It’s Monday evening. Just a typical day. I’m in my kitchen preparing dinner, as I always do. I pull open the oven door to take out the casserole, and a small puff of smoke escapes. Confused, because the casserole is not burnt in the slightest, I open the door all the way to get a better look.
As you search for a counsellor there can be a lot of different terms that they use that you don’t understand. Chelsea Stenner explains some of these terms here to help you get to know her a bit better and to help you as you navigate your search for a therapist to help you reach your goals.
Cassandra Santlal recently listened to the audiobook Radical Self-Acceptance by Tara Brach. Throughout this book, Tara uses down to earth, compassionate, wise and calming strategies to guide listeners to accept their reality with mindfulness, rather than avoid it or try to compensate for it.
We use the word anxiety everyday in our conversations. However, did you know that only a small portion of the population actually has anxiety? Did you know that anxiety must be diagnosed by your doctor or psychiatrist? When we worry about everyday things, that’s not anxiety.
Everybody worries about something: work, school, appearance, etc. Worrying can help you be productive and accomplish important tasks, like studying for a test, getting to work on time or preparing dinner. A certain amount of worrying or distress keeps you safe and out of trouble. Can you think of an example where a little bit of distress has helped you? However, some people worry too much, and it interferes with their daily life. They overthink things and overanalyze situations, which prevents them from being mindful and focussing on the task on hand. That is when you should seek help and see a doctor and a counsellor.
Worries also affect your body:
Heart beat is faster
Stomach feels sick or you feel ‘butterflies’
Feel like you can’t breathe
Head hurts, pain in neck or back
Face turns red
Feel shaky or dizzy
Why is it important to know about the physiological reactions? So that you can notice what is happening to you when you worry and use tools to help you calm down. When you are calm, you will be able to think clearly and deal with problems effectively.
Some tools to use to help you relax when you are overwhelmed with problems and feeling distressed:
Deep belly breathing
Positive self talk
Do something fun for yourself
Talk to someone you trust
Journal your thoughts
Listen to calming music
Drink chamomile or peppermint tea
Go for a walk outside
Hang out with some friends/family that make you smile
Remember, we all worry at some time or another. It is perfectly normal! Life will always have its ups and downs. Use your tools and keep putting one foot in front of the other! If your worries are exceeding your ability to cope, it may be time to talk to your doctor and seek counselling.
Perminder Hundle, M.Ed., RCC
As a professional counsellor to children, youth, adults, couples, and families, Perminder is passionate about helping people navigate their struggles and worries in life. Perminder is very skilled at working with children and adults, helping parents with skills on better parenting or working on their own relationships, working with anxiety and depression, and helping navigate cross-cultural issues for individuals, couples, and families. For communication with the author, please direct your correspondence here: email@example.com
Becoming a new parent is truly a life changing experience. It changes the dynamics of a relationship, and can often deepen a couple’s bond. However, it can also be a challenging experience for a family. Symptoms of prenatal or post-partum depression and anxiety (PPD/A), complications during pregnancy or birth, the strain of changing expectations at home, and the financial hardships of maternity/paternity leave, can add unforeseen layers to our parenting journey.
Can be experienced within a few weeks, months, or even a year after arrival of baby
10-16% of women start to experience symptoms during pregnancy
Affects 8-12% of mothers, not just first-time parents
Symptoms present most days to nearly every day, for two weeks or longer
What can symptoms look like?
Anxious thoughts or images
Changes in appetite
Upset over trivial matters
Extreme mood swings
Unable to enjoy baby
Thoughts of harming baby or self
Strong feelings of guilt, failure, worthlessness
Lack of interest in things usually enjoyed
Inability to cope
Although it can affect anyone, these are some contributing factors:
Expectations of yourself, or partner’s expectations of you
Grieving a loss (job, loved one, etc.)
Feeling unsure about pregnancy or parenthood
Being a young parent
Baby with medical conditions
Lack of support/isolation
How can I get help?
Get help as soon as possible; waiting longer can prolong the recovery process. The sooner you take the first step, the sooner you will get back to feeling your usual self and being a better parent. It is important to mention your symptoms to health care providers such as your public health nurse, midwife or physician. Your healthcare professional may be able to let you know about local PPD/A support groups. Counselling, medication, or a combination of both can be very helpful. Education can help with understanding the condition and its effects on your life. Self-care is essential to the recovery process. This includes eating nutritious food, exercise, rest, seeking support (partner, friends, loved ones, etc.), and also finding time for yourself. Recovery may take time, but with the right combination of tools and supports, you will get better.
References & Resources:
Healthy Families BC: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca
Healthlink BC: www.healthlink.bc.ca, 8-1-1 (translation services available in 130 different languages)
Pacific Postpartum Support Society: www.postpartum.org, 604-255-7999
BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services: http://www.bcmhsus.ca
Canadian Mental Health Association: www.cmha.bc.ca
Inder Kauldher, MC, RCC
Inder has extensive experience working with adolescents, adults, and families. Counselling new mothers and parents in areas of PPD/A became a passion of hers through her own journey. Having experienced, first-hand, the mental health challenges pregnancy and parenthood can bring, she finds pieces of her own experiences in the birth stories and journeys of parenthood she hears from her clients. She also specializes in areas of depression, anxiety, life transitions, burnout, and cross-cultural issues. For communication with the author, please direct your correspondence here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine a life without conflict.
Sounds great doesn’t it? But we all know that’s not possible because conflict is inevitable. Depending on a variety of factors (the nature of the problem, our mood, our relationship with the other person, or the time of day), we handle conflict in different ways. Below is a continuum to show the range of ways people may react to conflict:
(avoids) (communicates effectively) (attacks)
Conflict in families can be especially stressful because we are so invested in these relationships. We care what our loved ones think and feel, and so when hurtful words or actions are exchanged it is very distressing to both parties.
According to Attachment Theory (Bowlby), conflict is considered an opportunity for growth in relationships. Most of us tend to view conflict negatively; but what if we were to look at it as a challenge and as a way to communicate our needs to others? Conflicts arise because we may have unmet needs in our relationships. For example, instead of saying I need some ‘me’ time, I yell at my husband and kids for not doing enough around the house. Or, I avoid my partner by burying myself in my work.
Below are a few things for you to think about:
1. Identify your behaviour during a conflict: aggressive, passive-aggressive or passive.
2. Step back and don’t respond immediately. By taking a step back, our anger has time to subside and we give ourselves time to think before we speak.
3. Find a calm time and space when both parties can attend to the conversation without distractions.
4. Verbal and non-verbal communication is key to successful problem-solving. What we say is just as important as how we say it. Use eye-contact, position your body so you are facing the other party, and listen attentively (that means put your phone away!). Try to understand the other person’s perspective by putting yourself in their shoes. Wait for your turn to speak and don’t interrupt. When it is your turn, speak assertively. Look the person in the eye, sit up straight, use a calm voice and tone and be honest. “I messages” are an effective way to get your point across. For instance, “I felt angry when you didn’t do the dishes.” “I need some down time when I come home from work.”
5. Don’t play the blame game because that just makes people defensive. Express how you feel and what you need.
Let’s change the way we view conflict. When we change the way we look at something, we will react differently. Look at conflict as a challenge or as an opportunity for growth in ourselves and in our relationships.
Perminder Hundle, MA, RCC
As a professional counsellor to children, youth, adults, couples, and families, Perminder is passionate about helping people navigate their relationships and family systems. Perminder is very skilled at working with children and adults, helping parents with skills on better parenting or working on their own relationships, working with anxiety and depression, and helping navigate cross-cultural issues for individuals, couples, and families. For communication with the author, please direct your correspondence here: email@example.com