Sunday, April 21, 2019

Taking care of our relationships and ourselves


MOPS “MOPS “Friendship on Fire” with Dr. Linda - 3/25/19.  Dr.Linda Miles came to speak to us about her latest book, Friendship on Fire and to answer all our question._nosshttps://www.amazon.com/s?k=friendship+on+fire+Dr.+Linda+Miles&ref=nb_sb_noss

Meeting Notes
- Every couple has problems
- Takes a complex set of skills to have a good marriage
- All of her info is research-based
- The difference is 1. They repair it and find better ways to deal with it (don’t leave the huge elephant in the room; if it’s not working try something else) 2. A marriage is a growing machine (start catching stuff you do and stop doing it)
- Don’t play the “right/wrong game”
- Let’s talk about Fire! Beginning of relationship - everything is wonderful
- Dopamine - makes us act like a dope (we only see the good)
- Have to have a strong friendship
- If the fire is too strong and burns through too much (temper and passion); we need “controlled burns” - have to have a practice to calm yourself down; very important to take time outs
- Temper is contagious
- Buck & Nadine - alter egos
- Fuser (stop and keep your integrity; refuse to scream and humiliate yourself; take a time out and calm down; more powerful) and Distancer (do not wait until you have a “good shot”; learn to have conflict dialog differently; how do you strike when the iron is cold)
- Mindfulness and be in the present moment - so helpful
- Agree to timeouts - when you’re upset it is not time to talk (“let’s come back to this” “how can WE do something different?”)
- We train people how to treat us; train them by showing you are not going to participate (hold on/keep your integrity) Don’t be Crazy!
- Get to know yourself; and knowing your own fire and how to control it
- Set a meeting to discuss X; practice and build the muscle
- Tone of voice is so important
- Brain stem: Fight, freeze or flee (at this point, best not to do anything)
- “A good confrontation is when you are WITH them in the conversation”
- “Forgiveness is letting go of the idea than the past could have been different”
- Cortisol and __ - stress you out
- Serotonin and oxytocin - calm you down
- Puppets/bear study with kids (wired to want to play with the “nice” toy) - from 60 Minutes, can watch on YouTube
- Do mindfulness with your kids from the beginning - train them to do this when they are upset and you do it with them (can help you, too)
- Book recommendation: Breathe Like a Bear
- Start training them now - teach them they don’t have to lash out at other people; learning self soothing as a child is key - we all have to learn that skill
- When dealing with strong-willed children: First thing to stay out of your snake brain - breathe for a minute and calm yourself down; suggest to your child the opposite “where is that nice guy I know?” Remove them from the situation and let them figure out how to calm themself down; you have to be compassionate with yourself and forgive yourself - commit to not escalating with them; model the behavior you want
- Dr. Wang, Harvard - 50% of temperament is genetic
- Emotions are contagious - you stay centered no matter what; practice mindfulness so much that nothing will surprise/shake you
- Get a centerness in your own integrity; don’t let other people ruin your day
- Son called her a bitch: “I don’t get things for people that don’t respect me.”
- 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse (behaviors to avoid in a marriage):
* Criticism
* Contempt
* Defensive
* Putting up walls
- Don’t participate.
- Tell them: I understand your feelings (anger, etc.). Are you aware it is getting directed at me?
- Don’t let others be “soul suckers” and don’t lose your own fire. Learn Self-compassion and how to not be affected by them
- Bad message: “Don’t ever be selfish”
- Better message: “Love one another as thyself” (you have to take care of yourself too)
- Triangle - Self, Other, Context (think about what is best for ALL involved)
- How do you maintain your own fire?? So hard to maintain your sense of self with a family.
- How do I learn to perceive something differently? Tell yourself, “I tend to over-hear criticism when it’s not there.” Question your perceptions and where they come from in the past.
- Brain priming: we are primed as children for what to look for; perception is very arbitrary; when you are aware of it, it’s good to ask yourself, “where did I learn this?”
- Get it off of them (take some ownership yourself) and see how compassionate a man can be!
- “Hysterical is historical” Something is said that triggers you from a feeling from your past
- A marriage ought to help heal us from our past
- Healthy arguing in front of children is good; let them see that people can argue and resolve conflict and love each other ❤
(Thank you Claire for your amazing notes!!!)

Kristin Perez, LMHC came and spoke to our group about mental health.  She answered all our questions and gave us some great ways to take care of ourselves.  Check out her website for more information regarding her practice.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/kristen-perez-jacksonville-fl/140052

MOPS Mental Health - 4/8/19

3 aspects of self-care:
- Physical - eating right, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water
- Mental - tuning into your own thoughts; it’s everyday things and tuning into your thoughts; change the language you are using (how would you talk to your best friend or kid?)
- Emotional - connecting to your emotions, recognizing them and validating them; take away labels of “good” and “bad”

Notes:
- “Self-care” has been glamorized by social media as something “luxurious” (spa day because you are burnt out over 6 months of not taking care of yourself is not healthy).
- No one is immune to mental health, tune into it and fill your own buckets and take care of yourself.
- Don’t judge yourself for how you are feeling or be so hard on yourself.
- It’s ok that it’s hard. Not every moment will be perfect and easy. Being a good Mom doesn’t have to look a certain, perfect way. Remind yourself why you are a good Mom: your kids are safe and good, etc.
- We all need to take breaks/time outs sometimes.
- Kids are saving all the energy and “crazy” behavior for home because they feel so safe and comfortable at home. Kid is working so hard on the outside (of the home) to meet others expectations, they are tired when they get home.
- Important to Normalize and validate the big feelings kids are having. Let them know it’s OK to feel (sad, mad, upset, etc.). Acknowledge it and help them through it.
- Help your kids and then take a step back and help yourself, self-care and remind yourself to recharge.
- Self-care is not a luxury. It’s an act of survival.
- Shut your brain off is good/mentally “check out”; recognize if it becomes a pattern. Give yourself some parameters (e.g. X amount of phone or TV time).
- Identify what is happening and acknowledge, “I can’t control THAT (external/someone else) but I can control ME and how I handle it and work on self-care.”
- Feelings are not facts.
- When it comes to mental illness, it’s hard to advocate for yourself and continue educating people.
- It’s not your job to figure out what he needs. He needs to tell you. Verbalize how it makes you feel.
- 80% of what works is communication. Say, “This is how I’m feeling and this is what I need.” Also, ASK that same question of others to try to understand their side/perspective.
- Manage expectations!
- Take care of yourself and people will see that (setting boundaries for you and others, etc.)
- Come up with a “No” list - all the non-negotiables that connect to a time in the past when you have had a negative experience.
- Tune into what you need and communicate that to other people- will create a ripple effect (she seems more calm, happy, etc.- tell me what you’ve done, like a diet but a lifestyle!)
- How do you tell someone what you need if you don’t even know? Tune into your own thoughts and work backward from what makes you feel good to see how is best to get there/what you need.

Ways for recharging:
- MOPS meetings!!!
- Reevaluating things (morning routine) - can I set aside 5 minutes just for me?
- Positive affirmations (have them pop up on your phone)
- Gratitude journal
- Movement 20-30 minutes a day
- Disconnect from the “hustle and bustle”
- Step outside for 30 minutes and be around nature to decompress
- Start small!
- Make it a priority!
- Honor how you are feeling
- Accept/admit even the little things are self-care and helpful
- Be grateful for the little things that ARE self-care and don’t feel guilty for indulging in them. 
(Thanks Claire for amazing notes!!!)

We took some time for ourselves and went shopping at Nordstroms for our girls night out.  Thank you to Stacy Brunell for taking time to help us with personal shopping.

Faith, Kathryn, Rachel, Lauren, Claire, Elise, and Brittany

Kathryn showing off the great clothing options Stacy pulled for us.