#honestspacepsychotherapy

And the Border Crisis Continues…

When I sat down to write my blog this week, I had originally decided to share with you the “flashes of insight” I had while on vacation. But with the crisis at the border still underway, writing about vacation feels frivolous.

I try to make it a practice to stay out of politics, especially in my professional life, but it seems that our current government has a way of really ruffling my feathers, to put it lightly.

“Since the Trump administration implemented a “zero tolerance” policy at the Mexican border in recent weeks, more than 2,300 children have reportedly been separated from their parents while attempting to enter the U.S.” (CNBC)

I’ve read and reread the news - The NY Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, CNBC and NPR. Each and every time I come to the same conclusion. This is nuts. This is not real. This can’t be happening. Not in our country. And then, about 15-20 seconds later, I either feel intense anger, unrelenting fear, deep sadness and/or profound shame.

Anger that families are being torn apart, that our President is acting amorally and illegally and that it doesn’t seem like anyone or anything can stop him. Anger because it feels like no matter what I do, it’s not enough. Fear because, well, Trump feels more like a dictator than the president of a democratic country. I fear what more is to come. Deep sadness for the parents who have no idea where their children are or how they are doing, for the children who are lost and alone without their parents, and for the fact that there is no “concrete plan for reunification.” (I am now crying hysterically.) And shame. I feel shame because we voted for Trump, as a country. A man who has divided us more than united us, a man who has put fear in so many innocent people’s hearts, a man who has taken away tolerance and acceptance and replaced it with hate and anger and intolerance, and a man who prefers to hide behind Twitter and blame others recklessly rather than stand up, take responsibility and admit fault respectably. I feel sick.

So, where do we go from here? What can we do? How can we help? First, figure out where you stand on the issue. Then feel your feelings. Then get up and fight like hell!

Call your representative: https://5calls.org/issue/keep-families-together-act

Donate - here are a few of the leading non-profits involved in immigration issues:

ACLU - The American Civil Liberties Union is fighting attacks through the legal system. http://www.aclu.org

RAICES - The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services is a non-profit focused on "providing free and low-cost legal services to under-served immigrant children, families and refugees in Central and South Texas," according to the organization's website. The Facebook fundraiser raised over $10 million in just four days.

TCRP – The Texas Civil Rights Project is "helping families at the US border get legal advice and translation services," and is interviewing families to document what is happening to ensure they are reunited as quickly as possible. You can donate on FB here.

The Florence Project - provides free legal services to detained immigrants in Arizona. In addition to donations, The Florence Project also accepts volunteers. So if you live in Arizona, you can help out directly as a translator, researcher or even act as a pro bono attorney if you're qualified. You can donate here.

Join the Protests - https://act.moveon.org/event/families-belong-together_attend1/search/

United we stand!If we all do a little, it adds up to a lot. And a lot = CHANGE. Take good care of yourselves... and I hope to see you out there! 

What is Therapy?

During my WeWork Workshop last week on “How to Manage Anxiety in the Workplace,” one of the attendees asked a wonderful question. “What exactly is therapy?” He was slightly embarrassed for not knowing the answer and excused his “ignorance” as he called it, but truthfully I thought the question was brilliant and a great reminder for me. I told him just that.

As a licensed psychotherapist, or as in most trained professions, I forget that most people don’t know what I know. Most people didn’t go through the same regiment of additional education and 3,000 hours of grueling training. The definition of psychotherapy isn’t ingrained in their brains just like the definition of certiorari (a legal term) and obdormition (a medical term) are not ingrained in my brain. And so for me, the question was a great reminder that when talking about therapy, I need to start at the beginning rather than somewhere in the middle.

So – what is therapy (aka psychotherapy, talk therapy and counseling)? Therapy can be defined in many ways depending on who you ask. If I had to sum up therapy briefly, I would describe it as self-discovery or the intentional act of setting aside time for yourself every week (50 minutes to be precise) to gain more self-awareness leading to balance, fulfillment and clarity.

People attend therapy for a variety of reasons including (but definitely not limited to) to be heard, to be seen, to be understood, to explore, to problem-solve, to navigate transitions, to grieve and to heal. You can learn to answer questions such as, “Who am I?” “What are my values?” “Is this relationship working for me?” “Why do I say such mean things to myself?” “Why do I feel so alone all the time?” “Where am I going in life? And “What obstacles are standing in my way?” You can dive deep into figuring out where your anxiety or sadness or depression or self-doubt comes from and work to manage it so that you feel in control of your own life. And you can examine your relationships, your career path and your communication styles so that you can exist in a way that feels true to who you actually are.

Historically going to therapy meant you were “crazy” or that something was “seriously wrong with you.” The stigma around therapy was so intense that no one even wanted to say the word. Now more and more I’m finding that that’s not the case. The stigma around therapy is slowly, very slowly decreasing, and now rather than a weakness, therapy can be seen as a strength. At least, that's the way I see it. I see therapy as a way to take time for yourself, a means of self-care, and a path to discovering your strengths and your authentic self, your best self. 

So, what are you waiting for?

17 Tips to Boost Productivity & Happiness in the Workplace

CHALLENGE: I challenge each of you to try all of these for 1 week. If that feels like too much, start with the 1st and incorporate 1/week until they become a part of your routine.

 How to Be More Productive:

·     Manage your time by doing the most important tasks first

     o Take 5-10 mins on Monday morning to make a list of all the things you need to get done.

     o Rank them from 1-10; 1 being most urgent, 10 being a task that need to get done this week.

     o If you have multiple number ones, pick the one you’d like to do the least and start there.

·     Focus on one thing at a time

·     Know and accept your limits

      o Find a way to say no/pushback in an authentic and respectful way. This allows you to                      focus on your tasks to the best of you abilities without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

·     Take breaks

      o If not hourly, then take a 5-10 minute break every 2 hours and step away from your desk.

·     Make a list of your accomplishments at the end of every day

      o Bold the ones you’re most proud of and congratulate yourself.

 

How to Feel Happier:

·     Listen to soothing music  

·     Have fun and laugh

      o Laughter lowers our cortisol ("stress hormone") levels

·     Connect with someone at work

      o Face-to-Face with someone new for 2-5 minutes a day

·     Bring a small puzzle to work

     o Do it on your break or leave it in the common room to help build community

·     Choose tea over coffee                            

·     Stay hydrated

      o Drink from a clear cup/bottle with a straw

·     Eat nutritious food

·     Get a good night’s sleep

      o Try to sleep and wake at the same time every night. Our bodies love routine.                     

·     Exercise

     o 20-30 mins/3-4x/week

·     Quick and easy massages

      o Tennis ball

      o Quick eye, face and hand massage

·      Journal

      o Put pen to paper vs. typing on your computer. (This sends a signal to our brains to relax.)

·     Practice Mindfulness

     o The act of being intentional and present; noticing, pausing and breathing without                              judgment

 

I would love to hear how these tips worked for you, if you would like more information on any tip, or if there’s anything you would like to add! Please email me at hello@honestspacetherapy.com.