Beautiful sunshine for beautiful people

Beautiful sunshine for beautiful people

Beautiful sunshine for beautiful people

Today was a glorious day where we celebrated a deserving group of people, all of whom are receiving recognition for their contribution of service to community. Not everyone is up to attending a public event. That’s okay. Please know that we see and recognize you (you may even be receiving something special when we next see you).

I was thinking about the depth of our Landing Strong community, and the total number of years of service of our members. Some are newer in their careers, many have served over 30 years. We even have a few members who have served our country for over 40 years.

I thought it might be fun to do a little math.

185 people have gone through our programs since we opened in 2018. Let’s say the average person has served their community for 20 years. That translates into 3,700 total years of service.

This is the stuff on which nations are built.

I’m proud to know you, and to be connected to such an impressive group of individuals.

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

I am the work

I am the work

I am the work

People often speak about the discomfort they experience having to leave their jobs following injury. They’re eager to push through their symptoms, trying to get back to work as quickly as possible. The interesting thing is, pushing to speed up recovery often has the inadvertent consequence of slowing it down.

When it comes to recovery, you have to go slowly in order to progress quickly.

What does this mean?

Recovery isn’t a vacation as others might think. We all know it’s a period of time requiring intentional work.

Instead of asking yourself the question “When can I go back to work?” It might be more helpful to consider the following statements:

I am the work.
There is no other work.
Recovery is my mission.

Processing traumatic events is a part of being a first responder. If you don’t do it while you’re operational, you’ll likely be forced to take time off to deal with it later. It’s like putting off paperwork. It never actually goes away.

The skill of emotional processing is a necessary component of health but is something that is not often awarded the time and space it needs.

This my friends, is the work.

Warm regards,

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

Gather your storm chips close

Gather your storm chips close

Gather your storm chips close

Fall on the East Coast is a time of predictably volatile weather. As Mother Nature unleashes Hurricane Fiona upon us, we batten down the hatches, gather our Storm Chips, and hope the power isn’t off for too long. We lost part of our house to Dorian. Like a whale floundering in the surf, our roof was harpooned by falling tree limbs, and our side entrance completely flattened. I trust we’ll fare better this time around.

On Saturday I’m supposed to be presenting at a First Responders Conference in Bridgewater. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen…you’ll all be busy.

Our community is fantastic for emergency preparedness and lending a helping hand. I know many of our first responders will likely be out there battling the elements and its consequences over the next day or so. We send a mental note of thanks on behalf of us all. While we are staying warm and dry inside, we know that you are likely out there working hard to keep us safe.

Warm wishes on a wet cool day,

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

Making the best of a bad situation

Making the best of a bad situation

How are you holding up?  These are uncertain times indeed.  
 
When I go to the grocery store, I like to play a game.  Which line is moving the fastest?  I scope out the cashiers, check out how efficient they are, how much they’re talking with their customers, and how full the carts are of the people in line ahead of me.  I’m talking about the sophisticated, mathematical equation that predicts grocery-store line waiting time.  Even when the lines are long, I can tolerate it if my formula predicts an acceptable outcome.  In a way, I’m inserting a degree of control over a situation which might otherwise cause internal stress.  
 
The current situation we’re facing is challenging, because there are many uncertain variables which seem to change on an hourly basis.  I haven’t been able to figure out the mathematical formula that tells me when life goes back to normal.  My gut feeling, is that this is going to be a long line.  
 
I tried asking google home to set an alarm for when COVID-19 will be over, a reassuring voice informed me that the alarm was set for 7pm the next evening.  If only it were so easy.  
 
So there are many things I’m not able to control, but there are others that I know I can.  I’m doing my best to create a semblance of normalcy in my daily working life.  I have been able to learn to use video conferencing for counselling appointments.  Not bad for an ol’ dog.  It may have been stressful, but I think I’ve got it.  
 
As for outside of work, I’m going to focus on those things I can control.  Doing art, organizing my house, planting an abundant garden.  I’m even thinking about trying to make crumpets from scratch.
 
Let’s make the best of this, we’d love to hear what fun things you’ve been doing to cope. 

Warm wishes,

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

The business of getting better: part 5

The business of getting better: part 5

The freedom of choice.
 
Many years ago I attended a work seminar where the facilitator spoke of the importance of developing a Plan B for any major venture you take on.  His words struck a chord, for at the time I was working in a federal penitentiary.  I wasn’t sure how long I would remain there.  Every day, I was surrounded by people who repeatedly reported how many years they had until retirement. 
 
“Good morning” they would greet me cheerfully, “only six years left ‘till retirement”.  

It was the institutional running joke, with people reporting the time they had left on their “sentences” prior to being released.  Like the inmates they were supervising, they were serving life sentences on the installment plan. 
 
This prompted me to develop a solid Plan B.
 
From that moment forward, every day that I went to work became a choice.  I could continue, or I could change, but I would not allow myself to complain about it because I had the freedom to exercise my will.
 
Even now, every day I go to work knowing that I have options.  My Plan B may not make much money, but it’s always less stressful and generally involves doing something creative. Somehow, that allows me to go to work each day with joy, owning the decision to be there.
 
It may be your Plan B involves taking time off work so that you can take proper care of yourself. That in itself is a plan.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Founder, Landing Strong