3 Signs That You May Need Help Following The Capitol Hill Insurrection

Why is it so difficult to genuinely care about our colleagues? 

After the events of last week, the Insurrection at Capitol Hill, I was surprised by how many people reacted by saying don’t ask me how I feel about it. Conflict is hard, but it is also an opportunity for growth- if we allow it to be. That means being honest about what this moment was for all of us and not hiding behind the rhetoric.

I know that conversations can sometimes make us feel like there’s no point, we’ve had the same conversations over and over again. Screaming at the top of our lungs saying Racism is a real thing in the US, not a figment of our imagination. 

I don’t think anyone can look at those rioters and say there wasn’t anger there, blame and hate. In whatever they got swept into the mob mentality, it was too late for many of them to know how to say no, and they should be met with consequences.

But for the rest of us, there’s another choice entirely. 

Xenophobia aside, we have gotten to a place in the US where we can not genuinely care for each other. We cannot genuinely and authentically learn from each other. We cannot share hopes and visions for a better tomorrow. 

That’s the lie we have been told. 

There is no greatest shared experience than our humanity. We all hurt, we all want consoling and we want others to care about what we care about- it’s human nature. 

Bringing Humanity Back into our Work

I don’t know when it was decided that we were all meant to be stone-faced cold-hearted cogs in the machine, unfeeling during our 9-5s even through adversity. 

I admit, whenever I felt emotional at work- I hid out in the bathroom until the moment passed. But why? Why is it inappropriate to care about our fellow human beings that we work with? Especially when we spend more time with them than our own families? To me, it doesn’t make sense. 

Professionalism, shouldn’t mean we can’t have intentional conversations about the state of the world. We need to because the world affects us all. If you need a mediator, find one. 

But understand this, no matter the political affiliations, everyone was affected by what happened at the Capitol. We all experienced a collective trauma and if you watch the news at all- it may be on continuous loop. 

If you need guidance in having Intentional Conversations for Change check this out!

3 Signs That You May Need to Ask for Help

This is hard, because we have all been taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness- it’s not. It’s a sign of personal awareness, knowing our limitations.

If you feel anxious, can’t concentrate and find it hard to stay on task- it may be time to ask for help.

Trauma, and we cannot say this moment in history is not a collective acute trauma and until we feel safe, it will continue to harm those most vulnerable.

  1. Feelings of being unsafe in your bodies or relationships

If you’re feeling the way I am, it can be difficult to understand the state of the world right now. Feeling as if you are not safe from your anxious thoughts, relationships with those around you are affected and you may be wary of those around you. Do what you need to keep your energy and yourself safe, whatever that means for you.

We need to remember and mourn for what was lost

The process of grieving looks a little different for everyone. Some of us ignore it and push on, some of us focus on work and never look back, some of us find ourselves incapable of moving forward. What if there was an alternative?

We need to acknowledge what was lost: From the lives lost. A sense of safety in democracy. The naïveté that some had in assuming it couldn’t get worse, and therefore enabling the behaviors that led to this moment.

It’s ok to mourn for the loss of what we thought our world was.

Reconnecting and Integrating with a New Sense of Self

Who we were as a nation on January 5, 2021 is not the same as who are post-January 6, 2021. In the same way, we cannot go back to pre-Covid times and we shouldn’t want to. So many of us shy away from using conflict as an opportunity for growth, in ways that do not resolve anything but rather pushes down trauma so that it bubbles in destructive ways later.

Every time some thing happens that is traumatic and a source of pain or conflict, we have the habit of ignoring the conflict and finding immediate solutions to make the pain go away. While it may feel good in the moment, the pain has not been resolved- the hurt still lies there just below the surface.

Instead of ignoring the signs of trauma, reconnect and integrate with who you might be now. Are you a person that still supports the divisive rhetoric that could incite a mob to break into the Capitol Building? Are you a person that still refuses to acknowledge the deep divide between how people of color are treated by law enforcement is different, especially at scale? Are you a person that still believes the simplified versions of catchy lies that have no scientific backing or proof to stand on?

I know that I am a different version of myself in 2021 and I have not been able to focus as much as I was planning to thus far. I have not been to walk away from the ongoings on the news but the sake of my sanity, I need to.

Learnings from the Phases of Trauma Recovery from Trauma Recovery.

Suggestions to Try and Heal

These are things I am personally doing, in trying to heal from reliving the trauma of Capitol Hill.

Do not let the News be the first thing you listen to in the morning

Instead, I start my day with meditation and prayer. I am really loving the Insight Timer app. It has tons of teachers and guided meditations for all your needs.

Allow Movement to Get You Out of Your Head

I’m a big fan of movement to help you do something that’s not just cerebral. I spend the majority of my day thinking, I’m sure we all do, on what to write about, what to make for dinner, which marketing tool is better etc. Movement helps us to change our train of thought. In the same way, that we can lose our focus when the phone rings- we can use our brain’s ‘stop function‘ to distract ourselves for a bit.

That’s why I often play loud dance music and dance with my daughter or Zumba for the hell of it!

Do Something Fun

If Zumba isn’t your jam, try something you do find enjoyable. Spend time reading, creating art, doodling. Something that uses the creative parts of our brains. One of my favorite is drawing with my daughter and making cards for my 91-year old grandmother. If you can learn to get silly and step away from the hurt, it can help you on your journey of healing. But know that it’s temporary, but that’s ok. That’s what makes Joy special.

As we in Montreal, go into another lockdown, I’m practicing these not only to keep my monsters at bay but also because I’m worried. Not only for myself and what it means to be a US Citizen these days, but also for my daughter and what kind of world we are creating for her.

It may be too late for some, but I’m hoping reason will triumph in the end.

Yours in kind,

Jessy Santana

Stay connected! Join our #empathychallenge2021 starting soon!

When Was The Last Time You Genuinely Checked in with a Colleague?

That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.

Stan Lee

This holiday season will be difficult for everyone. There’s no doubt. Whether you’re staying home for safety’s sake or being forced to by the government of where you live. The holidays have never looked like this.

Even the years I spent in China, a country that saves its cheer for Chinese New Year, I could usually find a group of friends and a home or a karaoke to celebrate Christmas in. This year, however, the cheer has fizzled out of the grandeur that normally is the festivities this year.

I, for one can’t go home for Christmas, the border is still closed between the US and Canada. So my mother’s infamous Christmas party decorations and merriment will have to wait until next year. Replaced by my sad little tree and twinkle lights. Honestly, there’s no comparison but there’s also no presents because my husband doesn’t understand the concept of waiting to unwrap gifts and has opened every package that’s arrived- there goes the surprise!

We’ve been lucky and grateful in this year for many reasons, we’ve struggled but we’ve managed, others may be not.

Last summer when I started hosting the Beyond BLM: Actionable Steps for Change series, one of the panelists mentioned that no one had checked in with her just to see if she was ok, and it would have been incredible if someone had. When she felt she could handle going public, she did and the comments and calls of support followed, but the toll on her emotional and mental health had already occurred.

The holiday season is always one that is filled with a tinge of darkness just beneath the surface. We all get distracted by the holiday movies, the dinners and parties but loneliness is especially high during the holidays. I imagine this year, numbers will peak. Especially for those that may be quarantining alone.

Mental health has already become precarious in 2020. According to the Mental Health America, The number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. Even in Canada, pre-Covid, 1 in 5 Canadians needed help with mental illness, according to the Canada Mental Health Association.

Don’t let the year finish without reaching out, if you do need help or even if you don’t. The worst feeling of regret is always wishing you had reached out to those you thought might be struggling.

Last week, I reached out to an old friend and she admitted that while she was at work all day, she found her off time had little activity and she was glad for the conversation. What was supposed to be a 30 minute discovery call ended up being an hour and a half, let’s talk about everything call.

I remember that feeling from the start of the pandemic when we saw no one, didn’t leave except for the weekly grocery run. My husband and I had to learn to speak deeply to each other again, not having done that in a while. Another reason to be grateful this year.

But reach out and genuinely speak with one person this year, it might benefit you more than you realize.

And if you need more than just a helping hand reach out to those services that offer more. There is no shame in realizing you need help, we all do in different ways.

3 Things We Need to End the Year Better Than We Started

It’s November! And we are so close to the end of the year- It’ll be here before we know it! And although this year has felt like the longest year known to man- I promise it circled the same amount of times around the sun.

So instead of focusing on the discomfort, the negativity that may still be trying to seep in, I’m interested in looking up and forward- and these are just some of the things I’ve recently loved, kind of hated (you’ll see why) but still learned from, and thought you might enjoy too- especially since I’m told we’re still in this together!

So what else do we need for the end of the year, the beginning of winter (we just had our first snowfall this week and I wasn’t ready for it!), and all the things that will envelop us in warmth until the beginning of 2021?

These are some of my favorites

Great Reads!

Currently, I’m waiting for the December release of Brambles: A Thorn Short Story (Dauntless Path) by Intisar Khananibecause supporting good fiction by authors of color is always good business! Plus her writing is so good. Period!

If you’re late to the social justice train and opted out this summer- maybe it’s time for a reality check. It’s always a good idea to curl up with a good book that makes you think and just a bit uncomfortable- let’s face it we need to rock the boat! 

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo.

We need a little deep thinking and discomfort- even if it’s with ourselves and this book delivers! 

It puts things into perspective about why the conversation is difficult to begin with and why some opt-out but with 2020 bringing into light all kinds of social injustices I don’t know that we can really opt-out anymore. 

Great TV!

What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck on Amazon Prime is great television right now- for anyone who’s interested in understanding the intricacies of how this one piece of document affects so many people. 

If you’re more of a Netflix fan, Over the Moon, a movie about a Chinese family dealing with loss, a little girl believing in something and the idea that family can change- and if you’re seperated from yours it’s a nice movie about believing in yourself and family. 

And if you’re still on the fence about things maybe this will help you, The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden by Frontline. This docu-series didn’t illuminate things that I hadn’t heard before but it’s a great piece on these two different men who are running for office in a competition for the highest office in the land. 

Great Voices to Listen to! 

This post by Patrice Palmer on Linkedin gave me the all the feels when it comes to what they describe as Accomplice and how are they different from Allies. There are many right now that disagree on the words but the sentiment is the same- we don’t have the time to sit around and wait for change to happen, we need people who are going to Pull Up

One of my favorite songs right now is Know Your Worth by Khalid and Disclosure. The stand-alone single really holds up and with the lyric: Find someone who loves you at your worst. It really says a lot about what kind of relationships we need right now i.e. Ride or Die kind, especially during isolation. 

I know it’s hard out there and things can seem bleak, but as my affirmation app this morning reminded me “Nobody but Me Decides How I Feel”.

Yours in kind,