Are you sleeping at night?

Are you sleeping at night?

Are you sleeping at night?

“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

This week my sleep has been elusive. I know why. I’ve been watching too much news that documents multiple natural disasters as they unfold. My heart and thoughts have been with people around the world struggling as they face adversity.

Our humanity compels us to watch, but the format of presentation, jumping from story to story and image to image, does not allow for mindful processing of what we witness.

I know that it’s only by acknowledging the impact things have on us that we are able to properly attend to our needs.

What I really need to do is find a moment when I can simply be still and present with my emotions.

Doing art is a helpful activity that allows me to make sense of my day.

If I allow myself this time for reflection, I will sleep better.

Is there any part in your day that allows you to pause and reflect on how you are doing? What might carving out this time for yourself look like?

There’s no “right way” of doing mindfulness. It’s a matter of what is right for you.

Warm thoughts,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Giving yourself a therapy vacation

Giving yourself a therapy vacation

Giving yourself a therapy vacation

Trauma recovery is hard work.

Just because recovery is your focus does not mean that you don’t need down time.

It’s not only therapists who need vacations. Clients too need therapy breaks.

Taking time off work due to injury is not the same thing as a vacation. Doing the work to recover requires steady effort and focus. Other people might perceive time away from the job as time off or vacation. We know it’s far from that.

Just as we would take breaks to rest and recharge from our jobs, the same is true for trauma recovery.

How much time do you think would be healthy or helpful for you?

Please enjoy it, guilt free, and know that we are doing the same.

Warm thoughts,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Mindfulness moments on Nova Scotia’s craggy shores

Mindfulness moments on Nova Scotia’s craggy shores

Mindfulness moments on Nova Scotia’s craggy shores

We recently learned that many of our Landing Strong community members are rock hounds. I thought it was just me, wandering the beaches of Nova Scotia gleefully gathering prized specimens. It turns out, it’s a shared passion. We are united in the joy we glean from finding beauty in our craggy shores.

Is there something simple and beautiful that helps you keep your thoughts in the moment?

– Appreciating the afterglow of a sunset as the pink hue reflects on water.
– Enjoying a cool iced tea on a hot day.
– Hearing the sound of waves crashing on a long expanse of sandy beach.

It’s often the simple things that ground us. Rather than actively working to problem solve the future, or process the past, these activities hold our attention, actively engaging us in the present. There is something calming about going out in the world with the sole intention of nothing bigger than finding the next great rock.

Warm thoughts,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

The pile of paperwork sitting in the corner

The pile of paperwork sitting in the corner

The pile of paperwork sitting in the corner

It’s there, staring at me. I know you get it. We all have such piles.

Our heap of “to dos” that we’ve not yet had the chance to get to.

Here’s the interesting thing. The more anxious I become about it, the less likely I am to actually do it. The anxiety associated with the task takes on a life of its own.

When we avoid small things, they start to feel very big. If we can bring ourselves to respond to them in the moment, we take away their power. It may involve asking for help from others or leaning into challenging emotions. It doesn’t have to become a big weight to carry.

Feeling anxious about things doesn’t change them.

Leaning into them does.

I’m dedicated to spending the next few days leaning into my areas of discomfort: taking a look at my piles and developing a strategy to address them. I want my exterior and interior worlds to be aligned.

I don’t have to do it all. Just bite size pieces over the next week.

Perhaps you have a similar corner that you’d like to work on.

Join me.

Warm thoughts,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Hope is just around the corner

Hope is just around the corner

There they are.  Crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils, pushing their way to sunlight, oblivious of everything that has transpired during this past year. 

With reassuring predictability and beauty, they remind us that hope is just around the corner.

Stay the course.  

Take a moment to breathe in the fresh fragrance.

Notice the rich colours.

Like prickly bears after a long hibernation we’re eager to be roaming freely.  Reconnecting with long lost family and friends.  I vow to remain patient, tolerant and kind, grateful for the vaccinations that will once again return a semblance of normalcy to our lives.

Giving thanks to all those who have worked so tirelessly to keep us fed, healthy and safe.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Keeping your head above water

Keeping your head above water

I’m not a surfer, but I have a world of respect for those who have mastered the skill. It’s a sport that’s both thrilling, and terrifying.  

We took a family trip to Florida once, and devoted ourselves to learning to surf.  I did manage to get up a few times, but when I fell off, I wasn’t prepared for the crushing blow of the waves that snuck up from behind, pummeling me further under.  Just as I was coming up for air,  a massive wave would crash on top of me, leaving me coughing, disoriented, and gasping.  I just couldn’t catch my breath.

In many ways, recent news has been like that.  Just when we think we’re starting to get a handle on the latest events, another wave comes pounding down upon us, leaving us reeling. Canada (and Nova Scotia) has suffered another devastating loss with the recent crash of a Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece.  Our hearts and prayers extend the the families of those who who were on that flight.  The military is an extended family, and any losses or injuries cut deeply.

If we didn’t care, it wouldn’t hurt so much.

I don’t recall a time when there have been so many repeated waves of challenge and tragedy in such a short space of time.  At least not in my generation…and not in this country.

It’s important to acknowledge that there’s a backdrop to all of these current events.  Personal challenges or struggles each of us face in our immediate circles.  Family members who are sick or struggling, losses that people can’t formally grieve, economic hardship and uncertainty.

Yes, it is important to stay informed.  But it’s equally important not to oversaturate oneself with the news.  I’ve spoken with many veterans and first responders in recent weeks who’ve been glued to their televisions trying to get a handle on the steadily changing state of things.  Doing their best to be prepared.  After all, knowledge is power.

Or is it? If we watch too much, it starts to control us.  Maybe it’s time we cut way back, limiting our news exposure to a few basics.  Taking a break entirely, or limiting our exposure to a few minutes per day so that we gain the latest highlights. 

Putting distance between ourselves and the news does not mean that we don’t care.  It’s evidence that we do.  Because we care so much, it’s important that we don’t immerse ourselves in it.

So if you can, this weekend, turn off your electronics.  Go for a walk.  Bake, cook and be creative.  It’s a great time to make some flower boxes in preparation for transplanting your indoor garden outside.  Ride a bike, enjoy a hike and take some time to enjoy the signs of spring.  

Take some time to catch your breath, allowing ourselves to realize that this too shall pass.

Warm Regards,
Belinda