Self-care, Boundaries and Technology

A Word on Wellness:

What is your relationship with technology? Do you have boundaries in place? Maybe this is the first time your thinking about this, in that case, I invite you to use this post as a reminder to review what your doing and whether or not its working for you.

It’s no surprise that there is an instantaneous and demanding exchange of information on the internet. To this end, the internet has created an unrealistic demand for our attention. Think about it-nowadays, our phones go off regardless of whether we have made a conscious decision to be ‘on-line’ or ‘plugged in’. Snapchat, instagram, linked-in, facebook notifications - AND we haven’t even discussed the work aspect of technology (emails, calls, texts), boundaries and impact on self-care. Now think about the demands of technology for those who are on call 24/7 or who have a needy boss, always wanting more from us. We are constantly plugged in, online without even realizing it. The only real way to detach yourself from these unhealthy patterns is to truly UN-PLUG from the internet. Our phones should not be conceptualized as baby birds in which we need to nurture and protect-No, our phones/technology represent dysfunctional, maladaptive patterns, encapsulating the belief that we are constantly behind and that we incessantly have tasks to tend to.

Often times, this this type of thinking and behavior AKA staying ‘plugged in’ induces anxiety and depression; poor sleep and eating habits, temperament and irritability. For some this could mean challenges with communication and relationships and for others relapse, if struggling with addiction. When we get caught up in this type of thinking and behavioral patterns, our breathing becomes shallow, our muscles tense and we become irritable and short with others. Our stress (cortisol levels) goes up while our cognitive functioning goes down. When this happens STEP AWAY FROM THE INTERNET, un-plug and step into nature. Become one with the universe; go for a walk, get some fresh air, prop yourself up against a tree- restore balance and homeostasis. Listen to your body, I promise it’ll thank you.

Somethings to consider when thinking about your relationship with technology and/or your phone:

Ask yourself-

How quickly am I responding to texts, emails, miscellaneous notifications?

Do I interrupt the quality of time with family and friends to respond to notifications?

How often am I apart from my phone and my computer?

Do I sleep with my phone next to me?

How often am I expecting others to respond back to my texts, emails, phone calls etc.

Now, in terms of boundaries and self-care how does your relationship with your phone/technology (review above questions) impact you (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically)? What can you do to implement new boundaries and/or revise old one’s?

Some examples:

Put your phone on silent during designated hours of the day.

Turn your phone off or put on ‘do not disturb’ when sleeping.

No phones when eating.

Reminding yourself that you don’t have to respond to text, phone calls instantaneously. Give yourself permission to respond to text, phone notifications within the next week versus the next hour.

Do not check or respond to work emails when you are not working (weekends especially).

Remove certain social media apps from your phone and/or turn off notifications.

Are any of the above listed boundaries/self-care strategies put in place? If so, AMAZING. If not, no worries-select one or two and give it a whirl starting TODAY. Not only will you benefit from revising your technological boundaries and improving your self-care but others will benefit too, for individuals will emulate after you and the healthy behavioral patterns that you set-forth, giving them permission to do the same.

Stages of Change

“Who me?” “What problem?”

“I’ll think about that tomorrow”

“Things aren’t that bad”.

“Quit nagging me”.


Sound familiar?

If you identify with any of these thinking patterns you may be in the pre-contemplative stage of change (yes, there are stages to change). Change is a gradual process and it’s not easy. You need to recognize the issue and admit to it before you can fix it. Whether it be challenges related to changing your addictive patterns, trauma, anxiety, depressive symptoms or relationships…..

You already know change is anxiety provoking, fear inducing, and extremely uncomfortable - but did you know that when you work through the resistance to change you reward yourself with the greatest gift of all-self transformation?

Let me end with this- No one has ever died from fear (to my knowledge) but many have died from suppressing discomfort, fear and pent up emotion- derived from reluctance to change.

Don’t let that be you. 

See below for the 6 stages of change.*

Pre-contemplation

Contemplation

Preparation/Will Power

Action

Maintenance

Transformation

*Change is an evolving process so don’t beat yourself up if you feel stuck in one of the stages of change, digress towards an earlier stage, and/or continue to struggle with constant relapse (which can occur in any one of the stages of change). Relapse is expected and a part of the process. The take away here is that you don’t give up and continue to make an effort to embark on the journey of self-transformation.

On Shadows

Did you know that you can actually use your physical body and your imagination to reprogram the way that you think and feel on a neurological level? Or that you have been programmed as child to think and feel (or not feel) a certain way?

Media, culture, family, and friends all influence your programming. This translates to the inner critic inside your head telling you that you aren’t worthy enough or that you aren’t capable of success. These are your shadows && the truth is, no one escapes childhood without them.

We all have a dark side and a light side. Some people’s shadows are darker than others, but the truth is, we need both darkness and light. The problem is we are constantly suppressing the way that we think and feel because we have been conditioned to do so for most of our lives. Our shadows reflect our deepest wounds. && It is our shadows hold the most light.

Break free of the ties that other people hold on you. Imagine what it would be like to think and feel for yourself. To let go of the emotional and energetic connections you hold on to. Whether it be relationships, past hurts, trauma…the list goes on and on. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to reveal your shadows after all these years BUT with the tool below you can begin to scratch the surface.

Fill in the blanks. Answer the questions with simple words or phrases and spontaneously. If your thinking about a question too much then move on to the next question and come back to it. Your first instinct is usually right so listen to your inner coach and trust where you feel guided. Initially this exercise should take you no longer than 3-4 minutes.

When finished, think about the questions you had the most difficulty answering. These are where your darkest shadows lie. Leave the questions and come back to them a day or two later. Dig deeper in to the words and phrases that you chose initially. What did you really mean by them? Go deeper and deeper. The more open and willing you are to explore your shadows the more apt you are to bring them to light. Happy Hunting.

  1. The thing about me that I feel most aversion to is ________

  2. The emotion that I have most difficulty expressing in a relationship is _________

  3. The emotion I have the most difficulty expressing is _______

  4. In dreams where I am trying to escape or being pursued I am running from _______

  5. I have the most difficult time admitting that I am ___________

  6. What I don’t want others to know about me is _________

  7. What I have most difficulty admitting to in a relationship is ____________

On Boundaries

Boundaries.

This might be the one time that I encourage you to be selfish-with yourself, your kids, your spouse, mom and dad, your dog, you name it. Give yourself permission to be selfish in the sense that you take care of you and your needs first. I’m talking about diet, exercise, sleep, hygiene-yep you guessed it, self-care.

Your diet/self-care isn’t just what you eat its who and how you surround yourself; what your looking at online/social media, sleep hygiene, exercise, etc. How does it serve you, your mental health and well being to give into your instagram feed for hours on end, or to eat that gooey mac n’ cheese’ because you’re ‘lonely’ or your friend ‘wanted’ you to.

Whether you are working on personal boundaries with yourself, co-workers, family, friends, DON’T give into something/someone because it’s convenient or because you feel bad saying “no”. Ask yourself what you and your body really wants and needs before saying yes instantaneously. The more you listen to that whisper in your head the louder it’ll become.

Next time you are faced with a opportunity to test your boundaries try using the phrases, below as they are alternatives for saying “No” to something/someone that doesn’t serve you.

“Let me think about that”

“I’ll get back to you”

“I’ll check my schedule”

“You know that’s not necessarily something I want to put my energy in to right now”

“No thank you”

“Maybe next time”

3 Tips for Managing Anxiety

Are you experiencing rapid heart rate, tight chest, difficulty breathing? Are you over thinking? Having a hard time slowing yourself down? If you are experiencing any symptoms of Anxiety and stress, take this is as sign that you aren't listening to your body! Put simply, when you are experiencing increased anxiety, you legitimately have an excess amount of carbon dioxide in the brain. This is why the power of breathe and complementary health care techniques (i.e. meditation, yoga, dialectical behavioral therapy) are so powerful in managing anxiety and stress! Often I find that as humans we overlook the power of the mind-body connection and underestimate what we are truly capable of. My hope is that this blog post will encourage you to take your power back, in just three simple steps you can feel more confident in decreasing your anxiety, stress, while improving our mood.

1. Breathe - Whether its yoga, a guided meditation, take a time out and just breathe-even if its just for five minutes! Purposeful breathe assists with improving cortisol levels (directly related to stress) as well as the central nervous system, enhancing the mind-body connection.

2. Step into nature - go for a walk, take a hike, smell the flowers, lay on the pavement, walk in the grass. The point here is to ground yourself (literally), doing so will assist you with connecting back to Earths center; improving homeostasis as well as mental clarity.

3. Practice Gratitude - Just by practicing gratitude you are actuality reprogramming your thought processes as well as your emotions and reactions to extraneous stimuli on a neurological level. When you take a minute to reflect on what you have it becomes sacred. Overtime, with the practice of gratitude all of what you wanted fades into the background. You are blessed, you are clothed, you are housed, you are loved. I invite you to implement a simple mantra and/or prayer into your routine daily for best results.

How to find a therapist in Boston, MA

Most people wait a long time before they seek out counseling. You are a self-sufficient person, you do your best to use your coping skills. You talk to friends. You try to exercise, maybe yoga. And it is only when everything you can think of doesn't work that you reach out to see if therapy or counseling might help.

So How do you find a therapist in Boston, MA?

You go to Google or perhaps Psychology Today, my go to referral source for individual and group treatment. You can filter by location, insurance, and/or price of therapy. You can even search by approach and practice. If you’re still stuck, you can always contact your insurance carrier for therapist in your local area. Happy hunting =P