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ECC Group Blog: Key Takeaways From Our Session of Grief & Loss

Our Grief & Loss Sessions were sold out, but we wanted to provide a summary of the key takeaways for those who were not able to attend. We recognize why this is currently our most popular session right now with COVID-19, and it’s why we started our Community Connect program in the first place. The amount of grief and loss people are experiencing is definitely overwhelming, so we hope this blog can be a way for you to still gain valuable experience from our important sessions. 

This blog helps define grief and what it may look like for individuals during this pandemic, and provides some useful tips on how one can manage their grief or loss. Let’s get started!

The first thing to understand about grief is that it’s a response to loss. We often associate grief primarily to the loss of a loved one, however, it can be triggered by any loss of something that is meaningful to an individual, such as a relationship, a job, loss of health, loss of environment due to a move. This global pandemic has especially impacted individuals with unexpected losses that were meaningful to one’s life. It’s okay to still be grieving this type of loss. 

Grief is a highly individual experience and as such, the process and the ways to cope must also be individual. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, however, there are some helpful ways to deal with grief. Certain ways will resonate more with some than others. It’s about implementing those you feel will help you through the process. 

Here are six helpful tips on how to manage your grief and loss: 

  • Be kind to yourself and acknowledge your pain. There is no time limit on this but things do get better. 
  • Know that you are not alone. The people who care about you want to be there and help.  They may not know how. Tell them. 
  • Understand that many different and sometimes unexpected emotions will emerge during your grief journey. Accept these as they are a healthy part of the process. 
  • Continue to take care of yourself physically. A healthy body is better equipped to deal with emotional upset. 
  • Engage in spiritual activities and draw support from your faith.
  • Seek out ways to honour that which you are grieving.  For example, if you’ve lost a loved one, write them a love letter. If you’ve lost your job, write in a journal what you loved about it and what you hope for your next job. 

While this may not be the virtual session you were wanting to attend, we hope this blog can still provide you with some important insights and understandings on these difficult emotions that so many people are experiencing right now. This blog is a great starter point, and you can always book an individual session with one of our professionals to manage your grief and loss. We are still offering lots of dates for our Beyond the Blues and Stress Balance sessions, so be sure to register in advance to reserve your spot!

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The Truth About New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Eve has become more than just a holiday or a time to party for many of us. We look at it as not only a celebration of the past year, or in the case of 2020, a celebration that it is finally over, but also as a chance for a fresh start. So while we go into the new year with resolutions and the best of intentions to keep them, it doesn’t take most of us very long to give up. In fact, about 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. One possible explanation for this is that many people tend to be hoping for a quick fix instead of realistic, achievable, and lasting change, and therefore lack the necessary motivation and commitment to keep their resolutions. 

When making resolutions simply in the spirit of celebration without any real thought into what it takes to achieve them, the enthusiasm and effort felt at the beginning of the year begin to quickly wane. With our inevitable lack of progress towards achieving our resolutions, we soon end up reverting back to old habits. This can be very discouraging and lead many people to believe that they simply do not possess the necessary skills and abilities to achieve positive and lasting change, but maybe the reality is that most new year’s resolutions are flawed to begin with. By setting a specific future date to implement changes implies that we will only begin to make changes once that date arrives rather than doing it now, and there is simply no logic in that. All of us are works in progress so we should strive to implement change into our lives on a regular basis, not just once a year. 

So instead of making resolutions this new year, incorporate healthy behaviour into your everyday life by setting goals along with strategies for achieving them. The difference between a goal and a resolution is that a resolution is a decision to (not) do a specific behaviour while a goal is a series of planned out steps designed to help you achieve the end result you are aiming for. In this respect, creating specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) goals, instead of new year’s resolutions, is the key to long-term success and growth. Below are some guidelines for how you change your life for the better starting today:

  • Decide and commit to making a change.
  • Start immediately, do not wait for new year’s day to come around. There is no better time than the present moment.
  • Set realistic goals and when necessary, break them down into smaller, more easily achievable goals. Once you start achieving these smaller goals, you will be motivated to keep moving towards your bigger, seemingly hard to reach goals.
  • Document what you want to achieve.
  • Have a strategy or system in place for achieving your goals and identify possible obstacles or areas for potential set-backs. Your enthusiasm and motivation may wane over time but you can mitigate their effect by having a plan in place to push through. 
  • Be as specific as possible when setting goals and make sure that they are specific, measurable, and have a deadline. 
  • Understand that true purpose of what you want to achieve.
  • Do not overshoot! Select the 1 or 2 goals that are most important to you and focus on them. Once you see that you are able to achieve these, you will be more motivated to continue setting goals and working towards improving your life – throughout the year. 
  • Adopt a mindset of absolute belief and faith that you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to.

Starting 2021 with no New Year’s resolutions can be a liberating experience of getting what you really want. By setting goals throughout the year, you are giving yourself permission to make incremental progress and enjoy the process instead of getting wrapped up in the outcomes. Small steps become enjoyable and you adopt a growth mindset instead of judging yourself for perceived failures. Real change comes when you know your desired outcome and commit to making your goals a reality. Get everything you want this year and every year, by deciding to set and achieve goals that truly matter to you.

References:

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The Reason You Feel “SAD” During The Winter

The winter season is now upon us, which for some may mean a noticeable  change in our mood. With the sun setting early now and the cold weather taking over, it’s not uncommon to  experience a decrease in motivation and more frequent depressive episodes during this time.

The month of December shines light on Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as the acronym, “SAD”. This disorder is a type of depression that arises during the change in season. Most people who experience SAD feel their energy being depleted and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. On the rare occasion, people may experience depression caused by SAD during the spring or early summer months too. 

Symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feelings of depression as the winter season progresses
  • Low energy
  • Lack of sleep or oversleeping
  • Losing interest and motivation
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss/gain
  • Sluggish and anxious feelings 
  • Suicidal thoughts

The cause of SAD may be due to the reduced level of sunlight in the fall and winter months, a decrease in serotonin levels due to the lack of sunlight, and the body’s level of melatonin becoming disrupted.

If you experience severe symptoms of SAD and do not get treated, it can possibly lead to worse problems such as:

  • Problems at work or school
  • Substance Abuse 
  • Extreme suicidal thoughts or behaviour 
  • Other mental health disorders

Light therapy, medication and psychotherapy are options of treatment you may want to look into if you’re experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Of course it is normal to have some days of feeling down, but if you feel it an overwhelming amount of times and just can’t get yourself back to normal, you should highly consider seeing a doctor or counselling service. 

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[FREE DOWNLOAD] Holidays Without Loved Ones

With the holidays just days away people around the world are deciding how they will be spending their well-deserved break. For many people, the option of spending time with family is not available due to the pandemic. We at Elpizo know how important it is to spend time during the holidays and that is why we created a document on how to handle it. 

In the Holidays Without Loved Ones downloadable Elpizo therapist Mary Lepage, goes over the different things you can do over the holidays with your free time which includes doing random acts of kindness, sharing virtual photo albums and creating a new horizon bucket list. If you want to read the whole downloadable click the cover below. 

Make sure to look out for our other downloadables like Preparing for the Holidays and Useful Tips for Families to Navigate This Unique Holiday Season.

 

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[FREE DOWNLOAD] Useful Tips for Families to Navigate This Unique Holiday Season

With the year coming to a close, we look forward to a new type of holidays where we may or may not be seeing extended family and friends. Instead, we will be spending even more time with the family members in our household as the temperature steadily drops. Elpizo has created some helpful tips that you can use in your family to navigate this unique holiday season. Here are three of the many suggestions we at Elpizo have made for you: 

Plan Early 

With the situation changing week-by-week, some people are still holding off on planning for the holidays. We suggest that you plan early instead and stick with that plan for the weeks to come. By planning early, you can not only better prepare yourselves but also better prepare any children in the house. This way they won’t have the same expectations they always have during the holidays. By preparing them early, you are avoiding any sudden surprises which arrive and allow time for copping if any disappointments may occur. 

Communicate Your Rules in Advance 

With safety being top priority, communicating your rules in advance will help prepare family and friends if they decide to come over. Not everyone agrees on what is safe, especially in the current world climate we live in today. Communicating rules on masks, advanced testing, and even hugging can help take away any awkwardness on the day of. 

Find the Positives

Many people find the busyness and pressures that usually come with the holiday season stressful. Take the time to slow down this year and focus on the parts of the holiday that are most meaningful to you while staying connected to those you care for and keeping your family safe.

For our full list of tips and bunch of other activities and resources to endure this pandemic holiday, please feel free to download the ‘Useful Tips for Families to Navigate This Unique Holiday Season’ pdf below. Like always if you have any questions about navigating the holidays as a family, please feel free to email us at info@elpizocounselling.com.

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Elpizo Community Connect: Effective Communication

Communication is so important in all aspects of our lives! From relationships, to family and even work, your communication skills can mean a great deal and have impact on others. 

This week the Elpizo team discussed effective communication skills and tips during their Community Connect session. If you are interested in learning effective communication skills, then this is a must watch. 

Be sure to join our other weekly sessions where we discuss a variety of useful topics to enhance your personal skills. 

Watch the workshop below and leave us a comment on your own tips for better communication.

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Elpizo Community Connect: Time Management

Managing your time well can make all the difference between living a stressful or stress-free life. Join the Elpizo team in this workshop to get some valuable insights and information on time management.

Download the worksheets below:

Time Management Daily Activities Log

Where Does the Time Go Worksheet

References: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/tests/career/procrastination-test-abridged

Watch the workshop below and leave us a comment if you have tips and time hacks of your own.

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How International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Came To Be

November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and people around the world will come together to commemorate and address this issue on a global scale. 

The day was first recognized in 1999 when the United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution, introduced by the Dominican Republic, designating November 25th as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. However, the United Nations (UN) was not the first to do this. Women in Latin America and the Caribbean have been honouring the day since 1981. The reason for the day was to mark the anniversary of three women political activists who were assassinated in the Dominican Republic on November 25th 1960 for opposing the regime of dictator Rafael Trujillo. 

The UN officially recognized the date on February 7th 2000, and the United Nations General Assembly encouraged organizations around the world to raise awareness yearly on the date. 

Unlike an illness or disease which groups of people have no control over, ending violence against women is a movement that everyone can bring awareness to. Tragedies like the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre, where a man killed 14 women in a Montreal university should never happen. As a society, we should bring awareness and support initiatives such as The Spotlight Initiative, so history doesn’t repeat itself. 

Elpizo offers a wide range of services for women who have recently or in their past experienced violence and sexual violence. We provide comprehensive counselling and therapy solutions such as Rapid Resolution Therapy that will eliminate emotional and behavioural difficulties. These options are offered online and in-person, and with all our therapeutic options, we work with you to make sure you get the treatment you need.

The 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence is an international campaign that takes place every year. It runs from November 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to December 10th, Human Rights Day.

Launched in 2008, the UNiTE Campaign aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls around the world. This is done by calling on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing and fighting against the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. 

COVID-19, the quarantine, lockdowns, and social isolation have negatively influenced mental health and increased risks of family violence and conflict. It is a critical time for women being affected by gender-based violence. 

From November 25 to December 10, the UN’s System’s 16-Day Activism against gender-based violence is taking place under the 2020 global theme: “ Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”

The main principles of the UNiTE Campaign Advocacy are:

  1. Honour and acknowledge women’s movements
  2. ‘Leave no one behind’
  3. Survivor-centered
  4. Multi-sectoral
  5. Transformative
  6. Elevate the voices of young feminists
  7. The colour orange continues to be a key tool; unifying all activities

In order to support and be a part of the change, join UNiTE on The 16 Days of Activism and help speak out, unite with partners around the world, reflect on what we can all do in our own communities to eliminate violence faced by young girls, women, and the LGBTQ2 community. Start conversations on social media and become an ally by listening, believing, speaking out, intervening, and acting on what is going on and how you can help.

If you would like to learn more about International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and current UN efforts to fight violence against women, click here.