Lifestyle Change

Not My Circus: How To Support Remote Work Parents

Leading your remote work(ing parent) team

 

Supporting Remote Working Parents

It appears our conversation will not be changing for quite some time. COVID-19 will forever be in our vocabularies. For working parents it put a full stop on stability as the school year frantically ended forcing major adjustments to accommodate work and our remote families. Just as we settled into that rhythm, summer came to a screeching halt and it’s time to get back to school across the country and every region seems to have a different plan. Parents are now back to the circus, forcing them to flex their juggling skills while putting strain on the ring master, work.

One thing that is universal for all parents working remotely is that balance is the key to success. In speaking with several parents, their collective concern is the impact of this sudden change in structure on their children, and what it means for their emotional and academic well-being. They also expressed concern with their own job stability, stress levels and productivity. For their kids, they are grappling with missing their friends, lost attention from teachers in the classroom, organized sports, yearly milestones like prom, social learning opportunities, widening education gaps and a reason to get out of their pajamas in the morning.

While there are no easy answers to the side effects to this pandemic, here is how to support your child and family while working from home:

  1. Check in with your child regularly. Ask them how they are doing and what they are struggling with when it comes to staying home or returning to school.
  2. Filter media exposure, especially for young children. Have discussions about key issues at age appropriate levels.
  3. Maintain social connections even while social distancing. Children are the most resilient when embedded in a network of social supports: a relative, a caring parent figure, teacher, etc.
  4. Seize the opportunity and make an effort to eat lunch or dinner together often as a family.

    Given some basic support and protection, our children have remarkable strength and hardiness.
  5. Get out and get active. You or your child may be struggling with anxiety and stress, which can affect memory, attention, and mood. Movement naturally helps us regulate our mood.
  6. Let’s face it, school was an escape for all of us. Make sure that everyone has the necessary time to disconnect and have alone time.  For stressed parents caring for children and trying to work: Put on your own oxygen mask first. Your self-care is essential. Being intentional with your own needs is vital to you, your children and your work.

How can employers support parents that have to work remotely  while still maintaining their work responsibilities?

We all struggle with work life balance, and just like children need frequent communication, flexibility and support, so do remote work parents! During this pandemic it is important that employers show extra care and patience for their very human employees as they try to navigate the right balance for themselves. For front line managers and administrators this may look like:

  1. Frequent check in’s and providing employees a safe space to offer feedback. This is key for leaders to get a clear understanding of what employees actually need and to demonstrate a culture of empathy and concern.
  2. Allowing employees to schedule around their children’s school schedule  (or offering  remote  work  options  and  flexible  schedules  for  the  entire  team).
  3. Being lenient with children walking across the screen or yelling to mom or dad for help during that 11am critical meeting.
  4. Acknowledging the tremendous strain of being present for work and your child.
  5. Implementing mental wellness opportunities and resources onsite or virtually to support the resilience of your remote team. Worker bees with tools to manage stress and overwhelm are more likely to exhibit resilience in the workplace and hit productivity goals.
  6. That said, modify your expectations.

The latest assumption that was communicated by Dr. Fauci is that we will not have a good handle on this pandemic until the end of 2021, so in other words, we are in this for a while.  Now is the time for all of us to show a lot more patience and understanding because this impacts all of us. We all have key roles and responsibilities in the well-being of our greatest assets.

 

Free Resources for Kids + Adults

Check out the following free resources to support your school and work efforts at home.

Khan Academy: Free resources for parents, families, and educators including daily schedule templates for different ages and grades.

Cosmic Kids Yoga: Fun videos on mindfulness, yoga, and relaxation for kids

Free Wi-Fi with Comcast: Struggling to access school or work remotely? Comcast announced it will offer free wi-fi hotspots around the country, plus other accommodations and discounts for low-income families. Check out their service page for more information.

Need tips from teachers at home? Parents can get insight straight from the professionals with curated resources such as webinars on remote instruction and practical advice.

Free Live & Online – Daily Meditation & Support Groups from Mindful Leader: Thirty-minute sessions held Monday through Friday from March 23 to May 1, including 15 minutes of silent meditation and 15 minutes of reflection and discussion.

Anxiety and stress: If its impacting your sleep and ability to focus and complete tasks, check out our psychotherapy services. 

For more information on how to promote work and life balance, reduce stress and support the mental well being of your team, connect with us.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, ambitious mindsets and mental health. Her programs focus on trauma, depression and anxiety, both on the couch and in the workplace.

We Need To Talk: Gossip, Slander, and the Biased Water Cooler

Unless you are a woman you have NO idea what it’s like to be a woman building an empire and navigating the workplace! Don’t worry, we got you. Our talented list of panelists from the recent Protecting Your Mental Health in the Workplace Summit joined me to break it down. The first topic we unravelled with the help of author and therapist Kendra Hathaway,  was Gossip, Slander, and Toxic Relationships in the workplace. When the word, “toxic” is defined the words most commonly associated with it are: harmful, poisonous, destructive, and venomous just to name a few.  Although not only women experience these obstacles in the workplace we certainly seem to be well-versed in it. How many times have you been at work and overheard one employee complaining about the next? You have those that are loud about it and don’t care who knows what they are saying, and then you have others that are more hush hush about it and you may see them whispering as if you don’t exist. 

One thing that is true about both types is that the gossip spreaders are usually looking for attention or are trying to hide some type of pain. (There is another theory or possibility that we will consider in just a moment.) So now that we know what the problem is, let’s discuss how we can cope with such working conditions and figure out a solution. It is important that you pay attention to how you feel in situations, noticing if any negative thoughts and feelings come up for you, that’s a sign this is probably a toxic situation. This is a part of you protecting your mental health. If you stumble upon a co-worker being messy or you’re involved in a conversation that suddenly becomes demeaning or unproductive, walk away. Dismiss yourself, choose not to be involved. If you need to, take a moment to regroup and rid yourself of their negative energy. It’s ok to separate yourself from what is no longer serving you. If you feel strongly enough about the issue, confront the gossiper at a later time when you can engage in a calm conversation sharing your thoughts on gossiping about another coworker and be honest about how uncomfortable it made you feel. We have to take a stand for mistreatment in whatever form it shows up, including toxic communication, abuse, harassment, gender bias and racism in the spaces we exist in.   

Subtle manifestations of discrimination may significantly impact the everyday lives of women, the compiling effect of which may result in hostile work environments and distressed internal emotional states

Next, we unpacked Gender Bias in the Workplace. In the previous paragraph we discussed potential options as to why some employees behave the way they do and we mentioned that there could be another valid theory. Our next panelist reminded us to think about the beliefs that have been built into us. From birth people project their views and opinions of how girls are different than boys. A baby girl is rumored to cry less than a baby boy. Says who? As girls grow older we are taught not to speak or dress a certain way, what sport is lady-like, what toys we should play with and the list goes on. By the time we enter the workforce, we have so many rules inside our heads that we begin to doubt our abilities in our work space. Internally we are replaying all of the things we were told we should be as women, and unbeknown to us, our subconscious is keeping us tethered to the expectations of gender bias and we begin to acquiesce before our thinking brain kicks in with a conscious response. When you are presented with an idea or a situation and feel that hesitation, or fear, check in with your thoughts- “is this something you were told that you will not be able to accomplish? Do you believe the voices in your head?” Now take note of your response to others, particularly other women. Ms. Araika-Zawadhafsa Mkulo, Psychologist, shifted our awareness of our relationship to other women- “are we subconsciously sabotaging our fellow women co-workers based on biased views that were projected on us? Are we even conscious that we are doing so?” I want to encourage you to pause through your day and tune in to your relationship to yourself and others at work. 

Ask yourself what are you accepting in our own roles or in those around us that need to end? As Araika shared, be open to unlearn. What micro step can you take in this moment to shift that experience in the workplace? 

We have the unique opportunity in this day and time to change the narrative.

Notice the story you tell yourself. Where does it come from?

We live in a time where it is ok to speak up for yourself as a woman and ask for what you need. We no longer have to stand behind a man and wait to be spoken to in order to have a voice. Take risks, do things that scare you in order to advance in your career. Don’t allow yourself to feel as though you cannot be a wife, mother, and successful career woman. Those ideas are false and do not serve you. Ignore the Imposter Syndrome that makes you believe that you do not belong in places that you have earned your right to be in.

What have you been taught to be? Agreeable, beautiful, quiet, the parent, the responsible one? Is it showing up in your career and just isn’t working towards your success anymore? Let’s dive in together and get the work done together. That is the benefit to partnering with a women’s mindset coach to collaborate on healing and unlearning. We can have difficult conversations, model new expectations, challenge core beliefs, make core shifts, and become the best version of you. Sometimes you need that little nudge in the right direction to unleash your confidence, get clear on what you want to do with your life and implement strategies that work, as women and the organizations that support them. Are you ready to shift the narrative?

 

Amanda Fludd, Psychotherapist, Corporate Trainer and Women in Business Mindset Coach is here for your Mental Health needs. Sometimes you just need that professional nudge in the right direction to implement strategies that work.

What Power Do Words Have?

The current state of African Americans in this country has reached a boiling point. If we didn’t want to acknowledge that there was a need for therapy before, we certainly cannot ignore it anymore! We have seen, heard, read, and even have our own stories to tell when it comes to being unfairly mistreated. For this very reason, last week we held a “gathering” that included a panel of talented men and women that shared their experiences and how we can become unstuck and unbothered by what we are being faced with. 

The conversation began with understanding the power of words. When we were younger we heard the childhood comeback,”Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. That statement is so far from the truth I can’t believe we used to say it. What about the command “children should be seen and not heard”? How many conversations did you not have because of those words? How many painful secrets have you kept?  Words can heal, contribute to shame, build up, or even break down a person’s spirit. Once we realize the power in our words, we can understand how to use them for growth and encouragement. The power of words can change your life. Affirmations are a great way to begin your day to build yourself up to be able to handle whatever life may throw at you. Building yourself up is extremely important because you cannot pour from an empty glass. 

From there “the gathering” shifted the conversation to a macro level, exploring systems in this country and its subtle (or direct) cumulative bias messages, practices and policies. Often people make reference to the system not working and being considered “broken”. Our panelists brought to attention the fact that the system is “working” according to the way it was designed. Have you ever thought about that? Consider the 13th Amendment of the constitution where “blacks” were supposed to be included in the statement, “We the People”. This implies that before this amendment “We” were not considered “the People”. What are those words saying there? Consequently, the entire system was designed to work for “the People” that were originally included. That is the issue with systematic racism, it’s been engrained for a long time, and the actions related to those ideas are often automatic and unconscious. Change requires that the system is dissected by reevaluating our current and longstanding narratives and rebuilding systems as a whole. Systems, in this case, are larger institutions like the education system or the culture of policing, and big business where minorities remain exactly that. Last but not least, we are all responsible for looking at ourselves regardless of the shade of our skin.   

A catalyst for reform came after the video of George Floyd. For centuries we have seen African Americans abused and mistreated, but what made that our breaking point? One idea that was introduced for discussion was the fact that due to the pandemic, we were sheltered in place and already frustrated with that experience, and there was little else to focus on. The pandemic had forced everyone to slow down and pay attention. We had just learned of Ahmad Aubry, and one more black injustice was enough! It triggered an instinctual trauma reaction, fight, flee or freeze. Many decided to fight.  Secondary trauma can have just as much as an impact as experiencing trauma yourself. Everytime you turn on the news you can’t help but see the replays of a man losing his life, protests throughout the world, additional videos of unjust treatment, insensitive comments by “the people”, plus the effects of the pandemic. Perhaps enough is enough.

AffirmSo what can we do about how we are feeling? Let’s talk about it. Mental health should be viewed the same as going for a well check. The mind is a powerful thing and should be cared for the same as a stomach ache. Make no mistake witnessing a trauma is just as powerful as being a victim and racial trauma is complex and has been experienced for generations. The impact is lodged in our bodies and our minds. The signs of too much stress may look like: anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping, distrust, emotional and social withdrawal, fatigue, wild dreams and periods of unexplained sadness. It’s a challenging experience that will continue to be challenged over the next few months. If left unaddressed it can compromise your emotional and physical well-being.

So if you are unsure about your experiences or have questions about what you feel, consider speaking with a therapist to help you work through your emotions. You can also grab the free Unstuck and Unbothered Guide here. Inspired by the recent webinar on the power of your words, this guide takes the time to explore what you are saying to yourself, how to shift it, and speak in ways others can hear you, while listening with empathy as you take proactive steps to change the narrative of your life. It is a reminder that our words have power and there is a need to keep that in the forefront of our minds. 

Kensho Psychotherapy Services is here to offer support and help through your difficult time. Mindset Coaching is also available for dynamic women of color in business who need of a boost in their lives. Amanda Fludd has helped hundreds of women find their power, courage and confidence to be their authentic selves both in their professional and personal lives. If you aren’t sure what you need, that’s ok, send us an inquiry at support@amandafludd.com

For more information visit our site:  www.amandafludd.com

A special thank you to the Unbothered and Unstuck Panelists: Jennell Smith, Singer and Song Writer on IG  @jlatoymusic; Tamara Dopwell, LMSW, Activist & Socially Conscious Tee Shirt Designer at: http://www.designsbytee3.com; And Mr. Richard Celestine, ESQ, and advocate for Juvenile Justice on IG@the_inspirational_lawyer and LinkedIn: www.LinkedIn.com/in/richard-celestin

Mental Health Problems Don’t Affect Me

Right about now, it affects everyone. Mental health has always been a taboo subject particularly in minority communities, until now. A lack of understanding by families, friends, and individuals, alongside a fear of being associated with the stigma of mental illness have created roadblocks to mental health. Words like disturbed, sad, broken, crazy or lazy come into the mix, but all of the above is FALSE! Mental health is all about the wellbeing of the brain, and since we all own one, it’s an issue for all of us.

The health of our minds is associated with things like genetics (depression and the impact of trauma runs in families), environmental stressors (like a pandemic or witnessing injustice), social (role ambiguity, poor relationships), or cultural factors (norms, beliefs). The behaviors or responses associated with mental illness can’t be ignored, and isn’t any one person’s fault. However, unless we are proactive in addressing the evident mental health needs associated with the pandemic and recent events, there will be enormous long-term consequences for everyone. 

Similar to any other health condition, it is important that we take care of our mental health, and do our part to protect it.  You would be surprised at how simple it is to get grounded, recharge, and reclaim your mental health. Read more

A Milestone in Grief and Loss

Covid 19 has reached new milestones not just in mass casualties, but in consequential losses as we grapple with epic rates of change.  From grieving the loss of a loved one, or tangible losses like graduations, friendships within classrooms,  being furloughed from work, the ability to go anywhere as we continue to shelter in place, or even a loss of safety in the context of recent community issues. Grief is a response to loss to which a bond or affection was formed. Simply put, grief is love. A love that exists across multiple dimensions including spiritual, philosophical, and social dimensions. It’s an experience we will all have just because we exist. 

Grief brings with it many different emotions like sadness, guilt, disbelief, confusion, shock and anger. The emotions have often been described as a rollercoaster and can quickly leave its mark emotionally and physically, whether or not you realize it. Unfortunately, loss and change have always been a part of our history and always will be, but we have learned some fundamental ways to deal with it. 

Here are some tips to help you embrace your grief and loss:

  1. Take your time. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel as though you’re taking too long to process your loss or that you have to get over it and “move on”. There is no time frame on how you experience grief.  Some people may grieve for weeks and months, while others may describe their grief lasting for years. With all the emotions that you experience, acknowledge and feel it as much as you may want to hide from it or make it go away. We can’t get around the  pain, but can work our way through it and begin to create new  meaning and experiences that work around your loss. 
  2. Give yourself credit. Don’t beat yourself up for the way you feel about the loss. Acknowledge your growth as you progress through your healing process. Allow this to happen naturally. (For example, if you cried all day for two days straight and on the 3rd day you only cried twice, acknowledge that and try to look for other signs that there is life outside of sadness).
  3. Get out and get active. Be sure to do something physical even if it is just going for a walk outside. Grief and you can coexist together. Remember to take time to care for your body, mind and soul. Physical movement will help with those difficult feelings. 
  4. The language of grief. Grief wants to be heard, validated and supported. It needs to pour out.  Talk about your unique losses with loved ones, a friend or maybe even seek out a support group or community events like a grief circle. Pour it on to the pages of a journal or through music or art. While grief is an inevitable part of life, navigating it can be challenging and it’s ok to ask for help if you get stuck.  A therapist can help you find a way to pick up the pieces and move through this process if you are struggling to find your way. For some, its easier to be fully open with a non judgmental stranger. 

The 5 stages of grief, according to psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Although these are the common stages, there is no guarantee that you experience them all or in any order. For the most part, most of us will go through a loss and never need a therapist, but it is also ok to seek professional support to assist you in coping if you are having a hard time on your own and the grief seems more persistent with feelings of hopelessness, despair, trouble with daily tasks and difficulty feeling pleasure or joy.  

Additional resources: 

Reminders when coping with grief: https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/covid-19-resources/coping-with-grief-reminders.pdf

For families dealing with the loss of a child: www.copefoundation.org

To find a GriefShare support group or event near you: https://www.griefshare.org/

Connect with Suffolk/Nassau NABSW for upcoming grief circles: on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nassausuffolkabsw

For the loss and hurt related to social injustice embrace healing habits through the 21 day challenge: https://www.eddiemoorejr.com/21daychallenge

 

Kensho Psychotherapy Services is here to offer you support and help through your difficult time. For more information visit our site:  http://www.amandafludd.com.

Not My Circus: How To Support Remote Work Parents

  Supporting Remote Working Parents It appears our conversation will not be changing for quite some time. COVID-19 will …

We Need To Talk: Gossip, Slander, and the Biased Water Cooler

Unless you are a woman you have NO idea what it’s like to be a woman building an empire and navigating the workplace! Don’t …

What Power Do Words Have?

The current state of African Americans in this country has reached a boiling point. If we didn’t want to acknowledge that …