stress and burnout

When the global eco-crisis becomes personal….

it’s time to consider sustainability on a personal level

We hear a lot about stress and burnout in our developed world. Some of us believe it’s a “normal condition” of living for the progress we’ve striven hard to achieve. However as Krishnamurti so succinctly says:

                          “It’s no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”

If we burn ourselves and our physical environments/natural world, out in the process, then that ‘success’ of progress and achievement is really a pyrrhic victory.

Burnout is hugely prevalent within our developed world. Stress and burnout can easily present as anxiety like symptoms: heart palpitations or anxiety ‘attacks’, not be able to sleep and/or waking at 2 or 3am, forgetfulness and foggy brain, loss of enjoyment in those things that usually bring us happiness or joy (activities, work, family, relationships), not being able to eat and/or eating ‘crap’-the chips/lollies/craving carbs etc, low self esteem and confidence, lacking energy a lot of the time, needing alcohol or dope or prescription medication to sleep at night, a lack of purpose or feeling ‘what’s the point’ to life……these are all signs of burnout.

If you went to the Doctor with these symptoms, you’d probably be medicated for anxiety. So may people who come into my counselling room fit this picture. A third of the population are on anti-anxiety medication at any given time, and WHO identifies anxiety and depression as the epidemic of our developed world: we have a problem here.

However, if we look at your ‘symptoms’ as a barometer of health rather than an illness, then you can learn to look after yourself in ways that are sustainable and give you energy and a sense of purpose and enjoyment within your life. You can learn to build your health. We’re generally not taught how to do that in our modern world. The focus has predominantly been on using resources to achieve; whether those resources are ecological or human in nature. We haven’t been encouraged to care or nurture- or only to if it doesn’t get in the way of production and achievement. The burnout we’re seeing on our planet in mirrored and exacerbated by the burnout experienced by so many human beings, as they’re ‘resource-stripped’ in the pursuit of their material goals. Your body is a small planet. How are you doing?

If you are physically burnout, you’ll feel like shit. Your emotions will be deeply affected by your physical state. Good counselling and therapy needs to take into account your physical state/sustainability as well as your emotional and mental states/sustainability. These three realms of our experience work interdependently; you can learn to support yourself and to build your interconnected sustainability. Many people have never been given the opportunity to learnt how to do this in their lives. Yet we wouldn’t expect a garden to flourish and thrive and produce without informed attention and care, or for a car to run well without a regular service and good quality fuel.

If you are feeling some of the things I’ve listed above, it may be that you’re burnout out. It’s not too late for you to have energy and to enjoy your life. Get in touch.

 

“The Game Face”

Feelings often get a bad rap in our world. We’re not taught to understand our feelings, nor given skills to know what we can do when we feel angry or sad, hollow inside, scared or any of those other feelings.

So many people wear what one of my clients calls her “Game Face”-the social mask we all have which says “All good- nothing to see here”. Even sometimes when we’re distraught and feel dreadful inside, we’ll engage this mask when we meet others.

Image result for good image of a two faced person

We’re fortunate if we have people in our life who we are able to let behind the mask; this is external support. Sometimes it’s a habit to always wear the mask and we don’t know how to let anyone behind it. That can increase our loneliness.
Sometimes, the most important thing that WE can learn to do, is to meet the parts of ourselves behind the mask, and learn how to support ourselves. This is internal support.
We have to learn and/or upskill how to mobilise our external and internal support systems in order to have good emotional health. Growth requires this. 

In my 25 years of working, I’ve heard so many times: “Everyone’s got it together except me”. This is the game face we see when we’re out in the world: the mask we see in others. Everybody has troubles, challenging feelings, and situations they don’t know what to do about. You’re not losing it!!

I’m planning to do some workshops and talks in other parts if the country than Christchurch (where I’m based). If you’d like to register your interest for one; please contact me.

Also; LifeWorks Counselling is now on Facebook!

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Autumn 2015

Well being: Autumn 2015

Start to listen to your body as you begin to move into the Autumn season. As the days begin to shorten our energy draws inwards in preparation for Winter. We often forget, in our busy world, that we are also a part of nature. Like the other living things within the world (other creatures and the plants), our bodies  and energy levels respond to the seasons.

Move your body through exercise, dance or activity. Cleanse with fresh, raw foods including leafy greens, beetroot and carrot (to cleanse the liver), in preparation for Winter’s rest. Drink lots of water.

Often people feel crap emotionally, because their physical systems are incredibly low in energy. By attending to the health of our bodies, we create a physical sustainability. This supports our emotional well-being. Because we live in a world which tends to compartmentalise rather than look at synergies, we forget that there is an intimate balance between our physical mental, emotional and spiritual aspects.

If you are feeling tired, or having sleeping difficulties, are lacking motivation and energy and/or are finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning, look into recovering your adrenals. Some good naturopathic support can be a great investment into your overall well-being. There has been a lot of exhaustion and ‘burnt out’ people in Christchurch, especially over the past four years. You are not necessarily depressed. And it is possible to recover.

 

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Spring 2013

Spring is returning to Christchurch; the hours of daylight are increasing and new growth is urging up as the ground gets warmer and the sap starts to rise. In our modern, industrialized, technological world, it’s really easy to forget that we are part of nature also and that we’re influenced by the changes of season, as much as the plants and (other) animals are.

Something I notice in people who come to see me, is there is a definite category of ‘spring crisis’ which emerges. It’s something you might experience yourself: often this will be an urge inside of you for something better, something you want to do with your life which has more meaning or fulfillment that what you currently have.

It may not be specific what it is you want for yourself or where to put this energy that you’re strongly experiencing-which in itself can be difficult and sometimes frustrating. But you can feel that urge; like an acorn germinating and beginning to grow inside your heart.

 

 

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Free Earthquake Counselling

Earthquake related issues come in many different forms. You may have ongoing fear and anxiety due to what you experienced in the quakes; this is still common for many people. People are also still experiencing stress, burnout, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and feelings of ‘what’s the use’.  Often this can show as decreased tolerance- having a “short fuse”, and/or bouts of crying. You may be more forgetful or unable to concentrate like you usually do. Many people report they are waking in the night doing ‘head-miles’ and are unable to go back to a deep, refreshing sleep; they wake feeling exhausted and drag themselves from bed.

When we don’t feel energised and hopeful, many areas of life are affected: our relationships, our social life, our sex life, our work and our internal feeling of well-being.

We have a ‘harden up and get on with it” mentality in NZ which can make it difficult for people to talk about what they’re struggling with. It seems so long after, but studies show that residents of an affected area will experience emotional impacts and often physical depletion, for two years after a natural disaster.

All of these above could be because of the earthquakes and the resultant impacts from the quakes (immediate housing challenges, insurance hassles, changes in job, children’s schools etc). Four free sessions of counselling for earthquake related impacts are available and can help immensely.  These can be arranged directly through me- you don’t have to go to your Doctor first. Give me a call 365 0483 to see if you’re eligible.

 

 

 

 

SPRING

Spring is here; the time of year for new growth and emergence. The earth warms and wakes, the trees start to bud, the birds start to sing differently and to build their nests.

We humans, mammals that we are, respond to this shift in the seasons and the returning of light and energy, even if we are not consciously aware of it. This is the time of year when we begin to have a little more energy as we emerge from the hibernation time of winter. We can often be vulnerable in our health. Like a seedling emerging in a cold spring wind, we need to take care of ourselves at this time.

Spring is also a time when new growth deep within us, pushes up towards the light; towards being known within us and through the expression of who we are. Think of a flower, sending up it’s growth, before the flowering and blooming occurs- it’s the same natural process, and part of being alive. During spring, we may feel unsettled, excited, impatient, hopeless, thrilled, vulnerable and/or scared as we feel ourselves internally shift. We may become aware of ‘old branches of growth’ which need pruning, in order to make way for our new growth to flourish.

In the same way you might care for a seedling you are wanting to nurture and encourage, take care of yourself. You are worth it; support your flourishing. The basics are important: good nourishing food, plenty of sleep, and regular physical movement so that your heat beats faster and your blood starts moving. Take some time to sit in the spring sun, to bask and rest a little.  If you feel congested in your feelings, take some time to express this, (whether that be by writing, talking, crying or by undertaking some physical activity).

In the same way you might plan, plant and nurture a beautiful garden, do this for your own inner self; your inner ecology. You can support and direct your growth- and can be supported as you do this.

The world requires more beauty, not less. Flourish!

 

Earthquake Funding Available:

Funding for 4-6 counselling sessions may be available until December 2011, for those people recovering from impacts of the earthquake. Please ring me to see if you would be eligible for this: 365 0483

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New Premises info & Earthquake Recovery tips

  New Premises update and Earthquake Recovery tips:

I hope you and your family are safe.

My heart and  thoughts are with those of you who have had significant damage to your homes; I hope you are getting the support and assistance that you need at this time and continue do so over the following months.

 I am well; none of my family were harmed, and Ted is anxious and skitzy with every aftershock, but fine. The Caretakers Cottage sustained significant damage so I have moved into an office in my (safe) home. I will be working from next week (Beginning 14 March 2011), so feel free to ring for a catch up yak or to make an appointment. 

Counselling funding for earthquake trauma may be available for you if you decide to return to, or begin counselling. We are investigating this at the moment, so please ring and discuss this.

Recovery tips:

Many people are feeling huge emotional and physical upheavals from the Canterbury earthquakes. Varying degrees of grief and trauma can be experienced as an expected and ‘normal’ response to an event of such magnitude.

There are ways in which you can assist yourself and your loved ones to recover emotionally:

  • Ask for help. Don’t try and ‘staunch it out’.; there are no medals being given out for this. This is a time where we can support and care for one another; it is an opportunity for the usual isolation level of our pre-quake daily lives to crumble a little,  so that greater connection with one another  is possible.
  • Say No. If you can’t help someone, practice your self-care by saying No.
  • Take time out. there are many offers of accomodation in beautiful parts of new Zealand on websites such as Trademe- take advantage of some time out and good sleeping.
  • Take the time and space to recover. Many people rush into action as a way of coping, only to ‘drop’ a little further down the track.              While it’s really good to resume your routines, (as they provide a sense of structure and familiarity), be prepared to take some time out, do a half-day at work etc.
  • Emotional reactions are varied, depending on the person.  Some people will get afraid to leave their house, others will not want to stay there, others are exhilarated by the action and hype that the earthquake and destruction have brought. You may be afraid or notice you’re more irritable or jumpy or have a low tolerance to things like noises.  All this can be ‘par for the course’. Take some time out/have a rest, talk to someone ( friend or family member- it doesn’t need to be a counsellor or professional), and just know that what you are feeling is very ‘normal’.
  • Eat well, drink plenty of water and rest or sleep a little more. Avoid stimulants (e.g. coffee, caffine drinks) as for a stressed physical body, these things only increase the stress hormones.
  • Watch your consumption of alcohol at this time. Notice any increases: it may be a way you are coping which can have longerterm  detrimental effects.
  • Exercise: VERY important! When we’re under stress the stress hormones in our bodies builds. Exercising helps to release this buildup. A good brisk walk, a bike ride for 20 minutes or so will help immensely.
  • If you are experiencing ongoing anxiety or sleeping problems, see your Doctor.
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Christmas and Summer

We are so fortunate living in New Zealand, to have our Christmas time in the summer, when the garden is abundant with fruit and vegetables; what gifts!  When we can spend time outside in the sun, swimming or walking or playing games, or lying in the shade of a tree with a good book -or having a snooze! When we can have the tent or a bach, by a beautiful lake or beach, or deep in the bush, and have the experience of ‘getting back to nature’; watching the change in the clouds, or the shifts in the wind….somehow our body relaxes just a little more as we reconnect.

This year for Christmas, consider the gifts that are all around you. Who are the people you love, that you are sharing time and space with at the moment? Soak in your environments; where do you find yourself? In Hindu mythology, the god Shiva’s dance is creation: he dances life into tangible form. Just imagine if Shiva stopped dancing, and all those small miracles of creation which are happening RIGHT NOW around you, would pause (or stop…). Take a moment to notice the Christmas gifts in the ordinary/extraordinary world around you; breathe in the creation that is all around you; that you are a part of.

Many people this year have had to rise to new challenges and situations. We in Christchurch have lived through an earthquake, and many, many people have been shaken up – externally, but internally as well: from old ideas or behaviours, and old ways of being in the world. Many people have taken courageous steps to make positive, sustainable changes within themselves, to create resilient, sturdy foundations within themselves, so they can trust themselves more. This is admirable work- the ‘sloughing off’ and changing, (whether the changes are internal or external), asks for the involvement of our energy, and that can be an exacting dance of creation for us at times!

Thank you to those people with whom I’ve had the priviledge of working with this year.

Much love to you all over these Summer days and evenings. May your dances of creation be sweet and bright.

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“Sharing Common Ground: Sustainable Practices in a Warming World”

I recently presented at the NZAC/ACA (the professional bodies for Australian and New Zealand counsellors) combined conference in Auckland.  It was a very enjoyable experience -even though I was a little nervous to begin with, as I’d never presented on my own before. However, I felt well prepared, having run through it with a ”guinea pig group” two weeks earlier – a group of 8 generous colleague-friends who kindly responded to my request for help! (Thanks again to you all).The title of my 90 minute interactive workshop was “Sharing Common Ground;  Sustainable Practices in a Warming World”.

At the conference workshop, a wonderful group of 18 counsellors looked at how we might consider environmental issues for ourselves as people/practitioners, as we work with others and also from within and beyond our counselling rooms. Not how we might use different dishwashing liquid or recycled paper in our practices (although those choices are important), but specifically how we might deal with the feelings of being overwhelmed with the environmental crisis we are currently facing in the world today. Often the crisis seems so big, that it seems we cannot do anything to make a difference.

A well known ecotherapist, Theodore Roszak (2009) writes:

“I discovered that, far from being underinformed, people are often overwhelmed by the magnitude of the environmental crisis. Global warming, melting glaciers, burning rainforest, evaporating ozone, vanishing water supplies, acid rain – no previous society in history has faced such a schedule of impending disasters. The situation seems so far gone that many assume there is nothing they can do.”

The focus of the workshop was specifically on how we might we work with ourselves and with our clients to create sustainability on internal levels, so that each of us individually (but interconnectedly) could create a model of sustainability within our own ‘personalised earth particles’; namely our bodies and our relational experiences. From a strengths based/ empowerment model approach we looked at working with ourselves (including our feelings) regarding the environmental impacts we are facing and how we can respond both internally (self support) and in-relation-to (environmental support).  And then we looked at how we might take that into working with others.

It was enjoyable to be up the front of the room and watch people’s faces start to light up and shine as they connected with their inner knowledge and feelings of joy about the earth, and the experiences they have had. I received some wonderfully positive feedback which was very encouraging.

I realised that 90 minutes is the bare minimum of time required for this workshop, so I am keen to offer this experience as a half or full day workshop.

Please feel free to contact me via the email link on this website, if you are interested in participating (and/or hosting) a practitioners workshop in your area.

Enjoy your days and nights.

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Earthquake Recovery

Greetings to you and I hope you and your family are safe. My heart and  thoughts are with those of you who have had significant damage to your homes; I hope you are getting the support and assistance that you need at this time and continue do so over the following months.

Many people are feeling huge emotional and physical upheavals from the earthquake in Canterbury. Varying degrees of trauma can be experienced as an expected and ‘normal’ response to an event of such magnitude.

There are ways in which you can assist yourself and your loved ones to recover emotionally:

  • Ask for help. Don’t try and ‘staunch it out’; there are no medals being given out for this. This is a time where we can support and care for one another; it is an opportunity for the usual isolation level of our pre-quake daily lives to crumble a little,  so that greater connection with one another  is possible.
  • Say No.  If you can’t help someone, practice your self-care by saying No.
  • Take the time and space to recover. Many people rush into action as a way of coping, only to ‘drop’ a little further down the track.  While it’s really good to resume your routines, (as they provide a sense of structure and familiarity), be prepared to take some time out, sitting in the sun and reading, have a lie down or an afternoon snooze, weed the garden (it still grows and the birds are still singing-isn’t that amazing?), do a half-day at work if you’ve already returned, etc.
  • Eat well, drink plenty of water and rest or sleep a little more. Avoid stimulants (e.g. coffee, alcohol) as for a stressed physical body, these things only increase the stress hormones. Vitamin C is great for stress- 2000mg a day as a maintainence dose at the moment.
  • Emotional reactions are varied, depending on the person.  Some people will get afraid to leave their house, others will not want to stay there, others are exhilarated by the danger and hype that the earthquake and destruction have brought. You may be afraid or notice you’re more irritable or jumpy or have a low tolerance to things like noises.  All this can be ‘par for the course’. Take some time out/have a rest, talk to someone ( friend or family member- it doesn’t need to be a counsellor or professional), and just know that what you are feeling is very ‘normal’ given this upheaval and disruption.
  • Exercise: VERY important! When we’re under stress the stress hormones in our bodies builds. Exercising helps to release this buildup. A good brisk walk, a bike ride for 20 minutes or so will help immensely.

Lifeworks Counselling will be open again on Tuesday 14th September. I am available for phone consultations before then if people want/need to. Just ring (3650483) and leave a message on the answer phone and I will get back to you.

Take care

Nickei

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Spring is Arriving!

Have you noticed the birds singing earlier in the mornings and the occasional tree starting to blossom? As the ground begins to warm, seeds that were scattered in autumn begin to germinate. The same happens for us as humans also; the growth and seeding we accomplished in the last year begins to awaken after dormancy over the winter period.

With the arrival of spring energy, begin to notice your energy returning, and allow the new growth to emerge inside of yourself. If you need to attend to ‘clearing the ground’ inside of yourself to allow this growth to germinate and emerge more easily; do so. There may be emotions which have laid dormant over winter which are now rising with your increasing energy.

I find, within my work, that spring is a time when many people may feel an upheaval inside of themselves; they may be feeling emotions which have been buried for awhile. This may be a scary or unsettling experience, especially when these emotions are connected to something which may have happened many years ago- there’s a belief in our society that we should just ‘get over things’ and ‘get on with it’. Sometimes we need help to do this.

Within my work, I also find Spring is the time of year when people have great energy and enthusiasm for new growth or projects. Sometimes this growth or project will be external and sometimes it will be an internal undertaking- (or a combination of both!) In our culture, the external achievements are usually the ones which are more recognised and celebrated. But think how lovely it would be to focus on an’ internal project’ for yourself, for example being less anxious and more contented, or to better learn how to really support yourself so that you had increased, consistent energy for those relationships in your life which matter most to you; whether that be your partner, your child, your friend or your garden.

How to focus your energy into growing sustainable and satisfying ‘produce’ for yourself in your life is a great thing to be able to do.  Spring is the start of the growing season and we have the opportunity to also use this energy to extend ourselves.

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Autumn Workshop: The Sustainable Self in Autumn

Halfday Workshop

Saturday 10th April 2010

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.

Edwin Teale

Autumn is traditionally a time of Harvest. It’s the time of year when we gather the “fruits” of what we’ve nurtured, grown and discovered. This can be both an internal and an external process. If we pay attention to ourselves during this Autumn season, we can reap particularly rich rewards.
You are invited to this workshop, to connect with yourself and with others and to celebrate Autumn upon our beautiful Earth. We will also connect with this Autumn inside ourselves.  We will reflect on what we have grown and nurtured to ripeness within our lives and what we can enjoy more fully about ourselves. What might we want to prune to encourage growth, and what we may want to prepare for sowing next Spring?
We will begin to consider the reclaiming of our external energy in conscious preparation for Winter’s hibernation.

•    What are the fruits of this past growing season for you? We will take some time for you to gather, acknowledge, and harvest your ‘bounty’; to acknowledge and appreciate your growth over the past months.
•    Pruning: let’s focus on what needs pruning back in your life, to consciously assist the growth you’d like to encourage next spring. Do you need additional support to make these changes?
•    What have your efforts seeded? There is a new growing season next spring- where would you like to specifically direct your growth?
•    Nurturing and feeding: autumn is also a preparation time for winter. How do you need to pay attention to your changing energy levels now and nurture yourself, so that you might better support yourself as you move into winter?

When:   Saturday 10th April 2010
9.00am – 1.00 pm (includes a shared lunch)

Please bring food for an ‘autumn bounty’ lunch,wear comfy  clothes and shoes suitable for outside

Where: Flescher Room, Avebury House
9 Evelyn Cousins Ave (off Nth Avon Rd, Richmond)
Christchurch

Fee:     $55.00

Registrations close: Thursday 8th April.
To register: Phone 03/365 0483, or send your name and contact details (inc. phone numbers and email address) with payment made to N. Falconer, to LifeWorks Counselling, P.O. Box 26-103, Christchurch, or via my email on the contacts page of this site.

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