Assertiveness: When to address distress?

Perhaps you know someone at work who continues to behave in a way that is causing distress. Maybe they talk very loudly when on the phone and you share an office space with them, or possibly they critique your work in a tone that is condescending.  You might feel like you have given the person the benefit of the doubt, but it seems that this behavior is getting more and more troublesome for you.  When do you decide to address this?  Will talking to this person only make things more awkward and uncomfortable?  Is there something you are doing that is contributing to this co-worker’s behavior?

My first recommendation is to take time to think this out and bounce it off someone you trust.  Dealing with sticky situations in the heat of the moment can make them even more sticky.

Photo by topgold.  Attribution license

Photo by topgold. Attribution license

Practice how you might approach this conversation.  Find a way to create a private space to talk to this person.  Start the conversation with an appreciation, such as “I really appreciate how much you help me.”  When addressing the issue, provide example of what occurred and how it made you feel.  Then allow the person to take in what you say.  They may need to clarify some things and ask some questions.  Finally, see if you both can find a way to try to resolve what hasn’t been working.  If you don’t have time for that or need more time to consider what might work, make an agreement to check in again to see what either of you might come up with.  Finally, agree to some time frame for seeing if new solution/plan is working for both of you.  This will allow you time to tweak things in the future if needed, and it also keeps the conversation going.

The Benefits of Caring for Ourselves

Several of my private practice clients have been talking about finding time to taking care of themselves.  While this generally seems like a basic task, it does seem to easily fall off our to do list.  Whether its getting a massage, taking a short walk, spending time with friends, considering healthier food choices, or buying pair of supportive shoes that help staying on one’s feet all day comfortable.  Did you know that research shows massage lessens stress, depression, anxiety, and reduce pain?  I’ve noticed for more than one person that finding a reasonable bed time and sticking to it has been a challenge and so we’ve brainstormed setting an alarm clock for bed time with hopes that waking up will become less of a struggle.   Getting enough sleep has been shown to improve memory, supports quality of life, curbs inflammation, enchances creativity, improves athletic abilities, improves grades at school or meeting deadlines at work, sharpens attention, supports healthier weight (those sleep deprived feel more hungry), lowers stress, makes you a better driver, and improves emotional stability.  

Taking time to take care of yourself can relieve stress and relax, it can improve our overall health both physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Another consideration is to think about who in your support network can support certain aspects of your self care.  Perhaps one of your friends loves to hike and could point out some new trails for you to try, or a colleague of yours enjoys a hobby that you’d love to try but you’ve hesitated because you are not sure where to start.  Getting time to yourself is also important to re-charge and to ground ourselvesso that you don’t lose sense of our priorities, purpose, and balance in our life.  With the holidays fast approaching I encourage you to think about ways to take some time to conside how you can integrate self-care in your routine.

Dealing with Stress & Anxiety at the Start of the School Year

The school season has started for many and the stress and anxiety about the school year starts early.  There are the pressures of school demands, expectations of the year to come, the demands of social connections, not to mention school sports, expenses, extracurricular activities, starting a new school, and the physical and emotional changes that are likely occurring for a student.

Some amount of stress is good, it can keep a person motivated, organized, and keep the brain functioning.  However too much stress can interfere with development because a person can become immobilized when they feel overwhelmed.

Tips on preventing stress include spending time with your school aged children, providing a stable home environment in terms of rules at home, eating habits, routines, avoid over scheduling, schedule family time, and trying to understand behavior communicating with your student.  Routines help alleviate stress as well as teach kids to learn to develop routines for themselves.  Family meetings can be helpful by providing a way to regroup and talk about what is going on, as well as what isn’t working too well and reviewing schedules and expectations together.

Signs of stress can include:

  • Fears and nightmares
  • Negativism and lying
  • Withdrawal, regressive behaviors, or excessive shyness

Quick tips on managing anxiety and stress

  • Take a time out; schedule quiet time
  • Eating well-balanced meals & decrease sugar
  • Avoid excessive caffeine intake, illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco
  • Get enough sleep
  • Accept you cannot control everything
  • Welcome humor
  • A positive attitude
  • Talk to your supports
  • Exercise
  • Respect personal space

I hope the school year has started smoothly for you, let me know if you would like me to meet with your student if they are struggling in school so we can get them back on track.

Dreams Come True

As I was driving home from a thunderous, lightening, and rain filled Oregon day this week, mentally preparing to meet my first client in my new private practice office I realized a dream of mine had come true.  I couldn’t believe that thought had almost passed me by without acknowledgement.  On my way home from the office today I realized two dreams of mine have come through already this year, with my masters completed in May.

New office sign.

New office sign.

I got my new office sign up this week next to my officemate.  Figured I’d best get some photos up of the place, a gorgeous and sunny day.

696 Country Club Road, Eugene, OR 97401

696 Country Club Road, Eugene, OR 97401




Wacky Wednesday: Preparing for the Unexpected

Often times I’ve found Wednesdays are wackier than others.  They tend to be full of the unexpected.  For an instance today I was excited to get to my internship with minutes to spare – only to find out I had to stand outside for about 5 minutes because the front doors weren’t opened on time;  my 9:30am meeting got bumped to 10:30am; the potential client we have been looking for still has not been found; I got assigned my first recovery group to lead & facilitate; I’ll be preparing a proposal for holiday planning for families; my friendly cat decided she wanted nothing to do with the anti-flea drops today!

Wacky Sensei

Even today’s blog did not happen this morning as it has every other morning this week!

So how do I prepare for the unexpected or as I call it, the wacky?

Today’s focus is being flexible with myself.  I can be very flexible with others, but I’m not so great with being flexible with myself.  Here’s an example of how I addressed the unexpected.

The goal:  Get my blog done by 7:45am.

  1. Create more realistic goal:  Get my blog done when I get home from internship.
  2. Create steps to make 2nd goal successful
  3. Focus on the title and how to approach it
  4. Think about topic at lunch
  5. Eat dinner
  6. Write
  7. Celebrate the success!

If I focus on the success of accomplishing the goal, I start feeling a whole lot better about my ability to “keep on trucking” -despite the cone in the middle of the road that caused me to swerve a bit.  How do you prepare for the unexpected?