Category Archives: self care

TIPPs for Distressful Thoughts

Hello friends!

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people and sometimes those suffering can experience thoughts of suicide or self harm.

Here are some ideas to help if you’ve had these thoughts: I’ve coached many clients to manage these distressful thoughts by using DBT skills and it works very well!

When first experiencing suicide or self harm thoughts can be very painful and distressing, use the TIPP skill (temperature, intense exercise, paced breathing, or paired muscle relaxation)

Temperature-hold an ice cube or dunk your face into an ice/cold water bowl for at least 5 seconds.

Intense exercise-run on a treadmill or outside for 3 minutes at a full sprint.

Paced breathing-deep breathing -slowly count to 4 as you breathe in, hold your breathe for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds and hold for 4 seconds-repeat for a couple of minutes.

Paired muscle relaxation-starting from your toes- tenae every muscle group for 5 seconds and then release- moving you to your head and face.

After having done all of TIPP, people are usually quite tired and in a different frame of mind but just in case…get involved in an activity with a friend, do something kind for someone else, connect with someone who loves you… and always important: make sure you get enough sleep, nutrition, exercise, and medications if any are recommended for you along with meeting with a professional.

I hope these tips (haha TIPP) help anyone who struggles in this area. Know you are important ❤️

Taking Care of You

Hello friends!

I’ve been absent for a bit, I apologize for my delay. I’ve been contemplating where to go with my blog for a couple of reasons.

First, I’ve realized that many people that are influencers often give away or resell their clothes after one photo shoot…(that doesn’t really appeal to me. I love my clothes and usually keep a quality piece for many years so that seems wasteful in my opinion although I know I cannot judge others…this is just what works for me).

Second, someone I knew from kindergarten through high school committed suicide about two weeks ago, no one knew he was suffering, and I’ve been thinking how to help others that struggle or suffer alone.

I thought for a time I might focus on offering advice for others how to deal with life when you have difficulties that seem too hard to bear. I am a therapist IRL working at a mental health/substance abuse treatment center for young adults, and I feel terribly sad knowing that people suffer without anyone knowing or without resources.

Here are some tips I’ve learned while studying DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy-created for people with Borderline Personality Disorder but very helpful with people struggling with suicide and self harm thoughts.

(A past client of mine created a little flip chart for therapists to reference when feeling like we are burned out and one page I particularly enjoy is:)

LOVE YOURSELF LIKE A NEW PUPPY: Prioritize good sleep habits, Nutrition, Exercise, Connection with people you enjoy (add:honest discussion about what is going on with you), Focus on practices that promote calmness and well being, Meditation, Journaling, Talk therapy, quiet time alone doing an activity you enjoy. (These ideas are gleaned from DBT)

Many people struggle with depression, anxiety, or suicide and self harm thoughts but that doesn’t have to mean your life is not worth living. Talk to someone and let them know what you are going through and get some help. Speaking up can be scary but after that, the darkness fades if you share it with someone. The burden is lighter if you share.

It’s Haute at Work

Hello Friends and Happy Wednesday!

Yesterday I wore a cute chunky sweater, it’s so comfy and warm (along with my cute leopard sneakers and jeans) because it’s November right and mornings are super cold (30 degrees)…

But as I walked into my office, I was hit with a wall of heat. WTH, my work temperature changes so much from season to season; I remember taking a cardigan to work in July because the AC is cranked so high my fingers are numb but then I leave the building and my black car with black leather interior is 103 degrees! It’s such an adjustment right??

So yesterday I had forgotten this phenomenon and wore a warm sweater! This is bad, I can’t even shed a layer!

In the afternoon, after I’ve met with five clients and had my door shut all day, I told my co worker that I was dying of heat. I also noticed as I was in the bathroom earlier, that my neck and chest were bright red (heat does not make my rosacea happy). She suggested I keep my door open, although I have a lot of computer documentation to do (as I’m a therapist) and I find it hard to keep the door open with people walking back and forth in the hall and still focusing on my work.

SO….I asked our kitchen (I work in a residential mental health facility) if I could have a bag of ice.

They fixed me up real good; a ziploc bag of ice and I’m sitting cool. I stuck it down the back of my jeans and I was able to keep my door shut and get my work done. After 10 minutes I poured out 1/2 cup of water and then back in my office with the ice bag down my front.

Problem solved!

 

(Today I wore a coat -early morning temps- but underneath have two light tops and am wearing sandals-I’m prepared today!)

It’s A Woman Thing

So last night, I had to unwind before going to bed. Work this week was not a pleasant experience. (For some reason I feel like work should be fun! It shouldn’t be work, I don’t know where I’ve got this odd idea)

My Oprah magazine came in the mail and I thought I would read a bit to focus on something else!

I found an article on Menopause and thought I would see if there’s anything in it to help explain WTH my life feels the way it does 😂😆 I was genuinely curious.

So, to give a little background. Thursday in heading in the door to work and finding out there isn’t an office – I felt this crazy surge of rage (and freak I’m not an angry person) and an image popped into my head of myself “throwing my metal water bottle at the speed of light smashing through the big glass window” in our main front office-WTH is wrong with me??

Anyway, back to my magazine and article on menopause. Did you know, unreasonable anger is a symptom of menopause?? When I read that, I thought you gotta be kidding me!! All this time I wondered if I was going crazy or if I was a bad person or somehow I’ve been crazy all along. Trust me, these are odd thoughts for me as a therapist but this totally makes sense to me.

There have been soooo many times at the checkout or in traffic or at work that I just feel outrageously angry and I never knew this is normal for a woman going through menopause.

First off, it might just be lucky that we don’t have many menopausal women going postal out in public cause I’ve managed to control my flash of anger but how is everyone else doing it?

Holy cow, wouldn’t it be nice if someone let us know this is what to expect when we will never be expecting?? Hopefully one day my hormones will settle down and I’ll be my normal self again.

Failure: A Therapist View

Hello friends and happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

I’ve been thinking about life challenges and want to share some of my therapist views …for free ❤️

I think life is hard at different times for all of us and we might often feel like a failure if things in our lives don’t go as we think they “should” or as we “expected”.

At times like these we feel a failure. BUT it’s super important to remember that feeling like a failure-is a feeling and it’s not a fact. Shoulds, expectations, and comparisons are not helpful in our lives, are actually detrimental, and cause us to second guess ourselves and our value as human beings.

One of my favorite TED talks is “How to Practice Emotional First Aid” by Guy Winch. It’s amazing and I’ve shared it with many clients. Look it up-live it.

When we feel like a failure, we normally stop what we’re doing. We give up; then that emotion wins! It’s just an emotion.

As long as we keep pushing toward future goals, we never fail.

If you feel like a failure, just remember I am rooting for you. We are all doing the best we can. You are not a failure.

Guy Winch-Ted Talk Emotional First Aid

Laughter, the Best Medicine

Hello friends and happy Thursday!

I just had to share something hilarious from last night.

Our daughter and her two children (age 8 and 4) are living with us. It’s been a big change for all of us and we often have such fun!

Last night my husband came home late from work; he’s been working long hours the last couple of weeks and I think the grandchildren miss seeing him because they go to bed around 8pm. So last night after arriving home, hubs is in the bathroom and my four year old grandson is really anxious to see grandpa!

He is standing outside the bathroom yelling to his grandpa….and we can hear the whole conversation….

“Grandpa unlock the door”….”just a minute bud, I’m almost done”

“Grandpa are you done”? ….”just a minute bud, I just got home from work”

” Grandpa Are you wiping“???!! (SILENCE)…..

OH MY HECK I COULD NOT STOP LAUGHING!! THIS WAS A EPIC LAUGH TOO!

I IMMEDIATELY SENT A TEXT MESSAGE TO HUBS IN THE BATHROOM….ARE YOU WIPING???? LOL

This comedic moment brought to you by my sweet four year old grandson. You are welcome.

Dodging the Punches

Hey friends!

I thought I would share some of my difficulties lately and how I’m dodging the punches.

Someone very close to me is involved in the dissolution of her marriage due to a emotionally abusive spouse. Her spouse also knows my ex husband (I divorced him about 17 years ago).

I have found out that her husband and my ex shit talk about me throughout some family events (involving my adult children and grandchildren- those are most events I continue to be around my ex husband). I also found out that my ex inquired (to the person close to me) wondering if she was being unduly influenced to leave her husband by someone he did not name (I’m guessing it is me) and I have been super angry and negative being re exposed to abuse and emotional manipulation by my ex husband.

I have a difficult time managing this again, the negativity and emotions this stirs up is overwhelming for me.

I have a stressful job and do not need the additional negativity that this information affects me.

How do I manage? I have been focusing on things I can control to help myself. Can I control other people? No. Can I control outside events? No. Does other people’s shit have anything to do with me? No. If someone else is a douche, does that have to affect me? No.

Can I control what I focus on? Yes. About a week ago, I was listening to a podcast of Rachel Hollis interviewing Brendon Burchard. I was so impressed I subscribed (it’s FREE!)to Brendon’s podcast “The Brendon Show” and also bought his workbook “the high performance planner” and his book “High Performance Habits”. In 2018 Brendon reads his whole book as part of his podcast (so you can listen to his book for free!) and it’s so inspiring. It reminds me to live according to my own values. I especially like the planner and the ways I daily remind myself to set an intention, remind myself the person I want to be, a way to demonstrate excellence to myself, ways to coach myself through the day and ways to determine if I have been successful in my day (along with three goals to keep my focus every day).

This has been a huge support in dealing with this new situation and previous triggers from my abusive past marriage.

If any of you out there are struggling, I strongly suggest looking this up and listening. Everything will be ok, you can do it, you are strong enough, you are smart enough, you matter, you are important.

Shakespeare Confusion

Hey friends!

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend! We’ve actually had a lot of sunshine the last few days and it’s been wonderful! I don’t miss the ❄️

Hubs and I had a fun, yet super confusing experience at the theatre last night. We attended “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” which follows Hamlet through these two minor characters.

I have never ever ever been so confused in a play before. These two characters start out the play by themselves but they are confused themselves and keep finding themselves going in and out the story and characters of Hamlet.

I thought to myself, “I have no idea what’s going on…why is this so hard, I want to leave, I can’t stay awake, I’m gonna die, I can’t do this” but the tickets were snagged by good friends so I didn’t want to offend them.

I also knew there was an intermission so I kept thinking, “it’s not even halfway done, the intermission hasn’t even started, oh my gosh I can’t sit through this”!

When the intermission started I felt relieved but still frustrated because I couldn’t figure out what was going on and I typically understand Shakespeare.

As our friends and I started talking, I realized “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (really) Are Dead”. I said, what if they’re dead?? They can’t remember their names, don’t know where they were going or where they came from, there was a really weird coin toss which always resulted in the coin being “heads” up-impossible in real life, and they couldn’t follow the other characters as they left the scene they were in. It was weird but all of a freakin sudden made sense that they actually were dead but didn’t know it.

The last half of the play was more pleasant cause I knew they were dead and details made sense.

But seriously I don’t know if I’ve ever used that much brain power that late at night and took so long to understand something. Holy crap that was hard and maybe it prevented early Alzheimer’s but I never want to do that again…. a whole play focused on one persons idea of death.

Then again I have been binge watching Criminal Minds on Netflix and “Cold” podcast. Maybe an existential tragicomedy is just what my brain needed??

Check it out and see what you 🤔

Times I Didn’t Listen (and why I’m proud)

Hello friends!

I’ve been listening/watching several inspirational speakers (Rachel Hollis, Ashley Lemieux, Mike Lemieux, and Stuart Edge) which is really pumping me up to be myself! ❤️

Today I thought I would share the times in my life that I DID NOT LISTEN to others opinions of me and that makes me proud of myself.

Many years ago in admiring (someone close to me-their coworker physical workout and body improvement) I said “I want to do that, I want to do what they did” – to which my loved one said- “you can’t do that, what makes you think you can”? To which I thought to myself-watch me, and then I’ll rub your nose in it.

Many years ago the same person (now not part of my life) said “no one’s going to want to marry you or date you, you’re old and have all these kids”- to which I thought- you’re an a$$hole-I’m worthy just the way I am, anyone would be happy to be in a relationship with me.

Several years ago, in speaking with a loved one (different one this tome) about my course work in graduate school, she said “you don’t really think you can be a therapist do you? You can’t do that”. To which I thought, you aren’t really in my corner are you and yes I can. (We haven’t had much of a relationship since).

A couple of years ago someone said “you can’t really be a blogger or have a fashion Instagram-why are you trying”? To which I thought, wow you don’t know me at all do you? I am already doing that.

And then there are the three times I listened: one person (not really close but a trusted adult) shamed me for my voice-“why do you always talk like a baby”, another person close to me (or so I thought) shamed me for my voice- almost exact words, and another time I listened…someone shamed me for posting on Facebook and Instagram (about several things) AND I listened.

I’m not listening anymore to the voices that tell me who they think I should be -THAT IS MY DECISION-and that is why I’m sharing this with you today.

Gaming (In my House)

Hello friends!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I enjoyed myself immensely over the last four days off from work! I got to see some of my hubs family and then my children/grandchildren came over two of the last four days! I am so blessed!

I think the most fun I have is in “gaming” which means something different to me!

In our family, we love love love to play games! Lately we’ve been playing a lot of “Codenames”, “Sequence”, “Ticket to Ride”, “UNO” of course, “Pass the Pigs, and our grandkids gave us a new game “Skull King” which is very fun, a little like Pinochle, and my seven year old grandson is a whiz at! We played 10 rounds and yes I ended up winning (but that happened at the very last minute)! LOL

Our family loves all kinds of board games and card games. One epic game “Spoons” has resulted in physical injuries and dents in the walls as participants leap for spoons in acrobatic moves! I have so many fun memories of playing games with my children/grandchildren.

Check out these games listed above, you will not be disappointed!