With a new year comes new beginnings. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that life can change in the blink of an eye, so having a strong baseline of self-care is key to making it through whatever comes your way. Many people don’t realize that there is a big difference between
At the core of healthy relationships you can feel safe, respected, and accepted for who you are. You feel equal to your friend or partner. This person enriches your life. They are mutually supportive and beneficial. A healthy relationship does not mean a perfect relationship, but it means that you are always respected and safe.
For many of us, the decision to pursue therapeutic counselling was one that felt easy, giving us hope that we might be able to improve our lives through learning how to regulate our emotions. But for others, this choice can create feelings of uncertainty, confusion, and maybe even shame. The stigma surrounding therapy and mental
Binge eating is a painful disorder, both physically and mentally, that has a gift for making us feel worthless, undeserving, and lazy. Wildly misunderstood, it is an addiction that controls our impulses with a rush of dopamine that accompanies each binge. Skeptics and self-proclaimed “health experts” look down upon those who struggle with binge eating,
Let’s talk about stress Greetings everyone, The word stress tends to have negative connotations – understandably so! What I’d like to unpack though is the difference between “good stress” called eustress and unhealthy “bad stress” called distress. Let’s take a moment to talk about the differences between the two, discuss how they manifest and influence
Talking about Gender and Sexual diversity with our children “Pride month” – a month dedicated to the celebration of LGBTQ+(*) culture and the support of LGBTQ+ rights – comes to an end. However, gender and sexual diversity is a year-round discussion to be had. It is particularly important to talk about this topic with your
May: Ways to Cultivate Joy Greetings to you all, With the beautiful weather finally emerging, we thought it would be a good time to talk about what joy is and ways we can cultivate joy. So what distinguishes joy from happiness? While they both describe positive feelings, they are actually very different. Happiness is an
March: Can Anger Be Healthy? Every day, we feel and observe a plethora of different emotions; happiness, sadness, anticipation, jealousy, fearfulness, etc. Each of these internal feelings helps guide us through our experiences, reactions, and life. Anger is one of these feelings that we need for our survival and healthy functioning. However, how we relate
February: Black History Month and the Effects of Racial Discrimination on Mental Health In honour of Black History Month, we would like to take the opportunity to discuss the impact of discrimination on mental health. Discrimination can happen anywhere – whether it be at work, at school, on the train and even at home. It
Let’s Talk About Mental Health Stigma On behalf of the EPC team, we’d like to wish everyone a happy 2022! I hope everyone is doing well and enjoyed the holidays – or at least found some time to rest and unwind. Traditionally, bringing in the New Year is a time for self-reflection and a time
September: A period of transition September is a time of transition in many various ways. As we gently say goodbye to summer, we gradually get back to our routines. This can be in regards to work, school, or just our daily normal activities. We transition from a more flexible schedule to something more structured. While
As the world around us slowly starts to reopen we may still find ourselves feeling fatigued, frustrated, burned out, or in some ways very anxious. Navigating through this pandemic has not been an easy feat for any of us. Let’s discuss the impact of this long-term stress on our resilience and how we can build it back up again.
What is resilience? According to the American Psychology Association (APA) it is “the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.” Essentially resilience is our ability to ‘bounce back’ from difficult life situations.
While some of us were fortunate enough to be born with more resilient protecting factors such as stable housing, safe schooling, low parental discord, parents that attended to a child’s needs, etc., some of us entered into a difficult time with low resources to begin with. It is important to note that we all deal with different challenges throughout the course of our lives and that that will take a certain amount of resilience to help us bounce back or recover. Any stress uses our resources and resiliency. When we have time to recover and invest back into our resources we continue a high level of resiliency. However, chronic stress, such as living through the uncertain and difficult time of a global pandemic, uses all our resources and drains our resiliency. It empties our tank and makes coping with difficult as well as regular life situations harder.
Perhaps you noticed you increased or developed unhealthy coping strategies such as shopping, eating, or alcohol/drug use. You may have had changes in mood such as anxiety and depressive symptoms or feeling irritable and snapping at others for seemingly no reason. It’s possible you felt tired, fatigued, less energy to get through your day. Perhaps you experienced something else related to a lack of resiliency. You are not alone. This difficult time used it all up and made it harder to get back up and get back out there.
Researchers have studied the topic of resilience for decades and studies have shown that there seems to be 3 common trends amongst people who tend to have increased resiliency. That is to say those who always seem to “float” through life – and seem to be less impacted and recover more easily from hardship. Here are three of the commonalities of these resilient strong characters.
- More resilient people are very much aware of the fact that bad things can, and unfortunately sometimes do, go wrong. This is not to say that they welcome adversity, just that they are aware of potential problems.
- They choose to focus their attention on things they can change and spend less time on what is out of their control. Resilient people have a tendency to give credence to perceived stressors all while still giving weight to the good in their environment – this is called “benefit finding”. It’s about making an intentional on-going effort to tune into the good.
- They regularly check in with themselves and ask “Is what I’m doing helping or harming me?” For example “is the way I’m thinking and acting going to help me recover from that heart attack?” or “am I acting in a way that will help me get that promotion at work?”. By asking this simple question, it helps center oneself and refocus on what matters to them.
Keeping this resilient attitude in mind, what are some ways you can rebuild the resiliency that has been depleted? Here are some resources and resiliency building strategies we are seeing in recent weeks:
- Staying connected and sharing how you are doing with others that care about you.
- Taking care of the basics – getting enough sleep, food, and rest. Take naps. Relax.
- Limiting and even cutting out unhealthy coping strategies that further drain our resources.
- Try the Headspace guide to Meditation on Netflix
- Tara Brach has a lot of free material. Try the 40-day Mindfulness program at https://courses.tarabrach.com/courses/mindfulness-daily (only 10 minutes a meditation and is self-guided)
- Mantras that are nourishing and affirming
- “I will get through this”
- “This too shall pass”
- “I can take care of myself during this difficult time”
- Do some fun things at whatever your energy level is.
- Allow yourself to be tired and to attend to the fatigue. Stop trying to push through and get everything done.
- Managing expectations. Matching my ‘to-do’ list with my energy level rather than expecting I can do as much as before.
- Self-compassion – life it hard enough right now, stop adding to the pile by beating yourself up. Become your own ally.
Don’t forget – resilience is not a character trait that has been set in stone. Rather, it is about regular willingness, effort and mindfulness.
Wishing you all a wonderful rest of the summer. Remember to be kind to yourselves.
All the best,
Émilie Rose Casey