Keys to Resilience – Boundaries
Boundaries are a key to building resilience. They allow us to avoid the trap of offence or taking on the issues of others as we provide support. In short, a person with healthy boundaries takes responsibility for his/her own life and allows others to live theirs.
Keys to Resilience – Self Care
Self-care is necessary for building resiliency - the ability to bounce back from adversity. The whole notion of self-care has really become popular in secular, humanistic thought. However, the concept of tending to your mental, spiritual, emotional, social...
Keys to Resilience – Know Yourself
When we are struggling with our purpose, we don’t see ourselves as valuable or skilled. It can become easy for us to get stuck when we are struggling.
By regularly reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ, that we were each created uniquely on purpose and that we have gifts and strengths, we build resilience to bounce back more quickly from hardship.
Key to Resilience – Meditation
Having mindfulness is intentionally focusing on God so that His voice is louder than our judgements. And mindfulness is produced through the practice of meditation. Christian mindfulness is walking out what 2 Corinthians 10:5 says in “taking every thought captive.” Meditation develops the skill of gaining control over what you think about yourself and life and submitting it to God.
Key to Resilience – Having Fun
Once again research has confirmed what is found in scripture, that having fun is a key to resilience. It allows you the mental and emotional break to be creative and relieve stress. This will prevent you from getting stuck when walking through life’s difficult moments.
Keys to Resilience – Finding Rest
Having regular rhythms of rest and understanding your unique signs that you need rest is a discipline that will allow you to avoid getting stuck when you face adversity. Rest is necessary to have endurance, a clear mind, and the emotional capacity necessary to not be overcome by life’s challenges.
Keys to Resilience – Staying Connected
We are created to be in relationship – with God and with others. By staying connected we become more resilient, allowing us to bounce back from struggle or hardship quicker.
Reach – Fourth Step of The Caring Church Response
It all comes back to telling people about Jesus. The Caring Church Response and all of Hope Made Strong's resources align with the ultimate purpose of making disciples. That is what our mission as Christians is. Each day we are to become more like Christ...
Resource – Third Step of The Caring Church Response
15 years ago, when I first started my career as a social worker, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to make a difference. I wanted to impact my community for change and help people overcome struggles and find freedom. But I was unprepared for the...
Restore – The Second Step of the Caring Church Response
Have you ever taken an extra-long weekend to have a mini-vacation? A quick recharge, but not too long because you have a million things going on. You don’t have time for a full vacation, but you know you need a break. I did this last week and the evening...
Recognize – The First Step of The Caring Church Response
The Caring Church Response is the step-by-step process that Hope Made Strong walks churches through to build a sustainable and effective care program. It builds on the strengths of the church, meets the community’s needs, and aligns with the unique mission of...
The Caring Church Response
1 Corinthians 12:22-26 talks about the value that God has for all the parts, or members, of the body. “...that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.” (vs...
The Importance of Boundaries as a Church Caregiver
Regardless of how much you try to stay neutral and maintain boundaries, there is a loss of objectivity because the relationship between the support provider and the user is often personal. Because there is a closer relationship and connection between care ministry members and the person who is looking for support, we need to be more mindful about how our support can cross over into trying to rescue or save someone.
How churches can build community partnerships
In order to have a care ministry that is able to tend to the needs of your congregants without anyone burning out, it’s vital to partner with community organizations.
What to look for in a care ministry volunteer
If you don’t have a team helping you support those in your congregation you are going to wear yourself and those who come to you out if you try to do it all on your own. When you are seeking out people to be on a care team, look for natural helpers. Having a diverse group of care volunteers will strengthen your care team and create an environment that will encourage people to seek out support rather than suffer in isolation.
Why people care matters at your church
Most ministry leaders don’t realize that churches are often the number one front-line mental health resource for their members. It’s necessary to have a care team and an intentional care plan for those who are looking to your church for support. So download the 17 page guide on 3 Steps to Building Sustainable Care Ministry in your Church.
For a limited time I’m offering a free guide on building a sustainable care ministry in your churc
Why it’s healthy and helpful to feel emotions
For generations we have been taught to suppress and silent emotions; and as a result, we’re seeing the negative impacts in our physical health, mental well-being and even in our relationships. Use these three strategies and that free download tool to recognize and respond to your emotions.
10 signs you are experiencing compassion fatigue
It took me months to realize that I was experiencing compassion fatigue and it wasn’t until I stopped and found healing that I realized how significantly every area of my life was impacted.
Let me save you a few steps and hopefully months of hardship and tell you the 10 signs of compassion fatigue that I didn’t recognize until afterwards.
What’s the difference between burnout and compassion fatigue
With burnout if you are able to find relief from the helplessness, hopelessness and stress you are likely to find symptoms of burnout to subside with no lasting impacts. But that is not the case with compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue has long term impacts to the world view and wellbeing.
4 Steps to low impact debriefing
Low-Impact-Debriefing gives you the freedom to be able to talk and share with others without fear of re-traumatizing them and still provides you with all the support and care needed in sharing about the difficult work that you do.
How to say no without feeling guilty
Download: 3 tips on how to say no with grace How many times have you been in a situation when someone is asking you to do something and you think” I really should say no but I feel bad” So are faced with a decision. Do you say no and feel guilty, or you say...
7 Keys to building resilience
Resilience can feel like a buzz word. It sounds really good, what does it actually mean? And even harder is figuring out how to achieve it. It’s like the unicorn of well-being or actually achieving the allusive “work-life balance”. Super nice to say and...
What is Compassion Fatigue?
Around the world ministry leaders and cross-cultural workers are serving and caring and unaware of the risk and impacts of Compassion Fatigue. Resulting in people experiencing mental, emotional and physical exhaustion and even having to leave the ministry to care for own their wellbeing.
Why Self-care is not selfish
Self-care has been found to be a core building block for surviving and thriving in ministry and we are going to outline what self-care is and how it doesn’t have to take a lot of time, energy or money to do.
How to support Change
Frustrated at hearing people complain or say they need to change but never follow through? The stages of change model is helpful in understanding how people go through change and how you as a support can help them.
5 Tips to get through the holidays
The holidays The holidays bring stressful moments. It doesn’t matter if you have a hallmark life or if you are someone struggling with loss, anxiety or depression. There are times when you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and even sad. So often when we think...
I Statements – communication strategy
“I” statements are a simple way of speaking that will help you avoid the defensive trap by reducing feelings of blame. A good “I” statement takes responsibility for one’s own feelings, while tactfully describing a problem.
H.A.L.T Communication Strategy
H.A.L.T. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. It’s a quick and easy reminder that if you feel any of these things you should halt, stop immediately and meet these needs prior to having difficult conversations.
Why is listening so important?
Active listening is listening with curiosity. Guiding the person with questions so they can unwrap and open boxes themselves, where eventually they will find the core issue. I have put together a cheat sheet of curious questions to help you guide people as they tell their stories.
Flipping your lid
“Flipping your lid” is a simplified explanation that I often refer to when describing what happens in the brain when people experience stress. Once you learn this concept you will begin to see if everywhere. The frustrated customer, angry neighbour, the exhausted parent. Your response to this human experience will be forever changed, and you build self awareness resists that urge to flip your own lid.
Using scales to support
If the person you’re supporting is having difficulty describing their feelings, or the meeting is lacking focus or if it’s a struggle to keep people on track, use a number or color scale as it provides common ground and language to build upon.
What to say when you don’t know what to say
If it hasn’t happened to you yet, there will be a day when you enter a situation and you have no idea what to say and people will be looking to you for support and hope. Often times it’s when others are facing tragedy. You feel helpless, Words are worthless....
4 Steps to quit smoking
Most people I know want to quit smoking. That means that an estimated 34 million adults in America have either thought of quitting or tried and failed. But most people don’t realize that nicotine is just as hard, or even harder, to quit than heroin. So it’s no...
Daily habits that overcome anxiety
Research has finally caught up to what we know as truth from the Bible. There are habits that you can incorporate into your life that can improve your resiliency or ability to bounce back from difficulties like anxiety and depression.
Are you being a supporter or a saviour?
As caregivers, we can tend overreach and try to help everyone. But we are to be supporters, not saviours. Supporting someone is walking alongside them as they journey through their life.
As caregivers, we can’t save anyone.
5 Ways care giving impacts your life
You are a deeply caring individual and you are devoted to your work and calling and there is nothing to be ashamed of, or feel guilty about when you find yourself worn-out and not wanting to hear any more sadness and problems. Measure your levels of caregiver fatigue, and discover 5 ways your life is impacted.
Why do you experience anxiety and how to overcome it
millions of people every day that are struggling through life but have no idea why or how to overcome it. Anxiety can be tricky to detect and presents differently in each person and let me guarantee you EVERYONE struggles with anxiety. So let’s discover why we experience anxiety and how you can we overcome it.
10 Tips to Improve your Sleep
Often times our sleep is the first thing to suffer when stress builds. In this video I share a list of 10 tried and true tips to help with falling asleep.
7 signs of addiction – Are you addicted to your phone?
It’s no surprise 44% of Americans say they couldn’t go a day without their cell phone. But the question is, are we addicted? In this video I identify 7 signs of addiction. These 7 things can also be applied to any other behavior addiction (shopping, pornography, gambling, gaming or food)
How to prevent burnout in your teams
We want to prevent burnout with our teams so that they can remain healthy and have longevity in ministry. For this we need to consider 3 areas; hopelessness, helplessness and prolonged stress.
3 strategies to Calm Anxiety
As Christians how do we overcoming anxiety and worry that can preoccupy our minds? What as believers can we do in the moment of crisis? In this video I offer some strategies to help you begin to overcome anxiety so you are able to feel less anxious.
A Discussion about How To Handle Addiction
https://youtu.be/DhRM9CnHh3E Each substance or behavior has its own signs and symptoms of addiction. When you are experiencing addiction, you are drawn to the substance because you are avoiding the bad. The bad could be loneliness, negative thoughts, anxious...
7 Strategies to Avoid Depression and Anxiety During Physical Distancing.
Grief is often a journey. Something that you go through when there is a loss. Just as in any grief, we can slip into the more unhealthy space of anxiety and depression and get stuck. However, here are seven small strategies that can be helpful to process the grief, prevent us from getting stuck and keep us moving through the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19.
Volunteer burnout: why it happens and what you can do to prevent it.
The church is an organization heavily dependant on volunteers and in recognition of volunteer appreciation week, I want to speak to volunteer burnout. The church needs to be aware of volunteer burnout, why it happens and what you can do to prevent it.
Church, this is our time to look outside of our walls
During this time of social distancing, the Church is in an incredible position to help the vulnerable and support those struggling in isolation. Let this shift be more radical than going from physical walls to digital walls. Let’s open our eyes and hearts to their needs… not just our own.
10 Ways to Overcome Anxiety
The walls are closing in. Chest is tightening. Agitation grows. Anyone experiencing a little stress right now?? Nerves, overwhelm or anxiety are developed for a number of reasons, but the main one is stress. Today I write this as I sit quarantined in my home along...
How to support someone struggling with mental health
With mental health impacting 1 in 5 people it is very likely that you are going to talk to someone who is struggling. You want to help, but have no idea what to say and you surely don’t want to make it worse.
Here’s good news. Here are 5 things you can say to support someone struggling.
This is Burnout
Burnout is a real thing.
Combine prolonged stress, with no control or ability to change your circumstance and you lose hope.
As hopelessness grows you develop a belief that you are trapped and nothing is going to change. This is burnout and it impacts millions of people a year.
Have you ever found yourself cynical or having difficulty being encouraging to others when they tell you about their positive life experiences and self-care practices? Same. So when I experience breakthrough, joy and excitement I find myself holding back on sharing not wanting to cause anyone else to feel bad. Must-be-nice-syndrome is really a red flag signal that we are lacking in the self-care department.
The New Year’s resolution that not only will change your life but everyone around you.
Instead of looking at what habit you want to change or adapt for the new year I want to turn resolutions upside down. Let’s first look at what motivates you to change, rather than the habit you want to change. At the core of our motivations as humans are connections and relationships, but when we are experiencing compassion fatigue we tend to isolate. Setting ourselves up low motivation.
Remaining in God’s Will the Easy Way
Anxiously striving to follow and serve God once felt like I was trying to follow a car in an unfamiliar place. “Please no red lights, please don’t turn left.”
But when I go hiking with my family I never let my children go behind me, they are never chasing to keep up. As parents, we ensured that the kids were safe and remained ahead of us and going in the right direction.
This is how I feel God leads us. He never lets us get behind him. There is no striving to keep up. We don’t need to live in anxiety pursuing Him.
Managing those who suck up all your time on Sunday
“Pastor, do you have a minute?” Famous last words… Both of you know it’s not just one minute. Soon enough, you start working on the body language to indicate that the convo needs to come to a close. After all it’s Sunday and after service is not the time or...
5 Skills for an Effective Counseling Session
“I want to see someone else.” “I am requesting a new counsellor.” This was the 6th message firing me as a counsellor in only a few short months. Ugh… What was I doing wrong? I started out my career in the helping profession 15 years ago, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed...
Just Let Me Be Alone
When was the last time you went out to a social event because YOU wanted to go? Not because you were required because of your job, or because family expected you to, but because you genuinely were looking forward to going out, seeing people, laughing and enjoying the...
5 Ways to (still!) Meet Your Needs While Supporting Others
Two phone calls to struggling parents, one hospital visit, a support session with someone who has been going through a rough time in their marriage and that’s not counting the six voicemails and the 38 emails that are waiting for a response. *bing* Oh, make that 39...
How long have you been working today?
“15 hours” “That’s crazy” he responded and headed to bed. When my husband asked me this question I paused to think. The question came at 11 pm and I still had my computer open, stretching my neck every 10 minutes from looking down at the screen for hours. It was a...
How to debrief without burdening
Unicorns pooping slime? Why is this even a thing?! My children have been obsessed with slime. This must be a common experience because the toy industry has developed every way in which slime can be marketed. I have avoided slime in my house as much as possible, but...
Meditation. What comes to mind when you hear this word? Yoga? Buddhism? New age humanism? Or do you think of prayer? Maybe King David’s writing of the psalms and aligning with the Holy Spirit? Yeah, not many people think about that last option. It is true that...
Have you ever felt trapped in your circumstances?
I came to the end of myself and ended up needing to take some time off of work. I thought this time was going to be filled with reading, organizing closets, exercising, spending quality time with my family. (sound familiar?) But instead, during this time-off the rains came.
“Am I just wasting time?” Me, just a few days ago. Today is Monday. A new week. A new day and I’m curious what God is going to make of it. Last week was brutal though. In just about every area of my life I felt withdrawn and discouraged. Last week was full of chaos,...
Shut the Windows and Get out of the House
A $10 carbon monoxide detector saved us from being killed in our sleep from a build-up of odourless toxic gas. Here’s the full (true!) story on The Day My Furnace Tried To Kill Me. It’s worth a read. After being woken up from the carbon monoxide alarm we quickly...
The morning my furnace tried to kill me
“WAKE UP HON! COME ON!! YOU GOTTA WAKE UP! There’s something wrong and we have to get out.” I was 6 months pregnant with my first child and I was hoping to enjoy sleeping in a bit on a rainy Sunday morning. But at 7 am my husband shook me away, anxious and worried....
Trigger. Trigger. Trigger.
“I'm done. Don't talk to me anymore. Go ask your father.” It was a harsh thing to say to an 8-year-old, but I admit it, that's what I said to my daughter. Picture this. Hot afternoon. Standing in a crowd with a lot of noise. All of us hungry. Add to that my kids...
You want me to do what?!
“Go for a walk… instead of working on a project that I’m weeks behind in?” Today is a beautiful Monday and I finally have a full day to catch up on a long list of to-dos. But God was drawing me to get out to exercise. I can tell you with certainty that it was God…...
All Suffering is Worthy of Compassion…. Even Yours
Exhaustion seems to be the badge of honour for being a caregiver or pastor, doesn’t it? However, when we push through working from sunup to sundown, as Moses did, we are not able to endure and the burden is too heavy. So, it’s time to take some of our own advice.
5 signs that you might be overwhelmed
“No matter how hard I work, I never seem to catch up”. The life in ministry is difficult. And sometimes there is nowhere to turn. You may believe the statements above. And you may even be a part of the statistics. In a Westlean Clergy wellbeing support of over...
Are you burnt out? Never get a chance to refuel? Maybe it’s Compassion fatigue.
“Hi honey, can we talk?” 10pm. You're just getting home from a long day. You were hoping to finally get a moment to yourself, but… “It’s been a rough day with the kids”, you hear. It was a day of meetings and addressing people’s needs and you’re completely exhausted....
I have control issues
On the outside, it may fool you. I’m the easy going parent. I enjoy being more spontaneous and love adventure. I’m not a clean freak and I’m okay with leaving the dishes in the sink for a day or two. But on the inside, oh man, on the inside I need to be in control of...
Are you Empowering or Enabling?
Let me go straight to the point. Enabling is doing life FOR someone. Enabling however often comes disguised as supporting. Let me paint the picture for you. Doing the homework for your children is enabling them. Supporting would look like sitting with them and...
Setting Boundaries and saying No
“If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” was read every night as a bedtime story at our household this past week. The author, Laura Numeroff, describes how this cute boy offers a cookie to a mouse (in case you haven’t guessed by the name yet, ha!) and how the boy responds to...
5 practical ways to get over a phone addiction
“I don’t like feeling bad, I want to feel good. And I always feel good when I am eating. So let’s go eat some ice cream and a bag of chips.” Yours may sound a bit different but I’m sure a variation of the thought above may have crossed your mind in some point or you...
5 ways to know if you are addicted to your phone
“I’m addicted to Beyoncé.” The word addicted has joined ranks with many words that have lost their meaning over time. Words like “love”, “awesome” or my pet peeve “literally”. What was once the meaning has shifted and has adopted a new...
Brain is Powering Down
Left in the car 5 miles and a boat ride away was my phone charger and there was no way I was leaving that line to go get it. It’s not any line. I’m standing in line for the Peter Pan ride at Disney World and I realized that I left my phone cord in the...
7 Ways to Manage Anxiety
My heart started racing. My husband and I had shut all the lights off and headed upstairs to bed when I realized I had just stepped on my daughter who had fallen asleep on the stairs. #truestory You see, my youngest daughter has mastered the...
13 Tips for Better Sleep
Sleep is often the first thing to suffer when stresses are mounting at home and work. The common most frequent recommendation is to develop a sleep routine. To go to bed and wake-up at roughly the same time each day. Agreed this is a key to developing, healthy sleep habits, but easier said than done. Here is a list of practical tried and true tips to help with falling asleep and getting the rest your body and mind desperately needs.
I came home from work later than expected. I was greeted with questions of “what’s for dinner?” I lost it. “You should have taken care of this!”
At the moment I didn’t have this clarity, but looking back I believe that the lie from the devil was about my value and respect. I should really stop using should statements.
Changing your thinking
Overgeneralization is an unhealthy thought distortion. It is when we make predictions and have false beliefs based on only one or two experiences. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can do to develop more balanced thinking.
Just Stop Thinking Like That
“Just stop thinking like that.”Sound familiar?Ever shared that you’re struggling and got a cheap response from those you love and trust when asking for help?You are not alone.Feeling like a failure, not worthy, smart, strong, holy, brave, strong enough is...
How do I take back my thoughts, mind and life?
How do I take back my thoughts, mind, and life? (read the first half of this blog post here) The first thing to ending the assault is to expose it for what it is. A lie from the devil. See how irrational the thoughts are and remind yourself of the truth. What is a...
Who Do You Think You Are?!
Who do You Think You Are!? “You don’t have enough education.”“You’re too young.”“You’re too plain”.“Your too fat to be on stage”“You are a nobody.”“You don’t know enough about the bible”. What a tsunami of self-doubt!As I take steps towards building Hope Made Strong...