Connect and re-connect

Join me on a 5 day journey to re-connect with what matters most.

More and more of us are reporting overwhelm, burnout, feeling lonely, and disconnect from friends, family and ourselves. As it turns out disconnect and mental health challenges like anxiety and depression are linked. There has been found to be a causal effect too.

Connections take effort

If we don’t make the time and effort to connect with others we are more likely to feel this disconnect. We will become overwhelmed, anxious, depressed and burnt-out.

Loneliness it turns out is a contributing factor, not only to our emotional well-being, but also to our physical health. I have been learning about humanity’s need for social connection and how it has an impact on our well-being both as individuals and the greater community.

Join us in taking a small step toward more Authentic connections in your life over five days. Each day will involve one simple activity to be done by you… and a little inspiration too!

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Join us for a FREE five day challenge to make more authentic social connections! https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

For more information on how to develop more authentic connections: https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @authenticconnections.community, or Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

I invite you to follow me using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my Facebook page, etc.)

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Connections and Belonging: authentic connections (post 5 of 5)

We live in a world today where people are more disconnected than ever. With a zillion options for social connections online, we make less authentic connections, more superficial ones, and are constantly distracted by things of little substance.

While I’ve lived a life of disconnect, moving from place to place – I’ve also managed to stay connected to a few key people, and develop new connections. I see so many people around me as disconnected as if they too had been uprooted and started anew every 3-5 years.

For those of us who thrive in a transient life we’ve learned the art of making new connections. While sustaining a few key connections from afar.

Building a strong sense of belonging

It is my intention to build a community where we can come together both online and in-person. A community where we can become more authentically connected with others, as well as ourselves. This community and our activities will help us to live more fulfilling, connected lives. A place in which we feel a true sense of belonging.

Authentic Connections

Brené Brown says there are four elements of belonging:

Quote:

People are hard to hate close up. Move in.

Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil.

Hold hands. With strangers.

Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.

Brené Brown

We’ll talk more about what this means, but for now, you can learn more about Brené Brown’s elements of belonging here.

Is there an old friend you can call? A journal entry you can write? Or maybe a place you can visit (in real time or in your memories) where important connections can be revisited? One of my favourite things to do is pull out some old photos and allow myself a little walk down memory lane.

What will you commit to doing to start the journey of rebuilding, creating and maintaining authentic connections?

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Join us for a FREE five day challenge to make more authentic social connections! https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

For more information on how to develop more authentic connections: https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @authenticconnections.community, or Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

I invite you to follow me using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my Facebook page, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it.

Connections and belonging: social connections (post 4 of 5)

When our youngest was three years old, I left my marriage. I wanted, and needed for my children to have, and witness only strong social connections within our home. We’d been through more climbs and dips of the roller coaster that was our relationship – with another posting, a deployment and more. By the time I decided to leave I felt like I had a room-mate – who happened to be the father of my children.

It was during/after my second pregnancy I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The thinking at the time was that physical trauma (like a car accident or possibly childbirth) could trigger fibromyalgia. But I always believed the trauma and chronic acute stress in my life had been the cause.

There continued to be high stress events in my life with divorce proceedings, my return to school to get another degree, a job that I left due to a toxic work environment, and then… my mom, who had always been my biggest supporter, died several years after the dissolution of my marriage. Eventually, I moved nearer to my closest friends and biggest supporters, who I’d been living far away from for many years. I needed a fresh start where I could be true to myself.

Reliable and consistent social connections

I wanted my girls to know that: no matter what, they could always count on me; and that our connection to each other would sustain us, whatever we faced.

I made lots of mistakes, but eventually came to the place in life where I am now… capable of taking care of myself and my girls, and eventually in a drama-free partnership with a man that I(we) can count on and trust, who would never do anything to hurt any one of us. It’s only since the girls and I have really been settled into this new life together – with a handful of great friends and family nearby that we can rely on – that my health has finally begun to improve.

We belong to our community, family, and each other. And we can face just about anything when we have strong connections… to ourselves, others and our physical space.

What social connections have brought you a sense of belonging and peace in your life? Is there anyone you can re-activate that connection to today?

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Join us for a FREE five day challenge to make more authentic social connections! https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

For more information on how to develop more authentic connections: https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @authenticconnections.community, or Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

I invite you to follow me using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my Facebook page, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it.

Connections and belonging: sense of self (post 3 of 5)

While it’s important to connect with others – like we do when helping people, truly belonging means being true to yourself first. Having a strong sense of self means knowing what you value and what you can/will be flexible on and what requires sticking to your guns.

Brené Brown uses the acronym BRAVING when describing trusting ourselves, or others, and how to be both vulnerable and courageous:

Braving

Reliability

Accountability

Vault

Integrity

Nonjudgement

Generosity

You can learn more about Brené Brown’s teachings on vulnerability and bravery here.

When we have a sense of belonging within ourselves (being true to ourselves authentically) it is easier to have confidence in our connections (and have a sense of belonging) to others/in community.

Connection with self

When I was married to my children’s father I lost my sense of self. We went through some very difficult things that I never imagined would be repeated. And yet, it happened at least once more and was even harder the next time around. Partially because of my rocky connection to my own self.

The first time I was young and naïve and thought my marriage had to last forever. I honestly felt like I couldn’t live without him. I couldn’t imagine the thought of failing at my marriage. I went through a lot of reading and therapy around practising forgiveness. But I no longer felt like I deserved to be with someone who would never take action(s) that would cause me pain.

Taking inventory

It was only after our marriage ended that I started looking hard at myself and who I had become. I took the time to think about what had brought me joy in the past, and whether I was including it in my present. It turned out that I wasn’t. I started running and cycling again. I pulled out my camera and re-learned how to make great photographs. And I started writing again. I felt more like myself and was better able to deal with the death of my marriage.

I can’t recall how much of our relationship problems I had shared with my closest family and friends during the second half of our ten year marriage. I do remember feeling judged for making the decision to end things when I did. My family made an extra effort a relationship with my ex for the sake of our two children. I always had a difficult time with asking for help. But I remember one day going to my parents and asking them to consider what I needed, not just their relationship with the girls’ dad. I pointed out that my ex had the support of his own family and didn’t need to be supported by mine, especially at the expense of my own well-being. I just needed to know they were in my corner and accepted my decisions were what was best for me and my girls.

Social supports

The dissolution of our marriage was never easy. But it became much more bearable when I knew I was giving myself the time and grace that I needed. And that I could count on the social support of the people who were most important to me.

Who are the biggest supporters in your life? Can you be brave enough to share with them how you really feel and what makes you, you? Can you be vulnerable with them? Is it a reciprocal support going beyond a statement that they care? Who do you provide that social support to?

I challenge you to take a look at Brené Brown’s BRAVING inventory and consider what you can do to be both vulnerable and courageous with yourself.

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Join us for a FREE five day challenge to make more authentic social connections! https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

For more information on how to develop more authentic connections: https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @authenticconnections.community, or Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

I invite you to follow me using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my Facebook page, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it.

Connection and belonging: helping connection (post 2 of 5)

It is only natural that when someone experiences trauma and survives they may wish to help others. Interestingly, by helping others who have been through similar experiences we create more opportunities to make meaningful connections. Social connections help ourselves get better. The connections we create when helping others also serve to develop stronger sense of self and healing within.

Helping experiences straddle multiple types of connections that are beneficial to both the recipient and the helper: the joy of helping others; connecting with our own values and self; and staying in the moment grounded in the present, including a sense of place. Empathizing with others within appropriate contexts can have a big impact on how we experience our own emotional response to trauma.

Helping connections

Shared experiences – even around separate incidents with similar stories – can bring people together and foster a sense of belonging.

When we share our truth – about the experiences that have shaped us – we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and show our authentic selves to others. We can form stronger connections both with those we share experiences with and the places in which we experience them. From this can form a sense of belonging (reducing instances of loneliness).

One of the worst feelings in the world is to feel completely alone and believe that it will never get better. Yet the greatest hope and healing can come from knowing these moments of loneliness are finite – that the feeling will have an end; and that we belong to a community in which we do not have to face our hardships alone.

Can you think of a hard thing that you have experienced that others may have similar experiences with? How can you connect with others and help around this common hardship?

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Join us for a FREE five day challenge to make more authentic social connections! https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

For more information on how to develop more authentic connections: https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @authenticconnections.community, or Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

I invite you to follow me using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my Facebook page, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it.

Connection and Belonging, How we heal (post 1 of 5)

When I consider my chronic pain and where it all began… I find myself thinking of: connection and belonging and my own healing journey…

…  all that I’ve learned about trauma and how it affects our health – both emotional(mental) and physical…

… how my own story unfolded and the impact various stresses had on my own connections to people and place…

… how my physical health has slowly improved significantly over the last few years…

Loneliness: the impact of connection and belonging on healing
Photo by Paul Wesson Photography

It has become clear to me that connection and belonging have had the most significant impact on my life and healing. I suspect that to be true for most, whether struggling with chronic health concerns or otherwise…

Lost social connection and belonging

  • Moving across the country, leaving loved ones behind…
  • Breakdown of marital relationships…
  • Lost friendships…
  • Death of loved ones…
  • Abusive relationships…
  • Lost family connections…
  • Workplace stress and breakdown…

Any ONE, any number, or ALL of these stressors can elicit a trauma response. At the very least they can be the reason that we are less resilient when trauma occurs. Without important connection, and belonging we can be at risk of turning inward more and more, with no real incentive to draw us back out. What inspires you to do hard things? More importantly, who do you share your journey from inspiration to hard work to reward with?

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Join us for a FREE five day challenge to make more authentic social connections! https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

For more information on how to develop more authentic connections: https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @authenticconnections.community, or Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

I invite you to follow me using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my Facebook page, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it.

What sparks joy for you?

So many organizing, de cluttering, self-help gurus tell you to think about what sparks joy for you.

Declutter by getting rid of things that don’t bring you joy…

When overwhelmed by the chaos or demanding schedule – such as it is- of your life, focus only on the things that meet your basic needs or spark joy in your life.

It’s true that by eliminating things that don’t bring you joy, you will make room for more joy… But it is also true that experiencing joy can be a mindset shift.

We can become blind to, or stop noticing the joyful things in our lives. There is a reason the figure of speech “stop and smell the roses” is so poignant. So how do we experience more joy without purging things that once brought us joy but doesn’t right now? Or when we can’t eliminate everything from our busy lives that is not joyful?

Mindful experiences can help. Practising gratitude… Acknowledging joyful things in our lives…

Help to feel the joy we’ve become blind to.

So, what would happen if we left our headphones at home while out walking the dog? What if we made a point of noticing the colours of the newly blossoming cherry trees along the way… rather than the latest news podcast or music blasting in our ear buds?

Gratitude sparks joy

What if we took a few moments everyday to note (in a journal like I am writing this in right now) just 2 small things – one that I am grateful for and one that sparks joy in me?

Here are just a few of the things I’ve made note of recently…

  • my dog’s excitement to see me after 5 hours… 5 days… 5 minutes…
  • my competent & reliable staff team
  • memories of childhood captured in my dad’s photographs
  • tasty ice cream treats
  • sunshine and sand or dirt beneath my toes
  • three day weekends

Practise Gratitude / Finding Joy

Not only does this practise make me more likely to look for the joy and/or things I’m thankful for… but it also creates a stronger authentic connection to myself and the things around me each day.

If you wanted to be more connected to your joy, what joy would you make note of right now?

#sparksjoy #findthejoy #practisegratitude #gratitude #journal #gratitudehournal #joyfulconnections #authenticconnections

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

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Connections with memories

Connections that we form with people and the world around us have a huge impact on us as individuals. Over our lifespan we see many of our social connections (friends and family) come and go. It’s inevitable that relationships change over the years, but we will always have that time, those memories, and a foundation of connections that we can return to in our minds and emotions.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”  ~Dr. Seuss

Revisit memories

I’ve been converting old family photos and slides to digital format recently. Then I’m curating them to preserve our family stories. 

Just making connections with memories in photographs again takes me back to a place where I can relive the feelings/emotions from those days. It’s not exactly the same feeling as the being there in real time but it can be a close second – if you allow it to be. 

Just as visualization exercises can mimic the experience enough to have an impact on our brains and emotions, so too can connections with memories.

That’s why it is so important to practise living in the moment – both during real time events and when recalling memories.

Sensory memory triggers

Sensory experiences with links to my past stories like smells or sounds (i.e. music or the sound of someone’s voice) elicit a nearly involuntary response. Flashbacks are triggered in a vivid way. 

But photos I find require a little more intentionality. I suspect it has something to do with perspective. First, they are two dimensional. Second, they often are taken from someone else’s perspective. Especially if we appear in the photos ourself.

Allowing the time and headspace to “re-live” the event can elicit the same emotions of the experience itself.

This photo of my siblings and I takes me right back to one of our cross country adventures. We were moving for a posting with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police force from the North West Territories to Nova Scotia. We drove south to Vancouver and then East. The trek took weeks with countless stops along the way, visiting family and friends that we hadn’t seen in years. It was a time when we were each other’s playmates and closest friends. This photo reminds me of the move, but more importantly of the connection I felt with my family and the places and people we visited along the way.

Do you have any photos or other mementos that you could intentionally relive the emotions of the past through?

#authenticconnections #familystories #memorykeeping # phototherapy

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

I invite you to follow me using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my page on Facebook, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it.

Authentic Connection

Do you know how it feels to be disconnected from everything around you… while continuing to go through the motions? Have you found yourself without authentic connections? Have you ever found yourself surrounded by people, while feeling completely alone? 

Depression & Anxiety

Many call this a symptom of depression and/or anxiety… along with: feeling blue; irritability; lack of interest in things we normally are interested in; fatigue; agitation; sleeplessness; trouble concentrating; etc. 

Studies have identified loneliness and lost connections with others as a cause, not a symptom [of depression or anxiety]. This will come as no surprise to most of us who have lived with challenges of mental/emotional health. 

Loneliness

Humans need social connections to thrive. We know that the downward trend of our authentic connections with others has been happening while there have also been increased rates of depression and anxiety. There is often a direct link. Loneliness = poorer emotional and physical health. So what is the antidote? More authentic connections (relationships) in our lives. But how do we make this happen when we feel so disconnected?

Relationships with friends & family

Authentic Connections
Photo by Karl Magnuson on Unsplash

When my children were young we had just moved for my [then] husband’s work with the military. We had a roller coaster relationship. We moved to an entirely new community and province. And then he was deployed.

I felt alone and struggled with the blues but I knew that I needed friends around me. While the girls’ dad was deployed just months after we moved, I immersed myself in our community – the military family resource centre became our second home. We made friends and helped one another through difficult times.

My parents were hugely supportive and I counted on them to talk about the important things – and the small day-to-day things – when contact with our deployed soldiers was so limited.

I joined mom & tot groups, attended art classes, went to special events, and I volunteered.

It was thanks to those friends, and my parents, that I no longer felt so lonely and that depression was not long lasting.

Authentic connections

Now I know that’s over simplification. But it many ways it is just that simple. Spend time connecting with friends and family and we will naturally reap the benefits of authentic connections. 

Making new friends and having a close supportive relationship with family doesn’t just happen. It takes effort and intentional living. But it is one of the most effective and easiest solutions to loneliness, and the negative effects of it in our lives. 

When is the last time you reached out to a friend?

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

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Lost legacy stories

We lost a lot of the legacy stories when we lost my mom seven years ago, it was sudden. She was sick for 8 weeks with what was later determined to be pancreatic cancer. 

Mom was the glue of the family. She also knew the family stories better than anyone. Unfortunately, as much as we’d intended to, we didn’t get them written down. 

Photos & albums

We had lots of family photos which mom had divided between her & dad’s for their family albums, and each of us kids. But given how young she was when she died we did not anticipate running out of time to get the stories recorded. 

Legacy Stories in chaos
Legacy Stories in chaos

Heirlooms

I inherited a lot of family heirlooms after she died and mom was the only one who knew which grandmother the depression glass belonged to, or who the bone china tea cup came from… I wish I’d written the stories down when she told me before. 

Recorded stories & backup files

One thing I *have* made time for is keeping my children’s photos organized and documented. They are in scrapbooks with journaling to document the who, what, where & when…. film photos printed & mounted in scrapbooks, negatives safely stored, digital photos in printed books, and digital images backed up. There is a gap of about 3 years that I need to go back and fill. And my own photos from prior, as well as the ones from my mom still need to be curated. But I still wish I had those other stories recorded to share with my girls.

A friend of mine once had her laptop stolen, on which all of her photos were stored, and was the only copy. Since then, I’ve been extra careful to backup all photos. And I’ve spent time getting them organized, and still have gaps to work on, but now that I have a system it’s so much easier to maintain things.

I have them up-to-date and in printed photo books up to 2018. I love that. And I hope to get caught up on the rest soon.

Lost legacy stories

Do you know anyone who was devastated by the loss of family legacy stories? Did it motivate you to get your own safeguarded? Do you have tips to share? Or questions about how to do so?

Use the comment section below to share yours!

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form!

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