Everyone experiences negative thoughts from time to time. Looking on the bright side might seem unrealistic or futile, especially during stressful situations. People can easily slip into negative mindsets and start developing a more pessimistic outlook when they feel discouraged, but this only causes more stress and anxiety. To avoid falling into a negative cycle, the first step is to recognize which thoughts are harmful or untrue.
Automatic Negative Thoughts
Many people have such habitual cycles of negative thoughts that they don’t even question the validity of their thoughts anymore. Automatic negative thoughts (ANTs), also called cognitive distortions, come to a person’s mind instantly and leave them feeling discouraged and defeated. But these thoughts are usually far from the truth!
Before you can start challenging or replacing your negative thoughts, you need to become more aware of your thought processes and be willing to understand that they’re unrealistic. To help you start recognizing the damaging thoughts, here are nine of the most common ANTs people experience:
How to Set ANT Traps and Practice Positivity
Once you recognize your negative thoughts, then you can work towards stopping them and replacing them with positive thoughts. Dr. Daniel G. Amen writes,” If you can catch them at the moment they occur and correct them, you take away the power they have over you.” Dr. Amen and other researchers suggest the following steps to begin changing your thoughts:
Why Positivity Matters
Mark George, M.D., researched the brain activity in women during three different moods: happy, neutral, and sad. He noticed that the deep limbic system became much more active when the women were sad, but it calmed down significantly when they thought positively. The study proved that thoughts create physical reactions throughout your brain and body. Sadness can cause muscle tension, increased sweating, and a faster heart rate, while positive thoughts help relax and calm people.
Positivity combined with eliminating negative self-talk has been shown to have excellent health benefits. Researchers claim that positive thinkers typically have:
If negative thoughts are holding you back from fully enjoying your life, therapy may be a great option for you. View our therapist profiles or schedule an appointment today.
Many people dread the transition from autumn to winter. The days grow shorter and colder, and thoughts of the upcoming holiday season can cause unneeded stress or dread in anyone’s life. While some are content with the colder weather and happily bundle up to continue their regular routines, others find winter much more difficult to manage. It is estimated that 2-3% of Canadians suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder at any given time, and winter is the most common time for SAD symptoms to flare up.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
The main criteria for SAD is that an individual must experience major depression or manic episodes that coincide with certain seasons every year for at least 2 years in a row. SAD itself isn’t a type of mood disorder; instead, it’s considered to be a type of major depression or bipolar depression.
However, unlike chronic depression, those affected by SAD won’t experience symptoms during other seasons of the year. For most people with SAD, they begin experiencing symptoms in late autumn or winter, but their symptoms go into remission when spring arrives.
Symptoms of SAD
To have a diagnosis of SAD, the symptoms should be a result of the changing seasons rather than stressful life situations. For example, a person who commonly feels down in the winter due to slow business or lack of work is experiencing other stressors that aren’t directly related to the season. Someone with SAD will notice that the same symptoms appear during specific seasons regardless of how happy they are, or how well their life is going. Although everyone experiences SAD differently, some common symptoms can include:
You might be tempted to just “wait it out” and see if your symptoms go away on their own, but this will only increase the chances of the symptoms becoming more severe. Even though the symptoms may last only a few months, about 6% of people with seasonal affective disorder have to be hospitalized due to their intense feelings of depression or hopelessness.
For any type of depression, including SAD, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will likely run a few tests to rule out other illnesses that can mimic symptoms of SAD, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, low blood sugar, or underactive thyroid. If you are diagnosed with SAD, you will have a few different treatment options, including:
Ways to Decrease SAD Symptoms
Treatment may take some time before you start feeling better, so doctors also recommend making a few small changes in your daily life to combat SAD. These tips can be useful for anyone who may feel a little sluggish or unmotivated at any time during the winter, so encourage your family and loved ones to follow this advice as well!
For more help coping with the symptoms of any depressive disorder, reach out to us at Oakville Wellness Center.
I do not ask a wounded person how he feels,
I myself become the wounded person,
My heart turns livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
Empathy and sympathy are two words we hear a lot, particularly in the context of one person reacting or relating to the difficult circumstances or challenging situation of another.
What’s the difference, exactly?
Empathy is About Sharing Feelings
In her charming video about the subject, University of Houston researcher Brené Brown says that empathy involves sharing feelings or being able to feel with someone.
Sympathy, though it also involves recognizing another person’s emotions, often leads to a response that tries to minimize the intensity of the other person’s experience, the offer of a solution or way to ‘fix the problem.’
An empathetic reaction recognizes that there isn’t necessarily a response that can make things better. “Connection makes things better,” Brown says.
The Four Qualities of Empathy
Theresa Wiseman, a nursing scholar, describes four qualities of empathy. These include:
Sharing is Caring
What should you say when someone comes to you upset and struggling with overwhelming emotions? Brené Brown suggests that sometimes the best thing to say is, “I don’t know what to say, but I am really glad you told me.” Fostering a sense of caring and acceptance is often more helpful than trying to come up with a solution to a problem.
Walk a Mile in My Shoes
An empathetic reaction is only possible when you are able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, to recognize in yourself the same emotional reaction to a similar experience.
Sympathy Recognizes Emotional Experience
Sympathy, on the other hand, involves a recognition or acknowledgement of the other person’s emotional experience without necessarily also sharing a personal understanding of the experience. Comforting the other person and providing reassurance are kind and thoughtful responses to another person’s emotional pain even when it’s not possible to directly relate through shared experience.
Though a sympathetic response may be much appreciated when someone is suffering, an empathetic response can lead to a deep connection between people who feel they have a special bond as a result of a strong shared emotional experience.
In both empathy and sympathy, kindness and compassion underlie the desire (and ability) to recognize the experiences of others.
Too Much (Or Too Little) Empathy Can be Problematic
For someone who is naturally empathetic and feels the emotional pain of others often and deeply, it’s possible to feel overwhelmed. For natural empaths, it’s important to maintain boundaries and practice self care so as not to take on too much of another’s emotional pain.
The opposite is the case when someone is unable to share the emotional experiences of others. A sociopath is someone who has trouble empathizing with others while a psychopath lacks this ability completely.
Children Can Learn to Be Empathetic
Developing empathetic skills requires practice and that practice can start in early childhood. Teaching our children to talk about their own emotions and to recognize and identify the emotions experienced by others lays the foundation needed to become empathetic adults.
Expressing Sympathy is Also Rooted in Kindness
Given that we all have different life experiences and emotional reactions, it’s impossible to always have a deeply empathetic reaction to everyone else’s intense emotional experiences. When we can’t directly relate an emotional experience of our own to one we encounter in someone else, then expressing sympathy is a way to recognize and validate another person’s emotional pain. Learning to recognize similarities in our own past emotional responses even when the exact circumstances may differ is a way to deepen the empathetic response. By allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and share in another’s pain we are able to form rich and deep connections with others.
For more information on establishing boundaries so you don’t feel overwhelmed in emotionally intense encounters, using empathy to strengthen your primary relationships, or raising empathetic children and teenagers, visit the Oakville Wellness Center.
What does it mean to be “authentic”? The dictionary definition of authenticity is “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.” But while this short, simple phrase may sum up the notion accurately, actually being authentic can be surprisingly complex.
Letting go of negativity and judgment helps, but also creating and serving others allows you to go outside of yourself. Apply the following practices to release fear, anxiety and guilt, and to introduce positivity, optimism and inspiration:
Tune Into Your Intuitive Abilities
Discussing your feelings with others, asking for advice, and being open to constructive criticism are all very important. However, don’t be afraid to trust your own opinions and intuitions, either. Social upbringing, culture, and a whole lot of other factors causes people to feel doubt and to question everything. Authentic turn to others for guidance -- but they don’t allow themselves to be lead around by the thoughts or desires of others without taking their own aspirations and desires into account.
Darlene Lancer of PsychCentral once wrote, “We can’t control other people’s reaction, so we also must know that we can nurture and sustain ourselves”. Nurturing oneself sounds great doesn’t it? Yes, it’s “easier said than done”; but it just takes discipline and practice, until little by little you develop a strength and confidence in yourself. Try meditating and reflecting inward and ask your authentic self the same questions you’ve asked others; and answer back genuinely and truthfully, and free of judgment; then listen to your intuition and take action.
Find Friends Who Foster Happiness and Success
Think about that old saying, “You are are who you hangout with”. Surround yourself with people who foster bad habits and cynical attitudes and you’ll start to act, think and sound like them. On the flipside, involve yourself with successful and authentic leaders, and you’ll gradually begin to feel motivated, inspired, and yes, authentic. Jessica Stillman of Inc.com wrote that even if “you have an 'I am less than them' feeling,” when interacting with successful figures, “If they are a genuine leaders, they will help you”. Stillman also advises to find friends and colleagues that make you “feel comfortable in your own skin." Think about taking those next steps in walking away from toxic relationships, and into life-changing ones.
Discover Authenticity through Helping Others
In the article, Volunteering--7 Big Reasons Why Serving Others Serves Us, Kathy Gottberg, explains that “a part of our brain lights up when we help others; that part of our brain then doles out feel-good chemicals like dopamine, and possibly serotonin”. You’ve heard about the “runner’s-high,” will this achieves similar feelings and is known as the “helper’s high”. By serving others in need, people typically feel more fulfilled, meaningful, peaceful and closer to their authentic self. By serving the community (whether that’s leading an AA group, writing a self-help book, or working at a soup-kitchen), you’ll experience a deeper connection to others which creates both outward and inward love.
Do I Need Professional Help To Feel Authentic?
Quite simply, you can achieve authenticity and fulfillment all by yourself. However, when you feel down and gloomy or anxious day in and day out, you may want to consider getting psychiatric and/or therapeutic help -- even if it’s just for someone to listen with undivided attention!
Oakville Wellness Center, has several certified therapists with various special focuses and styles. If you do not feel authentic after trying to love yourself and others, then consider contacting one of the therapists at Oakville Wellness Center. Struggling should not happen alone, if you feel isolated or misunderstood, seek out help today. With the right therapy (and sometimes medication) and self-help practices, you’ll feel significantly more at ease and closer to your authentic self.
Whether you feel stuck in a dead-end job or you still haven’t lost those 15 pounds you were determined to lose by last year’s New Year’s resolution, it can be frustrating to feel like you are not making any progress in your life. You may feel as though you ended up following a daily routine that has made your life become unintentionally stagnant. While getting stuck in a rut is a common experience for all people, staying stuck does not have to be your only option.
People can feel trapped or stuck in any area of their lives, including romantic relationships, physical health, the workplace, or even at home. However, feeling like you’re in an endless cycle of the same experiences usually does not mean there is a lack of opportunities in your life. You may need to take a step back to reflect on your mindset; feeling stuck can be due to one or more of these negative, unhelpful feelings:
Advice to Free Yourself
When people become stuck in a negative mindset or situation, it is common for them to wait for something to change rather than implementing a change themselves. Change is scary and will always come with certain risks, but there is no sure way to free yourself from a rut without changing some part of your life. Some small ways of implementing change can include:
Feeling Permanently Stuck?
Sometimes, change can seem out of reach, or even impossible. Maybe you’ve been stuck in a negative relationship and aren’t sure how to get out of it, or perhaps finding a new job will cause new difficulties in other areas of your life. Trying to get out of a rut on your own can be challenging, frightening, or simply exhausting. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still feel trapped, speaking to a professional can be the first step you need to get unstuck.
Qualified therapists at Oakville Wellness Center can help you identify any negative thoughts that are impeding you from reaching your goals and assist you in sorting out what’s holding you back from personal growth. If you’re ready to start making small changes to become unstuck, you can schedule an appointment online today to focus on your own well-being and hear advice from a new perspective.
Complex trauma can be debilitating and affect a person's quality of life. According to the the Center for treatment of anxiety order and mood orders, complex trauma can occur in more than one form. Understanding what creates complex trauma can help us to identify when it’s present. When you know what your facing you can create a better plan for action.
Complex trauma is often referred to as PTSD. Oftentimes, people mistakenly believe that the only people who can be diagnosed are soldiers or witnesses of violent crimes. In reality, complex trauma or PTSD can present itself from a multitude of situations. This article will take a look at some of the incidents that could cultivate complex trauma as well as the symptoms associated. Being able to identify potential PTSD can empower you to help and take action.
Main Common Causes Of Complex Trauma
Complex trauma is created by repeated traumatic incidents. Dr. Courtois from Psychology today was able to summarize the events that can cause complex trauma. She wrote about her findings in an article called, “Understanding Complex Trauma, Complex Reactions, and Treatment Approaches” A lot of readers were surprised to learn that complex trauma can extend out to events that don’t involve physical abuse or violence. The research shows instead that prolonged exposure to harmful situations can be traumatic.
For a child, a harmful situation could be an emotionally abusive parent. Children are completely dependent upon responsible authority figures to survive. Trauma occurs when these authority figures cause the child to suffer neglect or maltreatment. As a result of the neglect feelings of negative feelings start to form. When the child is repeatedly exposed to traumatic events, complex trauma will start to form. The child will be living in an unsafe version of reality. This uncertain world presents the child with an intense level of fear, anxiety, and stress.
Complex trauma can occur in both children and in adults. For either one, the trauma would have to present itself as inescapable. For example being in an abusive relationship without any chance of escaping. With no foreseeable end, the individual will be subjected to an endless harmful environment. Perceiving yourself to be trapped in a bad situation for a long period of time can lead to PTSD.
Symptoms Associated With Complex Trauma
Emotional pain can start to form from immediately after the first traumatic event. Guilt is often associated with this emotional pain. A deep-rooted guilt that can stay with a child for a lifetime. According to,The Very Well Mind, guilt is formed when the individual thinks the trauma is their fault. This guilt can be a heavy burden for both children and adults.
Guilt is associated with complex trauma regardless of the triggering incident. An individual can experience guilt from sexual abuse, physical abuse, combat exposure and more. The guilt can start to turn inwards even deeper and evolve into shame. Shame for not preventing the trauma or shame for talking about it. Either way, the shame is serious and if untreated can lead to depression and suicidal tendencies. The national center for PTSD says that it is more common for victims of abuse to commit suicides.
Victims Of Complex Trauma Can Be Harmful To Themselves
Suicide isn’t the only risk presented to those who suffer from complex trauma. Having an intensely negative inner dialogue is another side effect. Psych Alive says that left unchecked this inner voice can take a major toll on self-confidence. Self-criticism and debilitating self-thoughts are just two signs of complex trauma. It’s worth noting that most people experience some form of an inner critic. However, for victims of complex trauma the negative inner voice is more destructive.
The very nature of complex trauma circulates around isolation. The individual has to feel like they can’t escape the situation they are in. This setup allows for the negative inner voice to be more prevalent. The isolation subjects the individual to an endlessly harsh thinking pattern. With a harmful thinking pattern in place, destructive lifestyle patterns usually surface. For example, a child who was emotionally abused may seek out an abusive adult relationship.
Take The Next Step To Healing Complex Trauma
Once you think you’ve identified complex trauma you can begin to take action. You do not have to be alone in your journey. The Oakville Wellness Center is staffed with experienced professionals who are dedicated to helping people heal.
The Oakville Wellness Center staff members are experienced with both diagnosing and treating complex trauma. Their onsite therapist staff includes a psychotherapist, life coach, occupational therapist and speech-language pathologist. All of their therapists have received a full thorough training and are registered. Many of the therapist services will be covered by insurance plans.
If you need to take action towards feeling better, they will welcome you with open arms.
No relationship is perfect, but sometimes what appears to be just a small communication issue might be hiding something deeper. Codependency and trauma are two issues that can wreak havoc in both romantic and familial relationships. People with codependent personality disorders and individuals who have experienced trauma can often have unhealthy coping mechanisms that may leave them feeling anxious, hopeless, or depressed.
If you’re in a relationship where you feel like you’re giving much more than receiving, fear conflict or rejection from your partner, or have difficulty expressing your feelings, wants, and needs, you could be traumatized or have a codependent personality disorder.
What is Codependency?
Codependency, simply put, is a type of dysfunctional relationship where one individual consistently puts the needs of others before their own. Codependent individuals tend to be passive “people pleasers,” and they will go to extreme measures to try to avoid conflict, abandonment, and rejection from others. Other symptoms of codependent personality disorder can include:
Those with codependent personality disorder can ignore their own needs for so long that they become chronically fatigued. Along with feeling exhausted, they may begin to feel hopeless, helpless, or even incompetent. They may try to “help” someone they care about in unhealthy ways, such as enabling. Enabling is a behavior that codependent people may use in an attempt to relieve potential tension in a relationship. Enabling includes making excuses for a person’s repeated actions, ignoring or belittling problematic behaviors, bailing someone out multiple times, or covering up a person’s illegal or dangerous activities.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is described as an emotional or psychological response to a stressful or disturbing event. Because trauma is subjective, it covers a broad range of different events. For example, a person could be traumatized from childhood emotional neglect, while someone else can experience trauma after escaping from natural disasters such as hurricanes. Due to the many types of traumatic experiences someone could have endured, psychologists have categorized trauma into three main categories in order to help victims:
Trauma can happen at any point in someone’s life, and each person reacts to a traumatic event differently. However, regardless of the type of trauma endured, trauma victims often share many of the same symptoms. These can include:
Differences Between Trauma and Codependency
Trauma and codependency share several of the same symptoms, but the reason behind the symptoms are entirely different. People who have experienced trauma may feel anxious or deeply depressed because they were hurt, witnessed a horrific event, or lost a loved one. On the other hand, those who struggle with codependency could feel anxious and depressed due to fear of being unliked or abandoned and constantly taking care of other people.
Pete Walker, M.A., discovered in his years of study that trauma victims and codependent individuals have different responses to the “four F’s,” which stand for fight, flight, freeze, and fawn. He notes that when confronted with stressful situations, trauma victims tend to “freeze,” or dissociate to distance themselves from the problem. Those with codependent personality disorder instead “fawns,” or tries to become as useful or helpful as possible in order to try and escape pain or punishment.
Coping with Trauma and Codependency
Candace Plattor, M.A., says the important first step is to start working towards a “healthy balance” of assertiveness. Saying “no” when you don’t want to do something and being ready to face potentially negative reactions from others can slowly ease you out of people-pleasing behaviors.
Coping with trauma and codependent behaviors can be difficult to handle on your own, but there is help and hope. At Oakville Wellness Center, there are trained therapists available to help you manage your symptoms and begin your recovery. Here, therapists are often covered by insurance, and there are evening and weekend appointments available. If you’re ready to take the next step towards healing from trauma or codependency, you can book your appointment online today.
Everyone you’re close to has likely disappointed you or hurt your feelings in some way at some point. Maybe your significant other forgot your birthday, or your friend accidentally said something hurtful. Occasional hurt feelings in close relationships are to be expected, and once your loved ones realize they’ve disappointed you, they will likely apologize and promise to be better in the future.
But what happens when your loved ones continue the same behavior after you’ve told them multiple times that it hurts you? It can be easier to continually say, “It’s OK” and forgive them, but it can cause bitterness and resentment to grow within you. On the other hand, standing up to the other person and explaining that their behavior is unacceptable can seem too harsh. Navigating this grey area between acceptance of your loved ones and expecting more from them can be a delicate process, but it is necessary to learn the difference between occasional human mistakes and toxic behaviors.
When to Set Boundaries
The difference between an occasional mistake and potentially toxic behavior will become apparent over time. For example, if a friend shows up late to meet you, and they profusely apologize while explaining what made them late, that’s a forgivable mistake. But if that same friend continues to show up late, week after week, it can start to impact your schedule when you spend time waiting for them to arrive. That’s a valid reason for you to assert yourself and ask your friend to respect your time by managing their own schedule better.
Another common example of toxic behavior can be found in the workplace. Your boss might routinely ignore your input in meetings, or you may struggle with passive-aggressive co-workers. In 2016, 62% of workers interviewed reported that they had been treated rudely at least once a month while at work.
Working in a toxic environment or navigating a troubled relationship can be exhausting, but the stress can be lessened by establishing healthy boundaries for yourself.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries
The first step in setting boundaries is knowing your personal wants, needs and values. Boundaries should be set with your personal comfort level in mind. You might have both flexible and non-negotiable boundaries. For example, a flexible boundary could include your personal schedule; you may prefer to work until 5 p.m., but you can work until 5:30 if needed. A non-negotiable boundary relates to aspects of your life such as your personal health or your family’s needs. If someone in your life seems to be constantly infringing upon your boundaries, there are some steps to keep in mind.
Advice for Dealing with Difficult Relationships
When someone in your life continues to disrespect or hurt you, it can take a negative toll on your mental and emotional health. Beginning to start establishing boundaries for yourself can be a difficult process, whether you’re struggling with workplace tension or dealing with a negative friend. At Oakville Wellness Center, qualified therapists are available for individual and couples counseling to help you begin a better chapter in your life.
Some people believe that establishing boundaries means keeping people at a distance or pushing others away, but this isn’t the case. Dr. Dana Gionta says that establishing healthy boundaries means knowing your emotional, physical, and mental limits. When those limits are crossed, you may become uncomfortable or even resentful towards others.
Unhealthy boundaries can occur with anyone in your life, including your romantic partner, friends, and family members. Learning about the common signs of unhealthy boundaries can help you recognize relationships in your own life that may need healthy boundaries established.
Boundaries in Romantic Relationships
Boundaries can sometimes be hard to discern in romantic relationship because partners are inclined to share not only tangible items with each other, but also secrets, fears, and other personal emotions. Counselor Gary Gilles says that healthy boundaries should distinguish the responsibilities of both partners. He states that each person is responsible for:
Healthy boundaries foster better communication and responsibility for both you and your partner. But sometimes emotions can cloud your judgment and lead to unhealthy boundaries. Some common boundary infractions in relationships can include:
Boundaries in Friendships
Since each one of your friendships differ, your boundaries will likely vary as well. People will naturally let their closest friends know more about them, but be more guarded when it comes to new friends. Healthy boundaries between friends should include:
Have you ever had a friend who never showed up on time, or a friend that talked about you behind your back? These are common boundary violations that can occur in both old and new friendships. Other unhealthy boundaries can include:
Boundaries With Parents
As you grow older, boundaries between you and your parents are going to change. Whether you’re just about to move out of your parent’s house or if you’ve been living independently for years, stay tuned to signs of unhealthy boundaries such as:
How to Begin Establishing Healthy Boundaries
Standing up for yourself and talking to others about your limits is a challenging process. If talking about all of your boundaries sounds too overwhelming, that’s OK. Dr. Gionta recommends starting to practice being assertive in small ways first. You could begin by telling a friend “no” if you don’t want to do something. Below are some more steps you can take in establishing healthy boundaries.
It can also be helpful to seek support if you feel defeated by unhealthy boundaries. You can start by taking this relationship assessment created by Oakville Wellness Center to gauge your relationship health. If your results concern you, or if you just need support, Oakville Wellness Center has well-qualified therapists to help you develop the skills and confidence needed to start establishing healthy boundaries.
We all know how trying everyday life can be. The minute you roll out of bed, it hits you that you have a long day ahead of you: feeding the dog and letting him out, prepare breakfast or just some coffee to go, slaving away at work. You might not even remember the last time you could sit in total silence and just breathe.
As you might imagine, you are not alone. In fact, it has been reported that nearly 30% of Canadians because the ages of 15 and 75 regularly experience high levels of stress at work. Of course, work is just one face of stress. Add children into the mix and their countless demands, and you must take away some more of your alone time. Caregiver for a sick relative? There goes more--if not all--of your opportunity to relax. Fortunately, as more research regarding the importance of self-care emerges, so do more clever tips to enjoy it--even for the busiest of people. Read on to learn all about self-care.
Self-Care in a Nutshell
Self-care is a fuzzy-sounding term with a relatively straightforward definition: it simply refers to anything you might do with the intention of improving your physical well-being or peace of mind, or both. For instance, perhaps even with your hectic schedule, you still set aside time to prepare yourself a healthy, well-balanced dinner. This could be considered an act of self-care. Other things people might do to improve their physical and mental health include going for a jog, meditating, taking a hot bath, or watching a favorite movie. In short, if it brings you some sense of pleasure, lowers your stress levels, and contributes to your general health, it can be considered self-care.
Why Self-Care is Important
Sometimes the things we find most rewarding are also the most exhausting. For instance, if you care for a severely ill parent, you likely take great pleasure in being able to provide for someone you love deeply. But there is one thing you have trouble admitting to yourself: it is hard, sometimes too hard. You might even feel as though taking a break to attend to your own needs would be selfish. Indeed, sometimes we think we need to wear our stress like a badge of honor. But understand that stress is not just a nagging nuisance to you. Below are some reasons you should take self-care seriously.
- Your Health Could Be at Stake. Yes, being overly stressed can actually affect your physical health. You might get frequent migraines, upset stomachs, even insomnia when all you want to do is sleep. Stress that goes unchecked for too long has even been associated with such conditions as hypertension and heart disease.
If you fall seriously ill, do you think you will be able to be the best caregiver you can be? Probably not. Not to mention, the people who care about you likely want the best for you. And that includes taking time for yourself.
- You Could Be Compromising Your Productivity. You might believe that doing more equals more accomplished. However, if you push yourself to the point of feeling ill or overly stressed, you could be harming your productivity rather than helping it. It has been established over the years that employees who experience the most stress take almost twice as many sick days as their less stressed counterparts. Even if you do not call off sick, can you really be performing your best if your mind is racing ceaselessly?
How to Practice Self-Care
Now that you know what self-care is and why you should practice it. But how can you get started? Below are some tips to help you develop your own self-care routine.
- Pamper yourself; practice great personal hygiene. Sure, even during times of stress, you might perform basic hygiene like brushing your teeth and showering. Sometimes, however, stressed people do not give themselves adequate time to attend to their grooming needs. Your self-care might involve a longer shower. You might even spend extra time styling your hair. It might not seem like much, but taking care of your appearance can help you feel more confident.
- Take time to enjoy healthy, satisfying meals. Most people understand the importance of healthy eating on both physical and mental health. But what about giving yourself the time to eat in the first place? Instead of wolfing down a bag of chips and sandwich at lunch, set time aside to prepare yourself a meal you will actually look forward to, one that ideally offers ample nutrition. Then, actually take your lunch break. Do not look at your phone. Do not try to sneak in work. Simply focus on eating and feeling satisfied.
- Spend time with the people you care about. Yes, sometimes it is hard to make plans when your schedule is packed. But even if you cannot go on a lunch date with your close friend, consider calling her just to chat. You do not have to discuss your woes; you can talk about whatever makes you happy, maybe even laugh a bit.
Want more advice about dealing with stress? Visit Oakville Wellness Center to get started.