My Volunteering Journey

I am Manjot Singh Soos, a volunteer at the Certified Listeners Society. I have been with this organization since January 2022, so my journey is of a short duration of five months. Being of social service background, I was actively looking for volunteer opportunities, and one day I found CLS on Indeed looking for volunteers. Then I learned about CLS, later went on to try their services, and was inspired by it. So, I decided to contribute and that is when my journey with this organization started. I started the registration process and it was especially smooth, the training provided covered every important topic, and was extremely useful when I would be performing my duties as a certified listener. After the training was complete and the documentation was complete, I received my certificate of completion of the CLS training. 

Thus began my journey as a certified listener. It was life-changing in simple terms. I have never looked at life the same way since then. People will come to talk with you, sometimes they would simply be looking for advice, and are clueless about what to do next in life, but we are there for providing emotional support and not giving them advice. There were times when the callers will be straightforward and tell you that they have been through life events, and at other times they will hide painful memories between the lines. The most important thing was to ensure that I set up boundaries and ensure that my mental health was not affected, so taking care of my body by going to the gym, and engaging in recreational activities such as going to the library and reading books or simply learning new things to keep the mind fresh and strong did help me a lot. One thing which I did learn was that there is a stark difference between reading and researching social justice issues, or case studies, and in the practical and real-life when we actually get to talk to people who have been through difficult times. At times I truly wished to help but our responsibility is to provide them with emotional support as certified listeners and not solve their problems. With time and the more callers I talked with, it becomes easier to provide emotional support as well as set boundaries. 

Certified Listeners Society is a volunteer organization that provides services to people who might not have anyone to talk to, who might be in a country or a society where discussing certain issues is a taboo, who need emotional support but do not have the resources to access those services. Each one of us is a critical part of this community that makes it possible. I am grateful to CLS for providing me with this opportunity to help people, and in the process meet such wonderful people who support each other, and take care of each other. 



-By Manjot Singh Soos

Intentional Self-Love

Everyone talks about self-love but what has to be done first to make it intentional? At first, we need to realize importance of it; we are taught how to love everyone else but not ourselves. But need to remember that our foundation of all – is relationship to ourselves first through understanding, acceptance, and protection of our foundation. Once we master that – we can become a warrior of our life – be strong and conquer any challenge that occurs along the way because no matter what happens we know who we are and by accepting it, we secure it by not giving up on it to others – that might have sometimes negative intentions against us.
We need to be intentional- understanding that that you do not need to be approved by others. Intentional- is purposely, fulfilling taking yourself into the account before others. What’s the purpose of this? Purpose is clear and transparent – by living life in the best manner, we are the example for others.

I’m going to discuss and invite you to intentional self-love challenge. What are the factors that occurs as warnings that self-love has to be taken into the place? And what are the signs that there are some errors in your life that needs to be addressed in order to live better. There are four important points that need to be talked around: if you experiencing mental distress and mental breakdown, if you have problems with accepting your feeling as it is, if you hardly can take a minute and imagine a loved one that may experience this feeling and it could make you uncomfortable, how would you react? If you have a problem to look at yourself retrospectively. Remember the ways you treated yourself in the past. Analyze the matters. Challenge yourself with better action plan that brings better results! Think about circumstances back then and now.

Take the time to be honest with yourself. Evaluate your self-love and choose intentionally to live at your best. Start planting a seed of love. And inspire others.

-By Rimante Bernotaite

6 ways to be more physically active during the day

Physical activity in whatever form is a great way to keep you physically healthy and also mentally strong. Keeping active helps reduce stress, improves sleep quality, and raises energy levels to help boost your mood and make you feel more confident. The best part is you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to see the benefits. Here are some small and simple changes you can make in your routine to get moving!

Take the stairs

Next time you need to take an elevator up think again. An easy change in your fitness is to taking the stairs instead. Climbing the stairs can contribute to the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity and can burn 8-11kcal per minute! Furthermore, it can help you build and maintain muscles, joints and bones! Along with this health benefit, climbing the stairs can improve the amount of good cholesterol found in your blood.

Park further away

Get extra steps in by parking further away. Parking at the end of the lot can increase your distance from the store, from about 5m away to around 30-50m away. This means you would be taking around 100-200 extra steps walking to the store and back to your car per visit. Thus, this is a great way to get more steps in during a busy day! Spend the time walking instead of circling the lot for a closer spot to park!

Make it a Habit

The ability to focus improves when your brain has a chance to unfocus. Excessive focus exhausts the focus circuits in your brain and can drain your energy and make you lose self-control. Unfocus time is vital to developing resilience and what better way to unfocus than to move around! Start small with 2-3 minutes of physical activity with every hour spent focusing. You can track steps as you move around the house, or step out in to the neighbourhood. Build it into your schedule.

Try an at home workout

Covid had us looking for gym-free ways on-line to build our muscles. There are a so many options online such as: 5 minute muscle-focused workouts from Bailey Brown or Chloe Ting, to full HIIT from Natacha Océane or Whitney Simmons, as well as yoga classes. You save time and money by making your home the gym! Each fitness expert has their own personality and provide different effective techniques to make your workout quick and fun!

Check out some of these fitness channels for at home workouts:

Bailey Brown

Chloe Ting

Natacha Océane

Clean around the house

Cleaning is a great way to get moving around the house without having to actually leave it. Not only will it be beneficial for your body, but you will also be getting your cleaning-chores out of the way. For instance, vacuuming, mopping, and sweeping can burn up to 100-200 calories per hour! Moreover, washing your car and cleaning the windows can add up to 300 and 200 calories respectively, per hour!

Netflix…and Active

Next time you cozy up to watch TV bring your yoga ball or light weights with you. Enjoy your program and instead of snacking move your dumbbells to get in exercises that can help improve your posture and tighten your core!

Check out these simple moves for a “lazy & cozy” workout:

Bad Habits everyone should change for a better mental health

Did you know that sometimes a happy and healthy mental health can be undermined by some bad habits? Here are 4 common habits that you can change for a better mental health.

Perfectionism

Pursuing perfectionism, for psychologists can be described as positive or negative. That is because it can affect some people beneficially while harming others. It really comes down to how realistic you are with the pursuit of perfectionism. Positive perfectionism includes making realistic goals, keeping anxiety and stress at healthy levels, and making mistakes opportunities for growth. It is a beneficial mindset if it helps increase your chances of success. But sometimes perfectionism can undermine your efforts. This is a negative perfectionism which is defined as a goal people try to pursue that is way beyond their reach, being ungrateful with anything lower than their expectations, always having a mindset of failure and disapproval, and seeing mistakes as a sign of unworthiness. If you ever find yourself with these habits, you should definitely try to stop it because it can cause stress, an unhealthy fear of making mistakes, and anxiety of being judged, all factors that can greatly deteriorate your mental health.

Poor Posture

A poor posture is often a sign of low self-esteem and laziness. It is because low self-esteem and laziness can cause you to slouch. But sometimes, it can be the other way around. Poor posture can cause your mental health to decline. Sometimes some of us slouch unintentionally and want to change it to look better. You may find it hard to change as it takes a lot of effort to fix. But now you may have one more reason to motivate you to improve your posture. Studies have proven that good posture can immediately improve your self-esteem and mood. It can also increase your positivity, reduce fatigue, and reduce depression. It never hurts to give it a try. You will see how one little change can make a big difference.

Failure Mindset

If you ever felt like a failure, just remember everyone also occasionally has these feelings as well. It is very common to feel like your life is miserable and hopeless. You should definitely get rid of a failure mindset if you find yourself letting these thoughts damage your mental health and increasing your anxiety and depression. These mindset habits can get in your way of success by discouraging you from setting goals you can achieve, diminishing your awareness of your natural talents, and making your mistakes bigger than they really are. Instead, try to focus on the positive side like your talents and strengths.

Overuse of Social Media

It is well-known fact that teenagers who use social media can find themselves struggling with low self-esteem issues and issues with anxiety. So it is no doubt that adults can be facing this problem too. A Research from The Telegraph found that out of 1,500 Facebook adult users, 60 percent felt some sort of jealousy from comparing themselves to others, 32 percent felt that social media made them feel lonely and 62 percent felt that social media lowered their self-esteem. This is a  great sign of how harmful social media can be on someone’s mental health. To lower our risk for depression, anxiety and improve our mental health, stop overusing the media. Social media should never define anyone’s happiness. Don’t let social media take away your happiness.

 

Early Signs of Depression & Warning Signs to Look out for

Depression is a serious medical disorder that can change the way a person thinks, eats, sleeps, acts and perceives life. Depression is often defined as an intense feeling of prolonged hopelessness and doom. Here are some early warning signs to look out for in yourself, as well as some tips for receiving help if needed.

Loss of interest in hobbies and daily activities

Hobbies, social gatherings, pastimes and activities that you found fun and pleasurable in the past no longer bring you joy. You no longer look forward to them and you do not seem to care about these activities anymore.

Another sign is a loss of interest in sex in those who are sexually active. Decreased sex drive and even impotence can be early indicators of depression.

Hopelessness

You have developed a pessimistic approach to life, meaning that it feels like there’s no point in anything and that nothing will get better.

Weight and appetite changes

Your appetite has unintentionally decreased or increased severely, causing drastic weight fluctuations (either weight gain/loss). This sign can vary person to person as some may skip meals or reduce their portion sizes drastically, while others may binge or overeat.

Sleep problems & increased fatigue

Insomnia, early morning wakefulness and oversleeping are all linked to depression. The loss of energy and fatigue that those with depression experience comes from the poor quality of sleep. This can further lead to loss of interest as well as anxiety.

Anxiety

Anxiety has been shown to occur with depression, however there is no direct source that states that either one is the cause of the other. Symptoms of anxiety include: increased nervousness, rapid heart rate, trembling and muscle twitches, heavy sweating, increased breathing and digestive issues.

Concentration issues

You’re having consistent trouble focusing on work-related tasks and chores. Furthermore, you are unable to make important decisions, you can’t think straight as your thoughts have become disorganized and scattered. Lastly, you have trouble remembering things.

Loss of Energy

Along with sleep issues, you may feel fatigued, sluggish and slow throughout the day. Your daily tasks are seemingly taking longer to accomplish and you seem to be putting in less effort into them. Furthermore, small activities and tasks are draining you way faster than they used to and keep you feeling burn-out rather quickly.

Irritability

Your tolerance level has dropped significantly and you are feeling unexplainable anger towards those around you. Small interactions get you irritated very easily for no reason and it seems as if everyone is getting on your nerves.

Extreme feelings of Guilt

You are having strong feelings of self-loathing and guilt towards yourself. This includes harshly criticizing yourself,  as well as being overly sensitive to faults and mistakes you make. Also, you find yourself overthinking every little thing you do such as your conversations, actions and behaviours towards others.

Body aches, cramps and/or headaches

An unexplained increase in physical aches such as body aches, headaches and cramps. Digestive issues could be tied in with symptoms of anxiety due to the increased activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can lead to issues such as chronic constipation or diarrhea.

Seeking Help

If you’re worried that you display these early signs of depression, don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you such as your friends and family for support. Being able to express your situation and your feelings to a listener can be an immense help.

If you need someone to talk to about these symptoms, our team at Certified Listeners Society consist of a group of highly trained volunteers are here to listen, support and guide you 24/7 https://certifiedlisteners.org/support/

Other tools for coping with depression include lifestyle changes, consulting a therapist, and/or taking medication. Recognizing your symptoms and asking for professional help is the first step in being able to feel like yourself again.