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• 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

What’s your thing?

I sat down yesterday for about an hour, writing a post that was really dear to my heart.  It doesn't usually take me anywhere near that length of time but I wanted this one to be just right.  I published it and got in my car to drive home only to pull over 5 minutes later, call Cass and tell her to pull it. I have thought about why I would have spent so long labouring over something that I really knew deep down that I really shouldn't publish.  I did it because I needed to express how upset I am at what has been happening to a friend of mine; I needed to get my feelings out and say what I wanted to say but in the end I knew that it was wrong to tell her story, it is hers to tell if she ever wants to do that but it is not mine.Journaling

I know I have written a few posts about the stress we can be under and the importance of finding a way to let it out.  Sometimes it doesn't even have to be a situation that we ourselves are necessarily in, we can get stressed and upset as we hear what is happening to people we care about.  I have another friend who is going through Family Court proceedings right now to determine custody and access of her children...talk about stress!  I feel her sadness and anxiety, I know what that feels like and it upsets me to think of her having to go through it.

If you have ever attended any groups or counselling sessions, you will probably have heard suggestions made about how to deal with anxiety and stress.   Here are three of my favourites:

Yoga

I tried this for the first time at Sage Camp and didn't expect to experience what I did...I left that session feeling that I had connected with the rest of my body in a way that made me want to take care of myself.  Sound strange? Well I realised that I tend to live in my head - I feel, I hurt, I worry...yoga helped me to see that I am much more than my feelings, I am a person who needs to care of the rest of myself as well.  I found myself making healthier choices in terms of food and I also really benefited from the slow, quiet stretching.  I needed that opportunity to be peaceful, it really helped me to slow down and de-stress.

Journalling/Blogging

As my fingers tap across the keys I am aware that sometimes I am literally banging out the words...looking back these are the writings in which I have documented things that have either upset me or made me angry.  I notice as well that I can see how my fingers move with much less furious speed and heaviness after I have got out what I want to say and am finishing up. Interesting eh? It seems that the very act of taking pen in hand or of typing  is in itself giving myself an avenue down which I can channel negative energy.

Art

I have talked about this before but it was so great I'm going to mention it again!  I took an expressive arts class through Catholic Family Services.  Over those ten weeks we worked on different projects that helped us to create  projects that reflected not only how we were feeling but also served to provide a focus for having closure on those areas of our lives that have caused us pain.  I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would and found it to be extremely helpful.  I also found that I remembered again what it was like to be a child..swooshing your fingers in paint will do that for you;it was good to feel that freedom again.

So to recap: stress and anxiety don't need to get the better of you, there are resources to help.  Yoga is free at Good Shepherd's Women Services and you can see when a class is going to be just by visiting our monthly calendar..or call Paula up and speak with her about it (she's super nice ).  If writing is more your style then go grab a pen and a journal from the dollar store...if you think that blogging might be your thing,  well then drop us a line, we would love to give you an opportunity to share.  Expressive art classes are available from a variety of sources...check out Women's Centre, Good Shepherd or Catholic Family Services (which, by the way, you don't have to be catholic to access).  But most of all...enjoy yourself because if you can figure out a way that works for you, then those stress levels will start to be manageable.

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About cjw

A mother of three and a survivor of domestic violence, I am passionate about helping women who feel isolated and alone, women who may have children that are profoundly impacted by the trauma of domestic violence and women who need to understand where they can go to get help for themselves and their families. I am a registered nurse who has worked for the last 16 years in a critical care area only to have to flee to a women's shelter and have my whole life changed. I know fear, I know pain and I now know food banks...I'm in good company.

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