Learn. Reflect. Grow.

Getting Back to Planning and Intentionality

So, a bit of a funny story (especially after my most recent blog post)....

I just bought a house this summer and it turns out there was a small wasp nest in the front light. I was able to remove that and bought a new fixture since the other one was broken. But I bought the wrong kind, so I returned it today and got another one that was the right kind - or so I thought.

If you've ever installed a ceiling light of any kind, you know it's a total pain in the behind. Seriously. At least it wasn't a ceiling fan though - those are a real bummer.

At any rate, as I was finishing up the installation (after it taking three times as long as I had expected ) I opened my front door and realized the light hangs down too far so I could only open the door enough to get in and out.   

So, I tried again. You'd think I would have measured it to make sure it fit, learning from my previous mistake. Nope. I just moved it up as high as it would go. I mean, it fits but the door grazes the bottom...

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Slow, Steady, and With Intention

"Slow, Steady, and With Intention" - My mantra for personal growth.

Back when I was a school social worker, I had to honor of working with Dr. Henry Welle who was a principal at the time. He was a wise, kind, compassionate man who was also insightful and honest. To this day I still use the valuable feedback he provided me of "going slow to go fast" though I have shifted it some since going fast isn't always the best (though it was how he knew he could get me to hear him at the time when going fast was a priority). He really saw me and saw the underlying core of the areas in which I struggled.

For me, Dr. Welle hit the nail on the head.  Does it ring true for you, too?

This has been a life lesson for me that sometimes still presents itself during times of added stress. I have learned that when we rush we are more likely to make mistakes and make less intentional decisions (and spill way more coffee).

Unfortunately, rushing and hurrying seem to be the dominant way our society...

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When Positivity is Toxic:  Why we need to feel our feelings and how to do it

Why feelings?  In my last post, I shared some ways that we can prevent and/or recover from burnout.  One of the things on that list is learning to work with our emotions.  And this is HUGE, because it's not something most of us are super comfortable with or skilled at.

That said, as a therapist, I live in the world of feelings.  Talking about feelings, thinking about feelings, and most importantly feeling feelings, and helping others to do the same.  In my work over the past 20 plus years as well as through observations within my personal experiences it is clear that knowing what to do with feelings is the exception not the norm.  And we come by it honestly.

 

  • How many times have we heard our elders say “now let’s talk about something pleasant” or in some way shift the conversation from uncomfortable things?

 

  • How often have we been told it is more important to just “get along” than to show up authentically?

...

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Believe it or Not, You DO Have Time - You Just Can't Do Everything

What does it really mean when you say "I don't have time"?

PAUSE, and really think about it.

As I have reflected on this, I realized that it means I am not prioritizing the thing I think I don't have time for. But the thing is, something is missing for me when I agree to a task or appointment. The thing missing is that I am not consistently asking myself, "Does this align with my priorities, my goals, and my values?". When I look at my calendar, and especially my "to do" list, there is way too much on there that are things that don't fit the bill, that don't align with my priorities, goals, and/or values, things that I have felt obligated to do or do out of habit.

So how do we change that?

The first step is getting super clear on what our goals, priorities, and values are. This takes time - we need to pause and reflect on it. Maybe make some time today to do this.

Then, every time we are adding a task or meeting we ask, "Does this align with my goals, priorities, and values?" This...

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Specific Trauma-Informed Coping for Nurses to Use Now

We in healthcare are facing a situation like no other.  We have never faced a pandemic or an event that matches its scale in our lifetimes - almost no living being has.  That’s a big piece of why it’s so scary and overwhelming  Our bodies - ultimately our nervous systems - need certain and predictability at a time when that is hard to come by.

As a clinical social worker specializing in psychological trauma, I have been searching for answers.  Scouring through dozens of books and articles on burnout and compassion fatigue, listening to a gazillion podcasts on different perspectives for addressing the psychological aspects of the pandemic, drawing on my training and experiences as a clinical social worker, and talking and working with many others in healthcare, I can safely say no one is really certain of the answer.  And that sucks.  Our brains, our tired bodies want - NEED - a solution, but the thing is no one really knows for sure.  ...

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The Problem with “Yes” People and How to Help Them Do Their Best Work

I’m a recovering “yes" person.  If someone, anyone needed something done I was right there, ready to do it.  Can’t find someone for a hard task?  “Yep.  I got it.”  Tough client you can’t find someone to take on? “Yep, I’ll take them.”  Need someone for that committee?  “For sure, I can do it.”  Except I couldn’t.  Not for long and not well.  Sure, I had functioned this way for about 15 years in my work life and yes, I got a lot of promotions out of it, but not because I was necessarily good at what I did or intentional about my work but rather because I said yes.  And all this did was create a the perfect storm for burnout and showing up toxically at work which involved an underlying negatively, complaining about management, meetings after the meeting, and substandard work because I had taken on too much.  Ever been there or know someone who has? ...

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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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