Don’t take the Hits! Don’t roll with the punches!

 

Say NO to Domestic Violence! Don’t be a VICTIM – Don’t be a BYSTANDER!  

Part 2: Developing An Action Plan For Safety

Domestic abuse and violence is an insidious part of our society prevalent at all socio-economic levels. In any type of abuse, a woman is marginalized and damaged as a human being. In most cases the abuser is her husband, partner, or male relative. It’s not something that anyone talks about because of the shame and fear that the woman feels – for herself and her children. This series brings out some aspects of how to deal with abuse. Don’t be a VICTIM! The sad fact is that often many of us are BYSTANDERS to the abuse we know or suspect is happening close to us. Don’t be a bystander!

Part 1 of this series helps one understand some aspects of domestic violence and Part 2 helps one build an action plan for safety.  

In The Short Term

Get Medical Attention: If you or your child is hurt then get medical attention immediately. Some times the injuries may be internal and not visible on the surface. Make sure that you keep all the medical records safe. In certain states, health care providers are required to take pictures of the physical results of the abuse and keep them on file, and also to speak to you in private about how the injuries were sustained.

File a Police Report: As a victim of abuse, you have the right to file a police complaint. Ask them to take pictures of the damage done to you or your property. If there are reasonable grounds to suspect domestic violence, then they can proceed against the abuser with criminal charges.

Work with Witnesses: If there are any witnesses to the abuse – those who directly saw or heard the incident – collect their contact information and get their acceptance to testify to the authorities. Ask them to write down what they saw and heard, sign and date their statement. If police come on the scene, direct them to the witnesses for questioning and taking their statement.

Develop an Evacuation/Safety Plan: Have an evacuation or safety plan thought through in advance and make the necessary preparations for it. This includes: decide on a safe place that you and your children can go to; how you can make a quick exit from the scene of abuse; what will you need to carry with you (car keys, money, credit cards, clothes, documents and so on); whom can you call on for immediate assistance, how you can access them, are they likely to be in town; what they need to do to support you and so on. Aspects of the safety plan include: knowing how to diffuse the abuser’s risk of violence; teaching children what they need to do to reach safety; and, informing neighbors and your support network of signs they need to watch out for to alert the police.

Guard Your Computer or Smartphone: It is important that you password protect your computer or smartphone so that the abuser does not have access to the calls that you make or know the resources that you might be accessing through your computer. This might include the record of abuse that you might be documenting. Try and use a secure computer from another location and password protect your data. Store such information on the cloud so that you can access it from any remote system, and ensure that the passwords that you use are not common ones that your abuser might know or can guess – for example, the name of your dog or child.

In the Medium Term

Develop a Network of Support and Help: Many victims keep the abuse a secret at least in the initial stages. However, those around you will often have a sense of what is going on. The first thing one needs to do is to reduce the amount of isolation that you find yourself in and start developing a network of support and help by sharing what is going on. Select those who will understand what you are going through. Develop your strength and a protective cover by talking with others moving away from being isolated.

Developing other Interests: This may not be easy because the abuser will not want to lose his control over you. However, if possible getting out and taking a class, joining a health club, or doing volunteer work might help you start feeling better about yourself and developing a supportive network. You need to decide if these options are possible for you with respect to your safety.

Join a Support Group: If there is a support group in your area, then being part of it will help you develop resilience, and give you access to information and resources that you may not have on your own. An abuse hotline can help you identify a group close to you.

Document the Abuse: Documenting the abuse is essential to create a trail that will assist you in getting legal protection for you and your children. A personal log must include the date, time, location, and duration of the incident. It must detail the damage caused including pictures, medical reports, witnesses, emotional trauma caused and its impact, and what was said and done to you. Document every incident starting with the most recent one, and record as much information that you can remember. This can be a difficult experience and process but it is essential for your safety and that of your children especially if you will need protection from the police and the legal system. This log must be kept in a safe and secure place where the abuser will not find them. This is your personal property and the abuser has no right to it. While this is difficult, it’s important to take pictures of visible injuries or damage done to property during the abuse. Keep a photographic trail of this over time and keep it in a safe space so that your abuser cannot access or destroy them.

In the Long Term

Leaving the Relationship: Leaving an abusive relationship can be hard because of cultural or religious reasons. Religious teachings are often thwarted to hold the woman in an abusive relationship. It’s also harder for women in some cultures to disturb the cultural boat by thinking of leaving. Perhaps, the most difficult reason for not leaving is the victim’s hope that the abuser will change – and because she loves him. Thinking about children’s well being is another limiting factor. Other reasons include: guilt, fear of being blamed by family, financial insecurity, no place to go and so on. Be aware that the moment you take the decision to leave the risk of violence increases as the abuser senses his loss of control. This is the time to have your evacuation/safety plan in place.

Don’t be a Victim! And, Don’t be a bystander! There are steps that YOU can take, or encourage a victim to take to stop domestic violence. Working with a counselor is one such step. If you would like to talk to someone who can support you in this difficult situation, then please reach out in complete confidence to us on http://talkitover.in/support

References

Bressert, S. (2016). How to deal with domestic violence.   Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/steps-to-address-domestic-violence/

California Attorney General’s Office. (2002). Domestic violence handbook: A survivor’s guide Retrieved from https://learners.calsouthern.edu/common/file.aspx?form=syllabus_resource&id=77236

Erie County Ohio. (2016). Domestic Violence: Developing your support system.   Retrieved from http://www.eriecounty.oh.gov/departments-and-agencies/social-resources/victim-assistance/domestic-violence/education-about-domestic-violence/strategies-for-dealing-with-domestic-violence/developing-your-support-system/

Lifeline Information Service. (2016). Domestic violence tooklit.   Retrieved from https://www.lifeline.org.au/…/Domestic Violence Tool Kit%2…

 

 

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Say NO to Domestic Violence! Don’t be a VICTIM. Don’t be a BYSTANDER!

 

Part 1: Understanding Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse and violence is an insidious part of our society prevalent at all socio-economic levels. In any type of abuse, a woman is marginalized and damaged as a human being. In most cases the abuser is her husband, partner, or male relative. It’s not something that anyone talks about because of the shame and fear that the woman feels – for herself and her children. This series brings out some aspects of how to deal with abuse. Don’t be a VICTIM! The sad fact is that often many of us are BYSTANDERS to the abuse we know or suspect is happening close to us. Don’t be a bystander!

Part 1 of this series helps one understand some aspects of domestic violence and Part 2 helps one build an action plan for safety.

Understanding and Recognizing Abuse: Domestic violence is not just physical. It can include: emotional abuse such as humiliating someone (especially in front of family and friends); verbal abuse such as shouting or calling names; social abuse, such as controlling whom you can see or not see; stalking; making excessive calls, texts or messages; and, spiritual abuse such as controlling one’s spiritual or cultural choices. These forms of non-physical abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. You need to recognize this and take appropriate action as soon as possible.

Remember that domestic violence is a crime. You do not have to remain a victim! You can call the local law enforcement and support agencies for help.

Understanding the Abuser: Many abuse victims hope that the abuser will change and seek couples counseling to work on the issue. Understand that abuse is the problem with the abuser and not a shared issue. Since they are often master manipulators, couples counseling is unlikely to deal with the issue because the abuser can make it seem like the victim’s fault.

At times, the abuse can be worse after a session. Even mediation is not helpful and can exacerbate the problem. The abuser needs individual counseling to help him deal with his abusive and violent behavior. Abuse is never the victim’s fault. You have the right to live without the hurt, pain and fear of abuse.

Impact on Your Children: Many women put up with abuse ‘for the sake of their children’. The truth is that being in an abusive home has harmful effects on kids. Don’t think for a moment that they don’t know what’s going on – they do! And, they often blame themselves for the violence and tension in their homes. They experience the trauma of violence and disruption in ways that impact their emotional and psychological development.

Other ways that your children may be affected include: developing low self-esteem, shame, aggressive behavior, physical symptoms, problems with school work, becoming a perpetrator of bullying, and self-harm. It is likely that they will learn to mirror behavior of either being a victim or being an abuser – you want neither of these for your kids.

The Cycle of Violence: Abuse and battering incidents follow a cycle of violence that keeps the victim locked in to the pattern and makes it difficult for them to get out. It makes the woman feel guilty, ashamed and responsible for her partner’s violence. The three phases are: tension building phase; the violent episode; and the loving reconciliation.

In the tension building phase the woman senses her partner’s increasing agitation. He lashes out in anger and starts calling her names or demeaning her verbally. The woman tries her best to make her partner feel less upset with her, and starts to put up with all his unreasonable demands. As she does this her feelings of worthlessness, vulnerability and loss of control increase.

This phase ends with an explosion of violence – the violent episode. The batterer is out of control and the woman is at a loss to figure out what has triggered it leaving her helpless and confused.

The loving reconciliation is the biggest deception because the abuser is remorseful and goes out of his way to win her back with apologies, gifts and gestures of love. He makes her believe that he can change and it won’t happen again. Unfortunately, this cycle keeps spiraling in upward intensity and seldom stops on its own. By now physical and psychological damage is done not only on the woman but also on the children.

Don’t be a Victim! And, Don’t be a bystander! There are steps that YOU can take, or encourage a victim to take to stop domestic violence. Working with a counselor is one such step. If you would like to talk to someone who can support you in this difficult situation, then please reach out in complete confidence to us on http://talkitover.in/support/

 

 

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Yoga se Kya Hoga??

Getting older is a natural part of life. Not only do we get older, but often we have older parents or elders to care for. We all want good health and a quality of life for ourselves, and for the elders in our care. However, the pressure of modern day life and work takes its toll on our health, especially 40s onwards (if not earlier!).

Look at any working group photo on social sites such as LinkedIn – Observe how many in any group seem to be physically fit!?? (What about if you were in the picture? Is there a tummy to hide?)

Most current work and lifestyle essentially involves long hours of sitting, a lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating habits. This can lead to issues such as muscular shortening, tightening and weakening; osteoporosis; joint deterioration; loss of flexibility; lack of balance, and so on. In addition, our sedentary lifestyle plays a large part in conditions such as type II diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, increased body fat, low back pain, breathing difficulties, vision problems, chronic pain, inability to sleep and so on. These issues are compounded and get more complex as one gets into the 50’s and 60’s. It can lead to associated risks such as falling, greater injury when one falls, slower recovery, medical complications and so on.

This is not what we want for the best years of our life or for the life of our loved ones! Yoga – especially designed for adults and older adults can help!

Yoga is especially suited to work with adults and older people, especially those who’ve not had an active exercise program as part of their lifestyle. It is a wellness journey that incorporates exercises (asanas) that are especially designed to work with the whole body, mind and spirit. The synergy that comes with integrating body, mind and spirit (using the breath) sets it apart from any other physical exercise program – especially because of its focus on the health of the spine! The many general and specific health benefits of practicing yoga are currently validated by contemporary scientific research.

Research points to a few of the benefits:

  • Getting better quality of sleep, including reducing the time it takes to fall asleep
  • Improvement in hand grip strength in those with arthritis
  • Better control of type II diabetes and pulmonary function
  • Decrease in blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Helps offset middle-age weight gain
  • Improved mood and reduced anxiety levels
  • Aids those suffering with chronic pain
  • Alleviates breathing difficulties for bronchial asthmatics

Before rushing off to the nearest glamorous yoga studio please understand that working with adults requires the yoga teacher to be sensitive to age-related physical changes. Adults commonly grapple with stiffness, back and neck pain, weak knees, weak spine, and often lower muscular strength. In addition medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, osteoporosis and so on need to be kept in mind. Therefore, the sequence of poses (asanas), intensity and pace of the class are slower with much emphasis on correct alignment and safety. In addition, individual needs and conditions needs are taken into account by modifying the asanas to easier versions and the use of props. The length of time an asana is held is reduced till the practitioner’s strength improves.

Often, many ‘yoga’ studios ignore these principles because of commercial reasons. So look for a yoga center that is sensitive to your age and needs! Check out the batch size, age profile of the students, and especially the teacher! Generic classes led by young teachers tend to become intense functional body workouts that are far from the ethos of yoga, and may not suit your needs. In essence, look for a center that caters to smaller batches and works with older adults, or hire a personal teacher who can customize a program for you. This is possibly the best investment you can make for yourself (or your loved ones) to close this year and start the new one!

Yoga is also a wonderful way to build inner resilience to cope with depression, anxiety, stress and many other physical and emotional distresses – when accompanied by holistic lifestyle changes.

If you’d like to make your wellness a priority, and would like to work with a wellness coach, then email me at ajayglobalcoach@gmail.com.

References:

Inspiration and data from http://www.seniorfitness.net/YOGA.html

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/teach/yoga-for-boomers-and-beyond/

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What happens to all the painful / distressing things that you listen, see, watch, read…on a daily basis?

As a leader, coach or counsellor you spend your day listening to the traumatic incidents, challenges, and stories that your clients and colleagues share with you on a daily basis. You amplify  this with watching graphic movies and TV shows – often late in the night – at the end of the workday. These shows are often explicit in terms of violence, hatred and crime. What happens to the feelings that are generated from this continual barrage of traumatic information? Where do these stories go at the end of one’s day?

NOWHERE! It stays bottled within You and can lead to Vicarious Traumatization (VT). This happens when stories and incidents that we hear from our clients or from our workplace have the same impact on us through transfer even though we do not experience the incident ourselves. As we read about people losing jobs, getting bullied or humiliated at work, read in the news of rape and molestation, watch on TV how a murder has taken place, hear of abuse of children, and then hear of incidents in our workplace, neighbourhood, or a client’s life – all of a sudden, we start feeling unsafe, threatened, insecure, on-guard all the time. This is the cumulative impact of being exposed to traumatic data in our work and life; it has the same effects on us even though we do not experience it directly.

Don’t think it’s not happening to you or won’t happen. It’s only a question of degree and when. And, as a leader or coach / counselor, VT happens to us as a consequence of knowing, caring, and facing the reality of trauma continually. We have nightmares about these events, or recurring and intrusive thoughts. We feel irritable, chronic tension, find it hard to sleep, find it hard to concentrate and focus. The results? We can become increasingly numb to pain and suffering, get cynical, feel sad and angry at the unfairness in the world, get overwhelmed, tune out…

The first step is to understand and realise that, as helpers, VT is something all of us can and will go through. Use self-awareness to track the symptoms that you might be going through right now. Focus on bringing in the most important stakeholder onto your care radar – yourself; start a self-care plan. Find a supportive network, partner, coach or coaching supervisor to help you minimize / manage the impact of VT.

If you care about your work and others – you don’t really have a choice; start caring about yourself too!

We’d be happy to work with you if you think you are at on the edge or in the depths of compassion fatigue or vicarious trauma. Email us on ajayglobalcoach@gmail.com.  More information on http://www.thewellnesstrust.com.

References:

Mathieu, F. (2012). The compassion fatigue workbook: Creative tools for transforming compassion fatigue and vicarious traumatization. New York: Routledge.

Figley, C. R. (2002). Introduction. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Treating compassion fatigue. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

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Passionate? Engaged? Working really hard? You’re high risk for COMPASSION FATIGUE!

Many leaders, coaches and others in the helping professions find meaning and joy in their work. They give so much of themselves to their work, and to the people they work with. And, they keep giving and giving. They absorb the stresses, frustrations, problems of their clients / co-workers. They become the sink everyone dumps into, and the pool from which everyone draws. Add to this, the additional responsibility of caring and looking after elderly or unwell parents, young children, spouse…

There comes a time (often sooner than later) when the pool starts to run dry! Compassion Fatigue (CF) sets in.

CF is the emotional and physical exhaustion that caregivers (that’s nearly everyone in the helping profession, or leadership position) develop. It’s not a question of if they develop it, but just a question of when. You cannot walk through water without getting wet – so why would you think that listening to the problems, stresses, emotional distresses of others will leave you unaffected? Through emotional, physical and psychic osmosis, we tend to absorb these energies into our own body and being.

The irony? The more we care, greater is the certainty we are likely to be overcome with CF. The danger is that we usually are not able to recognise it! Some symptoms include: losing energy, feeling dispirited, not being able to sleep well, binge eating or drinking, putting on weight, getting bitter, becoming short-tempered, feeling continual guilt and resentment at the never-ending demands and so on. The compassion fatigue trap is that the moment we start feeling any of these symptoms, we start to work harder and harder. Research shows that this vicious spiral leads to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, migraine, backaches, stress related illnesses and so on.

The root cause of CF is the fact that we CARE! It’s known as the ‘cost of caring’. It happens to those who do their work well! Our empathy towards others is the key contributor. In our wanting to help others, we forget one important stakeholder – ourselves! Self-care takes a back seat because we’re swept away with the demands of others. We don’t realise the toll that compassion fatigue takes on our own bodies, minds and hearts. So how do we deal with compassion fatigue?

The first step is to understand and realise that CF is something all of us can and will go through. Use self-awareness to track the symptoms that you might be going through. Focus on bringing in the most important stakeholder onto your care radar – yourself; start a self-care plan. Find a supportive network, partner, coach or coaching supervisor to help you minimise / manage the impact of CF.

If you care about your work and others – you don’t really have a choice; start caring about yourself too!

We’d be happy to work with you if you think you are at on the edge or in the depths of compassion fatigue. Email us on ajayglobalcoach@gmail.com.

References:

Mathieu, F. (2012). The compassion fatigue workbook: Creative tools for transforming compassion fatigue and vicarious traumatization. New York: Routledge.

Figley, C. R. (2002). Introduction. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Treating compassion fatigue. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

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Wellness Coaching: Add to the Bottom-line by reducing the Waistline!

As business leaders (and executive coaches) we often help co-workers with aspects of their personal / emotional wellbeing such as: thinking through professional and personal goals, managing relationships, managing transitions and so on. One area that lacks focused attention is Wellness! Wellness coaching at an individual and organizational level is becoming a strategic priority for many organizations and businesses in the US (U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, 2010; World Economic Forum, 2012).

At the simplest level we think of Wellness as the absence of disease. This is not true! This type of thinking has its roots in the early study of medicine rooted in pathogenesis (the scientific study of origins of disease). So, the prevailing, primary thinking in health management (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) is ‘what is wrong?’ And, therefore, ‘how do we fix it?A Wellness approach focuses on creating positive health through conscious thinking and actions in physical, mental, emotional and spiritual areas. The aim is more than just eliminating problems; it is to create optimal health so that people achieve well-being and reach their best potential (Becker & McPeck, 2013).

Wellness does not mean that a person is perfectly healthy and happy – like the models on a glossy fitness magazine cover. It’s a way of life: making choices and developing awareness that move us towards optimal health and reaching our best potential.

Wellness – or rather a lack of it – has a direct bearing on performance and productivity at the workplace and in our personal lives. Research summarized by the World Economic Forum states that being absent from the job (absenteeism) or underperforming while working (presenteeism) is estimated to cause productivity losses worth US$ 389 billion due to cardiovascular disease and US$ 1.6 trillion due to mental health conditions (anxiety, stress, mild depression and so on). The performance and productivity of the current workforce is dramatically threatened by two factors: ageing and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.

Shockingly, NCDs are already the leading global cause of death! NCDs contribute to productivity loss via presenteeism (underperforming on the job) and reduce capacity by causing absenteeism. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mental health disorders are the main drivers and account for almost 70% of lost output (World Economic Forum, 2012).

Given this alarming trend in our society and environment, wellness coaches employed by organizations can help minimize these losses by introducing wellness strategies that target NCDs by targeting the underlying behavioral risk factors such as: tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, lack of physical activity and an unhealthy diet. Furthermore, workplace wellness initiatives can be used to attract and retain talent. There is emerging data that shows an average ROI of US$ 3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs (World Economic Forum, 2012). In essence, investing in employee wellness programs makes sound business sense because these initiatives can decrease costs and improve productivity. As a leader make a start by focusing on your own wellness and setting an example!

To sum up, there exists an alarming danger to one’s life and health due to current lifestyle choices and coping mechanisms. And, there is an impact on productivity and profitability of business because of lack of wellness in the workforce. Business leaders need to take the first step by focusing on their own wellness and then encourage their co-workers to integrate wellness in their lives. It makes business sense!

More information on our website www.thewellnesstrust.com or happy to work with you as your leadership and wellness coach; email me at ajayglobalcoach@gmail.com

References:

Becker, C., & McPeck, W. (2013). Creating positive health: It’s more than risk reduction. National Wellness Institute.

U.S.Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). Healthy People 2020 (Vol. B0132).

World Economic Forum. (2012). The Workplace Wellness Alliance Investing in a Sustainable Workforce. 2014. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_HE_WorkplaceWellnessAlliance_IndustryAgenda_2012.pdf

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Waiting?? I’ve completed the series on Weight Loss – What are YOU still WAITING for?

Let me conclude this blog series by summarizing the key issues with WEIGHT LOSS. Most of us struggling with weight issues believe that we’re overweight because there’s something wrong with us. IF and WHEN we fix this we will be happy forever and ever. And so we focus on LOSING WEIGHT as the primary goal. While this can give results for a few in the short run, it’s hard to sustain it. We need to look at our life in a holistic way!

We need to start with understanding what’s really important for us (our values); looking what changes are needed in the way we work, socialize, manage relationships, manage stress and so on.

We start by learning to connect with whatever is going on in the moment in our thoughts and feelings (mindfulness). We then learn to get unstuck from unhelpful thoughts and feelings and let go of efforts to FIX them. We learn to create space around these difficult thoughts and feelings and work within that created space – keeping in focus the things that truly matter to us (our values) as a compass to choose our behaviors.

This is a move towards a life of Wellness – emotional, psychological, and physical. You have now set the foundation for LOSING WEIGHT and keeping it OFF.

Would you like to move to a healthier, fitter, wellness based lifestyle? We’d be happy to support you! Connect with us on ajayglobalcoach@gmail.com.

Reference: The Diet Trap by Jason Lillis, Joanne Dahl, Sandra M. Weineland

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