Panic_Button Hamilton 24hr Crisis Lines:
• Inasmuch House 905-529-8600 • Fem-aide 1-877-336-2433
• Good Shepherd 905-523-6277
• SACHA 905-525-4162
• Native Women's Centre 1-888-308-6559
• COAST (mental health) 905-972-8338
• Hamilton Interval House 905-387-8881

Self Check-In

I'm going to diverge from the path a little here, and talk more in generalities, rather than simply about domestic violence -- sorry in advance if I get a little long-winded.  When things are going really good or really bad, we often forget to do a realistic check-in, to assess where things are at in our world.  The over-imposing issue, the really great thing(s) or really terrible problem(s) seem to be all-consuming -- it's all we can focus on.Self Check-In

But if we were to pause and take stock we may find a more even balance from which to take the next step, without "going off half-cocked".  From the way I see it, there are four aspects of our life to look at:

Personal
This includes our relationships with family and friends, how do we connect with them; are they supportive or do they tax our strength?
Here we can look at our emotional/mental self, how are we handling the stressors in our life, have we sought supports to help with this, do we take time to journal or meditate... are we feeling our real emotions or are we practicing the negative coping mechanism of "stuffing" or "disassociating"?
Next is our physical self, are we eating properly, getting enough sleep, getting some exercise into our routine... I check to see if I am carrying stress in a particular spot, like the muscles in my shoulders -- maybe it is time to get a massage or do some reiki (both options available through the Wellness program at Good Shepherd).

Professional
Again this includes relationships, such as with co-workers or a therapist, are we able to interact on an appropriate level with these individuals, are we avoiding them or do we see the benefit of these relationships?
Perhaps in your situation you are seeking to further your education or you are currently working a job/occupation or you are not working at all right now, whatever the case may be, here is where we can take a moment to assess how that is working out for us. I have been working two jobs and doing 1 in Four on the side, and recently took stock of my energy levels and realized that one of the jobs I was doing was depleting me entirely -- it was a caustic environment and I came home feeling emotionally drained from the interactions I had during the day; I recognized that I felt no joy in the work I did especially in light of how passionate I am about being a part of building 1 in Four.  I am in a position where I could speak to my boss and stratagize an exit plan that works best for the company as well as myself.  I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I can face tomorrow, rather than want to crawl back under the covers and hide from the world.  The important part of a self check-in is to know that there are always options.

Physical
This part is about things like your housing, transportation, and even your physical location. Sometimes being on a fixed budget might make it seem like what you have is what you are stuck with, but with a little planning and research, this isn't always the case.
Carpooling with co-workers some of the days of the week can help ease up on gas costs, vehicle wear-and-tear, and the stress of rush-hour driving... if you bus, you might be able to offer the same money to a friend to pick you up in the morning, if they are already going in the same direction... and maybe getting some bicycling or walking into your routine could help release some endorphins to give you that boost you need to your mood.
Moving isn't always an easy or fun thing to do, but if your housing isn't working for you, it is certainly an option and there are Transitional Support Workers through many of the agencies listed on our resources tab that can help you do a Pro's and Con's list, to see if this might be the right choice -- if you aren't happy or if it isn't the right fit, why stay? I remember when my daughter was 2, I was living on the third floor of a walk-up and was developing bad knees. I was carrying too much of my own weight, plus often my daughter and groceries and any number of other items up and down those stairs. I spoke to my doctor, who sent me for X-rays and highly advised me to change my living situation to a main-floor apartment, or I would need new knees before I was 40.  I'm in an apartment with an elevator now, and that makes a huge difference to the rest of the stress in my life, knowing I wont have to lug things up and down those three flights.

Philosophical
Rather than tack this into the 'personal' category, I feel it is important enough for its own spot.  How our spiritual or religious well-being is at any given moment can be a make-it or break-it situation for just about anyone. You don't have to be religious to feel spiritual about life. Sometimes we are aware that we aren't living up to our true potential, we aren't finding pleasure in anything we do, and we just don't know what exactly isn't working -- this is a spiritual misalignment. Other times things are working out great! We feel on top of the world, as though everything we put our hand to seems to turn out golden -- this is when we are fully in alignment!  Checking in with how we see ourselves in our own world, how our path is going, is very important to know what next step to take. If we feel scattered and unsure of ourselves, then maybe we know it's not a good time to make a big, life-changing decision. Maybe it's better to wait until things are calmed down.  This isn't always the case for everyone, sometimes people flourish better within chaos and find it easier to make big decisions when everything else is already in flux -- you know yourself best, but unless you check-in, you wont know at all!

A realistic review of the above aspects of our lives can help us see that maybe things aren't as impossible as we originally thought, or maybe it is time for a change.

Remember, I'm not a therapist or a doctor or a life-coach. I am sharing these thoughts with you as a survivor reaching out to those in need. If you feel that you are ready to seek out specific support, there are amazing services available here in Hamilton (and if you are not local, I am sure there are some available in your community as well)... all you have to do is make that phone-call and they will walk you through the steps.  If you feel you need help to manage any part of what is going on in your life, just know that you are worth it and you have the right to reach out and ask for it.

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About cass

34y/o single mother of one. A survivor of Domestic Violence; an advocate for change to the current Canadian legal system -- stronger sentencing for perpetrators of DV crimes. I believe in advocacy as a means to change. I believe in using your voice to make a difference. I believe in standing up for what is right and standing up for those who can't. I believe in educating young girls and boys of the future generations that there is always a choice and that violence is not the right choice. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" -- Gandhi.

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