middle aged woman sitting at her desk smiling at camera

Thinking About a Midlife Career Change As A Woman? Here’s How To Transition

There is no shortage of sentimental movies with plots about midlife changes. But, in reality, it’s more common than pop culture leads us to believe. Career choices we make in our early 20s may leave us feeling stuck or dissatisfied a couple of decades later. Therefore, it is essential that we not let ourselves believe a midlife career change is impossible. Obstacles will arise, but what else is new? We face challenges whether we change or not!

The challenges presented to women are unique — especially when children are involved. Even so, women over 40 regularly make successful career changes and so can you.

The Rewards Are Often Worth the Risks

Change can be daunting. For women, considering the societal pressures they endure, it can feel downright frightening. But just as they regularly juggle all that’s on their overflowing plates, women learn to trust themselves. They take effective action without being 100 percent certain about everything involved. Research shows that, most often, the outcomes are quite positive:

  • A woman’s pay growth is still rising when they are in the mid-40s
  • 50 percent of those who change careers see their salaries increase
  • 9 out of 10 women who’ve made midlife career changes report positive emotional results, e.g. feeling recharged, less stressed, fulfilled, and happier

What can you do to garner results like this for yourself?

How Women Can Transition Successfully to a New Career

Patience and Preparation

It’s tempting to feel rushed because you think “time is running out.” On the contrary, this is the time to engage in diligent research and homework to increase your confidence in this step. Talk to the people in your life who will be impacted by your change. Seek the counsel of those who trust. Look inward to discern where your passions lie so you are making a choice that reflects your interests, values, and integrity.

middle aged woman sitting at her desk smiling at cameraIt is Not a Solo Act

Following up on part of the above, do not feel you have to go it alone. Connect with women who have made such a transition. Find support groups in which you can brainstorm with and learn from others in a similar position. Working with an experienced therapist is a proven method for easing this major life shift.

Get Technical Advice

It may be a while since you were job-hunting. Well, in this digital age, things change quickly. Get professional input on steps like creating a resume. Typically, it’s the first thing potential employers will see so allot a fair amount of time to this critical effort. Also, set aside time to deep dive online for useful suggestions from human resources professionals about presenting yourself in the best possible way.

Speak Success Into Existence

Far too many folks settle into their skillset by the time they hit mid-life. They feel self-conscious about their age and don’t challenge themselves to stretch and grow. Left unchecked, this mindset can cause negative self-talk. Hence, a crucial step is to begin focusing on your strengths and how you can improve. Society has some pretty skewed perceptions about life after 40 but you are not obligated to buy into such viewpoints. Be your own biggest fan and let that positive energy buoy you on this exciting new journey.

Again, Therapy is a Game Changer

As touched on above, women amid a mid-life career change can benefit greatly from connecting with a therapist. Those private sessions can serve as a workshop of sorts. Under the watchful eye of a skilled guide, you can hash out motivations, obstacles, hopes, doubts, and dreams. We would love to support you on this amazing life transition. Let’s connect and talk soon about life transitions counseling.

photo of a woman throwing confetti celebrating the new year

Unsure of What You Want In The New Year? How To Set Realistic Resolutions

It’s so common that it’s become an unfunny cliché. Most people make New Year’s resolutions and break them in a matter of weeks, days, or hours. In reality, this trend is nothing to laugh about. Everyone deserves a fresh start at times, and they deserve to know what it feels like to pursue a goal. This sense of purpose is one of the best things about being human.

Therefore, if we view resolutions as something not to take seriously, we miss out on a golden opportunity to challenge ourselves with an inspiring mission. Let’s break this cycle in 2024 and set an example for others. 

Why Don’t People Follow Through on Resolutions?

At least half of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. For that matter, around a third of such promises are broken within two weeks. Why has this become the norm? Here are three common reasons:

  • Accountability: Actually, it’s the lack of accountability that serves to sabotage the effort.
  • Fear: It may not be clear at first, but you just may be afraid of the success you crave.
  • Big Picture: You’re aiming to change behavior without first changing your mindset.

If there’s something you deeply want to accomplish, you’ll need to do some serious introspection to discover if you believe in yourself, feel you deserve to succeed, and can handle how others may respond to you elevating yourself. 

How To Set Realistic Resolutions

photo of a woman throwing confetti celebrating the new yearWhen you factor in the emotional work that needs to be done, you can probably appreciate the importance of momentum. You’ll want to break the cycle by witnessing yourself attaining some goals to get things started. Increase your odds of success by setting goals that are:

  • Realistic and attainable
  • Specific and time-specific
  • Measurable
  • Motivating

Let’s say your resolutions revolve around physical fitness. It’s self-defeating to list something like “getting healthier.” Ask yourself: What does that exactly mean to you? Is there a deadline? How will you gauge success vs. failure? Are you excited to get started? Questions like this can empower you to narrow down your resolutions into something sustainable.

Making Success Possible

Obviously, each person will have their own individual desires and dreams. For the sake of this post, let’s stick with “getting healthier.” To follow are a few basic suggestions for making this resolution all of the above: realistic, attainable, specific, time-specific, measurable, and motivating. For the first two weeks of the year:

  • Get seven to eight hours of nightly sleep — getting to bed at the same time each night
  • Starting each day with a full-body stretch
  • Drinking eight glasses of water each day
  • Each evening, prepare a healthy lunch for yourself the next day
  • Find a form of exercise you enjoy and get started with it three times per week

On their own, these suggestions are helpful but not the be-all or end-all. However, they will integrate you into a mindset of health and well-being. As you accomplish these daily goals, you experience the joy of success and trust yourself more to upgrade the program. You can next add in elements like:

  • Eliminate one food or drink that you know is unhealthy
  • Increase the exercise to four times per week
  • Commit to weekly grocery shopping and cooking at least four dinners a week at home

Do you recognize the concept here? You’re shifting your perspective as you change your habits. Of course, this is not just applicable to health-related resolutions. Use the above presentation as a blueprint to apply to whatever you aim to achieve. If you feel your perspective is not shifting, let’s connect and find ways to make it happen with anxiety, depression, or life transitions counseling.

teens throwing graduation caps up in the air

How To Help Your Teen Prepare For Adulthood After Graduation

Your child enters high school barely out of adolescence. Four years later, you watch an adult graduate. It’s normal but it may not feel that way to you. Where did your child go? While you ponder the universe, you will also have to get busy helping your teen prepare for adulthood. Whether or not they go directly to college, a lot has changed and the changes will keep coming.

Fortunately, there is a roadmap of sorts for this transition. For many years, parents have been finding ways to foster independence while still being there when needed. Everyone is different, of course, but a general blueprint exists.

Do Not Neglect the Basics

Assess where your child is at and what they have planned as their next steps. From there, you can guide them to master crucial, often overlooked skills like:

  • Everyday hygiene
  • Shopping and cooking
  • Making healthy choices
  • Maintaining a budget
  • Basic repairs around the house (including the car)
  • Doing laundry
  • Writing a resume

You get the idea but it goes beyond chores and tasks. Be ready to talk with them about making new friends, navigating romantic relationships, handling life in a workplace, and more. If they’re the type of kid that likes structure, support them in creating valuable new routines in their life.

3 More Ways To Help Your Teen Prepare For Adulthood After Graduation

Help Them Discover Agreeable Options

There are so many possibilities and so many variations on each possibility. Will they go to college, a tech school, work full-time, work part-time, travel, and so on? Whatever they choose, they will need input and support. You might coach them on college applications or help them find the best job options.

The underlying key is that you do all you can to see them for who they are. Respect their preferences. Learn about their needs, dreams, and goals. This will empower you to be best positioned to provide counsel when called upon.

teens throwing graduation caps up in the airValidate Their Emotions

As much as they want to be respected as a “grown-up,” there’s a lot going on during this stage of life. Undoubtedly, your teen will feel overwhelmed and more than a little scared at times. Here’s where you may be asked to perform a high-wire act. They’ll need your support and validation but not in the way you’ve done for their entire life.

You’ll be challenged to talk to them — adult to adult — while still being a parent. They need both. Being treated like an adult is essential but most kids crave the special kind of reassurance you can only get from a parent. A high school grad needs room to explore without losing the safety net that have at home.

Don’t Project Your Emotions Onto Your Teen

Your teen will not be the only one juggling emotions. This scenario can trigger a whole lot of feelings in your mind. They might have to do with your own childhood. They might have to do with your unconscious fear of letting go. No matter what, do the work to identify these emotions and not pass them on to your child. For example, refrain from starting a question with something like “Are you nervous about [blank]?”

Who’s Looking Out For You?

To piggyback off that last suggestion above, you would be well-served to seek out some support for yourself. Transitions can be tough on everyone involved. There’s no reason to struggle in silence. In fact, you’d be leading by example by asking for help. With that in mind, we invite you to reach out. Let’s talk about the benefits of teen counseling or life transitions.

empty lecture hall with seats and podium

Anxious About Going To College? 3 Tips For Making This Transition Easier

It’s that time of year. Back to school may feel like a month away but for college students, it is right around the corner. This can be a time of excitement, new adventures, and so much personal growth. Simultaneously, the transition to college is nothing to take lightly — especially for those who are leaving home for the first time.

If going to college has you anxious, you are not alone. Nearly two-thirds of students in your position report feeling anxiety. Almost one-quarter of them seek professional care. This is serious business so please ask for help if you need it.

Some of the Challenges of Going to College

  • Academic pressures: The comfort zone of high school is no longer present.
  • Living up to parental expectations: Even the best-intentioned parents can provoke more anxiety than they realize.
  • Financial issues: Have you seen the cost of college — and cost of living — lately?
  • Feeling homesick: Independence sounds perfect… until it’s not.
  • Making friends: Social anxiety can rear its ugly head.
  • Dating: This is yet another situation that can sound more fun in theory than in practice

No matter how you slice it, this leads to pressure from all directions. Sure, this can help a young adult prepare for the rat race but is that what we’re really aiming to do? Instead, let’s offer some helpful advice.

First: Take Advantage of the Resources Available to You

Every college campus will make valuable mental health resources available to its students. You do not need to suffer in silence. Also, there is no need to wait. If you feel the transition starting to get to you, ask for help. The sooner you seek support, the less overwhelmed and anxious you’ll get. But, at the same time, there are self-help steps you can take to ease the anxiety.

empty lecture hall with seats and podium3 More Tips For Making the Transition to College Easier

1. Prepare in Advance

Learn some basic but crucial life skills. You may or may not have done much housework, cooking, shopping, and laundry at home. So, give yourself a crash course. These chores can feel a lot less daunting with a little prep work.

While you’re at it, familiarize yourself with where you will be living. If possible, make some low-key visits to get a feel for the general vicinity. Learn the weather patterns so you can pack the right clothes. Buy your textbooks early. Inquire about what technology is available. Ask about tutoring options. Take these kinds of seemingly minor steps to avoid having things pile up as the pressure hits.

2. Create a Contact Plan With Friends and Family

Do not allow yourself to be left feeling isolated. This is not to say that you spend all your time video-chatting with Mom or your BFF. But you don’t have to cold turkey either. Ease into the process by scheduling regular chats and pep talks from the people who love you the most.

As you do this, you can also join the college’s Facebook page and begin connecting with potential new friends. Lay the groundwork for a smoother transition than you may be fearing.

3. Practice Self-Care

Create a daily regimen that will help you build resilience for those moments when you feel the walls closing in. Safeguard your sleep patterns. Make healthy eating choices. It’s okay to party — a little. Pace yourself. Be sure to get in exercise and physical activity each day. Develop a routine of stress management and relaxation techniques.

And remember: If you feel better seeking help off-campus, therapy is a powerful option. Let’s talk. I’m here to help you make this exciting transition as positive as possible!

Working Through the Transition of Your Child’s Approaching Wedding

This post is not necessarily about wedding planning and family drama. But it could be. The sheer magnitude of work required to help prepare for your child’s wedding is itself a major stressor. So, for the record, this aspect is baked into the main point of this conversation. All that said, there is an elephant in the room that must be addressed.

Your child’s approaching wedding is a big deal. The happy couple deserves the focus, attention, and well wishes. Yet, as a parent, you are also going through a life-altering transition. This transition also deserves a whole lot of attention.

Mixed Emotions

You won’t want to bring this up during the wedding prep, but it is normal for the parents to feel some mixed emotions right about now. For example:

Do I like my child’s spouse? (and what about the in-laws?)

Basically, a group of complete strangers is about to become part of your family. Thanksgiving is about to seriously change.

Will my baby have a happy marriage and life?

You worried on their first day at school, during the big soccer match, and you still worry now. Will they start a family and stay married? Will they fulfill their dreams?

Where did the time go and what do I do now?

Yes, of course, this is your child’s moment to shine. But who says that stops you from wondering where and how you fit in from now on?

Working Through the Transition of Your Child’s Approaching Wedding

Let’s try addressing some of the above questions.

1. Accept Your Child’s Decisions

There’s no law that says you have to be crazy about your daughter-in-law or son-in-law. But you can respect the social contract. Your child is creating a legal separation from their life with you. They are free to experiment and explore. Your job is to give them space, provide your support, and offer advice when appropriate.

2. Give Your New Extended Family a Chance

Remember a few things:

  • These folks are part of your life now
  • There’s little value in pre-judging anyone
  • You are not required to become bosom buddies

Put in a sincere effort. Consult with your child for feedback. Hope for the best.

3. Expect and Embrace Change

Your child may move in directions that surprise you. This could be related to religion, sexual orientation, political viewpoints, or even geographical location. Any such change can feel like it compounds the sense of loss you already feel. But you had your time and did your best. The best gift you can give them now is your trust.

4. Reimagine Yourself

Empty Nest Syndrome is real but it’s not automatically a bad thing. You will miss your child but you won’t miss certain aspects of having them around all the time. For starters, if you’re still married, use this transition as an invitation to rediscover each other.

Here are a few more potentially welcome changes:

  • Create your own, personal daily schedule
  • Take up new hobbies and interests
  • Rearrange or redecorate your home
  • Take vacations
  • Hold dinner parties
  • Go back to school
  • Try a new career

Most of all, be spontaneous. Ask yourself often: What do I feel like doing right now?

Ask For Help

You do not have to navigate this life transition alone. Working with a therapist is a proven path for making major life changes a little easier. I would love to connect with you soon for a free consultation.

life-transitions-therapy

How to Ensure Your Resignation Doesn’t Lead to Regret

Life is filled with big transitions — relationships, relocations, and more. Some of these big changes are thrust upon us. In other cases, we have the agency to author a major decision. For example, you may reach the point where you decide to leave your job. The reason can vary widely. But, regardless of those specifics, you may end up trying to cope with anxiety and uncertainty after leaving your job.

How do you know it’s the right move? Can you ever possibly know such a thing? And can you avoid feeling regret after a resignation? These are complex questions that vary widely from person to person. Even so, there are steps you can take.

Dealing With a Major Life Change

Compiling a complete list of major life changes would be futile. But here are some samples:

  • Loss of a loved one
  • Moving to a new home, neighborhood, state, or country
  • Starting or ending a relationship
  • Beginning studies at a new school
  • Retirement
  • Illness, injury, or disability

The list goes on and so does the need to adapt. Whether or not you saw the change coming, you will endure a transition period that can get challenging. With the recent “Great Resignation” in mind,” here are some suggestions for coping after you’ve opted to leave a job and/or career.

4 Ways to Ensure Your Resignation Doesn’t Lead to Regret

1. Accept and Process the Initial Self-Doubt

You may worry if you did the right thing. In addition, you may find yourself wondering if anyone will care or notice that you’re gone. Other concerns can range from financial issues to dealing with a loss of identity. Spoiler alert: All of this is normal.

Transitions involve loss. Losses involve mourning. Mourning involves a slew of emotions. Practice accepting this process as inevitable. You will second guess. You will also feel excitement and anticipation. Feel it all but don’t get stuck in any single feeling.

2. Keep a Journal

Monitor your thoughts and feelings. What were you grateful for about your former job? What are you looking forward to now? Keep track of these and other emotions. Give voice to your feelings. Journaling will help you gain clarity on your wants and needs. It can be helpful to use this practice to speak your future into existence. Plus, that journal will come in mighty handy in your therapy sessions (see below).

3. Learn As Much as You Can From It

Perhaps you tolerated behavior that was disrespectful to you. Maybe you played a role in your need to resign. Examine the situation with a nuanced perspective. This is not automatically about assigning blame. The goal here is to assess the situation in the name of bringing new awareness to your next set of plans.

4. Don’t Get Caught Up in Gossip, etc.

There’s a reasonable chance you will stay in touch with at least one former co-worker. At first, you’re likely to discuss the old workplace. As quickly as you can, move away from this focus. There is no value in rehashing old office politics and so on. Reimagine your friendships with former colleagues without them being centered around the old job.

Counseling Helps With Life Transitions

You’ll feel unsteady and unsure at times — especially if you were at this job for a long time. It’s not unusual to feel confused by all the mixed emotions. If you are struggling, this is an ideal time to connect with a therapist. Your counseling sessions offer you a safe space to speak openly about this experience.

No matter what life transition you are navigating, it helps to have a skilled guide on your side. Let’s connect and talk about this!

transition -counseling

5 Strategies for A Successful Return to Dating After Divorce

Visit your nearest search engine and read the tops stressors in a person’s life. You’ll learn that after the death of a loved one, number two on that list is “divorce.” Thus, it is important not to underestimate its potential impact on you.

It’s okay if you were hurt. Or just knocked off balance for a while. Even if you feel relieved and happy to be single again, such a major change takes time to process.

Now, part of moving forward may involve a return to dating for you. If so, this milestone manifests differently for each person. However, some general guardrails should be considered. Therefore, it is essential that you simultaneously trust your gut while factoring in some universal advice.

Post-Divorce Basics

Reentering the dating world can be a tricky blend of excitement and apprehension. But before you get to that, you want to handle some basics, e.g.

  • If you have children, prioritize their wellbeing and emotional health
  • Prioritize your own wellbeing and emotional health
  • Safeguard your finances
  • Prepare for waves of emotions when you may least expect them

Once the idea of meeting someone on a romantic basis feels feasible, follow some well-worn advice:

  • Don’t talk about your ex on your first dates — and probably not unless you see lots of this new person.
  • Never lie about having children. Yes, this could be a dealbreaker for some people. Respect that boundary but do not let it inspire you to “forget” to mention that you are a parent.
  • Try dating apps but remember, in-person meet-ups are still the best.
  • When creating a dating app profile, get input from trusted friends and loved ones.

If you’ve reached the point of dating apps, it’s definitely time to hear some fundamental guidelines for what lies ahead.

5 Strategies for A Successful Return to Dating After Divorce

1. Be As Ready As You Can Be

This is a fine line to walk. If the idea of dating fills you with dread, you may tell yourself you’re just not ready. Conversely, you can end up rushing in. So, let’s set up a few guidelines:

  • The divorce is final
  • Your children have at least somewhat settled in their new situation
  • You’re over your ex

Set yourself up to succeed. Being in too much of a hurry can sabotage a lot more than your dating life.

2. Have a General Idea of Why You’re Dating

Are you looking for something casual? Perhaps you’re considering another long-term commitment. Are you lonely? Ask yourself tough questions. Give yourself honest answers. Talk them through with a non-judgmental friend or loved one. Proceed with as much clarity as possible.

3. Let Go of Anger and Resentment

Divorce is often a painful and contentious experience. It’s only natural that you may build up a fair amount of anger or resentment. These are powerful emotions that must be processed in a healthy manner. Post-divorce therapy is an ideal setting for this up to happen productively.

4. Open Up Beyond Your “Type”

Depending on how long you were with your ex, it may be a long time since you were in the dating pool. Don’t limit yourself. Your “type” has probably evolved a lot over the years. This is where online dating can come in mighty handy.

5. Don’t Introduce Your Kids Too Early

If you have children, keep their needs in mind. You may head-over-heels about someone. That does not mean you should feel compelled to set up a family meeting. When it comes to all things post-divorce dating, patience is your friend. When it comes to protecting your children, patience is non-negotiable.

There is no how-to manual for a successful return to dating after divorce. But counseling can be the most productive way to navigate and smooth out this new phase of your life. The path forward after divorce is often navigated best with support. We enjoy seeing our clients recover and reconnect in the dating world when they are ready. If you would like to know how we can help you, please contact us for a confidential consultation.

Navigating and Recovering from Divorce

The idea of a divorce is enough to spark fear in the hearts of even the strongest person.

After you’ve planned a future together and dreamed of what your life will be like with your spouse at your side, it can be hard to visualize a future without them. They were in all your dreams of the future, so you don’t have a roadmap for a life without them. Because of this, divorce can make you feel lost and alone. Depending on your beliefs about marriage, divorce can also make you feel like you are a failure. It can be difficult to imagine how you could ever recover and move on from this terrible life moment.

Making a Decision, One Way or the Other

Do you feel stuck in the doorway of your marriage? It’s easy to become stuck with one foot out the door and the other half yearning for what was. When you’ve visualized only one image of your future, it can be difficult to see the alternatives that are open to you. Whether you want to reconcile or move forward independently, clarity will help you make the best decisions.

The number of open doorways you can choose to walk through are unlimited. Can you see them? Everyone in your life has an opinion about what you should do because they are all vested in outcomes that are influenced by their own biases. Will you be able to recognize and choose the doorways you want to walk through with confidence? When you can see yourself living a future you will enjoy, your answer will be yes. And your decision can flow from that confidence.

Life After Divorce

Divorce doesn’t have to be difficult and painful once the decision is made. Even the most undesired divorce can become a blessing in disguise. If you allow it, divorce can be a chance to grow, to discover who you’ve become, to see your strengths, and to set a course that will ultimately be more satisfying and fulfilling than the one you were following. You can have a fantastic life after divorce.

If you feel like a failure or find yourself full of self-criticism for things you did or didn’t do, dwelling on those thoughts won’t help you create a better future. Deciding who you will be going forward will help you create a future you’ll appreciate. If you’re being hard on yourself, even if the only thing you’re beating yourself up for is being a bad judge of character, it isn’t helping you become the best possible version of you.

Blaming yourself or your partner can create a sticky emotional place that makes it difficult to move forward and doesn’t benefit anyone. Focusing on the best that can be allows you to move forward with confidence.

Therapy That Helps You Decide and Move Forward Confidently

At Affinity, we focus on your strengths and help you see yourself as whole, confident, and capable. We become unbiased partners who help make your decision to stay or go a little easier. Then we work with you to make your path forward more intentional and purposeful. Your therapist becomes a sounding board, someone who isn’t attempting to steer you toward one decision over another, so you are able to achieve clarity faster.

We also know that the pain from a divorce can end quickly or linger for a lifetime. We know why some people are able to move on and enjoy life and why others become locked in an emotional prison. Whether you can feel the possibilities and are reaching for a faster path to stability, or you are in so much pain that it is difficult to get through the day, we will meet you where you are.

It can be easier. It is easier when you don’t try to muddle through on your own. You can learn how to move forward confidently in your life.

Helping someone recommit to their relationship, or recover from the emotional turmoil of divorce, is a special privilege for us. We enjoy seeing our clients blossom faster than they ever believed they could. If you would like to know how we can help you, contact us or schedule an appointment if you are ready to heal.

Career Development and Navigating the Work-Life Ratio

Pressure to achieve success further and faster comes at us from every angle.

You’ve worked hard to prepare yourself for a successful career. But it seems so much more difficult to meet all the demands on your time at work and at home than you anticipated. The pressure is never ending and when you zone out on social media, seeing friends’ careers take off adds to the never-ending pressure.

You wonder if it will ever end. Is work-life balance an achievable goal? You want a successful career, but you don’t want to sacrifice all the things that will make it meaningful, including friends, family, and time for fun. Having a more satisfying work-life ratio seems elusive to you, which creates a daily feeling of never having enough time.

Work-Life Balance Isn’t a SMART Goal

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Because a goal to achieve work-life balance isn’t a SMART goal, studies show it increases stress. It causes people to feel frustrated and unsatisfied with themselves, their jobs, and the time demands their family requires.

If your life feels harder than it was for prior generations that’s because your life is harder than theirs in many ways. Completely disconnecting from work is challenging. Your boss may expect to be able to reach you and communicate at all hours.

If you manage to get work under control, your family complains you aren’t paying attention to them. When you pay attention to your family, work spins out of control. It’s difficult for you to feel competent in either place because competing priorities keep you feeling off kilter.
You want a happy medium but despair that you’ll ever be able to achieve it.

You Can Find the Right Ratio for You

Ratio is a more appropriate term than balance for two reasons. First and most importantly, because to balance is to be static, and your life is anything but static. Secondly, because ratios recognize individual and situational differences.

If you are pursuing a world-changing passion career, you may want to spend almost all your time on your career. If that’s you, the expectations of people in your life who aren’t part of your career need to be managed. Whereas if your definition of success is financial stability because of its benefits to you and your family, you will likely want to devote more time to your home life.

You get to decide the right ratio for you. The right ratio for you today may not be the right ratio at another point in your life. Attempting to achieve perfect work-life balance can add more stress without helping you achieve any of your goals.

How Therapy Moves You Towards More Satisfaction and Less Stress

Instead of a work-life balance goal, we spend time helping you identify the work-life ratio you would like to achieve. Once you know your ratio, there are two ways to help ease the frustration and anxiety the quest for work-life balance created. One is the use of problem-focused strategies that modify things in your environment by identifying the priorities that matter the most to you.

The second is helping you develop transformational stress management skills that will allow you to feel better and relax more. The degree to which you understand how your brain works and how well you use that knowledge can reduce the amount of stress you experience without changing your circumstances.

Learning psychological tools that increase your psychological flexibility will help you feel less stressed at work and at home.

If you want to master the art of having it all without killing yourself with the anxiety of trying to achieve it, we can help. Contact us for answers to your questions or schedule an appointment online.

Overwhelmed Parents

Being a parent is the most demanding and rewarding job you’ll ever do. The particular challenges of modern parenting mean that the feeling of overwhelm is the norm and not the exception.

The Added Pressures of Modern Parenting

If you are a parent, you are used to feeling overwhelmed. Most parents today no longer have the luxury of having a full-time parent devoted to caring for the home and children. Even if you have that advantage, there are more moving parts and decisions to make today than your parents had to think about.

For instance, previous generations were more ecologically innocent, so you didn’t have to think about the chemical make-up of your family’s mattresses, or whether the products you bought were packaged with recycled post-consumer waste. Social media can make you feel as if your children are competing for spots at top schools even before they are born. You are more connected via social media but more isolated by time and distance constraints. Private and charter schools can make neighborhood children and their family’s strangers to one another. In past eras, when you left work, you were off. You didn’t have to check your email or field telephone calls during the time you were with your family.

Your children also demand more. Your teenagers receive enticing brochures for summers abroad and postcards of idyllic Ivy League campuses. All your children want an endless list of games and gadgets that cost increasing amounts of money.

Have you felt guilty or inadequate for feeling overwhelmed by your parenting responsibilities?
You are as capable as parents in prior generations. In fact, in many ways, modern parents have more resources and knowledge than their parents had access to.

However, your life is more complex. You have more choices, which means you have to think more. Making decisions can be exhausting, even when you are interested in what you are doing. For your parents, a drive-through dinner was a simple question, “Is it in the budget?” For you, it is complex. Affordability may be one of the criteria you use, but you’re likely to also consider the nutrition and whether they’ve had any other fast food recently. When you add two or three extra considerations to every decision, it is overwhelming.

It’s Difficult to Admit You’re an Overwhelmed Parent

Do you sometimes wonder if you were cut out to have children? The demands of parenting make every good parent feel inadequate some of the time, but few are able to admit they’re an overwhelmed parent. You may worry about being judged by others if you acknowledge those feelings. It may feel like you don’t have the time to even think about your sense of overwhelm. You may fear getting lost in that feeling. If you’re divorced, you may be afraid of losing your children if you admit you feel like you’re drowning. When you do hint at how difficult things can be, family and friends may offer well-meaning but ultimately unhelpful advice rather than just letting you vent.

Feeling overwhelmed doesn’t make you a bad parent. Feeling overwhelmed comes from having too much to do and not enough time to do all the things, all the time, for all the people, in exactly the right way every time. Who can keep that up? No one. And yet you try, because your family means the world to you.

How Therapy Can Help You Feel Less Overwhelmed

Therapy does not magically take away your life responsibilities, unfortunately. But therapy does have a lot of other things to offer the overwhelmed parent to help them feel less frazzled and more grounded.

A wide assortment of skills, from those that enhance communication between you and your partner and you and your child, to managing your inner voice, to setting boundaries with intrusive people or obligations in your life, all can make parenting easier.

Children pick up on their parents’ stress and act it out in their behavior. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your child will feel, which then makes it easier for you to feel more relaxed. And relaxing doesn’t mean lackadaisical parenting. It means not stressing over every decision and being more intentional about your priorities.

The therapists at Affinity know how to help you create a home you want to live in with a family you enjoy. If you want more of the rewards of parenting and less of overwhelm, reach out to us today for life transitions counseling. Positive parenting approaches will make you feel like a pro.