I Come First: Healthy Boundaries and Avoiding Burn Out

Expectations are a part of everyday life. We have expectations of others and them of us. There are times where there is so much pressure and so much to do, that it may feel like we are running in circles trying to get things done. The constant bombardment with new tasks and added responsibilities can weigh us down. If we are constantly putting ourselves behind others, we get burnt out. There is this constant drained feeling that just overtakes our emotions and our bodies.

shutterstock_62127079  So why do we feel the need to make everyone else happy? The biggest reason may be fear; fear of rejection, fear of being judged, and even fear of being alone. These fears can cause us to do crazy and unreasonable things for those around us, while we need to be thinking of ourselves as well. Finding a healthy balance in between what we need to do for others and what we need to do for ourselves can be a daily struggle. How can you find the balance between yourself and others?

Maintain healthy boundaries. Know when to say no and let others know what you are willing to do. There is no reason for you to be bending over backwards to make everyone happy all of the time. There should be boundaries for the amount of responsibility that other people can put onto you and you onto them. It is important to shutterstock_89030563know that saying no to things is okay.

Take time out for yourself daily. Turn off your phone, stay away from the computer, and just disconnect. Having time by yourself is one of the most important parts of the day. It is a time to reflect and heal and replenish your energy. It can be 15 minutes, or it can be 3 hours. But it is important to have that bit of time alone with yourself each and every day.

Ask for help. If you are feeling too overwhelmed, ask for help. If nothing else, talk to someone about how you are feeling and what you are taking on. Just getting it out can make a world of difference.

shutterstock_80333077Communicate your feelings to those around you. If you are feeling burnt out and under too much pressure, let those around you know. Communication is vital to every relationship and letting others know what you are feeling can open up doors to solutions you may not have thought possible. Just shutting yourself off from the world will not relieve any pressure, but it will create more problems for you in the long run.

There are times when we all feel overwhelmed and burnt out. However, it is how you handle these times that says the most about you. Take charge, find ways to feel empowered, and take care of yourself. At the end of the day, life is much too short to spend it being anything but happy.

 

 

Expectations in Therapy

shutterstock_114450547  The reasons why people seek help in therapy varies widely, but the expectations are the same; change and insight. So why does it sometimes feel like there is little to no change? Why do we feel worse, and not always better? Why do we feel like we are still stuck in the same place as when we started therapy? These are all frequently asked questions for those in therapy. This comes from a misunderstanding of the role of the therapist in therapy, as well as a misunderstanding of the client’s role in the relationship. Let’s take a look at the therapeutic relationship, and the roles of both the counsellor and client to better understand it.

The therapeutic relationship seems simple at first glance. It is a relationship that involves a deep trust and understanding, however these are two things that are very hard to develop with a stranger. Feeling unsure of how much to reveal about yourself is completely normal early on in the therapeutic relationship, but going forward it is important that the trust level is increased. Not being able to open up to your therapist slows down or brings the process to a hault. A lack of trust will lead to a lack of open communication, and expecting to get help without taking a look at yourself is completely impossible. It is fair to expect your therapist to facilitate a space in which you feel safe and secure, but it is your responsibility to open up.

Therapists are equipped with tools and strategies to help you work through just about shutterstock_117868852anything, but not every therapist is equipped to handle everything. Depending on their style of therapy and training, one may be well-suited for your needs and another may not be. This is why it is important to be clear about what you are hoping to get out of therapy. This will let your therapist know if they will be able to meet your expectations, or if they will need to refer you to another clinician. Do not take a referral as a sign of a therapist giving up on you. Take it for what it is, their attempt to put the help that you require within your reach.

One assumption about your therapist that may not be a conscious one, is that they are going to be able to solve all of your problems. This could not be any further from the truth. In person-centred therapy (which is what the majority of therapy is), your therapist acts as a guide. Your therapist will ask you questions in an attempt to reach your deeper feelings and thoughts, and guide you to the realization of these thoughts and feelings. Your therapist does not have all of the answers. Inside you are the answers that you are looking for, your therapist just helps to shed a different light on these answers.

shutterstock_120187948So what is your role as the client in all of this? Well, put simply, your role is to put in the work that is required in order for you to move forward. This means learning to trust your therapist, having open honest conversations with them (and yourself), and doing the homework that they ask you to do. In order for your therapy to be successful, you need to be open to the experience and willing to take a good hard look at who you are. It is important to keep in mind that your life will not improve instantaneously, and neither will your mood. Often times bringing up the past can be very painful and difficult to deal with. This pain should not be discouraging. It is an important part of the entire process.

A really good question to ask yourself is, what are my goals?  Write them down and work with your therapist towards your goals without any expectations of a time frame.  Failed expectations bring disappointment.  Better to allow the therapeutic process to happen organically rather then trying to control the outcome.

Therapy is challenging, but it is a good way to help you sort yourself out. A therapist can be a good foundation of support and well-being in your life that you may not have otherwise. When discouraged by the process, remember this: it is not the path we take that matters, but the things we learn about ourselves.

Prescription Drug Abuse

shutterstock_53794111 Drug addiction is life changing. It changes who you are, how you act, and how you relate to others. It skews reality and your perception of who you are and what your place in the world is. It destroys relationships that have taken lifetimes to build. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, and we are seeing more cases of this type of addiction as time goes on. This is especially true for those aged 14-25. What is even more troubling is where the drugs are coming from.

More often than not, the prescription medication that is being abused comes from the medicine cabinets in their own home. Leftover medications from surgeries, prescriptions meant for others in the family, or even things that they are being prescribed themselves, are finding their way into the hands of others.

Prescription drug abuse also seems to be taken more lightly and is generally more socially acceptable. This is largely because people don’t think of them as “street drugs”, like heroin and cocaine. The truth of the matter is that just because they aren’t street drugs, doesn’t mean they aren’t any less addictive or harmful. These medications can be extremely harmful to the body, and without the proper precautions, can cause death. The toxic effects of these medications are often unknown to those that are taking them, which is why we have been seeing an increase in prescription medication related deaths.

So how do we make the younger generations aware of the consequences of drug shutterstock_62275720addiction? Scare tactics don’t often work, and just simply telling them to say no isn’t often enough. This is where awareness and education come into play. It is so important that we are giving them the right amount of information to make good choices, but it is also important that we have open lines of communication with them. These open lines of communication will allow them to feel comfortable coming to us when they make mistakes and choose to try drugs.

Prescription drug abuse doesn’t need to happen. Addiction to these drugs is preventable. So what are some ways that you can prevent your medications from falling into the wrong hands?

Keep medications in a safe and secure place. Keep your medications out of sight. Don’t leave them in a readily accessible place for your children or others to get into them. Make sure that you keep track of how much you are taking and if some go missing.

Dispose of your medications properly. Pharmacies are more than happy to help you dispose of old and unused medication for you. By bringing your medication to them when you are finished taking them, you are reducing the likelihood that someone in your home will abuse them.

Protect those that you love. Lock up your medications and reduce the temptation. And above all else, encourage education and awareness about prescription drug abuse.

More Than Just Talk: Effective Communication Between You and Your Significant Other

shutterstock_47090224  Communication is so important in every relationship that we are a part of. We need to be able to clearly express our feelings and desires to those we are involved with in order to have our needs met. This is especially true to having a successful relationship with your significant other. In order for communication to be strong later in a relationship, it is necessary to have a good foundation built on honesty, openness, and trust. Good communication aides in both arguments and important decisions (i.e. children, life goals, etc.) put your communication skills to the test. So what is good communication? To fully explore this, we first need to take a look at what dysfunctional and functional communication looks like.

Have you ever been in a relationship in which talking to your partner was frustrating and painful? Did they shut down during arguments? Was there a lack of trust and honesty? If the answer to these questions is yes, chances are the communication between you and your partner was dysfunctional. Some characteristics/behaviours that can be considered dysfunctional communication include:

  • Shutting down during arguments (giving the silent treatment when angry, getting increasingly impatient and angry when participating in emotional conversations)
  • Lack of trust (inability to open up about true feelings and refusal to participate in meaningful/heartfelt exchanges)
  • Dishonesty (telling “half-truths” or just not telling the truth at all, hiding things in order to avoid having a conversation about it)
  • Actively ignoring (making an effort to “tune out” or not engage in conversation at all on a consistent basis)
  • Abusive and hurtful language (swearing, name calling, and put downs being used on a consistent basis during arguments and everyday conversations)

Dysfunctional communication can have huge consequences in a relationship, including shutterstock_33262939constant turmoil and arguments between you and your partner. It is possible to move from dysfunctional communication to functional communication, but what does functional communication look like?

Functional communication is, at its most basic level, effective and meaningful conversations between you and your partner that deepen trust, allow for openness, and promote full disclosure and honesty. Some characteristics/behaviours that can be considered functional communication include:

  • Ability to be vulnerable with your partner (being able to be open and honest about sensitive topics (past traumas, true feelings) as well as being respectful of your partner’s feelings and experiences)
  • Actively listening to your partner (engaging in the conversation through acknowledging them (nodding, eye contact) as well as responding appropriately and fully)
  • Trusting your partner
  • Ability to be honest with your partner (completely and fully expressing your true feelings about important things, as well as expressing your frustrations and anger in a healthy way)

Although the differences between dysfunctional and functional communication seem vast, it is possible in some relationships to repair past damage and move forward to more effective communication.

As in any relationship, gaining effective communication requires a lot of hard work. Having good communication with your partner is not going to happen overnight, but below are some suggestions to help you and your partner communicate more effectively.

Speak honestly about how you feel. Let your partner know when you are angry with them, or when you are hurting, instead of shutting down. Shutting down can create resentment which can destroy a relationship.

Find ways to gain trust with your partner. This is not an easy task. Past experience can taint your ability to trust in another person, however, working through this and providing your partner with opportunities to gain your trust can do wonders for communication. Give your partner every opportunity to put their trust in you, and work towards gaining their trust.

shutterstock_71759158Pick your battles and learn to fight fairly. Before engaging your partner in an argument, think about your motives for arguing. Understand that arguments are not about winning or losing, but about learning to compromise and see both perspectives. Well arguments are completely normal in relationships, it is important that you fight fairly. Avoid using harsh and hurtful language when arguing with your partner. Words often do much more damage than we are aware of, and some of these wounds are irreparable.

Communication is the foundation of human interaction. That is why it is so important that you are able to effectively communicate with your significant other. Developing a healthy way of connecting to your partner will not only bring you closer together, but increase your happiness and stability within the relationship.

Emotional Intelligence

National Bare Day is a campaign to advocate, educate, and change women into becoming more emotionally intelligent. It is an empowering campaign, looking to help women become stronger, more confident, and the leaders that they are meant to be. Emotional intelligence is something that is extremely important to maintain relationships and have inner peace.

Emotional intelligence is about more than just yourself. Emotional intelligence encompasses both the internal and the external, playing an important part in your relationships with others. While many models to explain emotional intelligence do exist, there are some that are more widely accepted than others.

Self-awareness is an important piece of emotional intelligence. Being aware of your own emotions, reactions and values allows for a greater insight into empathy and sympathy, two things that are essential to relationships with others. Becoming aware of your own emotions reinforces your mind-body-spirit connection. By strengthening this connection, you can come in touch with your deepest desires and goals. This is helpful when determining your values, giving you a center for your moral compass. With these values in place, you can become more aware of the impact that your actions have on others.

An exercise to improve self-awareness is to consider situations in the past in which you had a strong emotional response. Consider why you felt the way that you did, your reaction and the outcome in the situation. Consider the appropriateness of your response to this emotion and determine a way in which you could have reacted differently.

shutterstock_90072907Self-regulation is not something that can be easily mastered. With emotions like anger, self-regulation can be a challenge as it is a pure and passionate emotion. When anger goes unchecked, this can lead to serious problems in your relationships. Unchecked anger leads to senseless arguments when you lash out at those that are not the cause for your anger in the first place. Redirecting and controlling your disruptive emotions (i.e. anger) can lead to healthier relationships and a happier you.

An exercise to improve self-regulation is really thinking about what you are feeling, why you are feeling it, and what the next steps are going to be. Taking a deep breath before you lash out can be the difference in between a civil conversation and a violent confrontation. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What emotion am I experiencing?

  • What caused me to have this emotion (i.e. anger, sadness, ect.)?

  • How am I going to react to this feeling?

The third question is an extremely important one. This is where controlling your response to an emotion comes into play. Think carefully before you act and react to the emotion(s) that you are feeling to gain the desired outcome.

Social skills are also an important part of emotional intelligence. Knowing how to relate to people and maintain relationships can be challenging in a culture in which rely so heavily on electronic communication. However, social skills are still as important as knowing how to communicate through text messages and e-mail. Picking up on social cues and knowing what is appropriate to say in which situations is at the core of having good social skills. There are many ways to develop better social skills. A few things to consider to develop your social skills are:

  • Approachability – How approachable are you? Do you have a friendly demeanor? Do you have an easy time walking up to others and striking up a conversation?

  • Language – Do you use language that is relatable to those you are speaking to you? Are you using language that is appropriate for the situation that you are in?

  • Active Listening – Are you an active participant in the conversation? Do you find yourself dominating the conversation? Are you really taking the time to listen to and understand what the other person is saying?

shutterstock_102337144Empathy is something that many people struggle with, but it is essential to emotional intelligence. Empathy as part of emotional intelligence is being able to consider someone else’s feelings when making decisions. It is about being able to put yourself in the other’s shoes, and truly feel how they would feel if you were to make a decision. You need to consider all possibilities, and be able to accept the other’s feelings when you make a decision. This comes into play in every relationship, and when empathy is not considered, can form a rift in between both parties.

Empathy is something that comes with time. It is not easy to be understanding and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You have to be truly open and receptive to another’s emotions in order to be truly empathetic. Empathy is something that is very important during the recovery process. You need to gain some empathy in order to understand the worry and other feelings that your family and loved ones have experienced while you were addicted. You need to be able to put yourself in their shoes, understand the significance of their feelings, and how those feelings reflect on your past behaviours.

During recovery, emotional intelligence is something that is extremely key to the process. Without an understanding of yourself and the relationships that allowed your addiction to continue, you may not get to the bottom of the root cause of your addiction. In recovery, you experience a complete transformation of your routine, your thinking, and your values. You have to choose life instead of addiction in order for the recovery to shutterstock_117884191be successful. By gaining emotional intelligence during recovery, you can set new goals, new values, and start to evaluate your relationships outside of recovery. You will gain a fuller understanding of what it means to be in a healthy relationship with others, and use your newly set values and goals to determine the validity of the relationships in your life. Emotional intelligence will allow you to start making decisions about which relationships you are going to continue to be a part of and those that you are going to move on from.

Emotional intelligence is something that is much more important than many people realise. It is an essential part of daily life and relationships. Having emotional intelligence will allow you to have a stronger mind-body-spirit connection, and a deeper connection to those that you are about. Gaining more insight into your emotions and those that surround you can allow for a better understanding of yourself and others.

Spicing Up Your Sex Life: Tantra

shutterstock_92960689 Spicing up your sex life is something that many couples wish for. Restoring some of the passion and desire in your sexual relationship is something that is possible. Practicing Tantra can be a great way to look at sex between you and your partner in a new way. Tantra is about uniting body, mind, spirit with your partner and with the divine. Your ultimate goal is for the unity of sexuality and spirituality, not orgasm.

Tantra is the sacred art of sex and unity. It involves a variety of exercises, that increase the length of lovemaking and are meant to bring you and your partner closer together. Some of the exercises include breathing, contractions, sound, and visualization. Tantra is a multi-stage lovemaking that can take your sex life to a whole other level. So lets take a look at the Tantric Stages.

Creating a Sacred Space is the first stage in Tantra. Any space can be a sacred space, but it has to be somewhere that you are both going to be comfortable and relaxed. Cleaning the room, using candles, and cleansing the room of negative thoughts/energies, are essential to this stage. Thinking about your intentions for the night are important. Think about how much you love your partner, how much you care for them, and think positively about the activity to come.

The Lover’s Purifying Bath is meant to wash away the worries and thoughts surrounding you both. Having a shower or bath together is a great way to ignite the spark of passion that will be needed for the events to come. It should be a slow and sensual process, allowing you and your partner to explore each other’s bodies and enjoy spending time together.

Foreplay is a great time to talk to your lover. Let them know how much you care forsexAddiction them, how much you love them, and how much you respect them. Make sure that what you are saying is 100% true, otherwise there is no meaning behind your words. Make your lover believe what you are telling them. Foreplay is also the time to tune into your lover. Harmonize your breathing and look into each other’s eyes while you slowly explore the other’s body. Exploration can include caressing, touching, and kissing. While exploring, go slowly! Find new ways of touching and kissing your partner, instead of just going straight for the sweet spots. Ask your partner questions about what turns them on, and do your best to do things that they like.

Intercourse during Tantra can last for hours. For this to happen, lubrication is absolutely essential. Good lubrication can be achieved through a clitoral orgasm, or using some sort of personal lubricant. To make the intercourse last longer, it should be interspersed with oral play, touching and kissing.

The Passion Pump is all about remaining in sync with your partner. Women want to use vaginal contractions along with their man penetrating them in order to achieve this synchronization. Men, just lay with your penis inside of her vagina and allow her to squeeze you using her vaginal contractions.

Afterplay is different in Tantric lovemaking. During regular lovemaking, it ends with ejaculation. With Tantra, love making ends when/how you want it to. Wind down from your passionate Tantric lovemaking with caressing, talking, cuddling, or anything else that you and your partner enjoy.

Tantra is a great alternative to traditional sex. It can reignite the spark between you and your partner, something that is wished for by many partners. Taking the time to get to know your partner in an intimate way, can bring you closer together than you might have imagined.

Sexual Addiction

 shutterstock_127216079Addiction comes in many forms, which is why it should be no surprise that sex can also become an addiction. Sexual addiction is much more than just having sex several times frequently. It is a combination of behaviours and thoughts that interfere with normal daily functioning. Sexual addiction is still not a widely accepted concept, and was even left out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

However, sexual addiction is a very real problem. You feel out of control of your sexual behaviours and thoughts, often leading to frequent conquests and sexual habits that interfere with your everyday routine. You will act impulsively, and ineffectively try to reduce, control, or stop these behaviours. You will feel the need to continually sate your sexual desires, and continue to engage in sexual activity until you are satisfied.

As with other addictions, there is a lot of shame and guilt surrounding sexual addiction. It is important to keep in mind that despite your past actions, you still deserve love and to be treated with respect. And the sooner you seek help, the sooner you can begin to live a life that you love. There are several different approaches to treatment that can be effective depending on your situation.shutterstock_86165410

Sexual addiction does not have to control your life. You can take charge of your life, one small step at a time. By seeking professional help and peer support, recovery is possible. Recovery is a lifelong process, but anything is possible if you are determined and willing to put in the work. Transform your thoughts, motivate your body, and awaken your potential.

Pornography: Addiction and Communication

shutterstock_71881093  Pornography is something that many people avoid conversation about. The truth is, many of us have watched/saw porn at some point in our lives, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is perfectly normal in this day in age, with pornography being just a mouse-click away. Pornography is being used for a way to find our sexual selves, explore fetishes and situations which we may not experience in our own lives. Pornography is also being used as a way to enhance our sexual pleasure.

Pornography is very much a double-edge sword. On one hand, it is a great way to spice up your sex life, enhance your solo sessions, and allow you to explore your sexuality in a way which might not otherwise be possible. On the other hand, many of the women/men give an unrealistic goal for your sexual partners, both in their technique and their physicality. In reality, there are not many women other than adult actresses that look, dress, and act like they do in pornography. For men, this can definitely be a problem.

With unrealistic expectations due to the adult film industry, men are often left unsatisfied with their sex life. There are many men who can watch pornography and still have great sex, however, there are also those who seek out more “pornography-style” sex with partners. Not many women are willing to participate in the kind of sex these men are looking for, and this is where pornography becomes the prefershutterstock_68280889ence for these men.

Pornography addiction is a real and serious problem. There are men who will sit and watch pornography for hours on end, finding satisfaction in that aspect of their sex life rather than in a partner that can reciprocate. Pornography addiction can make it difficult to become aroused by a partner in real life, leading to more sexual dysfunction which can cause the person to distance themselves even further from real-life sex.

Pornography can cause a lot of problems in a marriage if there is not an open line of communication between both parties. Let’s expand upon this using an example.

Frank and Louise have been married for 13 years. They have 2 children, 12 and 10. Frank says their sex life died pretty quickly after Louise gave birth to their second child, and admits that he watches porn frequently. He says that he is still very much attracted to Louise, but just finds that she is often “too tired” or just disinterested. Frank states that he enjoys having sex with Louise, but he would enjoy it if it happened more frequently. Louise says she misses being intimate with Frank, as they once had a very active sex life. Louise, however, has trouble initiating because she finds that Frank does not seem that interested in her. Louise knows that Frank enjoys porn, but does not know how to talk to him about it because he gets defensive and shuts down. Both are adamant about loving the other, they just long for intimacy.

Основные RGBNow this is a classic case of lack of communication. Because the lines of communication are closed between Frank and Louise, they don’t know that they both want the same thing- a healthy sex life. Frank is clearly uncomfortable speaking to Louise about watching pornography. Louise doesn’t seem to have a problem with Frank watching porn. She does however have a problem that it is done in secret. She also feels intimidated by the adult actresses because her body does not match theirs after having two children. Frank’s obsession with the porn is the easy way out for him. He doesn’t have to engage in a conversation about porn with Louise if they don’t talk at all.  If Frank and Louise could have an open and honest conversation about porn and their sex life, they may just find their spark again.

When pornography goes from watching to addiction, it can cause some serious social, spiritual, and emotional problems for the person that is addicted. We need to keep in mind that the men and women in porn do not experience real sexual intimacy like you do with your partner. This sexual intimacy is coupled with a willingness to be vulnerable and honest. Shame often keeps us from having open and honest discussions with ourselves and others, but watching porn is nothing to be ashamed of. It is perfectly normal to engage in a behaviour that fills a primal need. Pornography is like most things in life- good in moderation, but potentially dangerous when abused.

The Codependent Relationship: Mother and Child

shutterstock_135236594  The bond between mother and child is something that no other relationship can quite match. When addiction is involved in this relationship, it is seriously damaging to the healthy functioning of all relationships.

Codependency, described simply, is when both parties are dependent on one another in order for the relationship to function. Codependency is unique between a mother and child because of the nature of the relationship. Mothers are meant to be nurturing and caring individuals. But when their child is addicted to drugs, their caring and nurturing may be doing more harm than good.

Mothers of those addicted will often times go above and beyond to make sure that their child has everything that they need. Buying food, clothes, paying rent, and giving them shutterstock_70611019money. Some go as far as buying the drugs for their child. In their eyes, they are doing well by their child, making sure that they are able to keep on living. These mothers struggle to focus on themselves in any way at all. They will put their lives aside to make sure that their child will continue to come back to them for what they need.

The child will manipulate in order to get what they want. They will say hateful and hurtful things in order to break their mother down. They will be deceptive and lie in order to get more money. The child is trying to stay sick, and they know that their mother will do anything to keep them happy and alive.

shutterstock_9303223This relationship is extremely toxic and allows for the addiction to continue. So what are some way to recover from codependency?

  • Attend family recovery programs with the addicted

  • Learn to put your interests and needs before others

  • Become aware of the signs of codependent behaviour

  • Develop strong boundaries

With these strategies and professional help, codependency is something that you and your family can recover from.

Where is My Life Going?: Planning for the Future You

shutterstock_7704406 Finding direction in your life can be a large task for anyone to take on, especially if you are switching careers. There are many things that you can do to make your choice easier. Listed and explained below are a few strategies to try.

Make short-term goals and long-term goals. Making goals that you can achieve in a short amount of time will allow you to be more productive in the goals you set for yourself in the long run. Small successes can motivate you to continue to achieve your goals. It is also important to set short-term goals that are in line with your long-term goals. Your short-term goals may help you achieve your long term goals.shutterstock_101575579

Ask for advice from people you trust. If you want advice, ask people that you trust. Ask questions about what got them to where they are in life. Ask all of the questions that they are willing to answer. They may be able to give you advice that you might not have gotten otherwise.

Explore all of your options. If you are interested in more than one direction, make sure that you explore all of your options. Research, ask questions, and above all else, make sure you know what you are getting into.

Try as many new things as you can. Explore new things that you might not have considered before. Take advantage of every new opportunity that you can. The more that you try, the easier that it may be to narrow down your choices.

Redirecting your life is not an easy task. Choosing a new career path can drastically change the structure of your life. It is important to explore all options and make the transition to your new life as easy as possible. Do what you can to prepare for living the life that you want to live.