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Putting in Some Time & Effort

October 7, 2017 Leave a comment

invest in you   Everyone has a self-image, but how does a self-image get built? And what does your self-image have to do with who you are, and how you react in strange or unusual situations?

Your self-image, or your idea of who you are, is a package you put together from how others have seen and treated you, and from your conclusions as you compare yourself to others. Primitive people built homes from available materials – blocks of ice, animal skins, adobe, and logs. In this same way, when you were a child, you built your self-image from what was available.

Your construction materials were the reactions of significant others toward you. So, your self-image is simply a belief system you created. It is manifested in how you respond to the world around you – the people and situations that fill your days. However, these beliefs may or may not be accurate.

Now, your essential nature, the “real you” that exists apart from your behaviour, your opinions, your habits, etc., is really quite wonderful because it is a storehouse of energy and potential that can do and be great things.

But if people, who didn’t have much self-esteem themselves, raised you around constant put-downs, you will not be able to use much of this amazing potential. You see, your behaviour always matches your inner picture of yourself. In this, it makes sense to look at your beliefs, get rid of those that hold you back, and learn how to affirm and tap into your potential.

This same story applies to teams, departments, and entire organisations. In their beginnings, organisations defined themselves by the situation they were in and the lessons learned from interactions with the rest of the world. As time wears on, those definitions were tweaked when necessary, or didn’t change at all because of the core beliefs and values of the organisation. These same beliefs and values may be limiting the potential of the organisation to change and grow.

The good news is that with a little self-reflection – whether by an individual or a group of individuals – old, outdated beliefs can be identified and either modified or completely changed. All it takes is a little bit of time and effort.
You are worth this investment and you deserve the outcomes from the investment.
Be kind to yourself, and care for yourself.
Here’s to your success.
Linda

Caring for the Caregiverds – New Book Review

September 9, 2017 Leave a comment

Please can you have a look at and review the preview of my new book Caring for the Caregivers, dedicated to all individuals who are suffering themselves looking after others.
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Feel free to pass it on to anyone you know it may help.

Purpose = Energy

September 6, 2017 Leave a comment

 hope     How is your energy level? Do you sometimes wish you had more get-up-and-go? Today let’s look at how high-energy people get that way 

Why is it that some people seem to have a never-ending supply of energy? They get up feeling eager to get started and they radiate good spirits and high energy all day long. Have you ever stopped by the vitamin counter at the pharmacy, wondering what you could take to get that kind of energy? 

 Consider this: Assuming you are in good health, your strength and energy will come from having meaningful and clear lifetime goals. In other words, a purpose in life. You see, high-energy people know what they want and have an unshakable belief that what they want is possible. They have a purpose that they have chosen freely, and they set goals and develop action plans to help them achieve that purpose. 

mindset + behaviour   We mentioned earlier some studies that showed the elderly, with a specific goal or purpose, lived longer than those who did not. You have probably proven to yourself how energetic you have felt when you had even a short-term goal, perhaps a yard work chore like pruning a hedge or putting in a rockery. Even if you hadn’t slept the night before, with the goal at hand, you found yourself with the energy to get the job done. (Now, you may have started losing energy as you were nearing the end of the job, but that’s another story!)

What is your purpose? When it comes to energy, it doesn’t matter so much what you want, as long as you want something. You’d be surprised how energised you can become once you know the answer to this question. When you have chosen your purpose, and you have a clear idea fixed firmly in your mind of what it is you want to be and do, you will be surprised at how your energy level will grow to help you find ways to get there. 

You will become very resourceful and creative, and you will discover that having a purpose is the best vitamin in the world! So, what is your purpose in life?

Linda Sage.
Caring for the caregivers

Find Your Purpose for Living

August 24, 2017 Leave a comment

passion  Do you believe that having a purpose in life is important?  Having a purpose contributes a great deal to the quality of our lives. Not surprisingly, having a purpose can actually prolong your life. 

Several years ago, a study done by Judith Roden of Harvard followed two groups of patients in a convalescent home. Members of one group were asked to care for a potted plant during that time. Members of the other group had no such purpose. Those who were plant caretakers lived, on average, twice as long as the others did. You see, a sense of purpose fosters hope, self-motivation and positive feelings about oneself and others.

Viktor Frankl, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” found this same result during his time in Nazi concentration camps during WWII. Purpose, or goals if you will, provided the will to live.

How many examples can we see, when purpose is absent or taken away, that life ceases. Veteran broadcaster Andy Rooney passed away one month after leaving CBS’ “60 Minutes” programme. Bear Bryant, iconic coach of Alabama’s football team for 24 years, passed a mere 28 days after retiring. Retiring something may have been the catalyst. 

fear1     Now it is important to remember that, if it’s going to be truly meaningful, your life’s purpose must be something that is chosen freely by you, not something that is chosen for you. And it may have nothing whatever to do with what you do for a living, although, if it does that would be ideal. 

Have you thought about what your purpose is? Have you tried to put it into words? If not, take the time to do so, and then use that purpose as a compass to guide your activities.  You will be surprised at how much energy and clarity you’ll feel.

By the way, age has nothing to do with finding purpose in your life; and if you are wondering when you can start – well, today will do just fine!

Here’s to your success.
Linda Sage
Caring for the caregivers

Nearest and Dearest

August 9, 2017 Leave a comment

emb7  Do you ever feel that the people who are closest to you are the ones who resist the most as you try to change for the better? Sometimes, when we are committed to personal growth and change, family members or others who are close to us will do everything they can to try and get us to change back to the way we were – even when the way we were wasn’t so great.

Did you ever wonder why that might be?  Well, for one thing, when people are used to heir lives being a certain way, any change – even when it is an improvement – can be threatening. It is also fairly common for people who are stuck in negative habits to have a hard time tolerating others who are making positive efforts towards change.

If you can convince your family to join you in your quest for personal growth, you will all have an easier time of it. You can support each other through the tough times and give each other encouragement and approval as you begin to see results.

If you have no choice but to go through it alone, let those significant others in your life in on what you are trying to do, and tell them how positive results will benefit them  well as you. Paint them a vivid word picture of what the end-result will look like, and ask for their help in achieving it.

If you don’t get that help, be patient. It may take time to convince them that you are serious, and that you intend to stay close to them even though you are changing. They may be waiting for proof before allowing themselves to believe you. Belief without evidence is difficult even in the best of times, with the best of people.

If it ever comes down to the difficult choice between continuing a painful relationship and developing yourself as a person, remember that you always have the right to choose growth without guilt. If you want to do better for the world, then you first need to do better by and for yourself.
Looking after yourself is not a luxury, it is a necessity; if you want to be, do and have everything you want in your life.
Linda Sage
Mentor, Speaker, Author

 

The Sneaky Side-Effects of Caring

July 22, 2017 Leave a comment

burnout2  Compassion Fatigue has been known by many names including burnout, but no matter what it is called it isn’t something that happens all at once. We have good days and bad days. That’s normal.

Eventually, though, we find ourselves edging dangerously close to a meltdown over a situation that would have been simply a mild irritation not that long ago. The future looks bleak and our responsibilities endless. This is a danger point.

How do you spot and extinguish the small fires that, left smoldering, can eventually lead to burnout? What do you do if you already feel like you are running on empty?

compassion fatigue2  The best approach, of course, is to take preventative action before Compassion Fatigue takes your knees out from under you.

One way to do that is to keep a log or a diary. How are you feeling on this particular day? And the next? And the next? By making a few notes each day in a journal, or on the computer, you may be able to look back and see a pattern. You  will become more aware of your own moods, actions and reactions, and you may be able to recognize and prevent Compassion Fatigue.

Many people go day to day without questioning why they feel the way they do. It can be more productive to practice some self-awareness. Journaling helps. The act of writing often relieves your stress.

If we learn to know ourselves better, we will be more likely to catch signs that we are being drawn toward a negative or hopeless mindset, and convince us to seek help before we’ve gone over the edge. Seeing a mental health professional can also be beneficial, even if that seems a very scary prospect.

What are some signs that Compassion Fatigue could be present or imminent?

  1. You experience unrelenting fatigue: If you are constantly tired without an explanation (such as too much physical activity), you should see your physician. But if you are quite sure that the cause of your nearly constant fatigue stems from the challenges of care giving, then you are possibly already being affected by Compassion Fatigue.
  2. You get sick more frequently: Constant minor illness can be a sign that you have had enough. You catch colds frequently, when you never used to. Your colds repeatedly turn into secondary bacterial infections. You get headaches, flu and other illnesses more often than you have in the past. If this is your pattern, your immune system may be compromised by fatigue or depression. Your body could be telling you to make some changes.
  3. You lose your temper more often: If you find yourself sniping at everyone—from your husband/colleagues/managers to the cashier who messed up your change—you may have gone beyond your personal capacity to handle stress. (My personal one; was not just getting irate with the recorded messages, while being kept on hold, but answering them back and even shouting at them!)  If you were once an easy going person, this kind of behavior is especially alarming. Even if you have always been a bit volatile, you need to examine your behavior to see if you have gone over the top. It’s not fair to you, your family, or your care receiver if you are so tightly wound that you cannot be civil, let alone caring.
  4. You begin withdrawing from your loved ones: Conversely, you may find yourself pulling inward. You don’t want to see friends, family members or anyone else, even if you could find the time. You don’t complain about your life being taken over by care giving, but you don’t find any joy in life either. You just put one foot in front of the other, gaze focused on the ground. You don’t want to be bothered by people, even those you like or love.
  5. You have trouble finding happiness: You may start to find less and less joy in things that once made you happy. (This one was a biggie for me).  There is none, or very little joy/happiness/excitement and laughter in your life. I even saw the lack of sparkle in my eyes, on the rare occasions I took any notice of myself in a mirror and even rarer occasion of a photo of myself, even with a smile; there was a sad/seriousness about me. A lack of spontaneity, or any interest in being in a happy environment. Even in a happy social location, you can be isolated and seem unapproachable.
  6. You become more prone to accidents: It seems that every time you do something, you inadvertently hurt yourself; walk into door frames, catch you knees on coffee tables. You break a glass in the kitchen and cut your hand picking up pieces. You have minor bumps while driving, even bumping into bollards in the car park, or hitting the kerb. It’s entirely possible that you are so distracted and worn out that you can’t concentrate on what you are doing, thus you make mistakes that can cause injury. (Sometimes, not only to yourself.)
  7. You stop seeking information and knowledge: You were involved in professional development, took an interest in various illnesses/conditions. Now, everything patients do irritates you to the point that you struggle to be kind and you no longer seek information and knowledge. You do what you have to do, but your heart isn’t in it.
  8. Caring for yourself doesn’t seem worthwhile: Small gifts to yourself do not seem worth the trouble. Need a fresh haircut? Why bother. The only people who see you are your family/colleagues and your care receivers. A gift certificate for a massage from a well-meaning friend? You don’t get around to scheduling the appointment. It’s just too much trouble.

If you are experiencing many, or all of these symptoms; you may already be well into the Compassion Fatigue downward spiral. It’s possible that you could need professional help to guide you back to emotional health.

At the very least, you should make changes in your life. Even if you see that only a few of these symptoms of Compassion Fatigue apply to you, it’s time to start adjusting yourself before the situation gets worse.

It’s time to get help with your own care. If you are emotionally at the breaking point, or approaching it, you are vulnerable, and so are those around you. The point is, you must take action – no guilt, or excuses allowed. Your care for yourself is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

Linda Sage

Helping compassionate people care for themselves.

http://www.lindasage.com

Life’s Survivors

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

When times get tough, some people fold and some are made even stronger. Did you ever wonder why some people seem to be able to handle life better than others? Everyone likes to think that they have what it takes to survive adversity and tough times, but when the chips are down, some of us definitely do better than others.
 achieverThe real survivors in life (not the participants in the “reality” survivor TV shows that only seem to bring out the worst in human behaviour) have developed personalities that allow them more options. They also have a strong and clear intention to survive, and to do it in good shape. When problems or setbacks occur, they don’t waste time complaining and they don’t dwell on the past or what they’ve lost. Instead, their energies are focused on getting things to turn out well.

Survivors believe that, no matter what happens to them, they are the ones who are in charge of their destinies. They don’t get mad at the world for not treating them better. And they do have an extensive menu of behaviours they can choose from, depending on the situation. In other words, survivors are option thinkers with a growth mindset, instead of black and white, either/or thinkers who get by with a fixed mindset.

get up again  Survivors also have a wonderful ability to laugh at adversity because they know that even if they lose everything else, they will still have themselves. People with survivor personalities can walk confidently into the unknown because they expect to find a way to make things work out.

So, if you want to be a true survivor, try focusing your attention less on safety and security and more on developing positive beliefs and expectations, built on a firm foundation of reinforced self-esteem.

Here’s to your success
Linda Sage
Helping compassionate people, care for themselves.