Feeling Unmotivated? Try These Tips to Get Re-Activated!

Last week, I had the honour of being interviewed on Jim Toth‘s show on GlobalNews CJOB 680 Radio. When setting it up, he said he wanted to talk about motivation; people are getting tired of ‘the longest winter ever’ and to top it off, our beloved hockey team, the Winnipeg Jets were not performing as many wished they were.

In the 11 minutes I was on air (click here to listen), I was able to share a few tips. Here’s a bit of a recap, and a little extra.

  1. Take a deep breath and give yourself a break. We have been through a very trying time in the last two years; a global pandemic, the emotional discovery of hundreds of children’s graves at former residential schools, and the war waged by Russia in Ukraine (to name just a few events). Just sit with it for a minute, breath, and congratulate yourself for getting through it – day by day.
  2. Focus on ‘what’s good’. Look around, what’s present in your life that is ‘good’ for you. The sunshine glistening on the snow, a great conversation with a loved one, a brisk workout, a warm shower, your favourite cozy socks. Notice those things and put your attention on them. Allow yourself to be energized by the good vibe they provide.
  3. Move ‘toward’ what you want. Jim mentioned that there were comments being made about the Winnipeg Jets’ performance; some fans commented that they seemed to have lost their ‘mojo’ (my word, not Jim’s). The Winnipeg Jets’ players are human beings, like all of us. If you experience an extended period of poor (or less than desired) performance, you likely begin to lose your energy. Part of that is because you are focused on the past; rehashing past poor performance can be very fatiguing (woulda, coulda, shoulda). So, instead, begin by just ‘allowing’ yourself to be where you are. Just allow whatever you are experiencing to settle. Then begin to move ‘toward’ what you want. While there is value in looking back and asking yourself what you might be able to do differently in the future, the key is to do that quickly and then to begin to MOVE TOWARD THE DESIRED OUTCOME IN THE FUTURE.
  4. Nourish your unit. Motivation is all about energy, and you need nutrition in order to have energy. You know the drill; eat, move, sleep. You don’t need me to remind you of what you already know. I like to snack on junk food like anyone else, but remember the old adage (I am not sure where it started, but heard it in frist year computer science 30 years ago) garbage in, garbage out’. That is true for not only what food, exercise and sleep you put into (invest in) your body, but also what thoughts you allow to take up residence in your mind.
  5. Pay attention. Consider adding a practice of meditation to your daily routine. You won’t believe me about how powerful this can be until your try it. Start with just a few minutes of quiet, connecting to your breath. You will be amazed at the energy surge that can come from a few minutes of ‘presence’, when you disengage from the internal chatter, and engage with what ‘is’. Learn to regularly ‘be where you are’. Even if you do not meditate, per se, just pause regularly to tune in and ask yourself how you are doing. If you are surfing social media, watching a movie, chatting with a friend, or walking around the neighborhood, stop and ask (or pause after you are done and ask) ‘How am I feeling right now? Did that add to, or detract from, my energy?’ Then, adjust accordingly. If what you are doing is not adding energy, try something else. And, move toward that!

Continue reading “Feeling Unmotivated? Try These Tips to Get Re-Activated!”

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”

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!