Why Self-Care is NOT Selfish!

Does this sound familiar?

Hectic mornings, kids to school, work, workout, groceries, cook, clean, kids’ activities, spouses’ poker night, pay bills, crazy bedtime, phone calls, laundry, pack lunches, limited time with spouse, finally your bedtime… and REPEAT

WorkingMum_IS-e1362833917975You can switch it up a bit to suit your situation. The question remains: where is the “you” time? There just doesn’t seem to be any time left. We often fail to see how time for ourselves can fit into our daily routine. We are worth prioritizing, so we can be the best version of ourselves.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Do you see what others likely see: A vibrant, always-at-her-best supermom, wife extraordinaire, volunteer of the year, top career woman, the woman who can juggle it all? Or do you see a somewhat neglected, tired, unbalanced and lonely woman, in need of praise, time to pursue her passions, and time to just breathe?

We praise our kids for pooping, because we love them.  So why do we feel guilty asking for praise or praising ourselves for all of the things we do? Do we feel guilty loving ourselves? We deserve and need the same love, reassurance and nurturing that we provide children, to be the best version of our self.  Guilt should never accompany self-love.

What can we do?

We can still be super…moms, wives, volunteers, career women, and an incredible “juggler” who finds time for herself as well, so that we can be at our best emotionally and physically, feel like ourselves again.  We simply need to see that taking time for ourselves can fit into our regular routine, and realize that it needs to… We can’t give from an empty well!

When you hear the words “self-care” what comes to mind?

I’m too busy at work this month; the kids are just starting soccer and baseball season…good luck finding a spare minute for me; once I look after everything and everyone else in my life, I’ll take care of me! Do you think it would be selfish to put yourself before others?

Are you familiar with the adage, “Take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others,”?  If so, why do you feel selfish or guilty putting yourself first?

Our behavior and emotions impact everyone around us, our children included. We might think that those around us: our children, friends, co-workers, and loved ones, are oblivious to how we really feel, if we “act” positive and relaxed.  How we feel, and our actions, affect them, even at a young age; they can feel our stress and our need for rest and rejuvenation.

If you need more convincing, think of it this way:

Your heart pumps blood to itself first, then it pumps blood out to the rest of your body.  This is how it keeps you alive. It serves itself first, then the other organs. It needs to take care of itself before it can take care of others, or you wouldn’t be alive.

You need to take care of you first.  Then, you can take care of others.

You deserve to take care of you. Those you care about, deserve it as well. You will be nourished, rejuvenated, the best version of yourself, and your well will be full and available to the important things and people in your life.

Love yourself.

Your Coach,

Krista


Self-Reflection: Dare to be the Ideal You!

We are half way through another year… Does it feel like it has flown by? Are you wondering where the time has gone?

Time itself, doesn’t slow down.

However, we must allow ourselves to:

  • reduce the rush
  • slow down in life
  • and, get to know ourselves better

or, we can become emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally frazzled.

To most, it feels like our society is fixated on a “go, go, go” mentality; a fast-paced environment that leaves little time for rest and introspection / self-reflection.

What is Self-Reflection?

Self-Reflection is:

  • a practical way to use a few minutes a day to work on yourself – even when busy
  • asking yourself thought-provoking questions to help develop a deeper level of understanding yourself
  • allows you to absorb, process and organize the information you take in all the time
  • emphasizes balance and mindfulness (active, open attention on the present), allowing you to have a clearer picture of your true desires; who you really are
  • remove inner roadblocks and release emotional tension and stress
  • promotes positive change, self-awareness
  • it allows you to become more proactive, than reactive

iceberg You often do not have a clue why you are doing a certain thing and why you feel the way you feel.  The subconscious mind, which makes up 90% of your brain function, is on autopilot and can trigger certain behaviors in certain situations.  These triggered behaviors don’t necessarily lead to the desired outcome.

Self-Reflection helps with that!

Through self-reflection, you can:

  • change how you see yourself
  • how you feel about certain situations
  • how you act

“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”                                            – Eleanor Roosevelt

The Benefits of Self-Reflection include:

  1. Keeping you focused on the bigger picture!
    • It is important to have a clear vision of where you see yourself in the future – write it down if you have to or create a vision board, to continuously remind yourself of what you intend to accomplish!
    • By keeping an overall goal in mind, your daily tasks become more meaningful and less frustrating
  2. Allowing you to define your own happiness!
    • Recognize the positive events and activities in your life, and apply these to future endeavors and goals
    • Ask yourself: When am I most happy? What am I most proud of and why? Who do I most enjoy spending time with?
  3. Preventing you from worrying about things out of your control!
    • Self-reflection allows you to direct your energy toward self-improvement, rather than trying to improve others, and change things you have no control over
    • Why worry about traffic jams, or those with odd opinions, when you can be improving yourself?
  4. Noticing negative patterns in your life!
    • Self-reflection enables you recognize negative patterns; understand how and why they have a damaging effect on your emotions; allow you to consider alternative approaches and alleviate the stressors.
    • ie: toxic relationship or work environment
  5. Increasing self-awareness for improved results!
    • With increased self-awareness, you are more likely to trust your gut when making decisions, and you will feel more confident in your choices!
    • You will have the courage to face fears and challenges, because you are confident in who you are!
    • You will be more aware of who YOU are, and what YOU truly want in life!

Other benefits include: developing better critical thinking skills, communication skills, social awareness, empathy, tolerance, creativity, emotional awareness, …

What is an immediate, short-term goal that you have right now?

Do you have a goal to spend more time with family, exercise more, start a new hobby (painting, ping pong, golf, paddle boarding, …)?

  • these goals could be unrealized (not met) because of lack of self-awareness
  • you need to know how to direct your behavior, in order to know how to pursue your goal
  • self-reflection helps you make progress on the goals that will improve the quality of your life

Self-Reflection Tools, Activities and Methods:

  1. Self-Reflective Journaling:

Self-reflective journaling is not about jotting down your days’ activities, but rather:

  • your thoughts, your perspective, your feelings, your actions, the feedback from your environment throughout the day
  • It is about becoming aware of your actions and behaviors, and the results of those actions and behaviors.
  • You will think about everything that happened throughout your day, and WRITE down (journal): why it happened, how you felt, why did you feel that way, how is that affiliated to your beliefs and values, …

The purpose of self-reflective journaling is:

  • to get things out of your head and clear your mind, allowing you to relax
  • allow you gain insights you may otherwise miss
  • useful problem-solving tool

Three ways to keep your self-reflective journal:

  1. Notebook – the best! (Your hand is connected directly to your brain and handwriting with no blinking lights, popups, distractions … is the best way to go!)
  2. App – on tablet, phone, laptop, etc (notepad or journaling software, even something as simple as Evernote)
  3. Private Blog – not the safest option

Some journal prompts to get you started.

2) Empathy Map

empathy mapAn Empathy Map helps you:

  • identify your needs
  • identify the disconnections between:
    • what you say
    • what you do
  • practice identification of your feelings/thoughts/attitudes
  • analyse yourself from a 3rd person perspective

Empathy Map activity 

3) Six Thinking Hats

Edward de Bono’s, The Six Thinking Hats, is a simple, effective method that helps to increase productivity, focus and mindfulness.   The main idea is that by “mentally” wearing and switching “hats”, you can easily focus and redirect thoughts, a meeting or a conversation. sixhats-1

This process allows you to look at situations and yourself from a different perspective.  It can also help you when practicing self-reflection by providing new insight.  It is also quite fun!

Are you going to wear a blue, white, yellow, black, red or green hat?

The Six Thinking Hats activity

4) Why? Why? Why?

Did you know that asking yourself “why” repeatedly, helps you get to the root of a problem by encouraging analytical flow?

Try it:

  • think of a situation: (I didn’t get the promotion, I rocked that presentation today, that hatrick I scored was unexpected, I failed the exam,…); OR a certain feeling: (I was distracted all day, I am in a bad mood, I am unusually upbeat today,…)
  • once you have a situation or feeling in mind, start asking yourself WHY
  • do it 5 or 10 times
  • you will gain new insight into yourself
    • ie: I was distracted all day
    • Why was I distracted all day?
      • maybe I was thinking about the kids activities tonight and the upcoming vacation and having to get immunizations and what to do if the dog gets sick again while we are gone
    • Why was I thinking about the kids activities tonight?
      • I may need to get someone to carpool Sally so I can pick up Joe…
      • Why? because there isn’t enough time between the two
      • (take steps to arrange this… why be distracted all day?)
    • Why was I thinking about the upcoming vacation?
      • I should be making packing lists and determing what we will be doing each day
      • Why? to ensure we have appropriate clothing for weather and in case we need to buy passes in advance
      • (set aside some time in your schedule to do this… avoid future distraction)
    • Why was I thinking about immunizations?
      • these need to be scheduled
      • (schedule them! avoid worrying about it any longer)
    • Why was I thinking about if the dog gets sick again?
      • I need a plan in place, or decide I can’t control this
      • Why? because it is causing me stress and really is out of my control
      • (decide to have a back up plan for the dog or let it go)

Another Why? Why? Why? exercise

5) Meditation

One of the best ways to connect with yourself, and observe your thoughts is the method of self-reflection, meditation.

meditation

Some great apps when first trying to discipline your mind with meditation are:

Headspace with Andy Puddicombe

Deepak Chopra Meditation Experience

Calm

6) Life Fulfilment Chart

This chart is a visual representation of 10 key areas of your life.  It allows you to self-reflect and determine how fulfilled or satisfied you are currently in each of the areas.  You will assess each area on a scale of 1-10. Then highlight certain areas in red and others in green, and ask yourself “why” for all 10 areas of life.

Life Fulfilment Chart

self reflection

Self-reflection can change the course of your life simply by better understanding who you are, and what you are.  It is all about YOU: your whys, your desires and what you want in life.

Self-reflection is about understanding, tolerance of self, increasing your capacity of love for yourself and others, becoming more aware, and noticing things about yourself and your past that may be contributing to current life patterns and emotional states – positive or negative.

Take time to self-reflect.  Dare to be the ideal you!

Krista


Embracing Life to Achieve Your Goals

 

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them, or as NIKE says “Just do it”! But what if it seems like there is some unseen or unknown force just simply stopping you? You know it’s there but you can’t see it or put your finger on it. It’s a perceived barrier or a wall that you believe is unbreakable.

These barriers all have to do with our thoughts and emotions. Have you ever heard the quote:

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford.

This relates to positive thinking. Pay attention to negative thoughts or what you vocalize such as:

  • I can’t
  • I won’t
  • It’s too hard
  • It’ll never happen, etc, etc…

Are these based on reality? How do you know? Try this – take a deep breath by inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply a few times, ground yourself, dig deep, and consider what thoughts are causing the lack of forward movement in your life. Contemplate these thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts:

  • I can
  • I will
  • I’ll perservere
  • This WILL happen…

Let’s face it, you really need to break through that wall or step over that barrier. Consider how badly you want to achieve your goals.

As Tony Robbins says “take massive action toward your goals”.

Perhaps you might consider some minor short term pain for long term gain? Take the first step and then repeat. Repeat again. Soon enough you’ll realize that it’s amazing what you will find on the other side.

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Remember that a life coach or a trusted family member or friend can help you start, keep on track, and achieve your goals. So let’s get you on your way to:

Living

Inspired

Fulfilment

Everyday

Follow our blogs and other content on our Embrace Life Certified Coaching website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. We would love to hear from you.

Stay tuned for more inspiring blogs and other interesting content.

Living inspired and hoping to inspire you,

Kevin


BESTLIFE! 2018

It’s the start of a new year and you are pumped to get or keep going on your new years resolutions…right?!? Or, now that we are a few weeks into the year have you found yourself stumbling out of the gate? Do you need a push or a gentle reminder? Do you find yourself doing “busywork” much more than some of your most passionate work, you know…the things that motivate you? We are all human, but that’s the point. We are human beings, not human doings. Sure, you have things that must get done every day but are you consciously making time for the things you really want to do?

As human beings we have the ability to make a conscious choice to embrace life, and live our best life. But why do we get caught up in all of this busywork hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year? It’s because we chug along in life doing what we feel we need to do, but we don’t take enough moments to clarify what it is that really matters to us. We just keep doing what we’re doing because others have told us that this is what we should do in life. Have you taken the time to figure out yet what YOUR bestlife looks like?

Living your bestlife may include many different areas including:

So how are you going to live your bestlife? Start with this: picture yourself doing what you love to do whether it’s serving others, taking a walk in nature, slowing down at times

2012-07-01 15.15.21

Me on a hike in BC

to appreciate the little things in life, or taking a course in something that you love. How does it feel? Pretty good hey? So how do you get to this place? TAKE ACTION! Sure, easier said than done. So how do we take action?

  • Put one foot in front of the other. Repeat.
  • Research and spend time with who/what you love.
  • Take a course or read about something that’s interesting to you.
  • Say no to busywork sometimes.
  • Strike a healthy balance between work and play.
  • Make better choices (i.e. stop and ask yourself if this current decision is beneficial for yourself, or serves others).
  • Find a passion and motivation, see Motivation – it’s an inside job.

One more important thing. Put aside all of the things everyone told you about who you are and what you should do. Now take some time to figure out who you really are and what you love to do (your life purpose). Once again I’ll repeat this…then TAKE ACTION! Always remember that this is all on you, and you can do it. Make it happen.

TakeAction

For further information check out a previous blog on Embracing Life Every Day.

If you have anything to add to this or any general questions on living your bestlife I would love to hear from you. We are all in this together, and I want to learn from others too.

Embracing life as best I can,

Kevin


Mindfulness… Be present and open to love 

When we practice mindfulness, and focus our awareness on the present moment, we are filled with acceptance, self-love, empathy, joy, and the ability to love others with an open heart. ❤ 

#mindfulness #acceptance #selflove #empathy #joyful #love #lovelife #loveyourself #lovemylife #openheart #openmind #lifecoach #lifecoaching #life  


Ho Ho Ho, Merry Thanksgiving and Happy 50% off!

ukwfr

The holiday season is rapidly approaching!

Snow is falling in some areas, temperatures are changing in others, the Menorahs are being pulled out of the attic, and Christmas trees are being decorated; latkes are being made, the mkeka and Kinara are being placed; the social gathering invitations are starting to roll in, the smell of cookies baking is beginning to fill homes…

Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, or one of many other holiday traditions, the joy of the holiday celebrations are upon us!

American Thanksgiving is this weekend.

images-5  happy-thanksgiving  images-9

This means:

bestbuy-and-walmart-black-friday-deals  black-friday  Black Friday Shopping (which now begins on Thursday, THANKSGIVING DAY, at most stores, meaning many people are missing Thanksgiving dinner with family in lieu of “doorbuster deals”)

    macysparade-cropped  macys-parade  macys-santa-and-sleigh the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Santa Claus making his first appearance

o-prayer-thanksgiving-facebook  431e971b954b4ba1e6f07f2a58fd4dc6stuffing ourselves like turkeys as we enjoy time with family and friends (hopefully…if you aren’t on the social media diet plan this Thanksgiving)

images-3  images  images-1 NFL football

toysrus-cyber-monday-2016-dealsCyber Monday shopping (now…Cyber WEEK… both online and in-store, cyber no more!)

2014_0510_nbcuxd_upfront2014_christmasroccentr_alternateimage_1920x1080_ca  Christmas tree lightings in major cities (NYC, November 30th)

 and many more festivities.

So…unless we, as individuals, take the time to acknowledge Thanksgiving as a day to be thankful; gratitude on Thanksgiving seems to have been overshadowed by the consumerism of the holiday weekend, and possibly even by Christmas.

Did you notice, in fact, that Thanksgiving is no longer about Thanksgiving? It is mostly about preparing for Christmas!  We aren’t given the opportunity to even celebrate one holiday, before the next one has completely upstaged it.  Black Friday now begins on Thanksgiving Day. WHAT???

Christmas appears to now be a six-week celebration that begins Thanksgiving Day. Is this why statistically more US citizens have had a family turkey dinner at Thanksgiving than at Christmas, in past years… are they simply sick of the celebrations by the time December 25th rolls around?  With Black Friday bargains, and the need for more “stuff” beginning to outshine quality time and experiences with family and friends, in the eyes of many, will Thanksgiving dinners begin to dimish as well? Black Friday now begins on Thursday… what next?

images-2What if Thanksgiving were celebrated as Thanksgiving?  A time to observe our blessings and give thanks, rather than to take part in 50% off sales and pre-Christmas celebrations.

If the lines were not blurred and we took the time for three days of solace and gratitude in a hectic, highly connected world, would we not experience more peace and more joy this Thanksgiving?  Has the commercialism, the almighty dollar, the iPad on sale, become that much more important than our peace of mind?

Many Canadians have jumped on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday bandwagon.  And I have had my home decorated for Christmas for a week now (due partially to convenience, and partly due to love of seasonal ambience), as have many others.  So we are ALL at fault. However, when it comes to gift giving, our family, in the past few years, has begun to focus more on experiences and time together, than on material “things”.  I guess we just need to make sure we are ALL questioning what is important.

images-6

In gratitude, joy and thanksgiving,

Krista


Achieve All Goals: The 5 Step Mindset Shift 

change-your-mindset-resize-leon-t-900x440

change-your-mind-set“I wish…”

“If only…”

“It’s not fair…”

“Why can’t I….”

Just shift your mindset and you can!

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

-Maya Angelou

Is your mind caught up in negative thought patterns?  nothing-changes-if-nothing-changes-252x300

Life satisfaction begins with a positive mindset.

  • If you believe you are pathetic, guess what…
  • If you believe you will fail, you are destined to.
  • However…
  • If you believe you are powerful, you are!
  • If you believe you will succeed, you can!

Mindset is a way of thinking, based on a set of beliefs, that determines one’s behaviour, outlook and mental attitude.

Your mind is a powerful tool, fill it with positive thoughts and your life will start to change positively. 

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by CHANGE.

                                                                            -Jim Rohn

What do you want? What do you truly want your everyday “normal” to be? Really think about it.

  • Maybe you want to start working out each morning before the kids wake up, and feel energized.
  • Or you have a weight loss plan you are considering;
  • How about an education or career plan that you have been thinking about? Put it into action!
  • Are you thinking you would like to travel more?
  • Or do you and your partner want to spend more quality time together?

new-mindsetIt is not an unreachable dream… a future plan.  Part of creating your “normal” for today is picturing it as a natural part of your everyday life now.  Visualize it, and master the art of living it now.  Be the energy you want to attract. Begin to live it, create your “normal”, your new reality.

Right now some of you are saying:

“Ya but, my life has been so hard.”  

“My circumstances don’t allow for the changes I want to make.”

“You don’t know what I’ve been through.”

MINDSET.

I, like you, have endured some struggles.

In the past 5 years, I have been widowed in my late 30’s, after 13 years of marriage (suicide as a result of PTSD); lost my dad to cancer; battled for my own life twice with two ruptured ectopics, and suffered the loss of those pregnancies; coped with the effects of our adopted daughter’s mental illness and the associated loss; and am currently dealing with the neurological illness that my thriving 14 year old has suddenly developed and is now affecting her athletic and academic performance; I have had to change careers; and more…  My struggles will not be the same as yours, and can’t be compared.  But we all have struggles.  It is how we choose to let them affect us.4fc6423507712f33a596b77fae2872e5

Make the choice to change your perspective and embrace today with positivity, despite the challenges and stumbling blocks, and always be grateful for the little things (a sunset, a puppy licking you, a baby trying to walk, a horse running through a field, the majestic mountains in the distance, a cup of coffee, a smile from a stranger…).

My life would not be as happy, fulfilled and wonderful as it is without gratitude and a shift to a positive mindset.

A positive mindset, gratitude, always remember that everyone has struggles, and it is how they choose to deal with them, that can create positive change; this is how I have achieved my goals, and chosen to live the life I am living.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

                                                                                                               -George Bernard Shaw

What choices do you need to make to create this “normal”?

 

What actions do you need to take?

  1. Define your goal(s)
  2. Change your beliefs – from negative thought patterns to positive thought patterns; “I am worthy of this”; “I am deserving”; “there is time”; etc
  3. Think positive thoughts – “I can do this!”
  4. Identify fears and potential obstacles – “I will not succeed”; “I have failed in the past”; “I will not have the support of others”; “I do not believe in myself”; “I cannot stick with anything”; etc
  5. Practice gratitude – be grateful for what you do have, and each step that you do accomplish toward achieving your goal and shifting your mindsetmindset-shift

 

To achieve goals and live the life you want to live, you don’t need superhuman strength, or the ability to time travel or wall crawl like Spiderman.  All you need is to change your mind. Sounds pretty simple really, doesn’t it?

 

 

With Positive Thoughts for your Mindset Shift,

Krista

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Stages of Grief or #digitalgrieving?

grief-is-not-linear

Experiencing the unthinkable.

sadness-photo-griefThe sudden loss of a loved one.

A child. A spouse, partner. A family member, friend, student, teacher, mentor, co-worker, neighbour,

Out of our control. Disorientating. Shattering. Debilitating. Overwhelming. Confusing. Frightening.grief-is-as-individual-as-a-snowflake

Something so gut-wrenching. Life-changing…and without our permission.  We are unable to regain our balance, for we react to this loss with such intensity.

This is natural. Our body is in a state of emergency.

Do we all react to this state of emergency the same? No. Some of us may become very able, operating at a high level of efficiency.  Others may become detached, and appear numb to the circumstances surrounding them.  While others may cry and fall to pieces. But we do all react.

Think about if you cut your finger quite badly. It will bleed, the wound will require immediate attention as it is likely an emergency. Do we all react the same in this situation? No.  Some of us will be perfectly calm, some will cry, scream, have a panic attack, and some of us may even pass out at the sight of the blood. We will all react differently, but we still need to treat the cut. 

What is a “normal” reaction to the loss of a loved one, during the initial days, weeks months?

  • spontaneous emotion
  • temporarily blocking the long-term implications of the loss
  • seeing the lost one
  • confusion and disorientation restlessness
  • irrational fear
  • forgetting the lost one is gone
  • disbelief
  • anger and resentment
  • feelings of guilt and blame
  • physical disturbances
  • too busy to mourn
  • obsession with memories
  • unexplainable experiences
  • and more…

“Normal” is a wide range of behaviours or reactions.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross developed the Stages of Grief that describes the series of emotions we tend to follow as survivors of a loved one’s death.  These stages help us to identify what we may feel as we progress through the grief process, but the process may not always be as straightforward as this.

 

  1. Denial/Shock     “No, not me!”
  2. Anger/ Flood of feelings     “Why me?”
  3. Bargaining     “Yes me…But at least…”
  4. Depression     “Oh no, it is me.”
  5. Acceptance     “So be it.”

Image result for kubler ross stages of grief

Back to your cut finger for a moment.

You have made it through the first phase: you bled, reacted (your way: calmly, passed out, cried, screamed or perhaps some other way), and had it treated.

Now the skin will typically seal itself within 48 hours (or more if stitches were required).  Once it is initially sealed, the body begins to develop a scar by developing scar tissue, filling in the area between the wounds edges. This can take months or years.  

This healing process has three stages:

  1. Inflammatory  – “the angry red stage”  (body produces antibodies to fight off infections, scab forms)
  2. Rebuilding – this can take months and there may be setbacks, but the wounded skin will get stronger
  3. Maturation – It can take years for scars to fully heal.  As time goes on, they will continue to slowly fade.  There are products that can be used to help fade the scars more quickly.  Once improvemment is no longer seen, ithe products can be discontinued.

Note: Irregular Healing – not all scars heal well or the same.

Now, what do cutting your finger and losing a loved one have in common you ask?

Let’s compare the Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief and the Healing Process:

Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief
Healing Process for Injury
Commonalities
1)      Denial/Shock
1st Phase: bleed, react, treat
Sudden tragedy, overwhelming, frightening, “State of Emergency”
2)      Anger/Flood of Feelings
1)      Inflammatory “angry red stage”
Spontaneous emotion, impatience, irritability, resentment, mad, asking “Why me?”
3)      Bargaining
2)      Rebuilding
Takes time, many months and there may be setbacks, but strength will come
4)      Depression
5)      Acceptance
3)      Maturation
It can take years for complete healing. Scar products/grief support services can be used to help guide this process.
Not all healing is follows the same path at the same time*
Not all scars heal well or the same*
NOT ALL HEALING IS THE SAME*

grief-chart2

Image result for Pictures About Grief

Healing… whether it be from an injury, or from tragedy or loss of a loved one by way of the grief process, follows a similar pattern. No matter what “your” process is, even though it will be different from others’, it is natural and it is normal.  Grief looks different in everyone, and to everyone. Grief is a very individual process.  The only trait that is common to all, just like in the healing of a wound, is: it takes time. 

Let me explain why I feel so compelled to discuss grief today.

Our town of 14,000 people (and surrounding areas), has experienced many tragic deaths in the past few years.

My heart is breaking for the parents, siblings, families, friends, the youth, the teaching and coaching staff, and the communities as a whole, that are repeatedly impacted by the sudden deaths of youth. There have also been many parents of children in our community lost, many grandparents, incredible contributors to our community and more.

You will not overcome the loss of a loved one.  You will learn to live without your loved one.
You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you suffered.
You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to be the same.
                                                                                                                                                             –  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I am beginning to question, in particular:

How much can our youth handle? How much loss in a community is too much loss? What is the best way to address these losses?  Are we doing enough?

Do youth truly understand loss and grief?

Is social media enough of an outlet for them to express their grief?  education and internet concept - students looking at their phone

Is the online community creating an ability for everyone to stake a claim in your loved one’s death through sappy posts that misrepresent who she/he was?

Is social media rationalizing death but obscuring the “reality of loss”?

Does it create an impulsive need to ascribe meaning to senseless tragedy at a safe distance, rather than be deeply human?

Does it allow us to avoid the uncomfortable physical interactions (that we have always wanted to avoid… be honest), and avoid addressing death in person, with the bereaved?  Or because we have addressed it on social media, do we now feel more comfortable addressing it in person, since it is not the first time?

Is social media creating a lack of genuine empathy and connection, or is it making us more aware and bringing us closer together?

So many questions.  So many different answers based on both opinion and research.

“Digital grieving”

Does it provide a beneficial podium for mourners to speak of their loss?

                             ORImage result for Social Media Apps

  • Does it create a pressure to speak of grief and loss, (especially for teenagers)?
  • Does it demand tending to your ‘followers’ needs, rather than your own?  Providing them with updates and inspirational messages about your recently lost loved one?
  • Does it create a strain between navigating your personal grief and your ‘followers’ or ‘friendships’?
  • Do you feel forced to reflect too much at a time that you don’t have the capacity or energy to manage it?

OR

  • Do you feel it serves as a form of group therapy to handle difficult issues such as death?
  • Does having your voice heard online make you feel supported, as though others have compassion and empathy for you, when they ‘like’ your post?
  • Does seeing the multitude of photos, videos and funny and inspiring stories of your loved one, posted by others, in different contexts, offer you comfort?
  • Do you feel that hashtags (#) that promote positive messages about your loved one help with the healing, and provide teachable moments to teens?
  • Do you believe that social media allows those that did not know your loved one very well , really get to know them now and understand your loss more deeply?

I have left you with a lot of unanswered questions.  Really, only you know these answers. There has been research, but the experts support both the benefits and drawbacks of the use of social media when grieving the loss of a loved one. Since the grieving process is as unique as we are, for each individual, the answers to these questions will be as well.

What we do know is this:

  1. Loss of a loved one causes our body to go into a ‘state of emergency’, and none of us will experience this reaction the same way.  This is normal and natural.
  2. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’, Stages of Grief describe the series of emotions we tend to follow as survivors of a loved one’s death and help us to identify what we may feel as we progress through the grief process.
  3. The Stages of Grief are comparable to the Healing Process when we suffer from a badly cut finger. Healing is healing, it takes time and is different for everyone, but follows similar phases. This is natural and normal.
  4. Youth and Grief… I have posed many questions.  What are your thoughts?
  5. Digital Grieving… Since the grieving process is an individual process, different for each of us, researchers are divided on their thoughts as to whether or not the use of social media is beneficial in the grief process or not.  What are your feelings on this?

With compassion and empathy,

Krista

 

Image result for look for me in rainbows poem
Bereavement Support Groups, 2016, Marina Oppenheimer LMHC
Grief and Loss Support Group Facilitator’s Manual, 2015, Susan Hansen {Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Stages of Grief}
Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World, 2003, Elizabeth Harper Neeld, PhD

Aligning Your Goals and Values

Values word

Goals, behaviours, values. Have you ever wondered how to link these things together so that what you say and what you do are in alignment?

If these things are out of alignment it’s likely obvious to you (or maybe not). As discussed in one of our recent blogs, goals and values tie in to Resilience. When our behaviour towards our goals aligns with our values, then bouncing back from life’s setbacks feels easier and more natural for us.

Let’s see how all of these things important concepts are linked….

Values

Values are like a built-in GPS that guides us in the direction of what truly matters. Values help guide daily actions and decisions. It’s a chosen life path with regard to relationships, personal growth, leisure, etc. For example, a value could be a love for travelling, or being a good mother or father.

A value is something that is meaningful to you, regardless of what’s meaningful to friends and family. It’s individual; however, many of our values tend to align with social values. One example of this alignment is kindness. One of your guiding values may be kindness, but we all know that not everyone finds kindness as one of their guiding values. That’s unfortunate (more on the importance of kindness in a future blog…stay tuned!).

So what if it feels like things are getting in the way of living your values? You’ll need to identify and overcome those things that get in the way. This is an important step, otherwise it may feel like there is constant internal conflict.

Even minor adjustments in behaviors can help steer us towards our overarching values. For example, if one of your values relates to health and wellness yet you continue to eat badly and get little if any exercise, then an internal conflict will likely surface. A minor adjustment will be required (i.e. a little more sleep or exercise).

Goals

g67599oalValues are your guiding direction, whereas goals are the achievements you set along the way towards the values. For example, if one of your values relates to travel, you could make a goal to go to Australia or the Bahamas – sounds good to me! One behaviour towards this goal may relate to how you spend money. Is it being spent in pursuit of the goal or is it being spent frivolously?

Another example is having a value related to life-long learning. A goal may be to finish a course, or pursue a certificate or degree. Ultimately, goals are informed by our values.

Stress is an important piece that weighs in on living our values. Part of being and living consistent with ones values is to clarify your values, be firmly aware of what they are, know which behaviors enable you to live consistent with these values, and then staying committed to them – despite experiencing stress and unwanted thoughts or experiences. These are the things that will take us off-course or out of alignment and cause us to live inconsistent with our values. For more info on this check out our blog on Changing Your Reaction to Stressful Thoughts.

It’s important to perform periodic check-ins to ensure our behaviours are consistent with our goals and values. If these are out of alignment then it’s time to sit back and re-think and re-adjust. Then commit to trying again. If you need to re-align again that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Keep at it until your goals and behaviours align again with your values.

Australian psychologist Russ Harris said this about commitment:

Commitment isn’t about being perfect, always following through, or never going astray. Commitment means that when you inevitably stumble or get off track, you pick yourself up, find your bearings, and carry on in the most meaningful direction possible.

Living a life where your goals, behaviours, and values are in alignment is an important step to living your bestlife!

-Kevin


Your Attitude is Contagious

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Attitude is contagious, is yours worth catching? Consider this – your attitude towards anything can work with you towards your goals and dreams, and can lead you to accomplish things you didn’t think were possible. OR conversely, your attitude can work against you and limit your potential, which keeps you in a spiral of negative attitude.

It’s also contagious in that your attitude affects others – whether it’s family, friends, or co-workers. If your positive attitude today makes one person smile then isn’t it worth it? I think so. Remember that you may only be one person to the world, but to one person you may be the world.

So which one do you choose? Yes, it is a choice! If you want to live your best life, it’s an easy choice. Choose a positive attitude.

-Kevin