Winter Blahs

Photo by Zhang Kenny on Unsplash

Many of my clients are experiencing what I would call the winter blahs. The time of year where just being a lump of flesh under warm blankets with fuzzy slippers and doing little else seems the preferable way of living.

While some only have a slight case, others have what would be considered something more. It is a short few steps from winter blahs to depression. And it is an easy road to travel this time of year especially. Making it worse than winters past is the ongoing specter of COVID and everything that comes with it.

The winter months always come with shorter days, which means less sunlight, when there is sunlight. And that leads the next thing, there is less sunlight with more overcast and cloudy days that can include lots of rain or lots of snow. Inclement weather makes it more difficult and less enjoyable to be outside in many cases, especially if the temperatures are very cold. All of this seems to translate into an innate instinct to hibernate much as many animals do this time of year.

Unfortunately, with COVID many of use have already been basically hibernating for several months already. This leads to a feeling of “never ending” hibernation. That we are somehow trapped inside and going out may never come again. Add to that some extra pounds for many of us due to the sheer boredom of being inside so long and running out of things to inspire us or motivate us.

Inspiration and motivation continue to shrink as our waistline expands. And we feel more and more like the lump of flesh our minds believe us to be. A vicious circle of winter blahs that have actually been going on for far longer.

Winter is not over though it is moving at a rapid pace it seems as it is now February. Yet, it continues, and how do we find motivation and inspiration when much of what surrounds us remains the same.

Just as with any habit, we do it in small bits, repeated until habits form, and then we add small bits to it and repeat the process. Pick one thing you want to incorporate into your life right now, that can be done in a very small way and repeated for at least 20 to 30 days, which is how long most people take to form something into a habit. When that habit is formed and you do it without having to think about it or make yourself do it, add another small something or a bigger part of the first habit to increase it and repeat again for 20 to 30 days.

And look it will be April and spring will be near.

What will your small one thing be starting today?

Until next time be well,

Deborah

Fear Of Change

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

When clients come to see me for the first time, they always say that they want to change their lives and change who they are in their lives. However, when we start working on that change and they start to think about what that change is going to look like, their fear can sometimes keep them from making forward progress.

When we have trauma, we have developed responses to that trauma since the trauma started. With every subsequent trauma, we have more responses added. All of these responses shape how we think, how we react, and how we live.

Over years of time, regardless of how miserable we are or how bad our lives have become, we become comfortable in the knowing that this is the way things are and we know this person we have become very well. Much like an old blanket or comfortable slippers, they don’t exactly keep us warm anymore but we know them, we are comfortable in them, and we are not inclined to change them for something new.

When the little thoughts of change or the actual changes start to occur when we start to address our trauma and responses, fear becomes a constant companion. Fear of who we will be without these worn in parts of ourselves. Fear of what we will lose and who we will lose if we opt for the new person we can become. Fear of the unknown instead of the old and comfortable.

This fear can be overcome, but it is not going to be comfortable. No serious work on trauma ever is. It is not going to be easy. It is not going to be quick. It may well be the hardest work you will ever do and the scariest.

So what can help us overcome this fear of change? Accepting that we will be different. Accepting that our lives will be different. Accepting that not everyone will make this journey with us. Accepting that we can live happier, healthier lives and that we deserve to do so.

The first step is always the hardest. Admitting that change needs to happen.

Until next time be well,

Deborah

Moving Towards Margin

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Margin. The possession of space in your mind, body, and spirit to take on life’s challenges and choices. For many people, especially the past year, margin has been in short supply.

Many times, we find ourselves pushed to the edge and beyond it emotionally and mentally, and yes physically. Pushed by those who expect us to help them or in some cases enable them to solve or avoid their own problems. Children who come with presenting issues that they make seem like life or death and they expect us to solve them immediately. Bosses who bring their own stress to our desks and expect us to somehow make it better immediately. Significant others who expect us to make their lives easier immediately.

If we have no margin, we respond out of our own overload. Sometimes, our responses include a turmoil of emotions and even words that can be regretted later. Sometimes, we do it quietly and with complicity, holding in our own turmoil. The silently seething. Sometimes, we respond and respond and respond for others leaving nothing for ourselves but exhaustion and bitterness.

We can feel driven that our function our need is to always do for others. To make sure that other people are happy and that we do not rock any boats along the way. We keep the peace. We serve others completely.

We can feel that to be valued we must be seen to be involved in everything. We take on extra work responsibilities. We are in the PTA and every other school activity with our kids. We never say no to anything or anyone.

When asked for a response or to “fix” things for someone else, we do not hesitate no matter how tired and emotionally drained we feel. We continue to draw from a well with no reserves.

How do we move towards margin? We have to pause before responding. We have to breathe and examine why we are responding or why we feel we must respond. We have to know who our response is serving. We have to recognize our well is dry.

If the request that is being made of us or that we are creating for ourselves is not life or death, it does not require an immediate response. We can pause, breathe, ponder, choose and THEN do.

All of this has to be communicated to those requesting that we respond. If your child comes to you and exclaims that they need answer right now, request time to gather your thoughts, examine your response choices, breathe, and that you will respond to them after this is done.

You will receive push back from others and from yourself feeling that you must immediately respond. It is not necessary.

You must also find time for yourself. For your own self-care. For your own mental, spiritual, and physical health. Margin requires constant tending to remain accessible and to keep you from exhaustion and for not making sure you are serving yourself.

Are you moving towards margin?

Until next time be well,

Deborah