The classic definition of stress is the response our bodies and minds have to the demands placed upon them and the interpretations we assign to those demands. Stress can actually force us to prioritize our tasks in a way that allows us to begin to tackle the most important work first, triggering adrenaline as a way to compensate for the perception that there’s just too much on our plate and we do not have time to accomplish all our tasks. And when we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we feel better when we know our situation was only temporary. Imagine planning a surprise birthday party for your spouse. You think about the phone calls you have to make, scheduling the event, inviting the guests, buying and preparing the food or booking a reservation at a favorite restaurant, working hard to keep it a secret, and the countless other parts of planning a successful event. This can all produce stress. But once the party begins, you start to relax a little as you … [Read more...] about Stress and Burnout
Infrared sauna to detox
It was late Thursday afternoon, the final session of the fourth and last day of a national conference on child neglect and child physical and sexual abuse. Sixty-two participants dutifully filed in and took their seats. Some looked exhausted, some exhilarated. As a presenter, I weighed my options. Do I discuss the findings of a study I conducted on vicarious resilience and self-care, and risk folks glazing over and mentally, if not physically, checking out? Do I talk about dimensions of vicarious resilience? Nope. I elected instead to say the following: “Glad to see you all here. Sometimes folks ask me, ‘Are your findings and recommendations empirically based? Grounded in science?’ Yes, they are published in journals, and empirically based. But you didn’t come here for that. You came to reflect on the work you do, and to leave here today with the tools and resources you can use to sustain you as you continue to do the work that you love but also … [Read more...] about Self-Care: What Do Those Buzz Words Really Mean?
After the feasting of Christmas, January is a time of detox and self-denial. It’s when people start new diets, begin new exercise regimes and make New Year’s resolutions. We promise ourselves that we will do better—that we will better ourselves. All too often—at least in the West—this means improving our bodies. While losing weight or gaining fitness can be a good thing, these types of resolutions—"I will lose five kilograms," "I will join a gym," "I will stop eating sweets,"—mark a significant change from previous generations. Traditionally, New Year’s resolutions were about improving one’s character—the inner self, not the outer self. For example, an extract of an adolescent's diary, written in 1892, reads: Resolved, not to talk about myself or feelings. To think before speaking. To work seriously. To be self-restrained in conversation and actions. Not to let my thoughts wander. To be dignified. … [Read more...] about Improve Your Body, Improve Yourself?