you've been doing this for years and still can't make sense of the unnecessary drama that saturates a Bahamian office. So whether you find yourself working with a Trump or Kim Kardashian, here are 6 Bahamian stereotypical employees you never want to work with and how to deal with them.
1. The "I'll be right back" co-worker
This co-worker is always trying to get out of work. They always have somewhere to be (that usually isn't work-related) and take forever to come back (if they ever do) yet somehow they still have a job. There's only one hour for lunch yet somehow they magically get away with taking two hours and never have a real excuse for why it took so long. This co-worker typically leaves their desk without saying anything to anyone.
How to Deal: Beware, you may be held accountable for this person's whereabouts. Kindly remind them that it is not your job to keep track of grown adults. As long as you know where you are, and your work gets done, their physical location is none of your concern.
2. The "I'm too busy" co-worker
This co-worker is always busy (but never really says with what). They're easy to spot because they’re too busy tuning everyone and everything out for their loud and long personal phone calls or unnecessarily loud music. Therefore they can't help to answer the phones, they can't get up to let anyone in, and they're probably asking other people to get their things off of the copier for them. Yet if you were to glance at their computer screen, they're probably so busy scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest that they almost actually look like they're doing work.
How to Deal: Don't be fooled by this co-worker. Press on them when you need something done. And when something doesn’t get done, just let a superior know that this co-worker was informed that work needed to be done. Officially not your problem anymore!
3. The "I've given my whole life to this company and for what" AKA The Drama Queen
If you have ever walked into any government office, you have seen this worker. This co-worker is easy to spot. They move slowly, don’t even bother to look for them on payday, and after all of the years of service they have given [insert random name of company here] you would think they would be treated better by now. They have stood on their soapboxes on countless occasions to protest and complain about how work takes up so much of their time, leaving them with no time for themselves. Nothing is ever good enough for this person.
How to Deal: These drama queens draw energy from the drama they create because it makes them the centre of attention (attention they never get). Unfortunately, giving them attention only increases their appetite, so your best bet is to ignore the histrionics until they run out of steam.
4. The "Why are you here" co-worker
We probably shouldn't call any of God’s creatures useless, but sometimes you find yourself staring at a co-worker and wanting so badly to ask them, “Why are you here?” This is the co-worker that just isn't good for anything. Every time you ask them for something they don’t know about it, don’t know how to do it, or just plain don’t want to do it. They make you wonder why you ever bothered going to college if you knew that your future employer would have such low standards. And yet, you probably find yourself calling this person boss, manager or supervisor.
How to Deal: These people need to look good regardless. If they’re constantly pestering you to show them how to do something, you have two options. Either you can play just as dumb as them, and pass the buck onto someone else, or just stand up for yourself. Put your foot down. Tell them to take a class. Tell them to take a hike. Tell them to take a bath with a toaster. No scratch that. Bad idea. Either way, this is the worst of them all. The person tends to outlast many co-workers in a Bahamian office.
5. The "Genius" co-worker
This is the Donald Trump of the workplace: Speaks really loudly about how smart they are and how they're going to have to do everything by themselves but have no real plan of action on how to get anything done, flip flops on issues that matter and produce little to nothing. But everything was ALWAYS their idea and would never have happened without their hard efforts. The “genius” co-worker is basically a parasite co-worker, who jumps in front to receive the accolades.
How to Deal: Don't you just hate the co-worker who is always trying to take the credit? It doesn't matter if you or the team came up with a great idea. To thwart them, always keep an “audit trail” of your contributions to a project in the form of regular status reports.
6. The "Frenemy" co-worker
The frenemy is much worse than simply being annoying -- they can hurt your career. This type of co-worker pretends to be your biggest cheerleader but subtly sabotages everything you do. They’re the ones toting gossip about everyone else in the office to you, just to see what you will say about that person and then tote it to that person, more than likely twisting your words. They’re the Kermit the Frog of the office: Creates drama, then sits back to watch and sips tea nonchalantly. You can’t rely on having this person in your corner when shit is going down. They’re only there for the story, they never pick sides. And it’s all part of their plan. In order for them to win, someone has to lose. If you have one in your midst, good luck.
How to Deal: Befriend the frenemy. That’s right. Smile with them, stay in their good graces. Even though you know they could turn on you in an instant, having other people see that you have been nothing but nice to this person will likely discredit any rumour they try to spread about you. And when they bring gossip to you, just nod or shrug, with a barely audible grunt from time-to-time that indicates you’re participating in the conversation when really you’re not. You don’t have an opinion on anything or anyone that happens around that office. Let them tote that!
As the queen of bad days and temper tantrums, I think it's fair to say that we all have bad days that make us say and do crazy things. Like following that guy that yelled something obscene at you for at least 2 miles just so you can stare at him in a slow, evil glare while he turns off, after realising you're now following him with hate in your eyes. Or a broken camera lens that's gonna cost over $100 to either fix or repair. Or even a stolen electronic or failed job interview. I promise these aren't personal confessions (okay maybe they are) so I know what it's like to just be having a bad day. And as much as we may want to exact our revenge on that theif, or annoying co-worker or the person that didn't hire us, sometimes there really is nothing we can do about it. But even if we can't change our situation, we can change how we react to it. Here are some sweet suggestions for improving your mood a little.
One of my personal favourites: Hang out with a pet. Cuddling, playing, or just chillin’ with your pet can help us feel happier and less stressed. I love to play with my cat. He always seems to know when I'm feeling down and comes to lay with me. Pets are awesome like that.
My second favourite: Turn off your phone. Being constantly available stresses you out. So turn off your phone or put it in airplane mood and do something fun, like play video games.
Watch your favourite tv series. I know I jump for joy (sometimes literally) whenever there's a marathon of Law and Order SVU or Castle on TV. Find something that makes you happy and or laugh.
Take a long relaxing bath or shower. Taking a little extra time in the bathroom to zone out can help you relax and reduce stress. I do it all the time!
Eat your favourite food even if it's not so good for you. Let me guess, it's chocolate? No wait, pizza! Ice cream? No matter what it is, you've got a snack that instantly cheers you up as soon as you see it. Treat yourself. This is an emotional crisis after all! (It's doughnuts, I knew it!)
Call someone you love. We all have someone who can always cheer us up.
Go outside! We all know the benefits of outdoor activites like going to the beach. So if life is getting tough, take a time out and try going for a walk or to the beach!
Actually go see someone you love. Silly huh? How the only thing better than calling that person that cheers us up and actually seeing that person!
Write about what’s bothering you and then write something you are grateful for. This is a great way to release stress and anxiety since it helps you get things off your chest in a safe way.
Smile. It has biological effects on your brain, helping you feel better. Smile with your whole face. Even if you don’t feel like it.
I've been having a lot of bad days lately so I thought I'd share with you some of the ways I was able to get over them. I know I drove my boyfriend nuts with all of my sulking, so thanks babe for putting up with me during those times! Don't forget to try these methods if you're ever feeling down! Which one(s) is your favourite?