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An article by : Nicoletta Pallotta

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Social isolation and working from home, aimed to stop the spread of the coronavirus may be making domestic violence more frequent, more severe and more dangerous. Are you or someone you love being abused? 1 out of every 3 women are in an abusive relationship and this issue becoming even more common during COVID-19, while we are stressed and forced to spend large amounts of time at home together.

Below are 10 common indicators of abuse:

  • Stalking: questioning your every move while telling you that they love you and are being protective
  • Texting or calling you constantly; insisting they are concerned about you and want to make sure that you are safe
  • Controlling your finances: forcing you to account in detail for every dollar that you spend
  • Criticizing you for every little thing you do
  • Humiliating you in front of your family and friends
  • Angering easily, particularly if he or she is drinking
  • Forcing you to have sex against your will
  • Hitting or punching you
  • Jealously of friendships or any other relationships you have
  • Isolating you from family and friends

If you can say yes to even one of these, you are in an abusive relationship.

During a calm stage, it’s easy to remain in the relationship thinking that it won’t happen again, but it doesn’t help to ignore the problem or live in hope that the abuser will change. It’s very important to be prepared and have a safety, back-up plan in case the violence erupts again.

Be prepared in case you need to call a shelter

It’s not accepting defeat to be ready. Find out about legal options or other resources available to you before you have to use them. You should know exactly where to go and how to get there, even if a situation arises the middle of the night.

Prepare an emergency bag, for a quick exit

Keep cash, a checkbook, your savings account details, identification, a medical insurance card and your address book in a safe place where the abuser can’t find it. The last thing you want to be worried about at a time like this is money!

Leave the situation

If it happens, be ready to go. If you have children, take them with you. If you are in immediate danger call 911.


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It’s totally normal to feel stressed or anxious from time to time, but there’s lots of things you can do to manage your anxiety.

Remember: there’s a difference between feeling stressed every now and then, and experiencing ongoing anxiety. If the stress or anxiety is starting to take a toll, consider talking to a mental health professional.

1. Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling
Just talking to someone about how you feel can take a weight off your shoulders. Make sure you trust the person, then work out what you want to say to them. We’ve got four more steps for talking to someone you trust here.

2. Focus on the present
Have you ever noticed that feeling stressed or anxious often coincides with dwelling on the past or worrying about the future? Simply focusing your mind on the present moment can help you feel a little more relaxed. You might be surprised to know there’s lots of ways to do this, even if you don’t like meditating. Here’s five simple ways to be more mindful.

3. Take some time out
A fully packed schedule would make a lot of people feel stressed. Make sure you fit in at least one thing you enjoy each day, whether it’s a hobby, a Netflix show, or a chat with a friend. It can also help if you schedule the enjoyable activity into your day, so that you don’t feel guilty about not doing something else.

4. Monitor your thoughts
Sometimes we don’t even know what’s making us stressed or anxious. Writing down your thoughts can help you figure out what the cause is. Once you’ve done that, you can work on challenging and changing your negative thoughts. You can use a diary to do this, or an app such as Mindshift.

5. Challenge your thoughts
If your head is full of negative thoughts, of course you’re going to feel stressed or anxious. But even though our thoughts feel true, it doesn’t mean they reflect what’s really happening. Try writing down what you’re thinking, then adding facts that support or disprove each thought. You might be surprised by how many of your thoughts are exaggerated or aren’t reality. Read more about how to challenge negative thoughts here.

6. Move more, eat well, sleep
It’s pretty well known that exercise lowers stress, reduces anxiety and improves mood. And the good news is: you don’t need to run a marathon to get the benefits. It takes just 30 minutes of exercise a day to make a difference. We’ve got some tips on how to exercise when you’re not feeling motivated.

7. Face your fears
If you always avoid situations that make you anxious, this might be stopping you from doing things you want or need to do. It sounds weird, but facing the things that make you anxious can reduce your anxiety.

It’s best to do this with the help of a professional, though, so that it doesn’t get too full-on for you. If you’d like to speak to a experienced, qualified and friendly Counselor – click here

Article by reachout.com


 

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You should never underestimate the affect that stress can have on your body and your mind.

The symptoms of large amounts of stress include tiredness, illness, and the inability to concentrate or think clearly. Sometimes, prolonged periods of stress can even cause a mental breakdown. If you suffer from extreme stress or are stressed for a long period of time, your body will eventually wear itself down.

But sometimes a small amount of stress can actually be good in that it can help you gather yourself and take action. For example, when you have an important task to perform, stress can kick in and motivate you to meet your goals. During times of crisis, stress can send you into “automatic pilot” mode where you are able to block out the chaos around you and react effectively in the situation.

Some common stress factors include academic demands; moving house; being on your own in a new environment, new responsibilities; a new job or promotion; changes in family relations and your social life; financial responsibilities, and of course, a global phenomenon such as COVID-19, where our way of life has changed completely and the future is uncertain.

Whether in school or employment, pulling an “all-nighter” can lead to stress-driven exhaustion the following day. Caffeine starts with a temporary energy boost and ends in a crash, which can leave you feeling worse than you did originally. Waiting until the very last minute to get something done which forces your body to run on adrenaline.

Some ways to manage stress relief would start with managing your time wisely and staying organized. Try to get some form of exercise daily and eat healthily. A very important consideration when you are going through a stressful time, get enough sleep, it may seem a simple answer, but it’s also works.


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After a traumatic event, it’s normal to feel powerless, anxious, scared, angry. We encourage you to reach out and connect with a professional counselor to explore effective and healthy ways to cope with your emotions.

You may experience feeling hopeless and experience withdrawing or isolating yourself, excessive sleeping, the use of drugs or alcohol more than usual.

At a time like this, simple things can help. Try to:

  • Talk to close friends or family about your feelings
  • Stay present, take breaks from social media and the news
  • Take a walk, go to the gym, run errands to keep active and healthy
  • Spend time in person with family and friends, try to stay positive

Please take care of yourself and those around you – physical health and emotional connectedness can go a long way toward making you feel like yourself again.


If you need to talk to a professional, schedule an appointment with us:

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An article by Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW.

The challenges that women deal with are often directly related to their gender; sexism, stereotyping, motherhood, childbirth issues, infertility struggles etc.

As a society we like to think that we’ve achieved ‘equality’, but the truth is the way women experience life and are perceived in life, is still very different to men.

Traditionally perceived gender roles are something we’ll never truly escape. There is inherent pressure on women to balance career and family, and this is something that affects women across the globe. If you have children, you probably undergo immense guilt when unavoidable parental obligations interrupt your working day, even if a 60-hour week is your norm, deep down you may still think this way. All this in addition to the general predicament of feeling undervalued both at home and at work.

If you feel like you need help in dealing with any aspect of life, there’s a lot to be said for talking to someone of the same sex. Female therapists get it, because they live it. They understand. This is not to say that male therapists aren’t amazing and don’t add value, but when you’re dealing with sensitive subjects that are unique to women (and even when you’re not) it can be comforting, and easier to talk to a female counselor who can personally relate to much of what you’re going through.

 


 

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Chances are you’ve been “Ghosted” at sometime.

Ghosting is when someone you’re dating ends the relationship by cutting off all communication, without any explanation. And we’re not talking about not returning a text back after one awkward first date, but receiving the ultimate silent treatment after several dates, or when you’re in a committed relationship.

It’s also worth noting that Ghosting also happens in friendships.

There are many reasons why someone Ghosts, but at its core, Ghosting is avoidance and often stems from fear of conflict. Which may mean that Ghosting is about wanting to avoid confrontation, avoid difficult conversations and/or avoiding hurting someone’s feelings.

For many people, being Ghosted can result in feelings of being disrespected, used and disrespected. If you have known the person beyond more than a few dates then it can be even more stressful. When someone we may like and trust disengages from us it can feel like a very deep betrayal.

One of the most emotional results of Ghosting is that it doesn’t just cause you to question the validity of the relationship you had, it causes you to question yourself. Don’t allow someone else’s bad behavior to rob you of a better future by losing your vulnerability and shutting yourself off from another relationship.

In a nutshell, Ghosting is basically rejection, only without the finality. It often happens out of nowhere and can leave you feeling confused, hurt, and anxious.

What should you do if you think you’ve been Ghosted? Step away. It’ll only lead to turmoil, heartbreak, and pain that you don’t need in your life.