Self care

Warm slippers and hot chocolate. It may not be the cure for depression, but it still helps. ♡

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Despair/Self Care when stuck

‘I Sleep just to die a little
Only to awake in nightmares
Just to fight to stay alive.’

Sometimes there’s no escape
From the exhaustion of your own toxic mind. Being awake feels unsafe, but sleeping reveals unconscious horrors.

All that’s left to do is to make the choice to despair and self sabotage or try your hardest to
accept, distract ,and practice self compassion . You can also make the choice to bounce between the two – and hopefully, with some time and patience, new feelings, thoughts , and clarity will arise in you to come rescue you from your own shadow.
You will make it through this.

Getting Better Sleep

Are you a Lark or an Owl? or maybe you’re both and live on little sleep and caffeine.

Larks: Someone who wakes up early

Owls: Someone who stays up late (Starts projects at 10pm)

To get good sleep, try these:

Get plenty of physical exercise during the day. This helps to lower your stress level and make you sleep better.

Try to make your day meaningful and pleasant by giving yourself a sense of accomplishment, either through doing a task or sharing some time with another person.

Refrain from drinking coffee, colas, or chocolate, all of which contain caffeine which can disturb sleep if ingested within 2 to 6 hours of bedtime, depending on the individual response.

Large snacks or drinking excessively before bed cam cause indigestion and other problems.

Avoid taking naps during the day. This can upset the patterns of associating your bed with nighttime sleep.

Try to relax within two hours of bedtime. Reading a light novel or watching a relaxing television program will provide the body and mind with a “cool down” period before you sleep. Try not to solve your problems or plan your next day’s activities just before bedtime.

The traditional glass of warm milk and cinnamon has been shown to be a sleep inducer.

Smoking before bed can disrupt sleep because nicotine has a stimulating effect.

“Counting Sheep” can sometimes be helpful to lull you into sleep.

Fresh air in your room is important. Shut windows when there is a draft or the weather may be too cold.

If in a new environment, accustom yourself to the new room before it is time to sleep to help you feel more comfortable.

Make sure there are no lights shinning in your eyes.

Add or delete/remove linen for required warmth. Being too hot or too cold can keep you from sleeping.

Indigestion or pain such as a headache can keep you from sleeping.

If taking medication and you are still not sleeping well, inform your doctor.

A positive attitude about sleep is important. If you think you can’t sleep, you will likely have more difficulty in settling. Associate you’re going to bed with the thought that you will sleep well.

Use a comfortable mattress and pillow.

Form a habit of going to the bathroom before bed if you find that you are awakened by the need to empty your bladder.

If you do wake up in the middle of the night, don’t become upset. Often, it may only require a change of position or use of rhe bathroom and then you will settle again to sleep.

Establish a regular but flexible sleep schedule. With habit, sleep becomes more regulated.

If you still can’t sleep after trying to remedy the problem, inform your doctor.

A natural sleep makes you feel refreshed when you wake in the morning.

Below is a list of Sleep Disruptions:

Stress/racing thoughts

Mental psychosis/mania

Nightmares

Anxiety

Animals

Outside noise

Environment (new place, or too hot/cold)

Illness of self or partner (coughing, sneezing, clogged nose, pain, etc )

Caffeine

Sleep apnea

Self-consciousness thoughts with partner (will I snore, be an ugly sleeper, move too much, etc)

Hormones

Sleep attire

Fluid and food intake

Disruptions of routine

Medications

Varying sleep times

Napping during the day

Technology (Light from screen wakes the brain up)

 

Ideas for Better Sleep ZzZzZz

If you nap, try to slowly decrease your nap times. If you normally nap for 1.5 hours, set your alarm and try to sleep for 1 hour, etc.

Research study shows that making your bed helps people sleep better and makes you more productive overall.

Keep the room dark, get light- blocking curtains.

In the morning, open up the curtains to allow the light in

Natural supplement: Melatonin pills (talk to doc first)

Keeping a routine

Calming tea (chamomile)

Aromatherapy (lavender)

Calm music

Fresh air (crack windows a bit)

Turning your clock so you can’t see the time.

Meditation: Triangle/Diamond hands -place hands on your belly in a diamond shape and breathe

Meditation: Beam of Light- trace finger or imagine a beam of light travelling along your face in circles, relaxing each part of your face as you go along. From the nose up and over your eyebrow and around and under your eye, up to your forehead and down to your other eye and around and up to your eyebrow then down and circle around that same cheek then travel down to your chin and up over the other side and circle your other cheek, then over your lip and down around your chin again.

Meditation: Counting Down/Heavy Eye lids- Close your eyes. Say the number 10 to yourself, breath in nice and slow and deep, breath out slowly and open your eyes slowly and softly, then close your eyes and say number 9 to yourself, breath in and take a big breath then while breathing out open your eyes gently, then close your eyes and imagine the number 8, etc.

Count sheep 🙂  1 sheep, 2sheep, 3 sheep, 4. 5 Sheep.6 Sheep. 7 Sheep. Snore! Zz

 

 

 

Reference for this post is from OMTH, Oakville. 4th Floor.

 

Grounding Techniques

Grounding Techniques are designed to help you deal with painful, overwhelming feelings. Grounding can be done anytime anyplace, anywhere. You can practice the skills privately and no one has to know or you can ask for support. Do not focus on past or the future stay in the present. Do not judge things as bad or good, stay neutral. Do not journal or think negative thoughts.

Ways to Ground yourself

Find a special place in your home where you have placed safe, soothing objects.

Play a category game with yourself, ie think of types of dogs, bands from the 80s, 90s, types of cars, etc.

Describe an everyday activity in detail to yourself or to someone else.

Say an affirmation.

Read something positive saying each word to yourself.

Think of something funny.

Count to 10 or say the alphabet S l o w l y

Run cool or warm water or your hands.

Hold ice cubes in your hands.

Carry a safety object with you.

Connect your body with the environment, ie I feel my feet making contact with the floor.

Eat, Walk mindfully– noticing the subtleties of the activity.

Focus on your breathing and accompany a positive, pleasant word with each inhalation and exhalation.

Say kind statements to your self.

Think of all your favourites, ie colour, food, animals, season, TV show.

Say a positive coping statement ie, this will pass, I can handle this.

Think of positive things that you are looking forward to in the future, ie social outing with a friend.

Make an index card or upload your most effective grounding techniques.

Think about people and animals you care about. Look at photographs of them.

List 5 things you see

List 4 things that you can touch

List 2 things that you can smell

Take one breath.

 

 

Reference: OTMH, Oakville

Listening Skills

This group of skills helps the listener to keep the focus on what the speaker is communicating.

a) Door Openers/ Encourages

 

  • Encouragers are to creative an invitation to talk. Questions that help you show we are genuinely interested: Who, When, Where, Why, How?
  • Are used to encourage someone to begin to talk or to continue talking.

Examples:

i. “Care to talk about it?”

ii. “Please go on.”

iii. “Tell me more.”

iv. “What was that like (for you)?”

v. And my all-time favourite, “How did that make you feel?” <–stereotypical

Remember, it is difficult to offer a door opener, not to be takenn up on it, and subsequently let it go without taking the dismissal personally. Rememeber it takes time to build trust and one must respect the other person’s privacy.

b) Minimal Encourages

1. Brief indications to the speaker that you are listening.

2. Give little direction to the conversation.

3. Examples:

> > “Mm-hmm”, “Go on” “I see”, “Then?” “Yes” “Darn!”

4. You can also encourage the speaker by repeating one or two of his key words.

c) Infrequent Questions

 

  • Ask only 1 question at a time.
  • Be Mindful of the number of questions that help show interest. Try not to do too many who, when, where, what, why, how..

There are two types of questions:

Closed Questions: These direct the speaker to give a specific, short response.

“Did you have a good holiday?”

Open Question

These allow the speaker to chose the direction of the Conversation and explore his thoughts:

“Tell me about your holiday.”

“What was that like for you?”

“Let’s talk about that a little more.”

“How did that happen?”
d) Attentive Silence

 

  • Allows the speaker to think about what he is going to say and to proceed at their own pace.
  • Silence is a reflection of intimacy.
  • If you feel uncomfortable with silence, rather than shatter it with questions, advice, etc. Use the time to:
  • Observe the speaker’s body language.
  • Silently review what the speaker has said,
  • Wonder what the speaker is feeling,
  • And consider possible listening responses.

e) Paraphrasing and Reflecting Back

Restating in your own words what the other person has said, For example:

  • “You’re suggesting that…”
  • “Let me se if I’ve understood. You feel…”
  • ” You think…is that correct?”
  • “So you believe that…”
  • “Do you mean that..?”

 

Discourages (What not to do)

a) Most Discouraging

 

  • Threatening or punishing responses – “Smarten up or else.”
  • Ridiculing/ Belittling, “That’s just plain dumb.”
  • Denying or Contradicting “You’re wrong.”
  • Minimizing “is that what you are worried about? I wish that was all I had on my plate!”
  • Sarcastic Responses “Now that’s a real problem.”
  • Arguing for your Own Point “Well your wrong and I’ll prove it..”

b) Sometimes Discouraging

 

  • Advice – Giving before listening “Here is what you should do..”
  • Persuasion against their will “You can do it if you try.”
  • Interpreting “I know what you are thinking..”
  • Jumping to Conclusions “if you don’t like them you should just leave.”

c) Actions that Discourage

 

  • Interrupting in mid-sentence
  • Looking away, shuffling paper on desk
  • Crossing arms, yawning, shaking your head, rolling your eyes.
  • Continuing on with another task when someone is talking
  • Moodiness/ negative tone/ abruptness etc.

Door Closers (Road Blocks- DON’T Do these)

a) Judgemental Statements:

“What a sourpuss you are today.”

“What did you do, lose your best friend?”

b) Attempts to Reassure

“Cheer up!”

“Things will get better. They always do.”

c) Advice Giving:

“Don’t ruin your day.”

“Forget about it.”

 

 

 

Reference: OTMH, third line, Oakville, ON

Good Vs Bad Listening

 

Good Listeners

  • Open, engaging, more verbal- makes a point of it.
  • Really/Very present, nurturing
  • equal time to talk, everyone is heard
  • sincere
  • non judgemental

Bad listeners

  • hidden agenda
  • aggression
  • separate
  • narcissistic
  • lie
  • dishonest
  • waiting for their turn to talk
  • stage hogging
  • too much silence
  • lack of eye contact
  • doing tasks while someone is talking/distracted

Active listening:

 

  • in the moment
  • engage
  • reflecting ‘ hearing you- thinking about what u are saying’
  • pick up what is important
  • digesting the convo
  • empathy
  • asking questions
  • paraphrasing
  • comments, head nods
  • eye contact
  • Door openers – please go on
  • minimal encourages -mmhmm, ohh i see
  • open ended questions
  • attentive, silence, reflecting back

What not to do:

  • don’t discourage
  • deny
  • minimalize
  • argue
  • give advice
  • yawn
  • do a task
  • jump to conclusions
  • don’t door close, ‘what a sore puss’ ‘just get over it’

 

 

Reference: OTMH Outpatients, Oakville ON

 

Self Esteem and Loneliness Worksheet

Sometimes people who are lonely are either unable or unwilling to attend social functions, or to meet new people because they have low levels of self-esteem. In order to meet new people and develop and maintain effective relationships, they need to see themselves as valuable human beings.

Complete the following chart by identifying positive accomplishments, talents, tasks that come easy to you, and character traits.

 

My Accomplishments (Ex: Work, family, community activities, hobbies, etc)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

My gifts (Ex: Talents from all aspects of my life)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Things That Come Easy To Me (Ex: What I can do easily and well)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

My Good Character Traits (Ex: Punctual, good listener, honest, etc.)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Reverse Your Negative Thinking

People who experience loneliness often take too much time to dwell on their negative thoughts about themselves and their lives. The good news is that it is possible to turn your negative thinking into more positive thinking.

In a table below, journal your experiences with your negative thoughts. One way to do this is to be mindful of what is happening in your own mind. In this case, mindfulness is simply attending to the stream of thoughts that go through your head when you are lonely. Look at an example:

Negative thoughts in my head: “People just don’t like me.”

Feelings that follow: Low self-esteem, emptiness, fear, hopleness.

What is the evidence? There is probably no evidence that people don’t like you. Some people connect with you. You will be able to make new friends if you try. Everyone is in contact with people who connect with them and people who don’t.

How can I reverse my thinking: “I have had friends in the past and I will again.” ” I will make friends if I don’t give up and if I continue engaging in social activities, where I can meet new people!”

Now that you have the formula for successfully reversing your negative thinking, try it!

Negative Thoughts in My Head

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Feelings That I show

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What is the Evidence?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How I can Reverse My Thinking

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What negative thoughts do you have about social situations?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When and where do you usually have negative thoughts? Why do you think this happened?

What can you do about it?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

**Reference: Pls note: I did not write this. This material is from the OTMH in Oakville, ON as well as Whole Person Associates.