the healing journey counseling fl

healing, anxiety, loss, grief, depression, ptsd, self-care, suicide prevention, post partum depression


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Your Body on Anxiety

Our Daily Lives

Our lives matter and each day it becomes difficult to grasp our daily struggle. Our silence may be taken for-granted, but know that you are not alone.  Anxiety takes a toll on our body which seriously affects our health.  Let’s take some time to recognize what happens to our body when we are anxious.

When you first encounter anxiety:

  1. Throat- This becomes dry and the throat muscles tightens.
  2. Liver- There is a spike in your blood sugar levels that can be reabsorbed in the body.
  3. Skin reactions-  Our blood flow increases which causes some people to become more paler while others may be flush.
  4. Active Spleen- Your spleen discharges more red and white blood cells.
  5. Tense Muscles- Muscle immediately seize as a reflex action.

Long-term Anxiety

When you are dealing with anxiety for awhile it can affect the following:

  1. Heart- cardiovascular issues.
  2. Lungs- Weaker respiratory functions
  3. Brain- overworked nervous system and problems falling asleep.
  4. Immune system- Weakened immune system.
  5. Stomach and Digestive tract-  Digestion issues and changes in the metabolism.

Managing Anxiety

  1. Take some time for yourself- listen to music, journal, go for a walk, yoga, exercise, color, paint or learn an relaxation technique(My favorite go to is Meditation)
  2. Eat well-balanced meals- Do not skip  meals
  3. Limit alcohol and caffeine- Alcohol and caffeine can affect anxiety and triggers panic attacks. (Drink lots of water)
  4. Exercise daily- Exercising makes you feel good and overall it helps to release stress.
  5. Slowly count to 10
  6. Accept that you cant control everything.
  7. Volunteer and give back to your community.
  8. Get enough sleep- at least 8 hours per night.
  9. Be gentle with yourself
  10. Maintain a good attitude regardless of the situation.
  11. Learn what triggers your anxiety- work, family, school etc.
  12. Talk to someone

Links for mobile apps for anxiety: https://adaa.org/finding-help/mobile-apps

 

 

References:

American Psychological Association, The New York Times Health Guide. University of Maryland Medical Center, National Institute of Health, Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved on 9/21/17 from https://adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Mental Health Matters

Parenting and Self-care

Parenting can be very challenging and rewarding at the same time. How do you take time for yourself? Self-care is not selfish, but it’s one of the best things that you can do as a mother or father. Taking a break from the normal routine helps us to reflect and re-energize you so that you can take care of everyone else. Maintaining day to day activities often leaves very little time for mother or fathers to be able to relax, have fun and rest.

Parent must be ready at all times for their children which often causes burnout and makes things that could be everyday treasures feel like everyday chores. It is so important that parent start taking time for themselves which can be difficult if you cannot afford to do so. Parent may need to ask a family member to watch the kids etc. Whatever you need to do, make it happen.

In my home, I do have a hectic schedule which is flexible at times. After taking my daughter to high school, I take some time to schedule some me time which may include going to the nail shop, reading, meditation and simply listening to nature. My husband who is retired from the army often was away for weeks at a time and that we didn’t even see each other due to his demands at work.

It’s not self-fish to take some time for yourself, know that parents need self-care the most. Parents push themselves to the limit and often have no more energy for anything which causes a variety of issues that includes depression, anxiety and insomnia. So before you take a day off focus on sleeping, eating well and moving your body. At times, I would just schedule lunch with myself, yes by yourself and read in the coffee shop. Sometimes, we go the beach and just enjoy ourselves. It’s all about reconnecting yourself with nature and its various healing properties. Give yourselves permission to get away from the kids because kids will wear you out.

Some suggestion on how replenish your energy

  • Know your limits- It is okay to say no without feeling guilty. Set your boundaries and say no to things that are not important. Say yes to things that are rewarding and replenishing. For example, it’s okay to say no to another volunteer opportunity. (Yes, I am guilty of saying yes.) But, say yes to a lunch or dinner with a friend.
  • Get therapy- For me, I felt overwhelmed close to christmas and I just had to talk to someone to keep my sanity. I made the effort to get counseling while helped me to overcome my anxiety.
  • Find a new hobby – For me, I took up loom knitting with was fun at first or simple attending a cooking class. I also love to paint and color.
  • Set a firm goals Instead of setting a short-term goal why don’t you think about competing in a walk-a-thon that forces you to practice every week.
  • Ask for alone time in the house –  Yes, this may seem to be difficult, but just lock the door and let everyone know that you are taking sometime for yourself with no interruptions. (Side note- this worked for me for sometime and then I had several interruptions)
  • Take some time to be with your spouse-  Previous in the past, every Friday I would schedule a dinner date with my husband  without the kids. Of course, in my situation my children are older, but get a sitter and go out and enjoy yourselves.  This will force you to focus on each other which can be challenging for me at times. But, this is so important for your marriage. Remember, your kids need it, and you need it as well.


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Self care Tips for Counselors/Psychotherapist

The practice of psychotherapy can be very rewarding and psychotherapist spend several years making a positive impact on lives of  whom they work. However, this field can be very demanding and difficult at times due to the challenges that are presented.  It is very important that we attend to the our own mental health so that we can be effective professionals.

Feelings of Distress

As stated in the Merriam-Webster , the definition of distressed is ” unhappiness or pain: suffering that affects the mind or body.” We all experience distress, but when it goes unchecked overtime this leads to burnout.

While attending grad school it was very concerning to me that several of the professors clearly needed to attend to themselves.  I have become very sensitive to this topic every since completing my masters degree. It is very important to become self aware  of ourselves and monitor our reactions. At times our body is giving us a signal to take a step back and take care of ourselves. Some of us take actions while others simply just pour themselves in whatever task is at hand.

Therapist Burnout

As therapist we must be aware of the signs of burnout which often goes unnoticed or pushed aside. If we do not attend to our own mental health, how effective can we be while assisting clients.  It is important to take a step back and rejuvenate your mind and body.

Vicarious Traumatization

When we are assisting clients that are victims of trauma, counselors may be traumatized  by the information that is stated to them during the session. This leads to several symptoms of vicarious traumatization such as intrusive thoughts, avoidant responses, psychologic arousal,  somatic complaints, distressing emotions,and addictive or compulsive behaviors  that will affect one’s competence.

9 Tips for Self-care

  1. Listen to your body. At times we have so much to do and often forget about ourselves so identify what activities are best for you to do. For example, I take time out for myself which includes a quiet time reading.
  2. Put a reminder on the calendar. Even if it is 5 mins per day put aside some time to do some art activity, painting or journaling.
  3. Whenever you can do something for you in between session close your eyes and do some breathing exercise. In addition, you can listen to some music.
  4. Exercise if so important for you so take the time to do some light activity such as riding the bike for 30 min and increase it by 5 mins every week.
  5. If you don’t know how to say no then this will burn you out very quickly. Know your boundaries and weakness.
  6. Make an effort to ask yourself is you are working too much.
  7. Make sure to surround yourselves with people who will encourage you to take some time for you.
  8. Minimize your time and don’t surf the internet for several hours.
  9. It’s up to you to make the effort for your health, therefore, do not bargain with yourself. Just do it!

 

 

 

References:

Distressed.(n.d.). Retrieved July 29,2016 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distressed