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To navigate the reality of social distancing, school, restaurant, and gym closures. To work within an uncertain economy with nearly 100% of your interactions online, no quick hallway meetings, no getting together to share ideas at the coffee shop, no happy hours after work. This job will include working in an uncertain economy with little-to-no travel; conference attendance not allowed. Oh, and stocking up on emotional intelligence!
Sound familiar? As an online therapist and a certified emotional intelligence coach, I have some good news for you. You can continue to work on your success even in this new and challenging time by stocking up on emotional intelligence.
Today I want to share with you four areas of emotional intelligence that will help set you up for success now so that when things are back to “normal” you’ll be ready to tackle your career goals and build better, lasting professional and personal relationships.
Here are four focal points when stocking up on emotional intelligence:
Resilience is a big necessity and you’re going to need to develop a lot of this. The American Psychological Association defines this as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. These stressors include family and relationship problems, serious health problems, and workplace or financial stressors. Resilience ultimately means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.
Resilience will help you recover from and adjust more easily to misfortune, change and life’s many challenges.
My colleague, Toni Qualantone, wrote an article outlining how you can build resilience and better adapt to change. Check it out here for more on stocking up on emotional intelligence through building Resilience: Resilience, How to Adapt to Change.
You need perseverance to take you to the end of the task. It is the energy and drive, the tenacity and focus to see your challenge through.
Perseverance requires self-compassion, patience, and transparency. Know that it’s okay to have hard days and that you will get through them. Be patient with yourself and your progress, change doesn’t typically happen overnight. And above everything else, be transparent and honest with yourself.
Honesty with where you are and where you want to be will allow you to better prepare yourself for the coming challenges on your journey to success.
Don’t leave (or better) stay home without empathy and compassion. Understanding and caring about the world your friends, family, and colleagues are dealing with matters. It creates solid and meaningful connections that will sustain you over time.
If you want better relationships, empathy and compassion are required to build lasting connections.
“To have a sense of another’s anxiety, hurt, or joy is a pre-requisite of being able to understand them. Without the context of feelings, people are often mystifying. Understanding feelings is like being at the theater and seeing the stage, props, and costumes of a play—it provides the setting for the words and actions of others to make sense. Empathy is a fundamental skill of Emotional Intelligence, as well as the foundation of evidence-based marriage counseling and approaches like Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.” – Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Excerpt from Empathy: The Key to Connection and Communication
A must-have when stocking up on emotional intelligence is motivation. Motivation is the personal drive to improve and achieve. The new reality of work may look and feel different right now but your commitment to goals, showing initiative, and optimism should not.
It’s hardly easy to focus on these ideas when worry and fear, uncertainty and disappointment surround you.
Know that there will be days that are tougher than others to keep up an emotionally intelligent approach to these challenges. And that’s okay. Your job right now is to continue stocking up on emotional intelligence, and reaching out when you need a little support.
Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT
P.S. How are you preparing for and developing your personal growth for success? Share with me in the comment below!
Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT is a relationship expert with years of experience as a marriage counselor, executive coach, leadership coach, and emotional intelligence coach. She’s here to help you cultivate positive relationships in every area of your life.
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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the nation, many Americans are now finding themselves working from home longer-term. While the ability to work from home has steadily been increasing even prior to the virus outbreak, many businesses and organizations have now been forced to adapt and allow their employees to work remotely.
Working from the comfort and safety of your home can have its advantages. However, if not done with care and intention can lead to negative effects on your productivity and well-being.
Today I want to outline for you some advantages and pitfalls to avoid when working from home. I am sharing the same tips and strategies I share with my online therapy and life coaching clients to make the transition of working from home a smooth and happy one.
Working from home provides benefits and advantages that working in an office simply cannot provide. While working in an office space can present structure, accountability, and a space to collaborate with colleagues, working from home can allow for more flexibility and personalization of your workday.
Depending on your position and work duties, working from home can allow you to work at your own pace and (sometimes) set your own schedule. Some work from home positions follow set hours such as the typical 9 am-5 pm workday. While others allow you to work at any time as long as specific goals are met.
With this flexibility, you can wake up and go to bed at a time that is ideal for you, take breaks for exercise, refresh your brain, and reduce daily stressors such as traffic.
Another advantage of working remotely with a flexible schedule is being able to complete errands or attend appointments you normally wouldn’t be able to if at the office. Working from home also allows for more time with your pets and kids!
Even if your remote job does not allow for a flexible schedule, working from the comfort of your own home may boost creativity and allow you to be more relaxed and therefore productive.
While there are advantages to working from home, there are also disadvantages and ways working from home can be harmful to your productivity and mental health.
The flexibility that working from home provides is also a catch-22. Working from home can impact your productivity and motivation. When we have the flexibility to set our own pace and schedule, we may have every intention to optimize this time. However, unless your employer has provided you with guidelines to your new working environment, many people have to learn through experience or trial and error before configuring a work from home set up that truly works!
If working from home is not done with intentionality or forethought, it can leave you feeling burnt out, unmotivated, and unhappy.
If you are finding yourself in a similar situation and struggling to complete tasks, meet deadlines, or connect with your work – you may be hindering your success by giving in to these common pitfalls.
Working sporadic hours or when motivation strikes may work for some. However, working with no set schedule can create anxiety and unrest for most of us. Continually putting off tasks or waiting for motivation to come can lead to guilt or make it even harder to start.
The anti-structure of working hours can ultimately lead to failure in areas that you are generally successful when working in your typical office space.
Working from home can blur the boundaries between work and personal life. For those people who already struggle with overworking or turning off their work brain, this can make it even more challenging.
Feeling like your work is constantly looming over you even when you are supposed to be off the clock can lead to burnout and decreased motivation.
When we have the support of our professional connections, it’s easier to stay motivated and connected to our work.
While working from home, you may feel isolated or cut off from your work relationships feeling like your work has less of an impact and making it harder to stay accountable for deadlines.
Trying to get work done and be productive in spaces where you also binge watch Netflix or sleep will further blur the lines between work and home.
Humans are impacted by their environment. Working in a space where you are comfy or with lots of distractions will make it harder to stay in work mode.
These blurred boundaries can make it difficult to stick to a work schedule, walk away from your work outside of working hours, and push off maintaining professional connections.
While working from home can have its pitfalls and distractions, there are ways you can set yourself up for success and enhance your life! Here are 5 simple strategies to make working from home a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Take a moment to think about a time where you were “in-flow” with your work, and you were able to accomplish a task or project with ease.
Consider the elements of the environment that helped your success.
Was there music?
What was the light like?
ad you just eaten lunch or a snack?
Using your self-knowledge, try to create a space within your home that is curated for work based on what helps you be productive.
You can be fun and playful here. Try to incorporate plants, aromatherapy, soft cozy blankets, color, and light! Make this space yours and do what works for YOU.
Similar to the previous point, make sure you take a comprehensive approach to working from home and set yourself up for success.
Working and living in the same space may confuse your body and mind unless clear distinctions are made. As much as possible try to stick with the same routine you would use when working outside the home. Such as having a cutoff time for bed and splitting meal preparation with a family member or partner if you can.
Just because you are home doesn’t mean you are technically available to help with tasks, so try to split responsibilities like you normally would if you weren’t home.
Setting yourself up for success could be scheduling breaks into your workday or giving yourself enough rest and eating regular meals and snacks, but also giving yourself grace and compassion.
You may be experiencing waves of emotion that change daily or struggling with the constant change. Give yourself grace, kindness, and patience to not “be okay”, and to learn and grow with time.
When we feel connected to our colleagues and the work we are doing (even if from afar!), there can be a greater sense of accountability, drive, and motivation.
Staying in touch through Slack messaging, Zoom conference calls, and emails with colleagues and work teams can foster a greater sense of connection and help us feel closer to the people we would normally interact with in the breakroom.
If your job isn’t organizing meetup groups or opportunities to connect with your coworkers, consider reaching out to someone and organizing one yourself!
For more advice on building community during social distancing, check out my colleague’s article: Building CommUNITY During Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine.
Turning off email and work app notifications on your phone outside of working hours, and creating a work schedule are two ways you can create boundaries when working from home.
Working different hours every day may be a necessity or work well for some, but many people desire structure, consistency, and predictability in their work environment. You can use the flexibility working from home can bring by setting work hours that work for you, such as starting at 9:30 am rather than 9 am or using your lunch hour for a workout.
Setting specific times for work can create structure and routine while self-isolating at home, and some semblance of normalcy. Managing how many times you are reminded of work or mentally brought back into “the office” will be important to manage burnout and fatigue. Consider altering your notification preferences for email and other communication platforms associated with work.
Setting a schedule for work can also help keep work off your mind when you are not “in” the office, and can help redirect anxious thoughts that may pop up in your off time.
Looking for a little more on work life balcne when working from home? Listen to this podcast: Coronavirus & Career: How We Make This Work — Advice From a Career Coach.
Similar to how setting a work schedule can assist in creating structure and differentiate between off-time and work-time, creating clear physical boundaries with work can also be helpful.
This may look like not working in bed or other spaces you normally wouldn’t get work done, and changing out of your PJs (even though you technically don’t have to).
Working at a desk or the dining room table rather than your bed will help your brain and body tell the difference between work and play. If you don’t create clear distinctions between work and leisure, like when you try to wind down at the end of the day in bed, your work brain may start turning on because it thinks it’s work time!
The same goes for working in front of the TV or in the living room. When you try to enjoy these spaces outside of work it may feel too familiar and eventually lead your brain to associate these spaces with work long-term.
If possible, try to change rooms when transitioning to and from work to help you better “clock out” at the end of the day and further distinguish your work environment against your home environment.
I hope these strategies help you successfully work from home either temporarily or long-term!
Wishing you success,
Josephine Marin, M.S., MFTC
Josephine Marin, M.S., MFTC is a warm, kind, and direct therapist and couples counselor who specializes in communication, compassion and connection. She can help you reach your goals and create positive change in yourself and your relationships.
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As communities continue to adjust to the effects of Coronavirus, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear and confusion. Your children might be looking to you for answers and reassurance, yet you may need answers and reassurance yourself! So what do you do?
Over the last few weeks as an online marriage and family therapist, I’ve been asked many questions from my clients with the hope that my answers can bring about peace of mind for families wrestling with uncertainty, and I believe there are some conversations and strategies that could help you find what you’re looking for…
Most of the time when we seek to understand it’s because we need reassurance, we need to feel more in control. I believe that fear and anxiety prompts these needs in us. As humans, feeling out of control is vulnerable and scary, so we react out of survival and we seek to understand. [More on letting go of control: How to Release Control and Let Things Go.]
In times like these when everything seems uncertain and scary, fear can become an unwelcome companion. Both adults and children listen to fear and let it sweep them up into waves of anxiety. Unfortunately, the more questions we ask, the more we realize how much we don’t know, and the more anxious we feel, especially in relation to something as unfamiliar as COVID-19.
I’ve realized in my work with families that speaking to childrens’ fear can be more helpful than simply answering their questions. As the adult, we can acknowledge that their fear makes sense, and maybe even share with them that we also feel afraid when we don’t have all the answers. Fear is a normal human experience and it’s okay to talk about it.
One of the most empowering things you can do as a family is talk about teamwork! Even though you may be confined to your home and your social circle has shrunk, you still have each other! Don’t let fear or anxiety distract you from that.
Use this time to reinforce your teamwork– play family games, watch movies together, have meaningful conversations at the dinner table. Your children could find so much peace in knowing that the unity of your family is one thing they can be certain of.
Unfortunately, we don’t have all the facts about COVID-19 and with the ever changing statistics and research we are learning new facts daily. It’s impossible to keep up! So rather than stressing out about “knowing everything” focus on a few key things we do know:
(1) This is not forever
(2) There are specific things we can do to make this better
(3) The rest is out of our hands
Teach your children that it’s okay to not know everything. Better yet, teach them that they can find hope and peace despite not knowing!
The truth is, it is impossible to always be in control, so if we teach our children that the only way to feel at peace is when we’re in control, then they will feel distressed most of the time.
In my work with clients, I’ve found the better antidote to anxiety is realizing that even in the face of not knowing, there is still hope.
It is okay to acknowledge the fear that your family is experiencing. This is normal and healthy. But rather than dwelling in that fear, try to practice being present as a family.
Rather than looking months ahead and wishing away these moments, do something meaningful with the time you have today. Even though social distancing can feel distressing, I’m personally trying to look at it as an opportunity. An opportunity to spend more time with my family, an opportunity to re-evaluate what I’m grateful for, and an opportunity to choose hope over fear.
My hope for you and your family is that you’ll feel empowered to have meaningful conversations during this time of uncertainty. Because even when we are afraid and don’t have all the answers, coming together as a family can make a difference.
Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT
Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT is a warm, compassionate marriage counselor, individual therapist and family therapist who creates a safe and supportive space for you to find meaning in your struggles, realize your self-worth, and cultivate healthy connections with the most important people in your life.
FINDING BALANCE: We want to have everything. We want and need to have rules and structure to protect us and guide our lives. Yet we also crave freedom and independence. We long to have empathy and compassion in our relationships, but we also want to be challenged so that we can grow.
Tight vs. Loose. Protective vs. Forgiving. Planning vs. Being Present. Everything we do exists on a continuum, a spectrum of finding balance between extremes so that we can create a healthy path on every level.
My guest on today’s episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is cultural psychologist and researcher Dr. Michele Gelfland. Dr. Gelfland has spent years exploring subjects like:
Dr. Gelfland is the author of “Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World,” she’s been on the stage of TedEx, she’s been featured on The Hidden Brain podcast, and now she’s here with me to share her wisdom with YOU.
I hope her fascinating insights help you find a healthy balance in your life.
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Music Credits: Fierbinteanu, “Loosen My Grip”
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
Everywhere you look online the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic is mentioned. It has been in every headline, every news outlet, on Facebook feeds, even in every email in my junk inbox. As an Online Therapist and Life Coach, my clients have been asking, “How do I adjust to this current situation?” Today I want to provide you with the same advice I share with my clients on resiliency in the face of chaos.
The world has faced other health and public concerns, however, never on this large of a scale. It’s scary to read all of the headlines, especially when positivity is rarely reflected in the articles.
Facing a global pandemic and navigating life through COVID-19 is uncharted territory for all of us. Never before has an entire society had to worry about school closures in the middle of the semester, grocery store outages, and heavy financial stress.
There are so many new challenges that we are all facing – many challenges that are merely out of our control. How do we individually and collectively move into a new way of doing things when discomfort and uncertainty surround us?
I want to point out that never before has society been so connected in terms of education and communication. Never before has our local and state communities come so closely together, offering to help. Never before have I seen so many people step up to help their friends and families during this uncertain time. [Read: Building CommUNITY During Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine for more on community during COVID-19]
What COVID-19 is teaching us as a community is that we are resilient and that resiliency in the face of chaos allows us to focus on the positive and find gratitude even in uncertain times.
Resiliency is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Looking at the world on a global scale, it is in our nature to be resilient and as a collective, this feels more natural as we support one another. However, on an individual scale how can we personally develop resiliency in the face of chaos?
What I practice with my clients is the acceptance of personal feelings or emotions that may feel otherwise uncomfortable. Acknowledging and accepting that you feel scared, worried, confused, angry…these are all okay and valid emotions. The important thing to remember is that you will not feel like this forever – things will get better.
While staying grounded in the present is an excellent way to overcome feelings of anxiety. Thinking about your personal journey and where it is leading you can encourage a sense of comfort knowing that your goals and dreams are still yours, they are still valid and real.
A few questions you can ask yourself in order to build resiliency in the face of chaos are:
Online, pictures spread about animals returning after decreased human activity. Although there is no solid proof of this yet, it does inspire and give us hope in the times we need it. Nature is resilient and hopeful!
In Spain, you can see people conversing and even exercising with each other from the balcony.
In Italy, there are videos upon videos of the community gathering in song and music showing the world that despite this uncertain and scary time, we can continue to come together and show each other kindness and comfort.
Here in the USA, stores are changing their hours to help the vulnerable populations get a headstart on shopping. There are local businesses and volunteer organizations offering food, child care, and even tasks such as getting the mail.
This isn’t to say that the news shouldn’t be taken lightly or that the impacts of COVID-19 are minimized. Instead, trying to shift from a panic mentality to a resilience mentality can help both in the short and long term. [Read: Intentional Living – How to not Panic in the PANIC for more…]
In the short term, during social distancing and isolation, it is necessary to be thinking about the future and how you are growing.
In the long term, it will be important to recognize the impact that this pandemic has caused and use it to move forward with helping yourself and helping others.
Right now we are in the midst of a forest fire. It seems like everything will be destroyed and yet, new growth begins to happen again. We are growing, we are coming together, and we will rebuild.
Here’s to your resiliency in the face of chaos,
Megan Brice M.S., LPCC
P.S. How are you building resiliency in the face of chaos? Share with me in the comments below!
Megan Brice, M.S., LPCC is a career counselor, life coach and therapist who creates a warm environment for you to explore the depths of who you are, so you can grow. She challenges, encourages, and empowers you to embrace transition in order to create future fulfillment.
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Stuck at home & looking for that next career move? Online Therapist and Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach, Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT shares practical ways for working on your success by building your Emotional Intelligence through Resilience, Perseverance, Empathy and more. Read here…
Are you struggling with the transition to working from home? Online therapist and success coach, Josphine Marin, M.S., MFTC shares the same strategies she shares with her online therapy and life coaching clients for being productive and meeting deadlines when working from home. Read now!
Talking with your kids about the pandemic will feel more reassuring after implementing these four strategies that Online Marriage and Family Therapist, Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT shares in her article How to Talk About Coronavirus as a Family. Read here…
Structure vs. Freedom. Empathy vs. Growth. Planning Ahead vs. Being Present. You can have the best of everything by intentionally finding balance. Dr. Michele Gelfland shares how, on this episode of the podcast.
COVID-19 is scary, but what we are experiencing as a community is encouraging and empowering. Online therapist and life coach, Megan Brice MS, LPCC, shares tips for building resiliency in the face of chaos. Read here…
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Are you feeling the collective stress from the Coronavirus? Doing this one thing can make all the difference in managing your stress levels and keeping panic at bay. Houston Therapist and Online Life Coach, Amy-Noelle Shih, M.A., LPC shares her number one antidote to a stressed mind. Read it here…
Looking for survival tips while in quarantine with kids? We get it! Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT is a Denver-based Marriage Therapist and Parenting Coach. Today she’s bringing you the Survival Manual (7 Tips for surviving this quarantine with kids) when you might just need it the most! Read now…
As an online therapist and life coach, and strong proponent of intentional living, I am keenly aware that we all are being greatly impacted by COVID-19 and feeling the collective stress all around us. This may be a good time to take heed of our own behavior and how we choose to engage this unsettling reality unfolding daily, without spiraling into a panic.
As a therapist, I like to encourage my clients to stay informed yes, but try limiting the amount of time that you spend on social media sites. The antidote to a panicked mind is an intentional mind.
Before checking the latest coronavirus pandemic updates, doing this one thing can make all the difference in keeping your stress at healthy, manageable levels. Set the intention to answer the “why” before you start spending an inordinate amount of time scrolling through your newsfeed.
I have clients, for example, who tell me that they find themselves frantically reading articles streaming across their computer screen, hoping to assuage their fears. Mindlessly reading distressing information can produce even more anxiety.
When we let our minds fall into a fear trap, without us even realizing it, we are giving our power away. We are relinquishing control over our choices, which can leave us feeling even more helpless. We do have control over our minds and how we take care of our mental diets.
Set an intention that helps you to be clear about your choices, such as why you are choosing to read “this” article, so that you aren’t unconsciously engaging with a worry-mind from the outset. (Here are more tips for managing coronavirus anxiety.) Otherwise, you may be making yourself vulnerable to “downloading” insurmountable amounts of stressful information with no protective self-care parameters in place.
By setting an intention, this can help you make deliberate choices that serve your overall wellbeing. Your intention may be: I am taking the necessary precautions to keep myself, loved ones, and others safe.
Then determine a healthy time-limit for watching or reading news, maybe it’s no more than 30-minutes (your vagus nerve will thank you; more on this in a minute.) And be intentional about deciding what information is helpful and what information is not helpful, so that you are not causing unnecessary stress, as this has been shown to weaken the immune system, which is not what you want.
Now let’s talk about the vagus nerve as I mentioned above. This nerve plays such a huge role in our stress response, as it is connected to the parasympathetic system, the part of the nervous system working synergistically to allow for optimal and harmonious functioning – essentially the queen “regulator” influencing your stress response. Which is to say that it is important to take care of your vagus nerve so that it takes care of you! One way you can do this is to start your day with an intentional, mindfulness breathing meditation.
Deep breathing helps us to calm and regulate our “emotional control center,” so to speak. And the more we emotionally regulate ourselves, the more we can respond to stress – something a panicked heart simply can’t do.
So intention setting is like having a “superpowered” way to check-and-balance yourself often. You can ask yourself: Am I acting from a place of fear? You can start doing this with every activity, like eating. If you think: I have to eat more whole foods or I’m going to get sick! This can actually work against your well-meaning intention and bring on added stress.
Practice setting pure intentions and affirming when you eat healthy foods, for instance, I am nourishing and replenishing my body and supporting my body’s innate desire to take care of me. (Check out: Developing a Healthy Relationship With Food)
Now is a really good time to focus inwardly, establish self-reflecting routines, act more consciously, accept the as-is showing up in your life right now, so that you can navigate the isness of your present situation while allowing a new context to emerge.
As you practice calm and acceptance, you are inviting the wherewithal to adapt into your life. It may mean establishing new routines, discovering new ways to stay connected and relevant.
This is all made possible when we start by quarantining ourselves for any “emotional viruses” that are keeping us from being the superpowered, creative shapeshifters that we are – and that is so essential to cultivate into our lives right now.
I hope that you read this and start “intentionalizing” your day.
PS. Connect with me and join the conversation on Instagram @growing_self! Also, my colleague Dr. Lisa created a short video demo-ing a great breathing technique to help lower stress available for you on Instagram too.
Persistent feelings of insecurity can tank a relationship. Learn how to strengthen your sense of trust and the emotional security of your partnership, on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.
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What is online therapy? How does teletherapy work? Online Therapist Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT answers all your teletherapy questions today on the Love, Happiness and Success blog!