Saturday, September 30, 2017

Coping with Disasters

In light of all the Disasters (natural and man-made over the course of the last few months, seems appropriate to talk about how to cope!

Disaster is a sudden, calamitous event, bringing great damage, loss, destruction and devastation to life and property. Disasters are events that inflict great damage, destruction, and human suffering. Their origin can be natural, such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes, or of human origin: accidents and terrorist acts. The damage caused by disasters is immeasurable and influences the mental, socioeconomic, political, and cultural state of the affected area. Not everybody responds to a disaster in the same way, as there are differences based on various experiential factors and circumstances.1

Effects of Disasters: 1,2
• Emotional Effects: Shock, terror, irritability, blame, anger, guilt, grief or sadness, emotional, numbing, helplessness, loss of pleasure derived from familiar activities, difficulty feeling happy, difficulty
feeling loved.
• Cognitive Effects: Impaired concentration, impaired decision-making ability, memory impairment, disbelief, confusion, nightmares, decreased self-esteem, decreased self-efficacy, self-blame, intrusive thoughts,
memories, dissociation (e.g., tunnel vision, dreamlike or ‘spacey’ feeling).
• Physical Effects: Fatigue, exhaustion, insomnia, cardiovascular strain, startle response, hyperarousal, increased physical pain, reduced immune response, headaches, gastrointestinal upset, decreased appetite,
decreased libido, vulnerability to illness.
• Interpersonal Effects: Increased relational conflict, social withdrawal, reduced relational intimacy, alienation, impaired work performance, decreased satisfaction, distrust, externalization of blame,
externalization of vulnerability, feeling abandoned. Withdrawal or isolation.
• Intense or unpredictable feelings: Anxiety, nervousness, overwhelmed or grief-stricken. Irritability or moodiness.
• Changes to thoughts and behavior patterns: Repeated and vivid memories of the event. It may be difficult to concentrate or make decisions. Sleep and eating patterns also can be disrupted.
• Sensitivity to environmental factors. Sirens, loud noises, burning smells or other environmental sensations may stimulate memories of the disaster creating heightened anxiety.

Recovering from a Disaster:,1,2 3
The impact of disaster can be long lasting, however, psychosocial intervention can assist with a period of recovery .This can broadly be defined as a time of returning to ‘normalcy,’ and characterized by such processes as rebuilding, and repairing or re-establishing. Some strategies to assist with the recovery from a disaster:

• Give yourself time to adjust. Anticipate that this will be a difficult time in your life. Allow yourself to mourn the losses you have experienced and try to be patient with changes in your emotional state.
• Ask for support from people who care about you. Social support is a key component to disaster recovery. Family and friends can be an important resource. You can find support and common ground from those who've also
survived the disaster.
• Communicate your experience. Express what you are feeling in whatever ways feel comfortable to you, such as talking with family or close friends, keeping a diary or engaging in a creative activity
• Find a local support group led by appropriately trained and experienced professionals. Support groups are frequently available for survivors. Group discussion can help you realize that you are not alone in your
reactions and emotions.
• Engage in healthy behaviors to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress. Eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of rest. Avoid alcohol and drugs because they can be a numbing diversion.
• Establish or reestablish routines. This can include eating meals at regular times, sleeping and waking on a regular cycle, or following an exercise program. Build in some positive routines to have something to look
forward to during these distressing times, like pursuing a hobby, walking through an attractive park or neighborhood, or reading a good book.
• Avoid making major life decisions. Switching careers or jobs and other important decisions tend to be highly stressful in their own right.
• Seek professional help: You notice persistent feelings of distress or hopelessness and you feel like you are barely able to get through your daily responsibilities and activities, consult with a licensed mental
health professional such as a counselor.
• Get in touch with reality: Intense fear and horror make us lose perspective, and suddenly we expect disaster at every turn. Taking a step back from our fear and trying to think about what we know (what therapists
call "cognitive reframing") can help ease our fears, at least a little bit.
• Find safety in numbers. Results from decades of experimental research reveal that as social creatures, the more alone we feel the more afraid we are. Reminding yourself of the people you can trust will help you
feel safer in your community.
• Help others: Events are traumatic because they destroy our social fabric and disorder our expectations of the world. Giving to others helps strengthen the order in the world through good acts.
• Manage your exposure to the media: so that you can stay as informed as you want without becoming overwhelmed with anxiety and stress.


References
• Srivastava, Kalpana, Disaster: Challenges and perspectives: Industrial Psychiatry Jounral, 2010 Jan0Jun: 19 (1): 1 - 4. Retrieved on September 29, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3105552/

• Rowell, Kevin, PhD and Thomley, Rebecca, PsyD. Recovering emotionally from disaster: American Psychological Association, Retrieved on September 29, 2017 from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/recovering-disasters.aspx

• Charuvastra, Anthony, MD; Managing Anxiety After a Mass Shooting, How to cope with the stress and uncertainity of tragedy. Psychology Today. Retrieved on October 2, 2017 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-s-mental-health-matters/201710/managing-anxiety-after-mass-shooting

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying
When fall hits that is typically the time to go back to school. With children and people returning to school means different stresses, routine changes, more traffic at peak times, homework, interactions with peers and more. Adults with children are not the only ones affected by this change, as a society as a whole we are affected by this change, through work, outings and our friends who have children. Unfortunately with children of all ages (elementary, homeschooled, middle school, high school, college, and graduate school) returning to school can mean an increase risk to experience bullying, which nowadays comes in many different forms, in which we have to be aware and on the lookout for.

What is Cyberbullying: 1,2,3
Today's bullies are not necessarily more vicious, they are more viral. Whether on Facebook, Instagram, or the several of other social media platforms, cyber bullies have 24/7 access to their victims. With a click or a swipe they can upload photos, videos, and personal details about victims with the goal of humiliating and degrading their targets. Bullies can engage in this despicable behavior from the comfort of their own homes, which can create psychological distance from the consequences of their actions, and a decreased sense of accountability. On top of that a cyber bully's audience is also markedly different than in years past. Schoolyard bullies taunt victims in front of peers on the playground. Cyber bullies taunt victims on the World Wide Web, sometimes hidden from adults. Unlike a playground punch that sends a victim home with a black eye, online aggression can be unnoticed, unacknowledged and deadly. Every year we see teen suicides correlated with cyber bullying behavior. Consequently, families, school authorities, and community members are increasingly focused on spotting potential victims before it is too late. Yet due to the nature of cyber bullying, they can be challenging to identify.

Cyber bullying is an invisible epidemic because it happens online. Parents miss it, peers miss it, and teachers miss it. We don't hear it, because teens would rather text than talk. We don't see it, because teens are intensely protective of their phones and devices. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. By definition, it occurs among young people. When an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyberstalking, a crime that can have legal consequences and involve jail time. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Sometimes cyberbullying can be easy to spot — for example, if your child shows you a text, tweet, or response to a status update on Facebook that is harsh, mean, or cruel. Other acts are less obvious, like impersonating a victim online or posting personal information, photos, or videos designed to hurt or embarrass another person. Some kids report that a fake account, webpage, or online persona has been created with the sole intention to harass and bully. Cyberbullying also can happen accidentally. The impersonal nature of text messages, IMs, and emails make it very hard to detect the sender's tone — one person's joke could be another's hurtful insult. Nevertheless, a repeated pattern of emails, texts, and online posts is rarely accidental.

Some miss cyber bullying because they hold outdated victim stereotypes. Online, cyberbullying victims include successful, well-adjusted adolescents that do not fit a “victim” stereotype. Yet online dynamics are very different than in person. On the playground, bullies punch down—picking on the weak, or the small. But online, unencumbered by physical limitations, bullies are empowered to expand their range of targets. Everyone is vulnerable. Because many kids are reluctant to report being bullied, even to their parents, it's impossible to know just how many are affected. But recent studies about cyberbullying rates have found that about 1 in 4 teens have been the victims of cyberbullying, and about 1 in 6 admit to having cyberbullied someone. In some studies, more than half of the teens surveyed said that they've experienced abuse through social and digital media.

Effects of Cyberbullying: 1,2 3
No longer limited to schoolyards or street corners, modern-day bullying can happen at home as well as at school, essentially 24 hours a day. Picked-on kids can feel like they're getting blasted nonstop and that there is no escape. As long as kids have access to a phone, computer, or other device (including tablets), they are at risk.

Severe, long-term, or frequent cyberbullying can leave both victims and bullies at greater risk for anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders. In some rare but highly publicized cases, some kids have turned to suicide. Experts say that kids who are bullied and the bullies themselves are at a higher risk for suicidal thoughts, attempts, and completed suicides. The punishment for cyberbullies can include being suspended from school or kicked off of sports teams. Certain types of cyberbullying can be considered crimes.

Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to:
• Use alcohol and drugs
• Skip school
• Experience in-person bullying
• Be unwilling to attend school
• Receive poor grades
• Have lower self-esteem
• Have more health problems

Signs of Cyberbullying1,2 3
Many kids and teens who are cyberbullied don't want to tell a teacher or parent, often because they feel ashamed of the social stigma or fear that their computer privileges will be taken away at home.

Signs of cyberbullying vary, but may include:
• being emotionally upset during or after using the Internet or the phone
• being very secretive or protective of one's digital life
• withdrawal from family members, friends, and activities
• avoiding school or group gatherings
• slipping grades and "acting out" in anger at home
• changes in mood, behavior, sleep, or appetite
• wanting to stop using the computer or cellphone
• being nervous or jumpy when getting an instant message, text, or email
• avoiding discussions about computer or cellphone activities
• Becomes sad, angry, or distressed during or after using the Internet or cell phone.
• Appears anxious when receiving a text, IM, or email.
• Avoids discussions or is secretive about computer or cell phone activities.
• Withdraws from family, friends, and activities they previously enjoyed.
• Suffers an unexplained drop in grades.
• Refuses to go to school or to specific classes, or avoids group activities.
• Shows changes in mood, behavior, sleep, appetite, or shows signs of depression or anxiety.

How to Help1,2 3

For Victims who are Children or Teens:

Know that it’s not your fault. If you are bullied you mustn’t blame yourself. No one deserves to be treated cruelly.

Don’t respond or retaliate. Sometimes a reaction is exactly what aggressors are looking for because they think it gives them power over you, and you don’t want to empower a bully. As for retaliating, getting back at a bully turns you into one and can turn one mean act into a chain reaction. If you can, remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t, sometimes humor disarms or distracts a person from bullying.

Save the evidence. The only good news about bullying online or on phones is that it can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. You can save that evidence in case things escalate.

Tell the person to stop. This is completely up to you, don’t do it if you don’t feel totally comfortable doing it, because you need to make your position completely clear that you will not stand for this treatment any more.

Reach out for help. Especially if the behavior’s really getting to you.

Use available tech tools. Most social media apps and services allow you to block the person. Whether the harassment’s in an app, texting, comments or tagged photos, do yourself a favor and block the person. You can also report the problem to the service. If you’re getting threats of physical harm, you should call your local police (with a parent or guardian’s help) and consider reporting it to school authorities.

Protect your accounts. Don’t share your passwords with anyone, even your closest friends.

Reporting threats of harm and inappropriate sexual messages to the police. In many cases, the cyberbully's actions can be prosecuted by law.

Being relentless. Cyberbullying is rarely limited to one or two incidents. It's far more likely to be a sustained attack on you over a period of time. So, like the cyberbully, you may have to be relentless and keep reporting each and every bullying incident until it stops. There is no reason for you to ever put up with cyberbullying.

If someone you know is being bullied, take action. The best thing you can do is try to stop the bullying by taking a stand against it. If you can’t stop it, support the person being bullied. Consider together whether you should report the bullying. If you’re not already friends, even a kind word can help reduce the pain. At the very least, help by not passing along a mean message and not giving positive attention to the person doing the bullying.


For Parents, Teachers or Adults

Know that you’re lucky if your child asks for help. If your child’s losing sleep or doesn’t want to go to school or seems agitated when on his or her computer or phone, ask why as calmly and open-heartedly as possible. Feel free to ask if it has anything to do with mean behavior or social issues. But even if it does, don’t assume it’s bullying. You won’t know until you get the full story, starting with your child’s perspective.

Work with your child. There are two reasons why you’ll want to keep your child involved. Bullying and cyberbullying usually involve a loss of dignity or control over a social situation, and involving your child in finding solutions helps him or her regain that. The second reason is about context. Because the bullying is almost always related to school life and our kids understand the situation and context better than parents ever can, their perspective is key to getting to the bottom of the situation and working out a solution.

Respond thoughtfully, not fast. If you respond publicly or if your child’s peers find out about even a discreet meeting with school authorities, the marginalization can get worse, which is why any response needs to be well thought out.

More than one perspective needed. Your child’s account of what happened is likely completely sincere, but remember that one person’s truth isn’t necessarily everybody’s. You’ll need to get other perspectives and be open-minded about what they are.

What victims say helps most is to be heard, really listened to, either by a friend or
an adult who cares? That’s why, if your kids come to you for help, it’s so important to respond thoughtfully and involve them. Just by being heard respectfully, a child is often well on the way to healing.

The ultimate goal is restored self-respect and greater resilience in your child. What your child needs most is to regain a sense of dignity. Sometimes that means standing up to the bully, sometimes not. Together, you and your child can figure out how to get there.

Preventing communication from the cyberbully, by blocking their email address, cell phone number, and deleting them from social media contacts. Report their activities to their internet service provider (ISP) or to any social media or other web sites they use to target you.

Listen. If you discover that your child is being cyberbullied, offer comfort and support. Talking about any bullying experiences you had in your childhood might help your child feel less alone. Let your child know that it's not his or her fault, and that bullying says more about the bully than the victim. Praise your child for doing the right thing by talking to you about it. Remind your child that he or she isn't alone, a lot of people get bullied at some point. Reassure your child that you will figure out what to do about it together.

Let someone at school (the principal, school nurse, or a counselor or teacher) know about the situation. Many schools, school districts, and after-school clubs have protocols for responding to cyberbullying; these vary by district and state. But before reporting the problem, let your child know that you plan to do so, so that you can work out a plan that makes you both feel comfortable.

Encourage your child not to respond to cyberbullying, because doing so just fuels the fire and makes the situation worse.

Limit access to technology. Although it's hurtful, many kids who are bullied can't resist the temptation to check websites or phones to see if there are new messages. Keep the computer in a public place in the house (no laptops in children's bedrooms, for example) and put limits on the use of cellphones and games.

Know your kids' online world. Ask to "friend" or "follow" your child on social media sites, but do not abuse this privilege by commenting or posting anything to your child's profile. Check their postings and the sites kids visit, and be aware of how they spend their time online.

Learn about ways to keep your kids safe online. Encourage them to safeguard passwords and to never post their address or whereabouts when out and about.

If your son or daughter agrees, you may also arrange for mediation with a therapist or counselor at school who can work with your child and/or the bully.

When Your Child Is the Bully
Finding out that your kid is the one who is behaving badly can be upsetting and heartbreaking. It's important to address the problem head on and not wait for it to go away. Talk to your child firmly about his or her actions and explain the negative impact it has on others. Joking and teasing might seem harmless to one person, but it can be hurtful to another. Bullying, in any form, is unacceptable; there can be serious (and sometimes permanent) consequences at home, school, and in the community if it continues. Remind your child that the use of cellphones and computers is a privilege. Sometimes it helps to restrict the use of these devices until behavior improves. If you feel your child should have a cellphone for safety reasons, make sure it is a phone that can be used only for emergencies. Set strict parental controls on all devices. To get to the heart of the matter, talking to teachers, guidance counselors, and other school officials can help identify situations that lead a kid to bully others. If your child has trouble managing anger, talk to a therapist about helping your son or daughter learn to cope with anger, hurt, frustration, and other strong emotions in a healthy way. Professional counseling also can help improve kids' confidence and social skills, which in turn can reduce the risk of bullying. And don't forget to set a good example yourself — model good online habits to help your kids understand the benefits and the dangers of life in the digital world.

Monday, July 31, 2017



How to Work with Others!


Do you work with someone who isn’t a team player? Maybe they’re overly focused on completing and promoting their own work. Or they don’t chip in when everyone else is scrambling to meet a deadline or pulling a presentation together. This isn’t simply frustrating; it can affect your entire group’s performance. How do you work with this person in a way that doesn’t make you resentful? And how can you encourage them to think more about the team?

What the Experts Say
When a team member procrastinates or displays a bad attitude, there’s a real risk of social contagion that drags down the morale and productivity of those around them. “We all pick up on subtle cues from other people, and that affects our behaviors and actions,” says Susan David, founder of the Harvard/McLean Institute of Coaching and author of Emotional Agility. “That leads to poor team efficiency, lower levels of commitment, and less focus on the shared goal.” Ignoring the issue often ends up only making it more acute. “There are a lot of negative consequences to somebody not carrying his or her load on a team,” says Allan Cohen, a professor of management at Babson College and author of Influence Without Authority. “The longer it goes on, the worse it gets in terms of how frustrated other members of the group will become.” Here’s how to work with a coworker who isn’t a team player.

Don’t jump to conclusions
It’s human nature to make assumptions about the reasons behind someone else’s behavior, even when we lack real evidence, says Cohen. “That’s how our brains work,” he explains. But this shortcut doesn’t always lead us to the right conclusions. Instead of assuming that someone is just a slacker or lacks commitment, “do a little exploration first,” he says. The roots of the person’s behavior may surprise you. It could be that they are dealing with a stressful situation at home that is leading to distraction at the office. Or they may be feeling work pressures that you are unaware of. Or they’re not sure how to best contribute. You want to avoid writing the person off or “concocting an explanation for their behavior, especially if it involves attributing bad motives to them,” Cohen says.

Start a dialogue
Approach your colleague with friendly questions, rather than accusations. Even if you aren’t in a leadership position on the team, “consider this a good opportunity to practice your leadership skills,” says David. You might ask: “What else is going on for you right now?” or “What’s motivating you?” This should give you enough insight to see the experience from their perspective.

Invite them in
More serious problems arise on a team when members shun someone who isn’t carrying their weight. So take the lead and make sure you’re not ostracizing the person. Consider taking your colleague out to coffee or lunch just to get to know them better, and bring along a couple of colleagues to promote cohesion. More interactions will promote friendlier group relations. “It’s really hard to resent somebody you understand better,” says Cohen.

Revisit the team’s mission
Sometimes a team member who is being uncooperative may actually help identify underlying issues by serving as a kind of ‘canary in the coal mine’ indicating that something is off with the group. It may be that your team’s approach isn’t working, says Cohen, or that your mission isn’t clear enough. Use this opportunity to have a conversation with the entire team about what the group’s shared vision should be and the best methods for getting there. That clarity should help boost everyone’s sense of purpose and productivity. “A lot of people go into team meetings focused only on what’s been done and what hasn’t been done,” says David. “Teams who bypassed the earlier questions about mission often tend to get into the weeds of, ‘She didn’t do this,’ and, ‘He didn’t do that,’ which leads to frustration and resentment.”

Clarify team members’ roles
Once you’ve had the bigger picture conversation about mission, it’s a good time to clarify roles. “Don’t assume everybody knows exactly what their contribution is supposed to be,” says Cohen. It could be that the non-team player has little or no understanding of what they’re meant to do. Without putting your colleague on the spot, you can suss out whether there is any ambiguity or confusion, and then help clarify duties and deadlines so that they have a better understanding of what’s expected of them.

Identify new opportunities to motivate
A team member may not only distance themselves because they’re confused; they could find the work they’ve been assigned to be pointless and boring. They may want more responsibility or an opportunity to grow their skills. If that appears to be the case, “think about whether there is a more suitable role for this person on the team,” says David. Look for ways to reassign them, even informally, to better showcase their skill sets or offer them new ways to learn. “Everyone likes to develop and project a sense of competence, or of mastery,” says David. You’ll often find that commitment to the team grows as a person’s confidence in their role increases. “People are highly motivated by not wanting to let their teammates down,” says Cohen. “Get them into the game, and they’ll go to great lengths to perform better for the team.”

Principles to Remember:
Do:
• Inquire about your colleague’s interests, priorities, and motivations to get a better sense of their perspective and the causes of their behavior.
• Use this opportunity to revisit the team’s purpose and goals.
• Look for opportunities to better utilize the uncooperative team member’s specific skill set.
Don’t:
• Develop an explanation for the colleague’s behavior without talking to them first.
• Ostracize the team member in question. Promote more interactions to create better group cohesion.
• Assume everyone knows what they’re supposed to be working on. Clarify team members’ roles so that people know what is expected of them.


Reposted from the Harvard Business Review, By Carolyn O'Hara April 21, 2017
https://hbr.org/2017/04/how-to-work-with-someone-who-isnt-a-team-player?platform=hootsuite
________________________________________


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Decluttering Your Life

At some point in everyone’s life, there is clutter, whether it be “stuff” in your environment or in your interpersonal relationships or in your head and heart. When it becomes consistent and prolong there can be some long term effects of clutter.

Research states that people who constantly live in a state of chaos are prone to procrastination and an inability to commit to work or relationships. They get anxious and overwhelmed with change and usually give up before they even start the project. Their finances and time are wasted; they feel stuck and bad about themselves

POSSIBLE BENEFITS TO DECLUTTERING:
• Increase in concentration
• Improved Sleep
• Increase in creativity
• Improved mood
• Letting go of your past
• More focus on your goals

WAYS TO START DECLUTTERING:
• Give yourself 5 solid minutes.
• Give away one item each day.
• Fill one trash bag.
• Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment. While this idea didn’t originate with Oprah, she was the one to help give it notoriety. To identify wardrobe pieces to clear
out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After
six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard.
• Make a list. Create a list of places/areas in your home to declutter beginning with the easiest.
• The Four-Box Method. As we first set out on our journey to minimalism, this was the technique most often used in our home. Set out to declutter an area, with four boxes:
trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in every room is placed into one of the four categories.


What is one way you can declutter today???

Friday, April 28, 2017

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines child abuse and child maltreatment as:

"all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child's health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power."

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses the term child maltreatment to refer to:

acts of commission (abuse), which include "words or overt actions that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child"

acts of omission (neglect), meaning "the failure to provide for a child's basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm".



The United States federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as:

minimum, "any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation" and/or "an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm".

If you want more information on how to prevent Child Abuse please click on the following links

https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/

https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/


If you know of a child who is being abused or someone who is abusing children, please contact the local police or the local department of social services.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Burnout on the Job


WHAT IS BURNOUT:
Chronic work-related stress over time can lead to job burnout. Burnout is defined as a “prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal job stressors.” Burnout is measured by symptoms in three areas: emotional exhaustion or feeling depleted, cynicism or a sense of detachment from others, and a sense of inefficacy, or not being effective at work.

Job burnout can cause emotional and physical fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and problems paying attention at work. The effects of job burnout can start to spread into your personal life outside of work. Chronic stress also contributes to medical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. Stress accounts for over 60% to 80% of medical visits to the primary care doctor. When your job puts your mind and body into a constant state of stress, you can become worn out emotionally, physically, mentally. In this vulnerable state, even little problems start to feel weighty and insurmountable.

Is this Burnout? Ask yourself:
Ask yourself the following questions:
• Have you become cynical or critical at work?
• Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
• Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
• Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
• Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
• Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
• Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
• Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
• Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints?

SOME SIGNS OF BURNOUT:
1. Exhaustion
A clear sign of burnout is when you feel tired all the time. Exhaustion can be emotional, mental or physical. It’s the sense of not having any energy, of being completely spent.

2. Lack of Motivation
When you don’t feel enthusiastic about anything anymore or you no longer have that internal motivation for your work, there's a good chance you're experiencing burnout. It may be harder to get going in the morning and more difficult to drag yourself into work every day.


3. Frustration, Cynicism and Other Negative Emotions
You may feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter that much anymore. You might notice that you feel more generally pessimistic than you used to.

4. Cognitive Problems
Burnout and chronic stress may interfere with your ability to pay attention or concentrate.

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF JOB BURNOUT?
Ignored or unaddressed job burnout can have significant consequences, including:
• Excessive stress
• Fatigue
• Insomnia
• A negative spillover into personal relationships or home life
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Alcohol or substance abuse
• Heart disease
• High cholesterol
• Type 2 diabetes, especially in women
• Stroke
• Obesity
• Vulnerability to illnesses

WHAT CAN DO TO FIGHT/COPE WITH BURNOUT?
1. The first step is to figure out if you are experiencing job burnout. Awareness that you are experiencing job burnout is an essential first step. Ask yourself the above questions or assess if you experience those symptoms.

2. Try to get more sleep. Getting too little sleep is a major factor in predicting burnout and a likely contributor to job burnout. Sleeping better is also an important sign that you’re recovering from burnout and ready to go back to work

3. Take breaks during the workday. Even small ones where you walk outside for a few minutes or sit and talk with a co-worker for 5 minutes about non-work related topics,

4. Put away your digital devices. Before the Blackberry/Smart phones era, leaving your work at the office was the default. That’s no longer the case. We are both psychologically and physiologically still attached. The remedy, is to actively limit your use of digital devices after hours. Place your smartphone in a basket or drawer when you arrive home so you’re not tempted to pick it up and check your email; or you might devise a rule for yourself about turning it off past 8pm. “

5. Do something interesting. Do not just focus on avoiding work or limiting your time thinking about work, do something interesting and focus on it.

6. Do cardiovascular exercise regularly. Cardiovascular exercise has been shown in studies to significantly reduce burnout symptoms in as little as 4 weeks.

7. Try mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a technique that allows you to just be exactly where you are and observe without judgment.

8. Practice mindful breathing. Try a simple mindful breathing exercise, which is a form of meditation. Inhale for 4 counts of breath, and exhale for 4 counts.

9. Make time for other activities focused on self-care and self-compassion. Self-care and self-compassion is different for everyone and what you feels right can change day to day.

10. Talk about your situation with people that you trust. Talking with a trusted supervisor or mentor to explore options on how to modify work demands or achieve better work-life balance can be helpful. Many companies also have an employee assistance program which may offer confidential counseling. If things are not improving, you can treat burnout symptoms with the help of a mental health professional.

11. Don’t let the feeling of not having enough time stop you. The most common reason is that people already feel like they don’t have enough time. The paradox is that making time for yoga, meditation, additional sleep or exercise will actually give you more time.

CONCLUSION:
Burnout can happen to everyone and at different times for different reasons. Burnout can impact a person physically, cognitively, behaviorally and psychologically. It can have short term and long term impacts if not treated. Remember, if you think you might be experiencing job burnout, don't ignore your symptoms. Consult your doctor or a mental health provider to identify or rule out any underlying health conditions

Monday, February 27, 2017

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

Random Acts of Kindness
Random Acts of Kindness focus of performing random acts of kindness for others. Why? Research supports that people on the receiving end often become motivated to pay it forward and so begins the domino effects of unprompted acts of kindness. It also states that kindness feels better for the giver and can improve our moods and improve our beliefs about ourselves. Ever had someone pay for your coffee or your meal unexpected? How did it feel?

Research also demonstrates that if you perform random acts of kindness for two minutes a day for 21 days, you can actually retrain your brain to be more positive. Studies such as this show that when your brain is more positive you are more likely to be creative, intelligent and productive. These attributes can spin into what we perceive as ‘quality of life’ attributes - job success, wealth, healthy relationships, and better health. This adage, that “happiness breeds success,” think about that for a moment.

Kindness is a simple concept, yet so very impact. It can make the world a better place, you never know what other people may or may not be battling. Kindness has the power to drastically improve our own well-being as well as that of our families, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. The act of expressing graciousness to one another can improve our relationships within the workforce, kindness towards one another can inspire employees to be more productive and make businesses more profitable and within our communities, kindness contributes to safer schools and neighborhoods.

Easy ways to perform random acts of kindness:
Be generous with compliments (what they are wearing, their hair, smile or what
they are doing);
Return a shopping cart;
Help someone load or unload their groceries;
Make someone laugh;
Thank your employees/coworkers;
Give your seat to an elderly person;
Make eye contact and smile at others;
When waiting in line for a cup of coffee, offer to pay for the stranger’s coffee in
line in front of or behind you;
Put snacks, travel sized toiletries, a pair of warm socks and warm mittens in
Ziplock bags and pass them out to the homeless;
Volunteer to serve a meal at a local soup kitchen or volunteer your time at any
Organization that is meaningful to you;
Donate used books or puzzles to your local library or school;
Bring a few winter coats that your family has outgrown to a nearby shelter;
Bring a dozen donuts to a nearby fire station or police station and thank them for
their service;
When you see someone in a military uniform at the airport or in a mall, thank them
for their service and express your wish that they stay safe in their endeavor;
If you pass a parking meter that’s about to expire, put change in it;
Send someone you care about a text, e-mail, or card and let them know you are
grateful for having them in your life; who does not like a card;
Send an anonymous card saying something positive about them in the mail.

Conclusion:
Random acts of kindness do not have to be big, and can be incorporated into your everyday life. Just a few moments here or there. Try with some small acts and then try some bigger ones. Try it for the week or the month and see what happens! You never know how you will impact someone else!

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” (Aesop)

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” (Scott Adams)