"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 "...that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

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Burn out-Confident Counseling Northborough Ma

Signs Of Burn Out

Signs of Burn Out and How to Fix It

Many people suffer from too much stress and often begin feeling helpless, exhausted, and very unhappy. These are all signs pointing to being burned out. In this state, things will often seem pointless and bleak and your energy levels will be at an all-time low. There is hope though, burn out is not the end all, be all.

What is Burn Out?

In the simplest terms, it is the state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion by too much stress for too long. If you have felt overwhelmed and like you are unable to keep up, you are at risk of becoming burned out. As your stress builds up, your energy and will to overcome it lessens. Your productivity and energy will be gone and you may feel depressed. Everyone has bad days here and there, but if every day feels like a bad day, you are probably suffering from being burned out.

What are the Signs of Burn Out?

Emotional Symptoms

  • If you have stopped even attempting to care about what you usually love doing or things that need done.
  • Instead of having one or two bad days every now and then, every day is a struggle that never seems to end.
  • Feeling helpless, having self-doubt, or feelings of being a failure.
  • Feeling trapped and defeated.
  • Suddenly feeling like nothing truly matters and emotionally and mentally detaching from the rest of the world.
  • Loss of will and motivation.
  • An increased bleak perspective on the world.
  • Decreased levels of joy, happiness, and pride.

Physical Symptoms

  • Feeling very fatigued the majority of the time.
  • Becoming sick more often than usual.
  • Lots of body aches and headaches.
  • Changes in appetite or changes to your normal sleep patterns.

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Ignoring responsibilities and procrastinating.
  • Removing yourself from others and staying in isolation.
  • Procrastinating or just not completing things because it takes too much energy.
  • Using things like food or drugs as a coping mechanism.
  • Using others to take your frustrations out on.
  • Deciding not to come into work, deciding to leave early or come in late just because you want to.

How Can I Fix Having Burn Out?

Use the “Three R” method to start dealing with your burn out problems.

  1. The first step is to Recognize. You need to actually step back and recognize if you are suffering from being burned out.
  2. The second step is to Reverse. You need to undo the damage that has been done by the mountain of stress. Manage the stress you’ve been dealing with and seek the support you need.
  3. The third step is Resilience. Start taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health to avoid any future burn outs.

There are also a few other ways to start your recovery from this mental state. Sometimes it is already too late to prevent this exhaustion and you have passed your breaking point. If you try to force yourself through it instead of taking the time you need, you will only make it worse.

  1. Slow Down!

Once you’ve passed your breaking point, simply trying to force your attitude to change or looking after your physical health won’t be enough to fully bring you back. You need to take a break and let yourself calm down before you start trying to tackle anything else. Give your mind and body some time to rest and recuperate.

  1. Get Some Emotional Support.

Don’t isolate yourself from the rest of the world, it won’t help. Your friends and family are going to be a very big part of your healing process and they will help you to get better. It can really and truly help to let someone else know how you’re feeling without expecting them to try to fix your problems. Make sure you are going to be talking to someone who knows how to listen and won’t automatically fault you for feeling the way you are.

  1. Reevaluate Yourself.

When you’ve passed your breaking point, you know something in your life is not working the way it should. It is a good time to go over your goals and the things you have in life. Is there something you feel like you aren’t doing that’s making you unhappy? Take the time it takes to figure out what set you off.

  1. Face Your Problems Head On.

You probably got way too stressed out because you were avoiding the problems in your life and not addressing them with a plan on how to fix them. Take the active route instead of the passive route in the future and you’ll begin to feel less helpless and more powerful in your everyday life.

Being burned out is a serious problem and it is one you should never be ashamed of. If you have felt helpless and trapped, take a step back and try to figure out why you’ve been feeling this way, then try to do something about it.

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Dealing with Intrusive House Guests Assertiveness- Confident Counseling

Dealing with Intrusive House Guests

Intrusions from carefree guests can be very stressful. It seems like everybody knows, at least, one person that wears out their welcome after a get-together or comes to stay a week and is still there 2 weeks later. Some people can take advantage of a friendship and never display an ounce of guilt or remorse. When this happens to you there are 3 ways you can react. You can be too passive and let the guest take advantage of your kindness. You can also be too aggressive and bring the friendship to a screeching halt or you can be assertive and cope with the problem in a positive and proactive way. Assertiveness is crucial in dealing with intrusive house guests.

Plan & Prepare – The easy way out would be to never invite a potential intrusive guest to a party or for an extended stay in your home. The truth is, you might actually like the person when they are not overstaying their welcome. They might be funny, fun to be with, and a good friend for the most part. However, even the best of friends can clash when boundaries are not drawn and avenues for friction are left wide open and unattended. Whether this person has been invited for a short get together or is coming for an extended visit, prepare for their arrival and have a plan in place to prevent the inevitable.

Establishing Ground Rules – There is a good reason rules exist. They are there to keep things under control. Some people are afraid to set ground rules prior to a planned event because they don’t want to hurt feelings or seem like a “party pooper”. It seems no one wants to be that type of host, but if you don’t pursue this course of action, you are asking for your area to be intruded upon. When boundaries are not set situations can get out of control. Some guests can perceive “no rules” as “anything goes.” Sure, we would like to believe that everyone we know will always be respectful and considerate when invited into our home, but unfortunately, reality tells us something different.

You can prevent guest visits from becoming intrusions by setting the rules prior or at the start of the event. Sometimes it is easier to explain the rules to the entire group so no one feels singled out. Once all the guests have arrived gather them together and make a quick speech. The process does not need to take long, but it needs to be clear and direct. Let everyone know that when the party ends everyone goes home. If there are areas of the home that are off limit; let it be known at this time. If you have spent your hard-earned money on a beautiful carpet or new furniture, ask everyone to be careful. Establishing clear ground rules takes assertiveness, but it can save you unnecessary stress in the long run.

Don’t Be a Doormat – Nobody should voluntarily want to be treated like a “doormat.” But you know the old saying, “nice guys finish last.” There is nothing wrong with being nice, but you cannot allow some people to mistake “kindness” for “weakness.” Just like a wolf, lion or tiger zeros in on the weakling in the herd; the intrusive guest could take advantage of your weakness and move in for the proverbial kill. Your inability to say “no” or to “draw a line in the sand” on specific issues may be perceived as permission to proceed guilt-free. It is imperative that you stand up for yourself and your home against guest intrusions.

The Clear & Direct Approach – Assertiveness is considered to be the ability to express your feelings in a direct, clear, and effective way. It is about standing up for what you want and believe. You can accomplish these goals and still respect the rights of your guest. You can handle guest intrusions while still being proactive and positive. Let’s assume you are letting a friend or relative bunk at your house until they can find a job and their own place to live. It is good to be in a position to help, but boundaries must be set to keep the stay from being “open-ended.” If you simply say the guest can stay until they obtain their goals; they might take it as permission to stay as long as needed.

Let your guest know from the start what you expect. For example, you can ask them to clean up after the mess they make. You should set a time limit on their stay or simply let them move in and forget about it. Unless the guest is only staying a night or two, a different set of boundaries must be set. An extended visit of this type is not a vacation. The guest should be treated respectfully, but their amenities should be more controlled and limited. Visits turn into intrusions when the host lacks assertiveness.

The rules of mutual respect can be observed, but be firm on your objectives. A true friend will not overstep their boundaries unless they assume that none exist. Prepare and address guest intrusions with an honest straightforward approach. There is no stress-free alternative to assertiveness in this scenario.

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Impostor Syndrome-Do you feel like a fraud? Confident Counseling Northborough MA

Impostor Syndrome-Do you feel like a fraud?

It’s the first day of your new job and you’re excited yet nervous for all that lies ahead. Here you are. You worked hard, probably even over-prepared for this moment, yet you immediately worry that everyone will find out you really don’t belong here. Even though you didn’t lie on your resume, you feel you don’t deserve this. How can they possibly believe you do?

You feel like you fooled everyone into thinking you’re competent, like you “tricked” them. Does this sound familiar? During a moment of success have you doubted yourself or felt that it wasn’t a big deal? It is extremely frustrating to go through moments like this especially when you see others placing confidence in you while you feel like a “fake.” You’re always on the guard, worried that others will “find you out” and realize you’re not worthy.

This phenomenon, Impostor Syndrome is common in perfectionists and overachievers who aren’t able to internalize and accept their success. These people have unrealistically high standards for themselves that it is difficult to meet their own goals. Even when they do reach them, they are more prone to attribute their success to luck than their own skills. This type of intellectual self-doubt is often paired with anxiety and/or depression.

Many people who feel like impostors grew up in families that placed a big emphasis on achievement. Specifically, parents who send mixed messages by alternating between over-praise and criticism can increase the risk of fraudulent feelings developing. Living in a society that focuses on achievements adds to the problem. The result is confusion between approval, love, and worthiness. Self-worth becomes on achieving.

Those struggling with Impostor Syndrome may avoid applying for promotions, for more responsibility and suffer from higher stress. How can you break this pattern?

Challenge your thoughts

You will discover that at the root of your self-doubt is a negative core belief that you’re not good enough. Ask yourself, when will I ever be good enough? What does good enough mean? Challenge this negative thought by finding evidence in favor of it and against it. It helps to ask yourself would I think this of a love one if they were in my shoes? If the answer is no, then ask yourself why you think this way of yourself.

Accept imperfection

Recognize that nobody is perfect. Practice letting go of high standards by doing a “good enough” job and walking away. Make time to appreciate your hard work and create rewards for yourself for completed tasks.

Recognize your strengths

List out the skills you have and learn to accept that you are good at certain things which have value. Yes, there will always be someone better at something, however that doesn’t make your strengths any less important because they are unique to you.

Talk to others about this

Being open and sharing this struggle with those you trust is a way to create awareness for others. They may even help you recognize when you’re engaging thoughts of self-doubt that need challenging. If it is difficult to work on this on your own, consider contacting a counselor to learn skills and challenge negative thinking pattern together. If you struggle with anxiety and depression, a professional will teach you how to cope in a healthy and effective way.

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What can I expect from counseling?

What Can I Expect From Counseling?

If you are in counseling or are thinking of starting, you may have asked yourself “What can I expect from Counseling?” With how the media portrays counseling, it isn’t surprising to have questions or even concerns about what counseling will be like for you.

Of course it is important to understand that counseling is only as effective as you make it. What I mean is that most of the work done in counseling actually comes from you, the client. Imagine the counselor as a guide showing you alternative ways of approaching situations or handling your problems. You as the client have to choose one and carry it out. If you aren’t following through or actively participating, then counseling will be ineffective.

Here are expectations to have for counseling

  • You should expect to increase your awareness of what is causing your struggles and what the roadblocks are.
  • You will be taught new skills and tools to manage your struggles in the present and for the future.
  • Understanding the limits of confidentiality, you can expect a safe place to talk about anything and everything that is on your mind. The limits being that the counselor has a legal obligation to report risk of suicide, homicide or current child or elder abuse. Privacy can also be compromised depending also on whether you have an active court case or if you use your health insurance.
  • You shouldn’t feel judged or worry about scaring the counselor with what you have to share.
  • You should expect to work with a trained professional or have them refer you to someone who will be able to better serve you should they not have the right training or skills to help with your issues.
  • You should feel hope and relief after your sessions.
  • You may feel discomfort and emotional pain depending on what and how severe your struggles are.
  • You should expect to feel “contained” by the end of your counseling sessions and not left unstable or vulnerable.
    • This is important for clients with trauma. As a result, your counselor may wait to discuss a difficult subject at the start of a future session and not at the middle or end.
  • You should expect an environment where are you free to express positive and negative feedback about your counselor’s style or direction of treatment without worrying that they will get upset or offended.

Effective counseling promotes your growth as a person and healing from pain.

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What Will My First Counseling Session Be Like?

I’ve been asked this question from prospective clients and I have asked this question myself before. It can be scary to admit that you aren’t able to solve everything on your own which is why it makes sense that you want to know “What will my first counseling session be like?” Even though the counselor you contact is an identified professional, they are still a complete stranger.

If you are curious about what the first counseling session will be like for yourself or for someone else, I hope this information will encourage you to try counseling or recommend it to someone you know.

First Session:

  • Plan to spend 60-90 minutes with a counselor during the first session (intake).
  • You’ll fill out forms that ask about your contact information, possible screens to check for symptoms and flag follow-up questions.
  • The counselor will discuss your privacy rights, limits to confidentiality, cancellation policies and any other administrative policies.
  • You will answer questions about your day-to-day activities, what concerns you have, medical conditions, medications, family relationships & history, your experience with past counseling if applicable.
  • The counselor will share their specialties, professional training, and clinical style (short-term or long-term, homework vs. no homework).
  • The counselor will make recommendations for treatment options and frequency of sessions that you can either agree or disagree with.

Now underneath all the formal details, you should feel safe to open up without judgment, feel comfortable being in the counselor’s presence and in their office space, and you should leave the first session with a sense of hope that therapy will help you reach your goals. Good counselors will tell you right away if they are not qualified to work with your particular issues and will make recommendations for someone more qualified.

If you feel judged, dislike the counselor’s personality, or realize the counselor doesn’t have the qualifications to work well with you, please find another counselor. There is no point in staying with a counselor if you don’t feel comfortable or trust them enough to open up about difficult topics.

I hope you found this information helpful. Stay tuned for next time as I discuss what you can expect from counseling beyond the first session. Feel free to leave questions or comments below.

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