It’s still sun shiny weather in the Bahamas, but this week we’ve dipped a little into the high 70’s and I’m enjoying it! For those who are about to experience “Seasonal Affect Disorder” type cold weather, here are some tips to help you fight the cold weather blues.Read More
Sometimes you need to get away from it all, and have a space of your own to relax. Creating a peaceful sanctuary at home allows you to unwind in a space that belongs to you. Even if you only have a small space available, you can turn it into the perfect place to relax whenever you need it. You might turn your bedroom into somewhere you can go to get away from it all, or there might be another space in your home that's ideal for your needs. If you're thinking of creating the perfect sanctuary in your home, take a look at these tips.
Decorate with Relaxing Colors and Materials
Decorating your space might be the first thing that you think about once you decide where you want to create your peaceful sanctuary. You might not want to make the space too cluttered, so think carefully about your design. When you're choosing colors and materials, try to create a light and airy space. Neutral shades and pastel colors can be good choices for a relaxing space. Natural materials are also an excellent idea if you want to create a calming space. You could even include plants to help bring a natural feel to your space.
Create a Comfortable Space
If you want to relax, you need to be comfortable. Whether you decide to create a comfortable space on your bed or you want to have a chair or even a beanbag that you can sink into, there are various ways that you can have a space to sit, lie or lounge in. You might also want to think about creating a sensory experience, with soft materials that are nice to sink into and feel good to the touch too. Use cushions, blankets and other items to make sure you have a comfortable space that you love.
Control the Lighting
The right lighting is important in your sanctuary, whether it's artificial or natural light. Being able to adjust the lighting in your space means you can have it just as you want it. You can browse brands such as Carpet One so that you can choose blinds or curtains to allow you to control the natural light from your window. You can shut out the light from outdoors or decide to let it in when you want to. You can also choose a variety of options for artificial lighting so you can have everything from the soft flow of a lamp to a more focused lighting if you're trying to be creative or productive.
Make Your Space Inspiring
When you create a sanctuary for yourself at home, it's often the ideal place to feel inspired and get creative. If you want to use your space for this purpose, think of what might help to inspire you. It could be some artwork on the wall, some books or other material available for you to read or anything else that gets you thinking.
Create your own private sanctuary at home and you will always have somewhere to relax and unwind.
As a school counsellor, it breaks my heart that on Monday I have to be prepared to talk to students who lost contact with family members on impacted islands as well as material belongings due to flooding. It took some staff members days just to be able to leave their homes because their yards were so flooded and a lot of people had no electricity for more than 12 hours.
For those who live in hurricane-prone states, you are familiar with the level of frenzy and amount of panic leading up to the arrival of a storm, as well as the residual stress, recovery, and fatigue that remain after the storm. For other types of natural disasters, like earthquakes and tornados, there isn't the same preparation frenzy since these weather events occur with little to no warning, but the aftermath of these weather events are equally, if not more, devastating.
Natural disasters are one of the often overlooked, but psychologically (and physically, financially, socially) devastating types of trauma. Natural disasters can lead to PTSD. Many people relate only combat experiences/war with PTSD, however PTSD can occur from any life, integrity, or body-threatening experience.
While many survive a hurricane with little to no threat to their physical self or property, there are still many individuals who are deeply impacted by the devastation of these storms; we can all turn on the television and see the destructive aftermath of these weather events. If you have personally been impacted by a hurricane or other weather event in the form of significant home damage or loss, or even the impending fear that you will lose everything, you know all-too-well just how to destructive and devastating these storms can be.
There are a number of steps you can take to help restore emotional well-being and a sense of control in the wake of the hurricane or other traumatic experience, including the following:
Recognise that this is a challenging time but one that you can work to manage. You've tackled hardships at other times in your life. Tap into the skills you used to get through past challenges.
Allow yourself to mourn the losses you have experienced. Recognise that you may experience a variety of emotions and their intensity will likely less over time.
Take a news break. A friend of mine told me on Tuesday that she has to turn the news off because she just couldn’t bear to see any more of the devastation. Watching replays of footage from the hurricane can make your stress even greater. Often, the media tries to interest viewers by presenting worst case scenarios. These may not be representative of your home or community.
Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen and empathise with your situation. But keep in mind that your typical support system may be weakened if those who are close to you also have experienced or witnessed the hurricane. There are lot of organisations and people donating goods and services. Find your way to an outreach centre.
Find ways to express yourself when ready. Communicating your experience through talking with family or close friends, keeping a diary, or other forms of self-expression may be a source of comfort. Find out about local support groups led by appropriately trained and experienced professionals. The Family is the perfect place to start. I lead the teen support group that meets every Wednesday at the office on East Street (across from the Police Headquarters). Support groups are often available in communities following large-scale disasters. People can experience relief and comfort connecting with other hurricane survivors who have had similar reactions and emotions. These can be especially helpful for people with limited personal support systems.
Engage in healthy behaviours to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress. Eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of rest. I know this is going to be difficult and probably impossible if you’re relying on donations. If you experience difficulties sleeping, you may be able to find some relief through relaxation techniques. Avoid alcohol and drugs since these can increase a sense of depression and/or impede you from doing what is necessary to be resilient and cope with events.
Establish or reestablish routines such as eating meals at regular times and following an exercise program. Take some time off from the demands of daily life by pursuing hobbies or other enjoyable activities.
If you’re feeling this way, making some key routine changes could offer the variety you didn’t even know you were looking for in your life. Here are 3 ways you can take a break from your routine.Read More
If you feel emotionally tired, angry or unmotivated; you keep overthinking your past mistakes or misfortunes; you want to change yourself, but don’t know where to start; you already tried changing, but got back to older habits; you feel disappointed; you struggle with low confidence: There are ways to beat negative thinking and emerge from it – stronger, brighter and wiser than before.Read More
Let's have an open and honest chat about anxiety, shall we? Since last year, a lot has happened and I feel like I'm just playing catch-up. I've been taking time off periodically just to clear my head but nothing seemed to be working. I was falling behind at work, in my professional life outside of work and I was just always tired. The thought of doing anything creative or remotely productive left me crippled with anxiety and I just couldn't progress. It wasn't until a recent tweet made me realise at least one of the sources of my anxiety.
So while I was home sick with the flu, I took a really long look at my closet. Over the span of several days I completed the most intense purge of my life. Anything that I hadn't worn in months, anything that couldn't fit and never would again went into the bag. I went strictly on impulse. If I got a bad feeling when I touched it, I got rid of it. Sure there were some pieces I really liked, but I couldn't tell you the last time I wore them or when I'd ever wear them again. I knew I had to toss them. And as I did, with each piece, I slowly felt a weight lift off me. Slowly I was able to find the energy (and the space) to put away my clean laundry instead of leaving it on the couch for a week until the new laundry came and that laundry just got tossed on the chair in my room (everyone has that chair; get rid of it). It was a vicious cycle.
And even worse, I can't even tell you what's in these bags. This was the most cleansing purge ever! I think it was symbolic of all of the toxic things I've gotten rid of in my life over the past year and a few things I still wish I could get rid of. It's also symbolic of my growth emotionally and professionally. My personal style hasn't changed drastically, rather subtly. Don't worry I still have a closet FULL of clothes and options so I don't miss these clothes at all.
I now feel better about doing laundry and putting them away immediately. My room is still relatively clean with a few more things that can be moved into storage but I'm still working on it. How are you spring cleaning this year? What are you looking forward to getting rid of and how are you getting organised?
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
Some people think taking a mental health day means staying at home doing nothing. If you’re feeling burned out, it can be tempting to use the day to stay in bed and catch up on shows and movies. But lounging around all day is more likely to leave you feeling lethargic than rejuvenated. So if you're looking for new ways to take a break, here's a few suggestions for how to make your next mental health day count.Read More
I may be a blogger, and a former poet/story writer, but I hate journalling. Nevermind the fact that journalling is how I got interested in all forms of creative writing; that was kid me. Adult me just cannot find the time for something like this. I even tried it during my personal therapy sessions but just could not be bothered to keep up with me. Despite being so bad at this, I still understand the importance of tracking emotions and personal growth. So I decided to try the Bullet Journal style of journalling. You've probably never heard of this, so here's the 411.
The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.
Note-taking and traditional journaling take time; the more complex the entry, the more effort is expended. The more effort expended, the more of a chore it becomes, the more likely you’ll underutilize or abandon your journal. Rapid Logging is the solution. Rapid Logging is the language in which the Bullet Journal is written. It consists of four components: topics, page numbers, short sentences, and bullets.
Rapid Logging relies on the use of short-form notation paired with Bullets. Every bulleted item should be entered as short objective sentences. The Bullets will help organize your entries into three categories: Tasks, Events, and Notes.
You can read more on how to do traditional bullet journalling here, but that's not exactly what we're doing here. I originally got the idea to try this from Margot over at A Hearty Home. I thought this was a great way to track my emotional progress and would also be great to use with clients, especially couples going through hardship. Using the wheel charts, each chart represents a goal that you want to work on over the span of 3 months. So each wheel is sectioned off for three months. Then they're colour coded. So using a colour pencil, crayon, paint, anything you'd like, colour each segment for each week of that month. Red obviously means it was a bad week for that goal, yellow means you did something towards it, but it could use improvement, and green symbolises that you knocked it out of the park for that week. Over time, your weeks should start to be green more often.
As a couple, goals can be increasing physical intimacy, or increasing quality time together. Each week, you would look at overall, how well did you succeed with these attempts. I've attached a note sheet for each wheel chart for you to note in bullet form any particulars on why your week went the way it did. It's very important to pay attention to the thought processes that led to each decision you made over the week that either pushed you closer or further away from your goals. By having a tangible record of this, it will be easier to track any maladpative thought patterns and correct them.