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Self Care

20 Mental Health Tips

Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time. Write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.

Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial. Put on some bright colours. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood and mental health

Try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less travelled streets and avenues.

There are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes. And if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!

Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting — connect with other people to seek and provide support. Don’t forget to do this for your children as well.

Accept everything about yourself, your current situation, your mental health right now, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. You cannot fail at this — there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all truly doing the best we can in an impossible situation.

There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie — we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.

If you are having difficulty coping, seek out help, even for the first time. There are mental health people on the ready to help you through this crisis.

Stress and eating often don’t mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. All of which affects our mental health. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!

This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component. A soft blanket, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a rocking chair. A journal, a good book, a colouring book is wonderful, bubbles to blow. Mint gum, ginger ale, popsicles or ice packs are also good for anxiety regulation.

A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is important to move with grace through blow-ups, to not show up to every argument you are invited to and to not hold grudges and continue disagreements.

Space is at a premium, particularly with city living. It is important that people think through their own separate space for work and for relaxation. It is good to know that even when we are on top of each other, we have our own special place to go to be alone.

One can find tons of information on COVID-19 to consume, and it changes minute to minute. The information is often sensationalized, negatively skewed, and alarmist. Find a few trusted sources that you can check in with consistently, limit it to a few times a day.

This whole crisis can seem sad, senseless, and at times, avoidable. When psychologists work with trauma, a key feature to helping someone work through trauma is to help them find their agency, the potential positive outcomes they can effect, the meaning and construction that can come out of destruction. What can each of us learn, in big and small ways, from this crisis? What needs to change in ourselves, our homes, our communities, our nation and our world?

There are a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counter-balance the heavy information with the hopeful information

Find ways, big and small, to give back to others. Support restaurant take-outs, offer to grocery shop, check in with elderly neighbours. Helping others gives us a sense of agency when things seem out of control.

In moments of big uncertainty and overwhelm, controlling your little corner of the world helps you control your mental health. Organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, spring clean every room. It helps to anchor and ground us when the bigger things are chaotic.

Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, put together a huge jigsaw puzzle, paint a picture, read the Harry Potter series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.

Research has shown that repetitive movement can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress. e.g. walking, knitting, painting.

It seems in the midst of this isolation that it will never end. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, we will return to feeling free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.

We are not asked by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary care and love

Speed Limits - Slowing Down When I Should

Self Care Guide

Credit by Patrick Kelly, CCC

A reference guide to  help  reduce : On-the-Job Stress , Empathic  & Physical Fatigue  and ensure  resilient ,  mentally healthy & happy , productive lives

Sleep

Exercise/ recreation

Liquids/ hydration

Food/nourishment

Care/Connectivity Attitude/positivity

Relaxation/reflection

Evaluation/debriefing

Grief Yoga

Provides Exercise, Connection, Reflection & Relaxation, and so much more through the Cycles of Compassionate Transformation

Grief Yoga is a gentle practice that you can do in your home, either in a chair or on a mat, whichever is most comfortable. (No experience necessary.)

Join me on a transformative journey where you will slowly release the pain of your struggles through:

Yoga – Movement – Breath – Sound

GIVE YOUR BRAIN A BREAK…

7 PERSONAL SELF CARE TIPS:

Credit:  (Patrick Kelly, CCC)

FYI:   These  7   personal ,  “Self Care”   tips  will provide a  new outlook about the recent study ,  which indicates  that  the 8-10 hour ,  work day  is not what  you need to succeed .

#1 –Leave decisions until morning…

#2  – Take ” Mini-Breaks”  throughout   the  day …

#3 – Get a Full  Night’s  Sleep –(7-9 hours ) . You’re in a good mental state if you are able to wake up at the same time every day without an alarm clock   and  without needing a cup of  coffee  to get going .

#4  – Down that Coffee –But Know It’s Temporary …

#5 – Don’t   buy Into Nutritional Hype-  Eat Healthy Foods..

#6 – Add some   “Me-Time ” to  every day…

#7 – Exercise your Brain- but don’t make it a Chore …

Stress Reduction

Manage Your Stress, Or it Will manage You!

Credit by Christina Walton, March 20, 2023

Stress /stres/  a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances” (taken from the Oxford definition)

 “I am stressed out”; “It’s so stressful”; “That stresses me out!”…..We all use this word in our day to day lives.  Stress is the common climate that we collectively find ourselves in, and the pandemic has made it worse.  No, we are not all in the same pandemic boat, but I write this for our profession, for you, the funeral professional.  Our stress often comes from the trauma and pace of the work.

Let me ask you a few therapeutic questions in the language of making this specifically for you, and about you.  This is where we start because, like the funeral vehicles we drive, if we don’t keep ourselves fuelled, we cannot function.  We do have limits and cannot run on empty.  We risk shutting down in an effort to conserve our limited emotional, physical and intrapsychic energy.  When we shut down we are not present for ourselves, our own families and friends and the ones we love, and certainly not for the clients we serve.   We short- change everyone, in addition to actually risking our own well being and having it become a chronic condition of disengagement and loss of our hopes and ideals.  We can then sadly do harm to ourselves and to others when we are shut down.  Ask your loved ones how they see your stress showing up.  You may be surprised by what they see and say.  They may see some blind spots, that you are not aware of.

So, back to the therapeutic questions here for you; What story are you telling yourself about your stress, and how do you relate to it?  Can you name your stress? Where do you feel it in your body?  This is called “interoception”,  and can lead us to self awareness and self regulation.  You’ve never thought about it this way?  Sometimes in our profession we spend so much time thinking about our bereaved clients, that we forget that we are human and need to pause and reflect on our needs.  Please take a few moments to really think about the above questions.  It’s all about you because that’s where mental health and self care start, with you, personally and quietly inside.  Take pause, be still and listen.

Now that you’ve named and located your stress in your body, how do you manage it so it doesn’t manage you?  The good news is that this puts you in charge.  The bad news is that it puts you in charge and that we sometimes have to do the opposite of how we feel in the moment.  As we’ve identified, stress can be found in our bodies, so movement is the easiest way to help ourselves there.  Getting our heart rate up for 30 minutes, even while walking, can help to metabolize the stress hormone called, ‘cortisol’ that rushes through our arteries and veins.  Author Laura van Dernoot Lipsky discusses this in her book “Trauma stewardship”, and “The age of Overwhelm”.  Prolonged exposure to cortisol harms our bodies.

Can you name 9 things that you can do, things you enjoy doing, deep diving into, that help you to you feel balanced, rested and vital?  I have been led through this exercise by my colleagues at “Being Here, Human”, Rachelle and Michelle.  It’s harder than you think, and more liberating and life giving than I could imagine!

Take good good care….you are Essential!

The Canadian Funeral Peer Support answered the call for peer support across the country, in 2018. Branches formed across Canada in many provinces, pre-pandemic, and in-person casual meetings were being held.

Now called Funeral Professional Peer Support, the branches reach out across North America. There are meetings online and you can access meetings from anywhere. You can read about them at www.funeralspeersupport.com.

You can also follow them on FB https://www.facebook.com/funeral.professionals.support

And on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/funeral.professionals.support/

Christina Walton is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and licensed Funeral Director. Christina is the host of The Funeral Professional Peer Support’s Podcast, “Stronger Together”. She has a private therapy practice and is the president of The Children’s Grief Foundation of Canada.

**this article first appeared in The Canadian Funeral Director Magazine, Spring/Summer, 2021 Issue.***

Stress Response

April is Stress Reduction Month

…just a follow-up to Michael’s , inspirational , self revelation about his experiences as a youth .  His bravery ,  was the genesis of the following …

With the  month of April upcoming….

It’s never been more important to talk about Mental Health. We’ve all had times when opening up about our problems when talking to a friend or colleague has made us feel better. Studies have shown that being open about our emotions and talking honestly about our mental health has a profound effect on our well-being. With the recent conversations  during “Let’s  Talk Day”,    it is the perfect opportunity to give yourself, and others, space to have a conversation about Mental Health.   It can be as simple as having a chat during lunch with a colleague or sharing something that has been concerning you. Whatever you do ,  it’s a chance to talk, listen and raise awareness..

Let’s Talk –You Are Not Alone…

 
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Mental Health TIPS - example: during covid
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Tip 1

The lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading a seminar and explaining Stress Management to her audience. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'Half empty or half full?' She fooled them all. "How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz to 20 oz.... She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "and that's the way it is with Stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on." "As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Pick them up again tomorrow if you must. 1. Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue! 2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them. 3. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. 4. Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker. 5. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague. 6. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it. 7. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. 8. Never buy a car you can't push. 9. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on. 10. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. 11. Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late. 12. The second mouse gets the cheese. 13. When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane. 14. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live. 16. Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once. 17. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box. 18. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. 19. Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY 20. Save the earth..... It's the only planet with beer and fine wine!
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Tip 2

In support, sharing my *SELF CARE * mnemonic, created for Red Cross Volunteers. = A *S.E.L.F. C.A.R.E. * Reference Guide to help reduce On-the-Job Stress , Empathic & Physical Fatigue and, help to ensure resilient , healthy & happy lives... *Sleep *Exercise/ recreation *Liquids/ hydration * Food/nourishment * Care/Connectivity *Attitude/positivity *Relaxation/reflection * Evaluation/Debriefing

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