How to Chill Out… Literally!

When we are feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, it can be hard to pull ourselves out of the rut we are in. It can make it even more difficult when our loved ones say cliche sayings such as “chill out.” Despite this common phrase being thrown around loosely, there might actually be some truth to it!

 

Did you know that using cold temperatures can help to halt a panic attack, minimize strong feelings, and help with emotion regulation? Cold sensations can help to redirect your attention away from the strong emotions you are feeling, effectively providing a distraction. Studies have also shown that cold water can lower one’s heart rate up to 15%. It is believed that cold temperatures can help activate the vagus nerve, which induces the parasympathetic system (our “rest and digest,” relaxation mode).

 

What you can do to help yourself in a moment of emotional difficulty:

  • Hold an ice cube in your hand

  • Splash cold water on your face

  • Drink a glass of cold water

  • Put your feet into a cold tub

  • Place a cool cloth on the back of your neck

  • Place your hands under a cold tap

 

If you would like to further explore coping tools for strong emotions, or need a safe place to talk through and process life’s challenges, please contact myself at brittney@serenitynowwellness.ca or book online for a free 15 minute consultation!

Scientific literature: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16723802/

New Year, New Resolutions

It’s that time of year again… cue “new year, new me” posts! Although there is absolutely no pressure to set new year’s resolutions, for some the new year can symbolize a fresh start. If this sounds like you, below is an explanation of SMART goals, which will help you to create goals that will set you up for success!

S – specific. Make your goals as specific as possible so you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. One way to do this is by answering the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, which). Ask yourself, “what do I want to accomplish, why is this important, who is involved, where will this occur, and which resources will be involved.”

M – measurable. Measurable goals help you to track your progress. Think about quantifying your goals by asking “how much” or “how many.” You want to know how to identify when your goal will be accomplished.

A – attainable. Your goals should be realistic and achievable. Goals should push you outside of your comfort zone, but they also should be possible.

R – relevant. Try to set goals that are important to you. If you set goals that you are not interested in, then they will be much more difficult to achieve and you may feel less motivated.

T – time. Finally, establish time-specific goals. This means establishing deadlines for your goals.

To help demonstrate SMART goals, here are some examples:

  1. I want to improve my GPA to 3.4 by the end of this semester in April. I am going to hire a tutor and talk to my professors.

  2. By June 2021, I’d like to gain 5 new clients. I will meet this goal by attending virtual network events.

If you would like some more information about setting goals, or would like some support to review your current goals, please don’t hesitate to reach out and book an appointment.

Additional reading:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318390296_Why_written_objectives_need_to_be_really_SMART

World Suicide Prevention Day is…Every Day

Suicide Prevention Day has come and gone. I often take a moment to reflect on my best friend from high school who died by suicide.

I still remember my parents waking me up at 3 am saying there was an urgent phone call waiting for me in the kitchen. It was his girlfriend explaining to me that my friend, Colin, took his own life.

I thought this was a cruel joke she was playing on me. Ha…ha…very funny.

It was no joke. Her tearful cries and profound sadness solidified the reality for me. He was dead and I was completely devastated by his action.

From that day on, I insisted that if anybody I knew was thinking of harming themselves, that I would help them get the help they needed.

World Suicide Prevention Day is not only on September 10, 2020. It is every day.

If you’re thinking of hurting yourself, please reach out to a friend, family member, or crisis prevention line.

We’re here to help.

We’re here to listen.

Alex

 

If you’re having thoughts or feelings of suicide, please contact the following resources (24/7):

Distress Centre: 403.266.4357

Alberta Health Service (AHS) Health Link: 811

Kids Help Phone: 1.800.668.6868

or visit your nearest Hospital Emergency Room.

For more information on suicide prevention, please contact:

The Centre for Suicide Prevention: suicideinfo.ca

our nearest Hospital Emergency Room.

For more information on suicide prevention, please contact:

The Centre for Suicide Prevention: suicideinfo.ca

 

Poster: “Someone Who Has Been Mentally Abused Will…” by the Depression Project

 

Hello Everyone,

This is a good “awareness poster” from the ‘Depression Project’ explaining how a person feels when they are being mentally abused.

If you are experiencing mental abuse and want additional assistance, please feel free to contact one of our therapists for help.

Keep healthy!

Alex

*Poster Information: For more information on depression, please feel free to visit the Depression Project at: https://thedepressionproject.com/

** If you find you are in need of urgent support, in a crisis, or in need to talk to someone immediately, please contact the Community Resources Team (CRT) at 403.299.9699, the Distress Centre at 403.266.HELP (4357), or go to your nearest emergency room department.

Being Bullied at Work? Fight back!

When I was growing up, one of my closest friends was constantly being bullied. They teased him about his looks, his clothes, and the way he talked. I was paralyzed with fear watching the events unfold. Several minutes later, I soon became the next target of these bullies.

As we all know, bullying comes in several forms. One of the most common forms of bullying that is starting to see an increase is ‘workplace bullying’ or ‘workplace harassment’. Crystal Raypole, from Healthline, wrote a great article called ‘How to Identify and Manage Workplace Bullying’.

Raypole identifies workplace bullying behaviors as being ‘verbal, intimidating, related to work performance, retaliatory, and/or institutional’. Bullying in the workplace has detrimental effects, not only on the employees being bullied, but also employees witnessing the act and/or customers seeing the act in a public setting.

Bullying also has severe consequences on the existing business itself, including high staff turnover, potential lawsuits, damaged public reputation, investigations by governing bodies, poor staff morale, and deceased sales & revenue.

According to Raypole, workplace bullying can cause severe psychological and /or mental health effects on the employee and employees. This includes poor sleep quality, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and many other issues. If this persists over time, the employee may suffer long term health effects that may put a strain on our healthcare system.

Raypole suggests that bullying occurs in workplace environments that have ‘poor communication and behavior, stressful or constantly changing work environment, and/or a consistent fear of loss of employment’.

In concluding her article, Raypol suggests several things to do if bullying occurs. She suggests to document the bullying, report the bullying to a supervisor, and/or seek legal advice. She also suggests that if you find nothing is still being resolved, contact your local governing body that deals with workplace harassment (e.g., Alberta Human Right Commission, etc.)

The sooner we stop workplace bullying, the less likely it will happen again to someone else.

If you feel you are being bullied and it is causing you emotional distress, please contact myself or one of our therapists for emotional support.

Keep healthy!

Alex

 

Article link:

“How to Identify and Manage Workplace Bullying” by Crystal Raypole

https://www.healthline.com/health/workplace-bullying#What-is-workplace-bullying?

Additional Resources:

Alberta Employment Standards

https://alis.alberta.ca/succeed-at-work/manage-challenges/bullies-at-work-what-to-know-and-what-you-can-do/

Alberta Workplace Harassment and Violence:

https://www.alberta.ca/workplace-harassment-violence.aspx

Alberta Human Rights Commission:

https://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/Pages/default.aspx

Feeling Lonely? Don’t Worry – You’re Not Alone

There is a misconception out there that if you’re married, have a partner, etc. that you can’t suffer from loneliness. The truth is – we can all feel lonely at times regardless of our ‘marital status’.

In Natasha Frost’s article ‘Lonely People May be Making Themselves Lonelier’, she reports a lonely person can spiral into continued loneliness for years to come.

Even mild loneliness, according to Frost, can have severe health effects. She reports these ill effects have “…been shown to be almost as harmful to health as heart disease and smoking, and at least as likely to cause early death as obesity.”

If you’re feeling lonely, don’t be afraid to reach out to other people. Friends, family, co-workers, various social groups, hobby/special interest groups, and/or volunteering opportunities are great ways to connect with others. This will help combat loneliness.

Or if you want more insight on your loneliness, please feel free to reach out to one of our therapists for a free 15 minute consultation. We’re here to help.

Keep Healthy!

Alex

*If you find you are in need of urgent support, in a crisis, or in need to talk to someone immediately, please contact the Community Resources Team (CRT) at 403.299.9699, the Distress Centre at 403.266.HELP (4357), or go to your nearest emergency room department.

________

Article:

‘Lonely People May be Making Themselves Lonelier’

By Natasha Frost

Link: https://getpocket.com/explore/item/lonely-people-may-be-making-themselves-lonelier?utm_source=emailsynd&utm_medium=social

Argh – Feeling That Morning Dread? Try This To Snap Out Of It

Is it me or are there some mornings you just don’t want to get out of bed? Your ‘morning mind’ is clouded with things to do, places to go, and tasks to complete.

Argh – let’s hit that snooze button one more time – what harm will it do? Ok – hit that snooze button again…zzz….

Ok – STOP IT! You’ve got stuff to do today.

Author Daryl Chen suggests that this is a common experience we all struggle with. Most of the time we explain it away with our current state of emotions or some sort of self-inflicted procrastination.

But what if it was more of a physiological cause?

In the article, “Ask One Question to Help Dispel Your Morning Dread”, Chen interviews Neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett. She suggests these early morning feelings could be due to a physical issue rather than emotional.

More specifically, she suggests our brains are looking for some sort of explanation for these unpleasant feelings and it automatically defaults to our state of emotions.

When we wake up, Dr. Barrett suggests we should first mentally scan our bodies. Then take a moment and ask ourselves; could these ‘feelings of dread’ be because we’re tired, dehydrated, hungry, etc.

If so, make sure we take care of those physical needs first and then decide what other explanations it could be.

Hmmmm…sounds like a good idea. Cold pizza anybody? 😉

Keep safe & healthy everyone!

Alex

If you find yourself struggling with getting out of bed, please feel free to contact one of our massage therapists or Lucille, our Registered Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist, for a full body assessment. Book in online here: https://serenitynowwellness.janeapp.com/#/list

Article link: “Ask One Question to Help Dispel Your Morning Dread” by Daryl Chen

Survival Mode Signs

Survival mode is when you are doing just enough to make it through the day. You may feel like you’re barely holding it together, hopeless and physically and mentally exhausted.

Survival mode can look differently for everyone. If you’ve been experiencing overwhelming stress and identify with the following signs of survival mode, do not hesitate to reach out to the Serenity Now Wellness Team!

@holisticallygrace

If you are interested in booking a counselling session, please email nadia@serenitynowwellness.ca or call (403) 454-7600 or book online at https://serenitynowwellness.janeapp.com/#/staff_member/41

Feeling Like You’re Trapped in a Box? Try ‘Box Breathing’ to get you out!

The past few months sure have brought many new challenges to our lives. Sometimes it has felt like being trapped in a box!

Perhaps you’ve been experiencing increased stress or isolation or had to deal with becoming a teacher to your kids while still working full time.

Whatever your stressors may be, there are techniques to manage emotions under stress. An article on Unsinkable discusses the benefits of box breathing.

Box Breathing (or 4 square breathing), can not only reduce stress, but can also clear your mind and help you gain back some emotional control.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Slowly breathe IN for 4 seconds.
  2. HOLD your breath for 4 seconds.
  3.  Slowly breathe OUT for 4 seconds.
  4. HOLD your breath (with your lungs empty) for 4 seconds.

Don’t be afraid to try it a few times. Remember – nice…and…slowly. Practice it throughout the day (when it’s safe to do so – of course) – even when times are not stressful.

Wishing you calmness, good health, & wellness during these next few months of public place re-openings! 🙂

Alex

* If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, please feel free to contact myself or one of our therapists at Serenity Now.

Article: Calm Stress and Anxiety with Box Breathing

Have You Just Been Laid Off? Keep Your Mental Health in Check!

I just received the unfortunate news that my friend was permanently laid off from his job. He worked for his company for several years and they decided that the impact of COVID-19 was far too great to bring him back.

With so many people struggling with layoffs during this time, I thought it would be a good idea to do some research on how people can manage their mental health during this time.

An article from Stanford University offers some great tips to help people who have just been laid off. Some of the highlights of the article include:

1. Keep connected with friends, family, and loved ones.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and accept it if  it is needed.
3. Keep your body (and mind!) healthy through proper nutrition, exercise, etc.
4. Do things you enjoy doing and foster self-care.
5. Manage the things you can control and ‘keep a positive mental attitude’.

* If you find yourself struggling with your mental health during a layoff, please feel free to contact myself at alex@serenitynowwellness.ca or book online here for a free 15 minute consultation. Or feel free to ask about our therapists who offer a sliding scale fee.

Keep well!

Alex