By: Kelly Graham, MSW, RSW
You’ve probably been bombarded with articles about how you should use your time in self-isolation to better yourself (learn a language, play an instrument, etc.). However, this can be hard for a lot of people. We are feeling stressed and anxious about what is happening in the world, and for some people that isn't easy to overcome.
By: Laura Groulx, MSW, RSW
I don’t have answers, only thoughts. I’m not a lawyer, but I do speak with a lot of people about relationships and family dynamics. Recently, with everything happening in the world, I’ve been wondering how co-parents are handling shared custody and access regarding children that are currently in isolation; after all, some children have more than one family.
When we allow ourselves to engage in self-care, we model to others that self-care is healthy, important and does not need to come with guilt.
"Even just looking at the raw images on her camera, I saw how amazing I looked. Just me. Laying on a bed in the sunlight. All it took was looking at myself in a different way to see how beautiful I was all along."
The more you practice these skills, the more you find they can help.
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”– Mahatma Gandhi
Taking care of ourselves helps our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Life is rarely a perfect balance and is ever changing. Check-in with yourself and see what area could benefit from your attention.
Having a sense of community where you feel supported and can rely on others when needed acts as a buffer to the stresses and challenges that life can bring.
No matter what the reason is, it can be hard to decide to put yourself first.
Check-in with yourself from time to time and see if you would benefit from slowing down.
Questioning is a normal part of the process of coming to a deeper understanding of who you are, and how you relate to others.
The science of happiness tells us that being happy is basically... a choice.
The science of happiness tells us that being happy is basically... a choice. Yup, you heard me, a choice. As if it was that easy. But, if you’re struggling to make lemonade when it feels like all life hands you are lemons, you are not alone. Here are a couple things to keep in mind when you're struggling to see the sunshine among all that rain.
You are wanted & you are needed
Take a second and think about the most important people in your life. I guarantee you, whoever it is, they want to see you happy. Have you spent time with them lately? If you’re looking for a reason to be happy, this is the place to start.
You can’t buy happiness
Time to let go of the jealousy and materialistic longing. Happiness doesn’t come from having the nicest car, or the best clothes. Happiness comes from confidence and knowing your worth.
We know that sleep helps our body recover from the day and repair itself. Sleep helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out, sleep is also important for happiness. Allowing your brain to rest will make facing those tough emotions easier and more manageable.
Happy people are healthier
“Happy” habits include letting go of grudges, expressing gratitude, treating others with kindness and regarding your problems as challenges. Living in the present, waking up at the same time each morning, eating right and exercising are other “secrets” that happy people tend to embrace.
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
Quality sleep allows your body to relax, repair, and organize, and is essential for good mental health.
Feeling comfortable and happy with who you are can enrich your life and even improve your overall mental well-being and relationships with others. Here are 3 tips to start building a healthy relationship with yourself!
Managing when you find your thoughts getting out of control is a necessary tool to master for positive mental health.
I am fairly confident I am not the only one who feels a bit of excitement/relief when a plan with a friend gets canceled.
This is not because I don’t want to spend time with said friend, but it means I don’t have to socialize, can stay home and snuggle my dog, and don’t have to feel guilty that the plans didn’t work out.
However, when the time comes and I am the one who wants to cancel plans because I simply don’t feel like socializing, I automatically feel a sense of guilt take over and my thoughts begin to race. Will they be mad? Do I seem unreliable? What if I miss out? What if they choose to not make plans anymore with me?
Seeing the blood dripping into the toilet, I realized that I was going to drive myself crazy.
The brilliant red, larger drops than I had ever seen up close, poured out of me after the vomit had made its way through.
Drip, drip, drip, transfixed by deep red permeating the dark beige of whatever had been roiling around in my stomach that could no longer be contained. I felt like I'd never seen that colour before. It was beautiful in a grotesque way.
And I had one of those brilliant moments of clarity that we all wish for and fear at the same time. I couldn’t stay on this ride.
I had to stop this.
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” By Bil Keane
Have you ever heard this quote? It is a wise statement that talks about the importance of being able to enjoy the current moment, the here and now. But do you ever find it hard to enjoy the present? Does your mind focus on worrying about various things beyond your control? What if I burn dinner? What if my boss is unhappy with me? What if I can’t get everything done? What if she does not recover? What if...? What if…? What if…? Have others told you that you worry too much? Has someone called you a Worry Wart? No, you are not crazy.
Worrying is a pattern of thinking that our brain can get wrapped up in. Worry is the process of thinking about possible future outcomes, usually negative or fearful in nature, that can cause distress. It is normal to worry from time to time. It becomes a problem when it is negatively interfering with your ability to enjoy your life – to relax when you finally have the time, to sleep, or if you are avoiding the situations that you worry about. Although worrying can be useful, such as when we are planning to be prepared for something that is likely to happen…too much of it can make it hard to relax and enjoy our day.
Have you tried deep breathing, meditation or distractions to try and ease your worrying - but nothing seems to be working? Feeling frustrated? If you are finding that your worries just won’t let up, it might be that you actually need to allow the worry, but in a constructive way. Worrying is just the brain’s way of trying to problem solve possible future scenarios, and sometimes the brain can get stuck along the path to problem solving and enter in an unhelpful pattern of excessive worrying.
Here are 4 steps to improve your mental health by easing your mind of worry so that you can enjoy the here and now.
Bourne, E. (2015). The Anxiety and Phobia Workbood: Sixth Ed.
Linehan, M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Ed. The Guilford Press. Pg. 2013-220, 439.
We like feeling happiness, joy, love and contentment. We often don’t want to feel fear, sadness, despair, anger, frustration, jealousy and guilt. In fact, many of us will try and avoid these emotions at all costs. It is understandable as they can be very difficult to experience. However, a big part of healing involves allowing the space to feel the emotions. Emotions are our messengers for how we are doing in relation to our environment. This means, there are no good or bad emotions. All emotions are equally relevant and important. They are there for a reason.
What is your emotion telling you?
Allowing the space to see what emotion we are feeling gives us power over it. We then allow it to process rather than feeling like we are stuck in it. Some ways you can allow space for the emotion is to talk to a person you feel comfortable with, to write it out in a journal, sit in silent reflection, or let it out in counselling.
What you are feeling is valid and it is telling you something. What do you hear?
Linehand, M.M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, 2nd Ed. Page 229.
Have you ever wondered what your dreams mean? We all spend about one-third of our lives dreaming, whether you remember them or not. Dream interpretation dates back thousands of years. However, there are still a variety of theories on how to interpret dreams. By trying to understand your dreams, you may be able to find out more about yourself that you may not know.
Dreaming occurs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. There are a variety of factors that can affect your dreams. You age, gender, personality, and the events that occurred throughout the day, all have an impact on what dreams you have. Because we experience so many things in a day, we do not have time to process them all. This is where dreams come into play. They can help us process what we saw, felt, and thought during the day. Even what is happening around you while you sleep can also make it into your dream. This can include temperature changes, noises, sensations, even needing to pee. If you have strong feelings before you go to bed such as being anxious or worried, you will sleep lighter and have a better chance of remembering your dreams. However, this can also cause you to wake up before your dream is over. Dreams can also help us process many other events in our lives.
If you are worried, excited, traumatized, or have any strong emotions relating to a certain memory, then your brain uses dreams to help process the event and the feelings that occurred during, and because of, the event. If these memories and feelings are repressed, then they can still come out in your dreams. When you are awake, it is easier for your brain to repress unwanted thoughts, feelings, or memories. However, when you are sleeping these aspects can be less censored and make their way into your dreams. You may not always recognize them though.
Written for you, by local therapists.
NWO’s source for all things relationships, mental health, wellness, and lifestyle: Kelly Magazine is a mental health outreach initiative created by Kelly Mental Health and supported by Kelly Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community in the area of mental health.
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