Posted on March 16, 2020 by janice
IS IT THE VIRUS, OR IS IT ANXIETY?
So, let me start with a question…how much toilet paper do you have in your house right now?
Silly question, right? Yet, last Saturday I saw two women literally push each other out of the way to get to the toilet paper in my local Walmart.
Did you know panic, anxiety, stress can create very similar symptoms to a virus such as headache, dizziness, nausea, abdominal pain, cough, fatigue, sore throat. No wonder people are in such a state! They think they’re sick because they’re anxious and they’re anxious because they’re sick.
Those who have been diagnosed with the corona virus did not, obviously, contract it because they were anxious. My point is, the more anxious you allow yourself to become the more likely you’ll feel sick!
Why be part of the panicking crowd? Do you really need all that toilet paper?
Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million Americans every year. Unfortunately, only about 37% receive treatment. (National Institutes of Health) Some have a physiological based anxiety, others become stressed and anxious due to a trigger or critical event such as this COVID-19 epidemic.
When there is a traumatic or critical event, such as the COVID-19 epidemic, people experience higher levels of anxiety. Those who work hard to manage their physiological anxiety may find it extremely difficult to cope with the level of stress that’s being foisted on us by the media.
So, here’s the premise: you’re making yourself sick in order to help the news media make money. Is that logical?
The news media makes money on exacerbating your anxiety, physiological or otherwise. Like a “broken record” (or scratched DVD) you hear over and over, “there’s not enough testing…” those in charge “…don’t know what they’re doing…” “there’s shortages of everyday products we need…” “…there’s going to be a recession…” and on and on. Its like scratching your fingernails on a blackboard. You can’t stand it! And, by the way, you can’t control it either. The only thing you can control is yourself.
It’s time to change the tune! TURN THE TV OFF! Yes, turn it off, change the channel. Remove the notifications on your phone for “alerts” such as updates of how many people have the corona virus. Do you really need to know how many people in Oregon have the virus (unless of course you live in Oregon)?
Do you really need to know that the shelves in your local supermarket are cleaned out (as they generally can be at the end of a busy day or even holiday)? You don’t hear the media telling you, “…oh, by the way, Shoprite has restocked their shelves…” do you? Why? It doesn’t sell! The news media, whether electronic, print or otherwise, makes its money based upon how many people listen to it, see it or read it. TURN THE TV OFF! The more people who actively listen, see or read, the more time they can sell advertising to those who produce goods or sell services (such as bug exterminator or a car dealership).
So, not only are you torturing your poor tired, already stressed-out mind, with these nonsensical talking heads, but you’re helping them to make a great deal of money on your pain! TURN THE TV OFF!
Stop being reactive and be proactive!
Post 9/11 I worked at in outpatient mental health facility associated with a local hospital. A few other colleagues and I had just been trained in “critical incident stress debriefing.” We were asked to conduct group therapy using this debriefing method with people who had been at the World Trade Center. I found one of the best things these poor traumatized people could do for themselves…you guessed it, TURN THE TV OFF!
You see, each time they would watch that jet plane crash into the tower, they were retraumatizing themselves. Reliving that awful day, again, and again.
What are you doing now? The fear and stress you may be feeling as a result of this epidemic are being fed until it’s big and fat! Why, because the tv is on! TURN THE TV OFF!
We are being advised to engage in “social distance.” Don’t stand too close to others, work from home, don’t send your kids to school. Indeed, many schools have closed. How about you engage in “electronic distancing” TURN THE TV OFF!
The irony here is, according to the CDC, about SEVEN MILLION (7,000,000) people were reported to have contracted the flu in 2019. Not the coronavirus, but the flu. As of March 12, again, according to the CDC, about 1700 people in the USA had contracted the coronavirus. Is the coronavirus serious? Yes. Is the elderly especially at risk? Yes. Are those with a compromised immune system at risk? Yes. But they are at risk every flu season. Your 85-year-old grandmother with asthma isn’t going to visit her cousin Sadie who has a severe head cold!
Let me make myself very clear, you must consider the advice of the CDC and/or your doctor. I am not saying you don’t need to concern yourself with this epidemic, that would be dangerous. But exacerbate anxiety, induce panic? Fight another person over toilet paper or paper towel? Absurd. Reduce your “intake” of the obsessed news media to maybe once each day just to keep up to date, then TURN THE TV OFF!
You know what you need to do. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, throw your used tissues in the trash, not on the floor or street. Common sense. Do you really need the TV to tell you this? I think no. TURN THE TV OFF!
Working with a therapist may offer you some relief of the stress you may feel as a result of this pandemic. Many, such as I, will work with you via a video service such as “What’s App” “Zoom” etc. If you’re worried about going to someone’s office during this stressful time, inquire as to whether you can meet via video! You’re not a technical person? No worries, using these services are intuitive, take it from someone who is especially tech challenged!
“Contain” the anxiety and panic by distancing yourself from the news media. Anxiety is no joke. Panic attacks are frightening. Anxiety due to a critical event is awful. Take care of yourself, take care of your family. Then worry about what everyone else is doing. Reduce your attention to the news media to perhaps one time each day for 10 minutes. Listen to the weather reports or traffic, but all else, DISTANCE yourself! Worried if you may be sick? Call you doctor!
If you’re not sick or don’t believe you’re sick, but stuck at home, nevertheless, play a game, take a walk on a sunny day in the fresh air. Read a book, take care of those home projects you’ve been meaning to get to. You’ll be pleased with how levelheaded you were (and are) when this virus finally blows through as it will do sooner than you may think!
But remember, TURN THE TV OFF!
JANICE DELLA BADIA, LCSW
Life/Transformational Coach and Psychotherapist
IF YOU ARE IN CRISIS, ARE NEED IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE, CALL 911 OR A
24-hour crisis hotline #s Morris County, NJ
St. Clare’s Hospital 973/625-0280
Morristown Memorial (a/k/a Atlantic Health) 973/540-0100
Newton Memorial (also, part of Atlantic Health) 973/383-0973
 A free service you can download on your cell phone – owned by Facebook.
Posted on January 2, 2020 by janice
Whether I’m writing a blog, offering a workshop, or speaking to a client like you, I always ask: “What do you want?”
There are hundreds of articles, blogs, commentary, etc., on the internet about why New Year’s Resolutions are doomed to failure. I’m not going to get into that here, its easy enough for you to check it out if you’re interested.
Someone said to me a long time ago, “figures don’t lie, but liars’ figure!”
The figures show us by mid-February, approximately 90% of people who made New Year’s resolutions have “failed” or just plain given up. Depressing, right?
You want to find out how to achieve your resolution, yes? First, let’s stop calling it a New Year’s Resolution, let’s call it what it should be called, your goal.
Since you’re reading this, you may be looking for ways to achieve your goal(s), I can offer you a few ideas on how to do so, successfully. If you “resolve” to do it right, to follow through, to dedicate yourself to this goal, you will not fail.
First, what are your strengths, your natural talents? Write them down. Next, do you have a willingness to accept support (coaching), listen to new or alternate ideas, to process your ideas with someone who’s professional goal is to support you to success. Are you willing to hold yourself accountable for whatever work is necessary to set a plan, objectives, time and effort? Are you ready to be successful?
It’s irrelevant if you’re goal is career-related, marriage related, divorce-related, parenting related, or find the best way to manage a challenging transition…if you’re excited to get down to brass tact’s and start towards your success, keep reading!
Here’s the first secret, if you know what you want (or are convinced you do) if you find yourself doing something that does not support or launch you into that success, STOP IT, NOW. What I’m saying is there may be a few things you’re unaware of (at this point) and may create obstacles preventing you from moving forward. From getting “unstuck.” You may be thinking, “oh, that’s not me…” umm, yeah, it probably is. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us!
Take a few moments and stop what you’re doing, sit quietly, review your day from the moment you opened your eyes to this very moment…anything? Did you find it? It may be something small and seemingly insignificant, yet it’s part of the larger self-defeating things that build up and prevent your success.
You’ve likely heard this before, and the reason you’ve heard it before is because it works…keep a daily journal. Thoughts, behaviors, all of it that are in service or are sabotaging your journey towards your goal. When you write things down, you are engaging different parts of the brain, you’ll be amazed at what will come out and onto that paper. You’ll see it there, in writing, in front of you. What you need to do more of, and what you may need to do to change.
Mindfulness. Mindfulness is being aware of where you are, who you are and what you’re doing at any given point in time – in the here and now. Accepting, without judgment or blame, no “shoulding” all over yourself. Awareness. No yesterday, not tomorrow, not even three hours from now. But right now. If you do not manage your life here and now, how will you manage your future?
A great exercise for you to try and get yourself into the rhythm of living mindfully, plan out exactly what you will do the moment your feet hit the floor as you get out of bed in the morning. Plan out exactly what you will do when you get up for the first 30 minutes. It should only take you a moment or two. Bathroom, coffee, take the dog for a short walk, shower, etc., any or all these things you take for granted each morning. Think about it in detail, live in that moment without considering what will happen 30 minutes later.
Whatever it is you do, should be, (in some way) related to your achieving your goal. Even small daily living tasks will be in service to your goal, and until now, you were not aware of it.
Unless you are living in this moment, the here and now, you will be unable to achieve your goal, and, unfortunately, you will become part of the 90%.
How will you use this moment? Considering what you will do when your feet touch the floor is the only way you will get to where you want to go. These are basics. Becoming aware, developing some insight is part of success. Don’t worry about yesterday. Three hours from now is impossible to predict. Live your life in the moment you’re in. Its that simple, and that complicated.
It is also important to note that all goals should be measurable. If they are not, well, then how will you know when you get there? Measurement is clear and convincing evidence of your success, and you want to savor every moment, don’t you?
As experienced Life Coach I can help you develop your goals, support you while you follow through and measure your success.
Mindfully, planning, organizing, breaking the goal into manageable parts and celebrating the success of each part. Calling on your strengths to find solutions and a clear way to leadership and success.
Those are a few of my “secrets” to being part of the 10%. Feel free to share with the 90% if you know any, why not spread the positive and kick the negative to the curb!
This new year, this new decade is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself, your successful self.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
By: Janice Della Badia, LCSW
 Especially one who has uses positive outcome techniques of strengths-based, solution focused, mindfulness, and other positive coaching techniques.
Posted on December 14, 2019 by janice
Janice Della Badia, LCSW
YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE…
…from the “holidays” so-called. Christian, Jew, LDS, doesn’t matter. Christmas, Chanukah, New Year’s, the appointed days arrive every year whether you’re “ready or not.” Some look forward to them with the enthusiasm of a child. Others, with a sense of dread.
Ah “the holidays the twinkling lights, garland hung on anything that doesn’t move, placing the Menorah in the window…and the goodies and cookies! Yum!!!
Before I go further, it is important that you understand something very important:
Definition: “Fantasy.” (n) imagination unrestricted by reality
You turn on the TV to listen to some light, funny (probably brainless) show, and what do you get…Christmas…New Year’s… Chanukah. Secular, non-secular, it matters not. There it is, in your face. Everyone is young(ish) happy, healthy, smiling, and of course, beautiful. Glamorous clothing, hair perfectly styled, slender, fit. In many ads, people are in couples or in groups of loving friends and family. Champagne glasses clink… My fav: some lovely woman is offered a 6-carat ring from some extremely handsome male model, and she pretends to be surprised. Oy vey.
Here’s the reality, not everyone looks forward to the “holidays” with child-like exuberance. There are many who feel pain and loneliness more than any other time of year. If you’re one who feels the pain more intensely this time of year, this blog is for you, yes YOU! Don’t despair. We can choose to make the day(s) good, bad, happy, sad, whatever we’re in the mood for. Yes, you can. I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true. Yes, you can.
The decorations that create “winter wonderland” at the mall; the old-world Americana decorations in the small shops in your neighborhood, all decked out in holly with red ribbons, the TV commercials, greeting cards…well, it’s all a scam. Yeah, a big fat scam. Really, no different than those scam phone calls you get from time-to-time on your cell phone. You know how you ignore those calls, or you just hang up? You can “hang up” the holiday blues, too. It’s a scam to get you to buy stuff. A scam so you’ll somehow believe if you spend more money than you can or should, your life will be wonderful. Nonsense. Conspicuous consumption never solved anyone’s problems. All nonsense.
You may begin to believe this is the way the rest of the world lives. Parties, glamour, riches, foreign luxury cars with big red bows, coffee in a lovely home when your child comes home from his/her ivy league school for the holiday.
I’ve never lived that way, have you? Didn’t think so. Few do.
No one’s life is perfect. Yeah, sure it may seem that way from the outside, but you’ve heard the saying, “walk a mile in their shoes…”
According to the “National Retail Federation,” “Bankruptcy and holiday spending… it may come as no surprise that filing bankruptcy is usually put off until after the holidays. It’s a season that people think more about spending than saving or eliminating debt. Americans who are tempted to overspend will likely do so this time of year.”
I’ve decided to spend my Christmas day a little differently than I have in the past. I’m going to indulge in my passion for American history. I’m going to attend a revolutionary war re-enactment not too far from where I live on Christmas morning. Me and my little buddy, Linus (my West Highland Terrier) will pack up the car with some lunch goodies, a lawn chair, and blanket, warm clothing (and, yes, he has his own parka) and watch the talented re-enactment actors show us what life was like on Christmas Eve and Christmas day 243 years ago in 1776.
What’s your passion, your interest? Is there something you’d like to try, at least once? Maybe it’s volunteering? Maybe you share my passion? Perhaps you enjoy something else, a little more unusual, a little more “YOU?” Do it.
What could be better? I’ll tell you, anything that makes you smile. If its history, maybe I’ll see you at the re-enactment. If it’s volunteering, then I thank you for your generosity and so will those you are helping, especially on a day when we are reminded 2019 years ago, someone did the same for the least of us. I wish you abundant blessings.
If cooking is your thing, make your favorite dish. If its hotdogs, go for it. If it’s a roast, well, why not? If it’s a cheesecake, I’ll give you my telephone number! Hahahahahaha!!!!!
Start that home project? Not sure how to start it? Try YouTube! You can find out how to do just about anything on YouTube. Fix your sink, paint a room, tile your floor, do some yoga, whatever makes you think about smiling. I suggest you plan it out so you can have your supplies ready (not much open on Christmas Day). Spend your day accomplishing a goal that you’ve been thinking about, and thinking about, and thinking about… Just do it!
You’ll put your head on your pillow after a day well spent, and sleep like a small child! Guaranteed! (well, not guaranteed, but it’s a pretty good bet you will).
Whatever it is you decide to do, whatever plan you make, be sure it’s something for YOU. Something YOU enjoy, something YOU like, something that makes YOU feel good.
Final note, the Farmer’s Almanac says the weather in the northeast USA will be in the low 40’s cloudy/a bit rainy (in the afternoon). Not enough to keep you indoors, take your umbrella, and get out there and celebrate YOUR personal version of Christmas, Chanukah, secular, non-secular, whatever you choose. But make it yours. If you own it, no one can take it from you, ever. (Not even the beautiful, but likely vapid, model on TV with the huge diamond ring and champagne glass!)
AND LET’S HAVE THE BEST OF NEW YEAR’S! COME ON IN 2020!!!!
Posted on July 13, 2019 by janice
Janice Della Badia, Life/Divorce Coach Extraordinaire
When I was going through the divorce process, someone said to me, “…you know, Janice, a bad marriage is better than a good divorce…” [Whaaat?] My response, “…it’s kind of you to be concerned, but really, I’m quite sure this is what I want.” I truly believe she meant well, but she was living a life that she believed was right for her. It was not what I wanted.
I cannot remember anyone saying, “I want a highly contested divorce, with disputes over child custody, co-parenting, alimony, assets…” Everyone wants an uncontested divorce (amicable) divorce – hoping it’ll cost less and create less stress. I’m sure those divorces exist, unfortunately, I know of perhaps one or two…maybe? There were no children, each party had their own career, their own income (comparable to the other’s) they owned real property but were happy to sell and split the proceeds. Each party kept their retirement plans, intact.
If you’re one of those, I am truly happy for you and wish you all the best!
If you are not one of them, you were (are?) likely worried, stressed, anxious, perhaps a little depressed. Financial issues, co-parenting, health insurance, retirement accounts, etc. It does not matter if your level of income is high or low, it is always a concern to the parties divorcing. This is the stuff that keeps you up at night.
Once all is settled, and at long last, the process has come to an end. There may be a few loose ends to tie up, but for the most part, you’ve made it through intact. Congratulations!
Where your days had been filled with the divorce process, now the “crisis” has abated. The daily calls with your lawyer, accountant, real estate agent, financial planner, mediators, parenting coordinators, are at an end. Perhaps all of these experts were necessary in your case, perhaps only one or two. Nevertheless, the process that had been on your mind almost 24 hours/day 7 days/week, every month for the last year (or two) is done.
Life should be settling down, right? But, your mind and body may still be in “crisis” or “fight, flight or freeze” mode. So what comes next?
Your life has changed a full 360 degrees. The transition can be almost as daunting as the divorce. Most, if not all, of your relationships, friends, family, co-workers, maybe where you live, how you live, how you work, what you drive, has likely changed considerably. It may be a long time since you may have been part of the workforce. Perhaps you were engaged in other things, or you were busy raising children, keeping a home, playing taxi service for the kids, and so on (a busy full-time job in an of itself). Many realize that they will need to find a job.
If you were employed before your marriage, you may wish to look into returning to that profession. It may or may not be easy depending on your age, your skill set, and your experience.
Finding a job means learning to navigate internet employment services, writing up not just one resume, but several (depending on your interests) …job interviews, preliminary ones are generally over the phone, then face-to-face, (maybe more than once). Over the last 10 years or so, women (and men) in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s are having difficulty finding gainful employment, or at least not quite what they expected they’d find.
It doesn’t necessarily matter if you were a professional prior to your divorce, worked as a paraprofessional, or were unemployed while you were married. The fact is, you’ll need to budget differently, have less help with the kids (if they’re minors) balance all of the areas of your life differently and maybe on your own. Feeling vulnerable, unsure of yourself and where to start can be disquieting. You’ll have to “step outside of the box” and get creative. Whatever you need to do to balance your life, it can worrisome, stressful.
You may experience loneliness, especially if you are sharing parenting with your former spouse. When the kids are not around, you may find its a little too quiet. You’re not distracted by the kids, their activities, etc. You may realize you’re actually mourning. Again, part of that transition process. Even if it was you who pursued the divorce, you are still experiencing a loss. A loss of the life you knew, your routines, your home, maybe more. Allow yourself to mourn, it’s natural – be warned: getting stuck in it, is not.
Divorce recovery isn’t easy for everyone. Friends, family, may say, “it’s over, relax, why are your still so stressed…” They’re very willing to tell you what you should or should not do. They mean well, but they don’t get it.
Are you ready to take control of your own life? Ready to be revitalized and energized? Ready to restyle and redesign you, and live on your own terms? Good!
Here are some basic first steps in your recovery:
Take care of you – this is an absolute priority – numero uno! No excuses! If you don’t, who will? There are somethings only you can do.
Example, hygiene, very important. Yes, take a few dollars and make sure your hair is neat and styled. See your dentist, get a checkup, take care of any potential trouble areas. Get a full physical. Yes, with bloodwork and other tests your physician may recommend (for women a mammogram and/or bone scan). Make sure your doctor includes testing your thyroid when he/she orders your bloodwork. (Thyroid can contribute to your mood, if that’s out of balance, your mood may be).
How is your physical health? Chronic stress can (and usually does) significantly affect your physical well-being as much as emotional. Is there anything that needs your immediate attention? Perhaps you have gained a little weight, or lost a bit. Eat healthy, clean. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate (with water, not wine!)
Not quite ready to recover? Maybe you’re still holding onto the loss, the pain. Maybe you have thought “why me?” If you’d like to take a little time to sit on the pity pot, that’s fine. Plan it. When will you start, how long will you sit? Will you need a little “push” to get off, and if so, who’ll do it? I can guarantee sitting there and singing the “woe is me” song for more than a day or two will do you absolutely no good. Of course, you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Maybe feel guilty (likely needlessly), lost your confidence, believe nothing good will ever happen to you again. Careful, you may be stuck! If you can pick yourself up, then do it. If you find you’re having difficulty, then ask for help!
Exercise. If you never exercised, well, just think of all the fun you’ll have finding the kind you’ll enjoy the most. Whether you are a fitness person or hate the idea of a gym, we’ll find something that clicks for you. Take a walk, check out a yoga class, Pilates seems to be the rage now, spin classes, or my personal fav, take a hike! No matter where you live, there is somewhere not too far where you can get into the woods, breathe in that wonderful smell, and enjoy the peace. It’s not a good idea for anyone, especially new hikers, to hike alone.
I usually recommend a site: MeetUp.com – set up a profile for yourself, and check out various activities. Most are free. There are hiking groups, book clubs, dinner clubs, clubs for women only, some for men only. Some for people under the age of 40, and others for people over the age of 40 or 50! Singles groups, divorce groups – Just about any interest or activity you can imagine, you’ll find it on MeetUp.com.
It is important you make a plan to do at least one social thing each weekend. See a movie, lunch with a friend, drive to the beach, something to get out of the house. Don’t feel like it? Force it. (really – sometimes you need to “act as if…”)
A bit of info you may not know; smile, even if you have nothing to smile about. The act of smiling sends signals to your brain and endorphins are released. Endorphins are natural and have many functions, the most important one (as far as I’m concerned) it makes you feel good. Endorphins are released in a variety of ways, physical exercise (used to be called the “runners high”) But smiling takes little effort and can give you a bit of a reward. So smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling!
Stepping outside of your comfort zone is imperative. Feeling vulnerable, a little awkward? Not unusual. I’m not suggesting you should drive a Maserati blindfolded through NYC, but something you may have thought of doing, but never acted on the idea. Now’s your time.
Find a Coach! Find someone who “gets you.” Knows where you are, is lively, and inspiring. Working with a divorce/divorce recovery coach can help you decide what you want, how you will get it, motivate you, hold you accountable, offer support, and more.
This is important: coaching isn’t therapy.
If you worked with a divorce coach during your divorce, you know it is a flexible, goal-oriented process designed to support, motivate, and guide and help you make the best possible decisions for future, based on your particular interests, needs, and concerns.
Recovery coaching, not too dissimilar. As a divorce recovery coach, I have collaborated with a diverse team of professionals, including pastors, psychologists, counselors, mediators and lawyers who regularly work with clients during the divorce process. There are many resources you may be able to take advantage of that you may not have thought about.
Recovery requires you to transition from being married, perhaps with kids, to being “single” learning to balance life, dealing with loss. The best part is learning what you are capable of, learning to use your strengths, finding your own solutions that actually work for you. Feeling excited to try new things? As we work together, you will begin to feel revitalized, energized, motivated, and begin to be your own best self.
I recommend one-on-one coaching; however, I also recommend my divorce recovery, coaching group. You’ll be able to discuss and share ideas, offer support and receive support from others who are in recovery and discovering. A coaching group is a great supplement to your individual coaching, and can really enrich your recovery experience. Who knows, maybe make a few new friends?
If you had a therapist (or are continuing to see a therapist) that’s wonderful. I fully encourage you to continue to work with your therapist as long as you feel you need that level of support. If healing is what you believe you need, time to process and realize where you are, then perhaps a little therapy can be helpful.
Recovery from divorce is about you. This is not being selfish, or self-absorbed, it’s about you being you the best you, and it’ll only get better. This is your time to recover, restyle, redesign, and by all means thrive!
Some say there are no “do-overs in life” — nonsense! This is your chance to “do over” and transition to the life you want. (We don’t get many of these opportunities in life, grab it while you can!)
Before you know it, you’ll be a whole new you, a terrific role model for others, for your kids, for your friends. Take it, it’s yours!
As always, I have a few books in the “literature” corner, take a look.
Janice Della Badia, LCSW
“Relax, You May Only Have Minutes Left…” LaRoche, Loretta [Random House, NY 1998]
“The Four Agreements, Wisdom Book” Ruiz, Don Miguel [Amerblin Publishing, CA, 1997]
”The Big Leap – Taking Life to the Next Level” Henricks, Gay [Harper Collins, NY 2009]
“You Are a Badass…” Sincero, Jenn [Running Press, Philadelphia, PA 2013]
”how to Move On After A Divorce – an Essential Guide to Coping with Divorce, Moving on and Creating a Happy New Life. Novak, Janelle [Miafu LLC, 2015]
(I’M ALWAYS LOOKING FOR BOOKS, ARTICLES, WEBSITES, ETC., AS RESOURCES, SO PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE ANY YOU MAY HAVE!)
 If you’re concerned about what level of activity you should engage in, check with your doctor first, of course.
 If you’ve never hiked before, I suggest a flattish spot, that’s well traveled. Take a map, take a friend, take your dog. Take water and a snack and your cell phone (just in case). Serenity guaranteed.
Posted on February 10, 2019 by janice
By: Janice Della Badia
Therapist & Coach
There are two types of endings to relationships – first, the one that you knew was coming, maybe you were the one to end it…and the second, the one that comes by complete surprise! (But, was it really a surprise when you think and reflect?)
The way I see it, you have several choices. You can be angry and vengeful (which I don’t recommend), you can be depressed and isolate (also not a good idea), or you can mourn the loss in a healthy way, and choose to become whomever you please.
The angry/vengeful response does a few things: it chews up your assets; it makes you unpleasant to be around; it creates stress which will negatively affect your immune system, and ultimately make you sick. Depressed, isolate. Well, at first, you may be sad, depressed, not want to be around others. This will also impact your immune system, make you unhealthy mentally and physically. Neither of these options serves any purpose – for you.
Sudden break-ups come with the “shock” and disbelief and your heart demands you find out complete details as to “why.” Don’t give in to it. Usually knowing the details causes more pain, hurt, resentment – heavy burdens for you to carry, indeed. Maybe you found something unexpected and you are the one asking to end the relationship – again, will it help you to know all of the details, to create that mental image in your head, to take up space and drain you of energy. Absolutely not.
Working through your pain, worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, and becoming the fully-functioning, motivated, determined person you can be is what matters, is what helps. This is your jumping off point to change. It’s up to you if you want that change to be positive or negative. I think you choose positive, am I right?
What matters is you, and how you decide what is best for you and your family. It’s important for you to remember all of the things you like to do. To become what you choose. You now have opportunities open to you that you may not have even considered before – it can be an adventure to find out who you are, where you are going, living the life you’ve wanted to live, choosing to become…
But, your first step must be SELF CARE. It is THE most important thing to do for yourself, for your family, and for your mental and physical health. Everyone needs self-care, and no, it isn’t selfish [you’re not caring for yourself because you don’t care about anyone else after all]. You’ve heard the saying, if you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anything (including the things that are important to you such as maybe your kids).
Take some time for you every day. Ten, 15, 20 minutes…Meditate, walk, listen to music, take a yoga class! Keep a gratitude journal. There is research that claims writing a gratitude journal will take the focus off the negative, and gets you thinking about what the good. Good in you, good in your world, good in your family, and so on. It can change brain chemistry, and like so many other simple things can actually improve your outlook. Keep it simple, make the list long or short, doesn’t matter, just make it. It doesn’t have to be earth-shaking, it can be as common as walking into a bakery and inhaling the wonderful smells, or a call from a friend or family member. Gratitude takes many forms, if we just pay a little attention, we’re always surprised how much good there is in our lives.
And smile. Yes, I said smile. Now don’t click off this blog, Why would I ask you to smile when you’re so stressed, so angry, so worried, scared? Because the physical act of smiling does actually trigger endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters in the brain, creates messaging to the brain to elevate the mood. Smile, your brain is waiting to feel better!
Another important thing to do for yourself is to make sure you make a plan to do at least one enjoyable thing each weekend. Do NOT stay at home and isolate. Nowhere to go? Nonsense! Check out different social websites, such as Meetup.com. There are a thousand activities (some you’ve never thought of I’m sure) with people just like you – alone and looking for something to do. Get a manicure, a pedicure, take a drive to the beach or the mountains. But get out there and do something fun! I guarantee you’ll feel a lot better!
Exercise. I know, I know. We’re all so busy, who has time? Check out some of the new apps on your smartphone. There are hundreds that offer exercises using your own body weight, that you can do while you watch TV or listen to music. Cardio is important, so please try to make some time to take a walk – even for 10 minutes a few times each week. Again, exercise releases the good hormones and neurotransmitters, helps with focus and concentration, relieves tension, and elevates moods — I promise!
Eat healthily, limit fatty or sugary foods. Limit alcohol. When we’re stressed we want things that will make us feel better. Sugar, alcohol, fried foods – the pleasure is short-lived. When your blood sugar drops, you become tired, maybe a bit irritable. That 5 seconds of pleasure produces hours of low energy and possibly nausea.
If you have younger children at home, make sure they stay active as well. Have their friends over, play sports, go to a movie. But remember, your children are not your confidant(s). They don’t need to know all that is happening in your divorce – it makes them feel unsafe, worried, scared. Boundaries are so very important at this time, no matter how angry or frustrating your kids’ father/mother may be.
Having a trained divorce coach help you through this time can help relieve stress, worries, and concerns. A coach can help you stay grounded, minimize the time you speak with the lawyer, and help you to follow through, avoid roadblocks and be there for you when you need support. Many divorce coaches can help before, during AND after the divorce, depending on your needs. Post-divorce, the coach can assist with setting new goals, and support you while you build your new life.
If you can’t seem to shake the sadness, the stress, and maybe need a different type of support, seeing a therapist can be the best thing you ever do for yourself – it is a sign of health to ask for help, and I know you are a healthy minded person. A therapist that will work with you on building your strengths, finding solutions, and helping you learn to manage your day-to-day challenges will help you work through all of the painful feelings that may be overwhelming you.
Remember, you are not what happened to you, but what you choose to become. [Carl Jung]
Self-Care Journal – A Guide for Remembering the Things You Like to Do: By Free Period Stress**
The Big Leap, Hendricks, Gay. 
Getting Past Your Breakup – How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You, by Elliott, Susan 
The Co-Parenting Survival Guide: Letting Go of Conflict After a Difficult Divorce: by Elizabeth Thayer Ph.D. and Jeffrey Zimmerman Ph.D. 
Divorce – The Middle-Aged Man’s Survival Guide, Richard, Zachary 
Rewriting Your Happily Ever After: A Midlife Divorce Survival Guide for Modern Women: Adkins, Diane 
NOTE: There are many types of gratitude journals in bookstores, on Amazon, in Staples, etc. Find one that suits you. I find when first starting, the simpler the better! There are many out there, half the fun is finding the one that speaks to you!
**I found this little jewel at Staples (believe it or not). I’ve also seen it on Amazon.
Posted on October 24, 2018 by janice
October 23, 2018
…especially, when a long-term relationship or marriage is coming to an end.
You may be struggling (or have struggled) with the decision to separate and/or divorce. Some try to work it out, on their own, with a counselor or coach. Some are not given a choice, their spouse/partner have decided for them and then it’s laid at their feet whether they like it or not. For some, it is by mutual agreement (but not necessarily amicable).
Whether you are 25 or 75 the process of separation and/or divorce is stressful, and a very difficult period in life. The transition from being husband or wife to being “divorced and single” can be a painful transition. You may be thinking, “but he/she is (was) my soul mate!” Perhaps you were considering the process yourself due to the conflict in your marriage, but now he or she has “beat you to the punch.” Essentially, when you get down to it, you realize there is a great deal of strain in your relationship, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better no matter how much you try to please your spouse/partner. Attitudes change. Physical and emotional affection has subsided or just became non-existent.
You may ask yourself, “now, what do I do?” “Do I need a lawyer?” “Should I call my in-laws?” “I don’t have any money for a lawyer or a mediator, so what do I do now?” The one that seems to create considerable stress and worry, “How do I tell the kids?” [if they’re young and at home; or grown and on their own, it doesn’t seem to make any difference.]
Perhaps your children are younger and living at home, you try to resist showing your feelings, especially anger, but it seems to just pop out from time-to-time. When your kids are out of the house, living on their own, maybe even with their own families, it may be hard to resist using them as a confidant. Boundaries. Your kids, old or young, love your spouse and you. A good way to invite your child’s resentment is to “bad mouth” their mom or dad, whether they are 5 or 45.
OK, so you’ve depleted your friends, they’re starting to avoid you, because every time you see or speak with them, it’s about your divorce, and how angry or hurt you are with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Your family, while they may be firmly “on your side,” may be too close to offer objective advice. What about your mutual friends, you know the people you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are both friendly with? My theory is, you cannot sit on both sides of the table. Your mutual friends may make a choice, and if they choose your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, that can be another wound that is difficult to cope with.
Support is paramount at this time. If your support system is thin, build it up. Having support is just as important as making the decision to divorce, or to learn how to cope with the pain and stress from the ending of the relationship. Do you need a therapist? A coach? A support group? Frankly, depending on what your needs are will determine whether you are best served by a therapist or a coach. Combining a peer divorce support group with your work with a coach or therapist will help you to learn to manage the stress of this process in a healthier way, a less stressful manner and help you move forward that much more quickly.
Some men are uncomfortable sharing thoughts, feelings, worries or concerns. For many of you, its not something that comes easy, and may make you feel uncomfortable. Yet, gentlemen, if you don’t know what to do, then what do you do? You are hurt and anxious but are concerned you may look weak or emotional. Many men who may be experiencing divorce or separation are more likely not to ask for help. But, listen, going it alone doesn’t make you “manly” and using the support from a group doesn’t make you “weak.” Finding a “date” is not the answer either. [although I know a number of men who have done just that and found they had made a very big mistake!)
Using a support group makes you a human being, not weak or foolish. It makes you practical. It’ll help you develop insight you may not have had before, and that’s always positive.
Here’s another thing, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “psychotherapy” group. Peer support groups can be just the thing the doctor ordered!
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
A psychotherapy group is run by a therapist. The other people in the group (patients) are generally experiencing symptoms of a more significant depression, anxiety or worse, and require a higher level of care than that of a peer support group.
While you may be feeling down, not sleeping well, and are having difficulty concentrating because the stress of the divorce is a bit overwhelming, you may not require a formal psychotherapy group. If you’re unsure, book an appointment with a therapist and tell them your concerns. The therapist will tell you whether you need a therapist, a psychotherapy group, both, or some coaching and peer support.
A peer support group is informal, generally started by people like yourself who just wanted to get together with others who were divorced, divorcing or separated, so they could receive support, and give support. One resource for finding such groups would be Meet-Up.com, a social networking site that offers hundreds of activities, including peer support groups.
Speaking with others who are in the same or a similar place, or have experienced divorce may help you understand what to expect. Talking with your peers may help you feel less worried or frightened. You need and want someone who understands your worries, fears, anger, sadness. Someone who also doesn’t sleep well because of stress.
Whether you wanted the divorce or not, you’ll need to mourn the death of the relationship. Some people might say, “why are you so sad, I thought you said he was a big jerk?” Or, “Why do you keep talking about her, I thought you said you were glad to be rid of her?” It’s natural to mourn, it’s a necessity. A peer support group can offer you compassion and understanding during this difficult time.
If I’ve convinced you to seek out a peer support group, I just want to caution you to be sure it is an actual support group, where you’ll sit and talk and listen to your peers. There are some groups that may call themselves “divorce support” but in actuality, it is more a social group or even a singles group where people gather to meet someone to date. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you need genuine support, you need the peer divorce support group. So read the group descriptions carefully.
SHOULD I DATE?
Remember earlier I mentioned some people are hungry for love and compassion, they have an idea that “dating” is the way to get it. Your age doesn’t matter, you could be 25 or 65, you and the rest of the world’s population want to be loved and cared about.
Just beware…that’s an external fix. What I mean is if another person seems to give you with the love and caring you believe you need and want, they can also take it away. Relying on someone other than yourself to restore you to a time and place where you felt safe and loved, can be a very serious misstep. Learn to love and respect yourself, that no one can take away, you own it!
Not sure how that works, owning your sense of self? Engage a therapist or a coach to help you through it, and supplement it with a peer support group. You will learn healthy coping skills, and ways to relieve your stress, and maybe even sleep better that night!
With good support, you will not just survive, you will thrive. Yes, thrive! You may hope someone out there will rescue you from all of this insanity, but as much as I hate to burst your bubble, there’s no one. Not your best friend, not your lawyer, not your coach. Learning to care for yourself, now that’s the ticket!
Redefining yourself means you need to know yourself. You’ve been a wife, or husband, mother or father, sister, brother, a busy working professional, or a stay-at-home parent managing the day-to-day business of your home, your kids, your spouse or partner for many years. Divorce and/or separation is a challenging transition. Finding out who you are and coping with this transition will take time, reflection and support. I guarantee you will come out the other side stronger, more confident, smarter and of course, extremely beautiful (or handsome)!
I could tell you not to worry, but you know yourself best, and worry you will. Just don’t worry yourself sick! Get out there, talk to people in the peer support group. Ask your lawyer, therapist or coach if they’ve heard of any groups that have helped clients, they have worked with previously. Get some exercise, even if it’s only a 10-minute walk every day. Lay off the candy, salty snacks, and eat plenty of fruit and veggies. Minimize alcohol. I know, you don’t usually drink alcohol, and if you don’t that’s great. If you do, understand this, alcohol is a depressant, it’ll negatively affect you emotionally, disrupt your sleep, affect your ability to think through the important matters you need to think on now, and your ability to help your coach, lawyer, mediator, etc., to help you.
You’re going to thrive, so get going!
NOTE: If you think you would like to consult with a therapist, but don’t know of one, give your health insurance carrier a call and ask them for a list of providers in your area. Psychology Today has a great website where you can choose your own therapist. If you have out of network benefits, you may be able to choose which provider to use whether they accept your insurance or not.
With each blog, I’ll offer some readings you may find helpful in understanding the topic of the blog. Here are some that may help you understand the transition your working through now.
Novak, Janelle (2015) How to Move On After a Divorce: An Essential Guide to Coping with Divorce, Moving On, and Creating a Happy New Life
Devine, Megan (2017) It’s OK, That You’re Not OK – Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
Elliott, Susan J. (2009) Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You
Blackwood, R.L. (2011) A Man’s Guide To Surviving Divorce: How To Cope & Move On With Life
**Eddy, Bill (2010) Don’t Alienate the Kids! Raising Resilient Children While Avoiding High Conflict Divorce
Stoner, Katherine (2018) Divorce Without Court: A Guide to Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
Reynolds, Lisa Rene &Hyer, James L. (2017) Parenting through Divorce: Helping Your Children Thrive During and After the Split
**BILL EDDY has written at least a half dozen books on divorce, mediation, and dealing with high conflict people. His writings are a great resource for anyone who is in the process of divorce.
Psychology Today blogs on parenting and co-parenting
 I am not affiliated nor do I endorse any book or website noted. These are offered as resources or “jumping off” point. Use of a Parenting Coordinator, Mediator or family therapist are excellent if you wish to resolve parenting/co-parenting issues.
Posted on June 6, 2018 by janice
What does Carl Jung have to do with my website? What is Choosing to Become…what does that mean? Inquiring minds want to know! The following quote illustrates my philosophy of coaching, therapy and life:
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I chose to become” — Carl Jung
Lets face it, choosing who you are, rather than living your life as an outcome of your past, is our ultimate goal, our personal nirvana, the way, our ultimate chi — our life force.
Sounds a little “new agey?” Maybe. A little bit hokey? Maybe. Yet, isn’t that what most of us want: to be whole, to understand and empower ourselves so we can become the person we want to be? To be that person we knew we could be — the one in there who speaks to us, you know who he or she is — all you have to do is choose.
Carl Jung developed his theories and became the father of analytical psychology [not to be confused with Freud’s psychoanalysis] in the earlier part of the 20th century. Although Jung studied with Freud, they parted company when Jung disagreed with Freud about one’s life being determined by one’s past. Instead, Jung believed that one may change one’s life if he or she would take the time to explore their own thoughts, dreams, spirituality, and so on. To individuate. The process assists the conscious mind to communicate with the unconscious mind — that part of our psyche not developed from experience, but from deep within ourselves, the core of what we are, our self.
Once we hear, listen to, and learn the self, we define and understand how our level of energy either boosts us forward, or has been holding us back. The stuff that befuddled us — in life, situations, relationships — becomes clear. With this clarity, we understand that what we may have thought was impossible becomes possible. We choose to become what we wish, not what the world thinks, what we may have been told we are or should be, and especially not that little gremlin (super ego) whispering silly negativity in our ear.
If coaching is the best method to assist and support you on your journey, you will have a goal. If there are some stumbling blocks you may need to work through and therapy may be the better process at this point in time, isn’t there a goal to be achieved? This is why my firm belief is wherever you are in life, whichever process is best for you, the end result is that you achieve, you chose to become. Though the methods of coaching and therapy differ, the end result is you can become that amazing leader, you can re-train your brain and take the driver’s seat when things become stressful, worrisome. You can rid your self of doubt and develop your confidence.
Marcia Reynolds, in her book Outsmart Your Brain said it well: “It’s time you learn how to corral your mind into paying attention to the world going on in front of you.”
When you make a choice to take one job over another, to date this person rather than the other, to turn left instead of right, you discover and recognize where you are in this moment and determine where you wish to be tomorrow, next month, next year. You have started your journey — you have made a choice to become.
There is nothing we can change about yesterday. We can plan for tomorrow but then again, no one knows what tomorrow will bring. It is only what you have in front of you — in the here and now — that really matters.
I believe Jung was telling us we can use all of ourselves, our collective conscious to learn who we are, and where we want to be. Nothing is predetermined. There may be destiny, but only that which you create for yourself — from your dreams, from your instincts, from your inner most beliefs.
When Jung said you are not what happened to you, you are what you chose to become, he was telling us, this is your time, the present.
A very good friend of mine likes to remind me, “if not now, when?”
“Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.” — Walt Whitman