One of the first things I think is important for people going through the grief process to understand is that there’s no right way to grieve, and no two people will grieve the same way. So, even in a situation where a husband and wife may have lost a child, they’ve had the same loss, but they’re grieving in their own separate ways. It’s important to know that it’s okay that you’re doing it the way you need to do it. A lot of times, when a person experiences a loss, they’re really struggling because the people around them always want them to be okay. And they never feel like they have a place where they can go and just talk about that loved one that they lost. That’s what we try to create for you in therapy is a place where you can talk about that person all you want, you can talk about their memory, you can talk about things you miss about them. You can talk about the way people are treating you, you can talk about what you need from others, and you can learn how to share with others what you need from them.
As a therapist, I find working with people through their grief is a really moving experience. I have several clients that are going through this process right now. I am very comfortable sitting with someone who is right in the throes of it, and I understand the deep dark hole feeling that there is, and it goes away. You just have to give it time. And I understand that it’s such a cliche to say that, but it really does get better with time. When you’re willing to share with someone your feelings, it helps take that burden off just a little bit and makes it, so you don’t have to carry it by yourself anymore. I want to encourage anyone who’s maybe seen a therapist before, whether it’s for grief or any other issue that you might be having, that if you didn’t connect with that first therapist, that’s not your fault. It just means that person wasn’t right for you. So please reach out to someone else, and you may have to interview a few people until you find the right person, and that’s okay. It’s important to have help, and if you really need it, you will find the right person because there are a lot of caring people out there who want to help you and want to make a difference for you. If you’re experiencing any of the things that I was talking about, please feel free to reach out. I’m currently accepting new patients. So please feel free to give us a call or go to the website.
While most of us know that not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to our physical health, leading to increased fatigue and putting us at risk of several medical conditions, lack of rest also affects our mental health significantly. This, of course, doesn’t stop many of us from choosing work, entertainment, or other distractions instead of the amount of sleep that we need – more than 1 in 3 Americans report sleeping less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours per night.
So why should we prioritize finding opportunities to sleep longer?
Rest is Crucial to Mental Functioning
Without adequate time to rest via sleep, your mind will be less able to respond to the challenges of daily life, and you may experience mood disruptions.
Much like rest being one of the most common suggestions to accelerate healing after a physical injury, giving your brain time to recover from each successive day can be crucial in providing you the opportunity to subconsciously process issues, feelings, and emotions. Just like it’s important to set boundaries in relationships, it’s also important to set boundaries for your waking hours to ensure you’re able to function and feel as positive and energized as possible.
Beyond the well-documented physical benefits of getting enough sleep, the other main benefit from a mental health perspective is in helping to establish and build healthy habits for yourself.
By establishing a pattern of going to bed and subsequently waking up simultaneously, you build personal discipline and incorporate more predictability into your daily routine – which can help assimilate other healthy self-care habits as time goes on.
Ways to Strategize Your Way to More Rest
Stick to your schedule! While life can be hectic and responsibilities change quickly, do your best to stay consistent day-to-day.
Minimize distractions. Even on low-light output settings, looking at screens such as phones, tablets, or even TVs can make it harder to get to sleep. Try to eliminate or at least reduce your screen time for about an hour before going to bed.
Incorporate calming habits. Practices like meditation or reading a book before bed can be not only suitable substitutes for screen time but can also help you calm down and function as part of your self-care routine along with sleep.
Depression can be a very serious mental illness that can negatively impact a person’s life. That being said, it goes just beyond being sad and lacking motivation.
Depression can attribute to sleeping problems, appetite changes, and other physical ailments. Another thing to note is that symptoms vary from person-to-person, meaning that two people with depression may feel differently.
Depression can have a long duration and impact relationships, careers, and everyday tasks. Common indicators of depression can be noted as:
Taking little enjoyment in life.
Little to no energy level.
Appetite changes. Eating too little or too much.
One thing to note is that depression is not a choice. One cannot will themselves into a positive mindset and they cannot just “get over it.”
Depression is far worse than the average sadness. It can be all-consuming. In very severe cases, depression can lead to increased suicidal thoughts and self-harm.
Men and women also can have differences in the presentation of depression. Hormonal changes have been known to play a role in depression symptoms for women. While men are more likely to experience anger, aggression, and risk-taking behaviors.
So, what happens if I have some of the indicators? Address the issue by either contacting your doctor or a mental health professional. Depression is not something that has to be dealt with alone. By reaching out for help, it can alleviate some of the negative symptoms and lead to increases in overall well-being.
It is part of the human experience to interact with criticism, either from those we come into contact with or internal criticism. TS Elliott once stated that criticism is as inevitable as breathing. Many of us have a strong inner critic; in fact, we typically have more than one.
If you have been criticized a lot in life, your inner critic might very well be echoing the comments you received in the past.
This criticism can quickly begin to rule your inner world and cause you to get swept up in a whirlwind of harsh messages and consequent hatred for that part of yourself as you become enmeshed with the bad feelings.
What might be different if you could see yourself through the lens of a compassionate friend? This person understands your history and has endless love for you. This type of lens, the lens of compassion, can decrease the inner critics’ voice.
We have all heard that old biblical expression of loving thy neighbor as thyself, and we forget the “thyself” part as if self-compassion is in opposition to loving thy neighbor.
The introduction of self-compassion can seem so woo-woo, trivial, and even selfish upon implementation. Recognizing that this response is part of the cycle that fuels your inner critic becomes very important. The journey towards self-compassion is a long and windy road for this express reason.
It isn’t simply achieved through a pat on the back or offering yourself a “good job, buddy” because we believe we need the inner critic’s messages to continue to achieve, strive, belong, which actually are an attempt to ensure we don’t activate pain.
The inner critic is attempting to maintain safety and security, which can be very difficult to see.
Understand that the introduction of compassion does not erase criticism; criticism isn’t the ticket; it’s the way we interact with it, use it, and allow it to reinforce beliefs about ourselves.
This is the pattern that we want to begin to address through the use of self-compassion; to create space and realize our agency in deciding how we structure our lives based upon these critiques. Remember, the critic part is not bad; it is not evil. It is simply utilizing distorted means of preventing you from experiencing internal pain.
Being critical of oneself is all too easy in today’s world. Between television, movies, and social media platforms, it is no wonder that self-esteem is taking a direct hit.
It is easy to begin to compare yourself to other people. You are wanting what they have or how they look, driving your confidence down in the process. People who receive constant critical and negative assessments from friends and family see this occur as well.
Self-esteem (also known as self-worth) is an integral part of success and motivation. Having low self-esteem can dramatically affect your relationships, career, education, and even health. On the other hand, having too much can create a sense of an inflated self-importance, which is equally as damaging.
What are the warning signs of having low self-esteem?
You believe that others are better than you
You find it difficult to express your needs
You focus on your weaknesses
You frequently experience feelings such as shame, depression, or anxiety
You have a negative outlook on life
You have an intense fear of failure
You have trouble accepting positive feedback
You have difficulty saying “no”
You put other people’s needs before your own
You struggle with confidence
If you fit into any of those, you may be dealing with decreased esteem in yourself.
So, what does this mean?
Are you doomed forever to have low self-esteem?
Throughout my time as a therapist, I have observed things that help increase self-esteem levels in individuals who were struggling.
Below are some of my findings:
Become aware of negative self-talk (put-downs and self-criticism)
Change the story that you’ve created of yourself- adjust your thoughts and beliefs
Avoid comparing yourself to others
Learn to forgive yourself and others
Remember that you are not your circumstances
Set appropriate boundaries with others
Exercise and participate in regular self-care activities
This list is by no means exhaustive. It can be utilized to get the ball rolling in the right direction again. It can be challenging to change the perceptions that you have of yourself. It does not happen overnight, but it is possible.
Therefore, with hard work and self-compassion, self-destructive thoughts and beliefs can be unlearned, and self-esteem increased.
Here are some resources that you can use to go deeper into self-esteem and develop a better narrative of yourself.