Out of the Frying Pan….

And, into the fire.

Have you every tried to help someone you really care about and it turns around to bite you?  If you have, the thoughts that probably run through your head sound something like this:

Well, that’s not going to happen again!

What the hell?  What did I do?  I was just trying to help.

So, that’s what you get for trying to help.

And probably myriad other thoughts.

You might be asking yourself what has happened that would make me write something like this today.  I think what I’ve experienced is being played out in relationships all over the world.  This is an exceptionally stressful time for people everywhere and, as this forced lifestyle is beginning to become the norm, stress is the foremost feeling for most people – the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure – and there’s plenty of that to go around these days.

Let’s face it.  We’ve been in the pandemic for nearly two years.  COVID first came into the viewfinder in November of 2019.  The 17th of November to be exact.  It wasn’t so big then, but it didn’t take long before it was all anyone could talk about.  By spring of 2020 there were vaccine rollouts and all kinds of controversy.  People were polarized and are still polarized to the point of violence on both sides of the controversy. It’s hell out there.

Why am I repeating what you already know?  Because I found myself in the midst of a pro/anti fight that went sideways.  I was literally in the middle.  I was trying to help a sick friend by getting information from another friend who had a different point of view.

Long story short … A very close friend traveled and ended up with the virus.  That person is very sick, weak, short of breath … the whole nine yards.  The other friend contacted me, and we spoke.  During the conversation I mentioned that our mutual friend was very sick.  Both people are well versed in health, wellness, and medicine.

I won’t go into the details of the conversations on both ends, but in a bid to help my sick friend I relayed a message from our mutual friend.  It did not end well.

So, here I sit.  I’ve come face to face with the hostilities and pain on both sides of the controversy.  I love both people.

It’s been a challenging day.

What have I learned?  Well, I’ve been reminded that it isn’t always a good idea to relay messages between people.  Sometimes it works.  Most times it’s just a bad idea.  If someone wants information or advice, they need to make the connection themselves.  I don’t usually put myself in such a difficult position.  I did it this time because they’re both very close friends who know each other.  Still …

The pressure, stress, pain, anger, and frustration that has become a very real part of our day-to-day lives can blind us to common sense.  We all want to help and be there for our friends.  When we love someone, we’ll do whatever we can to help them, to make sure they’re okay.  Nevertheless, unless we’re a professional and have the professional answers, it is likely best we just listen and do the practical stuff – buy food, cry with them, laugh with them, hold their hand, whatever we can do that doesn’t involve stepping into a realm that isn’t our own.

Lesson learned (yet again).

Need a Fix? Not So Fast!

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of somebody else’s mess trying to figure out how you got there and why everybody is mad at you?  Could it be that your well-intentioned “intervention” was not only unnecessary, but it became downright problematic?

Many of us want to help our friends (and others) deal with what we may see as simple issues.  A friend comes to us with a problem, and we feel somewhat obligated to help them solve it using our infinite wisdom.  Afterall, they asked for advice because they know we know more than the average person, right?

Ah, now there’s the rub …

Are we really that smart?  Do we really have the answer for our friend’s issue?  Well, we may have experienced something similar and learned from it, so maybe we could share what we learned.  That would be good, except – that’s probably not what we’d do. 

So, what do we do and why?  Unless we’re a trained professional, we’re probably feeding a personal need.

For some people, being called upon to “fix” a situation can feed into a personality trait or a syndrome in which the need to fix others can be overpowering.  It’s the need to fix what is perceived as being broken or not working properly.  Fixing is often seen in romantic relationships where one partner feels the other needs a little work in order for them to function better in the relationship.  The problem with this, of course, is that they just might not want to be “fixed”, and they are quite happy being exactly who and what they are – just as they are.  Healthy relationships are built upon mutual respect, love, and acceptance between both partners.  A relationship that includes one partner feeling that the other isn’t quite up to snuff and needs work ends up in frustration, sadness, anger, and resentment.

Sadly, a lot of fixers – especially in romantic relationships – struggle with issues of unresolved childhood abuse.  Negative feelings associated with the abuse aren’t managed well and ultimately cause low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and other self-depreciating behaviors.  Many survivors of childhood abuse believe they caused the abuse and consequently internalize beliefs that they aren’t good enough, they’re flawed, and they end up projecting their damaged image onto others.  This unconscious behavior causes them to see others as flawed and as such, if they can fix the other, they can fix themselves.

While most often we see it in relationships, being a fixer is prominent in social and work environments where the fixer shows up to rescue the situation.  We want to be the savior, to fix what is broken or not working properly.  It’s the thrill of the challenge.  We feel needed, special, life-changers.  As with the romantic fixer, we see ourselves in the broken situation and by fixing someone else’s issues, we unconsciously fix ourselves.  We thrive on seeing the impact of our work on someone else and long for the appreciation of the individual we fixed.  We want to make them better for us and indebted to us.

Harsh, right?

Well, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to help others.  The problem comes in when we’re doing it for selfish reasons – like trying to change them into someone else, what we want them to be for us.  It’s so important to know and remember that not everything we perceive to be broken actually is and it probably has no real desire to be fixed.  Either we accept them as they are or leave them how they were found.

It’s not a bad thing to love a broken or damaged person – we all deserve love.  However, loving someone who is not open to your fixing (wanting to change them) can be a tough pill to swallow for a fixer.

There’s an ancient adage that says that iron sharpens iron.  Romanic and personal relationships should be focused on a love that sharpens each individual and brings out the best.  Other situations should carry the following warning:  Some broken things have very sharp edges that are often difficult and dangerous to fix.  It’s just a good idea to accept those things and people for who and what they are – as they are.


Death. We often think of this word in sad, painful, or even morbid terms.  The loss of someone in our lives or the loss of a beloved pet makes death tangible and the feeling that accompanies it can run the gamut of emotions, from anger to depression.  Then there’s wide-scale death in which numbers die from a cataclysmic situation, landslides, tsunamis, or a pandemic.  The emotion attached to this kind of death is more distant unless we’ve lost someone or something close to us.  But, as humans, there’s a part of us that is moved by these losses.

What about the death of an idea or the death of an era? I think we experienced something of that over the past year and a half.  While there’s been a lot of physical death around the world due to the pandemic, perhaps there has been the death of a culture and way of life as well.

Some of the things that died in my world over the past 18 months or so have touched me in interesting ways.  A few things were hard to release, and others went without a struggle.  Their deaths left me a different person in some attitudes and cemented much as well.

Recognizing that I was really quite fine being in lockdown was a surprise in for me.  The death of the need to be busy running hither, thither, and yon gave birth to a contentment with being still that I hadn’t experienced in decades.  Of course, with the sudden upsurge in virus cases today, it appears that we may be in a similar situation again.  The change that the death of my busyness brought me was the gift of being patient and quiet inside.  I can be in my space for a long period of time without making myself crazy.  I can be alone with myself and enjoy it.

The death of the “office” commute was a big one for so many people.  At first, the population was shaken at the idea of not being able to go to the office, or to the job.  After it became apparent that congregating in a closed space would be problematic, people began to accept the new reality and make the necessary adjustment.  Working from home became “a thing” and now, many people continue to work from home, love it and wouldn’t go back to the workplace, period.   This death also gave life to creativity and change.  New businesses began to spring up as entrepreneurs started with that little idea they had been holding in the back of their minds forever.  They found the space to make it happen and now they’re reaping huge benefits.

There has been, of course, actual physical death associated with what we’ve lived with for what feels like a lifetime.  The pandemic, in many ways, hastened the death of those who were sick or compromised.  In some cases, it stole the lives of healthy young people.  We have grieved these losses and become proactive in prevention and protection against the virus.  Lives have been lost and nothing can fill the space these people held in the hearts and lives of those left behind.

Yet, death and suffering are part of life.  When we say a death is senseless, we imply there was no good reason for the death to happen.  Perhaps it could have been prevented.  Was it neglect? Carelessness? Murder?  An accident or an uncontrollable act of nature?  While we cannot always know or understand the reason for death, I do believe we can derive some meaning from it.  In time, we can see where room to grow and expand was perhaps created.  Maybe it will move us forward into action to ensure something like it doesn’t happen again.  It does take time and the ability to observe and be present with the death, with the pain, with the confusion.   It also takes courage to be able to look death in the face and find the reason and the meaning.

Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot bring forth fruit.  This ancient saying holds much truth.

If we can look at death as an opportunity for new life to be birthed, it could change the way we live our lives.  And this can be applied to all kinds of situations.  I believe we can find meaning if we’re willing to be present and allow the answer to float to the top.

Can This Marriage Be Fixed?

With hands neatly folded in her lap and sitting with posture worthy of royalty, she quietly and blandly announced, “I just learned two weeks ago that my husband has been having an affair for the past seven months.”

Then she burst into tears.

As the story unfolded, I recognized it to be one of the more common threads in the lives of so many people, especially over the past year and a half. It seems the pandemic has made people more than physically ill. It’s made marriages sick as well. There is no one specific issue to be pointed to, but it does seem that all that time locked in a confined space has had a profound impact on relationships.
Once the discovery of an affair is made decisions follow in hot succession. Should she leave? Should he leave? Is this marriage worth saving? What happens next? And, while all these questions flood the mind, the sense that it would be wise to stand still for a minute and regroup can be lost.
Betrayal is a horrible thing and moving through it is anything but easy. To be able to step back and look at the situation without fire and smoke pouring forth from the nose and mouth takes strength and courage. Yet, if employed, that courage and strength can be the catalysts for change and healing.
The idea of forgiving and forgetting, often suggested in some circles, is of little use when applied to the pain of betrayal. Trust is broken and will likely never again be established in that situation. Yet does that mean it’s the end? In some cases, yes. In others, not necessarily. If we’re talking about a repeat offender, then the best move is to get out of the situation ASAP. If not, there is a possibility that things can be salvaged if both partners are in it for peace and healing.
Such was the case with my client. She took a step back and weighed the cost of leaving the marriage. She decided to cautiously stay with several stipulations. Initially, it was hard to draw the lines, create boundaries, ask for what she wanted and needed both for herself and her children. But as time went on, she became stronger and more independent. With this new-found strength and courage, the changes that were necessary to make things better became clearer and more defined. She found her voice and, although trembling at first, it grew in evenness and calmness.
Learning that marriage is not about subservience or “man lording it over woman”, recognizing she is not his property but rather his partner, understanding that her position is every bit as valid as his, set my client in a place of confidence and strength. It’s taking time, but things are changing as they are both growing into their individual places in this relationship. It hasn’t been easy, for sure, but they both believe the marriage is worth saving and they are both working to that end without losing their identities or taking on expectations that don’t serve them.
While this may not be the answer for every situation, and I’m sure it isn’t, it can be for some. The question is, Am I willing to do what it will take to fix this? Is it worth fixing?

If it is and if you are, then find the right guidance from a professional to walk you through it. It will take time, but it’s doable and rewarding in the end.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a doctor. I was fascinated with medicine and wanted to be able to truly help people heal. While I am not a medical doctor today, I am a coach/therapist and work with people to achieve wholeness and wellness in their lives.

However, I also wanted to be a teacher and, in fact, ended up teaching for several years – not only people, but animals as well. As a matter of fact, I’ve done a very great number of things over the course of my life. Often, when I tell people about some of the things I’ve done they usually say, “How many lifetimes have you lived?” That’s usually followed with, “You need to write a book.”

My philosophy (although I never would have called it that) has been something that goes like this: If I think I can do it, then I will give it a whirl. Let’s see what happens next.

I’ve pumped gas, been a hostess in a high-end club, sold retail (hardware, shoes, restaurant supplies, clothing, and some things I’ve likely forgotten), dressed windows, trained dogs and their owners, owned and operated my own businesses (fitness, freelance writing, coaching/therapy), taught business college, facilitated personal growth groups, had a radio program and a television program (my professional training is in radio and television), worked in political affairs and I’ve gone on to become a full-time coach and therapist. Oh, did I mention I’m married and have three children? They’re grown with children of their own now, but they weren’t during most of the above-mentioned positions.
Some would say I wasn’t grounded to have bounced around so much, but the truth is that I’ve been on the planet a long time and when you’re around for a while you get to do more things. Some of the things I did simultaneously. I owned a fitness facility and while running that, I was also teaching business college and facilitating personal growth programs all the while raising three kids. I did get pretty good at time management. A few of those jobs were part of my young adult and early 20’s era while others happened after I moved to Israel.
So, what’s the point of telling you all of this? Hopefully, to encourage you to step out into whatever realm you feel you can function in and take the risk – do it and see what happens. Of course, some things require education but it’s available if you are prepared to do what it takes.
I often hear that “there are just no jobs”. I rather think there are many jobs, it’s just that people don’t necessarily want to get the training or take the risk of moving into them. There’s a lot of work out there – it may not be exactly what you think you’re suited for – but the truth is that if you’re willing to put yourself out there, you’ll move along until you’re where you really want to be. Are you the potential restauranteur who will start off as a phenomenal waiter? Are you the graphic designer who has hidden her talent in the guise of teacher? You don’t have to be stuck in one arena for the rest of your life unless you choose to be. And, if you do, kudos! You’ve obviously found your niche.

Tell me – what did you want to be when you grew up? Are you living that dream now? Did you ever? And today, are you doing what you love and loving what you do or are you wishing and hoping for something better or different? Are you willing to do what it takes to get to where you want to be? Then, do the work and reap the results.

After The Storm

Today I spoke with a person with whom I had become friendly during the pandemic. We spent more than a year doing weekend things with a couple of other people and it was fun. Now the pandemic is more or less over and this person is at odds with themselves, wondering what happened to that wonderful friendship we all had.

I believe this situation is happening in many places to many people.

At the beginning of the pandemic, a group of us – only four people – decided to create a capsule into which we would only allow others whom we knew to be safe … i.e., not exposed to Covid. What resulted was a little group of four of us who met every Friday night and Saturday for more than a year. We ate together, played cards, backgammon, barbequed, drank wine and generally became a unit.
Every once in a while, others would join the group – but there was always a tension. The outsiders were suspect. There were times when we refused people entrance into our capsule because they were in places where they were potentially exposed to the virus.
Everyone was a bit paranoid during that period of time. We all clung tightly to the little bubbles of safety we’d created, and we protected them diligently. Then, things began to loosen up and life took on breath again. We all opened our doors to life and welcomed more than three or four people into our space.
However, what has been the biggest challenge in this whole adventure is that the person I spoke with today is feeling like they’ve lost their friends. We were all so close and suddenly, with the freedom of movement being restored, most of the group set sail for life as it used to be. Except this individual. They are grieving the loss of a nuclear group that gave them a sense of belonging and a sense of relationship that was lacking in their life.
I can’t help but wonder how many others are affected in the same manner.
The challenge now becomes how to reintegrate into life and even let go of the tight relationships formed during the tension of the pandemic.
There’s an adage that talks about people coming into and going out of our lives:
Some people come into your life for a season, and some come for a lifetime. Never mix seasonal people up with lifetime expectations.
The problem with mixing seasonal people up with lifetime expectations is that disappointment will follow. It’s important to recognize the difference and be willing to keep what is meant to be kept and release what isn’t. And that is often very difficult – especially when the season was intense and demanding. It felt safe to be with those people and we want to keep the feeling going. However, forcing it with expectations of what we might think it should be will only alienate the very ones we want to be close to.

What to do?

Hold relationships with open hands. When we clench our hands around relationships, we run the danger of squeezing the life out of them. If they’re meant to be lifetime, that will become clear. If it isn’t clear, allow it to flow with the natural course of events. Enjoy what was and savor the experience.

Ideas to relive boredom

Dealing with Boredom

Some Ways to Tackle the Reasons for Boredom
When we’re bored, we often are avoiding thoughts and issues that we can bury in day-to-day life. Given the uniqueness of our current situation, this can be an excellent time to sit quietly with your boredom and allow yourself to be aware of the thoughts or feelings that come up from deep inside. If nothing comes to you, it can be useful to simply review your life and your life circumstances slowly, turning your attention to each one and examine your reactions to each issue.

Some Ways to Tackle the Reasons for Boredom

When we’re bored, we often are avoiding thoughts and issues that we can bury in day-to-day life.  Given the uniqueness of our current situation, this can be an excellent time to sit quietly with your boredom and allow yourself to be aware of the thoughts or feelings that come up from deep inside.  If nothing comes to you, it can be useful to simply review your life and your life circumstances slowly, turning your attention to each one and examine your reactions to each issue.

Should you discover you have been avoiding something in particular, an experience or event, understand and respect that avoidance is simply the way you’ve been protecting yourself.  It’s important to honor this and know that there’s a reason you have disconnected – approach this feared or avoided issue with care.  Talking with a trusted friend or journaling is often helpful.

Face Your Fears and Gain Freedom

Although this may seem scary or overwhelming, by giving yourself the opportunity to experience and challenge yourself, you just may find yourself facing and overcoming your fears. Even if you feel overwhelmed, take a step back, regroup, and step forward again.

As you acknowledge, call out or label, and invite your experiences into the present, they become the information centers for your next step.  Feel lonely?  You’ll become aware of a desire to connect.  Feel afraid? You may notice you really desire what you fear.  Feel empty? Learn and explore what fills you up – even if it’s just a little.

Boredom Can Be A Part of Depression

For some people who are in depression boredom is a very real accompaniment.  Lacking the joy of life, sad and without interests, they’ve lost the ability to enjoy anything.  If you find yourself here, one of the best things you can do is to get moving, regardless whether you feel like it or not.  Going for a walk, exercising, connecting with a friend, plan for socializing (on media these days), doing things that used to make you feel happy, eating well and getting enough sleep are key components for dealing with this aspect of depression. Often, these types of actions can help people re-engage in life and make small positive steps that gain momentum until they are back on a happier life journey.

Be Kind to Yourself

As you take the journey inside and allow for your experiences, be sure to treat yourself tenderly and with kindness.  Afterall, you’re not punishing yourself in order to make yourself suffer.  And, if you are, then the issue is something very painful.  Be compassionate with yourself just as you would be with someone else.  Become your own best support and encouragement as you face them and, should you need help, be brave and seek professional guidance. At the end of the day, breaking out of boredom will feel like coming out of a dark night into the sunlight.

Advice from a psychologist:

Daniel Winston, who is a doctoral level Psychologist in NYS with a Psy.D. in the specialties of School and Clinical Psychology, provided the following recommendations to a group of mental health professionals to which I belong.  He has kindly allowed it to be shared freely.  So, freely I have received this, and freely I give … may I suggest you do likewise?


Mental Health Wellness Tips For Quarantine

  1. Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.
  2. Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial. Put on some bright colors. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.
  3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. If you are concerned of contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less traveled streets and avenues. If you are high risk or living with those who are high risk, open the windows and blast the fan. It is amazing how much fresh air can do for spirits.
  4. Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!
  5. Reach out to others, you guessed it, at least once daily for thirty minutes. Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting—connect with other people to seek and provide support. Don’t forget to do this for your children as well. Set up virtual playdates with friends daily via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc—your kids miss their friends, too!
  6. Stay hydrated and eat well. This one may seem obvious, but stress and eating often don’t mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!
  7. Develop a self-care toolkit. This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, comforting music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. A journal, an inspirational book, or a mandala coloring book is wonderful, bubbles to blow or blowing watercolor on paper through a straw are visually appealing as well as work on controlled breath. Mint gum, Listerine strips, ginger ale, frozen Starburst, ice packs, and cold are also good for anxiety regulation. For children, it is great to help them create a self-regulation comfort box (often a shoe-box or bin they can decorate) that they can use on the ready for first-aid when overwhelmed.
  8. Spend extra time playing with children. Children will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Don’t be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation play through. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children—it is how they process their world and problem solve, and there’s a lot they are seeing and experiencing in the now.
  9. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth. A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is important to move with grace through blowups, to not show up to every argument you are invited to, and to not hold grudges and continue disagreements. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this.
  10. Everyone find their own retreat space. Space is at a premium, particularly with city living. It is important that people think through their own separate space for work and for relaxation. For children, help them identify a place where they can go to retreat when stressed. You can make this place cozy by using blankets, pillows, cushions, scarves, beanbags, tents, and “forts”. It is good to know that even when we are on top of each other, we have our own special place to go to be alone.
  11. Expect behavioral issues in children, and respond gently. We are all struggling with disruption in routine, none more than children, who rely on routines constructed by others to make them feel safe and to know what comes next. Expect increased anxiety, worries and fears, nightmares, difficulty separating or sleeping, testing limits, and meltdowns. Do not introduce major behavioral plans or consequences at this time—hold stable and focus on emotional connection.
  12. Focus on safety and attachment. We are going to be living for a bit with the unprecedented demand of meeting all work deadlines, homeschooling children, running a sterile household, and making a whole lot of entertainment in confinement. We can get wrapped up in meeting expectations in all domains, but we must remember that these are scary and unpredictable times for children. Focus on strengthening the connection through time spent following their lead, through physical touch, through play, through therapeutic books, and via verbal reassurances that you will be there for them in this time.
  13. Lower expectations and practice radical self-acceptance. This idea is connected with #12. We are doing too many things in this moment, under fear and stress. This does not make a formula for excellence. Instead, give yourself what psychologists call “radical self acceptance”: accepting everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. You cannot fail at this—there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all truly doing the best we can in an impossible situation.
  14. Limit social media and COVID conversation, especially around children. One can find tons of information on COVID-19 to consume, and it changes minute to minute. The information is often sensationalized, negatively skewed, and alarmist. Find a few trusted sources that you can check in with consistently, limit it to a few times a day, and set a time limit for yourself on how much you consume (again 30 minutes tops, 2-3 times daily). Keep news and alarming conversations out of earshot from children—they see and hear everything, and can become very frightened by what they hear.
  15. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counter-balance the heavy information with the hopeful information.
  16. Help others. Find ways, big and small, to give back to others. Support restaurants, offer to grocery shop, check in with elderly neighbors, write psychological wellness tips for others—helping others gives us a sense of agency when things seem out of control.
  17. Find something you can control, and control the heck out of it. In moments of big uncertainty and overwhelm, control your little corner of the world. Organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, put together that furniture, group your toys. It helps to anchor and ground us when the bigger things are chaotic.
  18. Find a long-term project to dive into. Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, put together a huge jigsaw puzzle, start a 15 hour game of Risk, paint a picture, read the Harry Potter series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket, solve a Rubix cube, or develop a new town in Animal Crossing. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.
  19. Engage in repetitive movements and left-right movements. Research has shown that repetitive movement (knitting, coloring, painting, clay sculpting, jump roping etc) especially left-right movement (running, drumming, skating, hopping) can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress.
  20. Find an expressive art and go for it. Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and it is a direct portal for release of feeling. Find something that is creative (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing, playing) and give it your all. See how relieved you can feel. It is a very effective way of helping kids to emote and communicate as well!
  21. Find lightness and humor in each day. There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.
  22. Reach out for help—your team is there for you. If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, they are available to you, even at a distance. Keep up your medications and your therapy sessions the best you can. If you are having difficulty coping, seek out help for the first time. There are mental health people on the ready to help you through this crisis. Your children’s teachers and related service providers will do anything within their power to help, especially for those parents tasked with the difficult task of being a whole treatment team to their child with special challenges. Seek support groups of fellow home-schoolers, parents, and neighbors to feel connected. There is help and support out there, any time of the day—although we are physically distant, we can always connect virtually.
  23. “Chunk” your quarantine, take it moment by moment. We have no road map for this. We don’t know what this will look like in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month from now. Often, when I work with patients who have anxiety around overwhelming issues, I suggest that they engage in a strategy called “chunking”—focusing on whatever bite-sized piece of a challenge that feels manageable. Whether that be 5 minutes, a day, or a week at a time—find what feels doable for you, and set a time stamp for how far ahead in the future you will let yourself worry. Take each chunk one at a time, and move through stress in pieces.
  24. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. It seems in the midst of this quarantine that it will never end. It is terrifying to think of the road stretching ahead of us. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass. We will return to feeing free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.
  25. Find the lesson. This whole crisis can seem sad, senseless, and at times, avoidable. When psychologists work with trauma, a key feature to helping someone work through said trauma is to help them find their agency, the potential positive outcomes they can affect, the meaning and construction that can come out of destruction. What can each of us learn here, in big and small ways, from this crisis? What needs to change in ourselves, our homes, our communities, our nation, and our world?

Daniel Winston


I’m Bored!

Being cooped up in the house indefinitely can present some serious challenges. Initially, it’s lots of fun but then, as the days wear on, boredom can take over. When you have little kids, you have to be on the ball and creative. Not so when you’re empty-nesters or your kids are older and aren’t really keen on spending lots of time with you. What can you do to use the time wisely and in a fulfilling way?

Boredom Doesn’t Equate to Laziness

So, what do you do when you’re bored?

Are you creative?  Do you find something to do that is fulfilling, or just filling – like feeding yourself on junk food or glutting on TV?

If you are feeling bored during these days when nobody is running around outside in wild abandon, chances are you may be feeling lost or incarcerated by your inability to find something to do that really interests you.  It’s easy to see how some people confuse boredom with laziness.  They look similar, but they are really quite different:  Laziness, when we draw pictures in our minds, has images of lounging around in pj’s or sweats with no desire to put forth energy into anything.  Boredom speaks more of feeling restless and the need to DO SOMETHING – but nothing seems to be compelling or motivating.  Kind of like going to the fridge and not finding anything to eat.  (As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what some people do – but we’ll talk about that later).  In any event, it’s a feeling of being STUCK.

How Do I Get Motivated?

This might surprise you but the reality is that you can break out.  Think – breaking out of prison.  How does one break out of prison?  How does your dog get out of your fenced yard?  Right – by tunneling down.

First of all, you have to give yourself permission to actually feel the boredom.  Maybe you already think you do … maybe even too much.  Maybe.  But really, you might do any number of things to get away from yourself (like surfing the net; watching TV; listening to music), and in those in-between moments of distraction you are overwhelmed with the feeling of boredom.

Doing these things indicates that you are not allowing yourself to feel bored.

Allowing yourself to actually feel bored is to simply say yes to the feeling and sit down with it, especially when you just want to run from it.  Let it in rather than running to find something to distract yourself with – return to that very uncomfortable feeling of being bored.  As you do this, you will have an opportunity to examine it closer and consider whether you are really unmotivated or is there something else going on that you haven’t taken the time to address or that you’re running from?

Boredom Serves a Purpose

Boredom is a coping mechanism many people use because being able to disconnect from the world is a great way to protect oneself from difficult situations or emotions.  Maybe you’re feeling uncomfortable, sad, hurt, angry, even scared.  It could be a bad situation.  I know many people right now who not only feel forced into staying locked into a situation with no escape, a situation they’ve been wanting to run away from for some time, but now they have no alternative.  In order to solve the problem, hide from the pain, or push it all away from the heart or mind, the answer that seems to work is:  UNPLUG.  That way nothing can penetrate and hurt.  This, by the way, is not a conscious decision.  It’s a protective mechanism.

In the next article we’ll talk about some ways to deal with boredom that might be surprising.

What Are Your Core Beliefs?

Instead of a Tips page this month, I thought we could take a look at our core beliefs – those thoughts and assumptions we hold about ourselves, others, and the world around us. Although they often go unrecognized, they have a profound effect upon our lives.

Common examples of core beliefs are as follows:

  • I am unattractive
  • Everyone else has a better position in life than me
  • The world is full of selfish people who only want for themselves
  • I’ll never matter

Our lives are dictated by such inner beliefs and, most often, these beliefs are not accurate. Thinking you’re unattractive will have a profound effect upon your self-confidence and esteem. If you believe everyone else is better positioned than you, you will likely feel small and insignificant. If the world only takes and never gives, then you’re reduced to cynicism and negativity and locked in a dark prism.
Core beliefs affect what you achieve and how you operate in the world as a whole. Negative self-beliefs will limit you and limit your effectiveness in your life and in your world.

Core Identity
The one thing that can be consistent for us in life is our core identity. This is a foundation that can set us free: this isn’t linked to any opinions, beliefs, theories, attitudes or behaviors. When we become grounded in the truth of who we are in life, we become free to be ourselves. The most meaningful vision we can have for our futures, which will motivate and inspire us to progress in life, is our vision of who we are going to become.

So, here’s your mission for the month:
Without referencing anything you’ve achieved or failed at, what you do for a living, what your roles are in life or what you have – define WHO you are.

Who are you? What are the core principles, values and elements that make you, you?

I’d love to hear from you on this topic.

If you want to make a comment about beliefs or how you’ve changed your beliefs to become more of who you really want to be, let me know via my Facebook Business Page at For the Health of It – Nurit Amichai Mind-Body Trainer

Changing Your Beliefs

One of the most effective and popular ways of changing beliefs is done through meditation and guided meditation. Reconstructing a situation in our minds with a favorable outcome then rehearsing it daily will eventually recreate the situation in a positive light.

Another way is to change what you believe through experience-taking.
I’d like to share a personal story here that illustrates this point.

I had a poor perception of myself for many years. Even though I appeared confident and self-assured, inside I was the opposite. I learned how to carry myself in order to present a good appearance, but my thought life and belief system were both in shambles.

When I was in my late forties, I decided to take a huge risk and enter a body building competition. When I made the decision, my body was far from competition material which meant I had a lot of work to do. But I made a commitment to myself to follow through, regardless the cost. Seven months later I stood on the stage of the Northern Regional Body Building Competition in British Columbia and placed second in my category. I was elated and speechless. It was the last thing I expected.

Yet that competition and the one following a month later, changed me forever. I no longer held the belief that I was too old, would never have the kind of body that was needed, couldn’t do it and myriad other beliefs. What those beliefs were replaced with was this:

I can do anything I determine I want to do provided I’m willing to put in the work.

What experience can you create that will impact your beliefs and turn your self-defeating beliefs into strengths that conquer?