Your Mental Health Matters

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May is Mental Health Awareness month and I thought it would be a good time to pop in to remind you that your mental health matters! We all have various experiences that impact the quality of our mental health, however, it is really important for you to know about your own mental health, triggers for stress, and ways of coping that work best for you. Overall, the quality of your mental health can impact the way you think, feel, behave, and cope with life.

Here are some helpful links to learn more about general mental health information:

Here are a few ways to take care of your mental health:

  • get exercise
  • get adequate sleep (best if it’s 7-9 hours of sleep)
  • write a gratitude list
  • schedule appointments with a licensed mental health provider
  • journal your thoughts and emotions
  • pay attention to your nutrition
  • set boundaries with others
  • engage in meditation/mindfulness/prayer/contemplation

How do you take care of your mental health?

What can you do for your mental health this month?

Karisse C

A Mindful Approach to Monday Morning

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Most of us look forward to the weekend and often have a sense of “I don’t want the weekend to end” on a Sunday night. While Monday may be the start of new opportunities, new plans, and new goals, sometimes facing Monday mornings can be a challenge.

How come?

Monday is the beginning of the work week for most people. You dread opening emails and the never-ending list of things to do/accomplish during the week. Often, the way we approach Monday mornings may set the tone for the week. If you have a hard time practicing acceptance of all that Monday brings, here are a few mindfulness based suggestions (and it’s a note to self!):

  • journal what comes up for you when you think about Monday morning. As you write, notice how you feel in the moment and how you respond or react to your thoughts and feelings about Mondays
  • have an affirmation that is specific to Mondays – as you recite your affirmation, stay grounded in the moment and tune in to your body and breathing
  • create a guided meditation to start your week. As you listen to this meditation, bring awareness to your breathing and to your thoughts. Notice what comes up and release any limiting beliefs about your week
  • find at least one activity that brings you joy and engage in that activity on Mondays to set a fun and pleasant tone to your day. While you engage in the activity, avoid any distractions and be fully present.
  • find a positive reframe to Mondays!

See if you can bring a change to your Monday vibe!

Karisse

*originally published on 2/28/21

Thoughts About Growing Older

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I’ve been thinking a lot about growing older and how our lives change as we age. I’ve been thinking about this from my own experiences and watching my loved ones get older. I’ve been paying closer attention to how our bodies change, how our coping skills change, and the increased need for emotional and physical support.

When I think about my own experiences, I’ve noticed how much I have changed (or maybe grown?) in the past couple years (mentally, emotionally, and physically) and some of those changes were forced or unexpected due to the pandemic. Most times I am okay with these changes and other times I wish I had a bit more control (don’t we all). Can I be real for a moment? Growing older suddenly became a high anxiety experience for me and at times I wish I could go back to the pure excitement I felt about getting older. Okay, to be fair, the excitement is there, it’s just not as “loud’ or “big” … it’s more of a “ah, okay, here we go” type of energy now.

A couple months ago, I had a pretty significant experience that caused a major shift in my life. It’s also very obvious to me that my perceptions about growing older shifted drastically after that experience. I’m now thinking about things I didn’t consider before and I have a different lens through which I’m seeing life. I think that’s okay.

When I think about growing older, I think about the ways I have been successful and the things I have accomplished in life to this point and I feel, for the most part, content. I think about mistakes and decisions I made in the past and how those shape who I am now. While it might be easy to shift into regret and blame, I like to think of the past as a guide for the present and future. It helps me to stay hopeful and comforted knowing that I am growing every day, and each day I create memories for the future. I also recognize that the way I take care of myself as I get older is shifting, and figured I would share a few things to consider:

  • take a moment to reflect on what has gone well and is going well in life
  • make a list of the people, place, and experiences you are grateful for
  • pay attention to your coping skills and notice how your needs might be changing
  • schedule an appointment with a licensed counselor to talk about the changes you are experiencing

I think growing older is a privilege and a sacred experience. Each day when I wake up, I am thankful for another day to create memories, make mistakes, connect with others, and learn. Growing older is a blessing that I receive each day, and I often reflect on these beautiful words which I want to share with you:

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh

How are you spending every 24 hour cycle? What are you thoughts on growing older?

Karisse C

What I Learned from Missed Connections

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I’ve been having a lot of computer/network related issues at work and because of that, I’ve missed connecting for a handful of meetings. At first, I was so annoyed. I was fussy and grumpy and found myself getting irritable. I mean, is it too much to ask to just get a good network connection?

I would admit, when I call IT for help, I am more calm and can communicate the inconvenience while also hoping they get how annoying it is – and they do! I’m grateful that they are responsive and always, always kind. As a result, it’s hard to be angry at them. I’m more angry at the inconvenience that I experience.

This past week, I missed a meeting again due to connection issues and I promptly contacted IT and then emailed the two persons I was scheduled to meet with. Both were understanding and I was able to connect via email with one and when the network was up and running, I was able to connect with the other. So, in reality, it was not a disaster, just another inconvenience.

At the end of that day, I cried out of pure frustration because things were not flowing as I wanted (because of the network issues) and I thought that I would be perceived as disorganized and unreliable. At that point, I cried some more because I realized how untrue those thoughts were and became frustrated at myself for being unrealistic. If you haven’t picked up on this by now…I was not coping very well.

Later that night, I processed what I experienced that day and why the inconvenience was so upsetting to me. I was also a bit surprised at how easily I became overwhelmed and I took some time to explore this deeper. When I thought about the past week, I realized that this had been building up. I was not practicing my usual self -care practices, and I had been “stuffing” a lot of things. So, this missed connection at work reminded me about a few things:

  • maybe this missed connection happened to force me to slow down, to feel, to sit with what is uncomfortable instead of running away
  • even though I was unable to connect, it doesn’t take away from my worth and value – that one incident does not define me
  • although I was frustrated at the inconvenience and immediately went to “worst case scenario” there was a solution! All I had to do was ask for help
  • there’s more than one way to make a connection. Although the network was not connecting, I was able to use my phone to get on email and I could have made the meeting a phone call. In other words, all was not lost
  • the biggest lesson I learned was this: because I was holding on to other things that were bothering me, this one missed connection seemed like a disaster when it was really just an inconvenience. This situation reminded me to pay attention to what I need, when I need it, and to process things as they come up so I don’t send myself into “overload.”
  • life happens and I can deal with it <insert high five>

What are some lessons that you learned recently?

Karisse C

Let’s Talk About Stress and Coping Skills

We all feel stress at some point in our lives. For many persons, there are various sources of stress (eg., work, family, health issues, the pandemic, racism, or finances) which may overlap at times and in some cases, stress in one area of life impacts the other areas of life. Although signs/symptoms of stress may sound like anxiety, the cause of stress is usually different to anxiety.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Stress and Coping Skills”