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Emerton SeanneTherapist's Corner..."Janus" and a Life Lived Well

     “In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past. The Romans dedicated the month of January to Janus.”
     Although our harsh Nebraska winters can be brutal, I welcome this time of hibernation to germinate the seeds of intention for the new year. We can create cozy space for this dark and inward time of year, making a welcoming space for our reflection and just being. With awareness and mindfulness, this season of reflection offers the opportunity to plant and nurture the seeds of what we feel we most need for our emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual health this year.
     To optimize effectiveness, I find it helpful to remember the lessons of Janus:
1. Recognize and accept endings, including intentional release of what no longer serves.
2. Choose a mindset of flexibility to look to the future and the past at the same time.
3. Be wise in the doorways you can choose to go through this year. Some doorways are of our own choice, yet others seem to show up unannounced. We can then only choose our mindset.
4. Keep eyes wide open, be gentle with yourself, pace your steps and be clear about where you are headed.
5. In times of transition it is often helpful to enlist the services of a guide. Reach out and be brave enough to ask for help when you need it.
     May you enter a year ripe with possibility and soul satisfaction. May you navigate changes with grace, humor and health. May you gift yourself with generous doses of self compassion and stay light even in this season of darkness. And may all be well with you and yours.

~ Seanne Emerton, Founder/Therapist


Therapist's Corner...When Change is Hard

     It's here - 2019! It's time to turn over a new leaf, to start anew. People are beginning those New Year resolutions, and looking forward to a good year. I can't even count how many of my friends have talked about the struggles they faced in 2018, and how they were ready for a new year to begin. They hold high hopes that this year will be better than last year.
     But change is hard for many people. Many people will fall short of their New Year resolutions. Life events - positive or negative - affect our stress levels. Unexpected and sudden changes are even more stressful. 
     But you can help yourself accept change. You can practice building healthy and positive responses so that when changes arrive, you are prepared to deal with them. Practicing positive mental habits is like practicing a sport - you create muscle memory. Think of your brain as a muscle that needs exercising. The more time you practice positive thinking, motivation, persistence, and healthy coping skills, the more likely you are to use those when stressed.
     Work on being an optimistic person. Find the silver lining in the things you do. Take time to enjoy tasks, even the every day "mundane" tasks. One simple behavior that can increase your optimism and positive thinking is smiling. Yes, a smile can work wonders. Even if you're feeling grouchy or "down in the dumps," a smile can brighten your day and your mood.
     Whatever you do, DO NOT give up. Expect setbacks to happen. Some you can plan for, like eating that cake instead of following your nutritional goals. Others, such as a death or accident, are more difficult to plan. However, you can always re-frame your goals, or set new ones. Stay motivated, celebrate successes, and find ways to reward yourself. Involve others for support and advice, or simply a listening ear, depending on your situation. 
     Finally, be willing to give things an honest critique. Was 2018 really such a bad year, or did some unwanted things happen periodically? Did you have control over them? If you did, how can you change something so that similar things don't happen in 2019? What did you do well? Who were your best supports? Etc...
     Change happens. Change is the one constant thing in our lives. When change is "easy," we relish in the glow. When change is hard...well, how you respond is up to you.

~ Jessica McCaslin, Therapist


From Our EAP...
Professional Resolutions for the New Year

     New Year's resolutions aren't just for personal use. You can use the New Year as a time to set professional resolutions; consider things like career advancement, balancing work-home life, and creating a positive work environment.
     One way that can help you achieve these goals is networking. Find a variety of ways to get in touch with people, or to build the contacts you already have. Use social media sites, like LinkedIn, to network with other professionals. Facebook and the "less professional, more personable sites" are good for advertising and getting your name out there. Reach out to others in your field and ask questions. Be willing to answer questions from your point-of-view. However, don't rely solely on social media. Attend conferences, host events, join and participate in groups/associations, and make face-to-face connections, especially within your community. Find a group whose mission matches your values and get involved in giving back to your community. Sometimes it really is who you know...
     Everyone struggles with stress, deadlines, issues with co-workers/family/friends, and tackling that never-ending to-do list, both at work and at home. Take advantage of Employee Assistance Programs (like the one offered by Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C.!) to help you find ways to relax and take care of yourself amidst life's chaos.
     Improve your communication skills. As professionals, it is important to be open with co-workers, and to be able to listen and empathize with others. Practice being open with project ideas and suggestions. Notice when co-workers seem distressed or overwhelmed, and ask them how they are doing; then LISTEN to their answer. Show others that you care about them.
     Challenge yourself daily to learn something new. It may be as simple as a new word or it could be getting certified in a specialty within your profession. Never stop learning and encourage others to learn, too. 

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Coordinator


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