Relinquishing Independence and Inviting Interdependence: Understanding When its Safe to Let Go of Control.

Solo Vacation-Its a thing “Independent Women” Do.

This is a tough post to write because simply put, I’m pissed off. I never like to write when I’m upset because often my emotions at the best of times can be fleeting and reactive. And I am glad that I took the time to take a few days to cool off before publishing this post and took time the time to reflect upon what ignited my temper tantrum. You see, I feel more and more these days that my affinity for independence, has impeded on my ability to engage and trust in the idea of Interdependence- A term that up until recently seemed like a swear word.

To provide further insight to my inner workings, I am a deeply sensitive person, who has a history of being taken advantage of in previous romantic relationships, by friends, and family. Over the years I have become far more assertive in protecting my best interests, as these experiences have not only hurt but been a reminder that I often get tired of. These experiences have served only to reinforce the idea that the only person I can count on at the end of the day to protect my achievements, growth, and my value quite frankly is me. But what if this isn’t the case all the time?

Let me also just say before my loved ones read on and feel hurt by my unhinged thought processes, allow me to shine light on you first before I go any further. I do not want to minimize the people in my life that are amazing and loving supports who have been unwavering with their loyalty to me. Without them I would not be the reasonably sane person I am today. I feel like I belong and am important to those who show me love, kindness and thoughtfulness. They aspire me to continue being who I am in my most authentic form, and also why I’m writing this today. I believe it is my responsibility to address that no negative experiences from the past is going to discourage me from being who I love to be. They allow me the safety to love fearlessly- I’m in gratitude of that.

But as mentioned above sometimes I just get tired. You see, I have been indepedent for a very long time, long before I actually had developed the skills to actually carry that out sucessfully. I was a boarding school kid who’s parents lived on the other side of the world. For the longest time I had very little need for them and relied mostly on the company and guidance of my peers and teachers at the time. So when I ventured into the cold world of hard knocks, I was simply a lamb to the slaughter, naive to the dangers and cruelty that lay beyond the borders of my prestigious boarding school campus.

It would be through a series of really crappy life lessons learned that I’d finally figure out it that is was do or die if I did not do what was necessary in terms of creating some stability. Having a daughter at the age of 22 and being a single parent had a lot to do with motivating me to be my best ally in life. I had learned through some traumatic and life altering experiences that counting on people or believing in people was never a safe option- which in hindsight is really sad, and I don’t believe this to be true for everyone. I strongly believe that my mistrust is rooted in my own trauma, and am able to see examples of people who truly can be counted on. Read Here to Learn More.

When I consider examples of the term interdependence what comes to my mind is a few of my friends who are married/common-law. I would say “happily married,” but there are days I’m sure they’d disagree with that statement. I most certainly am not the one to make any judgements on marital bliss given my own track history. So I will stick with the topic and zero in on part of their marriages that is heavily rooted in their commitment to the partnership aspect of it. I percieve this like perhaps a running contract whereby they have developed some level dependability on the other person. As in, to know that if they fall, the other will catch them. If they loose their job, they will clothe and feed them. If they want to pursue their dreams, they will carry them until they succeed, or again…catch them if they fall. The freedom to raise their children as a stay at home mom or dad and know everything will be taken care of. And if I could be perfectly honest…the freedom to be a kept Woman/Man/preferred Pronouns* le sigh….one could always wish right? My dream would also include a nanny, a cook, a personal trainer and an on call therapist that also feeds me grapes while draped in fancy loungewear.

I digressed.

But as much as brood over this idea, I don’t actually believe I could ever be that woman. My experiences have defined me, and to be honest ruined me to ever accept a life of leisure. Underneath all that layered scar tissue lives a little twinkling light of wonder that glimmers with the thought of one day letting myself kick up my feet and letting Jesus take the wheel- but with Jesus being a man, I have my doubts even with the almighty…enough said.

As I dive deeper into my own self awareness on the subject, it is not independence that I’m flouting, it is Mistrust. The kind whereby I imagine I could make someone feel “not good enough” to take on the role of being my partner. Or perhaps giving the impression that the care I require from another could ever live up to the expectations I have set for myself. I also worry about my ability to live through another disappointment that at times in my life has almost annihilated me. Yet here I stand like a bronzed statue, weathered by the storms, blessed by the luck of the seagulls excrement; my placard almost illegible. Nobody knows what to think when they see a spectacle as grand and calamitous as this but maybe admire from a distance, maybe occasionally taking a photo with it. That pretty much sums up the bulk of why few have been brave enough to tackle exploring a partnership with me. They just don’t know where to start.

But like most good parties, pity parties too must come to an end. Just as I love to take care of the loved ones in my life, I need to allow others to take the opportunity to take care of me, even if I feel that they fall short at times. Not every man or woman is meant to be kept, just as every man or women is not meant to be keeper of others. Nor should I assume that the value behind the “keeping of each other” should be measured by the means that we often run too when we think of freedom, namely financial freedom. Although if I never had to work again, that it would sit okay with me!

According to Terry Gaspard, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, “Reliance on others can be healthy and affirming. The problem is that as children we weren’t always taught how to balance self-reliance with healthy interdependence.” Terry explains “On the surface, it’s wonderful to be independent, self-sufficient and resilient. But when you believe you must do everything for yourself, you create your own demise. It’s hard to let your partner in. It’s hard to give him/her room to come through for you. But if you are ever to enjoy the full nature of intimacy, you must. In small doses, self-reliance is positive. But when it pervades your approach to the world it can deprive you of true love, commitment and trust. To avoid this fate you must learn to reign in your self-reliance, to recognize when it prevents you from trusting in your partner, and to acknowledge when it denies your partner of everything you have to give.”

Dr. Willard Harley, a marriage counselor, defines interdependent behavior as activities of a spouse that are conceived and executed with the interests of both spouses in mind. He maintains that certain levels of dependence in intimate relationships can be beneficial and promote emotional closeness.

6 Steps to Achieving Interdependence

1. Take ownership if you are too self-reliant. If it’s extreme, pinpoint the source of it and examine your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs.

2. Challenge your beliefs and attitudes about accepting nurturing and support from your partner. Resist the urge to be self-reliant around hot-button issues such as money, work, or family matters — like how you celebrate holidays or vacations.

3. Visualize yourself in an honest and open relationship and work toward allowing yourself to be more vulnerable with your partner — a critical aspect of intimacy.

4. Remind yourself daily that it’s healthy to accept help from others and a sign of strength rather than weakness. This might also apply to your work setting.

5. Develop a policy of joint agreement if you are in a relationship. This term, coined by Dr. Harley, describes an agreement couples make to resist making decisions without an enthusiastic agreement between them and their partner — especially important ones that impact both people.

6. Adopt a mindset that it’s good to count on your partner. Believe that you can share your deepest feelings with him/her and it will promote healthy attachment, trust and intimacy. You must let them in and embrace the idea that you don’t have to go through life alone.

Dependence is often seen as a dirty word in our culture. It conjures up images of weakness and insecurity. But certain levels of dependence in intimate relationships can be helpful and sustaining. Intimacy serves to help illuminate parts of oneself never truly realized. Healthy partnerships bring out the best in people, because when they feel safe and loved, they are free to grow and explore who they are as human beings. Instead of depending on a partner, we need to seek interdependence. We must believe that we do not have to go through life alone.

“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.”

― Erik H. Erikson

As I suspected, in being overly self-reliant, I must remember that by allowing myself to depend on others, I can help develop autonomy and strength. Revealing vulnerability with my partner, has never been the issue, its the “what’s next part” that has always scared me. What if they think I’m crazy, or what will they do with this info? Will they use this to hurt me or use against me? Will they magnify my weknesses and silence my strengths? Or alternatively will Letting go of control, fear and other intense emotions help to make my relationships more solid.

Only time can tell as I grow more secure in the idea that others love me,. To accept that independence and love do not need to exist on separate planes.

When you depend on others, you are at your strongest. I will take this forward with me as I relinquish some control and communicate faith in others ability to “Take Care of Me.”

Guardians of Our Galaxy: Practicing Emotional Hibernation

Every Day Psychic Protection Techniques

If you know me, you know that I can be expressive in a lot of ways, but don’t often dive to deep into the ethereal domain of the metaphysical language used to describe my spiritual being. Not because I don’t believe in it, but its just not how I speak or understand my own conscious self. I much rather stick to the more pragmatic ways of understanding the inner workings of my brain. Particularly how it functions in response to how I believe I’m subsequently protectively evolving by building resilience internally in these times.

Now I would be today years old that I learned that Emotional Hibernation has already been identified as a thing- but mostly in relation to men, and typically described in a negative way. Here I thought I was on to something unique? But in my searches and readings I came across this poem called The Reptilian Brain:

This Old brain is here to stay.

Hunger pangs and Primal Instincts,

A never-ending search for pleasure.

Questions nagging the human mind,

Are you safe, Are you Secure?

Emotion is a human addiction,

Chase the highs and suffer the lows.

Fear of failure and love of power,

The lizard brain is fuel to the fire.

It couldn’t have captured the essence of what has exhausted me over the last year or so. The repetitive themes replaying in in my head like a broken record have since overstayed their welcome to the point where I have now reached a new state of being- not absent- but not present either. The way a bear may tuck itself away during the winter months: Alive, Breathing and Regenerating- or what we know as Hibernating.

I also believe, everything that changes can also be likened to seasons, that is why I used the word Hibernation, some animals are known to hibernate during the harsh winter, remaining inactive for some periods of time to save energy. Did you know that all mammals—whether on land or in the sea—have adaptations to help them survive in cold water.

One adaptation is known as the mammalian diving reflex (or MDR). When exposed to cold water , all mammals’ bodies respond in a similar way. The heart rate slows, and the blood vessels in the arms, hands, legs, and feet constrict, or tighten. These changes help the body conserve oxygen, and make sure that the brain, heart and other vital organs get the most blood flow.

Now apply this concept to how we regulate our environments and social climate. Emotions just like every other form of energy can also be spent and we sure spend a great deal of them, any sane person in today’s society should feel emotions not just to personal issues but to societal and environmental issues.

But there comes a time when we must realize when we are spending too much emotions on things, recognizing that point could save us from getting drained emotionally. This I believe is where the Emotional Hibernation kicks into high gear, at least for me. I’ve had to purposely coach myself through this realization whereby there is no need to panic- I’m not dropping into a despair or turning into a recluse. I’m just merely slowing the rate of stimuli being thrown my way so that I can preserve my energy and allocate them into the areas that need the most attention.

So I have to ask myself is it indifference or is this an emotional shield? I strongly believe that adopting the skills around practicing Emotional Shielding brings protective factors to our own consciousness and ability to practice them in more purposeful ways than just implying indifference.

Dr. Judith Orioff- Author of The Empaths Survival guide breaks it down beautifully in the article: 5 Protection Techniques for Sensitive People-Learn to feel balanced and protected from sensory overload and negativity.

1. Shielding Visualization

Shielding is a quick way to protect yourself. Many empaths and sensitive people rely on it to block out toxic energy while allowing the free flow of positivity. Call on it regularly. The minute you’re uncomfortable with a person, place, or situation, put up your shield. Use it in a train station, at a party if you’re talking to an energy vampire, or in a packed doctor’s waiting room. Begin by taking a few, deep, long breaths. Then visualize a beautiful shield of white or pink light completely surrounding your body and extending a few inches beyond it. This shield protects you from anything negative, stressful, toxic, or intrusive. Within the protection of this shield, feel centered, happy, and energized. This shield blocks out negativity, but at the same time, you can still feel what’s positive and loving.

2. Define and Express Your Relationship Needs

Knowing your needs and being able to assert them is a strong form of self-protection for empaths. Then you can be in your full power in a relationship. If something doesn’t feel right, raise the issue with your partner rather than suffering silently. Finding your voice is equivalent to finding your power—otherwise, you may become exhausted, anxious, or feel like a doormat in relationships where your basic needs are unmet. Your partner isn’t a mind-reader. Speak up to safeguard your well-being.

Ask yourself: “What do I need in a relationship that I’ve been afraid to ask for?” Would you prefer more alone or quiet time? Would you like to sleep by yourself sometimes? Do you want to play more or talk more or have sex more? Or would you like to dance under the full moon together? Let your intuition flow without judgment. Uncover your true feelings. No reason to be ashamed or to hold back.

3. Set Energetic Boundaries at Work and Home

Empaths often suffer in their environment when they absorb the stress in their surroundings. The workplace especially can be noisy and over-stimulating. To protect your energy level in an emotionally demanding or crowded environment surround the outer edge of your space with plants or family or pet photos to create a small psychological barrier. Sacred objects such as a statue of Quan Yin (the goddess of compassion), the Buddha, sacred beads, crystals, or protective stones can set a boundary. Noise-canceling earbuds or headphones are also useful.

4. Prevent Empathy Overload

When you’re absorbing the stress or symptoms of others and you need to release the negativity, inhale lavender essential oil or put a few drops midway between your eyebrows to calm yourself. Are you able to spend time in nature? Balance your alone time with people time. For me, time management is key to my sanity. I try not to schedule patients back to back. In my personal life, I don’t plan too many things in one day. I’ve also learned to cancel plans when I get overloaded. This is a skill all empaths must learn so you don’t feel obliged to go out if you’re tired and need rest.

Set clear limits with toxic people. Remember, “No” is a complete sentence. You don’t have to keep explaining yourself. I am adamant about avoiding draining people, particularly when I’m overloaded. Finally, practice self-compassion. Be sweet to yourself whenever possible—avoid beating yourself up. After a hard day tell yourself, “I did the best I could. It’s okay honey.”

5. The Jaguar Protection Meditation

When you need extra protection I recommend this meditation to call on the power of the jaguar to protect you. I use it when there is too much negativity coming at me too fast. The jaguar is a fierce and patient guard who can keep toxic energy and people away.

In a calm meditative state, from your deepest heart, call on the spirit of the jaguar to protect you. Feel her presence enter. Then, visualize this gorgeous, powerful creature patrolling your energy field, encircling it, protecting you, keeping out intruders or negative forces that want to get through. Picture what the jaguar looks like: his or her beautiful, fierce, loving eyes; sleek body; the graceful, purposeful way the jaguar moves. Feel secure in the circle of this jaguar’s protection.

Give thanks to the jaguar. Know that you can call on her whenever there is a need. Feel the power of that.

As a sensitive person, you must learn is how to deal with sensory overload when too much is coming at you too quickly. This can leave you exhausted, anxious, depressed, or sick. Like many of us, you may feel there is no on/off switch for your empathy. This is not true. When you feel protected and safe you can take charge of your sensitivities rather than feeling victimized by them. To gain a sense of safety, recognize some common factors that contribute to empathy overload. Begin to identify your triggers. Then you can quickly act to remedy a situation.

References-Adapted from “The Empath’s Survival Guide” by Judith Orloff MD.

What I like is that she states that the key to self-care is to quickly recognize the first signs of experiencing sensory overload or when you start absorbing negativity or stress from others. The sooner you can act to reduce stimulation and center yourself, the more balanced and protected you will be. So whenever we start to feel exhausted or overwhelmed to practice the above five protection tips to help regain balance.

So before you start to type out a lengthy reactive response to some strangers ignorant triggering rant on Facebook or Instagram, think about what I’ve brought up today. In addition, don’t feel for one second guilty about not being there for everyone or a crutch to lean on while in this state of emotional hibernation mode. Its okay to hang the Do Not Disturb Sign up as you please. We have but one constant in our lives, and thats being our own guardians of galaxy.

Three Reasons the Do Not Disturb Sign May Be Useless

The Office: A Once Prehistoric Place where People Once Worked. My Ode to the Youth Assessment Team.

Last night I worked another extra shift at our Afterhours Unit. It’s the epicenter that is anything Child Intervention for all Southern Alberta. It’s a busy place that houses upwards to 10- 12 social workers at a time with rotating 12 hour shifts. I’m going to avoid getting into what it is that goes on there and go into what used to go on there, more specifically in the little hub that sat below it for many years. Covid- 19 would require our leadership to make the decision that in order to keep this essential epicenter healthy and operational, they would need that little hub downstairs to. That little Hub housed one of the most important Units (in my mind) that has ever graced the city of Calgary- The Youth Assessment Team, also commonly known as YAT. The pandemic would send us home packing, never to return back there as a unit again.

Now I started at YAT about 5 years ago, and I am still with YAT as an Assessor in the child Intervention capacity. I do both investigations under the Child, Youth, and Families Enhancement Act as well as Protection of Sexually Exploited Children’s Act. We are small yet mighty unit consisting of 3 PSECA workers and then my partner in crime, AKA. Work Husband AKA. Thrilla from Manila, AKA someone I call friend. Supervisors come and go as its not an easy unit to manage, and perhaps considered a stepping stone in the leadership world. But thankfully we have had our fearless Youth Practice Specialist hold it down and weather the storm with us no matter what. Which leads me to how extremely special and rare it is to have group of people that genuinely love working with teens in a social work capacity. In a pool of thousands, finding willing social workers to become a part of this unit can be challenging, as it takes a whole other skill set and patience that not many are brave enough to take on. Social Work can already be a thankless and undervalued career choice, so it is no wonder why many opt to not take on the added strain. But this is why YAT is so special, because while we are all so very different, we carry the same passion, love and commitment to our regions youth which serves as the connection necessary to keep us and city’s most vulnerable youth afloat as best we can. And while we are mandated and guided by the Acts in which we serve, it does not deter us or stifle our creativity in finding new authentic ways to make progress to form trusting relationships within the community we serve.

Being back in that unit is strange however as the carefully decorated boards that once held our profile pictures, achievements and birthday calendars are still there, yet the history of our presence has long been disposed of. Outsiders fill our seats, many who are new and unaware of who once occupied this space. They look at me as if I was the new face to these walls. In my mind I’m thinking, “No Honey, these Streets Belong to YAT, and that’s a Fact you Jive Ass Turkey.”

And as my shift carried on I’d reflect on my years here as my vision would walk me through the seemingly hardened memory lane streets.

There sat the big circle meeting table at the back that held 100’s of family meetings whereby tears were cried in joy and sadness. Many potlucks were eaten here too where we would share our appreciation and gratitude for the community partners we worked so closely with. This table would also serve as the starting point for files we would tirelessly work with, sometimes for months on end to either preserve or protect. Many times they would return to this very table; many didn’t make it back for sadder reasons. This would also be the table where the author would experience her first date with death after being exposed to a drug chemical bolus. Only after to find out she over reacted in an altered state and would be okay after a a few hours. This would serve as an example cross regionally why we don’t handle drug paraphernalia.

Your Welcome.

Sometimes our doors would be decorated for us or a new paper craft delighted our small humble offices. It was in this little hub that we’d set up an entire Christmas tree intrusively close to the desk of one of our co-workers who hated Christmas. Sometimes there would be tokens of gratitude left on our desks, giving us that pick me up that we so badly needed. Office doors sometimes needed to be closed so we could have our moment to fall apart and put ourselves back together. Other times they worked to keep the music played from becoming contagious and provoking a whole out dance party. . Other times they would close behind us because we had made a mistake, only to open again so we could give things another shot at doing better. The hallway that our doors opened up to, joined us together, also became a catwalk for us to WERRRRK our new Barrier Kits we had labelled with designer tags when the Opiate Crisis hit.

Summer months we’d all be told to get up from our chairs and take a walk to the community market across the street. We’d all come back with goodies to share and manage for brief moments to not talk about “our kids,” and talk about our lives. Birthdays were always a cause for celebration, and cake would be had most definitely! This is where I’d master the art of taking breaks in my day to catch some air and take in the serenity of the home gardens in the area brought me. This is where we’d stroll into Kensington and enjoy my first Free Stampede Pancake Breakfast.

Friday lunches were also a favorite, yet another time we could all sit around and of course “talk about our kids.” You see, these “kids” became a labor of love to us, and the more fierce, defiant and unruly they were, the more we wanted them to succeed. As a team, we understood this madness- we admired their resilience within the changes they encountered. As the years would march on we too endured change, but also a sense of pride.

So its no surprise the office I used to once complain about where on any given day the elevator broke down with someone in it, or a mouse trap had caught a new victim, that I would take our space back in a heart beat. The “Love Fern” that sits on the desk at the end of the hall; which just so happens to be the only window accessing sunlight- its still there. Last night I cleaned up its dead leaves, gave it a little water, and sent a picture to our team. I was so pleased to sit in that office for the 12 hours I worked, even though I was alone and the familiar smiles and laughs were no longer there. I felt at home for the first time since the pandemic started and hopeful that maybe in another year we’d make a home somewhere else. Its the one thing that “our kids” taught us- That change can nurture resilience, and no matter what environment we are in-there is always the opportunity for important work to be done.

Friday Date Night YYC: Down the Rabbit Hole

So this last Friday night My Honey Bear and I were joined by a couple of friends for another date night in the YYC. Our destination the Calgary Food Events Series: Foodies in the Park, Wonderland Dome Dining. I have been anticipating this event for a long time as I’ve always had a deep connection with the story of Alice in Wonderland by British Author Lewis Carrol. My intrigue embedded in the motifs and symbolism of the characters and lessons within the seemingly childlike story of Wonder. If you are not familiar with them I encourage you to explore further as they have played a significant role in finding resolve within many epiphany’s I have encountered in this life.

Themes and Motifs

In addition, the continuous stream of good reviews and beautiful pictures had me counting down the days and hours, ready to find madness at any expense. It was not only the dining experience I was excited for the but the overall soiree of dining in a literal winter wonderland. And unlike any other winter wonder land us Albertans are used to, this was an Alice in Wonderland themed one!

Date nights for me are always an opportunity to take the tags off a new cute outfit and dawn some new heels. In a Covid world these occasions are few an far between, so when this gal can throw on her sequins and lashes, you bet she pulls out all the stops. So prior to leaving for our date night, I was reminded by Practical Pete the Fashion Fun Police several times to dress warm and opt for the less dangerous foot attire as he shook his head at my original thigh high healed boots I had been itching to wear. And not knowing the level of comfort we would be experiencing inside the dome we came equipped with blankets gloves and scars ready to endure the -11° weather. Never mind that we had experienced an October snowstorm that whole day so the drive there in itself an adventure.

When we arrived at Fish Creek Park in Calgary, site of the the well-established Bow Valley Ranche restaurant is located. See my previous Friday night YYC Date Night post on this special heritage Farm House dining experience.

And to my disappointment, I most surely could have absolutely worn the boots as we proceeded to take a little walk towards the event area on the freshly shoveled paths. Anticipation escalated as the lights twinkled in the distance. Our journey down the rabbit hole was accented by the colonial style street lamps that took me back in time when lovers would stroll in Hyde Park. All bundled up we strolled collectively arm and arm, our heads decorated appropriately for a Mad Hatter party like no other. Our manly escorts who were initially perplexed by our wardrobe decisions that evening, now understood what all the pomp and circumstance was over. They too were realizing perhaps they were underdressed for the exclusive invitation at the one and only Red Queen’s table; their heads would surely the first to roll!

When we approached the gates of Wonderland we were greeted by A Gourmet Hot Chocolate Stand where you can sip on decadent chocolate nectar that created a child like sense of nostalgia for myself. We wove through the crystal white garden corridors towards our little snow covered dome, which was now resembling an igloo from the snowfall. The inviting glow of the other mad ones indulging in the delights intrigued my senses even more. When the little door to our personal wonderland was opened as if I had taken the sip from the “Drink Me” bottle shrinking me further into the rabbit hole. The dome was delightfully warm, equipped with heating, and there was no need for the layers we had brought.

Did I mention, I could have definitely worn the boots.

The setting was authentically decorated with the kind of tasteful magic you’d expect at the Red Queens table. The men allowed us to squeal with excitement- in fact they were squealing internally I’m sure of it. Our server “C.V.” was exceptional- he aimed to entertain and indulge in the experience with us. We were never in need of anything as he catered to our every request- even providing us sugar cookies to take home with us to the children who were tucked away in bed as the adults played.

“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

.

The Menu is preset upon booking your tickets for the event-with us dining on a variation of Beat Salad plated like a backwards clock, roasted duck, beef tenderloin, salmon and cod. Desert was an assortment of naughty delightful tarts. The signature cocktails packed a powerful buzz to ignite fun and laughter filled conversation throughout the night. We were sure to incorporate our escalating gitty-ness with mounting shenanigans that truly were as Mad as a Hatter could get.

When in Rome!

“We’re all mad here.”

-The Cheshire Cat

This event I would attend religiously now that I had the opportunity to experience it. Many ask is it worth it? Well of course it is as you are factoring in the price of an entire “experience “ which when you consider how much you spend on just a night at a restaurant, movies or nightclub, it wouldn’t even come close in value! It ends November 1st, so if you are able to squeeze into a remaining reservation don’t miss this! There is even for the afternoon tea option I highly recommend if dinner is not an option!

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

-Alice

Sadly our evening came to an end in which I felt as if time had stood still until the clock struck midnight. We were all just beaming with delight and so grateful to have had the opportunity to share in this experience. Our night did not end there, and was quickly followed tucked cozily into bed watching the Disney Tale from in the comfort of my pajamas. I simply cannot wait for the next time Foodies in the Park does another event like this!

If you enjoyed this Tale of sorts please continue to come by and visit for more adventures in the life of CeCe D. Drop a line, give me feed back, let me know what you think!

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Surviving Social Work in Pandemic: A Practice Model in Staying Well

I had created this presentation for my unit about 2 months into the Pandemic. Probably the only time ever in my long career to take on an ass kissing task like this. Admittedly, I was struggling to get my footing and I knew that this slow period needed to be spent in a meaningful type of way. So the social worker in me decided to social work myself and put this helpful guide together for others alike.

Approaching Wellness From a Canadian Indigenous Framework

The Medicine Wheel: Organizing our Wellness

How Can We Lead or Support Our Teams if We Are Struggling too?

“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”

Lets Begin

Spirituality

“Solitude is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it.” ~ Deepak Chopra

Spirituality as a Support to Mourning and Grieving; Identify those losses in your life and all that you are missing. Create idea pin boards, lists of restaurants, places you want to travel, bucket list plans, or even festivals you want to attend. These will all contribute to a sense of hope by changing your lens that some of these losses are just temporary and better times are ahead.

Connect with others who are passionate about the same issues.  Whether it’s your self-care buddies, community of care, or a local organization or campaign you are volunteering for, surround yourself with people who can understand how you feel. Venting alone doesn’t help, combine complaining with action! Get into the practice of walking away during your Venting/Complaining Sessions with action items of how to constructively do something about the things we want to see changed.

Put good deeds back into the universe—directly. Focus on creating that human connection, on giving back and showing others that there is still kindness in the world. Balance your self-care with a healthy dose of kindness activism.

Curate your methods of staying informed. Truly evaluate how much news you are absorbing and be mindful of how the news affects you—physically, mentally and emotionally. Almost two years ago, I decided to stop getting my news from television. Turn off all but one of the push notifications on my phone in order to limit interruptions during the day.

Give myself permission to cry. Anticipate the ebb and flow of emotions that go along with the adaptation processes.  Feeling sad, disheartened, or downright hopeless at times is a commonality among us all.

Incorporate Prayer/Meditation/Breathing Exercise’s in the morning and at night if you are struggling to manage the anxiety, worries and restlessness.

Consider What’s in Front of You. Pay attention to what is simply visibly present around us that blesses us each day

Examples:
Did you tackle a recipe that you’ve been meaning to try, or bake a cake from scratch that actually turned out?
Did you hit the lottery and able to find Lysol Wipes or toilet paper at the store?
Were you able to finally transition from your day pajamas to wearing pants for your zoom/skype meetings?
Is your family safe with you at home?
Is the isolation and social distancing giving you more time to make room for other things that never had time for before?

Don’t minimize your accomplishments as small as they may seemingly be.

Try some for yourself!

And Most Importantly…Don’t Forget to Laugh

Physically:

“Did my FitBit  really only count 932 steps today?”

•Create a space in your home to work in(outside of your bedroom), and make it your own by filling it with things that bring you joy. Ensure your set up properly so you have all the items you need from forms, technology, and equipment.

•Ensure you are taking wellness breaks by getting up, walking, cycling, gardening or spending time in your drive-way chatting to the neighbor across the street. Included in this may also look like trips to the fridge for a snack. These steps count!

•Schedule time for Fitness in your day: Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, now is the time to get moving. Not only will it improve your energy, but boost your immune system in times we need to stay healthy.

•Now is the time to take your vitamins and eat as much nutrient rich foods as you can. Sun is also a great source of Vitamin D- Take your computer and sit in the sun when you can, to avoid an unnecessary trip to the pharmacy.

You’re Hella Canadian if you grew up with these two!

Free Fitness Resources/Apps

´1. RUNTASTIC

Running, jogging, biking – it doesn’t matter how you train, keeping track of your workouts is essential. Runtastic allows you to set goals, uses a built-in GPS to record routes in real-time, and even lets you share your successes with your friends.

PERKS OF RUNTASTIC

The app syncs with Apple Music to offer high tempo playlists for true musical motivation

By tracking your mileage, Runtastic guages what wear and tear your trainers are enduring

´2. ASANA REBEL: YOGA AND FITNESS

You don’t have to be a full-blown ‘yogi’ to use Asana Rebel. This handy little fitness app offers the perfect introduction to the regime. Rather than bombarding you with annoying notifications, you get a green dot on the built-in calendar when you train. You also get two new workouts every day so you’ll never get stuck doing the same old routine.

PERKS OF ASANA REBEL

When you first login to the app – using Facebook or an email – you’ll see a screen that asks you to ‘unlock’ the premium version. Don’t be fooled. You can still use the free option by simply clicking the exit button at the top of the screen.

´3. MYTRAINING WORKOUT TRACKER LOG

MyTraining packs a selection of helpful training videos, a routine log, and a handy calendar feature, but that’s not all. Technology may have come a long way, but you just can’t beat support from world class coaches. That’s exactly what this tracking app offers.

PERKS OF MYTRAINING

Got a burning question about your workout? Simply open the chat feature and speak to a certified coach in minutes.

´4. MY VIRTUAL MISSION

Are you in need of some workout motivation? If your current exercise is less-than-inspiring, My Virtual Mission may be the app for you. Use it to create the virtual fitness route of your dreams – literally. If you can imagine a route, the app can create it.

PERKS OF MY VIRTUAL MISSION

If you have a desired route in mind, the app will tell you how many miles that is and set a goal for you.

When you’ve completed the route, you can even send a virtual postcard to your contacts to show off.

5. COUCH TO 5K RUNNER

The hardest part of any run is taking that first step. Couch to 5K offers running novices all the advice, support, and help they could possibly need. The NHS program claims to get people off the couch and running in just nine weeks.

PERKS OF COUCH TO 5K RUNNER

Great for easing you into your new regime, so you can realistically work your way from a 15-minute route to a 5K run

Each workout is guided by a voice over from the likes of Olympian Michael Johnson to BBC presenter Jo Whiley

6. DAILY WORKOUTS FITNESS TRAINER

Ideally, staying fit and healthy means hitting the gym or track regularly. However, sometimes, you may not have the chance to get out nor the time to dedicate to it. The Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer app means you can exercise well in the comfort of your own home.

PERKS OF DAILY WORKOUTS FITNESS TRAINER

You can choose which area of your physique you’d like to target and the app offers a simple yet effective five to 30-minute workout that fits the bill

The uniquely genius thing about this app is it’s simplicity. Download it, pick a discipline, and get working

7. FITBOD WEIGHT LIFTING TRAINER

If the CrossFit phenomenon has inspired you, you’re not alone. More men and women are lifting weights than ever. When giving this regime a shot, Fitbod Weight Lifting Trainer is the ideal app. The step-by-step nature of the program makes planning an effective strength training workout effortless.

PERKS OF FITBOD

The more you use the app, the more it understands your abilities and the challenges you face

You can tailor your workouts to suit your training style and the available equipment too

Free Dance Apps/Websites

Apps for IOS/Android 

 Top 20 Free Dancing Apps To Learn Dance On Android And iOS Device1.1 Crazy Flamenco Rumba Dance

´1.2 ElfYourself ´

1.3 Just Dance Now

´1.4 Step Dance ´

1.5 Hip Hop Dance

´1.6 Pole Dance Lessons

´1.7 Pocket Salsa

´1.8 Dancing elf

´1.9 Face Dance

´1.10 Animate Yourself 3D

´1.11 Belly Dance Fitness

´1.12 Animate Me

´1.13 NinjaMe

´1.14 Hip Hop Dance School

´1.15 STEEZY Studio

´1.16 DWM

´1.17 Learn Bhangra

´1.18 Santa’s Christmas Dance

´1.19 Baby Hazel Ballerina Dance

´1.20 Dance School Stories

Emotional:

“REMEMBER, IT’S HUMAN TO FEEL HOPELESS.”

The National Center for Emotional Wellness defines this term as an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of your emotions, and your ability to manage effectively through challenges and change.

Emotional Wellness is so important there is even a whole month dedicated to this, can anyone guess what month that is?

For the most part, being human means having challenges and problems; however, it’s all about how you deal or cope with those issues that determines your emotional wellness.

It’s about embracing all the goodness in your life and looking at your glass as half-full rather than half-empty

Lets do a test-
Are you maintaining a good sense of emotional wellness?

1)Living in the present, without excessive worry about the future or rumination about the past?

2)Do you feel connected to others?

3)Self compassion?

4)Have you been holding on to grudges and been unforgiving?

5)Do you feel that you have been thinking rationally?

6)Do you feel in control of your own feelings, thoughts and actions?

7)Can you laugh at life and yourself? 8)Have you felt grateful lately?

Intellectually:

How do we stay sharp when the World’s been flipped upside down on us?

Defining Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness encourages us to engage in creative and mentally-stimulating activities. These activities should expand your knowledge and skills while allowing you to share your knowledge and skills with others.

Intellectual wellness can be developed through academics, cultural involvement, community involvement and personal hobbies.

Why is Intellectual Wellness Important?

Intellectual wellness encourages learning. It is important to explore new ideas and understandings in order to become more mindful and better-rounded. Having an optimal level of intellectual wellness inspires exploration. Intellectual wellness also stimulates curiosity. Curiosity is important because it motivates you to try new things and develop an understanding of how you see the relationship between yourself, others and the environment.

The Route to Intellectual Wellness

Be open to new ideas, new cultures, new knowledge, new skills and new environments. When you have an open mind, the world is truly yours. This allows you to explore issues relating to problem solving, critical thinking, learning and creativity. Below is a list of suggestions for you to adopt in order to enhance your intellectual wellness.

Listen. When you participate in active listening you are able to fully comprehend the information that is being given to you.

Pick up a hobby. Hobbies are great ways to increase your skill set. They can also be fun!

Express your creative side by exploring different avenues of creativity and artistic expressions.

Sessions that support Intellectual Wellness

´Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction: Mindfulness is seeing things more clearly, and paying attention moment to moment to moment. When you are mindful, you notice what is happening—as it is happens. This creates a space, a pause in which you can respond considerately to situations, rather than react. Creative possibilities open up; new ways of being with life’s challenges can present themselves.

´Transformational Coaching: Together we will identify the specific steps to make your dreams a reality. In addition, we will overcome fear, self-doubt and find the clarity needed to make the changes you desire. And finally, we will co-create strategies and your plan to reach your goals so you can achieve and have a well balanced life.

Steps to Achieve or Maintain Intellectual Wellness

´Read. There are good books, newspaper articles, essays from the internet that can be read by anyone. Through reading, your comprehension skill is challenged and it widens vocabulary that would equip you with the new development around.

´Listen to good music and radio program. It is found therapeutic to listen to positive music because it calms the emotions and decreases the risk of stress.

´Watch positive TV programs and videos. Choose informative videos and not the ones that corrupt the mind or infuse negative ideas. This way, you will absorb positive energy that enhances the ability to think.

´Be creative. When there is an activity to do, challenge yourself to make something new and different, not the one you are accustomed to, to see how far your mental ability can go.

´Desire to continue learning. Always challenge yourself to learn something new to keep your brain active and be curious to what is unknown to you.

´Attend seminars or workshops. This will help you gain new ideas that are seldom included in the books you buy. You will also improve your social wellness by meeting people and gaining new friends.

´Eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition is significant for the brain to function well and avoid mental stresses that may cause additional health problems.

Questions to consider as we go forward into a continuum of change and time of uncertainty…

Reflect on some of the old habits that were no longer serving purpose to you. What were they? How did they impact your self-care and wellness. What will happen if you let go of them?

What Habits have you acquired during the pandemic that have been beneficial and what is your plan to continue it?

Identify times, actions, or accomplishments that demonstrated strength and resilience in yourself? Can you share this with your team?

How have you grown or changed in reference to the 4 quadrants of the medicine wheel in the last 2 months? Where do you see areas that need attention? How can your leadership support this?