Finding Hope After My Father’s Suicide

Hope-after-suicide

The last time I saw my father was January 29, 2014. Unbeknown to me, my father had been battling seriously with mental ill health since at least 1996. I spent a long time asking myself why he didn’t reach out, or if there was anything that I could have done to save him—I suppose that’s the survivor’s guilt.

As I found that my father’s death was by suicide, I found myself angry that I could not see the signs until it was too late. I have spent my life suffering with anxiety and depression, so why was it so hard to recognise the same pain in the person who was my world?

I can’t explain the pain that comes with losing a person suddenly, to something that could have—should have—been prevented. My father was the reason I made it to 18 years-old. He had saved my life countless times and yet I couldn’t save his.

I don’t think that any death of a loved one is easy, but I do know that suicide is a particularly cruel form of death. For those left behind, it’s like a nuclear bomb that keeps going off.

I am not and never have been angry at my father’s choice to end his life; I completely understand why. However, when you love someone so much, you kind of just expect them to be alive forever and adjusting to a world without them is the hardest part.

Grief was a bumpy rollercoaster of a ride for me. Some days I felt fine, like my father could walk through the door any moment and it was all a bad dream. Other days I couldn’t breathe and I felt completely dead inside. I constantly danced between substance abuse, going weeks without being sober and then working hard to find success so that I could make my daddy proud.

I still don’t know how I have made it to where I am today. I suffer with disassociation a lot but I do know that I have survived and that I am allowed to continue to live, even when my father chose not too.

Grief can make you do things that you will regret later. It can make you become a person you are not and sometimes it can be hard to see anything other than the pain that now lives inside and consumes you.

I have found that the key is about self-respect and understanding. I spent a lot of time arguing with people who were impatient with my recovery. I will preach and scream on the top of my lungs now that “we need to grieve in our own time and way” because I fully believe this. No one will understand your grief even if it is over the same person, because we are individual and our minds respond differently to trauma.

I also threw out the “steps of grief” because it is not a one size fits all situation. There is no wrong or right way to grieve; the only thing that really matters is that you are still fighting to live, even when you don’t want to.

I look forward to my future now and I am happy with how my life has turned out. I will still have days where I cry because I miss my father, like when I had to walk down the aisle without the one person I wanted there by my side. However, I can understand that there is nothing I could have done to stop my father’s death. Yes maybe it could have been prevented, but it was not my responsibility. How could it be when I had no idea he was struggling? I also know that my father did not do it to hurt me, he was just in pain and wanted it to end.

Because I have allowed myself to grieve and learn to enjoy life again, I am stronger than ever. Somehow, my father’s death has become a gateway for me to be able to help others and prevent future suicides. For that I believe my daddy is proud. All we can do, at the end of the day, is try to find a little bit of good in even the worst of things. That is called hope.

Charlotte Underwood is a 22 year-old from Norfolk Uk. She is a growing mental health advocate on twitter (@CUnderwoodUK) and is passionate about using her words to support and inform. You can read more of her work at www.charlotteunderwoodauthor.com.

Are you struggling with thoughts of suicide? Are you concerned about the welfare of a loved one, or are grieving the loss of someone to suicide? Please call 000 or 911 in an emergency or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.  For crisis hotlines in other countries, visit Hope Movement’s International database here 

Your G.P. and a Professional Counsellor can give you the additional support you need. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0422 177 193. Click Book Now to book an appointment in our online diary.

Six qualities of a great leader

leader

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. You might be the head of a corporation, a department head, or a team leader at work. Then again, you may be a parent, the coordinator of burgeoning start up company, or part of a small, committed team.

We all carry some form of leadership in our day-to-day life, even if it is just the influence we have on the people around us. This is why self-improvement is necessary for everyone.

Leadership requires a special set of characteristics, that melds charisma and integrity with passion, vision casting and delegation skills. And as we all know, just because someone is given a title, doesn’t mean they are an effective leader.

This infographic by Eliv8 Group highlights six qualities every leader should carry. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so don’t be discouraged if you excel in one area but are lacking in another.  As it points out in number 3, self-awareness is integral to great leadership, and honestly assessing your own abilities will show you what you can improve to become an even better leader.

Do you want to inspire, motivate and lead the people around you to success? Start working on the six characteristics below and you won’t just be called a leader, you’ll embody one. 

Leadership-Qualities-Infographic

Would you like professional coaching or mentoring? Do you want to develop your leadership skills? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243, or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

What is Trichotillomania?: Why it’s about more than just hair pulling

Trichotillomania

Watersedge has covered a vast spectrum of mental health disorders on our blog, but we have never discussed trichotillomania, the compulsive pulling of one’s hair. Licensed mental health counsellor and writer for Trichstop GinaMarie G. sheds some light on this epidemic for us where she looks at trichotillomania by numbers.

Trichotillomania is a mental health disorder in which a person suffers from the irresistible urge to pull out his or her own hair. It is a disorder that stems from difficulties regulating anxiety and impulse control. People with trichotillomania often struggle to feel as though they fit in with others, and feel self-conscious about the way people see them and their illness.

People with trichotillomania suffer from several symptoms that can be confusing and off-putting for a person who does not understand what it is like to suffer from trichotillomania. The symptoms of trichotillomania are more visually apparent than other mental health disorders, since the behaviour and consequences are difficult to hide.

Such symptoms and behaviours include:

  • Chewing on hair
  • Eating hair
  • Pulling hair out
  • Compulsively twirling hair
  • Missing clumps of hair from face, head, eyelashes or eyebrows
  • Having bald patches and sores on scalp and face

Each of these symptoms is difficult to hide or conceal, and can be considered unsightly and nonsensical to a person who suffers from trichotillomania. This causes a person who suffers from trichotillomania to feel isolated and alone. It is  lonely to feel so misunderstood and singled out, especially since the disorder seems so unusual. In fact, most people do not realise how prevalent trichotillomania actually is in the population. 

How Many People Suffer From Trichotillomania?

At this point in time, it is estimated that on average, .5 to 3 per cent of the population will suffer from trichotillomania at some point during their lifetime. This means they will experience trichotillomania symptoms that will have a significant impact on their quality of life for significant periods of time. Some cases will be chronic, meaning they are strong and withstanding, with a steady display of symptoms over time. Other cases will be situational. This means that the symptoms will surface and fade, depending on different elements, like:

  • Prevalence of triggers
  • Level of stress in day-to-day life
  • Ability to cope with triggers and stress
  • Engagement in therapy and treatment services

It is important to consider that this statistic is based on the data collected from people who have acknowledged having trichotillomania. This implies that the statistic of .5 to 3 per cent of the population does not account for people who have trichotillomania and do not feel comfortable with talking about, seeking help for, or disclosing that they also suffer from the disorder.

Considering that many people who struggle with trichotillomania feel a sense of shame and embarrassment about having the disorder and prefer to not discuss the details of their case, it is safe to assume that the actual percentage of people who suffer from trichotillomania is likely higher than this evidenced based statistic.

What Are The Demographics Of Trichotillomania?

To date, an estimated 2.5 million people in the United States suffer from trichotillomania at some point in their lifetime, and it currently impacts up to  920,000 Australians. On average, a person will begin to show signs of trichotillomania between the ages of 9 and 13 years old, but people can begin to show signs as early as 4 and at any point during adolescence or adulthood.

Gender And Race Statistics

Statistics show that significantly more females will suffer from trichotillomania than men. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry (2016), for every one man who reports suffering from trichotillomania, there are four women also suffering from the disorder. This means that there are four times as many women who report having suffered from trichotillomania as men.

Presently, there is no data that shows a significant difference in the prevalence of trichotillomania between racial groups.

Comorbidity Statistics

“Comorbidity” is a term used to refer to a person who suffers from more than one type of mental health disorder. Trichotillomania is often not the only mental health disorder a person suffers from when he or she suffers from the disorder. According to the American Association of Psychiatry, an estimated 60 per cent of trichotillomania cases are comorbid with another mental health disorder. Most people of trichotillomania also suffer from an anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or another type of impulse control disorder. Furthermore, an estimated 5 per cent of people who suffer from trichotillomania also suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder.

Trichotillomania is more prevalent in the population than people tend to realise. There are several reasons for this; between the shame and guilt felt by people who suffer from the disorder and lack of information and awareness about the disorder, it is easy to understand why most people do not fully understand what trichotillomania is or how many people it affects.

Trichotillomania is a disorder that affects many people and does have a significant impact on an affected person’s quality of life. Fortunately, with proper treatment and therapeutic intervention, it is possible to recover from the disorder and learn coping skills needed to maintain control and minimise its damaging symptoms.

GinaMarie G. is a licensed mental health counsellor, writing about mental health in general and about OCD and related disorders in particular, for trichstop.com.

Do you struggle with trichotillomania? Are you concerned a loved one may partake in chronic hair pulling? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243, or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

Orbiting: Five ways to handle the new online dating phenomenon

orbiting

When it comes to relationships, ‘ghosting’ is a common term. It has been used for the last few years both in relationships and the workplace to describe what happens when someone shows interest in you, only to stop contact without explanation. They stop texting, don’t show for a date, or refuse to reply to emails.

Today, ghosting has been taken to an even more unhealthy level: orbiting.

Coined by writer Anna Iovine of Man Repeller, it describes what happens when someone you are dating cuts of contact with you, only to continually monitor your behaviour online. While they may not talk to you anymore, they continually view your Snapchat feed, Instagram stories, and may even like your Instagram pictures, Tweets or Facebook posts.

It sounds sort of creepy, doesn’t it? Knowing that I am being watched online, without my permission, feels intrusive and violating. It is as if someone has set up a tent outside my house with the intention of monitoring my every move.

At its most innocent, orbiting is perhaps a person’s desire to fill their hours of boredom or satisfy curiosity that can become addictive. Yet it can also run to the other extreme of outright stalking and bullying behaviour. And while social media is often public, this is never an excuse for someone to violate your privacy by instigating such concerning and abusive behaviour.

If you realise you are being orbited, you have a choice: to entertain a sense of powerless and even outrage at this blatant violation of privacy, or take back your power and feel more in control.

You give away your power to the person orbiting you when you:

  • Over react
  • Confront the perpetrator in a reactive way
  • Engage with the perpetrator

While you have a right to feel angry, each of these behaviours invites further negative interaction from the perpetrator and will actually perpetuate the cycle they have begun. Your response could invite fascination, excitement or stimulation.

The best way to retain your power is by choosing to ignore their presence. While it may feel contrary to their behaviour, by doing this you dilute their power and strengthen your own position.

Here are five steps you can follow to take back your control and nip orbiting in the bud.

  1. Recognise your power and control.
    You can keep your power or give it away by choosing to be reactive (stimulating them) or pro-active (blocking them).
  2. Utilise social media settings as boundaries
    Don’t be afraid to block or hide a person from seeing your social media content. Think of this akin to putting up a fence around your house. You wouldn’t let just anyone in, so why is your social media any different?
  3. Report predators
    If someone is frequently crossing the boundaries and viewing your content or interacting with you, report them. Let the authorities on that particular site fight for you and don’t be afraid to remove yourself from the website, even for a short period, if it’s ruining your quality of life.
  4. Confront them from a mindful, empowered position
    This approach is only recommended if you feel strong enough to advocate for yourself, as you may very well get negative backlash. Choose your timing and your words carefully. Remind yourself that the boundaries they cross are first of all in your mind, creating fear, anger and frustration.
  5. Be aware of how you represent yourself
    Consider what message does your online presence sends to the world.

Try to be honest with yourself and ask: Am I provocative in any way? Am I ambivalent about the attention? Angered by it? Flattered by it?

How you portray yourself on social media is never an excuse for someone to orbit you or violate your privacy in anyway, but understanding the image you portray will empower you to create boundaries in the future to protect yourself.

Are you being orbited? Is your social media presence causing you anxiety or minimising your quality of life? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243, or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

Ten reasons helping others is good for your health

helping-others

Some people seem to have compassion in their bones and will stop at nothing to assist a friend in need. Others find it comes less naturally, and struggle to see the opportunity to help people. We’re all wired differently, but by taking stock of the world around us, we can all show some compassion and in turn, experience the benefits this has on our own health.

Did you know that people who help other people are more attractive to the opposite sex? Plus, helping other people genuinely makes us happier and changes the mood of the people surrounding us.

Helping other people doesn’t always have to be hard. It can be as simple as offering someone a smile, paying for their coffee, or taking the time to ask a person how they are feeling. You might even consider volunteering with an organisation or charity that shares the same interests as you. If you’re passionate about the environment, you can start recycling or join a neighbourhood clean up or landscaping effort.

This infographic by Emma Seppala PhD. lists some of the scientific benefits of showing compassion. Take a look and think about a way to boost your mood by helping someone else this week.

scientific-benefits-of-compassion

Do you struggle to find the balance between helping others and helping yourself? Are you looking for a way to revitalise your life and health? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

How to speak to your child about sexuality

child-sexuality

There has always been contention about when the right time is for parents  to have the ‘birds and the bees’ talk with children. But in a day and age where technology is more advanced than ever and children are reaching puberty as early as 7, the need to talk about sexuality has become greater than ever.

These days, kids want to know about more than sex. When they’re younger questions will centre on body parts—and as they grow older the questions will become more about puberty. You will have to explain positive self-esteem, kissing, periods, erections, and all sorts of joys with them (including how often they NEED to shower).

Then comes the slightly more awkward topics—Pornography. Sexting. Contraception. Why some people are attracted to the opposite sex, others are attracted to the same, and some people, both.  Transexuality and gender fluidity. Why some marriages work and others don’t. Divorce. Cheating. What sexual abuse is. Rape. Boundaries for safe and consensual sex. STI’s. Understanding their unique sexual identity.

A parent can read all the self-help books in the world and sit their child down in front of any amount of awkward 80’s sex-ed videos, and still not have the answers to these questions. And often, the need to talk about these topics will come up before the questions even do; especially once a child grows older and starts exploring their sexuality on their own.

The need to discuss these topics in a safe and non-judgemental way is essential, because an educated child is prepared when they are confronted with all sorts of situations—especially the ones they may not tell you about. And if you’re not educating them, then you can be sure the internet, TV, magazines and their peers are.

So how do you broach the topic of your child’s sexuality and all it entails? We came across a fantastic article by Danish Psychotherapist and author Iben Sandahl. In it, she details 7 guidelines for speaking to your children about sexuality. She answers questions about how much detail you should go into and when, the language you can use, and takes away the fear factor of these conversations. Read it here and see what you can take away from it.

Does your child or teen have questions about their sexuality? Are you unsure how to approach these topics with them? Watersege has just added a child and teen specialist to our staff who would love to work with you. For more details, contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

Eight ways to reduce travel anxiety

Eight-ways-to-reduce-travel-anxiety

Lots of people experience some sort of travel anxiety. Have you ever noticed how your partner gets extra ‘stressed’ when you have to drive to the airport? Or how your friend shuts their eyes tightly and prays when the plane experiences unexpected turbulence? That’s travel anxiety—and it’s completely normal.

A lot of us feel unsettled when we do unfamiliar things in new places. And while taking a holiday is great, travelling is a breeding ground for long-forgotten fears, family conflicts, and bad habits to come into play.

These things don’t have to ruin your holiday though. If you manage them well, they can help you have an even richer and more rewarding experience. From the planning stages to travel itself, here are eight ways you can reduce travel anxiety and (hopefully) a lot of the drama that goes with it.

  1. Solidify the destination

A lot of travel anxiety comes from uncertainty. Some of this can occur when you are deciding when and where you will travel to—especially if a friend, partner or your family is throwing ten different options at you! In this situation your priority is solidifying where you will go and when.

Block out all the voices (quite literally if needed) and make a list of the places you want or need to go. Place the pros of cons of each destination next to them—consider who you will see, how expensive it will be, and how long it takes it travel to the destination. This will help you to narrow down the top choices for everyone, and you can discuss the best option from there.

Once you’ve decided on a destination, commit to it and set a timeframe for your trip. This helps you to avoid any uncertainty about the future and keeps you and your loved ones accountable to keep it.

  1. Make a budget

A budget is boring, but it will keep you from stressing about unnecessary purchases or the bills sitting on the table when you arrive home. Factor in the price of travel, accommodation, food, shopping and unexpected expenses.

Even with a budget, some people never seem to stop worrying about cost, so make a conscious decision to enjoy your holiday. Whenever the compulsion to worry or complain about the price of something comes up, remember your budget and see if what you’re spending fits into it. Sticking to your budget gives you permission to enjoy your travels without constantly worrying if you will have enough.

  1. Be honest with your travel partners

Are there parts of your trip that concern you? Are you on a tight budget, concerned about jet lag, or are you stressed about events going on at home? Tell your travel partners.

We often feel like we have to hide our anxiety so our travel partners can have a better holiday, but by doing this we often reflect our stress onto them. They are left feeling powerless to help you, and this can create conflict.

If you have concerns, tell your travel partners. Be it a friend, your spouse or even the kids—let them know that you are feeling stressed due to this, and you may need some extra support or understanding in particular parts of your trip. If you sense the anxiety rising up during your trip, let them know you are struggling. From here you can take steps to care for yourself while your friends continue to enjoy their trip.

  1. Pre-book everything

Some people thrive off spontaneity. They love the idea of arriving at a destination, and figuring out their accommodation and transport on the spot. If that’s not you, give yourself permission to pre-book everything. From flights, to hotels, rental cars, tours, even some meals—if pre-booking alleviates your stress when you arrive, do it. And if the thought of pre-booking still feels like too much, speak to a travel agent.

Pre-booking things also gives you the opportunity to compare prices and research the area you are visiting before you arrive. This takes into account the safety of the area, how close you are to attractions, and the time required for different activities.

This level of planning isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and fluidity and spontaneity on a holiday is a good thing. However, if you know these details will cause you more stress than enjoyment when the plane touches down, book ahead. It’s better for everyone.

  1. Identify your priorities

We all have different priorities when we travel. Some people are in it for the adventure, some for the relationships they want to cultivate, and others for the sights and sounds of a new place. Once you identify your priorities, you can figure out how to make them happen in the least stressful way possible.

For instance, if connecting with family is a priority—but you also know they cause you stress and you can only see them in increments—then you can break up your interaction with them by planning social activities. You could also schedule tours and road trips every few days to give yourself space.

If relaxing is a priority, then you may prefer lounging by the hotel pool to seeing the hidden treasures of a foreign city. And if you and your travel partners have different priorities, then give yourself permission to alternate between activities or do things on your own.

  1. Anticipate the travel experience

Anticipating how you will feel when you travel isn’t about catastrophising a situation (“The plane is definitely going to crash!” comes to mind), it’s about remedying a crisis before it may happen.

If you know turbulence causes you anxiety, or you become claustrophobic on long trips, bring some earphones, a sleep mask and speak to your chemist about over-the-counter medication.

If you’re afraid of entering a new culture, speak to someone who has travelled to the area before and research the customs, norms and values on the Internet.

If the concept of running through airports between layovers is anxiety-provoking, familiarise yourself with the layout of the airport before you arrive, and tell a flight attendant you need to make a connecting flight.

  1. Set your boundaries

Are you travelling with other people? Set your boundaries early on. This may require separate bedrooms, alone time or different itineraries.

Boundaries are a key to survival when you travel with others. The entire experience is a melting pot for heightened emotions and expectations, and due to this irritation and frustration can occur more frequently. Anticipate that this will happen, and make allowances for it.

If you partner becomes moody when they are hungry, schedule in your meal times and make them non-negotiable. If you are not a morning person, allow your friends to explore while you stay in bed, and join them later on. If a friend is a chronic planner or wants to control everything, determine what you will and won’t do ahead of time and tell them when they are going too far.

Boundaries aren’t just required between travel partners, they are also required when we visit or meet people in our travels. If you know your relatives will try to ‘fix’ you or plan your entire trip, make your schedule clear and don’t give them any leeway to change your plans or your life.

  1. Consider returning home

Arriving is one thing, but by the time you return home everyone is exhausted. Mentally, emotionally and physically, you will be drained and ready to crash in bed. Make allowances for this by asking someone to pick you up, having transport ready and accessible so you can return home as soon as possible, or even getting take-away food on the way home.

Don’t expect yourself for your travel partners to be angels on your return. Give each other grace when you are tired, and make sure everyone can eat, shower and sleep as soon as possible to diffuse any tension. Unpacking can always wait!

Does the ideal of travel make you anxious? Would you like to explore strategies that can assist you on an upcoming holiday? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

Eleven forces for good you need to follow online

forces-for-good

The Internet is full of people begging for your likes, follows and comments, and every so often we come across one that stands out from the crowd. Rather than being shallow and cynical, they are forces of good.

They balance wit and fun with thoughtful social commentary, encourage better living, depict what it means to have healthy and whole relationships, and are just general slices of good news that will leave you smiling.

From authors to Instagram influencers and charities, here are 11 forces for good you want to follow online.

Good-news

  1. GOOD GOOD GOOD

When it comes to forces for good, it’s hard to go past GOOD GOOD GOOD. Started by Nashville local Branden Harvey in 2016, they exist to celebrate, people, movements and ideas most of us normally miss in the headlines.

Between their social media presence (their Instagram stories are stellar), weekly SoundsGood podcast with influencers, newsletter and their Good News Paper (a literal paper), this company isn’t just proclaiming good news, they are actually creating it.

Facebook: /goodgoodgoodco
Instagram: @goodgoodgoodco
Twitter: @goodgoodgood
Podcast: Available on all platforms (click here)
Online: goodgoodgood.co

Branden-H

  1. Branden Harvey

Branden’s work around positivity and world change goes further than GOOD GOOD GOOD. He also helps businesses tell their stories well, interviews some of society’s most influential change makers, and is a king when it comes to Instagram stories.

From videos that detail how to call your local representative about a social issue, to adorable videos of his pup (@poptartharveyco) and hangs with his wife Sammi, his online presence will give you a dose of happiness to keep going through the day.

Facebook: /brandenharvey
Instagram: @brandenharvey
Twitter: @BrandenHarvey
Snapchat: brandenharvey
Podcast: Sounds Good
Online: brandenharvey.com

Alex-Elle

  1. Alexandra Elle

An author, mother and creative, Alex is an inspirational force from Washington DC. Beautifully honest and compellingly raw, Alex shares the highs and lows of femininity, motherhood and love. Her book Neon Soul is available now, and you can catch her on The Hey Girl Podcast as well.

Instagram: @alex_elle
Twitter: @_alexelle
Podcast: The Hey Girl Podcast
Online: alexelle.com

bob-goff

  1. Bob Goff

Bob Goff is one of those rare people who can make everyone smile—and his online presence is no different. His quotes are challenging and thought provoking as he encourages people to love well, often and always.

He is the best selling author of Love Does and founder of a non-profit human rights organisation of the same name operating in Uganda, India, Nepal, Iraq and Somalia. His new book Everybody Always is out on April 17.

Facebook: /bobgoffis
Instagram: @bobgoff
Twitter: @bobgoff
Online: bobgoff.com

POTSC+book+on+wood

  1. People of the Second Chance (POTSC)

This organisation is known for their work reforming prisoners, however in recent years they have branched out to become a movement that helps people find freedom from depression, fear, addiction and shame.

Using custom-made curriculums, as well as their Rescue Academy that teaches people how to coach others, POTSC will boost your self-esteem and make you believe anything is possible.

Facebook: /peopleofthesecondchance
Instagram: @POTSC
Twitter: @POTSC
Online: secondchance.org

Mike-Foster

  1. Mike Foster

As a speaker, author and counsellor, we are big fans of Mike’s work. Aside from being the founder of People of The Second Chance, he regularly speaks on the power of grace and mercy. We also love his podcast Fun Therapy where he literally councils his friends on deep and compelling issues. His book People of the Second Chance is out now.

Facebook: /peopleofthesecondchance
Instagram: @mikefoster2000
Twitter: @MikeFoster
Podcast: Fun Therapy
Online: mikefoster.tv

abby-paulhus

  1. Abbie Paulhus

Abbie is an artist based in Las Vegas, and her work has been made into cards, pins, notebooks and prints. Her daily illustrations are whimsical and light, yet also full of profound truths. She advocates for ‘collaboration over competition,’ which makes her a powerful positive force in the creative industry as she champions the people around her and celebrates her own work.

Facebook: /AbbiePaulhusIllustrations
Instagram: @abbiepaulhus
Online: abbiepaulhus.com

brene-brown-talent-connect

  1. Brené Brown

In the world of mental health and wellness, few names are bigger than Brené Brown. This incredible woman is a best selling author, researcher and speaker, focusing on the nature of courage, shame, empathy, compassion and vulnerability. Her posts, along with her daily emails, are thought provoking and encourage you to be your most authentic self. Her latest book Braving the Wilderness is out now.

Facebook: /brenebrown
Instagram: @brenebrown
Twitter: @BreneBrown
Online: brenebrown.com

Hannah_Brencher093

  1. Hannah Brencher

Hannah Brencher is a powerhouse. She began writing anonymous love letters to strangers in 2011 and began the global More Love Letters movement which spawned her first book If You Find This Letter. Hannah’s posts are motivational and detail what it is like to live with mental illness. She also sends out a weekly Monday email encouraging you to kick butt.

Facebook: /HannahBrencherSheats
Instagram: @hannahbrencher
Twitter: @hannahbrencher
Tumblr: hannahbrencher.tumblr.com
Online: hannahbrenchercreative.com 

babeswhohustle

  1. Babes Who Hustle

Created by power house females for working women, this movement gives you awe-inspiring insight into some of the most creative and successful females in any given industry. More than just the success story, Babes who Hustle looks into the day-to-day of actions of courageous women and delves into the person behind the brand or profession.

Facebook: /BabesWhoHustle
Instagram: @babeswhohustle
Twitter: @babeswhohustle
Online: babeswhohustle.com

Tonya-I

  1. Tonya Ingram

Spoken-word poet Tonya Ingram is powerful because she is unsparingly honest. She talks and writes about her identity as a woman, a survivor of abuse, love, and someone who lives with chronic and mental illness. Aside from her brilliant Instagram posts, she also has a stellar Insta-story presence well worth your time.
Her book Another Black Girl Miracle is out now.

Facebook: /TonyaIngram1991
Instagram: @tonyainstagram
Twitter: @TonyaSIngram

Five ways to beat stress

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Around the Easter break, stress comes to the forefront of our lives. We’re rushing to finish all our work in time for vacation, or we bring it home to get on top of everything.

Then there’s the stress that we experience around the holidays—seeing family and friends, cooking and entertaining, not to mention making sure your in laws don’t start a debate about international politics. Before long you’ve got a headache, your back starts to spasm, and spending time with the kids feels like more of a chore than a privilege.

Can you relate? If stress is controlling your life this Easter break, these five tips will help you get it back under control.

  1. Stop and breathe

It may seem simple, but when we’re stressed and on a deadline, taking the time to stop and breath feels like the most difficult step of all.

If everything feels like too much and pausing feels impossible, give yourself permission to stop for a minute. Exit to the bathroom or the hallway, and take five deep breaths in and out. This will clear your head and ease the tension in our body before you go back to your task. You will be more productive, and your stress will lessen significantly.

  1. Make a list 

Some people have so much to do that they spend more time leaping from one task to another rather than actually finishing a task! If that’s you, then make a list. Prioritise your tasks from what is most important or time sensitive, to what can be put on the back burner. Once you’ve made the list, follow it and complete each task one at a time. This will give you a sense of clarity and control. Plus, crossing an item off your list is a great ego boost!

  1. Take a walk

Spending time outside and exercising are natural stress reducers and will lift your mood. Take half an hour to walk around the block or grab a coffee, and use the time to centre yourself. Focus on nature, the taste of your drink, or the wind on your face. This will settle you before you go back to the grind.

  1. Set aside time for rest

Working non-stop is a natural response to stress, but it actually perpetuates the cycle and hinders your heath. Designate a set time for your work, rest and fun. That may mean not taking work home with you, or not working on weekends. It may even be as simple as not checking your email before you get to work!

  1. Meditate

Meditation and mindfulness will still your mind, and in turn, relax your body. Our friends at Audio Mental Training provide you with a number of Mindfulness Meditation programs that you can download and start using immediately (our favourite is Optimal Health). You can find out more by visiting their website HERE.

Are you stressed to the max? Are you scared that if you stop, everything will fall apart? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

What is trauma?

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Trauma is far more common than we realise. Some people experience it in childhood and others develop it from an event, such as war or a life-altering accident. Trauma can also occur when people experience reoccurring stress inducing, life-threatening events.

This infographic by the National Council for Behavioural Healthcare explains some of the causes of trauma and its side effects. Sometimes our body notifies us of our trauma before our mind can, and we will find ourselves experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, constipation and rigid muscles long before we realise we have been traumatised.

Our mental health is also affected by trauma, as the body maintains a fight-or-flight response in order to survive long after the event is over. People experiencing it may show signs of depression, anxiety, sporadic rage, numbness, apathy and fear. In addition, it is common for people to have trouble sleeping, experience nightmares and to have flashbacks, where they believe they are back in the threatening circumstance.

Trauma can be scary because it consumes your whole life. Navigating it, let alone finding healing, can feel like an impossible task. But it’s not. There are ways to manage trauma, and through therapy and time, you will feel like yourself again.

Take a look at this infographic and see if you identify with any of the symptoms listed. By implementing habits like exercising, journaling or speaking to a trusted friend, you can begin to understand the trauma and shake its hold on your life.

Acknowledging that you may have been traumatised is the first step to healing. It is not a sign of weakness or inferiority—it shows that you are human, and your body does not know how to heal. We can help you take the next step towards healing. Contact Duncan on 0434 331 243, or BOOK ONLINE NOW to book in our online diary.

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