Doing What I Can

Happy Monday friends! Always nice to be present as a new week begins.

   How blessed am I with a romantic who’s got a flare for the beautiful? Hubby–who gets to grapple with our anniversary, my birthday and Mother’s Day in the span of ten days every year–gathered these from our yard and put them together exactly as you see them spur of the moment, when I teasingly asked about Mother’s Day flowers. (I’d already gotten a gorgeous bouquet a little over a week ago, for our 16th wedding anniversary.) Something tells me these will be my all-time-favorites–it’s all about the romance, right? As always, I get distracted. Anyway…

Time: Like so many, I’ve been struggling with the busyness of everyday plus the added time suck of doing the best I can to help a family member who is struggling with health issues. My immediate family still needs the daily input only ‘Mom’ and wife can provide (or so they think, lol).

I realize I’m not alone when I say I’ve had a lot on my plate this past school year and especially these past two to three months. So many of us do–seems like that’s the way of today (or just the way it’s been through the ages, but with more focus on the emotional connotations life has). Either way, I’ve had to do a lot of self-talk lately, and making sure I do at least one thing for myself a day. (Last week got really hairy: I didn’t get to sit down and watch ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and have yet to catch up with it online–slated as my Mother’s Day gift to self–which, I never got to do. See what I mean about hairy? I did, however, have a very enjoyable day.)

Here’s how I incorporated a few of my good friend Diane Lang’s tips for handling stress:

At work: I handed over three major write-up projects–there just isn’t enough time allotted to meet the deadlines. I had to ask for help.

Saturday wound up so busy: I managed to get a diner cup of coffee by 9:30 PM and my walk in an hour later. (Both on my be-good-to self list.)

And as I write this? I’m at the laundromat on Mother’s Day, catching up on some schoolwork and grateful to be doing so uninterrupted: no “Mom!” or “Jo”–besides, hubby and the boys needed time to scramble for a last-minute gift, right?

So how do “do what you can” when life stacks your plate high?

Have a great day and thanks so much for stopping by,
Joanna

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I Lost My Job–Now What (Part 2)

Happy Tuesday, friends! (And a very special happy birthday to a long-time friend–you know who you are!) Yesterday, friend, life coach, counselor and fellow writer Diane Lang shared career tips related to handling a recent or impending job loss. Today, we continue that post with mental health tips to help get anyone dealing with this issue over the challenges associated with unemployment during “The Great Recession.”

          

Back to you, Diane! Yesterday’s representative question was:

Dear Diane:
I just lost my job a few months ago but I already feel the stress of being unemployed. I know my family is feeling stressed and concerned also. Any thoughts on dealing with being unemployed and keeping my sanity?

Thank you
Unemployed Joe

We know that the country’s jobless rate is over 9%; this is a very scary number. We have the highest jobless rate in over ten years and with many more living in fear of losing their job. Here are a few mental health tips to help you move forward if you lost your job or know layoffs are coming.

Mental Health tips:

 1. Find Support. Having the right support group there for you through these tough times is key to beating unemployment stress.  Make sure to have friends and family members that are supportive and non-judgmental who will listen. If you don’t know anyone in your situation, There are support groups for unemployed individuals, where people in the same situation discuss their feelings and offer suggestions on how to cope.  You can also get professional counseling if you would rather have one on one support.

2. Keep to a routine. This keeps a sense of normalcy, Since work has been taken out of the picture, try to structure a day around other activities.  Wake up at a designated time and carry out tasks on a schedule to stay occupied. We are happier when we have a daily routine/schedule. We feel more organized and productive. Looking for a job is a full-time job in and of itself so treat it as such by spending your work day searching, networking, and planning your next steps.  
 
3. Exercise. Start moving around!  “3 -4 times a week of walking or running is enough is reduce your stress hormones and increase your endorphins,”  which naturally make you feel happier.
Exercise will also help keep you healthy mentally and physically, Especially if you’re not eating or sleeping well due to depression and stress. It’s important to make sure your basic needs are met.
 
4. Have fun! Take the time to enjoy life.  Call up a friend, indulge in your hobby, read, cook— whatever you want!  Looking for a new way to have fun?  Try volunteering for a local charity.  Volunteering also brings us joy and allows us to meet new people and take risks. You can also volunteer with your kids, a great way to spend quality time together while helping others and teaching respect. It also helps kids develop self-esteem.

5. Communicate. Make sure to talk with your spouse and kids. Have an open dialogue with them about your struggles and triumphs during unemployment. This will keep them informed about what you are going through and how you are feeling.  They are probably feeling stressed and worried, too. It’s  normal for both the unemployed spouse and family to feel stress and concern BUT if there is no communication it can lead to arguments, resentment and isolation.

Please allow me to add three, Diane: Make use of the unexpected windfall of time. (You’d find me attacking the basement, going through files, cleaning out closets–getting to all those projects that constantly go to the wayside. sometimes I think it really good that I DON’T have an attic!) Keeping a journal of your feelings might also be helpful for dealing with the roller-coaster ride of emotions associated with the changes and challenges unemployment undoubtedly brings. Keep a running gratitude list. Listing the good really helps with perspective.

 For more information please visit Diane’s website:www.dlcounseling.com or e-mail Diane at Lifeline36@aol.com.

Once again I thank you, Diane, for two very encouraging posts. Part of balance and wellness (physical, mental and emotional) is feeling supported and empowered. All that you’ve shared these past two days can make all the difference during what has to be a very difficult time.

Have a wonderful day, everyone, and stop in Friday, when The Most Outrageous Thing returns! 🙂

Joanne