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I Need Help with Life Transitions.

I Need Help with Life Transitions.

For some of us, change is hard. If you are someone who finds change hard, you may also struggle with life transitions. Does having a change in your life pattern affect you in ways that can seem hard to overcome? If so, you are not alone. Today we are going to talk about life transitions and steps that can help yourself through them. Are you currently facing a transition? How are you coping?

What is a Life Transition?

Simply said, a life transition is any change in your life that marks the beginning of something new. There are positive transitions as well as hard transitions. Some will bring about joy and happiness, while others can cause sadness and grief. Being able to recognize that your life is changing and processing how that change will impact you, is important. If left unprocessed, we can accumulate pain, anger, bitterness or resentment. All of these can affect our lives and relationships. Below are some examples of common life transitions. Are you currently experiencing one or more of these?

  • Getting married
  • Having a child
  • Starting a new job
  • Moving away to college
  • Moving from your family home
  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Retirement
  • Health changes
  • Getting a promotion at work

If you find yourself in the middle of a life transition or have one coming up, please continue to read. Below we will talk about ways to prepare for a life transition as well as what to do when you feel like you can’t move beyond one.

How Can I Handle Life Transitions?

Recognizing that you are walking through a season of change is the first step. While some may have a tendency to put off thinking about change or how they feel about it, that does not help them grow emotionally or mentally. Keeping things inside and choosing to not talk about them, will not heal them. In fact, it can cause the opposite for you. Having pent up emotions can cause a wide span of health issues and can increase mental health issues. So, now that we have determined that it is best to try to process how you are feeling, suggestions for how to do so are needed. Below are a few steps that you can incorporate in trying to be intentional about processing your emotions during a life transition.

  • Talk to someone you trust about what you are feeling
  • Practice consistent sleep patterns
  • Maintain healthy eating choices
  • Be mindful of using alcohol or drugs to cope
  • Journal your feelings
  • Practice mindfulness and focusing on what is happening in this moment
  • Acknowledge how you feel and the emotion that comes with it
  • Keep a list of things you are grateful for and remind yourself of them

Being willing to try a step to help you through a transition is important. Change simply does not come if we can’t take steps toward change. If you have tried ways to help yourself through transitions, but seem to fall short of positive improvements, Upstate Restorative Counseling offers Life Transitions counseling. We have therapists who desire to help you establish goals and work with you to develop a plan forward. You are not alone. Reach out, we would love to talk to you.

Could This be Burnout?

Could This be Burnout?

Burnout is a feeling of being constantly exhausted and feeling overwhelmed. It can occur when we are exposed to prolonged physical, emotional or mental stress. It can leave us unable to keep up and cope with life’s demands. Are you in a season of long-term stress? Have you felt the effects of burnout? Below we will talk about ways to recognize burnout as well as steps you can take that could help bring back normal levels of managing life’s demands and tasks.

What Types of Burnout are There?

There are many circumstances that can push us into a place of feeling overwhelmed or stressed, unable to perform our responsibilities. While our jobs can be a major contributor there are other things that also add to our feelings of exhaustion. Some of those are listed below.

  • Heavy workloads that require consistent overtime
  • Unbalanced or unfair treatment at work
  • Lack of support
  • Overload from pursuing success in something
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Being a caregiver for a long period of time
  • Compassion burnout
  • Cycles from different types of addiction

How Do I Identify Burnout?

As mentioned above, there are different types of burnout but often times, some of the same circumstances cause can cause it. Keep in mind that burnout doesn’t happen overnight or quickly. It usually is gradual and will become heavier over time. Often times there are more than one situation or circumstance that is involved. Our bodies ability to cope and compensate decrease while simultaneously increasing our doubt and frustration with ourselves. Below are a few symptoms that could point to the possibility that you are experiencing burnout. It’s important to act upon the condition(s) as they can cause major life disruptions if left unmanaged.

  • You ignore your personal needs to accomplish work goals
  • You neglect family commitments or needs to succeed at work
  • You feel underchallenged or not useful in your career
  • You feel there are no chances of advancement from your position
  • You feel tired and exhausted all the time
  • You lack enthusiasm or motivation
  • Your drive to complete tasks has decreased
  • You dread having to return to a regular task
  • You take your frustrations out on those around you

Many of us find ourselves in a place of burnout in our lives. It can be a normal experience. Recognizing it is the first step. The next, most important step, is to seek change and/or help to be able to overcome the feelings. Below are some suggestions that could help.

How Do I Overcome Burnout?

As said above, the first step is recognizing what you are experiencing is real and can affect you and your family. Be kind to yourself, it is not a sign of weakness. It takes strength to stand up for yourself and care enough to keep yourself healthy for you and those who depend on you. Left alone, burnout can affect us mentally as well as physically. It can cause greater health issues that, if left alone, could need medical attention. If you could use ways to try to balance the responsibilities and keep yourself free from the overwhelming pressure of burnout, the below suggestions could help.

  • Admit there is a problem
  • Take a break or vacation to spend time considering your needs
  • Incorporate activities to help your well-being
  • Decide if a new job is necessary
  • Make a change in lifestyle
  • Ensure you get proper sleep each night
  • Learn something new if you feel undervalued
  • Learn to say no and set boundaries

Learning new routines in life can be hard. We are the only ones who can decide if our jobs or career own us, or we own them. We are the only one who can take a step toward the change we need. If you are experiencing burnout and have not been successful with managing it, we can help. Upstate Restorative Counseling can work with you establish goals as well as tools to help you achieve them. Reach out today. You don’t have to do this alone.

New Year, New You. Or is it?

New Year, New You. Or is it?

Did you know that 80% of the New Years resolutions that we commit to fail by February? It’s true. And only 8% of them will make it through the whole year. With statistics like that, it may be a better idea to reflect on the past year, honestly decide where your struggles interrupted your desires and put together a plan to be successful, long term. Have you tried to set New Year’s resolutions and have issues keeping them? It could be that a new approach is needed.

Reflect on Last Year.

Reflecting on the last year is an important part of growth. We do not need to dwell there or allow the things of the past to keep us frozen and moving forward. However, we do need to be able to look back and analyze what went well, what we accomplished as well as where our holdups or failures are. Being able to be honest with ourselves and make a plan forward keeps us growing toward our desires for ourselves. Have you spent time reflecting on last year? If you could use some help with questions to reflect on, I have suggestions below. Make sure to schedule time and be intentional with your purpose so interruptions don’t discourage you.

  • Who are my closest and most healthy relationships?
  • What was my most important goal? Did I achieve it?
  • What did I enjoy the most at home and work?
  • What did I waste the most time doing?
  • Can I recognize my biggest mistake from last year?
  • What was my best memory?
  • Where did I have the most fun?
  • What advice would I give myself over last year?

Take your time with these. If emotions are evoked, it’s ok. Allow yourself to feel them, take some deep breaths, and refocus on the present.

Set Goals for This Year.

Reflecting on last year isn’t to just rehash the past and ignoring the topics that evoke emotions can cause further issues. You can use your time spent looking at last year to help you set goals for this year. As you determine what you will spend effort in changing this year, keeping your eyes on how it affected you last year can help be a motivator with perseverance and follow through. Does all of this seem exciting but overwhelming? I understand, sometimes change is hard. Below are some suggestions that could help you set goals for this year.

Sometimes change is hard but change is necessary to grow. We simply can’t do the same things over and over and expect positive change to come. Are you excited to try this process and identify what will you work to change this year?

Celebrate the Small Wins.

Recognizing a win is something to celebrate. They shouldn’t be taken lightly, sometimes it is hard to break an old habit. Did you know that celebrating your wins will actually make you more likely to work on something the next time something needs some change? Below are some suggestions that you could use to celebrate yourself and your recent accomplishment.

  • Do something you enjoy like a hike or a massage.
  • Share your gratitude with someone who understands your effort in change.
  • Journal the things you are grateful for in this achievement.
  • Plan dinner or an outing with someone special and share with them.
  • Thank all of the people who helped you accomplish it.

These are just a few suggestions to get you to thinking. Whatever you do, celebrate you and your win! You are worth it.

If you are someone who has tried to implement change and find it difficult to set aside the pain or wound from the past, Upstate Restorative Counseling can help. We have counselors trained to help with depression, anxiety, life stages and other needs. Reach out today if you are ready to help.

 

 

How do I Cope with Grief During the Holidays?

How do I Cope with Grief During the Holidays?

Coping with grief can be hard. Grief is something we experience that produces deep sorrow, especially after someone’s death that you are close to. Often times, grief can disrupt the holiday season stealing the joy from gathering with family and friends. Today we are going to talk about grief, it’s affects and ways to cope with grief during the holidays.

What Causes Grief?

The death of a loved one is an obvious cause for grief but there are other events that can cause grief. Some of these could be hard to recognize as grief. As we talk through these today, I encourage you process the information slowly. Maybe you have some grief that has not been processed yet and there is a step forward you could take in healing. As mentioned above, there are multiple circumstances that can cause grief. Let’s take a look at some below.

  • Loss of a friendship or significant relationship
  • Death of loved one
  • Divorce
  • Major medical changes, injury or illness in you or someone you love
  • The loss of a pet
  • Career changes, especially if you see it as a demotion
  • Major financial changes or loss
  • Suicide
  • Miscarriage or infertility

When we or someone we love experiences a hardship, it can be hard to process all of the emotions that come with that. Each of us will experience some sort of grief and having knowledge and steps for coping can help during those seasons. We will take a look at that below.

How Do I Know if I am Grieving?

It is important to know that grief can affect every aspect of our mind, body and spirit. While grief is a normal emotion to experience, it important to recognize and process it to prevent it from taking a toll on our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Grief, left alone, can weaken our immune system as well as our nervous system and cause other issues within our bodies. So how do we recognize symptoms of grief? Below are symptoms that could signify you are experiencing grief.

  • Restlessness
  • Upset Stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness or Joint pain
  • Reduced Appetite or Eating outside of hunger
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Sleep issues – too little or too much
  • Confusion
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Lost sense of hope
  • Difficulty focusing

While these symptoms are helpful in identifying grief, some of them could be a symptom of another issue. If you are experiencing multiple of these symptoms, it is best to seek medical help to ensure medical attention isn’t needed. Do these feelings arise mostly at a certain time of year? That could indicate unresolved grief from an event that took place during that time frame. Maybe it is too hard to face a celebration without a loved one? We offer trauma counseling that could help you identify your grief and map out steps forward. Below we will talk about ways to process and cope with grief.

How Can I Cope with Grief?

First of all, grief looks different for every person. There is no set way that grief should look. There is no set time frame in which you should “be over” grieving. Be kind to yourself and know that what you are facing is hard. That is ok. It is important that we all take steps to process our grief and that will look different for each of us. As you read through the suggestions, celebrate that steps you are already taking. Maybe you can commit to one additional step at a time until your grief seems more manageable.

  • Process what you are feeling. Do not fill your days with distractions to avoid what you are feeling.
  • As you process what you are feeling, allow whatever you feel. Talk to someone about it or journal your thoughts.
  • Connect with people. Isolation during grief can extend your pain. Sharing what you are going through with someone you trust can help.
  • Create a routine or schedule. This can help you feel back to normal and you can regain a sense of control.
  • Go to bed and awaken at the same time each day. Regulating our sleep and internal systems strengthens us.
  • Eat a balanced diet that feeds your body with the needed nutrients.
  • Avoid numbing your feeling with alcohol or drug usage.
  • Self-care and exercise is important. Our bodies release endorphins and detox when we exercise.

Grief is hard. You are not alone in what you feel. If you have tried to process what you are feeling and you are still struggling to process your feelings, you are not alone. Talking to a counselor may be needed to help you recognize some steps to take to move forward. It could be the step that sets you free from a long season of grief. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here to help you. Contact us today for help coping with your grief.

Is There Inner Peace for Me?

Is There Inner Peace for Me?

In the world of counseling and self-care, increased moments of peace in our lives are common suggestions. With schedules continually to become busier and busier and our responsibilities growing it can be very hard to feel any inner peace in all the rushing around and moving right on to the next thing to do. When we live a life full of stress and business with no time for meditation or down time, our bodies as well as our minds become overloaded. Our systems suffer and our bodies cannot recover as well as it needs to. Today, we are going to talk about the need for peace in our lives and steps we can take to increase it. Ready to dive in?

What are the Risks of No Inner Peace?

When we push through life and ignore our bodies need for rest and recovery, we open ourselves up to many potential negative impacts. Increased anxiety and depression are often seen in the lives of those who have not taken steps to care for themselves. More frequent illnesses are also more common in those who lack self-care. Some of us will carry on through life not even realizing the harm in doing so or that there are other ways to take care of ourselves that can help us to develop inner peace. This could be because it is what we know, what we have be taught and modeled or what we have just fallen in to. Below are some possible things to consider when evaluating your lack of inner peace. Do you find these familiar in your life?

  • Multiple people in your circle who are toxic or negative
  • Always chasing something to make you happy
  • Often self-blaming for everything
  • Afraid to do new things that are uncomfortable
  • Blaming all your problems on someone else or something else
  • Desire approval from others
  • Struggle with being perfect
  • Consistent desire for some materialistic new thing

If you read through these things and found yourself familiar with multiple points, I commend you for making it through them. Simply put, we cannot grow if we are not willing to recognize areas where growth is needed. We cannot grow if we are not willing to see areas of our character that keep us stagnant. You are not alone and there is help. Below we will talk about why we need peace.

Why Do We Need Peace?

Peace in our lives and moments of calm relaxation helps us to focus and stay on track in life. It is easy to think that happiness or a good time is enough to carry us. As we walk through life and the trials we sometimes face, a deeper place of calm and stability is needed to remain focused and able to process what is needed to thrive. This can be different for each of us as we have different belief systems. The need for inner peace is the same in us regardless of our beliefs. The list below can help understand what establishing peace in your life can benefit.

  • Keeps our mind able to focus and process
  • We increase our ability to embrace life
  • We rest better and recover quicker
  • Helps us to enjoy the moments, to be present
  • Helps how we perceive the world and others

It is easy to see that there is benefit from taking steps to bring inner peace into your life, but how do get there? We will take a look at that below.

What are Steps to Increase Inner Peace?

We are people who have personal or unique interests and so the steps needed to increase inner peace could look a little differently for each of us. What you will notice is that the feel of each recommendation has the same characteristics. They are quiet, calm and bring stillness. We can’t fill our time from morning until night and squeeze “peace” in during the minutes before we sleep. We will need to be intentional in making changes. Our extracurricular things may need to change. Change will be necessary. Without choosing to change we will not be able to increase our inner peace. Ready to take a step that could help gain inner peace?

  • Mediate – clear your mind and focus on good thoughts
  • Take responsibility for your actions
  • Spend time being grateful – make a list of those things
  • Spend time in nature
  • Take walks and notice the trees and leaves instead of your list of to-dos
  • Declutter and/or organize your spaces
  • Reduce social media time
  • Practice deep breathing & count them – clear your mind
  • Enjoy time with people who make you smile and laugh

These are steps you can choose to try to change the structure of your days and open time for peace. Hopefully, over time, you will feel a lighter weight on you, free space in your mind with a more positive outlook. You are worth it. You deserve inner peace.

If you have taken steps for inner peace and find that you still struggle to balance your thoughts, your desires and responsibilities, we are here. You are not alone.

Are You Processing Grief?

Are You Processing Grief?

Grief is our response to someone or something we have lost. Grief comes when someone passes away, but grief can also come with lost relationships or major life events. Can you recognize grief within you? The goal of processing grief is to help move you beyond the initial event and the emotional response from receiving the information. It is important for us to know if we have taken the time to grieve so that we can continue excelling in life. If we haven’t, it is possible we have stuffed our grief inside, ignoring it. Storing up grief can affect us mentally, emotionally and physically as well as affect our relationships. Today we will talk about healthy ways to grieve.

Am I Grieving?

Grief is different for each of us. It is important to know that how one person grieves is not necessarily the way another one will. With that in mind, lets go over some characteristics of grief. You may be experiencing sadness or other emotions after you have loss someone or something. The sadness and emotions may not come right after a loss. Often, we have to push through the initial feelings of loss so it can take a little while before we can take the time we need process the loss. This does not always come right after losing someone. Grieving is not a onetime processing and can also come when you experience, it can also come when you experience something that reminds you of your loss, such as a holiday or a yearly event.

Grief can also come in forms of denial, disbelief or shock. Our bodies are designed to go into protection modes to keep us from becoming so overwhelmed that we shut down. These feelings seem to be the greatest at the first knowledge of the loss. Do you find yourself not able to accept the loss after a lengthy time frame? You could be stuck in this part of grief. It is important to recognize if you have been in a denial state for too long as you can completely stop processing grief it all together, giving yourself the false feeling of being numb to it.

Some people struggle with feelings of panic or confusion when they try to process a loss. It is easy to wonder and worry about how you will be able to fill the gaps of the loss. This can leave you to experience feelings of anger or feeling overwhelmed.

Not everyone will experience negative emotions at a loss. Sometimes your loved one may have been suffering and you feel relieved that they are no longer. This, too, are perfectly normal emotions to experience. Having these feelings or even mixed feelings, don’t mean you don’t love the person. Desiring the very best for someone, even for them not to suffer, is often times the deepest of loves. Can you recognize your ways of grief? Have you properly processed the losses in your life? Below we will talk about the importance of doing so.

What If I Don’t Grieve?

Often times, I think we try to convince ourselves that we are ok. That someday soon, everything will be ok and life will go back normal. We delay processing that fact that we lost someone important to us. We can make it sound ok in our minds, telling ourselves “life goes on” or “I should be over this” or … but recognizing whether we are actually processing the grief is very important. When we don’t process our grief the emotions of the event stays inside of us. These unresolved emotions can lead to serious issues in our lives. It can affect us physically, mentally and spiritually. Below are just a few examples of what could become of not processing grief.

  • You could become obsessive over thinking about it
  • You could develop anger issues
  • You could partake in addictive behaviors
  • You could become fearful of loosing others
  • You could remain mentally unhealthy, affecting each day

Holding on to your feelings and emotions is not a sign of you loving them more, but can an sign that you need to talk about your loss. Talk about your loss and seek help if need be. Can you recognize any struggles that may be affected by keeping grief inside? Do you want to heal, but don’t know how?

Steps For Grief.

By now, I hope that if you have held on to past grief, you are ready to take steps to try to process your thoughts and emotions about your loss. Deciding to take a step forward is huge. It may be hard, but it is necessary. Below are a few suggestions of steps to take to grieve in a healthy way.

  • Describe your pain and/or loss. What you loved about them and miss.
  • Accept any emotions or changes that are within you
  • Give yourself grace, we each grieve differently
  • Seek support from someone you trust
  • Take a step to care for yourself physically
  • Be honest with yourself if you are depressed or withdrawing
  • Envision your future. What new things need to happen?
  • Unresolved past grief

Processing grief doesn’t take place overnight. In general, we can only process a bit at a time. So, as you work through some steps for grief, allow yourself to pause and process and decide what steps you want to take for you and your future.

If you have tried to overcome a hard circumstance in your life and you need help taking a step, you are not alone. We are here to help. Upstate Restorative Counseling has therapists waiting to listen and help you establish a plan for your future.