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Transitioning from Work to Home: How to set your night up for success.

Transitioning from Work to Home: How to set your night up for success.

The Question

How do you transition from work to home each day? Do you have a particular routine you use to help you go from employer/employee to spouse mode?

The Problem

Like we discussed last post, the transition moment is either seamless or it’s very rocky. If it’s rocky, it might be because you’re having trouble “shaking off” work as you enter into your home environment. The transition from work to home is rough for a lot of people. Maybe your job is very stressful, very labor intensive or very people driven. If you live alone, you may not think much about the transition from work to home, but I’d suggest that it’s chiefly important for you to not blur the line between the two, and consider your home life entirely separate from your work life. If you have a spouse and/or family, walking in to a house full of people who need things from you can feel pretty overwhelming after a tough day at work! It’s so important that everyone in the house is getting their needs met. It’s possible. It just takes some honest reflection and a strategy.

The Plan

If you struggle with decompressing after a stressful work day, here are a few ideas:

  1. Pick a transition point. On your commute home, give yourself time to process the work day mentally, but at a certain landmark of your choosing, switch trains of thought and start thinking about home. Anything. Stuff on the agenda for the night. Things you like about your spouse and kids. Whatever. Just transition at a planned point so that you can be prepared when you walk in the door.
  2. Write down important things from work. Something you need to do tomorrow? Particularly frustrating conversation with your boss? Write it down. And leave it in your vehicle. You’ll get it out of your system just enough to be able to turn your attention to other things.
  3. Ask for/Give space. Sometimes I distract our toddler so my husband can sneak in without being noticed and take a quick power nap in our bed. (When he comes out later: Surprise! Daddy’s home already!) This way, he’s a little more refreshed and ready to engage. Some people like to take a shower to help them transition from work mode to home mode. Others like to watch the news in relative peace and quiet. Whatever you need, figure it out and make it known.
    • This is particularly important if you’re especially introverted or extroverted. You have needs for either connection or an intentional alone time. These are both legit needs and you shouldn’t minimize them. This need has to be met in order for you to be able to give what your family needs. But, you shouldn’t take all night for this need to be met. Do what you’ve gotta do to decompress the necessary amount, but then be available and presentphysically and emotionally.

In conclusion, consider what you need to really be “off the clock.”

If you live alone…don’t blur the line between “work” and “home” just because you can and no one will complain about it. You’ll burn out eventually and plus, it’s just no fun. You owe it to yourself to maintain/create an identity separate from your work, and this transition point of your day goes a long way to support that part of who you are.

If you’re married, don’t let the transition home moment each day pass you by without considering how you’re approaching it and how you can redeem it for better connection and relational satisfaction! It’s an easy moment to enter into and make a big impact on your relationship. You can do this!

As always, I’d love to set up a time to discuss this issue or anything else for which you’d like to receive counseling support. To learn more about the counseling process, check out this article.

Offices in Livingston Parish and EBR.

When God Gives You Crumbs

A belief that is inextricably part of who I am is how, with God, nothing is wasted. This doesn’t mean that everything is intentional or planned, but that nothing will be without purpose to one degree or another.

I think we can go a little overboard on the meanings we ascribe to things, but just hang with me here: God is not random. Nothing is wasted.Sometimes in my life, and I bet I’m not the only one, God will plant a seed of an idea…it will have the hallmarks of the Father…but it goes untouched for years, often forgotten, until the moment that God resurrects it.

I had one such experience when my husband proposed marriage to me. Something quietly spoken over my heart when I was 13 and had just started getting to know God on my own, that I never told to anyone, was lived out right before me in the certain way he asked me to marry him. To me, it was this message of, “it’s always been me and you, and it’ll always be me and you, but I’m bringing you two together to follow me side by side.”

Another instance that’s happened to me lately was when I was asked to teach a class at a women’s prison. As random as this is, the little seed for this idea was planted in me nearly 20 years ago. I was in high school and we spent a whole semester writing an in-depth research paper. The topic was of our choosing. I couldn’t really decide on a topic but kept coming back to the issue of the importance of providing educational opportunities to people in the penal system to reduce recidivism rates. No one…and I mean No. One. saw this idea as a natural fit for me. My friends questioned me about it. My teacher questioned me about it. Even I questioned myself about it. Was there Any other topic I wanted to write on? Was this something I was passionate about and just hadn’t mentioned to anyone yet? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what possessed me to pick the topic other than to say that it was very clear to me that that’s what I was to write on. So I spent a whole semester researching the role education plays in keeping people from returning to crime and ending up back in prison. Random.

Flash forward all these years later and a friend asked me to teach a psychology and counseling college level class at a women’s prison. I honestly didn’t feel like I had the time to give to it. I went back and forth about what my answer should be. But ultimately I just felt the sense from the Lord that it was something to say “yes” to.

I agreed to do it and taught the class this summer. I poured out my best for the women and enjoyed my time doing so. I can’t say it changed my life or opened up this new calling of my life…nor was I expecting it to do so. It was obedience. I felt like God was glorified in my obedience, that I was used by God to facilitate growth and healing, and I happened to enjoy it, which is always a bonus.

It wasn’t until after I said “yes” to that opportunity did I remember that random paper from years ago.

I felt like the whole point of this little exercise in obedience was this sweet message of the Lord again to my soul:

“You’ve always heard me and followed me for a long time until now. This is another breadcrumb. Keep walking with me.”

What about you? Has God spoken something to you that you’re still waiting to see why or how it will come to fulfillment? Pray today for God to give you eyes to see His activity in your life. I challenge you to write down the things you feel like God has spoken so that you won’t miss the blessing of noticing God’s subtle leading over time.

As always…for further discussion on this or any counseling topic, I’m reachable here!

What Chip and Joanna Gaines Can Teach Us About Our Calling in Life

It’s May again and we all know what that means. ‘Tis the season of graduation. A time for stressing out and searching for God’s will for your life. (Jokes…kinda.)

Whether you’ve been out of school for a while or you’ve just crossed the finish line, finding your place in this world (yes, that was a Michael W. Smith reference) can be frustrating and confusing to say the least. It’s a crossroads of life that is so easy to over-complicate, over-spiritualize, and over-analyze. What if there was an easier way to get clarity? While some people have callings that maximize our weaknesses (think: Moses, the stutterer, leading a nation…before social media could disseminate a message in milliseconds), most of us will find that our strengths, our gut/instincts and people who care about us are God-given guides to lead us towards the way we can be most engaged in uncovering the Kingdom of God on earth.
Have no fear! Chip and Joanna Gaines are here! 
If you don’t know who this sweet couple is, you’re missing out. They are an uber talented construction/interior design duo with a plethora of other entrepreneurial endeavors, some great kids, a rich faith, and, oh yeah…their own reality TV show on HGTV. And while I honestly think that there’s nothing worse than being a famous Christian, they somehow seem to be handling it all in stride.
What can we learn about “calling” and finding our niche from the incredibly creative and hilarious Gaineses?
Take stock in what makes you come alive and figure out a way to make a living doing that. 
Chip and JoJo have found their lane. They know what they’re good at and what they’re not so good at. Taking inventory of your strengths and weaknesses should be one of your first steps in uncovering what your calling in life is.
Questions for reflection: What do you do that seems to be easier to you than most other people? What is it that you consistently get positive feedback on? What did you want to do when you were younger? What do you still like about that? Check out Strengths Finders if you’re still having trouble pin-pointing what you’re good at. (Pro-tip: Don’t buy it used, because there’s an assessment measurement code that can’t be reused.)
Work your tail off. Malcolm Gladwell sites 10,000 hours as the threshold for excellence in fine-tuning your craft. Do the math. That’s a long time! Chip and Joanna didn’t just stumble into their success. They’ve been honing their skills for close to 20 years, full-time, before their business exploded. Never under-estimate the season of life where you learn, learn, learn some more, try, fail, figure out what you don’t know, succeed and repeat. Not only are your skills grown and mastered in this season, your character is grown as well. Good character and hard work will always have a payoff in this life and in the one to come. Check out a post of mine about “How to Give A Rip” if you’re struggling in this area.
Find the spiritual in the mundane. What if the sacred/secular divide is totally made up? Q: If anything (legal) done to the best of your ability is an embodiment of the glory of God, what possibilities does that open up for you? A: Tons.
There are lots of ways to let the kingdom come near. Don’t over-spiritualize so much that you miss the obvious. Jesus did manual labor (carpentry) to the glory of God. That’s how the son of God spent close to 15 years of his life. Why? Because anything done to the best of your ability is an embodiment of the glory of God.
Chip and Joanna don’t do anything particularly spiritual for a living. They build and design to the best of their abilities, taking created elements and revealing their beauty…bringing order out of chaos and revealing the heart of God, the most creative one of all. Even if they didn’t hold a marriage discipleship clinic on the sly in their show (which is so awesome, by the way), they still reveal the heart of God to the world because they unveil beauty, creativity, form, function, design, ingenuity and all these elements that God so deeply loves. (For more thoughts on this topic of work in terms of the kingdom of God, check out John Mark Comer.)
The bottom line about finding your calling is this: don’t stress out about it. God knows how to communicate with you. He made you. He’s just as intentional about what he reveals as what he withholds. God gave you a lot of practical tools to discover what makes you come alive and anything done to the best of your ability brings glory to God and advances the kingdom. Enjoy the ride, as it’s the journey, not only the destination that counts.
I absolutely love talking about career counseling in therapy session! If this is a topic that interests you or someone you love, or it would be helpful for you to talk through the topic with an uninvolved third party, please contact me and let’s set up a time to meet together at my office in Baton Rouge, Walker, or Denham Springs, Louisiana.

How To Give A Rip: Part 4

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Today is the last installment of our “How to Give a Rip” series.  We’ve looked at why it’s important for your character, how it can positively impact your personal and professional life, and how to guide yourself towards feeling more interested. Finally we will look at how dealing with one task at a time is the final trick in accomplishing your goal.

If you’re just now joining us, check out Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this conversation.

Figure out a way to give a rip about whatever is in front of you.

…about whatever is in front of you.

For several years now, multi-tasking has been championed as what busy people do to accomplish a lot of productive things at once. In truth, the research indicates the opposite: that multi-tasking is counter productive and causes tasks to take longer, be less efficient, or see a dip in quality. The vast majority are truly built to be “one thing at a time” people. Yet there is still this cultural draw to boast about being a “good multi-tasker” mostly because it makes you look really busy and important.

Multi-tasking can also be so appealing when you’re trying to just “get by” with your interest level. You can look like you’re invested but still distract yourself with what you’d rather be doing. You’re at your kids soccer game, but you’re returning phone calls. You asked your wife how her day was, but you’re listening while checking Facebook. (Hey-O! I guarantee I just stepped on somebody’s toes! Call me!) You seem to be doing the “right” thing but you’re not really invested…you’re not really giving a rip.

Divided attention can really shoot you in the foot. Intentionally give yourself fully to the task in front of you at school, at work, at home, at church, at the ballpark.

Jim Elliot puts it this way, “Wherever you are, be all there.”

In the course of any given day, we all play multiple roles. Fight the urge to bring the task from this morning into the afternoon. Don’t cook dinner thinking about your conversation with your coworker. Don’t give a sit through the sermon at church thinking about the fight you had with your sister. The mental energy it takes to focus on two or more roles at once really removes you from the moment and you lose the potency that is possible by being fully present.

When you invest yourself fully in the relationship or task before you, a part of your character grows that you’ll notice immediately, and so will others around you. And that’s what learning how to “give a rip” is really all about: growing your own character so you can be the best “you” in all roles of life.

For more information about the counseling or coaching services at Spring Life Counseling, LLC or to schedule an appointment at our Baton Rouge, Denham Springs or Walker, Louisiana locations, shoot me an email.

How To Give A Rip: Part 1

Very rarely is there one thing that can change that really benefits you across every aspect of your life. Most small shifts in thinking or perspective work at home but fall short at work, or vice versa. But over the next few days, we will discuss one tip that can truly add value and usher in successful outcomes in every role you play, be it spouse, parent, employee, boss, student, friend, adult child, etc. I’m not much for the idea of “one and done life hacks to revolutionize your life,” but when it comes to this tip, it truly can change things at a foundational level that can impact your life across the board.

Here it is: Figure out a way to give a rip about whatever is in front of you.

If you want to be awesome at whatever is in front of you, you must figure out a way to give a rip about it.

The first time I ever thought about this concept was in high school. Our principal, Mr. Grimmer, stuck his head into our geometry class and gave an impromptu speech to the effect of, “Here’s the truth: unless you go into the advanced math field as a career, you’ll truly never use geometry except for when you’re figuring out how much paint or carpet to buy. But that’s not the point. You’ve gotta figure out a way to take on this challenge and do a good job in this class anyway because making a good grade in here will unlock the next door to the future.”

I recalled that lesson a few years later, sitting in an undergraduate classroom, not at all caring about one of my gen ed requirements. My disinterest in Western Civilizations was standing in the way of me moving on to classes I would be more interested in, namely, my major classes in organizational communications. I had to figure out a way to get interested so that I could move on to things that would be more fulfilling for me and that seemed as though they would actually apply to my life.

Flash forward a few years later after graduate school, in the midst of the very common yet awkward transition from full-time student to full-time employee, I found myself stuck in the monotony of a specific task that my boss wanted me to accomplish but I felt had little value to my actual responsibilities. I remembered that truth again: you’ve gotta find a way to get interested in this, because there’s value in being a good employee. Indeed, there is value because it can mean an increase in job security, but there is also intrinsic value in the character it takes to be a good employee.

In my current phase of life, there are times when my husband is passionate about things that I wouldn’t naturally be interested in. And while I do fully support the idea of spouses having some individual hobbies that they can do by themselves or with friends, when it comes to passions, I think it’s important to figure out a way to become interested so you can be more supportive. So yes, I am now more versed in abstract art and the local artist community than I would have ever expected myself to be and at this point, I can honestly say I really enjoy it.

So what about you? What do you need to get interested in so that you can become a better friend, partner, parent, employee, volunteer, etc.? What’s standing in your way between here and where you’d like to be? Could a shift in attitude help unlock that door?

Join me over the next few days as we unpack the question of “HOW” to figure out a way to give a rip about whatever is in front of you. I fully believe that there are better days ahead than anything we’ve left behind. Let’s figure out how to get there together!

And, as always, if any of this brings up anything you’d like to discuss in a counseling or coaching session, you can reach me here. Offices in Baton Rouge, Denham Springs and Walker, Louisiana.