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Posts Tagged ‘self esteem’

Taking Command of You


invest in youWhat happens when you feel an emotion but refuse to admit it? Perhaps, more than you think.
 
From the time we were children, most of us have been taught that it’s OK to express certain feelings, but not express others. Early on, we learned to hide emotions that made other people uncomfortable or that somehow put us in a less than favourable light. It was OK to feel grateful but not angry, OK to feel confident but not scared, OK to defer to our parents but not to question them, and so on.
 
Sometimes we even learned to hide these unacceptable feelings from ourselves. We feel frightened of social contact but deny it and pretend boredom. We feel hurt and rejected but deny it and call it anger. We feel resentful of abusive behaviour, but deny it and call it a successful relationship because we believe we need it to survive.
 
Unacknowledged feelings almost always cause trouble. We may be able to stuff them down inside temporarily, but they invariably find another escape route. They are like pressure building up under the surface, which then explodes in fire, ash and the molten lava of a volcano as it destroys whatever is in its path. Unacknowledged feelings will often manifest themselves in physical ways – in backaches, headaches, ulcers, or other more serious illnesses – in reaction to the stress of denying reality.
 
What were you taught about feelings as a child? Now that you’re older, perhaps you’d like to learn what others have to say. Try reading John Bradshaw on shame, or Martin Seligman on depression and optimism, or Harriet Lerner on anger, for starters. An abundance of literature is available on the effects of suppressed anger, for example. Then, take the time to make up your own mind. Journaling your feelings will help you come to terms with them and find solutions that reduce the anxiety, stress and pressure.
 
You are in charge of your own feelings. You always have been. Take the time, get to know you, and take command of your life.
Linda Sage MA, BA Ed(Hons), DTM

The Carer’s Perspective – Compassion Fatigue and What it Is


Stress
By Sophie Gannon

What is Compassion Fatigue?

Caring for others as a profession can be draining, both physically and mentally. Compassion fatigue, often generalised with the typical stress of an occupation, is where the mental health of carers is negatively affected by their work. Both those that work in that industry and those that don’t can be affected by it – so this includes family members that are informally taking care of their relatives.

This condition can usually be seen in several job sectors and to name a few, can apply those that nurse, teach, or conduct therapy – commonly industries that look after other people. Those that suffer compassion fatigue, or secondary traumatic stress (STS), have to deal with many symptoms that can affect day-to-day life.

So, what are the symptoms?

Looking after others is always a big responsibility – but managing your life along with that is a much bigger one. These huge responsibilities can stir a lot of stress in carers and even a sense of hopelessness and pessimism in that what they are doing may feel futile, especially if they’re working with someone who has a chronic illness.

Their work may suddenly feel like it yields less accomplishment and they may start to question their professionality and competency. Their self-esteem can fall into jeopardy which impacts their lives massively, especially when working with patients who may not be able to recognize how much they do for them.

Getting away from work makes no difference, either. Victims of STS often find themselves unable to enjoy leisure activities as much as they used to and are thus unable to relieve the compassion fatigue they’ve accumulated. Their thoughts might not be able to leave their work life, and this applies especially to informal workers who live with the family members they care for as they are likely to be in constant contact with them.

Work life then bleeds into real life, and caregivers might not be able to help constantly being anxious and stressing about their client – the activities they need to complete, the welfare of their patient, and perhaps even the consequences if they don’t fulfil certain needs. They may not be able to ever truly ‘switch off’.

And this can then cause insomnia, inducing many sleepless nights which may not be limited to just lying awake. All this stress and responsibility, coupled with their fears, can cause nightmares which means even if they manage any sleep at all, it’s not a good night’s sleep. They may awaken more on edge than usual and feel physically drained, which isn’t good for the rest of the day.

What can be done about it?

From a personal standpoint and what I’ve observed, compassion fatigue is exhausting. It isn’t an easy condition to work with, especially when your work load is so big and demanding and if you’re a person of deep empathy.

For those going into a caring profession, courses should now be offering training so that students will be able to deal with these issues when they arrive.

Practicing self-care is also incredibly important for those in this industry, as well as accepting that not everything can be achieved. Those with compassion fatigue can develop apathy and may even forget or not want to look after themselves.

Then, of course, there’s therapy for those that seek support. Those that aren’t able to help themselves or don’t know how can seek the advice of psychological experts.

Website: www.lindasage.com

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Reacting in Anger


mischief   How often do you get angry? Do you know what sets you off? Let’s explore the topic of the relationship between anger and self-esteem.

Do you remember what you were taught about anger when you were growing up? Were you taught that it was unacceptable to feel angry? Did you learn to suppress angry feelings and stuff them down inside? Or were you taught, perhaps by example, that it was OK to explode with anger and attack others, verbally or physically? Or were you fortunate enough to learn that while it’s OK to feel angry, it’s not OK to hurt others, and it’s not OK to blame them for how you feel?

If you were taught to take responsibility for your emotions, to communicate feelings calmly and clearly, and to value both your own and other people’s rights, you probably don’t have much trouble with anger.

Now the reason we just asked you what you were taught, while you were growing up, is that anger very seldom has anything to do with what is happening right now, because there are so many other ways to respond. Anger is triggered and the trigger usually has something to do with the past.

People with high self-esteem aren’t interested in blaming others for things that go wrong.

Instead, they accept accountability for their lives and know that if things outside them are to change, they must first change internally.

For people with high self-esteem, change in themselves or in others isn’t threatening to them. They embrace change because they believe they can handle it. So, if you find yourself feeling a lot of anger, perhaps some introspection will help define the root of the anger, and then a little work on your self-esteem is in order.

Caring for yourself is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

Linda

www.lindasage.com

www.linkedin.com/in/linda-sage 

https://www.facebook.com/lindasagementoring

https://twitter.com/meetLindaSage

Prioritising Productivity


fashion-person-woman-hand.jpg    If you are busier than you like to be, but feeling less productive, then read on.
 
How busy are you these days? Now, here is another question: How productive are you? As most of us know, the two are not remotely the same. All too often, being busy may have nothing at all to do with the results we get and what we achieve.
We spend our days, often very long days, in a flurry of activity. But, when the day or week is over, we are disappointed at the level of our accomplishment. Our disappointment creates stress and we push ourselves even harder to “get more done.” However, pushing hard isn’t the answer.
 
So, what is the answer? Experience shows that a sense of priorities based on a clear purpose and well-defined short- and long-term goals are what one needs. The world is full of people who are definitely in motion, but they’re not exactly sure where they’re going and they don’t know why, either. Maybe they get going so fast that they never take the time to figure it out, or they are afraid to take a moment on the off-chance that they won’t get started again. If that is your situation, perhaps now is the time to set aside the opportunity for personal reflection, some personal values clarification and goal-setting.
 
There is nothing like a strong sense of purpose, based on clearly spelled out values, to keep you moving. More than that, it keeps you moving in the right direction. With all the different media out there today, it is easier than ever before to get pulled away from our targets. We just want to make sure that the targets we are aiming at are worth our time and talents, and are truly getting us where we want to go.

Origins of Beliefs


Wondering where our beliefs come from is a common thread in the responses to WCN messages. In looking over past comments, this one popped to the forefront, because the situation that sparked the question has become more and more common
 
“I was having a conversation with friends the other night.  We were talking about our beliefs, mostly political. We each had very strong beliefs about right and wrong and how our government handles itself. Thankfully, we were all on the same page. But, we were trying to figure out where our beliefs came from. We were not able to pin it down to parents, high school, college, friends, or any other specific person/place/time. Do you have any thoughts on that?”
 
The first thing that came to mind was that this group had answered their own question: parents, teachers, professors in college, friends, the newspapers, internet, radio, TV – all of these sources, and many more, affect our belief system. With so much information coming at us from every angle these days, it becomes vitally important to be skeptical about what we take in, because once we give sanction to the information, it becomes a belief.
 
The challenge for most of us is that a lot of this information came at us when we were very young, and we didn’t have the ability, at the time, to discriminate between “truth” and “opinion.” However, because the information came from authority figures, we didn’t question it. We agreed with whatever we heard. It then became “truth” for us and got stored in our subconscious to form the foundation for our future decision-making.
 
One of the key principles in the Successful Mindset Ltd’s education/training is, “Our thoughts accumulate to become beliefs.” The more we think about something, the more it becomes a part of who we are, and these then get played out in our actions and behaviours. (The word “thoughts” can also be translated as “self-talk”.) So, it becomes very important that we are careful what we listen to, and from whom we get the information. Like the old saying goes, “Don’t believe everything you hear” – or see or read.
 
The good news, now that we are adults, and as we travel through life we gain new experiences, new ideas, see new ways of doing things that all challenge our concept of “truth,” so that we can examine our beliefs and toss out the ones that no longer serve us. Take the time for a little self-reflection. You’ll be glad you did.
Linda Sage
Caring for the Caregiver

Organizational Compassion Fatigue


hourglass-time-hours-sand-39396.jpeg   An organization suffers from Compassion Fatigue as well as their staff.  In today’s environment socially and the rising mentality of suing for a quick buck, puts everyone from caretakers to CEOs at risk; if Compassion fatigue is permitted to run rife in any establishment.

There are no quick fixes to healing an organization it takes time, patience, commitment at all levels and perseverance. An awareness of the far-reaching effects of Compassion Fatigue must be present at the highest level of management and work its way down to encompass line staff, as well as volunteers, or even better from the grassroots up; very often the coal face workers can give distant Senior Management some sound and solid ideas, that are cost-effective and efficient. The mistrust that employees feel towards management is not unfounded, as many staff do not have permanent contracts, even if they do, there is always the threats of cuts hanging over their heads.  As many caregiving institutions are non-profit, they have additional challenges such as low wages, lack of space, old or incorrect tools and resources, high management turnover rate, as well as a constant flow of unfamiliar staff, plus constantly shifting priorities.

None of which make any workday any easier, so the Compassion Fatigue cycle keeps in motion.

Organizational symptoms of Compassion Fatigue include:

  • Lack of understanding of corporate ethos or manifesto
  • Daily feeling of crisis management at all levels
  • Patient safety being compromised
  • Staff safety making them feel vulnerable or pressurized

Causing:

  • High absenteeism
  • Constant changes in co-workers relationships
  • Inability for teams to work well together
  • Desire among staff members to break company rules
  • Outbreaks of aggressive behaviors among staff
  • Inability of staff to complete assignments and tasks
  • Inability of staff to respect and meet deadlines
  • Lack of flexibility among staff members
  • Negativism towards management
  • Strong reluctance toward change
  • Inability of staff to believe improvement is possible
  • Lack of a vision for the future

The early any establishment realizes that changes need to be made and implement those guidelines, the safer everyone involved will be, your bottom line will prosper, staff health will improve and patient experience and care will be at a successful level. The savings in the long term being considerable, against the initial planning and outlay.

Caring for the caregiver

Linda Sage MA BA Ed(Hons)

http://www.lindasage.com

Compassion Fatigue is not the same as stress!


What is Compassion Fatigue?

So you work in health/social care, or education. Perhaps as an OT or physio? Doctor, nurse, social worker, speech and language therapist, teacher, Teaching Assistant, lecturer, or administrator…(we could go on…)

Perhaps you work in a hospital environment? Or in the community? Maybe in palliative care? In a school, college or university. You may work for a Government entity, a charity, a private organisation… (you get the idea).

But whatever your role you probably work with people who are ill, suffering, in distress, undergoing some kind of trauma or dealing with multicultural issues.

Your role requires emotional, psychological and physical input. There are long hours, deadlines and a wide variety of demands on your time.

All of which means you are at risk of compassion fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue is the gradual wearing down of compassion and empathy, or the ability to care over a period of time.

It is what happens when the stories and experiences of the people we are caring for or teaching and working with overwhelm us. Add to this the stresses of our own personal life, and the expectations of the organisation we work for and the results can be:

Exhaustion, emotionally, mentally and physically

Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach pains, inability to sleep

Emotional symptoms such as low moods (or mood swings), anger, frustration, anxiety, a feeling of ‘why bother’, anger, frustration, bottling up of emotions, crying more often than usual, small annoyances become huge issues.

A change in the way we see the world and the people we work with, less tolerance of clients/patients/students, leading to a negative attitude, over generalisation (John is ALWAYS so difficult to work with, Eve NEVER appreciates what I do…) and a tendency to avoid situations or patients/clients/students we perceive as difficult.

Compassion Fatigue is a normal consequence of doing the work you do, over a period of time. It is an erosion, it is not a medical diagnosis, it is a set of signs and symptoms that you can choose to do something about.

To know more http://www.lindasage.com/bus_health.html You do not have to suffer in silence or alone.

Here’s to your success

Caring for the caregiver

Linda Sage MA BA Ed (Hons)