Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart

Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart

Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart

Sometimes life just throws you a major curve ball…

You know that feeling? Your jaw just metaphorically drops, the days seem to run together like one long, surreal dream. Making decisions or taking action can feel like walking through mud. There is understandable shock and disbelief. It rocks your foundation, leaving you with questions like, “When will this end?” and “HOW will this end?,” which can be really scary. 

Understandably, the COVID-19 outbreak has left many of us feeling shell-shocked in this way. 

Whether a pandemic, natural disaster, or something smaller in scale but no less devastating (like a death, divorce, or job loss), these major life curveballs have something in common: 

The impact is felt throughout every area of your life. 

The coronavirus concern has created instability in our homes, work, financially, at our schools and hospitals, even in our simplest of daily routines. 

While there is a lot of information available about how to be responsible, stop the spread, and take care of physical health, we also desperately need resources and support around how to take care emotionally for our mental health. 

Not only as an online therapist and life coach, but also as a New Orleans native and “survivor” of hurricane Katrina, I have an intimate understanding of what it’s like to have your life fall apart.

The good news is: it doesn’t last forever. 

The other good news is: there are very real things you can do to make it feel less catastrophic while reducing stress.

Here are eight steps to emotional self care when your life is falling apart.

Know This Pain Is Temporary

I put this one first because it is so important. Every day, several times a day if needed, it’s good to remind yourself that what is NOW is NOT FOREVER. This will be over. And that means you can ride it out. You can make it through. Knowing it will end helps ease the anxiety of not knowing exactly when. It helps with the unknowns. 

Envision Life In The Future

Since you know that what is now is not forever, you can imagine what you want your life to look like after it’s all over. It gives you something to look forward to and to focus on. 

A lot of helpful people will tell you to stay in the present when coping with your life falling apart (and they’re not wrong – I’ll get back to that later). This is because future thinking can create a lot of anxiety over things you can’t even control

But if you are thinking of the future from an empowered, hopeful place planning ahead and looking at what you may be able to do now to work toward it, or even just to get excited about what it could be – will feel better. 

Envisioning your future when you can rebuild your life creates motivation, hope, optimism, and a sense of productivity and purpose.

Remember What You Do Have (Practice Gratitude)

Okay, here’s where we get back to present versus future thinking. If you find yourself obsessing over the what-if’s of an unclear future, bring your mind back to the now. 

In fact, focus on what is GOOD about what IS, right NOW. You can make a gratitude list. You can take a few minutes each day to appreciate your blessings. But you can also gratefully embrace any present moment by mindfully tuning in to the right now with your five senses [also see: Living in a Beautiful State for more on mindfulness]. Let’s give it a try…

Take a minute after reading this paragraph to close your eyes.

Take a deep breath. Listen to your breath. Feel it fill your lungs.

Notice what you hear around you.

What do you smell? 

What emotions come up as you notice?

What can you feel right now with your body? 

What are you grateful for in this moment?

Focus On What Is In Your Control

Part of making through what is out of your control is focusing on what is in your control. The meaning and the why you choose to make out of what is happening to you can dramatically shift its impact on you emotionally and mentally. 

Maybe you would never choose to lose a job you love, to struggle financially, or have your life turned upside down. But why are you going through this?

It’s an odd question to ask about something forced upon you, I know. But bare with me. If you could choose a why, what would it be? Because you can. You can create the “why” you want. What you are going to take away from this experience is yours to decide.

Be Nice To Yourself (Practice Self-Compassion)

Someone recently said to me, “You are your own best friend for life. Be nice to yourself.”

Would you kick a friend when he’s down? Of course not. So be nice to yourself when going through a tough time. Remember you aren’t the only one struggling when life falls apart. You are not alone.

Give yourself grace and space to make mistakes, to struggle, and to hurt. You’re human. We all are.

Ride Those Emotional Waves (Until They Pass)

When we fight our feelings with criticism or denial, they tend to grow stronger (or we just add more negative emotions on top of what we’re already experiencing). 

It’s okay to feel all the feelings right now; they aren’t YOU and they pass. Observe them without self-judgement (“Wow, I’m really sad right now”). Ground yourself by practicing that mindfulness exercise above; close your eyes and tune into your five senses. Breathe. It will pass on its own. Repeat as needed.

Self-Care, Keep It Simple

It’s tempting to let everything go when you are overwhelmed, routine is out the window, and resources are limited. So keep it simple. What are your top three self-care needs? 

Sleep, nutrition, physical exertion, creativity, social connection…these are just some examples. 

Don’t worry too much about what you get done or don’t when it comes to self-care; just focus on the top three things that help you most. And, when working on those, stay simple. 

Not motivated? Start with one small step (as small as needed). For example, if you know you need exercise to stay mentally and emotionally well but aren’t motivated to run five miles on your treadmill, you could start with 10 jumping jacks, 15 minutes of yoga, or vigorous house cleaning. 

Check in with yourself at the end of this step and ask yourself if you want more.

Reach Out

Even the most introverted of us need someone to talk to, even just to chat. Check in with your friends, family, and loved ones. If texting with them still leaves you feeling isolated, go old-school and make a phone call! Or take advantage of modern technology and video chat. 

And remember it’s okay to ask for exactly what you need most, and not for what you don’t need. So if you’re yearning for normalcy and want small talk with a friend, it’s okay to say “Hey, can we skip the coronavirus conversations right now? I miss our girl talk.”  

Give yourself permission to be vulnerable, ask for help, and just generally share how you’re feeling with a fellow human!

Online Emotional Support

Sometimes friends and family can’t support us in the way we need (which is okay, too), especially when they are going through something themselves. If you are unsure of where to turn for help and stuck in self-quarantine, know that there are many online resources available, such as online therapy, virtual couple’s counseling, and online support groups. [And for more on building community while social distancing read “CommUNITY during social distancing and self-quarantine“]

When your life is falling apart around you, know you can get through it and it will pass. Even if the old normal isn’t quite the same again, take comfort in the knowledge that a new, positive normal will eventually fall into place.

In the meantime, keep emotional self-care simple and be gentle with and kind to yourself.


We’re in this together! 

Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC

 

Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC helps you build your self-esteem and create strong, meaningful relationships in a non-judgmental, productive space where you will feel safe, comfortable and understood.

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Intentional Living — How To Not Panic In the PANIC

Intentional Living — How To Not Panic In the PANIC

Intentional Living — How To Not Panic In the PANIC

Living Intentional 

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. 

The Antidote To A Panicked Mind Is An Intentional Mind

1. Be intentional with what you allow in.

 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. 

2. Set An Intention That Helps You To Be Clear About Your Choices

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.  

3. Emotionally Regulate Yourself

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. 

4. Check-and-Balance Yourself Often

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)

5. Get Into The Habit Of “Intentionalizing” Your Day To Keep Panic At Bay

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. 

Warmly, 

Amy-Noelle Shih, M.A., LPC

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.

Amy-Noelle Shih, M.A., LPC is a powerful, dynamic, couples counselor, individual therapist and life coach with a direct, authentic approach to personal growth. Her style is as affirming and positive as it is effective, and all about helping you create alignment and joy in yourself and in your relationships.

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Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart

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Coronavirus Life: Practical Advice To Help You Cope

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Corona Life: How to Cope

Coronavirus anxiety? Struggling with the new reality of “Corona Life?” You’re not alone. I recently polled some of my tribe on Instagram to see how they were doing mentally and emotionally during the Coronavirus crisis we are all experiencing together. I learned that anxiety about Coronavirus is running rampant, and that lots of people are struggling to find ways to manage the stress of their disrupted lives. Kids are out of school, they’re stuck at home, they’re cut off from their social networks, and extremely worried about aging parents and their health and safety — not to mention their future.

This is a lot to deal with. In efforts to help you manage Coronavirus anxiety and cultivate emotional resilience, I am devoting this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast to addressing your questions about coping with “Coronavirus Life” in order to provide new ideas and direction.

Specifically:

  • “I am freaking out about Coronavirus. How do I stop worrying about getting sick? Or being worried that people I love will get Coronavirus?”
  • “I’m having anxiety about separation during the Coronavirus quarantine, and I am so sad about being cut off from everyone. What do I do?”
  • “What are some of the best self-care strategies for dealing with Coronavirus stress?”
  • “Being cooped up at home with my spouse is taking a toll on my relationship. How do we handle the stress of this situation without damaging our relationship?”
  • “I’m so worried about my financial future thanks to Coronavirus. What do I do?”
  • “Coronavirus has destroyed my life. I can’t deal with the uncertainty of not knowing what is happening.”

I’m answering these listener questions and sharing some special, free resources for my listeners on this episode. I hope this discussion and the resources I’m sharing helps you find new coping skills, and practices that help build a firm foundation of emotional resilience inside yourself right now.

Wishing you all the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Coronavirus Life: How to Cope

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Lobo Loco, “Sometimes It Rains”

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"Hi, I'm Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby. For over a decade, I've been helping people all over the world create Love, Happiness and Success in their lives through positive, compassionate and effective Marriage Counseling, Therapy and Life Coaching. I'm so pleased to be able to help you, too. There is help for you here, and I'm glad you've found us.

This website is devoted to your wellbeing, and offers loads of free information and actionable advice that you can start using today to create positive change in your life. Browse around to meet our experts, get free advice on our blog, listen to a podcast, or take our "How Healthy is Your Relationship" quiz. Or, if the time is right, you can schedule a free consultation with any of us to talk about your situation -- and, most importantly -- your hopes for your future." -- Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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My passion is helping people just like you reach their highest potential both individually, and in their most important relationships. 

Whether we work together in couples counseling, family therapy, individual therapy, or life coaching, my focus will be understanding your deepest desires for your marriage, your family, and yourself so that I can help you create your most gratifying life. Our work can help you heal, gain understanding and compassion for yourself and others, and live with intention.” 

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I'm available to meet with you for therapy, marriage counseling and coaching in Denver, Broomfield, and also online."

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I use positive and effective individual counseling, for both adults and teenagers, marriage counselingpremarital counselinglife coaching, and dating coaching. I am here to help you enjoy your relationships with your partner; recover from depression and anxiety be able to live a more fulfilling life and cultivate meaning, joy, and love in your life.” 

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Anastacia Sams, M.A., LPC, MFTC

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Whether you're struggling with hard feelings, coping with a breakup, or facing a big life transition, I can help you move confidently and authentically forward into a joyful and satisfying new future. I'm available to meet with you in our Denver Colorado office and our Denver Tech Center office,  as well as through online video."

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The Path to Wellness

The Path to Wellness

The Path to Wellness

Relationship Help

Regaining Your Health Begins With Listening To Yourself….

The path to wellness can be a long and challenging one, if you or someone you love is dealing with a chronic health condition — particularly one with no simple cause or obvious solution. More and more frequently it seems people are grappling with health issues that impact many areas of their lives, but for which traditional western medicine offers few answers or support.

While more and more is being known about things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, metabolic issues, toxic mold, allergies and other sensitivities and chronic health conditions, they often remain shrouded in mystery and misconception.

People dealing with these issues often feel alone and unsupported, on top of feeling extremely unwell physically.

In these cases, the path to wellness begins with an enormous amount of strength, courage, and self-awareness. It requires the ability to advocate for yourself, and the persistence to continue pressing on to find the solutions that will help you feel healthy, well, and whole again — often in the face of minimizing or disempowering (but well meaning) medical professionals, friends, and even family.

The Path to Wellness

If you can relate to this experience (or love someone who is going through this) I hope you listen to the latest episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. In it, I’m joined by my colleague, therapist and life coach Amy-Noelle Shih, M.A., LPC. Amy has always had an empowering and supportive approach to therapy and life coaching, but over the last few years, she has developed a specialty in helping people find a path to wellness from challenging, and often complex, chronic health conditions.

She’s here today to share her insights into things like:

  • How to muster up the emotional strength to advocate for yourself and communicate your needs…. when you’re at a low point physically.
  • What the path to wellness often looks like, twists, turns, dead-ends and all.
  • How to shift your mindset into one that brings you strength, peace, and gratitude during challenging times.
  • How to use “radical mindfulness” to avoid feeling afraid and hopeless.
  • The lifestyle changes and new priorities that can help you focus on your health.
  • How to create a meaningful support system that supports you on your path to wellness.

If you’ve been dealing with the challenging realities of a chronic health condition, we’re glad you’re here. We hope this episode provides you with support and guidance on your path back to wellness.

With love,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby and Amy-Noelle Shih, M.A., LPC

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The Path to Wellness

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: November Polaroid, “And Miles to Go”

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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.

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Unlocking The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Unlocking The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Unlocking The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Thinking Without Thinking

Understanding Your Subconscious Mind | The rumors are true: The latest research in neuroscience shows that only about 5% (or less) of our brainpower is devoted to conscious, volitional thought. The rest of it is running the show behind the scenes. Not just keeping your body working, but thinking, solving problems, making associations, judging, and leading you to feel.

All of which, then, eventually, leads to your taking action, having reactions, having feelings, or feeling compelled to do certain things…. without ever having made a conscious decision about it. Or, commonly, the subconscious parts of your brain do all the hard work and then hand off the final, finished product to your conscious mind (who thinks they were in charge all along!)

Sometimes, this all works out, but other times your subconscious mind can wreak havoc on your life, leading to:

  • Feeling frustrated that you can’t follow through with what you intend
  • You are experiencing unwanted patterns in your relationships, career, or outcomes
  • Feeling badly, and not really knowing why
  • You have reactions to people or situations that are creating issues (particularly in your relationships)
  • You seem to have inner obstacles that are holding you back from creating positive change

Without understanding what’s happening inside of you, subconsciously, it’s very difficult to create real and lasting change in your life. You can try to make changes, but if your subconscious mind has other motivations…. it’s going to win every time.

Understanding The Subconscious Mind

A core, foundational piece of any high quality personal growth work begins with digging into the subconscious forces inside of you that are influencing the way way you feel, think about behave. Traditional talk therapy, while it does have limitations, is very good at helping you get insight into why you do the things you do. Giving a voice to things you don’t usually consciously consider (much less say out loud) can give you understanding of yourself, and self-awareness of your subconscious.

Often, what emerges is that people have deep-seated, subconscious rules, expectations, assumptions, value-judgments and emotional triggers that they 1) have no idea they’re carrying and 2) are extremely powerful. It’s only by bringing these unseen forces out of the darkness and into your conscious mind that you begin to have power over them. [Learn more: Take our “What’s Holding You Back” online quiz]

Reprogramming Your Subconscious Mind

While developing this type of insight into yourself is essential if your goal is to create change, it’s not enough in and of itself. As I teach to all my therapy and life coaching clients, and in my online Happiness Class — insight alone is not enough to change your life. To make real and lasting change, insight must be coupled with intentional action designed to get you different results. (The domain of any life coach worth their salt!)

However, rushing into action without first understanding the other, deeper forces at work inside of you creates the dynamic where you try to make changes, and then fail. This all-action-insight-be-damned approach is common among many life coaches who do not have a background in counseling psychology.

But if you take the time and do the work to create self-awareness and insight into aspects of your subconscious mind that are creating problems for you, THEN you can very deliberately, consciously begin working to reprogram your brain, swap outdated ideas for new ones, talk yourself through challenging situations, implement different thinking styles, and support yourself through challenging emotions. [Learn more:  Mindhacking]

Does it take hard work to learn how to do this? Yes, it does. However, the level of control you have over your outcomes, the shift in the way you feel, and the impact it has on your relationships and your career are enormous and for most people, well worth it.

Unlocking The Power of The Subconscious Mind

Another huge advantage of working to understand your subconscious mind and gaining self-awareness (and self-control) over what’s going on in there is that you develop a newfound sense of trust in your subconscious self.

Whether you know it or not, your beautiful brain is always, A L W A Y S, taking in information, making associations, thinking through problems, evaluating things, and putting things together. If you learn how to trust your subconscious mind, you tap into a wealth of information about the world — not to mention your inner wisdom.

Some call it “intuition,” and some call it “creativity.” I personally think of it as your mind doing what it was built to do: Think. It’s just that not all thinking is conscious.

People who are creative, or who have jobs that require them to solve problems, design systems, or come up with novel solutions find their work to become immensely more productive when they turn the reigns over to their subconscious minds.

Understand and Unlock The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Because all of the above is SO vital to anyone serious about personal growth, and creating positive change, I decided to devote a whole episode of the podcast to the subject of how to unlock the power of your subconscious brain. Listen and learn:

  • Why high level “solutions” will not be effective unless you understand your subconscious self
  • Why your subconscious brain can sabotage your relationships, and your outcomes
  • How to get insight into your subconscious mind
  • How to redirect yourself if you have subconscious forces that are causing problems for you
  • Ways of harnessing and strengthening the problem-solving abilities of your subconscious
  • When to listen to your subconscious… and when to do a “manual override”

All that, and more, on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

xoxo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: I’ve been recording episodes of the show LIVE on Instagram and Youtube lately. I’m including both the video and the podcast version below for you. Join me next time! Jump in, (most) Mondays at 12pm MT, www.instagram.com/drlisamariebobby

PPS: Do you have questions about this topic? Or another topic for an upcoming show? Leave them in the comments below, or through this confidential form. I’m listening! LMB

 

 

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Unlocking The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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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.

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