SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace.Find happiness.Find yourself

Tag: breathe

COVID-19, ever heard of it?

What a crazy time to be alive, huh? There are many unknowns, new experiences, unanswered questions, and societal shifts. Everything we are currently experiencing will have a substantial impact on society, and it clearly already has. We are stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. And isn’t it fascinating, and disturbing, how much people’s behavior changes when motivated by fear? The amount of chaos that is felt, uncertainty, and lack of control is enough to send anyone over the edge, and sometimes fear can come out in confusing and unfortunate ways.

It’s an interesting shift for us all right now in many of the same ways, as well as having our own variety of differences…New perspective on our lives, raw and deep conversations, different ways of planning and viewing the world and our priorities. And regardless all of this chaos and uncertainty, I keep coming back to one primary thought and focus; how beautiful this experience is. Literally, an entire world going through the same hardship together. What I have encountered with this pandemic is another level of vulnerability that’s being discovered between us that I have never felt before. It’s created more open and honest conversations with ourselves and those around us. It’s created the ability to witness our communities coming together in powerful and impactful ways. It has taught us to learn technology in new ways and review outdated work policies to create a healthier work environment. And it’s provided for time on our hands we didn’t know could exist.

Of course, we want to be aware of the suffering, confusion, and fear this brings into many people’s lives. And also be aware that not everyone has the ability to work from home, still have an income, or afford the financial burden and additional life barriers this creates. Yet we can also embrace the unique positives this has to offer. COVID-19 has simplified our lives for a moment, it has provided an opportunity to appreciate life, and has renewed our love for the communities we live in…As we have to endure this pandemic no matter our feelings and experiences with the situation, how can we use it to our benefit? COVID-19 is clearly out of our control, for the most part, so what can we do to find the beauty in the experience? We might as well view the positive side too and change our mindset, as we have no choice but to endure this until it subsides.

Personally, one thing I’ve come to realize through this is how little peace I have in my life. I am constantly on the go and distracted with intensity seeping into every inch of my life. I distract myself constantly with my daily routine, not allowing time for quiet or self reflection, or not giving time to things that truly matter in my life. As a human race, this pandemic has forced us to be alone, or constantly be with family, or not work at all or work from home…These situations can all be incredible opportunities if we choose to use them.

What house projects have you had to put off because of work, or quality time you’ve wanted to spend with your family that never seemed to take priority, or hobbies you have been meaning to start or pick back up? What tedious work tasks can you take time to focus on? What are ways you can give back to your community in a time of need? Hint: NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT ALL.
Even though I’m still working from home full time, not having those additional tasks at work, not running around for my daily errands, and not attending social events, there is this extra quiet time during my day that I am taking advantage of…This is simplifying pieces of my life. I even forced myself to binge Netflix the other day without feeling guilty about it, and I’ve never done that before! (Damn you, Tiger King). I also picked up a book I stopped reading, I workout in silence, I spend more time FaceTiming friends and family and discovered I listen better. I’m more calm and go with the flow as everything around us seems to be out of our control, and I see the world a little differently now. I have rediscovered my love for cooking and baking. And as much as I hate running, I’ve been jogging outside and spending more time in nature than I ever had ‘time’ for. I have also seen more teenagers outdoors than usual, and it’s incredible to see the creativity that has been produced through this. Whether projects at home with the family, unique ways to work out, or ideas for continuing to ‘see’ our friends and family, the amount of love, creativity, humor, and community togetherness I have felt is something I do not think we could experience outside of this pandemic. And it is the only time in our lives (hopefully) that something of this nature will occur. There are pieces of this that are pretty incredible, and a rare opportunity to take advantage of…

Think of all the seemingly small things we take for granted and how it is all being put into perspective; running to the store and choosing items from stocked shelves, grabbing a beer with friends, seeing coworkers every day and having a stable job, going to the gym, just breathing without assuming you’re sick, and ultimately living life the way we know it to be. I’m hopeful that all of this helps us become who we always strived to be, whether that’s being more family oriented, or crafty, or facing our deepest fears and insecurities, or calling loved ones more often. Seeing the typically small things for big things right now because it brings us joy, whereas before these small things were overlooked with the busyness of our lives. The beauty of it all is what we can take away from this, if we choose. We can choose to face our fears and potential realities, we will heal and grieve together, we may dream bigger or live simpler after this, and we will move forward and be okay. And someday, this can be a time we choose to reminisce about and think, “what a fascinating and beautiful time it was to be alive”. 

What does this experience create an opportunity for? That is the ultimate gift. 

We are all in this together ~

-keep shining
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It’ll be okay…

It’ll be okay, even if you….

  • Slept in too late 
  • Made a mistake 
  • Couldn’t focus at work 
  • Didn’t meet your goal
  • Feel tired 
  • Want to be sad 
  • Fear change 
  • Compare yourself to others 
  • Over analyze 
  • Said no 
  • Aren’t perfect 
  • Think life is hard 
  • Can’t let go 
  • Broke the rules 
  • Don’t know the answer 
  • Are angry 
  • Put yourself first 
  • Took a risk 

(it’s what makes you human)

-Keep shining

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Top 10 Reasons To Call In Sick

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On Monday I woke up with an agenda on my mind. I had things to do, people to see, and money to make. It was a Monday, after all, and we all know what that means! So you can imagine how frustrating my morning was, waking up sick as I have been the past few days. Lucky for my husband, I had no ability to use my voice for 4 days. Unlucky for my agenda and career, my every day life requires me to use my voice to coordinate, train, and meet with people.

This current experience of being sick has been a clear reminder to me of how much I like order and control in my life. Being sick makes me feel vulnerable and incapable of doing every day tasks, especially ones that have been planned and coordinated in advance. And let me tell you, I do not like this feeling. The feeling of having to reschedule trainings, not being able to answer my phone calls, having co-workers take on my job duties…This is extremely difficult for me to accept.

During my personal pity party Monday morning, it dawned on me that there is absolutely nothing I can do about being sick. I realized that I needed to accept that the situation was out of my control, and that everything is going to be okay! Everyone will go on with their lives and in the meantime I will get healthy again. Once I somewhat accepted this ( I am still working on it) I came up with a quick list of things to remember in times when things do not go according to our plans:

  1. Life will go on – If you’re frustrated with things not going according to plan or not having control over a situation, I can guarantee you that you’ll move on. Someday, you will not even remember what you’re upset about right now, in this moment, and it will not matter. Is this really worth stressing over right now?
  2. “Let go and let God” – To me, this saying means that by letting go and going with the flow, things will fall into place as they are meant to. Everything happens for a reason, and there is a reason you aren’t in control in this very moment. Embrace it, accept it.
  3. This too shall pass – My favorite saying that my grandmother used to say. I use this all the time! Whether I am sick, scared, annoyed, in pain, hurt, etc…I remind myself that soon this will be over, and I will be past this moment in my life even stronger than I was before.  This is comforting to remind myself during icky moments.
  4. People can carry on without you – Yes, it’s true. People can go about their daily lives without you in it for the time being. Maybe those people will learn something new today because you weren’t present and/or in control. Maybe they will appreciate you even more when they experience moments without you present or without you being in charge. Everyone will be okay without your help and/or presence today, I promise. 
  5. Breathe and enjoy letting go – Enjoy the time you have to sit back, not make any decisions, and breathe.  It’s okay to slow down from time to time and understand that you cannot solve all the world’s problems today. What other options do you have now that you are not in control? What else are you able to accomplish today that typically you would not have the ability to do? Yes, you may be sick like me, but it still allows you some extra time in your day to do other things. Even if those other things consist of binge watching tv and staying in your pajamas all day. Who cares?! Enjoy that time to yourself, even if you are feeling crumby. 
  6. Embrace the chaos – Use this time to your advantage and challenge yourself. If things are not going according to plan, what can you learn from this? Try to find the pieces to enjoy! Are you home sick like me? Great, take that time to do the laundry in between working from home. Have that cup of afternoon coffee  that typically you do not have time for.
    Are you in a situation where you have no control? Or in a situation that is unorganized and chaotic? Learn from that chaos. Change the way you control and coordinate things based on the chaotic experience you’ve endured.  Also try to enjoy things not being predictable, sometimes it can be fun to let go and be unaware of what is coming next!
  7. You’re your own worst critic – You are going to judge yourself more than anyone else who you feel you’ve let down today. You are going to notice when things do not go according to your plan much more closely than anyone else that is present. Remember that we are always harder on ourselves, and that typically people view us much differently than we are viewing ourselves. Plain and simple. 
  8. Remember that you’re human, not super human – You cannot do it all, people! It’s not possible. Even if you try really, really hard there are things that will not go according to plan, and situations where you cannot have control. Remind yourself that there is only so much you can offer each day without completely burning yourself out. Remember to take care of yourself. If you’re not healthy, no amount of control can make things go smoothly for you because you’re lacking basic needs to keep yourself on track each day. It is okay to ask for help sometimes. We all need to practice being vulnerable (click here to read my blog on The Power Of Vulnerability).
  9. Loss of control brings change – Change is wonderful, but change can be hard. I can tell you that the times in my life where I experience the most amount of personal change are in situations that are unpredictable and challenging for me. This is where I learn how I respond as a person, and how I want others to view me. This is where I learn what I am made of. Chaos can be a beautiful thing. I challenge you to think of a time you learned something new about yourself, and think about how much control you had over the situation where you changed.
  10. Be grateful – Awe, the most basic but powerful point of all! Stay positive! On Monday, while sick and incapable of doing my job to the fullest, I reminded myself of how lucky I was to have a job that I want to partake in each day. I think about how lucky I am to have trustworthy coworkers who I know can carry on without me and support my personal health. I am grateful to have a husband to call the doctor for me because I have no voice and cannot make my own appointment. I am glad that I have insurance and can pay for medications. I am grateful that most days I do have my my voice and my health, as the past few days have been some of the most challenging I’ve had in a long time. I am grateful for a comfortable home where I can work all day, and a nice work computer that still allows me to get some stuff done. And I am grateful that being sick gave me a great writing idea for my blog!
    See how easy that was?! Thinking of these positive things makes me feel happier, and helps me keep my focus where it needs to be…and I’ll give you a hint, it’s not on the fact that I am sick.

Letting go is hard…but sometimes, holding on is harder

-keep shining