Challenges

Family life can have many ups and downs.  Perhaps you are experiencing difficulties with your family relationships, or you might be caring for a sick child, or plan to adopt in the future. We will do our utmost to help and guide you through any of these challenges.

Change is the one constant thing in our lives, we are surrounded by change the weather change several times in one day, but we adapt. However, some people embrace change and see opportunities to grow and learn and others dread it and find it very difficult to adapt.  Changes which are outside our control and not expected are more difficult to accept e.g. dealing with unexpected illness, job loss, recession, or a major disaster. Some changes can be very positive and open opportunities to learn new things, develop new skills or qualities we didn’t know we had. As children we accept change easily, but as adults our brain and body block change and the chemistry of how our brain copes with change is very interesting. We hosted a webinar with Dr Celine Mullin called Creating habits beyond Covid 19 in which she describes this process and how we can create habits which will enable us to adapt to change more effectively We also have some handy tips that may help. Just remember that dealing with change is rarely instant, and that coping with or adapting to change can take time. See things differently Instead of dreading the changes in your life, try to see each as an opportunity to learn. If you can see change in a positive – rather than negative – light, it can boost your resilience and help you deal with it more positively too. This can be especially helpful at work, since having a negative attitude towards change could mean you'll be overlooked when new and interesting projects come along. These days work environments are changing at a faster pace than ever, so seeing change as something to grasp with both hands instead of something to fear and resist could bring many new opportunities. Meanwhile, instead of letting change creep up on you, try to be more proactive and look out for any changes that may be coming. Thinking ahead and planning can also make you feel that you have more control over what happens to you. Keep a record The next time you're faced with a major change, keeping a note of how you feel about it, as well as how you plan to deal with it, could be useful. Instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping everything will go back to normal, write about your feelings towards whatever is changing in your life. After you have recorded your feelings, decide what you want to achieve in respect to the change in question. Then write down your goals and how you plan to make them happen, including the skills you have that could help. Be really specific where your goals are concerned and think about how you can measure your success. Don't forget to set achievable goals and, where possible, set a clear timeframe for reaching them. Also try finding the benefits or opportunities that this change might bring and write them down too. If you have been affected by things such as bereavement, illness, redundancy or financial loss, this can obviously be difficult – but those who look hard enough can often find something to be positive about, no matter how small. Make a point of writing at least one benefit a day. Move on When change comes along that you can't control, don't let it get the better of you. Try to carry on with everything else in your life as normally as possible, as this itself can reinforce the ways in which your life isn't changing – which itself can be reassuring. Realise that there are some things you can do, and some things that you can't do, and instead of dwelling on any mistakes you may have made, put them behind you and move on. One way to keep your worries in perspective is to take a long-term view. For instance, how do you see the changes that are happening now affecting you in one, two or even six months? Remind yourself that change itself never lasts, and that things will become normal again at some point as the change becomes more familiar to you. Be a team player Helping others is a great way to gain experience and build resilience, so take every opportunity to make life easier for those around you who are experiencing changes. And when you find yourself affected by change, don't try to go it alone – know when to ask for help. Build a network of people who can support and guide you whenever you need them, and support and guide them when they need help too. For instance, if you are experiencing changes at work, talk to your colleagues and find out how they are coping. You could well find that you can help each other to manage any changes that are happening in the office more effectively. Look after yourself Change can be exhausting on an emotional – and often physical – level. So instead of battling through it, take time to recharge your batteries. This doesn't have to involve a complete break but could be something as simple as taking a walk in the fresh air to clear your head. Sometimes change can also mean less time to yourself – after having a promotion at work, for instance, when you may feel pressured into working longer hours. At times like these it's especially important to remember to eat healthily, to get some exercise and to relax as much as possible when you're not at work. Article reproduced with the kind permission of CABA, the organisation providing lifelong support to ICAEW members, ACA students and their close family around the world

Jun 18, 2020

William is a Chartered Accountant who had his own business, but because of circumstances beyond his control he lost his business, his home and suffered with depression. CA Support have helped him throughout these difficult times, and he has given his permission for us to share his story with you. As a Chartered Accountant, I worked with a professional firm until 1985 when the entire department in which I worked was made redundant. With a partner I started my own business importing ladies fashion dresses and accessories from Hong Kong. It was very successful; the items were sold in exclusive outlets throughout the country. All went well until a supermarket chain sold identical items at a much lower price. My business partner left me with extensive business debts, so I had no choice but to sell my home. I was not aware of the Benevolent Society (CA Support) until I rang to explain why I could not pay my annual subscription fee. It was a huge relief to discover that there was support available to me. I worked hard to get my qualification and wanted to keep my membership up to date. On the initial call I explained my circumstances and it was a relief to have a friendly non-judgmental voice on the phone. There was a lot of unemployment at the time due to a severe economic downturn. To help those affected, the Benevolent Society (CA Support) hired the ballroom in the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge and asked me to address the large audience of unemployed accountants. The Institute then set up a small department to assist and offer advice to those who were unemployed. I was very glad I was able to help. I don’t know how I would have managed in the years that followed without their support. I am a very independent person, so the lack of control over my life was extremely difficult to accept. I was unable to find employment, my age went against me and I was also told that I was over-qualified. I turned to writing and had some short stories and magazines published. But the money didn’t cover a fraction of my outgoings, Unfortunately in the winter of 2013 I found myself homeless. I approached the DLR Housing Department and was initially promised accommodation but, the promise was not fulfilled. I was advised I could go into a hostel with the warning that I might have to share with a drug addict, an alcoholic or someone with mental health problems. It was only with the help of a compassionate community officer and my rector that my situation was resolved. Thankfully, I now have a home again I don’t know if I will ever forget that fearful experience, of not knowing what was going to happen to me. I still struggle to find words to express how awful it was. With assistance from CA Support I was able to go in a new direction. I continued with my writing, gave a series of public talks on the effect of suicide on those left behind and last September I gave a talk on the emotional impact of homelessness on mental health at the request of The Irish Council of Churches. For this, I could draw on my own personal experience of having been homeless. I have no doubt that there are others who have stories to tell on how CA Support has helped their lives and continue to do so. Speaking for myself, I hope that those who can will continue to support this organisation, especially now during the current Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertain future that face us all.   William Blackall CA Support are supporting our members and their families always. If you would like to help or if you need help please contact us by email or on 01 637 7342 or 086 024 3294.

Jun 04, 2020

Starting a family is one of the most exciting things you may ever do. But it can be challenging too, and bring lots of changes – even before your baby is born. From the time you find out a baby is on the way right through to the birth and the years that follow, you’re likely to experience a wide range of emotions – from joy, happiness and love right through to anxiety, self-doubt and frustration. In fact, it’s safe to say your life will never be exactly the same again. If you’re having your first baby, you may find it difficult to adjust, as you’ll be learning lots of new things as you go along. Indeed, according to one survey by baby products manufacturer Munchkin, it takes almost five months for new mothers to adapt to their new lifestyle after the birth of their baby, with many admitting they were overwhelmed by the prospect of becoming a parent. Learning to stay emotionally healthy at this time will help you to form a good and strong bond with your baby. So here are a few of the challenges you may encounter – and a few suggestions on how to cope with them. Sleep disruption  Lack of sleep is common during the first weeks and even months of being a new parent. Plus with the endless round of feedings, nappy changes and washing baby clothes, it’s no wonder many new parents claim they’re permanently exhausted. During the night, think about taking turns in feeding your baby (if your baby is breast fed, fathers can bottle feed using expressed milk). Having some quiet alone-time with their baby at night can give fathers another opportunity to build a strong bond with their baby.  Also try to catch up on your sleep whenever your baby is asleep, which may mean being more relaxed about things like cooking and doing chores around the house. Most importantly, remind yourselves that this period of sleep disruption won’t last forever, and that you’ll probably settle into a routine when your baby is around six to eight weeks old. Isolation  If you had a hospital birth, you may feel isolated and anxious when you first take your new baby home. Suddenly you’re both on your own with no one to help or give you advice, which can be daunting to say the least. But if you have friends and family nearby, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many may choose to initially stay away because they think you need to have time on your own, but you’d be surprised at how happy most people would be to give you a hand. Also try to get out and about as much as possible with your baby, as being stuck in the house can make you feel even more isolated. The change of scenery will boost your mood, and your baby will feel better for getting out into the fresh air too. If you made friends with other parents-to-be at antenatal classes, why not arrange to get together with some of them? You may well find they’re having exactly the same experiences as you are, and talking about your feelings with others who know what you’re going through can make you realise you’re far from alone. Relationship problems  Many new parents feel there’s little time for their relationship as a couple when a new baby comes along. Studies suggest many parents feel less happy in their relationship after having a baby, and many fathers may feel left out, which can make them feel jealous of their partner’s closeness with the baby. Make sure you’re both involved with caring for your new baby – new dads need to build their confidence and their relationship with their child as well as new mums. Talk to each other about the way you feel, and let your partner know if you’re struggling to cope. Also start planning to do some of the things you did together before you had your baby, so you can enjoy time doing things as a couple, not just as parents. Negative feelings  A baby can turn your life upside down, so don’t be surprised if you have negative feelings from time to time, especially when everything seems more daunting than usual. These feelings are perfectly normal, so don’t be afraid to talk to someone about them. Also try to remember that it’s fine for mums and dads not to fall in love with their baby immediately. Forming a strong relationship with your baby can take a while, especially for mothers who had a long or difficult delivery. And having negative feelings towards your baby doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. If your partner is affected by negative feelings towards your baby, it’s more important than ever to reassure them that their emotions are normal, and that they will pass in time. Meanwhile, if a new mum shows a continuing lack of interest in her baby, it could be a sign of postnatal depression. If there’s a possibility you or your partner is affected by postnatal depression, it’s very important to speak to your GP about it and get treatment. Article reproduced with the kind permission of CABA, the organisation providing lifelong support to ICAEW members, ACA students and their close family around the world.

Aug 20, 2019