"Change can be hard, but it can also help you realize how strong you really are." - allison kidd
Just 6 weeks ago, I made a major change in my life. I transitioned from working at Marillac full-time to being solely at Resolve, my new home. Although I think of this as making a huge leap, it was really a gradual transition for me. I wandered out of my comfort zone of working a regular schedule, around colleagues I felt at ease with, in an environment that I had known for the past 6 years (plus 1 additional year as an intern). I made this choice, weighed the pros and cons, created expectations, and thought I knew what this would look like. However, adjusting to change can be hard. Resolve allows me to have the flexibility I had craved, the creativity I needed, and the outlet to grow professionally and personally. But, just because I made this positive choice, doesn’t mean the adjustment to it has been easy. In the past 6 weeks, I’ve needed to create my own schedule and routine, have worked on self-discipline, spent time learning as a clinician again, and definitely gone out of my comfort zone to spend more time in the community.
Adjusting to change can be hard.
Sometimes we make a personal choice for change, sometimes it happens unexpectedly or out of our control. When we are able to plan for change, the expectations we make of the outcome aren’t always realistic. We like to “hope for the best” in terms of how we manage it, but it doesn’t always play out the way we would like it to. For those times where change happens to us, we can often feel confused and powerless with how to process it.
We’ve all experienced some form of these stressful times in our lives. This ranges from the ending of relationship or marriage, losing or changing jobs, getting married, having a baby, retiring, having an accident, death of a loved one, developing a serious illness, being a victim of a crime, living through a disaster (fire, flood, hurricane), etc.
When change happens, people often feel lost and overwhelmed. They might go through the Stages of Grief (Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, Acceptance) or process it in their own way. However, when they are unable to maintain stabilization through this course, they might experience what is known as Adjustment Disorder.
According to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Statistical Manual), Adjustment Disorder is defined as the presence of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor(s) occurring within 3 months of the onset of the stressor(s).
Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder
The most common symptoms include:
That’s not to say that everyone who struggles with adjusting to change would be diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder, but I’m sure we can all relate on some level. If symptoms are beyond the normal part of bereavement or grief that is to be expected, that is when seeking some assistance would be beneficial. A therapist can help to understand how the stressor affected their life, support in reducing the intensity of symptoms, and develop better coping skills to manage.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with adjusting to a recent stress, please reach out. Resolve clinicians are here to help you get through this difficult time. Change can be hard, but it can also help you to recognize how strong you really are.
Allison Kidd, LSCSW, LMAC
We all have fear. It’s innate within us. It’s controlling, uncomfortable, difficult, overwhelming, and powerful so we tend to avoid it at all costs. It often prevents us from pursuing our dreams or breaking out of society’s norms.
Fear is our body’s own built-in security system that alerts us of potential dangers and threats to our safety. Because of fear, you don’t touch the hot stove or jump off a 5-stories-tall building. Your body sends you signals that there is potential danger ahead: your heartrate increases, your palms become sweaty, you have difficulty breathing, and you being trembling. But did you experience these symptoms of fear before you learned these things were dangerous?
Fear is subjective, and fear is learned.
Before a child touches a hot stove, he does not experience fear because he has not learned the danger involved. Before a teenager experiences heartbreak, she does not fear being abandoned because she has not experienced and learned the pain and loneliness associated with it. Before a child experiences feeling not good enough, he does not fear showing his parents his test grades because he has not experienced their disappointment.
A person afraid is a person learned.
Fears are often reflective of where we’re holding back in our lives and the underlying beliefs that are keeping us stuck there. They are often the roadblocks to experiencing empowerment, courage, confidence, and the voice inside that says, “Heck yeah, I just did that!”. Fears are our own treasure maps to discovering what’s truly important to us. Let them guide you!
It may sound counterintuitive, but we must lean into our fears.
There is tremendous power in acknowledging and claiming our fears. My greatest fear is being abandoned. When I acknowledge how much that impacts my behaviors in relationships, I am giving myself the ability to choose how I act. I can tell myself, “I am terrified of being left alone, but I will choose to communicate that with my partner and not let myself become clingy or overreactive.” My fear of being abandoned will likely last my entire life, but I am choosing not to let it control me or get in the way of my relationships.
You may have fears that you conquer, and you may have fears that are never ending, but that’s perfectly okay. Just give yourself the ability to readjust how much power your fear has over you.
“There's nothing wrong if you quit something – it's actually a very necessary component to success. 'Quitting' just means you get to redirect your energy and focus to new and better things." -
Warren Buffett once said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” While I do not feel that I am prepared to say "no" to almost everything, I do feel empowered to say "No" to the things that are not best benefiting me and my mental wellness. There’s nothing wrong with you if you quit something--sometimes quitting is exactly what you need to do!
Young adults, Millennials, Generation XYZ (kidding ☺), whoever you may be, you’re may still be finding out who you are or who you want to be. Quitting things is going to be okay. Not only is it going to be okay, but it’s going to be imperative! Sometimes it’s worth quitting 99% of things you try just so you can find that 1% that really “clicks” with you.
Do you really expect your first shot at anything in life to be your best shot? It would be a pretty stress free life if the first time we attempted something it was always the best result.Part of the fun of experiencing life is to experience all of the trials and all of the errors; through all of these are when you discover who you are, what your interests are, and what you’re passionate about. It’s important to set goals for yourself, but it’s also important to remember that you can quit those goals and pursue new ones if you learn that those are not what set your soul on fire anymore.
Put it in the perspective of going to counseling. Sometimes you find your perfect counselor on the first try, but more than likely, you’ve had to try out a few different counselors before you could find one that was a great fit for you! So if you gave yourself the grace to try multiple counselors before finding the right fit, what’s stopping you from giving yourself the grace to try out multiple jobs, multiple schools, and multiple relationships?
Today I dare you to quit something.
I double dare you to quit something you feel trapped in.
I triple dog dare you to quit something that you’ve been thinking about quitting for a long time, but always let guilt overcome you causing you to stay!
You can do this! Branch out and try new things, you may just find the perfect fit is the thing that you thought was the most unlikely fit! Funny how life works out sometimes.
Andrea McDonald, Counseling Intern
"Practice smiling more. Look at others and in the mirror. See what reaction you get. My hope is its contagious." - jessica nickels
In a recent lunch and learn series at a worksite, I covered the topic popular stress. In this specific session, I discuss how humor can help reduce stress!
Bad news, one in three of us deal with worry, stress or pain on daily basis. Good news, about 71% of us smile or laugh on a daily basis. How does this news connect? It shows us that even though we are exposed to negative emotion and experience, we are also experiencing positivity. Science supports a 5 to 1 ratio. Meaning it takes 5 positive experiences to outweigh 1 negative experience. The best news is that these experience do not have to be extravagant, like a vacation (though that would be nice).
Today we are going to explore 3 simple and positive solutions to adding more smiles and laughs to our our day.
1. Expose yourself to positivity more.
Practical application, ask yourself these questions:
2. Seek out the humor in the moment.
Our brain is sensitive to negative experiences. It goes back to the day when we had to be alert of the big harry mammoth or other life threats. When we had to be alert of all threats to our being. Our brain really hasn’t changed and reacts just the same. Instead, the big harry mammoth is a stressful email from your boss. However, today we have the knowledge to change our perspective and reaction.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a goal to be healthier and to you. that means exercising more. It’s Monday night and you get to the gym and the parking lot is packed. Your immediate reaction is “OMG I can’t find a parking spot!” (harry mammoth).
This is when you hit the pause button and ask yourself, "What is funny about this?" The reality is there are several spots in the back of the lot open, but you don’t want to walk to get to your workout. Put simply, you don’t want to exercise before you exercise. That’s funny!
Give it a try yourself and complete this chart.
What are some chronic threats that cause you think negatively?
Is there humor in those threats? If so, what is it?
3. Fake it until your brain makes it.
The muscles in our face send a message to our brain to release the hormone endorphin, which helps make us feel good and reduce stress hormones like cortisol. Smiling also makes us more desirable to be around, which attracts fun people! Practice smiling more. Look at others and in the mirror. See what reaction you get. My hope is it’s contagious.
Like any change, this takes practice to build into a daily habit. Remember, this should be a positive experience, so if seeking smiles and laughs is stressful, ask for help!
Interested in bringing the Stress Series to your worksite? Contact me to set it up!
Jessica Nickels, Counseling Intern
"Remember your health and wellness goals are not a destination, it is a journey."
You are eating healthy and cranking out hours a week at the gym and yet you just aren’t seeing the results you want. You are about to give up because the frustration of giving it your all without the abs is killer. The struggle is real and you are most definitely not alone. This frustration is shared among many, but there is good news: you can make some changes to get you track.
These are some of the top changes I see clients needing to make to finally make that shift in their health:
Remember your health and wellness goals are not a destination, it is a journey. You have spent years developing habits and building the body you currently have, it will take time to achieve the body you want.
Jen Nobo, LMSW, Wellness Advocate
Holistic Health Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
To learn more about Jen, health tips, movement advice, or recipes, check out her website at www.jennobo.com or follow her on Instagram!
"Your brain builds new connections when it feels safe. It needs predictability, reliability, and a constant ebb and flow of regulation. When it is in a constantly stressful environment, the brain cannot form new connections." - robin helget
"In a chronically stressful environment, the body’s stress response is always on – there is very little relief from the surge of chemicals and the increase in heart rate and blood pressure. When this happens, the stress becomes toxic and can cause dramatic changes in the brain and body" - Toxic Stress
Stress and the physiological responses to stress is a natural and necessary biological response. Our bodies are built to protect us; however, the body is only meant to utilize these functions for a short and brief period of time. When we are consistently in a toxic environment or situation, our body is constantly is fighting chronic or prolonged stress, making our body stay in "fight" or "flight."
Toxic environments can include those in the home, within relationships, or at work. Toxic stress can prohibit new connections in the brain from forming, increase risk for addiction, and the risk for developing a hypersensitivity to threat.
1. New connections.
Your brain builds new connections when it feels safe. It needs predictability, reliability, and a constant ebb and flow of regulation. When it is in a constantly stressful environment, which can include feeling on edge, jumpy, increase in blood pressure, difficulty using your voice or speaking, and going into "Fight or flight", the brain cannot form new connections. It lives on experience, so if it's constantly stressed, it weakens the brains foundation that is essential in learning, behavior, and health.
Our bodies aren't meant to be in a constant state of stress. Because of the emotions that come with toxic stress environments such as significant anxiety, depression, or even trauma, people often will want or need to find something that will take that stress away, like alcohol or drugs. Many feel stuck in these environments that they feel that they can't do anything about the toxicity, leading to avoidance behaviors and constantly needing an escape.
3. Hypersensitivity to threat.
Our bodies respond to stress by increasing heart rate and shutting down our organ functions to go into survival mode. After all, this is what we have had to do all the way from caveman times when faced with a saber-tooth tiger in order to survive. However, today, we are not faced with saber-tooths; instead, we are faced with everyday stress, including toxic stress. When faced with toxic stress, your brain can begin to see everything as a threat. The then saber-tooth tiger is now the feeling of being threatened emotionally or professionally or a dirty look or an email. Our brains and bodies are responding the same as we did to the tiger. When the stress respond is turned on so often, it begins to see everything as a threat. It can't distinguish between the tiger or an email, but it does respond the same way. Physically, this has many negative impacts.
4. Physical impacts.
As mentioned before, when we are in toxic environments or experience toxic stress, the wear and tear of this can have a significant impact on your mental health. Things like anxiety, depression or even PTSD can be developed or intensified in these types of environments. Knowing your warning signs, paying attention to your body, and knowing when enough is enough is essential to taking care of your mind, body and spirit.
Toxicity leads to toxic stress. Being in toxic relationships or environments has many negative effects on your body both physically and emotionally. Take a minute to evaluate your relationships, your work environment, and other things that may be toxic in your life. Do you need to put up boundaries? Do you need to say something and use your voice? And if you can't do either, do you need to leave?
"I have always believed that when you have a voice, you have an obligation to use that voice to empower others." - diane von furstenberg
"Don't cause a scene."
"Don't speak too loud."
"You don't want to make her mad."
Many of us have been taught that speaking our opinion, using our voice, or sticking up for our beliefs and ourselves is something that is looked at as socially unacceptable in our world, especially for women. Some of us have been so afraid to share what we are thinking or stand for what we believe in that we have forgotten what our voices actually sound like.
It is common to feel nervous when speaking up for yourself or even thinking about having the hard conversations with people; however, it is completely acceptable and necessary when done in assertively and respectively, of course.
Four years ago a significant life event in my life happened that completely knocked me off my feet. In that, I felt like I had lost my voice completely in more ways than one. I didn't believe that my voice mattered. I didn't trust it. I didn't believe I was worthy of using it. Standing up for myself meant that I had to love myself more than the opinion of the person who was listening--which was something I couldn't do then.
It took time to heal, time to practice, therapy, and a great group of friends to push me to use my voice. The more I used it, the easier it became. I began telling the waiter that I ordered Pepsi, not Coke. I sent back food if it wasn't what I had asked for. I said "No" to activities that I didn't want to go to. I wore my favorite shirt even if someone else didn't like it. I didn't stay at events if I wasn't having fun. All of these things may sound like small victories, but it was in these victories that I was able to use my voice for the bigger things.
How to use your own voice
Take some time to think about ways that you can start using your voice. Is it sending back something you didn't ask for at a restaurant? Is it saying "No" to the multiple tasks your boss asks you to do that is not in your job description nor that you are getting paid for? Is it wearing your favorite shirt even if your boyfriend doesn't understand why you love wearing a shirt with avocados on it?
Using your voice with people of power
No matter what type of industry or profession you are in, you likely encounter at some poit someone who runs the company, is higher up on the totem poll, is completely unapproachable, or someone who doesn't give you the chance to get a word in.
The reasons why people of power stay in power is because they often feed off the control they have being in power. They have the choice to let you go, let you stay, increase your pay raise, etc. and that's why we often feel uncomfortable using our voice. Speaking our voice in the face of a bully can be unsafe, anxiety-provoking, and intimidating.
If you're in an environment where using your voice is unaccepted, put down, belittled, or brushed under the rug, evaluate if this is a place where you really want to be and an environment that you can really thrive in. Toxicity breeds toxic stress. If the answer is no, create an "escape plan". It may not be realistic to quit today or even next month, but planning how you're going to leave that environment if there is no way to make it better, can help give you the motivation, encouragement, and drive to look forward to something better.
In all situations, remember that your voice is your biggest strength. You have opinions, ideas, education, and experience that only you can offer. Be open to feedback but careful to what you let soak through your skin. Your voice matters. You matter.
If you struggle with finding your voice or using it, seeing a counselor or coach can help develop it, practice it, and empower you to believe it's worth using.
Robin Helget, LMSW, CPT
The exclamatory in the title of the book caught my eye and I had to pick it up to see what it was about. “Unfu*ck Yourself” by Gary John Bishop is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon and for good reason. He clearly doesn’t believe in sugar coating things and the way the Bishop wrote the book it allows you to read each chapter as a completely separate piece or the book as a whole.
Right out of the gate he asks his readers a heavy question: Are you willing?
This question really resonated with me because it can really help re-evaluate goals and allow yourself to let go of some blame around ones that you haven’t been able to achieve. Are you willing to get up at 5AM to workout? Are you willing to work 60 hours a week to start up your own business? Are you willing to pass on the birthday cake so that you don’t feel like crap later? Are you willing to get uncomfortable and ask for that raise? Are you willing to take the risk and leave the job you hate?
We often tell ourselves that we don’t have the time, that we ‘just aren’t morning people,’ that we are lazy, or that we simply can’t achieve the the things we want because we don’t have the skills. When really we just aren’t willing to make the change and maybe that isn’t a bad thing. Maybe you aren’t willing to sacrifice time with your family to grow your business further. Maybe you aren’t willing to give up your favorite foods to lose that last 10 pounds. Perhaps you know that you would have to compromise your morals to grow in your current agency and you just aren’t willing to do that. The key is to point out that willingness, or lack thereof, so that you can free yourself of the blame of not achieving those goals. It isn’t that you can’t achieve those things in this life, it is that you have made a choice to prioritize other things.
If after getting honest with yourself about what it will take finally gain control of your health or get that Tesla you decide you are willing to do what it takes, then write that down. “I am willing” should be your new mantra. Post it on your bathroom mirror and be open to what it takes to achieve your goals because I promise if you are willing to do it, you can build the life that you want.
Jen Nobo, LMSW, Wellness Advocate
Holistic Health Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
"It helps her to feel confident, increasing her self-esteem yet continuing to struggle with the underlying self-deprecation." - Allison kidd
What do you picture when you hear the word “depressed”? Often the responses are stereotypical: someone crying all the time, can’t get out of bed, hygiene is lacking, unable to maintain relationships, and the visualization continues. She looks “fine” is what we tell ourselves and each other.
She looks put together. Her hair is done, makeup pristine, outfit polished. She doesn’t show up in sweats, looking a mess. The thing is, she thinks that if she looks the part, she’ll feel it. Sometimes this works. It helps her to feel confident, increasing her self-esteem yet continuing to struggle with the underlying self-deprecation.
She looks social. She goes out with friends, participates in school activities, attends family gatherings, converses with coworkers, goes to community events. She isn’t that girl sitting in her room crying like we might expect. She thinks that if she’s surrounded by others, she’s not left to deal with her own thoughts. Her social engagement helps to distract her from the loneliness and boredom. It can be a way for her to manage her depression, gaining energy from others.
She looks happy. Her Snaps and Instagram pics show her laughing, having fun, and making jokes. She doesn’t allow others to see her raw self, because that isn’t as appealing to others. She shines her smile, portraying to everyone she’s happy. It protects her from people asking questions or worrying about her, causing her to feel more uncomfortable. At times, the flattery she receives from others hitting the button “like” helps her to feel accepted and normal.
Depression isn’t always that obvious. In fact, it often can be referred to as the “invisible illness”. Just because she looks happy on the outside, doesn’t mean she feels that way on the inside, or even all the time. People that experience depression are often very careful to hide their feelings, putting a mask on to protect themselves.
We then tell ourselves, "If she doesn’t look depressed, then she must not really be". How can you recognize if someone is struggling with depression?
Allison Kidd, LSCSW works with teens to help reframe their negative thought processes, increase motivation, and find hope for change. Studies say that 15-20% of teens will experience depression before adulthood and depression can worsen if not treated. Now is the time to start working towards looking and feeling happy.
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brene Brown
1. It is not my job to fix others.
Relax and let go of the need to take responsibility for other people’s pain! We have enough of our own pain on our plate, it is important to set the boundary of not adding the pain of others’ to our plates. It is also important to remember that you need to make a realistic decision about where people fit in your life based on who they are, and not who you want them to be! You have to stop treating people like you owe them something; you owe the attention to yourself!
2. It is okay if others get angry.
You can’t control this, nor should you feel that this is your responsibility. People are going to react to things in their own chosen way, and it is impossible for you to be in control of that! I know I know, if you are the reason that they’re angry you feel responsible to undo that anger, but I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. If someone is angry about something, that is their responsibility! Your responsibility is to maintain the boundary of not taking on their anger.
3. It is okay to say "no".
This one is my favorite! If you take anything away from this post please let it be this: it is okay to say no. You are only one person, and even though we all like to think that we can, we cannot single handedly take on the world. We cannot single-handly attend every birthday party, family reunion, wedding, or any other celebratory event. It is okay to say, "No, I cannot make it this time." The same goes for taking on new tasks. How many times do friends or family ask if you can do them a favor? If you don’t have time, SAY NO! If you do not set this boundary, you will burn yourself out and have no energy left for the most important person: yourself!
4. It is not my job to take responsibility for others.
Don’t you think that it’s hard enough to take full responsibility for your own actions sometimes? You cannot take responsibility for others because that is their responsibility. So often we want to help others and guide them in the right direction, but then we become frustrated when our guidance is not accepted or appreciated. If a person doesn’t want to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, then it is not your job to take that responsibility! Nothing others do is because of you, what others say and do is a projection of their own reality!
6. It is my job to make me happy.
Your only job right now is to set goals to be happy; genuinely, intensely, and consistently happy, regardless of what that looks like to others. When you become a happier human being as a result of letting go of certain people or things, that’s the universe’s way of letting you know that you made the right choice.
7. Nobody has to agree with me.
Don’t take things personally if someone does not see eye to eye with you on something. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. You don’t have to agree with a person to earn their respect, and they don’t have to agree with you to earn yours, you don’t always need someone to agree with you!
8. I have a right to my own feelings.
Just as we do not have control over the way that someone else feels about something, nobody has the control over the way that we feel about something. It’s not someone else’s job to decide if they hurt you or made you feel some type of way! Your feelings are valid. You have the right to feel whatever you feel. You aren’t exaggerating. You aren’t being too sensitive. You aren’t being dramatic. You’re hurting, and that’s okay!
9. I am enough.
Repeat 10x’s every morning that you wake up, because there is nothing more true. No matter what, you are always enough! You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously, and that’s the great thing about being human! Brene Brown said it best when she said that authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are!