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Should you be friends with your co workers?

It used to be considered a bad idea to become friends with your co workers however today with the growth of social media , our personal and work lives tend to blend together more than in the past.  We often connect with co workers on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn soon after meeting and this will draw them more into our lives.

Of course being friends on social media with co workers has some drawbacks.  For example, should you post about hating your job if you have coworkers as Facebook friends?   And do you let your friend, who is also a colleague, know you weren’t really sick last Friday and went shopping instead of coming into the office?  You can hide some posts on social media so that’s a good option if you don’t want co workers to know everything going on with you.

A Gallup poll discovered people who identify having a best friend at work are  happier on the job. These people also rank high in overall job satisfaction. They tend to be more productive  and more loyal to their employer, and also get  sick less often.   The poll’s results suggest, spending time during your lunch break with colleagues  and meeting up with coworkers on the weekend can benefit you professionally as well as personally.

Here are some strategies for how to interact at work that allow you to spend quality time with coworkers while maintaining a good reputation:

  1. Take note of the office culture. Identify what attributes are valued among team members and how they communicate with one another. This will help you establish how you fit into the team and how to communicate with them.  This will give you a  a better idea of whether or not  your coworkers seem like people with whom you’d like to spend time outside of work.
  2. Avoid talking about other coworkers.  To avoid creating an awkward situation when a coworker is gossiping, you can reply with something like, “I don’t know, since I haven’t talked with her much.”

If you’re a manager or supervisor, you have a few extra things to consider.

  1. If you supervise people who are friends outside of work, make sure you never share information about other coworkers. What is workplace gossip to colleagues of an equal level is generally a violation of privacy for managers.
  2. Don’t try to cover things up. In most situations, honesty is the best policy. Tell your own supervisor if one of the employees you supervise is a friend and ask them to keep you accountable regarding fair treatment. While it’s not something you need to send a company email announcing, you  should acknowledge the friendship among your team if it comes up.

It may sometimes be  more difficult to navigate work and life when they intersect, however having friends at work can make you feel happier about going  to the office and it creates a culture of support when work gets complicated and life gets difficult.

 

Celebrating Mother’s Day when your Mom has Passed Away

Although it will lessen as  time passes, the pain of losing your mom is something that stays with you forever.  This will be my 2nd Mother’s Day without my Mom and although the pain is less sharp it is still there.   Mother’s Day  can be wonderful time to spend with your family and children,  however it can also be  somber if your mom has passed away.

I’ve compiled a list of ways you can remember your mom on  Mother’s Day, this will keep her in your thoughts on a day which can be difficult to get through.

 

Make Her Favorite Recipe

Making a recipe that she really loved will help you to feel close to her and if you have children have them help you and you can talk about and share memories of your Mom.

Eat at Her Favorite Restaurant

If  possible visit your Mom’s favorite restaurant with your family or siblings and reminisce about when you went there with your Mom. 

Plant Her Favorite Flowers

Planting her favorite flowers will help you remember her and you’ll think of her every time you see the flowers.

Write Your Mom a Letter

Write her a letter telling her what’s going on in your life and how you’ve been feeling.  You can put it in a scrapbook or box of memories of your Mom.

Make a Scrapbook

Fill a scrapbook with mementos of her life, things she loved, pictures, cards she gave you, anything that reminds you of her.

 

I hope that these ideas will help you to have a good day as you remember your Mom on Mother’s Day.

When You Dislike Your Partner’s Parents

When we commit to someone,  we are  usually not only agreeing to commit to them, but to what and who they bring with them.   Family members are  usually part of what a partner brings to a committed, long-term relationship.   Unfortunately although we can choose our partner, we can’t choose their family.

Building a relationship with a long-term partner’s family can be difficult for all involved. Everyone involved is adjusting:  parents are trying to adjust to a new relationship dynamic with their child and build a relationship with their child’s partner. The couple is establishing and strengthening their own relationship and making their own life choices. If these choices conflict with what the parents wanted  for their child, the parents may see  this as a rejection.  Parents who miss their child and want to have more of a relationship may seem pushy or over-involved to the child’s partner.   There are also many other reasons that can  complicate this  relationship.

In my experience as a therapist, strained relationships with a partner’s family members is very common.   If you find building a relationship with your partner’s parents to be challenging, or if you just don’t like your partner’s parents, the following tips and considerations may be helpful for you:

  • Discuss the level of involvement you would like to have with your partner’s family.  Do you want to see them every week or only on holidays.   If you choose to have children, what type of involvement should they have with them? If you and your partner disagree, you can talk through the reasons and try to reach a compromise.
  • Work on building a positive relationship and focusing on the good. It can be hard to relate to someone if you don’t know them well. Try to have more shared experiences and plan activities together. Try seeking advice on small things, like which tablecloth is best or what dishes to use at a celebration.
  • This is a long-term relationship, so it is likely worth investing in. In most areas of life, it’s fairly easy to minimize contact with people we don’t like. However, in a marriage or other committed partnership, it may be worth trying to reach common ground.
  • Not all events have to include all the members of the family. If it remains difficult—for whatever reason—for you to enjoy or even handle seeing certain members of the family, try instead to create (or allow) opportunities for them to see your partner or their grandchildren.
  • Don’t force your partner or children to cut off their relationships. You may dislike your partner’s parents. But allowing your children to spend time with their grandparents may really benefit them (and their grandparents). Preventing your children from building this relationship can be a huge loss (unless you have reason to believe they are in danger). And if your partner wishes to spend more time with their parents (with or without you) and you prevent them from doing so, conflict and resentment often will take place.
  • Set boundaries. Doing this early on in your relationship is likely to make the adjustment easier for everyone involved. Assuring your partner’s parents they are an important part of the family may help them agree more easily to the boundaries you set without feeling as if you have cut them off.
  • Communicate clearly. If you usually only  communicate with your partner’s family through your partner but find things often become muddled, try speaking directly to them instead. This can  help prevent miscommunication and misunderstanding and will keep your partner from being caught in the middle.

Dealing with your partner’s parents is often  one of the most challenging parts of your relationship, but if possible try to make your interactions with them as pleasant as possible.

When your friend is using drugs

Finding out that your friend  is using drugs can be very troubling because you might feel unable to help them however there are ways you can be supportive and helpful and hopefully your friend will get the help they need to move onto the road to recovery.

Many times our friends won’t appreciate our advice  especially if they are using drugs however telling  the truth to help someone close to you is part of being a real friend, even when it’s hard to do.

  • Find out if your friend is experimenting with drugs, or if he may be addicted. If your friend is addicted they will need extra support.
  • Understand that addiction is a brain disease. Just like you wouldn’t expect someone with cancer to be able to heal herself without the help of a doctor, the right treatment, and support from family and friends, you can’t expect your friend to heal herself from addiction without support and help.
  • Know that it is never easy for anyone to admit that they have a drug problem. Try  to be patient and not give up easily.
  • Listen. If he talks to you, just be there for him. Admitting a problem and talking to someone about it  is very hard,  listen to what he has to say about his drug use without making judgments.
  • Encourage. If you and your friend are under 18, suggest that she talk to an adult she trusts – a coach or teacher, a school counselor, a relative, or a doctor.
  • Inform. When he’s ready to make a change and seek treatment, help him find a doctor, therapist, support group, or treatment program.
  • Support. Don’t give up on your friend, even if she isn’t ready to get help. Keep reaching out. Encourage them to get treatment, and support them along the way – that’s the best way to help someone you care about who is struggling with addiction.
  • It’s tough having a friend with addiction issues, it’s important to get support for yourself  if you need it.

When the people we care about make bad choices, it can be frustrating, confusing, and  depressing.  Remember  we should be there for our friends, and offer support as they journey onto recovery.

When you feel sad after you have your baby

The birth of a baby triggers many  emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety.   However it can also result in depression.

Many new moms experience the “postpartum baby blues” after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.   Baby blues usually begin within the first two to three days after delivery, and may last for up to two weeks.  However  some new moms experience a more  long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression.  If you experience postpartum depression,  treatment can help you manage your symptoms and enjoy your baby.

Symptoms

Postpartum baby blues symptoms

Signs and symptoms of baby blues — which last only a few days to a week or two after your baby is born — may include, mood swings, sadness, crying, feeling overwhelmed and reduced concentration.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Postpartum depression symptoms may include:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

If left untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or sometimes over a year.  New mothers often feel reluctant or embarrassed to admit to feeling depressed after her  baby’s birth.   However if you experience any symptoms of postpartum baby blues or postpartum depression, it is important to reach out for help and support from your doctor or therapist.

If you have suicidal thoughts

If at any time  you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, immediately seek help from your partner or loved ones in taking care of your baby and call 911 or your local emergency assistance number to get help.

Also consider these options if you’re having suicidal thoughts:

  • Call your mental health specialist.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Seek help from your primary doctor or other health care provider.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.

In my psychotherapy practice, I work with many women who are experiencing post partum depression.  In addition to individual therapy I also have a group for new mothers to meet and discuss what they’re experiencing after the birth of their baby.  Remember if you’re experiencing the baby blues or postpartum depression, you’re not alone and there is help available.

 

The Loss of a Parent

Losing your parent is something which happens eventually to most of us.  It is a huge loss for most people and will take time to move forward.  My mother passed away 1 year ago and it has been difficult but after experiencing all the firsts, such as her birthday,  Mother’s Day and other holidays it has gotten easier and now I can celebrate her life more than mourn her death.

Sometimes losing a parent can feel like losing part of yourself.   It can sometimes feel impossible to cope with life without them.  However getting through this bleak time will prove that you’re stronger than you think you are and you have an inner strength that can help you to overcome grief and smile again.

 

These steps will help you during this difficult time:

1. Forgive yourself.

When a parent dies, guilt can become a burden because of past arguments you now regret or maybe because you think you didn’t do enough to help them.  Remember no parent/child relationship is perfect and going over negativity from  past will not help you to move forward.  By recognizing the past as something that is finished and unchangeable, you can begin to free yourself from guilt and reflect on the good times instead. The good times are what they would want you to remember.

2. Face your feelings.

Feelings of loss or anger can grow stronger if left unchecked, especially if you’ve never known death so close.  Mindfulness meditation is one way to help understand the flow of these feelings.

3. Keep talking.

The sudden reality of not being able to talk  to your Mom or Dad again is hard  to accept.  For a long time after losing my Mom, I would talk to her even though I didn’t expect an answer it was nice to just get the words out.

4. Look after yourself.

Grief can take its toll  on your body and health in many ways.  Loss of sleep and reduced appetite  are common after losing a loved one.  The remedy is to protect your health and fitness.  Try to go  walking with a friend, eat healthy  food, and stay hydrated. When your body feels healthy, it will often lift your mood and help you cope.

5. Take time out.

During the immediate aftermath, you’ll have an overwhelming to-do list. From making funeral arrangements to addressing legal matters. All of this is physically and mentally exhausting.  It’s important to rest and not feel guilty for taking time off.

6. Be patient.

Missing a parent is natural, and if you were very close, it will take time to adjust.  Time heals the acuteness of pain, but you will continue to miss your parent.   Recovery will happen at its own natural pace.

7. Enjoy precious memories.

There was a time I couldn’t think of my Mom without  crying.   However as time has gone on I’m able to recall the good times we shared and smile rather than cry.  The  time will come when you smile or laugh to yourself when you think of the good times you had with your parents. Let your parent live on in your thoughts, and enjoy seeing them there any time you wish.

Although the death of a parent is considered the natural order of events, it is still a very difficult loss and it’s difficult to get through it.  The steps above will help you to continue to enjoy your life and move forward as you remember your parent.   Remember to live your life with the knowledge that your parents would want you to live a happy and fulfilling life after they’re gone.

 

 

 

 

When a Friendship Ends

Some friendships end naturally while others may end prematurely and abruptly. If a friendship suddenly ends and you don’t understand why, it can be very painful.   If you don’t know why it ended,  you may feel spend a lot of time wondering what happened and grieving the loss of your friend.

Tips on What to Do When a Friendship Is Over:

When a friendship is over, sometimes it helps to review the relationship.   Perhaps you remember your friend complaining that you’re always late, maybe you rarely return their phone calls. Maybe one of you was always asking for help but rarely returned the favor.
When a friend ends your relationship, it is a good idea to try to uncover the reasons the friendship is over.
Some people are better able to express feelings in writing rather than talking. It may  be helpful  to write your friend a note where you can express your feelings about the friendship.

It’s helpful to express your feelings of hurt, anger, or rejection. Write or talk about how you feel in a journal or letter – something you don’t necessarily plan to send. You can send the letter, throw it away or keep it. What’s most important is that you were able to write down your feelings.
If you wish to reestablish your friendship in the future, you can keep the doors of communication open by sending holiday or birthday cards or tell mutual friends to say hello for you.
When a friendship is over, don’t give up until you’re ready.

What not to do When a friendship is over:

Don’t be disrespectful of your friend by gossiping or complaining to mutual friends. When a friendship is over, you have to let it go.

Don’t burn all bridges – The ending of a friendship may only be temporary and you may want to reach out to your friend in the future.

Don’t push for communication When a friendship is over, sometimes you have to let it be over.