Flow

Are You Feeling The Weight of Allostatic Load?

Are You Feeling The Weight of Allostatic Load?

Allostatic load refers to the “wear and tear on the body” that accumulates when we are exposed to repeated or chronic stressors.  These stressors can be internal, external or both. 

SOME EXAMPLES OF INTERNAL STRESSORS INCLUDE:

  •      Illness

  •      Fear

  •      Poor Nutrition

  •      Physical Strain

  •      Hypertension

  •      Lack of Sleep

  •      Autoimmune Diseases

  •      FOMO (fear of missing out)

SOME EXAMPLES OF EXTERNAL STRESSORS INCLUDE:

  •       Life Changes

  •       Bills

  •       Job / Work Related Issues

  •       Pollution

  •       Relationship Issues

  •       Screen Time

  •       Anxiety

  •       Depression

You’re a Black Unicorn, Not a Black Sheep

You’re a Black Unicorn, Not a Black Sheep

Have you ever labeled yourself as the “black sheep” or “scapegoat” of your family, your workplace, or somewhere else where you’re “supposed” to naturally belong?

In my office, so many of my clients use this phrase to describe themselves. (And, I admit, I’ve used it myself to talk about whether I felt I fit into various groups too.) There’s something I find when we look closer at how and why we use these terms, however, and it has a lot to do with shame and how we feel we’re being judged by other people.

In my office, I often ask: What if you weren’t a black sheep? What if you were a black unicorn? Or a yellow, blue, or rainbow unicorn?


Season of Feelings

 Susan Stork, LCPC, NCC is a Relationship Therapist and founder Space Between Counseling Services in Baltimore City, Maryland.   Susan works with Type A’s ---> Creatives as they balance schedules, stress, and the modern challenges of coupleship.  Specializing in counseling for individuals and couples using Stan Tatkin’s PACT approach, Susan helps you move through the muck of life and into a life of purpose and connection.

Susan Stork, LCPC, NCC is a Relationship Therapist and founder Space Between Counseling Services in Baltimore City, Maryland. 

Susan works with Type A’s ---> Creatives as they balance schedules, stress, and the modern challenges of coupleship.

Specializing in counseling for individuals and couples using Stan Tatkin’s PACT approach, Susan helps you move through the muck of life and into a life of purpose and connection.

  It’s that time of year again. Holidays are in clear sight in all areas of life.   

It’s that time of year again. Holidays are in clear sight in all areas of life.
 

I get that this time of year is hard on many people.
Due to traumatic events, difficult family and/or events linked to this season - many people feel less than { Deep Gratitude, Joyful & Happy } in the days between November --> January.

#Holidays are a rough time of year for many people due to one reason or another.

So, what can we do it about it? Jaime Stacks @jamielstacks has a one formula to stop this “crazy train” that speeds through the holidays for some of us.

It starts with setting your intentions.

Using intentions {PLUS} the therapeutic idea of "Re-Storying" we can alter our current experiences in this “NOW” space of the season compared to the “THEN” space of previous sadness, harm and voids of previous seasons.

 

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{F I V E}  Mindfulness tips to jump-start your Holiday Self-Care}
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[ONE] Set intentions every morning
[TWO] Take 15-30 minutes everyday for yourself
[THREE] Take 15-30 minutes everyday for loved ones -- family + friends and mentors
[FOUR] Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
[FIVE] Gratitude Journal




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Photo by Estée Janssens on @Unsplash
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( Together )

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“We can do hard things.”
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This is a saying that I’ve been saying + hearing lately - in my head, in my sessions, as a business owner, and as a partner + parent.
Understanding that we only have so much control of certain situations but we always have control of our commitments, our responses, our pause and our compassion for ourselves + others.

Being aware of feelings & expressing them PROACTIVELY - helps when things get "hard". Acknowledging that life can be scary, raw, over-whelming & unpredictable --- helps us to realize that it is normal, and that WE don't always have control when "hard things" enter our days. However, these feeling are a {S I G N} that something is amiss.

If you OFTEN use fight (judgement + aggression) , freeze (indecision + prolonged delay) or flee (avoidance) when {hard things} come your way - you might need some more support? 


🖊Writing feelings out (journaling) and/or talking to others might help to identify difficult feelings.

📌Both help me personally to move forward with what I needed to do and not let anxious thoughts take over when "hard things" hit the fan.

🔸In addition, reaching out for help shares the load. I often reach out to my husband + colleagues + friends and ask for insight when "hard things" come my way.



What do you do to confront "hard things"❓

Who are your supports? ❓

Where do you go to reflect + recharge + reset❓

If you find that you often confront "hard things" with fight (aggression + judgement) freeze (prolonged delay + indecision) or flee (avoidance) - it might help to seek more support(s) to help process your feelings and responses to "hard things."

{HARD T H I N G S} do not have to be a way of life - you can share the load, redirect, and pivot when necessary.
 

Hope Dealer

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I was inspired last week to think of my role as a therapist in a different light. Then in sessions, these words came out - #hopedealer 

It seems fitting.

Why Mindfulness? By: Susan Stork

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In 1999 - I took a deep dive into {Mindfulness} unknowingly!

I was dealing LOTS of young adult angst {family, career, relationships, friends & next steps} and I needed an outlet for my anger & frustration - so I entered a yoga training for daily Hatha lessons and guided meditation for 6 months daily at 4 am!

{{ Side-Note: At the time, I was an evening server, who got off work most evenings after midnight & never did a day of yoga in my life.}}

My yogi, never judged me for falling asleep during guided meditation (which I often did because at the time I didn't value MYSELF, sleep schedules & self care ) - instead my yogi pushed my awakening forward by suggesting "walking" meditations (she was slick).

For almost 18+ years - I think about this phase of life almost daily. I grew in ways - I never really appreciated it until later in adulthood.

For me: "Mindfulness" via walking meditation and permission / direction to "be in the moment" promoted my inner growth. Back in '99 - I wasn't aware enough (or mindful enough) to understand -- BUT... "I was where I needed to be to start the work".
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I tell this story because it's never too late to gain control of your mind by harnessing your superpower and increasing your well-being.

Dating, Relationships & Carnival Rides:

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A roller-coaster relationship feels similar to a roller-coaster ride. At first, the relationship moves at a nice steady pace forward. The person you’re dating is making time and effort to see you and it feels great, putting a smile on your face that’s bigger than Julia Robert's.

Relationships are bound to have moments of ups and downs; that’s normal. However, the downs should never exceed the ups. Those should also be far and few between.

If your relationship starts to have more unexpected jerking and swerving from left to right, back and forth leaving you nauseously dizzy, confused…that is obviously not a fun ride (or a healthy relationship).

If you start to feel more stress then excitement, sadness then happiness and more down’s than ups, it’s time to get your booty off this emotional roller-coaster relationship ride!

What does a "Foxhole" have to do with Couples Work?

Partners can be helped immensely by having an "owners manual" for each other and their relationship.

Does your relationship have one in place? 


Part of that "owners manual" or being an "expert on your partner" can be created by using the principles in the Couple Bubble by Dr. Stan Tatkin. 


It's like being in a "fox hole" together and having each others back consistently both privately and publicly.

Does your partner have YOUR back and YOU, theirs?

Are you struggling within your couple bubble❓

OR

Maybe you two need help forming YOUR couple bubble❓

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Finding Your Flow - Instead Up Swimming Upstream

Are YOU frantically swimming upstream, bucking the actual flow of life? 

 
In my therapy room a lot of this uphill swimming is due to trauma, stress, struggles with self and purpose. However sometimes what seems like stress can at times be ANXIETY. 

Everyone experiences anxiety in one form or another. However, there is a large difference between having an anxiety disorder and feeling anxious every now and then. For instance, it is pretty common and typical for someone to be anxious before they take an exam but becoming so anxious that they don't eat and decide to not show up to the exam at all could be a sign that that person has a disorder. 

Anxiety disorders themselves range from being mild to severe and it can also depend on what triggers a person's experiences and how often. In short, anxiety is a broad term that ultimately depends on the individual. 

It can be difficult to describe anxiety to someone who has never truly experienced it like the people who have disorders do. 

Social media is full of attempted explanations, but there are still those people who tell us to "get over it," "don't think about it so much," and "there's no reason to be anxious." 

One of the biggest misunderstandings about having anxiety is that most of the time we know that there isn't any real reason to be anxious, and that our minds are overreacting. The thing is though, it just feels impossible for us to turn it off and think logically in that moment. There's not a whole lot we can do.

As a therapist that specializes in ANXIETY - I get you. 

Anxiety is like swimming in the ocean with no land in sight: The mind has a keen way of magnetizing events of our lives. What can seem small and insignificant to one is massive in scale to another. Consider a 7ft man floating in an ocean 450ft deep. While he is large on land, the ocean proves a great challenge to his sense of size.  

Anxiety is diving deep underwater, then swimming back up to the surface, but the surface is farther away that it seemed so you suddenly feel as if you are about to drown.


Side-Note: Did you know that --> Swimming is a great way to drown-out stress and anxiety as you embrace every stroke? 

*** Swimming can significantly reduce symptoms like stress, anxiety and depression. Swimming triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good hormone while stopping the secretion of fight-or-flight stress hormones. It also promotes the growth of new brain cells that atrophies under chronic stress and anxiety.

 

Photo Credit: Nikki McClure & Unknown Source