Personal time, home time, and family time seem to have gone the way of the rotary dial telephone. However, one of the best ways to start de-stressing your life is to establish some healthy boundaries and begin to experience true down time.

Two of the best new gadgets that have come out in the last few years are caller ID and voice mail. Most people already have these and if you don’t, I would suggest investing the few dollars it takes to add this service. Now the hard part of this is training the family and having the self discipline to actually begin setting house rules on private time.

Schedule time after work each day when you don’t answer the phone, pager, or e-mail. Better yet, put all devices on silent and let all calls go to voice mail for that time. Start with an hour during dinner and slowly expand that time to include most of the hours after work. Decide which calls automatically go to voice mail in the evenings if you do decide to leave the ringer on. Most everyone in my family knows not to answer work related calls for me after 5pm unless they ask first. (The call I got last evening at 8pm from my boss was answered by my dear hubby before he checked the caller ID. I would have let it go to voice mail.) If there is an urgent issue, the person can leave a voice mail and I can decide if it is an urgent matter for me. Remember someone else’s lack of planning does not make a matter your emergency!

For kids and teens, set ground rules for telephone conversations during dinnertime, homework time, and after a certain hour in the evenings. I don’t take kindly to folks calling my house after 9pm. It was considered rude when I was a kid and I still think it is rude today. Call me old fashioned if you must. I also don’t mind giving a free lesson in manners to any kid who calls my house after 9pm!!! It’s never too early to learn good habits.

I will be covering the importance of self-nurturing in a later article, but for now make sure you use at least some of this unplugged time to begin connecting with your family, your friends, or to spend some much needed time on YOU, not for laundry catch up, paying the bills, or other have-to’s.

Take Back Your Time at Work

Now, what about setting those boundaries at work? It’s pretty easy to ignore the call coming in to your phone from your boss at home, (oops, I must have forgotten to take my cell phone with me to the store) It gets a bit more difficult when the boss is standing in your face! Granted, there are times when you just get stuck at work and have to chip in to help. However, if these times are more often than not and if you seem to be getting the lion’s share of this type of intrusion, it’s time to start to change things.

Have you ever noticed that there are always one or two gung-ho/go-to people on a team and the rest are I can’t handle that/I’m too busy people? I’m guessing if you are reading this you come from the first group. MANY TIMES I have been the git-r-done person on the team and instead of getting thanks all I would end up with was more stuff to do! This leads to resentment and anger towards yourself, your boss, and others on the team (who say they are too busy working, but are generally hanging out gossiping in someone else’s cubicle while you are working furiously trying to get all that stuff done).

Now is the time to start examining your role at work. (Remember – we teach others how to treat us through our own actions.) Of course, no change happens overnight, but there are ways to start making the workload a bit more equitable. If you are uncomfortable with saying no or telling the truth when you are too busy, here are a few tips to get you started. I will be discussing ways to say no and boundary setting in more detail in a later article.

First and foremost, stop volunteering!!! The next time a staff meeting rolls around and the boss asks for a volunteer (and everyone turns around expecting you to jump in as usual) keep quiet and let someone else take a turn. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. When the boss comes by and asks you to do that one more thing, have a to-do list of things you already have on your plate and ask “What would you like me to eliminate from this list to do the new task? I am already at capacity. People may be surprised and even act peeved at you for not chipping in as usual. That’s ok they will get used to it in time. Another situation is when you constantly have to stay late to do that emergency project. Now everyone has these once in a while that’s just the way business works. It’s when the once in awhile turns in to three days per week and you are the only one getting these projects (aren’t you special?) that action needs to be taken. When the boss comes by at 3:30 for the fifth day in a row with an emergency project say Gosh, I’d love to help, but I have a commitment for this afternoon and must leave on time today. If that’s not a strong enough reason for you, have a dentist appointment, parent teacher meeting, dinner meeting, club function, SOMETIHING that you just cannot miss!! With time other folks will begin to get their share of these special projects, leaving you on the way home on time hopefully more days than not. And remember once you hit the door remember to use that caller ID and voice mail!

Where did summer go?

I looked up to notice the date and realized it is September already.  I am so looking forward to the Fall.  My energy level always soars during those first chilly mornings.  I always find myself wanting to get back to nature, walk in the woods, stay in a cabin in the mountains, go to arts festivals.  This is my favorite season.

My summer flew by!! I have been working hard in my practice and I am enjoying working with such a wonderful diverse set of folks.  I have been too busy working the new practice and still working weekends at my old job that I have not had much down time/reflection time (and no time to blog, obviously).  I have to be careful to not go back to that place of overworked and overstressed.  It looks like I will only have to keep working the two jobs until the end of the year or so (waiting on those pesky insurance companies to pay!!!).  I am limiting myself to five full workdays per week and taking Friday and Saturday for me and family.  It’s all about balance!!!

Sometimes it is hard to practice what you preach, but I am working towards an ultimate goal of balance between work, family, home and ME.  Peace to all.

God bless! 

Jackie

A Positive Attitude of Gratitude

If you haven’t read the articles All in Your Head and Nurture Your Soul you may want to read these prior to the current post  as I will be expanding on these ideas.  I recently watched wonderful movie called The Secret and it brought together many of the ideas I have been studying in my inspirational books.  I will be spending time expanding on many of these ideas, but the first one I want to talk about is the attitude of gratitude.

Remember, how we react to events in our life and the beliefs we have about those events affect our stress level.  But our reactions, self talk and attitude affect more than our stress level, these things affect our overall life focus and entire emotional make up!  If you have read any material on abundance and prosperity or the law of attraction, you begin to realize that our thoughts can affect what we attract into our lives.  This goes a step further from the power of positive thinking affecting our emotional state to say that this can also affect the very fabric/structure of our lives.  It means trusting God to oversee your life and guide you to your destiny.

In my life I have been through many trials and in younger times I would wonder Where is God while I am suffering? Why did He let so many hurtful things happen to me?  In my older and hopefully wiser mind I have come to understand that everything I have experienced up to this point in my life has had a purpose or lesson for me.  All of the bad things I experienced shaped me to be the person I am today and without these I would not have gained the knowledge and life experience it takes to be the counselor I am.  I don’t just listen to people and give support; I can understand and empathize with my patients.  I have been where they are and understand many of the emotional stages one must go through to heal.  If not for those lessons in my early life, I would not be who I am today.  For those lessons, I can now thank God because I do finally understand their significance and necessity.

It’s a pretty big step to thank God for the lessons, but it is at that point that I have finally found peace.

Enjoy Mother’s Day

As this is Mother’s Day weekend, I wanted to remind all of the moms out there to take some time for self nurturing.  And to all of the dads and kids, remember how wonderful and special that lovely lady is on this day.  So what are my plans for Sunday?  My son’s gift is to be my servant for the day, so while I lounge in bed on Sunday reading magazines and possibly a paperback, he will bring me breakfast and coffee refills.  At come point in the afternoon, when I make it down the stairs, we will be BBQing on the back porch.  My favorite way to spend this holiday is at home having a lazy day with my family.  Your idea may be a lovely brunch out, a picnic in the park, or an afternoon at the beach.  However you spend your day, make sure to take some time for rest and reflection and let your family take care of you for a day!

See related article on self-nurturing:

http://mindyourstress.com/time-for-self-nurturing/

Also, here is a link to a great site on moms and families with an article on ways to take time for yourself:

http://familysanitysavers.com/timeouttopamper.html

Have a most lovely day.  And last but not least for my own dear mom, 

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY GRANNY MARGIE !!!

 

As I have mentioned the increased stress related to working at home after hours (answering email, phone calls, and pagers) and the importance of personal time, I wanted to share this great website.  What I really like about this fellow is that, like me, he is a former workaholic.  I see so much of my former life as a financial analyst here.

I especially like the article “Company collapses: CEO forgot to check e-mail last night”

Here’s the link – enjoy!!!

http://itzy.wordpress.com/tag/stress-management/

Personal time, home time, and family time seem to have gone the way of the rotary dial telephone.  However, one of the best ways to start de-stressing your life is to establish some healthy boundaries and begin to experience true down time.

Two of the best new gadgets that have come out in the last few years are caller ID and voice mail.  Most people already have these and if you don’t, I would suggest investing the few dollars it takes to add this service.  Now the hard part of this is training the family and having the self discipline to actually begin setting house rules on private time.

Schedule time after work each day when you don’t answer the phone, pager, or e-mail.  Better yet, put all devices on silent and let all calls go to voice mail for that time.  Start with an hour during dinner and slowly expand that time to include most of the hours after work.  Decide which calls automatically go to voice mail in the evenings if you do decide to leave the ringer on.  Most everyone in my family knows not to answer work related calls for me after 5pm unless they ask first.  (The call I got last evening at 8pm from my boss was answered by my dear hubby before he checked the caller ID.  I would have let it go to voice mail.)  If there is an urgent issue, the person can leave a voice mail and I can decide if it is an urgent matter for me.  Remember someone else’s lack of planning does not make a matter your emergency!

For kids and teens, set ground rules for telephone conversations during dinnertime, homework time, and after a certain hour in the evenings. I don’t take kindly to folks calling my house after 9pm.  It was considered rude when I was a kid and I still think it is rude today. Call me old fashioned if you must. I also don’t mind giving a free lesson in manners to any kid who calls my house after 9pm!!!  It’s never too early to learn good habits.

I will be covering the importance of self-nurturing in a later article, but for now make sure you use at least some of this unplugged time to begin connecting with your family, your friends, or to spend some much needed time on YOU, not for laundry catch up, paying the bills, or other have-to’s.

Who am I? and an Update

Who am I? My name is Jackie and I am a therapist with a special interest in stress management. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and have a master’s degree in counseling psychology.  I am an avid yoga practitioner and find the time spent “on my mat” is directly related to my stress level.  I have worked for one off the largest hospital systems in the metro Atlanta area as a counselor in emergency medicine and in drug rehab. I have worked in community mental health and in private practice.  I have worked with children, adults, teens and families with behavioral health issues and individuals who are trying to beat drug dependence.  Many times, I have been the point of contact when folks have reached their wit’s end and don’t know where to turn. My hope is that I can share my professional knowledge and personal experience in a plain-language, non-technical format that can be helpful to anyone. So here, in this place it will just be me talking to you – one person to another about ways I have found to manage stress.

A bit of history – I am a former financial analyst/workaholic who decided a bit before midlife to change careers and follow my heart into counseling psychology. I also spent the last three years homeschooling my son thru those horrible middle school years while working weekends. As he is transitioning back to public school, I finally have some time to try my hand at writing. I hope you find enjoyment, good ideas and maybe a bit of humor in my musings and feel free to leave comments!!

A little update:  since beginning this blog eight years ago, so much has transpired:

My son is now 21 and currently working towards a degree in Electronics Technology.  I loved yoga so much that I went back to school to train as a yoga teacher.  I did my certified yoga teacher training at Etowah Valley Yoga http://etowahvalleyyoga.com/ and  I am registered with Yoga Alliance  as a RYT200 level teacher https://www.yogaalliance.org/.  My family has moved to South Georgia and we are blessed to have a chance to be close to family.  My career took up most of my time over the last eight years, but once again I have come to a time and place to be able to slow down a bit and enjoy writing again.

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