May 21, 2020

We hope everyone is well. During our current situation of uncertain, ever-changing challenging times, emotions may be rising in our homes with most families staying home together with limited outlets. Our routines have been disrupted and we may be experiencing a variety of emotions we are not used to. It is important to check in with one another to actively connect with those feelings. Hopefully, we are able to share our feelings openly with another and gain an understanding of them. This is not always happening in our interactions with others; Young children may not have a label for their feelings whether it is worry, fear, sadness, anger, confusion, or any other uncomfortable feeling. Now is a good time to put a label on those feelings and practice, with each other, the art of validation - a life skill for building relationships.

Validation is an important piece of communication and by definition, recognizes or affirms that a person or their feelings or opinions make sense and are worthwhile.When we validate a person's feelings or emotions, there are 3 stages:

  1. actively listen to and accept the information from the person,
  2. understand at the time of the situation (we may have to take a moment to process the information) and lastly...
  3. nurture in a non-judgmental way.

Sounds easy? It's actually harder than it sounds; however, with careful practice validation can increase better communication and connections within our relationships. Research indicates that parental validation is associated with improvements to emotional regulation in adolescents/teens (any child's emotional regulation really) and greater happiness in the parent-child relationship. Imagine what validation could do in our other relationships... work, recreation, etc. The attached photo shares some phrases to validate another.

Feelings and emotions are normal for everyone - we must learn how to manage them by being able to label them. Perhaps we have been feeling unsure of the next steps in our lives; talking to someone helps us put a label on the feeling or emotion and can help if they are understood and validated. When we continue to ignore our feelings our stress response increases which leads to bigger problems and we will explore the stress response another time.

If anyone is feeling overwhelmed and struggling, please connect with the Distress Centre by phone at 403-266-HELP(4357) or online at www.distresscentre.com.

Self Care
April 20, 2020

What is Self-Care? Why is Self-Care important? Is Self-Care being selfish?

The previous questions will be answered. Our previous post highlighted Isolation, among some of the information was tips to keep our minds busy - a hidden message... Self-care ideas. When we practice self-care we are able to manage our stress and daily challenges while taking care of ourselves. Read on for more ideas to help with self-care in the following six (6) areas:

  1. Workplace - home or professional
    • set clear boundaries for others and make others aware of them
  2. Physical
    • eat regular meals and drink plenty of water
    • establish a regular sleep routine; know how much sleep our body needs daily based on our age
    • engage in exercise activities; walk outdoors, climb stairs, etc.
  3. Psychological
    • write in a journal and/or seek professional support
    • engage with health social networks
    • indulge in hobbies
    • disconnect from media sources
  4. Emotional - allows us to safely experience a wide range of emotions
    • create a supportive network of friendships
    • talk to trusted networks about our feelings
  5. Spiritual
    • engage in activities such as meditation or yoga
    • reflect with close friendships
  6. Relationships
    • find and maintain healthy, supportive connections with a diverse group of people

There are other activities that can be done to support our self-care and we must find what works best for us. Revisit daily goals and set up a self-care plan - while doing this, remember to ask, "What might get in the way?".

When we feel stressed or overwhelmed with our daily activities, especially as a parent or caregiver, we sometimes forget to practice self-care. We often take care of the needs of others before we take care of ourselves. If we were to be asked when the last time was that we took care of ourselves, we probably would not be able to answer that question confidently. Sometimes the questions are: when was our last shower?; did we brush our teeth this morning?; when did we eat a healthy meal?; have we spent any time outdoors?
If we were to look in the mirror and the person staring back to us is unfamiliar, it has been a while since we focused on our self-care. We must give ourselves permission to nurture and take care of ourselves before we can nurture and take care of others.

Self-care is not being selfish. Selfishness is when another lacks consideration for others and is only concerned about their own personal pleasures. Self-care is an essential part of taking care of our mental, physical and spiritual well-being. When we struggle with taking care of ourselves, we are unable to confidently take care of others. Self-care is something that needs to be implemented into our daily routine, not just one time. 

April 14, 2020

Hello Everyone, 

First we want to say welcome to all the readers - we have established this to help you through our current COVID-19 pandemic that has many isolating and practicing social-distancing, as well as to connect with our clients. Perhaps isolation is by choice or has become mandatory for someone we know whom has been affected by the COVID-19 virus. For some, isolation or feeling alone (even before this pandemic) is a daily challenge. 

The word isolate, defined by any dictionary, means to cause (a person or place) to be or remain alone or apart from others. As human beings, we function best if we have healthy social connections either in person or online. During this pandemic, online is the safest outlet until we can flatten the curve and move forward with our social interactions.

With the advancements of technology, there are many ways to connect socially with others. Some of these technology platforms include: FaceTime, Facebook, Skype, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Email, Texting, and of course... picking up the telephone (Thank you Alexander Graham Bell), among other platforms.

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