We all experience stress in our lives from time to time particularly in the world we live in and how busy everybody’s lives are and the pace in which we operate from every day.
So it’s important to watch and manage our stress levels. I have listed below some useful tips for this
1. Physical exercise – Helps to release the chemicals called endorphins which in turn trigger positive feelings in the body.
2. Abdominal Breathing Technique - How it’s done - With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. 6 to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day
3. Worry Diary – Allow yourself to write everything down that is worrying or causing you stress, then look at these worries. If you keep this diary daily it’s a way of monitoring your thoughts and in turn recognising when we are becoming stressed and what situations may be causing you stress
4. Manage your time – use a diary, get organised the night before if you know you have a busy day the next day. Accept it’s not possible to do everything and prioritise tasks
5. Sleep More – Get the amount of sleep you know that you need
6. Try yoga or meditation
7. Talk to someone - often sharing your concerns or telling somebody how you feel can be helpful
8. Avoid Caffeine - swap for herbal teas, drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated as this helps the body to manage stress better
9. Say NO – Its ok to say no and recognise you can’t do everything
10. Take time out – Take time out for yourself to do the things you like to do
Generally women who have experienced a miscarriage are cared for physically by caregivers, family, etc. However quite often women’s emotional needs aren’t given enough consideration and they may not receive follow up emotional care that they may need.
With loss/ bereavement there is no one size fits all treatment, there is however a grieving process and associated stages. Loss associated with miscarriage is a very individual experience and it can be a huge loss for women regardless of how many weeks pregnant.
Often from the moment a women finds out she is pregnant she may start planning the baby’s future, so many hopes and dreams can be shattered when a pregnancy ends in miscarriage
Approximately one in every five pregnancies will end in miscarriage yet this traumatic event is rarely discussed in public. Generally there appears to be a lack of understanding around bereavement associated with miscarriage and subsequently Maternal Mental health is stigmatised.
The emotional experience that comes with miscarriage is not proportional to the length of the pregnancy. General public awareness around bereavement associated with miscarriage needs to be increased.
How to help someone who has experienced a miscarriage
If you can be available and be willing to listen. Don’t be afraid to talk to the mother about the baby and the feelings of loss. Allow the person to talk about the baby they have lost if they wish to and as often as they need to. Remember the loss of their baby needs to be acknowledged.
Just remember as with any form of bereavement there is no time limit on the grieving process.
How can counselling Help
Bereavement Counselling can be about providing a safe, supportive space for a person to share their experience of loss. And gain support in how to move forward in life after loss
Before becoming a mother very often you may have an idea of how you think it is going to be. How you will be as a mother and how your children will be. But generally the reality is very different. So where does this leave us? Many mothers will struggle with being vulnerable, so how do we redefine our identity with far less sleep and a sense of responsibility you have never known?
Confusion, uncertainty around decisions we are making, self-doubt, guilt a long with a whole host of other emotions are very common. You might find yourself questioning your new life, what am I supposed to be doing. Do I return to work, can I be a stay at home mum? Often our identity defines our self-worth and as a result it’s common to feel lost. Remember becoming a mother is a major life change.
Some women report feeling invisible, they have changed on so many levels often they may not recognise themselves. Do you feel like you are floating between two worlds your old life which has changed dramatically and this new life that you might feel a little unsure about or it’s not familiar to you?
Achievements or goals you may set for yourself now need to be planned around children, time is precious and not so readily available to you anymore. Do you have concerns around your career and how this may change for you? How has your relationship changed with your partner? Many women report feeling less equal or less connected to their partner
Can you consider what sort of identity you want and can this be a way to redeem your identity?
Some tips below to help you do this
1) Connect back in with yourself. You can do this by spending time alone with yourself doing something that you enjoy and it’s not for anybody else.
2) Self- Care, it’s so important in creating a strong sense of self otherwise we can end up feeling resentful and lacking in confidence. The more we give to ourselves the more the family will benefit.
3) If you are a stay at home mum women may feel isolation and loneliness this can have a strong link to our identity. Perhaps you feel like you don’t have a lot in common with your old friends, so finding new friends in the same situation can really help
4) Sharing your insecurities with your partner, letting insecurities fester can create conflict in your relationship.
5) Have time out with your partner create the space and time for you both to go out and enjoy each other’s company
6) Gratitude Diary list what’s important for you & what you are grateful for
7) Give yourself permission to have time for yourself
How can Counselling Help
Counselling & Psychotherapy can help you improve your emotional and physical well-being, help enhance your ability to engage in interpersonal relationships and empower you with useful tools, which will help you problem solve.
Pregnancy can be a beautiful and exciting experience, but it can also bring up feelings of anxiety, fear, stress, isolation and uncertainty. Like any major life change it’s completely normal to experience a mix of emotions. Pregnancy is a huge transition in a women’s life impacting you spiritually, physically and emotionally.
Plenty of attention is given to the physical changes in a women’s body, but the emotional changes she may be experiencing may not always be obvious or discussed. During pregnancy a women may experience moods and emotions ranging from highs such as feeling overjoyed and excited about the arrival of a baby to lows of feeling frightened of the birth, impatient, worried and terrified as the time to meet her baby comes closer.
Some women may experience physical health problems throughout pregnancy. You may have a plan or an idea of how you would like the labour or birth of your baby to go but perhaps medical intervention is needed or recommended and this can leave some women feeling like they are defective in some way or like they have failed as a women by needing help to birth their baby. Or some women feel deeply disappointed as it didn’t go as they had planned.
Often women don’t’ feel like they can talk about what they are experiencing for fear of being judged by others. Maybe you have worries about how your body has changed or weight gain worries. Pregnancy can causes emotions to run high and this can cause conflict in close relationships.
If it’s your first pregnancy perhaps you have lots of concerns around the birth or worries about your baby being safe you may worry about any new sensations as the baby grows. Perhaps you may have experienced a previous miscarriage or tried for many years to become pregnant and have anxiety around the safety of the pregnancy. If you have had an unplanned pregnancy you may feel stressed, you may not know how to tell people, feel overwhelmed and very unsure.
Even if you have planned for a pregnancy on discovering you are pregnant it’s completely normal to feel a sense of shock or anxiety, something very significant has changed in your life
Pregnancy can also bring up other issues such as difficult family relationships, insecurities, high expectations of yourself. There can be lots of practical concerns when we are to become parents such as financial concerns, your career after you have had your baby, child care, do you return to work.
It’s so important to remember that we can be at our most vulnerable when we are pregnant. You are not inadequate or a disappointment or defective if pregnancy doesn’t leave you feeling happy and elated. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be more open about how pregnancy really makes us feel?
How to support yourself during pregnancy
How can therapy help?
Some women experience depression during pregnancy this can be caused by hormones changing the chemicals in your brain it would be advised to see a GP but Therapy can also help as a valuable aid to support you through your pregnancy.
‘’ REMEMBER HOW AMAZING YOU ARE’’
Becoming parents and how it can impact your relationship
Expectant parents can spend months preparing for the arrival of their baby. Often lots of energy is given to the birth and how it might go.
By the time you have brought your little baby home you may have read all the books, bought all the baby clothes and taken lots of pre-natal classes but even with all this preparation the reality of caring for a baby can be overwhelming.
When your family changes from two to three, your relationship with your partner is bound to change, you are now parents as well as a couple.
Being a new parent is wonderful, but it can also be really challenging and stressful, too. This can bring up different feelings. It's common for new parents to feel guilty when they're not enjoying every second of being a new parent. But it's important to remember that it's really ok to want to take a break from the baby every once in a while.
It’s very normal to experience a sense of grief when you become new parents suddenly your world can feel strange and un-familiar. This new life isn’t perhaps what you might have imagined, it can be a very challenging, exhausting time.
It’s very normal for your relationship with your partner to be tested, you have less time to spend with each other, and it’s not as easy to get out of the house. You may long for the life you had before and you may experience a sense of guilt for feeling this way, its completely normal to have these feelings.
Life has changed dramatically so acknowledge that and be kind to yourself
Loss of Freedom
The demands of having a new baby to look after can feel overwhelming. New parents can struggle to get out and enjoy their own interests. And to find any time for themselves, this can leave parents feeling trapped or suffocated not being able to come and go as they please.
A new baby is an exciting positive life event and many couple’s expect they should be really happy during this time and it can often come as a big shock to the couple when you are not getting on. Remember parenthood can be one of the most difficult transitions we will make
As a couple and as individuals you may experience the longing to have that connection and closeness again with your partner, but something significant has changed, its normal for things to take time to settle down.
It’s very difficult to describe the sense of responsibility you may experience when you are handed your baby, or bringing your baby home for the first time. As a couple you may worry about how to care for this baby, from changing nappies to sleeping and feeding its normal to feel overwhelmed.
Exhaustion comes with being new parents, remember that ‘sleep deprivation’ is used as a form of torture. During this time it’s normal to be irritated with each other.
We often take things out on the people we are close to.
Exhaustion can lead to less interest in intimacy. These are all normal feelings and experiences.
When we become parents it can stir up feelings we least expect, some fathers may experience a sense of jealousy towards there new child, as all of Mums time can be spent caring for the new addition to the family.
Or he may feel jealous that he doesn’t get to spend as much time with the baby, these feelings are completely normal
Some women struggle with how their body has changed from pregnancy and birth. It can be a very vulnerable time. Dark circles under the eyes from night feeds some women may experience feeling less attractive to their partners.
Some women experience that they are no longer their partners equal, they may struggle with their new role as a mother. These feelings are all normal.
During this transition its normal to disagree, it can bring up many feelings for both parents. The stay at home carer may have resentment towards their partner when they go to work as they get out of the house and meet people and for the person caring for the baby at home it can feel isolating.
House hold chores may not get done like they did before, less time and tiredness make it difficult to get anything done and this can lead to arguments
Remember the transition into parenthood is one of the most challenging transitions we will make. It’s normal for couples to feel a level of stress and challenge at times during this life change.
Anxiety is the body and minds natural reaction to treat or danger, often referred to as the ‘Fight or Flight’ response. The body releases hormones such as adrenaline, which results in a number of physiological reactions to happen in the body.
There are loads of different types, including general anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorders & OCD.
It’s normal to experience anxiety from time to time. However when it becomes debilitating it is time to get help.
Some of the common symptoms of anxiety
Have you ever found yourself wishing you just didn’t feel this way, or trying to escape the sensations your anxiety can bring up. Do you acknowledge your anxiety when it strikes? Or do you resist any engagement with it and simply try to survive the sensations or ignore them?
Is it a familiar scenario to let your anxiety dictate your day, a night out or planning holidays or how you would like to live your life?
Have you ever experienced sitting having a coffee with friends but struggling to engage or concentrate as you’re so consumed by anxious feelings or fearful anxious thoughts. Or is it familiar to go to bed at night for your mind to become very active with lots of negative thoughts preventing you from sleeping.
Perhaps your fear is being judged by others, what will they think of me? Will they think I’m weak?
Or perhaps in a moment you have a real fear you are going to die. You may experience a sudden awareness of your breathing. You may have wondered is my breath shallow, is it rapid?
Is it difficult for you to know the difference between excitement and anxiety? Can they sometimes feel similar, like butterflies in your stomach? Does this prevent you from feeling excitement?
Often alcohol is consumed as a way to try and cope with anxiety, but once the alcohol wears off is your anxiety at its peak. Or does alcohol fuel your anxiety?
When we experience anxiety it can be terrifying, so why would we want to befriend something so frightening to us?
When we begin to explore our anxiety in a safe way we can begin to bring it down to size, we can then become bigger than it.
Can you imagine willingly bringing your anxiety on a coffee with you? Asking it what it wants to tell you. Getting to know what it feels like, being able to withstand the sensations.
What do you think your anxiety might be telling you? Could it be saying slow down?
What would your life be like if you were to accept it as being a part of you rather than reject or run from it?
Self Help Tips
Sometimes anxiety can just feel too powerful to manage on our own, it may not feel safe to begin to explore or to even acknowledge.
Psychotherapy can provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space to explore your relationship with anxiety, in a safe space you could begin to explore the triggers and responses to your anxiety. Through therapy it’s possible to gain insight into how to move forward in life with anxiety .CBT can also be an effective way to work with anxiety
‘’Every time we choose safety we reinforce fear’’
By Fran Buckley
What is self-Compassion?
It can be to be kind and gentle to oneself when we encounter pain and personal shortcomings, rather than hurting, ignoring or self-criticism. Where our negative thoughts and emotions can be observed with an openness. A non-judgemental space within us where we don’t have to supress or deny our thoughts or feelings. To accept where you are without judgement or negative self-take.
A willingness to love oneself un- conditionally. To offer understanding and kindness when we experience failure or make mistakes. By asking yourself how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?
Is it difficult to be self – compassionate?
Are you your own worst critic? Is it common to beat yourself up about mistakes or personal shortcomings? Does self -criticism make you feel anxious, depressed and unhappy in your life. Do you call yourself names? Do you replay your mistakes over in your head as a way of beating yourself up?
The benefits of self-compassion
Self- compassionate individuals can experience greater psychological health .It can be linked to lower tendencies towards self- criticism, depression and anxiety.
Self –compassion means you are kind and understanding when met with difficult times in life rather than being critical and judging yourself.
Acknowledging that suffering and personal failure is a universal experience can be freeing.
Tips for self-compassion
How can Psychotherapy / Counselling Help
Psychotherapy can provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space. It is valuable as an aid to personal growth, can help to develop self-confidence, self-compassion, and improve your sense of wellbeing.
UPDATED 03/11/2016: Stellar.ie article added.
When we experience the loss of a parent it can feel like we have been shaken to our very core. Whether the loss is expected or not, or if we haven’t had a very close relationship with that parent, suddenly our life can feel very unsafe.
We can experience being sucked into a space within ourselves where we can begin to question ourselves as a person, our own mortality, and the relationship we had with our parent. Perhaps missing the opportunities to create a closer relationship or perhaps to mend a fragile or broken relationship.
Everybody has a unique response to such a life changing event such as being silent, to openly weep, panic or simply despair. Some people may busy themselves by making arrangements. There is no right or wrong way to react, be how you need to be and during this time be kind and gentle to yourself.
It’s not just the physical loss of the person, it can be the support you may have received. Was your parent the person you went to for guidance? Perhaps your parent supported you financially. It may feel like a large empty space has suddenly taken up residence inside of you.
We can perhaps feel angry and alone in life. Angry at our belief system if we have one, or at people for moving on with their lives and at society for expecting you to be over it or moving on with life. Sadly often society wants us to be "better". You are expected to return to work as normal, take care of family or children, when something quite enormous has happened to you.
At times you may desperately want to experience life again as it was before the loss, a desperate longing for things to revert, an ache in your body for that person to be with you again. You may also experience anger towards your parent for dying, for how they were as a parent or for how your relationship with them was. You may experience relief if your parent was ill. There is no right or wrong way to feel.
Perhaps you feel anxious and fearful having being present when your parent died, witnessing such a life event can often be traumatic. You may have had to nurse or watch your parent suffer, these situations can often have lasting effects and stay with us.
If your loss was a sudden and an unexpected loss, within a moment your life is changed. You may experience being flooded with a sense of wanting to tell that person everything you want them to know or suddenly have lots of questions you need answering or simply want the chance to say good bye.
Anniversaries, birthdays and life events may be difficult to cope with, perhaps feeling stirred up in the upcoming weeks or months to them. You may experience the second or following years more difficult than the first, you could be silently sitting and get a smell or hear a song which can bring you right back into your grief.
You may feel like you are a new member to the club where you can now understand and relate to friends or family that have experienced a loss, whilst other people you know may not yet have experienced loss and retain the veil of mortality and may not understand what you’re going through.
You are not alone. Grief is a Journey
Stages of grief
There is no time frame on grief and each stage can come in any order and many times
What you may experience
- Shock and Disbelief
- Physical Symptoms
When to seek help
- If you feel like life isn’t worth living
- If you wish that you had died with your love one
- If you blame yourself for the loss or failing to prevent the loss
- If you feel numb or disconnected from others for extended period of time
- If you are unable to perform your normal daily activities
- If you just need to talk to share your story and get some support
- If you find your thoughts are often full with the events of the death for an extended period of time
How can Psychotherapy / Counselling Help
Psychotherapy can provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space where you can explore your thoughts feelings and emotions. Through therapy you can get support and space to explore your individual responses to your loss and through this gain insight into how to move forward in life after loss.
As a therapist, my mission is to
Mindwellness Psychotherapy • 1 Merville Ave, Fairview, Dublin 3 • Tel: (087) 451 8508 • Email: email@example.com