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When You Feel Powerless

Powerless. Helpless. Stuck. These are some of the very worst, most unpleasant ways to feel. Too often people experiencing these emotions are hesitant to get counseling, or even talk with friends, because they feel it will “do nothing.” This is based on the belief that the event or circumstance needs to change in order to feel better. The thought at the core of hopelessness is: The thing that’s already done must be different or else I will never feel better. This is not true. Getting unstuck is about navigating your responses and feelings more effectively- not changing external events. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think it’s essential to our well-being to cultivate healthier ways to react when these gut-wrenching feelings strike. The following are some of my thoughts, that are on the surface quite simple, but take an     . . . read more

Attention Perfectionists: Please Stop

I hear it announced all the time. It’s slightly boasting, but safely under the guise of being an admission: I am a perfectionist. Listen up, self-professed perfectionist. I say this out of love and concern: You need to reconsider your stance. It will not go well for you. You need to wake up or you’ll be a bitter, miserable person in no time at all. This is a problem, not a merit-badge in the making. I loathe perfectionism because it’s an impossible task. A fool’s errand. But it looks really cute and appealing. You get a lot of praise for it. (That’s why it’s so insidious). But it will destroy your life. Why? Perfectionism is nothing more than a cloak of fear hellbent on sucking the joy out of your life. Yes, fear. It’s all about this one promise: If     . . . read more

Compassion Fatigue and Tai Chi

This is a guest post by Celia Grand of the Riverview Foundation. Many thanks to Celia for sharing this information! compassion fatigue (dictionary.com) fatigue, emotional distress, or apathy resulting from the constant demands of caring for others or from constant appeals from charities: compassion fatigue experienced by doctors and nurses. Many of us work in high stress jobs, have too many personal responsibilities and little time to balance ourselves. Stress is a force that interferes with mental clarity, stability of emotions and physical ease. In addition to life stress, as caregivers we are susceptible to compassion fatigue. We take in volumes of overwhelming emotional material. Our bodies, mind and spirit strategize to cope with all that we hold outside of our conscious awareness. For example: our adrenal glands may pump out extra adrenaline to get us through the day while cortisol rushes through our bodies to try to bring it back into homeostasis. This taxing of our adrenals causes problems with sleep or may lead us to over eat to keep our energy going. Exercising may not energize     . . . read more

My Work/Life Teeter-Totter

I came home to a mountain of dishes tonight. Okay, a small hill. I wasn’t shocked, because I left them there, saying, “One good thing about it still being cold is we don’t have to worry about bugs!” The dishes were congregating in and around the sink not because I’m lazy, but because something else was more important the evening before. In this case, it was going to the gym and then, with what little time I had left, relaxing with my husband. So, they sat until the next day until I got home from work because the house and family time was the priority then. This is how my life is: an ever-present tension between things that are important to me. A clean house, a healthy body, connecting with my husband, positive attention to my daughter, bills that are     . . . read more

The Case for No New Resolutions

I’m not making a resolution this year. Some years I’m into it. Sometimes I feel like it’s a good opportunity to reflect and form new habits. This year is different. I just feel like I’m at max capacity. I’m not willing to add anything new because there is nothing I really truly want to subtract. So maybe I do have a resolution: accept and honor the real limits of time, energy, and focus. I’ve pushed myself to do a little more, and a little more, until… I’m at the limit of what one person can reasonably do. I think it’s a fine place to be: maintaining a delicate balance of doing a fulfilling amount of work without consistently over-doing it. I think it’s wise to know our true limits. We can only do so much in a day, week, or     . . . read more