Returning to the Workplace: Tips for Positive Mental Health At Work

Positive mental health is a state of well-being, of flourishing, of resilience, and of positivity. It is a desirable state for human beings to be productive, to feel good, and to live a meaningful life.

Sound interesting?

You can begin to practice positive mental health by embedding a few simple practices into your every day life. Begin with one or two…and focus on just those strategies for 21 days. Then notice what you notice. Slowly and steadily, as you begin to feel the positive benefits of each strategy, add more. Continue reading “Returning to the Workplace: Tips for Positive Mental Health At Work”

Grandfather Teachings: Good For Us All

 

During a recent Indigenous Peoples Panel hosted by Suzanne F Stevens of the YouMeWe Social Impact Group, I first heard of the sacred Grandfather Teachings. 

As one of the panelists briefly described them, I was struck by the common humanity implicit in all of them. These are teachings for us all. These are values that we could all follow to create a better, more inclusive world.

I encourage you to do your own research, there is a lot more to read on each teaching, but below is a bit of what I learned during this panel experience.

LOVE: Knowing love is to know peace

Our love must be unconditional. This can form between friends and family. Love is an attachment based upon devotion, admiration, tenderness, and kindness for all things around you.

RESPECT: A way to honor creation is by showing respect

We demonstrate respect by realizing the value of all people and things, and by showing courteous consideration and appreciation. We must give respect if we wish to be respected.

BRAVERY: Facing a problem with integrity is a true demonstration of bravery

We do what is right even when the consequences may be unpleasant. We face life with the courage to use our personal strengths to face difficulties, stand tall through adversity, and make positive choices. 

TRUTH: Truth is having the knowledge of our cultural teachings

We know who we are in our heart. By knowing that, we also know the truth. Our emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual gifts will guide each one of us in our journey.

HONESTY: Facing a situation is to be brave, but having the courage to not only do the right thing, but also saying it, is honesty

When we walk through life with integrity, it is then that we know honesty. Be truthful and trustworthy. We must also remember to accept and act on truths through straightforward and appropriate communication.

HUMILITY: Humility is to know that we are a part of creation

We must always consider ourselves equal to one another. We should never think of ourselves as being better or worse than anyone else. Humility comes in many forms. This includes compassion, calmness, meekness, gentleness, and patience.

WISDOM: The mixture of these teachings, combined with the experiences of life, is what we refer to as wisdom

It is given to us by the Creator to be used for good. Wisdom carries other meanings, which also include intelligence or knowledge. When we cherish our knowledge or intelligence, we are also cherishing our wisdom. We must use sound judgement along with the ability to separate inner qualities and relationships. We must use a good sense and course of action to form a positive attitude.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!

Hangin’ with Harry! The Brain-Changing Beauty of EMDR

I never thought that one day I would say that Prince Harry and I have something in common!! Well, we do. We both experienced EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

EMDR therapy “is a phased, focused approach to treating traumatic and other symptoms by reconnecting the client in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution. ”

You might have seen Harry’s interview with Oprah, or heard about their collaborative project, “The Me You Can’t See”. It was there that I learned about Harry’s experience with EMDR.

I didn’t get the call from Oprah, but here is a bit of my story….

In March of last year, my husband and I heard the word ‘pandemic’ as we sunned in Huatulco, Mexico. The days following were tense, and we heard more and more about what was happening around the world. We quickly knew we had to get back home.

During our isolation at our cottage, a colleague called me to tell me that her son had died by suicide just a week before. It literally knocked me off my feet. I could not compose myself well enough to offer condolences properly; I was overcome with emotion. She said she wanted me to know before it hit the newspaper. Her son, a beautiful 24 year old, had done some work on our deck with his dad in the summer of 2018. I remember chatting with him and then telling her what a nice, respectful man he was. And, that he had a great smile! My colleague knew my history and thought it might upset me to be surprised at seeing his obituary, which was going to be in the paper the next day.

Shortly after that,  while my husband (VP of HR for a high-tech company) was consumed with managing the pandemic in two countries, I started feeling ‘off’.  He was responsible for getting reliable information out to staff, at a time when none of us knew much at all. I felt for him and did my best to give him the space he needed to do his job. I, essentially, isolated more.

Of course, everyone I knew was feeling ‘off’, so I did not think much of it. I was sure the feeling wouldn’t last, just as I thought about the pandemic. I continued to work out every day first thing in the morning. After the workout I felt good. As the day moved on, I felt less and less good.

Then I started being unable to sleep. I decided to stop drinking coffee, stop drinking wine (even though there were all those early humorous videos showing people guzzling wine in their sweat pants), and avoiding all stimulants. I worked out regularly, meditated (although badly; I seemed unable to be ‘still’), stayed off of electronics 2 hours before bed, got lots of fresh air…and still, sleep evaded me.

After that, I started to notice that my clothes were falling off me. I was losing weight rapidly. And I just generally felt like a piece of garbage.

On top of it all, my hair started falling out. It freaked me out! Not only because MY HAIR WAS FALLING OUT, but because my hair is part of my brand, and it no longer looked or felt like ‘me’. Eventually, after months, I got in to see my dermatologist. She diagnosed it as telogen effluvium,  a common cause of temporary hair loss due to the excessive shedding of resting or telogen hair after some shock to the system – in my case, a trauma that was triggered.

Losing sleep, losing weight, losing hair…it was like I was disappearing all-together.

My doctor thought I was experiencing symptoms of anxiety, and prioritized getting something to help me sleep. The medication brought it’s own problems. First, symptoms became WORSE!  Second, the many side effects were quite awful.

Once I was sleeping and could function a little, I sought out a therapist. I wanted to try to figure out what happened and why I felt so bad.

I tried talk therapy at first. I attended faithfully, fully motivated to get well. After several weeks, I knew it was not working. My therapist suspected there was a connection to unresolved grief, and she recommended I try EMDR at Peace of Mind Therapy and Consultation with Dr. Kelly Penner Hutton.

I reserched it a little before calling for an appointment. I wasn’t sure how moving my eyes back and forth might help, but hey, I would try just about anything not to feel so horrible.

We spent weeks processing the suicide of my former husband of 8 months, when I was 27. I thought I had done the work around that long ago, but we discovered that there was still much distress connected to that memory

When I saw the clip from Oprah’s chat with Prince Harry, in which he revealed that he had experienced EMDR, I told my friend – “hey, I can totally hang with Harry now!!” I have always found him to be a most interesting person, and I love his work in Mental Health, including his recent appointment as Chief Impact Officer at Better Up, Inc.

Simultaneously, I heard Harry on the Armchair Expert podcast. He said many things that were helpful to me, like ‘We all have trauma. Life is trauma.’ And, he also coined a term I will use in the future; PTSI (Post Traumatic Stress Injury). The common term is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Harry talked about how changing the term will change people’s perspective, and might help more people to get help sooner.  In explaining it, he said “you have experienced an injury, you are not disordered.”

I like that, and I agree. I have experienced an injury, and I am not disordered. Thanks, Harry. Let’s hang!

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!