Do you feel helpless?
This month Professional and Personal Wellness has focused on Mental Health for the monthly topic. Make sure you check out the Newsletter and the monthly educational presentation for excellent information regarding Depression.
What I would like to talk about is a condition called “learned helplessness”. Learned helpless is defined as the general belief that one has little or no control over their situation. It can result in persistent feelings of powerlessness, and it can be an underlying cause of depression. I see this condition a lot with employees who feel stuck in their job. No matter what they do, they cannot get ahead both financially and career wise. Often I hear: “all I do is work, eat and sleep” with little or no time, energy and money to do anything else. In my mind the worse of the systems of learned helplessness is the feeling of “giving up” and just living life going through the motions!
What can be done? I believe it starts with making small changes. Break the routine, even if it is driving home via a different route. Do something you enjoy every day, even if it is just for a minute or two. Set small obtainable goals to change and monitor them. Try new things, talk to different people.
Learned helplessness did not happen all at once. Learning that you are not helpless will also take time. Small steps over a long time make a huge difference. Consider talk to others or a trained professional.
Helpless is no way to live your life
Everyday I'm Shuffling
Shuffleboard is a game that has been, according to records, enjoyed dating back to the 15th century by the old and poor alike. Its simple base rules made it recognizable by soldiers and royalty alike, easy to set up with crude or fancy materials, and the appeal universal between all abilities and education. Then, according to shuffleboard.net, “World War II opened the "Swinging Forties" and shuffleboard really came into its own. The intrinsic appeal of the game – skill, diversity, competitiveness, availability to young and old, strong and disabled, the serious game, the fun game, offered the kind of release needed in those turbulent years.”
The game of shuffleboard tends to bring to mind cruise ships and retirement homes and, because of its low physical fitness requirements, the game is often associated with the elderly. But that’s changed in a world where millennials (25-39 year olds) have an especially large love for games. Shuffleboard is becoming increasingly popular among younger crowds. The table version is more and more common in bars and breweries, enjoyed by the same people that enjoy the darts and billiards sections. I even played one in an escape room lobby a few months back. Its enjoyment factor is not at all limited by age or ability.
The rules are very similar to any scoring games, with variations in point calculation, penalties, etc. If you want to know the exact rules, check out this link https://www.rulesofsport.com/sports/shuffleboard.html. Yet while they rules and play of shuffleboard are simple, mastering the game is a matter of technical skill and intense strategy. From primarily defense to primarily offensive, you can learn a lot about a person by how they play shuffleboard. While there is a certain amount of civility expected in this historic game, I’ve yet to see a match where knocking your opponent into the kitchen (resulting in negative 10 points) didn’t result in (mostly) friendly mocking and “stirring the pot” motions. Off course, any game is as competitive as you want to make it, I just happen to enjoy playing with very competitive people.
I’m currently in a shuffleboard league now, where the ages range from late twenties to eighties. Everyone has a great time and we always leave with a smile. It’s the perfect way to pass the time, get outside (for floor shuffleboard), and meet new people. If you haven’t tried it yet, stop shuffling your feet and try it!
Let 'em fly!
Are you looking for a new sport to get into? Tired of the expensive price tags on sports equipment? Disc golf may be the sport for you then! Disc golf is played on a course like regular golf, the exception is that instead of the hole, there is a pole with a basket on it. Instead of different clubs, in disc golf there are different discs that are thrown at different distances, A driver, a mid range, and a putter. Most golf clubs are in the hundreds of dollars, while disc golf, you can get a complete set for fifty dollars! Disc golf can be played alone or with any number of friends making it flexible to play. Disc golf is a great way to get outside and get some exercise while you walk the course, while being low stress on your body. If any of this interests you then disc golf may be the next summer sport for you!
Get Happy About Hobbies!
I have a LOT of hobbies. Now, I am not saying I am good at any of them, but I enjoy them all! Having hobbies is an important part of your overall wellness. They give you the opportunity to expand your interests and expertise.
First and foremost, hobbies should be enjoyable to you. Only you have to enjoy your hobby, so find something that fits you - even if that means thinking outside the box. One of my hobbies is Cross Country Skiing. I hear so many times, “that is too hard!” Well, I enjoy it and that is all that counts.
A hobby should be also be accessible. If it takes too long to get ready to do your hobby or it’s too far away, chances are you will not do it. In the past I’ve taught Stress Management. There was a chapter on “making a house a home” which met setting it up so you can do the things you enjoy very easily.
For those you who think hobbies are a waste of time, consider this; there is research that suggests that participating in hobbies enhances critical thinking and problem solving skills.
One last suggestion, try new hobbies when you can! You never know what you are going to enjoy until you try.
Your most important tool in an emergency crisis is your brain –is yours prepped?
According to a 2004 Harris Poll, 96 percent of Americans feel it is important to prepare for emergencies, but less than 20 percent describe themselves as totally prepared. It is an odd disconnect when you think about it, and makes you wonder why people don’t prepare more if they believe it is so important. Perhaps it’s because no matter how much you do prepare for emergencies, the unpredictable nature of an emergency means that you can never be 100% prepared. Therefore, many people would like to avoid the feeling of futility that comes with trying to fight randomness. But you can and should try as much as possible, especially when it comes to mental preparedness.
Emergency preparedness can help you physically if there is ever an emergency (see the newsletter for more details on the kits and materials you should invest in), but there are mental and emotional elements as well. By thinking through disaster scenarios and what you would need in each, you are training your brain ahead of time how to react in those scenarios. If you trace out an escape route in your mind you are, in a sense, practicing that route. Another example is: let’s say your stove catches on fire. If you haven’t really thought through the scenario or a house fire, your thoughts may look something like this:
“My stove is on fire, what do I do?”
“Do I have a fire extinguisher?”
“Where is my fire extinguisher?”
“Once I found my extinguisher, how do I use it?”
By this point of frantic panic, the fire may have spread and you are up a creek with no paddle. If you had prepped and mentally or physically practiced for a fire, however, these thoughts wouldn’t need to slow you down and it would be more of an instinct of “event happens-here’s how I react to it.” You’d grab the fire extinguisher from where you put it and use it quickly. The less panic in an emergency, the less damage is done. “Everybody hates the idea that we practice for emergency events. Fire drills… ugh. But it’s practice, and practice helps you understand what to do or how to react when you don’t have a lot of time,” said Jerzell Black, Operation Coordinator, CDC Office of Safety, Security, and Asset Management in his blog post. “Not only can practice save your life, but if you know how to save yourself, emergency responders on the scene can use their time and effort to save others. You’re one less person who needs saving, and that saves lives.”
You can’t think through every emergency situation (and it probably isn’t healthy to dwell on every bad situation either), but preparing yourself mentally and physically for certain emergencies can help you adapt those skills and resources for the ones you didn’t think of. “Remember, if you depend on everyone else to take care of you, you’re leaving the most important person out,” said Black, “Don’t wait to make a plan. Know yourself, know your situation, and be prepared to save your own life.”