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“I have so much to do, but I can’t seem to get focused to do any of it.”
“You can’t do this…”
“give up now”
“What an idiot! Seriously, what made you think you could do this?”
“You will never get to where you want to be.”

Sound familiar?

While our thoughts can look like an exaggeration from the outside, they can hit us like they are meant to be literal. When you begin to think about yourself in this way, what do you think the odds are you will get back on track? For some people, they feel the self-deprecating, “suck it up buttercup,” routine works, but for the rest of us, that shot to our self-image is enough to stop us before we get started. Rather than stay here, how does moving your energy to where it is more useful sound?

Just like a VHS tape, if you remember those, we have the ability to stop and rewind to where we’d like to be. When faced with a negative mindset do your best to:

1) Become mindful of those comments, and that energy you’re feeling in the moment.
2) Reflect on your thoughts and ask yourself: Is this harmful or helpful? Is this the way I want to think and feel?
3) If your thinking this isn’t helpful, change the way your are thinking about yourself or the moment. Replace those unhelpful thoughts with optimistic, goal driven, kind words you need to hear. You have the ability to think about your situation in more ways than one. Work to shift your thinking into a more supportive direction of you.

So let’s rewind:
“I can’t focus and that’s okay. I have a lot going on right now. I can get this done.”
“I can do this.”
“Keep moving forward. I’ve got this.”
“It’s only a matter of time, and it’s going to happen.”

“Before I know it, I will be exactly where I want to be.”

Please be kind to yourself, even in the most difficult of circumstances. The work begins within. With kindness, and mindfulness, you can be that version of yourself that you deserve to see more of.

Happy Friday! We made it! With the weekend upon us it’s time to take some time to enjoy ourselves. You’ll find me today walking with Emerson a.k.a. “the logo” in one of our favorite nature trails in the area.

Earlier on this very rare Friday off, I found myself on my computer thinking about work. I knew I had to close the laptop, grab my headphones, Emerson, and head outside. All that work and stress is a problem for me in the future to deal with. Now’s the time for me to unwind, recharge, and do the things I enjoy most. Plus I’m an episode behind on my favorite podcast! It’s unacceptable!

As for you: you’ve worked hard enough this week. When it’s quitting time for you, be sure to do something you enjoy and that makes you feel well. You deserve it. And just in case anyone gives you any flak for it, just tell them some therapist online told you to do it!😉

Have a great weekend!

An edited version of a lyric of the song “From Now On,” from the movie The Greatest Showman. If you haven’t listened to this soundtrack 100 times +, like me, then maybe you should do that before reading on.

To have a support system is a beautiful thing. There may come a time when you are faced with a real problem, and this can be an opportunity to learn more about the company you keep. When our people show up for us, they help us to feel cared for, feel like it’s not crazy to feel this way, and to remind us they are here for us through it all. Having a strong support system can help reduce stress, increase well-being, and improve how you feel about yourself.

The tendency may be to drift towards who or what is missing in this moment, but my hope is that you can bring your attention to who and what is present right now to help get you through. If you are feeling alone, down, or even bored, take some time right now to reach out to someone you feel close to and check in. These are the relationships to put energy into because they put energy into you.

When I speak to people about coping skills, I often hear responses focused heavily on mediation, guided imagery, and using techniques pulled from a workbook or a google search. While these are all well and good, I want to make sure that we also recognize that coping skills can be the activities you enjoy doing right now.

If you were to reflect on the last time you got really stressed out, can you imagine being able to sit down and begin focusing primarily on slowing your breathing down despite what’s happening? If not, then it is important to think of several different options that you can go to right away so that you can focus on taking care of yourself.

For example, my go to options include:

1) Going for a walk with my dog
2) Reaching out to my friends to goof around or talk out my problem
3) Playing a video game (for video game fans I’m currently playing the Witcher 3)
4) Go get a fancy coffee
5) Listen to a podcast (typically it’s Pardon My Take or Macrodosing… I’m a fan of Barstool Sports)

And the list goes on and on. Those activities you enjoy doing are more than just a break from all your responsibilities, they help you feel more present, more upbeat, and more like the version of you that you aspire be.

“If I just put my head down and plow ahead for the next 5 years, I will be fill in the blank.” So many hopes and dreams motivate us to grind towards that far off undefined date while sacrificing today’s potential for bringing us what we need.

The stress of waiting for the next domino to fall is creeping into focus as we think maybe we can will our dreams into existence. Or as the overwhelm rises, we may anxiously wait for the next step of our plan to take shape. We tend to think that the path to happiness requires stress in the here and now. We often get into trouble when we pay less attention to where we are now and more attention to where we would like to be.

If you were to lift your eyes up from your screen, my hope is that you would be able to find the parts of your present that bring you joy. Leave that vision board on the wall and bring your attention to the happiness that can exist right now. You deserve that.

I think it’s safe to say at some point or another, we have all been through it. And when you are in it, you definitely know it. Your mood, your thoughts, your everything is in a not so great place and the furthest thing from your mind is thinking that this is a good thing. Well what if we started to acknowledge that this moment can be a turning point or a sign that things are going to get better. To be clear this is not a ‘just think happy thoughts and fly’ kind moment, but more so that we can use our obstacles as a sign that you are going through the most difficult part of this story and it could be uphill from here. You may have taken some action to make some changes or life pushed you in this direction, but regardless this can be viewed as an opportunity that you don’t quite know the outcome of yet. Could be good, could be bad, but in this moment we can choose not to lean into the negative, and be open to what comes next.

Self compassion is about acknowledging our feelings without judgement or beating ourselves up over what we see as a failure. It is about becoming aware that it’s okay to feel lousy and that you believe things can get better once you make it through this moment. I mean you could take a different route and firmly believe that this is rock bottom and you will stay here for a long, long time, but the language we use around our experience affects how we think and what we do next. Let’s try to be different next time, give ourselves permission to feel how all of this feels, and also make space in your thoughts for belief that those good things are coming your way soon.