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Dealing with the Tough Stuff of Life

Uncategorized Jul 07, 2021

Some might say I've had a tough week. My soul kitty ended up in the emergency room 8 hours after me landing out of state and died the next day with about $2k in bills. I didn't get to do my pre-move decluttering and minimizing project before moving my belongings later this month so I would have less to move back to my new home in Minnesota. I was unable to sell the things I need to get rid of. I initially struggled to find a vet with openings in a reasonable amount of time where I could be with my cat as he died. Then a couple of days later, I was trying to help someone with a plumbing issue I know how to fix and caused flooding that will cost me a couple thousand dollars to fix. I've barely slept while dealing with these major challenges.

And yet, I don't see this as a tough week. I see it as life. Yes, these things have been tragic and even traumatic. My grief for my beloved cat is intense. The unexpected expenses I need to find money for is stressful, especially as I prepare to...

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Burnout is Real - Especially for Nurses

Burnout in nursing has become a national crisis in the United States and is on pace to get worse as nursing shortages continue to grow with the aging population, insufficient nurses entering the field, and stressed out nurses leaving the field altogether.

Burnout increases psychological, mental, and physical challenges for nurses, which compromises job performance, negatively impacts patient safety and satisfaction, decreases job enjoyment, and increases nurse turnover thus exacerbating the problem of nursing shortages and burnout in the remaining nurses.  It's a downward spiral spinning more out of control after an intense year of nursing through a pandemic for which we were ill-prepared.

It turns out, nurses are particularly susceptible to burnout not only because of the high demands and high stress they experience on the job but also because of who nurses are as people.  Nurses are caregivers.  They continuously put others before themselves, whether it is not going...

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Emotion Regulation - An Essential Piece to the Challenges of Our Times

We live in a culture that avoids feelings. As a result, many of us have limited experiences of feelings. The data shows that most adults only identify three feelings - happy, sad, and pissed. it is totally valid that in a society that at best ignores feelings, and at worst actively suppresses them, we would have limitations around our emotional worlds.

Consider: How many of us were actively encouraged to express a full range of feelings in our growing up experiences? Or even now in our adult experiences?

The problem with not feeling our feelings is that they build up over time. When unfelt feelings or emotional experiences build up they eventually show up in other ways - anger, irritability, emotional reactivity, depression, anxiety, physical issues, and even some medical conditions.

The problem with not feeling our feelings is that they build up over time and show up in other ways.

So many of us can feel hesitant to feel our feelings - like if we open the flood gates we will never...

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Why We Need More Than Stress Management Right Now

Before I headed into the field of mental health and eventually clinical social work, I was an actuarial analyst.  During that time, my amazing employer had a class on stress management (among other things).  It was my first experience of anything that addressed mental and emotional wellness.  It was great at the time.  I learned some basic tools for handle typical levels of stress.  It would have even worked had I been experiencing typical levels of stress.  But during that time in my working life I was either working or studying for the intense actuarial exams required by my profession.  The level of stress that created for me was anything but typical.  I needed more.

I think it is safe to say that right now life is more intense than usual - we are into year two of the pandemic, still wrestling with social justice issues (which to be fair some have been dealing with their entire life they are just more on the forefront than they used to be...

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Hack Your Habits: Make Change Happen One Behavior at a Time

Do you know what you need to do to help yourself feel better in your body and enjoy life more, but struggle to get yourself to do it?  It's not you that's the problem - it's the way you're going about it.

Let's get real about behavior change.

Have you ever read a book and been like, “oh my gosh!!!  This explains why I have been doing things this way all of my life?” James Clear's book Atomic Habits: Tiny Charges, Remarkable Results was like that for me.  Somehow, I have what seems like an innate ability to change my behavior.  All these years I thought it was discipline.  It turns out, I just happened to be doing what Clear identifies as the Four Laws of Behavior Change.  Between that and a clear focus on who and how I want to be in the world and what I needed to do to be that way, I have been able to get myself to engage in a number of healthy habits.  Now I actually know why and am excited to share that with...

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Beyond Burned Out: Simple Strategies to Pull Yourself Back From the Edge

Burnout.  After an intense year of multiple crises happening all at once, many of us are there - the emotional exhaustion and subsequent withdrawal due to higher workloads and for many institutional stress to boot.

 

It’s nice to know you’re not alone… but what do you DO about it?

 

As with anything, naming it is the first step.  Notice how you have been feeling.  You may have noticed a decrease in empathy or compassion due to a lack of energy to truly care (or at least not the way you would like to care).  Those of us in helping professions have been hit especially hard - nurses, nursing assistances, respiratory therapists, mental health therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nursing home workers, teachers, social workers, and more.  Further, many of us are finding ourselves busier than ever, with less resources at our disposal, and often at relatively low pay.  Burnout not only makes sense but seems...

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The Problem with Helping Right Now

Let’s be honest, almost all of us helper types are struggling right now - especially if we are in a helping profession.  Between the horrors some of us are witnessing first hand and the needs presented to us that we don’t have solutions for, may of us are depressed, burned out, and maybe considering another career or at least questioning if this is really what we want to do anymore.

I’m in the same boat.  While I don’t have all of the answers right now, something shifted for me this week - something I have thought about but really hadn’t embraced on a deeper level yet.  I think this “something” may be an underlying piece of why we are all struggling so much.  This something is grief.  But it’s a special type of grief related to ambiguous loss, a term coined by Dr. Pauline Boss to describe loss without the promise of anything that looks like resolution, loss without certainty.  People are coming to us with...

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