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Practicing what we teach – how psychology impacts psychologists

No one lives a life without some level of stress, conflict, or difficulty. The same is true for psychologists – and fortunately, the very techniques and skills that form the body of evidence-based practices that we use with our clients – also work for us!

When asked about how the psychologists on our team manage stress and difficult situations – these were some of the tips and strategies we identified as most helpful (you might recognise a few!)

Next time you feel stressed, don’t have bubble bath. Go deeper. Self-audit your needs instead.

For many of us, the first time we reflect on needs is when we become parents, grappling with what our children require from us to thrive in the world. Others reach their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or 50’s without realising that they have actually have underlying needs, or that effectively meeting them will lead to psychological health. The idea that needs are neither mysterious, enigmatic or abstract but rather universal is certainly not mainstream knowledge.

Why should we prioritise sleep?

Most people would agree that they feel better after getting a good night’s sleep and not so good when they haven’t slept well. However, many would also agree that in today’s fast-paced world sleep seems to be one thing that can be expendable. If we are going to prioritise sleep above the many other things that are fighting for our time and attention it is important to understand what exactly sleep does for us.

Sleep: Getting back to basics

Sleep can be as frustrating as it is necessary. We go to bed early and then lay awake for hours. We roll from one side to another. We put on some headphones and listen to a podcast. We try falling asleep to a tv show...nothing seems to help.

We can’t always think away the worries that keep us awake, or the nagging sensation that we’ll never get to sleep. But there are some tools we can use to rediscover better sleep.

SHAME – A NORMAL FEELING 

Experiencing shame can be very uncomfortable and unpleasant. Shame is that feeling that comes up when we feel unworthy, not good enough or inadequate. Shame is that feeling that tells us we are bad or wrong or silly.  

Experiencing shame can impact on relationships and work. It can make it difficult to connect with people and achieve goals. Not only that, unresolved shame can lead to other feelings- depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Experiencing shame can be deeply damaging.  

What is OCD, and a glimpse into what it is like to experience OCD

Have you ever heard someone say “That’s so OCD” when someone is cleaning or arranging things carefully? Although OCD has become a common term used to refer to being neat or precise in a quirky way, this can unfortunately minimize the fact that OCD is a real mental illness that can be debilitating to live with. OCD is often misunderstood, so here are some facts to understand what OCD actually is, and then an exercise that might help you step into the shoes of someone with OCD.

Year of Adventure

Finally, 2020 is over and 2021 is here! I notice in myself and in conversation with family and friends a sense of hope about what this year could bring. That it could be different to 2020.

Last year was full of change, uncertainty, and stress; so, I have spent some time over the past few weeks reflecting. I asked myself a number of questions. How was this year for me? What went well? What was hard? Is there anything I want for this year without falling into the New Year’s resolutions/goals trap? Yes, even though I am a Psychologist, I find change hard too.

Mixed Berry Smoothie

Mixed Berry Smoothie
Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
1 cup Mixed Berries, frozen
1 banana, frozen
½ cup vanilla or plain yoghurt
½ cup milk of choice
½ tbsp. chia seeds

Method:
1. Add frozen berries, banana, yoghurt, milk, and chia seeds to a blender.
2. Cover and blend until thick and smooth.
3. Adjust with more milk to achieve desired consistency.

For a sweeter smoothie, add some honey or maple syrup until desired sweetness is achieved.

Facing “Impossible Tasks”

Do you have an ‘Impossible Task’? Coined by M. Molly Backes on Twitter, an ‘Impossible Task’ can be anything – starting an assignment, going grocery shopping, or making a phone call. The task may seem simple enough, but for you it’s overwhelming and all too much. Even if the task weighs on your mind every day and you spend significant time and effort willing yourself to ‘just do it’, for some reason you just can’t.

Why is it so hard to keep my goals?

Do you find it hard to set goals? Or, when you do set goals, do you find it hard to keep them?

A quick search online suggests that the majority of people who set New Years’ Resolutions each year don’t manage to keep them for even a month - so if you struggle to keep the goals you set you are not alone!

What sense do you find calms you the most?

Touch, taste, hearing, smell and sight. These are our five senses that we use every day. Whether it is appreciating the sight of the morning sunrise, savouring the taste of our morning coffee, listening to music whilst on public transport to work, or snuggling into the soft touch of the doona as we go to bed at night. Our five senses help us enjoy and appreciate the fullness of the world.

A Few of My Favourite Reads

Children are amazing learners. They are making sense of the world through observation, exploration, experimentation, play, and stories. Stories, in particular, are a great tool to help communicate complex concepts.

It’s not just the age-appropriate language and interesting pictures that help with understanding. Stories promote an emotional response that enhances the connection between the content and experience. This not only increases engagement but openness to learning as well.

Managing change with psychological flexibility

After a recent family relocation, I have been thinking a lot about how my family and I deal with change. I recalled many of the changes across my life; international moves with my children all born on different continents, two very different careers, family members passing away, my children becoming teenagers. Change still brings up complex emotion for me, yet I realise I have also changed my orientation toward it over the years.

How much is too much when it comes to screen time?

As Psychologists we often get asked about how much screen time is appropriate for young people. This question often comes from the concern that screen time, in and of itself, is a ‘bad’ thing and should be limited – however it is important to acknowledge that digital technology is a part of modern life and brings many benefits – including opportunities for learning and socialising.

Getting Ready for the HSC Exams

In my job I have had the pleasure of working with numerous young people over the years prepare to sit their HSC exams. As the 2020 HSC exams approach for another year, I have found myself again discussing these ‘big exams’. It is not uncommon for these conversations to assist the young person in addressing their expectations and reducing the pressure they put on themselves. For many, HSC exams are approached with a fear of failure- that they will achieve significantly worst results than any other exam period in the past. The exams are perceived as significantly different from past exams. They are seen as like ‘nothing before’.

Self Compassion for Parents

When was the last time you beat yourself up for the way you acted towards your kids? Parenting is hard enough, but it can be made even harder by being your own worst critic. Maybe there’s a voice in your head saying that you’re a terrible parent because you lost your temper this morning, or you feel like a failure because you’ve missed your child’s basketball game two weekends in a row.

How to Respond to Bullying

As children grow and learn, they are constantly navigating social relationships and learning how to interact with others. Sadly, for many children, this also means learning to cope with bullies.

Bullying is a pattern of behaviour – it is a set of repeated, deliberate, unkind, and/or unsafe social, verbal, physical or cyber behaviour that causes harm to someone who has less power.

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Our psychologists' diaries will reopen for enquiries and intake from 10 January 2022. If you are in crisis, please contact any of the following crisis services. In the event of an emergency, please call 000 or present to your nearest hospital.Lifeline: 13 11 14Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800Parent Helpline: 1300 30 1300Suicide Call-Back Service: 1300 659 467#psychology #mentalhealth ... See MoreSee Less
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