As cities and provinces all over the country shift between different phases of re-opening, it can feel like an exciting but stressful time as everyone gets used to socializing under these new conditions. To help alleviate some of that stress, Global News host Jennifer Valentyne spoke with psychotherapist Kelly Bos about some tips for adjusting.
To start with, Kelly said, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself: What is right for me and what is right for my family? Everyone is in their own unique situation so there is no one-size-fits-all set of guidelines. It’s good to recognize your limits and be careful not to just fall into “people pleasing” habits, she said.
Jennifer herself admitted to being a bit of a people pleaser, and so she asked Kelly what people like her should be focusing on as they move forward.
Kelly said a key strategy is to get comfortable with the word “no”. Sometimes we struggle with using it or think it’s a bad word, she said. But it’s not, especially at a time like this—it’s completely healthy. We don’t need to be unkind or rude when we say it, but assertive and clear. Use it to help others understand what we are and are not comfortable with.
Jennifer pointed out that this could be a time of strained relationships. Maybe we’ll run into a situation where someone might say “I don’t want to continue a friendship with you,” because of the decisions you make.
This isn’t just something that will happen with friendships, said Kelly. Even among family members or in a single home there can be differences of comfort and opinion about what’s best. Unfortunately, that’s simply how it might be in this moment. Kelly said it’s good to keep in mind, “I can’t make [that person happy] and I have to do what’s best for me.”
As we run into these conflicts and differences of opinion, Jennifer said it feels like there might be a struggle to try to avoid being too judgmental. Kelly agreed, but also said that that we can work to curb those feelings. She talked about various situations that could easily arise. Maybe you are saying “no” to playdates for your kids but other friends are going ahead without much concern. Or you are often the one saying no to plans while everyone else says yes. It’s natural to feel some resentment, said Kelly.
At the same time, we may often run into people not following public guidelines and that can upset us. While those feelings are natural, Kelly said focusing too much on those feelings is unhealthy.
“I think we do what we can and correct where we can. Other times we just have to let it go. People are people and they’re going to do different things. I mean, countries are doing entirely different things than other countries! We can only control so much,” said Kelly.
Wrapping up, Jennifer and Kelly discussed the importance of positive changes we can focus on moving forward. Kelly talked about how easy it is to focus too much on what we can’t do. Instead, take stock of what about this new normal feels good to us. Many people are realizing that a slower, more self-focused lifestyle is better for them. Find those things that you can carry forward to make yourself happier and healthier.
The warm and smiling face of morning television’s “Live Eye” segment for 23 years, Jennifer Valentyne is now the host of Global News Morning Toronto and of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette Canada’s first live after show on the W Network. With her infectious enthusiasm lighting up everything she does, Jennifer is the perfect choice when it comes to hosting your gala, moderating your event, or having her speak to inspire your audience to reach their full potential.