The loss of a loved one is one of the most painful tragedies that humans suffer. The impact of this loss is usually crushing, and in the aftermath of loss, we often feel like we have no control over anything. Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s perfectly normal to detach yourself from your normal existence to grieve. Unfortunately, life has to go on, no matter how sad you feel.
Returning to work while grieving is quite tough. You need to figure out how to be productive and deal with your colleagues who may start to act differently around you because they don’t know how to comfort you. You may not be able to control how everyone else acts, but you can make your return to work while grieving a little easier. From dealing with awkward conversations to accomplishing tasks, here are a few tips to help you navigate your work life while grieving.
1. Have an honest conversation with your employer- Be frank with your employer, and let them know your struggles. Explain that you might not operate at an optimal level for a while. Tell them exactly what you need, so they can help you. Ask for mental health days, work from home opportunities or anything else that you need while you grieve.
2. Focus on doing- It might be tempting to shut down and do nothing, but trying to be productive and crossing tasks off your checklists can distract you and prevent you from being consumed by painful feelings.
3. Ask for help- People generally want to help those who are grieving but don’t know exactly how to go about it. Don’t be ashamed to ask your colleagues for help. Instead of insisting that everything is great, tell them what you need. They’d be happy to pick up your workload, so you can focus more on healing.
4. Create a sanctuary- Find a quiet place to retreat to when things get a little too much, and you just want to have a good cry. It could be your car, or a room where people don’t go into often.
5. Carry tissues- You might find yourself crying a lot when you least expect it. Keep tissues handy, so you can clean your tears or runny nose when you’re done.
Always remember that grief is an important step to healing, in the wake of a loved one’s death. When you get back to work, be honest about how you feel with yourself and others. Don’t try to rush the mourning process. The sooner you confront your grief, and live through it, the sooner you’d be able to live the rest of your life in a happier and productive manner. It really helps to see a grief counsellor or therapist if you feel like you need assistance coping with your emotions. Remember, it’s not a sign of weakness but an intelligent decision to help you move forward. I offer grief counselling services, and you can contact me to book a session.
The hard work and unpredictability that makes parenting so rewarding can also cause a great deal of anxiety. Here are some simple ways to bring yourself to a place of calm.
Make a To-Do List
Ruminating on worries can cause lots of stress. Clear your mind by making a to-do list. Put down everything that needs to be done into your phone or onto a sheet of paper, and as you write them down, visualize yourself removing this task from your mind onto the list.
Watch Your Language
Many times parents believe things will get better when their children move on to the next phase of their maturity. However, the truth is that the worry will continue until you change your pattern of thought. To do this, watch the language you use to describe things. Don’t use phrases such as, “this will be a disaster if I don’t get it done on time” or “I’ll die of embarrassment if I forget.”
Also change thoughts of “I have to” to “I want to”. For example, instead of saying “I have to sign the kids up for karate” say, “I want to sign the kids up for karate because I know they’ll love it.”
Get Some Fresh Air
There’s nothing like some fresh air and sunlight to ease anxiety. Put your baby in a stroller and go for a walk around the block, to a neighbor’s house, or a local park. Take your kids to an outdoor mall or sit on the patio of a frozen yogurt shop and share a frozen treat. You can also try your local library. Some libraries also have outdoor patio areas where you can read with your kids.
Practice Mindfulness Exercises
If your anxiety is difficult to control, try deep-breathing from your belly. While you do this, concentrate on five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. This can help calm you when you’re feeling a panic or anxiety attack start to arise.
Use Your Support Network
Call your friends or family to chat or ask for advice. It may also help to vent with a Facebook parenting group or other online message board. You can also call your therapist and make an appointment and work through your challenges.
Try these tips to control and cope with your anxiety, and enjoy the time with your children free from worry.
If you find your anxiety to be impacting your ability to be a happy, successful parent, it might be time to speak with a professional counselor who can help. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Fear of failure causes us to put the brakes on our life. When we’re so afraid of failing at something, we either don’t try at all, or we subconsciously undermine our own efforts to avoid an even bigger failure. Without question, fear of failure is immobilizing and, when we allow it to dictate our choices and sit on the sidelines, we miss great opportunities and potential for success.
Signs of Fear of Failure
While none of us like to fail at anything, how do you know if your fear is an actual phobia (called “atychiphobia”) and one that is likely limiting your life? Here are some signs to watch for:
- A reluctance to try new things
- Self-sabotage in the form of procrastination or failure to follow through with goals
- Low self-esteem or self-confidence
The thing to remember with failure is, it’s all a matter of perspective. We are the ones who ultimately decide how we want to think about failure. We have two choices. We can either think of failure as:
- ‘Proof’ of inadequacy, or…
- An awesome learning experience
When we fail, we are given powerful lessons that help us to grow as people. In this way failure is like manure – some people see it as a nutrient-rich fertilizer while others see it as a pile of, well, you get the idea.
The bottom line is, failure stops us only if we let it. Did you know Michael Jordan, widely considered the greatest basket player of all time, was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach didn’t think he had enough skills? Jordan could have let fear of future failure stop him from becoming a legend, but he didn’t.
You don’t have to let fear of failure stop you from becoming a legend in your own life. Here are some ways you can cope:
Separate Your Identity from Failure
Most of us blur the lines between a personal failure and our overall identify. Just because you haven’t tasted success yet doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Making failure personal can take a toll on your self-esteem and confidence.
Rely on Logic, Not Emotions
As I mentioned, you can learn an awful lot from failure, but in order to do so you have to look at the failure logically, even analytically, suspending emotions of regret, frustration and anger. Become a scientist and ask yourself questions: Why did you fail? Was the failure totally out of your control? What might have led to a different outcome?
Don’t Give Your Power to Other People
Fear of failure is often rooted in a need to seek approval from others. We fear if we fail, we will be harshly judged by others and lose their respect. But when we care more about what other people think of us, we give our power away. What other people think about you is not necessarily the truth about you.
Sometimes when our fear of failure is so great, it helps to talk to someone who can help you gain a new perspective on it. Seeking guidance from a therapist may be just what you need to tackle your fear of failure and live the life you were meant to live.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact us today. We would be happy to speak with you about how a counselor on our team may be able to help.
We’ve moved to a new office!
Don’t worry; we didn’t move far. Our new office is in the same building (10000 NE 7th Ave, Suite 403, Vancouver, WA 98685). You’ll take the stairs or the elevator up to the 4th floor for your counseling appointment. Our new space is in Suite 403.
Enjoy our expanded lobby, the upbeat instrumental music, and the convenience of an iPad check-in system! Welcome in!
We can’t wait for you to see our new space!
Our daily lives can get so busy. Obligations to work and family, as well as taking time to care for ourselves, can often make us forget to have a little fun. If the hustle and bustle of modern life has caused you to neglect your playful side, a weekly game night may be just what you need.
A game night will not only bring you laughter and enjoyment, but it will help you spend quality time with your friends and loved ones. But with so many commitments and so little time, you might be wondering if it’s worthwhile to take time out of your busy schedule to play? If so, read on for five ways a weekly game night will benefit you and your mental health.
1. Improves Relationships
Playing games with people you care about will not only improve relationships because you’re spending quality time, but it will actually strengthen those relationships through biochemistry. As you spend time close to loved ones, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone that creates feelings of trust and intimacy, strengthening your relationships.
2. Relieves Stress
Playing games induces laughter, and as the saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine.” Laughter is a very simple way to help your body produce endorphins, a neurotransmitter that will reduce your perception of pain and lead to feelings of euphoria, modulating stress and anxiety.
3. Relieves Anxiety and Depression
Spending time with friends or loved ones can make you feel significant and more important; this causes your serotonin to flow more. Serotonin will boost your mood, helping to regulate any anxiety or depression.
4. Improves Sleep
As you enjoy yourself with friends around the table, laughing and interacting with them, you will naturally reduce the levels of cortisol in your body, reducing stress and helping you sleep more soundly. You’ll also exert energy as you play, which will tire you out at the end of the day and help you fall asleep faster.
5. Makes You Happy
Having fun releases your natural “happy chemicals”, or hormones, that impact your mood. When you’re laughing and having fun, your body releases dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin. These hormones will naturally make you feel happier, both in the moment and in the long-term.
As you plan out your week with teacher conferences, work meetings, and lunch dates, make sure you schedule in a little time for fun. You’ll be glad you did.
Are you looking for guidance and encouragement to make your life more fulfilling and meaningful? A licensed mental health counselor can help you make changes and work towards achieving your goals. Call our office today, and schedule a time to talk.