Uncategorized

posts displayed by category

Work Stress

Posted on January 27, 2014 in Uncategorized - 0

More than just the workplace blues

By Stan Steindl

I was sitting with my little boy the other day and out of nowhere, with real anguish on his face, he said, “I don’t WANT the holidays to end!” He needed a little hug and some reassurance, so I kept my thoughts to myself. I didn’t either!

And I think we all know that feeling. Going back to work after the weekend can be hard enough. We even have a medical name for it…Mondayitis! But returning to work in the New Year can be a very difficult transition for many of us. We’ve settled into holiday mode: spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying late breakfasts, relaxing at the beach and afternoon picnics. Suddenly reality hits – it’s time to go back to work.

For many Australians, returning to work can be a bit of a downer, and it can provoke a case of the ‘return-to-work blues’. This is a really common experience and we can forgive ourselves for going through a little bit of the blues. And should pass within a YEAR or so…umm, actually, within a week people usually find themselves back into the swing of things!

Here are some helpful ways to make this transition a little bit easier.

  • Cut yourself some slack. Ease back into your first week with slightly shorter hours and a less demanding workload, where possible. Be kind to yourself. Imagine your own kids and the way they find going back to school hard, and support yourself a little bit like you might support them.
  • Take time to plan and set goals for the year, both personal and work. This is a real opportunity to stop and think about what you want this year to be like. I’m not really referring to New Year resolutions. More just giving yourself a chance to think about your goals and identifying what you want to get out of the year.
  • Look after your health – exercise regularly, eat well, Look after your sleep and drink lots of water. This is a new beginning, and there is a bit of a long road ahead, so getting into routines and habits early with balanced lifestyle can help to sustain the work ahead and make it more enjoyable.
  • Make a plan for the weekend, something to look forward to. In fact, have a think about other recreation or holiday plans for the coming months. Having little things to look forward to along the way can be very helpful.

For some people, this time of year can be very difficult and a simple case of return-to-work blues can develop into a very real case of anxiety and depression.

So how do you recognise when the return-to-work blues have become something more serious and what can you do about it?

  • Most people will experience low mood at some point in their lives. However, if you are feeling down most of the day nearly every day and/or have lost interest in the things you used to enjoy, you should discuss this with your GP.
  • Take note of any physical changes such as loss of appetite, weight loss/gain and increased/decreased sleep.
  • Are you becoming more withdrawn, turning down social invitations and no longer getting enjoyment from things?
  • Talking to people about your concerns and getting support from a trusted work colleague can offer a different perspective, reduce isolation and help you connect with the right people to help you best manage the situation.

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:
error
Read more

I’m doing this for me, and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

Posted on January 27, 2014 in Uncategorized - 0

I’m doing this for me, and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

By Clinical Psychologist, Dr James Kirby

How often do you find that you are in automatic pilot? I recently moved house, and yesterday when I drove back home from work, I found I was driving back to my old place rather than my new place. When reflecting on it now I find it comical, but when it happened I was so annoyed. I think I said something to myself like, “James you are an idiot”. As a result of this mistake I was stuck in more traffic, I arrived home late, still had to make dinner, and had no time to do what I really wanted to do and that was go for a run.

I’m sure most people can relate to this kind of experience. I find it happens more and more. I think it’s because I can get so easily caught up in what jobs I should be doing that I forget what I am actually doing. And that is exactly what happened on my drive home, I was thinking about what jobs I still had to do at work and I wasn’t paying attention to the present moment.

I often read or hear in the media how everyone is getting busier and busier, and one of the reasons for this is because we are all so much more accessible due to mobile phones and the Internet. It is like ‘we never turn off’. We all have so many responsibilities. Work obligations, family jobs, chores around the house, and social commitments. At times it can feel like we are just on automatic pilot going from job to job, event to event, with no time to ourselves. And in those rare instances when we do consider the thought, “I’m going to do this just for me” often a feeling of selfishness or guilt can be evoked. So rather than take care of our own needs, we keep trying to attend to all the jobs we should be doing.

But that is the very problem. If we don’t take care of our own needs we can start to become annoyed, frustrated, forgetful, irritable, and sad. All of a sudden we find that we start to lose patience with family, we put ourselves down for forgetting things, and we are constantly stressed. So to manage all the demands we withdraw from the things that we do for ourselves, because we don’t have time for them. And all of a sudden you get the sense that you have no control of your life, rather your responsibilities have control of your life.

This story I am telling is not uncommon. I find clients come to therapy for this exact reason quite often. It’s a case of I am becoming depressed because of just how much work I need to do or I am anxious because I fear I won’t be able to do all of the jobs I am supposed to do. Depression and anxiety are not enjoyable emotions.

So what is the answer?

There is no clear answer. But one small step you can make to improve how you are feeling is something we call, ‘pleasant activity scheduling’.

This might seem counterintuitive and I can already anticipate what you must be thinking, “hang on, I have just told you how busy I am, and now you are telling me to schedule something else in?”

I completely understand that point, it makes perfect sense. My response would be, “how many jobs do you do now that are just for you to enjoy?” Often the answer to that question is “nothing”.

The key to pleasant activity scheduling is looking at what activities you really like and then making sure you do them. When you start to do this, you will find that when your own needs are being met, you are better able to meet the needs of those around you.

An activity doesn’t have to be a 4-week vacation, although that wouldn’t hurt. Pleasant activities can be very small, for example, having a coffee in peace and quiet, enjoying a view of a landscape, seeing a movie, listening to a piece of music that you really like, or maybe reading for 15 minutes or going for a walk. These little activities are what makes life so enjoyable, they are the icing on the cake.

There will be barriers that will get in the way, such as unexpected jobs, work phone calls, and guilt. But the key about pleasant activity scheduling is the scheduling. Here are a few ways you can help improve the chances you will engage in pleasant activity scheduling:

  1. Generate a full list of all the different things that you like. They can be small or big things. For example, a trip away to the coast, looking at old photos, thinking about your next holiday. If you are stuck for ideas do a search on google for a list of pleasant activities.
  2. Write down in your diary a time when you can next do that activity. So you might schedule in a 20 minute walk for 4:30pm on Wednesday.
  3. Think of what barriers might get in the way. For example, another job at work that needs to be completed.
  4. Think of ways you might be able to overcome those barriers. For example, asking if you can attend to the job tomorrow, as you already have a prior appointment.

That is the key to pleasant activity scheduling. Is to view them as appointments that you must keep. By the implementation of simple, but pleasurable activities, we cannot only improve our own quality of life, but we can also prevent depressive and anxious symptoms from taking control of our life. So enjoy your icing on the cake, and go and schedule a pleasant.

Please follow and like us:
error
Read more

I'm doing this for me, and I'm not going to feel guilty about it.

Posted on January 27, 2014 in Uncategorized - 0

I’m doing this for me, and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

By Clinical Psychologist, Dr James Kirby

How often do you find that you are in automatic pilot? I recently moved house, and yesterday when I drove back home from work, I found I was driving back to my old place rather than my new place. When reflecting on it now I find it comical, but when it happened I was so annoyed. I think I said something to myself like, “James you are an idiot”. As a result of this mistake I was stuck in more traffic, I arrived home late, still had to make dinner, and had no time to do what I really wanted to do and that was go for a run.

I’m sure most people can relate to this kind of experience. I find it happens more and more. I think it’s because I can get so easily caught up in what jobs I should be doing that I forget what I am actually doing. And that is exactly what happened on my drive home, I was thinking about what jobs I still had to do at work and I wasn’t paying attention to the present moment.

I often read or hear in the media how everyone is getting busier and busier, and one of the reasons for this is because we are all so much more accessible due to mobile phones and the Internet. It is like ‘we never turn off’. We all have so many responsibilities. Work obligations, family jobs, chores around the house, and social commitments. At times it can feel like we are just on automatic pilot going from job to job, event to event, with no time to ourselves. And in those rare instances when we do consider the thought, “I’m going to do this just for me” often a feeling of selfishness or guilt can be evoked. So rather than take care of our own needs, we keep trying to attend to all the jobs we should be doing.

But that is the very problem. If we don’t take care of our own needs we can start to become annoyed, frustrated, forgetful, irritable, and sad. All of a sudden we find that we start to lose patience with family, we put ourselves down for forgetting things, and we are constantly stressed. So to manage all the demands we withdraw from the things that we do for ourselves, because we don’t have time for them. And all of a sudden you get the sense that you have no control of your life, rather your responsibilities have control of your life.

This story I am telling is not uncommon. I find clients come to therapy for this exact reason quite often. It’s a case of I am becoming depressed because of just how much work I need to do or I am anxious because I fear I won’t be able to do all of the jobs I am supposed to do. Depression and anxiety are not enjoyable emotions.

So what is the answer?

There is no clear answer. But one small step you can make to improve how you are feeling is something we call, ‘pleasant activity scheduling’.

This might seem counterintuitive and I can already anticipate what you must be thinking, “hang on, I have just told you how busy I am, and now you are telling me to schedule something else in?”

I completely understand that point, it makes perfect sense. My response would be, “how many jobs do you do now that are just for you to enjoy?” Often the answer to that question is “nothing”.

The key to pleasant activity scheduling is looking at what activities you really like and then making sure you do them. When you start to do this, you will find that when your own needs are being met, you are better able to meet the needs of those around you.

An activity doesn’t have to be a 4-week vacation, although that wouldn’t hurt. Pleasant activities can be very small, for example, having a coffee in peace and quiet, enjoying a view of a landscape, seeing a movie, listening to a piece of music that you really like, or maybe reading for 15 minutes or going for a walk. These little activities are what makes life so enjoyable, they are the icing on the cake.

There will be barriers that will get in the way, such as unexpected jobs, work phone calls, and guilt. But the key about pleasant activity scheduling is the scheduling. Here are a few ways you can help improve the chances you will engage in pleasant activity scheduling:

  1. Generate a full list of all the different things that you like. They can be small or big things. For example, a trip away to the coast, looking at old photos, thinking about your next holiday. If you are stuck for ideas do a search on google for a list of pleasant activities.
  2. Write down in your diary a time when you can next do that activity. So you might schedule in a 20 minute walk for 4:30pm on Wednesday.
  3. Think of what barriers might get in the way. For example, another job at work that needs to be completed.
  4. Think of ways you might be able to overcome those barriers. For example, asking if you can attend to the job tomorrow, as you already have a prior appointment.

That is the key to pleasant activity scheduling. Is to view them as appointments that you must keep. By the implementation of simple, but pleasurable activities, we cannot only improve our own quality of life, but we can also prevent depressive and anxious symptoms from taking control of our life. So enjoy your icing on the cake, and go and schedule a pleasant.

Please follow and like us:
error
Read more

More than just the workplace blues

Posted on January 27, 2014 in Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

By Dr Stan Steindl

STanI was sitting with my little boy the other day and out of nowhere, with real anguish on his face, he said, “I don’t WANT the holidays to end!” He needed a little hug and some reassurance, so I kept my thoughts to myself. I didn’t either!

And I think we all know that feeling. Going back to work after the weekend can be hard enough. We even have a medical name for it…Mondayitis! But returning to work in the New Year can be a very difficult transition for many of us. We’ve settled into holiday mode: spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying late breakfasts, relaxing at the beach and afternoon picnics. Suddenly reality hits – it’s time to go back to work.

holidaycartoon

For many Australians, returning to work can be a bit of a downer, and it can provoke a case of the ‘return-to-work blues’. This is a really common experience and we can forgive ourselves for going through a little bit of the blues. And should pass within a YEAR or so…umm, actually, within a week people usually find themselves back into the swing of things!

Here are some helpful ways to make this transition a little bit easier.

  • Cut yourself some slack. Ease back into your first week with slightly shorter hours and a less demanding workload, where possible. Be kind to yourself. Imagine your own kids and the way they find going back to school hard, and support yourself a little bit like you might support them.
  • Take time to plan and set goals for the year, both personal and work. This is a real opportunity to stop and think about what you want this year to be like. I’m not really referring to New Year resolutions. More just giving yourself a chance to think about your goals and identifying what you want to get out of the year.
  • Look after your health – exercise regularly, eat well, Look after your sleep and drink lots of water. This is a new beginning, and there is a bit of a long road ahead, so getting into routines and habits early with balanced lifestyle can help to sustain the work ahead and make it more enjoyable.
  • Make a plan for the weekend, something to look forward to. In fact, have a think about other recreation or holiday plans for the coming months. Having little things to look forward to along the way can be very helpful.

For some people, this time of year can be very difficult and a simple case of return-to-work blues can develop into a very real case of anxiety and depression.

So how do you recognise when the return-to-work blues have become something more serious and what can you do about it?

  • Most people will experience low mood at some point in their lives. However, if you are feeling down most of the day nearly every day and/or have lost interest in the things you used to enjoy, you should discuss this with your GP.
  • Take note of any physical changes such as loss of appetite, weight loss/gain and increased/decreased sleep.
  • Are you becoming more withdrawn, turning down social invitations and no longer getting enjoyment from things?
  • Talking to people about your concerns and getting support from a trusted work colleague can offer a different perspective, reduce isolation and help you connect with the right people to help you best manage the situation.

For more information on how a Psychologist can help you improve your outlook for the year, visit our website www.psychologyconsultants.com.au

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:
error
Read more

I’m doing this for me, and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

Posted on January 24, 2014 in Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

By Clinical Psychology Registrar, Dr James Kirby 

James150x150

How often do you find that you are in automatic pilot? I recently moved house, and yesterday when I drove back home from work, I found I was driving back to my old place rather than my new place. When reflecting on it now I find it comical, but when it happened I was so annoyed. I think I said something to myself like, “James you are an idiot”. As a result of this mistake I was stuck in more traffic, I arrived home late, still had to make dinner, and had no time to do what I really wanted to do and that was go for a run.

I’m sure most people can relate to this kind of experience. I find it happens more and more. I think it’s because I can get so easily caught up in what jobs I should be doing that I forget what I am actually doing. And that is exactly what happened on my drive home, I was thinking about what jobs I still had to do at work and I wasn’t paying attention to the present moment.

I'm doing this for meI often read or hear in the media how everyone is getting busier and busier, and one of the reasons for this is because we are all so much more accessible due to mobile phones and the Internet. It is like ‘we never turn off’. We all have so many responsibilities. Work obligations, family jobs, chores around the house, and social commitments. At times it can feel like we are just on automatic pilot going from job to job, event to event, with no time to ourselves. And in those rare instances when we do consider the thought, “I’m going to do this just for me” often a feeling of selfishness or guilt can be evoked. So rather than take care of our own needs, we keep trying to attend to all the jobs we should be doing.

But that is the very problem. If we don’t take care of our own needs we can start to become annoyed, frustrated, forgetful, irritable, and sad. All of a sudden we find that we start to lose patience with family, we put ourselves down for forgetting things, and we are constantly stressed. So to manage all the demands we withdraw from the things that we do for ourselves, because we don’t have time for them. And all of a sudden you get the sense that you have no control of your life, rather your responsibilities have control of your life.

This story I am telling is not uncommon. I find clients come to therapy for this exact reason quite often. It’s a case of I am becoming depressed because of just how much work I need to do or I am anxious because I fear I won’t be able to do all of the jobs I am supposed to do. Depression and anxiety are not enjoyable emotions.

So what is the answer?

There is no clear answer. But one small step you can make to improve how you are feeling is something we call, ‘pleasant activity scheduling’.

This might seem counterintuitive and I can already anticipate what you must be thinking, “hang on, I have just told you how busy I am, and now you are telling me to schedule something else in?”

I completely understand that point, it makes perfect sense. My response would be, “how many jobs do you do now that are just for you to enjoy?” Often the answer to that question is “nothing”.

The key to pleasant activity scheduling is looking at what activities you really like and then making sure you do them. When you start to do this, you will find that when your own needs are being met, you are better able to meet the needs of those around you.

An activity doesn’t have to be a 4-week vacation, although that wouldn’t hurt. Pleasant activities can be very small, for example, having a coffee in peace and quiet, enjoying a view of a landscape, seeing a movie, listening to a piece of music that you really like, or maybe reading for 15 minutes or going for a walk. These little activities are what makes life so enjoyable, they are the icing on the cake.

There will be barriers that will get in the way, such as unexpected jobs, work phone calls, and guilt. But the key about pleasant activity scheduling is the scheduling. Here are a few ways you can help improve the chances you will engage in pleasant activity scheduling:

  1. Generate a full list of all the different things that you like. They can be small or big things. For example, a trip away to the coast, looking at old photos, thinking about your next holiday. If you are stuck for ideas do a search on google for a list of pleasant activities.
  2. Write down in your diary a time when you can next do that activity. So you might schedule in a 20 minute walk for 4:30pm on Wednesday.
  3. Think of what barriers might get in the way. For example, another job at work that needs to be completed.
  4. Think of ways you might be able to overcome those barriers. For example, asking if you can attend to the job tomorrow, as you already have a prior appointment.

That is the key to pleasant activity scheduling. Is to view them as appointments that you must keep. By the implementation of simple, but pleasurable activities, we cannot only improve our own quality of life, but we can also prevent depressive and anxious symptoms from taking control of our life. So enjoy your icing on the cake, and go and schedule a pleasant act.

For more information on James and our team of Psychologists visit: www.psychologyconsultants.com.au

Please follow and like us:
error
Read more

I'm doing this for me, and I'm not going to feel guilty about it.

Posted on January 24, 2014 in Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

By Clinical Psychology Registrar, Dr James Kirby 

James150x150

How often do you find that you are in automatic pilot? I recently moved house, and yesterday when I drove back home from work, I found I was driving back to my old place rather than my new place. When reflecting on it now I find it comical, but when it happened I was so annoyed. I think I said something to myself like, “James you are an idiot”. As a result of this mistake I was stuck in more traffic, I arrived home late, still had to make dinner, and had no time to do what I really wanted to do and that was go for a run.

I’m sure most people can relate to this kind of experience. I find it happens more and more. I think it’s because I can get so easily caught up in what jobs I should be doing that I forget what I am actually doing. And that is exactly what happened on my drive home, I was thinking about what jobs I still had to do at work and I wasn’t paying attention to the present moment.

I'm doing this for meI often read or hear in the media how everyone is getting busier and busier, and one of the reasons for this is because we are all so much more accessible due to mobile phones and the Internet. It is like ‘we never turn off’. We all have so many responsibilities. Work obligations, family jobs, chores around the house, and social commitments. At times it can feel like we are just on automatic pilot going from job to job, event to event, with no time to ourselves. And in those rare instances when we do consider the thought, “I’m going to do this just for me” often a feeling of selfishness or guilt can be evoked. So rather than take care of our own needs, we keep trying to attend to all the jobs we should be doing.

But that is the very problem. If we don’t take care of our own needs we can start to become annoyed, frustrated, forgetful, irritable, and sad. All of a sudden we find that we start to lose patience with family, we put ourselves down for forgetting things, and we are constantly stressed. So to manage all the demands we withdraw from the things that we do for ourselves, because we don’t have time for them. And all of a sudden you get the sense that you have no control of your life, rather your responsibilities have control of your life.

This story I am telling is not uncommon. I find clients come to therapy for this exact reason quite often. It’s a case of I am becoming depressed because of just how much work I need to do or I am anxious because I fear I won’t be able to do all of the jobs I am supposed to do. Depression and anxiety are not enjoyable emotions.

So what is the answer?

There is no clear answer. But one small step you can make to improve how you are feeling is something we call, ‘pleasant activity scheduling’.

This might seem counterintuitive and I can already anticipate what you must be thinking, “hang on, I have just told you how busy I am, and now you are telling me to schedule something else in?”

I completely understand that point, it makes perfect sense. My response would be, “how many jobs do you do now that are just for you to enjoy?” Often the answer to that question is “nothing”.

The key to pleasant activity scheduling is looking at what activities you really like and then making sure you do them. When you start to do this, you will find that when your own needs are being met, you are better able to meet the needs of those around you.

An activity doesn’t have to be a 4-week vacation, although that wouldn’t hurt. Pleasant activities can be very small, for example, having a coffee in peace and quiet, enjoying a view of a landscape, seeing a movie, listening to a piece of music that you really like, or maybe reading for 15 minutes or going for a walk. These little activities are what makes life so enjoyable, they are the icing on the cake.

There will be barriers that will get in the way, such as unexpected jobs, work phone calls, and guilt. But the key about pleasant activity scheduling is the scheduling. Here are a few ways you can help improve the chances you will engage in pleasant activity scheduling:

  1. Generate a full list of all the different things that you like. They can be small or big things. For example, a trip away to the coast, looking at old photos, thinking about your next holiday. If you are stuck for ideas do a search on google for a list of pleasant activities.
  2. Write down in your diary a time when you can next do that activity. So you might schedule in a 20 minute walk for 4:30pm on Wednesday.
  3. Think of what barriers might get in the way. For example, another job at work that needs to be completed.
  4. Think of ways you might be able to overcome those barriers. For example, asking if you can attend to the job tomorrow, as you already have a prior appointment.

That is the key to pleasant activity scheduling. Is to view them as appointments that you must keep. By the implementation of simple, but pleasurable activities, we cannot only improve our own quality of life, but we can also prevent depressive and anxious symptoms from taking control of our life. So enjoy your icing on the cake, and go and schedule a pleasant act.

For more information on James and our team of Psychologists visit: www.psychologyconsultants.com.au

Please follow and like us:
error
Read more

How to Survive the Family at Christmas

Posted on December 16, 2013 in Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

  By Clinical Psychologist, Kylie Layton

Kylie_L

Christmas time is a special time of year for many people. It’s a time to relax and rejuvenate, and be with loved ones to celebrate the past year and the New Year to come. We look forward to this time and often have hopes and expectations about what Christmas will be like. But along with this excitement and happy expectation comes a lot of other things that may or may not be as enjoyable. Think busy shopping centres, financial expense, planning and organisation, adherence to family ‘traditions’ and interactions with extended family.

National-Lampoon-s-Christmas-Vacation-special-edition-Christmas-review-1062463We all know the Hollywood Christmas day ideal of the loving family happily gathered around the Christmas tree, but more realistically family relationships can be complicated and approaching Christmas festivities can seem daunting.  So how do we survive the family at Christmas and still have the kind of Christmas we’d like?

Here are a few tips that may help you to navigate the interactions at this year’s family festivities.

1. Reflect on what’s important. Research shows that having an awareness of your own set of personal values is like having an internal compass. If we can focus on our values in stressful situations, we are more likely to make effective decisions and choose appropriate behaviours in line with living these values. So consider what matters to you most this Christmas. Then consider how you can apply this to your family gatherings to avoid getting caught up in anything unpleasant.

2. Practice acceptance. We often have that Hollywood ideal in our head and have expectations of a joyous occasion. For many families that is a reality, but for some relationships are strained by the stress of entertaining and perhaps a little too much Christmas cheer!  Be prepared to accept that the day may not always go as well as planned.

3. Pick your battles. Based on your values and expectations of the day, it can help to consider what you are willing to overlook because it’s Christmas. For example, you may be ok to ignore Uncle Tom’s sexist comment but need to intervene when Grandad wants to give your two year old some wine. Christmas isn’t the best time of year to confront someone, so ignore what you can, politely change the topic or move away where appropriate without compromising your personal boundaries.

4. Have a plan if you need to. Have a loose strategy going into family situations regarding how you are going to apply those values and boundaries. Having a strategy could also mean having a plan around how to deal with a person you have previously found difficult, or developing a mindset to help manage interactions. Often it helps to remember that you have little or no control over another person’s behaviour and that any unpleasantness on their behalf is more a sign of something that they have going on than anything to do with you.

5. Don’t be afraid to take some space. Research shows that walking away and taking time to calm down is far more effective in the management of emotion charged situations than pushing forward for a solution.  Our brains find it hard to think calmly and clearly when we are emotional. We need to give the emotion time to reduce before we are likely to be effective in reaching a solution.

6. Try to accept people where they’re at. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. Research on self-acceptance and self-compassion shows that when we are able to connect to that shared imperfection, we have the ability to not only be more accepting of ourselves and our own short-comings, but be more empathetic to those around us as well. Everyone has a history, a story, and reasons behind their behaviour. Their behaviour choices may not be appropriate or pleasant but, where we can, Christmas can be a great time to aim to accept the flaws in our family, highlight their strengths and take them just as they are.

We don’t get to pick our family and therefore it is unreasonable to expect everyone to get along. What we can hope for is for people to be accepting, considerate, and to make an effort to make this emotion charged and expectation filled day an ok experience for all. You may need to stand firm, you may need to take a break, or you may just need to lead the way with a bit of Christmas compassion and smile and move on!

Best wishes for the festive season!

For more information on Kylie and our team of Psychologists visit our website www.psychologyconsultants.com.au 

Please follow and like us:
error
Read more

Post Natal Depression- When ideals don’t match reality

Posted on November 19, 2013 in Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

By Clinical Psychologist, Erika Fiorenza

Clinical Psychogist, Erika Fiorenza

Clinical Psychogist, Erika Fiorenza

“Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist”.
– Michael Levine

Becoming a parent is one of the biggest life changes a person can undergo.  There are changes to their routine, lifestyle, and relationships, ever while parent and child learn together how to do almost everything. And yet, we often expect to effortlessly and naturally slip into this role.

There are a number of unrealistic expectations and misperceptions that can perpetuate distress in the postnatal period.  Postnatal Depression Awareness Week (17-23rd Nov 2013) is a great time to highlight some of the myths that new parents can get caught up with.

photo-professionalhelp Some of these common thoughts can include:

“This should be the happiest time of my life”

“I should know what to do”

“I wouldn’t have these thoughts if I was a good mother”

“If I’m not doing well, I’m not a good mother”

“My life is good….I shouldn’t be feeling depressed”

When these ‘ideals’ don’t seem to match up to reality, mothers (and fathers) can experience feelings of guilt, shame, and helplessness.

In addition, the stigma connected to even expressing any dissatisfaction or difficulty with parenting can hold people back from seeking help, leading to further feelings of isolation and helplessness. We all have the tendency to ‘compare upwards’.  It is common for new mothers to compare themselves and their baby’s development to that of their peers and conclude that “everyone else is doing well”.

Women with postnatal distress that present for therapy can describe a number of these unhelpful thoughts.  When they become ‘entangled’ or ‘caught up’ with these thoughts, they find themselves moving further away from the parent, partner, or person they want to be.  There are a number of studies suggesting that cognitive processes (such as those in postnatal depression) can impact on a mother’s capacity to respond to her baby and the outside world (Stein et al., 2012).

In therapy, we work on normalising these thoughts, and help people learn skills to manage their thinking, such that it has less influence over their mood and actions.  In addition to dealing with painful thoughts, therapy for postnatal disorders may also include dealing with painful feelings, urges and sensations.

Another critical part of therapy is getting back into activity.  Low motivation (one of the main symptoms of depression) leads to doing less, enjoying less, and consequently feeling worse.

It’s hard to feel ‘normal’ when we don’t do normal things.

If ‘normal’ is having contact with friends or doing daily activities like cooking a meal or going to the shop, then this is where we start.  In therapy we work on helping people identify what it is they value.  Identifying values such as ‘self-care’, ‘challenge’ or ‘acceptance’ can help parents reconnect with what is important, and help clarify goals for moving forward.

There is a lot of great information online about the signs and symptoms of postnatal disorders.  Check out: www.beyondblue.org.au,  www.panda.org.au,  and www.blackdoginstitute.org.au for more information.  Becoming more informed is the first step to seeking help and starting to debunk the myths.

Psychology Consultants have a number of Clinical Psychologists who are experienced in Post Natal Depression treatment. For more information, visit www.psychologyconsultants.com.au

Sources:

Stein A, Craske MG, Lehtonen A, Harvey A, Savage-McGlynn E, Davies B, Goodwin J, Murray L, Cortina-Borja M, Counsell N. (2012). Maternal cognitions and mother-infant interaction in postnatal depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 795-809

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:
error
Read more

Show Me the Light- Insomnia and Technology

Posted on November 6, 2013 in Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

Clinical Psychologist, Kathryn Smith, explains how technology affects our sleep and shares useful advice on how to cure a sleep delay.  

o-ELECTRIC-LIGHT-SLEEP-facebook

The Age of Accessibility

Most of us are connected to the outside world 24/7. We keep our mobile phones by the bed, respond to emails, check Facebook, do all our banking on line, work and shopping.

We can spend a vast amount of time in front of technology. This is not a problem, except when we begin to use the technology near our sleep time or worse during our designated sleep time.

Often, this technology emits a lot of bright light over a long period of time. When you are exposed to this bright light near or during sleep time, it has the effect of delaying your sleep phase. In other words, it prevents you from falling asleep at your usual time. People then feel that they have an insomnia problem. 

The Circadian World

We have long known in the world of sleep research, that our body is controlled by a circadian cycle that defines a period of time that our sleep will occur.

Our circadian cycle is governed by bright light, which enters our body via our retina to track through to a part in our brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This part of our brain then drives our body clock and the timing of its rhythms including sleep.

Our circadian rhythm responds to four aspects of light: the intensity of light; timing of light; wavelength of light and the duration of light. These aspects neatly fit into the day/night cycle, except when technology begins to interfere.

Kathryn

Clinical Psychologist,
Kathryn Smith

Three useful tips for curing a sleep delay

1. Computer down time.

  • The first step to avoid upsetting your circadian rhythm is to not use technology 1-2 hours before bedtime and definitely not in bed.

Computers, more so than a television, emit a strong light that contains a blue/green wavelength of light. Why is the blue/green wavelength a big deal? Well, we know from scientific studies that if we shine a blue/green wavelength of light into someone’s eyes before sleep time it will delay the onset of their sleep. Conversely if we shine an amber/red wavelength of light into someone’s eyes before bedtime, it does nothing to delay their sleep time.

2. Decrease blue/green light.

  • The second step is if you are working at a computer or you need to use your phone for an alarm, take some steps to decrease the blue/green light coming from these sources.

This can be done in a number of ways. There is now a computer program that can be downloaded for free called f.lux. This program runs according to the time of the day and dims the screen to produce an amber colour after sunset. This amber colour increases during the night and then gradually lightens towards sunrise. 

Alternatively, stick on amber screens are available for computers and phones that are touch sensitive.

You can even pop on a pair of amber tinted safety glasses and have the same effect.

3. Increase bright light in the morning. 

  • The third step is to reduce sleepiness during the day. The best cure for sleepiness during the day or in the morning is the reverse of the above. Exposure to bright light, particularly the green/blue wavelength of light can push back the sleep cycle and increase the feelings of wakefulness and alertness. 

This can be achieved by spending 45 minutes out in the bright morning light.

Alternatively we now have Re-timer Glasses that are readily for sale online through medical supply companies. These glasses are worn just like normal glasses and produce 100% UV-free green/blue light that shines directly into the retina. You can wear these glasses for 45 minutes during the usual morning routine to help your body recognise when to be awake and when to be asleep.

Problems with Sleep? 

If you have experienced chronic problems with getting to sleep, staying asleep or waking early one of the afore mentioned tips might just help.

It may also be worthwhile speaking to a clinical psychologist to define the area of difficulty and its potential causes.

Our team of clinical psychologists have knowledge about sleep and insomnia. We also have a range of products for demonstration. You may also be suited to a group treatment program. We run a group called Towards Better Sleep, on demand throughout the year.

For more information visit www.towardsbettersleep.com.au or www.psychologyconsultants.com.au

Please follow and like us:
error
Read more
1 / / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23
Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)